For this second entry in the ongoing series, I've taken photos of Cartels & Cutthroat$ for the Apple II, Micro Illustrator for the Commodore Plus/4 and C-64, and Deathkeep (AD&D) for the 3DO. Enjoy:
This week's video looks at one of my all-time favorite strategy games, Heroes of Might and Magic. Debuting in 1995 and based on earlier 1990 game called King's Bounty, HoM&M fused role-playing and turn-based strategy games. Hybrids of that sort typically fail, but Jon Van Caneghem is no ordinary mortal. The game is well polished, with great attention to detail and superb audiovisuals. I had a little fun with the video, so let me know what you think! I've also posted some personal notes below.
For the past several years, an old college friend of mine drops in around Christmas time to pay me a visit and play some games. This list of games is typically quite bizarre. My goal in this entry is to simply walk you through what we played...
Today's second set of casual photos (Magnavox Odyssey 300 (1976); Electronic Arts' Foes of Ali (1995) and Absolute's Rise of the Robots (1995) for the 3DO; Adventure International's Questprobe Featuring Spider-Man (1984) for the Atari ST; and Atari's Video Chess Special Edition (1979) for the Atari 2600 VCS) are taken with my Panasonic digital camera, and, instead of telling a semi-coherent story to go along with the photos, I'll talk about each one in brief in turn. Photos to follow the commentary (I had some issues with my image processing software at work, so I was unable to finish cleaning these up).
Today's casual photos are of Zhadnost: The People's Party (1995) from Studio 3DO for the 3DO, taken with the iPhone 3G. Zhadnost is a late-life 3DO title in the spirit of one my favorite videogame game shows, Twisted: The Game Show (Electronic Arts, 1993), also for the 3DO platform. Both titles use lots of wacky, high quality full-motion video (FMV) segments featuring a combination of live actors and stock footage. Twisted errs more on the trivia side of things, while Zhadnost errs more on the mini-game side of things, and features a very specific type of humor. Both titles are highlights on the 3DO platform, making excellent use of the platform's capabilities to overlay quality full motion video over pre-rendered backgrounds. The production values of both are also high, with just the right amount of wit. In short, they're great multiplayer party games and in a format where the use of oft-maligned FMV makes perfect sense, and something more modern day games should consider over often low quality and robotic 3D models. Thinking of these FMV video game shows made me think of the Philips CD-i platform, which was home to several such games, including a favorite of my family's, 3rd Degree (PF Magic, 1992), which had the unique feature of containing a database of pre-recorded (pre-spoken) names, so unless you had an unusual name, the game would actually refer to you by name in the game host's voice (not synthesized). If your name wasn't in the database, they had a selection of cutesy and nickname type of monikers to choose from as well. Definitely another feature that should be incorporated in more modern games. Anyway, here are the images of Zhadnost:
I was one of a handful of videogame journalists invited to a 2K Sports' Major League Baseball 2K8 conference call that ended a few minutes ago with producer Ben Brinkman and others. Despite some static (the person who didn't mute did eventually jump off the call, but then the static came back) and technical issues with the conference call (not on my end), I was able to record the full presentation on my Windows Mobile cell phone. UPDATE: Or at least I thought - the phone recorded the whole thing but only as silence, so that's not a good future option obviously. I'll have to use an alternative recording method in the future. I would have uploaded the entire conference call exclusively for the benefit of Armchair Arcade members if it had worked. Even if you're not a fan of baseball or videogame baseball, it would have still been interesting to hear some of the behind-the-scenes stuff (if the recording is made available to me, I'll upload it and make it available).
LAST UPDATE: 20pGaming.com has made the audio available, here: http://2opgaming.com/2008/02/22/mlb2k8-conference-call-full-audio/
As a long time videogame baseball fan, I'm on record in regards to modern interpretations as being a fan of Sony's "MLB The Show" series (PS2, PSP, PS3) since the demise of 3DO's "High Heat Baseball" series after the 2004 edition (my favorite being the Xbox version). I actually liked EA's first version of "MVP Baseball" (Xbox, PS2, etc.), but it never really evolved properly to my liking from there. 2K Sport's "Major League Baseball 2K" series has had some interesting elements, but they never quite came together in my opinion to form a cohesive and fun videogame baseball experience (and its audio-visual presentation was comparatively lacking). Based on the data already released and this conference call, it looks like 2K Sports' "Major League Baseball 2K8" is on a very, very promising track to being a top game, finally, if not THE top game. I should be receiving a review copy of the game very soon (Xbox 360 version was my first choice for the achievements, though it's available for several other platforms including Wii and PS3) and I'll see first hand how it ultimately plays, which is really 95% of what matters.
We were invited to submit three to five questions ahead of time. It seems a lot of questions were focused on technical aspects, though mine, as I always attempt, were more focused on other areas that don't typically get asked...