Zelda Cartridge Soap Bar

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I know there is a joke in here somewhere about gamers needing a bath, but I won’t go there. ~J.A. Laraque

Zelda Cartridge Soap Bar

Our image of the day comes from This is why I’m Broke, a website for those of us with disposable incomes or those who think they  do, but are sadly mistaken. Now obviously it was a smart move to go with Ocearina of Time and not the original game as a NES cartridge size bar of soap would be kind of weird. I know there is a joke in here somewhere about gamers needing a bath, but I won’t go there.

Zelda Cartridge Soap Bar

Apparently this bar of soap smells like the “enchanted woods” I am not sure what those woods smell like but I’m guessing a lot like those green pine tree car air fresheners you used to see in every delivery van. So the question is, do you use this $15 dollar bar of soap when you get it or keep it in a; do not use dish like your old aunt Bertha?

Gamer Profile: Pamela Horton

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 My favorite classic game would have to be Chrono Trigger for the SNES. I’ve always been a Nintendo girl even though I own all systems. ~Pamela Horton

Pamela Horton

Favorite Classic Game: Chrono Trigger

The great thing about the culture of gaming is the variety of people you meet from all over the world with their own stories and history. Then you find out they love some of the same games you do and there is an instant connection. In our Gamer Profile Series we explore the love of classic gaming that people have from a Major computer company founder to a Major League Baseball Player, to a baseball player to a Playboy Playmate of the month.

Pamela Horton is 25, hails from Wichita Kansas and is Playboy’s October 2012 Playmate of the Month. She is also featured on the cover of the magazine’s October 2012. Now what could possibly be hotter than a Playboy Playmate, one who is a true gamer as well.

Ms. October is multitalented, from a League of Legends player to an avid comic book fan and artist:

“I’ve delved into everything—acrylics, pastels, sculpting and even glassblowing,” said Miss October in a previous interview.  “I’ve also always loved video games and comic books, so when I paint in oil, I start with something realistic, but it inevitably scoots off into cartoon territory.  I’m definitely prone to the fantastic!”

Now she is on the cover of Playboy and we had a chance to chat with her about her love of gaming, her artistic side and being a Playmate of the Month.

Pamela Horton - Playboy Magazine

Tell us about your gaming past, what games you started out playing?

I’ve been playing since I was about 5 years old. The first game I ever played was Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on the SNES. 🙂

What would you say your favorite classic game is?

My favorite classic game would have to be a tossup between Chrono Trigger and Earthbound for the SNES. I’ve always been a Nintendo girl even though I own all systems.

When did you first get into MMO’s?

A boyfriend in high school made me make a character on his FFXI account. I made a little Tarutaru Red Mage. I was hooked from there!

Tell us about how you got into League of Legends and about the characters you play and your playstyle?

I heard about it from my group of friends who had read articles on it back in 2009. The very first character I ever played was Janna. I was really good with her (or so I thought.) The second character I played was Teemo. It was love at first mushroom kill. He’s so cute! With Teemo I play AP hybrid, starting with boots and pots, building into a malady and a wits end.

I always built Magic Resist because I was usually mid with Teemo. I was hard on banks top too. 🙂 I also play an AP support Soraka so my heals and skills do more than your typical support. It tricks the enemy team to blowin their ults and CDs thinking they are going to get a kill. Then they see their target full health and start focusing me. 😀

Pamela Horton - Playboy Magazine

What other games do you play?

I play World of Warcraft, (still) play Final Fantasy XI, I just got Pokemon Black 2, Theathrythm, Final Fantasy, Mark of the Ninja… I play a lot of stuff at one time haha

Now being a gamer girl is hard enough, but in your case do you find it even harder to be a gamer girl? What is the reaction if/when people find out?

It’s usually 50/50. When they are negative, they are super negative. When its positive, I make new friends who appreciate my talents as a gamer!

What coming books are you into?

My friend just had me start reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I love it so far. But whenever a new Dean Koontz book comes out I get it immediately!

Tell us about your art and the items you offer on your site?

I do art commissions and work on a lot of “cartoon” art. My personal comic style has a likeness to Jhonen Vasquez (the creator of Invader Zim). I can do realistic work but I always end up doing something cartoony!

You also consider yourself a gym rat, can you tell us about your workout routine?

I’m not a gym rat. That was another one of those tailored statements. I go to the gym maybe the week before a photoshoot. Other than that I don’t really go. Hahaha

What led you to Playboy?

Playboy actually came to me! One of their submitting photographers wanted to send me in for Cyber Girl but his editor wanted me to test for Playmate and here I am!

What is it like to be on the cover of Playboy and be the playmate of the month?

It is the biggest honor I have ever had. Each playmate is hand-picked by Hugh Hefner, and to have that sincere pleasure I will be forever grateful.

Thanks to Playboy for the images and video.

Be sure to check out our other celebrity gamer profiles.
If you’d like to send us your own gamer profile e-mail us.

Zelda Music used during Olympic performance

 

Elsa Garcia Rutina

Zelda Music used during Olympic performance

We have seen classic video game music used in sports before like Chris Getz using R.B.I. baseball as his walk-up music. This time music from Zelda showed up in this year’s Olympics during Mexican gymnast Elsa Garcia Rodriguez Blancas floor routine. The music was specifically arranged by violinist Lindsey Stirling. Unfortunately, Blancas ended up ranking 35th, but it was cool nonetheless.

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Here is where the arrangement comes from:

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The Interview: Robby Zinchak: 8-Bit MMO

8-Bit MMO - logo

A few weeks ago, we showed you the awesome indie game, 8-Bit MMO. Well I had a chance to talk with Robby Zinchak, the brilliant mind behind 8-Bit MMO about the game and the development process.

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So in your words describe your game?

8BitMMO is a construction sandbox game, which essentially means you can build anything you want in a massive, persistent, retro-styled world.

What made you go the 8-bit route?

Nostalgia!  I grew up on 8bit & 16bit games.  I explored every nook and cranny of them.  It was at that age where the line between reality and fantasy hadn’t 100% cemented yet, and it felt like those worlds were infinite.  Those places felt real, like you could move in and become a part of them.  With 8BitMMO, I’ve tried to capture that feeling from my childhood and create a 8bit world where you really can become a character in the game.

8-Bit MMO - origin

Can you tell us about the character customization and being able to change so many things?

The project is an ongoing work in progress, and character customization is one of the areas that is in the works.  I just rolled out the first few items in character customization, including being able to change your color, or to choose a non-human race to play.  The first non-human race is the Zombie, which you can use to infect other players with Zombieism!  I’m also planning additional non-human races, as well as wearable clothing, for the near future.

Many people know the term “Sandbox” because of the game Minecraft can you tell us about the “Sandbox” aspect of your game?

In the game you’re free to build constructions of whatever you want.  Many players build houses, castles, even whole cities.  Often times players come up with new and interesting ideas – like building pvp arenas, or gauntlet courses.  It all takes place in one massive, persistent world.  Even just wandering around and checking out all the cool creations can be a lot of fun.

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Now was this game made completely by you, can you tell us about the process and experience of making the game?

I started making the game around 2001, and have restarted development several times.  Most of the intervening time has been just me working on it on & off in my spare time, but late last year I left my day job to work on the project full time.  Before last year, I had experimented with a lot of different visual styles and engines, before settling on the current setup.  I like that it can now be played in browser, because it means many more players are willing to try the game since they don’t have to install anything.

Having the freedom to create and destroy is awesome in a world of MMO’s that make you march in line with everyone else. However, are you worried people can cause trouble in the game  as well with such freedom?

Fortunately, the town system greatly limits troublemaking.  When players create a town, they effectively own the surrounding area, and it cannot be tampered with.  The player can allow specific friends to build in their town, but otherwise they are safe from griefing.

8-Bit MMO - npc dialogue

With a lot of free to play MMO’s there is often al carte items that you can purchase that gives you an advantage. It is good to see there is no money advantage with this game. Did you consider adding special items that you could pay real money for?

There are several purchase-only items in-game, but they don’t give you any combative advantage over other players.  Players are able to enjoy the game without having to purchase anything — of course, I hope they will consider a purchase if they want to support development 🙂

Can you tell us about the NPC’s or Non Player Characters?

There are several NPCs in-game that will teach you the basics of how to play, or give you quests.  RobbyZ will teach you the basics of how to play.  Draco the Architect is a dragon who likes to build, and he’ll teach you how to use the construction system by giving you various quests.  Tutorial Zombie is a mercenary of sorts, and he’ll give you contracts to go out and kill the nefarious LawyerCats that plague the wilderness.  I am planning additional monsters & quest NPCs in future.

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I asked earlier about giving people freedom and the possibility of griefing, however, there would be social consequences in the game if that happened correct?

Yes.  Griefers generally don’t have much success in their trolling, and they are generally shunned away from towns.  So it behooves players to be nice to others, or they’ll likely be playing alone.

Can you tell us about your video gaming background?

I’ve been in the industry for around six years now.  I got my start at Midway, then moved to Capcom, and then Microsoft.  I enjoyed working on some great titles with very talented folks while I was in the traditional industry, but I’m excited to now be a full-time indie.  It’s fantastic to be able to work on my own vision and interact directly with fans.

To play 8BitMMO, visit http://8BitMMO.net

8-Bit MMO

This is pretty cool for fans of classic and indie games. This MMO game allows players to interact in a top down world that is very original Zelda-style. It is pretty much a giant world or sandbox as they call it that allows you to build or movie buildings like castles or homes and fight something they call Lawyercats and there is even PVP.

8-bit mmo logo

Check out the video:

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Here is the official press release.

A video game development project named ‘8BitMMO’ was publicly announced today. 8BitMMO is a free online videogame where up to 250 concurrently connected players can shape the world block by block. The game’s engine allows for a wide variety of player made buildings.  Players can build solo, or group up and create their own towns with friends for cooperative building projects.  In either case, a grief protection system protects the player’s creations from unwanted interference. The game is humorous in tone, with amusing quests and unusual enemiesThere is also basic Player vs Player and Player vs Environment combat.

8-bit mmo - gameplay screenshot

“I am amazed with the creations players are coming up with,” said the game’s developer Robby Zinchak of Archive Entertainment. “People are creating some genuinely cool architecture – everything from towering windmills to sports arenas. One player even made a huge statue of a flying dragon. The community is very inventive, and I can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with next!”

8-bit mmo - gameplay screenshot

The project was first started in 2001, but underwent multiple total-rewrites and art style changes. While the game is still currently in ongoing development, it is fully playable on the project’s website. As the project is Java based, it can be easily run on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. Future updates to the game are planned to introduce more features and content.

To play 8BitMMO, visit http://8BitMMO.net

How Gaming Changed This Girl’s Life

It’s funny how, in the beginning, he thought it was cool dating a girl who liked gaming. He now cautions guys against dating gamer girls! He was just mad that I took over his Playstation for about a whole solid month. Yeah, I know it shouldn’t have been that long, but I’m one of those “gotta get everything” kinda gamers.~Jessi Roman

How Gaming Changed This Girl’s Life

Single moments in history are what make up our lives.  Some moments pass by unnoticed, seemingly meaningless, lost in a neurological card catalog, while others are etched into our memories, never to be forgotten.

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What was it about that day in 2nd grade (no, I’m not going to tell you what year it was!) that stood out in my memory? Santa Claus came to our class. We went up and down the rows, each naming one thing we wanted for Christmas. I was the only one that did not ask for a Nintendo! I asked for a drum set, and I got it… never did become much of a musician. At any rate, this was not the catalyst that began my transformation from the geeky kid that every one made fun of into… well, the geeky gamer girl that everyone made fun of. (Thank God for the sudden acclamation of geek culture!) No, it was not this single moment, framed in time, that changed my life, but for some reason it stuck.

I didn’t get a NES of my very own until several years later. That’s not to say that I didn’t spend hours upon hours of my formative years playing Super Mario Bros. with the boy across the street. But no, I wasn’t a “gamer” back then. I mean, I definitely remember that feeling I got the first time I found out that my Princess was in another castle… -_- and I remember how I swelled with pride when I finally beat 8-4 and found her! I mean, I have some seriously precious gaming memories that even go as far back as Sierra’s “Space Quest: The Sarien Encounter”.

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There was a life-changing gaming experience for me, though. It wasn’t until after I graduated high school. I started dating this guy who had a Playstation. He changed my life forever. Not only did I end up marrying the guy, but he introduced me to Chrono Cross – most epic RPG ever! I had never played a serious RPG before… I mean, does Zelda count? No, I didn’t think so. So being all girly and stuff, I got really sucked in by the art, and the plethora of characters you could pick up. Matter of fact, to this day, a key element in how I rate an RPG is the number of playable characters.

Let’s face it, people, there’s no greater game to have launched me into the world of serious hard-core gaming. I worked a split shift at the JCC, so I had a block of four hours free time in the middle of the day. He gave me the key to his house (and unknowingly, the key to his heart <3… yeah, I’m a sap), and I’d spend those four hours immersed in the tropical archipelago, El Nido.

Chrono Cross

It’s funny how, in the beginning, he thought it was cool dating a girl who liked gaming. He now cautions guys against dating gamer girls! He was just mad that I took over his Playstation for about a whole solid month. Yeah, I know it shouldn’t have been that long, but I’m one of those “gotta get everything” kinda gamers… so I went for every character… played out every possible subplot… even used the strategy guide to make sure I didn’t miss anything. And boy did I get everything! It changed my life. Really. I wonder if I had not spent those hours upon hours hanging out at his house, playing Chrono Cross… I wonder if I still would have won his heart? I’m not going to go so far as to say that gaming got me married… but maybe it did. Maybe it changed my life more than I’ll ever know.

It’s been over ten years now, and we’re still married… and still gaming! I may have gotten better at sharing, and co-op games are more fun now! But to this day, nothing has ever come close to the grand epicness that is Chrono Cross. No other game has made such an impact on my life. Even as I write this now, I’m listening to the OST, and realizing how important it is that I go back for a re-play.

Did a game ever change your life? If so, how? What game was it?

Jessi Roman is a geek, gamer, mom, proudly raising the next generation of nerds! You can read her blog here.

Christmas Comes to Pac-Land

Christmas_Comes_to_Pac-Land

While current generations of gamers wait with much anticipation to open the XBox 360 Kinects and latest Call of Duty gear currently stashed under the Christmas tree, we take a look back today for a historical first in video gaming.

The first major wave of gaming popularity came to a crest in 1982 as arcade video machines could be found almost anywhere and Atari faced off with their first real home console challengers.  It was also a huge season for video game related merchandise, as manufacturers of everything from breakfast cereal to bedding to swim trunks got in on the first video game boom.

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On December 16, 1982 the first ever Christmas special of the video game age debuted in prime time.  Hanna Barbera’s Christmas Comes to Pac-Land took the popular new Saturday morning cartoon series based on Pac-Man and it’s many sequels into uncharted territory for anything related to video games.

In this ABC holiday special, Santa Claus crash lands in the fictional town of Pac-Land, an odd world where it seems to be legal to eat other inhabitants and walk around without pants.  Santa, (voiced by a pre-Optimus Prime Peter Cullen), has never heard of Pac-Land while those who live there have never heard of him or Christmas at all.

Christmas_Comes_to_Pac-Land

The inhabitants of Pac-Land accept the idea of Santa and Christmas pretty quickly and decide to help Santa fix his sleigh and warm up his reindeer.  Pac-Man himself (a guy you’d think would be a pretty important guy in a world of the same name) goes off to find Santa’s sack of toys, which have been discovered by the “ghost monster” gang of Blinky, Pinky, Inky, Clyde and Sue.

Long story short, Santa gets going on his way, Christmas is now known by those who live in Pac-Land and even the ghost monsters get in on the gift giving spirit of the season.

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Initially the special had a short lifespan.  The video game industry crashed and burned through 1983 and 1984 and by the time gaming returned to the public eye years later (due to Nintendo’s strong marketing plan) Pac-Man was considered old hat in place of the Super Mario Bros. and Zeldacharacters.

The special has come back in recent years in holiday airings on Cartoon Network and Boomerang and can also be watched on the left side of his article thanks to YouTube so that parents of the original video gaming generation can show their young ones the roots of Christmas video gaming.

Ten Questions: Matt Barton

Matt Barton is one of the smartest and most interesting people you can find online discussing, loving and showing off old & new games. Now, although you should preferably get to know him via his work on Matt Chat, the Amrchair Arcade and some rather impressive books, reading the following interview should be both enlightening and considered as an appetizer.
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1. Matt, care to introduce yourself to the merry retro loving lot that are the Gnomeslair.com & Obsolete Gamer readers?

I’m Matt Barton, host of Matt Chat, a weekly YouTube show dedicated to classic games. I’m also co-founder of Armchair Arcade and author of Dungeons & Desktops and Vintage Games (co-authored with my friend and colleague Bill Loguidice). I’m also an assistant (soon to be associate) professor of English at St. Cloud State University, where I teach classes in writing, rhetoric, and new media.

2. And what would you say some of your favourite games are? Any particular love for a genre or a gaming machine?

My favorite genres are adventure games, role-playing games, and strategy games. Some of my favorites include Baldur’s Gate, Pool of Radiance, World of Warcraft, Civilization, and the Nancy Drew series of adventure games. I have many consoles, but my favorite gaming device is the PC. Going further back, I will always be an Amiga and Commodore fan at heart.

3. So, Armchair Arcade, how would you describe the site and what’s the story behind it?

We were friends on a forum dedicated to Shane R. Monroe’s Retrogaming Radio show. We talked about putting together an online magazine, and eventually set it up. For awhile we focused on “issues” and tried to make it look like a retromag. We were amazed by how much attention it got, frequently mentioned on Slashdot and many other sites (even Slate and the Discovery Channel). Eventually, though, we morphed into a blog format and started selling our features to other sites (especially Gamasutra). Now we use AA as our home base for communicating to fans and fellow retrogamers, talking about our latest projects, and so on.

4. Same question on the incredibly well produced Matt Chat episodes… How did you decide to start a video show on retro games, and what would you say is this little something that makes Matt Chat unique (for, believe me, it is unique)? By the way, love that gaming wall you got in the background.

Matt Chat has come a long, long way in a short time. When I first started, it was just me and a webcam trying to hawk my books. The production quality was terrible! But I wanted to learn more about videos because Bill and I are producing a feature documentary for Lux Digital Pictures (Gameplay: The Story of the Videogame Revolution). I figured I needed more experience with videos to really handle a project like that, so I kept learning and experimenting, trying to refine my techniques. If you notice, I usually try to put in one more technique or one more refinement per episode, so I’m always learning something new.

I don’t think Matt Chat is unique. There are many, many other YouTubers out there doing similar shows. For instance, ianwilson1978 does great work on the Sega Genesis and Marlin Lee covers a variety of games. I guess one thing that makes my show special is that I feature games from all platforms, especially covering PC and computer titles that the others miss. Most other shows are dedicated to consoles, especially Nintendo classics. I figure those games already get enough love, so I try to cover ground that is not covered by the other shows–such as Dungeons of Daggorath for the Tandy CoCo, Tunnels of Doom for the TI-99/4A, or even the PLATO platform. I also feature interviews with classic developers, such as John Romero and Al Lowe. I’ll soon release my interview with Chris Avellone.

5. Really, is it tough producing something of this quality on a weekly basis?

It can be. Sometimes my editing program (Sony Vegas Platinum) crashes so much during rendering that I’m tempted to just give up. I would really love a better setup! The other big problem is capturing footage from games, especially old Windows games. Even with fraps, virtualdub, and the rest, it can be a nightmare sometimes capturing decent footage.

Other than these purely technical problems, though, it’s not hard at all. I can easily come up with things to say, and I like researching the games anyway. I also enjoy inserting inside jokes and humor, and interacting with the fans is a real joy.

6. How about your books? They are two on games and one on Wikis, correct? Do you feel gamers actually bother reading?

I think most gamers are highly intelligent; at least the ones I talk to. I know plenty of professors and graduate students who are serious gamers. But, of course, there are many who never pick up a book. That is sad, of course, since I couldn’t imagine living life without good books to read. It’s really important to read good books, not just newspapers and such. You can always tell when you’re talking to an avid reader, because he or she will be more knowledgeable on a broader range of topics–plus, I think it makes you more articulate and, frankly, intelligent. I had a friend who read War and Peace just for fun, but he told me later he felt more intelligent after reading it. Some people laugh at comics and graphic novels, but they are actually much more sophisticated now than they used to be. You could certainly learn a thing or two from Moore‘s work.

There’s really no excuse for being ignorant. So read!

7. Now, let’s focus a bit on the rather epic Dungeons and Desktops. Why CRPGs? Could you briefly describe the book? Has it sold to your expectations? Did you enjoy writing it?

It’s pretty much what it says; the history of computer role-playing games. I tried to talk about every important or even remotely influential game in the book, describing what makes them fun and how they fit into the grand history of the genre. I tried to show connections across eras and styles, so you could get a sense of the diversity. Someone may have heard of Baldur’s Gate, for instance, but be unaware of Planescape: Torment, Pool of Radiance, or Eye of the Beholder. I meet people who may know all about Zelda and Final Fantasy, but have never heard of Ultima or Lord British. That bothered me, so I thought it was time to write a book on the topic.

The book has sold well. Of course, something like this won’t be a bestseller. But I wrote this book for people like us, not the mainstream. By “us,” of course, I’m talking about people who love games like Wizardry and Fallout and enjoy nothing more than talking and thinking about them.

8. Should we expect more books from you? Maybe even a new project or collaboration?

Almost certainly, though it’s very hard to find publishers interested in game books. I have been dying to write a book on adventure games similar to D&D, but no takers so far. Bill and I have been talking about a book on the Atari 2600, and I’ve got one on virtual worlds that needs development. We will probably also write a book based on our documentary.

9. And now for something that interests me quite a bit on a personal level. How did you really manage to -effortlessly, it seems- combine an academic career with all this quality work on computer and video games?

In a sense gaming is my job. A professor is expected to research as well as teach, and game studies is an important part of new media. I’m presenting on aspects of gaming at two national conferences later this year (Computers and Writing, Rhetoric Society of America). People tend to think of “English” strictly as literature and grammar, but it’s far more than that! There are many of us studying games as well as other technologies like wikis and social networking. All of these things involve communication and rhetoric.

10. Finally, have you thought about actually creating a game yourself?

I have, though I’m not satisfied with the results! But a few years ago I taught myself C++ out of some books and made a simple adventure game, which I entered into the Interactive Fiction contest. I was shocked that it was 28th in the 12th annual interactive fiction competition. At any rate, it was fun learning C++, and I’d love to try something more ambitious one day.

Happy 10th Birthday GameCube: My Favorite Games

Gamecube Cake

Ah where has the time gone? I remember reading about the GameCube and thinking, really, tiny discs like that? Now you are 10 years old and as Obsolete as the rest of us. Yes, the GameCube is now known for the titles you can purchase for the Wii more than a game system, but it did have some good games that I enjoyed. Here they are in no particular order.

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

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I loved the original Super Mario RPG on the SNES and when I discovered Paper Mario was to be its successor I had to give it a shot. Paper Mario is a beginners RPG whereas it is very easy to play, at least this version. However, the ease did not make the game bad, on the contrary, it was very fun and the animation was unique and fit well with the storyline.

SoulCalibur 2

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Fans of Soul Blade and the first SoulCalibur got a real treat on the GameCube version. Not only was the game put together well, but fans got to play as the exclusive character, Link and who could resist that. The music and graphics were well done and overall was a great year for the franchise.

Resident Evil

resident-evil-gamecube-box

Sure, it was a remake, but when it is done right giving people the chance to experience an updated version of the game they loved it deserves praise. This game was visually stunning and brought back all the fear you had from the original. The audio was redone as well and sounded fantastic, if you owned a GameCube and liked RE then you had to have this game.

F Zero GX

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Fans of the futuristic racer could rejoice in this title that expanded on the original with new visuals and more ways to customize your vehicle than time would allow. This had everything fans wanted, the speed, the visuals, even the music and kept you interested in playing for a long time.

Resident Evil 4

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One of the best RE’s period and a must have on the GameCube. Everything about this game was well done from the storyline to the immersive factor to the music and graphics it was a staple for the series and alongside Codename Veronica, one of my all-time favorite survival horror games.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRuNDkhU0is[/youtube]

The others

Now this is a short list. There were other fantastic games like Metroid Prime, Super Smash Bros. Melee and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, but I leave it up to you to tell us your favorite GameCube Games.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword bundle

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This reminds me of the original Gold edition of Zelda.

A special limited-edition The Legend of Zelda™: Skyward Sword bundle containing the game and a gold Wii Remote™ Plus controller will be available when the game launches on Nov. 20 for $69.99

Also for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, every copy in the initial production of the game will come packaged with a special music CD featuring orchestral arrangements of select songs that will be performed at The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony Concert.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Pre-E3 2011

E3-2011

This week we had a full house as we went over some of the things we are looking forward to at this year’s E3. We began first with a few news items that were posted on our Facebook page. One of the news items talked about married men divorcing their wives to play World of Warcraft and the other was about Chinese prisoners being forced to play World of Warcraft, we felt marriage, prison and W.O.W. went together perfectly.

We then talked about the rumor that Nintendo is going to announce the Wii 2 at E3 2011 and that it will include a Blu-ray player and be faster than the Playstation 3. We all could see how good Zelda, Kirby and Metroid would look on the new system. We also talked about Sony apologizing to their fans and perhaps giving us something else to talk about. We also spent a hot minute bashing Call of Duty 3.

All in all a great show and we were happy to have Paul and Mark with us. Next week we will be at E3 2011 in L.A. so look for our full E3 2011 podcast coming soon.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: The Pre-E3 2011 Show

Or have a listen on our official OGS page and let us know what you think.

Or download our podcast from Itunes

Points Make Prizes

Nintendo ClubWhen Microsoft launched the Live Arcade, I was very sceptical about the Points system. While in theory it makes transactions easier, being forced to buy in set amounts puts the purchaser at a disadvantage. It saves them money on organising small credit card transfers, and lets them keep your money for longer. Nintendo then adopted a similar scheme for the Wii, which did not amuse the hardcore Nintendo fans.

Like a lot of Nintendo users, I am a Club Nintendo member and have been frustrated by the service for a long time. First there was the short length of time the good stuff was available. But then, did I really need a Zelda statue or a storage rack shaped like Mario’s cap? (Ignore that small voice from inside me; I call him the Collector and often have to over-rule him). Then came the announcement that points earned from visiting the website (a massive five per day) and adding games to your collection would expire.

I lost a fair few points at the end of that fateful first month, but when I purchased a Wii I had enough left to trade in for some Wii Points. I had even been lucky to pick up some extra points from second-hand purchases. Fair enough, Nintendo set the exchange rate quite high and in its favour – 4 Club points to 1 Wii Point. That makes each first-party game with the little silver panel to scratch off worth a staggering 62.5 Wii Points. But then came the trials and tribulations of actually purchasing the Wii Points, with only a limited number of “cards” available each day.

So it’s scratch, type, print out, point and press to fill out the form with that little string of numbers that represents virtual cash. And what did I do with my new-found wealth? Invested in two of the Art Style titles, Cubello and Rotohex. With the Wii’s rapid start-up time I can be playing them in seconds, enjoying the style and the pure gameplay. Getting them for “free” does not change my opinion – this is the sort of pick up & play title that Wii Ware is made for.

Wii Points Card

The scheme is undergoing a re-design, with the cards now branded Nintendo Points and available in different amounts. But once again, the corporate decision is to make life more difficult for the user. Yes, the Points can now be used on DSi or Wii – but once they are allocated to one machine they cannot be transferred. The region locking had already put me off the DSi to some extent, anyway. Of course, that small voice is back to tell me that I will miss out on DSi exclusives such as Wario Ware Snapped (announced at GDC 2009 and making use of the built-in camera) and the next wave of Art Style games. The other big announcement at GDC – the system update allowing games and channels to run from the SD card – is very welcome. It makes me more likely to invest in Virtual Console titles.

Why oh why haven’t Nintendo released a new Duck Hunt title for Wii? If ever there was a title crying out for an update, it’s that one. Or at least find a way to make a Virtual Console version work!

 

What game would you teach your child?

Little Kid Gamers

Often people ask what values would you teach your children, it is a good question. Perhaps there is something you were taught that helped you as your grew and you wanted to pass that on you to children. As gamers, many of us who decide to have children may end up getting them into games or at least supporting their own love of games. So the question is, if you could teach your child one game which would it be?

The Legend of Zelda

The original NES game for me is the perfect starting game for a child. Zelda had the elements of an RPG and an action adventure game. The game itself was not that hard to play, but it was difficult enough to keep you interested while invoking real thought. Some of the bosses took pattern recognition and some of the dungeons required some puzzle solving. The game also had humor and sadness and the “death” was not serious enough to harm any child in my opinion. It was the kind of game that could prepare you for many other games including some of today’s MMO’s. Zelda may not have been perfect, but I think it is a great choice as a jumping off point for a future gamer.

We asked our panel of industry insiders the same question.

Jacob Stevens from Riverman Media wrote:

Most definitely the original Legend of Zelda. The vast, mysterious, world represented by small, abstract, graphics stimulates your mind almost like reading a novel. While you are playing, you imagine much more than what you can actually see. This is especially important for children to learn, and on top of that the sense of adventure and exploration is unparalleled.

John Williamson, Producer from Zombie Studios wrote:

Rail Road Tycoon

I have an 8-year-old daughter and we play lots of games together.  Our favorite all time game has to be Mario Kart Double Dash.  It has the perfect bimodal learning curve.  She could contribute to the game when she was just tossing banana peels while I drove, then learned to aim and lean into turns, then she learned to drive on her own, then she learned to drive and throw on her own.  It is THE greatest game I have ever played for teaching someone the joys of gaming as it allows for so much grown and skill development, all while having fun.  But I’m going to go on a slightly different tack for this question, if I could only pick one game for my daughter, it would be Rail Road Tycoon.

Rail Road Tycoon is an amazing simulation game, no matter which version you play.  It supports multiplayer, single player, and has endless re-playability.  And not to get all touchy feely here, but it would help my daughter learn some basics skills that society frankly frowns upon girls (and even women) learning.  Railroad Tycoon helps teach how the stock market is supposed to work, and how  it can be  manipulated.  How to buy low and sell high, how to cut off the competition at the knees, when to cooperate and when not to, the value of risk, the drawbacks of being over extended, when to take out a loan, when not to.

They value of expedited services and the value of slow and steady income growth.  Everything necessary to survive and thrive in our society.  On top of all that, Rail Road Tycoon was the first game I couldn’t stop playing.   It was the game that made me say “I  know what I want to do with my life”  It is the reason I have been able to make games for a living for almost 2 decades now.  I can’t wait to find out what game, book, movie, class, instrument, experiment, photograph that will lead my daughter down the path to what she loves to do.

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

Maybe something like Ultima 4, that was a good one.

So what game would you choose?

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!

Patrick Rene Posthuma Linthorst: Phure Studios

Phure Studios logo
Phure Studios logo

Name: Patrick Rene Posthuma Linthorst

Company: Phure Studios

Profession: Founder

Favorite Classic Game: The Legend of Zelda; Ocarina of Time

Quote: Games like Zelda; A Link to the Past and Super Metroid would always make me doubt about Ocarina of Time being my all-time favorite game ever, since they’re really good games and come in as a close second and third, but Ocarina of Time is a game on a whole new level and which I’ve been waiting for for more than three years.

It’s when I hear the piano on the titlescreen play, with Link and his horse Epona galloping by on Hyrule Field with the moon in the background, that I get goosebumps all over again and something inside tells me: YES! This is my favorite game! Back in those days Nintendo gamers would always look forward to the next Nintendo franchise being resurrected in 3D and Zelda was just one of those games which I knew would eventually come into 3D, making me look forward to it ever since the Nintendo64 came out. I’d be on my 56k dial up internet spending hours to get more information about the game.

It’s the whole atmosphere, music, graphics and whatever else about Ocarina of Time that just triggers something inside me, making me want to finish it 100% all over again and again without ever getting bored. The gameplay set some new standards for controls and gamedesign for years to come after that and the whole game is just unique in every aspect!

Bio: Phure Studios is a Games Design & Development and Application Development company. We are located in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, founded in 2009 and have our eyes set on pure fun! We develop applications and games for Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad and aim for consoles and Pc in the near future!

Commercial Wars: Best use of a Rap

parappa the rapper
parappa the rapper

Rap is universal, sure it may be dominated by African American artists, but rap is for everyone. Well, everyone except video game companies. Don’t get me wrong, you have to do what you can to grab a younger generation but most of these were just really bad commercials. Also I have yet to find an old video game commercial using rap that has actual African American kids. Oh well, on to the voting!

Atari 2600: The Fun is Back

The fun is back oh yes er re it’s the 2600 from Atari. Oh my lord you know that guy went on to make millions in the music industry.  When Atari packaged its system for a new low price of just $50 you know it was time to make a rap about it.

Nintendo: Zelda Rap

Oh Lord where to start. Okay first, does anyone else get the vibe that the kids are looking at an adult magazine and not Nintendo Power? I mean besides the “”Nice Graphics” quote it sounds like something I would have said while checking out Playboy.

Next is the “rap” I have to guess this is a parody of rap because even Solider Boy isn’t that bad. Not only is the beat box out of something you’d see on rapping granny, but the “lyrics” sound like they were pieced together from a fortune cookie.

Finally and again the way they talk about the game toward the end, “Ya go Link ya, get some.” Is that not a line from every Ron Jeremy movie? I just think these children need more parental supervision and a kick in the ass.

Sega Genesis: Toe Jam & Earl

I can’t hate on this one too much because it does fit the style of rap at the time and the game was to have a “hip hop” vibe. Does this rap not sound like the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” theme? I know when I saw this commercial the first thing I did was call my home boys for some two player action. Err…wow that just doesn’t read right.

This Ain’t American Idol

However, we need your vote. Which rap best fit the theme and style of the commercial?

[poll id=”9″]

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.

Happy Birthday Nintendo

NES Console System
NES Console System

One day you’re unwrapping the brand new console you got for Christmas in the middle eighties and the next thing you know you’re twenty-five years older and can play every title on a cellphone. The first NES has given millions of fans countless hours of fun over the last two decades and will continue so for a long time to come and so we want to wish the Nintendo Entertainment System a happy 25th birthday.

Today, October 18th marks the 25th anniversary of the NES being first sold in the U.S. Now some of you gaming history buffs might be thinking “Hey, I couldn’t get my NES until 86.” Well you are right. Originally the Nintendo was only available for limited release at the high-end boutique toy store known as FAO Schwarz. It was at the New York store that you could purchase the NES in 85; you would have to wait a bit longer before you could buy it elsewhere.

FAO Schwarz
FAO Schwarz

When I purchased my NES it cost me around $159.00; however the pricing for what was called the Control Deck ran for about $129.00, it came with two controllers and the combo game of Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt. I remember repackaging my NES in the original box every night before bed. However, that didn’t last long and soon I was blowing on cartridges and punching it out of frustration, good times.

Gold Zelda NES cartridge
Gold Zelda NES cartridge

The Nintendo Entertainment system had an incredible decade long run in the U.S. From 1985 to 1995 thousands of games came out that won numerous awards and critical acclaim from critics and fans alike. This is the system that launched with titles such as Excite-bike, Baseball and Ice-climber and went on to offer titles like Metroid, Ninja Gaiden and the awesome Golden Edition Legend of Zelda. Not only games, but the NES had awesome accessories such as the NES Zapper, Robbie the robot and of course the power glove.

Powerglove advertisement
Powerglove advertisement

Now our good friend also had some growing pains. First off was the issue with the front loading system on the NES which was prone to come loose over time. Also the spring that held up the cartridge bay would sometimes break after limited use. Then of course there was the blowing on the cartridge thing which had more to do with the connectors than just dust particles alone. In addition to some hardware issues the NES suffered from a ton of horrible third party games and accessories that dragged the system down in its later years. You could find add-ons of one sort or another for the NES everywhere from drug stores to gas stations. Then came the awful games like 1UP 7UP and crash test dummies, not to mention the unlicensed games like the infamous Bible Adventures game.

Bible Adventures NES cartridge
Bible Adventures NES cartridge

However with over 60 million units sold worldwide and the continued success of Nintendo and its core titles there is no doubt that the NES is one of the king consoles of the 80’s. As said the classic games are still played today on phones, via emulators and even on flash game websites. The NES became an important part of many households just like the family television and we at Obsolete Gamer are thankful for the time spent and memories with our Nintendo Entertainment System.

On to the next 25!

What is your favorite video game theme song?

There are quite a few iconic tunes from videos games that if heard one would easily be able to identify them. Some of these songs immediately conjure up visions of the game while others may stir up a memory surrounding an event centered around gaming. However, it does one thing is certain and that is music has had a great impact in gaming.

A theme from a game like Bubble Bobble may just identify the game, it was a repetitive theme as most early game music was, but it stuck with us because the game had over 100 levels. On the other hand the theme from Zelda is more likely to bring up a specific moment in one of the games like when you first went to the dark world or when you collected all the pieces from the Tri-force. Sometimes a song can remind you of an event. Say the theme from Double Dragon, perhaps it reminds you of hanging at the local arcade with friends or the theme from Frogger reminds you of the pizza shop near your school.

As music became a larger part of gaming individual songs became fan favorites like Celes’s Theme from Final Fantasy VI or the Kelethin music from the original Everquest. Like in movies the right kind of music could set the stage for a level, a boss fight or a cut scene and if done correctly could touch a cord with fans.

Video game music became so popular fans begged for soundtracks and from there people made their own versions of their favorite songs and the remixers were born. Almost every gamer has a tune in their head from a video game (or several) that will take them back to a happier time. Some of us even take our video game music with us in our media players and cars.

Even as video games have become more advance the music still remains and important part. It doesn’t matter if it is computer generated or performed by an orchestra, the key is it fits the moment and is memorable.

This week we asked our panel:

Do you have a favorite song or theme from a video game if so what is it and why do you like it?

Chris Skaggs from Soma Games wrote:

“Still Alive” from Mirrors Edge was very catchy and attached to a really catchy game as well. But “Still Alive” from Portal was a kind of phenomenon and I’d say must go in the Hall of  Game Music Fame. I knew that song was something special when I went to a game conference and saw an auditorium of gamers singing along to the song that was being played on a 50 foot screen in Rock Band.
I’m not sure I could articulate why I (and millions of others) love that song so much but its tied somewhere to the whole experience of the game and how the song perfectly complements what I just survived.

Mathew Anderson from Petroglyphgames wrote:

The first time I heard the intro theme for Civilization IV as the world turned in the background, I almost cried… (ok, I did cry, but don’t tell anyone). Having music that perfectly fits the game’s atmosphere is actually a rare thing, but when it does happen it can really seal the deal on immersing oneself in the game.

On the flipside, nothing really beats the soundtrack to Redneck Rampage…

Jason Shankel from Stupid Fun Club wrote:

“Sweet Emotion” from Aerosmith: Revolution X.  Because music IS the weapon!

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

The only one that comes to mind is the Super Mario Bros. music.

Jacob Stevens from Riverman Media wrote:

Overall my favorite soundtrack is Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. As far as favorite individual song though, that would have to be the battle music from Final Fantasy IV / II U.S. Why? I love the bass line! In fact, the bass line from that song is what inspired me to start playing the bass, which is now my primary instrument.

David Warhol from Realtime Associates wrote:

I’m kind of cheating on this one.  I like C64 Pool of Radiance but I wrote it.  🙂  It’s in the style of Wagner.  You can’t go wrong with 8 bit Mario, it’s too classic.  I like the way retro influenced bands cover it too.

Susan Oleinik from Zombie Studios wrote:

Purely because of decades of Pavlov-type conditioning, I’d have to say the ‘Puzzle Solved Noise’ from Zelda… yes I’m aware it’s not a whole song…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDPT6Ehq_bI&NR=1

So what about you, what’s your song?

Games need to be more like “24” aka the Dead Space Conundrum

the Dead Space Conundrum

I’m obviously not talking about a game version of the TV show. Yes, I know we have that. What I’m talking about is I think that a specific style of 24 should be adapted to most games, as it would make the overall game aspect a lot better.

In the show 24, the basic layout (for those of you who haven’t watched the show, and if you haven’t, you should either watch it now, or suffer the wrath of Gortex the demon slaughterer) is that the main character (in this case, Jack Bauer) goes through a series of events leading to a finale, or a conclusion of some kind to the story. That’s simple, right? All games do that! But there is one absolutely crucial difference: The “events” in 24 actually matter. They aren’t just relevant to the story, they are dramatic and are actually important to the character, and shocking to the viewer.

24 Jack Bauer’s Hearing
24 Jack Bauer’s Hearing

In most games as we all know, we’ll be going towards some sort of objective when something “breaks” or “stops functioning” and we have to return the power to it, or find some way around it. Do you think Jack Bauer has time for that? No! Jack Bauer is out catching terrorists by using his eyelids as deadly weapons. If something breaks, that’s some lackey’s job to fix it, not the main character of the story.

That’s what I’m talking about. In most games today the game is relevant to the story only tangentially. How many different things break in Gears of War, or are “offline” that you have to fix or restore power to? We need events that are crucial to the overall story, not just “somethings broke, go fix it”. We’re the main character of a story here not Scruffy the damn Janitor.

Dead Space

One game that really fails at this is Dead Space. I love this game tremendously, but if I were to play it, and you were to ask me what my objective was, I’d tell you to get off this ship before these things dismember my soul. But more specific than that, I have absolutely no idea, because it wasn’t relevant. I had to collect some keys, or a card or something to fix something else… and do something to GET OFF THE FRIGGING SHIP. But I don’t really remember what those things are. Think about how much better Dead Space would be if the “objectives” actually mattered. I know for the whole time I was basically following whatever the blue line told me to do, because it told me to do it.

In 24, You know exactly what Jack’s doing, where he’s going, and whose life he’s about to turn into a carnival game. The plot-lines are never confusing, and there’s around 7 of them in every season. But they also manage to never get boring, even the ones with Kim (or what gamers call the escort mission) never really become boring in any way. That’s why 24 is such a good show, because there is never a dull moment. Every episode ends with some revealing situation or personality change (or twist, as most people call them) that changes the whole situation of the show. That’s what I want for games. I want every chapter to matter in the same way that every hour in 24 does. I don’t want to forget why I’m doing something. I want to be completely engaged from start to finish, or until I put the game down. Is there any game that you can say did that?

24
24

If you don’t like 24 (first, please escort yourself to the nearest detention center), or you think that they recycle a lot of their plot-lines, how about House? They’ve managed to keep every episode of that show interesting by focusing on the main character, and how he overcomes the circumstances given to him. Every episode of that show requires a race against the clock (disclaimer: Zelda proved that that aspect throughout an entire video game is not a good idea. But per chapter or episode? perfectly fine.) for the main character to diagnose a patient. I don’t think that each chapter should “end” in the same way each episode of a TV show does, but I think that there should be parts of a video game that provide you with a reason to keep going in terms of the story.

Now go watch 24. I don’t care if you’ve seen it all already, go watch it again.

Jacob A Stevens: Riverman Media

Riverman Media logo
Riverman Media logo

Name: Jacob A. Stevens

Company: Riverman Media

Profession: Artist and Development Director

Favorite Classic Game: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Quote: Zelda II had a dark and enigmatic spirit that captured my attention as a child and continues to inspire me to this day. I love the warbling, disconcerting soundtrack that sets the stage for falling into graves, fighting severed heads, and even confronting your own shadow.

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!

Grace Snoke: Video Game Scoreboard

 

video-game-scoreboard-logo

Name: Grace Snoke.  In the gaming world, I go by Kayhynn

Profession: this question has a bunch of answers.  My real life job occupation is as a corporate journalist/web content manager for several large corporations.  Outside my real job, I am the PR Coordinator and Content Manager for EOGamer.com, a gaming website for MMOs and other games as well.  In addition, I am part of the planning committee for the International Video Game Hall of Fame summer festival called Big Bang 2010.  For them, I work as public relations and press relations to help make the event a success.

Favorite Game: I’d have to say Legend of Zelda

Quote: I think it was because it had a story to it.  There was a reason for you to explore the land and find everything.  It made you think and starting that at age 9 or 10 or so…It made me fall in love with the entire Zelda series.