Month
December 2012

When Video Games Become Board Games: Part 1

It is important to remember that board games are not video games and neither should be expected to match the other’s total gaming experience. Video games of this era were all about constant motion, quick reflexes and split-second decision-making. Board games, however, are about measured decisions, random die rolls or card draws, and ever-changing strategies based on the play of your opponents. In addition, board games often have suggested ages for players. I have read several reviews over the years from adults who were unable to understand that a game meant for children would have limited appeal to adults (and who scored them based on their own experience of playing them as an adult), or from reviewers who also expected a board game to be a video game. [...]

Nintendo Color Screen: Game and Watch Table Top

Four Color Screen titles were produced in total. The first two, introduced in early 1983, were Donkey Kong JR and Mario’s Cement Factory, pictured in this leaflet. Later that same year, the range was extended with games featuring Popeye and Snoopy. Even though the Color Screen had a bright (color!) screen, it consumed very little energy. It cleverly used a combination of regular black liquid crystals with sunlight projected through a mirror to create the images. According to this leaflet, it was able to run for three years on two C batteries without ever being switched off. It did not even have an on/off switch. [...]

Nightmare Busters

The fine folks over at Super Fighter Team have a new run and gun game for the Super Nintendo called Nightmare Busters. The first game made for SNES in 14 years. Works on both SNES and Super Famicom and PAL. The game appears to be pretty awesome. Seems like a mix between Alice in Wonderland meets Castlevania. The colors and graphics are spot on. Play alone or grab a friend to play on the 2 player cooperative mode. Nightmare Busters is available for pre order and is expected to be shipped out 2013. $60 will get you a game cartridge with authentic plastic shell and a full color instruction manual that come inside a sturdy full colored box. [...]

Worms

This PC version of the game also gained a few extras by way of an updated edition of the game called Worms Reinforcements. This allowed you to add custom landscapes and ‘soundpacks’ (i.e. vocal themes for the worms), and also included a number of humorous FMV intros and cut-scenes and a one-player ‘Challenge Mode’ which consisted of various missions that acted like a (rather harsh) tutorial. Some nice extras for sure, but let’s face it – people play Worms for one reason and one reason only – to try and outwit their friends, and to that end it’s peerless. Everyone knows that already though, of course. The only question I was asking before this review was: how much has this original aged? [...]

Christmas Nights into Dreams

Perhaps the best definition of a Christmas game, Christmas Nights into Dreams was released as a promotional sampler disc during Christmas 1996 for the Sega Saturn. While labeled as a sampler disc containing only new versions of the same stage the disc itself not only came with a cool Christmas theme but a ton of bonus content that never came with the original version of the game. Honestly, it played more like a standalone game than a demo. [...]

Keith Courage in Alpha Zones

Our video review of the week features the 1988 Adventure game, Keith Courage in Alpha Zones. Created by Hudson Soft, you take on the role of Keith Courage who has to take back the earth from evil aliens that attacked it after earth was struck by a meteor. When fighting underground you gain access to the powerful Nova Suit left behind by your father which gives you additional abilities to succeed in your mission tor reaching the Robo Zone, the 7th Alpha Zone and defeating the Beastly Alien Dudes. [...]

Midway Arcade Origins

Thankfully I was able to get a lot of enjoyment out a few of the included offerings. Joust and Joust 2 hold up extremely well, as do Satan’s Hollow, Robotron 2084, Spy Hunter, Rampage, and both Gauntlet games (just don’t shoot the food!). Two titles I’d never played before, Wizard of Wor and Bubbles, ended up being my favorites. Smash TV and its sequel Total Carnage also play well with a modern controller, and they still serve as a reminder that most of these games were simply designed to get one more quarter out of the pocket of your Kangaroos. This is certainly a staunch contrast from the “save anywhere, unlimited lives” mentality that permeates game design today. [...]

Breath of Fire III

Gameplay is quite fun and moderate. You’ll have to do lots of leveling up and exploring in this game in order to be able to advance. This is what an RPG is mainly about, you go to a dungeon, level up, and move on. Some enemies can be very troublesome so it’s up to you to figure out their strengths and weaknesses. This is what keeps the game interesting and very rewarding. Like any RPG you’ll want to discover everything there is or if you missed something. Due to the length of RPGs you’ll want to make time for another run as it’ll take you 40+ hours to beat the game. If you are willing to do that, be my guest! You are going to love it either way. [...]

Atom Zombie Smasher

Killing zombies is part of a gamer’s daily routine, which is all fine and apparently dandy, but I simply can’t stomach another undead infested FPS. Bombing thousands of undead along with some unfortunate not-quite-dead-yet citizens, on the other hand, is another matter entirely and as Atom Zombie Smasher emphatically showed me, a most refreshing and enjoyable, if not downright noble, pass-time. Oh, and it’s a novel way to battle stuff too, though you probably know all about it already, what with Atom Zombie Smasher being a part of the biggest and least humble of Humble Indie Bundles so far. [...]

Hitman: Absolution

Multiplayer (a first for the series) also feels very adaptable. Campaign levels are opened up sandbox style; any NPC on the map can be chosen as a target and then sent to your respective friends list. Gamers can place restrictions on the assassinations; you can compete with your friends to see who can complete the hits most efficiently based on the parameters dictated by another player. This adds an even greater level of replay to the game, and it also welcomes the creative contributions of gamers. Hundreds of thousands of player-made challenges have already been uploaded, giving play time a durability that previous entries in the series failed to achieve. [...]

Archon: The Light and the Dark

One other quirk applies. Each side has a magician; for the Light side, a wizard, and for the Dark, a sorcerer. Not only are they powerful in combat, with a very strong projectile attack, but they can also cast a spell on the player’s turn instead of moving a piece. These spells range from Teleport, which moves a piece (of either allegiance) to a different space on the board; to Revive, which brings a previously defeated piece back onto the playing field; to Heal, which recovers a piece’s health, since drops in health do stay in play, unless the piece is allowed a few turns to heal naturally; Summon Elemental, which basically attacks an opposing piece with a one-use powerful being in hopes of earning the kill; and a couple others, all of which are good for one use. [...]

Legend of Zelda: Pot Smasher

Anyone who has played the classic Legend of Zelda series is used to smashing a lot of pots to find various items including Rupee’s. What we did not know is that Link seems to have an obsession with it. In this awesome video made by the cool dudes who make sweet vids, Freddiew, Link, played by Lindsey Sterling, shows us just how much Link likes to smashy, smashy. [...]

Memories of Multiplayer

This week on the Obsolete Gamer Show we had a chance to interview Ryan Culver who played Nathan Drake for the PlayStation commercial for PlayStation’s All-Star Battle Royale. The guys not only nails the look for Nathan Drake, but is actually a man of action and adventure himself flying people all over the world. In our panel discussion we talk about our memories of playing multiplayer games be it with a bunch of friend in our homes or thousands of players online and all the good and bad the comes with playing with others. [...]

World of Tanks 8.2 Review

The T21 plays a lot like the Chaffee. The T71 is comparable to playing the AMX13 75. The T69 is mainly played as a support tank so don’t play it like as if you are Rambo. The T54E1 is a lot like the Patton except weaker and is more of a support tank. The T57 Heavy has the advantages of having slanted armor and a gun comparable to the AMX 50B that reloads faster as well as being more accurate. The low armor of the T57 will make you play as if you are playing a French Heavy tank. [...]

Seicross

During game play the player rides a hovering motor bike racing through each level, shooting enemies, collecting energy and saving your blue friends. All of the levels are similar as in they scroll right, but there are the “FAST” levels and the “SLOW” levels and you’ll notice the differences. The fast levels have enemies on motor bikes chasing you around while the slower levels do not, but they have a lot more obstacles. [...]

Final Fantasy Chronicles

The graphics are 16-bit era memorable. Final Fantasy IV has beautiful dungeons and a world map with towns that are very recognizable. As usual, Final Fantasy IV has some of the towns with their shops and villager’s homes. As for Chrono Trigger, it was and probably still stands as one of the most beautiful games ever created in the SNES era. The game is just so atmospheric that you’ll feel as you are part of the story. Moving from time period to time period really drives you different atmospheres and with the help of the beautiful soundtrack, you’ll know exactly where you are. [...]

Street Fighter X Mega Man Crossover

Since DC faced Marvel comics I have been a fan of epic crossovers and to celebrate 25 years of Street Fighter and Mega Man, (has it been that long?), Capcom is releasing an awesome 8-bit crossover for free on December 17. Just in time for the Holidays you will be able to challenge some of the top Street Fighter characters including Blanka, Ryu, Chun Li,and, Dhalsim with the blue bomber himself. [...]

The Death of G4

Now G4 television will be replaced with Esquire television named after the magazine. Along with the name change the channel will see a change in focus from games and technology for gamers to; an “untapped metrosexual viewership,” that will be “more in line with the modern male.” The casualties are already coming in with the announcement of the cancellation of shows like X-Play and Attack of the Show. [...]

Subscription fee for Call of Duty Multiplayer?

“I know the game sells billions of dollars. Activision did a bad thing with Call of Duty from a profit perspective,” Pachter said. “They trained gamers that you can buy a game and play it all year, ten hours a week, forever, and you never have to pay again. You just wait for the next Call of Duty. I promise you there are plenty of people, numbering in the millions, who play one game, which is Call of Duty, and they never stop.” [...]

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

After a long hiatus the Obsolete Gamer show is back and better than ever. In this week’s episode we welcome gamer extraordinaire Fatal1ty to the show where we talk about his life as a professional gamer and the challenges of being one of the best. We also talked with indie game developer Mike Oliphant creator of the mobile game Kung Fu Fight and his experiences of being an indie game developer especially in the mobile gaming market. Finally the panel discusses what we have gained and what we have lost in the advancement of video games. [...]

Creative Zen Style M300 MP3 Player Review

– One of the first things one can notice about the Zen is its small size. Think of it like a fatter but shorter iPod. – It is very light and you can hardly notice you are carrying it. – No software installation required. You can add songs to it in their properly named folders almost as easy as if it were a digital camera. – Amazing battery life! Up to 20 hours worth of life. – Cheaper than some Apple products, with almost the same quality of construction. Amazing value! [...]

Video of the Day: God Hand: Press O to Spank

This video should go under the weird game files, but honestly God Hand itself was a pretty normal if not comical action game developed by Clover Studio and released by Capcom for the PlayStation 2. The game is a beat em up where you play a martial artist that uses the legendary God Hands that can save the world from Demons. In the game you can create long and unique combo attacks kind of like what was used in Killer Instinct. However, what makes this the video of the day is the spanking finishing move that you can only use against female enemies. [...]

The Adventures of Willy Beamish

I remember its fantastic Dragon’s Lair-esque graphics; they were the first of their sort in a point-and-click adventure. I remember the stunning animations and (low-res, I’m afraid) cartoon quality cut-scenes. I remember the way it showcased the capabilities of my very first PC soundcard. I remember how the story of a nine year old boy trying to competitively play video games while avoiding parental troubles and getting the girl, somehow turned into a ghost infested attempt at foiling an evil corporation. I remember getting sent off to military school and dying a dozen lushly animated deaths. I remember cajoling my in-game parents and entering my frog into competitions. I remember exploring the sanitised darkness of 90s American suburbia and being both shocked and delighted. I remember enjoying the subtle humour. I remember getting hopelessly stuck, but, above all, I warmly remember loving it. [...]

The NEC PC-FX Review

This doesn’t mean the PC-FX is lacking in quality affordable titles however, just that such games are difficult to play without some understanding of written Japanese. The system has many remakes of classic titles – ‘Farland Story FX’, ‘Der Langrisser FX’, ‘Power Dolls FX’ (the suffix wasn’t actually used as much as I’m making it out to be), original exclusives like ‘Last Imperial Prince’, ‘Miraculum’ and ‘Kokuu Hyouryo Nirgends’ and even games that ended up finding some success elsewhere – ‘Wakusei Kougekitai Little Cats’, ‘Boundary Gate: Daughter of Kingdom’ and ‘Angelique Special’ all ended up with Saturn or Playstation ports at a later date. [...]

Paradroid

I’ve always assumed that this is a rather complicated and puzzley game but the first few minutes I played it were spent moving my amusing-looking droid around shooting all the others I encountered. I suspect it gets more involved than this, however, and that indeed proves to be the case, but not by as much as I thought. As mentioned, the object of the game is to take out all the other droids on each deck of the ship. The humorous droid I spoke of is the very weak one you start off with and a device known as the ‘Influence Device’ allows you to exert control over it. You can move it around the spaceship in the eight basic joystick directions and it can fire an energy weapon in its direction of travel. The decks of the ship vary in size and all but the smallest are divided into numerous rooms. Droids occupy these rooms but you won’t know how many there are until you enter. [...]

Wayne’s World

In typical THQ fashion, the level design is less than extraordinary. On the first level, for example, Garth literally just has to walk to the right while firing his gun in order to reach the finish, despite the fact that there is an upper level of bounceable drums to travel across if he wished to. Other stages feature precision-jumping parts, annoying fly-over type enemies who bomb the character, and occasional items dropped to replenish the health bar. This is a bare-bones, minimalist, very basic platformer effort, and tellingly behind the times for a 1993 release. There are also amusing screens between the levels where Wayne and Garth engage in witty banter. [...]