Nightmare

Prior to starting the game, players have to write down their greatest fear on the back of one of the reusable Nightmare cards, and on a little slip of paper which is put into the well of fears. (Usually when I receive one of these games to sell there are common fears listed, like spiders or heights, but every so often some goofball writes something like, “Lucy’s stinky feet” as their greatest fear. You’d be surprised how often similar phrases pop up. But I digress…). Once a player has all their keys, they make their way to the center of the game board and draw from the Well. If they draw the paper with their own fear written on it, they have conquered their greatest fear, defeated the Gatekeeper, and won the game.

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The MAD Magazine Game

The game board is filled with classic MAD Magazine art and zany humor. You can see art from Spy vs. Spy, The Lighter Side of…, site gags from Don Martin and Sergio Aragones, and more. And much like the magazine itself, there are little surprises throughout the game board that you stumble upon as you play. Some scenes should bring back memories, and perhaps a smile or guffaw or two. Just make sure your legal name isn’t Alfred E. Neuman, or you’ll have to collect the special $1,329,063 bill included in the game. Did I mention the game is wacky?

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Payday

The game is pretty straightforward. The game board is in the shape of a calendar month. You roll the die and move your token throughout the month. And just like reality, you’ve got to roll with the punches. You get Mail – sometimes bills, sometimes junk, and – rarely! – a little bit of cash. Every so often you get access to a Deal, some which might make you a little extra spending money, some that might make you wealthy – but the deal might go sour, too. And all the while, you’ve got to manage your money.

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Stop Thief

It’s a game of deductive reasoning, meaning random guesses won’t help you. The Electronic Crime Scanner can replay the clues to aid you in your quest to locate the thief. Once you think you know where he is, you call the police, and hope to hear the sounds of the thief being taken away to jail. But if you’re mistaken, you’ll hear the sound of the thief escaping, and a big raspberry for your trouble. That sound still makes me cringe as it represents the same thing today as it did over 20 years ago: the utter failure of my detective skills.

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The Game Genie

Many gamers found this helpful, and different Game Genies were produced for a variety of game consoles, including the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), the Nintendo GameBoy, the Super Nintendo, the Sega Genesis, and the Sega Game Gear. Two different companies distributed the Game Genie over the years it was being manufactured: Galoob and Camerica, one of which (Galoob) was actually sued by Nintendo in an effort to prevent the Game Genie from being sold. Fortunately for many gamers, Nintendo lost their legal battle and had to pay Galoob for damages.

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When Video Games Become Board Games: Part 1

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

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Martian Marine Lander

Here’s a little indie gaming treat for cheapass gamers like myself: Martian Marine Lander. The premise is simple: guide your Martian spacecraft full of Martian Marines down to Earth so that the invasion can begin. Of course, Earth has defense forces, and they’re keenly interested in turning your craft into space dust, so the lander needs to be protected by dexterously angling your force fields to absorb damage while floating down to the surface. It’s harder than it sounds, as inertia tends to keep your craft rolling in the wrong direction just when you need the shields to be facing elsewhere! And don’t think you can just plummet down at a breakneck pace to avoid all the weaponry altogether: making a run for it causes the Lander to explode into so many little pieces from the stress.

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Deathkeep

As for the gameplay itself, the control mechanism was efficient enough: you could opt to use your keyboard or your mouse for a full range of motions. Combat was handled by facing the creature you wanted to disappear and clicking on your mouse until it was gone. No real problem, aside from the incredibly chunky graphics, that is. Maps and inventory screens displayed in 640×480, but the game ran in 320×200, resulting in walls with very poor textures, and creatures that looked like they would be right at home in today’s Minecraft but with lower resolution. The whole game was just hard on the eyes, and considering the some of the amazing games that were released that same year, SSI really had no excuse.

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Top Ten TurboGrafx-16 HuCard Games Part 2

There are some people who believe R-Type is the best arcade shooter ever devised, and though I am not one of those people, I can see their case. The graphics are reminiscent of H.R. Giger’s work, and some of the power-ups are unique, such as the Power Pod, which can be detached to attack enemies or attached to your ship to fend off attackers. The game can be very challenging, even with the robot help, so be prepared to be faced with an equal mixture of joy and frustration when playing R-Type!

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The Turbo CD Review

So if this accessory was the greatest thing to happen to gaming since the release of the Atari 2600, why didn’t everyone own one? Well, to begin with, it was an accessory for the TurboGrafx-16 system, which was fighting for ground in the Nintendo vs. Sega console wars, and losing. It was also BIG, which was odd, considering the Japanese model it was based on (for the PC Engine) was quite small. Perhaps the North American fascination for big trucks and luxury cars blinded the design team at NEC, since they clearly thought BIGGER was better. Unfortunately, retailers don’t want giant boxes that are mostly Styrofoam or packaging today, and they didn’t then, either.

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Top 5 Movies Based on Video Games

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

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The TurboGrafx-16

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

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The Top 5 Sega Genesis Accessories

If you had the cash, the Sega CD was a must-have accessory. It came in two designs, a CD-player style for the older Genesis systems, which stacked on top of each other, and a top-loading style for the new Genesis systems, which acted as a base and the Genesis inserted into its side. (The Nomad would be released later.) Some of the best games for the Genesis were released on CD-format, including Lunar: The Silver Star, Sonic the Hedgehog CD, The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin, and Earthworm Jim. Now that’s quality retro gaming!

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Top Ten TurboCD TurboDuo CD Games

What makes the TurboGrafx so special to me? Perhaps it is because of my love for a good underdog against the favorite of the great unwashed, perhaps it was the console’s design, or perhaps it was the because of the amazing peripherals NEC offered for their system. Regardless, it will always be my first choice when heading back to the 90s for retrogaming (yes, I realize it was released in North America in 1989…most of the games came later!) Picking up a TurboCD and a Super System Card was one of my best gaming investments back in the day. There were some fabulous CD games that I played over the years, some of which I was not able to pick up until a decade later! Here’s a small list of my favorite TurboCD games, some requiring the Super System Card, some not, but all worth playing!

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Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty

The list of features that Dune II debuted in real-time strategy gaming is impressive. It was the first RTS to use the mouse to move individual units. It was the first to use building bases and then units. It was the first to use a development technology tree, permitting the construction of advanced units only after certain buildings were constructed. It was the first to use units that you could move and then deploy as a base. It was the first to use different factions with different goals (and strategies). It was even the first to use a world map that you chose your next mission from. This is an impressive list, and these features are now commonplace in RTS games, but were fresh and new back when Dune II was released.

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Links 386 Pro

But this game had more than just great graphics. The sound quality was outstanding: the whoosh of the club, the smack of the ball, the glorious sound of the ball entering the cup, all this and more enhanced the experience of and the illusion of actually “being there” on the links. Players could mulligan their shots (but it would show up on their scorecard). You could preview the course and analyze the grade of the shot. You could even split the screen to watch the ball coming and going from different angles! So many features added to the enjoyment of the game.

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Hero’s Quest

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

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