Microsoft's 1995 classic mashup of capture the flag and bumper cars, Hover, will find new life in browsers, as demonstrated to us by director of Internet Explorer marketing Roger Capriotti and marketing manager Steve Lake.
Hover was originally included in the CD-ROM versions of Microsoft Windows 95 as part of the "Fun Stuff" folder, along with a trailer for Rob Roy (starring Liam Neeson) and the music video for Weezer's "Buddy Holly." According to Capriotti, indie developer Dan Church grew up playing Hover — and it eventually helped motivate him to make games. Church approached the Internet Explorer team to help make his recreation a reality.
Although it's been optimized for Internet Explorer, Hover runs in any browser with a mouse and keyboard and with Windows Touch for capable machines. Gameplay remains faithful to the original and the level layouts are modified from their former selves. But, the 2013 version of Hover has a look that Lake describes as "Tron-like" and futuristic. Players are also afforded more options. Instead of just one vehicle, you can now choose from three: Wizard, Chicago or Bambi, a nod to the original game's code name. Each performs a little differently; Chicago, for example, provides a smoother ride and more stability on the field.
Hover's biggest alteration is the addition of multiplayer. By sharing a special URL with friends, players can compete in four-on-four matches. As in the single-player edition, the goal is to capture more cars than your opponent.
"We've got the nostalgia feel, but we wanted to have some of the capabilities and functionality of 2013," Lake said.
In the left-hand corner of Hover's screen, players will notice a small tab offering more information on how the game was built. According to Capriotti, it's because the game doubles as a nostalgic trip for gamers and an inspirational tool for developers.
"We build these experiences to showcase to consumers what the web can be, and at the same time to developers what they can actually build on the web," Capriotti said. "This is good eye candy, but at the end of the day it's a real site. This is a real game that you can play [with] multiplayer and we're excited to have developers take it for a spin, reminisce about it and also learn from it and maybe build their own experiences."