Ozark Softscape's Dan(i) Bunten-coded 8-bit multiplayer masterpiece, M.U.L.E., is now available in an updated, online playable version. The best part? This has the official blessing of the Bunten family. Fans of this site probably need no introduction to this semi-real-time economic strategy game, but for the rest of you, now is a great time to see what all the fuss is about. Check it out here. There are clients for Windows, Mac, and even Linux. The full game is free!
A blog called "Significant Bits" has a very nice editorial up about What made those old, 2D platformers so great?. The article is well written and illustrated, with screenshots as well as video clips. Definitely don't want to pass this up if you're a fan of platform games. Link via Slashdot.
Hi, guys, this week Matt Chat is about Metroid, one of the best games ever for the NES and probably my favorite game for the platform. I doubt there are many gamers who haven't heard of this game, but if it's been awhile you might be surprised by how modern and playable it remains so many years after its debut. As of 2:14 a.m., the video still isn't done processing, but I thought I'd go ahead and announce it anyway. If the HD or HQ settings aren't showing up for you or the image looks muddy, just wait a few hours and try again.
I just wanted to comment quick on “The Great Videogame Crash” (my personal official designation, along with my preferred use of "videogame" over "video game", just like "bodybuilding" over "body building") and sort of vet my thought process for public discussion and potential disagreement. After spending ~3 years writing the other book on American videogame and computer systems, I came to the conclusion that it has to refer to the year 1984 if a single year needs to be chosen. This was based on a combination of research and personal experience. To put it simply, in 1983, consumers had no real concept that there was something going on behind the scenes. All the consumer saw was increasing stock and lowered prices. Behind the scenes was a different story, with retailers having excess of unsold inventory and diminishing or non-existent profit margins for even good publishers in light of cut-price dreck from their competitors. The classic supply outstripping demand. It wasn’t until 1984 that consumers started to realistically notice there was a problem when less and less new product started appearing on store shelves. That’s why to me, 1984 has to be the year.
Obviously videogames never fully went away in retail or sales channels, but there was a definite slowdown 1984 – 1985. It wasn’t until the limited release of the NES in late 1985 and its wide release in 1986 that retailers started to want to get back full force into videogames and lots of different companies again wanted to cash in. So really, The Great Videogame Crash can be considered from 1983 – 1986 if you want to get technical, but the years where it was felt the most by consumers - who to me are the most important part of the equation - would actually be 1985 and 1986. At least that’s my theory and one I plan on sticking with. And obviously this only applies to North America and specifically the US, as market conditions were very different elsewhere. Also, we can't mention The Great Videogame Crash without also mentioning that the thinking in that 1984 - 85 time period was that low cost computers like the Commodore 64 would more than fill the function or need of consoles that "just" played games. Obviously that wasn't the case and both markets peacefully co-existed for some time. So, what do YOU think?
After trading in a few games, I had some credit at the local Gamestop available. In an attempt to beef up my GBA/DS game collection, I got Capcom Classics Mini Mix for only $1! Is this fairly recent collection of retro games for the GBA worth it?
The games are good, but a few niggling presentation issues keep it from what is should be.
To be fair, the games included here are oldies but goodies and are were originally NES ports of arcade games that are heavily changed from the originals in effective ways. Strider adds some RPG elements, a plot hampered by a laughable translation, and Mega Man style stage selection to what originally was a fairly generic, but cool, side scroller. Bionic Commando is arguably the best of the bunch here with several levels, some lite RPG elements, and a plot that some how works in spite of censorship (the original villains in the Japanese versions were Nazis; for the American version, all swastikas were removed and the villains are now a generic evil army). Mighty Final Fight takes an ultra-cute kiddy approach to a remake of the first game of the series with a superfluous addition of having your characters level up.
Ah, Archon for 8-bit computers, besides having one of the greatest videogame covers of all time on the famous Electronic Arts album format, was nearly a perfect blend of strategy and action. It's almost like a chess/checkers combination, but where the pieces battle for control of squares in fast action arcade style combat. The game was arguably best on the Atari 8-bit computers and Commodore 64 (C-64), but it was released on many other platforms of the day, including the Atari XEGS (same as the Atari 8-bit version, just on cartridge) and NES consoles. While the game spawned a sequel, Archon II: Adept, in a short amount of time, that *gasp*, tried a totally different angle, it didn't have the same magic as the original. In fact, that would be a problem with other off-shoots and inspired-by's on various platforms, they just didn't capture the same feel as on the Atari 8-bit or C-64 for whatever reason.
What's the most collectible of all NES cartridges? Perhaps it's Nintendo World Championships 1990 Gold, an extremely rare game that was given out as official prizes. According to the auction page, there were only 26 gold editions, and only 90 "gray" editions.
Do you remember the infamous Power Glove for the NES that was featured in the movie The Wizard? Some clever guy has adapted his old Power Glove to use on on his Wii (yeah, this kind of double-entendre is never going to get old!). See the video below and let us know what you think! Personally, I'm not sure I like the idea of modding a classic piece of gear like this--but it also makes me wonder if the Wii's default controller setup won't soon suffer the fate of the Power Glove...
Perhaps one reason why we've been seeing so many features about the NES lately was in preparation for today--can you believe the NES is 20? Classicgaming.com is celebrating with a nice overview of the unit's history, starting with the Famicom and going through some of the "might have beens." No matter what you think of Nintendo today, you have to give them credit for pushing through the wads of nay-sayers after the "Videogame Crash" and showing that, duh, videogames are here to stay. To celebrate the NES's big 20, you might consider stopping by Nolan Bushnell's new restaurant--Uwink Unlike Bushnell's other restaurant chain (Chuck E Cheese), Uwink is catering to an older, more mature crowd. The idea is simple--lots of tech, but an emphasis on using the tech to get people socializing (rather than draw them into the autism of World of Warcraft!). The place is definitely big on Mac, and I'm not talking Big Macs here (most dishes appear to be vegan-compatible). It all looks incredible, and I only wish I lived closer to California! Anyone in the Woodland Hills area care to check it out and report back?