Theme Hospital

Theme Hospital

This game comes from the golden era of Bullfrog where single player simulation games where indeed single player. In Theme Hospital you control and develop your own hospital, find cures to deceases and strive to keep the Grim Reaper away from your corridors.
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What is Theme Hospital

 

Like it’s mentioned above Theme Hospital is a classic hospital management “simulator” for the pc which was released back in 1997. You manage your hospital, you hire doctors, nurses, janitors and receptionists, you build diagnosis and treatment rooms, you discover new deceases and cures and you are having fun the whole time.

 

Why it’s Great

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It is a very humorous and enjoyable game that will keep you occupied for hours upon hours with a huge amount of content and deceases to be treated. It has humour, strategy, micro-management andabove all it  is FUN (I sometimes find that newer games are struggling to achieve this last one)

 

Where you can get it

 

You are in luck! Unlike our previous “Classic PC Games you Should Play” This game is easy to find since it can be bought digitally from GOG.com (no DRM attached) at:


“Patients are asked not to die in the corridors” ~Receptionist

The Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time

The-Space-Invaders

The Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time

Director: Jeff Von Ward
Studio: Wooden Horse Productions
Released: 2013

Distributor: Amazon Instant Video – $3.99 (7-day rental) or $14.99 (buy movie)

Synopsis: The Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time will take you inside America’s hidden game rooms and into the hearts and minds of those who have made it their mission to enthusiastically preserve these important cultural touchstones.

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Let’s get straight to it – as an arcade junkie, this film well and truly fed my need for retro gaming nostalgia. Jeff Von Ward has created a masterful film in which he tracks down and interviews some serious arcade collectors, like Jon Jamshid, who has amassed an impressive 180 machines!

The collectors share their passion for preserving these historic machines and the connection you feel with them is instantaneous – from scoring their first machine, their real estate woes, to the lengths they go to seek their next arcade hit.

You will be amazed by the number of machines that are stored in basements and garages (as well as the stories behind them all!). You will be blown away by the dedication of these collectors and their respective arcade setup, especially Peter Hirschberg’s Luna City Arcade – an amusement heaven.

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Interspersed throughout the film is some amazing archival footage, including Damon Claussen’s appearance (with his mom!) on the Starcade TV game show. The flow of this film, from start to finish, feels natural and just right.

From the moment I sat down to watch ‘The Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time’, I did not move nor blink (that may be a slight exaggeration) until the last credit was shown. Whether you are familiar with the arcade machines or not, this film is for anyone that has a nostalgic bone in their body, or would just like to find out what makes serious collectors tick.

Verdict: ‘The Space Invaders: In Search Of Lost Time’ is a wonderful film that should not be missed. Mr Jeff Von Ward, you deserve an Oscar!

Jeff reports that the film has just been picked up by New York City based digital entertainment curator, FilmBuff. FilmBuff has successfully distributed niche documentaries such as ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ (the doc or anti-doc on Banksy) and ‘Super Size Me’.

Wolfenstein 3D: Atari Jaguar

Format- Atari Jaguar

Genre- FPS

Wolfenstein3D_Atari-Jaguar

You’ve no doubt played Wolfenstein, or are at least aware of its existence. But have you played it on the Jag? You really should you know – it’s really rather good.

Remember back in my Power Drive Rally piece I said there were a few reasons why the Jaguar wasn’t completely rubbish? This is another of those reasons.

The Jaguar wasn’t 64 bit, but it could churn out a simple game like Wolfenstein with nary a glitch. The whole thing is super-smooth and one of slickest versions of the game it’s possible to play.

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Enemies are large and detailed, and their soundbites always make me laugh. Why they say their positions (‘Luftwaffe!’ ‘SS!’) when they strike is beyond me. It’s like they’re Pokemon trained Nazis or something. No wonder they didn’t win the war (check this great Youtube video of Hitler’s reaction to the Wolfenstein story unfolding).

The bosses add a much needed shot of variety as well, and their catchphrases are often repeated by me in real life, i’m that sad. Classics such as ‘i’m coming for yer!’ have lived long in my memory.

Wolfenstein3D_Atari-Jaguar

In many versions of Wolfenstein there are far too many levels between boss stages, and they wear you down at times with their somewhat monotonous layouts. Here though, a fair few levels have been snipped, and this results in a far more manageable and fun experience.

Although it’s archaic in many, many ways the game is still good for a quick shot of retro blasting fun. Talking about it actually makes me want to play it again, which is always a good sign.

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The Jag version also has the useful feature of three save slots which can be saved to while playing, by tapping either the 1, 2 or 3 buttons on the controllers keypad. No pausing is necessary. Just make sure you don’t press them when you mean to look at the map screen number button. This feature really helps to make the game an even more instantaneous, fuss free fun-fest.

There’s is an oft-cited problem that the game’s enemy sprites were 2D however, and could therefore only be seen facing you. This mean that there was no way to sneak up on them. This isn’t really a problem for me though – who really attempts to be stealthy in Wolfenstein?

Wolfenstein3D_Atari-Jaguar

The only minor annoyance this 2D enemy issue really creates is when you enter a new room. Enemies can open fire on you from the sides, with you having no chance to fire back and avoid damage. This results in you bobbing into a room and quickly back out again, a tactic you have to use for the later, tougher levels.

As with most Jag games it’s hard to find cheap, but if you have the console it’s worth picking up. I’ll be looking at the other retro Wolfenstein titles I have over the next few months, but this is definitely one of the best.

Super Mario: Bounce to This

super mario world

Most of the time a cool video we find online we will just share on our social media pages, but since this is Mario and it is so awesome we felt it deserved a place in our archives. Honestly, I am not sure how this was made or by whom besides the name below the vid, but it is quite awesome to watch and listen to so enjoy.

組曲『ニコニコ動画』  by Ryumario

Update: We got some info on this from one of our Facebook fans. If you want to know some background on this video check out the link here. Thanks to Shawn Wrenn for the info.

 

Need more Automatic Mario? Enjoy!

Magical Dinosaur Tour

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Pretty much whenever you see the words Magical and tour in something it means educational which for many means boring. This game was released in 1990 so it was before the whole Dinosaur craze, but it would have fit right in if you had a child that really liked learning about Dinosaurs and whom you wanted to punish by giving them this instead of say Ninja Spirit.

magical_dinosaur_tour

So you get to explore a magic area and watch and learn about Dino’s but that is pretty much it. You can watch them living and searching for food and the coolest part is when they roar. The game did not look bad, but it took forever to load and honestly it was one of those games that seems cool when you buy it until it is loaded up and you realize you are in school.

What I’ve learned from Obsolete Gamer

Content is king and even the most dedicated people get burned out so you have to have a well of content to turn to.~J.A. Laraque

What I’ve learned from Obsolete Gamer

When you speak about creating a video game website you normally will here two different responses. One will be about how cool it sounds and how they will visit it every day. The second, is about how much work it is and how your competition will be great. When Ignacio told me he was creating a video game website I was crazy about it. Mainly because in my past I had tried to launch many different types of websites and just ran out of gas. With Obsolete Gamer moving into year four I thought I would take a moment to talk about some of the things I have learned and experienced being part of Obsolete Gamer.

obsolete gamer logo

What are you doing this for?

Like almost everything in life you have to know if you really want to do something before you do it. Not only that, you need to know the different milestones you want to hit and the overall goal of why you are doing something. Now surely you can do something for a bit and move on, but if the idea is to make whatever you are doing part of your life it is much more than just a temporary thing. The first thing I wanted to be sure of with OG was that it was not to become one of the thousands of video game blogs that end up abandoned after a year or two.

This takes us back to knowing you really want to make your endeavor part of your life because there will be a lot of ups and downs and if you lose focus you will lose interest and that’s the end of your blog. We may not be able to see the future, but if you are in it for the long hall you have to ask yourself if you will still be able to do this when you are working like a mad person, swamped in school work and trying to have friends and relationships. Again, if this is a temporary thing it may not matter, but if this is for as long as possible you have to make the time to keep things running.

TLDR: You need to really love what you are doing.

Everybody is in right before they are out

The idea of having a video game website sounds awesome to many people. As such many people will want to be a part of it and will promise everything from writing to donations to promotion and everything else under the sun. True commitment is hard to come by in this business and believe me it is a business. If you do not want to remain unknown you are constantly planning and re-planning and that includes finding out who is with you.

I have found the best way to deal with people you want to help is think of it as a one-time thing and if it becomes more, great, if not then it’s fine. You can never expect someone to have the same dedication that you do. Remember, it is your website not theirs so they may care deeply about the subject, but there is a difference between that and how you feel as an owner. Expect people to come and go, frequently and expect this to continue no matter how successful your site becomes.

We’ve found the key is multiple sources. Which is also why we reach out to people who want to start a blog but feel it is too hard, had a blog that is dead or dying or just someone who wants to write and offer them a spot. You end up helping people and yourself. This goes to planning and re-planning. Content is king and even the most dedicated people get burned out so you have to have a well of content to turn to.

TLDR: Content is king so make sure you have a deep pool of talent to turn to.

And what makes you so special?

That is always the question when writing or creating a blog. Why should anyone read your blog when there are tons of major websites covering the same thing. There are answers, but they change constantly. Here is one reason. In the past you did not see many writers on one website. Back in the 90’s most websites had a small staff and only they posted content. In time more people contributed and today you have websites that are mostly contributor based. So in the past you could talk about providing a unique perspective, but today with so many sites and so much submitted works you can find that as well. So you kind of have to accept that you might not be that special, but perhaps you can just plug along and earn your reputation and in time gain readers.

For the most part people want interaction. They also want a mix of media so they can enjoy pictures, video as well as text. You have to have a bit of everything so people don’t get bored. With Obsolete Gamer, we could have tried some strict policy of retro gaming related content only, but we love a wide array of things and so our site reflects that. We also know in the middle of the night you gamers like looking at sexy Cosplay girls (we have the data to prove this) so we give the people what they want.

Sometimes just being there is enough. There are tons of good classic gaming sites. We never claim to be the best, we just want to be considered one of the good ones. We also want to promote those who for whatever reason cannot do their own sites. Add in things like our Gamer Profiles and interviews, videos and podcasts and with time and practice and learning from our mistakes we have created a decent following.

TLDR: Stay true to yourself, but also give the people what they want.

Keep your day job

If you are in this for the money get out now. There are real costs to a website especially if it ends up getting a lot of hits. You can search for the cheapest webhosting, but you better know what to do if your site goes down. At one point we were ranked about 30K in the U.S. for our website which means every website in the U.S. and then we had a major server crash and move to a new hosting company which shut down OG for about a week. Over a year later and we are still trying to get back to where we were.

Everything costs money and sometimes the biggest cost is time. I personally work a full time job, am almost a full time student (6-9 credits per) am working on my novels and trying to have a social life. Even with OG only posting an article per day it is still a challenge to keep up with new content, writers, news, website issues, promotions, advertising, social media and a whole lot more. At the end of the day we spend more than we make. Web ads do not pay what you might think unless you’re IGN and let’s just be honest, most gamers are not one to click on random ads. I know I am not. Most gamers I know ad-block and hate ads which is why we constantly update the site so we do not bug you with them. Of course the result is less revenue while costs go up.

There are things you can do to keep costs down like knowing your software. Sometimes something breaks and if you can fix it yourself you will save a lot. The same goes for hosting, do your research so you have a stable and fast site, but also one at a good cost. Finally, remember it is about the love of writing and of games. This is why we have day jobs and are working to better ourselves so we can continue doing what we love regardless of the monetary gain.

TLDR: This costs money so don’t expect to make much if any

The Perks

I had to talk about some of the perks or I might scare off some future writers or website owners. The first perk is just creating something and being part of it. I learned with my novels it does not matter if they sell 10 copies or 10 thousand. The point is I took the time and finished it and put it out there. The same goes for your writing and your site.

You accept the complements as if they were hundred dollar bills. When you tell someone you have a video game website and they are impressed it is worth it. When someone reads your work and likes it you feel better. Now this is the internet so expect people to troll you and tell you that everything you do sucks. You know you’ve made it once someone is criticizing you and saying how much you suck.

Beyond that if you promote your site and make contacts you can meet some awesome people. We have been to many events like CES, E3 and Florida Supercon as well as many local events and have met so many cool people. Being invited to after parties and having people tell you they read your site is a great feeling. Also getting swag and the ability to review games and hardware is nice as well. You might not make a paycheck, but an after party in a fancy restaurant in Vegas in pretty sweet.

For me personally having Wil Wheaton post about Obsolete Gamer and going on 1337 Lounge Live was some of my highlights. As said, also having access to every Con in gaming is also great. We still have standing invites for PAX, ComicCon, Quakecon, and more. Sadly, the time and money restraints come into play regarding which and how many events we can attend. However, just knowing you can go and as press is awesome in itself.

TLDR: We work for trips, swag and food, it’s almost as good as cold hard cash.

Now there is more, but even with the TLDR’s it is best to separate some of the others into another article. Still, the overall point of this is to get more people to try what they want to try. I watched at least 10 of my former websites close before we started Obsolete Gamer so there will be failures before there is success. Bottom line is I love what I do and want to keep this going as long as I am alive. If you feel the same way stop waiting and get rid of the self-doubt and just do it. Trust me, in the end it is better to try then wonder why.

The Final Day at Westfield Arcade

The highs and lows of video arcades of the 20th century impacted many. The darkened rooms with the flashing images and hot shot arcade champs are one thing that has yet to be duplicated by modern day video game consoles and mobile devices.

The Final Day at Westfield Arcade

For Chicago author Andy Hunt, these two golden ages of coin-operated bliss also served as the backdrop for his new novel The Final Day at Westfield Arcade.

“Like many people, I lived and breathed video games when I was growing up,” Hunt recalled. “I’ve always loved writing as well, so writing a novel with a very video game heavy slant to it only seemed natural. One bit of writing advice that is always given to writers is that you should ‘Write what you know.’ Well, I know classic video games, so writing a novel with a heavy video game angle to it seemed far more exciting to me than writing a novel about Ancient Egypt or bloodsucking vampires or some other weird topic that I have little interest in.”

The fiction novel brings readers to the final day of business for a shopping mall video arcade where main character Mike Mayberry has worked for nearly two decades. As the coin-op behemoths are rolled out of the retail space, Mayberry thinks back to both his personal and video gaming based memories.

The Wonder Years is my favorite television show of all-time, and I basically envisioned the novel as ‘The Wonder Years but set in the 1980s as opposed to the 1960s,'” he said. “In my novel, a once-popular arcade is closing, and on the final day of business at the arcade, the owner reflects back on the decades of memories he’s had at the arcade. There’s a girl who’s a Winnie-Cooper-type character, and, through his flashbacks to the arcade’s earlier years, he tells the story of the ups and downs in their relationship, as well as chronicling the experiences that he and his friends have as they grow up.”

While attempting to combine real-life arcade nostalgia with a fictional ride through a man’s life, Hunt hopes readers will find enjoyment within it’s pages.

“I honestly just hope people are entertained,” Hunt added. “Hopefully, those who were fortunate enough to be around during the height of the arcade scene will be able to re-live the memories of screwing around with friends in the local arcade, and those who weren’t around during the heyday of the arcade scene will be able to experience what the era was like through the book. I think nostalgia is a really powerful emotion to tap into, and I’m sure there are plenty of people who are nostalgic for those times when there was an arcade on every street corner and in every shopping mall, so hopefully the novel will rekindle that nostalgia that people feel for the classic arcade gaming scene.”

The book can be purchased at Amazon.com in paperback form for $9.89 and for the Kindle reader for only $6.99.

King of Kings: The Early Years

Overall Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

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Wisdom Tree: A developer that produced unlicensed video game cartridges for the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console, doing so without Nintendo’s authorization or now-infamous Seal Of Approval. They rather boldly did within the guise of publishing Jesus-themed games, even selling their carts in Christian bookstore-type outlets, with the shrewd knowledge that Nintendo would hesitate to threaten legal action against such an organization, since the resulting press would likely earn them some sort of Jesus-hating reputation and would then realistically hurt their sales.

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The games themselves were of questionable quality, sporting some flaws in their mechanics despite what could be considered impressive execution at all, given their limited resources as a small-time development group. The notoriety followed them from their days as Color Dreams, however, and their titles under either brand are somewhat derided in the present era. Nonetheless, King of Kings can be considered one of Wisdom Tree’s finest efforts, even if still not quite a spectacular video game. Although such designation is unofficial, it is sometimes thought of as the sequel to Bible Adventures, considering the very similar visuals and nearly identical gameplay mechanics, especially in the Jesus and the Temple portions.

Gameplay

Interestingly enough, King of Kings is actually comprised of three different complete platformer games, all on one cartridge, each dealing with a different segment of the life of Jesus Christ, and selectable from the title screen: The Wise Men, Flight to Egypt, and Jesus and the Temple.

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In The Wise Men, the player controls one of the three wise man, rotating every couple levels, as they journey across platform levels with Middle Eastern flavor, from barren desert to ornate palace. Realistically, the wise men ride camels rather than travel the whole way on foot; strangely, the character controls the camel directly, including their combative spit. Between spitting at enemies, consuming fruit to launch a more powerful one-time special attack depending on which sort is eaten, and leaping rather tall heights to tackle precision-jumping challenges, the player must eventually make it to the manger scene where infant Jesus awaits, even collecting gifts for the King along the way, in units of frankincense, myrrh, and gold.

In Flight to Egypt, the player controls Joseph, Mary, and infant Jesus atop a Donkey, as they trek up mountainous terrain, presumably somehow toward Egypt, upward and upward, following the Biblical narrative of trying to escape Herod’s edict to kill all infant males, in his misguided attempt to get rid of this “new king” baby he had heard of. Perhaps humorously, the player can attack with the B button as the donkey twists and kicks with his hind legs, the sole way to contend with wild attacking animals, even fierce beasts like lions. Falling boulders and trail gaps pose challenges as well as the family dangerously treks the seemingly endless route to Egyptian safety.

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In Jesus and the Temple, the player actually controls characters on foot, alternating between Joseph and Mary per level. With gameplay mechanics most akin to the Bible Adventures game, precision-jumping challenges are back, including classic logs-on-a-waterfall bits, ala Super Mario Bros. 2. Once again, wild animals are on the prowl as well, even little frogs. The point is, Joseph and Mary are traversing through this levels in order to find twelve-year-old Jesus, who has gone missing; just as in the Biblical account, he has left his parents to go teach in the temple with great insight.

In all three games, the player has a health bar displayed in terms of scrolls, with each hit from an enemy element usually taking a half-scroll away. Scrolls of health can be regained, however, by way of answering Bible questions encountered when scroll icons are touched throughout the course of the levels. Thankfully, the questions and answers are completely displayed on-screen, rather than in Bible Buffet, another Wisdom Tree game, where multiple-choice answer options are offered, but the questions were contained in a separate book, making any relevant interaction impossible without the instruction manual.

King_of_Kings

Overall, these are fairly basic platformers, each representing a simple goal with little flair or extras to accompany the tedious action. One admirable angle may be the surprising challenge that each choice presents, though, as the difficulty level is actually decent; although these are Bible games, they are not the most kid-friendly, as most children would eventually get frustrated at trying to complete these, especially the latter two. Then again, that can also be construed as a weakness, so really, no matter how you slice it, this is a video game destined for the middle of the road in terms of its place of quality compared to the other titles in the NES canon.

Graphics
King_of_Kings
Admittedly, this game’s graphics are actually not too terrible. Its large, colorful sprites and weirdly impressive backgrounds (well, in certain spots), along with detailed level designs, put King of Kings far ahead of many other 8-bit titles on the NES. Whether this was due to the late-cycle release timing general mastery of the hardware tools, or specific development staff gaining familiarity with generating visuals after prior Color Dreams/Wisdom Tree titles, either way it is not bad. However, the actual animation is what brings the presentation down a notch; as unlicensed games are wont to do, at times the movement is somewhat choppy, stilted, and not as smooth as a player would want, even glitching out in crazy ways at times, such as firing the character forward at warp speed or juggling them around in arcane fashion. In addition, the animated icons, like the words flying around and the item tallies after each levels, are somewhat cool; but “somewhat cool” like a neat animated .gif, in the sense that it looks neat, but is really a cheap effect and nothing truly artistic.

Sound

Give those wacky non-license developers some credit for the unique elements inherent in their work. This is a distinctive NES game in terms of its soundtrack, in that it shows points of brilliance right alongside points of head-scratching oddity. Some of the effects are very enjoyable, like those rapid countdown shots to tally points and item collections after each level, in varying pitches and notes. Then there are the hymn-inspired tunes, that can come across as either annoying or amazing, depending on one’s tastes, it could be supposed. From Go Tell It On The Mountain to We Three Kings, a veritable Christian Christmas Carol is on full display; and decently composed, too, despite mostly sounding like they may have only been taking advantage of two wave-shapes from the NES sound channels rather than a full set. Nonetheless, at least there is a bass line beneath the recognizable melodies.

Originality

Judging the originality of a Bible game, what a proposition. Creating an 8-bit cartridge based on the early life of Jesus Christ was certainly a new idea, and nobody else was likely to touch it. In fact, even in the decades since, King of Kings may truly be the only such game. Even a few of the gameplay touches have strokes of innovation, from the camel-spit attacks to the flying icons on the tally screens to the Wisdom Tree trademark of answering Bible trivia for health boosts.

Yet, overall, undeniably, on the scale of NES platformers, this is a smack-dab center title on the spectrum. What is intact here is a beginning-to-end adventure, in three different flavors, each with their tweak difference in mechanic, and each posing a worthy challenge. That being said, this is noMega Man or Castlevania or Mario or Sonic or other legendary platform game of such stature. Jerky movements, unresponsive controls, and a premise that may make some gamers uncomfortable all add up to a game that, despite Wisdom Tree’s best efforts, still does not quite measure up to the greats, nailing (oops, bad pun choice?) two and a half stars out of five.

Battle Mania

Battle Mania - Sega Genesis
So we are back with another entry of the week! This time around we have the awesome game Battle Mania for the Sega Genesis. This is an awesome shoot ’em up game for the classic console. It’s totally recommended! And here is why!
Battle Mania - Sega Genesis
The music and sound effects are spot on! You will definitely feel upbeat and ready for battle with the music score of this gem of a game. Totally overjoyed with power!
Battle Mania - Sega Genesis
 The game looks wonderful and there is always a lot of action going through each of the stages. The stages also have awesome backgrounds and the enemies are very detailed. You definitely will get a joy from looking at this game.
Battle Mania - Sega Genesis
The gameplay is genius! You can guide your two gals through the stages and detach them as you go in order to plan an strategy for victory! You’re going to need all your cunning to get through the stages but it’ll be an enjoyable experience overall. If you are a fan of shoot ’em ups and cute girls, then check this baby out!
Battle Mania - Sega Genesis
The game is always a fun journey from beginning to end so you’ll definitely find it enjoyable and challenging. Why not try to beat the game without dying once? That will make your entire afternoon a blast!
Battle Mania - Sega Genesis
To conclude, the game is just awesome! With great graphics, awesome gameplay, and a high rate of replay value Battle Mania will be one of your favorite Genesis games ever! The game is a little pricey but I’m sure you can find other alternatives or just use a damn emulator!

Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale

Dungeons & Dragons - Daggerdale
When I originally previewed Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale I was pretty excited about it, what with it being the first DnD 4th edition CRPG to hit PCs and consoles; an interesting choice supported by its advertised modular system and episodic, thus manageable, lenght. Then the first reviews came -hitting sites a few days before the review copy hit my door- and they were less than stellar. Everyone complained about something and I decided to stop reading before actually playing the game, though the damage was done.
 Dungeons & Dragons - Daggerdale
I installed the PC version of Daggerdale with the lowest of expectations, only to have them sink further when I was asked to either join or log into gamespy. Now, I’m not a multiplayer fanatic, but I have come to expect to enjoy such overtly social modes of gaming without having to sign up with any service. Always thought that Steam was more than capable and more than enough for this sort of things, and seeing Daggerdale run via Steam yet still requiring me to remember one more password, well, I simply couldn’t be bothered. Then again, in CRPGs it’s the solo experience that counts, isn’t it? Of course it is dear.
Dungeons & Dragons - Daggerdale

On to the single-player campaign it was then and I went on to choose among the four available characters (a Halfling wizard, a Dwarven cleric, an Elven rogue and a Human fighter), customize him/her and go on and travel to the Dalelands of the Forgotten Realms. There I would get to explore the catacombs of Tethyamar under the Desrtmouth Mountains (I’m not making those names up you know; and, yes, I haven’t played any proper DnD for years now), where a dwarven community is having troubles with goblins, undead things, an assortment of nasties and the malicious deity Bane. So far, so generic, I know, but playing through this story felt oddly refreshing and reminiscent of the things a seasoned DM would come up with.

Dungeons & Dragons - Daggerdale

 The game itself is a pure hack-and-slash affair sporting some great combat mechanics, deeper character customization than one would expect and -impressively- some lovely and pretty varied graphics. What’s more, the thing is properly entertaining and really addictive, meaning that, yes, Daggerdale did manage to endear itself. At heart it’s a great action-RPG with some good ideas and an apparently powerful engine behind it. Even the lack of a proper save function doesn’t completely destroy the experience, despite it being incredibly frustrating.
Dungeons & Dragons - Daggerdale
The varied bugs, visual glitches, lack of overall polish and shoddy camera, on the other hand, do border on infuriating and keep Daggerdale from becoming the game it could be, which is frankly a shame, especially considering it gets so many things right. Then again, there’s always hope that the first patch will fix things up considerably… Oh, and the game’s length is longer than I expected, without it ever becoming boring.


Verdict: A traditional hack-and-slash CRPG that’s too buggy for its own good. Definitely worth a try if you are into this sort of thing and don’t mind the generic plot.

Grim Fandango

Grim-Fandango - PC

Grim Fandango

Tim Schafer is best known lately for the Doublefine Adventure Kickstarter project where he managed to get and spend a-ton of money for the development of his upcoming adventure game called Broken Age. But Tim Schafer’s greatest success in my honest opinion was and always will be Grim Fandango, an amazing game that didn’t manage to sell all that well when it was first released back in 1998.
What is Grim Fandango
Grim-Fandango - PC
Grim Fandango is a 3D Adventure Game with a Film Noir art-style inspired from the Mexican holiday “Dia de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead)  and it comes from the good old LucasArts era. It is Manny Calavera’s  4-year journey through the land of the dead to reach the 9th underworld where all the dead souls go to find eternal peace.
Why it is great
Grim-Fandango - PC
This game has an atmosphere unlike any other game I have ever played. The environments are great, the dialogues are amazing, the story is cool, the characters are interesting, the jokes are funny and Glottis is not too big the cars are just too small!
Where can you get it
Grim-Fandango - PC
It is a pretty difficult game to find, since during it’s release it didn’t sell all that much.
I have however found that there are some copies of Grim Fandango being sold on amazon for rediculous prices but can also be found used at ebay.
If you are interested in this game (and you should be) you can find it below:

Ebay – Grim Fandango

Amazon – Grim Fandango

“A ticket on the number 9 is like a leaf of gold Manuel”
Salvador Limones

Cratermaze

Cratermaze

Traveling through time with four of your best friends, what could go wrong? No, this isn’t the plot for an upcoming movie (or is it). This is the overview for the game Cratermaze released by Hudson Soft for the TurboGrafx-16 in 1990.

Cratermaze

So you are traveling through time with friends and an evil villain kidnaps them and you have to travel through more time periods to save them. Along the way you “collect” (cough *steal* cough) treasures from the various periods. Every 15 levels you rescue a friend (what did he leave them as breadcrumbs). Also on level 30 and 60 there is a floating super boss that can kill you with a single touch.

Why can’t they just be normal people and travel to the previous week can play the winning lotto numbers like the rest of us would?

Steelseries Sensei Pro Grade Laser Mouse Review

Hey there, internets! This is Liz Poisonkiss, altruistic gaming hedonist extraordinaire! Today I’m reviewing the bad-ass Steelseries Sensei Pro Grade Laser Mouse.

SteelSeries-Sensei-Pro-Grade-Laser-Mouse

First off, I want to just say, wow. For the last month I’ve been using this amazing piece of hardware to game, surf the web, edit pictures, write, and pretty much do everything I do on my desktop.  From the first moment when I tore the Sensei out of the box I was impressed by its ambidextrous shape and silver shine finish. It also feels good in my hand (that’s what she said!), the size is just large enough to let my hand rest on it but not so small I would get cramps after only an hour gaming. But looks and size aren’t everything (honest!).

SteelSeries-Sensei-Pro-Grade-Laser-Mouse

As I was about to hook it up I noticed the cord is well protected with a flexible protective weave that shields the cable from fraying. That’s why my last mouse started crapping out on me; I was thrilled to not have to worry about that. After I plugged it in, my new mouse just worked after about a minute. But this is no ordinary mouse, we’re just getting started!

Even though I enjoyed having a smooth responsive mouse to play with, I’ll admit I wasn’t going to be satisfied until I make this thing fit me and my style. So off I went to install the SteelSeries Engine on my PC. It was super easy to install and honestly this is when my jaw dropped. When I opened that control panel an ocean of customization options opened themselves to me! I was in heaven!

SteelSeries-Sensei-Pro-Grade-Laser-Mouse

Here are only some of the badass changes you can make to this mouse. There are three areas to change the color on it with, get this, 16.8 million different colors to choose from! Underneath, the mouse has an LCD display which you can customize with your own graphic and/or use to remind you which one of the tons of detailed macros you have active on the mouse at the moment.  You can customize the speed of your mouse to a blindingly fast 11,400 CPI because it has its own freaking processer in the thing! This mouse is more powerful than some of my first computers. The eight strategically placed buttons can be assigned to do anything you like although, just like any ambidextrous mouse, sometimes misclicks can occur while you get used to holding it. Seriously though, if I wrote about every way you could customize this mouse it would take too long! On the box it says, “the world’s most customizable mouse” and I’m starting to believe it. Suffice it to say this mouse can meet even the pickiest gamer’s needs.

SteelSeries-Sensei-Pro-Grade-Laser-Mouse

So how much is “the world’s most customizable mouse”? The Sensei Pro Grade Laser Mouse retails for $89.99. Can you believe it? A quality fully customizable professional gaming mouse for under a hundred dollars. I was really surprised at this because I know that the market contains lots of gaming mice with fewer features for more money. After using it and abusing it in my typical fashion, I think I can look forward to years of hard gaming with top performance using this mouse. I’m glad I got my hands on it and you’ll thank me if you do.

Tech specs:

 SteelSeries-Sensei-Pro-Grade-Laser-Mouse

SIZE AND WEIGHT:

Weight: 102 grams (0.22 lbs)

Height: 38,7 mm (1.5 in)

Width: 68,3 mm (2.7 in)

Length: 125,5 mm (4.9 in)

SPEED:

Default CPI range: 1 to 5,700 CPI.

Double CPI range: 5701 to 11,400 CPI.

BUTTONS: 8

FRAMES PER SECOND: 12,000

INCHES PER SECOND: 150+

ACCELERATION: 30G

SENSOR DATA PATH: True 16 bit

LIFT DISTANCE: 1-5mm

CABLE: 2m-6.5ft

Super Mario 64 beaten in 7 minutes

mario-64_motivation_poster

Super Mario 64 beaten in 7 minutes

Spoiler alert this video contains the use of glitching obviously to get past 99% of the levels, but still as said in the Youtube comments, watching this made me cry for all the days, weeks and months I spent beating the game originally. Don’t get me wrong, I rather beat it legit then cheat, but watching this killed my childhood just a little.

WHOSIT?

WHOSIT

A little known classic board game that’s fun for the whole family is WHOSIT? by Parker Brothers.  Released in 1976, WHOSIT? is a game where players begin by randomly taking one of 20 Character cards, keep it hidden from other players’ eyes, and then try to guess who has which card based upon the questions they draw from the Question Card deck.  Players answer YES or NO depending on the question, such as, “Are you holding something?”, “Do you have glasses?”, “Are you male?”, or “Do you smoke?“ Lucky players can draw a “Ask ANY Question” card, which contains all the questions in the deck on one card.

WHOSIT

The characteristics vary from card to card, such as the Genius (White / Male / Child / Glasses / Tie / Gold Room), the Vampire (White / Female / Adult / Blue Room), or theHero (Black / Male / Adult / Moustache / Smoking / Jewellery / Gold Room).  Players pick up Question cards that give them the opportunity to see who has what feature. But it’s not as easy as you might think, because there are a few curveballs thrown in.  Some characters may not answer truthfully, no matter what the question is, such as the Spy (Always LIES / Oriental / Female / Holding Cigarette / Adult / Hat / Smoking / Glasses / Red Room), the Censor (Always Says NO), or the Director (Says YES or NO / White / Male / Adult / Moustache / Gold Room / Scarf / Holding Riding Crop).

The game board helps in identifying players as it shows each of the characters as they are shown on their Character Cards.  This is darn right necessary when you start trying to remember all the different answers to match up who might be whom. There are no player tokens or dice; the game board is provided just for a place to store the Question cards and as a visual reference.

Once a player is ready to make a guess on the identities of all their opponents, a special box, divided in two (one side for YES and one side for NO), is handed around the room.  If their character card has been identified, then they put their chip into the YES side, if not, into the NO side.  If all the chips are on the YES side when the box is opened, the game is over.

This is a fun family game that can be played in less than an hour.  There is nothing risqué about the characters or the questions, so even the younger members of the household can play (though they will need to be able to read their Character card).  Although as little as two and as many as six players can play WHOSIT?, more players make for a more challenging game.  WHOSIT? is yet another wonderful Parker Brothers classic game.  Highly recommended!

Things to do with an NES cartridge

Things to do with an NES cartridge

Who would have thought there were so many things we could do with an NES cartridge besides playing games or throwing them at our sister. Here we have a number of awesome uses for the NES carts including:

The NES cartridge Clock

The NES cartridge Clock

You spent way too much time playing games, now you can better keep track of time with this very geeky clock. When both hands point at Mario you enter the Rainbow Bridge.

The NES cartridge Harmonica

The NES cartridge Harmonica

How many NES games left you singing the blues? Now you play them on your very own NES harmonica. I think this should be a key item in the next Zelda.

The NES cartridge External Hdd

The NES cartridge External Hdd

Need a place to hold all those NES ROMS well look no further than this cool completely functioning external disc drive. Using the Gold Zelda cart is a bonus for the bling factor. By the way, did you know the gold Zelda cart was considered common and the grey cart was considered rare?

The NES cartridge NES

The NES cartridge NES

This is the video game equivalent to the Turducken. I mean playing a NES within an NES cart must break some laws of science or something. I am waiting for the home with NES carts for every appliance and furniture.

The NES cartridge Ring

The NES cartridge Ring

Now you have that perfect ring to present to the girl about to turn down your marriage proposal. I think world record holders of NES games should get a ring made from the cart of the game they hold the record in and all gamers are required to kiss it.

Retro Duo Portable V2.0 Review

Retro Duo Portable

The Retro Duo Portable V2.0: another clone system to satisfy your nostalgic hunger. These so-called ‘clones’ are fast growing in popularity. Companies like Hyperkin and Retro-Bit have capitalised on the popularity of retro gaming by producing systems that can play your old console cartridges.

Retro Duo Portable

Retro-Bit is having a second crack at this caper by creating the Retro Duo Portable (RDP) V2.0 – a portable (to an extent) unit that plays SNES carts from any region without hacking or modifications. The RDP V2.0 is also capable of playing NES carts using the bundled RetroPort adapter, which sticks out like a sore thumb. The RDP V2.0 can also play Sega Mega Drive / Genesis cartridges using the RetroGEN adapter, which is sold separately.

Retro Duo Portable

Retro-Bit’s first attempt at hardware console creation was modest. The screen wasn’t too flash, the unit felt cheap and games compatibility was limited. They have learned from the experience and introduced a number of improvements for V2.0. These include: upgraded LCD screen, crisper sound, improved D-pad and button layout, better battery life (Lithium-ion) with LED indicator and most importantly, enhanced game cartridge compatibility.

Retro Duo Portable

The RDP V2.0 comes in a slick looking package. Inside you will find a vast amount of gear – the console itself, a plastic stand, TV/AV connection cable, power supply unit, RetroPort adapter, a controller hub and two SuperRetro controllers (which can also be used on your SNES!).

Retro Duo Portable

After playing with the unit for a number of hours (on one battery charge!), here are our thoughts:

Retro Duo Portable

The unit feels sturdy in hand and has a nice soft coating. It doesn’t suffer from that cheap feel you get from other ‘clones’.

Retro Duo Portable

The D-pad and button layout is identical to a SNES pad, so you should feel right at home. However, the shoulder buttons do let the controls down as they are too close to the cartridge slot, but this is only a minor niggle. The external control pads are great to use if you intend on hooking the RDP V2.0 up to a TV, or if you use them natively on your SNES.

Retro Duo Portable

We did have a few compatibility issues with the Super FX SNES games, but overall we were pleased with Retro-Bit’s claim of improved compatibility.

Retro Duo Portable

Using the RetroPort adapter to play your NES carts basically renders the unit ‘un-portable’. The adapter sticks out above the unit which looks damn ugly. But hey, if you want to play your native old NES carts, you will put up with this unsightliness. Playing the RDP V2.0 with the RetroPort adapter definitely got attention on public transport.

Retro Duo Portable

The improved LCD screen is better than the original RDP (it has an increased pixel count), but it has a long way to go. You still have to ‘angle’ or ‘tilt’ the unit to get the best visibility, which gets annoying after a while. There is a contrast reset button which has three preset contrast settings for brightness. The clarity is average when compared to modern handhelds; but considering the price of the unit, it is understandable.

Retro Duo Portable

The beefing up of the sound is great in theory, however we did find the sound became distorted at maximum volume with a distinct ‘crackling’ on certain games (Super Smash TV). The sound was fine when playing with headphones, however the placement of the headphone jack should have been placed on the side of the unit, not on top (it gets in the way!).

Retro Duo Portable

Should you rush out and buy the Retro Duo Portable V2.0? It depends, if you are happy emulating (legally) your 8-bit and 16-bit Sega or Nintendo games, then the answer is no. However, if you want a system that you can plug in your library of SNES, NES and Mega Drive carts, then the RDP V2.0 is perfect. The other plus to owning the RDP V2.0 is that you will safeguard your Sega and Nintendo hardware from further abuse, and let’s face it, these old consoles won’t last forever!

Verdict: If you like the sound of a console that can play your SNES and NES cartridges out of the box, then check this unit out.

The Retro Duo Portable NES/SNES Game System retails for $99.99USD at ThinkGeek.

Blue Stinger

Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast

Blue Stinger (1999)
By: Climax Graphics / Activision  Genre: Survival Horror  Players:  Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Sega Dreamcast  
Also Available For: Nothing

As game systems get more and more powerful over the years it’s only natural that the games played on them will evolve to make better use of them too, and occasionally new genres appear. One such genre was arguably started by Alone in the Dark which appeared in 1992 for the PC but I don’t think anyone would deny it was the arrival of Capcom’s Resident Evil series which really saw it take off. This genre came to be known, of course, as survival horror, but it’s one that’s never really taken a hold of me. Despite this, I bought Blue Stinger at the Dreamcast’s launch and looked forward to exploring its world. Is that because it promised something more than existing survival horror games, or would I once again fail to be ensnared by this burgeoning genre?

Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast

In all honesty it was probably just excitement over the Dreamcast’s arrival which prompted the purchase of this game, but it does have a few differences to earlier games of its type. It’s set in the Gulf of Mexico in the vicinity of the Yacutan Peninsula. As we’re shown in the fairly decent intro sequence, this was the site of the immense meteor strike which brought to an end the age of the dinosaur. Fast forward to the year 2000 and a mysterious island is all that remains after a huge earthquake hits the presumed site of the meteor impact, and it becomes known as Dinosaur Island. It isn’t long before the island is occupied by a shady biotech corporation called Kimra. Nearly twenty years later, ESER (Emergency Sea Evacuation and Rescue) member, Eliot Ballade, is fishing in the area while on vacation with a friend when something falls from the sky, heading towards the island.
Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast

Soon after the island is struck by what appears to be a meteor, an energy barrier appears around it which traps Eliot’s friend, and almost capsizes their boat in the process. Needless to say, Eliot awakens on the island with only a blue, floaty creature called Nephilim for company. Urging Eliot to follow her, it’s at this point your adventure begins. To begin with you’ll just have Eliot to control but before long you’ll meet some friendly characters – Janine King, a member of the security force on the island who most of your contact with is via computer/viewscreen, and Dogs Bower, a resident of the island. From this point on you can select either Eliot or Dogs to explore the mysterious island with. Eliot is faster and more agile, Dogs is stronger and can take more damage. But damage from what, I hear you ask? The majority of Blue Stinger is a adventure game – explore the various buildings and other areas, solve simple puzzles or find items to progress, etc, but there are also some less-than-friendly creatures on the loose.
Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast

As you might expect from a survival horror game, the island is occupied by some horrifying creatures as well. Many of these used to be human by the looks of it, but I don’t think they’re zombies. Whatever they are, they waste little time in tearing chunks out of Eliot and Dogs if they get the chance. To begin with, your only means of fending them off is your fists but it isn’t long before you’ll start finding some more effective weapons. These come in two groups. Short-range weapons include the trusty baseball bat (do these things actually get used for playing baseball?), axe, even a light-sabre type device. Far more effective (and safer), but with finite ammunition, are the long-range weapons. These include the standard handgun and shotgun, a couple of more originals ones in the acid gun and plasma gun, and the supremely satisfying bazooka!
Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast

Some of these weapons can be found surreptitiously laying around, but they can also be bought at one of the various (automated) shops you’ll come across. It’s the same for ammunition, although this can also be found on some of the dead bodies you’ll periodically encounter. Eeek! Dinosaur Island is a fairly extensive place too. As well as the expected areas like the docks (which is where you start), warehouses, and research facilities, there’s also shops, banks, and all sorts of other places. It’s more like a town than a corporate headquarters – they even have their own currency – the Kimra dollar. This can be found in several places but your first source of it is a dangerous one – the terrifying monsters themselves!
Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast

Predictably enough, the hideous creatures increase in both strength and numbers as you progress through the game but it’s worth taking them on rather than running as each will explode in a shower of coins upon defeat! Whilst this does break the illusion a little, they are nonetheless invaluable sources of money which is needed to make decent progress. Money can also be found in a few other places, as can numerous other items. Some of them are useful but not very exciting such as keys, bank and ID cards, stamps, etc. Others are a bit more interesting but less useful such as an array of new t-shirts! Various foods and ‘Hassy’ drinks can also be found or bought which replenish your energy level to a varying degree depending on what you consume.
Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast

One of the biggest attractions of games like this is their realism which is probably why they, as a genre, were born relatively recently as a result of the ever-increasing power of home systems. After all, only so much realism could be achieved on the older and more limited cartridge and disc-based machines! Accordingly, considering it was one of the first Dreamcast games, Blue Stinger is a fantastic-looking game. The intro and cut-scenes are great (although the lip-syncing is a little ropey) and this was one of the first games on any system to feature a fully-3D game environment. The scale and atmosphere this helps to convey is pretty darn good and all the characters, especially the gruesome monsters, look superb. Some of the boss monsters are enormous and mightily impressive!
Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast

The various areas of the game have been well thought-out too and the attention to detail is top-notch. For example, the game apparently takes place near Christmas as there are decorations and jingly music around the shopping area! The voice-acting, whilst not cringe-inducing, is a little below-par but the rest of the music is of a high standard too. Some of it’s creepy as you would expect, but that Christmas tune is brilliant. There’s something very surreal about shooting the crap out of disgusting, mutated creatures while music as happy and jolly as that is playing! A vast majority of the game is viewed from a third-person perspective and, mercifully in my opinion, control over Eliot/Dogs is more akin to Tomb Raider than Resident Evil which gives the game a lot more immediacy and is greatly beneficial to the enjoyment of the game.

Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast
And enjoyable it is too. The graphics, sound, presentation, etc are all about as good as you could expect for a Dreamcast launch title and they still impress today but for one problem – the camera. Yep, it was a familiar story in the late 90’s. The view of the action is very good until you find yourself in a cramped corner or something similar, at which point it doesn’t seem to know where to go! That said, it’s not a game-ruining problem and it shouldn’t dissuade you from playing Blue Stinger. The story is engrossing and the interaction between the characters is superb with some amusing banter between them all. The shady Dogs rarely seems at ease with Eliot and even less so when Janine’s around (I suspect he’d be ever more incensed if he knew about the revealing pics Sega hid away of her on the game disc!).

Blue Stinger - Sega Dreamcast

Aside from the camera problem there really isn’t and bad points to this game. There’s a genuine urge to unravel the mystery and see how things end and there’s a good 10-15 hours of tense and atmospheric gameplay before you’ll get to find that out. There’s also enough secrets and small side-quests to encourage multiple play-throughs and it’s enjoyable each time. A survival horror beginner I may be, but I’d like to think I know a good game when I see one, and this is certainly that.

RKS Score: 8/10

The NES bandwagon

This was a case of Nintendo jumping on its own bandwagon. So do you want to know what this is? It is a cheap piece of plastic that holds your NES controller. ~J.A. Laraque

The NES bandwagon

When the NES really hit its stride everyone wanted a game on it or an accessory for it. It was like creating a commercial that could be played 24 hours a day directly to a kid’s brain. Seriously, as much as I was into NES and their games I did not know about half of the companies that rushed out a game just so they could say they have a title on the NES and that goes for accessories as well. Here is a small list of games and accessories that jumped in when they probably should have stayed out.

Barbie

Barbie - NES

This was the perfect example of a game executive saying that we need a “game for girls” and what else represents the modern girl than Barbie right? This game was just bad and kind of insulting. The whole game is Barbie dreaming about being invited to some Fantasy Ball and she has nothing to wear and has to travel to places like the Mall World to get clothes and accessories for her outfit so she can impress Ken. How do you lose? You have to avoid obstacles, like breaking your heels I guess, and if you hit too many you wake up and return to the awful reality that is Barbie’s life, oh wait.

NES Speed Board

NES Speedboard

This was a case of Nintendo jumping on its own bandwagon. So do you want to know what this is? It is a cheap piece of plastic that holds your NES controller. Now the idea was you could press buttons faster, but then again look at the picture on the box. You can’t even hold the controller right, so I guess if you are an Ape this is a good thing, but for any self-respecting gamer it is a piece of crap. For shame Nintendo, for shame!

Where’s Waldo

Wheres Waldo - NES

More like where is the integrity of the Nintendo seal of quality? Here you have Where’s Waldo which in the 90’s was a very popular book. Just on its face the idea of turning it into a video game was bad since you pretty much just looked for Waldo in a maze of people and objects on a page. In the game you are trying to send Waldo to the moon which I guess makes sense since the moon is pretty baron and Waldo is probably suffering some form of stress from always being surrounded by so many people akin to a hoarder trapped in their home. The major issue here was the graphics which were so bad you often could never tell Waldo from the other sprites on the level. This was most certainly a graphically challenged bandwagon game.

U-Force NES Controller

u_force_controller_nes

Strangely enough the Wii most likely came from this accessory, but back in 1989 when this came out it was bad. The idea behind the U-Force was that you could be part of the game using infrared technology to read your hand and body movements. One of the games it was supposed to be so awesome with was Mike Tyson’s Punchout where you were to feel like you were really fighting. The problem was even the main game hardly played well and most other NES titles could not work at all with the U-Force. This really was the type of controller that was created just so you could waste your money on it and impress your friends for the five seconds they looked at it. Yes, it “looked” cool, but once you played it, it was complete crap.

There are a ton more games and accessories including a list of accessories I found in places like grocery stores and gas stations so keep checking back for the next installment.

The Ultimate History of Video Games

From Pong to Pokemon - The Ultimate History of Video Games

I came home from work the other day only to find this awesome 600 page book lying on my table top, big thanks to my wife!

From Pong to Pokemon, The Ultimate History of Video Games. I’ve only just begun but I can tell I love this book already. I highly recommend this book to anyone out there wanting to know all they can about gaming history.. It even has a little bit about old Pinball machines as well.

J.B. Harold Murder Club

J.B. Harold Murder Club

The name could almost be on a rap label or like those teenage books I used to read in school. However, J.B. Harold Murder Club is a murder mystery game developed by River Hill Soft and published by Hudson Soft for the PC Engine, aka the Turbo Grafx-16 in 1991.

J.B. Harold Murder Club

In the game a wealthy womanizer named Bill Robbins has been murdered and you as J.B. Harold has to find out who did it. There is a list of suspects and you must travel around talking to people and searching for clues. For the most part you travel using a grid map and view pictures. For many of today’s gamers it would not be that interesting, but for those who like reading and solving mysteries and puzzles it was an interesting game.

Florida Supercon Cosplay 2013

We all had a great time at Florida Supercon through we agree that the show needs to move to a bigger area with more room and better parking. On Saturday it was so crazy packed it make it hard to do much of anything expect be knocked around in a crowd. However, there were a ton of great cosplay there, here is just a small sample.

 

Steelseries Siberia V/2 Review

Hey there, internets! This is Liz Poisonkiss, altruistic gaming hedonist extraordinaire! Today I’d like to discuss the merits of a super cool pair of headphones from Steelseries: the Siberia V/2 Full-Size headset.

Liz Poisonkiss

I’ve had these headphones for about a month now and have they seen some action! They have been smushed  in my backpack next to my laptop and heavy load of graduate study textbooks, tossed around wildly while getting caught around my feet and my cat’s paws, and it’s cord tangled and untangled repeatedly as I hastily put them away before class (or sex!). This sturdy piece of hardware took all my abuse and begged for more, working flawlessly every time I plugged it into my various devices.

So what kind of performance are we talking about here? I played games, made Skype calls, watched movies/TV, and listened to lots of music through these and I must say it was excellent! When listening to music I could hear the touch of the piano keys, the tangible twang of guitars, and the breathing of the performers.  I was particularly impressed at the bass reverberating in my ears as if I had a tiny portable subwoofer.  And the 3D sound was magnificent as well. While gaming I could head the footsteps of my teammates and enemies as I stalked around being all rogue-y. But when I was caught or a monster roared in my direction you better believe I jumped out of my seat.

Speaking of rogue-y types things, did you know that these headphones have a little rogue microphone hiding inside them?! Curled up in the left headphone is a tiny extendable microphone.  And besides soaking up clear and crisp sound, I love the fact that it’s retractable. It stays out of the way unless I need it.

Oh, and the comfortable leather pads around my ears are soft and allow me to ignore the rest of the world while I have them on. Yay for not being interrupted! And boy can I have these suckers on for a long time. Not only are the headphone pads comfortable, but the unique design of the headset’s headband doesn’t squeeze my head or place the weight of the device on my head allowing me to play for hours and hours. However, there is a risk of going deaf! Be careful, these guys go up to 11. I’m sure the handy in-cord volume and mic control can keep that in check.

Oh, and the nicest part about these headphones is the price. At $89.99 performance like this is a bargain. They come in a rainbow of colors so you can match them to your personality. No matter what you use these babies for, they are sure to provide you with years of premium performance. I just am crazy about these new headphones and anyone who enjoys premium performance for a great value will enjoy them too!

Tech specs:

steelseries-pink

Headphones:

Frequency response: 18 – 28,000 Hz

Impedance: 32 Ohm

SPL@ 1kHz, 1 Vrms: 112 dB

Cable length: 9.8 ft. (1 + 2 = 3 m)

Jacks: 3.5 mm

Microphone:

Frequency response: 50 – 16,000 Hz

Pick up pattern: Uni-directional

Sensitivity: -38 dB

Debate: The Dragon*Con Boycott

 

Debate: The Dragon*Con Boycott

When my editor at Word of the Nerd asked for a writer to cover the 2013 Dragon*Con Boycott, I didn’t just jump on the chance to write a serious and controversial piece.  I write about geek fashion and movies!  But it was the first I’d heard about a boycott, and curiosity set me to googling, and the more I read, the more I felt a burning conviction that I had to be the one to cover this.

dragoncon

The controversy focused around the fact that one of Dragon*Con’s founders, Ed Kramer, had been arrested Aug. 25, 2000 on accusations that he sexually abused three boys, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  The man has been clearly manipulating the system, as 13 years has gone by without the case being resolved.  He claimed to be too ill to stand trial.  His guilt or innocence is really not for me to judge, but evidence that he was a world-class manipulator was clear.

The boycott, which has been led by horror author, Nancy Collins, stated that, although Dragon*Con claimed to have separated themselves from Ed, they were still paying him upwards of $150,000 a year.

Well, of course, being a mother, and having a child roughly the same age as the boys Ed was accused of molesting, my initial reaction was “Well, crap! I guess this means we’re not going to Dragon*Con because there’s no way in HELL, I’m letting my money go to this guy’s defense!”  The boycott alleged that ⅓ of my ticket cost would go to Ed Kramer and his defense, and I didn’t care what the circumstances surrounding it were, I simply could not in good conscience support this man financially.  I didn’t want a PENNY of my money going to him, so what choice could I have?  I have only been to Dragon*Con once, and it was literally THE TIME OF MY LIFE!  So I really was not happy about the decision that I felt forced into making.  But the more I dug, the more I found out what a dynamic situation it was.

Dragon*Con states that Mr. Kramer has had absolutely nothing to do with the convention since his arrest in 2000, while Nancy and the other boycotters claim that this is not true.  Boycotters claim that he has been actively involved, even invited back as a guest, and that the remaining chair members of Dragon*Con had come to his defense in court.  Dragon*Con insists that Kramer’s only current relationship to Dragon*Con is that he was a shareholder who was legally entitled to a dividend.  Dragon*Con had offered to buy him out several times, and it is my understanding that they actually acquired a percentage of his shares, but he held onto 34%.  Kramer then sued Dragon*Con, with some complaint of not receiving fair payment, or something like that.  Because of the lawsuit, Dragon*Con has had its hands tied on their options, as GA law has restrictions on what changes a company can make when it is under current litigation.

I spoke directly with Greg Euston, Director of Public Relations for Dragon*Con, and the information he provided me was eye opening.  I felt convinced after our conversation that Dragon*Con really couldn’t legally do anything further until Mr. Kramer stood trial, and they had tried on several occasions to end this whole mess with a buyout, but Ed wouldn’t go for it.

I was conflicted.  How could we suggest punishing all of Dragon*Con and everyone involved, for the actions of one nutjob?  But how could I allow that nutjob to cash in on MY fun?  It wasn’t worth it… but what else could we expect Dragon*Con to do?

It was in a follow up conversation with Dragon*Con’s PR guy, that I understood something that had previously eluded me, and clearly was not understood by the populous of boycotters.  I asked Greg Euston “Besides the portion of money that goes to Mr. Kramer, where else does my ticket money go?”  Greg had to explain to me, as a shareholder, Mr. Kramer is legally entitled to his percentage of the dividend.  That means that AFTER Dragon*Con has paid the hotel fees in the multiple hotels that host the convention, the travel and hotel costs of the invited guests, hundreds (thousands?) of employees, attorneys, and whatever other costs are incurred in the process of putting on a MASSIVE convention, Thursday-Monday on Labor Day weekend… after all that, they make donations to their official charities.

“Since 2005, Dragon*Con has raised almost $224,000 for its official charities.  For the first time in 2013, Dragon*Con will match up to $50,000 in funds raised for the official charities – Noah’s Ark, Georgia Conservancy and Sheltering Arms – through auctions, silent auctions, Braves Night and other events.  With this match, we believe it’s entirely possible to raise more than $100,000 to this year’s official charity partners” Greg explained.

Ok, so after ALL that, if  anything is left, they decide whether or not to declare a dividend.  I am not sure what it means that they “decide” but that is how it was expressed to me.  So, if anything is left, and they declare a dividend, THAT is what goes to shareholders.  According to Dragon*Con PR, that typically amounts to less than $1 per share.  Ed Kramer, with his 34%, holds 2050 shares.  So, tell me, how much of my ticket price is going to Ed Kramer when thousands upon thousands of attendees only bring in a profit of less than $1 per share?  And the $150,000 claim that Nancy Collins made… Well, according to Dragon*Con (and I asked more than once for confirmation) that is a payout that happened exactly ONCE, in 2011, when they had an unusually high payout.  But as recently as 2008, there have been years with absolutely NO payout.

So, forgive me for being long winded in this explanation, but there are clearly a lot of variables involved in this situation.  The article that I had stepped up to write was going to need to be very objective, and I wanted to make sure I covered all possible perspectives.  I did an email interview with Nancy Collins, and got a written statement from Dragon*Con PR as well.  I got a statement from the head of Austin Browncoats, a charitable organization that attends Dragon*Con as a vendor, giving 100% of proceeds to charity. I got an amazingly well thought out statement from popular goth performer Voltaire, in which, he totally won me as a fan, despite my lack of interest in goth music. I also reached out to several of the guests who had been listed on the boycott’s Facebook page as “not attending”, with an implication that it was a result of the boycott.  The only guest to respond was Doc Hammer, of Venture Bros. who said it was pure coincidence, and that it was just gossip if they were being associated with the boycott.

So, I really felt I had some amazing material to work with for my article, and I knew what direction I wanted to go with it.  I wanted to present alternatives to the boycott: ways to make a stand against child molestation and Ed Kramer.  What could we do to help move the trial along?  Was there any option of petitioning the courts to expedite the trial?  As Greg Euston pointed out to me, Ed Kramer must have other sources of income, as he was racking up some hefty lawyer fees… what about his books and film?  After all my digging, I’d come to the personal opinion that the boycott was great in principle, but that it wasn’t a useful solution.  Not only was a boycott going to have little to no effect on Kramer’s financial situation, but it was going to take down so many other people in the process.  People whose livelihoods depended on Dragon*Con.

I hadn’t begun writing, but I had it all pieced together in my head, and I felt really good about it.  Then the news broke!  Dragon*Con’s merger meant Ed was out for good!  Hurray!  We beat the bad guy!  My editor was on me to get the story out immediately, but it required me doing a LOT of rethinking.  This meant that the boycott was a non-issue now, right?  So I sent an email to Nancy with a copy of the press release and asked if she’d like to add anything to our interview.  What does this mean for the boycott now?  Her response was that it didn’t change anything!  It wouldn’t change anything until she saw it in legal documentation.

I was a bit dumbfounded.  I mean, this kind of stuff gets filed on public record.  It didn’t even cross my mind that Dragon*Con would lie about something this big, but Nancy was certain that they had.  I decided to contact Dragon*Con PR and ask if they could give proof, but they were either unwilling or unable at the time, and suggested giving a call to Ed Kramer’s lawyer for confirmation.  Well, I jumped on that!  The phone connection was poor, and they guy was smug, but I got this much: He was NOT HAPPY.  The merger was opposed by Kramer, and is what is called a “squeeze out merger”.  He said that his office had not released an official statement and basically had nothing more to say.  He did confirm for me, however, that Ed Kramer would not be receiving any further dividends in the future.

See, now I’ve taken up all that page space, and I’m only just getting to the good part!  I notified Nancy of the attorney’s confirmation, and I received no response.  However, I did stumble across an article stating that she had called off the boycott!  Great!  I mean, I was a little put off that in our correspondence she didn’t bother to mention it, but whatever, no big deal.  I asked her to confirm that she had in fact called off the boycott, and asked if she’d like to add anything, or if I should just copy/paste from the other article.  She had not responded by the time my article went live.

My article, http://www.wordofthenerdonline.com/the-newest-twist-in-the-dragoncon-boycott-saga/, and the supplemental interviews/statements published just before midnight, with a final “update” that reports of the boycott ending had surfaced, but we were still waiting for confirmation from Nancy.  She got back to me shortly after, saying to use the quote from the other article, which I’d already decided to do. I went to bed, feeling quite happy with myself.

When I woke up the next morning, the first thing I did was check my view count.  There were roughly 800 views between my article, and the statement from Voltaire, with a handful of views for Nancy’s interview, and Dragon*Con PR.  This was HUGE! This happened in my sleep!  I don’t think my best fashion piece has reached 800 views YET, with months for them to collect views.  An average post of mine gets 200-ish on the first day (which is the most important).  So I was on cloud nine because I hadn’t even publicized my work yet.  I’d posted it on my Facebook page, and sent the link to Nancy, Voltaire, and the Dragon*Con PR, that was it.

My next move was checking my email.  Dragon*Con PR had sent me a one line response:

“Looks great Jessi.  Thanks for all the hard work.  Best, Greg”

Good, he liked it. I’d also received a short response from Voltaire:

“You did a great job of fairly presenting all sides. V”

Ok, I’m still feeling good here… I mean, they weren’t overly flattering, but clearly complimentary.

Next I opened the email from Nancy.  It was more than one line.  It was two, to be exact:

“Wow.

So you completely ignored the videotaped interview with Kramer’s attorney on WSB where he admitted that Kramer’s annual dividend was $150K?”

It was followed immediately with a separate email from Nancy:

“So why did Kramer turn down $500K buy out offers if he was making so little money from DragonCon?”

My elation instantly disappeared.  My very verbal, out loud reaction was, “What!? What video?  What the heck is she talking about?”   Followed immediately with the thought, “How the hell should I know anything about the inner workings of the brain of a psychopath?”

I actually grew quite furious.  I knew I had represented Nancy and her cause, fairly and objectively.  I had given her every opportunity to update her statement and make her cause.  I had given her entire interview, word for word, for a large audience to see. And somehow the only thing she seemed to notice was the lack of mention of a video that she claims I was aware of.  I’ve seen no such video.  I’m not saying that it doesn’t exist.  I’m saying I was not aware of its existence.  I read through our past correspondences and it was not there.

Ok, so I’m pissed, but I make a personal habit of being polite and professional in the internet, despite personal opinions.  So, I didn’t respond to her email right away, because I felt I’d give an emotional response.  I decided to go about my business and come back to this later.  I began sharing my article on FB, G+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc… I started going down my list of FB communities and sharing in those that would find it of interest.  I had, “liked” the Dragon Con Boycott community FB page early on in my research, and so it was still on my list, and I figured, ok, so Nancy isn’t satisfied with my article, but it’s an objective and informative piece.  Others in the community may appreciate it, because they are clearly invested in this.  So, I posted a link, without comment, to the page and continued on my way.

You can imagine my surprise when FB notifies me of a response, and I go back to the community page to find that the admin of the page had commented on my link, the exact same response in my email from Nancy.  It was not the first time that something from a personal email with Nancy had come up verbatim on the community page, so I assume it was Nancy moderating the page. Like the email, she immediately followed with a second response.  I cannot quote it word for word, as the entire post was later removed, but it basically said that I wasn’t a real journalist, but just a blogger… and bloggers will always be just bloggers, and not worth her time.

Well, by this point, I’m irate.  Instead of waiting for a personal response, she decided to publicly insult me.  I knew that it was unwise to comment in my emotional condition, so I sent the link to my editor and he decided to defend me and my writing.  He explained what I told him, that I had not seen the video in question.  The response was (and now I’m quoting my editor, because I didn’t have time to actually see this before the whole thing was deleted):

“I gave her the link. It’s linked on this page. Do I need to chew her food for her and wipe her ass while I’m at it?”

Hello!  WHAT?!  No, she just didn’t!!!  Seriously?  Ok, so I go to the page to look, because at this point I have to respond… well, guess what?  Not only have my editor and I been banned from the community (remember, I have not said a WORD in there yet, aside from the link to the article), but the link to the article and all comments had been removed.  In it’s place I found this, which had a timestamp of pretty much “just now”:

“Now that the boycott is over, and DragonCon has finally done what it said it couldn’t do, I am no longer tolerating you ugly, immature, sociopathic little bastards. That means banning and removing posts from you sore losers. Besides forcing the ouster of Kramer, if the DragonCon boycott had also revealed a very nasty side of fandom/geek culture. One it will have to come to terms with if it wants to continue to grow in a healthy direction.”

I can only assume that she was referring to myself and my editor, since we’d just been banned, my article deleted and that had been the ONLY action on that page during that time period. Ok, so here’s where it got ugly.  I posted a link to the status update she had made, with the comment “Well, isn’t that professional?”  I couldn’t resist venting about it… I knew Nancy wasn’t going to see it, so I was safe from interacting with her.  A couple friends took it upon themselves to head on over to the original update from the Dragon Con Boycott page to “defend” me… and really, my name didn’t even come up.  I don’t think the article even came up, but it turned into the ugliest thing I have ever witnessed on FB.  While my two friends, and a couple other onlookers made some valid points, asked some valid questions, and behaved in a generally “grown-up” way, the page admin (who did not appear to be Nancy now, and later she did confirm that more than one admin runs the page) and their followers began to personally attack anyone they thought “opposed them”.  They accused people of supporting child molesters, being idiots, and even went so far as to tell a dear friend of mine that they’d like to see her child put in a room with a child molester.  All the while, accusing my friends of being immature, unintelligent trolls who were attacking poor Nancy.  Now, you can go see for yourself how ugly it got, but you’ll only see one side of it, because at some point, the page admin decided to ban anyone with a reasonably functional brain and mature attitude. https://www.facebook.com/DragonConBoycott/posts/525783650809941

I cannot tell you how disappointed I am to find that the boycott that I thought I had objectively covered, had actually been seen through rose colored glass.  I thought that they were interested in punishing a child molester and protecting children, but clearly, that is not the intention of those involved with this.  Had it been, the admin should not have allowed a comment that suggested someone leave their child in a room with a pedophile to remain, while deleting anything that they felt “opposed” them.  For the record, in case this post gets removed (because, seriously, it makes them look like a bunch of douchebags, so if it were my page, I’d have taken it down the moment it got ugly) the person who made the quip about putting someone’s child in a room with a pedo is this fella:

https://www.facebook.com/joel.adams.3532, but don’t think he’s the only one making inappropriate, juvenile responses.  They were protecting “poor Nancy” with a vengeance.

Look, I’m not gonna say that she was wrong to boycott.  I applaud her for making a stand and doing SOMETHING.  I don’t think it was the most effective route, but still, good for her!  And I haven’t been following this since the beginning, so I can’t imagine how hard it was to take an unpopular stand.  I’m sure she received a lot of flak for it.  But let me be clear.  This was not about making a stand.  This was not about the boycott.  This was about villainizing anyone who chose not to join the boycott… anyone who believed that they could attend Dragon*Con without it meaning that they were supporting a pedophile… anyone who supported Dragon*Con in their efforts to make things right… anyone who wasn’t kissing Nancy’s ass, and now it seems to have extended to anyone who suggests that there is more than one side to this story.  I’m sorry to see that now that the boycott is officially over, they are looking for someone or something else to sink their venomous fangs into.  🙁

For the record.  I did respond to Nancy via email.  After all that, I calmed myself and composed a very professional and polite email, to which I’ve still received no reply.

Checkered Flag

Format- Atari Lynx

Genre- Racing game

Checkered Flag - Atari Lynx

Screw you Checkered Flag. Screw you. That’s pretty much what I was saying while playing it anyway. And when I threw the cart across the room.

I was willing to give it a little lee-way. After all, it’s a racing game from 1991 on the Atari Lynx. But despite being nicely presented, it’s frustrating experience i’m not keen to go back to any time soon.

Checkered Flag - Atari Lynx

The game opens with a nicely animated intro of a car rushing around a track. The menus also seem well organised – there’s much promise here.

When you get onto the track though, the troubles begin. You’ll notice a little man waving a flag at the start and think it’s a nice touch, you’d better keep your eyes on the road. One mis-step and you’re motoring your way to frustration-ville.

Checkered Flag - Atari Lynx

There can be up to ten cars on the track, and unwisely I chose to have the full complement as my opponents. You play in a red car, and all the rest are yellow. You already feel an outcast.

Racing is a simple case of steering left and right, but the main annoyance arises from your racing foes. Even the smallest of contact between your motor and theirs result in both of you spinning around once and grinding to a halt.

As your vehicle is so big and the track is so narrow, this results in a major fun drain. On the tracks where there are twists every few seconds it’s incredibly difficult not to make no contact at all with your fellow racers. Races are lost with one collision, and that’s no fun at all.

Checkered Flag - Atari Lynx

You also run the risk of making contact with a piece of off track scenery if you don’t take a corner well enough, and this results in the same major sap of speed. Collisions are given a Space Invaders-esque explosion sound effect though. That’s quite cool. As is your wing mirror getting cracked when you crash too much.

Not that any of your failures matter though – win or lose, you’ll get the same screen of a babe congratulating a driver and handing over a trophy.

The game’s graphics could be considered a minor consolation, but even they don’t really improve the gameplay in any way. All the tracks are the same thing but with a different background. As is the case with these type of behind the car perspective games.

So I didn’t really like this. End.

Baseball Stars 2

Baseball Stars 2 - nes

Baseball Stars 2

So this week we have an awesome title. The second entry of the Baseball Stars series for the NES. Many of you might remember this as being the RPG baseball of the NES. Why RPG? Because you could actually level up your team to make them better hitters, better pitchers, and even faster and lucky. The game was so addictive that one could only wonder how great the series would’ve been on the SNES. Sadly, SNK took their talents on their own console and we never saw such a thing happen. Nevertheless, we have this beauty to remember it by so lets check it out.

Baseball Stars 2 - nes

The music of the game is actually pretty awesome. As with any baseball game on the NES or at least most of them, it would change as the mood of the game changed. For example, if you had a double and were on second base you are already in scoring position so the change and even the mood of the pitcher will change as he is thinking about stopping you from scoring. The rest of the sound effects are the usual baseball ones. Nothing that amazing but enjoyable at best.

Baseball Stars 2 - nes

The graphics of the game are great. They don’t make you wonder what’s going on and best of all it has barely any flicker on it. NES games had a lot of problem with flickering when there is a lot of stuff around the screen but this one was great at holding that off. The stadiums are your usual baseball stadiums although with different fields. They still feel like the same stadiums but we’ll let the slide. The NES could only do so much after all.

Baseball Stars 2 - nes

The gameplay of the game is nothing but wonderful. If there is a strong point of this game is the gameplay which is what makes you want to come back for more. Not only is it challenging at times, but it’s just a wonder to go through your noobie team and turn them into professionals. From beginning to end, you’ll end up powering through some tough challenges and it’ll definitely want to do it all over again.

Baseball Stars 2 - nes

Due to the long length of this game you are welcomed to come back to it at any time. It’s also a great game to play with friends especially if you use created teams. The length of the game can be changed to your liking so maybe playing a season of ten games is good enough for you? You can even play the long 100+ game seasons here. Of course, no official MLB teams but who cares, it’s a great game with amazing gameplay!

Any baseball fan should have this game in their collection. Let me rephrase that, any retro baseball fan should have this game in their collection. You just don’t know what you are missing! The game itself is beautiful, the music is amazing, and the gameplay will keep you coming back for more. This game hits everything bad about a baseball game out of the park!

Resident Evil (GameCube)

 Resident Evil - N64
Resident Evil was a huge hit on PS1, so it was kind of weird for gamers to see Capcom have a super-remake done on the Gamecube especially for it’s “kiddie” reputation.
Resident Evil - N64

The original PS1 version is a classic, but the game is dated quite a bit. Just think about it, we went from this

Resident Evil - N64

to this. Defiantly not a poor rush job on Capcom’s part. Not only is everything redone, but they added more areas, tweaked weapons, and made enemies even tougher.

Resident Evil - N64

I think my favorite part was the crimson head zombies. The regular zombie was no longer a threat, so after a few easy 9mm caps in their butts they go down easy. However after some time, the zombies revive into nastier and stronger version of themselves. The first time you see one of these guys wake up, will make you paranoid about burning or beheaded every zombie you meet.

Resident Evil - N64

The only bad thing I can say about it is that it’s a little bit too difficult. I think the PS1 version had a better balance of challenge. However it still was a fantastic job done by Capcom and really is one of the best remakes gamers have ever seen.

The Obsolete Gamer Show #35: The Clip Show

Florida Supercon 2013

Well it is a clip show, but not in the sense where we reply old stuff you already heard. We have been a bit busy at OG HQ as of late and with that and Florida Supercon we did not have a change to do our normal podcast. However, we did get a few interviews from the con and have added them to this show. First up the show features a little behind the scenes when we were recording the video for our appearance on 1337 Lounge live. It was fun doing it so we decided to add a little of our prep for it.

Next up part one in our audio version of the Gamer Parent series where we talk with gamers who are now parents. This gives a good insight into being both a gamer and a parent and we hope to add more interviews in the near future. Finally we bring you two interviews from Florida Supercon. The first one is an extended version of our interview with Stealth Mobile Gaming and our interview with Florida Arcade & Pinball Exposition. We will be back very soon with our normal podcast so make sure to check that out.

Click here to view our podcast show page.

Modern and Retro Gaming at Florida Supercon 2013

Florida Supercon 2013

Modern and Retro Gaming at Florida Supercon 2013

It was like finding an island oasis in the middle of another oasis. Florida Supercon 2013 featured a ton of awesome comic books, comic related merchandise, guest stars, Cosplayers and yes oh yes, video games, modern and classic.

The video game section was away from the main convention hall right next to the band stage so you could listen to bands rock out while playing everything from League of Legends to Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker. On the other side of what I called the gamers hall was the concession stand so we had video games nestled between music and food, it doesn’t get much better.

Florida Supercon 2013

Over at the Origin PC video game station we found our friends showcasing more of their awesome video game PC’s. We never get tired of seeing their tri-screen display that is any gamers dream. We also got a look at the powerful, but compact Chronos machines and I got to try the Nvidia Shield hands on. By the way, the Shield was playing Borderlands off of one of the Origin PC machines and it looked and played great.

ORIGIN PC also featured a live demonstration of Intel’s insanely fast “Thunderbolt” technology with their high-performance systems and showed a full video explaining all of its amazing new features! Don’t know what Thunderbolt is? You can learn all about it here: http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/io/thunderbolt/thunderbolt-technology-developer.html

origin pc - intel thunderbolt
Origin PC had a lot of systems set up so gamers could come and play as they wished on them, but they also held some tournaments where the best of the best could win some cold hard cash. I got a chance to take a look at the League of Legends tournament and as always it did not disappoint. It was great to see them there and keeping PC gaming going strong.

Stealth Mobile Gaming - Florida Supercon 2013

Now we already talked about Stealth Mobile Gaming and their awesome outdoor mobile gaming stations, but there was more retro gaming inside. Right across from Origin PC was the Florida Arcade & Pinball Exposition which featured classic arcade cabinets of many of your favorite retro games. These are original arcade cabinets and were all free to play. They featured games including Donkey Kong, Asteroids and Pac-Man. In addition, they had both classic and modern Pinball machines including, Spider-Man and a cool new one called AC/DC.

We had a chance to talk a little about the games and the group of collectors who shared their awesome arcade and pinball machines so fans could get their fill. You can check out that interview on our upcoming podcast.

Florida Supercon 2013

 Last but not least we found another retro gaming heaven within heaven itself. To the left of Origin PC and across from the console gaming tournaments we found a table featuring a ton of incredible classic games from NES up to N64. You could pick out any game you wanted and play it on one of the many television screens and console systems setup behind the table. I saw people playing Mario Cart, Strider and an awesome game of Smash Bros.


Now I am not sure if you have seen Jace Hall’s ultimate game machine, but it look as if we found its brother or sister depending on your view. In the back center was a breathtakingly beautiful arcade cabinet that allowed you to play a multitude of games off of the M.A,M.E emulator platform. This machine looked awesome with all the bells and whistles that would make any gamer smile. You could literally surround yourself in classic gaming all day for no additional cost.

Florida Supercon 2013

It was great to see so much classic gaming at a Comic Convention. Everyone I talked to was surprised at how many people turned out to play these classic games. I was not surprised. Classic gaming is in all gamers and sure, we love the modern games, but classic games have a special place in our hearts and always will. I can wait till next year to see them expand on it.

Stealth Mobile Gaming: Florida Supercon 2013

Stealth Mobile Gaming - Florida Supercon 2013

Stealth Mobile Gaming

We are always on the lookout for gaming and specifically classic gaming and we found multiple instances of it at Florida Supercon 2013. Now in-between the main hall and the ballrooms I heard what I thought was Megaman music so I had to go check it out and I was right. This mobile gaming oasis was pumping out some awesome jams. They were not only playing Megaman music, but music from Streets of Rage, Final Fantasy and more. I had to check it out and found they had an indoor trailer with sweet leather seats, a big screen HD television and some console games.

I walked around and found more classic gaming consoles where you could play games like Street Fighter vs. X-Men, Mario Cart and more. I had a chance to talk with the owner and found out his company is called Stealth Mobile Gaming. They not only do events, but they will come to your party or home and setup a sweet gaming station with console games of your choice like the Xbox, PS3 or Wii as well as classic consoles as well like the NES, Genesis and N64.

Check out or video and then check out their site.

Whatchyamacallit – Taste You Like Yogurt

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

Taste You Like Yogurt by Whatchyamacallit ft Flula Borg & Flynt Flos

This video has everything. Strange lyrics, awesome dancing, great special effects.

If you enjoy this try watching some of the videos from Turquoise Jeep Records.

AVAILABLE ON ITUNES: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/tas…
TJR: https://www.youtube.com/user/Turquois…
Flula Borg: http://www.youtube.com/user/djflula?f…

DIR:F.Floss

INSTAGRAM: @TurquoisejeepMusic @FlulaBorg
TWITTER: @Turquoisejeep @Flula
FACEBOOK: http://on.fb.me/hxkstV

Download the Album on iTunes:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/turq…

Don’t forget to check out our official merchandise
http://turquoisejeep.com/merchandise/

(c) TJ Records
http://www.turquoisejeep.com

Ghostbusters II

Ghostbusters II

Overall Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

Ghostbuster 2 - NES

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, in the wake of the success of two blockbuster movies and a lengthy, high-quality animated series run, the Ghostbusters were a hot media franchise with the usual action figures, lunch boxes, and other tie-ins. A licensed video game on the most popular console naturally had to follow, and Activision delivered with the Ghostbusters title on the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1988.

But it sucked.

Ghostbuster 2 - NES

It was truly dreadful, for many reasons, and for those who loved both the Ghostbusters and the NES machine, it was an outright heart-breaking tragedy. A couple years later, Activision would publish another Ghostbusters cartridge, this time with development work done by Imagineering, Inc. As the first video game was based on the first movie, the second video game would be based on the second film. Would it be superior?

Gameplay

Ghostbuster 2 - NES

This is, indeed, a superior video game to the original Ghostbusters title on the NES, although the second iteration certainly has its shares of flaws. The gameplay engages six levels that very loosely follow the plot of the sequel film, which hinges on the antagonist Vigo, stuck in a portrait though regaining power as the collective evilness of New York streams in a gooey river toward the museum he is in, with the Statue of Liberty posing as the only symbol of hope powerful enough to stop him.

Seriously, that’s the plot of the movie. Go watch it. The original’s better, but II is still worth seeing.

Ghostbuster 2 - NES

The game accomplishes this by, for the most part, varying between two types of gameplay: Driving levels and on-foot levels. Oddly enough, both feature jumping by use of the B button and slime-shooting (good slime, not bad – again, go watch the movie) by use of the A button. The fifth level takes an odd departure from then norm, as the player takes control of the Statue of Liberty with all four Busters in tow, and in a genre-bending style that most closely approximates a good old-fashioned shoot-’em-up, must fire at pattern-oriented flying ghosts overhead, trying to survive long enough to make it to the final battle, which all four guys get to participate in. Ghostbusters II on the NES has a two-player mode available for selection as well, even if it is in the take-turns style and not truly cooperative.

Ghostbuster 2 - NES

The side-scrolling on-foot levels cannot even be called platformers, as there is no surface but the floor to run on. The enemies are crude as well, consisting of pattern-based apparitions that bounce up and down in place, or bounce across the screen. Some are not as pattern-based, flying around, but are able to be beaten with slime blasts. The other must either be dodged to avoid, or eliminated by use of laying a trap, which is used by pressing the Start button, oddly enough. Also odd is the lack of a pause feature. Furthermore, another odd thing is that nowhere in the game can you go backward on a level; while this makes sense on the driving levels somewhat, it would be at least a tiny bit helpful as a possibility for the footpath stages.

Actually, these are not oddies: They are flaws.

Ghostbuster 2 - NES

Depending on perspective, there are a couple other features of the on-foot levels that pose as a tremendous flaw as well, or perhaps they are innovative features. Namely, this is the control scheme for aiming the slime-blaster gun and the implementation of a time limit; the former by using up and down on the directional paid to aim the gun in angled increments for several possible shooting angles, the latter by a spider that starts at the very beginning of the level, just behind the player, and slowly follows. Each time the spider catches up, it jumps onto the player and gnaws at the angle, causing the loss of one life. That is not a made-up story, that is how it works.

Ghostbuster 2 - NES

Fortunately, every time the player collects a Ghostbusters II movie logo (again, not making this up), it goes toward a tally, as every 20 earns an extra life. Collecting most of them will mean getting an extra level about every other level. This is helpful, as the game definitely poses a difficulty curve. Some portions are very challenging; during the second on-foot level, there is a particular section where three red-hued ghosts, right in a row, in a close cluster, move across the screen. Incredibly enough, each poses a different jumping pattern, oriented to differing jumping height, motion, and timing. It is nearly impossible to avoid all three without knowing their pattern, which would seem rather hard to understand without repeated playthroughs. That is the true, underlying nature of Ghostbusters II on NES: The actual levels are fairly short, but in order to conquer them, the player must rely on repeated attempts, memorization, and other tactics of mastering the game, rather than honing true skills.

Ghostbuster 2 - NES

The driving levels provide more examples of this phenomenon. Controlling the iconic ECTO-1 vehicle in a side view, the player can change to any of four lanes, even while shooting slime and jumping. The lane-changing is essential in order to dodge fixed obstacles on the road, and especially to hit the speed boosts necessary to leap large gaps in the street.

On the first level, the player notices three barricades blocking three of the lanes. Now, by their height, it could be supposed that they look low enough to jump over. This would not be an unreasonable guess. However, they are impossible to jump over, resulting in the loss of a life for a player trying that tactic. So then, now knowing to dodge those particular sorts of barricades rather than try to hurdle them, the player immediately comes across another interesting sight: Three more barricades, and the fourth lane, the free lance, has a speed boost on it. The natural inclination is to take the boost. The problem is, if the player does so, he or she will immediately slam into another set of barricades, in the form of yet another trio that leaves just one open lane. That is two lives lost, right away, on the beginning of the second level of a game. For a video game that gives the player only three lives to begin with, this seems rather harsh, even remarkably so, in light of the fact that these two deaths are practically unavoidable for a new player, despite their skill in any other genre or game.

Ghostbuster 2 - NES

Graphics

Perhaps oddly enough, Ghostbusters II is actually a pretty darn good-looking game for the NES. The on-foot stages are rendered in adequate detail, animations run smoothly, and weirdly impressively, the slime gun can fire something like nine projecticles on screen at a time without posing flickering or slowdown issues, an unusually high number not really seen in many other NES titles. The cutscenes, though usually just a single screen with perhaps some text, are a pleasantly nice touch, enjoyable and enhancing to the relevant plot. But it is the driving scenes that show off the true potential of the visuals, as buildings are shown in a gorgeous, comic-book-style skyline, complete with great use of perspective, and not resorting to lazy one-color washovers but instead really digging into the windows, lighting, etc. The drive through Central Park is fun as well, with the lust green scenary accompanied by picnic tables as the ghouls torment the driver.

Sound

Ghostbuster 2 - NES

The music is skillfully composed, offering a rendition of the classic Ghostbusters theme, along with watered-down 8-bit background version of the “Higher, Higher” track featured in the film. There is another theme or two at work as well, which is already a huge step up from the original game, which only had the one theme that played over and over and over and over and over and…

The sound effects are an improvement as well, even if not exactly mind-blowing. The slime-blasting is fleshed out well, the trap is bizarrely quiet, the car crashes sound grindy, the enemies remain astoundingly quiet. Okay, maybe the sound is not great, but it is there, and beyond the buzzy oddity of the original.

Ghostbuster 2 - NES

Originality

Speaking of original, how does one score Ghostbusters II on creativity and innovation? For the pros, we have near-unique weapons implementation in the on-foot levels, an interesting idea for posing a time limit, the always-interesting challenge of combining different styles of play in one cartridge, and inventive use of the source material in transferring to a video game.

But with its flaws in questionable game design choices (no pause, death-trap cheap tricks, very flaccid no-platforms, no-frills gameplay in either fashion) and the status of having a difficulty curve but not practicing it fairly, this cannot, and typically is not, be considered a good game. Then again, it does look pretty good (and, once again, especially in comparison to the original), offers a legitimate beginning-to-end experience, and is not nearly the worst of license titles. For offering a decent game perhaps worth mastery from true Ghostbusters fans or true NES warriors, this middle-of-the-road (literally) cart earns two and a half stars out of five.

Cthulhu Saves the World

Cthulhu Saves the World
I was never particularly fond of JRPGs you know; never even cared for Link’s 16-bit adventures on the SNES. Cthulhu, on the other hand, now that is another matter entirely. The lovable Great Old One has always been among my, let’s say, top five mythical beasts, a fact that combined with an incredibly cheap price and a high-flying indie flag led to my playing of Cthulhu Saves The World. Oh, and the Breath of Death VII CRPG the developer kindly bundled with it made the choice of buying said bundle even easier. Apparently and after 15 hours of playing with the thing I can say it was a wise choice indeed.
 Cthulhu Saves the World
Cthulhu Saves The World is, happily, much more than a retro-styled, top-down RPG with turn based combat. It is a truly funny retro-styled, top-down RPG with turn based combat. It’s one of the few games and possibly the only RPG I’ve played on a PC that sports humour that is actually any good. Really. I verified this with the help of at least three (they were four) male and female test-subjects; they all laughed and thought that the heroic version of Cthulhu the game so obviously enjoys ridiculing is a great idea indeed.
Cthulhu Saves the World
What’s more the game itself is rather good too, though definitely not exactly my kind of CRPG. It’s pure hack-and-slash with minimal exploration, only slightly confusing dungeons and simplistic combat. If it weren’t for the demented plot, the brilliantly hilarious cut-scenes, the hundreds of hidden jokes, the excellent and deep combat system, and the fact that the game wisely rewards gamers with something different every hour or so, I’d have probably given up on it, and would have lost one of the most ridiculous game finales this side of Monkey Island 2.
 Cthulhu Saves the World
Oh, yes, also the chance to discover one single gold piece in well hidden chest in one of the later dungeons. How very silly eh? Almost on the same level of silliness of not sporting an in-game map…
Cthulhu Saves the World
As an added bonus the graphics are excellent in their retro, pixel-artsy way and the music will definitely evoke that 80s console music feeling; not that I particularly adore it, but, well, some do. And after you beat the game, you’ll unlock a ton of extras and new game-modes to make sure your purchase lasts you another 10 to 15 hours. Now, that definitely is what I’d call value for money.

Verdict: A hilarious, rich, incredibly cheap and actually good RPG. Get it.

Five Video Games To Play In Summer

Summer_Games

When the temperature soars outside, there is only one thing to do – turn on the air-conditioner and grab a video game that will keep you cool and simulate that summer experience.

Wave Race 64 [N64]

Wave_Race_64
Grab your jet-ski and hit the waves. This early N64 title has realistic water effects and an array of differing environments and courses that will keep your heart racing. Play on your own or call a friend over, you will have an absolute ball. Bonsai!

California Games [Lynx]

california-GamesWhen you think of California, you think of sun, surf and lots of obscure sports, right? California Games on the Atari Lynx brings four events which will have you playing till the batteries run out. Connect the Lynx to a power outlet and have some fun in the sun.

Virtua Tennis [Dreamcast]

Virtua Tennis
With all the Grand Slams being in summer, it is perfectly natural to pull out your Dreamcast and start playing Virtua Tennis – the best tennis video game ever, period! Practice makes perfect, and the mini games are equally entertaining as blasting your opponent on clay, grass or even hard courts.

Summer Games II [C64]

Summer Games II
No summer games list can be complete without Epyx’s seminal favourite. From the triple jump to the cycling event, grab seven of your mates, a sturdy joystick and have some fun! Make sure you watch the closing ceremony fireworks – a perfect touch to a perfect game.

Out Run [PC-Engine]

Out Run
Jump in your red Ferarri, crank up the stereo, swing past your girlfriend’s place and hit the road. Feel the wind in your hair as you race down the highway to make it to the next checkpoint. Make sure you enjoy those cool and refreshing tunes along the way.

Well, there you have it. These are just a few video games to keep you cool this summer. Which video games will you play?