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satellite cult 17.17
experimental vapor, NES, indie game spotlight
welcome to this week’s satellite cult dispatch. i’m so glad you’re here. i hope the artifacts i present you with will kickstart your transition from human being to dead meme format cat. may your heart ache for a little salami as a treat. otherwise, maybe you can haz cheeseburger.
please be aware that the void dive section below contains flashing gifs.
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Munich-based label TMRRW REC, which hasn’t released music since 2021, put out a new compilation album featuring eleven tracks i wish replaced the soul-crushing hold music that assaulted my ears this week while trying to get my doctor’s office to send my HRT prescription to the pharmacy.
most songs lean ambient and downtempo--lo-fi utopian virtual, perhaps. but the last track is unexpected; be sure to brace yourself for some aggro, bitcrushed noise.
the album is called Blue and the color is a loose theme—i don’t think it has anything at all to do with the Derek Jarman film, but i kept thinking about it while listening.
the first song on Suburban Chariot by mondo madison is somewhat misleading. the slow, slushy eccojam initially had me excited; if such a thing as vaporwave worship music exists, that track is it. the deity in question is not the god of any known religion, of course, but genre and style. then, as you progress from song to song, the tempo increases and the slush turns to ice.
the album also includes some interesting moments of reflection and self-awareness, and by the end it softens again, becomes melodic and fluid enough to release you from it gently.
Dead Simple is anything but. sparkly bitcrushed plunderphonics borrowing from breakcore and pop just as much as vaporwave and screamo, it’s a rather complex album by Dead Man from Mars.
one part breakcore, one part barber beats, one part eccojams, ZX Spectrogram delivers a genre-bending six track album of experimental vapor.
in Kabuki Quantum Fighter, the player becomes a solider who converts his consciousness to binary code in order to combat a threat to a computer system. the twist? his ancestors were kabuki actors, and he becomes one when he enters the computer. it’s a side scroller with the aesthetic of a cyberpunk space dungeon. definitely worth checking out.
Kabuki Quantum Fighter is widely considered an underrated gem in the NES catalog, and you can check out a longplay here:
McKayla also pointed me towards a McElroy brothers livestream from last month, where they play Anticipation and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde among other games.
Anticipation, developed by Rare, is a complex (for its time) video board game that supports up to four players:
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde is a cult classic for its notoriously confusing gameplay, bad graphics, and overall unplayability, earning its place on many a "worst game” list. the player alternates between Jekyll and Hyde depending on stimuli encountered in the game. if Jekyll becomes angry, he transforms into Hyde and is transported to a hellscape where he wields a power called Psycho Wave against monsters. once the monsters are taken care of, he becomes Jekyll again. there’s incentive to play more than once; the game features two endings.
Nippy the Turnip is an odd little turnip farming simulator you can play in browser. it’s cute and cozy.
Star-Cat is also a browser game, and its dev was inspired by Famicom homebrew. the player controls a blue cat floating through space, with the goal being to collect enough stars to progress to the next level.
it’s fun, simple, and meditative.
Thank you for joining me. Until next time.