18/12/2015

Mad Planets

Oooh, it makes me mmmmmad...



Source // Vizzed


There's nothing I love more on this long list of video games than a space shooter, and Mad Planets is a space shooter that I'm unable to play. I'm even unable to lazily scroll through Wikipedia for it, for there isn't even a page dedicated to this game that we all must absolutely play.

So thank goodness for YouTube being there to fall back on, and to show me how I'm missing out.

15/12/2015

Gyruss

3 Warps to Uranus



Source // Arcade Museum


There are titles that you're familiar with or that sum up a game nicely. There are titles that you've never heard of or haven't got a clue what they're about. Gyruss, to me, fits somewhere in the middle. I know I must have come across it somewhere because it feels familiar. But what is all about?

It sounds a little like gyroscope, but that could conjure up a few games. Gyrate could have been the root word for the title though... Either way I was at a bit of a blank until I fired it up.




It's another space shooter!

11/12/2015

Dragon's Lair

Lead on, adventurer. Your quest awaits!



Source // Syfy Games


That's not a game, that's a cartoon. Those were probably my words, or at least my thoughts when I first crossed paths with Dragon's Lair, an interactive animation of the adventures of Dirk the Daring on his quest to save Princess Daphne from an evil dragon.

I'm struggling to remember where exactly I picked Dragon's Lair up. My brain wants to say "You got it on a DVD with a bunch of other laserdisc games like this", but I can't be so sure. I think it was on a demo disc with a magazine, but why would they give away an entire game, or more, if it did indeed come with other interactive titles. Or have I just witnessed those other titles in various documentaries that touched on Dragon's Lair? I just can't recall.

I've played Dragon's Lair, that's the important thing, and I know why it's on this list...

09/12/2015

The 51/1001 Milestone Awards

Source // Wikipedia Photo CC-BY-SA by X51


Coming to you LIVE (via tape delay) from just beyond this sign in a nondescript area of South-Western North America, it's the first in a long line of The Milestone Awards, celebrating the best, the worst, and the indifferent of the latest batch of video games from the list of 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die.

Every Milestone Awards event will see a number of pointless and literally non-existent awards get presented in passing to a select few titles. Eligible entries for this first set of awards range from The Oregon Trail to Chuckie Egg and the winners were mostly hand picked by our selection panel of industry experts along with myself (none of whom could attend).

Without further ado, may I present to you, the 51/1001 Milestone Awards.

07/12/2015

Chuckie Egg

A clucking good game?



Source // Wikipedia


I can't deny that as a name, Chuckie Egg sure stands out against its competition. As a game, I have no idea, but upon seeing the preview image in the 1001 book, I knew it had to be something that came from the old school hobbyist computers of yesteryear. Before my time, when video games were made of rainbows and raspberries.

04/12/2015

Star Wars

The Force isn't with me today...



Source // Arcade Museum


Dun, dahn, dunadun dun daun, dunnadu... Hey, kid - do you like Star Wars? You do? Do you want to fly an X-Wing like Luke? You'd rather swing a lightsaber like Luke? Ok, but the X-Wing is pretty cool too though, isn't it? I know, right! We've got a great game just for you...

Star Wars is the slightly late but always welcome game that most of us wouldn't mind playing. We've bought all the toys, we've seen three movies now, can we just play something with some substance? Not that Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was a bad game, we just want something a bit more... immersive.

That's how I imagine a bunch of 9 year olds spoke back in the day, at least. Star Wars the arcade game is one of the many Star Wars games I've not played, and I do call myself a Star Wars fan. Really. But I can't recall a whole lot about it, other than it loops. Useful. Better find out what's really going on.

02/12/2015

Archon

Why didn't we play this at Chess Club?





Archon. Archon? Archon. It sounds like I should know about Archon whether I've played it or not, but nothing sprang to mind. The title doesn't exactly sum the game up, and the vast majority of players won't speak enough to Greek to know what it translates into. Even if they did there's not much chance they'd land on Archon being a game of Chess. Sort of. Because it isn't really. Chess and then some. Come to think of it, it's more Chess Boxing.

Chess is fine for me. Haven't tried Chess Boxing. I don't claim to be a Grand Master though (and I'm regularly outclassed by P2, whose aggressive strategies have thankfully quietened down, after I cottoned onto them) but against a computer, a games console... I think I can manage.



30/11/2015

I, Robot

It's your gaming that interests me. Your studies of the interplay of human motives and emotion.





When I think 'I, Robot', I think Isaac Asimov. Then I think Will Smith. After that I think there was another book with the title, and some Outer Limits episodes. It's common, is what I'm saying, but very rarely - if ever - do people think of I, Robot, the game.

I certainly didn't. I was hoping it was something to do with Asimov's short stories, but I was wrong, as is often the case. With a title like that, you can't go wrong with guessing that the game contains a robot, but what does it do? I haven't got the foggiest of ideas, but there's a way to find out.

27/11/2015

Utopia

You sunk my fishing boat.



Source // Wikipedia


The idea of utopia has been around for hundreds of years, as have the questions of whether they'd make for great living spaces in the first place. For hundreds of years philosophers have only had books on the subject, their questions going unanswered - until now. Or 35 years ago. Ish.

Utopia is a battle between two city-building Gods, if you want to call yourselves that, where the idea is to create the very definition of a perfect island habitat, and ultimately score more than the other guy.

It is our first multiplayer centric game of the list, at least to my recollection, which means calling in P2 and doing some research, because I've no idea what on Earth this game is.

24/11/2015

Time Pilot

Please deposit coin and try this game.



Source // YouTube


For a short while I was really hoping Time Pilot would be some game starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, based - however loosely - on the film of the same name. Unfortunately, that film was called Timecop, and it would come out 12 years after Time Pilot. I'd imagine that even if the latter parts of those titles aren't similar, then the notion of travelling through time is, so I'll be disappointed if we don't do anything time-y.

Piloting something is everywhere in games, it's been done. How can we play with time?

18/11/2015

Tron

On the other side of the screen, it all looks so easy...





I know for a fact I've not played Tron, but ever since catching the later parts of the film on TV a long time ago (and then subsequently watching it all, a few times, along with behind the scenes stuff, and the sequel), I think we've all wanted to be Kevin Flynn in some fashion. 

Thirty-three years on, thanks to the wonderful whizz kids at Disney, I'm able to play Tron as it was meant to be played - in a Flash game on a website with optional mouse support. There is a God.

I kid, but it's the only way I can play, so I'll take it. And it's faithful too. Unlike some of the flash versions of Atari games I've played so far, for example, this isn't a tarted up reskin or reimagining. Beyond a change in menus and a pop up set of instructions for each minigame, it seems to be a straight port of the arcade classic.

Time to hop into a Light Cycle and scram.

16/11/2015

Sokoban

Who is even in charge of this warehouse?



Source // YouTube


Sokoban just sounds like a space shooter, doesn't it? It's futuristic, it's foreign, and seeing as it's the 1980s, there's a high chance of that all being true. Except of course that it isn't the case at all, and Sokoban is actually about moving boxes around a warehouse.

Why wouldn't it be?

13/11/2015

Xevious

I don't think I am devious enough, no...



Source // Wikipedia


A scrolling shooter from Namco? Boy, I'm really excited for yet anothe-ooh, I see some ground there. Not set in space, eh? Let's see what we've got here. We're still space themed in Xevious, but not obviously so. I've got something to look at other than the vast emptiness of space this time around. Trees, and grasslands, and road networks, and floating saucer things and pyramid turrets. Yeah. Plenty of simple looking shapes of one colour or another. What more do you want? Gameplay?

11/11/2015

Q*bert

I couldn't have said it better myself, Q*bert...





Q*bert? Yeah I know Q*bert. Who doesn't know Q*bert? Played it? Nah, never.

Something about blocks, jumping on blocks, bound to be some avoiding things thrown in. Funny looking walking nose or something. Yeah, Q*bert. Simple little game, piece of cake.

09/11/2015

Mr. Do!

Mr. Do is indeed very active...





What the hell is Mr. Do! all about? How do you even pronounce it? What is going on? All these questions and more flood my brain upon first checking out the title. Mr. Do is a clown, I gather, with a particularly lethal ball and a fascination with cherries. Obsession, perhaps. Can't get enough of them as you navigate the ball bouncing, dinosaur bashing buffoon around the stage, picking up points from all manner of places.

Oh, and it looks and plays like Dig Dug too.

02/11/2015

Moon Patrol

Who knew the Moon could be this hostile?


Source // Wikipedia


Moon Patrol sounds pretty spacey, but at the same time somewhat mundane. Patrols become routine, they turn repetitive, whether you're on a different celestial body to your native world or not. Will Moon Patrol be similarly simple and samey?


Will it hell, it's got aliens and missiles and explosions and stuff.

27/10/2015

Miner 2049er

2049 - the year in which I might proceed to 'git gud'





First Dig Dug and now Miner 2049er? Can we really have two such games come along at once? No, because Miner 2049er doesn't appear to have a whole lot to do with mining. I can't say for sure if it's got the 2049 side of things down though, so we'll give it that.

In stark contrast to Dig Dug, what we're presented with here is a platformer - with a meaty ten levels of platforming - centered around the clean up duties of what I'm told is a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman called Bounty Bob.

It sounds different. Definitely different.

Cleaning up involves merely running over the floor and avoiding or otherwise dealing with any and all stage hazards. How hard can it be?

19/10/2015

Dig Dug

Is manual labour even this hazardous?


Source // Wikipedia


Ah, Dig Dug, I know Dig Dug. Have I ever actually dug anything in Dig Dug? I don't think I've ever played it. Perhaps a version of it, or a clone or spiritual successor somewhere, but the original Dig Dug passed me by, to the best of my recollection.


If I kept wanting to not be in space when I played arcade games, Dig Dug appears to be answering my pleas by heading in the opposite direction, underground (deep underground, near the Earth's core, where it's still warm), and how colourful it is too. Simple, but it does the job, doesn't it? Looks like something you'd find in a text book. I wonder what we'll learn from this classic...




12/10/2015

Robotron 2084

The ultimate conflict between man and machine and a keyboard control scheme?


Source // Wikipedia


It's not space but it is the distant future; 102 years further into time than the arcade home of Robotron 2084. Man versus Machine makes for a bit of variety across the arcade cabinets, but it still appears to be a simple game of shoot these, avoid that. Can't go wrong with that, so where does it improve over its competition?

Dum dee dum, cybernetic revolt, blah blah blah, waves of robots, dooby doo, twin stick shooter.

What. Twin stick shooter? Available on the Internet Archive? Oh hell yes, count me in.

05/10/2015

Choplifter

When piloted by yours truly, you don't want to get to this chopper...


Source // Wikipedia



With a title like Choplifter, there can't be too many things that I'll be tasked with, in what I assume will be my helicopter. For a simple concept though, I'm a little bit surprised to see it ported to so many home consoles after its initial release on the Apple II. I don't know why I am surprised though, because simple concepts do well seemingly anywhere.

It is a good job Choplifter was a success too, because I've got to dive into those ports to play it. The Apple II version looks like helicopters in space, which kind of defeats the point of using helicopters, rather than spaceships. The gameplay however is like Lunar Lander meets Defender, which is something I can get behind - providing the ports hold up against the original.

29/09/2015

The Hobbit

They're taking the Hobbits to the Commodore-dor-dordor-dore...





Oh boy, a licensed property, so early on?! At least it's not a video game based on a movie at this point, but it is based on the book, or rather sits alongside the events of the book - so much so that it was sold alongside a copy of the Hobbit, which makes The Hobbit some kind of collectors edition waaay before such a concept would dominate the gaming market. And there wasn't a standard edition, it was straight up cross-media promotion, and it was everywhere. Name the home console of the 80s and The Hobbit seems to have been on it, so it must have been good...

Luckily for me, it's available on the Internet Archive. Doesn't come with the book though, but I'll let that slide.

22/09/2015

Joust

Thy game is never over!



The word 'joust' conjures just one mental image to me, and it doesn't look anything like Joust. I was ready to done some plate armour and hop onto my trusty steed, before charging towards my opponent with lance in one hand, shield in the other. You know, like a joust... 

But no. That was not the case, and I'm glad it isn't.

14/09/2015

Gravitar

Landing with a thump. And an explosion.


Source // Wikipedia


By the sounds of it, Gravitar is yet another space shooter, right? I can't think of any other genre of early 80s video gaming that would settle on Gravitar as a name than a space shooter of some kind, so I do hope it's an interesting one.

It wasn't a surprise to find out that, yes, it was set in space, but I was a little surprised to find out that it plays like a mix of Asteroids and Lunar Lander, which immediately put it into the 'must play' category, for me at least. Whether it actually is a must play depends on whether I've any luck in playing it in its original form...

08/09/2015

Ultima I

From darkest dungeon to deepest space!


Source // Wikipedia


I've come across only one game from the Ultima series in my time so far, and that was watching a play-through of Ultima VII on YouTube. I know its an RPG series, set in ye olden times, so I assume that Ultima I is just a stripped down, graphically lacking version of Ultima VII. I mean that sounds fair, right?

31/08/2015

Gorf

'Long live', or 'so long'?


Source // Arcade Museum


Reading about Gorf didn't exactly get me hyped. "Another space shooter," I said to myself, "what does it do differently?"

Turns out it has a clearly defined mission structure, which mixes the gameplay up a little, has shots that you can cancel, in effect, so that you aren't waiting for a wild miss to keep on missing before you can fire again, and even outright rips off Galaxian, name and all. So that's bold.

But does the game live up to it all?

23/08/2015

Frogger

Hop along, son. You've seen it all before.


Source // Wikipedia


Where oh where was I when I first encountered Frogger? I couldn't tell you, but my memory wants to say that it was a nice family friendly game, so I wouldn't be surprised if I was rather young when I was first squashed by oncoming traffic. Maybe it was available at school. We played Lemmings at school, so we might have played Frogger.

Anyway, bumbling through my memory aside, Frogger is impossible to forget, if only because everything else like it is referred to as 'like Frogger', that game where you hop a frog across a dangerously designed road network before hopping across a congested river. Only then can you feel safe, until another frog spawns (hah, frogspawn, get it?) and the cycle repeats.

It repeats so often that Frogger is everywhere, so once more I've hopped into a few different versions to see what's what (and once more, it still has absolutely nothing to do with my inability to play the original arcade version...).

24/07/2015

One more go... Journey

There's a revised and updated edition to the 1001 Video Game book, but seeing as I don't have it I don't know if it includes the painstakingly obvious PS3 title that deserves a place in the 2010s section, Journey.

I'm writing this in 2015 where the closest thing to Journey is the yet to be released No Man's Sky. By 'closest thing', I mean the kind of thing that looks fantastic and you still don't know what the heck it really is, nor will you until you play it. Luckily Journey is already out, and now re-released for the PS4, and it is a must play - if you haven't already.

You see, Journey is, as its name implies, a tale that takes you somewhere. More than that though, it is a personal journey of discovery and wonder and all that jazz. But you can only really go on that journey once...

22/07/2015

Ms. Pac-Man

The only hall of fame she'll be inducted in is the alcohol of fame on the wall of shame...


Source // Wikipedia


Back in the day, I thought Ms. Pac-Man was little more than a reskin of Pac-Man. The cynical side of me would be shouting 'Cash grab! Cash grab!' but nowadays, the more learned figure that I hope I am knows how wrong such statements are.

Ms. Pac-Man has a murky past. Perhaps not murky, but not as simple as you might imagine, starting life as another game before being shown to Midway, who were impatiently waiting for an official sequel to Pac-Man from Namco... in the rush to get something out into the public, anything of merit would do. This game would indeed do.

21/07/2015

Venture

Dare you roam the domain of the Hallmonsters?




A couple of games come to mind when I was picturing what Venture could be, based on the little I'd read. Of course the name shares all of its letters with Adventure, so there's dungeoning and, well, adventuring to be had. Rogue is perhaps the closer game in terms of gameplay, however. Either way, I've not played it, so I ought not to second guess what it is at all, and should dive right into it.

17/07/2015

One more go... Rocket League

Every now and then a game just appears out of nowhere and takes the Internet by storm. Or some of the Internet at least. Some of the bits you personally read. What I'm trying to say is that a fair few people like, and are talking about, Rocket League. Because it is pretty damn good.

The PlayStation Plus monthly game collection can be hit and miss. A selection of 'free' content for a variety of systems. Sometimes it's games you have heard about but didn't grab, sometimes it's games you have heard about and remember paying full price for them at launch, but other times they are completely new to your gaming library.

For me, Rocket League was a complete unknown. Such an unknown in fact, that when I first saw the trailer for that month's game lineup, my reaction to it was "Oh, car football. Looks good. Probably won't bother with it though".

Probably won't bother. What the hell kind of gamer am I, huh?



13/07/2015

Stargate

No, not that Stargate.


Source // Games Database


I've seen this before, haven't I? What is it? Stargate? What's that? Sequel to Defender? That'll be why then.

With Defender a runaway hit, it was only natural for a sequel to be developed to keep the interest levels of the arcade-goers high. More eyes on your cabinet, more quarters in your slot. Welcome to Arcade Gaming 101, feel free to ask questions.

It looks the same doesn't it? I read that Stargate is harder than Defender, but much like its predecessor, I can't find that out for myself, certainly not directly.

06/07/2015

Scramble

One part stumble, one part crawl.




Lacking an encyclopedic brain for video game titles of yesteryear, I didn't have any idea what Scramble could have been about. If I did, I wouldn't have pictured a space shooter, which is strange considering that every other title of the time seems to be just that.

In Scramble, you pilot a ship not only capable of shooting airborne targets, just like every other spacecraft of gaming, but one that can drop bombs on targets too.


Drifting over the multi-coloured landscapes below, your aim is to prog-







Nope, I've just crashed into the very first obstacle.

Anyway the aim is to reach a base, destroy that too, return to the start and do it all over again at a higher difficulty.

29/06/2015

Qix

I just got the šit qiked out of me...


Thankfully, this demonstration makes for a more impressive screenshot than my attempts at playing


I haven't got the foggiest of ideas what it is, but reading up on Qix (pronounced 'Kicks'), it's plain to see that this game is unlike any other I've played from this list so far. It doesn't involve shooting anything, it doesn't have any real world analog, but it requires quick thinking and reflexes, as well as a bit of strategy and luck. It's a fast paced puzzler of sorts.

The aim of the game is to fence off sections of the playing field, enough to block out more than 75%. You can draw fast or slow, with slower sections - marked in red - scoring you more points.




That would be a dull game were it not for the Qix, Sparks, and your own stupidity getting in the way of things. The Qix is a kind of spiralling, dancing, mess of a threat. Sometimes it hangs out well away from you before expanding and reaching right where you don't want it to. If it touches you, that's one life down.

The Sparks travel along the available playing field, and if they catch up to you, it's another life down. It's best to get moving before they arrive, even if it's just to avoid them with a small section of the playing field.

Finally, appropriately for a three life format, is your own foolishness. If you dawdle while drawing, your line becomes a fuse and you don't want the fuse to run out or that's one more life down. If you get yourself into a bit of a pickle, or a 'spiral death trap' as the introduction calls it, you're done for. Go home, you've lost all your lives.

20/06/2015

Donkey Kong

Characters in video games? You're having a laugh.




I'm faaairly certain that the first time I encountered Donkey Kong was on my Game Boy, way back when. It was simple, it moved smoothly, it didn't make too much sense and you were often caught out by physics-defying barrels thrown by an angry gorilla, but it was fun. It held my attention for a while, not that I ever completed it.

19/06/2015

Galaga

It's only just 1981 and we're resorting to padding the list with sequels...


Source // Wikipedia


I could have sworn I'd played Galaga not too long ago, but no, I played Galaxian, the first of a number of space shooters that strove to do the whole alien menace thing in its own way. Galaga then serves as the sequel and is, on the surface, not much to write home about.

The graphics have been improved and the layout stays the same so we all know where we stand. And then the aliens introduce some new technology and tactics.

13/06/2015

Raspberry Pi Part 3 - The Great Pretender

Back in Part 2, I had one RetroPie, one working controller and one game to play. I also took more photos, so this part will be text heavy. Well, not so much 'text heavy' as 'all text'. Apologies.

My next steps were to move ROMs across so that I'd actually have something to play, then scrape the Internet for some metadata about them, including box art, developers, release dates and descriptions. Games stick in our memories, of course they do, but trying to remember the exact title in the world of 'Super' this and 'Super' that... I wanted to at least help my future self by scraping that data.

After that, I'd try to connect up some different controller options, including a PS3 controller, and hope to get a second player up and running.

09/06/2015

Raspberry Pi Part 2 - It'sa me! Mute-io!

In Part 1, I managed to set up a Raspberry Pi, turn it into a RetroPie and then completely cock up various network settings that meant I couldn't connect to it to do anything with it. I was in a bit of a mood, annoyed at myself, when along comes heavenly salvation.

Everyone needs a Player 2, and when not talking about Pokémon, she has soothing words of encouragement (and not so soothing words - I can be a bit of jerk when I'm focused on getting something done). More importantly for the project, she has a USB memory card reader that I desperately need.

Graciously giving up a bit of her limited lunch break to go and grab it for me (I believe I owe her a Ponyta card or two), I run through the road map of what I need to do in my head - reformat the card (to be doubly sure), reinstall the RetroPie image, reconfigure my controller, then hope I have an IP Address at the end of it.


Don't take photos of TV screens

Raspberry Pi Part 1 - Failure to Connect

Every now and then when browsing the Internet, I would come across an article or video saying how easy it is to make a retro video game console with a Raspberry Pi, the dirt cheap credit-card sized computer that can run all manner of projects.

The idea sat in the back of my mind for a while until, eventually, I deemed it possible. It was an achievable goal for someone who hasn't built anything electronic for a decade and a half and hasn't got a clue how to put a computer together. Achievable despite all that because the Raspberry Pi is meant to be an entry into this world, so simple a child can understand.

After a bit of searching for what I needed, I slapped down around £80 to get the necessary parts (and a few more to give some options), before waiting until it was time to get unboxing.


What's in the boxes?

A Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, an 8gb MicroSD card and SD Card adapter, a USB Power Cable, an HDMI cable, an Ethernet cable, a USB WiFi adapter, a USB keyboard and mouse, two USB SNES gamepads and a plastic Pi case (not called a Pi tin, unfortunately).


I wouldn't even use the Mouse in the end

What's not in the boxes?

The SD card image for Retro Pie, which is what we'll be using to do anything with, as well as various apps for formatting SD cards, and an FTP client like Cyberduck so that files can be transferred to the Raspberry Pi over the network. You'll also need a computer and monitor.


I don't know if the card builder also did the job of the card formatter, but I'm playing it safe rather than sorry


Pick up all of that and you're up and running. You don't need it all, the WiFi is optional, you may have keyboards laying around, the controllers are up to you and so on, but that will get you going. Cost will vary depending on what you need or want, but it likely won't break the bank.


It's not pink, just reflective

03/06/2015

Centipede

How have I never known of this game?

Source // Wikipedia



"Centipede?" I ask myself. "That's gotta be an early version of Snake, right?"

Oh how wrong I was. Though Centipede does feature long, thin creatures that look a bit like snakes, they're called centipede's here... and they do move a little like the snake in Snake. A bit. I'm clutching at straws here, delaying the fact that this game was so far off my video game history radar that you'd need to invent whatever the successor to radio is just to give me a chance at coming across it.

The entry in 1001 Video Games mentions that Centipede is the game to bring female players into video games, and upon reading that I thought 'ok'. The 'huh's only sounded upon reading that it involves centipede herding and pest control in a garden.

You play as... a character, possibly a garden gnome or elf, who can fire upon a centipede, damaging it to creating point scoring mushrooms which then affect how the rest of the centipede moves around the garden.

Simple, really.

30/05/2015

Warlords

Pong × Breakout + Dragon Fireballs = Warlords


Source // YouTube


I had no idea what Warlords was until starting this review. None whatsoever. Even reading the article in 1001 Video Games, I didn't know what to expect other than 'it's a bit like Pong, a bit like Breakout, and is a great multiplayer game'.

Which means I need to find a Player 2.

25/05/2015

Zork

What in the zork is going on here?




If I remember correctly, my first experience of Zork was at school, during either a lunch or a free period where a friend of mine who was far more computer savvy than I got it, or one of its sequels, up and running for a game. I remember nothing else but for the fact that it was a text adventure.

I've had mixed success with text adventures, but I have heard Zork was one of the better ones. Maybe I'll manage to wrap my head around it, unlike all the other text adventures. Maybe I'll get lost in all that text. I just don't know until I fire it up.

The Internet Archive is once again home to an online emulator that you can play on, so we can dive right in.

23/05/2015

Phoenix

Thou shalt spell the word "Pheonix" P-H-E-O-N-I-X, not P-H-O-E-N-I-X, regardless of what the Oxford English Dictionary tells you...

Source // Wikipedia


Read up on Pheo Phoenix and you might get the impression that it's just another Space Invaders or Galaxian kind of game. Which it is. But it's not a clone as such. Phoenix uses stages rather than waves and, early on, one of those stages is what we'd call today a Boss stage, words that held absolutely no meaning back in the arcades of 1980 because nothing else had such a thing.

Boss or no boss, it's a simple game that looks great, anybody should be able to pick it up and see how far they can make it through.


It sounds a bit off, but we can't have everything. As I've kept banging on about, games would take what worked and add to it. Moving a ship about the bottom of the screen worked, dive bombing enemies worked, different enemy types worked, will a boss work? Let's find out.

20/05/2015

Pac-Man

How the hell do you start a post on the icon of video gaming?


Source // Wikipedia


Who remembers their first impression of Pac-Man? I don't. I haven't got a clue where I was playing it, how I was playing it, what year I was playing it, so how am I to know how I felt? Joy? Panic? No idea.

So I'll have to give you my first impressions of a few versions of Pac-Man scattered across gaming platforms throughout the decades since (avoiding sequels and spin-offs, unless I've made a monumental mistake).

17/05/2015

MUD

You haven't lived until you've been disconnected...


Source // Wikipedia


It was inevitable that somewhere, somehow, gaming would be done over networks with players in other places. Upon reading that it was MUD that got this notion off the ground - a text adventure capable of multiple user interactions - I thought 'well, this write up won't be based on me playing it then'.

How wrong I was. 35 years later, MUD is still playable, and people are still playing. That's got to be worth a look.

11/05/2015

Tempest

There's a storm a-coming, one of lawyers raining down upon your fun.


Source // Wikipedia


I'd forgotten what Tempest was until I saw the screenshot and remembered "oh yeah, Tempest, from that TxK story, the one with the lawyers and whatnot frowning upon it". It's not a game I'd come across anywhere before, so it's a good job there is a dedicated following of programmers still creating versions and ports for a whole variety of systems - some more official than others...

I can't immediately think of anything that looks like Tempest, save for a few puzzles in Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal, which means my first impression of Tempest was a minigame homage to unlock a door, or some such thing. My first impression of the actual Tempest though was TxK.