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MythForce: Video games’ love letter to 1980s cartoons says the sweetest things

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The lesson of MythForce, if Beamdog’s zany roguelite has one, is that parody is easy; homage is hard. It’s simple enough to snicker at the 12-frames-per-second animation of the 1980s, and the cynical narratives that the decade’s syndicated cartoons spun to sell Jem and the Hologramsdolls or Centurionsplaysets to kids coming home from school.

But making that look and feel come home to someone playing a video game, as if it were a cartoon come to life, would take a lot of work.

They’d have to work against the engine they’d be using to build the game, even. It was worth it, Eric Booker and Luke Rideout said.

Their boss, Trent Oster, wasn’t sure. “You’re telling me,” Oster said, summarizing a conversation with Booker and Rideout, “that you want to take Unreal — which is really good at doing photo-real stuff, and lighting, and all this awesome stuff — and you want to turn all that lighting off, and put a bunch of effort into making it look how it’s not supposed to look?” The look, of course, is what makes MythForce, which launched April 20 in early access on the Epic Games Store for Windows PC.

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