Games that scared me

Silent_Hill_4_PC

Pretty much everyone can be scared, but to be scared in a video game is more difficult than one would think. Sure, we are immersed in the game so we feel like we are really the character, but there is so much of our real life right around us and the fact that we are most likely at home and surrounded by distractions that it is hard to grip us in fear no matter how good a game is.

However, there are those moments within games where if you do not feel true fear all the time there is at least a moment or a time where you might have jumped out of your seat or walked away from the game for a moment to compose yourself. Here is a small list of some of the games that got to me in no particular order.

Doom 3

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7Fx-zdYtLo[/youtube]

It was a first person shooter and we already knew what to expect somewhat, but for me at least there were a few moments where I felt scared in this game. Now for those that don’t know, Doom 3 was made fun of for not being able to use a flashlight and a gun at the same time. This really was done to try and make the game harder and scarier. To really get this to work the best thing was to be in a dark room alone, put on headphones and crank up the sound. When I got to the part in the video it scared me and I had to walk away and turn on the lights for a moment.

Silent Hill Series

Silent Hill 1 and 2 were some of the best for me, but the series as a whole had some great moments that could get to you. Honestly, most of it came from the music side, but the visuals did a decent job as well. Again, with this game it’s all about setting the mood. Like a good horror movie, you don’t watch it with the lights on or with a party going on in the next room. If you played Silent Hill like you would really watch a good horror movie it could give you quite a few frights.

Resident Evil

Survival Horror at its finest, Resident Evil the original had some great suspenseful and scary moments. You had all the great elements for a horror movie. You had the first team gone missing, the second team goes in and their helicopter goes down and they find cover in a huge mansion. Next you have evil dogs blocking you from leaving and then the discovery of what appears to be zombies? What more could you ask for?

Resident Evil had a lot of those “WTF” moments from the dogs, to the zombies coming after you to the cool boss fights, but just being in the house and walking around was scary enough. This game had its scary moments even when you did not play in the dark, but if you did, well, I hoped you had a strong bladder.

The Legend of Zelda

This last one is not so much because of the game, but because of one particular theme that played over and over. In the Legend of Zelda when you would go into any dungeon you would hear the famous dungeon theme. The theme was meant to instill fear and danger, but the game was not really that scary.

However, when you were in later dungeons and you would hear that theme for hours it started to get to you like water torcher. At one point I had to pause and take a break to clear my head of the song and I can still hear in playing in my mind sometimes.

So there you have it, an example of a few games that scared me. Now there are a ton more, but I want to know what games scared you and why.

MegaMan 2 Ending

megaman2-ending

There was something about this ending. Perhaps it had that “The Hulk” feeling with David Banner walking down the lonely road in the old television show or maybe it was seeing Dr. Wily on his knees begging for mercy. Seeing the weather change as our hero heads home and the final shot of his helmet before we get the credits, it had a cinematic feel to it.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=460qy5mdELg[/youtube]

The entire game had some great music and was so fun to play, a true classic.

Craigslist Dating

craigslist dating

An awesome video about finding someone “special on craigslist.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePY7_H6qmLM[/youtube]

For those nights when that one point of compatibility is the only one that matters.

CAST
Kevin – Taige Jensen
Bethany – Jenn Lyon
Dennis – Ryan Hunter

CREW
Director – Ryan Hunter
Writer – Patrick Timmes
Camera/Editing – Taige Jensen
Producers – Ryan Hunter & Patrick Timmes
Additional Photography – Jacob Russell

Darkstalkers coming to the PS3 & PSP

DarkStalkersScreen

The classic PSOne game will soon be coming to the Playstation 3 and PSP. The game will have ten playable characters including favorites, Morrigan and Felicia. Currently there is no release date, but word is the game will cost you about six bucks.

Here is a video of the classic game.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYaVfvpbrWg[/youtube]

Origin PC: New Overclocked i7 2700K

origin-pc

People are always asking for bigger, faster and better and if you cannot provide that people will move on lighting fast. Origin PC, being on the cutting edge of custom gaming system announced their overclocking of the Intel Core i7 2700k-based systems with speeds going beyond 5GHz.

What does this mean for gamers? Everyone is looking toward the future for the next games and many of those games are developed to handle the most power components available. You have benchmark junkies looking to push that score and frame-rate freaks looking for ungodly numbers, and it takes powerful hardware to accomplish that goal.

“As an Intel launch partner, ORIGIN PC guarantees the latest technology is available to our customers the day of launch,” said Kevin Wasielewski ORIGIN PC CEO and cofounder. “ORIGIN PC offers the most options on the market. We will build your Intel 2700K powered PC in any case and any configuration.”

intel-2700k

Let’s be clear, you can build your own rig and overclock it, but first you need to know what to buy and then you’ll need the skill and knowhow to do it and that is not as easy as some makes it out to be. Also consider that if something goes wrong dealing with manufacture’s warranties can be a pain and leave you without a system for quite some time. An alternative is a system builder who has the knowhow and skill and will provide a kick ass warranty to boot.

So if you are looking to purchase this beast you can find the configuration on the Genesis model on Origin PC’s website. The Genesis system starts around $1337, but keep in mind that price will get higher when adding the i7 and other upgrades. Origin PC will overclock the 2700K as high as 5.2GHz and no lower than 4.7Ghz and that’s from the stock processor speed of 3.5GHz, not bad.

Console Wars: SNES vs Genesis

snes-sega

Ah, the console wars of the 1990’s it was a time when most people only had one and whichever side you were on you believed it was the best. Either you were a Super NES fan or Sega Genesis fan and both companies took advantage of this, but Sega really played to their fanboi audience.

Remember this commercial:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlulSyBI2aY[/youtube]

Blast processing, it was a marketing term to make you believe the Genesis was completely superior to the SNES, but what SNES fans noticed was graphics. Often Genesis fans talked about how fast games seemed and said Sonic could not run on and SNES. However, we know that the Genesis only had a palette of 512 colors while the SNES had over 32 thousand. Not only that, but the SNES could show you 256 different colors on one screen while the Genesis could only show you 62. The result was the sprites and backgrounds did run faster on the Genesis because they were less detailed, but were much clearer and detailed on the SNES.

Mortal Kombat

As far as sound the SNES won again and again we can use Mortal Kombat as an example. The sounds in the SNES port were much better than the Genesis and the reason is simple. The Genesis had a Yamaha sound chip and a Texas Instruments PSG, with 8K of sound memory between them. The SNES had a custom designed Sony sound chip and Sony DSP, with 64K of sound memory giving it the clear advantage. The result was clearer sounds with more audible tones available to be heard.

Now when it comes to controllers that is more players choice, many Genesis fanbois said the size of the controller were made for men and the SNES for little boys and girls, but most gamers will tell you the SNES was a better pad and Sega original game pad was a ripoff of the Nintendo design.

SEGA_vs_NINTENDO_STREET_FIGHTER_2

The most important contest was in the games department. Now don’t get me wrong, Sega had a ton of great games and even ports like Mortal Kombat that looked better on the SNES were more fun on the Genesis. However, talking classics SNES wins hands down which is why they seem to keep remaking those classics over and over.

Oh and BTW there was a bootleg port of all the Sonic games for the SNES and they ran just fine, so much for blast processing.

Ok maybe this isn’t the best example.

So which side were you on?

Energy

Energy - PC Engine - Gameplay Screenshot

Energy (1989)
By: Quasar Soft / NCS  Genre: Run ‘n’ Gun  Players: 1  Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: NEC PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16
Also Available For: Nothing

 I thought I’d take a look at the PC Engine’s back-catalogue. The game I settled on is a Japanese-exclusive apparently based on an old NEC PC-88 game by the same company called Ashe. It takes the form of a flick-screen run ‘n’ gunner set in the ruins of Tokyo which are now populated by all manner of monsters and demons and you, as a member of the ‘Demon-Busting Squad’, must journey through the ravaged lands in search of your three fellow Squad members who have gone missing in the city.

Energy - PC Engine - Gameplay Screenshot

After some cut-scenes, which presumably lay it all down for you, the action starts above ground amidst the damaged buildings and empty city streets where you must move from left to right shooting the monsters as you go, although at this point they constantly respawn and are seemingly just there to impede your progress. Before long you’ll reach what is apparently a hostage in need of rescuing and then your journey resumes underground through various caverns which contain more numerous monsters and other obstacles. You’re able to shoot the enemies using some sort of ‘energy bow and arrow’ although your blue ‘ESP’ bar will gradually shrink slightly when repeatedly firing on enemies. The other bar indicates your life which is obviously depleted by contact with the monsters.

Energy - PC Engine - Gameplay Screenshot

To be honest, I didn’t really play Energy a great deal more than that! It’s reasonably playable to a degree but it has lots of annoying quirks, some of which are frankly baffling. For example, as mentioned, this is a flick-screen game but the screen takes a full six seconds to gradually scroll the next screen into play, during which play freezes, and the exits on all the underground screens are blocked until the monsters have been killed, but it also takes six seconds after they’ve been cleared for the exits to disappear! All the intro and cut scenes are unskippable too (grrr!) but the worst thing about this game is the mystical ‘super-jump’ feature. Some brief internet research reveals that it’s supposedly possible to perform a higher jump but no one seems to know how to do it, and without it I couldn’t progress very far! This is a rather strangely-conceived game from a usually reliable company but I don’t really know what they were thinking with this one. The graphics are pretty poor (although the music isn’t bad) but it’s just a mess, gameplay-wise. The most frustrating thing is, it would’ve been easy to rectify the problems too.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95YZs-N5cj8[/youtube]

RKS Score: 4/10

Fable

Fable

I do love RPG’s, but when Fable was originally released I didn’t jump on it. First off, I’ve acknowledged that I’m a cheap gamer and I like the bargain bins, and secondly, I was getting geared up for Halo 2 (which would take most of my time). Third, I have a buddy who loves playing all 3 games and other similar RPG’s, like the Elder Scrolls run. Over the years, he would tell me of his gaming exploits, which were usually something like, “Yeah, this game is awesome! I have a bunch of wives, but they were coming after me for child support, so I had to take them out into the woods and kill them.” and “I played as a chick this time, and got VD and pregnant.”……This was enough to keep me away for a while. But, I knew I’d get around to it sooner or later.

Fable - Xbox - Gameplay Screenshot

Before the game was released, there was enough hype surrounding the game to assure it would never live up to all the expectations. I don’t care about that. All I care about is having fun. It doesn’t matter to me if a game is delayed for years, or if it fails to deliver what it promised. After I insert the disc into my Xbox…”How does it look?” “How does it control?” “How much fun am I having?” These are the questions I ask myself. Having said all that, let me get into Peter Molyneux/Big Blue Box/Lionhead Studio’s Fable.

Fable - Xbox - Gameplay Screenshot

All RPG’s have a story, some better than others. With Fable, the main story is pretty standard: Little boy’s village raided by bandits, father killed, mother and sister taken, strange man takes in boy so he can grow up and get revenge.
You play a short time as a boy, and then as a teenager, basically to get used to the controls. A little more than a tutorial, but that’s really what it is. When you reach manhood, the main quest starts. I know people who have put 40-50 hours (maybe more) into Fable, but I did 13. Here’s why: I’ve also never been a huge fan of “sandbox” games. I prefer linear. I understand I’m probably in the minority, but I like having a goal/quest/mission, then accomplishing it.

Fable - Xbox - Gameplay Screenshot

In Fable, there is the main quest that will be fleshed out in increments by your mentor(s), but also a crapload of side quests. Most gamers want to get more for their money, and you’ll get this with Fable, because there is always something to do. But, nothing drives me crazier in a game than given my main quest with a “Time is of the essence! You must rescue ‘so-and-so’!”, then also having the option of romancing women, escorting traders, and stopping to smell the flowers, with no consequences after doing so.

Fable - Xbox - Gameplay Screenshot

Sometimes, there’s so much going on that the main story is forgotten, and that should never be the case. I would have skipped the side quests completely, but for a couple of reasons: One, I wanted to see for myself so I could write about it, and two, I wanted to do just enough to level-up properly so I wouldn’t be under-powered against bosses when I finally reached them. But come on, there are just so many escort missions I can do before I was bored silly.
Having said all that, Albion itself is a beautiful place. From the water, to the woods, to the villages…..they spent a lot of time making everything look unique. Except for the people, who all look the same…. I think I married sisters. There is plenty of world to explore, and loading times aside, it was worth it to wander from section to section to see what the next part of the country looked like.

Fable - Xbox - Gameplay Screenshot

The music was cute and very ‘fairy-tale’ like, the score was spot-on what I want to hear in the background when I’m playing a game like this. It was a very welcome addition to the game.
Combat is also an important part of an RPG, and this is done in real-time. You have your close-combat weapons (and there are plenty from which to choose), your long-range, and your spells. One of the cool things about your character is he doesn’t have a ‘class’ so to speak, meaning no fighter/wizard/whatever.

Fable - Xbox - Gameplay Screenshot

He can do all of these things. As you kill enemies, you get experience and can take those XP to build up your character pretty much the way you want. You can make him extremely strong, very fast, or proficient with spell-casting. If you play the game long enough, you’ll eventually max out all. One of the really cool things I found was when I came across a huge sword that my character had a hard time carrying/using, but after I ‘strengthened’ my character, he was waving it around with no problem.

Fable - Xbox - Gameplay Screenshot
There are also the typical spells, with the fire/lightning strikes which I mostly used, along with a spell that gave me double attacks. Again, everything looked pretty cool, but the ‘lock-on’ targeting system was a major pain in the ass, with a lot of innocents getting fried on accident. And there were many times where it stayed on when I was trying to run for cover, which left me a bit defenseless. The enemies are many in number, but sparse in variety, and they look cool. Mainly bandits, huge wasps, some werewolf types, and a couple of others. There are some small bosses before the big ones at the end…. I just called Rock Monsters ‘small’, for some reason. The final bosses were way too easy, and I considered myself underpowered.

Fable - Xbox - Gameplay Screenshot

Another huge aspect of the game is what I call the “The Sims”, which I didn’t really want to do. This is the interaction with the townsfolk. Now, every game has you talking to people for info, that’s pretty standard. Fable wants you to spend valuable questing time literally flexing my muscles, flirting, showing my trophy-kills, and giving gifts to impress people, as well as showing a scary face or giving the middle finger to people I don’t like. There’s a lot more of this than I just mentioned, and there are reasons for doing so, I just had zero interest in this. If I want to play The Sims, I will buy those games.

Fable - Xbox - Gameplay Screenshot

I appreciate what they tried to do here, by making the game unique and ‘more real’ (I guess), but I think it takes away from the core gameplay. I did take a couple of wives, just so I could say that I did it, but it was empty gameplay…and oh yeah, my mother was being tortured during all this…sorry, ma. A man has needs.

I could go on, but by now you pretty much have my take:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXjXVRgT39o[/youtube]

Beautiful-looking, slow load times, wonky combat, good main quest story, unnecessary side quests, Sims stuff that doesn’t interest me, and easy bosses.
If I rate the game so just the main story, I recommend it. On the whole package…not so much. But, I know there are plenty of you out there that want to get that great hours to price ratio…and this game will do it for you.

Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes Beta Impressions


It was announced yesterday that I could ultimately take my hands away from my blabbering mouth and finally get my chance to talk about EA-Mythic’s take on the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre with Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes.

Wait? Warhammer Online? The MMO? Is this an expansion?

Nope. This is its own separate game and it seems that Mythic is trying their hand at the growing popularity of online battle arenas. From what I have seen from interviews and differing blogs, this game will be free and will partake in the microtransactions economy many games are adopting.

Oh, I hated everything about Warhammer Online aside from the PvP. What is this like?

Wrath of Heroes is almost a copy and paste of Age of Reckoning’s PvP. As of right now, there are two maps. I’m not sure if I can pick either one but it always randomly places me into one of the two. For the most part, I get the regurgitated version of Mourkain Temple. For those that remember Mourkain Temple, you fought for a relic at the center of the map and ran away with it hoping your team would protect you. Wrath of Heroes’ version of Mourkain Temple has differing objectives though. There are three flag points that must be capped by your team. Once your team owns one of these key points, you may take the center cap point and gain significant points for your team. First team to hit 250 points wins.

That sounds interesting, Mr. Khan. I have one problem. What if the opposing team is dominating you? That doesn’t give you much hope in reclaiming the game.

Well if the opposing team is dominating you and they become focused on slaying you, who is going to stop the other team from claiming points?

Wait… did you say other team?

Oh, did I forget to mention this game is 6v6v6? That’s right. Three teams brawling against each other. People have been clamoring for a game that finally went for that third team perspective in PvP and Mythic decided “Hey, it worked in Dark Age of Camelot. Let’s do it again!” And guess what, reader? It does work! Having three teams constantly vying for control of the map’s objectives keeps everyone on their toes for the entirety of the game. No more spawn camping. No more sense of security that your team has a lead. Anything can change at any time.

The other map that is available in Wrath of Heroes, which I was unfortunate enough to get only once during the beta phases, is the Arena. This map is a ton of fun. Why? The only objective is to completely decimate the enemy in this three-way team death match. There is plenty of terrain to use as an amazing vantage point for your casters and also to use as a form of abuse with line of sight. There is nothing but complete and utter mayhem in this map and the fact that there is no real objective, no one team can get sneaky and capture a point while people are preoccupied fighting. Everyone has to be involved all the time.

Yes! There is a Skaven champion.

As for the classes, there aren’t any. You just play as a champion that resembles a simplified version of their Age of Reckoning counterpart. There is a marauder champion who drags people in, there is a Witch Elf that pops out of nowhere and stabs you in the butt, and there is a tiny little gobbo shaman who is using the Waaagh to heal. What are the differences in this game that set it apart from Age of Reckoning? Champions like the Bright Wizard and Sorceror don’t receive any backlash as they cast their spells but they also don’t get ridiculously more powerful as they weave their magicks.

Why don’t they receive any downside to spamming their abilities? It probably has to do with the way combat works. The entire game is about spamming all your abilities. Everything is just facerolling your keyboard because almost every ability does damage or buffs you so you do more damage. Cooldowns are short and every champion has one ability that does minimal damage but can be spammed while everything else is on cooldown. It doesn’t lead to a very unique gameplay. Some champions have something special that adds to their combat but why bother when you can just spam abilities? The only champion that felt added any depth of game changing because of their abilities, aside from heal spamming duo goblin shamans, is the Marauder champion. Why? Because he can pull people in, negate healing on them for x amount of seconds, and can root enemies in place. He has the most combat utility out of any other champion. His ability to pick a target and bring them into a bukkake of death is amazing. Unfortunately or fortunately, he isn’t as popular as other champions so you’ll barely see him roaming around.

One of the things in this game that bothers me are the champion skins. Age of Reckoning has some amazing armor sets that made a ton of the champions look quite simply amazing. There were artistically some of the best armors in any game. Wrath of Heroes merely takes the newbie armor you get in the MMO and pasted it on the champions. Pretty lackluster stuff going on. I know that there are multiple skins they will be putting into the game but I feel as though they should’ve made each champion look awesome from the get-go like other MOBA type of games such as League of Legends, Defense of the Ancients, and Heroes of Newerth. Instead, I feel they are going to make the newbie looking skins the free ones and charge for the cool armors, whereas they could have had one cool armor set for each champion and have the additional skins be the other armor set tiers from Age of Reckoning.

As of right now, those are my overall impressions of Wrath of Heroes. I will be reporting on it more often as the beta continues but I do feel that with each play test they are adding more and more to this project. Hopefully, it will be a good game for a ton of players to enjoy as a free to play alternative to Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning and not become another hit it and quit it project by Mythic.

The Secret of Monkey Island

It’s very difficult to write a blog that focuses on the best retro games without reminding everyone about the gaming joy that was The Secret of Monkey Island, released by LucasArts Entertainment in 1990, to rave reviews from both game critics and the gaming community as a whole.

The Secret of Monkey Island

The Secret of Monkey Island cover art.

Monkey Island was an adventure game wherein the player assumed the role of young Guybrush Threepwood, a wannabe pirate looking for the way to become one of the pirate fraternity.  The Pirate Leaders give him three tasks: Defeat the island’s Swordmaster, Carla, in insult sword fighting; steal a statue from the Governor’s mansion; and find buried treasure.  Along the way he will meet a cast of wacky characters, while finding both true love with the beautiful and intrepid Elaine Marley, and a bitter, lifelong enemy with the ghost pirate LeChuck.

The Secret of Monkey Island

The Secret of Monkey Island insult sword fighting.

The quest process is one of the great strengths of Monkey Island: non-linear story telling.  It does not matter what order Guybrush completes his tasks in, so a player never feels unduly railroaded through the plot, and can explore the game world at will.  Another key strength that makes this work is that Guybrush does not die as a result of a wrong course of action.  Even jumping off a cliff cannot do our hapless hero in, which frees the player to try unusual actions in any circumstance, just to see whether the game programmers anticipated it.  (Actually, there is one way for Guybrush to expire – and only one – in the game, which involves hanging around for longer than 10 minutes underwater.)

The Secret of Monkey Island

Guybrush Threepwood is running out of time…

The guiding force behind The Secret of Monkey Island was Ron Gilbert, who based the game’s ambience and feel upon his experience at the Disneyland attraction Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as on the novel On Stranger Tides, by Tim Powers, which was the inspiration for many of the game’s characters.  He went to the point of writing a series of short stories based on his ideas for Monkey Island, which he used to help convey the spirit of game to his creative partners, Tim Schaffer and Ron Grossman.  All three used the stories as a blueprint for creating the game, and as a place marker for keeping the project vision focused.

The Secret of Monkey Island

Another tight spot for Guybrush.

The Secret of Monkey Island used LucasArts’ SCUMM engine, and the fifth such game to do so.  Players interacted with the game environment by choosing a verb and an object to interact with, and the game would provide a response.  Examples of the kinds of commands are LOOK AT, GIVE, PICK UP, OPEN, CLOSE, TALK TO, PUSH, PULL, and USE.  Part of the fun of Monkey Island is to see how many responses are programmed into the game depending on what actions you choose!

The Secret of Monkey Island

It’s the Pirate Life for me!

The Secret of Monkey Island migrated to several platforms: MS-DOS, Macintosh, Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, FM Towns, and Sega CD.  It was a smash hit for LucasArts, thus guaranteeing a sequel – Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge – which was also a huge seller.  In fact, the Monkey Island franchise has had many sequels: The Curse of Monkey Island, Escape From Monkey Island, and the various Tales of Monkey Island Chapters.  Its popularity continues today with the downloadable Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition release.  Gamers just keep coming back the Monkey Island universe, a sure sign of a classic gaming franchise!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_CTE5Xx_1o[/youtube]

GunLord Relaunch

dreamcast_regular_edition

Coming soon for the Sega Dreamcast is the classic platform shooter GunLord. GunLord is a Eurostyle Platformer with emphasis on exploring huge worlds and blasting off enemies. This game features 8 stages of exciting 2D game play with over 45 unique enemy types. Blast yourself through giant landscapes, explore caverns and reveal all secrets!!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HohDEQpIRMw[/youtube]

The game features:

8 Huge Stages

16-bit Hand-drawn Graphics

Non-linear action with 8-way scrolling

Big Bad Boss Enemies

Constant 60 fps

Internet Ranking via Code

L1 Boss (Ludger)

You can preorder GunLord for the following systems:

Sega Dreamcast

Neo Geo MVS

Neo Geo AES

Still Providing Raw Thrills: Eugene Jarvis has impacted over 30 years of gaming

Eugene Jarvis

Odds are high that any person who has put a coin into anything in an arcade over the past three decades has played something attached to the name Eugene Jarvis.

Whether someone is a classic gamer still hooked on Defender or Robotron: 2084, a more modern arcade patron who enjoys Big Buck Safari or Cruis’n World or even a pinball wizard who grew up on Firepower and Space Shuttle, the impact of the Raw Thrills founder and former Williams Electronics employee has been felt.

The arcade success story began with Jarvis’ very first attempt at a video game with 1980’s Defender, a game not well received by trade show critics nor the creator himself.  Despite the low expectations, Defender became one of the biggest hits in arcade history.

“I was shocked as anyone,” Jarvis said.  “It was the first video by me and the first real video by Williams.  We were completely new to the field and just tried to make it the best I could.”

robotron

Before launching, Defender was tested in the famed Mother’s Pinball in Mount Prospect, IL.  According to Jarvis, he tried to avoid this first night until learning of large crowds that stuffed the coin box and even placed couches around the machine.  The success of Defender lead to a Jarvis and his team continuing to develop games for Williams Electronics, including 1982s Robotron: 2084, a title that continues to have a strong cult folowing today.

Robotron seems to be the most popular now,” Jarvis said.  “The cool thing about Robotron was how we implemented the concept in three days.  Then it became ‘Let’s fight ten robots… That’s great!’  It then became ‘Let’s fight 20!  Even better!  Let’s fight 90!  Awesome!  This is intense!'”

While noted for their roles in gaming history, Defender andRobotron are considered by gaming experts and historians as some of the most challenging games in history.  According to Jarvis, this challenge was a part of their charm.

crusin world

“In that era there was this sort of macho hardcore thing,” he said.  “You were almost daring the player to beat you.  The average play time during Defender‘s test run was 33 seconds, yet players kept putting another quarter into the machine to try again.  Maybe it’s time for another game like that.”

While the video game industry has undergone several changes since Defender and Robotron ruled the arcade, Jarvis states that creating a compelling new video game today is not much different than it was 30 years ago.

“The basic challenge is always there,” he said.  “In video you are starting with nothing but a black screen.  There’s no game there.  With pinball you at least start with that basic concept, but not with video.  The challenge of going from no game to something today is only different because you have to create something so damn fun people will pay $1.00 every two minutes to play it.”

In an industry that grosses billions of dollars a year today, more opportunities exist in the industry now than ever before, according to Jarvis.

“It’s probably the best time in history to get into the industry,” he stated.  “There are so many more opportunities today as opposed to in the past.  Video games are ubiquitous now.  From arcade to console to PC to smartphones to Facebook… they are just everywhere.  You got all these shareware and iPhone games, and now anyone can make their own damn game and put it out there.  It’s a massive avalanche of opportunities.  Wide open.”

defender

With the development of the extra layers and platforms for video gaming entertainment, Eugene says the problem has shifted to the same problems that face small-budget films versus major studio movies.

“The problem changed with the industry,” he explained. “Now anyone can put out whatever but so can a million other people.  How do you get noticed?”

Jarvis stated that indie game developers face many of the same challenges that he’s faced in game design throughout the past three decades.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr363UM9D60[/youtube]

“You start out with all these dreams and hopes,” he said.  “Then reality sets in.  You can’t do this because the technology isn’t there or you can’t do that because the budget or time isn’t there.  Then something doesn’t work how you wanted it to.  It feels like being on one of those old wagon trains going across the desert and one of your horses dies.  Then you sometimes have your best moments, too, when you stumble across something cool and unexpected to add to the game.”

As Jarvis’ Raw Thrills continues as one of the strongest American coin-op arcade companies of the modern day, he says his favorite moments have always been the same they have always been.

“The great times are when you put a game on location and see others play it for the first time,” he said.  “After all, we are really kind of an entertainer.  You perform for the joy of the audience.”

Super Mario Bros 2: Ending

 

[youtube id=”r_0KIyCn1bQ” width=”633″ height=”356″]

Super Mario Bros 2: Ending

It’s all about the journey in games, but a good ending is always wanted. Personally one of my favorite classic endings is from SMB 2. Now I know a lot of people did not like the change in SMB 2 and many more hated that the whole thing was a dream. Me, I thought it was cool and a refreshing change in the Mario storyline.

smb2-ending

After you defeat Wart and are praised for you heroism you see Mario asleep dreaming the whole thing. Consider however, that if you did not win Mario would never wake up and there would be no SMB 3 which was one of the best games ever.

Cosplay: Blizzcon 2011

This weekend is Blizzcon 2011 and there are already a ton of great cosplay out there. Here are some images from day one of Blizzcon 2011’s lovely cosplayers.

 

 

Saboteur 95: The 8-bit Retro Remake

Saboteur95-8-bit-remake

Saboteur was really big during the 8-bit gaming era, and, at least to my mind, it reached almost mythical proportions. It was, you see, a game I first played only a few years ago, but one I kept reading about for over a decade. Surprisingly, it now seems as if the Greek gaming press was -for once- right. Saboteur, still a great game and a very balanced platform, adventure, beat-’em-up hybrid that can be as addictive as any contemporary time-sink, must have been quite a shock of grandeur for ZX Spectrumgamers.
Saboteur95-8-bit-remake

To experience said shock (play an original version of the game, that is) you could grab a free copy from the brilliant World of Spectrum mega-site, but, should you be one of them delicate souls that can’t stand true retro colour-clash graphics, you could do worse than download the brilliant freeware Saboteur 95 retro remake.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3pWwMv-xog[/youtube]

Saboteur 95 is fully Windows compatible, sports shiny 16-bit 320×200 graphics, 400 rooms, secret areas and a lovely 2D variety of enemies. Oh, and there are CD-covers, patches, maps and a variety of ..uh.. stuff available for it too.


Joe & Mac

Joe & Mac - Super Nintendo - Gameplay Screenshot

This time around Joe & Mac came to my mind especially after I finally found a copy of it for a decent price, in fact I found two copies of the game but only picked one up in my last trip to the flea market. Isn’t that pure kewlness? anyways, if you have played or haven’t played this game, you can have mixed feelings on this one. Lets start with the good stuff, the music is amazing and the animation is great, this game came out during the cavemen fever where there were a lot of cavemen like games hmmm Chuck Rock and Prehistorik Man to name a few. They were fun and all you know but very similar in the end. Joe & Mac has a very interesting history with the later games as well, which I will mention very briefly. The game itself starts off great and very simple but gets a little complicated but not so complicated that it becomes unplayable. The best way to enjoy this game though, it’s with a friend. The co-op is pure win as long as your friend doesn’t suck in the game, and if he/she does well you can have a good laugh after tossing the controller at them.

Joe & Mac - Super Nintendo - Gameplay Screenshot

 

The game feels incomplete at some points especially in the later levels where all you have to go is up a hill and the boss is there…..what great level design….that was sarcasm.. The bosses are also very predictable after a couple of tries at them so don’t hesitate to just stare at them and see where their attacks go. You also have three weapons to help you out which come in handy at boss fights depending of course which boss you are going up against.

Joe & Mac - Super Nintendo - Gameplay Screenshot

 

The game also has some secret places you can go into like save spots or secret levels but you will need to find a key and most of the time you will only find one key which will lead you to pick which door you want to unlock in the map, you can either pick a save spot or a secret level which probably has extra lives or food in it. It’s all up to you! In the end, I recommend this game for everyone who has a friend and wants to play a decent cavemen game. You can finish this game within the hour so don’t get your hopes up for a long game.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YCdnm1vPN4[/youtube]

Did you know? Congo’s Caper is most notably known as the sequel to Joe & Mac so that means Joe & Mac 2 is actually Joe & Mac 3? Hmmm interesting. I am going to track Congo’s Caper myself which I did played back in the day. I must find more info of this! Until next time!

The most WTF videos in Electronic music history, volume 1

Electronic music

I have decided out of sheer boredom, and in honor of my beloved electronica, to post the most insane, un-nerving, wtf music videos in our hallowed musical genre. Most of these videos aren’t safe for work, or viewing, or life.

If you want, you can play a fun game where you guess what drugs the video producers were on when they thought of these. Yes.

I’ll be posting these in installments as I am a pious man and don’t want your lovely browsers toppling around you.

Team America, eat your heart out.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdiZwztssK0[/youtube]

It’s like the peyote scene in Natural Born Killers, without the killing.

Sold.

+10 for the “Your son is dead” banana sticker.

I have a metric fuckton more, so stay tuned. Comment with ideas that you would like to see featured here on obscure internet!

Arkanoid

Arkanoid - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

Arkanoid (1986)
By: Taito  Genre: Bat ‘n’ Ball  Players: 1  Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: Arcade  First Day Score: 27,690 (with control pad – eeek!)
Also Available For: Nintendo NES, Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, Macintosh, PC, Commodore 64, MSX, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro, Atari 8-bit, Apple II, TRS-80
Download For: Xbox Live Arcade, Wii Virtual Console, iPhone

The history of videogames is a convoluted one. Many disagree even on what constitutes the first ever example of a videogame, nevermind some of the more intricate facts and figures, but one thing that surely cannot be disputed is the first popular game. Computer Space, unveiled by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney in 1971 brought gaming to the masses for the first time but it was too complicated for many users tastes. Realising this, the two talented engineers went back to the drawing board and returned the following year with Pong, which of course soon became a worldwide smash-hit. It’s simple tennis-style gameplay was hugely enjoyable for two players but what about one?

Arkanoid - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

Fortunately the solo-gamer was soon catered for as well when Atari released Breakout. Instead of a ball being knocked backwards and forwards between two bats, this time the top of the screen was filled with bricks which the ball would slowly destroy one by one. This concept was a superb one but due to its simplicity it was also ripe for some improvements and new ideas and these reached their peak with Arkanoid! This classic, released by Taito in 1986, shares much with the game that inspired it but it’s got a good few tricks up its sleeve too. For starters it comes with a backstory, although I’m not sure it’s one that makes a huge amount of sense!

Arkanoid - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

Apparently, “in an unknown time and era the mothership ‘Arkanoid’ was destroyed but a spacecraft, ‘Vaus’, escaped, only to end up trapped in space warped by someone…” Eeek, mysterious! Anyway, regardless of its rather vague, not to mention unnecessary story, it’s this Vaus that you’ll spend the game in control of. This arcade version used a paddle controller to do this, much like the original Breakout did, and this allows for the quick and precise movements needed to progress through the 32 single-screen stages. Each of these is filled with various arrangements of different coloured bricks which you must destroy by knocking the ball into them and keeping it in play by deflecting it with the Vaus.

Arkanoid - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

Yep, that’s about as complicated as things get! If the ball falls off the bottom of the screen, it’ll cost you a life, so the object is to just keep going as long as you can, and the Vaus can only move left of right so this can get pretty tricky! Most of the bricks take a single strike to destroy but there are a couple of exceptions. Silver bricks take between two and five hits to destroy and gold ones are indestructible. These are of course usually positioned strategically around the screen to make access to the other bricks more difficult! Something else that does this is the aliens that appear from the top of each stage after a short while.

Arkanoid - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

These pesky things are easily destroyed by the ball but doing so sends it flying off at a random angle too. The best of the new features introduced here though is the power-ups. Some of the bricks release capsules when destroyed which drift slowly down the screen and each has a different but helpful effect: Enlarge (increases the size of the Vaus), Laser (equips it with lasers – my favourite!), Slow (slows the ball down), Disruption (splits the ball into three), Catch (catches the ball allowing you to reposition), Break (opens a warp to the next stage, and Player (extra life). These splendid capsules obviously make life a lot easier (and more interesting) but don’t lose a life grabbing one!

Arkanoid - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

Arkanoid may have been released a full decade after Breakout but the simplicity of both games means neither really requires a huge amount of computing power. Indeed, while the graphics here are tidy and colourful there’s nothing really noteworthy about them and there’s no music at all, just a few sound effects, but none of that really matters with a game like this, which is still regarded as the pinnacle of its genre. There’s good reason for its reputation too. It was always amazingly playable and that remains the case today. Control over the Vaus is as precise as you could ask for thanks to the paddle control and the collision-detection is ultra-accurate too, both of which help you to make steady progress through the game, although the ball does increase in speed the longer you play which takes some getting used to (and lightning reflexes!). That specialised controller does make the game a little unrealistic to play via emulation though, so unless you’re lucky enough to find this cabinet anywhere, or even more lucky enough to actually own one, you’ll probably be better off with one of the mighty fine conversions (the Speccy version took up a sizable chunk of my youth!). Regardless of which format you play Arkanoid on though, you’ll still no doubt play it to death – it was and remains one of the most addictive games around!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6wXuFNJgEQ[/youtube]

RKS Score: 9/10

Zork

One of my earliest gaming memories involves spending long nights playing Infocom’s flagship game, Zork on my family’s Circle II – an Apple II clone – computer.  This was a text-based adventure: no graphics, no digitized speech, no musical score; just vivid descriptions of another world that still resonate in my memories today.

Zork

Gaming history tidbit! Zork was originally entitled, “Dungeon,” but as soon as the lawyers at TSR, Inc. found out, a quick “thou shalt not” trademark violation letter convinced its creators to call it “Zork” after a MIT slang for an unfinished program. I doubt if anyone would associate the word “zork” with anything but text-based gaming today, so perhaps this is an example of how gaming language changes over time.  But I digress…

Who could forget Zork’s opening: “You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.  There is a small mailbox here.”  The text-based parser would respond to your directions, such as “Open mailbox” or even just “open”.   Actually, the parser was quite advanced for the genre, as it was able to handle conjunctions and prepositions, such as “open the mailbox and read the leaflet,” and had a wide array of verbs and nouns that it recognized.  Of course, if you tried a command that it didn’t know, the parser would just respond with, “I don’t understand that” or a pre-programmed witty response if you tried something the programmers anticipated you would, like typing in “jump” and getting “Wheeee!!!” as a response.  For fun, type in any of the following: zork, win, repent, yell, and see what the parser says back.

Zork

 

After a brief search of the area you find a way to enter the house, and from there, the entrance to the Great Underground Empire.  (Incidentally, this game is responsible for teaching gamers that although a sword is wonderful to have, a lantern is even better.  Lose your lamp and expect a grue to feast your poor lost soul.)  Many of the locations in the Great Underground Empire (G.U.E.) found their way into other games, such as the spectacular Flood Control Dam #3.  Did I already mention the magnificent prose used in this game?  These locations were described in such a manner that gamers could close their eyes and visualize their environs…and the danger they were in.

By the way, you’re not alone down there in the remnants of the G.U.E.  Besides the ever-present danger of a grue coming across you, there’s a troll blocking your access, and a damn Thief randomly appears throughout the game.  He’s looking for treasure, and considers you a nice low-level random encounter.  In other words, run into the Thief and he’ll steal you blind.  He might even take your lantern (and that’s a bit of a problem).  A winning strategy is to avoid him until you’re armed and dangerous with the nasty knife, and then take him out (but not before saving the game first; he’s a tough guy to take down).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgIwEnlMcbw[/youtube]

Finding the original disks is a serious challenge these days, thirty years later, but there are several emulations available to anyone looking to play this classic retro game.  You can download the first three games here: http://www.infocom-if.org/downloads/downloads.html or just jump right into a game here:http://thcnet.net/error/index.php You can also play the original Dungeon game complete with a game map, here: http://almy.us/dungeon.html

Go on – enjoy a little classic oldschool gaming with one of the games that started it all!

Lady Sia

Lady Sia - Gameboy Advance
Lady Sia came out in 2001, which was very early in the GBA life, but it was a pleasant surprise.
An action-adventure platformer, Sia is a queen whose land is ravaged by a warlock and his animal minions. She alone has to hack her way through these creeps to reclaim her land. Not really sure why it seems like every game I play has ‘magic guy’ creating weird animal hybrids. That really doesn’t seem like the thing I would do if I had that kind of power. But anyway…..

Lady Sia - Gameboy Advance
There’s actually a very long and detailed story that unfolds throughout play, but I don’t want to give anything away. What I will say is this is a realitivly short game, with just a handful of main levels, and a few smaller levels within. Sia is armed with just a sword and an “energy blast”, and each level’s mission has her recovering a stolen family item; from a better sword to magic rings. These items will help her defeat the 4 bosses and the main one at the end.
The 32-bit, cartoony animation is neat, and the fluidity of her movements are top-notch for the little system. Little touches like using her sword to grab a ledge to pull herself up were nice additions. Sweet background music and sound-effects, as well.

Lady Sia - Gameboy Advance
The replay ability is fairly high, with a nice addition of a scoring system. Along her journey, Sia will refill her energy blast (in the form of gems), hearts (life), and rescue commoner-hostages. All of this, along with time spent on the level, gives you a score. This also gives you a reason to explore the entire level.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ed2m0FtWhV8[/youtube]
Again, it’s a very short game, and maybe a little cutesy for the tastes of some, but I found it to be a lot of fun. The only true negatives are the lack of a real challenge, and the occasional occurance of Sia ‘sliding’ during her combo hits. It can be annoying when you’re whooping ass on a rat-dude, and you keep running into him instead of carving him up into cat food. But, this certainly won’t ruin the game for you. If you’re like me, and you still weep over Xena, Warrior Princess not on TV anymore, this is a decent substitute.

 

Scambaiter: SandraThompson205: Part 5

scam alert
(7:07:38 PM) sandrathompson205: hello sweet heart
(7:07:49 PM) sandrathompson205: how are you doing today
(7:08:01 PM) c64glen: Hey Sandra!
(7:08:46 PM) sandrathompson205: Glen how are you?hope everything is fine with you
(7:09:34 PM) c64glen: yes, all is good. How about you?
(7:10:11 PM) sandrathompson205: good too,only am bothering about this consigment
(7:10:55 PM) c64glen: Is that thing I emailed about?
(7:11:05 PM) c64glen: because the bloke I emailed didn’t seem too bright
(7:11:19 PM) sandrathompson205: yes
(7:14:28 PM) c64glen: right. so what’s the deal again?
(7:17:50 PM) sandrathompson205: the lawyer told me he send you message to provide yr data as my beneficiary which you never did
(7:19:16 PM) c64glen: I didn’t get any email….
(7:19:28 PM) c64glen: I sent that Emu bloke an email, he was all like
(7:19:37 PM) c64glen: OMG WTF? NOOB?!!!111one
(7:19:42 PM) sandrathompson205: check yr mail very well dear
(7:20:14 PM) sandrathompson205: what is that,OMG WTF NOOB
(7:22:49 PM) c64glen: Hey is that a new picture of you?
(7:23:23 PM) sandrathompson205: yep
(7:23:39 PM) c64glen: Cool. SEND ME MOAR!!!
(7:24:46 PM) sandrathompson205: k
(7:25:10 PM) c64glen: to c64glen@yahoo.com and I will check for your lawyer email…
(7:27:51 PM) c64glen: tell me when you had sent email…
(7:28:01 PM) sandrathompson205: ok
(7:28:28 PM) sandrathompson205: but did you the email i sent to you previous
(7:28:43 PM) c64glen: what?
(7:28:54 PM) c64glen: the whole coke bottle?
(7:31:41 PM) c64glen: Just tell me when you’ve sent the mail
(7:32:13 PM) sandrathompson205: ok
(7:38:30 PM) c64glen: well? Where are the pics?
(7:39:24 PM) sandrathompson205: wait 1min
(7:46:11 PM) c64glen: ok, it’s now 21 minutes and counting…
(7:46:37 PM) sandrathompson205: my computer is not bootin well
(7:46:54 PM) sandrathompson205: am trying to attach it now ok
(7:47:43 PM) c64glen: ok, hurry. I’ve need to knock one out.
(7:53:35 PM) sandrathompson205: i have sent it now
(7:54:40 PM) c64glen: ok, these are great. You’ve changed quite a bit
(7:56:39 PM) sandrathompson205: i have to go to bed now
(7:56:46 PM) c64glen: However there is only three of them, and you have all your clothes on…..
(7:56:55 PM) sandrathompson205: pls reply the lawyer
(7:57:15 PM) sandrathompson205: oh you wanted the naked one
(7:57:33 PM) sandrathompson205: then you have to do what iwant you to first
(7:57:41 PM) c64glen: right ok.
(7:57:49 PM) c64glen: so what do I send to the layer?
(7:58:21 PM) c64glen: Coz he had swine Flu
(7:59:11 PM) c64glen: or something
(7:59:14 PM) sandrathompson205: he nedd your full name,yr address,your contact number
(7:59:41 PM) sandrathompson205: will stop this mess and listen to me man
(8:01:02 PM) sandrathompson205: i have to go now
(8:01:13 PM) sandrathompson205: am feeling sleepin ok
(8:01:21 PM) sandrathompson205: talk to you tommorow
(8:01:28 PM) sandrathompson205: love you and bye
(8:01:43 PM) c64glen: ok, good bye. I love it

Silent Hill 2: Dog Ending

Silent Hill 2 - Dog Ending

We all look forward to a good video game ending especially if the game had a good story and even more so if the game was hard to beat. In the survival horror game Silent Hill 2, there are a number of endings from best to good, too bad and just weird.

One of the weirdest endings in gaming is the Dog ending in Silent Hill 2 and to get this ending you have to be pretty hardcore because you need to beat the game a number of times or get the special rebirth ending.

To get the Dog ending:

1. Play the game all the way through at least once.

2. The second time, after you hook up with Maria, leave the park and go across the street into an empty parking lot with rather odd directions written on the doors.

3. Pick up a small bone-shaped dog tag (called “dog key” in inventory).

4. Continue playing the game. In the Dark Side hotel, go to the Observation room and unlock it with the dog key.

5. Watch to discover the REAL mastermind behind it all! Also watch the credits to get some shots of James and Maria in an incomplete state of dress.

Check out GameFAQs for the specifics.

Here is the video:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUDcSeUvkOw[/youtube]

The video is kind of an inside joke about a dog being behind events in some horror and sci-fi movies and television shows. By the way, the dog’s name is Mira and shows up in other Silent Hill games.

Cosplay Profiles: Bayonetta

Even if you did not like the Sega button mashing action game most guys did not have a problem with the leading lady. This week we profile the goddess of angel killing Bayonetta.

On to the Cosplay.

 

My Experiences: EA Sports Tester

easports

It was early 2004, I had just finished graduate school at UCF and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.  Typical.  My savings was starting to dry up and I needed money fast.  I went around filling out job applications.  I actually got hired at Lowe’s first off.  I was sent to push shopping carts on the second day instead of going through the typical orientation session.  By the third day I was left alone in the lumber section all by myself.  I quit that afternoon.  Days later while wallowing in shame and fear, I saw an advertisement on careerbuilder.com for a video game tester.  I knew that was something I could do.  When I found out it was for EA Sports Tiburon I got excited.  I filled out the application and days later I got a call from one of their screeners who gave me the phone interview.  This consisted of some basic experience questions, and some sports specific questions like:

What is the difference between overtime in college football and the NFL?”

Name the major BCS bowls

Name as many NASCAR drivers and their sponsors as you can

I was able to pass that pretty easily so I was invited in for another interview at their office.  Here I had to answer a ten page multiple choice test where we shown pictures of controllers and match them to their consoles.  It was video game and sports stuff.  I did good there too so then we were given a console and told to follow a procedure where we would get a video game to crash.  Then a panel interview where I chatted with three people.  I remember being asked if I could remember what the interviewers names were and I only could remember the chick’s name.  Again, typical.  I was told I had the job and I had to come in Monday morning for a week of training which consisted of learning the bug database and learning from the previous year’s titles.  At the end of the week we got our assignments and I was on the NCAA team for PS2.  We all felt sorry for the guy who was given Madden for Game Boy Advance.

The work started out good.  We worked 10AM-630pm, there was a fridge and a soda machine there.  In the break room there were arcade cabinet machines such as Q-Bert, Mortal Kombat 2, and Golden Tee.  We had some good competitions there.  Soon our days went from 10am to 10pm.  Beta got closer and we split into different shifts.  Some worked 10am to midnight, some worked 12pm to 2am.  It was a grind.  No days off, not when you are putting out one of the best selling video games of the year.  The people at the 7-11 store got to know us rather well for coffee and energy drinks.

It was an interesting job.  There were barely any women around.  For a group of guys who barely got to see women outside the office, work life brought out the caveman in everyone.  Think of that boobs episode of South Park if it helps.  Also, I found that the people in charge took what they did waaaay to seriously.  They’d pump us up as if we were on the mission to kill Bin Laden.  And they were the kind of bosses who used the old “We work hard but we play hard” catchphrase.  I always thought anybody who used that should be locked in a closet with bees.  There was a divide too among the full time programmers and staff and the seasonal Quality Assurance testers like me.  The “people upstairs” got better snack machines, benefits, and we got to read some messages which revealed that they pretty much thought we were peons.   But we weren’t, at least not all of us.  We had lawyers, cops, college graduates, parents, all guys just trying to make a living and pay the bills.  I know they had their struggles too.  There was a controversy awhile back about the wife of an EA Employee there who didn’t like the long hours and lack of overtime her husband had to deal with.  Google “EASpouse” and you’ll see the story.

Eventually I moved on but every year I would check the credits of all the football games and see who was still there from my day.  Some testers actually got promoted to game producer.  That was something good about the job, if you showed dedication, you were rewarded.  I often wonder where I would have gone had I stayed there.  I surely would have made a better Superman Returns game, that’s for sure.

Nintendo Color TV Game Series

Before Nintendo released the Family Computer in 1983, it had already created five home-use TV video game machines in the Japanese market. Between 1977 and 1979 four games were released in the Color TV Game series. The fifth game was Computer TV Game (CTG-HC10), which came out in 1980.

Though the Color TV Game series (カラー テレビゲーム シリーズ) was successful, contrary to the other Nintendo toys and games of the era, not too much effort was put into creating a unique experience. For the most part, these machines adopted concepts developed by Magnavox and Atari.

The four Color TV Games released between 1977 and 1979
The four Color TV Games released between 1977 and 1979

Atari’s home version of Pong was released during the holiday season of 1975, and in 1977 Nintendo was ready to take a slice of the Pong clone pie when it released the Color TV Game 6 (カラー テレビゲーム 6) and Color TV Game 15 (カラー テレビゲーム 15), offering 6 and 15 Pong-style game variants respectively.

The machines were co-developed by Mitsubishi Electronic and did not prominently feature Nintendo branding on the casing.

Nintendo video game consoles of the 70s
Nintendo video game consoles of the 70s

These first TV Games were followed by two somewhat more original creations:Color TV Game Racing 112 (カラー テレビゲーム レーシング 112) in 1978 and Color TV Game Block Kuzushi (カラー テレビゲーム ブロック崩し) the following year.

Racing 112 is a racing game that could be played by a single payer, using the provided steering wheel, or by two players using the paddles.

Block Kuzushi is clearly inspired by Breakout, and featured six game variants with some original ideas.

In upcoming posts we will take a closer look at each of these four games, and their power adapter accessory:

Bad Lip Reading – Magic Man

Aww naw, look out y

Bad Lip Reading is a rather brillant YouTube channel that takes music videos of pop songs and writes their own original songs designed to match the lip movements of the people in the video, with little to no regard for making sense. Usually substantial editing of the original video is also involved.

This video takes Ludacris”s My Girl Video and adds hobbits, silly lyrics, clever editing, great music and (look out y”all) the Bee Gees.

I”m sure you”ll love it as much as I do.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmobkT8IuxM[/youtube]

Lyrics

Yeah, I”m the Magic Man at the Magic School
I rescued 17 chickens one day
I”m the Magic Man, got a magic goose
Them chickens do stuff I can”t explain to you

My life is a macaroni dream
Little white mouses crawl in my bed
I”m the Magic Man
For real though
I know karate and definitely used it on a
Low ridin” hobbit on my mountain
I said “You know what, this ain”t right”
And then he farted
And I was like “Damn, son, sh** is rude
It”s my mountain. You wanna pass gas you can go on home.”

Hey, hey hey – get me a windmill.
Julian!
Why don”t you go decorate a pie?

Aww naw, look out y”all, it”s the Bee Gees!

I”m the Magic Man at the Magic School
Loan me a dragon, I wanna see space
The Magic Man, got a magic goose
No hobbit ever better disrespect my mountain

This hobbit I knew pissed off a homeboy
And the bitch shot him two times — bang! — on his mountain
And I had to break it to his son
We took a ring from the guy”s finger
It brought us 200 bills
I flew to Cuba, he flew to Mexico

I ain”t shoot ANYthing
Man, that”s crazy!
You lookin” for a ghetto hobbit with a uzi

I”m the Magic Man at the Magic School
There”s a gremlin walkin” on my sidewalk
I”m the Magic Man, got a Magic Goose
Micro-tape
True ninja.
Magic Man at the Magic School
Yeah, I ain”t see no hobbits in Star Wars
I”m the Magic Man, got a Magic Goose
Gang Fight!!

My niece had a Shih Tzu
But she don”t have it no more
It bit Jolly June the humpback up on her hump
Spank my wood
Till I bleed
Or so that I scream
“Soufflé!”
Oh my God, there”s a tissue in my Chevy, homeboy
I wanna touch your booty
FLIRT!
MILF!

I got a fluffy shirt.

Origin vs. Origin

Origin vs Origin PC

Name and brand recognition is extremely important in business so what happens when your companies name gets confused with another large company? First reported on Kotaku, there has been some mixing up of companies between the South Florida based custom builder of gaming computers, Origin PC and the Electronic Arts digital delivery service Origin.

What was the result of this, well, with games like Battlefield 3 and The Old Republic coming out you can imagine some people ended up contacting Origin PC about their Origin game.

“We receive numerous phone calls and emails every week with people asking billing questions about the games that they ordered on Origin”, Matt Fisher, Origin PC’s marketing specialist said. “We have to point out that they are calling ORIGIN PC, custom PC builder, and not EA Origin.”

This might sound like a good thing, more customers calling in, and more chances for a sale. However, for anyone that has ever dealt with the gaming community you know there is a wide array of people you will deal with and those chomping at the bit for a game may be a little less than pleasant when they find out you cannot help them.

Not only does this mix-up use company resources, but it can lead to misunderstandings between other companies as well.  Companies looking to work with EA have contacted Origin PC and even employees just wearing the Origin PC t-shirts have been stopped by people looking for EA related answers.

“Someone contacted us before Quakecon and asked for a meeting,” explained Matt. “We asked them to confirm the subject matter prior to the meeting but they never did. We had time to meet with them so we scheduled the meeting and when they showed up they started asking a bunch of EA Origin questions.”

Could we see some sort of collaboration between Origin PC and Origin? Right now, we know of nothing on the table, but the gaming business just like all business is about connections and expansion. Perhaps in the end a little confusion can turn into a big opportunity.

Doom (32X)

Doom - Sega 32x - Gameplay Screenshot

I will give it a shot and say it anyways, Doom for the 32x is the pick for this week. In fact, I have to write up another session of this series in order to make up for the one I missed last week. Well there is no better way to put it then to say AWESOME! This is what Doom has been and what Doom will always be, no matter what! This game got me hooked to FPS back in the early PC games, which made me addicted as hell! Having Doom on the 32x is really kewl for the day it was released that is(You can get the game online so easily now and play it with good old DOSBOX on your fancy super duper fast PCs and laptops). Anyways, this version of Doom is like any other version of Doom…except a little chopped up and with a bad soundtrack.

Doom - Sega 32x - Gameplay Screenshot

 

This version of Doom suffers from having less levels than the other versions. This is a big mistake and somehow I don’t understand why it would be ripped apart. Did they got lazy? was there something wrong with the port? The SNES version of DOOM is amazing but somehow Sega and the producers of the game fucked up the port that was coming out for an add-on that was supposed to be superior…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN3jedyHBpA[/youtube]
In the end, I say it once more, it’s Doom. You will get your classic addicting gameplay with malevolent monsters and freaks to take you back to hell….then again…aren’t you in hell already? Until next time!

Ten Questions: Pacian

Pacian’s cat has consulted his legal team and apparently allowed Pacian to go on and be interviewed. So, well, without further ado, here’s what Pacian, the man, programmer, writer, game designer, funny-guy, cat owner, pulp serial provider and creator of brilliant games like Gun Mute, Space Shot and Snowblind Aces, has to say…
poizoned
Poizoned Mind: A game tragically not mentioned in this interview.

1. Space-faring Pacian, how would you describe your game making activities? And, frankly, why do you make games?

I’d describe my game making activities as poorly focused, unproductive and easily interrupted.

Why do I keep making my little games? I guess for the same reason that I play them: escapism. I’m a hopeless day-dreamer, and I’d much rather be piloting a Zeppelin through the acrid clouds of a volcano than sitting at work writing boring software for boring people. And since, although there are plenty of games out there that grab me and draw me into their worlds, no-one’s yet made one where you specifically pilot a Zeppelin through a volcano, I end up trying to make that one myself.

2. How about your crafting of short and not particularly short stories? How? Why? Ugh…

‘Ugh’ is my take on it often enough as well. There are people who write and people who don’t write. The only difference between those two groups is whether they write or not. As simple as that.

But of the people who *do* write, there are those who write, and those who write and then re-draft and get a second opinion and a third opinion and scrap the whole middle section and re-write that and rinse and repeat until someone pays them for all the hard work they’ve done. That’s *not* me – at least, not at the moment. I only write for fun – to create worlds and characters that interest me. I just hope that a few like-minded people will come along, look at what I’ve done and say, “Hey that’d be pretty cool if it went through a few more drafts.”

One day I do mean to make a dedicated effort to write something ‘good’, but I’m such a scatter-brained procrastinator, that’s not likely to be any time soon.

3. Interactive fiction, text adventures, must have been quite a natural choice as a game making genre, right?

Yeah. Sometimes I worry that I’m focusing on this as an easy way out. I’m useless at making graphics, and I hate tedious coding, so working in ready-made environments for text games really appeals to me. In TADS and Inform it’s trivial to create a location with a character in it and some scenery and a cool gizmo – and when you push the button on the gizmo the prince dies and you have to feed dead apples to his ghost. Whereas working in C++ or even Game Maker there’s a lot of set-up to do just defining the basic rules of the universe you’re creating. How does the main character push that button? How do they pick up the apples?

This is why I keep persisting in making crappy non-text games like Space Shot. I kind of want to prove to the world that I’m not just an IF writer – and that when I do write IF it’s for a specific reason beyond it being easy for me to do.

4. Do you actually believe games can move beyond being merely games? Could they actually manage to be political, thought-provoking and interesting while embracing Dada?

Yes, of course. Creative minds can (and do) make moving and provocative experiences from any medium.

From the Dada angle, I immediately think of Cactus and games like Mondo Medicals and Psychomnium, in that they really seem to take a lot of the unquestioned assumptions about how games are ‘supposed’ to work and then slap them about a bit. Beyond that I’m afraid you’re merely dazzling me with your technical terms.

5. Am I? Well, let me blush here for a moment. […] Done. Lovely. But, really, Mondo Medicals and co, even though surreal and innovative in style and mechanics, don’t actually offend the gaming, let alone the societal, status quo. They really aren’t political or progressive in a meaningful sense. And frankly, besides Molleindustria’s games, I think nobody has even attempted such a thing. Are you sure it’s not the short-comings of the medium?

My gut instinct is that the mere act of player participation creates a whole range of possibilities for messing about with people’s prejudices and received wisdom – but for all we know, you may be right. We never truly know if something is possible until someone actually goes and does it.

snowblind aces

Interactive fiction with cover-art? Look no further than Snowblind Aces!

6. On a more light-hearted note, any truly favourite games? And I am asking for something that could stand next to a book or a film for example.

So what, I’m not allowed to say Resident Evil 2? When it comes to what I look for in a game – imaginative worlds and strong characters – I think Chrono Trigger is the one that immediately springs to mind. In many ways, it just chimes really well with my personality, but I’d also argue that objectively it’s a very well put together game in terms of tone and motivation.

I’m also a big fan of Emily Short’s Galatea. It’s pretty much the only IF game that I unreservedly find enjoyable to mess with, just in idle moments, and I think it has plenty of interesting things to say about the nature of interactive characters. I know a lot of people only like it as an experiment or a piece of dry academia, but I don’t really enjoy that kind of thing by itself. I like Galatea because I like the characters, the tone and the little stories you end up experiencing.

And also, Resident Evil 2, damn it.

7. Any favourites among your ludic creations?

Well there’s only about four or five to choose from. I am very pleased with Gun Mute. I think I created a nice set of characters in an accessible package, in some ways purely by chance. To be honest, I don’t expect to be able to create a better game in the future, but I hope the stories I want to tell will still interest a few people.

8. Oh, and how would you describe the general game making process you follow?

I’d say the most notable thing about my game making process is the distinct lack of process to it. It usually starts out with scrappy notes in my diary, and then graduates to a grid of tasks to tick off. And then beneath the grid are a load of scribbles supposed to remind me of other things I’ve suddenly thought of.

Honestly, it’s a wonder that I have the wherewithal to get out of bed in the morning, let alone write semi-functional code.

9. Would you ever attempt to sell a game? Live off your creativity?

That’s an interesting question. If a company offered to pay me to do interesting, creative work on a game, I’d take the offer. But I don’t think I’d ever want to charge for games that I’ve created all by myself. Going back to what I said about writing, I’d want to put a lot more time and effort into these things before I thought they were actually worth paying money for – but I have so many ideas and such a short attention span that I’m not really interested in doing that.

10. Any particular plans for the future per chance?

Over the next couple of months I’m going to try and squeeze out a small IF game for David Fisher’s EnvComp – an IF competition for unusual settings and locations. In the longer term, I’m working on a larger IF game – and of course I have plenty of ill-considered ideas for action and strategy games as well.

I’m also engaged on a super-secret collaborative project with this short, bearded fellow in a pointed hat. I last saw him standing over by the garden pond with a fishing rod…

Obscure News: Ocala Police Seek Serial Classroom Stoop Pooper

Kenneth Martin Sarsony montage

Dateline Central Florida where a man was caught on a surveillance video taking a poop on a middle school classroom stoop. This is strange enough, but it gets stranger as it is believed he has done it at least five times before.

Check out the video:

You can see the original article from NBC 6 Miami.

Steve Jobs 1955-2011: Technology pioneer worked in the early days of Atari

Steve Jobs

Mankind has lost one of the greatest inventors and visionaries of all time, as Apple has confirmed the death of Steve Jobs, the founder of the company.

Most famous for his role in pioneering the personal computer industry and reinventing technology with products such as the iPhone and the iPad, Jobs also had a role in the earliest days of the video game industry.

In 1974, an Atari receptionist came to video game pioneer Al Alcorn to tell him of a long haired young man in the lobby.

“We’ve got this kid in the lobby. He’s either got something or is a crackpot,” the receptionist told Alcorn.  After giving an interview where he’d exaggerated his electronics knowledge, an 18-year-old Jobs became Atari’s 40th employee, working for $5 an hour to tweak and finish an early handheld game called Touch Me.

Atari Touch Me

A short time later, Jobs invited his friend Steve Wozniak to show off a homemade version of Pong he’d developed, impressing Atari so much that he, too, was hired by the young video game company.

Jobs and Wozniak would later pair up to work on Atari’s 1976 release Breakout, the ball-and-paddle brick-breaking game that has been cloned a million times over, from 1987’s arcade hit Arkanoid to countless Flash-based clones on the internet today.  Offered a bonus by Atari if the number of chips that could be eliminated from the machine, Jobs offered to split the bonus with Wozniak, who worked for days on end to reduce the design to such a degree that Atari was unable to figure it out and had to redesign the circuit board over again.  Despite the fact that Wozniak did the work, Jobs took most of Atari’s bonus money for the project without Wozniak’s knowledge.

Jobs and Wozniak would then go on to form Apple Computer, the company that brought the computer into the home.  Almost ironically, the iPhone and iPad would become popular devices in the modern day for playing video games, putting his contributions to the industry at both the start and end of his historic career.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpVIufJ4qoU[/youtube]

Jobs was 56 years old.  “Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives,” read the statement from Apple that confirmed the passing of Jobs on the evening of October 5.

 

CNN Apologizes After Playing N-Word Rap for 103 Year Old Lady!

CNN Apologizes After Playing NIGGA NIGGA NIGGA Rap for 103 Year Old Lady!

Someone in the music department got fired. You know how on CNN for some of their stories they play online casino music at the end of a segment right before a commerical? Well, in this case the music selected was let”s just say inapproate.

Check it out for yourselves.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqjEO400lMU[/youtube]

Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder - Arcade Gameplay Screenshot

Rolling Thunder (1986)
By: Namco  Genre: Run ‘n’ Gun  Players: 1  Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: Arcade  First Day Score: 86,120
Also Available For: Nintendo NES, Atari Lynx, Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum
Download For: Wii Virtual Console

Good old women, you can always rely on them getting themselves into some sort of trouble, can’t you! In the case of this mid-80’s Namco classic it’s Leila Blitz, an agent of Interpol’s espionage unit, Rolling Thunder, who’s gone and got herself abducted by a highly mysterious society called Geldra. Now it’s down to you as Albatross, a fellow Rolling Thunder agent, to defeat Maboo, leader of Geldra, and rescue her before she’s ravaged or something else equally dastardly. This involves making your way through ten stages filled with apparently infinite hooded ‘Maskers’ as well as several other kinds of enemies. The stages are all based in various parts of New York and are split into two groups of five – after you’ve completed the first five stages, they’ll repeat but with more numerous and more aggressive enemies.

Rolling Thunder - Arcade Gameplay Screenshot
Our hero, Albatross, tackles all of these stages on foot and is initially armed with a simple pistol which can of course hold a highly unrealistic number of bullets, but they’re not infinite. Many parts of the stages are multi-tiered and Albatross can leap up to and down from different floors (a nice idea later ‘borrowed’ by Shinobi), and he’s often forced to by strategically-placed obstacles. Most of these sections feature doors and it is from these that many of the enemies originate. Handily, you can also enter the doors to hide from the hoodlums for a while too (not for too long though – you’re on a pretty tight time limit!). Some of the doors will, upon entering them, award you with bonuses such as extra time, health, etc, and some appropriately marked ones will also top-up your bullet supply or award you with a machine-gun and relevant bullets which can also be topped-up.

Rolling Thunder - Arcade Gameplay Screenshot

A vast majority of the enemies are ‘Maskers’ who look like multi-coloured Klan members and it is the colour of their outfits that determines their strength and attack patterns. There are also several other kinds of enemies such as ape men, ninjas, and mutant bats and they can all cut Mr. Albatross’ mission short in a hurry. He has a life-meter which is halved upon contact with an enemy but if he is hit by enemy fire, death will be instant. Most of the Maskers can shoot at you while others prefer to throw grenades, and some of them take more than one hit to put down. If you somehow manage to run out of bullets, you’ll only be able to fire one (very slow) bullet at a time, but luckily ammunition is rarely scarce so you can generally pepper the screen with bullets wiping out lots of Geldra scum without concern. It’s worth pointing out though, that the enemies regenerate and if you were to stand still there would be an endless stream of them wandering onto the screen so it’s best to keep moving!

Rolling Thunder - Arcade Gameplay Screenshot

I have some great memories of this game. I spent a lot of time playing the Speccy version after receiving it as part of the Giants compilation but I always found it pretty tough going and I don’t think I progressed much further than the second or third stage! I was therefore pretty surprised to find that this arcade original is actually a little easier! It plays superbly too – Albatross controls well with his movements flowing together nicely. You’ll need fast reflexes to do well here but there’s rarely a death that isn’t your own fault (although it’s annoying that you can’t fire while jumping). It is a little repetitive though – the graphics are nicely detailed (Albatross looks pretty cool!) and the music and effects are decent enough, but the basic stage design varies little, much like the enemies. It’s definitely an addictive game though, with some great ideas (like the hiding antics!). Rolling Thunder is deservedly regarded as a classic but it has aged a bit now. That said, it remains a very enjoyable, fast-paced platform shooter with a great atmosphere throughout.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwxBeN-8DzI[/youtube]

RKS Score: 8/10

SeaNanners LOVES Dubstep

SeaNanners LOVES Dubstep

Here is a great dubstep remix from one of the masters, Salad UK.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-td1cCCRsCk[/youtube]

Info:

Original videos:
http://www.youtube.com/HollywoodAngels1983

SeaNanners:
http://youtube.com/SeaNanners
http://twitter.com/SeaNanners

Hutch:
http://youtube.com/shaun0728
http://twitter.com/z0mgitshutch

Become a fan!
http://facebook.com/SaladUK
Tweet it up!
http://twitter.com/saladuk
Be my friend 😀
http://facebook.com/AddSaladUK
My Backup channel
http://youtube.com/saladuk2
My Website!
http://www.saladstep.com

Tracks:
(1st) Kryptic Minds – Badman
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMAcpPik9kM
(2nd) Skrillex – First of the Year (Equinox)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYYyMu3pzL4
(3rd) Borgore – Nympho
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reHGIYHAR2Q

Wing Commander

Classic games are recognizable by both how much fun they are to play and how much they change the genre – or create their own.  Wing Commander by Origin Systems is a game that fits this criteria for greatness.

Wing Commander - PC Gamwplay Screenshot

The original Wing Commander game circa 1990.

Back in 1990, this game pushed the technology envelope.  It needed a 80386 class machine to really run well, and a VGA card to get all the eye candy it had to offer.  A good argument can be made that Wing Commander helped sell a lot of 386 computers to gamers who needed better hardware to get their sci-fi space combat fix!

The creator of Wing Commander, Chris Roberts, characterized his game as “World War II in space.”  The player took the role of a fighter pilot for the Confederation, battling the war machine of the Kilrathi, a race of feline aliens.  Attack runs and defensive missions were launched from a space-going aircraft carrier, the TCS Tiger Claw.  If the player was successful in meeting mission objectives, the storyline continued with Confederation forces pushing back the Kilrathi armada.  If the player failed their objectives, they could continue to the next mission, but too many failures resulted in the Confederation retreating and ceding the sector to the Kilrathi.  This “campaign tree” game system was innovative and fresh in 1990, and a large part of the reason why Wing Commander is a classic.

Wing Commander - PC Gamwplay Screenshot

The First Wing Commander Add-On Pack

Critics agreed: Wing Commander won the Origins Award for Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Game, as well as Computer Gaming World’s Overall Game of the Year award.

The game also spawned an entire series of sequels, add-on packs and stand-alone games: Wing Commander: The Secret Missions, Wing Commander: The Secret Missions 2 – Crusade, Wing Commander II: The Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Wing Commander II: Special Operations 1, Wing Commander II: Special Operations 2, Wing Commander II Speech Accessory Pack, Wing Commander: Privateer, Wing Commander: Academy, Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger, Wing Commander: Armada, Wing Commander Privateer: Righteous Fire, Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom, Wing Commander: Prophecy, Wing Commander: Prophecy – Secret Ops, and Wing Commander: Privateer 2 – The Darkening.  Numerous “gold” editions for the games which combined the add-on packs with the original games or multi-game packs that featured one or more of Origin’s other titles were also published.  Wing Commander was even ported to other game systems, including the Commodore Amiga system, the Sega CD system, and the Super Nintendo (SNES).  The series even crossed over into Hollywood with a feature film release in 1999.

Wing Commander - PC Gamwplay Screenshot

The 2nd Wing Commander Add-On Pack

If you haven’t played the flagship of the Wing Commander universe, pick up a copy and imagine it’s 1990 all over again.  Become a Confederation cadet and fight the Kilrathi menace – you’ll be glad you did.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlokYOPAa0o[/youtube]

Flashback: Quest For Identity

 

Flashback - Quest For Identity - Sega Genesis - Gameplay Screenshot
Also just known as “Flashback“, this 2D platformer was originally released in 1992 for the Amiga computer, but was ported all over the place including the Sega Genesis, which I’m reviewing today.
I remember reading through one of the many video-game magazines that were out at the time (don’t really remember which one), and there was a preview for a game described as “CD-ROM on a cartridge”. A game that was going to use motion-capture technology so the ‘platformer character’ would seem to have very fluid mobility. A game that was based in a dark sci-fi universe instead of the usual cute-fantasyland. A game developed by the French….alright I admit that last part didn’t sell me on it, but the rest made for a launch-day purchase, and those that know me realize spending full retail doesn’t come easily for me.
Flashback - Quest For Identity - Sega Genesis - Gameplay Screenshot

 

Delphine Software, now long gone, was the French Developer behind Flashback, and had previously given us Another World/Out of This World. Not to mention a future game by the name of Shaq Fu and a Playstation sequel, Fade to Black. Although not a true prequel of FlashbackAnother World is still seen in the eyes of the computer-gaming community as genius.
Flashback is set in the future of spaceships, holograms, and jetpacks…although they still use bullets in guns. Your hero, a Galaxia Bureau of Investigations agent named Conrad Hart wakes in a jungle with no memory of who he is or what he’s doing out there. Luckily, a holocube is found nearby with cryptic instructions. He discovered that shape-shifters are on Earth and have been infiltrating the government for takeover. He was captured, mind erased, and after escaping, wakes on this jungle-planet. The game is Conrad’s story to regain his full memory and stop the aliens. I remarked on Twitter as I was playing the game that it’s a sci-fi tale that combines elements of “Total Recall“, “Running Man“, and “They Live“….and I had a lot of agreements. Why “Running Man“? Everybody loves a killer-game show. Eventually, you’ll make your way to the alien planet and take the fight to them, but I don’t want to spoil any more of the game for you. Trust me when I say it’s worth the ride.

Flashback - Quest For Identity - Sega Genesis - Gameplay Screenshot

Visually, it may seem at first like a standard screen-to-screen platformer, but once you get into it you’ll be blown away at the phenomenal work with the backgrounds and the intricate level designs. The levels are linear, meaning eventually there is only one way out of an area, but with clever use of backtracking, it seems very wide-open. Conrad himself, as I mentioned before, looks human. That may sound silly now, but in 1992 was groundbreaking technology.

The way Conrad runs, jumps, stops, rolls, even pulls his gun will blow you away. I admit the first go-around with the game I just held the fire button down and shot in the air because it was so damn cool to watch the cartridges fly out from the gun. Also, I think you’ll appreciate little touches like Conrad‘s jacket flapping while running, and the fact that you can’t actually see a ‘bullet trail’ after shooting.
Each level has it’s own unique environment, from the thick jungle on Titan, to the city of New Washington, the Paradise Club, and the Death TowerDelphine went all-out to give us a fantastic view of this universe, and there are a number of ‘event’ cut-scenes that help move the story along.
Flashback - Quest For Identity - Sega Genesis - Gameplay Screenshot
Audibly, the sound effects are a bit sparse, by design. Like in a classic movie, it can be a bit silent until DANGER STRIKES, then the heart-pounding, blood-pumping music adds to your frantic gameplay. It was a welcome display of ‘just enough to tantilize’, but certainly not too much.Like a Tomb Raider game, there will be switches, keys, and hidden items that will allow you to enter and exit doors. Solving puzzles have always been a favorite of mine, but if you’re frustrated easily maybe this isn’t the game for you. There will be some controller-throwing moments when you’re trying to make a particularly-difficult jump, especially given the fact that Conrad will die if he falls from to great a height. All you have is your gun for weaponry, but it has unlimited ammo. For defense, a shield which will take a couple of hits before going out, and can be recharged at certain stations. Also, a force field will be found later, along with other cool items like a teleporter and rocks…yes, rocks. Don’t laugh, you’ll need them. Save stations are also spread throughout, and I believe not too far apart. But, keep in mind there’s only one save “block”, so don’t do anything stupid and save directly after (I’ve done it). 

Flashback - Quest For Identity - Sega Genesis - Gameplay Screenshot
Flashback: The Quest For Identity still holds up perfectly today. A 6-10 hour adventure that looks gorgeous, has clever and confusing puzzles, tells a great story, and has plenty of mutant-killing action. If this game is not on your Top-10 Platformer list, then you’ve never played it. A must-have for any Sega Genesis collection.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYIKnTJmGPc[/youtube]

Cycles

Cyriak---Cycles

Sometimes, especially at work you find yourself staring at your computer screen. We thought you need something to stare at that just might fry your brain and so we bring you the video Cycles which you really must see because explaining it does not do it justice.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0Xa4bHcJu8[/youtube]

music is available here: http://cyriak.co.uk/music.html

Chains

Chains - Gameplay Screenshot

Chainsis beautiful. That much is instantly obvious. After all, were it not for its visual appeal I’d have probably ignored it in this modern sea of small casual indie games, the Internet seems to have become. I would of course have been wrong.

Chains, you see, might on the surface seem like another game that uses the rather tired idea of making things disappear by matching them with, err, things of the same colour, but it really has way more than that to offer. It sports a brilliant and very versatile physics engine, that, combined with the excellent level design, make for a rather excellent and quite unique game. Not to mention an addictive one too. And wait till you see them graphics in motion while listening to that utterly brilliant electro soundtrack…

Chains - Gameplay Screenshot

Only negative thing about this lovely indie offering is its size. Weighing in at twenty levels, the whole thing will be over in a few hours, though admittedly it is infinitely replayable. Oh, and the levels are so varied, they could almost be from different games. From different genres even, as one has you frantically clicking around in typical arcade fashion, while another has you thinking in a most tactical manner or solving flow (you’ll see) puzzles.

What’s more, great care has also been given to the overall production of Chains, what with its three difficulty levels, player profiles, detailed stats, hints and even colorblind option.

Chains - Gameplay Screenshot

To grab a (dirt-cheap) copy or try the demo visit the official Chains: The Puzzle Game website.
Verdict: An absolutely excellent indie game. Hypnotic, short, sexy and definitely more enjoyable than drinking expensive wine in the cold (?). Play it!

Gargoyle’s Quest 2

gargoyles-quest-2-nes-gameplay-screenshot

Gargoyle’s Quest 2

Once more I am late in my entries for the weekly pics, I am three behind so lets get started. This time around another NES title that grabbed my attention is chosen. Gargoyle’s Quest 2 for the NES makes not much sense title wise, but it doesn’t matter, it’s all about the gameplay. Everything was about the gameplay back then, and even though we got it wrong back then and still get it wrong today, we can still play some great games that some developers got right. Gargoyle’s Quest 2 is one of those side scrollers that shows of the NES capabilities of side scrollers….There were plenty for the console and some of them were just damn horrible it made me want to blow up the develeper’s head quarters but there were some others that were just right.

gargoyles-quest-2-nes-gameplay-screenshot

The game has an overview which makes it look a lot like the Dragon Warrior games but also once you enter a level, the game suddenly changes to a side scroller style level. It was very unique to combine these two gameplay techniques in one for its time. The gameplay is very interesting as you can use many techniques such as flying for a short period of time or shooting fire to defeat your enemies.

gargoyles-quest-2-nes-gameplay-screenshot

The game is just your average side scroller but this time around it was done right, the music is spendlid and the graphics are what you expected a NES game to deliver. It might now be a Gimmick! but it’s better than most of the other crap around! This one is highly recommended! It’s also not that expensive! You must get this classic for the NES!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26jN-bPk-GI[/youtube]

Modern TV & Movies as Retro Video Game Art

retro-game-darkknight

This is pretty cool. Over at Geek Tyrant you can see a number of modern televison shows and movies turned into retro video game cartridge art.

Check out the article here – http://geektyrant.com/news/2011/9/26/retro-video-game-art-with-modern-movie-tv-themes.html