Did you know: MegaMan X and Guns N Roses

megaman x5- guns n roses

Did you know: MegaMan X and Guns N Roses

New series that hopefully will add some super geek knowledge to your classic gaming history database. Here we will inform you on the little facts and tidbits about classic games that you might not have known about.

This week we ask, did you know MegaMan X and Guns N Roses have something in common? You may or may not know that a good deal of classic video game tracks were based on songs that the game maker or music composer liked. In some instances if you listen closely and have a comparative track, you can even directly hear the similarity in the songs.

In MegaMan X3 if you listen to the Neon Tiger Stage you will discover that it sounds a lot like the Guns N Roses song, My Michelle.

[mp3j track=”Guns-N-Roses-My-Michelle.mp3″]

[mp3j track=”Mega-Man-X3-Neon-Tiger-Stage.mp3″]

alysoncourt

It seems that the love of Guns N Roses must have been big because in MegaMan X5 most of the bosses are named after their members.

Axle the Red is Axl Rose, Duff McWhalen is Duff McKagen, Izzy Glow is Izzy Stradlin and Grizzly Slash is Slash. We were curious why GnR was so prominent in X5 so we did a little research and found this explanation from Alyson Court MegaMan X5’s translator:

“Apparently the localization (text editing) I did for a Capcom game is *famous*. Er, make that infamous. Who knew? My then husband was responsible 4 text localization. He asked me 2 do it &, since he was a GnR fan, I changed the names 2b GnR references.

I didn’t know the game nor did I know how mad fans would be that I’d changed the characters’ names. But year’s later people now like it! My ex-husband had his own company, GenAzea, which did localization for many Capcom games. I did a lot of that work. At first my hubby laughed & liked it [the GnR names]. Then when fans started complaining he got mad at me. I meant well.”

I guess in the end it was not so much based on Capcom love of GnR, but we still find it interesting none the less.

If you have any facts and tidbits you’d like to see in future articles send us an e-mail. Until next time.

Obama Works It

obama-work-it

Regardless of what party you are part of or who you are voting for a good dance video is a good dance video.  Nathan Barnatt is an awesome dance no matter what mask he is wearing so enjoy this video.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFJUz1DO20Q[/youtube]

Here is the video info from Youtube

Danced, edited, directed by Nathan Barnatt
Song – “Something Good Can Work” (RAC remix) by Two Door Cinema Club
Michelle Obama – Angela Trimbur http://www.youtube.com/angela
Michelle & Barack choreography by Kathryn Burns
Body camera rig by Dan Bartolucci http://www.inFluxLab.com
Body rig digital clean up by Brian Garcia http://www.tacolamp.com
Steadicam op Antonio Pullano http://www.lovinlife.ca
Intro scene camera op Eric Thompson
Driver/Coordinator Ricky Mammone
Produced by Tarika Khan
Thanks to Siobhan Price
Thanks to Macy’s for the suit by bar III

Please Register to Vote http://tinyurl.com/cu8uyos

Get the song here http://tinyurl.com/8wjbyka
Two Door Cinema Club http://www.youtube.com/twodoorcinemaclub
RAC http://www.youtube.com/rac

World of Tanks 8.0 Review

 

World-of-Tanks-8.0

What is World of Tanks?

In a nutshell World of Tanks is the best tank simulator MMO out there. Think of it like a modern day Panzer Commander. They’re basically the same game except that World of Tanks is infinitely superior in every way: more units, online multiplayer, it’s free, it’s updated all the time, it has excellent support and community, etc. Then again I was comparing it to Panzer Commander which was made by the defunct SSI (Strategy Simulations Inc), which back in its day was sort of like the modern day company Paradox Interactive, who still make classic strategy games and other games that SSI would make back in the day!

If you still haven’t played World of Tanks then stop wasting your time playing stuff like Hello Kitty Online and get it here. Nothing against HKO, I play it too! If you want my advice with World of Tanks, read my World of Tanks strategy guide for beginners.

World of Tanks 8.0 Review

Chances are if you are reading this 8.0 Review you already know what WoT is, so let’s get down to what’s so good and bad about it!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWlAwC4P0rY[/youtube]

Graphics:

The game has a completely rewritten game engine that makes it look a more real than before. The graphics to me feel so much cleaner now almost like the difference from a DirectX 9 to DirectX 11 game. It’s that good of a change.

On most systems I’ve tested it, it has gained much performance. I compared it to it having the same settings. On my girlfriend’s laptop which has a really poor integrated video card by Intel, she went from getting usually 6 fps to getting 16 fps while having the game look much better. I went myself, on my 2011 main gaming PC, from getting about 35 fps on max everything to now getting 45-65 fps with the same settings.

World-of-Tanks-8.0

Physics:

No longer are we faced with invisible immortal air walls that prevent your tank from running off a cliff or a slope. Now not only can you do that if you want but you can push people off areas, or even flip them over if you run into them hard enough. Shooting, especially from a light tank will make your tank move along with the direction of the recoil. It is now possible to slide down a hill if you don’t have enough traction or the correct momentum to make it up. Tanks also now can be destroyed by putting themselves in places that they are not designed to be in, such as under water.

All this is really great but it also presents a problem because now I often, in at least every other game, see what I call “a bunch of retarded 12-year olds” do stuff like try to jump over a river then smash into it and blow up. I’ve also seen the 12-year old retards do things like try to jump fly over a bridge that is 200 feet high in the air and then have their tank shatter into pieces once it hits the ground. I report them because this is the kind of thing that ruins a game. To me it’s the equivalent of griefing the team such as feeding would in another game League of Legends.

If I were in charge of Wargaming, I would dramatically increase the penalty for committing suicide in the game in such an obvious way over and over to be the equivalent of team killing. Sure, the game already had team killing prevention but it’s simply not good enough to prevent all the 12 year olds from ruining the game, especially for the people playing who have spent money on the game and don’t have all day to game.

World-of-Tanks-8.0-4

Maps:

Most of the maps have been redone either to fix some annoying exploits or to take advantage of the better terrain and more destroyable features of the landscape. This in itself completely changes how you now play the game. It’s time to relearn most of the minor details of maps and that to me makes the game more interesting again!

Sound Effects:

Most of the combat sound effects have been improved to make them sound more real. All the cannons have a unique boom that’s specific to the specifications of the weapon. Armor damage, ricochet, and dings sound a lot more impressive than they did pre 8.0 Even the noises the ground makes as you drive over it and break stuff sounds a lot more real. This greatly improves my enjoyment of the game.

I wish though they would finally hire some voice actors to talk in the native language of whatever tank I am using. It’s really annoying to hear some American sounding guy saying “Well that’s gotta hurt!!!” or “Let’s move out!!!” as I use my German, French, or Russian tanks. Fix it! The quick fix would be just to remove the voice that’s there right now. I’d rather hear just the sounds of warfare than this guy talking!

world_of_tanks_8.0-1

Conclusion:

This is the best update I’ve ever seen for World of Tanks. Wargaming really keeps me coming back to this game with the monthly updates as well as the promise of World of Warplanes and World of Warships. Since the games will eventually share your unified account, it’s not a big deal to grind on World of Tanks since I know one day I will be sharing my XP, Credits, and Gold with my other “World of (blank)” accounts!

Top 5 Movies Based on Video Games

Top 5 Movies Based on Video Games

The film industry is always looking for the next big thing.  Film execs gain the rights to make movies based on novels, children’s stories, and comic books.  One source that on the surface seems to have incredible synergy with Hollywood is the video game industry.  Games have already benefited from using Hollywood-style production values, including professional actors and actresses for both voice and live parts.  You’d think that both being visual mediums would lead to incredible movies being made based upon video game properties.

But you’d be wrong.

Thus far the Hollywood video game movie selection has been mediocre at best, and laughingly dismal at worst.  Just for fun, let’s look at the best movies of the genre (all my personal opinion, of course).

Mortal Kombat movie poster

1.  Mortal Kombat. This incredibly popular fighting franchise made its way to the silver screen in 1995, bringing the Elder Gods’ martial arts tournament to life.   The film received “mixed reviews” which is a fancy way of saying some critics enjoyed the fight fest and others thought it gave a whole new definition to “suck.”  It managed to take in over $122 million worldwide, as well as spawning a sequel, so more than a few people thought it was a good movie.

Resident evil movie poster

2.  Resident Evil. A flawed but fun zombie movie based on Capcom’s horror games and starring the incredibly hot Milla Jovovich wiping out the infected workers from the top secret Hive installation controlled by the Red Queen.  Critics generally panned the film, but it grossed over $100 million worldwide and spawned two sequels (with one more to be released in September, 2010).

Silent Hill movie poster

3.  Silent Hill. This film was based on Konami’s horror game franchise, and incorporated elements from the first three games.  A few pretty decent scares and a couple of weird scenes gave this film a good vibe.  It did not receive great reviews from the critics, but scored where it counted with $97 million grossed worldwide.

Tomb Raider movie poster

4.  Tomb Raider. Angelina Jolie in tight spandex. How could this film possibly be bad?  That’s what I told myself before watching it, and afterward marveled at the film’s creators’ ability to do the impossible: make a live-action Lara Croft dud.  It still managed over $300 million worldwide, so a LOT of people must have gone into the theater with the same expectations I did.

TRON movie poster

5.  TRON.  The list is so meager that I decided to take a movie whose premise is about the video game industry and put it on this list.  And it’s a good excuse to includeTRON to the mix; it was a fun movie, and pulled in over $33 million worldwide, which wasn’t bad in 1982. End of line.

Every other video game movie was awful.  Putrid awful.  Perhaps it’s time that the industry stopped trying to translate the video game experience to the big screen, and keep going on as many comic book properties they can lay their greedy little hands on.  After all, given the choice, I’d rather watch Batman: Dark KnightSpider-Man or Iron Man than the very best the video game movie genre has to offer.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

Overall Rating: 2/5 Stars

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes - NES - Gameplay Screenshot

In the 1970’s, the first of a series of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes flicks was released, providing a send-up of classic B-movie horror films. Years later, kids would enjoy an animated series. Then, in the 1990’s, the 8-bit Attack of the Killer Tomatoes video game was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System console. Published by somewhat notorious gaming company THQ in 1992, with development work by Imagineering Inc., this was a one-player platformer based on the cartoon.

Gameplay

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes - NES - Gameplay Screenshot

The player controls Chad Finletter, the only resident in the town of San Zucchini courageous enough to fight the killer tomatoes. This game features the classic platformer controls: A jumps, hold B to dash (on levels 3 and later, which is bizarre), the directional buttons move back and forth. The enemies, for the most part, consist of a variety of different sized tomatoes, along with creatures such as bats, spiders, worms, little pudgy-shaped things, etc. The only attack is to jump on enemies, but the jumps must be exactly on the head or midsection of a foe to defeat it, demanding precision-jumping not only to traverse levels but to beat the baddies.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes - NES - Gameplay Screenshot

There are some mini-boss battles in which the player engages the larger, named tomatoes, such as Tomacho, Beefsteak, Fang, etc., along with unique stages such as the main mad scientist boss not being fightable but conjuring a wave of enemies instead, or the mysterious hooded figure who plays a sewer organ that Chad must destroy one pipe at a time with rocks (yeah, hooded figure playing a pipe organ in the sewers, right).

Otherwise, this is a fairly typical platformer ‘” much of it is very linear, moving left or right, avoiding or defeating enemies, interacting with certain background elements like switches and the cliche acid drop in the sewers, etc. This is an average title, made less-than-average by some odd design choices, such as levels three, five, and the “bonus” level post-credits being maze-like, making them painful and unenjoyable to navigate.

Graphics

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes - NES - Gameplay Screenshot

The visuals may actually be the high point of the game. The backgrounds are colorful, the animations are smooth, there are few clipping/slowdown issues, certain background elements are animated, the characters look distinctive, and many sprites are handled at once. A couple highlights are the lighting effects under the streetlights in the first level, and the tomato-throwing effects during the opening and the credits. However, there are a couple flaws, such as the infamous switch that must be activated in one level, which reverses the gravity; while the gravity-reversing feat is always great fun on the NES when it is found, the switch very much just looks like a background element and can be easily missed.

Sound

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes - NES - Gameplay Screenshot

The music is nicely layered, playing a few “instruments” at once, and at decent melodic complexity and pace. But after a while, it does grow stale. This would be forgivable, except for one insane soundtrack choice the developers made that really strikes this cartridge down for enjoyment factor: Moving makes noise. In other words: There is a sound effect for just moving the character across the ground; not only is this remarkably unnecessary, but can only be found as annoying.

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

Originality

Overall, this is another one of those platformers in which more effort was put into its presentation of a license than actual gameplay, much like the Simpsons games (Bart Vs. The World, Bart Vs. The Space Mutants, etc.) or Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six. Actually, those are very apt comparisons with several similarities: Background music that can haunt your sleep if gameplay lasts too long, oddly unintuitive jumping mechanics, potential confusion in navigating certain levels, questionable hit detection, and other issues. Nonetheless, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is a worthy challenge for retro NES fans, and is at least fairly short, being just a handful of stages. A word of warning: Look out for the floating robotic arm and spark thing. Otherwise, this squashes two stars out of five.

MegaMan X3

Megaman x3 - snes - gameplay screenshot

So it’s time for another pick of the week even though it’s a little late but we’ll keep them coming along steadily. This time around we have Mega Man X3 for the SNES. The game itself is the final release in the SNES trilogy of the X series and in my opinion, the toughest one of them all. You may not get a hadoken or a fire punch like in previous games but you’ll get whatever you need to get the job done. Read on!

Capcom has always been known for having such great soundtracks in their games and this one is like the others. The music is memorable and has its classic Capcom bits all over it. You’ll enjoy this soundtrack as much as the previous X games.
Megaman x3 - snes - gameplay screenshot
The graphics are a little disappointing as they look exactly like the first X game graphics! Even with the help of the FX chip, this game wasn’t able to showcase much better graphical interface. I’m not saying I’m disappointed as Capcom and Mega Man games have always had that similarities on their sequels which is that they don’t change much over their releases. The gameplay is king of these series anyways.
Megaman x3 - snes - gameplay screenshot
The X games gave new life to an already used to Mega Man series. This time around, X can climb on walls and such which is something you didn’t see in the original Mega Man series. The game itself is challenging from beginning to end so you better bring your A-game if you want to be able to get through it. I personally think this game is the toughest one of the three in the SNES. If we talk about the rest of the releases in other consoles, well not going to get into that.
Megaman x3 - snes - gameplay screenshot
Mega Man games are always great replay value. The thing about these games is that you can get through it in one run if you know enough of the game that is. Practice makes perfect! I dare you go and play through all three X games in one sitting. I know I would if I had them! Mega Man X collection anyone?
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUlHBc_t94c[/youtube]

So to conclude, the game itself is totally worth it. You might end up paying a lot for this in its SNES form so be sure to check out cheaper alternatives like the PS2 compilation or an emulator. You can’t go wrong! Just play this great game and defeat Sigma once more!!

You’re not special for reaching max level anymore

You might get your name mentioned on a gaming website if you are truly the first, but does reaching max level in a game that is not hard to level really an achievement? Does it compare to getting the kill screen in Pac-Man or a high score in Donkey Kong? I don’t think so…~J.A. Laraque

You’re not special for reaching max level anymore

Normally I would leave the rants to Obsolete Gamer’s infamous write Umar Khan, but I had to do this after reading an article about a Borderlands 2 player who played for 43 hours straight to reach max level. Now don’t get me wrong, if you are out for setting records because it is your thing for a world record we understand, after all that’s what Twin Galaxies is all about, but there is a difference between going for a world record and just rushing to max level, especially in an MMO.

You’re not special for reaching max level anymore

Perhaps back in the early days of MMO’s like Ultima and Everquest reaching max level could earn you some props. Mainly because back then it was incredibly hard to level and no tricks, strats and early access to the game beforehand. Since then games have become incredibly easy to level in and yet there are always people trying to reach max level first.

Most are not going for an official record, it is just to say you did it, but what did you do. In World of Warcraft there would be guilds who would work in shifts to get one character to max level. In newer games like Guild Wars 2 people reached max level during early access and what do they win, nothing. Most likely someone else beat them too it and they missed out on the point of the game which is the journey not the destination.

You might get your name mentioned on a gaming website if you are truly the first, but does reaching max level in a game that is not hard to level really an achievement? Does it compare to getting the kill screen in Pac-Man or a high score in Donkey Kong? I don’t think so and for those who blew through the game and went without proper sunlight and hygiene and didn’t even become the first to reach max level are the true losers.

We have had enough people die from playing games and thousands more that really need to take a break and walk away from the keyboard. These pursuits might give one person some form of gamer rep, but overall it makes all gamers look bad. I almost wish for easy to level games we would not even recognize these people as those not officially going for records are often the first to complain about lack of endgame content or asking when the next expansion will come out 48 hours into the latest one.

Oh did I mention that Panda expansion is out, can’t wait to see who reaching level 90 first.

Do you have to be a gamer to be in the industry?

Generally my take is you have to really care about the field you focus your life on or you just won’t be the best at it. There is a difference between being good at your job and really loving it to where everything you do is a pursuit of putting out perfection. ~J.A. Laraque

Do you have to be a gamer to be in the industry?

When it comes to jobs people often put them in two categories. One is the job to pay bills and one is the career that you really work towards and care about. Obviously for just a job you can learn what is needed to do well and even excel at it, but for your career do you really have to be “all in” to do it well. More specifically, do you have to be a gamer to work in the gaming industry? Well John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment says, yes, you do.

gaming industry, gamer, john smedley, sony online entertainment, alienware

“In my opinion, people that don’t play games have no business in this business. It should be the gamers-only club, I think. I can’t stand people that don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to playing these things,” Smedley said in a recent interview.

The responses to that comment have been mixed. Some believe he is right on saying that many of the rehashed and awful games that have come out recently are the result of suits in management positions and not real gamers and people who know the community and the culture. Others had a different view saying that one can be good at their job without taking it home and with responsibilities like family, school and bills one does not always have time to be totally engulfed in their work.

Generally my take is you have to really care about the field you focus your life on or you just won’t be the best at it. There is a difference between being good at your job and really loving it to where everything you do is a pursuit of putting out perfection. I also believe it depends on the job and the community you are creating a product for. It is one thing to work in plastics and not live it 24/7, but in some industries like politics, cars and games, if you only focus on it from 9 to 5 and then walk away there will be something missing.

When I started working at Alienware there was a proud culture of gamers there. I was even asked what games I played in the interview. Now while every position within a company, even a gaming related one, does not need a gamer manning the helm it did create a company culture that really felt like we were creating the best computers for the love of video games. With that said sometimes, and for certain things, you might need an outside view. Perhaps when going into a new market or expanding overseas you might need someone with those specific skills more than a gaming background. However, I believe you still need those gamers right there to make sure the heart of your company stays intact.

Also, the wife and kids excuse is just that. There is a difference between ignoring your responsibilities and giving up everything you used to love because you started a family. Perhaps you do not play games for every waking moment when you are not at work, but it does not mean you do not have time to put in to keep fresh. Sometimes there comes a point where you might have to step aside because of your responsibilities. If you cannot put in the time there will be those that can so you can focus on what you want to, but the point is you made that change.

When it comes to games most of us understand that it can become a part of our lives in one way or another. Many gamers do struggle with dividing life with gaming, but for people in the industry it may be even more important to listen to those of us for who gaming is a major focus. Too many suits see games like fast food and just feed us the same old crap and sadly most of us eat it up. There may be great new games out there, but they do not want to take the chance on something new. This is where we as gamers have the responsibility to let people in the game industry know what we want. Only then will things change and you don’t have to be a gamer to listen to the concerns of one, but it definitely helps.

So what is your take, do you need to be an active gamer to work in the gaming industry?

Final Fantasy III Coming to PSN

Final Fantasy 3

Final Fantasy III Coming to PSN

Fans of the classic Final Fantasy series will soon be able to play FF3 on their PSP. Final Fantasy 3 was originally released in 1990 by Square and was the first of the series to offer the job system. You start out as freelancers and over time will be able to learn one of 23 different jobs.

Final Fantasy 3 - gameplay screenshot

Now there will be some enchantments for the PSP version including optimized graphics for the 16:9 screen, an image gallery, and an option to switch to the original background music. Also included will be an auto-battle system that doubles the speed of in game combat.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bh9FKDHeGAw[/youtube]

Final Fantasy III will be available Tuesday September 25th on the PlayStation Network.

Killer Instinct Comeback?

Killer-Instinct-SNES-Gameplay-Screenshot-Box

Killer Instinct Comeback

Could there be a Killer Instinct remake or sequel in the future? That is the questions being asked after it was discovered that Microsoft has renewed the trademark for the classic fighter. Killer Instinct was originally released by Rare for the SNES in 1994 and featured some incredible combo’s that you could chain together and even connect to your finisher, your ultimate. Also, in its arcade version, was one of the first games to use an internal hard disk drive alongside the games ROM. This was due to the pre-rendered sprites created with Silicon Graphics and the pre-rendered movie-like backgrounds.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dR-7TO_LD0[/youtube]

Now before you get all excited about a sequel, the original announcement came from Xbox Live so there is a good chance KI is getting a HD release for XBL Arcade. However, that is fine with us as well. We will keep on top of this and let you know when we learn more.

Weird Games: Naughty Bear

Naughty Bear - Gameplay Screenshot

Sometimes you have a bad day and it appears Bears are no different. In this game from 505 Games, we meet a Naughty Bear that does not like being cute and cuddly like the rest of the bears and as a result is shunned and made fun of. Because of being ostracized by the community Naught Bear seeks revenge on his fellow Teddy Bears and you have thousands of different ways to scare, punish and disrupt bear society.

Naughty Bear - Gameplay Screenshot

In Naughty Bear you have an entire island to explore and cause mayhem on. The island itself is divided into four parts with some sections and areas needing to be unlocked. There are a total of 28 levels on the island and tons of different objects to use and obstacles to overcome. Your job is not only to get revenge on the bears who tormented you, but also to avoid the law abiding bears who will try and stop your mischievous ways.

Naughty Bear - Gameplay Screenshot

Now the game is not just about beating up bears. There is a “Mischief Points” system where the more you scared the bears and the different ways you scare them earns you more points. Not all bears will be frightened by the same thing so you have to mix it up. This combination along with the open world model keeps the game from getting stale as you come up with new ways to cause havoc.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfznS5Rw_UQ[/youtube]

You can find Naughty Bear for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Long before the movie “Ted” this bear was naughty and the game is definitely weird.

Alien Syndrome

Alien Syndrome (1987)
By: Sega Genre: Run ‘n’ Gun Players: 1-2 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Arcade First Day Score: 96,400
Also Available For: Master System, Game Gear, Sharp X68000, NES, PC, Amiga, Atari ST, MSX, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum
Alien Syndrome-sega-arcade-gameplay-screenshot

Like many game companies in the mid-to-late 80’s, it seems almost certain that Sega were also bitten by the ‘Alien’ bug, so to speak. That is to say, they drew inspiration from the Alien movies for one (or some) of their games. The fact that this release came the year after the super-successful sequel to the classic 1979 film would tend to back up that theory as it’s a game that may seem familiar to some fans. Rather than a gound-based colony, however, it takes place in a series of seven spacecraft. These were presumably craft operated by humans but they have become overrun by hideous alien creatures of various descriptions and their human crew taken prisoner. It therefore falls to Ricky and Mary, two suspiciously Space Marine-like soldiers, to liberate each ship in succession and eradicate the alien scum that now dwells within.

Alien Syndrome-sega-arcade-gameplay-screenshot
The interior of each craft is viewed from an angled overhead perspective and usually consists of a maze-like series of corridors, rooms, or open areas linked by walkways. The human captives, or ‘comrades’, are dotted around the scrolling stages and a set number of them must be rescued (by touching them) within a pretty strict time-limit before the exit is unlocked. This inevitably leads to a much larger and more dangerous alien boss who you must shoot the crap out of before moving onto the next ship. Each stage has unique enemies, usually two different kinds, and from the second stage onwards an infinite number of them are produced by Gauntlet-like generators. Destroying these will finally stem the flow of alien filth and allow you to cleanse the stage. If you want to, that is, as the only actual requirement is to rescue those pesky comrades.
Alien Syndrome-sega-arcade-gameplay-screenshot

Blasting the idiotic aliens does take up valuable time of course, but it also makes the game a lot more fun! Each new alien encountered looks and acts differently to the last. Some can spontaneously reproduce, others chase you, but most of them are able to shoot at you. A single touch from any alien or one of their projectiles is enough to take a life from Ricky or Mary but surprisingly the aliens are just as fragile – from the first stage to the last, a single shot is all that’s required to take them out. Except for the bosses, obviously. Typically, you start the game with a pea-shooter gun which just about does the job, but its range and rate of fire is somewhat limited. There are four other weapons available, however – laser, flamethrower, napalm, and a rapid-fire cannon – which, impressively, not only have unlimited ammo but also last forever as long as you don’t lose a life.

Alien Syndrome-sega-arcade-gameplay-screenshotIt’s also possible to collect up to two small guns that follow you around and shoot backwards every time you shoot your normal weapon which can be shot in eight directions but only forward. These, and all the other weapons, can be collected from panels on the walls where you can also find bonus points and maps that show the basic layout of the stage as well as the location of the remaining comrades. Points are awarded at the end of each stage for any remaining time and for any comrades rescued beyond the quota but, if you’re like me, you probably won’t see too many of them! I usually tend to play games in a very meticulous way, trying to do everything and see everything, so I found the time limits to be quite tight. Aside from that though, Alien Syndrome isn’t an overly tough game and is actually, dare I say it, even pretty fair.
Alien Syndrome-sega-arcade-gameplay-screenshot

Part of the reason for this it that the aliens are defeated by a single shot from whichever gun you’re carrying at the time (even the one you start with) but it also helps that their movement doesn’t seem to conform to any repeating patterns. Their appearances are apparently random and their movement is seemingly dependent on your own, so your progress is pretty much just down to your own ability. Accompanying you on your refreshingly-unfrustrating mission are some tunes and sound effects which aren’t too bad, although not especially memorable, but about the only thing I don’t really like about Alien Syndrome is its graphics. It’s running on Sega’s System 16 board which I`m not hugely fond of at the best of times and this means that most of the colours used are rather pale and drab and there`s some quite unpleasant patterns used for the stage floors. That aside though, there’s little to complain about, and some of the aliens look great!
Alien Syndrome-sega-arcade-gameplay-screenshot

This is particularly true of the big and imaginative bosses and there’s quite a few different normal sprites too. The two playable characters don’t look much different and are even less different to play as but they’re not there to provide a bit of variety – they’re there to facilitate a two-player game, and they do that well. A few differences between wouldn’t have hurt anyway though, I suppose! Oh well, it’s still an enjoyable game, for one or two players, and proves to be a very addictive one as well. The stages themselves get bigger and more complicated but are never overly large or complex – this is a game that’s about fast and frantic shooting and nothing more, and with the ever-increasing hordes of aliens in the later stages, you’ll need to be precise as well as fast! It’s a shame it doesn’t look a bit nicer but if you can handle the offensive patterns, this is a game that’s aged well.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1jkQ-NM1UE[/youtube]

RKS Score: 7/10

David Crane speaks on the triumphs and pitfalls of his multi-decade career

David Crane

The first video game boom period of the late 1970s and early 1980s created many superstars that are still known today, from the hardworking Mario to the still-hungry Pac-Man. It also saw a handful of game designers reach the superstar level themselves, including David Crane.

Starting his career with Atari on titles including Canyon Bomber and Outlaw for the Atari Video Computer System, Crane was among the founding members of Activision in 1979. Since that time, Crane has been the driving force behind game titles that made an impact on several generations of gaming, from Pitfall! to NES cult-classic A Boy and His Blob to the controversial Night Trap.

The original Pitfall!, which just reached it’s 30th anniversary, was a literal game changer according to Crane.

“Even during development, we knew we had something special,” he said. “The platformer game genre opened up worlds of new games. In fact, there were hundreds of platform games developed after Pitfall! blazed the trail through the jungle. When the game held the number one spot on Billboard‘s chart for 64 consecutive weeks, a record that I don’t think has ever been broken, we knew the game had legs.”

Today, three decades after it’s release, Pitfall! is among the classic video game titles still found on t-shirts and modern console releases. Crane states that this was not something that he considered the future would hold.

“I would have never predicted the classic gaming movement where people continue to play their favorite games 30 years later and who bring in a new generation by exposing their kids to the classics,” he stated. “Sure, we tweaked the games to a fine point and we felt those games were the best games on the market at the time, but it still surprises me when classic gaming enthusiasts tell me that for pure game play, modern games fail to live up to the standards we set back in the day.”

A Boy and His Blob, Crane’s 1989 title for the Nintendo Entertainment System, began as a tool-using adventure game concept. After recalling a cartoon character creation from his childhood, Crane altered the game’s toolkit into that character.

“When I try to explain the concept and story of A Boy and His Blob people look at me like I have two heads,” Crane said. “As the explanation goes on they become sure of it, ‘So… after collecting all of the underground treasures, the Boy spends it all on vitamins? Then he turns his Blob into a rocket and flies to Blobonia where he vanquishes an evil king with a Vitablaster? Are you insane or just on drugs?’ I assure them that I am indeed sane, and that my drug of choice is peanut M&M’s”

In the decades since Crane’s early success, the video game industry has grown to include various publishing levels. The veteran game designer notes that modern publishers should take notes from the history of the industry.

“In the eighties games were published on ROM cartridges. That was a huge barrier to entry, requiring hundreds of thousands of dollars to publish a single game,” he said. “In the mid-eighties there was a crash, brought on by 30 companies trying to cash in on Activision’s success but without quality games. By 1985 there were 20 bad games on the market for every good game. Consumers were lost.”

“Today there is no barrier to entry,” he added. “Anyone with $99 can pay Apple to publish a game, which explains why there are 100,000 games in the App store. One on hand the optimist will say that this makes it possible for indie developers to make something fabulously new and original. The pessimist points out that there are 1,000 bad or derivative games for every one jewel. Games in the eighties sold for $40; that indie designer who makes the jewel is lucky to net 40 cents on every game he sells. That is not enough to sustain a game development business, so it becomes unlikely we will ever see a second jewel from that designer.”

“The industries of then and now couldn’t be more different,” he continued. “But today’s glut of bad, derivative, or just plain indifferent games has some similarities to the conditions in 1985. Back then that glut precipitated a major crash in the business and it took years for the video game to regain it’s popularity. Hard to say if that will happen again, but those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.”

Crane recently turned to Kickstarter in an effort to create a new Jungle Adventure game as a follow-up to his 1982 classic. The project failed to catch on enough to reach it’s goal, however, despite Crane’s hope that supporters would like to be part of the game development process.

“Ask any game publisher if they would like the e-mail address of everybody that is going to buy a game before the game is published,” he said. “That could be a valuable resource for those times where the designer is struggling with game options. I suspect that my Kickstarter project didn’t get traction because the masses are not ready to commit to a game until they know what it is. Those that understood what I was hoping to achieve backed it enthusiastically, and went out as evangelists to try and recruit others.”

After 35 years in the video game industry, Crane states that he will continue to be part of it for some time to come.

“I design and program games every day,” he said. “I have been compared to Charles Schulz, who drew the Peanuts cartoons every day of his life for 50 years. By that analogy I have at least 15 good years left. I am comfortable in the fact that I know how to make games fun, and that is what keeps me going.”

Sword of Fargoal 2 Revamps Classic c64 game

Sword of Fargoal 2 has got a kickstarter. Although the game is almost 80% complete they just need a little help to finished the game off. The Kickstarter campaign is there to help that last 20% run as smoothly as possible, adding new animation, music, graphics and features to the game.

Sword of Fargoal 2

It is a sequel to the original Sword of Fargoal which was as a dungeon crawler for the Commodore 64. It featured random dungeon generation, permadeath and an absolutely monstrous challenge for players to take on. It has been listed as one of the top 8-bit games of all time.

Sword of Fargoal was remade for iOS and Mac OS by developer Paul Pridham (who created Saucelifter and the upcoming Punch Quest), Emmy award-winning animator Charlie Canfield, and noted British composer Daniel Pemberton (LittleBIGPlanet) to bring the game back. The remake won numerous awards, including “Best Retro Game (iPad division)” for the “2010 Best App Ever Awards” (“Sword of Fargoal Legends,” published by Chillingo/EA). Fargoal has even been recognized by the Guinness World Records 2012, Gamer’s Edition as “Most critically acclaimed ‘Roguelike’ for iOS”.

Sword of Fargoal 2 screenshot

Sword of Fargoal 2 will be for Mac/PC/Linux/iOS (and Android of they make enough money). It will have all new level types and dungeon textures with more spells. More monsters. More traps. Better graphics. More music. Animation. New characters types. New quests. A new dungeon-generation system, and much more.

Funding ends Oct 13, 2012 so go and fund their kickstarter now.

Contra: Hard Corps

 

contra-hard-corps-gameplay-screenshot

Contra: Hard Corps

Let me start by saying that while this is a true, crazy Contra game, Hard Corps was a bit of a disappointment.
The good parts: You can play as 4 different characters, which would be great for the replay value….if it were possible to actually finish the game the first time.

contra-hard-corps-gameplay-screenshot
The graphics are absolutely beautiful (as expected); there are some cool cut-scenes; heat-seeking-missile guns are always a good thing; there’s enough variation in bad-guys to make it interesting; the bosses are many and very well designed……

contra-hard-corps-gameplay-screenshot
Here’s the problem: Where the earlier Contra games (arcade and console) are notorious for their difficulty and 1-hit kills, at least there is a high fun-factor in overcoming the challenges and looking for the patterns…. Hard Corps does not have this. Here’s why:

contra-hard-corps-gameplay-screenshot
Whenever you shoot something, which is constantly, your enemy explodes in a beautiful shower of fireballs. The problem……..it’s so huge and bright, you’re constantly being cheap-killed by a stray bullet!!! The normal dexterity needed to play these games are normally reserved for AD&D 2nd Edition Thieves (Yep, I’m old). I get that. But, when you can’t see what you’re trying to dodge, it just takes all the fun out it. I’m not freaking Daredevil! (2nd nerd drop..I’m done)

contra-hard-corps-gameplay-screenshot
If you’re a fan of this genre, or a Contra completist…go for it. It has all the juicy goodness of awesome weapons, cool music, huge bosses, robots, and great controls. But for me, I’m going back to Contra III, for the SNES….and that’s saying something, because I’ve always been a ‘Sega over Nintendo’ guy.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfwnSPK48TU[/youtube]

Overall: 6/10 solo 7/10 co-op

Must watch video gaming documentaries

Seldom do video gamers get any mass produced video games related programs. But, the few that have been made and released, should be added to any self respecting video gamers library. The three video games based documentaries that are a must watch are:

Tetris - From Russia with Love

Tetris: From Russia with Love

Synopsis: Fortunes were made and lawsuits fought as Tetris swept the world in the 1980s and killed a million conversations. But 20 years after the creation of this technological phenomenon, its inventor Alexey Pajitnov is only just beginning to make any money.

Released: 2004

iMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0409371/
website: BBC Four

Chasing Ghosts - Beyond the Arcade
Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade

Synopsis: In 1982, at the dawn of the video-game age, the world’s giants of gaming gathered together in a now-legendary meeting at Iowa’s Twin Galaxies arcade. This documentary from director Lincoln Ruchti looks at the players then and now, offering an insightful and nostalgic look at the history of gaming fanaticism.

Released: 2007

iMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0479879/
website: http://www.chasingghoststhemovie.com/

The King of Kong - A Fistful of Quarters
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Synopsis: The King of Kong follows the exploits of the two best Donkey Kong players in America, the cocky and current world record holder, Billy Mitchell, and the challanger, the ever gracious, Steve Wiebe.

Released: 2007

iMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0923752/
website: http://www.newline.com/properties/kingofkongtheafistfulofquarters.html

Lady – Twerk

Lady - Twerk
Lady – Twerk

Now yes, it might be easy to love strippers simply because they”re eye candy but do they still do the job for you when you know they”re smiling at you, taking your money just so they can go buy baby formula? ;-]

Hey, don”t hate, it could be worse… it could be Nicki Minaj!

Lady – Twerk lyrics

HE LIKE IT WHEN I MAKE THIS ASS VIBRATE (TWERK)
BEND IT OVER MAKE MAKE THIS THANG SHAKE (TWERK)
HE LIKE IT WHEN I MAKE THIS ASS VIBRATE (TWERK)
BEND I OVER MAKE MAKE THIS THANG SHAKE

HE LIKE IT WHEN I TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
SO IMMA TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
IMMA TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
YEAH I”M GON TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
HE LIKE IT WHEN I TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
SO IMMA TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
IMMA TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
YEAH I”M GON TWERK IT (TWERK IT)

IMMA MAKE IT POP (TWERK)
BEND THIS THANG OVER
I CAN”T EVEN LIE, I CAN DO THIS WHEN I”M SOBER
IMMA MAKE IT BOUNCE, JUST LIKE I TOLD YA
YOU CAN”T GET A DANCE, NIGGA I DON”T EVEN KNOW YA

I HIT THAT DANCE FLOOR AND SHAKE IT THEN THE NIGGAS STARE
A COUPLE MINUTES, THAT”S THE MONEY GOING IN THE AIR
I SHAKE THIS ASS SIDE TO SIDE, I SHAKE IT EVERYWHERE
MAKE IT VIBRATE, GOT THIS ASS GOIN” EVERYWHERE

HE LIKE IT WHEN I MAKE THIS ASS VIBRATE (TWERK)
BEND IT OVER MAKE MAKE THIS THANG SHAKE (TWERK)
HE LIKE IT WHEN I MAKE THIS ASS VIBRATE (TWERK)
BEND I OVER MAKE MAKE THIS THANG SHAKE

HE LIKE IT WHEN I TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
SO IMMA TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
IMMA TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
YEAH I”M GON TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
HE LIKE IT WHEN I TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
SO IMMA TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
IMMA TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
YEAH I”M GON TWERK IT (TWERK IT)

I CAN MAKE IT POP, LOCK, DROP, VIBRATE, playertatilah TWERK
I DON”T KNOW ABOUT HER, BUT I CAN MAKE THIS ASS WORK
HE ASKED ME, CAN I DO A SPLIT? YEP, I CAN DO IT
I HAD A COUPLE IN ME NOW I”M REALLY GETTING TO IT
AND WHEN I”M IN A SPLIT I CAN MAKE THIS ASS JUMP
I MAKE THIS ASS JUMP EVERY TIME THE BEAT BUMP
NOW FOR THE GRAND FINALE, I SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST
YOU KNOW IT”S HEAD DOWN PUSSY POPPING HAND STAND

HE LIKE IT WHEN I MAKE THIS ASS VIBRATE (TWERK)
BEND IT OVER MAKE MAKE THIS THANG SHAKE (TWERK)
HE LIKE IT WHEN I MAKE THIS ASS VIBRATE (TWERK)
BEND I OVER MAKE MAKE THIS THANG SHAKE

HE LIKE IT WHEN I TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
SO IMMA TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
IMMA TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
YEAH I”M GON TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
HE LIKE IT WHEN I TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
SO IMMA TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
IMMA TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
YEAH I”M GON TWERK IT (TWERK IT)

ALL THEM BITCHES ON THE DANCE FLOOR, I LET THEM GET THEY TIME
CAUSE ONCE I HIT THE FLOOR I”M TAKIN” EVERYBODYS SHINE
DO I WORK AT MAGIC CITY, NO, I SHOULD THOUGH (TWERK IT)
NICKNAME IS “MAKE THEM NIGGAS MONEY BLOW”
NOW IMMA DROP IT TO THE FLOOR AND JUST MAKE IT POP
STAY IN THE SAME POSITION AND JUST LET IT POP
MY ASS IS “STUPID WILD” THIS DANCE IS STUPID SICK
THE BEST THING ABOUT IT, I CAN DO IT ON A DICK

HE LIKE IT WHEN I MAKE THIS ASS VIBRATE (TWERK)
BEND IT OVER MAKE MAKE THIS THANG SHAKE (TWERK)
HE LIKE IT WHEN I MAKE THIS ASS VIBRATE (TWERK)
BEND I OVER MAKE MAKE THIS THANG SHAKE

HE LIKE IT WHEN I TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
SO IMMA TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
IMMA TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
YEAH I”M GON TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
HE LIKE IT WHEN I TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
SO IMMA TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
IMMA TWERK IT (TWERK IT)
YEAH I”M GON TWERK IT (TWERK IT)

Mini Stick: The Joystick for Gamers Review

Mini Stick - Image

If you are an avid PC gamer you might already be comfortable using the W-A-S-D or the arrow keys for control and moment in games, but for newer PC gamers and retro gaming enthusiasts this little invention could be right up your alley. The Mini Stick is a small joystick that you can attach to your arrow control keys using Velcro pads and because of its design you have the same range of movement you would have with a normal sized joystick like the classic Atari controller.

Mini Stick - Image

Now I personally used to use a funky control setup for playing PC games just due to not liking to use the W-A-S-D keys or the arrow keys. Over time I got used to the traditional set keys so switching to using the Mini Stick took time to get used too. Also, for typing and depending on how you move your hands around your keyboard you might find yourself bumping into it. However, this is easily solved by removing the joystick since it is connected using Velcro pads. By the way I did see if having the little Velcro pads left behind on the keyboard was bothersome and it was not.

Mini Stick - Image

Setting up is simple. You have the Velcro pads already attached to the Mini Stick and then three Velcro stickers to attach to your Up, Left and Right keys. Just make sure you secure the stickers well and press down when attaching the Mini Stick. With it installed I played some emulators first and the Mini Stick worked great in games like Mappy, Pac-Man, Alien Syndrome and 1942. I then tried out Guild Wars 2 and while using the mouse or a gamepad still proved overall better, the Mini Stick performed well and I found myself using it more and more.

Mini Stick - Image

Now keep in mind that you cannot be rough on the Mini Stick like you would an arcade joystick that is not the idea here. I did try the joystick between the ring and middle fingers move and it worked for a bit, but if you pull to hard it can come unattached. Where it worked wonders was with my sister who is not a big PC gamer, but is good at console games. She loved the Mini Stick and said it made playing PC games easier and more fun.

Mini Stick - Image

Overall for keyboard and arrow key games the Mini Stick gets an A+ and makes our Totally Not Obsolete category. At only 10 dollars, the Mini Stick is a great bargain and would make a great stocking stuffer with the holidays coming up. You can check out more on the Mini Stick on the official website.

Mini Stick - Image

Booth Babes 2012

It has been a while since we have profiled booth babes on Obsolete Gamer. This years conventions featured a ton of great booth babes from E3, CES, PAX and more. So check these out and tell us which one you like the best.

 

Beauty and the BEAT!

beauty-and-the-beat-parody

This obviously is

a spoof of Beauty and the Beast from Disney done ghetto style. Truly a best of the internet candidate. Check out how many internet stars you can find in this video.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0Rau01wbeo[/youtube]

Here are the lyrics:

Belle:
Little town, it”s a quiet village
Every day like the one before
Little town, full of little people
Waking up to say…

People of the Hood:
What”s good, What”s good, What”s good, What”s good
Get yo tail out the street

Belle:
There go Bonquesha she wit Trey like always
He”s on the downlow I can tell
Every morning just the same, since the morning that we came
To this busted ratchet town

CLEETUS:
Good morning Belle

Belle:
Good morning Cleetus.

CLEETUS:
Where you going?

Belle:
The weave shop! I just saw the most wonderful style it”s an up do with some finger waves and some micro braids….

CLEETUS:
That”s nice…Patrice, where my brownies, hurry up

IMAN:
Hey little mama can I get them digits
So I can hit you on yo cell, yo let me get it though

HATER GIRL:
Her beauty ain”t all that!

IMAN:
But her booty is real fat

IMAN/HATER GIRL:
No denyin” she a boogie girl that Belle

STREET LADY:
What”s good?

KEITH:
What it do?

STREET LADY:
How is yo Mama “nem!

BELLE:
Bonjour

GLOZELL:
What You Call Me?

BELLE:
How is your wife?

HUNGRY LADY:
I need 6 legs

CHEAP LADY:
Uh-uh, that”s too expensive

BELLE:
There must be more than this old hood rat life!

LaWasha & LaDrya:
Look there she go, she think she got that good hair
Girl that”s a lace-front I can tell.

LaWasha:
Where she get that ugly dress?

Miles Jai:
Cause she look a crusty mess!

LaWasha & LaDrya:
Cause she really is a boogie girl that Belle! Mmm.

Belle:
Oh, isn”t this a hot mess
Who would name their first-born Blue Ivy?
Here”s Kim Kardash “n Kanye
Wonder if they”ll have a brand new show on BET?

Vonzell:
Well I had heard that she a chocolate chaser,
They say she like that caramel.

Shaqueeba:
She aint looking for no beast
Less he lookted like Tyrese

Random Mexican:
Very different from the rest of us

Vonzell & Shaqueeba:
Boo you ain”t like the rest of us

ALL:
Yes different from the rest of us is Belle

GUNSHOT!

Oh shit!

Jerome:
Right from the moment I had met you seent you
I said you bangin and I fell
Baby what”s it gonna be,
Tell me is you feelin me?
Cause I”m makin plans to leave my momma house.

Chicken Heads:
Look there he go, isn”t he awl that
My boo, Jerome…girl he so foine
Uh-uh, 4 real? Girl no he didn”t
If she can”t use yo” comb don”t bring her home

Chaos Section:
Eh-Eh, Mmhmm, Uh-uh, Okrrr
Yo” kitchen nappy…Girl hide yo kids
Sho nuff, Shawty, Okay, Aint nobody got time for that
Yo homie move!
Jamal, Jamel, Jaquan, Jaqual
My baby daddy (Child I don”t know, good mornting, Oh good mornting)

Belle:
There must be more than this old hoodrat life

Destorm:
If you got good credit, you can be my wife.

ALL:
Look there she go, she lookted so ridiculous
She thank she in a fury tale
Why she got her weave like that
Tell me where they do that at
She really is a boogie girl
A beauty but a boogie girl
She really is a boogie girl…….THAT BELLE

What”s good

What”s good

What”s good
What”s good

What”s good

What”s good

GLOZELL:
If you don”t get out the skreet oh I swear for God! uh uh!
Don”t make me take my shoe off!
Ooh get out a my way! Ugh!
Heffa

Deep Space Bundle: Pay What You Want for 8 Space Themed Games

deepspace-logo-backblack

In space no one can hear you bundle. In Deep Space, on the other hand, you can definitely enjoy eight excellent indie games for a pay-what-you-want price as the second bundle by Kyttaro Games , Bundle In A Box: Deep Space, was released today. It’s the only thematic bundle around, will last for 14 days and offer all games as DRM-free downloads (but not exclusively so; most games are also available on Desura and/or Steam ).

Bundle In A Box 

Bundle In A Box is a thematic pay-what-you-want gaming bundle, that helps new games debut, supports charity and directly strengthens creators via the Indie Dev Grant. As more people buy it the minimum price drops and extras get unlocked.

Game List

Space Giraffe

Space Giraffe

By Llamasoft

Jeff Minter’s Space Giraffe is an abstract action arcade style game that takes place in a succession of dizzyingly beautiful environments generated by advanced graphics synthesizers. It presents itself as a shooter, but the more you play the more you discover the hidden depths and strategies that make the gameplay satisfyingly rich and rewarding.

This is the boldest evolution of the trance-shooter, created by the company that helped to define the genre with the groundbreaking “Tempest 2000”. Expect 200 levels of trance-tastic action, beautiful abstract graphics that respond to audio input, two remixes of the same game, and deep gameplay that rewards strategic and tactical play. Space Giraffe is accessible enough to entertain a novice player, but also deep enough to satisfy the arcade expert.

Death Ray Manta

Death Ray Manta

By Rob Fearon

Death Ray Manta is an attempt at finding the videogame equivalent of the perfect 2 1/2 minute pop song. A flashing, glowing exploration of the history of arena shooters condensed into the now. It’s a game about finding and embracing the moment, celebrating everything videogame and being videogame. It’s also an arena shooter where you blow stuff up and flash lights in your face.

Because videogames.

Death Ray Manta is videogames.

Death Ray Manta also happens to be an arena shooter that knows its history. From Robotron to Llamatron to Geometry Wars and on, Death Ray Manta keeps one eye on what works, what’s worked and tries to explore it all. Quickly. In a condensed few moments of pleasure. What’s more, it is a videogame about flashing lights in your face.

Very, very, pretty lights.

The Wreckless

theWreckless

By Duct Tape Games

The Wreckless is a single player space combat simulator, with a sixteen level fully voiced campaign and a simulator that lets the player create their own custom skirmishes. The missions comprise a variety of different styles including bombing missions, dogfights against tough AI opponents and escort missions. The player can research different fighter crafts to use for each scenario, choosing different fighter/bomber combinations to compliment their own play style.

The gameplay is reminiscent of “old school” space combat games like “Tie Fighter” and “Elite” but uses modern WASD controls, some FPS conventions and does not require a joystick. Most levels are comprised of flying with a squadron of allied drones, dodging huge capital ships and stations. The Wreckless also allows players to customize the difficulty of each scenario by altering the number of crafts deployed.

Dark Scavenger

Dark Scavenger

By Psydra Games

Dark Scavenger is an adventure game that combines strategic turn-based combat with unique point-and-click mechanics. Happily, it features twisted dark humor and dozens of quirky characters.

Filling the role of a powerful space traveler, you find yourself stranded on a mysterious planet in the company of three eccentric, yet resourceful aliens. As you desperately seek a way to repair your ship, a massive conflict unfolds around you involving warring factions and a sinister force that threatens to destroy them all.

Will you adopt the problems of this world as your own or will you just save yourself?

Armalyte

Armalyte

By Psytronik

Armalyte, the stunning Commodore 64 shoot -’em-up, has at long last been converted to the PC  and is looking and sounding better than ever! Yes, the massive boss encounters and the 8 tough worlds are still there.

The PC version of Armalyte is based on the classic Commodore 64 game. The gameplay has been precisely replicated on the PC thanks to involvement from the original Armalyte developers Dan Phillips and Robin Levy. The graphics have been specially enhanced for the PC version by Trevor ‘Smila’ Storey and the game features brand new soundtracks by Chris ‘Infamous’ Bailey.

Sol: Exodus

Sol: Exodus

By Seamless Entertainment

Suit up and take on the role of the Lieutenant Commander, ace fighter pilot and 2nd in command of the UCS Atlas, as you search for a new home, battle a mysterious enemy, and rescue humanity from a fiery end in this visually stunning space shooter.

By the year 2500, Earth had become toxic and unsafe for human life. Pollution and overpopulation had ravaged the planet, forcing humanity to the stars. Colonies and settlements soon sprung up across the solar system, but mankind had not left its thirst for war behind. Then, they learned their sun was dying, and everything changed. Only when faced with a threat greater than each other did the nations of man finally come together. The United Colonies of SOL (UCS) was born, its first and only mission: to locate a new home for mankind, safely beyond the doomed borders of our solar system.

Miner Wars Arena

Miner Wars Arena

By Keen Software House

It is the year 2081. Our Solar System is in the aftermath of a total political breakdown. Humanity is fighting over scarce resources on asteroids. Take control of a mining spaceship, hack your way through asteroids, and crush your enemies in a fully destructible environment in this just released sci-fi gem.

Fast-paced arcade game inspired by the PC gaming classic, Tunneler, with state-of-the-art top-down 2.5D gameplay in a fully destructible environment. Enjoy unlimited gameplay variations by adjusting your arena settings, playing skirmishes, fighting at tournaments and even going for some split-screen multiplayer.

Robot Riot

Robot Riot

By Retromite

Bigger than a nanite! Smaller than a trash can! Feistier than a vengeful princess! Jump, puzzle and shoot through spaceships and their systems as vanguard robot ‘SLUG’. Raid vessels for your galactic debt collecting master in pristine pixel platformer perfection.

Robot Riot features 21 action packed levels, tons of enemy types, plenty of gun-turrets and epic bosses, exciting power-ups and weapon-upgrades, classic platform action with unique environmental hazards and a joyous retro style due to its 16bit era pixel art and chiptunes.

Armalyte Extras

Armalyte Extras

By Psytronik

The retro-tastique, interactive extras of the boxed Armalyte version are finally available in downloadable form. Grab them and complement your 8-bit retro remade experience!

This lovely collection includes Mix-e-Load, the JukeBox containing the game’s music in what can only be described as an impressive music demo and a brilliantly interactive Making Of on the Armalyte box art.

Support upcoming game developers.

$10 will be added to our Indie Dev Grant for every 100 sales and the whole sum will be awarded to a developer selected by vote; no strings will be attached as to how the grant will be used.

Donations to Charity

5% of all revenues will be shared with the Hellenic Centre for Mental Health and Treatment of Child and Family.

What’s more, for each 1000 bundles sold new extras will be unlocked for everyone, including the premier issue of the PlaySF sci-fi gaming magazine, the brand new Dark Scavenger soundtrack, the soundtracks of Sol: Exodus and Miner Wars, and an eclectic selection of books, artbooks and storyboards.

Bonus:

Droidcape: Basilica

As an added bonus, all who purchase the bundle will get access to exclusive content for Droidcape: Basilica; KyttaroGames’ own upcoming game for iOS and Android. The top 10 contributors will also get a free copy of the game itself upon release, whereas the Droidscape: Into the Basilica book will be made available as an unlockable extra.

 

Logitech G35 Surround Sound Headset Review

 

I’ve had this headset for about 5 months. Keep in mind how long a product was used when reading a review!

Logitech G35 Surround Sound Headset

Cable/Wire:

The headset connects through USB connector that is attached to a thick, very sturdy cable. This is great design improvement over other headsets that have a cable that’s thin and easy to get cut or broken. The cable is also long enough that you probably won’t need to get an extension for them. Even if you need an extension, USB cables are cheap to extend these days so that is not really an issue.

Comfort:

These headphones are extremely comfortable to use. The ear piece parts are well designed enough that it won’t make your ears sweat much and they will hug your ears providing great comfort as you use them. I haven’t gotten my ears to hurt by using these headphones for an extended period of time. I’ve used them 14 hours non stop and I haven’t felt uncomfortable during that period of usage.

Construction:

This headset is pretty sturdy. It seems to be made of aluminum, rubber, and the ear parts of imitation leather. I’ve dropped them from 8 feet and they only barely got scratched.

The headset has buttons on the left side of the ear muff that you can use to trigger functions such as launching your favorite media player, controlling it, reconfiguring them, etc.

Microphone:

The microphone works whenever you have the mouthpiece down; the rest of the time you can turn it off by lifting it up. The light on the piece helps you know when it is on or off. I’ve gotten good response from my guild/clan mates regarding the default sound quality of the microphone (tested using Skype and Teamspeak, using auto calibration).

Software:

It’s completely optional to install the software that comes with them but the software is useful for when tweaking the settings of the headset. The software/drivers sometimes go a little crazy if you decide to plug them in or unplug them during system critical points like in the middle of booting windows. From my experience this is a program that most USB audio peripherals seem to have versus traditional audio plugs. Sometimes I have to manually set my output to either be the headset or my speaker set depending on what I did.

Some games require you to quit them in order to use the headset correctly if you plugged them in while you were using speakers before. Usually the newer a game or program is, the less likely it is to have this problem. For example, Guild Wars 2 works like a charm but World of Tanks requires restarting the game for the headset to work.

Sound Dampening:

These headphones are extremely efficient when it comes to blocking out external sound. Usually when I am using them while talking to my guild on Teamspeak and my girlfriend is talking to me, I have to put one ear offset to be able to hear what she is telling me. I love this feature because I live at a house where there are plenty of loud noises most of the time (dog barking, people watching TV at airport noise level volumes, etc.).

Sound Quality:

For me, the best way to test sound quality is to play all different ranges of music on whatever audio equipment I’m testing. The sound quality is really good all throughout except for the bass when at maximum volume. Although the bass is decent enough when gaming, when playing bass heavy music you see a limitation in the bass feel of these headphones.

Loudness:

The G35’s max volume is loud enough to appease most users. I’ve had more powerful headphones in that past that were so loud that people two rooms away could hear them. Due to the better design, only the wearer can really hear the sound when they are worn.

They are loud enough that some games might shock you. I don’t classify them as being loud enough to make one go deaf but then again this is subjective.

Surround Sound:

The surround sound in these headphones is even better than the 5.1 Surround Sound speakers I use and they are also from Logitech. I was very impressed by them, especially when gaming and they make you have a significant advantage while playing a game with a good audio engine. The first time I used these headphones I was playing World of Tanks at 4 AM, at max volume, and it was amazing to hear cannon shells flying by and exploding all around me. It felt like actually being in a real battle.

The surround sound capabilities are specifically useful for hearing things behind you in games and in movies that take advantage of proper sound channel placement.

Value:

Right now the Logitech G35 Headset can be bought for about 90-100 US Dollars. I think that’s a fair price considering what you are getting.

Conclusion:

The Logitech G35 Headset is great to get if you are a gamer, live in a loud place, or need to use Skype/Teamspeak/Ventrilo privately with a good microphone.

Punch Quest

Punch Quest

Endless runner games are very popular at the moment, especially on mobile devices. As they seem to be very sutied to the format but still provide a fast arcade like gaming experience. Punch Quest is an Endless runner game, but with a twist. It dispenses with the simple run and jump format and adds punching, graphics that hark back to games like Double Dragon and Golden Axe, punching, explosion, punching, monsters and so much more punching.

Punch Quest

Punch Quest, is collaboration between RocketCat Games and Madgarden. It features varied, randomized dungeon with branching paths. customization unlockable special moves and abilities and Monsters. Take a look at the trailer to get a better look;

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxTYz8O2F7E[/youtube]

Punch Quest is slated to arrive this autumn on iOS. I can’t wait, but here’s the link to website in the meantime;  http://www.rocketcatgames.com/punchquest/

TMNT 3: The Manhattan Project

TMNT 3 - The Manhattan Project - NES - Gameplay screenshot

TMNT 3: The Manhattan Project

Hello shell brains! This week we have a real treat for ya. The Turtles are back in their third entry through the nostalgic 8-bit world. TMNT 3: The Manhattan Project took the great beat ’em up concept of TMNT 2 and made it even better. With each turtle holding their own unique skill, bigger levels, better sound, and tougher bad guys this entry is surely to be remembered. Lets take a look!

TMNT 3 - The Manhattan Project - NES - Gameplay screenshot

The music is nothing but sensational! The game itself has an upbeat sound in each stage which helps you stay focused and joyful at the same time! The game itself has amazing sound and does a great job at it. There is even a voice recorded sound that you hear when you beat a stage. All the classic tunes are revamped and remixed for a fresh new look and probably the best turtle experience on the NES.

TMNT 3 - The Manhattan Project - NES - Gameplay screenshot

The game looks even better than its predecessor. The NES was already in their final years of existence so by then, games were pretty good looking. Every stage is vast and enjoyable. The bad guys look even more dangerous than before and the backgrounds look as enjoyable and makes you wish you were there! Totally exquisite sight for sore eyes.

TMNT 3 - The Manhattan Project - NES - Gameplay screenshot

The gameplay is even better than the one before. When you pick a turtle, they will have their own unique skill. You have to use their skills accordingly in order to get through the levels with ease. Of course, I do stick with Raphael’s special move for boss fights. You might wanna do the same :p Furthermore, the difficulty makes it a challenge but not so much of it to make you throw the controller across the room. Beating the hordes of Foot Soldiers has never felt so enjoyable though. Play with a friend for a true radical experience, that’s for sure!

TMNT 3 - The Manhattan Project - NES - Gameplay screenshot

When it comes to a turtles’ beat ’em up, you can’t go wrong with any of them. You can play through them over and over within a time period and never get bored. It’s always fun especially with a friend so the replay value on this game is completely high! I totally dig this ^_^
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaHFwzKXesk[/youtube]

So to conclude, there is nothing more to say except that it’s a must have for any video game fan. Of course, if you are collector, it’s a must have. Beat ’em up fanatics should also dig this one up. The list goes on and on! There is no going wrong with this game! Play it with a friend, alone, with your pet, whatever works. Just get dude! Have a cowabunga week ^_^’

Amagon

Amagon

Overall Rating: 1.5/5 Stars

Amagon - NES - gameplay screenshot

In 1989, developer Aicom created a video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System console called Amagon, published by American Sammy. It was a one-player platform game that revolved around the idea of a Marine being stranded on a tropical island and having to fight his way from one side to the other, using his trusty rifle. However, there were a couple twists: The island features quite an eclectic variety of enemies from native wildlife to robots and aliens, and the Marine, Amagon, can occasionally transform into his alter-ego Megagon, a much more powerful version of himself with a punch-blaster form of weapon that outperforms the rifle by far.
Amagon - NES - gameplay screenshot

On the NES, a preponderance of platformers already existed, and Amagon tried to separate itself from the pack by incorporating a somewhat unique storyline and the transformation feature. However, in the end, the title ends up playing like a slower-paced, less-polished version of Adventure Island, which was released two years prior. In what may have been a noble intent spoiled by a lack of any remarkable, spectacular replay value, Amagon collapses under the weight of its lackluster experience.

Gameplay

Amagon - NES - gameplay screenshot

The protagonist, Amagon, is a battle-ready Marine with a limited amount of ammo that must treak across the island he has wrecked upon. This means the actual play style is fairly basic: One button fires, one button jumps, and Amagon instantly dies if he makes contact with any of the various creatures or projectiles.

Considering the patterned movements of many of the enemy obstacles, this already creates the inherent issue of requiring the player to undergo trial-and-error gameplay techniques in order to conquer the game, which provides a very repetitive, unenjoyable time. Even when Amagon is able to transform into the much (much, much) more powerful Megagon, it is still for a limited time, and ultimately a cartridge cannot rely solely on a single appeal in order to make a great game.

Graphics

Amagon - NES - gameplay screenshot

The looks are fairly decent, but nothing extraordinary. The animals are animals, the plants are plants, and the bare-chested, Hulk-like Megagon carves an intimidating presence on the screen. While the appearance is a step up over earlier, cruder NES gaming renditions, and are competently developed, they are still pretty average overall.

Sound

The music is actually not bad, and can even be somewhat catchy at portions. The sound effects themselves are serviceable but, again, nothing too groundbreaking or newsworthy.

Creativity & Innovation

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8GkpRdg8S4[/youtube]

The idea of a platformer sporting a character that must traverse a hostile island was not original, even dating back to the Pitfall series that began on Atari systems. However, the transformation of Amagon into Megagon was certainly the innovating draw here, and perhaps a prescient one when considering later classic such as Altered Beast for the Sega Genesis.

Overall though, Amagon is bland, and not worth too much playtime. Perhaps it is a worthy challenge, as it does have a steep level of difficulty, so gamers may derive some satisfaction with a long session of trying to beat it. Otherwise, though, there is no truly lasting attraction. For being a “meh” platformer on a system already inundated with platformers, Amagon gets one and a half stars out of five.

The Classic Gaming Birthday Round Up

The Classic Gaming Birthday Round Up

Over the last two weeks a number of iconic classic games have had birthdays. The following is a grouping of those postings from Patrick Scott Patterson.

August 27

Super Mario Kart celebrates 20 year anniversary today

The original Super Mario Kart, perhapsNintendo‘s biggest 16-bit classic, turns 20 years old today.

The classic racer was first released in Japan on August 27, 1992 with a North American release just days later on September 1. Developed by game industry legend Shigeru Miyamoto and directors Hideki Konno and Tadashi Sugiyama, Super Mario Kart came about in an effort to create a multi-player racing game that improved upon the single player experience of Super Nintendo launch title F-Zero.

The game proved to be one of the strongest titles for the Super NES and Super Famicom, selling 8 million copies during it’s lifespan, a titanic number for that generation of gaming. Sequels and follow-up titles continue to this day, including Mario Kart Wii, the second best-selling game for the successful Wii game console with almost 32.5 million copies sold to date.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcTIk19Lcms[/youtube]

Many fans of the original still look back upon it today.

“At the time of the games release, I was actually into go-kart racing,” said Mario Kart fan Josh Jones of Killeen, Texas. “This was a way for me to experience a whole new way of racing and battling at home. Nintendo did a supreme job incorporating it’s characters into a fun filled game which still has a fan base today.”

The multi-player aspect made an impact on the household of another fan of the game.

Super Mario Kart was the game that settled all the sibling disputes in my household,” said P.J. Stanton of Bordentown, New Jersey. “When my brother and I couldn’t agree on something the winner of argument was determined by a quick race or battle. Of course, by the time we finished playing we usually had forgotten what we were arguing about. My brother and I are estranged now, yet every so often we’ll talk on the phone and the conversation will always lead back to who was the better player.”

August 30th

Original Street Fighter arcade game turns 25

It has now been 25 years since the originalStreet Fighter arcade game first saw the light of day.

Capcom introduced this one-on-one fighter to arcades on August 30, 1987 in two different cabinet styles. The first featured two pressure sensitive “punch” pads while another marked what would be the first-ever six button layout on a fighting game.

While the original Street Fighter was only a modest success, the impact of the game on video game history cannot be fully stated in a short article. Street Fighter II, first introduced in 1991, became the biggest arcade hit since Pac-Man and spawned an entire generation of fighting games. Today, the Street Fighter franchise is one of the most competitive scenes in all of professional video gaming.

“I actually grew up with Street Fighter on arcade back in the day,” said fighting game fan Teri Otis Redding of Australia. “Loved every Street Fighter made pretty much. I think I’ll always remember the arcade experience I had when I was growing up.”

The continued success of the franchise seems pleasing to the maker of products for fighting games.

“Street Fighter has been almost a benchmark for standards on all upcoming games,” said Doug Johnson ofFoeHammer Custom Joysticks. “We love it when they launch a new one because the hype is tremendous.”

August 31st

Arcade classic BurgerTime turns 30 years old

Yet another household name in video game history is celebrating a major milestone this week as BurgerTime turns 30.

August 31, 1982 saw the first public appearance of the game, originally called Hamburger during it’s initial Japanese release. Created by Data East, the game made a big splash at the 1982 AMOA trade show where Data East showed off the title for it’s DECO Cassette System (an early interchangeable arcadesystem) as well as a licensed version from Bally Midway.

BurgerTime featured a chef named Peter Pepper, doing battle with living eggs, hot dogs and pickles who are trying to stop him from making the biggest hamburgers in the world in a multi-level platform. The game gained a loyal following in both coin-op form as well as home console versions from Mattel Electronics.

BurgerTime is one of the defining eighties games,” said Ohio’s J.D. Lowe, holder of the third highest BurgerTimescore ever with 6,109,500 points. “Easy to learn, hard to master, with music that sticks in your head and a design that is hard to replicate.”

Many of the remaining original BurgerTime arcade cabinets have landed in the hands of collectors, including Rhode Islands’ Brian Diamonti, who says he will hold on to his machine regardless of the offer.

“I had a buddy offer to trade me his Joust for myBurgerTime and I had to turn him down,” Diamonti said. “BurgerTime is too much of a staple in gaming roots to trade off and my girlfriend would be too pissed at me.”

BurgerTime made a national television appearance in early 1983 as one of the game titles used in a gauntlet on That’s Incredible. Players had to quickly reach a scoring threshold on the game to move advance to the next game. Texan Ben Gold, who won the televised contest, only had a short time to learn the game.

“I had three weeks to learn it and only one arcade to practice at,” Gold recalled. “Todd Walker was by far the best player on this game and the irony is that his mistake on it is what allowed me to beat him in the competition.”

Numerous sequels to BurgerTime have been released over the past 30 years, including last year’sBurgerTime World TourRay Almeda from MonkeyPaw Games, the company who released the 2011 follow-up, notes the unique concept of the game as a reason for it’s longevity.

“Anybody who plays BurgerTime instantly gets hungrier and hungrier the longer and longer they play,” Almeda said. “Even to this day, Peter Pepper still remains a lovable chef that builds the planet’s biggest burgers. Who would have thought you’d be running from food in a video game? It doesn’t get any more addicting and iconic than that, even after 30 years.”

September 6th

Activision classic Pitfall! reaches 30 year anniversary

The iconic Pitfall! has now reached the 30 year mark.

Originally released on September 6, 1982, this early Activision title was designed byDavid Crane and became an instant best-seller. First released for the Atari Video Computer System (later known as the Atari 2600), Pitfall! sold 4 million copies, a huge number for a game at that time and held the top on best-seller charts for an incredible 64 weeks.

Perhaps the first hit game to popularize the side scrolling style that became a staple of gaming later in the decade, Pitfall! gave players a limited amount of time to overcome in-game obstacles such as pits, crocodiles and giant scorpions in an effort to reach the treasure at the end.

The popularity of the game transcended the title itself with the character of Pitfall Harry at the helm. Pitfall! was one of the video game titles featured in the first season of CBS Saturday morning cartoon series Saturday Supercade. A young Jack Black appears in one of the television commercials for the original game as well.

Pitfall! was our first chance to game as a proper adventurer,” said Jayce Stokes of England’s ConsoleNinjas podcast. “The way it combined maze elements in with the platform staples of timing your jumps and avoiding hazardous drops was unmatched back then.”

As an early example of a game with a finite ending point, completing Pitfall! proved to be a badge of honor among gamers, many of whom say they had a love/hate relationship with the cartridge.

“Who doesn’t love Pitfall!?” said Stockton, California’s John Lopez. “I played it until I thought I’d break my joystick as a kid. The gameplay was great; a running man grabbing the vines, swinging over the pits and quicksand, jumping logs, climbing into the underground caverns, jumping scorpions and collecting treasure. It was one of the coolest games.”

A new version of Pitfall! was recently released for iOS devices, while the original game designer recently opened up a Kickstarter project in an effort to launch a new jungle adventure.

Ten Indie Games that Should be on Steam

In its first day Greenlight, the cunning Steam scheme that lets mainstream gamers vote on indie games and saves Valve the trouble of promoting its service, has gathered over 500 submissions. It is of course quite the mess, though a mess that will ensure that only well-known games with built-in communities make it to Steam, thus bringing Valve even more money. Hoorah!
Or, well, not.
Anyway. I too did spend a few hours navigating the Greenlight entries and here are the 10 games I would like to see make it on the service. They are of course games I was already aware of, but that’s how things work, isn’t it?

The Sea Will Claim Everything

The Sea Will Claim Everything; it’s the only game that will make you a better person. Also, it looks and sounds wonderful and sports thousands of lovely words that are lovely.

Death Ray Manta

Death Ray Manta; it’s by Rob Fearon and it’s the most psychedelic, colourful, enjoyable and modifiable arena shooter we’ll ever play. Besides, DRM eh?

Dark Scavenger

Dark Scavenger; because everyone should love excellent, verbose adventure/RPG hybrids with a demented sense of humour.

Project Zomboid

Project Zomboid; yes, zombies can still be fun, interesting and actually innovative. Here is where I confess my love for the thing.

Neocolonialism

Neocolonialism; seems to have involved since I first covered it for the IndieGames Blog. BesidesSteam could easily use a couple more political games.

Wyv and Keep

Wyv and Keep; I do love co-op games played on one PC. Even more so when they are weird and pixel-artsy. Mind you, I did preview this particular game some time ago.

Cognition An Erica Reed Thriller

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller; crafted with a little help from Jane Jensen AND using the power of post-cognition: the most useless sounding super-power of late, that does though make perfect sense from a gameplay point-of-view.

Fibrillation

Fibrillation; from Russia. With horror.

Call of Cthulhu The Wasted Land

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land; WWI turn-based strategy and Cthulhu. Better yet, Call of Cthulhu of the Chaosium variety. Did review it some time ago.

Octodad Dadliest Catch

Octodad: Dadliest Catch; the trailer, the TRAILER.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03rP_O2k8XM[/youtube]

And if you feel I haven’t posted enough links, well, here’s another one. It will take you to myGreenlight Collection thingy, which, provided I don’t get bored, will generally include some pretty intriguing games.

Skyblazer

Skyblazer - SNES - Gameplay Screenshot

Skyblazer (1994)
By: Ukiyotei / Sony Imagesoft Genre: Platform Players: Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Nintendo SNES 
Also Available For: Nothing

The arrival of the monstrous 32-bit consoles in the mid 90’s may have brought lots of flashy polygons and lighting effects with them but something else their arrival did was to overshadow a good few of the later releases for the trusty 16-bit machines, and among them was this offering from Sony which must surely have been one of the last games they made for someone else’s console. It takes the form of a platform/adventure game and is actually pretty flashy itself which is just as well since its story is not. It’s an adventure that sees you take the role of a young scamp named Sky, believe or not, which presumably means his adventure will take the form of a ‘blaze’ across the magical kingdom in which he lives; a magical kingdom, incidentally, which is now bereft of its princess, Ariana, who has been kidnapped by the nefarious ‘Lord of War’, Ashura, who intends to use her magical properties to summon Raglan, an ancient creature of unspeakable terror. The story gets a little more detailed with the odd piece of dialogue here and there but the basic objective is – rescue Ariana and smack Ashura upside the head!

Skyblazer - SNES - Gameplay Screenshot

The quest at hand is a rather large one consisting of eighteen stages which are selected, and can also be revisited, via the map screen which shows them spread across the fictional world in question. They include the usual forests, castles, temples, and caverns, as well as a few more unusual locations, and they’re patrolled by a considerable variety of enemies such as sorcerers, dragons, and strange monsters beyond description, all of whom are intent on depleting Sky’s energy meter. He’s a fairly agile guy though. He can run and jump around like any decent platform hero but he can also climb up walls as well which proves to be extremely helpful. His attacks come in two forms. The most basic sees him unleash his fury via punches and kicks which are so ferocious they leave blue swirly things in their wake! These are of course available without restriction. His more potent attacks requires magic power which is represented by a meter similar to the energy one at the top of the screen.
Skyblazer - SNES - Gameplay Screenshot

There are eight magic attacks in all but you start the game with only the first. The others are acquired one at a time after successfully vanquishing successive bosses and, whilst looking quite sparkly and flashy, actually only perform the usual old power-up tricks – more powerful projectile attacks, enemy freeze, temporary shield, smart bomb, etc. You can cycle through all the magics you’ve obtained and of course each has its uses. Using them depletes your magic power, but it’s possible to collect bottles to replenish your reserves. Bottles to recover energy also exist and there are large and small varieties of each. The only other special items to keep your eyes open for are gems. Collecting a hundred of these will award you with an extra life but there’s also some bigger ones dotted around which are worth ten normal ones. All these items are dropped by defeated enemies but they can also often be found around the stages, located in hard-to-reach places of course, so mastering Sky’s movements is key here.

Skyblazer - SNES - Gameplay Screenshot

He doesn’t have a huge repertoire of actions available but control over him is near-flawless, and it needs to be for much of the game. Quite a bit of the action is made up of standard platforming but Sky’s agility is called into question on many occasions as well. There’s some steep walls he needs to clamber up, the second stage mostly takes place through tree-tops with monsters hiding inside, the fourth stage sees him commandeer a mini-hang-glider, there’s a Nebulus-style rotating tower stage with precarious little platforms, and some areas have moving sections of wall which need to be navigated very quickly to avoid a crushing! These comprise but a few examples of the varied gameplay on offer here, and there’s also the bosses. Rather than the usual one boss per stage, here there’s only ten boss battles, but they also invariably require lots of leaping and wall-climbing tomfoolery as well! Fortunately it’s possible to use your magic during these battles and success is generally met with a chit-chat with the old man who guides you through the game and a return to the map screen from where it’s sometimes possible to choose between several stages.

Skyblazer - SNES - Gameplay Screenshot

As mentioned, one area in which Skyblazer excels is the variety between stages. Some games try to add mini-games or bolt-on inappropriate sections that don’t feel right but here the balance has been struck just about right. Each of the many stages is distinctive and each requires a slightly different approach without ever betraying the style and feel of the game. You even have to travel between continents on the map screen by hang-glider which sees the game switch to a 3D view, using trusty Mode 7 of course! A few other touches of Mode 7 have been used during the course of the game too, without ever going overboard, and that’s typical of the graphics used throughout really – instead of trying to do too much, Ukiyotei have ensured that everything is clean, neat, and finely polished, and the result is fantastic. Accordingly, the sprites all feature an ideal amount of detail and the backdrops, whilst generally quite basic, are beautifully drawn with fantastic use of colour throughout.

Skyblazer - SNES - Gameplay Screenshot
There’s some nice special effects during the course of the game, such as the rain on the first stage, and the animation is nice too. The foreground graphics aren’t as varied as the everything else, consisting mostly of rock, but all look great as well. Splendidly, the audio is also of a very high standard. The sound effects are good, although not hugely numerous or memorable, but the music is superb. The style is typical of the SNES and its distinctive sound chip and there’s lots of different tunes which are very rousing and moody and add a lot to the atmosphere of the game. The various stages, as well as the aforementioned variety, are generally very well designed, and increasingly challenging as well (although there is a handy password system). Most of the usual themes are visited here at some point like woodland areas, slippy ice, deserts, castles, etc, but there is usually at least an attempt to do something a bit more interesting with them than the norm.

Skyblazer - SNES - Gameplay Screenshot

When I first started playing this game my initial impressions of it were great anyway, but after the first few stages I really started wondering what might be in store for me on the next one too! Sure enough, throughout most of its length it continually surprised me, and pretty much always in a good way. The rise in difficulty is well-graded – the first day’s play should see you reach the second continent but it does get quite tough and requires some quick thinking as well as quick reflexes. In addition to the modestly-numbered enemies there’s plenty of traps and hazards around the stages such as moving platforms, spikes, fire, and all the usual stuff, as well as a few less common ones like rolling logs. Using (or saving) your magic power also requires a little strategic thinking as it can occasionally be used to pass some of these hazards. Overall, it’s hard to think of anything bad about Skyblazer. The SNES sets the standard pretty high for platformers but this one is a tremendously entertaining, varied, and long-lasting game which deserves your attention, however belatedly. The last good release for the SNES? Probably not but it’s certainly a good release. A very good one in fact!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqzYe00NLfw[/youtube]

RKS Score: 8/10

WWF SuperStars

It’s Wrestlemania time, and I thought I’d tackle the first licensed wrestling game that I remember playing, WWF Superstars, by Technos in 1989. Overall, this is one of favorite all-time grapplers, but it also has a couple of flaws that I normally would choose to overlook.

WWF Superstars - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

There are 6 total wrestlers that are playable, each with their own mannerisms and finishing moves; Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Savage, Big Boss Man, Honky Tonk Man, Ultimate Warrior, and Hacksaw Jim Duggan. You’ll see Hulk with the Leg Drop and posing to the crowd; Macho with the Big Elbow and a brutal clothesline; the Shake, Rattle, and Roll; and etc…..

The character sprites, as well as the audience, are big, bright, detailed, and colorful, and capped off with a huge ring to play in. The pumped-in sound is constant, and does give you that feel that you’re performing for a sold-out crowd.

WWF Superstars - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

The play itself is a joystick and just 2 buttons, one for a close grapple and the other for attack. After a grapple, you can toss your opponent into the ropes (which bounce nicely) for a kick to the face or an up and over move. Each player will have similar offensive moves such as a hit/slap or kick, but there are variants such as the finishers. There are also typical wresting moves like suplexes, piledrivers, etc…, but there are also special perks like going off any top turnbuckle, or tossing a man over the top rope for 20 seconds of unrefereed mayhem with tables and chairs. Just about everything you would have seen during the super 80′s wrestling explosion, you’ll see here.

WWF Superstars - Arcade - Gameplay Screenshot

The game itself is strictly a tag-team tournament, so no solo character play here. But, as your life/exhaustion meter dwindles, you can tag in your second character to help. It’s also a 2-player game, so your buddy can be your partner or your opponents. You’ll fight through just 3 matches made up from the other 4 wrestlers before you reach the tag-team champions in Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant (neither playable characters). After you beat them you’ll be crown champs, but have to play a couple of more matches the retain the title to be considered game-beaters.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6Mw4ClNPp0[/youtube]

Mostly, I loved the game, but here are the flaws that I alluded to before: Firstly, there are only 6 playable characters. Great ones, yes… but I would kill to be Andre and press Hogan….I was denied. Secondly, there is an easy trick around the life meter: As long as you have plenty of quarters plugged into the game (or credits through MAME) you can hit the start button and refill. So, if you’re getting hammered you can do your own version of “Hulking out” and retain full life. The game is pretty easy if you use this “cheat”.

But overall, it’s a crapload of fun, and I try to enjoy almost any smack-talking game. This made for a fun arcade time back in the day. Highly recommend it.

Overall 7/10

The TurboGrafx-16

Tweeting back and forth with TheSocialGamer about the TurboGrafx-16 led to some serious retro T16 game-groovin’ on my handheld TurboExpress, replaying some Blazing Lazers, Dragon Spirit, and Bonk’s Revenge before calling it a night.

NEC TurboGrafx-16

The NEC TurboGrafx-16 Video Game System.

For those that have NO idea what I’m talking about, the TurboGrafx-16 was a video game system sold in North America by NEC (it hit the shelves in 1989).  It was known as the PC Engine in Japan, where it debuted 2 years earlier (those damn Japanese got all the new game tech!).  This was a killer system in its day: 16-bit graphics capable of 482 colors at once.  It suffered a pretty big drawback, though, with initially only 8K of memory available for the games to work under.  (As a comparison, the Super Nintendo had 128K.)

It came packaged with one game (Keith Courage in Alpha Zones) and one controller (called a TurboPad).  Some awesome games were available for this system, like Blazing Lazers, Neutropia, Order of the Griffon, Bomberman, Bonk’s Adventure, Alien Crush (and its sequel, Devil’s Crush), Cadash, Klax, and Military Madness, just to name a few.  You could hook up an accessory called a TurboTap which would allow you and 4 of your gamer buddies to play certain games (like Bomberman) for serious multiplayer fun.  Oddly enough, there was only ONE controller port on the system.

The TurboExpress handheld video game system (with TV Tuner)

The TurboExpress handheld video game system (with TV Tuner)

What made the TurboGrafx unique was how they promoted their handheld game system.  Most competitors used separate games for the console systems versus the handheld systems (like the NES and the GameBoy).  If you wanted to play Tetris on the NES and GameBoy, you had to buy one NES version and one GameBoy version.  But the TurboExpress (the handheld version of the TurboGrafx-16) used the very same games that it’s parent console used!  The games – called HuCards – fit in either system and played the same.  The TurboExpress even played in FULL COLOR!  Wow, back in the day that was an AWESOME gaming experience.

This is the TurboGrafx-16 with the TurboCD attachment.

This is the TurboGrafx-16 with the TurboCD attachment.

Another nifty accessory you could get for the TurboGrafx was the TurboCD, which allowed you to play the really great CD games that were out there, as well as play music CDs.  It came with a HuCard called a System Card which you put into your TurboGrafx to boost the RAM so the CDs could play (64K).  Another memory card, the Super System Card, gave you an additional 192K, which gave access to the Super CD games.  You haven’t played a 16-bit system until you’ve played Lords of Thunder.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Otz8kIUqN38[/youtube]

So why didn’t NEC rule the 90′s instead of Sega and Nintendo?  There are plenty of reasons that come to mind, such as the aforementioned 8K memory limit and an intially high price on the accessories that made it a gaming system juggernaut (the TurboCD and TurboExpress).  The real T16 killer was that the system was not embraced by 3rd Party developers.  Companies today should look at the history of the TurboGrafx-16 to see what happens when all your innovation and development comes inhouse.  Had NEC been able to bring more developers on board right away, the system would have had a massive library of games and accessories, which everyone knows is the gamer geek’s kryptonite.  Who knows how console game systems would look like today if NEC’s TurboGrafx had dominated the market? Perhaps Sony wouldn’t have been able to get a toehold because the TurboDuo drowned out their sales?  Maybe Nintendo would have skipped past cartridge-based systems right into a disc-based system like the GameCube right away?

Who knows?

Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct - SNES - Gameplay Screenshot

This week we have another gem added to the list. Killer Instinct was Nintendo’s answer to other fighters out there and a true classic game. They were very successful with it although the franchise was long abandoned, we can still look back at this game and see what Nintendo did right.

Killer Instinct - SNES - Gameplay Screenshot

The music is quite catchy for a fighter game. There might not be classic tunes like from Street Fighter 2 but there is something special that came with this game and that’s Killer Kuts. It’s a disc with remixed music of the game!

The graphics are beautiful. The SNES looked to be in its limits when this was released. The game has a 32bit feel although it’s being run in a 16bit console. All I can say is that this was the shit back in 1995!

Killer Instinct - SNES - Gameplay Screenshot

In this game you have to find your favorite fighter and master him or her. You better learn all the finishing moves, combos, and of course the Ultras! The gameplay is very easy to learn so anyone can pick up and play. The next level comes to when you increase the difficulty and decide to take people on the arcade. Of course, that was a 90s thing.

Killer Instinct - SNES - Gameplay Screenshot

Like any fighter, this game is awesome to play against another friend. Have a fighters party and take on all your buddies in a tournament. I can go on and on….it also helps if you have a grudge against a friend and want to kill him via-video games. That works!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dR-7TO_LD0[/youtube]

So to conclude, the game is a classic that should not be forgotten. With such memorable characters, great fighting engine, and lots of replay value you can’t go wrong with Killer Instinct! An absolute must have for any retro gamer!

The Atari Lynx

The Atari Lynx - 1

The Handy from Epyx, was the brainchild of David Morse, Dave Needle and the legendary RJ Mical. All three were the masterminds behind the Amiga. The collaboration of the device was done on a napkin in August 1986 – well before anyone else had thought of a portable gaming device like this. The Handy was the first full colour, 16-bit portable device. There are arguments till this day about how many ‘bits’ this device had. For me, it was, and still is 16-bit.

 

Epyx, not having the finances to take the product to market themselves were planning on selling the technology to Nintendo. Little did they realise, Nintendo was already working on their own portable device, the Gameboy.

The Atari Lynx vs The Nintendo Gameboy

When the Nintendo deal fell through for the Handy, Epyx approached none other than Jack Tramiel, owner of Atari at the time. Atari had attempted to create their own portable device (the Atari 2200), however, they could not get it right, so the Handy was perfect timing for them. The Handy became the Atari Lynx and the rest as they say, is history.

 

The Atari Lynx was released in the US in 1989 (1990 in the UK). The price of the unit was $100 more than the Gameboy. This price disparity, and the fact that Nintendo bundled the killer app Tetris with their unit, basically killed the market share for Atari’s new portable device. The original Lynx unit was bulky and also suffered from a short battery life – it chewed the 6 x AA batteries in no time when compared to the Gameboy. This just added to the woes of the Lynx.

The Atari Lynx Games

Atari eventually released the Lynx II, which was half the price of the original unit and was also smaller and cheaper to manufacture. The Lynx II introduced stereo sound and a pause button. This newer version also had longer battery life – a relief for avid fans.

 

As Atari thought they were on a winner with the Lynx II, along came Sega’s Game Gear in 1991. Although the Lynx was far superior than the Game Gear, it could not compete with Sega’s vast advertising budget and resources. The Game Gear was also backward compatible with the extensive library of Master System games.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKXScEpZ94Q[/youtube]

 

Even though Atari’s Lynx was relegated in the portable device market by the Gameboy and later by the Game Gear, it was still home to some awesome games and arcade conversions like: Chip’s Challenge, Klax, California Games, Blue Lightning, Rampart, Lemmings, Roadblasters, Paperboy, Rampage, STUN Runner, Xenophobe, Xybots and Zarlor Mercenary.

The Lynx fate was sealed in the early 90′s, not due to inferior hardware, but to better and smarter marketing from the likes of Nintendo and Sega. The device enjoys a cult following till this day in the retro gaming realm. So, do yourself a favour, grab a Lynx II. You will not be disappointed.

Weird Games: Super Pii Pii Brothers

super_piipii_brothers

When I pitched this series I had this game in mind. I thought the spanking game was weird, but this one takes the cake. Seriously, this was the kind of game that if it was released anytime near April you would think it was an April Fool’s joke, but no, it is a real game for a real (kind of) gaming system.

Super Pii Pii brothers was a $35 import for the Nintendo Wii (fitting name) and the gameplay was simple. Your mission was to put on a harness and “strap” the Wii remote to your crotch area and then pee into and onto a series of places and animals. I mean just look at the picture, if you saw your girlfriend walk in wearing that would you run or be happy? (Seriously, I’m asking here.)

super_piipii_brothers-main

In the game you start off with a series of toilets and as they open you need to aim yourself and tilt up to pee into the toilet. Also, you seem to have some serious bladder problems because the stream of pee is endless. So the key is to get most of the pee in the toilet and as little as possible on the floor. (This sounds like a game at any bar in America.)

Now when the toilets open sometimes a stray cat or other toilet critter may pop up and you actually get bonus points for peeing on them. (P.I.T.A. be damned). The game is said to have over 100 different bathrooms from all around the world. Check out what the Japanese had in mind for the main reason for playing this game from the translation on the box.

super_piipii_brothers-control

“Super Pii Pii Brothers promotes good bathroom skills and allows women to experience for the first time the pleasure of urinating while standing.”

So I guess this game is just for women who want to strap on a… you know what, let’s just end the article here on a high note.

Check out the game on Think Geek.

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

Ok, ok, the game isn’t real, but hey it still counts as a weird game.

Pax Prime Cosplay

Pax Prime is here and while we are not out in Seattle this weekend we have boots on the ground searching for the best cosplay out there. For now check out some awesome cosplay from past Pax Primes.