Frogger’s Adventures: The Rescue

 Frogger adventures
This was the last batch of games my girlfriend had left over beside one other game I already had played on GameCube. From here on I must obtain PS2 games on my own. Which shouldn’t be too hard since they’re so cheap. So yeah this is the first Frogger game I’ve played since the first game.
Frogger
Obviously I mean the arcade original. I didn’t exactly play it in the arcade. I did play it on some arcade collection disc for some system. I also had a bad version of it on Atari 2600. For such an old arcade game it holds up decently. I don’t mind a game or two of Frogger.
Frogger adventures
Frogger has had many re-releases, remakes, and reboots over the years. This is a more modern take, and it’s very kid friendly. Well at least graphically and story wise. The game-play is a bit old-schooled, and pretty challenging. I also had some problems with the controls, Frogger died many times because I accidentally jumped too far or turned the wrong way.
Frogger adventures
I did get the hang of it after awhile, and mastered the game a bit more. It’s still pretty tough for the demographic they were targeting. It’s got decent levels, colorful graphics, and an ample amount of content. It’s not the greatest game in the world, but I had a lot more fun with the game than I expected.

Score: 7 out of 10

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

God-Hand-Spanking

God Hand: Press O to Spank

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

You got to love the Japanese.

Weird Games: Katamari Damacy

katamari_damacy-ps2-gameplay-screenshot

Forget the big bang theory or intelligent design, the world was made by rolling a big ball of junk together and creating stars. Well, at least that is how the cosmos is recreated after it is destroyed. Katamari Damacy is a mix between a puzzle game and an action game as you play a prince who has to collect various fallen parts to recreate the cosmos your father, King of All Cosmos destroyed.

katamari_damacy-ps2-gameplay-screenshot

How did the moons and stars get destroyed? By binge drinking of course. After this event you have to roll around a magical ball called a Katamari that collection objects that will allow you to create a star once it becomes large enough. The game was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2004 and was created as a result of a school project affiliated with Namco.

katamari_damacy-ps2-gameplay-screenshot

Along with the main story there is a side story about a family whose father is an astronaut and as a result of the drunken destruction of the King is unable to go to the moon. Meanwhile his daughter can sense that the prince is trying to recreate the cosmos, but in the end they all get rolled up in the Katamari to make the moon. What a twist!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciKPiw6Sc50[/youtube]

The gameplay is simple, but can get frustrating. The idea is to collect items smaller than the ball, but there are larger objects that can hit the ball knocking off your collected items and slowing your progress. The goal is to collect enough items to grow your ball large enough and turn it into a star. There are secrets to be found in the game as well as a two player mode that has you fighting to see who can collect enough objects first. The game also features a great soundtrack, so as weird as it might be it is worth checking out.

Weird Games: Mister Mosquito

Mister_Mosquito_Coverart

Normally when someone says, “This game sucks,” It is a bad thing. In this case, it is the main goal of a weird PlayStation 2 game that came out in 2002. Mister Mosquito is one of those games that in Japan makes way more sense than in the U.S. In this game, you play as a mosquito that lives in the home of the Yamada family. Your job is to suck and store up blood for the winter by biting the family members on specific parts of their body.

mr-mosquito

Now this might sound easy, but only certain areas are bitable and you must watch your stress meter while sucking blood. If you suck to fast or too slow, you can stress your victim out and if that happens you are dead. (Seriously, I could go so lowbrow with the sucking too fast or too slow, but I will let it be just this once.) In addition, if you are flying around and are spotted you enter a battle mode where you need to avoid being killed while hitting pressure points on your attacker to calm them down. (I wish my mosquitos did this.)

mr-mosquito gameplay

A strange game indeed this is, but for you perverts out there, there is a level where you have to suck blood from a girl in the bathtub. (No, I’m not kidding.) How many of you are going to either go play this or look up Youtube footage right now?

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

You know we got you covered.

Classic Games you would give as gifts today

Video Game Stocking

True story, I was in a Kay Bee toy store several years before they closed and was looking for some discounted games. An older woman comes in and asks about the Playstation2 which was brand new at the time. The guy behind the counter tells her the Atari Jaguar would be much better liked for her son and showed her a wonder bundle of games and told her he could give them all to her for one special price.

Well, if you know anything about the Atari Jaguar you know any kid would not want that over a brand new PS2. Now yes, I could have said something, but I was an evil teenager at the time and I was hoping to be there after the holidays when she would have to return it in a panic.

I was thinking about that story the other day and with the holidays almost here I thought about great games that would make great gifts today. Now of course if you gave most people an old game instead of something new like Call of Duty or Skyrim they would freak. However, what if it would be appreciated, what classic game would you proudly give as a gift?

Sonic 2

Sonic 2

For me this was Sonic perfection, the level design the music and everything in-between made this a great game. Even today it is the type of game you can load up and enjoy a quick run through. It may not have the graphics of today, but people are liking Sonic Generations and its look back to classic Sonic so as a retro stocking stuffer this game would be received well.

Super Mario RPG

Super Mario RPG

When you mix the fun world of Mario with the RPG nature of the Squaresoft games you get an adventure that stands the test of time. Super Mario RPG had it all, a good storyline, great characters, wonderful music and a fun battle system with boss fights and secret areas and the game was pretty long to boot. Compared to later games like Final Fantasy 7, it may seem lacking, but in its time it was ahead of its day and led to many great Paper Mario games.

Final Fantasy 7

final-fantasy-7

Speaking of FF7, most people crown this game the king of the series and even though you might get tired of seeing people pretend they are Sephiroth or horrible cosplay of Tifa, the game itself was a masterpiece. Again we have the perfect combination of story, characters, gameplay and music and all were rated five stars. Many gamers still want a remake and not the one on the PSP. No doubt the painted ground and other outdated graphics might look strange to today’s gamer, but for a classic game this must rank as one of the all-time greats.

Super Castlevania

Super Castlevania

How many of you have played this in some form in the last year or so. For many it is like going to church, you do it once or twice a year. Super Castlevania is one of those games that every once in a while you have to play through because of how fun it was and I have to toss  STON in there as well because they were both so well done that even with outdated graphics the game is still awesome. The point is that great games are great games regardless of their outdated look. Castlevania was fun to play and it did not matter if that bat looked more like a dust bunny or that the whip was seriously pixelated. Once you saw someone playing it or a video or even a mention you most likely loaded it up yourself. Come on, you know right now you are thinking about it.

Stocking Stuffer

Now obviously there are a ton of great games I missed, but that is for you to tell us. In fact we will make it a contest. Tell us what classic game would be worth giving as a gift this holiday season and the best written one will be featured in an article and you will win a prize. Detail is the key here and the better you make your case the better your chance to win. Even if you do not want to participate in the contest we want to know which game you think should be on this list.

Evolution: Indie development in Russia and one company’s transition to the U.S.

The year 2011 – the year of hopes – is coming to its end and it is time to sum up the results. It is about six years of own game projects’ development and 11 years in the gaming industry. Next year means new goals!  For sure, they will be more ambitious than those in 2007, when the idea of Deep Black project was only emerging.

deep black

What was it like?

In the far 1997, when I was 18, I first saw PlayStation console.  I worked for a company that was doing semi-legal localisation of gaming software at those “wild” times in Russia. Working for the company was something beyond description – there were not more than 3 similar companies in whole Russia at that time.  I was very interested in software development and it took me three months to do first “game” that would successfully run on a modded PS1 console. That game earned me 1000 USD, which was very decent pay at that time in Russia – taking into account that I did both programming and drawing.

Starting with 1999, I worked as a producer of western products in the Russian market. It was easier, than developing games myself. My core tasks were to find indie games developed on GNU and buy them to publish in Russia. Indie developers were surprised, that they could earn some money in Russia.  Later there were Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox and much more game systems.  Semi-legal companies would become legal or disappear, owners of companies would change, but the localisation issue was still important. A DVD-format came to Russia.

biart_logo

It was in 2002 when I decided to set up my own company – Biart.  A first version of the company’s logo was introduced and then changed in 5 years’ time.  We were a young team and didn’t think about business-strategies – things were going well anyway. So we started experiments with design, internet services, opened three sound-recording studios and two authoring studios.  And  I hoped  that one day we would  have enough potential to develop own gaming project. So why didn’t we start developing our own game at that time? It was because we understood that we didn’t know the market well.  Besides, we felt that everything had its time. You cannot force yourself.

In 2005, I met an indie developer with an interesting concept and as I also had similar ideas, I decided to make it a commercial project.  So I made up my mind to go into the project and started searching for a script writer, team, and product placement partners etc. We had a small office and some money to finance the development. The development took us a year. We worked hard and devoted our souls and hearts to our work.

So in 2007 Diver: Deep Water Adventures appeared on PC platform. Deals were good at that time and we decided not to play with royalties and prefer a flat fee scheme. Publishers were more adequate then compared to the period after the economic crisis. Publishers were hungry for games.

But our German publisher cheated us and we did not get the last payment from them. It was a guy from Gost Publishing who sold rights to Frogster without paying to the U.S. No need to say that Frogster assured us that they had paid it all. Stephane Gonod – the guy from Gost Publishing – disappeared and half a year later announced himself bankrupt. It is funny that a year ago he set up a new company in cooperation with an ex-Frogster employee and when we accidentally met at a conference, his only words were “Shit happens”. God will judge him.

So the project was released and there was a question – what’s next? I always strive to set new, more complicated goals, so development for PC was not so challenging for me anymore. Everybody was talking about game consoles and I realized that we should slow down with Diver 2 for a few years and devote ourselves to own multiple platform technology’s development.  And accordingly, our new goal was now to create own engine for next-gen titles. I sent an inquiry to Microsoft and a miracle happened – we got a status of an official developer! Thank you guys, if not for you, we would most definitely remain one of those numerous PC-only developers from Russia. So I was one of the first who brought Xbox 360 devkit to Moscow. It was not easy at all to deal with the Russian customs, but once again, thank you to our account manager – Alistair, you are the best!

There was another challenging task – where do we get people and how do we get a team if nobody in Russia can program for consoles, optimise the code and – most crucial – artists do content of very low quality level.  But as they say, believe and love what you do and you will find people who will believe in you and in your project.  Another hint – feel and understand who you are going to employ, for someone without experience is able to learn and the other is only going to “eat” your budget.  Speaking of numbers – it took us a year to experiment with staff and content. The real development itself started in late 2008 – 2009, when the team got skilled enough.

PS3-Deep-Black

The project’s original title was U-Wars. Later we renamed it to Deep Black. Platforms – PC and Xbox 360. It is a third-person shooter with key moments being fought onshore and underwater. Special underwater mechanics, jet pack etc.  The idea of the game appeared after I read various articles about special underwater operation forces. We started doing a game about these Special Forces but then I changed my mind and we did it in the sci-fi genre, abandoning the previous script.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FPSF8-d28Q[/youtube]

The period of active development of the game was 2010. At the same time, we went into agreements with publishers and started working on PlayStation 3 version of the game. It was not easy, but for sure it was a challenge for the team!

2011 is a year of the technology’s optimisation and content polishing. And now I am going to tell you about all drawbacks we had. I think this may be interesting.

  1. Content

We replaced our game designer three times. There are no experienced game designers in Russia, who know how to do shooters. In 2011, I took over and we spent the entire summer polishing and balancing the game.

We should have done feature cuts earlier. It hurt to cut when we had to do it later. Still even after the cut there were 10 hours of gameplay there. We also cut some game mechanics. Gradually you come to understand that it is better to do less but in decent quality.

The pipeline settled by the development’s final stage. I relied upon level designers’ common sense and some of them were wrong when incorrectly putting emphasis in level design.  For instance, level designers used to pay too much attention to places; a regular player would run by within three seconds and would not notice.

Our major problem was that we lacked experience. As a result, too many iterations.  If I started the project now, I could economize not less than 1.5M USD (total to-date budget 4.2M). The pipeline and exact task setting – this is what counts. When you feel that your ship is going in the wrong direction, do not be afraid to change your staff. I said good-bye to those who didn’t match our dream team in 2011. If you are an indie, fire those who only work for their salaries and who do not go with the level of your team.

  1. Technology

First, there was weak understanding of the architecture and some mistakes of the lead programmer.  Let me put it like this: we were unlucky with our technical architect and had to re-do the technology three times before we dismissed him.  Integration of new features to the render was changing the pipeline in terms of art. As said above, it took us one year to experiment with the technology and develop first toolset. To me, it was like a joker in the pack – the arts and programming departments would set some terms, but in reality it appeared that nobody had control of the situation. Difficult? It was. Especially when you invest your own money. And your employees do like to experiment 🙂 As a result – we finally got a working technology for Xbox 360 and PC in 2010… But our publisher then wanted PlayStation 3. I have to admit that we were afraid of it. And not in vain.

At that moment we had strong guys in our team and decided that we could do it. We got the hardware in August. And we realized that we had to do the impossible – once again re-write the whole architecture of the render and do refactoring of the engine, as our engine was not ready for PS3 architecture. And in October we had to show the Playable to the publisher.

Gritting their teeth, guys got down to work and analysed the entire code in every detail.  The publisher waited patiently for something playable for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. I, as a producer, had to look into it too – it was a serious step to do considerable refactoring of the code. But I trusted the guys and they did it.

biengine

At the same time, we provided for the possibility of the engine to easily add new platforms, as well as mobile platforms. The previous code was designed for Xbox 360 and DirectX. The new one became a real engine. Within three months a playable for PS3 was available. …. But how slow it was! 🙂

In 2011, while doing a team test and fixing multiplayer for Xbox Live and PSN, programmers were focused on optimisation of the engine code and PS3 render. Numbers? Ok! We raised these two-three times for Xbox and four times for PSP! We had 25-35 fps on PS3 without Cell optimisation.   At the final stage of development. We even used to joke about Stereo, but had already dealt with feature cut and knew the importance of total concentration on our tasks.

We reduced our staff by middle of 2011 and left only key people. It was clear now that it was not enough to do a game and fix critical bugs. One has to pass certification! And, let me tell you, this depends on the quality of testing. It is tough, as you start finding weak points in the code, when something hasn’t been considered well.  And at the same time, you keep on spending your money… And you do postpone your other projects. We had a three month delay and moved release date. Very hard times…

On the whole, the project lasted a year longer than planned. On the one hand, it was due to PlayStations 3 porting, on the other though, because of overestimation  of own abilities.

What now?

We started developing concepts of two new projects in mid-2011 and are planning to release Depth Hunter game about underwater hunting and treasure hunting  by December, 2011.  It will be released for mobile platforms later. Yes! We are indeed developing a version of our technology for mobile platforms – IOS, Android.

And Deep Black is going to become MMOTPS. We are going to launch it as a Free-to-Play by the end of next year. Depth Hunter for mobile is going to be Free-to-Play too. We are eager to work on free-to-play for consoles. I do believe that this is going to be of top interest in 2012-2013.

We have registered an office in the USA (Delaware) this year. So far it is our legal HQ, but we are looking forward to getting money for Deep Black to move to the USA. Unfortunately our business is in Russia and it is getting more difficult to search for investments here, in Russia. Unreasonable loan terms and local investors who are eager to get a controlling interest at once make it challenging to do business in Russia.

The political situation in Russia is not predictable too. People talk a lot about it and do not trust the government. Guys, we do want to work and develop games, rather than wait for another revolution!

A Russian Association of Game Developers and Publishers of Game Industry and Interactive Technologies (http://www.radit.ru/) was set up in 2010 by a number of Russian companies. We were trying to promote development of simulator games and gain support to develop an equivalent of, for example, “Canada” in Russia.  But in our country you can only do business if you pay bribes. I spent two years and a lot of money trying to change things. I have held two conferences ACGI (2009, 2010, http://www.acgirussia.com/), but soon realised that they do not need us. I have no intention to have anything in common with the current authorities any more.

So at the moment I am busy transferring our contracts and licenses to the US, dealing with registration issues and searching for investors/ partners for a long-term cooperation.

We have always tried to develop not only original and quality games, but also high-tech games. I think that we have coped with our task in 2011. I am sure that we will cope with our new challenge – move to the US – in 2012.

Six years after the company set-up, we are facing a new stage of the company development. I am sure that the upcoming 2012 will bring success to all our games!

Konstantin Popov

Founder & CEO of Biart Company

I Had 150 Pokemon But A Charmander Named Pidgey Ain’t One.

No Mew 4 U
No Mew 4 U

There are many dismal moments that people linger on. The kind of moments that felt like they cheated their ways into life. A positive note in one’s lifelong journey can easily shift tides and become a time remembered with great disdain. One such moment was when I was eleven years old and heavily addicted to Pokemon the Game Boy game.

My brother and I, in our adolescent youth, had caught all 150 Pokemon in our game by trading with each other and making one cartridge the master trainer. The adventure took a good month’s worth of dedication. Now, for an eleven and seven year old, catching all 150 Pokemon was a pretty big deal for us. A pretty big fucking deal. Never had we banded together for such a feat in our lives. To this day we still haven’t undertaken a joint project with one another of such magnitude since we became Pokemon masters.

It was a Thursday afternoon and we both attended a karate school with our younger sister. Since our age divisions were an hour apart, we decided to do the Mew trick and catch ourselves the final 151th Pokemon to officially become grand masters in our field of Pokemonology after we got home. I had brought my Gameboy to totally pwn all of the other ninja’s in training at my dojo while I waited for my class to start. Once it was time to physically abuse my sparring partners with my paddle-like feet (They are so flat it stings when I kick you. A just punishment for making me take off my shoes to rumble.), my sister approached me and asked if she could play my Pokemon game. I told her fine but to not save. She always knew not to and was pretty good about not doing so. Rushing off to class to become a demon of Kenpo, I felt like I had the strength of 150 Pokemon on my karate belt and soon I would add one more. Time flew by and class ended as swiftly as Mankey’s karate chop attack. My siblings and I raced home filled with excitement to finally bring our journey to a close.

For those wondering how to catch Mew in Pokemon Red and Blue:

Sitting side by side on the couch, both of us were on the brink of pissing ourselves from the electricity filling the air around us. That gloomy green and black screen which only a true gamer could find beauty in of our Gameboy illuminated our innocent faces. As we prepared ourselves to load the game, we noticed it said our Pokedex said 1 Pokemon caught. Thinking it was a glitch, we loaded the game anyway. Slowly, as our hearts sank, we realized it wasn’t a glitch. We were in Pallet Town with one Pokemon named Pidgey. The insult didn’t end there. No, no it did not. That Pidgey… was a fucking Charmander. She saved over our game and we were left with a Charmander named Pidgey.

Obviously, we flipped out. Of course we did. It was the only logical reaction at the time. My sister claimed she didn’t do it on purpose and looking at her little round face with missing teeth and helmet-like haircut filled me with mercy. She was too innocent at the time to truly embrace evil and wrong doings. My brother and I never again attempted to catch those 151 Pokemon ever. We were beaten and broken. Our heads were bloodied and bowed. Never again would this kind of madness happen again, we assured ourselves. We took the reins of monitoring saved games in the family from that point on.

It wasn’t until my college years that another apocalyptic event such as this would resurface. I was eighteen at the time that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas came out and to say the least, it was the bomb-diggity. Every day after my classes I would come home and play GTA:SA for a good 2-3 hours before getting back to business and completing my homework/studying. On the weekends, however, I would play till the sun came up. I found all the little hidden packages in the entire city, found my amusement in kamikazing planes into buildings, had all the districts unlocked, and was nearly completed with the game. If I recall correctly, it said my file had 98% completion or something around this ratio. My playtime was probably 80+ hours by the time I reached this point in the game and I only had one mission left. Carl Johnson was about to reclaim the hood and own this city. Nothing would stop him now.

During my lunch break at school, I decided to go home instead for a little something to eat. My stepfather was playing GTA when I got there and I didn’t think anything of it. I let him play my save since I had all the weapons, hideouts, and the whole map unlocked. Normally, having this kind of freedom to roam around a sandbox game is what brings the most fun. Not having to work hard to unlock everything brings unlimited enjoyments since it allows one to render an unprecedented amount of widespread carnage. Returning to school, I thought nothing of him playing the game since it was part of the norm.

Finally returning to my abode after wanting to cut myself in business class, I was ready to kick some ass and finish GTA:SA. Now I refuse to insult your intelligence as you’ve probably caught on to what has happened I will simply jump ahead to my reaction. Realizing that I had 30 minutes of gameplay on my save and being in the first neighborhood I hulked out pretty bad. Looking back at it now, I shouldn’t have tossed and kicked the living shit out of my PS2 and then sold it to Gamestop along with all my PS2 games but I basically rage quit Playstation 2 after that. I couldn’t believe that the Heavens would look down on me and smite me a second time.

It is since that time I have not allowed anyone to even play the same game I am until I beat it or I make multiple saves on multiple hard drives on my PC in the event someone does something ridiculous again. I have learned my lesson, at least I hope I have. The last thing I need is for my hard drives to die simultaneously and/or someone decides to reformat everything. Safety first and don’t trust anyone with your games. Know what? That’s what I’m going to leave with you. Safety first and don’t trust a single person you love, worship, or admire with your fucking games. Just don’t do it, damn it. Yeah I like how that sounds.

If you’ve had any horrible experiences with game save or progression losses let us know the anguish and sinking feeling in your soul. Feel free to comment!

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.

Phantasy Star Universe to close English PC/PS2 Servers

Phantasy Star Universe
Phantasy Star Universe

Last week General Manager Edward Sega announced that the Playstation 2 and PC servers for the English version of PSU will be closing on March 31st 2010.

On the PSU official forums he added:

“SEGA would like to extend its sincere thanks to those who have played on the PC/PS2 servers over the past several years. The final update for PC/PS2 servers will be this January 29th, 2010, which will start the long-awaited MAG+ event. This event will receive the same updates & web support as the event on the Xbox 360 servers.

Please note that after January 29th 2010, no new PSU subscriptions will be available for purchase for PC/PS2. Those who are subscribed as of that time will be able to play, for free, until service closure.”

Those that still play PSU on the Xbox 360 will continue to receive support with regular updates including previously unreleased content.

The schedule is as follows:

• January 29th 2010: MAG+ event begins for PC/PS2 and Xbox 360 servers.

• January 29th 2010: No new PC/PS2 PSU subscriptions will be available for purchase.

• January 29th 2010: Free play for PC/PS2 PSU begins. No more billing cycles will take place on or after this date.

• March 31st 2010: PC/PS2 servers / service closure, the PlayStation2 and PC versions of Phantasy Star Universe online play will not be available after this date, however, please continue to enjoy the Single Player version of the game.

This was a game I enjoyed since the Dreamcast and though it lives on with the 360 it is sad to see it go.

RIP English PC/PS2 PSU

October 24, 2006 – March 31, 2010

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