MetalFRO's Blog

Posted on Nov 14th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Alleyway, Dramatic Readings, Game Boy Guru, Game Boy, Nintendo, launch title, game review


Here's Episode 006 of my Dramatic Readings! series. This episode is all about the Game Boy launch title, Alleyway!  Nintendo's simple paddle & ball game, based on one of their earliest video game attempts, brings the basic formula to the small screen.  Is this game a breakout success, or does it drop the ball into the void?  Watch and find out!



Posted on Oct 7th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Super Mario Land, Dramatic Readings, Game Boy Guru, Game Boy, Nintendo, Gunpei Yokoi, Hip Tanaka, launch title game review


Super Mario Land is a launch title for the Nintendo Game Boy, and the first portable entry into the flagship platforming game series.  Series creator Shigeru Miyamoto wasn't directly involved with the design, so while the game was relatively faithful to many conventions of the original game, this particular entry took a few liberties with the formula, and created a fun, unique, and rewarding experience, to help sell Nintendo's then-new handheld game console to the Mario faithful.  Did they succeed?  Watch, and discover for yourself!



Posted on Sep 7th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Tetris, Dramatic Readings, Game Boy Guru, Game Boy, Nintendo, Bulletproof Software, Alexey Pajitnov, game review


Tetris is undoubtedly one of the biggest games ever.  Not in terms of its size, but rather, it's reach.  It has appeared on nearly every major game console in some form, been ported to most every retro computer, and is known by even the least informed person you might talk to about video games.  Ask any random person on the street if they've ever heard of Tetris, and chances are, they'll at least have an idea of what it is, even if they can't explain it, or have never played it.  The ubiquity of Tetris is largely thanks to Nintendo's wise choice of making it the pack-in title for the North American launch of the Game Boy, and probably one of the reasons Nintendo began the portable game console market at the top, and subsequently never left.  Here are some thoughts about the game itself, as well as a bit of rumination about its legacy and impact.  Enjoy!



Posted on Aug 8th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Donkey Kong, Game Boy Guru, Game Boy, Dramatic Readings, game review, Nintendo


Donkey Kong, aka Donkey Kong 94, is a 1994 release for the original Nintendo Game Boy, with major support for the Super Game Boy peripheral, then a new accessory.  This game takes the original arcade game and expands that concept exponentially, adding new mechanics, smoothing out the game play, and providing a lot of content for the money.  I hope you enjoy the video!



Posted on Jul 7th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Jordan vs Bird, One on One, basketball, michael jordan, larry bird, game review, game boy


Box art scan shamelessly stolen from GameFAQS.
Larry and Michael better watch out, lest they fall into the red abyss below!

I've mentioned before in other reviews, but I'm not really a sports fan.  I don't hate sports, but I'm just not invested in them.  I fancied myself more of a sports nut when I was a kid, and even had a few favorite athletes, including one basketball legend, Larry Bird.  I suspect it was because he was a less than movie star looks average dude who just brought skill to the table, and I'm sure my dad had a bit of influence in terms of probably commenting to me here or there that he was a talented player.  I never geeked out about stats or anything, just enjoyed the game as it was being played.  My fascination with basketball was relatively short-lived, unlike my enjoyment of baseball, and my still-burning love of college football (Go Huskers!).


Continue reading Jordan vs Bird One On One, 1992



Posted on Jun 7th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under CIB, complete in box, collecting, game boxes, manuals


1 of 3 collection shelves in my game room, this houses a handful of my favorite
games, along with a large number that I've only recently acquired.

If you are into collecting games, you've undoubtedly seen the abbreviation of "CIB" thrown around quite a bit.  For the uninitiated, or as a refresher, that's gamer-speak for "Complete In Box."  As a collector, you'll have to decide whether or not you want to collect loose games, mostly to play, or complete games, for any number of reasons.  You may like the whole package because of the history of games, and the fact that most console games in today's world don't come with manuals.  Perhaps you'd like to replicate the experience of being a child, opening the game, and reading through the manual before you play it.  Or, maybe it's a pride thing, and having the total package is tantamount to some kind of bragging rights.  Whatever the scenario you more closely fit, collecting complete game packages has become a trendy thing to do in gaming circles.



Continue reading Collector Quandry - What Is Complete In Box?



Posted on May 8th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Breath of the Wild, The Legend of Zelda, TLOZ, BOTW, Link Zelda, Nintendo, Switch


The box art can't even begin to intimate how beautiful this game is.

Ah, The Legend of Zelda series.  Legendary to most, and rightfully so, though not for everyone.  I consider myself among the uneducated, when it comes to the adventures of Link (sorry, pun intended).  I had very little exposure to the original game in the series, as my friends didn't all have it, and it wasn't a good coop or competitive game, so it fell to the wayside in favor of Double Dragon, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Dr. Mario, among many others.  One of my acquaintances from school had The Legend of Zelda II: The Adventures of Link that we messed around with once or twice, but with the short sword range and tricky combat, we never got very far the 2-3 times we played it together.  As mentioned in my review of Link's Awakening, I've never been a "Zelda guy" in any sense.  I bought Link's Awakening DX as a new release for the Game Boy Color, played it some and shelved it because I didn't understand the nature of the puzzles.  I played and enjoyed Ocarina of Time on my brother-in-law's N64, but didn't finish it due to not having access.  My first real foray into the series was the 2016 RF Generation play-through of the original game.  I fell in love with it, and that led me to finally playing through the only original Game Boy outing in the series, linked above (minor pun intended).  After anticipating the release of the Nintendo Switch, it only seemed natural that my newfound love of the Zelda franchise would culminate in playing the newly released Breath of the Wild, right?


Continue reading The Legend of Zelda - Breath of the Wild



Posted on Apr 8th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Nintendo Switch, new console, legend of zelda, breath of the wild, super bomberman r, Nintendo


Image shamelessly linked from YouTube.
Nintendo Switch, how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways...

To say I was excited for the launch of the Nintendo Switch would be a bit of an understatement.  In the months leading up to the release of the console, even well before we knew its name, and it was still "Codename NX", I was eagerly scouring the interwebz for scraps of information, rumors, and more - any tiny morsel to sate my appetite.  I was excited about the Wii U, before its release, but budgetary constraints kept me from buying one until well after its launch.  I had never purchased a console at launch before, but based on all the details of what "NX" was supposed to be, I felt as though I may want to finally jump on that bandwagon.  Once the system was revealed to be the Switch, my desire to have one intensified, and I watched every possible YouTube reaction video to the reveal trailer I could find, as well as several YouTube channels providing coverage of all things Switch, leading up to, and past its release.  At least a couple of those have become favorites that I tune into nearly every day.


Continue reading One Month With The Nintendo Switch!



Posted on Mar 8th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Nintendo Switch, console launch, Nintendo, launch games, Zelda


Image shamelessly linked from My Nintendo News.
CONSOLE WANT INTENSIFIES

As I begin writing this article, it is less than 1 week until the launch of the Nintendo Switch console.  By the time this article is posted, the console will have been released.  Because I didn't have the money to pre-order a Switch when the pre-orders were announced, I may well miss out on the launch of the console, unless I'm fortunate enough to score one from the nearest GameStop, Best Buy, or Target, the evening after the midnight launch.  Barring that luck, I suspect it will be a few weeks before I'll be able to get my hands on one.  However, with the Internet hype machine leaking information, and Nintendo themselves feeding the public little crumbs of info over the last few months, I've been sucked in like never before.  I was intrigued by the launch of the Dreamcast, though hopelessly unable to afford one at the time, and I was very excited prior to the launch of the Wii U, though ended up not being able to afford one until nearly a year after launch, but with the Switch, and the possibilities it brings to the table, I have to say I'm more excited than ever.



Continue reading Why I'm Excited About The Nintendo Switch



Posted on Jan 9th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Top 10, 2016, favorite games


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



Posted on Dec 8th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Gargoyles Quest, Game Boy, Game Boy Guru, review, Capcom, Ghosts n Goblins, Ghouls n Ghosts, Red Arremer, Firebrand


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



Posted on Nov 8th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Pit Fighter, Game Boy, Game Boy Guru, review, Tengen, THQ, Atari Games


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



Posted on Oct 9th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under CosmoTank, Game Boy, Game Boy Guru, review, Atlus, Asuka Technologies


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



Posted on Sep 7th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Castlevania, The Adventure, review, Game Boy, Game Boy Guru, Konami, Igarashi


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, Universal, Data East, Capcom, Namco, Sega, Shinobi, Gondomania, Mad Gear, Galaga, 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


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
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