You don’t get the show #26: Christmas in July


With all the sales on games, toys and electronics this summer we decide to celebrate Christmas in July by looking over the top Christmas toys from the 80’s to today. From Transformers to the BeyBlades, we reminisce about our favorite toys, watch some weird toy commercials and try to remember why some of these toys were popular.

You don’t get the show #13: Infinite Failure


We start the show discussing inappropriate place you might decide to do some gaming like a wedding or a funeral or the bathroom which people seem to think is just great.

Then we dive into our main story, the Epic fail of Call of Duty Infinite Warfare with its PC port splitting its playerbase between Steam gamers and those who purchased the game from the Microsoft Store leading to lackluster player numbers on both platforms.

Finally, with one day before the 2016 election we call for gamers to get out and vote.

Siege Breakers Sessions #3: How PC Gaming got its Groove Back

OG HQ Command Center

This week on Siege Breakers Sessions we began with PC building season as Deep Poke and new to the show, Rizim are both in the middle of building new gaming systems. It seems as if this has kept both of them from purchasing Holiday gifts, but it did take us into our first discussion about the resurgence of PC gaming and how PC gaming companies in the U.S. and the U.K. are seeing more people purchase high end gaming systems.

This lead us into talk about the PC gaming market and if perhaps MOBA’s and games like World of Warships helped to boost PC sales. A lot of us played World of Tanks and now World of Warships especially Rizim so it was good to have him on to talk about what’s been going on in the game.

Speaking of MOBA’s we discussed an article saying there really is no such thing as MMR hell where the ranking system in games such as DOTA 2, League of Legends and Heroes of Storm causes good players to end up stuck with bad players. The point of the article was that communications is the key because the win/loss record balances out anyway.

Towards the end it got kind of crazy. We were headed towards a discussion about games you play in the bathroom like Nintendo 3DS games or even old Gameboy or mobile games, but it somehow ended up becoming a story about embarrassing bowel movements. We learned J.A. takes his shirt off in the bathroom and Deep Poke goes even further. We had to break that madness by talking about the recently discovered official lyrics for the original Mario Bros game. We played a little of it which was so Japanese, but still great.

So check out this episode via the links or listen here or even download for later and let us know what you think.

Warning: The Siege Breakers Sessions Podcast is NSFW and and contains adult language, seriously if you get easily offended stay out.

You can find our podcasts at the following locations:

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Pod Directory

NBA 3 on 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant

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NBA 3 on 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant had no right to be good.

The artwork for the game’s cart and box looks goofy beyond belief (just look at Bryant’s expression in the picture below), the name is a bit rubbish, and it was only released in America.

All these factors would seem to point towards only one outcome – the game is a failure and has been rightly forgotten.

NBA 3 on 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant

But no. Somehow NBA 3 on 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant is a polished basketball extravaganza of a game, and is accessible for people who don’t even have an interest in the sport (such as myself).

It starts off as many sportsmen sponsored titles do though, with a pixellated image of the sports celebrity in question and some lively backing music.

All the options you’d expect are here as well – Pick Up (where you can play a one-off match), Season, Play-Offs and Rosters (where you can look at individual’s statistics and even create your own player).

NBA 3 on 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant

You can also choose from a huge number of teams, all with their own cool names and flashy logos, such as the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings.

It’s the actual basketball itself where the game impresses though.

The small court is viewed from an isometric perspective, which could be a recipe for disaster, but actually works well- mainly because of the colourful but clear visuals.

There is some ghosting on certain players when there’s a lot of action on screen, but generally the game is impressive in the visuals department, especially for a GBC title.

NBA 3 on 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant - Gameboy - Screenshot - Image
Has Mr. Bryant just seen a ghost or something?

Matters are helped further by the controls being simple to understand, but still offering enough depth to stop things from becoming boring.

While attacking A is pass, B lets you pull off a fake shot, and A plus B lets you throw the ball.

Defending is usually difficult in basketball games, but here it’s actually fairly easy to pick up if you’re patient.

NBA 3 on 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant

B allows you to swap your player, and A lets you swipe to attempt to regain the ball. Doing this at the correct time is crucial, and thanks to the game’s clear graphics it’s easier to do than you’d expect.

So the game’s well designed and fun to play, but it’s elevated even further by its excellent presentation.

An example are the sound effects that you hear during games, such as when you dispossess someone of the ball, manage to score, or lose the ball yourself.

They all sound like SFX from an Atari 2600 shoot-em-up, and are therefore brilliant. It helps stops the game from feeling too serious too.

NBA 3 on 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant

Little cutscenes when you make a slam dunk, start a game, and win a match all add noticeably to the experience as well.

Overall, NBA 3 on 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant feels like it has had some real effort put into it, and it still holds up today.

As complete a portable sports game as you’ll find, this is well worth investigating if you’re into basketball – even if you’ll have to import a copy from the US.

James Bond 007

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James Bond 007

If you were to take a guess, you’d probably expect James Bond 007 to be a bland and utterly unremarkable platformer of some kind.

So for it to be a largely unconventional RPG style adventure is a very welcome suprise.

Although it never gets near being of the same quality of its obvious inspiration, Link’s Awakening, James Bond 007 offers up a virtual Bond escapade that feel genuinely different to the norm for the franchise.

James_Bond-gameboy

The game eases you in, with the first stage set in China. You’re tasked with finding some secret plans by fighting your way through a temple.

There’s no actual action until you’ve fixed a bridge and talked to several villagers, which definitely goes against the Bond tradition of an explosive opening.

Things get going once you steal the plans though, with several thugs and a boss (femme fatale Zhong Mae) standing in the way of your escape.

James_Bond-gameboy

This is where the main similarities to Zelda begin. To equip weapons and items you press select, where you can assign actions to the A and B buttons.

When you start you’ll likely equip just a block and a punch, but eventually you can choose from an arsenal of guns, machetes and various Q gadgets.

Action is admittedly stilted throughout the game, due to the limited size of the character sprites that are used, but bigger bosses do usually require a bit more than button mashing to defeat.

James_Bond-gameboy

Puzzles in the game are generally simplistic, and are usually nothing more than dressed up fetch or search quests, but there are occasions where a little thinking is required.

One example is early on in the game, where you have to sneak past a guard in a bar. To do so you need to shoot out the light so he can’t see you. There’s even a quip – “I left him in the dark” – to enjoy once you’ve complete this task.

James_Bond-gameboy

Its somewhat ironic that its the Bond license that maintains your interest though.

The quips, the globe trotting (locations include China, London and Kurdistan) and the fan service are what really keep you playing.

Bond flirting with Moneypenny, things going wrong in Q’s lab (sending a jet-chair through a wall is a highlight) and M’s blunt but caring attitude to 007 are all present and correct.

James_Bond-gameboy

It’s therefore safe to say that James Bond 007 probably wouldn’t be worth playing if it didn’t star England’s most famous fictional spy, but is undoubtedly still worth looking into if you’re fan of the franchise.

A little like Timothy Dalton, the game tries something a little different and isn’t entirely successful – but is still worth investigating if you get the chance.

The Castlevania Adventure

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So you can guess that a lot of gamers found this game difficult. There was only 3 lives per each half-stage in the four very long levels. The people who managed to get through the game noted that it was a very vanilla adventure once you take away the harsh difficulty. ~Adam R.

The Castlevania Adventure

In 1989, Konami had great success with two Castlevanias on NES and with another soon on the way. But they also produced an original Castlevania set in a different time than Simon Belmont. In-fact, it’s a prequel game set 115 years before the original.

castlevania the adventure

 It was pretty much the same deal as the original game on NES with a few differences. Like the absence of sub-weapons, and hearts actually restored your life which finally makes sense. You could upgrade your whip, but every hit of damage would drop the power so it was kind of a double negative there.
castlevania the adventure
 So you can guess that a lot of gamers found this game difficult. There was only 3 lives per each half-stage in the four very long levels. The people who managed to get through the game noted that it was a very vanilla adventure once you take away the harsh difficulty.
castlevania the adventure
I never played the original, but I did play the “remake” Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth for WiiWare. Though looking at comparison screenshots, I think the only thing they remade was the story. Because it wasn’t hard at all, and I enjoyed it.

Gameboy Micro Famicom Edition

The Game Boy Micro is slightly smaller than the Famicom controller but it is very close in size.  I have smaller hands so the small size is perfect for me.  Plus I love the gold and red coloring on it! ~Alana Dunitz

Gameboy Micro Famicom Edition

Finally decided to dive in and pick up a Game Boy Micro, and not just a plain one.  Had to be the special 20th Anniversary of the Famicom edition one.  I’ve been looking for one for a long time then when it finally because available from a seller in Japan I had to get it!

Gameboy Micro Famicom Edition A

The Micro was made to look just like the player 1 controller on the original Famicom, so it seemed fitting to have since it’s the Famicom 30th Anniversary this year.

Gameboy Micro Famicom Edition B

The Game Boy Micro is slightly smaller than the Famicom controller but it is very close in size.  I have smaller hands so the small size is perfect for me.  Plus I love the gold and red coloring on it!

Gameboy Micro Famicom Edition C

Here is the Micro along side the special edition NES Controller inspired Game Boy Advance SP we got here in North America.  It’s crazy to see the difference in the screen size, and just the layout and size differences between the two.  But I honestly love both and I’m so glad I have the two of them in my collection!

Gameboy Micro Famicom Edition D

Mega Man V (Gameboy)

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Mega Man V for Game Boy is awesome on many fronts. It’s the only all-new, completely original game in the Game Boy series. ~Jesse Moak

Mega Man V

Back again, with  another installment of the Forgotten Gems series, looking at more obscure (but awesome) classic video games from yesteryear! Today, in honor of classic Mega Man being announced as a playable fighter in the new upcoming Smash Bros. game, I decided it was a good time to look back at one of my favorite games, in fact my second favorite, and quite frankly, the second BEST Mega Man game ever made, Mega Man V for Game Boy!

Mega Man V - Gameboy

Not to be confused with Mega Man 5 for NES, this particular gem was the fifth and last of the Game Boy series of Mega Man games, known in Japan as “Rockman World”. And also, while Mega Man 5 on NES was a decent, solid game, Mega Man V on GB is without question a far superior creation. The Mega Man games on the Nintendo Game Boy had, up until now, basically been rehashes of the NES games, using bosses and elements taken directly from those, with only a few things (like the Mega Man Killer robots) actually new.

Mega Man V - Gameboy

For example, the first game, “Mega Man: Dr. Wiley’s Revenge”, features four of the six robot masters from the original Mega Man on NES, then after defeating them, in Wily’s Castle, you must fight four of the robot masters from Mega Man 2. In Mega Man II (the GB series used Roman numerals), you fought the other four robot masters from MM2 on NES, and then four from Mega Man 3. This continued on through Mega Man III and IV on Game Boy, as a typical formula. But then, lo and behold, the wonderful oddity that is Mega Man V came about, a game possessed of a totally, 100% brand new story, bosses, level elements, etc. And not only was it all new, but it was/is also AWESOME. Allow me to elucidate.

Mega Man V - Gameboy

Mega Man V actually released after the also-fairly-good Mega Man 6 on NES, in September 1994. Along with being it’s own, all-new game, it also was the only Mega Man game to make use of the Super Gameboy peripheral, which allowed Super Nintendo owners to play Game Boy games on their home console, and even add limited color palettes to them. Some later Game Boy titles, such as Mega Man V, came programmed with some SGB compatibility, so as you can see above, they had their own pre-set palettes, as well as cool little graphic borders at the edge of the screen. Beyond that nifty addition, the game itself was one hell of a package.

Mega Man V - Gameboy

I didn’t personally get a Game Boy until Christmas 1994, but when I did, I was surprised by a fairly random-yet-awesome assortment of games. Among them, were Kirby’s Pinball Land, the awesome 100 level Game Boy remake of Donkey Kong, the first Wario Land, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (still to this day my favorite classic Zelda game), Tetris, and Mega Man V. I’m not 100% sure all these years later that I got ALL those games on Christmas with the GB, or if I got a couple of them later which is totally possible. But there were several, and Mega Man V was among them. Looking back, Mega Man V has to be, hands down, my second favorite Mega Man game ever made, behind only the unbeatable classic Mega Man 2 on NES. Mega Man Vreally has everything, from the Super GB functionality, to a cool original story, to the fact that it is one rare case in the series where NONE of the weapons you gain from beating the robot masters seem useless. They all are at least somewhat useful, a few of them being arguably the best weapons in the series.

Mega Man V - Gameboy

The coolest, and most memorable, out of all of these, is Saturn’s weapon, the “Black Hole”, which allows you to create a small black hole in the air which sucks up all items and enemies on screen, and drops any items neat-as-you-please right into your lap. Easily the coolest Mega Man weapon ever conceived. But even so, some of the other weapons you get are pretty sweet too. Such as the “Salt Water” attack, where you fire a ball of water, which then splits on impact into three smaller balls that bounce all around the room. Or the “Grab Buster”, which fires a shot that leeches energy from enemies, refilling two units of your health meter.

Mega Man V - Gameboy

Mega Man V is so stuffed full of awesome, that even the standard Mega Buster is pretty much the coolest it’s ever been, before or since. In every other Mega Man game (from 4 on NES onward) you could charge the Mega Buster to build up and release one big, powerful blast. Well in Mega Man V for Game Boy, Dr. Light, Mega Man’s creator, upgrades the Mega Buster weapon to create the Mega Arm, which instead of charging and firing a huge shot, you fire a huge Mega Man fist at enemies. And if you collect enough bolts (the in-game currency), you can upgrade this even further, to make it charge faster, to grab items from clear across screen, and to lock on to regular enemies and hit them over and over till they explode.

Mega Man V - Gameboy

If THAT isn’t the single coolest regular weapon in just about any video game ever, I don’t know what is. Rush, Mega Man’s robotic dog pal (introduced in Mega Man 3 on NES), even gets into the act, transforming into “Rush Space” for the space journey form Earth to (SPOILERS) Dr. Wiley’s secret space station. In this level you ride in Rush like a spaceship, and the level plays out like a classic side scrolling shoot’em up game, similar to R-Type or Gradius.

Mega Man V

The actual plot of the game is pretty unique as well. The Earth has been attacked by mysterious space robots called “Stardroids”, and in Mega Man’s first encounter with their leader, Terra, his Mega Buster has no effect on their super-hard space metal. Thus Dr. Light upgrades it to the more powerful Mega Arm, and once again he must rush off to save the world. The robot masters themselves are singularly unique in the Mega Man universe as well, because unlike the classic Mega Man series, where every boss is named “____ Man”, or the X series where almost all bosses are named/based off of some kind of animal, in MMV on Game Boy, the “Stardroids” are named after the 9 planets of our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Terra (Earth), Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto (which is STILL a planet, fuck the haters). As it later turns out, it was Dr. Wiley who discovered these mysterious space robots in some kind of ancient ruins, and reactivated and reprogrammed them to, what else, take over the world.

Mega Man V - Gameboy

After defeating them, surviving the hard-as-nails space shooter level including the boss fight with the Skull on the front of Wily’s space station, and then making it through the station, fighting the “Mega Man Killer” robots one last time, and once again stomping Wily himself, (SPOILERS), you even have to fight one last super-top-secret space robot that Wily also discovered, a fairly all-powerful guy called “Sunstar”. He’s one hell of a final boss, let me tell you.

Mega Man V

I can’t possibly talk about Mega Man V, however, without telling you about possibly the coolest and most unique asset this game has. Dr. Light also creates a new robot pal to assist Mega Man in his battles. And unlike Flip-Top Eddie, or the robo-bird Beat, etc., who are-yet-aren’t useful, THIS little guy is fucking bad ass. It’s a little green robo-cat named “Tango”, and while he only has one function, it’s just about the most awesome function you could hope for. When you summon him, he teleports on-screen, lets out a “meow”, and then transforms into what basically looks like a giant buzz-saw, bouncing all over the screen and destroying everything in sight. And like Rush, you can refill his energy, so that you can use him throughout the game.

Mega Man V

The developers originally added Tango because they wanted a new robot pal that wasn’t in the NES games. But sadly, as cool as he is, he more or less got forgotten in the future. He can be bought as an item in the SNES/Game Boy Advance game Mega Man & Bass, and makes a cameo playing in the item shop in the downloadable game Mega Man 10. But outside of that, he never has the prominent role he had in Mega Man V. And to me, that sucks, because he’s an awesome, and incredibly useful character.

Mega Man V

So, in summary, Mega Man V for Game Boy is awesome on many fronts. It’s the only all-new, completely original game in the Game Boy series. It’s the only game in the entire Mega Man franchise, to my knowledge, that has totally unique names for the bosses. It’s the only game that features the super-useful Mega Arm weapon. It’s the only Mega Man game I can honestly thing of, where MOST of the robot master weapons you gain are actually useful. It’s got the cool Rush Space shooter level. It’s got a great soundtrack. It’s fun, even though it’s tough as nails to beat. It’s got fuckin’ TANGO the robo-cat! Basically, the game just has everything you could want in a Mega Man game, or an action/platformer game in general. It truly stands alone, and I would have to say, in my opinion at least, is the second coolest Mega Man game ever created.

Mega Man V

So if you’ve never tried it yet, give it a whirl! Though sadly, as of now, Capcom has yet to release this game for download on the Nintendo 3DS eShop. Hopefully they eventually will, sooner rather than later, because it is one forgotten gem that ABSOLUTELY deserves to be played and recognized by a wider audience. Cheers!

[Check out more from Jesse on Retro Revelations]

FIFA Soccer 96 (Game Boy)

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FIFA Soccer 96 is a must have for your portable collection. It would be an immense joy for me to have this game complete in a box and maybe someday I will have it but for now I’ll have to be happy just playing it on an emulator. ~Luis Zena

FIFA Soccer 96 (Game Boy)

Fifa 96 - soccer - gameboy

Back in the era of the classic Gameboy we had our fair share of horrible sport titles. It was a very difficult task to make a sport game playable on such a small screen. With the usual yearly titles though, someone had to eventually get it right. FIFA 96 came out to be a game of greatness that no other title was able to live up to in the portable world. The game is quite fascinating as it contains one of the best responsive controls ever for a portable game of its time. You have your usual modes of play such as friendly, world cup, among others. You can pick over 100 nations so I’m sure your favorite will be there.

Gameplay

Fifa 96 - soccer - gameboy

The gameplay as I have mentioned is amazing. With such little room for detail, the players look how they are supposed to look. The game is as difficult as you can get according to how difficult you want to play, I hope that made sense. In other words, the game is as tough as you want it to be. The best feeling in the world is when you shoot from the outside and beat a flying goal keeper. The crowd screams and you as well for scoring such an amazing goal. Just so you know, that’s the easiest way to score a goal although you have to practice is very well.

Sound

The sound is not amazing at all. You will hear the main song while you are picking teams but when it comes to playing the match, everything will be silent except the ball. If you do want to hear something though, just foul an opponent real hard and you’ll hear the crowd!

Graphics

Fifa 96 - soccer - gameboy

Graphics-wise the game is not bad at all. You see what you are supposed to see and with such limit on the portable handheld, you only have so much to work with. The realism of playing a soccer match is there and will be joyful as you will be able to do things you can usually due in the console soccer games. It’s a great way to play soccer on the go, classic soccer!

Final Thoughts

Having put that aside, this is a must have for your portable collection. It would be an immense joy for me to have this game complete in a box and maybe someday I will have it but for now I’ll have to be happy just playing it on an emulator. Enjoy the most beautiful sport in the world, portable style!

[Retro Gaming Live]

Castlevania II: Dracula Densetsu II

Hi everyone!  Time for a new post, I’ve gonna highlight a really cool game I got recently called Castlevania II: Dracula Densetsu II aka Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge if you get the North American version.

Castlevania II - Dracula Densetsu II

I have the Japanese version of this game so story wise I’m not totally sure what’s going on but based on what I looked up the game takes place 15 years after the first Castlevania game boy game.  Dracula has returned and he has kidnapped Chris Belmont’s son named Soleiyu and turned him into a demon.  Dracula uses Soleiyu’s powers to retake human form so he can rebuild his castle.  So once again Christopher must face Dracula to save his son.

Castlevania II - Dracula Densetsu II

When you first start the game there are four initial levels.  Each level has a unique theme like earth, crystal, plant and air and takes place in a separate castle.  The cool thing is you can complete them in any order you like.  So if you get stuck on one of the large trap rooms you can try out another one.

Castlevania II - Dracula Densetsu II

If you play the Japanese version you will notice that the axe will be replaced with a cross, instead of making the arcing motion the cross moves in a horizontal motion almost like a boomerang when it comes back to you.  This can be very useful as it can go through walls to kill enemies.

Castlevania II - Dracula Densetsu II

My only complaint is I wish Christopher would move a little faster, he seems to be going pretty slow at times especially when you are trying to make a bigger jump or avoid an enemy. Other than that it’s a really fun game!  It looks really good for a game boy game and the music has been done very well.  I haven’t completed the game yet, but if I discover anything else I will let you know.

So make sure if you get a chance to pick up this game definitely do so!  Don’t forget that the Japanese version is still playable on North American gameboys as they are region free.  I’m so glad Heidi from Retro Gaming Blog told me about this game, now I just have to get the other 2 game boy ones in the series

The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 2

The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 2

So why did I picked the second one? It’s only because it’s the only one I can play at the moment. The rest of them are in storage. The game is quite fun and odd at times. The point of it is simple, Bugs Bunny’s girlfriend has been kidnapped and it’s being held captive at this castle. It’s only up to Bugs to save her if he wants to get laid so the quest starts! The object of the game is very simple, I mean any idiot can figure it out that you have to collect keys in order to open the master door. You can also use items in order to beat your enemies down although I suggest you know how to use them efficiently so that you won’t run into a one on one without any items to defend you. You will encounter other interesting twists in this game as I’ll go over them as we move along.

The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 2
The gameplay is quite demanding at times because you have to figure things out fast if you don’t want to be killed by your enemies which for some reason used to be your buddies in the cartoon at least! You will encounter the Rooster, big headed bird, Sylvester, among others. There are also some freakshows from other series or probably made up. Overall, you have to be careful with everyone! They mean harm! Furthermore, the game offers a variety of ways to kill them. You can either blow them up with a terrorist bomb or shoot them with a bow and arrow through the heart, it’ll depend on the level which weapons are available. You can also pick up a hammer to break bricks that get in your way. Amazingly you can’t use this item as a weapon to break your enemies’ head open….go figure! The game also has this mega lighting bolt that destroys everything on screen. That’s Bugs’ most powerful weapon!

The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 2
The graphics of the game are quite good. Things look how they are supposed to look and you won’t run into objects you think are part of the background. Even people with vision problems like myself were able to detect the scenery quite successfully. Even the enemies look how they are supposed to look and that’s a very well done task by the developers. I do have to mention that the big headed bird Tweety was made bigger than its size but that’s understandable as you are playing a portable game and won’t recognize him if you see him…Speaking of which…Tweety is a him? I found that out not too long ago and I’m in shock! SHOCK!! The music is repetitive but what can you expect for a puzzle game. You have a couple of tunes and that’s it! I don’t see people saying the same for Tetris but then again Tetris music kicks ass. If you do have a problem with the music then just mute it and play your wonderful emo music for all I care.

Overall, you have a very solid game that can bring you hours and hours of fun. With a nice password system that won’t make you write down a billion phrases and then get it wrong, you can’t go wrong with this one. Be sure to check out the other games in the series and try to look for them online as they are quite affordable. If everything else fails, just download the rom! Until next week!

TumblePop

 Tumble Pop

TumblePop

Back again for another round of forgotten gaming classics. This time, we take a look at another fairly obscure arcade game that was mentioned last time around, that being 1991’s TumblePop. TumblePop was made by Japanese developer/publisher Data East, who were one of the kings of the arcade’s heyday. Data East was responsible for such early arcade hits as Burger Time, Astro Fighter, Karate Champ, and Ring King. They also made later hits such as Karnov, Two Crude Dudes, Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja, Heavy Barrel, Captain America and the Avengers, Kid Niki, Breakthru, Bloody Wolf, and the Magical Drop series. They were also a big name in the late 80s/early 90s home console market, producing such hits as Joe & Mac, Congo’s Caper, and High Seas Havoc. And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention their infamous (but decent) Street Fighter II ripoff, Fighter’s History, which became a short-lived series of it’s own.
Tumble Pop
It SUCKS, while it CUTS!

Unlike the last entry, Avenging Spirit, TumblePop was more of your traditional arcade fare: light on story, big on high scores and just outright fun. The basic premise of the game is that you play a pair of “Ghost Buster” type characters, who use (get this) vacuum cleaner type gizmos to suck up ghosts, demons, aliens and other monsters. A concept that would, in some form, pop up again years later in Nintendo’s own Luigi’s Mansion. Once you suck up enemies, you can blast them back OUT of the vacuum thingy to use as projectiles against other enemies. And therein lies the core gameplay mechanic, and basic fun of Tumble Pop.

Tumble Pop
I’ll have the Calamari, Bob.

Similar to the Taito classic Bubble Bobble, when enemies are destroyed, they often leave behind goodies for you to collect, such as coins, etc. In fact, the game seems largely inspired by earlier hits like Bubble Bobble as well as Capcom’s Buster Bros, and the game takes the same classic arcade approach of the action being limited to little “Screens”, instead of the kinds of sprawling levels seen in the later side-scroller genre. Like those earlier games, it also features two player simultaneous co-op gameplay, which just adds to the pandemonium. Along with goodies from enemies, you also collect occasional letters that, as you can see in the picture above, eventually spell out “Tumbepop”, and when you get the full word, you are whisked off to a timed bonus stage where you can get even MORE high-score ensuring goodies, as well as extra lives.

Tumble Pop
Alright Mister, FREEZE!

The game plays out over 10 different areas, representing (mostly) real places on earth, such as New York, Moscow, Japan, Egypt, Australia, etc. In the final two areas (SPOILERS) the game sees you travel to Outer Space and finally The Moon. Each area features it’s own themed monsters, as well as typically one big boss fight at the end. And as you have seen in these pictures, there are some crazy bosses, like a giant octopus, a killer snowman, a giant clown robot, a flaming dragon, an enormous genie, etc. And if that weren’t enough, if you failed to defeat all the monsters in a given time, a Dracula-type dude will wander on screen and if he catches you, you lose a life. Major bummer. Totally bogus! But I digress.

Tumble Pop
What the hell happened? Now we’re colorless AND adorable!

As mentioned in the previous article, as coincidental Fate would have it, unfortunately the only platform that TumblePop was ever ported to, like Avenging Spirit before it, was the original Game Boy, in 1992. Again, awesome for Game Boy owners, too bad for anybody else. As again, this would have made an amazing NES game, or even SNES or Genesis game. I certainly would have loved to have rented or maybe even owned it on NES as a kid. The one big difference between the two however, in my personal experience, was that I actually got to PLAY the arcade version of TumblePop as it was long a mainstay of the local area skating rink. As a matter of fact, as a call back to an even earlier article, remember that buddy of mine Harold, whose favorite game EVER is M.C. Kids? Yup, well TumblePop was pretty much his favorite arcade game too. And wouldn’t you know it (unlike his modern taste in games), BOTH of these classics were actually fun! Damn you Harold!!

Tumble Pop
I guess it’s true what they say…being on game box art really DOES make you gain weight!

It should be mentioned that the Game Boy version of TumbePop differed slightly, in that it featured a “World Map” of sorts, where you could even exit areas if they were too hard and come back later, as well as an on-map Shop where you could use coins collected to buy upgrades. Pretty nifty all around. And, again like Avenging Spirit, the Game Boy version of TumblePop, as luck would have it, is available for download on the 3DS eShop. I would highly suggest giving both games a whirl, as they’re well worth it.

Well, that about wraps it up folks! Another fun game, faded from memory, but now resurrected through the power of….well, my bodacious writing! Go find yourself a copy of TumblePop, and suck away!

Super Mario Land 2

Super Mario Land 2

Another entry and another awesome classic game! This Mario game really takes me back as it’s the first one I played for the portable handheld. This game reminds me a hell of a lot to Super Mario World and why wouldn’t it as it’s very similar to it. Lets take a look at this gem!

Super Mario Land 2

The music is quite memorable. There are some levels such as the ghost stages that doesn’t have such upbeat music but there are some other ones that are just as memorable! Try reaching the moon why don’t ya?

Super Mario Land 2

The graphics are top notch for the Gameboy title. They had little room to work on but did an amazing job. Mario looks like Mario and the overworld is packed with detail! Of course, you can’t forget about the bad guys and a lot more other things you might have missed the first time. Totally awesome!

Super Mario Land 2

The gameplay is wonderful! It’s a joy to play such an awesome game! You couldn’t expect anything less from Nintendo. As sidescrollers were the shit back then, every other would end up mimicking the Mario titles. Of course, very few were successful in doing so which is why Nintendo and Mario were always on top. Mario has a whole new arsenal of power ups including the bunny ears which works like the leaf from Super Mario Bros 3. Be sure to play through this game till the final showdown against a now famous Nintendo character Wario.

Super Mario Land 2

As mentioned, this game is a wonder to play through. There are hidden stages and hilarious bad guys. There is always a reason to go back to this game and play through it once more. Be sure to pick it up any time you want to play a very awesome side scroller game for a portable handheld. You won’t be disappointed.

Overall, this game offers a lot of amazing gameplay hours. With such a vast overworld, ingenious bad guys, and some up beat music you are bound to be playing this game for hours and hours. This is definitely a must have for your classic portable collection or if you just want to play a well done game. This game does what you couldn’t in Super Mario Land.

SGB Commander

SGB Commander

Thought I would share something cool that I ordered online. I never realized that something like this existed until recently when I was on ebay. It’s the SGB Commander! What’s that you ask, it’s a controller made specifically for the Super Game Boy. The awesome thing is that you can use it on the Super Famicom or on the Super Nintendo since the controllers aren’t system specific.

SGB Commander

The A and B buttons are in the exact same spot as on the Game Boy, but if you look above that you will see buttons that are specific to the Super Game Boy like Window, Color, Speed and even a Mute button. So now you don’t need to go into the menu to change your colors or frame, you just hit the button. You can speed up or slow down the speed of your game so if you are stuck on a part in your game you can slow it down a bit to help you get through it. The addition of a mute button is pretty neat, though I’m not totally sure how much you would use it. The one thing that I really like about this controller is that it’s a little bit thicker than your usual Super Nintendo controller, but not quite as thick as a Game Boy. It definitely feels a lot more like you are playing the game right on your Game Boy though which is awesome.

Check out this video review from Satoshi Matrix.

Pirate Games: The KT-Super 90 in 1

KT-Super 90 in 1

KT-Super 90 in 1

I picked this Game Boy cartridge up from Sao Paulo Brazil. I’ve got quite the little collection of pirated GB games now most of which are from Brasil.

This particular GB cart says it has 90 games in 1, but really it’s just 7 in 1. Sometimes you never know what you’re going to get with one of these carts. I’m not sure why exactly I’m so intrigued with these old pirated carts, maybe because we didn’t have them in the US. But I like them and continue to enjoy them very much.

KT-Super 90 in 1

KT-Super 90 in 1 contains 7 games. They are…

1. All Star Challenge
2. Battletoads
3. Battle City
4. Burai Fighter
5. Duck Tales
6. The Punisher
7. Trump Boy

My top 3 games from this cartridge would have to be Battletoads, Duck Tales, and The Punisher. I’m very aware of Duck Tales and Battletoads, but the Punisher was a nice little surprise. I hadn’t played that game before and it’s actually a lot of fun.

 

Kirby Tilt and Tumble

Format- Gameboy Color

Genre- Tilty maze-fest

Bit of a curio this one – especially for Europeans such as myself, who never saw it gain an official release on our shores.

That was undoubtedly something to do the accelerometer housed inside the lurid pink cartridge. With this and Warioware Twisted both sadly confined to the US and Japan, the mercury used for the tilty tech clearly doesn’t agree with some European law. Even though I know none of the details I can easily say that law, whatever it is, is complete and utter tosh. Or perhaps i’m just being bitter.

Kirby Tilt and Tumble

A s for the game, it’s well suited to the Gameboy and really did deserve to reach a worldwide audience. It has small, manageable maze levels that are suited to quick bursts of play, and is simple enough to be grasped by most players.

Stabs of annoyance can occasionally be inflicted through the game’s controls, such as having to flick your gameboy to jump, which temporarily snatches any view you may of the actual screen. Fortunately, foibles such as these aren’t enough to boil over into out and out frustration.

Kirby Tilt and Tumble

Kirby TAT is not a classic by any means – and any novelty it may have once had is also long gone due to the iPhone et al and their many effortless accelerometer based titles – but it’s still a refreshingly simple and interesting experiment.

It’s like most Kirby titles really, in that it shows pleasing sparkles on invention, but makes sure it gets the gameplay basics down pat first. Kirby’s Air Ride the obvious exception.

I managed to bag a cartridge for £8 online, seeing as a box was relatively unnecessary for such a simple title. Especially as this being well out of my or any sane persons price range – see the link below.

The game is just about worth that I think, especially for those curious to see Nintendo’s first foray into tilt based technology.

Or you could wait and pray for a release on the upcoming 3DS store. With the 3D portable possessing an accelerometer it surely wouldn’t be to difficult to port across.

Gex: Enter The Gecko (GBC)

[youtube id=”GP6ZoJNqGfA” width=”633″ height=”356″]

Gex: Enter The Gecko

Yep, there’s a reason why you don’t see ol’ Gexy around anymore. Smart ass characters can work if the game’s any cop – but if not, a title has usually got one step in the forgotten gaming crypt before it has even been played. Gex: Enter The Gecko on GBC is an example of one of those, even though the titular hero has thankfully little opportunity to get his annoying personality across very well in this portable outing. The gameplay does more than enough to annoy you as it is. Expectations shouldn’t be set too high for a handheld version of a home console game that was pretty poor to begin with, but even so the game does little to make any kind of impression.

Gex - Enter The Gecko

Most noticeable is that the game uses ‘B’ to progress through menus and jump, which goes against the unwritten rule that ‘A’ is the main button. The fact that this is one of the most noticeable elements of the game does not bode well. Actually, the controls are generally rubbish (walk more than a few consecutive steps and the green one breaks into a run) and level design is of a labyrinth rather than linear nature, which helps brew up a sense of confusion after playing only for a few minutes. A lack of map doesn’t help either.

Gex - Enter The Gecko

Overall, this is a poorly designed game – the fact it’s a retro title is no excuse. This title signaled the end of Gex and his tail whipping antics, and I very much doubt many will be saddened by that fact. Gex, and this game, are best left forgotten.

The Atari Lynx

The Atari Lynx - 1

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

 

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

The Atari Lynx vs The Nintendo Gameboy

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

 

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

The Atari Lynx Games

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Primal Rage: Gameboy

Primal_Rage_GBC_ScreenShot1
Here comes one of the more decent fighters for the forgotten portable handheld. Primal Rage brings you dino-busting action to the palm of your hand and even though our handhelds nowadays do this with ease, this was a tough task back in the golden age of gameboy. Lots of other fighters were introduced and failed misserably and although not that playable, they still manage to give you an experience to their console predecessors. Primal Rage is one of them. While not offering much, this little cartridge offers more than enough to keep you entertain for a good amount of time, the time of course is your choice. Like many of the old titles of the original gameboy, this game is as simple to pick up and play.
Primal_Rage_GBC_ScreenShot1

 

With supreme graphics for its time, Primal Rage was something to look at and tell yourself “What an age we live in”. We sure take games for granted nowadays, back then this was all we had god damn it! Respect the past, and be grateful for what we have today, Oh! And kill some dinos while you are at it.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWlpDF0OoI0[/youtube]

 

Classic download of the Week: Kid Icarus – Of Myths and Monsters

 

Kid Icarus - Of Myths and Monsters

Kid Icarus – Of Myths and Monsters

Available today on the Nintendo eShop is the classic Gameboy game, Kid Icarus – Of Myths and Monsters. Released by Nintendo in 1991 this Kid Icarus games features the classic platformer gameplay we all loved from the classic NES title.

Here is the official statement on the release.

A lighthearted adventure with mythical challenges.

The “8-bit Summer” series continues with this classic action game from 1991. Angel Land is up to its halos in woes as mythical monsters are running rampant. Pit, the original Kid Icarus, must save the realm again. Armed with his trusty bow, he’ll zap the bad guys and find the Three Sacred Treasures hidden by Palutena. Only after this grueling training will he be strong enough to take on the dark forces behind Angel Land’s troubles.

Pit will encounter old friends and new enemies – from helpful Centurions to the dreaded Eggplant Wizard – as he journeys from the depths of the underworld to the towers of the sky palace. Find hammers to shatter special walls and reveal helpful items. Collect hearts by fighting off Pit’s foes. Train hard and battle harder. Pit’s challenges make the labors of Hercules look like a walk in the park.

To enjoy the 3D effect of Nintendo 3DS software, you must experience it from the system itself. All screenshots and videos on this website have been captured in 2D mode.
Use Parental Controls to restrict 3D mode for children 6 and under.

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

You can pick up Kid Icarus – Of Myths and Monsters for $3.99 for the Nintendo 3DS.

Synthboy

synthboy

Obsolete Gamer is always looking for cool new projects that feature classic games and what could be more classic than the Gameboy handheld system. Check out this project on Kickstarter that brings new life to the retro gaming system.

Dust off that first gen Gameboy as we have a very cool interface dock that converts the handheld gaming system into a state of the art 8-bit sound machine. There is a growing community of musicians and audio artists that are using these old gaming system sounds.  We have used some of the achievements from the 8-bit community and created the SYNTHBOY+.  Easy to plug into your mixer or home stereo with all of the various outputs. Midi IN/OUT makes it easy to connect to almost any keyboard.  We have a limited number of units available on Kickstarter.com.

synthboy

Link Here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/763704741/synthboy

So please grab one and support the effort to save these older gaming systems and rock out to some old school Tetris sounds.  This is recycling at its best.  We really wanted everyone to be able to get one of these, so we went smaller and more affordable. You can even send in your working Gameboy and we will modify it for you.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxZ4J6cj8-A[/youtube]

Thank you for your time and I hope you love the old gaming system sounds as much as we do.

Super Mario Land

Super Mario Land - Gameplay Screenshot
Another pick for this week! This time around we look at the all time portable classic Super Mario Land for the original Game Boy. This is like the Super Mario Bros for the NES. An automatic classic for sure. The game may have some flaws but there are quite a few to stop it from being a great one to add to your collection. Just when the Game Boy was starting its journey in the world of gaming, Mario delivered in an incredible way! Lets take a look!

Super Mario Land - Gameplay Screenshot

The music is quite good. With such memorable sounds that will be engraved on your brain for years to come. I’m sure if you heard the song, you would know which game it came from. Any Mario fanatic would anyways. The sound effects are also quite good. They aren’t the ones for the NES but have their own gimmick to make it memorable especially that weird sound that comes out of the bosses when you throw a fire ball at them.

Super Mario Land - Gameplay Screenshot
The graphics are just what you would expect from an early Game Boy title side scroller. They aren’t the best out there, in fact there are times where there is no background but the levels do look quite enjoyable. The game also does justice by making the enemies and bosses unique.
Super Mario Land - Gameplay Screenshot
The gameplay is quite good. Just think of Super Mario in a portable handheld and that should say enough. You jump, you get power ups and of course you stomp on bad guys. It’s sort of odd that when you jump on a koopa he turns into a bomb….totally odd indeed! Also, what’s with the flower power giving you one ball of fire that bounces all over the screen. I’m guessing they did it on purpose to help keep the gameplay from slowing down. Oh well, good nonetheless.
Super Mario Land - Gameplay Screenshot
With only four worlds the game is quite fun to come back to. There are secrets hidden everywhere so you can always accomplish your goals in different ways. The game itself is fun overall! A 2 player race mode would’ve made it supreme and increased its replay value in masses!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W9ih0ZIcv8[/youtube]

The game is a classic of mass proportions. There are things that could’ve been done to better it even more but this will do for now. A longer game would’ve made the game more amazing and a multiplayer race option would’ve also given it a lot of more appeal. One can’t complain though, getting Mario on your handheld is like part of the Nintendo religion! A must have for sure!

Sigma Star

So here we are finally back with another entry of Retro Game of the Week. This time around we have a very interesting title. Not only is this an RPG, but it’s a shoot ’em up with RPG elements. You can’t get any better than this!

Sigma Star - Gameboy Advanced - Gameplay Screenshot

Music

The music fits the game with its sci-fi soundtrack. You get the feeling that you are playing a game with weird unknown worlds and awesome action gameplay. The game does deliver great sound effects as well as very dramatic tunes. There is not much more to say about the music except that it fits the game just right.

Graphics

Sigma Star - Gameboy Advanced - Gameplay Screenshot

The graphics are GBAs standard. The usual SNES feel of the game in a portable game delivers with success. You get to fly around with scenery similar to R-type and enjoy the beautiful scenery. When you are not on your ship, you are walking around exploring the beautiful planets during your missions. The graphics aren’t the most groundbreaking but they are sure pretty.

Gameplay

Sigma Star - Gameboy Advanced - Gameplay Screenshot

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

Replay Value

Sigma Star - Gameboy Advanced - Gameplay Screenshot

As with all RPGs, you are left with a story that you’ll eventually finish and try to give it another shot. The point is that to replay this game might be a good and a bad idea. The good is that you can play this game at your own pace while the bad is that you get to play the exact same game over and over. Do you really want to do that? That is the weakness of playing RPG games, especially long ones. It’s all up to you.

Conclusion 

Sigma Star - Gameboy Advanced - Gameplay Screenshot

To conclude, this is a game that will make you want to pick up more shoot ’em up titles especially if they are combined genres. The RPG elements helps it keep interesting and as weird as the game may play, it ends up working in really good ways. The game is fun, interesting, and very well worth it. I suggest you pick it up and give it a shot! Until next week!

Atari’s XE Game System

A lot of notable anniversaries in video game history will take place during the course of the year.  Others may not be as notable, as we’ll learn about today.

Atari XEGS

The Atari XE Game System (XEGS) turns 25 years old this year, a date that most industry experts might not notice.  Thanks to the efforts of Nintendo and a series of new hits in the arcades the video game industry had come roaring back in 1987.  Former industry king Atari wanted a piece of it, and tried in several different ways.

After re-releasing the original Atari 2600 as a value priced system and shipping the previously cancelled Atari 7800 product from warehouses, Atari introduced the XEGS in 1987.  Little more than a redressed Atari 8-bit personal computer, the XEGS aimed directly at Nintendo in television commercials, touting it’s own lightgun and items such as keyboard, disc drive and joystick.

The XEGS also boasted of a huge library of games available for play due to backward compatibility with previous Atari products.  While technically true, the game library was deeply aged by the time the XEGS hit store shelves.  Most of the XE branded games in stores were simply repackaged Atari computer game titles while others were translations of other home computer licenses as Nintendo had exclusive deals signed for almost every other arcade hit.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZ2xuoSkv2Q[/youtube]

The Nintendo Entertainment System had gained more than 90 percent of the market by 1988, leaving the XEGS in the dust along with Atari’s other product.  It wasn’t the last time Atari took aim at Nintendo, however.  Years later Atari would introduce it’s own handheld system, the Lynx, to compete with Nintendo’s GameBoy.  In 1993 they also introduced the 64-bit Jaguar, the last new console released by the legendary Atari.

Despite a short run, the XEGS and games can be found on eBay and other online sites fairly easily today.

A look back at the Coleco Mini-Arcades

Coleco Mini-Arcades - Frogger

Long before the Nintendo 3DS and Sony PSVita were even thought possible and even before Nintendo made theGameBoy a household name a company named Coleco echoed through the ears of video gamers who wanted to take gaming everywhere they wanted to go.

Coleco Mini-Arcades - Donkey Kong

The early 80’s video game boom saw gaming literally appear everywhere.  Arcade games appeared in every type of public business you could think of while consoles that hooked up to home television sets brought blocky gaming experiences home.

Coleco Mini-Arcades - Galaxian

Capitalizing on this trend combined with the popularity of handheld electronic games such as Mattel’s Football, Coleco began licensing and producing small “tabletop” video games based on some of the most popular games of the day.

Coleco Mini-Arcades - Zaxxon

Despite Atari holding the licenses for home console versions of Pac-Man and Galaxian, Coleco was able to get the rights to produce the Mini-Arcade versions, both of which became top sellers.  A literal parade of hits followed with the addition of FroggerDonkey Kong and Ms. Pac-Man.  A version of Nintendo’s Game and Watch Donkey Kong Junior and a version of Zaxxon rounded out the Coleco line before the mid-80’s industry crash.

Coleco Mini-Arcades - Pac-Man

Rather than make traditional handheld games the Coleco Mini-Arcade games attempted to duplicate the look of the arcade hits right down to the cabinet artwork.  A series of commercials featuring a character named “Mr. Arcade” shrinking full size arcade games down into the Mini-Arcade games drove the point home.  The result was a fun arcade feel that didn’t exist in any home console versions of arcade hits at the time.

Coleco Mini-Arcades - Donkey Kong Jr

The Coleco games are popular collector’s items today.  Some of the later releases saw smaller production numbers and even the more popular releases are difficult to find in good condition after being played to death in their heyday.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKDFoDvs898[/youtube]

Take a look at the slideshow and video to the left to see more about the Coleco Mini-Arcades as either a trip down memory lane or, for younger gamers, a good gaming history lesson.

Patrick Scott Patterson has been a gamer since 1981, acting as a writer, technician and world record holder on several game titles. He has appeared numerous times in the yearly editions of Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition. In addition to writing here, Patterson has also written for Yahoo!, Twin Galaxies, VGEVO and Gameroom Magazine, and is always looking for unique and positive news to report from the video gaming world.

The Castlevania Adventure

The Castlevania Adventure - Gameboy - Gameplay Screenshot
This time around I will discuss Castlevania for the Gameboy. This title is quite old but interesting overall. The game does show age as soon as you play it, I mean it moves slower than other Castlevania games but that’s mainly because of the limited capabilities of the handheld. The game is tough at times but not impossible to beat. You can expect classic castlevania action in this one as it’s similar to the NES counterparts.

The Castlevania Adventure - Gameboy - Gameplay Screenshot
Be ready to get used to slow gameplay though. Also, be careful with letting your vampire hunter fall because he will fall like a brick. The usual monsters are in this one, bats, big eyes, and more bats. I recommend this for anyone who wants something similar to the NES and needs a blast from the past. For others, I don’t because it could disappoint you more than make you enjoy it. Luckily, it’s a very affordable title so don’t you worry, your pockets will still be filled with monah. That’s all for now, until next time!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzEeWzLQa7w[/youtube]
One last tip, don’t get hit as you will lose your strong whip and that really wears you down and defeats you more quickly in the end. Good luck!

Famicomfreak is a classic gaming writer and collector you can view his main blog here – Retro Gaming Life

Bionic Commando: This week’s Classic Download

bionic commando gameboy

Fans of the classic GameBoy version of Bionic Commando will be able to purchase this classic on the 3DS, Virtual Console and Nintendo eShop. The Game Boy version of the NES classic BIONIC COMMANDO arrives on Nintendo eShop to take you on a daring action-packed mission. As Rad Spencer, use your high-tech grapple hook and assault rifle to infiltrate the enemy’s stronghold in order to rescue Super Joe. You can be the difference between war and peace. Are you ready for the challenge?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKruS1WISiQ[/youtube]

Chronicles of an Indie Game Developer

cologames

From our, in their own words series John Newton from Cologames talks about his life as an indie game devekoper.

I’m a Flash developer releasing my games on my website ColoGames alongside a selection of other games. I make the best games ever and the worst, the hardest and the easiest. I’m a great developer and a bad one. My games are loved and hated. Life as an indie game developer can be brutal. Whenever I release a new game I watch with excitement as people rate and comment on my creation and I realise it’s impossible to please everyone. The comments can be nice and horrible, no one ever agrees. But the fact that I made the whole game myself, all art, design, and code makes the comments personal.

I’m not making a game as part of a big team. I can make whatever I want; it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad. It’s the freedom to do what I want that makes being an indie developer special. Of course I don’t do this fulltime, otherwise I would have to rely on the income from the games, be forced to develop certain genres and be sure they were perfect before release.

I’ve always wanted to make video games but never thought I could. I didn’t know how to make them and I didn’t know anyone who could help me. This was long before the internet began. After high school I studied physics at university and learned to program in C/C++ at the same time the internet became accessible. I suddenly realised I had the math skills and programming knowledge to make games!

cologameslogo

I spent months learning more about game development and improving my programming knowledge before applying for a couple of jobs at local game developers. For my first interview I was told to download a GameBoy emulator, learn Z80 assembly language and produce a simple demo for the GameBoy in a weekend! I was so enthusiastic that I spent all weekend making the best demo I could. I got offered the job but amazingly I also had a job offer from the other company to work on a top selling PlayStation game, which I accepted immediately.

And so my career as a game developer began. I spent over 11 years working for several top game companies and have worked inCanada,Swedenand theUK. I estimate I’ve been credited on games selling about 30-40 million copies. So why do I now spend time making Flash games?

I still work for a major game company as a game programmer and often work 50-70 hours a week but I have little say over game design and I could never make any game art. I decided to make Flash games whenever I have spare time because they can be quick to make and release. I’ve also made two iPhone games but I had to spend much longer making them of a higher quality and it’s not fun submitting a game through Apple and then trying to promote the game so people see it. It’s much easier for people to see a Flash game and because my spare time is so limited it’s really my only option. It’s fun designing games and making the artwork without having the pressure to make it perfect. Most of the games I’ve released have been made in a short time. I have a few unreleased games that require weeks or months of work to finish so I haven’t released them.

bow battle

My latest game ‘Bow Battle’ is probably my best attempt at game art and it’s given me the confidence to try a bigger game with more art. Programming the games is never a problem, as long as I have the time to do it, but I like to spend time improving my art skills and hope to do some 3D modelling and animation at some point.

I’m about to start a new project which will probably take a while to make. But it’ll be nice to actually make a high quality Flash game that has some depth and is popular. No matter how good or popular my game is there will be negative comments but it’ll be my creation, a whole game created by me and hopefully loved by many.

ColoGames

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Gargoyle’s Quest now available from Nintendo eShop

Gargoyle's Quest

Gargoyle’s Quest can be downloaded from the Nintendo eShop on the Nintendo 3DS system for $3.99.

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

Originally released in 1990 for the Nintendo Game Boy system, the arcade action platformer stars Firebrand, the gargoyle from Ghosts ‘n Goblins who can also be seen in the upcoming Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 fighting game. As Firebrand, players must traverse the Ghoul Realm, building up their powers and abilities in order to protect the land against evil King Breager.

Battletoads

Battletoads - Gameboy - Gameplay Screenshot

Hmmm what do you get when you put one of the toughest games on the NES in a portable handheld? The toughest portable handheld game! Not hard to figure out huh? But to be perfectly honest it’s not one of the hardest handheld games but still tough and very high on the list. Battletoads brings you the toads in a portable adventure most likely to its NES counterpart rather than the SNES one(yuck what a disappointment). Hmmm anyways, this game brings you the toads and well from my personal experience racking up extra lives is quite easy on this certain game.

Now, I know that you can do it the same way in the NES and SNES versions but the screen leaves you a limited amount of room which in the end result leaves you with less space to move around. Do you understand what I’m trying to tell you? Well, to conclude you have a better chance of hitting the falling birds to rack up extra lives….congrats you just passed Battletoads 101!

 

Battletoads - Gameboy - Gameplay Screenshot

Overall, you will get a game that challenges you and keeps you coming for more! You have the great music that keeps you on your feet and well the monsters which you beat up in the most hilarious ways. It’s ok if you haven’t played a toads game before because this would make a great introduction to the series even though there aren’t that many toads games to begin with…..To this day I asked why weren’t there more toads games….I could sure use them right about now….then again that Battletoads phone call prank wouldn’t be that funny because yes they would have Battletoads on stock…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nog6qXg7Nkg[/youtube]

 

I sure hope you can pick this adventure up for your handheld…hell even use the emulator with a big screen! You can’t go wrong with the toads…they will just piss you off and make you come for more in the end!

Mother

Earthbound - Mother - NES - Gameplay Screenshot

Probably the only way to get a copy of this game is by reproduction method which is really worth it but if you are a cheap bastard, you can get the rom of the game with the translated patch included in it. So here we go, one of the big mistakes Nintendo made was not to release this masterpiece. The game is just a groundbreaking hit and Nintendo didn’t know what they were thinking. In fact, they had the chance to release a lot of crappy ass games errr Star Tropics 2 which also came with a battery packed in like Earthbound does…..so why not?? Nintendo, you are truly a scumbag. Anyways, we did got the one for the SNES but missed out on the GBA one so what the hell? Lets move on. The game plays like an upgraded Dragon Warrior title except with very interesting twists and a very interesting storyline. Hmm you can even fight hippies in the game with their own theme song to drift you out of your seat so to speak.

Earthbound - Mother - NES - Gameplay Screenshot

The game is long and fun, the leveling system is simplistic and ideal for a NES game(We don’t need it to be so complicated especially when you are trying to have fun). Also, the characters are just your typical regular people! This game doesn’t take place in the past during the middle ages or the future? This is one of the few games that gives you the present life feel and does a good job at it. Overall, I don’t want to say much but I would highly recommend you getting a repro of it or like I said earlier, a rom file(you cheap fuck!). Either one will work…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PJTURgpMYM[/youtube]
To conclude, the game has a lot of interesting facts but mentioning them will probably take the fun out of it so it’s better if you find it out on your own so no spoilers for you guys. That should be it for now, so until next time.

Other recommendations:
1. Earthbound(SNES)
2. Mother 3(GBA)
3. Roms for both you cheap bastards!

Did you know?
Earthbound is called Mother in Japan….neat!

Ad Spotlight: Light Boy

Lightboy for Gameboy

The Light Boy was a necessity for the original Gameboy because there really was not a backlight to the LCD for the original handheld. Strangely enough, it has become a popular collector’s item for classic gaming fans.

The Light Boy attached to your Gameboy and not only provided light, but also a magnifying glass. It required two AA batteries and was an official licensed product for Nintendo. Here are some of the magazine ads for the Light Boy.

Light Boy adLight Boy adLight Boy adLight Boy ad

Rocman X

Rocman X Gameplay Screenshot
There are lots of pirates out there that catch our attention one way or the other. This one is no different as Sachen took Rockman and turned it into something else. Presenting Rockman’s retarded cousin, Rocman X! We are not talking about X from the series by the way, this is Rocman X not X(I hope you see the difference by now). Rocman X is your average pirate platformer. What makes this game unique though is the use of Rocman X who is also known as Rochman X for some reason.

Rocman X Gameplay Screenshot

The game plays better than your average pirate game as you are able to do what you can do in most games actually worth playing. You can jump and shoot your boomerang although half the time you’ll have to aim real well so you can hit your monster. For some reason the monsters evade your boomerang with ease which can get quite annoying. There is also a charge technique which is not a stronger boomerang technique but it rather makes you jet horizontally through the level. If you get hit though, you will stop using your technique so you are at the mercy of the monsters with this technique. You also collect money which must be to buy items or something, I haven’t encounter a shop or anything but then again I never really got that far. Maybe the shops are hidden or you could get an extra life once your money hits 100.

Rocman X Gameplay Screenshot

The game is quite fun if you want to play something challenging but I advice you that if you don’t have any patience you’ll be left with a big gap in your head. There is stuff to like and to hate about this game so I suggest you try it out before you actually purchase it. We have to thank emulators for that. Going back to the game, the levels not only go left and right but up and down, it’ll be up to you to conquer each level but of course you’ll be running into lots of dead ends. Be sure to learn to use your boomerang first as you’ll need it to be able to preserve your energy for the rest of the level. Destroying the monsters help as you can also get pills of energy to be able to recover some life from any damage taken. Sachen did a very nice job with this game but I will say it again, it’s not for everyone.

Rocman X Gameplay Screenshot

If you want a very challenging and obscure platformer for your 8-bit console, then I suggest you pick this one up although it won’t come as cheap or often. Be ready to pay around 15-20 dollars for one as the cheapest although I have seen eBay auctions ending them in the 50s so beware. There is also an even harder to find version for the Gameboy which I luckily own 😉 The game plays the same way as the Famicom/NES version except that it’s portable. It feels exactly the same. It’s very odd that you can only play it on the Gameboy Color or Original Game Boy Advance. The SP won’t run it for some reason but then again maybe it just needed some cleaning, once I get that game out of my storage unit I’ll see if there is anything to be done. Either way, be sure to pick up and play Rockman’s retarded cousin adventure!

Pokemon Red/Blue(Gameboy)

Pokemon Blue - Nintendo Gameboy Gameplay Screenshot

This time around we visit the gameboy library to pick out a must have RPG for the memorable handheld. Pokemon Red/Blue(doesn’t matter which version) offered gameplay like no other back in 1998. The goal is simple, create your own dream team of six monsters and battle it out against all who stand in your way. On the way of course, you’ll encounter other challenges like breeding Pokemon as well as collecting badges. Of course, you want to be a Pokemon master so you’ll need the badges anyways.

Pokemon Red - Nintendo Gameboy Box

 

Some of the other factors you have to take account for is the strategy because each Pokemon is weak against a certain type, you’ll need to come up with an strategy against all known Pokemon(151 if I remember right). Catching the same Pokemon more than once is a good strategy since all Pokemon are not the same. You can even start out by catching five Rattatas and leveling them up until you see which one is the most powerful one.

Pokemon Blue - Nintendo Gameboy Box

 

This game can give you months and months of fun. Apart from the story you follow, you can even battle friends via link cable with two gameboys. Of course, it’ll be real hard nowadays to find someone that’s still playing Red or Blue to battle against, but back in 1998, this was what it was all about to us geeks and nerds. I still remember looking at a magazine that had a report on Pokemon and would have photos of kids in the mall linking up their gameboys to play against each other in a good old Pokemon battle. THose days will never return, but new Pokemon games will.

Did you know? Pokemon was released in Japan back in 1996 but we didn’t got the games until 1998? It sure is a long wait for what became a phenomenon….

Flea Market Finds 1

Here are some really kewl finds I was able to find at the flea market. I got them for real cheap ahh you can’t beat the flea market prices. Anyways, here are some photos:

 

Gamebox classic box with Games

The Gameboy is in great shape! It’s a great find in my opinion! It also came with these 3 games which is a nice plus. The cart in the top right is a cleaning kit for the gameboy. I never seen one of these before so it’s a nice treat, in fact I didn’t know one of these existed.

 

Game Genie for Sega Genesis and Legend of the Mystical Ninja

Now I have to show you a game genie for the Genesis and Legend of the Mystical Ninja for the SNES. They are both OK finds and I really can’t complain.

I hope the future brings me more finds to be able to grow my collection of classic gaming related items.

Super Mario Land: OST

[youtube id=”pJMqww1lS6g” width=”633″ height=”356″]

Super Mario Land: OST

Sure, it was on the original Gameboy and it was in black and white or that weird green if you will and yes, the screen would blur when you moved, but for me playing Super Mario, any Super Mario on a portable was just grand. Super Mario Land was released for the Gameboy in 1989.

Super Mario Land box Gameboy

 

This was the first Mario game on the Gameboy and featured Mario going up against a space alien named Tatanga of all people to save Princess Daisy since Peach was off playing Tennis.

The game takes place in Sarasaland and is ruled by Princess Daisy. The land is broken up into a series of kingdoms. One day the space alien Tatanga hypnotizes the princess in order to marry her. (and all the while millions of men wish they could do the opposite to their girlfriends.)

The gameplay had a similar feel in some places like jumping on most enemies and getting coins, mushrooms and the like. The differences were that the fire flower gave you a super ball that bounced off of things and could even collect coins. Another difference in gameplay was that some levels you were in a plane or a submarine and in these levels the world scrolled to the left forcing you to continue moving. You would fire continuously at enemies and at the boss; you did this to the final boss as well.

I enjoyed the game and for some reason even though the music was very simple it was memorable to me. I guess that is the way those 8-bit games did their sound effects. Take a listen and if some of these tunes get stuck in your head I apologize in advance.

 

Commercial Wars: War of the Sword and Shield

zelda sword and shield
zelda sword and shield

In the age of World of Warcraft the sword and shield still dominates when it comes to roleplaying. Even when you look at a game like Final Fantasy that takes advantage of both modern technology and magic, the sword and shield are still present in one form or another. From my old pen and paper D&D days to playing games like Neverwinter Nights and Dungeon Siege there is something about those type of games that keeps the fans playing.

As anyone knows there are tons of video games that feature not only the sword and shield, but magic, the bow and arrow and a medieval theme that makes us want to load up Lord of the Rings for a 15-hour marathon session. Let’s take a look at some commercials that try to capture that theme to draw you into the game world and hopefully make a sale.

Crystalis: Nintendo

This is classic adventure production at its finest.  You can breakdown the commercial and see how it was done using the technology they had at the time. First you have the hero which you want to look right as far as the costume and weapons. Second you have a basic forest-like landscape, but you blur the backgrounds to give it some mystery and pipe in some shots of what the hero is after. Then you add the destination in the far distance and a shot of the hero approaching the enemy.

Sure, the monster looks cheesy now, but at the time that was pretty good. The special effects were very nice for the time and overall made for a good commercial.

Zelda: Gameboy Color

This is animated but it is done very well for a short spot starting with the pan around and then into the Gameboy screen with the snow falling into the background leading to a shot of Link rushing in on his horse. Believe me, thirty second spots are hard because you have a little less than that to capture the audience and let them know what you are offering.

In this case you kind of expect people to know of Zelda, but still the challenge is there. You get a scene of what the game deals with. Link is searching for something and there will be challenges along the way. This may be simple compared to what we see today, but it was well put together and executed into a fun to watch commercial.

Golden Axe 2: Japanese

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Short and sweet, what is cooler than a Japanese guy dressed in armor wielding a giant sword? Well, alright, ninja’s and pirates, but still this was pretty cool. Honestly, the costume looks good, the sword looked real and we saw just enough before the in-game video to appreciate it without going overboard.

We get to see some cool shots from the actual game and then boom we have our warrior cleaving us in two with that sword again before the Sega logo.

Dragonfire: Atari 2600


Okay, so he does not have a sword or a shield, but when you have a talking dragon (especially with a voice like his) you have to profile it. Now while I do not understand why a medieval dragon is in some futuristic looking room caressing a game cartridge, I do think it is funny that the prince sneaks in like a thief to snatch it.

Not only does the costume of the dragon look plastic, but even the prince looks like he is wearing the princesses sleep suit. You do have to give them credit for zooming in on the stickman graphic of the game though.

Time for Ale

Alight, so we got a look at a few video game commercials featuring the sword and shield. Now you vote which did it best.

[poll id=”14″]

Bob-ombs: The Real Threat to America’s Safety?

bobomb
bobomb

Take a good and hard look at that picture, reader.

Since Super Mario Bros. 2, the Bob-omb plague has swept Mario games just like how Beanie Babies swept away the hearts of overweight, unloved women in the 90’s. At first glance, as a child these huggable creatures are adorable with their round cast iron bodies and cute little steps. They parade down towards Mario with an indifferent pace to harm the plumber. How endearing.

BUT LET US TAKE A STEP BACK!

Why does something so cute need a cast iron body? Did you know Mario’s Fire powers don’t hurt them? You want to know why? They are filled with explosives! Yes, they are bombs! But not just any ordinary bombs. Normally, you’d need a remote detonator to set off an explosion or physically be there to light the fuse. Bob-ombs are the future of impersonal terrorism.

“But Umar,” the reader of this article may find themselves saying, “They are just so cute and innocent. Surely they wouldn’t hurt a friend?” And it is right there where your young and liberal mind will get your arms blown off. Bob-ombs aren’t toys. They aren’t Pokemon Cards! They are sentient, living bombs! Their sole purpose in life is to cause murder, death, and ensure the incineration of all bio-organic beings. Do you not see the Nazi inspired design behind the Bob-omb?
1) They Goose-step toward you. If someone greets you with a Goose-step, chances are the encounter isn’t going to be friendly.
2) They patrol areas back and forth just like soldiers.
3) They have a short fuse. This is symbolic because they don’t have the patience to deal with your lesser race bullshit.

Still don’t see how this is true? You still can’t perceive the sinister motives that fuel their mechanical hearts? Just look them in the eyes. Look into those cute cartoon eyes as they lure you in for a hug. Do you know what kind of mind is behind those peepers? A sick sociopathic mind bent on your demise.

Go right ahead. Let him into your heart, into your home, let them sleep on the carpet in your child’s room. I can assure you the moment you touch that Bob-omb, this cute little monstrosity that you fed and picked up their poopies, he will glow an angry red. His glassy eyes will become stern and enraged. A fire will spark not only in his heart but on his fuse and before you know it, you’re gone. All your loved ones will be blown to bits. Your wife and children will be here and there. The dog will have little tidbits against the closet door. And God forbid you survive. What kind of weight will be on your shoulders with the knowledge that you mistakenly trusted this deceitful horror and now your family is gone and you’re are now left to live your life missing appendages? How long will it take before you finally can’t handle the guilt and bite your tongue?

“Umar,” our fair reader may retort, “The pink bob-ombs are nice, though. You can’t discriminate against all of them.” Pink bob-ombs are just the next step in their dastardly evolution. They speak to you, beg you for help, pour out their hearts about the prejudices they face against the other bob-ombs. They deplore you for assistance. They are the good guys, they say.

Really, Pink bob-omb? You’re one of the good guys? Tell me this. Why is it that you bob-ombs glow pink right before detonation? From what I can tell you’re closer to the edge than the black bob-ombs. At least they can keep their cool until provoked or before that bitter moment when they exact their plan. Pink Bob-ombs can’t even keep their oath of silence and become radicals that speak out. No thanks, Pink Bob-ombs. Stay out of America.

Let’s look at the track record of these Bob-ombs. In every single Mario game, they have made it painfully obvious their only true intent is the destruction of a living beating heart. They get involved in Yoshi’s story and even sports based Mario games. And you’d think they’d stop with their vendetta in the Mushroom Kingdom. No, they made their intents international when they appeared in Super Smash Brothers. They’d just randomly pop into a battle and indiscriminately hunt down Link from Hyrule, Charizard from Kanto, and Snake from America! Yes they initiated a global war and have even targeted America on their To-Do list.

Americans, I’m looking at you. Are we going to let this mechanical plague sweep our nation like a renegade brushfire? Are we going to allow our land, our freedom, our loved ones to be abused by these techno-organic racists?

I say no!
I will not give them shelter for their sick and their hungry.
I will not provide them with resources which us Americans harvested on our own.
I will not allow one to move in next door and will not allow my children to play with them.
This is America! Home of the brave, the bold, and the truly living!

Five Treasured items from my Console Days

a lot of NES stuff
a lot of NES stuff

Five Treasured items from my Console Days

Everyone has items or knickknacks that they keep because of the fond memories. It can be the ticket to the first baseball game you went to or a lock of hair from that girl you’ve been stalking. Just like baseball cards and comic books there are items that we treasure and if we had the time and space would create a shrine to. Unfortunately, when it came to my console gaming days I didn’t take very good care of my stuff and so much of it was either, destroyed, and lost, sold or traded. However, there are items that I would definitely put in a safe place to remind me of the joy it brought me.

The Gold Zelda Cartridge

NES Zelda Gold cartridge
NES Zelda Gold cartridge

Believe it or not it is rarer to find the grey Zelda cart than the gold, but for me it was just too cool to open the box and find a shiny gold cartridge. The gold cart just went along with the game and collecting the tri-force of power and began long before the overused term “bling”. The golden cartridge just stood out in your collection.

Sonic 3 & Sonic & Knuckles

Sega Genesis Sonic & Knuckles cartridge
Sega Genesis Sonic & Knuckles cartridge

I was a big Sonic the Hedgehog fan and as such the last thing I wanted was my game to come to an end. When these carts were released so you could connect them I geeked out hardcore. When you finished Sonic 3 the game would automatically transition into Sonic & Knuckles.

This was called Lock-on-Technology. Originally Sonic 3 was to feature Knuckles and many of the levels found in Sonic and Knuckles but due to time constraints the game was split into two. There are a bunch of differences to the games when using the Lock-on-Technology including the ending being different in Sonic 3, Knuckles being playable in Sonic 3 and having modified levels in Sonic 3. You could also connect Sonic 2 to the Knuckles cart to make Knuckles in Sonic 2 and gain the ability to play as Knuckles.

The Super Game Boy

Super Gameboy cartridge
Super Gameboy cartridge

I was a Game boy freak. Sure, it did not have the graphics or the color of the Game Gear, but I fell it love with the games and played it more than my GG when I finally got one. The Super Game Boy allowed you to play the original Gameboy games and the first Gameboy color games. For the most part the graphics remained the same at least in early games, but later on the some of the Gameboy games could take advantage of the SNES hardware and display more colors.

In addition some games had extras and enhancements when plugged into the SNES. One example was if you played Space Invaders you got the full SNES from the Gameboy cart. Also some games such as Killer Instinct allowed you to use your second control for two player action. Finally some of the Gameboy color games featured additional sounds when used with the SGB.

 

 

 

Sega 32x

Sega 32x
Sega 32x

I know this was a failure, but I loved connecting my Sega CD with the 32x and making a big super console. I felt like it was some kind of transformer like the one that turns into the Autobots base. Honestly, the only game I ever played on this was Doom and by the time I did I was already playing it on my PC. In the end it was a waste of time and money, but I enjoyed just having it if nothing else as a bragging piece.

The Game Genie

Sega Genesis Game Genie cartridge
Sega Genesis Game Genie cartridge

Let’s face it, if you weren’t using cheat codes you were missing out on the full gaming experience. The Game Genie changed the way we played console games allowing you to do all types of things with games you normally would have never had the ability too.

The was a Game Genie for pretty much all the major Sega and Nintendo consoles including the Gameboy. You could get the codes from magazines or even by calling an 800 number. Personally I only used codes once I finished a game because I wore beating a game like a badge of honor, but once I did it the legit way it was open season. Truly having a Game Genie expanded the playability of games by a lot.

Ode to the Evil Twin

In almost every hero’s journey they come to question their actions and the possible outcome of their quest had they taken a step to the left rather than to the right. Could the world have been saved in a different method? Could the fallen comrade have survived? Could all this mayhem have ended swiftly if they only took the opportunity to finish off the antagonist when the moment presented itself? The darkest parallel thought a hero could imagine is “What if I had fallen to darkness instead of striding upon the path of the righteous?” For some few unfortunate heroes, this “what if” can present itself in a physical manifestation and even become one of the biggest road blocks in their journey.

Kill yourself or die trying
Kill yourself or die trying

Today, we take a look into some of the most iconic evil counterparts in video game history, what they represented to the hero, and the epic battles that proved as pivotal moments in the game’s timeline.

**SPOILERS BY THE WAY**

Dark Samus (Metroid Prime):  Poison has always been a substance that plagued any living organism but it remained passive and indifferent. It was only used for killing in the hands of its user. In Metroid Prime, the poison Phazon is not only deadly but also sentient.  Responsible for the death of two planets, this entity looked to spread its plague further and melded the DNA of Samus Aran and her foe, Metroid Prime to create Dark Samus.  To see your greatest foes taking your form as their avatar would fill any hero with rage. Our heroine managed to disintegrate Dark Samus into particles in the Agon Wastes and then once again by breaching the monstrosity’s Phazon Shield with a charge beam. Though defeated, Dark Samus has the potential to return in the future through the game’s savior by a Mark of Corruption left upon her. Only time will tell if we will ever see this enemy rise again.

Wolf O’Donnell AKA Star Wolf (Star Fox 64): Rival companies are always taking blows at each other. Look at Microsoft VS Macintosh, IPhones VS Droid, PS3 VS Xbox 360 for examples. While they normally dish out retorts via commercials or improving their own technology to eclipse the other, mercenary groups don’t normally play the same game. Star Wolf is the rival mercenary group led by Wolf O’Donnell. Their number one priority is to become the top dog group in the Lylat System. The only foreseeable way to achieve this is simple; recruit old Star Fox members, work for your rival’s mark, and hunt them down till they are left in a smoldering wreckage. While Wolf has been unsuccessful in defeating Fox McCloud he still remains a huge pillar for the team to overcome in every instance he has led an assault. He will be most remembered for telling Star Fox  he can’t do that.

Omega Zero (Megaman Zero series): Zero has always been a hero who walked that fine line between right and wrong but can you blame him? He was Dr.Wily’s greatest creation, he is supposedly responsible for the death of the original Megaman, and is rumored to be the bringer of the end of days. Like a rebellious child, though, Zero forged his own path and strayed away from the road Dr.Wily left for him and became a hero. However, the idea of bringing about total chaos and destruction never left Zero’s mind and weighed heavily upon him. Luckily for him, he isn’t the real Zero but only a copy. What a weight off his shoulders! Turns out Omega Zero is the true body of Zero and guess what? He wants to tear his copy a new asshole and end life as we know it. Finally seeing that dark “What if” version of himself, our hero vowed never to travel down that path and defeated his original body dying along with it.

Dark Link (The Legend of Zelda): Link has defeated zombies, ghosts, witches, blobby things, grand sorcerers, and anything else you can think of in all his journeys. The one enemy though who manages to stop Link in his tracks is his own shadow. Normally appearing in a large desolate and eerie hallway, this abomination knows everything about Link. He even knows what you’re going to do before you do it. Going to spin that sword around? He’s going to evade. Going to charge up a heavy sword slash? He’s going to poke you in the face quickly. Thinking a bomb might work? He will just throw it back at you. The best way for Link to defeat himself is to flail erratically and hope something lands while slowly dwindling away his hit points. To this day, Dark Link remains an iconic foe to add to the Legend of Zelda’s rogue gallery.

Metal Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog): Thought I’d put Shadow the Hedgehog down? Nope, I don’t consider characters introduced when a series goes to garbage as cannon. Besides, Shadow never fought Sonic like his roboticized counterpart did. He has been used in many iterations in the franchise and has taken many different forms. He is superior to Sonic in every way. His spikes are sharper, his plated skin is more durable, and he is even faster than the series’ hero. His first appearance was in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 where the two would clash in a small enclosed area. He mimicked everything the hero could do and could even shoot projectile spikes to harm the hedgehog. This battle’s level of greatness is paltry compared to his battle against Sonic in Sonic CD. In Stardust Speedway, the only thing keeping Sonic from saving Amy and defeating Eggman is to defeat Metal Sonic in a race. Not only is he faster than our hero, he can destroy obstacles and is invulnerable to damage. The only way to defeat him is to haul ass through loops and leap over spikes while he eats shit behind you. It is like a Tortoise and Hare battle except there isn’t a tortoise and there are two hares. The difference between the two is that the other hare has a jetpack and dies when it barrages itself into a wall. I hope to see Metal Sonic return in some more worthy Sonic adventures in the future and to bring the level of intensity he normally delivers to a new generation of gamers.

There are many more video games out there with evil counterparts but this was just to name a few that I can still remember to this day. Are there any other instances where the hero fought their doppelganger that you remember? Post a comment if you recall any!

Sega Game Gear

Sega Game Gear
Sega Game Gear

You would think that the Game Gear being a portable version of the Sega Master System it would have easily beat the Nintendo Game Boy in sales. Even with a lower resolution screen than the Master System could put out the Game Gear offered a colored screen compared to the Game Boys monochrome color and also featured stereo sound. The Game Gear also offered almost 400 titles including fan favorites like Sonic, Eco the Dolphin and the puzzle hit Columns.

One of the major problems was the battery life. The Game Gear only offered five hours of playtime using a whopping six AA batteries. In addition the Game Gear cost significantly more than the Game Boy retailing for around $149.99.

Marketing seemed to play a key in the lack of success of the Sega Game Gear. Although the handheld system was a success overall it never gained to market share and popularity that the Game Boy did. Even with innovated commercials taking shots at the Game Boy the American public picked its favorite and the clear winner was the Game Boy.

Dig Dug review

Dig Dug in-game
Dig Dug in-game shot

Dig Dug review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:

“Pop that monster!”

Overall Score:
9 out of 10

Overview:

Dig Dug consists of you being this blue man in a white suit that digs your way underground to kill monsters in tunnels. You do this by impaling them with an air pump that has like a tip like Scorpion’s weapon in Mortal Kombat (weird, I know but it’s cute!). You them pump the little monsters with enough air until they pop like a balloon. The game keeps progressing as you kill more monsters and there are none left in that level. Each level is progressively harder (especially when multiple enemies come at you at once).

You can get an extra man every 20000 points and you can pick up fruit in the middle of the stage when you kill enemies in a spectacular way, accelerating your 1UP rate.

The original game keeps going for 256 levels with the remake having about 400 levels.

The game is available on most Ataris, the Intellivision, Apple II, Commodore VIC 20 and c64, for PC, NES, gameboy, Wii, and the TI-99/4A. The remake is also available under Namco Classic Collection Volume 2 for Xbox, Gamecube, and the PS2.

Fun Factor:

I always thought it was a trip to fill up cute little monsters with air and watch their belly burst. If you’re braindead like me then you will love this kind of action. As the game will become much harder later, you will have to react instantly to the onslaught of monsters and have to adapt to using the terrain to your advantage and tricking the game’s A.I. by timing your attacks. You will sometimes have to run like a little bitch for your life and that can be fun to do especially in an old game! Fun Factor gets a score of 1o out of 10.

Difficulty Versatility:

Dig Dug is a challenging game. It’s from an era where if you wanted to get a high score you had to be a good gamer. Continues? Never heard of them. You put in a quarter and you got a set amount of lives. If you lost them all, you had to pay again to replay from the beginning. If you like your games easy then Dig Dug is not a game for you. If you like a game where the A.I. will eventually come at you from every direction, really fast then this is your game. You do get one more life though every 20000 points.

The first levels are easy and the game constantly keeps acccelerating in diffuculty. There’s no way to alter that but the game is challenging enough as it is. Difficulty Versatility gets a score of 9 out of 10.

Value:

Since this game is so old now, most people will probably play the emulated (usually MAME) version which you can get for free.

The PS2 Namco Classic Collection version is now out of print and not available online. You can track it down either by calling your local game stores or finding it through ebay.

The Wii version you can probably get online from their store for probably a few dollars.

Overall, since you can either play this game for free or for a few dollars for the PS2 or Wii version, Value gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Replayability:

Most classic arcade games are highly addictive/replayable, unless you find them too hard/frustrating for you. You can pretty much set your own goal as you what you want your experienced with this game to be, whether to get to whatever number of level or whatever your high score will be.

Myself, I find this game fun and I often wonder to what level I can get to the next time I play. Considering I’ve played this game thousands of times since the 80s and I still play it, the game is a classic and very replayable. I give replayability a score of 9 out of 10.

Sound:

The sounds mainly consist of hearing the dragon roar (whistle) and your pump that fills up the cute monsters and pops the living hell out of them. For an old game the sounds are really well done and I think Sound deserves a score of 1o out of 10.

Music:

The music is so simple but it’s so catchy. The music is interactive in the sense that the little jingle will only play whenever your guy is walking. Mega64 makes fun of that fact and made a video where they go around harrassing people with it! Here is a video showing that:

It’s catchy and it keeps you playing this hectic little game. For a few simple notes, it’s a classic. Overall the game has like 4 little melodies but the main melody is the one that you will hear the most. Music gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Graphics:

The graphics look pretty cute for this old game and they are actually great. It’s fun watching the monsters blow up like a balloon and then POP! Graphics get a score of 10 out of 10.

Stability/Reliability:

This game actually has 2 bugs.

If you get to the end of the game, the game has a kill screen where you are basically stuck because the game will not progress any further. This happens when you get to the last level of the game (level 256) and beat it.

The other bug happens if you drop a rock on an enemy while you are pumping it with air and snuff it. It basically makes all enemies disappear making the level unbeatable but the work around is to trigger another rock to fall.

Other than those two bugs, mainly the rock one (because most people will NOT get to the last level), the game is rock solid. Stability/Reliability get a score of 8 out of 10.

Controls:

The controls are simple. Up is up and so forth, and the fire button always triggers the harpoon gun/pump which lets you kill enemies. Other than that you walk into the ground to tunnel and you make rocks fall by leaving a tunnel under it (to try to trick a monster into getting crushed). Controls get a score of 10 out of 10.

Performance:

The game runs flawless whether you play it on an arcade machine, emulation (MAME, etc), or on a console remake of it. If only all games could run as well as old games! Performance gets a score of 10 out of 10.

My history with this game:

This is one of the first games where I was impressed by an arcade game, specifically Namco and Atari. I remember seeing this around the same time I first played Ms. Pacman, another arcade favorite of mine. I’ve played Dig Dug over 1000 times, literally. It’s not as popular as the Pacman games but among the arcade community, it’s always a classic.

If you’ve never played Dig Dug, you are missing out on a major arcade game that is a corner stone for arcade gaming history. Go play it and stop reading this.