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.

Sonic CD

Sonic CD - Main Screen

Of course, this should’ve happened months ago but there are always things that come and go with our lives and other things. It’s finally here though and what better way to reach the one hundred mark than with an incredible game. A personal favorite if you ask me! Lets check Sonic CD out!

Sonic CD - Main Screen

The music of Sonic CD is something to admire. Not even the Sonic 3 soundtrack which was directed by Michael Jackson was good enough to surpass this. There might be different opinions on this matter but the fact is that this game has an incredible soundtrack! Don’t believe me? Just try it out for yourself!!

Sonic CD - Main Screen

The graphics are top notch for a 16 bit Sonic game. The game not only looks beautiful but it also has a 3D view at times especially when Sonic runs through some ramps. The angle switches and almost gives it a 3D look. There is plenty of color to see and lots of graphical beauties to admire. Well done Sega.

Sonic CD - Main Screen

What can you expect from a real good Sonic game? Great gameplay of course. The levels get challenging along the way but not too challenging to make you throw your controller against the wall. The levels stay fresh and offer new ideas which is why this has been one of the more enjoyable Sonic games ever released. You have to search for all the secrets and even try to acquire all the stones. Can you accomplish such tasks?

Sonic CD - Main Screen

The game has a great replay value. You can pick this game and beat it from start to finish and enjoy it every time. This is an example of why these games are referred to as “classics”. They are always a great experience to come back and challenge yourself over and over. Keep this one in your collection for sure!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDuk-wsY0rA[/youtube]

To conclude, the game is just a gem and probably one of the best Sonic games ever. After years of mediocre Sonic releases, we can always go back to this one and enjoy what Sonic was. Thank goodness for Sonic Generations reviving the franchise! Be sure to pick up Sonic CD to battle against Metal Sonic whenever you get a chance!! A must have!!

Battle Squadron ONE

Battle Squadron - Gameplay Screenshot - Cover

Mobile gaming has not only added new gamers to our world, but also allowed classic games to have yet another platform to be played one. When I first began playing mobile games, I always thought it would be the perfect place for retro games to be played since it would not require much in the way of system resources. Battle Squadron ONE is one of those games that translates well onto the mobile platform giving gamers a great classic game to enjoy on their Apple or Android device.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v22jB0l1osY[/youtube]

Battle Squadron was a top down shooter developed by Cope-Com and published by Innerprise and EA for the Amiga computer and later for the Sega Genesis. This version stays true to the retro feel of the game with its classic sound and graphics, but it looks very good and clean on a mobile phone, which is important since you have so much going on and various attacks being flung at you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v22jB0l1osY

The plot and gameplay is classic greatness, your commanders were kidnapped and you have to rescue them by going into the enemy’s base and destroying everything. Oh, did I mention the base is the size of a planet?  The game starts off by tossing you right into the fray and you soon realize you need more than your standard gun to take out the hordes of enemies on the screen. You can upgrade your weapon by collecting the cubes dropped by defeated enemies which makes the game much easier especially with the spread shot and if all else fails you have your bombs which creates an area effect pulse of destruction that takes all enemies near you out.

Battle Squadron - Gameplay Screenshot - 2

Level design stays true to its retro roots where instead of having a stage and a boss and then a new level you instead have a “master stage” where you take out the enemy and then come upon a large crater in the planet. It is at this point you can enter the next stage, or you can continue on. Now if you did not purchase all the levels you will not be able to continue, but you can play the master level over and over. There are also bosses in the game and some levels have two bosses.

Battle Squadron - Gameplay Screenshot

The graphics as said feel like the classic version of the game and the sound is direct from the Amiga version. The controls are easy to use and can be switched between the standard touch and drag controls with onscreen buttons or an analog slider, you can even use motion controls, but I liked those the least. In multiplayer mode, you play using a split screen, which on smaller phones can be a bit difficult, but on a larger device, like the iPad, it works very well.

Overall, Battle Squadron One brings true classic gaming to smart phones and should be in any retro gamers collection. We give this game a 9 out of 10. You can find the App Store and Android version of the game here.

Wolfenstein 3D Browser Edition

Wolfenstein 3D Browser Edition

Any PC classic gaming worth their keyboard knows and has played Wolfenstein 3D and to celebrate its 20th anniversary you can now play W3D in a browser. Here is the official press release:

wolfenstein_3d

We’re marking the 20th Anniversary of Wolfenstein 3D, the original, and now legendary, game that launched the first person shooter genre by releasing a free-to-play browser version of the game. You can now play the classic PC game directly in browser at: wolfenstein.bethsoft.com or on the Wolfenstein Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/wolfenstein.

Check out J.A. Laraque playing some Wolf 3D.

While you’re on the site, check out our Bethesda Podcast video featuring John Carmack, technical director of id Software, as he shares his insights into the creation and the development of Wolfenstein 3D while playing the game.

[youtube id=”amDtAPHH-zE” width=”633″ height=”356″]

Later today, (Bethsoft) will also be offering Wolfenstein 3D Classic Platinum, available on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, free for a limited time. To download Wolfenstein 3D Classic Platinum from iTunes visit: this link.

iCade 8-Bitty

iCade 8-Bitty

ICade has been pretty awesome at creating retro gaming hardware that you can use in conjunction with your iPad, iPhone and Android device to play retro video games pretty much anywhere. Check out our first look at the iCade arcade cabinet from CES 2011.

Recently iCade released their 8-Bitty, a retro gamepad that looks and feels like the classic NES game pad. The device is wireless and uses blue-tooth connectivity allowing you to pair your pad with your Apple or Android device. The pad features four buttons and the classic D-Pad and it fits in your pocket. The 8-bitty runs on two AAA batteries and has a power saver mode so you are not always replacing them.

Now the pad will work with all iCade games and comes with the Atari Greatest Hits app, which features over 100 games, however you only get Missile Command for free, but can purchase all 100 games for $14.99.

We hope to bring you a hands on review soon, in the meantime check out the product page here.

Steve Jobs 1955-2011: Technology pioneer worked in the early days of Atari

Steve Jobs

Mankind has lost one of the greatest inventors and visionaries of all time, as Apple has confirmed the death of Steve Jobs, the founder of the company.

Most famous for his role in pioneering the personal computer industry and reinventing technology with products such as the iPhone and the iPad, Jobs also had a role in the earliest days of the video game industry.

In 1974, an Atari receptionist came to video game pioneer Al Alcorn to tell him of a long haired young man in the lobby.

“We’ve got this kid in the lobby. He’s either got something or is a crackpot,” the receptionist told Alcorn.  After giving an interview where he’d exaggerated his electronics knowledge, an 18-year-old Jobs became Atari’s 40th employee, working for $5 an hour to tweak and finish an early handheld game called Touch Me.

Atari Touch Me

A short time later, Jobs invited his friend Steve Wozniak to show off a homemade version of Pong he’d developed, impressing Atari so much that he, too, was hired by the young video game company.

Jobs and Wozniak would later pair up to work on Atari’s 1976 release Breakout, the ball-and-paddle brick-breaking game that has been cloned a million times over, from 1987’s arcade hit Arkanoid to countless Flash-based clones on the internet today.  Offered a bonus by Atari if the number of chips that could be eliminated from the machine, Jobs offered to split the bonus with Wozniak, who worked for days on end to reduce the design to such a degree that Atari was unable to figure it out and had to redesign the circuit board over again.  Despite the fact that Wozniak did the work, Jobs took most of Atari’s bonus money for the project without Wozniak’s knowledge.

Jobs and Wozniak would then go on to form Apple Computer, the company that brought the computer into the home.  Almost ironically, the iPhone and iPad would become popular devices in the modern day for playing video games, putting his contributions to the industry at both the start and end of his historic career.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpVIufJ4qoU[/youtube]

Jobs was 56 years old.  “Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives,” read the statement from Apple that confirmed the passing of Jobs on the evening of October 5.

 

Sonic CD: Coming Soon

sonic cd logo

Fans of the classic Sega CD game will soon have the chance to play Sonic CD on Xbox LIVE Arcade, PlayStation Network, iPhone and iPod touch, iPad, PC Digital Download, Android, and Windows Phone. The release will feature the original Japanese soundtrack and is set to be released in late 2011, most likely right in time for the holidays.

sonic cd

Following the classic story of the original, Sonic CD sees Dr Eggman plan to cause chaos and take control of the future by stealing Time Stones from the Little Planet. Sonic must speed through levels and travel through time while fending off Eggman’s robots to recover the Time Stones, and save Amy Rose from his mechanical twin, Metal Sonic! This fast-paced game will return with brand new features including enhanced widescreen graphics, special iOS features, Xbox LIVE Achievements, PSN Trophies, PC Achievements and more.

Burnout Crash = Burnout Crap

Burnout Crash

I am so sick of game companies taking a big title name and creating a crappy game based on it. After waiting so long for a new Burnout game the geniuses at Criterion Games spit out a top-down arcade game that has no place carrying on the Burnout name.

This new downloadable game allows you to select a car and drive it into an intersection where you can collide with other vehicles causing mass explosions and damage. Sure, it sounds good and honestly, if they released this calling it anything else besides Burnout I would have let it go. While the game does have the crashes and explosions of Burnout and even includes destructible environments like the buildings it is no Burnout and should not be considered as such.

The game is colorful and will remind classic games of the original Grand Theft Auto. Besides that, this game could have been made by any of the thousands of iPad and Android game makers out there.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qfHow3r66U[/youtube]

Simply put, this game might be fun for a moment and perhaps on a phone or pad this could be something. However, as in line as a Burnout game this does not work. Criterion might have had a chance to launch a mobile game division and I might have given then game a chance, but attaching the Burnout name to it is a slap in the face to Burnout fans. This game does not look to be worth more than a few Microsoft Points at best and will quickly be forgotten.

 

E3 2011: My E3 Guide

E3 2011: My E3 Guide by Ignacio/honorabili

E3 2011

Guide:

Before going, the first thing to do is see if you can get in there for free! Well, the way I did it is by having this website and registering as soon as I could for the event. Starting this year, E3 was capping the number of passes they would give out to media, requiring your website to have 8000 unique visits per month per media pass given out. If you don’t even get 8000 a month then they would make you buy your ticket instead, which could making going to the event really expensive.

Like most of these kind of events, try to book as early as possible, both your travel arrangements and lodging. We booked 9 months before and paid 700 dollars a person for 6 days. We used Orbitz and that price included complete air fare (flew American Airlines), lodging (we stayed at the Ramada Inn in Koreatown, which I found to be a great place and neighborhood), and a rental car (Avis, which broke down and then they tried to rip us off when we returned the car; listen to the podcast to hear Laraque complaining about that!). I really recommend going to E3 especially if you already live in California or nearby, so it’s much cheaper.

When you get to the event, get one of the free magazines that is pretty much a quick guide to the event plus the IMPORTANT PART is the map in the center of the magazine. You can simply look at the map and see which booths interest you the most. If you mainly go there to see the next big game, you can easily find them on the main floor in megabooths. If you have media passes, you can go talk to their reception desk and they give you priority to test them, instead of making you wait in line most of the time.

E3 2011 - Konami

Some people like to go to E3 to demo the new games and hardware, mainly from the megacorps. Other people like to go to see what small companies are there and to see what big thing they brought to the show. Many of the small companies or the companies that are not coming out with a big product usually have a booth in the meeting rooms in the Concourse Hall. Those are better for you if you are into networking and seeing more unique things that the public usually cannot. There’s a more private version of that area on the second floor that you can only access if you have a VIP pass. There’s where you can see unreleased stuff more and negotiate business deals.

If you go, don’t expect to sleep much. You pretty much walk and stand most of the day and after the show, if you have connections expect to go to a ton of after parties (there’s one pretty much every day); this is where you can really make connections with developers, vendors, etc. If you go there trying to setup some business deals, bring a stack of business cards and some nice clothes. I made more contacts wearing dress clothes than simply the Obsolete Gamer T-Shirt.

As far as being in L.A., bring a lot of money because things there are PRETTY EXPENSIVE. Most places we went to charge a bare minimum of 3-5 dollars an hour to park, with many places having a 15-30 dollar parking fee, even like going to a local mall. Food at most restaurants will cost you about 20 dollars a person unless you want to eat a lot of fast food. At E3, the food is very expensive and we’re talking like 6 dollars for a pizza slice kind of expensive and 5 dollars for a can of Monster (no Red Bull, which is my crack). A cheapskate trick is to go to the Concourse Hall and munch on the snacks (cookies mainly) and free soft drinks that a lot of the companies have there. Hey! You wanted a real guide, now you know how cheap I am!

E3 2011

When at E3, try not to take breaks. Be smart and go have a meeting where you can sit down to rest, while you keep working and networking. Again, I mainly recommend going to the event if you are in the industry, whether you have a game company, gaming website, resell video games, blog, shoot funny videos (like Mega64), otherwise, you can pretty much watch everything at the show for free on the internet on some of the mega video game sites or directly from the main companies websites, in the form of trailers.

If you are media/press, pick up every free bag of goodies they give you. The best stuff I got was from World of Tanks, which gave me a bunch of toy tanks, a special bag, a World of Tanks T-Shirt, mouse pad, and special game bag, as far as the main floor went, and the biggest gift I got was from Topware which gave me a Collector’s Edition of Two Worlds 2 and a ton of T-shirts. Even if you don’t like a game, who knows, a friend of yours might like it! If you have a gaming website, some of this swag would be great to giveaway in the form of a contest.

My Experience:

E3 2011 - Cooking Mama

The day before E3 I was rushing to get some Obsolete Gamer shirts over to J.A. Laraque’s house as well as a camera I bought him and some micro SD memory cards when the engine of my 1998 Mustang GT decided to die a block away from my house. After pushing the car with some neighbors up my driveway, I had my mom help me to drop the OG gear off at JA’s house. I stayed up pretty late playing League of Legends with my brother and his friends until we lost so badly that I had to go do something else. I remember drinking some rum while watching episodes of The Three Stooges on Hulu.

My old man took J.A. and I to the airport like around 5 PM EST on Tuesday, the first open-to-the-public day for E3 2011 and we quickly met up with Alienware’s Patrick Theodore and Ashley Brito. Even though Orbitz booked us on Alaskan Air, we quickly had to go running with all our luggage to the American Airlines concourse and go through the TSA checkpoint. After seeing old ladies from Miami Beach get checked to see if they have C4 in their shoes, the terrorists won! Anyways, they let us through and after a short while we were on the plane. I played the living shit out of Solitaire on the plane, which going to L.A. we had a 777 (great ride). Laraque played a lot of games on his iPad like Streets of Rage and some Homer Simpson game which was a lot like the original Simpsons arcade game. I slept on the plane but for the duration of this trip I was pretty much tired a lot.

As soon as the plane landed we hauled ass to Avis, and then drove fast to the show. Parked (see me bitch above about the parking, which in this case was 15 dollars cash [be sure to bring a lot of cash]) and then we got some of the food they sell there (again see above if you want to hear me bitching). Afterwards, we walked off into the main floor. My first impression was that this was a huge arcade. Colors and colors everywhere. We saw the Sony Online Entertainment booth, which we have been trolling on the podcast a lot lately, and I got a bunch of the free mints they had there. The only games they had which interested me were Payday (co-op bank robber game) and some Magic The Gathering strategy game, but that game looked pretty dated. I hit up Capcom, then Kalypso, which to my surprise is remaking (and this is much needed) Jagged Alliance and is making Tropico 4, another sequel to one of my favorite dictator sims of all time.

E3 2011 - Square Enix

I had a meeting with Indiecade, which showed me a lot of board games, which we will probably review later on The Inverted Paradox and a couple of Indie games. I got to play this experimental game project called Deep Sea where the game has no graphics and its just you attacking a sea monster based on what you hear only. Pretty original idea and it generates a feeling of solace and dread being stuck on a submarine with a leviathan around you. I also saw a game that was a rogue-like clone and also a cute strategy game called Skulls of the Shogun which is a like like Shining Force and Ogre Battle.

We went to the after the show parties for AMD and also for S2 Games, the makers of Heroes of Newerth. Both parties had free bars and the AMD party had AMAZING food! =P It was fun talking to AMD about the new APU that already got released by now as well as talking about old hardware with some of the people who helped design it, like Marc who helped design my favorite CPU the AMD K6-3. 😀 The AMD party was also very special for me because I got to speak in person with my friend Alfred Giovetti who runs The Computer Show. In the middle of people talking about the latest and greatest we sat for a good while talking about stuff like the rise and fall of Microprose and Interplay and games such as Darklands by Microprose. I recommended he try out Mount & Blade which is a lot like Defender of the Crown mixed with Darklands.

E3 2011

Back to the show, I got to meet up with the people from Riot Games, the makers of League of Legends which let me see upcoming champions (hero units) for that game, one of my current addictions.

The people from World of Tanks gave us some goodie bags which was put to good use in-game (another one of our addictions now).

I got to meet (finally in person) with my long time internet friend Seth Sternberg (8 Bit Weapon) and got to hear them live. We interviewed both band members and you can check out the 8 Bit Weapon interview here.

We stayed in L.A. for 4 days after the show and it was a nice vacation for us.

In conclusion, the E3 experience was a good one and I highly recommend it, especially if you can go there cheap or get somebody to sponsor your trip! ;-]

The Alienware M11x r2 Review

Alienware M11x r2

Let me start by saying this review is more for the casual gamer meaning it will not be filled with charts and graphs and a ton of numbers that most would not understand. There are a ton of super technical reviews on the Alienware M11x r2 that provide every benchmark number and rating score you will ever need, this, is for the rest of us.

Why purchase a gaming laptop?

For the causal gamer one might wonder why you need a gaming laptop. My answer would be that you don’t, but the great thing about gaming laptops is they have the power for everything else you would need to do so why not have the ability to play games as well?

Far too often, we as computer shoppers select a low cost laptop to save money knowing we want one that we will not have to replace within a year and one we secretly wish we could play games on. Perhaps paying $1500 plus for a gaming laptop would not be for us, but at $1000 you are not too far away from laptops you find even on sites like Tech Bargains.

If you know you like to game and especially if you like MMO’s then having the ability to pull out a gaming laptop and play those games anywhere is well worth the price.

Alienware M11x r2

Price

Most reviews do not start with the price, but this is not like most reviews. The M11x can be purchased starting at $1000 on the Alienware website. At the price you can get more than enough to run most of the games a causal gamer would playing including FPS, RTS and MMO games.

The Outside

Do looks matter? Sure, they do just ask Apple, the Alienware M11x does look sleek, like a stealth bomber. The all black styling of the laptop goes well with almost any décor and let’s face it, it looks good either at home or out in public. I have had a number of people comment on the system specifically the neon-like light coming from all over it.

Speaking of lighting there are several zones of the computer that light up from the keyboard to the grills on the front and the little Alienware heads. The great this is using a program built in called Alienware FX, you can change all the colors to what suits you and you can even mix and match them for a funky clown look if you wish.

Outside Details

Let us go into some specifics about the outside. First off, the laptop weights about 4.4 pounds and while that may seem heavy to some in the day of the iPad it is still pretty light. There are three USB 2.0 ports, to connect things like mice, a HDMI and Display Port to connect a monitor, FireWire and a headphone jack for audio privacy. There is also a place for a special Kensington lock, which you buy separately so you can lock your laptop to a desk or somewhere else it cannot be stolen from.

Alienware M11x r2

The Inside

As said, there can be debates on which processor works best with this program or that game, but for the purpose of this review we will keep it simple. For the$1000 version of the M11x you get the Intel Core i5 1.4GHz processor. From what I have found using it, it does the job for the games I play and the programs I use, but I will go into that shortly.

Next you have the memory which at that price you receive 4GB’s. If you really get into gaming big time and you want the newest game on the highest setting then people will tell you to go with an 8GB or higher system. I personally do not have that on my desktop and do fine and with 4GB you have more than enough RAM for most any task you will be doing gaming or otherwise.

As for hard drive space, that decision is made based on how much you store and install. At the $1000 price, you get 320GB’s, which is a lot of space. Considering you have a desktop at home, you most likely do not need all this space.  Even if you do not and the laptop is your sole computer, unless you install every game and have a music and video collection out of this world then you should be fine. However, Alienware offers more hard drive options that offer more space.

Video is of course very important not only because of games, but everything visual on your system. Here it can get tricky because there are desktops and even some laptops that offer dual video cards in SLI and all kinds of options. The video card on the $1000 system is the NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M and I have found it works great for the games I play and for watching video in high def.

The rest

There are other things of note that come with the M11x like its wireless network card, which is necessary for gaming on the go. The system also has a standard network port to plug it in at home, the office, and school or where have you. The operating system is Windows 7 home premium 64-bit, which I have used on my desktop for quite some time. I personally think this is the third best O/S behind Win 95 SE and Win XP, so you should not have any trouble here.

Alienware M11x r2

Usage

This is what matters, but it is also, where it depends on what you do. First off, let us talk battery life, with the 8-cell battery under normal usage I have found you get a little over 5 hours of battery life, but if you are playing games, it will be less than that.

As for gaming itself, I tried the Alienware M11x in the game World of Warcraft in its native resolution of 1366×768 and was able to run the game with full graphical features with no issues even in heavy populated zones. Perhaps the key is the smaller screen, which is 11.6 inches, which can seem small when you have a user interface with a ton of icons, but I found I was able to get used to it.

In a game like Everquest 2 that uses more CPU power, I also received good frame rates even in open zones. Now I was not able to max everything out in EQ2 specially the shadows, but I was able to crank up the texture models and general graphics to make the game look great and playable even in a raid.

Other games I have played include Fallout 3, which ran fine, a number of Steam games and emulators since I am a classic gamer. I also played StarCraft 2, which ran fine. I also run various programs like Ventrilo for communication and Digsby, which is an all in one instant messaging client. I also run Firefox with four or more windows open at the same time to check websites and information, all while playing a game usually in windowed mode.

As for sound, it sounds much better than your normal laptop, but we have to be honest that even though it has internal Hi-Def 5.1 audio it does not match what you get out of a good pair of PC speakers. What I found that worked for me was the volume does get high which was an issue on other laptops. Music and games as well as movies will sound good coming out of the M11x and even in a loud room, the speakers are loud enough so you can hear it from the highs to the lows, bass and treble.

The keyboard feels good and types well even when you are slamming the keys crying for a heal. I never liked the touchpad, but this one is built well and does not easily activate when the heel of my hand brushes against it, still, I perfect a USB or wireless mouse.

As for warranty, you receive a 1-year plan, which provides hardware support, and of course phone tech support. I cannot say much here because I have not had a need to use it yet.

Overall

I personally like this system, I am sure there are things that could be better, but for most of us this system will perfectly fit your need for work, school and gaming. The laptop itself feels sturdy and well build and the cool look is a nice touch, but most important is the price and how it performance and it does both well.

I you have questions on the m11x r2 from Alienware leave a comment and I will answer them.

 

Bust A Move for iPhone and iPod Touch

Puzzle Bobble App Store

Fans of the Bust-A-Move or Puzzle bobble series can now play this arcade classic on your Apple device. Today the Taito Corporation (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd) announced today that the 1994 hit will be available on the App Store for $4.99 USD.

Now as the screenshots, show there will be no drastic changes to the classic gameplay that we are all used to. The game will function the same whereas the goal is to match three bubbles of the same color to burst them. However, there will be some additions to the game including new level types and a brand new control method.

In addition to the Tap Shot, in which a bubble is launched in the direction tapped and the pull-and-release Sling Shot control methods, a new attack was added, the Jump Shot. The Jump Shot offers the ability to launch a bubble over interposing obstacles, landing at a point chosen by the player. Skillful use of this technique opens up a new level of exhilarating play and clever strategy, allowing players to drop clusters of bubbles from the ceiling, etc.

This edition boasts a number of features intended to give players new strategic options, including the Hold ability to save bubbles that have been loaded into the launcher for future use and explosive Bomb Bubbles capable of wiping out surrounding bubbles.

Another new feature is the Game Over Countdown. While in previous editions of BUST-A-MOVE, bubbles reaching the bottom of the play field instantly led to a Game Over result, NEW BUST-A-MOVE offers a three-second countdown, allowing quick-witted players to save themselves from defeat. Particularly helpful for newcomers to the series, the Game Over Countdown adds an additional dimension to play that can also be appreciated by veteran players.

In addition to the classic level style, this updated version includes a wide variety of stages that operate under different rules. The game combines the familiar bubble-bursting fun with new gimmicks and quirks that enhance the experience.

BUST-A-MOVE’s 80 Story Mode stages are divided into a number of themed areas, each concluding with an intense boss battle. Collecting special bubbles also reveals challenging hidden stages, adding to an already-packed game.

BUST-A-MOVE also includes a total of 55 Achievements that may be unlocked by accomplishing special in-game goals, creating another level of depth to keep players coming back for more.

To go along with this launch Taito will also be offering Bubble Bobble Double for only $2.99. This offer is good until February 14th.

CES Report 2011: Classic Gaming Lives

iCADE by ION
The iCADE by ION

We know most gamers have a classic past and with retro gaming becoming bigger on console systems and mobile devices I knew if I looked hard enough I would find someone showcasing a product for the classic gamer in all of us.

What I discovered is a company called ION that makes a number of cool devices, but what caught my eye was the iCADE. The iCADE is a miniature arcade cabinet that allows you to connect your iPAD to it using Bluetooth. How the iCADE works is you place your iPAD on the screen holder and you can display it normal and landscape. From there you just connect to the iCADE via Bluetooth and launch an app and you can play classic games using a real arcade control panel.

The iCADE came from an April Fool’s joke done on Think Geek, they created a small arcade cabinet out of cardboard. The iCADE became popular and you knew it would only be a matter of time before a real one was created and that was what I found at the ION booth.

The arcade cabinet felt very sturdy, just like the old arcade machines I use to play on. I was impressed craftsmanship with the buttons and the joystick. If you are a serious arcader you know how it can suck to have cheap buttons or a cheap joystick because it not only feels like crap, but it messes up your game. The buttons on the iCADE felt right, they were easy to press, but could take a beating on any game you want to load up and the joystick is perfect for both overhand and underhand users.

Currently the iCADE is partnered with Atari so the game I played was Asteroids and it played just like the original. The iCADE will feature many more Atari games and they are looking to add classic more games from other companies so I hope you classic gaming companies out there will connect with these people because the iCADE was pretty cool.

Even the salesman who showed me the iCADE was a classic gamer himself so I have faith that the iCADE will do well. I don’t have a final price yet, but I will get more information on this product and update you.

Click to listen to my interview: ION ICADE Interview – CES 2011

Bubble Bobble Double

Bubble Bobble Double
Bubble Bobble Double

Finally a Bubble Bobble game on the iPhone that doesn’t come from an emulator. Taito recently released Bubble Bobble Double which allows players to play the classic arcade game Bubble Bobble and a brand new puzzle game featuring the famous dinosaurs Bub and Bob.

Classic Mode

Bubble Bobble Double
Bubble Bobble Double

The classic Bubble Bobble game plays just like the original. The same graphics are there as is the music and gameplay. It is pretty much a perfect port. The only difference is using the virtual joystick with the iPad. As with most games the virtual stick feels a bit off. Sometimes it feels like the controls are too loose and other times it feels as if you don’t have the quick twitch action that you need in later levels.

The other small issue is they place the game in a smaller window and on the iPad this is not really an issue, but on the iPhone I can see that it would be way too small. Honestly besides that the game is fine and is fun to play and especially on the iPad you don’t really feel a major difference.

New Mode

Bubble Bobble Double
Bubble Bobble Double

The new mode has your favorite dino floating through space as waves of enemy’s approach him. These enemies are the same from the classic game and just like the classic game your job is to capture them in bubbles. You do this by tapping them with your finger and that will trap them no matter where they are on the screen. Then you can either tap them again to pop the bubble or flick them with your finger to send them flying and bouncing around the screen.

So why would you want to flick or pop them? Good question. The enemies come out in different patterns, sometimes they are bunched together and sometimes they are apart. When you burst a bubble it also damages enemies around it whether they are inside a bubble or not. However, when you flick them you can hit other enemies that are farther way or to hit incoming enemies.

As with the original game when you pop the bubbles the enemies turn into tasty treats that give you points. The more chains or combo’s you pull off when killing enemies the higher the values of the fruit. In addition power ups will randomly appear on the screen offering additional abilities or augmenting your basic ones.

The Verdict

I have played both versions for quite a while on my iPad and they are a lot of fun. The original is spot on and the new version is addictive with enough of a challenge to keep me interested. The visuals especially in the new version are impressive with a mix of the classic sprites and the new age neon backgrounds. The same goes for the music with the classic tunes with the old and modern engaging music with the new.

At $4.99 at the iTunes store it is worth a pick-up if you are a fan of Bubble Bobble especially, but also if you are a fan of puzzle games in general.