RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.




Posted on Dec 5th 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Stadia, Google, cloud gaming


When Google held their own press conference at E3 this year, they talked a big game, promising experiences equal to, if not better, than anything you could find on a home console. Personally, it was easy to buy into the hype, even if I was skeptical. Media is getting more and more disconnected from the material world every year. It's inevitable that games will some day join the likes of music and movies in some digital streaming landscape. But after their E3 grandstanding Google went all but silent. I'd plunked down money to pre-order their "Founder's Edition" and still knew nothing more than what I'd heard in June. Only a few weeks ago did news break of more games being added to their lineup and shipping confirmations started going out to initial customers. After playing with Stadia for a while, I'd say some skepticism is still warranted.


Continue reading My Experience As A Google Stadia Founder



Posted on Nov 3rd 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Review, books, Boss Fight Books, NBA Jam


Unlike most kids my age in the 90s, I wasn't a big sports fan. I liked watching them just fine, and knew the teams and rules of most major sports, but it was just never that important to me, and coupled with a home team as legendarily crappy as the Cleveland Browns, I didn't have a lot of motivation to develop an interest. In 1994, I saw a sports game unlike any I'd seen before. It was big, bold, and unrealistically over-the-top in a way that was completely unexpected. That game is the subject of the next entry in Boss Fight Books continuing look at the video games that have shaped the landscape of the medium.



Continue reading Boss Fight Books: NBA Jam



Posted on Oct 4th 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Doom 64, Doom, Switch, N64, id Software


As the Switch nears its 3-year anniversary, it's been interesting to watch the role it's embraced. Not just a home/portable hybrid gaming machine, its trajectory has more than a bit in common with the ill-fated Vita. Sony's Ferrari-of-a-portable turned into a fantastic way to play PSN and PS1 games on the go, and in a similar fashion, Nintendo's latest is giving new life to all the great Wii U games no one played, as well as hosting ports of a lot of mainstream games that usually wouldn't come Nintendo's way. This is no doubt due to its successful sales numbers, and given their recent buddying up with Xbox, it seems Nintendo has been courting 3rd party publishers pretty hard. There's been quite a few games I've bought on the Switch that I already own on other platforms, simply because the idea of playing them on the go is such an intriguing prospect (e.g. Diablo III, Doom 2016, etc.). One of the best examples of this role of giving overlooked titles another chance is the recent announcement that Doom 64 would be coming to the Switch.



Continue reading The Switch, Giving Doom a New Life For a Better Tomorrow



Posted on Aug 5th 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Video game music, VGM, music, podcasts


Two of my favorite things are video games and music. It's a wonderful thing, then, that there's been some pretty incredible video game music over the decades. Not all of it is quality, but even in the medium's earliest days composers were able to create some shockingly good tunes. Once I started following the game music community on a regular basis, I learned to appreciate the fact that even the simplest-sounding tracks on the most basic sound hardware are chock full of intricate details. In fact, I might argue that composing a quality game score in those early days took even more skill that it does now, since the limitations of the hardware forced musicians to have a deep understanding of music theory and get quite creative to make certain soundscapes work. Game music has become one of the aspects of the industry I appreciate most.


Continue reading Game Music Podcasts: Hear Your Favorite Game Tunes Like Never Before



Posted on Jul 4th 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Nintendo Power, NP, magazines, Nintendo, nostalgia

Note the two small stacks in the upper right. I have the first 8 issues in zip lock bags

In the months following my becoming a new homeowner, I began the process of sorting through the pile of boxes consisting of the those things we all own that aren't necessary enough to survival to warrant unpacking the first weekend after the move. Among the boxes of games, consoles, and books were the boxes I knew were there but I hadn't decided what to do with just yet. These boxes contained my collection of Nintendo Power magazines.

As I began to pull them out and assess their condition after having been in storage for a year and a half, I got curious. It didn't take long before I learned that this July marks 31 years exactly since the publication's first issue, provided we don't include the Nintendo Fun Club newsletter that was its progenitor. With it's over 24-year production run, it would be too much for me to try and do an exhaustive NP retrospective here. So what I'd like to do instead is celebrate it's anniversary by looking at the impact it had on a young Travis (and kick myself for not picking up on this last year for the 30th anniversary).


Continue reading Happy Birthday Nintendo Power, and Thank You



Posted on Jun 2nd 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under RF Cinema, Detective Pikachu, Pokemon, Pikachu, movies

This would be so noire if it weren't for all the blue and yellow

While live-action movies based on anime have been met with mixed results in recent history, Pokemon: Detective Pikachu has the benefit of the insanely popular title characters. Between that, a trailer that looked not terrible, and the star power of Deadpool himself, Ryan Reynolds, I was fairly confident the movie would make scads of money regardless of its quality. That said, I was interested to see if it held up for someone who doesn't know a pokeball from a dive ball.


Continue reading RF Cinema: Pokemon: Detective Pikachu



Posted on May 4th 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Review, books, Boss Fight Books, Knights of the Old Republic, Star Wars


The year was 1999. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace had fans of the franchise more excited than they'd been in a decade and a half. Lucasfilm and LucasArts were churning out merchandise and video games like crazy. The past handful of years had given us some pretty great games, including Dark Forces, Rogue Squadron, and Shadows of the Empire. As great as those games were though, LucasArts wanted a grand, story-heavy RPG, and this was the perfect time to get that going.

Thus began the process of bringing Knights of the Old Republic, which many consider to be one of, if not the best, Star Wars video games of all time, into being. It's a little surprising it took as long as it did, but the latest entry in the Boss Fight Books collection seeks to shed light on the process of making an epic Star Wars RPG a reality.


Continue reading Boss Fight Books: Knights of the Old Republic



Posted on Apr 4th 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Festers Quest, nonguilty pleasures, Addams Family, frustration, soft spot


In the late 1980s, as the NES was dominating the children's toy landscape like few other pieces of electronics ever had, one developer in particular stood out to 9-year-old me as something truly special. Sunsoft had churned out some of my favorite games of that era, such as Blaster Master, Batman, and Gremlins 2. The things that stood out to me most about them were the relative difficulty, graphics, and, of course, their soundtracks. While they always tested my skill, I rarely ever cared because they were visually interesting and that proprietary Sunsoft sound chip made the NES sing with rocking beats like no other game out there. In retrospect, the best way I can describe it would be if you could take the punchy bass of the Sega Genesis and strip out the tinny-ness and twang.

But there was one Sunsoft game that no one I've ever talked to has ever enjoyed, Fester's Quest. I would always be confused when I heard people hate on it, thinking that I had a lot of fun with it as a kid. Was I crazy, or was I more enlightened and everyone else was crazy? Yeah, that was probably it. Do I still feel this way, over 30 years later?


Continue reading Criticizing the Media You Love: Fester's Quest



Posted on Mar 4th 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Review, 8BitDo, Retro, Controllers, Genesis, Mega Drive


For the past handful of years, 8BitDo has been bringing retro controllers and adapters to its fans at a regular clip. In general their quality has been pretty high, and the combination of retro styling and modern conveniences has made them the aftermarket manufacturer of choice for many gamers looking to add wireless controller support to their NES Classic or get a SNES-style controller with dual analog sticks for their emulator setup.

The M30 is 8BitDo's newest release, and to my knowledge it's the first Genesis-styled offering from them. I own a couple other 8BitDo controllers and have been considering dipping into the Genesis library recently, so I figured the timing was perfect to put the new gamepad through its paces.


Continue reading Review: 8BitDo M30 Bluetooth Gamepad



Posted on Feb 4th 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under NES, Nintendo, Nintendo Entertainment System, Action Set, NES Challenge


It's been a lot of fun following the thread of our site's NES Challenge, as members rediscover old classics or finally dive into games they were always curious about but never got around to playing. I've dipped into a handful of games myself, may of which I haven't played in decades. There's also been a fair amount of discovering how much better I was at games back then, when I had nothing but time on my hands and my reflexes and pattern recognition were better.

It's also given me reason to tell a story that I've been meaning to for some time now; how I got my first NES. I've mentioned bits and pieces of context around the edges here, but figured the story itself was worth a full article. So how did 8-year-old me get a Nintendo?



Continue reading How I Got My NES



Posted on Jan 3rd 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Top 10, GOTY, Game of the Year


2018 was a weird year for me, with some high highs and low lows. On the broad scale, the world continues to be....what it is. We'll just have to see how things go there. But for me it was a year of rebuilding, one in which I had a plan. Kind of a one step back in order to make two steps forward thing. Thankfully, I was for the most part able to achieve what I'd set out to do. Not necessarily in the ways I'd hoped or expected, and there were some bumps along the way, but the last few months of the year were pretty great, and my efforts were met with reward.

What does this have to do with games, you ask? Well, unfortunately, the work that needed to be done took a toll on some things. I didn't read as much as I wanted, I didn't game as much as I wanted, and in the last month or so in particular I unceremoniously withdrew from quite a lot of things to make sure I ended up where I wanted to be, one of which being the video game golf tournament on this very website. Still, I was able to make it out to RetroWorld Expo 2018, which was a fantastic trip, the RFCinema feature I started was met with success, I had a great time taking part in the Doom 2016 playcast, and I was pretty proud of the content I was able to produce for RFGen. And while my list this year is more of a "Top 8 Games of 2018 and Top 2 Games of 2017 That I Didn't Play Until 2018", I did manage to play some great stuff. And that's what it's all about, getting all the enjoyment we can from the time that we have. So here's to putting a bow on 2018 and making 2019 all it can be! Let me know what you think of my selections in the comments below.



Continue reading My 10 Favorite Games of 2018



Posted on Dec 4th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under RF Cinema, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Wreck It Ralph, movies, game movies


Wreck-It Ralph was a wonderful movie that took the concept of Toy Story and applied it to game characters in a small town arcade. In the most Pixar way possible, it was well-written, uniquely respectful of the source material, and had a story underneath it all with so much heart that you genuinely cared for the main characters. There was even a small number of real life Fix-It Felix Jr. arcade machines that were made to promote the film. They're pretty rare to find in person, but the game can be played on Disney's website here.

It's been six years since our feels were charmed by Ralph, Vanellope, Felix, and Calhoun, and as the title suggests, the sequel leaves Litwak's humble arcade behind to focus on the entirety of the interwebs. Does the new film manage to keep the personal feel while expanding the adventure? Read on, my friends, for the latest episode of RF Cinema.



Continue reading RF Cinema: Ralph Breaks the Internet



Posted on Nov 4th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Tetris Effect, Tetris, preview, demo

Tetris Effect turns everyone's favorite puzzle game into an audio/visual feast

While everyone is losing their minds over the latest AAA game from Rockstar Games, Red Dead Redemption 2 (which I hope to play someday, once I get around to playing its predecessor), I'm playing something that couldn't be more different.

If you ask 100 people what the best game of all time is, you'll get at least 30 different answers. But while a "best game of all time" debate could go on forever, I would argue that Tetris is the answer that, while not everyone would choose, almost no one would think that answer to be crazy. It's been ported to every device capable of running it, and I'd bet money 90% of the civilized world has at least heard of it, even if they haven't played it personally. Tetris Effect is a new take on a tried-and-true formula. How does it stack up (pun absolutely intended)? Let's find out.


Continue reading Preview: Tetris Effect



Posted on Oct 3rd 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Spooky Plays, Halloween, October


Ah, October. It signals not just the start of Fall and all things pumpkin spice (for better or for worse), it also rings in the season of scares, creeps, and frights. For most holidays, the way in which I enjoy and appreciate them has changed as I've gotten older. But with Halloween, the reasons I love the season haven't changed at all. As an adult though, I'm able to enjoy all the same things in much more elaborate and fun ways. I'm able to get better costumes, get all my own candy, and find bigger, more intense ways of scaring myself. It's for this reason that Halloween has become my favorite holiday of the year as an adult.

In the spirit of that evolution, I thought I'd put together a history of some of my favorite spooky games over the years. These are in no particular order, and this is by no means a comprehensive list, as I tried to shy away from the most obvious choices in favor of more off-beat or oft-forgotten titles. There are also a bunch of games I'm sure would make the list if not for the fact that I haven't played them. So let me know what you think of my choices below, and feel free to recommend your own in the comments below.


Continue reading Spooky Plays: Anthology Edition



Posted on Sep 3rd 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Xbox All Access, Xbox, subscriptions


I was browsing through my Twitter feed during a slow moment at work, as one does, and came across a piece of news that was both unexpected, and intriguing for its potential to change the way traditional console games are acquired.

Last Monday, Microsoft announced the introduction of something they're calling Xbox All Access. Most of the info about All Access is easy to find at this point, but there's some interesting nuances that are worth digging into.


Continue reading Could This Be A New Business Model for Console Gaming?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
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