Justice Playthrough #58: Pocket Square

“Recommend” is such an incredibly strong word.

I feel good about dropping a “Respect,” though.

Page 58, Game 27: Pocket Square by CodyMace

Pocket Square is the finest hand-held video game console that 1978 never actually produced. It comes with twelve games and, had it been a thing that actually existed, would likely have taken eight D-cell batteries and weighed four pounds.

It would, in short, have been the most awesome thing five-year-old me had ever heard of.

BEHOLD THE PROMISED LAND

Pocket Square reproduces the feel of ancient home video gaming with eerie precision. The graphics in that menu screen are the only real incongruity; the actual games themselves are squares and lines of various shades of green.

Best of all, you have one control mechanism: the button. Push the button, release the button. That’s what you have. That’s all you have. That’s all you DESERVE, kid.

Are the games repetitive? Oh, you bet your ass. But a lot of them are actually kinda fun.

The best of the bunch is probably mini-golf. Hold the button, and your golfer starts swaying side to side. Release it, and thwack! Hope you got the angle right! Because on this course, either you get a hole in one or you DIE.

No pressure

But my personal favorite is the unauthorized port of Flappy Bird. It’s just too perfect. This is what home video game ports were like back in the day, people: sad, wretched parodies of the beloved games they claimed to represent. And we had to just roll with it, because it was this or nothing. NOTHING.

Flap, you little bastard

There are some problems here, unfortunately — beyond just the obvious ones imposed by the hilariously grim self-imposed limitations. Some of the games are such simple exercises in obvious timing that they never manage to really be interesting — Baseball and Platformer are the worst offenders. Shooter is just plain broken; pushing the button is supposed to shoot a bullet and make your ship move the opposite direction across the bottom of the screen. Unfortunately, pushing the button unleashes such a terrifying bulletstorm flood that it’s seriously 50/50 as to whether you’ll keep going the same direction as before (presumably because you shot an even number of bullets) or reverse (presumably because you shot odd), which makes the game much too random.

The worst bug, unfortunately, is the menu that’s supposed to allow you to quit the game and select a new one. It flat out doesn’t work. However, after much button mashing, I discovered “Shift” will actually allow you to do something other than resume the game you’re on.

Also, I will note that the music and sound effects in general are MUCH too nice for a machine of the era. Given that the era-appropriate soundscape would be a jagged and horrifying journey through electronic hell, I respect the decision to fudge it.

Is it fun? It is … amusing. And I note that the developer just did a mobile port. Turning my iPhone into THIS might actually be the ideal environment.

It’s honestly more of a joke than a game … but it’s a pretty good joke. And I did have fun playing some of the games.

What the hell. Recommended. It’s a silly little thing, but I found it endearing.

Will the next game use more than one color?

Page 1, Game 1: Overland by Finji

“A squad-based survival strategy game with procedurally generated levels set in post-apocalyptic North America.”

Ooh.

No joke, I have NOT been fudging the random numbers; I’ve been using them exclusively and faithfully since the second game. I seriously just randomly rolled-up Page 1, Game 1.

The description sounds great, and this is the bundle’s lead-off hitter. Somebody certainly though it was worth putting front and center.

I’m getting my hopes up for this one.