As I sit and reflect upon my gaming experiences over the past year, I marvel at the fact that I played a number of great games. I feel a bit of shame, in not having played more games, and I look through my Game Boy blog and shudder at the ratio of games I played that were just not good, as compared to the 2 or 3 were. It's a strange feeling, coming up upon the end of the year, realizing that, as I write this, in just a few days' time, I'll be starting from scratch in a sense. I begin the new year as I have the last several, with a renewed vigor, a sense of hopefulness, and a commitment to play even more games than I did the previous year. Sadly, it rarely seems to work out that way. Still, what's wrong with at least striving toward that goal?
Continue reading My Top 10 Games Played In 2016
Box art scan shamelessly stolen from GameFAQs.
Someone at Capcom USA should have been sacked for turning
Firebrand into a green gargoyle instead of his signature crimson.
From time to time, video game companies see fit to tinker with their intellectual properties. This may be due to creative surges within the development teams wanting to try something new. Sometimes a dev team knows the formula within a given series has become stale or rote, and they feel the need to mix things up. There are examples where changing the formula has had resounding success, such as Konami's Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, as well as instances where this approach completely flopped, as was the case with Accolade's Bubsy 3D. Whatever the reason, creative minds generally need to branch out to do different things to keep things fresh and flex their creative muscle.
Such is the case with Gargoyle's Quest from Capcom. It's sort of an off-shoot of the Makai-Mura series, better known as Ghosts 'n Goblins, or Ghouls 'n Ghosts. In Japan, the game is known as Reddo Arima: Makai-Mura Gaiden, which can be roughly translated as Red Arremer: Demon World Village Side-Story. Rather than starring the main protagonist of the Ghosts/Ghouls series, Arthur, it actually stars the "red arremer" enemy from the original game known as Firebrand. Based on the game's plot, it could be seen as a prequel to the original game, which you find out at the end.
Continue reading Gargoyles Quest, 1990
Image shamelessly stolen from GamesDBase.
3 buff dudes and a lady in dominatrix gear. Nothing can
go wrong with this scenario, right? Nothing at all...
Since the inception of the modern fighting game with Street Fighter II: The World Warrior in 1991, scores of video game developers have attempted to jump on the head-to-head fighting game bandwagon at least once. SNK had Fatal Fury, Midway had Mortal Kombat, Data East had Fighter's History, and even Capcom rivals Konami had the little known Martial Champion. However, prior to the fighting game craze companies were still trying to figure out a way to make a fighting game that wasn't just walking left to right, mindlessly punching enemies in the face, but focused more on actual human interaction. Atari threw their hat in the ring (sorry, pun intended) with 1990's Pit-Fighter, originally released in the arcade. The game was received well enough to receive a whole cadre of home conversions, including a port for Nintendo's own Game Boy.
Continue reading Pit-Fighter, 1992
Image shamelessly stolen from GameFAQs.
Similar to Solar Striker, the logo image for Cosmo Tank is so metal.
In the year of our Lord, 2016, Atlus is known for 2 things. First, for being the foremost developer keeping the Japanese RPG, or JRPG, alive in the west. Second, for having been purchased by Sega, and having been, thus far, largely left alone to do what they do so well. However, prior to becoming a go-to RPG powerhouse, Atlus dabbled in a number of different genres. They've published puzzle games, platformers, beat-em-ups, and a number of other games. Keep in mind, some of these games were developed in-house by Atlus, and some were not. One such example of an early game that may have had some bearing (or not) on the RPG direction Atlus would eventually settle into is Cosmo Tank, developed by Asuka Technologies. Curiously, Cosmo Tank is the only game attributed to the studio, and it's a shame, because while Cosmo Tank is flawed, it hints at what could have been, and shows that, in the right hands, the Game Boy can do impressive things.
Continue reading CosmoTank, 1990
Image shamelessly stolen from the Castlevania Wikia page.
When I was a kid, this was the baddest looking box art in all the land
when it came to Game Boy games. And by bad, I mean AWESOME.
Nostalgia can be a very powerful force. It can make adults look back fondly on all sorts of things that, viewed objectively, probably aren't as great as we remember them. For a child of the 80's, that can be almost anything. From VCRs and teased hair, to classic cartoons and our favorite movies and video games, there are times when it's hard to take a step back and look at those old favorites with a more critical eye. Sure, that one Poison album might be one of your favorites of all time, but musically, does it still hold up? What about your favorite childhood cartoon...could you watch it today without cringing or thinking it's nothing but pure cheese?
Now think about your favorite video games as a child. Sure, some of them probably stand the test of time. But for every Super Mario Bros or Contra, there's always a handful of games that we may still hold in high regard and still have much affection for. If we could set aside our own memories and youthful experiences, would we still hold those works in the same esteem? For me, one of those games is Konami's Castlevania: The Adventure on the Game Boy.
Continue reading Castlevania The Adventure, 1989
Posted on Aug 10th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO
Posted under arcade games
, Data East
, Mad Gear
, Mr Dos Castle
Image shamelessly linked from Wikia.
Ah, the "not quite Mexican" food of American-owned "Mexican" food chains.
A staple of the 'Merican midwest, and something I crave relentlessly.
I love Mexican food. Actually, let me qualify that: I love "Mexican" food. By putting that word in quotes, I can qualify anything from "Dave's Taco Corner" and Taco Bell to the most authentic, regional, traditional Mexican food out there, and lump it all into the same general category. Not that those two distinct camps taste much like one another, but certainly, in the space between those 2, a logical path can be drawn from the "Enchurito" to something that would be commonplace at the dinner table in some parts of Mexico. If not there, at least at the dinner table of a traditional Mexican restaurant, run by actual Mexican citizens, or immigrants from Mexico, as happens to be the case with the wonderful lady in my town that runs a local restaurant. Her food is my version of "comfort food", and I try to give her as much business as my pocketbook will allow. Her food is tasty, and she's one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. Her brand of spicy agrees with me heartily, because I eat my "Mexican" food by the standard that you know it's good if (GROSS OUT ALERT!) it burns twice as much going out as it did going in.
So why am I talking about "Mexican" food on a video games website? Because tacos and vidya games go together, dontcha know?
Continue reading A Plate Full of Tacos and a Pocket Full of Quarters
Image shamelessly linked from the official Brothers website.
This game is available digitally on PS3 and Xbox 360, as well as on Steam,
Android, and IOS. Retail versions are only on either the PS4 or Xbox One.
Once in a while, you play a video game that affects you emotionally. People my age usually cite Role Playing Games like Final Fantasy VII and the death of an important character, Earthbound, with its weighty "coming of age" story, or perhaps Lunar: Silver Star Story (from my own experience) when Luna gets captured, or worse, when she becomes the Dark Goddess. Others point to the rise of the survival horror genre, with games like Resident Evil or Dino Crisis, where the chills, thrills, and spills evoke reactions of fear and horror that we may not have previously experienced, save for perhaps with Doom. These moments helped many of us realize that games could be about more than pointlessly gunning down baddies or butt-stomping walking mushrooms. These games tapped into a place that early games weren't capable of doing, due to hardware limitations, and forever altered the landscape of what games could communicate with the audience.
Continue reading Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons Review
Image shamelessly stolen from USGamer. This ad really shows the diversity of the
Game Boy game library. Represented here, we have 2 puzzle games, 2 racing games,
an action/platformer adventure title, an action puzzler, a beat-em-up, a shoot-em-up,
a sports game, a light-hearted action title, and a puzzle/adventure game.
I work in healthcare. More specifically, I'm an "IT guy," one of those overly geeky "computer nerds" who takes care of all things technology. I work for a hospital, and we work, in turn, with a local nursing home. I was visiting that location a few weeks ago, when I was struck by a conversation I overheard. There was some apparent shuffling that needed to take place of some people within the organization, and the woman who was doing most of the talking stated that they need to effectively "play Tetris" with some people and some rooms. This woman is probably a few years younger than I am, and she was speaking to another person who is several years older. Both parties knew what the other was talking about, and the Tetris comment was clearly understood. This isn't the only gaming-related phrasing or metaphor I've heard from people I wouldn't consider to be "gamers" in the traditional sense, but as I've begun to collect a large number of Game Boy carts, and consumed a lot of related content on the Internet, it got me thinking about the long-term cultural impact of the Game Boy, and the legacy it has created.
Continue reading The Cultural Impact Of The Game Boy
Image shamelessly stolen from GameFaqs.
As with many Atari 2600 games during the console's heyday, sadly,
this Asteroids artwork looks way cooler than the actual gameplay. Also,
is it just me, or does that ship look suspiciously like a Hoth snowspeeder?
The name Atari doesn't have a lot of currency today, but between 1977, after the launch of Atari's Video Computer System (aka the Atari 2600), and it's downfall in 1983, the Atari name had a lot of clout and recognition in the entertainment industry. This is due, in part, to Atari's home video game console and its dominance of the home video game market, but a large part of their fame was the popularity, and ubiquity, of Atari's arcade games. By now, most everyone knows that Atari's Pong was a sensation in 1972, and in the years that followed, they scored several hits with other titles like Night Driver, Breakout, Lunar Lander, Tempest, Centipede, and of course, Asteroids. Were it not for the glut of bad console games and consumer burnout in late 1982 and early 1983, Atari would likely have been held in much higher regard than they have been in recent years. Alas, twas not to be.
Continue reading Asteroids, 1991
Image shamelessly linked from GameFaqs.
It's Star Wars, and it's a "Million Seller" - how bad can it be?
I am a fan of Star Wars. I'm a big fan of the original trilogy of movies, I don't completely hate the prequel films, and even got some level of enjoyment (as a kid, anyway) out of the two "Ewok Adventure" films, and the short-lived Droids cartoon. Though I didn't get to go see it right away, I did go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens and enjoyed it very much. I plan to go see it again, if I have the opportunity before it's out of theaters, and will be purchasing the BluRay once it's available. I own at least 3 Star Wars-themed t-shirts and a zipper hoodie, and as of this writing, I own 2-dozen video games set within the Star Wars universe. I have the final VHS release of the original trilogy (before George Lucas began changing subsequent releases with his revisionist history), I own the "special" edition DVD set, and at some point, I hope to own the original trilogy on LaserDisc. I'm holding out for a BluRay release, hoping that, at some point, Disney will decide it's worth putting out something equivalent to the original theatrical release (or at least the final VHS/LaserDisc version), though that could be a sticky Wicket (see what I did there?), if Lucas made that a stipulation of his $4 billion sale of Lucasfilm to the Disney corporation. After all, those of us "in the know" won't settle for a cut of the original film where Han Solo didn't shoot Greedo first, right? Needless to say, I'm a big fan of the Star Wars universe, characters, and mythos.
Continue reading Star Wars, 1990
Image shamelessly linked from GameFAQS. I'm not seeing much that
screams "castle" here, save for the faux family crest with carrots on
it. And never once does Yosemite Sam fire a gun in the game.
Not once. False advertising, or just paying homage to a lovable,
idiosyncratic cartoon character from a bygone era? You decide.
Licensed properties can be a tricky beast. If you pay for licensing rights to a property, chances are, you're not going to have exclusive rights to that property, or your rights won't cross all borders. Your licensing rights will expire at some point, and you'll have to weigh the pros and cons of paying to continue those rights, or let them lapse. Sometimes, the window of opportunity for a licensed property is relatively small, and you are forced to come up with a product based upon that property in a rather short time frame. Sometimes, the results can be less than stellar. Such is the case with Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle.
Continue reading Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle, 1990
What if I told you this was a meme about New Years Resolutions?
I need to start my article with a bit of a confession: I'm not a "New Year's Resolutions" kind of guy. I tend to think such things are empty promises people make to themselves without any real intent to follow through, so I generally don't make them myself. I understand why people do so, because they want to make some kind of perceived positive change in their life, and that gives them a goal to strive for. But, without a carefully laid out plan, a well conceived idea, or something/someone to keep one motivated, it can be hard to stick with such things beyond the end of January. Be that as it may, I don't begrudge those who resolve to better themselves. Indeed, we should all aim for such a thing.
Now that I've said that, I'm going to turn the tables and say that I'm making some changes this year, and I hope to stick with them as much as I can. Call them "resolutions" if you wish, but for me, I just need to do some things differently this year. I need to deepen my relationship with my wife, and my God. I need to commit more to my church. I need to lose some weight - a goal which, as I write this, comes after my first workout of the year (go me!). And as for my gaming, there are a number of things I want to do differently. Here's a short list of things that I want to accomplish this year, from a gaming perspective.
Continue reading 2016 Gaming Resolutions
Image shamelessly linked from Adventure Amigos.
"I choose" the realistic offensive strategies, but the defensive strategies
are tough - does that mean they're not realistic? Or are they both
tough AND realistic? Can the game possibly live up to this box art?
I must begin this review with a bit of history, nostalgia, and a confession. As I write this, I'm reeling from the news that the Kansas City Royals, long the proverbial butt of many a baseball joke, have won the World Series against the New York Mets. Though I don't consider myself a sports fan, I got a little bit of whiplash with that announcement, and had to check my calendar to make sure it wasn't 1985 again. I was a fan of baseball for many years, as a kid, until the player strike brought the ugly realization that athletes can often be petty, whining oafs that are just money hungry. Granted, they're not all like that, but the strike certainly gave me a new perspective on things. So while my love for baseball lasted a number of years, my interest in professional football was relatively short-lived. In 1985 and 1986, I fancied myself a pro football fan, if only to impress my classmates and the neighbor kids, who all thought I was a giant dork (spoiler alert: I was). I told people I was into the Dolphins and the Bengals, and that Dan Marino was pretty much the best quarterback on the planet. Of course, I never really watched any football games, because we had 1 TV in the house, my parents weren't into pro football, and none of my friends invited me over to watch with them. Subsequently, my neighborhood kids (and kids at school) saw through my petty charade. Yes, I was destined to be a nerd.
Continue reading Play Action Football, 1990
Image shamelessly linked from GameFAQs.
2 out of 5 Game Boy launch titles were sports games.
I'm not sure what that says about Nintendo, but it does
make me wonder why every platform got so many.
So this is Tennis, the final of 5 launch titles for the Nintendo Game Boy. The 2nd of 2 sports titles in the launch line-up, Nintendo of America must really have been banking on the popularity of sports games, because the launch line-up included 2 games, much like the Japanese launch included Yakuman, a mahjong game. In the same way that every video game console ever released in Japan has likely seen a mahjong game (or thirty), every game system ever released in North America is generally peppered with sports titles throughout the console's life span. The Game Boy was no exception, and it received both Baseball and Tennis.
Continue reading Tennis, 1989
Image shamelessly linked from Game Oldies. Once again, I find myself in awe of late 80's,
early 90's box art. The cool fonts, the excellent, hand-drawn artwork,
and blatant overstatement of the actual product. Ah, nostalgia.
I love playing games. I love video games, of course, because, if I didn't, writing this blog would be pretty silly of me, wouldn't it? But I also love other kinds of games, because I grew up playing board games and card games with my family. I can rock a game of Klondike Solitaire any time, and I rather enjoy trouncing my family in a rousing game of Scatergories. Yes, I love a good tabletop game. So do a lot of other people, I'd wager, which is why we see so many conversions of popular card, board, and other tabletop games onto video game systems. The Game Boy was no exception to this, and received a number of relevant titles.
Radar Mission, on paper, is the very definition of taking a board game and turning into a video game with enough added content, feature/functionality, and substance, to make it worth playing over and above the source material it shamelessly copies. In this case, it's the venerable classic Battleship. Yes, the game that invented the catch phrase, "You sank my battleship!" that nearly every North American child in my generation could pull out of the air. During almost any commercial break for after-school programming, or Saturday Morning Cartoons (RIP), a commercial for some iteration of the game was inevitably aired. However, the difference with Battleship was that many versions of the game came with more than just plastic pegs, plastic ships, and a nice custom game board. Some versions came with lights, sounds, and gripping nautical warfare action! Okay, so maybe I'm channeling the commercials from memory, but the truth is, as a property to translate to the video game medium, Battleship had already transcended its pressed cardboard and plastic game piece brethren, and was therefore going to need more than just pictures on the screen and cutesy music to spruce it up.
Continue reading Radar Mission, 1990