Month
June 2012

Super Mario Land

The gameplay is quite good. Just think of Super Mario in a portable handheld and that should say enough. You jump, you get power ups and of course you stomp on bad guys. It’s sort of odd that when you jump on a koopa he turns into a bomb….totally odd indeed! Also, what’s with the flower power giving you one ball of fire that bounces all over the screen. I’m guessing they did it on purpose to help keep the gameplay from slowing down. Oh well, good nonetheless. With only four worlds the game is quite fun to come back to. There are secrets hidden everywhere so you can always accomplish your goals in different ways. The game itself is fun overall! A 2 player race mode would’ve made it supreme and increased its replay value in masses! [...]

TGI Trading Card Profiles: Brian Cady

Brian Cady enjoys maintaining and restoring classic pinball and arcade games as much as he enjoys playing them. He was inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural 2010 group, is the Vice President of the non-profit organization that produces the Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show and is the Senior Twin Galaxies Referee for pinball. Brian has worked in the IT field for over 15 years and held leadership positions at IBM, Washington Mutual and Microsoft. He also enjoys photography and writing and has had numerous articles published including several in the Pin-Game Journal. Brian lives in Bonney Lake, Washington with his wife Shirley (who has the world record on Sky-Line) and three children. [...]

Jetpac

Developed by Tim and Chris Stamper, the founders of Ultimate, Jetpac is a simple game as you might expect, and it stars Jetman. It’s your job to guide him around the single-screen stages to reassemble his rocket and then refuel it by collecting the fuel pods that fall onto the screen one by one. On most stages after this he’ll just need to refuel it but every now and then there will be a new rocket to reassemble and he’ll have to repeat the whole process from scratch. Jetman can fly using the titular device for indefinite periods and is also armed with a laser to take out the endless swarms of aliens that drift across the screen attempting to stop him from half-inching their resources (such as precious metals and gems), which also drop onto the screen periodically and can be collected for bonus points. [...]

Guild Wars 2 Release Date: August 28, 2012

Building on sales of more than seven million units of the original game, Guild Wars 2 redefines massively multiplayer online roleplaying games with visceral, action-oriented combat; a gorgeous, living world full of constantly evolving dynamic events; customizable personal storylines that are unique to each player; intense Player vs. Player combat between small teams or massive armies; and most importantly, a shared online world where players work together as allies instead of as rivals — all with no monthly subscription fee. [...]

TGI Trading Card Profiles: Eric R. Cummings

It’s an NES RPG by Capcom based on events that took place in Second Century China that first puts you in the shoes of Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei (The same guys from the ROTK and Dynasty Warriors series by Koei) to quell the Yellow Turban Rebellion. At first it seems like a Dragon Warrior clone in which your party moves at a high speed but upon further inspection, it’s a cool history lesson wrapped in the guise of an entertaining video game. Battles are fought in two ways, turn based and strategic with weapons and magic or a quick fight option where everyone fights at a high speed until stopped or one party is wiped out. The coolest thing about the game is the ability to recruit hundreds of defeated opponents to add to your stable of generals and incorporate them into your 5 man (7 man total, 2 in reserve) battle party. [...]

Bomb Jack

It’s not all easy going for Jack, he has to avoid various monsters and aliens that chase him around the screen. However, if you collect the powerball when it appears, it freezes the baddies for a short period of time, during which, you can kill them simply by touching them. There are other items to be picked up that give you additional bonus points or extra credits. The game starts to repeat after Level 18. However, you will be too busy darting around the screen, collecting bombs to notice. Bomb Jack is one of those old games that invoke memories of playing it at the corner shop or fish’n chips store across your school. I know, it does for me. Most of my pocket money went into playing this game. It kept me out of trouble, which is always a good thing. [...]

First Steps: The Secret World

Once you are in combat, I will say it reminded me of Left for Dead in a good way. You start off with a shotgun and two basic attacks and get used to aiming and moving while firing. The combat felt fluid and was not boring nor easy which again, is a good thing. Very soon, you get two more powers, one that slows your enemies and a powerful attack you use on the bigger enemies. Right before the big battle you get a heal spell that you will take use off right away. This tells me the idea is to allow you to stand alone and not depend on the holy trinity of Tank, Healer, DPS. [...]

Arcade classic Donkey Kong Junior is turning 30

According to trademark filings, Donkey Kong Junior first appeared publically on June 30, 1982. The suffix in the title was spelled as “Jr.” in Japan but “Junior” in North America. Later home releases moved toward the shorter version, appearing as “Donkey Kong Jr.” Despite the original longer version of the name the shorter suffix is the most common spelling of the game title worldwide. “I remember Donkey Kong Junior getting a lot of attention in the arcades,” said Mark Kiehl, the all-time high score champion on the arcade classic. “People were excited about a sequel to Donkey Kong.” [...]

TGI Trading Card Profiles: Rudy J. Ferretti

This game was the ONLY reason I rushed home from school each day to play the NES, I was intrigued by the colors, the originality and the secrets. I loved the idea of being a Vampire Hunter locked inside a castle and no way to turn back, scoring points and learning how to defeat and master the game and the enemies and bosses. The music was so advanced for it’s time and I could remember playing it in my head and talking about it at recess at school, and the problems we had with certain enemies and bosses in the game, and although there were games similar to this game out there, NOTHING compares to the game and the series in itself, and everyone one of them were unique in their own way, I will and have always been a fan dark/evil games and movies but, this game and series is prob the biggest reason why I started playing the NES… [...]

Hero’s Quest

You could play Hero Quest either as a Fighter, Magic-User, or Thief. The game’s puzzles were designed so that they could be solved in different ways by the different character classes, and you could improve your character’s skills and inventory as you played the game. It played as an adventure game, where your character completed quests and solved puzzles, moving the storyline to its epic finish. By today’s PC game standards, the graphics and sound are rudimentary at best, with your hero looking a bit like a stick figure jerkily moving about the screen. But a good retro gamer never judges an old game by today’s standards! The storyline is strong, and can still be fun to play today. [...]

The Effect of Diablo 3: Real Money Auction House

The problem I see with the money auction house is people get the fever as soon as they make even a few bucks off the game and so they want to keep working on the inferno level at all times. Obviously, the game is based on progression and nobody wants to go backwards. In this case, helping a friend can cost you money because you could be getting loot or reaching a higher act, which leads to more loot. [...]

Wolverine

The problem with the NES iteration of Wolverine is that the concept itself, of taking a popular license character and producing a below-average game with him or her as the starring vehicle, was not original at all. However, the parts of this game that are “innovative” are dreadful aspects, like having Wolverine’s claws damage him as they are used. This video game actually would have been much better had it been a little simpler: Have Wolverine’s claws out at all times without being self-damaging, fix the hit-detection oddities, and voila, a decent platformer. Instead, we have a very “meh” game that could be worth some replay value as a very challenging action title, but still only merits one and a half stars out of five. [...]

Oil’s Well

I thought I’d let you know just what a visually stunning, additively fun and mostly forgotten little gem this 1990 Sierra production is. Well, it is, and its VGA version for our ageing DOS boxes is most probably the best arcade/puzzler this developer ever came up with, though admittedly they did have to remake its earlier 1983 version. Oh, and it would be fair to call this one abandonware. Have a play/look. [...]

Fans, Get Ready for Spec Ops: The Line

The first two games released in the 90s, Spec Ops: Rangers Lead the Way and Spec Ops: Ranger Team Bravo, were well-received and won plenty of fans. The latest version has voice work by Nolan North who has featured as many different characters over the years including Dead Pool in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Nathan Drake in Uncharted and Desmond in the Assassin’s Creed series. He is a charismatic voice actor who lends a lot of believability to the character of Captain Martin Walker. [...]

Diablo 3 plus Castlevania

Diablo 3 is a lot of fun, perhaps not a 10-year wait fun, but fun nonetheless. While playing the beginning cathedral I really felt a Castlevania vibe going on so I decided to load up my MP3 player with songs from Super Castlevania and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. I had a lot of fun killing demons to that music so I decided to upload a little of my gameplay. [...]

Joust

The object of the game is to get through as many levels/points as you can, and like most arcade games, there is no true end. With one joystick to move your bird, and one button to flap the ostrich’s wings, you need to lance all of your other flying opponents. The faster you “flap”, the faster your knight will rise, then use gravity to lower yourself. Unlike most games, where you can start and stop on a dime, Joust tries to add a little realism….if you can just get past the original concept, of course. Wave after wave of knights appear, and you take them down by hitting them with your lance just a little higher than theirs. If vice-versa, you lose a life. After you hit them, they turn into a huge egg, which will bounce around the floating rock platforms, but eventually stop. Running over these eggs gives you bonus points and is essential, because eventually they will “hatch” new riders and remount. [...]

First Steps: Tera Online

The gameplay reminds me of a mix between a point and click and a traditional MMO and having various spells and abilities right out the gate makes the game fun. You will need to hit the alt or escape key to bring up your mouse pointer to do things like read your spells or change your quick buttons. It is also a good idea to read what the spells do because some are range attacks while others are not. As for your basic attack you can just hold the left mouse button down and the spell will continue firing, [...]

The Gamers Guide to Sex

Surprise sex can be fun when it is wanted and legal. However, with the gamer it can go 50/50. Here are a few examples. You are playing a console game and your girlfriend is frisky and begins pushing your buttons. It is a simple matter to pause the game and have a little non-digital fun. On the flip side, you are in the middle of your StarCraft 2 tournament match and your boyfriend is poking at your boobs. This is a bad time and will most likely get you yelled at and a faction loss, which might result in no sex even once she is done with her game. [...]

Mechwarrior 4 Mercenaries

Basically in this game you run a startup mercenary company that was sponsored by one of the big mercenary companies such as Wolf’s Dragoons. You can pick different sponsors and will get perks throughout the game based on who your boss is. Wolf’s Dragoons, for instance, give you access to Clan technology all throughout the game. The game consists of you managing your mercs in between you doing missions. You have to manage the nubmer of mechs, pilots, weapons you have, and everything costs money to run. All damage taken in missions takes time and money to fix so you have to keep extra mechs so when your best mechs are damaged you get to use your backups while repairs happen. [...]

Dylan Barker: Cadenza Interactive

Making games is hard, particularly for people who grew up immersed in gaming culture. Your first forays into development never live up to your standards, because despite having ideas about what makes a good game, experience and understanding with actually making games is critical. Our first game, Sol Survivor, ended up being a fun game, but in a way it has exposed for me just how little I knew at the time about making games. I’m encouraged, though, by hearing other creatives (in this case Ira Glass) talk about that blow to the creative ego. The only way to move past it is to never stop creating. For every hundred things you create, you’re lucky to find one that’s great. The thing that separates game design success from failure is the ability to iterate; there are no “silver bullets.” [...]

Bomb Jack Twin

Appearing some six years after Elite’s franchise-destroying game, Bomb Jack Twin took the gameplay back to the basics, but made one vital addition – a two player mode. Yes, that’s right – joining in with Bomb Jack’s bomb-collecting tomfoolery this time is a female Bomb-collector (Bomb Jill?) and together they must once again save the world’s landmarks and cities from… actually, did we ever find out who was responsible? Anyway, the stages here are basically polished-up copies of those found in the first game with one exception – they’re a lot harder! It appears, therefore, that rather than merely offering the option of a two-player, this game is designed to be played that way. [...]

Civilization V: Gods & Kings Trailer

World Domination: The fight for world domination is more dynamic than ever. Gods & Kings features a reworked combat system and AI that places more emphasis on a balanced army composition. Additionally, the navy is now split into two different ship types, melee and ranged, making coastal cities vulnerable to a surprise naval attack. Enhanced Diplomacy and Espionage: Establish embassies at foreign courts for closer ties or clandestine operations. As the religions of the world start settling in and the world moves into the Renaissance, spies can be unlocked to establish surveillance of foreign cities, steal advanced technologies from your strongest competitors, or garner influence with City-States through election rigging, or even a coup. [...]

Torben Larsen: Cope-Com

Cope-Com was founded in 1987 by Martin Pedersen and Torben Larsen with the aim of making great Amiga computer games. With the award-winning game titles Hybris and Battle Squadron they successfully proved the capabilities of the Amiga home computer. Martin Pedersen started out with a ZX81 (actually an upgraded ZX80) in 1982 and later switched over to the ZX Spectrum, which was eventually exchanged with an Amstrad. In 1985 he did the game “The Vikings” for the Amstrad. At the same time Torben Larsen was doing the graphics for the same game on the Commodore 64. This was how the two met. [...]

Pirate Games: Pokemon Stadium

The game consists of two modes, arcade mode and vs mode. I’m sure you can tell what these do but just in case you don’t know, arcade mode is like the story mode where you will do battle against the computer until you defeat all the pokemon. Vs mode is the mode to play against your friend and works the same way except the game won’t get you anywhere. The way to win in this game is quite simple. You power up your pokemon for an attack, when the power meter builds up you’ll be ready to attack. There are attacks that uses your whole power meter so you won’t be able to use them unless you are at your max. If your opponent gets to attack first, you’ll have two options to choose from. [...]

X-Men for Android

Right off the bat I loved that the game was polished a little extra for the HD screens found on many android phones. The game looks clean and clear while staying true to its classic roots. You can select from the same six members of the X-Men and their controls, moves and powers are all the same. The joystick is not as good as I would like, but those used to playing with touch pad controls will not have too much of an issue. The video and sound is the same as the arcade cabinet and there is Wi-Fi multiplayer as well as leaderboards, however, you have to use Open Feint, which I do not care for. In addition, there is no cross-platform multiplayer so no playing with your Apple friends. [...]

Wizard of Wor

Wizard of Wor is a timeless classic. Game play is simple – one or two players, known as Worriors, move around a variety of line-drawn dungeons (mazes), shooting the creatures that wander within. These creatures, or Worlings (Burwors, Garwors and Thorwors), are eliminated so that the player progresses to an even harder dungeon. On each of these levels, there are bonus monsters, called Worluks, and occassionaly, the Wizard makes a special guest appearance – see The Dungeons of Wor. [...]

PSone Classics coming to the Vita

For those of you who already have PSone classics on your PS3 all you will need to do is connect your Vita to your PS3 or you can connect directly to the PlayStation Network and transfer your classic games. As said, if you don’t own a PSone classic and want to play it on your Vita you will have unrestricted access to it. Every game in the current PSone catalog will be available. [...]

Goin’ Out West: Running the gauntlet at E3 2012

A great surprise came to me this morning as me and Walter Day met up at the Nintendo booth along with Guinness World Records’ Gaz Deaves to present Isaiah Triforce Johnson with awards for his successful attempts at being the first-in-line to purchase numerous Nintendo consoles at launch. The surprise came in the form of Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime along with a photo op alongside him. Quite a hard fellow to get to, it was a fun thing to happen to me, even if the photos I saw later claimed I was Gaz Deaves. I can’t quite imagine him with my haircut. [...]

Independent Adventure Games for the masses

Independent video game developers are like the artisans of yore. They aren’t wage slaves, they don’t exploit anyone else’s work, they are neither masters nor slaves, but creative people who strive for the quality of their product and don’t have to succumb to whatever ridiculous market realities managers can come up with. In short, they are to be supported, fiercely guarded even, as they’re (more or less) involuntary combating dominant modes of consumption and production. Oh, and let’s not forget the fine games the indy/bedroom developers have historically come up with. Games like Another World, Skool Daze, Darwinia, Simon the Sorcererand countless others that are all the proof you should ever need… [...]

Cosplay: E3 2012

A buffet for the eye’s, ears and the mind. E3 is sensory overload on a massive scale. From the thousands of HDTV screens to the lovely booth babes, it is the place to be. Unfortunately, we did not make it there this year, but we are planning to make an appearance at ComicCon and Pax. For now, enjoy some images of Cosplayers and Booth babes. [...]

Loom

Bobbin Threadbare, the aforementioned only surviving member of the Guild of Weavers, must learn the ways of his craft. This is not a simple adventure game; players don’t simply point and click their way to the grand finale. In LOOM, magic is music and music is magic. Bobbin can cast spells, but only as musical sequences on the C Major scale, and only if he possesses his “distaff,” a combination walking stick and wizard’s staff. Much of the game revolves around Bobbin seeking new “drafts” – the magical musical sequences – for him to use in his quest to save the universe from a “grey strand” that has unbalanced creation. [...]

Star Raiders

Ships will appear as you reach their grid quadrant, but seem to just randomly appear. Sometimes, the only way you know they are there is when they shoot you. When this happens, there is the typical 2600 sound-effects, but cool red flickering to let you know you have taken damage. You can repair and replenish your constantly-draining energy. Keep your close eye on the energy numbers dwindling at the bottom of the screen, because if it gets to zero…game over. [...]

Sigma Star

The gameplay is quite enjoyable. The main idea of the game is to fly with your ship and shoot down other ships. In the process, you gain experience and eventually level up. This is very important as you will make your ship more powerful as you level up. The game works as an RPG since you walk around exploring different areas when you are suddenly summoned to your ship in order to battle a swarm of enemies. Once you defeated all of them, you are sent back to where you were in your mission. The game develops quite well and keeps you interested in a story involving a soldier betrayed by his own people only to join forces with the enemy. There is a lot more to it that I don’t want to spoil as usual. [...]

Gyruss

The majority of the obstacles to victory consist of groupings of enemies that fly in, dance around in some form of pattern, then make their way to the middle of the screen. Much like Galaga, a handful of groupings will all form together, and should be dealt with before they begin coming back and dive-bombing toward the player. In fact, similar to other shooters such as even Sky Shark, shooting down all the crafts in a particular squadron before they reach the middle garners bonus points. [...]

ASO: Armored Scrum Object

There are eight different collectible armors altogether and aside from a shield they are all offensive including more powerful cannons, super-missiles, and energy beams, right up to a powerful smart-bomb style attack. Using any of them will deplete your energy and they only last for a limited amount of time or number of shots, plus some are better in certain situations than others, so strategic use is advised! There are many other icons to be found too – twenty in total, amazingly – and even one of my sizable reviews isn’t big enough to go into all of them, but suffice to say it’s possible to upgrade and downgrade your ship’s various attributes and, mercifully, there are also icons that let you keep your various power-ups after a life is lost, one each for speed, lasers, and missiles. [...]

Weird Games: Zombie Nation

Released in 1990 for the NES by KAZe, Zombie Nation follows the story of an alien named, Darc Seed, (See what they did there?) that fell to earth on a meteor. Unfortunately, the meteor fell right smack in the middle of the Nevada desert, (See what they did there?).Then the alien used magnetic rays to turn everyone in the United States to zombies. [...]

Crystalis

This week I have one of my favorite picks period. Crystalis is the equivalent of an upgraded Zelda title. The game itself is jam packed with action around every corner. The story line is also very interesting since it takes place in the not so far future. The year is 1997, now back in the NES era this would have made more sense since we were in the early 90s but nowadays it doesn’t make much sense since the year has passed and well, just saying they should have made it the year at least 3000. Lets move on, the game is only one of few Zelda-clones which there weren’t many to begin with(The only other one being Faria as far as I know). SNK learned well on how to apply the Zelda-like mechanics. [...]