Andy Briggs: Pwned

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Name: Andy Briggs

Company: Pwned

Title: Founder

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What is your favorite classic video game:  Tetris

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Why is it your favorite: This is a tough question, I could of gone with a few games that I loved growing up, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, Mario Bros., Skate or Die and countless other ones, Tetris is just one of those games that I can jump into at any time, play a quick game and bounce right out. I feel it still holds up today with gameplay. 

It’s not a very complicated game and the graphics might be big blocks, but to me, that’s the appeal of the game. To this day, I still play it as often as I can, maybe once a week or more if time allows. The reason why I love this game is because it causes you to objectively think fast. It’s just one of those games that I can be so emerged into that I don’t really care what’s happening outside, it’s nice to feel lost in a game that requires critical thinking.

One of the last reasons that I love this game is that you can never win playing Type A. It’s literally impossible to win. If you’re wondering what my highest score is, I can’t say I know the exact number, but I’ve gotten to level 23 quite a few times. I generally average about

19-21 after I’ve played a few rounds to warm up.

I Fought the Law, and the Law One

Airwave
Ben304 has done it again, lucky reader. Yes, he has. This incredibly talented crafter of indie adventure games has just released the first part of the apparently episodic Airwave. You can download the first episode, the brilliantly named and Clash-referencing I Fought the Law, and the Law One for free by following this very link.
The game is a pretty traditional point-and-click adventure with a simplified and intuitive interface, the usual spectacular art and animation we have come to expect from Ben, a fully and rather excellently voiced introduction, an amazing soundtrack and the mandatory and always enjoyable puzzles. Interestingly, this first Airwave installment also sports a unique and -dare I say- fantastic plot. The player is cast as Elodie Major, a tiny indie radio station producer, that has managed to inspire the people of a small town called, well, Wave. All is not rosy though and Elodie has to fight powerful mainstream record labels and keep the station pure and loyal to quality music, while discussing the math behind quality metal songs.

Related @ Gnome’s Lair:

Don’t Copy That Floppy!

So what the fuck did we just see? These kids that look like they were from a 90s Nickelodeon show or Blossom or Boy Meets World get attacked by DP, Double Penetration, I mean Digital Protector, yeah that’s it and got informed of how copying software will end the world of software. ~Honorabili

Don’t Copy That Floppy!

don't copy that floppy

Remember the days of the Bard’s Tale 3 copy protection wheel and having to go into manuals to enter a word to prevent copying? Well I do! And now so will you with this horrible PSA from back in the day.

So what the fuck did we just see? These kids that look like they were from a 90s Nickelodeon show or Blossom or Boy Meets World get attacked by DP, Double Penetration, I mean Digital Protector, yeah that’s it and got informed of how copying software will end the world of software.

Well, looks like I finally got the message!

However, the people who made this crap didn’t so DP is back in 2009 to keep you from downloading a car:

I so much prefer the anti piracy ad from The IT Crowd http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALZZx1xmAzg or even the laughable one that says “You wouldn’t download a car”

Well…

You Wouldn't Download A Car?

Just imagine how many cars will get downloaded when 3D printers are a commonplace thing. That will be the next big internet problem like in 2031.

King’s Quest III Redux – To Heir Is Human

king's quest iii redux

King’s Quest III Redux

Finally, the time has come for you, oh adventure-loving and most precious reader, to download and enjoy one of the best freeware adventure games ever released, for King’s Quest III Redux has -as was indeed quite elaborately foretold– been released. And though it sadly is the last game the incredibly talented AGD Interactive will release, you uncaring, heartless, game-obsessed bastard will be lucky enough to play through a true gem (and so will the rest of us). Download it right now from this place and don’t forget to thank the people responsible for it.
In case you are still wondering what the fuss is all about, know that King’s Quest III Redux is a PC/Mac remake of the original KQ3: To Heir is Human by Sierra, that adds a beautiful soundtrack, an excellent voice-over, a sleek point-and-click interface, amazing 256-colour VGS graphics and a ton polish to an already great game. And is it really that good? Well, of course it is! Having already played its review build, I can guarantee its quality, but this very post will not be a review. Oh, no. The review will appear within the week, just to give you time to savor the experience. Go on, get downloading. Here are a couple of tasty pics to further excite you…

 

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Related @ Gnome’s Lair:

Gemini Rue: A Noir review

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Gemini Rue

You should have heard of Gemini Rue by Wadjet Eye Games by now. It is, after all, the indie, AGS-authored, point-and-click adventure that has actually (well, finally) made it to a more mainstream gaming audience, earning glowing reviews left and right. Then again, being of a more indie persuasion, you, precious reader, might remember Boryokudan Rue by  Joshua Nuernberger, the dystopian, neo-noir sci-fi adventure with a thing for both action and mystery that won the 2010 IGF Student Showcase award; well, they are both the same game, though publisher Wadjet Eye have added a full voice-over and helped with polishing things over.
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Gemini Rue titleGemini Rue title
The result is a truly impressive game, that, interestingly, has one of the best plots I’ve recently seen. Oh, and lots and lots of beautifully rendered 2D rain. Anyway. The two playable characters of Gemini Rue, Azriel and the aloof Delta-Six, star in a mature adventure that sits somewhere between Blade Runner, Rise of the Dragon and Beneath a Steel Sky. The pace of the realistic sci-fi plot is excellent and the storytelling itself quite remarkable, as Gemini Rue follows Azriel, the rogue police officer with a dark past and Delta-Six, the inmate at the Center 7 facility who has had his memory wiped, in a mostly dark story taking place in a beautifully noir setting.
Azriel’s attempts to locate his brother take him to the dark city of Pittsburg on the unnaturally rainy planet of Barracus, where the Boryokudan, an organization not unlike the mafia, are running things and engaging in a most destructive, yet apparently exotic, drug trade. Delta-Six, on the other hand, spends his days in the aforementioned rehabilitation facility, where he attempts to discover his true allies and his true identity while trying to escape. As you should have guessed, those seemingly disconnected stories collide in the dramatic and definitely climactic final part of the game, that leads to a pretty brilliant finale. Mind you, these are not happy Sierra characters in a fairy-tale land and they most definitely are not people you’d invite over for tea and biscuits.
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The game setting, the game world if you prefer, feels both big and interesting. It’s a labour of love that you’ll love to explore, especially if you care for its decidedly retro aesthetic. What’s more, it’s mostly evenly split between the gritty, rainy planet Barracus and the sterile Center 7 facility. A deep visual contrast, that helps highlight the differences between the two playable characters and the situations they are in.
The characters in Gemini Rue, though not all of them extensively developed, are for the most part well-written and believable, with the two leads being by far the best and more elaborately developed. Gemini Rue does after all  focus on them protagonists, and has them face a dark setting, more than a few, uhm, unhappy scenes, betrayal, death, and their dark pasts. This, you see, could also be described as a game about identity; also as a game that treats amnesia as punishment.
The Gemini Rue controls follow, for the most part, a pretty standard point-and-click system, but do sport a few intriguing new mechanics and additions. You, beside fiddling with your traditional inventory, get to shoot stuff in a tactical-arcade manner, control two characters, use a handy phone/digital organizer thing, access terminals and even physically manipulate other characters. The puzzles themselves are mostly easy, yet highly entertaining, very well implemented, and feel perfectly integrated into the plot, and, before everyone starts screaming against the shooting sequences, let me just remind you that combat systems appeared in quite a few Sierra games too. What’s more, the action sequences work, fit nicely into the setting, help change the game’s pace, and are perfect for the sluggish reflexes of the average adventurer.
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I did really enjoy playing through said shoot-outs, (almost) as much as I enjoyed playing through the game without a walkthrough and getting only mildly -and, importantly, very briefly- stuck; never in a truly old-fashioned hair-pulling way mind. There’s nothing in there that can’t be solved with a bit more exploration and some thinking, whereas the only part I disliked was a pretty tedious mechanical little puzzle that was both generic and not that well explained. Oh, and this is wisely sized game too -should take you anything from 6 to 8 hours on the first playthrough- without any boring and/or filler parts. The fact that Wadjet Eye have implemented a fantastic in-game commentary makes a second playthrough necessary…
As this review is finally coming to its conclusion, I know I just have to mention the visual retro glory of Gemini Rue with its deeply atmospheric VGA graphics, the impressive character portraits, the weather effects, the tons of top-quality animation, the successful framing of each room, and the lively yet hand-painted backgrounds. The sound consists of some lovely ambient effects, mostly rain apparently, a very impressive -in most cases- voice over, and some atmospheric, subtle and slightly bleak music, that sadly doesn’t play throughout the game. All in all, Gemini Rue is a brilliant mix of old and new on every level, that manages to be entertaining and even (mildly) thought-provoking. If this were released sometime during the nineties it would now be considered a major classic.

Verdict: One of the very best commercial indie adventures I have ever played. It’s beautiful, gripping, seamlessly combines the old with the new and I would thus describe it as an absolute must-buy for adventure gamers of all persuasions. Get it here. Now, please

!

Cosplay: Wondercon 2012

With this years selection of awesome cosplay I only wonder why I wasn’t there.

 

Marc Georgeson: Addictive 247 Games

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Name: Marc Georgeson

Title: CEO

Company: Addictive 247 Games

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Favorite Classic Game: Rygar (Arcade)

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Why it is your favorite game: It’s the game that I loved to play in my local snooker hall when I was about 11! The graphics and sound captivated me and even though it was a really tough game I kept on putting coins in.

Tips for a Gamer Mom or How NOT to be a Clara

Make sure that everything that needs to be done is on the list before you insert gaming time into the list.  It’s not a bad idea to break up your day by alternating your responsibilities with gaming. ~Jessi Roman

Tips for a Gamer Mom

I’m pretty sure it was just good marketing.  I mean, they can’t really use Jedi mind tricks to push their product, right?  It was actually just the classic drug pushing approach: “The first time’s free.”  They get you hooked and then reel you in.  Even though you say you’re not going to fall for it.  Even though you say you’re just going to play for the free weekend.  Even though you say you can’t justify spending that kind of money for a game.  Even though you say you won’t pay $15 a month just so you can be a “no-lifer”… Even though you’d like to think that you’ve grown and matured since your days of FFXI, where you woke up early and logged in before you had breakfast, then played all day and into the wee hours of the night…  You find out, with unquestionable clarity, that you were wrong.  Ok, maybe it wasn’t you.  Maybe it was me. Actually, yeah… it was.  I fail.

Baby Using Computer

Confession time.  I’m a Clara.  Or, at least I was, about eight years ago.  My oldest son was still in diapers.  I was a stay-at-home mom.  All I did all day was FFXI, and he’d run around barely supervised.  No, I wasn’t quite as inattentive as Clara from The Guild, and he was always safe, but I definitely was not winning any mother-of-the-year awards!  So, I’ve pretty much avoided MMORPG’s since I quit FFXI.  It was putting a strain on my marriage and taking time away from the important things in life (ie. my family!)  I tend towards a hyper-addictive personality type.  When I get “into” something, I get very single focused.  That could be a force used for good, but in this case, it was definitely for evil.

All that being said, I am going to just assume that I’m the only “Clara”, and this list is for me alone.

  • Get Organized.Lists and schedules are your life line.  Make a list of the responsibilities you have.  Make sure you prioritize that list by putting it into a schedule.  Grant yourself a block (or blocks) of time for gaming.  For a stay-at-home mom (or dad), the list might include cooking, cleaning, one-on-one play time with children, crafts, etc.  For a parent who is also in the work place, carving out time dedicated to gaming may be a bit harder.  Make sure that everything that needs to be done is on the list before you insert gaming time into the list.  It’s not a bad idea to break up your day by alternating your responsibilities with gaming.  Obviously if you’re involved in a game that requires large dedicated amounts of time for leveling and missions, you’ll have to get creative.  For some, late night gaming, after the kiddos are in bed, may be the only option.
  • Multi-tasking is Key! ~ Learning to multi-task is one of the most valuable skills a person can develop.  When you’re planning out your schedule, trying assigning more than one activity to the block of time that you have set for gaming.  For example, if your kids take naps, that would be an ideal gaming time.  If they’re too old for naps, try scheduling “quiet time” for them.  Let them have the freedom to choose a quiet activity, like reading, or coloring, that they can do for a scheduled block of time.  If they have chores, you could schedule those during your gaming time.  I have found that my kids do not appreciate me gaming during meal time though.  I’ve tried sitting them down to lunch, and logging on while they eat.  They have begun to request that I sit with them at lunch time though.  
  • Set a Good Example. ~ As easy as it is to get sucked into a virtual world, we have to remain aware that our children watch everything we do.  Often they will emulate our behaviors.  They learn to value the things that we value.  If we put gaming ahead of our responsibilities, then we teach them this behavior.  We should not then, be surprised when they disregard their chores in favor of playing video games.  If we always choose online socialization, over real life relationships, then we should expect our children to prefer gaming over playing with friends, or spending time with family.  If we make them aware of our attempts to balance our gaming with our responsibilities, and teach them the importance of family by taking time to play with them, then they will learn to prioritize appropriately. 
  • Use a Timer. ~ Seriously.  Whatever length of time you’ve scheduled for gaming, set your timer, and don’t go over! Set a Good Example. ~ As easy as it is to get sucked into a virtual world, we have to remain aware that our children watch everything we do.  Often they will emulate our behaviors.  They learn to value the things that we value.  If we put gaming ahead of our responsibilities, then we teach them this behavior.  We should not then, be surprised when they disregard their chores in favor of playing video games.  If we always choose online socialization, over real life relationships, then we should expect our children to prefer gaming over playing with friends, or spending time with family.  If we make them aware of our attempts to balance our gaming with our responsibilities, and teach them the importance of family by taking time to play with them, then they will learn to prioritize appropriately. 
  • Consider – dare I say it? – being a “casual” gamer. ~  Because, let’s face it.  We aren’t kids anymore.  We have kids!  And we alone are responsible for leveling them up!  We have to balance their skill trees, and make sure they’re always up to par for whatever life brings at them.  Ok, yeah, that was cheesy, I know, but it’s TRUE!  If you’re a parent and a gamer, you have got to recognize that your children are more important than your in game character.  When they need your attention, don’t be afraid to upset your party by logging off.  If your kids are more important to you than gaming, let them know by your actions!
I sincerely hope that these suggestions are all obvious and unnecessary.  I really wrote them out for myself.  This will help keep me accountable, but on the off chance that someone out there is a “Clara”, like me, I hope this helps.  Also, FYI, don’t be a Tink!  No caging the babies while you play!

The Interview: Nolan Bushnell

This was originally posted on Twin Galaxies and is reposted with permission of Twin Galaxies and writer Matt Bradford. You can see the original Interview here.

Nolan Bushnell

Nolan Bushnell hasn’t worked a day in his life. At least, there are very few he’d consider “work”. From his early days at Atari, to launching Chuck E Cheese, and now his current adventures at the forefront of interactive entertainment and education, the aptly titled “Father of the Video Game Industry” has led a life rich with innovation, excitement, and most of all: fun.

So how did he find time to talk to us? We have no idea – but you can bet we took advantage of the opportunity. Join us as we pick Nolan’s brain on the future of gaming, why it pays to remember the past, and what it is to be a gaming icon.

 

 

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Let’s begin with one of your most recent achievements; your British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Fellowship Award. What did this mean for you?

Well, what was really nice about that is [gaming] was being represented or thought of as a truly creative endeavour, and that really is sort of a transitional point in some ways from being a hobby and just about games. I mean, I’m not sure if Monopoly—as wonderful a game as it is—ever got a BAFTA [laughs].

It was a nice win for gaming. When do you first recall video games receiving that level of recognition?

I’d say probably in the very late 80s or early 90s. One of the pivotal games that I’ve always felt represented a big shift was Doom. Somehow, the graphics, the immersion, and the ability to feel like you were in another world…I think it was truly excellent. And then, to add to that, do you remember Myst and those kind of games?

The point and click adventures…

Right, the point-and-click adventures. One of the things that happened with those is the graphics and the sound and the experiences were so compelling; like, I felt like I visited those islands. So all of the sudden, there became an ability to really capture the emotive experience of being somewhere else. Of course, movies give that to you in the abstraction—one’s interactive and one’s passive—and so I kind of think that was where I felt it was really good. Before that the technology was so rough, the best we could do was sort of a cartooney view of the world, which was not immersive.

Are modern games hitting that mark in terms of immersion?

Absolutely. Now it’s almost de rigueur; you do that all the time. It’s not novel or new to be immersed in a strange or fantasmagorical world.

You hit on a topic that sometimes polarizes the gaming community; that is, the idea that modern games don’t offer the same degree of immersion or skill level as some of the more classic games. What’s your take?

I think that both camps are right. I mean, let’s face it, in some ways the early classic games are much more finely tuned and in some ways better produced because we could not rely on graphics to steal the show. We really had to make sure the challenge was right, the timing was right, and the difficulty was right at every level or else the dog didn’t hunt, as they say.

And in some ways the arcade world—the coin operated world—was a very, very good development world because each quarter was a vote. We as developers got immediate feedback from our customers as to what they liked and didn’t like, what they found objectionable, and when they would quit putting quarters in the machine. That feedback mechanism was very, very good for the early days.

In reality, very often graphics can actually cause fuzziness in the gameplay. For example, I play tournament chess. We wouldn’t think of playing on anything other than the classic wood, knight, queen, king, and bishop chess set. There are brilliant and wonderful chess sets, but to have to worry about whether what you’re moving is actually a bishop or actually a rook because the design is kind of funky…that’s not part of what chess is. Chess is about no ambiguity, and often times really good graphics will introduce a level of ambiguity when it’s not wanted or not needed, or is actually destructive to the gameplay. If you go back to game theory, sometimes you want to introduce abstractions and sometimes you don’t. It depends on what the creator or director of the game wants. Gratuitous abstractions are not good.

Can you think of games that demonstrate both extremes?

The one that harkens back for me is a game called Zaxxon from the early days of the coin-op business. That was very, very confusing to a lot of people. In some ways, though, Tempest had a level of abstraction that was quit obtuse, which people found very, very compelling.

Today, Portal is a game in which there’s some abstraction that are really wonderful integrations to the gameplay. As for games that are using gratuitous abstractions, there are a few of the Zynga games [Farmville], but that seems to be working for them!

To be called the Father of Arcade Industry is a huge honor, and a lot to live up to. How does it feel to carry that title, and how are you keeping that moniker alive?

Actually, to tell you the truth, I don’t focus very much on the rear view mirror. I’m always focusing on what I’m doing, and right now while I’m doing some help with Atari on the 40th Anniversary, my real drive is to fix education using some of the things I know about how to immerse kids and how to addict them to activities that can be educational as well as entertaining.

Does that involve game theory? Are you drawing on your experience as the founder of Atari?

Massively. We know for a fact that video game play increases the IQ. There’s been study after study after study, and it’s absolutely true. What happens though, is video games are, in fact, addictive and people who play an excess amount of video games find that they end up being able to creatively problem solve, but they’ve got no data to fall back on. They’re what we call “processors with no memory”. I think that it’s important to keep a well balanced life.

You’ve been in the gaming world for quite some time. Who else do consider an unsung hero of the video game industry?

I think Steve Meyer doesn’t get talked about a lot, but he was absolutely pivotal in a lot of the creative thought that Atari is known for. Ed Rothberg [Battlezone] is another one who did some wonderful stuff. Joe Decuir in the later stuff in terms of being a brilliant coder. That’s kind of the early days. Of course, I’m a big fan of Will Wright [Sim City], and I think John Carmack from Doom has done wonderful things too. He’s not necessarily unsung, though.

What about some of the indie developers coming up. Any on your radar?

Yeah, the guy who made Minecraft, this Markuss “Notch” Persson. I just think that that is brilliant in its simplicity. There’s this rule in gameplay: maximum richness, minimum rules. He’s kind of done that, and created this very, very compelling world space.

It’s seems right now there’s a lot of gameplay innovations vying for domination. You’ve got motion controls, social gaming, graphical enhancements, and all that. Is there anything you see as coming out victorious in the next couple of years?

Oh yeah, for sure. We all know the direction; we all want to have essentially an artificial universe. Whether we’re talking about the Holodeck or Westworld, we want virtual experiences that are real. I’m not sure if we’re ever going to get jacked in like Neo.

It’s funny, I just finished a science fiction book that will be published in a few months, Video Games 2071. It’s set a hundred years in the future from the first video game. I timed it from Computer Space, and I sort of let my technology mind run wild as to what I think the ultimate video game would be.

Which is almost the Matrix, right? Being unable to separate the video game space from the real world?

Yeah. It’s kind of a reverse turing test.

Do you see us getting to that point?

Getting close. I think we can get real close. And with what I consider the technology to be, that is not just possible, but probable…and probably sooner than what I postulated in my book.

We’re talking a lot about future trends, and Twin Galaxies lives in the more competitive domain of gaming. Do you think competition is still going to play a key role in the video game experience going forward, or is that going to be replaced by social and cooperative experiences?

No. I see a lot of signals that say competitive gaming is going to explode. I predict that within two years there will be several television channels devoted to nothing but watching other people play video games.

Understand that what happens is players become audiences. People watch basketball and baseball because they played it as a kid, so they know the rules intimately, and in some ways they project their aspirations from then onto the players now. That mechanism is part of our psyche, and that’s going to happen in games. You have to have enough of the audiences, and you have to have the right games, and the right dynamic. I believe that someday somebody will put it all together in a very short while.

There was a time in 70s and 80s when that appeared to be happening, but it never fully took off. What is different now?

The games were not designed for viewing that well. The field of view was constrained. I think in some ways they should almost design a game sport that is designed for third party watching.

Assuming competitive gaming does take off as much as you predict, will there be a need for score keeping organizations like Twin Galaxies?

Not only that, I think there’s going to be opportunity for Video Game Halls of Fame for great players– which clearly are score based, and all kinds of those things. Remember that what we have is a social phenomena, and surely as there’s walks of fame and a lot of these things, once it becomes a social phenomena, people want to experience it aspirationally.

You’ve give us a lot of insight into what’s the come, but what about what’s already happened? Looking back, what has been your proudest achievement?

My family of eight children, being married to my wife, and having a really nice home and support structure. The most important thing is really your family and friends. All the other stuff is window dressing.

The reality is, am I proud of things that I’ve done? Absolutely. But, you know, they were a vehicle for creating an interesting life for myself and my children in some ways. I’ve had really, really fun life. I haven’t worked a day in my life. Well, actually, that’s not true. We all want these ideal jobs, but there are times like [at CES] where the last thing I wanted to do is go down to the consumer electronic show and fight the crowds, but yet I was curious. So is that work? Is that play? I don’t know.

Speaking of your career, it seems far from over. Aside from the educational initiative and your continuing work with Atari, what else is keeping you busy?

I’m also on the board of a company, CyberSecurity, that I really love. I get involved with companies that are doing important and interesting things. Right now, part of the thing that I really like is I don’t have to be CEO. CEO is really a hard job. It’s all consuming. I think as I’ve got older, I’ve found it’s really fun to not be CEO [laughs]. It’s really fun to—I don’t want to say dabble—but to have an impact on a broader set of issues.

I am absolutely, in my core, an existentialist. The journey is the reward.

Are you playing anything right now?

I still play Go. I am playing some Portal. I am playing a lot…an awful lot…of the Atari Greatest Hits on the iPad. It’s a wonderful articulation. It brings me back and, you know, it’s almost like a time warp. I was playing Lunar Lander today and just having a ball. It was like time travelling back to 1976 or whenever it was. I got the Atari joystick and button thing for the iPad for Christmas, and I’ve just been having fun playing Missile Command.

What about your work in the industry? Anything up your sleeve?

I’m actually doing work on a truly interactive movie. Imagine, if you would, 100 people in a theatre playing an interactive movie. I’ve got a design, and one I think would be spellbinding. I’ve driven the cost out of it, and I think that it’s possible the first few interactive movies can make 20-percent of what Avatar did with the fraction of the budget.

You know, a lot of people think that it’s horrible to give away all your secrets, but I’m almost the opposite. I like to bounce those things off people. I’ve found that an unproven idea you can’t give away, let along have somebody steal them [laughs].

People don’t realize how bumpy the road to innovation is. Could any of the thousand companies come up with the iPad? Absolutely. And I think some people did. You know, people were talking about Apple Computers and that five years before, but what you have to do is execute properly. A lot of people don’t realize how hard it is to execute properly.

And that was Steve Job’s genius.

Exactly. And in some ways it was Atari’s genius. At one point in time, we had about a 90% market share. That’s really, really hard to do unless you had the secret sauce. Anybody could have done what we were doing, but we did it first and best.

That said, the Fairchild Channel F was out almost a full year before Atari. How did Atari succeed where it failed?

This is going to sound very dismissive, but…they were really crappy games [laughs]. Quite candidly, the technology was not extensible. It was viewed a tiny little step on the pathway to a multi-game, which is where everyone was going. Everyone wanted to do a multi-game. Once you have a multi-game, it has to be good enough, and [the Fairchild Channel F] just wasn’t. The Magnavox Odyssey, they basically had huge returns, and actually in some ways—and i hadn’t realized it at the time—but kind of poisoned the well for consumer games going forward.

How so?

When we took the Atari Pong to the Toy Show, we sold none. Nobody wanted to touch it, because there had been enough people that had heard about Magnavox and some of those things, and so they just didn’t see it. If it hadn’t been for Sears, I’m not sure if we could have gotten it launched. Of course, it turned out to be one of the most successful consumer product launches for ages, but it was a real, real struggle. When you look at it, what was the difference between Pong and Ping Pong games. You could say, well, “was there really that big of a difference”. And it turns out it was massive.

Yeah, you could say that. 

—–

Twin Galaxies thanks Nolan Bushnell for his time and for laying the foundation for what TG staff and members enjoy on a daily basis. Look for Nolan in our Trading Card Series and keep watch for his next big projects.

Square Enix Steam Sale

Almost nothing beats Steam sales and if you are a fan of Square Enix games this is the time for you. Right now you can save a ton of a bunch of Square games and DLC packs.

Here is the official press release:

sqaure-enix-stream-sale


Greetings,

From today until Monday March 26, new and existing Steam members can grab Square Enix back catalogue and recently released games at a fraction of the usual prices.

The promotion includes 50% off all Square Enix games and DLC packs throughout the sale period with a number of additional Daily Deals running throughout the promotion.  Kicking off the Daily Deals, and for one day only starting today there’s a tempting 75% off all previously released Hitman games.  Further details of each Daily Deal will be revealed on the day via Steam and Square Enix members.

In addition Square Enix is offering a Hit Collection game bundle comprising over 15 classic games including Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Tomb Raider: Legend, Just Cause 2, Thief: Deadly Shadows and Hitman: Blood Money, all for one low price.

http://store.steampowered.com/

http://member.square-enix.com/na/

King of Fighters on the Android

Fans of the classic SNK fighting game, King of Fighters will not be able to take the battle mobile with the release of the Android version of the classic arcade hit. Here is the scoop from the official press release.

King of Fighters - Android

Game features

Enjoy the complete KOF experience on your Android devices!

From art direction to gameplay, THE KING OF FIGHTERS Android brings the complete KOF experience to the Android platforms. The gorgeous graphics of the world-famous fighting series have been faithfully recreated, taking full advantage of the latest Android hardware. The use of the Virtual Pad/Joystick perfectly reproduces KOF’s controls, creating a simple, user-friendly play-style to easily perform special moves and combinations.

Five modes of gameplay!

“THE KING OF FIGHTERS Android” features five game modes: “Team Battle” for classic KOF 3-on-3 battles, “Single Battle” for 1-on-1 fights, “Endless” mode for an endurance challenge with just one life, “Challenge” mode where players needs to complete a variety of character-specific tasks, and “Training” mode where players can practice the Virtual Pad-based controls and learn combos.

20 legendary fighters battle for glory!

The formidable roster of “THE KING OF FIGHTERS Android” features 20 classic characters, including Kyo Kusanagi, K’, Ash Crimson, and Billy Kane!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1AzHC_PO1k[/youtube]

Unlock trading cards, illustrations and other bonus content!

Various bonus content can be unlocked during gameplay and viewed within the game’s “Gallery” mode. Here players will find premium trading cards based on original SNK PLAYMORE illustrations, various art and rough sketches of KOF characters, KOF Team novel stories from the THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIII and many more hidden treasures that fans can’t afford to miss!

The game can be downloaded through the Android™ Game Platform G-Gee at

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ggee.vividruntime.gg_1403

Chris Kramer: Digital Mind Soft

digitalmindsoft-logo

Name: Chris Kramer

Title: Managing Director

Company: DigitalMindSoft

Dune2

Favorite Classic Game: Dune II / Herzog Zwei

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR9Q4Nfe1Vo[/youtube]

Reason: Both of them laid the foundation for modern RTS games. They are one reason why I always kept attached to the industry.

Best Japanese Ghost Prank Ever

Funny-Japanese-ghost-prank

I swear we could never do this in the U.S. because people would ham it up or end up suing or shooting someone. This has to be one of the best ghost pranks I have ever seen. Seriously, this guy is scared out of his mind.

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

Super Donkey Kong 2

 

[youtube id=”qra_rvWOws0″ width=”633″ height=”356″]

Super Donkey Kong 2

When it comes to pirate originals you can’t help to wonder how much effort these developers must have put into these games. In some cases, a lot, in others probably not much and in certain ones, a very lazy attempt to resell Mario, (Mario hacks) Nothing! You do have to give the creators of this game a lot of credit. They may not have done a great job but the attempt is there, it just seems that it was too much but it would have been a lot better if they weren’t rushed. I’m sure that’s what they are thinking right now, yeah that’s what they are thinking as they are sitting in their desks at Nintendo of Japan headquarters….well maybe, but this game delivers with the little material it brings. This game delivers a very painful gaming experience but you can’t help wonder the possibilities this game could have had. You do have to put aside the fact that this is a pirate original, I mean just think about it. How many people were appointed to create this game, it might have been four or maybe just one. You have to think of the budget and deadline! That’s one of the reasons I appreciate this game.

Super Donkey Kong 2 - Pirated Games - Gameplay Screenshot

The game looks really good for the perished 8-bit console and the gameplay is on the so-so factor. The controls are sluggish but with enough practice and precision (And no whining) You can get through the game with ease. The music mimics the SNES counter part but too much of it can hurt your ears and make you go deaf especially with those annoying rat sounds that sound more like beeps than a rat at all. The game consists of three levels in total which is quite short and the third one ends up being very difficult so beware you whiners.

Super Donkey Kong 2 - Pirated Games - Gameplay Screenshot

You play as Diddy Kong in the ship level but at the third and final level you’ll be the snake mutation of Diddy Kong. This one really creeps me out but being serious and all, it’s just the jumping snake you turn into in the game(Not sure what happened to riding the damn animals). The game does show signs of being incomplete especially since you can collect coins for the shop which you will never reach as the game only has three levels. You can also collect the 1-up balloons as well as the bananas. If you get hit once, you are a dead monkey so make sure you know the controls real well.

There is not much left to tell about such a short game. This game is available as a single pirate cart and even comes in multi-carts (I should know as I have it in my clone). For those of you not wanting to spend the average price of 15 dollars for the game, well guess what? Like in other entries you will have the rom to download here.

SAR: SEARCH AND RESCUE on PlayStation Network

It is always good when classic titles get a re-release and SNK has been releasing a ton of hits and here is another.

Sar - Search and Rescue

From their press release:

SNK PLAYMORE USA CORPORATION  is proud to announce the North & South American release of new nostalgic SNK Arcade Classics “SAR – SEARCH AND RESCUE” as a PlayStation® minis title on PSP, via the “New Releases” category and the “SNK NEOGEO” Featured Publishers page available on the PlayStation®Store, from Tuesday, March 20th, 2012.

The SNK minis titles are a commemorative “retro-arcade emulation” project that allows players to enjoy a grand collection of action, shooting, platform, and action/puzzle titles. Many of these nostalgic, highly innovative arcade classics released during SNK’s Golden Age of action-shooting, etc. during the 80’s, are now exclusively available on PSP and compatible on the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system as well for even greater enjoyment!

The previous sets of titles included some of SNK’s arcade masterpieces such as “ATHENA”, “GUERRILLA WAR”, “IKARI WARRIORS”, “P.O.W. – PRISONERS OF WAR”, “T.N.K. III”, and “VICTORY ROAD” along with a number of lesser known, yet revolutionary titles to be enjoyed by both retro gamers and younger generations of players alike.

SAR = Search And Rescue

 

The government sends down an investigation team to a crashed spaceship that had vanished off its course, in order to determine what actually happened… Infiltrate the spaceship, and battle hordes of alien monsters and robots, in this action-shooting masterpiece of SNK originally released in 1989.

SNK PLAYMORE USA Official Web Site: http://www.snkplaymoreusa.com

Skin & Bones

skinandbones
It’s been a while since I played through the truly enjoyable and immensely colourful demo of the newly released Skin & Bones offering, and, well, I thought I’d let you know. It is, after all and as far as I can judge, a lovely platform/puzzle game with a distinct retro 16-bit feel to it and two playable characters. Definitely one to bring back those memories from the Amiga era, then, though should you try it, you’ll probably notice the obvious Head over Heels influences too. Worth a try.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6CwxcYvc7I[/youtube]

Weird Games: Toilet Kids

toilet kids cover

Going through my thousands of M.A.M.E. games, I wanted to search for really weird games that people might not know about. There are definitely a lot of them, but today’s weird game come from the PC-Engine.

toilet kids - gameplay

The game is called Toilet Kids and is about a kid who goes to the restroom in the middle of the night and gets sucked in. The kid wakes up in a world where everyone looks like toilet fixtures and he has to fight his way out. One of the best things is the boss of the game is called Urinal, seriously I could not make this stuff up.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8tYmQoPgEY[/youtube]

Veteran gaming author turns to Kickstarter to update video game history book

Veteran video game author Rusel DeMaria wants a third edition of High Score!: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games.  Fans of his previous work and gaming history have a chance to help.

High Score

Veteran gaming author turns to Kickstarter to update video game history book

The first and second editions of High Score were released last decade and were well-received by critics and gaming fans alike.  DeMaria now wants to do an updated third edition and has turned to a Kickstarter project to get it off the ground.

“I hate the fact that the book is out of print,” he said.  “I know there are a lot of video game history books out, and many of them are very good, but High Score is special, especially for its emphasis on graphics and showing the story in pictures as well as words.”

DeMaria is pledging to reward his Kickstarter backers with opportunities to meet some of the biggest industry names in gaming history.  Lunches with luminaries such as Trip Hawkins and Will Wright are up for grabs for reaching certain donation levels.

“There were people who were at first reluctant to participate in the book for personal reasons. In the case of Trip Hawkins, he wanted to save all the material for his own book,” DeMaria recalled.  “I was able somehow to convince him that he wasn’t done yet and it was too soon for him to write his memoires. And so there I was, in his beautiful house late at night. I mean I had the run of the house he and his family were sleeping upstairs. There were lots of rarities and treasures there, such as handwritten documents from John Madden and Julius Irving, but perhaps the greatest find (which I think he left out for me) was the original business plan for Electronic Arts. It was stunningly accurate. His five-year plan – amazingly bold and audacious for that time in history – was spot on. It doesn’t print all that well in the book, but it reads like a prophecy. I always respected Trip, but this made me see him as somewhat surreal in his vision.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCNH9qrIzgg[/youtube]

According to DeMaria, a third edition of High Score has been discussed before but was held back by a full-time job at The Art Institute in Seattle, WA.  Presently unemployed, the long-time gaming writer said he feels now is the right time but that he cannot do it alone.

“Right now I’m unemployed, so money is a serious issue for me, which is why I turned to Kickstarter,” he said. “With financial support for a few months, I think I can improve and expand High Score and put out a great new edition. I want it to be an even better book than the original versions, with all the main material, but better. I also want to find a way to publish or e-publish the extra content that I have, because there’s a lot of it, tons of graphical material and even much longer interviews that I could share. At any rate, this seems like a perfect moment to create the new edition, improve the book and expand it to cover the last decade or so, as well. Carpe diem.”

The Kickstarter project can be found by clicking here and needs to raise $25,000 by April 4 in order to fund the project.

You can also check out the second edition of High Score on Amazon.com here.

Greg Moore: Capcom

Capcom logo

Name: Greg Moore

Company: Capcom

Title: Community Specialist & Liaison

Bionic Commando logo

Favorite Classic Game: Bionic Commando

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y6NZmPJD9U[/youtube]

Why it is your favorite game: A great blend of fine-tuned action, adventure elements, and intense theatrics with a delightfully subversive twist on pre-established platform gaming norms.

Video Game Trading Cards Featured on Non-Sport Update Price Guide

Video Game Trading Cards

There is already a video game hall of fame so why not video game trading cards? Well, we have those two and soon they will be featured in the Non-Sport Update Price guide. Here is the official press release.

Non-Sport Update Price Guide cover

Twin Galaxies recently launched Video Game Trading Cards featured on the take-along Non-Sports Update Price Guide and announces Twin Galaxies presence at the Philly Non-Sports Card Show.

Launched in the second half of 2011, the Twin Galaxies Video Game Trading Cards are gaining popularity amongst gamers and trading card collectors as more sets are scheduled to be added to the unique collection of video game trading cards which focus on the gamers, developers, games and history of the global gaming community.

The April/May issue of Non-Sport Update features The Big Bang Theory on the cover and includes three exclusive promotional trading cards: The Big Bang Theory Seasons 1 & 2, Tarzan 100th Anniversary, and Marvel: Greatest Heroes.

The April/May edition of the Non-Sport Update Price Guide features the Twin Galaxies Video Game Trading Cards on the cover and announces that Twin Galaxies International will be on hand at the  56th Annual Philly Non-Sports Card Show April 21-22 in Allentown, Penn.

Non-Sport Update Price Guide inside

This edition ships to stores March 9 and will be available at Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and local comic and card shops across the U.S. at the end of March.  Individual copies can be ordered directly through the publisher.

Anyone interested in ordering a copy can either check their local newsstand or hobby shop towards the end of March or they can order through Non-Sport Update after March 9.

Single issue and subscriptions can be ordered direct from Non-Sport Update via their online store:  http://www.nonsportupdate.com/nsu_store.htm

To learn more about the trading cards or to place an order, please visit: http://www.videogametradingcards.com

8-Bit MMO

This is pretty cool for fans of classic and indie games. This MMO game allows players to interact in a top down world that is very original Zelda-style. It is pretty much a giant world or sandbox as they call it that allows you to build or movie buildings like castles or homes and fight something they call Lawyercats and there is even PVP.

8-bit mmo logo

Check out the video:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBNBYwb5nZg[/youtube]

Here is the official press release.

A video game development project named ‘8BitMMO’ was publicly announced today. 8BitMMO is a free online videogame where up to 250 concurrently connected players can shape the world block by block. The game’s engine allows for a wide variety of player made buildings.  Players can build solo, or group up and create their own towns with friends for cooperative building projects.  In either case, a grief protection system protects the player’s creations from unwanted interference. The game is humorous in tone, with amusing quests and unusual enemiesThere is also basic Player vs Player and Player vs Environment combat.

8-bit mmo - gameplay screenshot

“I am amazed with the creations players are coming up with,” said the game’s developer Robby Zinchak of Archive Entertainment. “People are creating some genuinely cool architecture – everything from towering windmills to sports arenas. One player even made a huge statue of a flying dragon. The community is very inventive, and I can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with next!”

8-bit mmo - gameplay screenshot

The project was first started in 2001, but underwent multiple total-rewrites and art style changes. While the game is still currently in ongoing development, it is fully playable on the project’s website. As the project is Java based, it can be easily run on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. Future updates to the game are planned to introduce more features and content.

To play 8BitMMO, visit http://8BitMMO.net

Brett Elston: Capcom

Name: Brett Elston

Company: Capcom

Title: Online/Community Manager

megaman-2

Favorite Classic Game: Mega Man 2

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJxPC2ZT288[/youtube]

Why it is your favorite game: Though it’s the easy choice, to me, Mega Man 2 was and always will be a perfect game. Not a wasted second or sprite in there. Controls, graphics, music, design, everything is top notch and I think remains among the greatest games ever made.

Chaos Legion

General

Chaos Legion is a Gothic third-person action game that was released in 2003 by Capcom who both developed and published it. It could easily be attributed to Devil May Cry that was released just two years prior, in 2001. The gameplay and style is similar though Chaos Legion certainly seemed to have its own genre at the time it was released. The game is based on the novel by Tow Ubukata that has the same title. The concept of a gun-slinging, sword-swinging male hero in a world that combines the planes of demons and humans was still fairly new.

As a fair warning, if you play this game you need to have an open mind. I can guarantee it isn’t anything like what you have seen since 2003. In fact, it may not even be as good. I’m writing on it because this gamer in particular enjoyed it very much.

Design and Environment

The genre “gothic” in this sense is not the conventional “gothic” that has been taken way out of context with the last few generations. What I mean by gothic is the fact a lot of the game is in its medieval structures, environment, and clothing. It isn’t bloody and gruesome with black randomly splattered about and it does not have to be. The buildings are more like castles. They rise up high and almost look prison-like. There are also open fields and forests which give the player a breather from the concrete.

chaos legion boss fight
A good example of a boss fight and how summoning legions works.

The boss fights are admittedly the most thinking you need to do in Chaos Legion. Like in just about every action game both new and old, each one has a certain strategy that is based on how advanced you are considering abilities and skills. The creatures come in hordes and in order to progress you need to take them out round by round. This does get repetitive but it would be a lot worse if it weren’t for the “Legions” the lead character Seig Wahrheit possesses. They are fallen souls who the “Chaos Legion” allows the bearer of the gauntlet to use to do his bidding. There are 7 legions each of which have different abilities that can be advantages to a certain situation. Legions can be summoned as a group which impairs Seig’s movement, or as an extension of an attack which does not but is weaker. Both take from Seig’s soul gauge which comes back exponentially.

chaos legion gameplay
These legions are called “Arrogance”. They can be used as shields.

Story and Characters

chaos legion characters

The story seems to be a mesh of things that have been done before, but it works to create a surprisingly engaging story. The character personalities are extremely typical, however, with the soft-spoken, kind, dead, love interest and the spunky, quirky girl the main character meets later on with the same goals. The background of the story and all of the characters runs rather deep despite all of this including references from angelic lore and the like.

The Ending Theme Song

I thought this was worth a section all on its own. “Fly”, by the band LIV with Manabu Oshio as the vocalist is one of my favorite songs of all time. This song has stuck with me since I beat the game in 2007 because of how memorable and beautiful it is. Sure it’s in “Engrish” (English spoken or sung by someone who hardly knows or doesn’t know English) and even a little hard to understand sometimes, but one can get the idea and really pull from it.

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

Wrap Up

-Chaos Legion is a decent game that a fan of the Devil May Cry series could get into.
-It’s old, keep that in mind. The graphics are not stellar and if you expect them to be stop playing video games and find another hobby.
-The concept of the “Legions” is great and quite engaging. I became attached to demonic and pained critters.
-The Gameplay and story have been done plenty of times but it’s worth a shot.
-The environment is pleasant though it has a dark twist to it.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

If there was one axiom in the PC gaming world back in the 1990′s, it was that LucasArts produced incredible adventure games.  So many went on to become cherised memories in the minds of gamers, such as The Secret of Monkey Island,Loom, and Day of the Tentacle, but also the subject of this edition of the Game of the Week: Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis box front.

Fate of Atlantis was a superb Indiana Jones game because it featured all the aspects of an archetypal Indy adventure.  To begin with, Indy fought and competed against Nazi.  ”Nazis. I hate these guys.”  The best Indiana Jones stories cast Hitler’s ever-dangerous forces and sympathizers as the good professor’s main antagonists.  After all, who doesn’t hate the Nazis?  (I mean, besides extremist fringe political groups.)  They’re the quintessential villains for the time period: efficient, brutal, and seemingly omnipresent.  The second major aspect is the need for Indy to be on a quest for an artifact of extreme potency.  Finding an object to match the mystery and sheer majesty of the Ark of the Covenant or the Cup of Christ required shifting the religious overtones from traditional sources to the New Age movement.  Incorporating the alien, time-lost feel of the ultimate symbol of New Age mysticism, the lost city/continent of Atlantis, was a brilliant decision, and gave the game the same epic feel of the movies.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Splash page for Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

The man responsible for the Fate of Atlantis’ adherence to the Indy mythos was Hal Barwood.  Barwood had a broad background working in the film industry, including being credited for writing Stephen Spielberg’s The Sugarland Express, co-producing the box office flop/cult classic Dragonslayer, and writing the Gregory Peck World War II movie, MacArthur.  However, Barwood had a much more limited computer game background, having been involved in the production of a mere two titles (as “Special Guest Film Director” on The Secret of Monkey Island, and mysteriously credited as “Works like crazy!” on Monkey Island 2).  Still, LucasArts needed someone who thought in cinematic terms, so regardless of his relative inexperience in PC game design, Barwood was given the Big Chair for their next Indiana Jones project.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Exploring the ruins in Fate of Atlantis.

Barwood showed his good judgment immediately upon receiving the script for the yet to be titled Indiana Jones game.  The script was originally submitted as a potential movie script for a fourth Indiana Jones film, but had been rejected.  Barwood realized that the rejection was sound, as he stated, “It was rejected for a reason, though, and I thought it was hopeless.”  He and his co-designer, Noah Falstein, “marched down to George’s wonderful research library and started thumbing through Dark Mysteries of the Past -type coffee table books.”  There they came across an artist’s rendition of Atlantis, and immediately realized its potential as a game setting.  From there they decided that the game’s version of Atlantis needed to have some grounding in our reality, so they “decided to fasten on Plato’s reality to give the thing legitimacy.”  And with that as the foundation, Barwood proceeded to write out the plot of the game, birthing a true gaming classic in the process.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Atlantis as described by Plato in Timæus and Critias.

In some ways Fate of Atlantis was a typical LucasArts adventure, but in other ways, atypical.  The game used the SCUMM game engine (first used in Maniac Mansion, hence the abbreviation for Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion).  It used 256-color VGA graphics, and had an outstanding audio score.  (Later versions would include digitized voices, and an inspired Indiana Jones sound-alike performance byDoug Lee.) Further, players traveled throughout a vast game world (200+ locations) searching for objects that helped solve a variety of puzzles.  Yet the differences Fate of Atlantis showed were remarkable.  For instance, unlike games such as Loom or The Secret of Monkey Island, the wrong decision in Fate of Atlantis could result in Indy’s death.  This was an interesting departure from the LucasArts Canon (detailed quite eloquently and yet most verbosely by Ron Gilbert in a 1989 missive, reprinted here).

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Magazine ad for Fate of Atlantis.

Another key difference was that Fate of Atlantis included a multipath scenario for gameplay, which was originally envisioned by Noah Falstein, but left to Hal Barwoodto implement.  These paths had different playing styles, unique puzzles and situations, differing game world locations, and even alternate cutscenes.  The game paths had titles which indicated their favored strategies: the Fists Path, containing plenty of fist-fighting and an emphasis on action; the Team Path, which involved Indy adventuring with the game’s female love interest, Sophia Hapgood, and treated her as a kind of in-game hint book; and the Wits Path, which de-emphasized the action in favor of more and more complex puzzles to solve.  This was not a completely user-driven game world, however, as Fate of Atlantis always began and ended in the same way, with the option to select one of the three paths coming somewhat in the middle of the game.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Onboard a Nazi U-Boat in Fate of Atlantis.

Of course, even before Fate of Atlantis was released, Indiana Jones was already a cultural phenomenon.  There had been three movies (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), and at the time of Fate of Atlantis’ release, a television series was in its first year of production (The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles).  Games based on the movies had been released on several platforms, including Indiana Jones in the Lost Kingdom in 1984 (C64), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1987 (AmigaApple IIAtari ST, C64, DOS), Indiana Jones in Revenge of the Ancients in 1987 (Apple II, DOS), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Action Game in 1989 (C64, DOS, Atari ST, Amiga), andIndiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure in 1989 (Amiga, Atari ST, DOS, Macintosh).  In other words, this was a franchise with both a solid history and strong fan base.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

A Fist Fight in Fate of Atlantis!

Fate of Atlantis was released on several platforms, with versions for MS-DOS, Amiga, Macintosh, and FM Towns. As you can imagine, releasing the game on several gaming platforms ensured its best-seller status, selling over a 1 million copies (with the obvious caveat that the game was also good).  Fate of Atlantis was not only a hit among the buying public – it garnered many accolades among game critics, including “Best Adventure Game of the Year”  by Computer Game Review, a solid 90% game review from Amiga Power, and was even named #93 in the 150 Best Games of All Time list in 1996 by Computer Gaming World (CGW).

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Indy swinging into action in Fate of Atlantis.

Ultimately, all the awards and positive reviews are meaningless if they don’t convince you to play the game – and enjoy it.  Yes, the graphics are dated compared to today’s 3-D visual masterpieces with photo-realistic images, but if you’re a retrogamer, the graphics aren’t your chief concern, the gameplay is.  And Fate of Atlantis delivers great gameplay with a professionally written story that immerses you into what could have easily been the fourth Indiana Jones movie script.  Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is highly recommended, and clearly deserving of its Game of the Week honor!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET_98IcvoTI[/youtube]

Magisterrex has been gaming since the days of Pong and still owns a working Atari 2600. He tends to ramble on about retro games, whether they be board games, video games or PC games.  If you’re into classic old school gaming check out his blog here

Diablo III: Release Date

World of Warcraft subscriptions dropping, hey, look over here, Diablo III is coming out and we have a real date this time. You can pre-order Diablo 3 now on Battlenet for the official release date of May 15, 2012.

diablo-3-announcement

So what do we expect to get with this release date? Well, what we know is that it must have been rushed, which is weird since it has been so long. However, features such as a PVP mode and the Mystic artisan will not be available at release and will be patched in later.

Is every game that is to come out now will just be patched to be finished?

So are you excited yet?

David Kudrev: Retrospekt

Retrospekt

Name: David Kudrev

Title: Founder/Writer

Company/Website: Retrospekt

Secret-of-Mana-Box

 

Favorite Classic Game: Secret of Mana on the SNES

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yh7Z5IZ1gjI[/youtube]

Why it is your favorite: Not only the colourful graphics and amazing soundtrack presents itself as one of a kind in a jRPG, but also the storyline, and longevity of 3 days’ worth of gameplay nonstop. I should add, that the game has a multiplayer system that no other game has ever had (at least to my recollection), where it starts off as a single player game, but when meeting other main characters on your journey, your mates can then join up via Multitap and play as them with you as well.

Greg Zesinger: DoughMain

dmlogo

Name: Greg Zesinger

Company: DoughMain

Title: Director of Game Development and Marketing Services

Favorite Classic Game: Quest For The Rings – Magnavox Odyssey2

the quest for rings

Quote on why it is your favorite: I could have gone a few different directions here – Madden 93, Super Tecmo Bowl, Castelvania, Secret of Monkey Island, or Ultima, but went with Quest For The Rings which predated them all and helped spark my interest in games. The Odyssey2 was our first home video game system..before we even started regularly using the term “video games”. In our house, they were “TV games”. As a 7 year old, I would spend quite a bit of time and effort writing up and drawing “concept images” of games I’d like to see on my beloved Odyssey. Quest For The Rings was a gamechanger – one of the first games I can remember that included multiple levels with different environments tied together by a tangible boardgame-like experience that admittedly we didn’t use as often as just jumping into the game.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ll_bbzRHKQ[/youtube]

Four character classes – the Warrior with his magic sword that could teleport lesser monsters (orcs and firewraiths) to a different part of the screen (and if you were lucky, you could get two of them to jump to the same spot and get stuck together, immobilized), the Wizard with his paralyzing power bolts capable of temporarily warding off the terrible Doomwinged Bloodthirsts and the nightmarish Spydroth Tarantulus, the Changeling who could turn invisible and sneak by the dragons, and the Phantom who could walk through walls…unless they were made of lava. Featured co-op play, truly a masterpiece for its time. Loved it and helped fuel my desire to get into the game industry. And while the folks at Magnavox rejected the one submission seven-year old Greg made to them (a Pitfall-esque adventure called Jungle Safari), their games like Quest For The Rings, Pick Axe Pete, Showdown in 2100 A.D. and Monkeyshines set me on my path.

 

Tidalis

There really isn’t much to say here. Give the Tidalis demo a go and you’ll immediately know whether this little indie puzzler is for you. Simple as that, really. I simply don’t feel I have to actually provide you with a review of the thing. Wait! Here’s the link you’ll be needing.

Tidalis - Gameplay Screenshot

After all, were I to review Tidalis, I’d just let you know that it’s a puzzle game with obvious arcade elements that requires both a quick mind and quick reflexes. I’d also probably mention that it plays like an inspired cross between Tetris, Columns and those laser reflection games of yore, while sporting some decent chip-tunes, a slick, polished but not spectacular presentation (despite them beautiful backgrounds), excellent controls, and a ton of available options. Oh, and I’d probably mention Tidalis features a frantic multiplayer mode, a weird co-op thingy and an impressive amount of single-player options that actually -drastically too- change its very nature.

Tidalis - Gameplay Screenshot

As for the fact that it comes with a built-in editor (editors to be precise, as Tidalis does indeed let you create anything you’d think will improve or change it enough for your, err, creation to be properly interesting), well, I guess I might mention it, provided I weren’t too tired of mentioning all the little features the thing comes packed with.

Tidalis - Gameplay Screenshot

What matters and would have mattered most would be one thing though; my verdict. Here it is then: Tidalis is an excellent and very polished action-puzzler, that impressively lets you decide how to play it, and you really should play it! You’ll probably be too addicted to do anything else -or review it- for quite some time.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_L28SWHTgqM[/youtube]

Better yet, let me rephrase this: TIDALIS IS AMAZING. BRILLIANT TOO. Oh, and it’s available for Windows and OS X via a lot of online outlets including Steam, D2D and its very own and pretty official website.

OI Daily Video: Why You Should Never Celebrate Too Soon

Why You Should Never Celebrate Too Soon

Today in the daily video we have something to think Seven years later, Universe&#8217s best-casinos-online.info profile within the city is continuing to grow to incorporate the equally opulent Universe Macau and also the lately acquired Grand Waldo on Cotai. about for the March Madness crowd and players. Here is the story a losing team scores a winning 3 points with only 0.6 seconds left in the game, all while the other team is celebrating their victory. See the priceless expression on the Coach”s face as it turns from celebration to disbelief.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2cK2D2Iams[/youtube]

Is Blizzard getting Desperate?

Does this make anyone want to go back? Can you see the crying now from the diehards on the boards mad because 80’s are being given out like samples at Costco.~J.A. Laraque

Is Blizzard getting Desperate?

So we see Star Wars is trying to pad their numbers by having a Free Trial Weekend, but before that Blizzard tried handing out the goodies like your ex trying to give up the booty to get you back. Now, we know World of Warcraft is dropping subscribers like Netflix before their reversal, but it gets even worse.

The wow whore give-a-way

We already know 600 employees are getting the boot, which is like the writing on the wall in blood and now WoW is giving out the goods. If you come back you will not only get a flying mount so you can sit in your major city with 20 other fools running around on it. But if you bring back a sucker, I mean friend with you get a free level 80 character, a free upgrade to a Cataclysm-enabled account that allows access to all of the game’s current content and 7 days of free play time.

Does this make anyone want to go back? Can you see the crying now from the diehards on the boards mad because 80’s are being given out like samples at Costco. It is kind of strange to see two big companies with two big mmo’s both begging for attention. I guess if we are really bored and a glutton for punishment we can really clean up.

Nah, I rather play Men of War.

Star Wars Old Republic: Free Weekend Trial

Back in the Everquest days whenever a new game would come out be it an MMO or not some people would cry doom for the game thinking people would quit and never come back. With SWTOR, there doom have been said for a while with people talking about cancelled subscriptions and low population servers. Next, we see the 1.2 update released and the ability to invite friends to play for free for a while. Now, there is a free weekend trial of the game. Oh, did I mention Star Wars the Old Republic was a big part of The Big Bang Theory this past week? So, is this doom?

star-wars-the-old-republic

Here is the full press release:

Now, even more gamers can experience the massively multiplayer online game that is taking the world by storm! Starting this Thursday, players around the world will be able to jump in and experienceStar Wars™: The Old Republic™ in the first Weekend Pass Free* Trial. This limited time opportunity will give individuals who don’t already have a previously-active Star Wars: The Old Republic account a chance to experience the groundbreaking, story-driven MMO from EA, BioWare and LucasArts for up to four days for free, with no payment method required.

Individuals who take part in the Weekend Pass will be able to experience the opening adventures of each of the eight character classes in the game, exploring both their Origin World and may even have the opportunity to visit their faction’s Capital World. Additionally, Weekend Pass players will have the chance to face off against other players in PvP Warzones, or join up with friends and play through a couple of early faction-specific Flashpoints in the game, The Esseles and The Black Talon.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of the most critically acclaimed MMOs of all time, having won MSNBC’s “Game of the Year” award, “Editor’s Choice” awards from IGN, PC Gamer and “Best MMO of 2011” awards from Game Informer, Gamespy.com, Massively, Ten Ton Hammer and more.  The game is set thousands of years before the classic Star Wars™ movies, with the Galactic Republic and Sith Empire locked in the middle of an epic, galactic war.  Players choose one of eight iconic Star Wars character classes, including the Jedi Knight, Jedi Consular, Smuggler, Trooper, Sith Warrior, Sith Inquisitor, Bounty Hunter and Imperial Agent, becoming the hero or villain of their own personal Star Wars saga.

The Weekend Pass Free Trial opens Thursday, March 15, 12:01AM CDT and ends on Monday, March 19th at 2:00AM CDT. To learn more, visitwww.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com/weekendpass. Players can begin registering and creating their accounts on March 15.

Oklahoma’s “violent video game tax” shot down after e-mail backlash

The proposed “violent video game tax” of Oklahoma Representative Will Fourkiller is no more after hundreds of e-mails to Oklahoma’s Subcommittee on Revenue and Taxation.

William Fourkiller

Violent video game tax

With Fourkiller’s claim that video games cause violence and obesity, the proposed tax would have applied to any video game Rated T or higher on the ESRB Ratings chart.  This would have included game titles such as Zumba Fitness 2: Party Yourself Into Shape, a popular fitness title.

When asked to withdraw his tax proposal this past Monday, February 20, Rep. Fourkiller attempted to create the Oklahoma Task Force on Video Games Relationship to Obesity and Aggression.  His new proposal was also shot down.

“It was obvious that this bill singled out video games with unfair and unfounded claims, and something needed to be done,” a statement from the Video Game Voters Network said.

This column previously countered Rep. Fourkiller’s claims and was sent to his offices via e-mail and fax.  Requests for direct statements and a Skype interview to defend his claims that video games cause violence and obesity in children went unanswered.

You can read that original column here.

Patrick Scott Patterson has been a gamer since 1981, acting as a writer, technician and world record holder on several game titles. He has appeared numerous times in the yearly editions of Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition. In addition to writing here, Patterson has also written for Yahoo!, Twin Galaxies, VGEVO and Gameroom Magazine, and is always looking for unique and positive news to report from the video gaming world.

Alone in the Dark HD Remake?

Alone in the Dark

Alone in the Dark HD Remake?

According to Joystiq designer Frédérick Rayna said at the Game Developers Conference that he would support an HD remake of the original Alone in the Dark. Now we haven’t seen or heard anything since the 2008 reboot, but the question is would a remake capture the awesomeness of the 1992 original?

Well before even considering that there might be a problem with the rights to the series because it is not clear who owns the rights to Alone in the Dark though it might be in the hand of Infogrames. Also consider that besides graphics the gameplay would most likely need to be redone. So what do you think, would you be interested in a remake?

Ads of the Past: Funco Land

Oh Funco Land you evil child pawnshop. You took advantage of me by surrounding me with games I could not afford and made my adolescent brain made deals like trading Megaman 2, which my mother paid over $40 for, and selling it for less than $10.

Funco Land

Funco Land

Most of the time your demo stations did not work and sometimes you only showed the opening video of a game (dick). The man behind the counter was mean and creepy and smell of failure. Oh Funco Land, I got you back one day when I sold my copy of Double Dragon to a lady about to buy it from you for half price of what you were selling it for and triple what you would have paid me for it. Alas, it was my only victory against you as most battles and the war belonged to you. Rest in peace my old nemesis I have a new abusive soul in my life named Gamestop.

Thanks to FamicomFreak from Retro Gaming Life for the scans!

Earth Worm Jim 3

Earth Worm Jim 3

This week we have yet another Famicom entry. This game was released as many different games. I will use the number 3 since that’s the one it has been mostly known as. In fact, I would suggest you play this game instead of the Playstation release which was awful. When you think of pirates you always think of horrible gameplay but believe it or not, there are some good ones out there. This game is in fact pretty good. It deserves a lot of credit as the creators of this game did the best job they could to mimic the SNES release of it. But why call it Earth Worm Jim 3? I’m guessing these guys were so disgusted by the third release that they decided to take matters into their own hands and create a decent third installment to the franchise.

EarthWorm Jim 3 - Bootleg - Gameplay Screenshot

The gameplay was done quite well and is very responsive. The level design is decent and does its best to mimic the SNES version. They even added the select button function to switch from your head whip to your gun since the NES/Famicom controller doesn’t have as many buttons as the SNES controller, now that’s impressive. The bosses are awfully easy so you’ll be able to get through with ease. The music is so-so as they tried to copy the SNES sound score although they felt short from making it successful, it was a good attempt nonetheless. You will be able to tell which song is which so no worries there. For 8-bit music, it’s what you get for it.

EarthWorm Jim 3 - Bootleg - Gameplay Screenshot

This game reminds me a lot about Boogerman which I will be discussing in the coming weeks but for now you’ll have to settle with Jim. It does show some similarities to Boogerman hmm maybe they used the same engine? Who knows but both deliver quite well and better than other original pirates. So as usual, here is the rom now off you go into another pirate adventure arrrrrr!

Games & Candy 2: Digital Deliciousness

Continuing on with the talk of gum, have you ever eaten gum from under your desk at school? Come on, be honest. Well, perhaps it would have given you a big boost of health, at least according to Final Fight.~J.A. Laraque

Games & Candy 2: Digital Deliciousness

Video Game Candy

So in the first edition of Games and Candy we talked about the different kinds of sweets you could munch on while playing your favorite games. This time we take a look at candy within games. Now we know games are marketed to kids and teens, but everyone can love video games just as everyone can love candy. Just like food, candy has a deep root within games sometimes as the main focus of and sometimes just tossed in there because they can. Let’s look at a few in game candy items.

Bubble Bobble

Bubble Bobble Candy Cane

You could not have a list of games that featured candy without mentioning Bubble Bobble. The whole premise of the game is creating and busting bubbles and eating food. Now granted, most of the food in bubble bobble is not candy, but you can find items such as a brown and blue lollypops, ice cream, donuts, cupcakes and a crème caramel.

As far as power up items, they are mostly candy based including yellow, blue and purple “sweets” that modifies your bubbles in some way. There are also candy canes in the game, which gives you points. Overall, there is lot of tasty treats in this game.

Final Fight

Final Fight Gum

It is not just turkey dinners flying out of oil drums in Capcom’s beat-em-up game. There are a lot of smaller items that provide a boost of energy or life in Final Fight, but we focus on the small stick of gum that sometimes falls out of some box or garbage can. Honestly, the gum looks like its Spearmint or wintergreen, which would explain why it gives so little health back.

Continuing on with the talk of gum, have you ever eaten gum from under your desk at school? Come on, be honest. Well, perhaps it would have given you a big boost of health, at least according to Final Fight. One of the bosses in the game, (a corrupt cop named Eddie E’s), spits out some gum before the fight. You can actually eat the gun restoring a good amount of your health, but honestly, you don’t feel good about doing it.

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft Candy hearts

Everyone likes Valentine ’s Day candy right? Well, not WoW players back in the day. Blizzard had a holiday event where you would get a bag of Heart Candies. Now, for the most part, it was just for fun, but you needed to collect all the different types of candied hearts to get the achievement. The problem was the candy the bag would give out was random and some people never got the candy they needed even though they opened hundreds of bags. In the end they fixed this somewhat, but it did cause a lot of pain, maybe more than playing Wow alone on V-Day.

There were other candy items in Wow including chocolates from the V-Day event and a lot of different candies during the Halloween event. You could even eat so much candy it would make you barf and that was an achievement. Oh how far have we fallen?

More Candy Goodness

Super Mario Galaxy candy bar

Now there are a ton more games that features candy or candy games and games about candy. So tell us your favorite and we can feature them in the next installment. In the meantime, check out this cool article from Games Radar about if video games were candy bars.

Link: If Video Games were Candy Bars

My Favorite Games: Part 8

My Favorite Games

Saturn Bomberman – Saturn (1997)

Sega Saturn - Bomberman

The Bomberman series is unquestionably one of my favourite series’ of all-time and it’s almost unanimous that this Saturn-exclusive version is the best. Unlike many who view the Bomberman games exclusively as multi-player games, I personally really enjoy the single player modes on most of them too. The simple pleasure of trapping enemies and blowing them up, gradually powering-up our White Bomber hero, and progressing through the stages is one that I enjoy a lot, and the stages in this release are the most inventive and feature-laden yet. However, no one can question the frenetic fun of a multi-player Bomberman session and this is another area in which SB excels – it’s possible to have up to ten players simultaneously battling away here and it’s among the most fun that can be had in any game!

Hydro Thunder – Dreamcast (1999)

Hydro Thunder - Sega Dreamcast

For some reason water-based racing games are few and far between to begin with, but good ones are unfortunately even rarer. For this reason, I thought Midway’s Hydro Thunder may be a special treat even before I first gripped the steering wheel, but a few short, heart-pounding, sweaty-palmed minutes later I knew for sure! There’s no fancy options screens or championship modes to mess around with here – simply choose from the selection of ‘space boats’ and blast away! The courses are fantastically themed and designed, and are full of features, shortcuts, huge jumps, and other racers to jostle for position with. The water physics here aren’t as convincing as something like Wave Race but that’s not really the point – this is a fast-paced arcade racer through and through, and what a rush!

Robocod – MegaDrive (1991)

Robocod - Sega MegaDrive

Released by EA before they sucked, this sequel to the entertaining underwater adventure, James Pond, bore little resemblance to its forebear aside from the inclusion of the main character himself, and even he is barely recognisable! To enable our hero to engage in non-water-based tomfoolery, he has been equipped with a robotic exoskeleton, but the Robocop puns end there as he embarks on a bizarre platform-based quest across many large, strangely-themed levels to save Christmas from Dr Maybe! As well as being a superbly designed game, Special Agent Bond’s second mission is a treat for the eyes and ears too. It may not have as many background colours as the Amiga version but it’s superior in pretty much every other way, and provides a long and entertaining challenge with a surprise around every corner.

John Madden Football – 3DO (1995)

John Maddon Football - 3DO

Given my well-known intense dislike of EA, some may be surprised to see this here, but I didn’t always hate them. In the MegaDrive days in particular, EA were awesome and one of their best games was John Madden Football. This was the first version of the series to appear on a 32-bit system and, as great as the MD games were, it made a big difference. Bigger sprites, great commentary from Madden, video clips, countless game options and stats, more plays than ever, a floating camera that follows the action closely, and the ability to play as legendary teams from the past made this the definitive US Football game to have ever been seen at that time, and it’s still my favourite to play. Some games are great fun but too arcadey, some are too intricate and take too long to learn. This was just right. Plus, it’s the only game where I’ve actually managed to win the SuperBowl!

Chuckie Egg – Dragon 32 (1983)

Chuckie Egg - Dragon 32

Few platformers were as popular as this one in their day. Every version that I’ve played is at least good, but the rather garishly-coloured Dragon 32 version is the one I’ve spent by far the most amount of time playing. My good friend Luke had a Dragon around the time I first met him and we would spend many hours trying to play through this. The game apparently cycles through the eight single-screen stages five times but I’ve had the skill to prove this. Luke was always better at Chuckie Egg than me but even he couldn’t get that far! Still, despite its hideous background (which seemed perfectly normal at the time), this is a great version of the egg-collecting classic, and the only version Luke and I have played which enabled you to perform a few little tricks which greatly helped our progress!

 

James Bond: The Stealth Affair

Long before GoldenEye established the gold standard for James Bond action games, 007 had a PC gaming presence, with games dating back as far as 1983 (the Commodore 64 game James Bond 007).  Most were based on the various Bond movies, and were either interactive fiction, such as James Bond: A View to a Kill(1984) and James Bond 007: Goldfinger (1986), or arcade action side/vertical scrollers, such as The Living Daylights (1987) or 007: License to Kill (1989).  Some were forgettable, some enjoyable, but the first graphic adventure James Bond adventure is today’s featured game: James Bond: The Stealth Affair.

James Bond - The Stealth Affair - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Box art for James Bond: The Stealth Affair

The story revolved around a missing F-19 stealth fighter, stolen from an American base and tracked (how did they do that?) to somewhere in Latin America.  Who did it? Could it be the Russians pulling a Red October or could it be some Latin American tinpot dictator or crime lord?  The danger of having a Latin American drug lord having stealth technology was sufficient to bring in the best troubleshooter in the business: James Bond.  The action began as fast as our man James stepped off his flight into the Santa Paragua airport, holding only a briefcase and his airline ticket, with the need to somehow get past a maddeningly efficient airport security guard.  “I don’t care who you are. In this country you are all outsiders.“  The game moved on from there, with a variety of puzzles to solve, as well as a few arcade action sequences to complete.

James Bond - The Stealth Affair - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Splash title page for James Bond: The Stealth Affair

The Stealth Affair was a graphic adventure using a point&click interface, which means an inevitable pixel hunt.  The command menu was brought up by right-clicking the mouse, and consisted of EXAMINE, TAKE, INVENTORY, USE, OPERATE, and SPEAK.  Descriptions were provided when you used the EXAMINE command on objects, and you could either TAKE some items to later USE them in other situations, or OPERATE devices immediately.  You could not EXAMINE your INVENTORY, however.

James Bond - The Stealth Affair - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

James Bond The Stealth Affair copy protection screen

Interestingly, The Stealth Affair was a James Bond adventure game title only in North America.  The game was originally released in Europe as Operation Stealth, and it wasn’t James Bond that was attempting to recover the missing stealth technology, it was agent John Glames.  The developer of The Stealth Affair was Delphine Software, based out of France.  Their previous hit was Future Wars, but would go on to produce some amazing games, including Out of This World (released as Another World in Europe), Flashback, and Fade to Black, among others.  Interplay Productions was the game publisher who distributed Delphine’s games, and whose logo was emblazoned upon the box covers of the North American versions.  It was Interplay who acquired the James Bond license and who initiated the change to the Operation: Stealth game from a generic spy adventure game to playing 007 of Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  The powers-that-be decided that the James Bond franchise was a bankable commodity, so they altered all instances of John Glames into James Bond.  In addition, some of the action sequences were removed, presumably to make for easier gameplay, and some of the bad French to English game text was reworded. Oddly both Bond and Glames were working for the CIA, which to a Bond enthusiast, is a serious faux pas.  But I digress.

James Bond - The Stealth Affair - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Box art for Operation Stealth

The game simply begged for Sean Connery voiceovers, but, alas, the IBM PC version lacked digitized voices.  Darn technology and/or budget limitations!  However, the Amiga version had synthesized voices (with 1 MB or higher RAM), but a serious bug in the code can lead to a full system crash if using the player got tired of listening to the dialogue and attempted to click through with the mouse button.  As one of the attention-challenged brethren of gamers, that’s a serious flaw that exploits a common weakness!

James Bond - The Stealth Affair - PC - Gameplay Screenshot

Why is James Bond working for the C.I.A.?

The Stealth Affair was released on three formats in North America: IBM PC (MS-DOS), Amiga, and Atari ST.  Reviews were generally favorable, with .info giving the game 4.5 out of 5 stars in their March 1991 issue, stating that, “No Bond fan should miss this one.”  However, some reviewers were more ambivalent towards the game, such as the review in the May 1991 issue of Compute!, wherein the game is described as, “Controlled by either keyboard or mouse, the Bond of The STEALTH Affair moves and acts in a manner like that of his namesake in latter-day 007 movies-that is, choppy and silly, trading the quiet sophistication of Ian Fleming’s hero for a goofy nonchalance.”  Still, accepting the technology limitations of its day, James Bond: The Stealth Affair was a fun game.  Perhaps not worthy of the top 100 games of all time, but still in the running for the next one hundred, and well-worth a look by any retrogamer yearning for a spy-based adventure game!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU7sQE2GE5M[/youtube]

Magisterrex has been gaming since the days of Pong and still owns a working Atari 2600. He tends to ramble on about retro games, whether they be board games, video games or PC games.  If you’re into classic old school gaming check out his blog here

Toxic Crusaders

Toxic Crusaders

In 1992, developer Bandai published a side-scrolling license beat-’em-up cartridge for the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). This video game was called Toxic Crusaders, and based on the television cartoon of the same name. Loosely following the plot of the show, the adventure charges the player with cleaning up the streets of Tromaville as Toxie, the eco-friendly protagonist who has been tragically mutated into a hideous Toxic Crusader.

Toxic-Crusaders- nes - gameplay screenshot

Gameplay

This is a standard, basic, formulaic side-scrolling beat-’em-up: A button jumps, B button attacks, the directional pad moves. There are really only one or two pieces of flair to be found otherwise; for example, the player has a life bar, but also has a Mop Meter. The player begins with a mop to swing as a weapon, slightly stronger than fists and with a little longer reach, but loses it in one hit. If the player can somehow manage to keep the mop around, and gain a mop meter point to two, the mop shoots a projectile attack. If the player can get the mop meter to three, then the mop can be thrown like a big boomerang weapon and Toxie can punch as it flies.

Toxic-Crusaders- nes - gameplay screenshot

There are even the usual beat-’em-up elements like a skateboard level (quite essential to any 80’s or 90’s gaming experience) and even an underwater stage. The enemies are pattern-based, as repeated plays will make passing the waves of baddies much easier as the player learns their vulnerabilities, most of which amounts to “do not attack in a straightforward manner; rather, move up or down directly into an attack, or even let them move vertically to you as you are swinging.” Each of the six levels has a boss fight, and there are items hidden in destructible objects that can increase health or mop meter.

Graphics

Toxic-Crusaders- nes - gameplay screenshot

This is one of the NES video games to incorporate parallax scrolling (the appearance of layers of background that move by in differing speeds), which is always a nice touch. To be honest, this is a solid-looking 8-bit game, with large, colorful characters, well-crafted backgrounds, and decent animation performance with less flickering and slowdown than you would expect. The year is 1992, and console developers have certainly learned to push the NES hardware and palette to their max, Bandai being no exception.

Sound

Toxic-Crusaders- nes - gameplay screenshot

The soundtrack is actually somewhat enjoyable, providing appropriate oomphy beat-’em-up tracks begging for some drum-and-electric-guitar remixes, even managing to range the gamut of moods from active inspiration to somewhat creepy in a minor key. The ditties do have some bizarre rapid screeching effects every once in a while, as though to purposefully throw the player off-guard. The effects are okay, but seem somehow a little off. For two examples: The pause noise seems like Bandai’s attempt at the classic effect of, say, Konami, or even Ocean’s superb pause sound in Robocop, only to not quite make it and seem a more sophomoric effort; secondly, check out the dying scream of the first boss for a true trip into weird-effect territory.

Originality

Toxic-Crusaders- nes - gameplay screenshot

This video game is not only based on a pre-existing license, but is so blatantly formulaic that even its one attempt at creativity, the Mop Meter, is just an inferior version of the scaling-weapon functions present in many other, prior existing games. The level designs are okay, but skateboarding and underwater stuff was hardly ground-breaking at the time.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0a5GSasHd4[/youtube]

Toxic Crusaders never achieves deep gameplay mechanics. The first level only has two types of enemies, as one example. This cart would have also benefited, at the very least, from having a two-player mode. Nonetheless, what players have is a watered-down version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with the environment-saving overtones of Captain Planet, driven through gameplay mechanics only a step above the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes NES game. Yet another license game that looks pretty good, sounds alright, plays okay, but never really reaches for greatness. This is a very average NES game that serves as a perfect case study of a Typical Early-1990’s NES Video Game, cleaning up a score of two and a half stars out of five. Oh, and expect repeat bosses. Also, try not to get a seizure from the intense flashing greens of the sewer water. Finally, remember: “DON’T BE A PUNK ‘” RECYCLE JUNK!”

Eric Bailey is a retro gamer on a crazy quest to write a quality review for every single American-released NES video game over at NintendoLegend.com.

Origin PC goes Pro

We all know that having the right PC for gaming is a must be it for MMO’s or RTS and FPS games, but the same can be said for professional systems. Consider that all those games and movies we like were made using computers and if they look great on a powerful gaming PC then they must have been made on a powerful PC, right?

So today Origin PC announced their line of Professional grade systems featuring overclocked processors and Quadro workstation graphics cards along with their 24/7 support. Check out their official press release:

Origin PC professional systems

Award Winning Performance and Support Now Available in Laptops and Desktops Designed for Professionals

Miami, FL – For Immediate Release — ORIGIN PC announced today the launch of their new line of desktops and laptops for professionals. Featuring options like the latest Intel Xeon E5 processors, ORIGIN PC professional overclocking, and NVIDIA Quadro workstation graphics cards. The new PRO line of systems from ORIGIN PC is designed specifically for artists, engineers, and professionals. ORIGIN PC now offers its award-winning performance, endless customization options, and industry leading U.S. based lifetime 24/7 support to professionals worldwide.

Download high res images of the new PRO line of ORIGIN PCs here:

GENESIS PRO

GENESIS PRO-X2

EON17-X PRO

ORIGIN PC’s custom workstations offer a wide range of solutions to fit mostly any workspace or budget:

The small form factor CHRONOS PRO starts at $1299
The mid-tower MILLENNIUM PRO starts at $1396
The full-tower GENESIS PRO starts at $2131
The EON15-PRO mobile workstation starts at $1581

Some of the most powerful professional workstations from ORIGIN PC are outlined below:

The GENESIS PRO-X2 desktop features:

  • Dual Next Generation Intel Xeon E5 Processors with 16 Physical Cores and 32 Threads
  • ORIGIN PC Professional CPU Overclocking
  • ORIGIN FROSTBYTE Maintenance Free Liquid Cooling Systems
  • Up to 96GB 1333MHz Quad Channel ECC Memory
  • Up to 4 NVIDIA 6GB GDDR5 Quadro 6000 Workstation Graphics Cards
  • Support for NVIDIA 6GB GDDR5 448 CUDA Core Tesla Companion Processors
  • Industry Leading Free 24/7 Lifetime Support Based in the United States
  • Fully Customizable starting at $3,999

The EON17S-PRO laptop features:

  • Overclocked 2nd Generation Intel Core i7 Processors up to 4.8GHz
  • Up to 32GB 1333MHz Dual Channel Memory
  • Up to 16GB 1866MHz Dual Channel Memory
  • NVIDIA 4GB GDDR5 Quadro 5010M Workstation Graphics Card
  • Up to Three Hard Drives with up to 3TB’s of Hard Drive Space
  • Industry Leading Free 24/7 Lifetime Support Based in the United States
  • Fully Customizable starting at $1,632
  • Fully Customizable starting at $3,999

The EON17X-PRO laptop features:

  • Intel X79 Chipset with 2nd Generation Intel Hexcore Processors
  • Up to 32GB 1333MHz Quad Channel Memory
  • Up to 16GB 1866MHz Vengeance Quad Channel Memory
  • NVIDIA 4GB GDDR5 Quadro 5010M Workstation Graphics Card
  • Up to Four Hard Drives with up to 4TB’s of Hard Drive Space
  • Customizable Backlit Keyboard with Three Lighting Zones and Seven Colors
  • Industry Leading Free 24/7 Lifetime Support Based in the United States
  • Fully Customizable starting at $2,860

“Government agencies, universities, and businesses have been purchasing custom desktops and laptops from ORIGIN for years.” said Kevin Wasielewski ORIGIN PC CEO and co-founder. “With the official launch of our new line of professional systems, ORIGIN PC has invested in an infrastructure that offers specialized validation, sales assistance, and 24/7 lifetime support for professionals.”

Customers that have purchased ORIGIN PC’s for professional purposes have posted positive feedback about their experiences:

“We selected ORIGIN PC over a traditional OEM for our specialized game development labs because of their hardware customization and flexibility, with an ORIGIN PC backed three year hardware warranty and lifetime support to boot!” said Matthew Surprenant, Champlain College Sr Analyst, Software Imaging & Media Applications.

“We chose Origin to power our Game Capture Labs because we need PC’s that can keep up with production demands 24 hours a day. From capturing games at the highest resolution, to copying terabytes of data, to encoding music and video, we need machines that can do all these tasks simultaneously, and fast. We also know that Origin is ready to help at any time of the day, so we never have to worry about technology getting in the way of our daily shows.” – G4TV

All ORIGIN systems come with free life-time 24/7 phone and online support based in the United States. Each customer has a dedicated support team and free life-time labor for upgrade needs. ORIGIN PC features a 1 to 3 year free part replacement warranty combined with the best in class integration, quality testing and support.

About ORIGIN:

ORIGIN builds custom, high-performance desktops, workstations, and laptops for hardware enthusiasts, digital/graphics artists, professionals, government agencies and gamers. ORIGIN PCs are hand built, tested, and serviced by knowledgeable gaming enthusiasts, industry veterans, and award winning system integrators. Every ORIGIN PC comes with free lifetime 24/7 support based in the United States. The ORIGIN PC staff is comprised of award-winning, experienced experts in the gaming and PC markets who want to share their passion with other enthusiasts. ORIGIN PC is located in Miami, FL and ships worldwide. For more information, please visit www.ORIGINPC.com or call 1-877-ORIGIN-Ø. (674-4460)

Follow ORIGIN:

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City of Heroes: Issue 22

I still have a special place in my heart for City of Heroes. Now free to play, it is good they continue to release new content and updates for the fanbase. A lot of big MMO’s could learn from this. Anywho, on with the news:

City-Of-Heroes

Today, NCsoft and Paragon Studios have announced that the highly anticipated City of Heroes Issue 22: Death Incarnate has launched!

As the first major content update since the launch City of Heroes Freedom, Issue 22 begins after the death of the Statesman, Paragon City’s prime defender and protector. In these times of strife, the search is on for the next hero of Paragon City and there’s no telling where or how this hero will emerge.

To mark this shift in Paragon City, we’ve unveiled what is possibly the most powerful and exciting trailer in City of Heroes’ history. The trailer for Issue 22: Death Incarnate captures the tension of the times in City of Heroes, and calls out the dire need for one hero to stand above all others.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8FEan6NFrk[/youtube]

There is no better time to join the people of Paragon City and try your hand at becoming the new champion of good!

Issue 22: Death Incarnate unveils a bevy of new content on the denizens of City of Heroes. Below is a quick breakdown of the key features, items and events taking place in this monumental update.

  • Dark Astoria Incarnate Zone: Dark Astoria becomes a Co-op Incarnate Zone in Death Incarnate, allowing level +50 players to participate in the “danse macabre” co-op style gameplay as they traverse the dark, twisted, undead nightmare that has become Dark Astoria.
  • Darkness Power Set: A horrifying new Power Set for Controllers and Dominators, Darkness Control allows players to command shadows and spectral minions to terrorize their foes.
  • Dilemma Diabolique Incarnate Trial: Heroes and Villains must band together against the evil sorceress Diabolique as she wrests the power from the banished god Mot. If she succeeds in her plans, all of creation will be in jeopardy as she moves to take her “rightful” role as the master of all creation.
  • More content for all levels: Fight off the Shivans as they attack Bloody Bay by grouping up in in the new PvE Trial Drowning in Blood. Take your Hero or Villain through new Mission Arcs in Steel Canyon and Cap au Diable. Save Talos Island and Sharkhead Isle from Adamastor’s rage as he cuts a wave of destruction across the islands in the new Adamastor Zone Event.

City of Heroes Issue 22: Death Incarnate comes to terms with the death of a hero by embracing the darkness itself with powers, costumes and quality of life upgrades across the board. To learn more about these deadly new upgrades, visit http://www.cityofheroes.com for a complete list of Death Incarnate content.

Site of Last Starfighter, birthplaces of Mario and Lode Runner added to registry

Three new additions have been made to the Registry of Historic Gaming Locations, a project aimed at preserving the stories of locations that have historical importance to video gaming.

The Last Starfighter

The project, which started last summer, now lists a total of 26 locations with plans to add more on a monthly basis.

The newest crop of inductions include:

– Rio Cafe & Grocery in Santa Clarita, CA – The food store where the hotshot gamer in 1984 film The Last Starfighter strutted his stuff.

– Early Nintendo Warehouse in Seattle, WA – The site where the struggling Nintendo of America built the Donkey Kong machines that saved them from bankruptcy in 1981.  This is also the warehouse owned by Mario Segale, the man rumored to be the inspiration behind the naming of Nintendo’s iconic mascot.

– Former Broderbund Software HQ in San Rafael, CA – The place that brought Lode Runner, Choplifter, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and Prince of Persia to life.

Some of the other 23 locations previously inducted include competitive gaming birthplace Ottumwa, IA, the original testing locations of classics such as Donkey Kong and Defender, arcade locations featured in films such as Tron, The Karate Kid and WarGames, former headquarters locations of companies such as Atari and Bally Midway and the famous landfill that saw millions of unsold Atari game cartridges dumped in 1984.

In a short time the Registry of Historic Gaming Locations has received press coverage across the world, including recent stories in Japan and Brazil.

The full Registry list, including the newest three entries, can be found at PatrickScottPatterson.com.

 

Yuri Moskva: Frogwares

Frogwares logo

Name: Yuri Moskva

Title: Community manager

Company: Frogwares

Ninja Gaiden Trilogy

Favorite Classic Game: Ninja Gaiden Trilogy (SNES)

Why it is your favorite game: Being a huge fan of karate-ninja stuff I was completely mesmerized when I first played this game. I was always concerned that this game is much more advanced in terms of gameplay and possibilities than any other SNES game.  And all the possibilities, weapons, skills and the atmosphere… Sorry, I have to go find my old SNES console.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGoja-AN1i8[/youtube]

The Sexual Gangster

ice cream paint job

We all know in the hood your main goals are money, rep and women, now, you might not think there is romance by the video gangster, but that is just not true.  You have to read between the lines and understand what the terms and imagery means.

Ice Cream Paint Job

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yfArN-e2OU[/youtube]

This song might seem crude to those that do not understand it, but for the young professional rap star once you have climbed the ladder for financial stability it is time to settle down and have a family. However, before that is done you have to find the right mate, which requires intensive testing, and to make sure you do not make a mistake.

Legacy: Star Wars Update 1.2

star wars legacy patch notes 1.2

We finally get word that the legacy system will be launched in April and some new flashpoints and warzones. The funny thing is the talk about the free friend trial. Sure, every big MMO has it, but it is telling with the latest news about subscriptions to Star Wars TOR. Will these changes keep you playing or bring you back?

Here is the official press release:

Build your legacy in the Star Wars™ galaxy! Continuing to deliver compelling new content for eager Star Wars™: The Old Republic players, EA, BioWare and LucasArts today revealed Game Update 1.2 — Legacy. Going live in April 2012, Legacy will introduce new high level group content and community-requested features including PvP Warzone Rankings and Guild Banks, along with enhancements to the game’s innovative Legacy system. This update also provides improved UI customization as well as gameplay fixes and the latest optimizations to combat balance. Also today, BioWare announced Star Wars: The Old Republic’s “Friends Trial*” program, allowing subscribers to invite as many as three of their friends for a seven-day free game trial.

“Prior to release, our main priority for Star Wars: The Old Republic was to deliver a high quality game and service, right from day one,” said Dr. Greg Zeschuk, General Manager of the BioWare Label’s MMO Business Unit and Co-Founder of BioWare. “Now that we’ve achieved that, we have shifted our focus to adding more content to the game and improving and refining the experience for our fans. Legacy is our biggest update yet and a great example of the kind of content players can expect for the months and years ahead.”

Game Update 1.2 presents the next evolution of the Legacy system. Players can now link their different characters together into a single family tree, giving them the power to unlock and share special Legacy-only abilities. Players can further customize new characters by unlocking different species from any class in their family tree. The Legacy system also provides fun new convenience items for player ships, including an on-board mailbox and Galactic Trade Network terminal. Companion Character affection and moral alignment will also benefit from Legacy bonuses, giving players even more control over their crew mates.

Beyond the much-anticipated game features like improved UI customization, PvP Warzone Rankings, Guild Banks and valuable new in-game items, the Legacy update will introduce challenging new high-level content for both experienced and new players to enjoy: 

Game Update 1.2: New Content:

  • Flashpoint: Lost Island continues the Kaon Under Siege Flashpoint from Game Update 1.1 – Rise of the Rakghouls. Players must survive a menacing island of mystery on Ord Mantell as they hunt for clues to the Rakghoul virus outbreak that ravaged the Tion Hegemony. But the answers to this riddle may prove fatal!
  • Operation: Explosive Conflict sends groups of eight or sixteen Imperial or Republic players to a new zone on the planet of Denova, where traitors and mercenaries are selling the rare explosive mineral baradium to the highest bidder. Players will battle through hordes of Droids, mercenaries and deadly creatures all fighting for control of the planet and its valuable resources.
  • Warzone:  Novare Coast pits two teams in an epic battle to control multiple mortar locations and use them to bombard vulnerable enemy bases. Like the Huttball Warzone, Novare Coast can be played Republic vs. Empire or with players of the same faction fighting each other in a thrilling contest of wills to determine each side’s greatest champions.

Beginning tomorrow, March 6, current subscribers can start inviting their friends to join the galactic conflict as part of the Friends Trial* program for Star Wars: The Old Republic. For a limited time, current subscribers will have the opportunity to send an invitation to friends who have not played the game and who do not have an active, inactive or former Star Wars: The Old Republic game account. This trial experience will give new players seven days of free access to reach level 15 across all eight classes and experience the thrilling stories that make Star Wars: The Old Republic a unique MMO experience (some gameplay restrictions will apply). Trial members will also receive a limited time offer to purchase the digital version of Star Wars: The Old Republic on Origin.com at a special promotional price.

For more information on Game Update 1.2: Legacy and the Friends of Star Wars: The Old Republic Trial program please visit www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com.

John Master Lee: Raptr

Raptr Logo

Name: John Master Lee

Title: Vp of Marketing

Company: Raptr

King_of_Kings

Favorite Classic Game: King of Kings

Why is this game your favorite: “It’s a rare turned-based strategy game that only came out in Japan. It was published by Atlus and Namco in 1988 on the Famicon. It was the first time I was completely absorbed into the gameplay in a way that went being just a fan. It got me thinking about game design,

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4uyJK7gWgQ [/youtube]

I learned Japanese (because I couldn’t read the text otherwise!), and I never went back to board games since. It was the first time that I realized how deep and complex a game can be back on the NES.”

Derek James: Polyclef Software

Derek James - Polyclef Software

Name: Derek

Title: Owner & Founder

Company: Polyclef Software

gyruss

Favorite Classic Game: Gyruss & Zork

Why is this game your favorite: I’ll actually pick two. For classic arcade action, my favorite was probably Gyruss. Why? Because I thought tube shooters were cool…it was like Galaga, but in a circle! And I also really thought the electronica-style Bach music was cool.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hF2m7EW9_lM[/youtube]

For the PC, the games I remember the most fondly were the Zork and Enchanter trilogies from Infocom. Text-based adventure and puzzle-solving games are obsolete now, but I really thought the blend of storytelling, puzzle-solving, and interactivity was very immersive and compelling. Myst was a great continuation of this style of game in graphical form, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for Infocom’s games.