I recently (earlier today) found myself in need of a Multi-Use Labor Element. So I loaded up the ol’ C64 emulator and found the rom of EA’s last good game, which I haven’t clapped eyes on since three laptops ago.
No, that’s a lie. I scoured the internet for someone who had cloned it. To my surprise, I was able to find one (1) MULE clone. It’s called Space Horse, it’s a decade old and it costs fifty (50) dollars. Needless to say, I’m not writing this blog entry following a rousing round of Space Horse.
I kept looking. I found many (more than 4) abandoned (or seemingly so) Mule clone projects claiming to be updates or remakes, one of which even had screenshots that looked almost as good as the NES screens. That fruitless search lead me to compose this rant concerning the (lack of) evolution of the game called MULE. I was about to post it on the World of MULE forums when I thought “Dude. I have my own blog.” So here it be:
I'd love to see a MULE sequel. I'm not interested in a remake. I can play the old game on my NES or my C64 emulator any time I want (and as I write this, I want less and less). I'd love to see a re-imagining with some new features (longer game and bigger map top my list) which could gain a fanbase and spawn a sequel. On the WoM forum alone, there are at least three seemingly dead remakes. They die (imho) because nobody wants to play the same game with mildly better graphics. Give me the same game with eye-splitting graphics or give me something new. I'm not going to waste my time testing a game that has little or nothing to offer in the way of innovation.
MULE is an awesome game, but I already have it. I play it all the time. I would throw my soul into doing anything I could to help produce an updated version of MULE, but nobody seems interested in doing that. Everybody wants to make the same old game without all the "bother" of consoles or emulators.
The last update of MULE was in November 1990. That had graphics that were vastly superior to the original, and added a gameplay element: multiple Wampus hunts. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but since it's heyday, the evolution of MULE has been hindered at every turn by greybeards and other purists who just want to be able to play MULE again.
To all you old people: Keep playing MULE like the other twelve of us do! Let the developers make something new! It has been announced recently that the heirs of the game’s creator (of questionable gender) recently began producing a remake. I greet this news with both excitement and trepidation. Would I love to play a new MULE game on my Wii? All God’s Mechtrons say “hell yes!” Will I even bother pirating a remake? No.
If it’s just going to be “MULE 2: MULE” or “MULE 3D,” I’ll play Freelancer or X3 and have something to shoot while I trade crystals and foodstuffs. Or (God forbid) I’ll crawl back into the World of Warcraft bottle and make 300 gold a day crafting paper and playing the market (truth be told, about three fifths of the profit comes from crafting paper). No, I don’t know why it’s fun, but it is. It even sounds stupid while I’m doing it. But I damn sure won’t spend money on something I already own in at least two different formats unless it’s a Super Nintendo cartridge of Chrono Trigger or 7th Saga. Or Sim City.
But let me be serial for a minute. Wolfenstein (known to most as “wolf3d.exe”) is a neat game. When I first played it twenty (seventeen) years ago, I was floored. It’s legacy lives on in such games as LITERALLY ANY GAME YOU F*$%ING PLAYED YESTERDAY.
MULE is (not was) a fantastic game. When I first played it five (or something) years ago, I was equally floored. The dynamics behind MULE are still fascinating and that music (Gawd! That music!)! In MULE, four players have to work together and compete simultaneously. I want to win, but if the colony starves, we all die. Where is MULE’s legacy? If anybody sees it, show me. And the Sims doesn’t count. That’s not based on MULE the same way Halo 3 is based on Wolf3D. I’m looking for a direct descendant.
All the developers out there (and I mean the little guys who release to sites like Kongregate or sell their games to PopCap, not the juggernauts like EA and… who else is left…? Blizzard) spend months (years?) at a time making side-scrolling shooters and tetris clones when there’s meat out there like MULE (props to the guys who make tower defense games. You all rock. I don’t care how many different colors you paint the same game, I’ll play it). Where are all the MULE clones? Nay, the updates?
I realize what an enormous undertaking it would be (or maybe I don’t and I envision a mere space station where there exists a small moon), but it’s been nineteen years. Isn’t it about time? Ask yourself: Haven’t I waited long enough for that thirteenth month? That fifth commodity? A mouse? A GUI? 16-bit graphics? An AI that does more than whore out all the mountains for their smith-ore?
I dunno. Maybe this is the thing that finally makes me learn FLEX (after several months of saying I’m gonna do it and finding many resources, and having read the first chapter of several books, I am now very well-versed in what FLEX is capable of).