Compile is one of the great shoot'm up creators from the land of the rusing sun. Aleste / Power Strike has been one of their major series on various platforms. This game is the 16 bit incarnation on the Super Nintendo. Read more below...
As detailed in my previous blog post and video, Hyperkin is no stranger to creating low cost videogame consoles and portables. Their RetroN 3 Video Gaming System, which is detailed here, claims compatibility with Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Nintendo (SNES), and Sega Genesis cartridges via its three cartridge ports and wireless Sega 6-button controller clone controllers. Hyperkin's previous products were plagued by d-pad issues and game compatibility glitches.
I for one am skeptical of the soundness of its purchase worthiness after my previous experience with their product(s), as my disappointment was primarily due to a poor controller and to a lesser, but no less important, degree on game glitches...
UPDATE: This unit not only has the three different cartridge slots, but also three sets of two controller ports to match the respective original systems. That's certainly good news. Now all they need to get in order is the compatibility, since S-Video output (hopefully across all three systems, not just the SNES and Genesis) is standard (as well as stereo sound) and it actually could be a killer rig. Also, note that the $69.99 is the suggested retail price and the link is ONLY good for resellers at the moment, so there are still some specifics up in the air. I guess we'll know more after it's officially unveiled at E3 in June.
Thanks to Marty Goldberg for the heads-up via Facebook.
This week's Matt Chat is about Super Mario Kart, the game that popularized the "kart racing genre" in which popular characters (from games or elsewhere) race each other in go-carts. The video covers several games that it was inspired by, as well as some it inspired. Enjoy!
This week's Matt Chat is about The Lost Vikings, one of my personal favorites. I originally played this game on the Amiga, but it was designed for the SNES. Enjoy, and please let me know what you think! I am taking suggestions for future episodes, so please let me know your ideas. I'd love to read them!
Nintendo and particulary Zelda fanboys will want to check out this video retrospective on the legendary series. It's a fun trip down memory lane and makes some interesting if potentially inaccurate statements about the series. I am serious about the "fanboy" part, because less biased gamers will no doubt cringe at some of the over-the-top claims the commentator makes about the game. For instance, he claims it was the first RPG to allow the player to wander about an expansive map, the first RPG to "pioneer a complex combat system," and so on. You get the idea--sheer rubbish. The commentator also claims that Zelda was the first console game to offer saved games (can anyone confirm this?). While I find the video entertaining, I am a bit put off by the blatant inaccuracies, which unfortunately seem all-too-common with these otherwise well-produced viddies. On a positive note, see what you can score on this awesome NES screenshot quiz! I apparently "suck"...
A site called College Humor has a really well-done and funny video up called Street Fighter: The Later Years. The video picks up 10 years after SF 2, and shows what life is like now for two SF characters--Zangif and Dhalsim. It appears to be part of an upcoming series of shorts, and I'm already looking forward to the next installment.
Secondly, though it can't compete with Bill's massive retro studio, you should definitely check out Jeff Kinder's Gameroom. Kinder is a Dragon's Lair freak with one of the sweetest basement arcades in the US! Bill--Kinder lives in northern New Jersey. Coincidence?
IGN has a nice feature up about the worst coin-op conversions, and I bet we've all probably suffered through most of them. Yes, the VCS Pac-Man is on the list, as is Donkey Kong and Dragon's Lair for the SNES. I doubt any kid who received the SNES version of Mortal Kombat was happy on Christmas...One surprising entry is Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits for the GBA.
Perhaps the single most popular type of game in the history of PC gaming is the First Person Shooter (FPS). A First Person Shooter is a game that takes place from a first person perspective, essentially putting the player in the shoes of the character. The player rarely sees the character being played; the player sees exactly as his or her character sees. Universally known for an emphasis on multiplayer network combat, First Person Shooters were some of the first types of games to be played on the Internet. Most people will acknowledge that Id Softwareâ€™s Doom (1993) started the First Person Shooter craze, others point to Idâ€™s Wolfenstein 3D (1992). For me, there were two games released around the same time that practically guaranteed the domination of First Person Shooters: 3D Realmsâ€™ Duke Nukem 3D and Idâ€™s Quake, both released in 1996. It was during this time that the mouselook control scheme was invented, which would soon become the standard control scheme for just about every PC game. Eventually First Person Shooters would dominate PC gaming. New games like Half Life (Valve, 1998), Quake 2 (Id Software, 1997), and Unreal (Epic, 1998) continued to push the graphical envelope, and, being the most popular games around, were often used as benchmarks for the latest three-dimensional (3D) graphics cards. Adventure games and other genres would soon sink into obscurity, while others like Real Time Strategy (RTS) games and Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) would eventually provide some competition for First Person Shooters, but overall, FPS games took over.
Now, enter 2004. First Person Shooters are still some of the most popular PC games. Out of Amazon.comâ€™s top ten best-selling PC games, four (a majority) are First Person Shooters. There have been some variations on the popular FPS formula (as accentuated by the success of Doom and Quake), such as having vehicles in games like Starsiege Tribes (Dynamix, 1998) and Battlefield 1942 (Digital Illusions, 2002), and games that attempt to simulate World War II combat like Medal of Honor (DreamWorks Interactive, 1999), Call of Duty (Infinity Ward, 2003), and Return to Castle Wolfenstein (Gray Matter Studios, 2001). Further, two heavily hyped FPS games are expected to release this year: Id Softwareâ€™s Doom 3, and Valveâ€™s Half Life 2.
Many gamers like me have expressed their discontent about the current state of PC Gaming and the dominance of the First Person Shooter. Many of us have switched to consoles to get our gaming fix. This is because unlike PC games, one would be hard pressed to find a single genre that dominates console games. In addition, many console games tend to take place from a variety of perspectives, the most successful games utilizing multiple perspectives as needed. This can be best typified by Nintendoâ€™s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998) for the Nintendo 64. In this game, the player navigates dungeons with the camera behind the character, fences with enemies in a rotating perspective, plays a musical instrument with the camera looking at the front of the character and occasionally switches to first person perspective to look around or aim a precision weapon such as the slingshot.
When I share my sentiment concerning First Person Shooters with most hardcore PC gamers, I am met with a variety of analogies. The most prominent analogy is that having a lot of First Person Shooters today is no different than when we had a lot of two-dimensional (2D) platform games in the late 1980s and early 1990s. By platform game, I define it as a game in which the player controls a character that moves from one obstacle to the next, usually by running or jumping.
I don't find it to be the case that the FPS dominance of today is anything like the 2D platform craze of yesterday. In fact, I find a fundamental flaw with all First Person Shooters that I feel constrains the gameplay to an overly simplistic process of repeatedly dodging and shooting.
One of the primary flaws of the first person perspective can be illustrated by using the classic platform fighting game, Technosâ€™ Double Dragon (1988) for the NES, as an example. In Double Dragon, the character gained more and more abilities as the player progressed (a hair-pull kick, a spinning kick, and an uppercut). Naturally, most of the fun of the game was being able to see a variety of these attacks being performed. However, in a first person perspective, this same game concept is difficult to accomplish. It would be disorienting (and perhaps nauseating) if the player's viewpoint spun around while performing a spinning kick. Instead of changing the game's perspective and allowing some interesting attacks, most FPS game programmers don't even bother, limiting oneâ€™s movement only to the simplest running and shooting. In fact, most FPS shooters that do include melee combat do so in the form of a one-two punch, the Double Dragon equivalent of hitting the B button twice. Imagine if Double Dragon was programmed like this, limiting oneâ€™s moves only to the most basic attacks. Sure, the game had a variety of weapons, but without the repertoire of attacks, I'd imagine the game would be pretty dull.
Just picked up the latest issue of Famitsu Weekly and I am pleased to see they are still doing some retro coverage in their 20th Anniversary sections. The supplementary booklet this time around focuses on games from 1998-2005 with less detail than in the previous issue, but it's still interesting for a glance at what games were popular in Japan.
The Games History section focuses on a variety of sports genres in video games, giving several examples of each. It makes me want to buy a better Japanese dictionary when I get home so I can try some translating, although my Japanese grammar skills aren't great! Among the more curious types of sports games mentioned are Fishing Games and Winter Sports Games.