Let's pretend I haven't neglected the blog for a year. There's important stuff to talk about.
In September 2010, I was on a late-night train from Manhattan back to my parents’ home in Westchester, when I decided to open SheepShaver and play an old game to pass the time. The game was called Byte Me!, released by Freeverse Software twelve years ago. Relying on the classic Mac OS and burdened by a once impressive OpenGL-rendered game board, Byte Me! is nearly impossible to play nowadays, let alone enjoy– but the game’s unique mechanics make it an all-time favorite of mine.
Byte Me! was itself a remake of the game Fungus by Ryan Koopmans. That was a school project back in ’92, but by then the basic game principles were already in place:
- Two to four players are given “heads” that are placed in a circle on a square board.
- Players take turns growing their bodies out from their heads by attaching shapes to themselves.
- Players who touch can bite one another; biting a player can divide their body, and the portions disconnected from their head wither and die.
- If attaching a shape to yourself causes your body to envelop a region of an opponent’s body, you seize that region.
You win by growing your body to be the largest, or, ideally, by destroying your opponents’ bodies.
That’s the Fungus game variety in a nutshell. There can be variations, but the core is the same; you grow as big as you can, gobbling up your opponents and conquering the board. This is how Fungus and its various clones have been played for the past twenty years. [ More ]