Why did I play this?Why did I play this?

Posted on Mar 24th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under Australia, nintendo, nes, snes, sega, genesis, game gear, gameboy, game boy


In the middle of the 1970s, there were small game development studios popping up all over the world. In Melbourne, Australia; in 1977, one of those companies was Beam Software. Their initial games were developed for the home computers of the early 1980s, and they scored a whopper of an early hit in 1982's The Hobbit. At the tail end of the 80s, they finally made the move into home console development for the NES. A couple early stinkers in the two Back to the Future games did not slow the company down, and they started to get contracts to port arcade games to the console. In the early 1990s, there was a shift in the company's audio staff which saw Gavan Anderson and Tania Smith working on music and audio, but Tania ended up leaving to go on a world tour, and she asked Marshall Parker to be her replacement. Marshall was already 38 years old when he joined Beam Software in 1990, making him one of the older composers even at that time.


Continue reading Composer Compendium: Marshall Parker



Posted on Jun 20th 2014 at 03:11:28 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under SUNSOFT, nes, snes, famicom, disc system, albert odyssey, sega, mega drive, saturn

Naoki Kodaka is one of the most listened to 8-bit composers. I'm sure most of you have heard some of the music from the games he worked on, but may not have realized how many classics he had a hand in. Kodaka is known for his work at a company called Sunsoft, and he spent the better part of a decade composing soundtracks for the company. His first one was a shooter for the Famicom Disc System, Dead Zone in 1986.



His next game would also be exclusive to the FDS, Nazoler Land. Sunsoft was stepping up in the world and got the rights to port a couple of popular games to the NES. Activision's PC hit Shanghai and Bally Midway's arcade smash hit Spy Hunter were both ported to the NES by Sunsoft, and the soundtracks were re-arranged by Kodaka.

Sunsoft soon went international as a result of the success of these ports. In 1988 their Zapper game Freedom Force and first international sensation Blaster Master both had soundtracks composed by Kodaka and his fellow associates at the company. Naohisa Morota developed a sound engine that lead to Sunsoft's unique bass heavy sound style. This is now known as Sunsoft bass as a result of how much it stands out and the high quality of the company's soundtracks from the NES era. This year closed out with a port of Platoon and the Japanese FDS exclusive Nankin no Adventure.





The following two years are arguably the golden years of 8-bit soundtracks, with Kodaka and Sunsoft being one of the biggest reasons for this. In 1989 the company released Fester's Quest and Batman. The next year saw the Genesis/Mega Drive version of Batman, as well as the almost Terminator game Journey to Silius, as well as Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Nantettatte!! Baseball was the last of Sunsoft's Famicom exclusive games. All of these games had Kodaka at the musical helm.







Sunsoft was rather slow to convert to the 16 bit systems overall. They did release Batman for the Genesis, but continued pouring a great effort into the declining Famicom. Still, some great games and soundtracks came about from this arrangement. In 1991 Sunsoft released Ufouria seemingly everywhere but North America, they developed an updated version of Spy Hunter called Super Spy Hunter, and followed up on Batman with Return of the Joker. 1992 saw the release of Super Fantasy Zone for the Mega Drive. Again, these are all Sunsoft's games that had Kodaka as the lead composer.







Kodaka's output finally started slowing down when Sunsoft had him start work on their flagship strategy RPG series Albert Odyssey for the Super Famicom in 1993. The following year would have Albert Odyssey II and Sugoi Hebereke release for the SFC.





A two year break would follow before the third Albert Odyssey game released, Sunsoft moving the to the very popular in Japan Sega Saturn. North America had this game released by Working Designs as Albert Odyssey: Legend of Eldean. Kodaka's final composing project before retiring from video games would be Out Live: Be Elimiate Yesterday for the Playstation, and exclusively in Japan.





Posted on May 16th 2014 at 06:33:43 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under Shadowrun, snes, genesis, nintendo, sega, pc, indie, kickstarter, dragon, tactical rpg



When it comes to my collection list of wants I have two RPGs for the major 16 bit systems up very high on this list. Shadowrun for the SNES and the completely different game of the same name for the Sega Genesis. These games are examples of the very few Western developed RPGs released for these systems, at least ones that weren't ported from the PC that is. Both versions are considered good games, with the SNES game widely being considered ahead of its time with its noir style narrative and tactical gameplay. It was a critical darling when it released, but commercially flopped.

Fast forward two decades and we have Kickstarter. This is one of the best tools for a small team to completely fund and develop a game from the ground up. I'm sure most of us are aware of what it is and does for developers. They basically pitch their game to their final customers while development is either very early, or still in the planning stages. Customers then throw money at the project, if the developers make their goal then they can start development. If they surpass their goal then they implement 'stretch goals' which basically add ideas or staff to the process of development. The Kings of Kickstarter, at least in the video game world, are Tim Schafer and Brian Fargo, the latter of which has two massively successful projects.


Good ol' Jake Armitage even returns for the Ripper investigation!

Harebrained Schemes also had a very successful Kickstarter with their project, Shadowrun Returns. This project ended with over $1.8 million of funding. So now the game has been out for awhile and I picked it up while it was on sale. Shadowrun is one of my absolute favorite tabletop settings. It takes our real world and completely flips it upside down with an event called the 'Awakening'. Earth is now covered with humans, elves, dwarves, orks, and trolls in various quantities. At its heart it is cyberpunk with the ability to use technological enhancements as well as magic to build stronger characters, and the Deckers' ability to physically jack into the internet (or as the game calls it, The Matrix).

Anyway, as of this review there are two different official campaigns to choose from, the original one Dead Man's Switch, and the latest one released as DLC, Dragonfall. Dead Man's Switch takes place in the Free City of Seattle, while Dragonfall takes place in Berlin. The game is presented in an isometric perspective reminiscent of the SNES Shadowrun as well as Interplay and Bioware RPGs around the turn of the century.



The game is easy to control, click where you want to go and who you want to talk to. Combat is actually more in the style of XCOM than other RPGs. There are various items and decorations to use as cover, there's even Overwatch in the game. To keep with its RPG roots your stats influence your chance to hit as a percentage, get close to the enemy and the percentage increases, use buffs to get that even higher. I rolled as a shaman with Eagle Totem, so I could buff everybody's chance to hit in a small radius, as well as cast Haste on my various party members. By the end of the game this meant that at any one time half the party had double the Action Points, and could easily have over 85% chance to hit as long as they were close to my PC. Combine all this with a spirit that shamans can summon for an extra party member and its easy to see why this support class is completely awesome.

I have beaten Dead Man's Switch, and its set up as a murder mystery. You get a message from one of your fellow Shadowrunners Sam Watts, your main character is down on his/her luck at this moment but this message promises a huge payout for you to find your friend's killer. He's already dead by the time the message gets to you, hence the name Dead Man's Switch. You go on a long journey through the city of Seattle's underbelly in the 2050's. This story ends up tying in with the events that lead to the downfall of Chicago in the novel Burning Bright and sourcebook Bug City. You also get to have the completely awesome immortal elf Harlequin in your group during the end game, as well as meet a representative of the Dragon Lofwyr who hails from Berlin, tying Dead Man's Switch into Dragonfall.

While the game is simple to play and fun when it works I did run into crippling, near game breaking problems. There were times when my main character would just get frozen in combat. She couldn't move, but she could still cast spells, heal, and control her spirit. When I tried to move the game completely froze for a few minutes. I could still control the rest of my team though. I ran into this problem in 2nd half of this campaign, even the final battle. But, with Harlequin and Coyote I managed to win and brought justice to Sam's killer.



Dead Man's Switch was not long, even with this problem I managed to beat it in about 16 hours. It was just incredibly annoying to have the game lock up, freeze, and then have to find workarounds to still win said game. If you decide to try this game and do not run into the problem I did (which a majority seem to not run into) then you might be able to shave an hour or two off of my completion time. I also missed a couple side quests when I went back to check walkthroughs for what I missed.

If you're interested in science fiction and want a different, near future take on the genre, mixed with heaping doses of fantasy and warped reality then Shadowrun might scratch that itch. Your chances of running into the problems I had are quite low after all the forum research I did to find a solution. If you're already familiar with some of the lore from Shadowrun this should fit in quite nicely, especially if you're familiar with the tie ins I already mentioned. If you're skeptical then you might want to wait until it goes on sale again.





Posted on Apr 18th 2014 at 04:38:01 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under soundtrack, zx spectrum, commodore 64, c64, amiga, windows, nes, snes, silver surfer, plok, ecco the dolphin, ecco, lemmings

Tim Follin is one of the most influential Western composers in the history of the industry. He was rather young to be part of the earliest pioneers, but landed his first job in the video game industry working for Insight Studios at the tender age of 15. During his childhood he had no formal music training but attended a year of Liverpool's Sandown Music College. That was all he needed.

At first he was making arrangements for ports of arcade games with his first work being on his brother Mike's game Subterranen Stryker for the ZX Spectrum. He kept working with his brother for the first part of his career. Their second game was a Galaxian inspired shooter called Star Firebirds for the Spectrum, in which he learned how to use a 2 channel driver. His first 3 channel driver game was Vectron. For his fourth game, he also programmed one of the mini games, as well as the sound for Future Games.



After these first four games Tim and Mike were hired on at Software Creations. There he worked on arrangements for Spectrum and Commodore 64 games such as Agent X I and II, Chronos, Scumball, The Sentinel, Bubble Bobble, Renegade, Bionic Commando and various others. Many of these were nothing more than arrangements to fit onto the ZX Spectrum or C64 for ports of popular arcade games. One exception is the Agent X games.



This trend would mostly continue as the various computers of the late 80s were filled with arcade ports, and Software Creations did a lot of them. He worked on arrangements for ports such as Peter Pack Rat, Ghouls'n Ghosts, and got his first experienced on the NES with the arrangement for Flying Shark which we know as Sky Shark.



Tim Follin was still spending most of his time with the C64 and Spectrum despite his work with the ever popular NES. This could have something to do with the NES not being as popular in Europe as it was in Japan and North America. These PCs of the time were reigning supreme. He did compose the music for Target: Renegade for the NES, then composed for Chester Field, Magic Johnson's Fast Break, and Qix before his last PC game, until later Windows compositions, came in 1991, Gauntlet III for the C64, Amiga, and Spectrum.

A little bit before this he finally moved to the NES full time, composing the soundtrack for Solstice and one of the best for the entire system, Silver Surfer. Say what you will about whether or not the game is actually good, you cannot say anything bad about the soundtrack. He also worked on Kiwi Kraze, Treasure Master, Pictionary, and the Taito version of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade before mostly moving onto the Super Nintendo.



One last game he worked on before going to the Super full time were the handheld and Master System ports of The Incredible Crash Dummies. For most of the Super Nintendo titles he worked on he was assisted by another one of his brothers, Geoff Follin. His first SNES game he composed for was Spider-Man/X-Men: Arcade's Revenge. Next he would create music for Leland's Super Off Road, Plok, Equinox, Silicon & Synapse's (Early Blizzard) Rock N' Roll Racing, Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, the completed but unreleased Moto-X, and Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball. For the Genesis he also composed the unreleased Time Trax, which managed to leak onto the web in 2013.



After this incredibly busy period of his career it took a downturn. He left Software Creations in 1993 and began freelancing. Despite this incredible resume work was slow and sporadic, with the most done in the following two years. He finished his 16 bit days composing the soundtracks for Batman Forever for Genesis and SNES, and Ultraverse Prime for the Sega CD, then a cancelled PC game Firearm. Afterwards he had a few years off before coming back for the Playstation's Batman & Robin, in which he only arranged pieces from the film's score. The 20th Century would end with arrangement for Bust-A-Move 4's Game Boy Color port.



The 21st Century started with Tim working with Appaloosa Interactive for their revival of the Ecco the Dolphin series, with Defender of the Future for the Dreamcast and later Playstation 2. It would take another few years before his next piece of work, Starsky & Hutch in 2003 for all 3 major systems and PC of the time. Ford Racing 2 and 3 were composed by him as well as Future Tactics: The Uprising. His very last game before he officially retired from video game composition, citing irregular work patterns, was the remake of Lemmings for PSP, released in 2006. His work, from its earliest days, inspired many other European composers, as he was able to do things with early soundchips that nobody thought was even possible.





Posted on Feb 21st 2013 at 01:46:31 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under capcom, power stick, fighter stick, arcade, arcade stick, snes, nes



When it comes to retro arcade sticks there are a few which everybody knows about, the NES Advantage, Super Advantage, Sega's Genesis Stick & Saturn Stick, and then the Capcom Fighter Power Stick. But, it has been 20 years since this bulky controller has released so does it hold up?

You'll just have to stay tuned and find out!

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Posted on Feb 8th 2013 at 12:09:26 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under Stargate, sirpsycho, why did i play this, sega, genesis, mega drive, snes, super nintendo, ess enn eee ess



The series returns with a nice look at one of the many ignored movie licensed games of the 16 bit era. Stargate was made by Acclaim and released for the SNES and Sega Genesis/Mega Drive in 1995, but not all was well in this land of milk and honey.

What happens when your low class nametag goes away and you can't use it anymore? Well it looks like you just have to use your own name and hope nobody notices and ignores such MEDIOCRITIES!

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Posted on Dec 20th 2012 at 01:01:54 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under Not a sell out, commercials, christmas, playstation, saturn, super nintendo, snes, genesis, mega drive

I am a child of the 90's, a love child. This was the age of Mode-7, Blast Processing, 3D, Playstation, and encompasses the rise and fall of Sega. So let's take a look at as many Christmas commercials from the 90's as we can possibly fit on our monitor.

Nintendo
What exemplifies the early 90's more than the constant playground war of Nintendo vs. Sega? So it makes perfect sense for retailers to pick one side of the other in this argument or face everybody's wrath!


Gee, would you look at the time? I missed the memo that I must write in rhyme! When it comes to your games, Sears has them all days. In the front or the back, come buy your new cartridge pack, and play the kiosk in store to curb your hunger for more.

Seriously, Sears kicked ass in the 90's for gamers. What the hell happened?


This is just amazing, if there is one piece of media that makes me remember what it was like being a kid in the 90's it is this right here. Entitlement of youth, grungy attitudes, snarky remarks, and a desire to sit down and play video games. I like how the rhyme goes, "South Park will be fine," as if they're just settling for it. "Yeah I'll take it, but I really wanted Mystical Ninja you dumbass parents!"


A nice, generational war, of course. Then as soon as the douchey 90's teens find out that grandpa likes to roll with some Tetris they decide that old folk aren't bad. If grandpa's hearing aid worked he might learn that Tetris was made by a dirty Communist!

Sega
So those were some pretty entertaining commercials from Nintendo's side of the ring. But does Sega always do what Nintendon't? Can they top the Big N and encourage people to buy any of the 3 systems they released in the 90's? How about the add-ons?


Sega advertising at its finest, if you want your kid to be the cool kid on the block then go out and buy him a Sega Genesis for Christmas, then every kid in the city will want a piece of that Blast Processing action.


As a constant follower of Midget Wrestling this is one of the quickest ways to grab my attention, and they have good taste in video games since they just made a ton of money selling the game to Sega, somehow.

Ok, now let's move away from North America for a moment and take a look at what Sega brought out for their Japanese commercials.


This may very well be the greatest thing I have ever laid eyes on. I am going to perpetuate the story of Segata Sanshiro as Santa Claus to my children, citing this commercial as definitive proof. If you're unfamiliar with Segata Sanshiro and why he helped the Saturn dominate the Japanese sales charts then just check out this playlist.
http://www.youtube.com/pl...S4LrAZ_n-uf5p6jRW9gx4qcFP

Word of warning, the American Saturn commercials are weird as all hell, and incredibly frightening in some cases. Search at your own risk.

Sony
A newcomer on the scene of home video game hardware in the mid 90's, Sony and their Playstation quickly rose to global dominance and kept its grip firm for over a decade. Is it because their commercials were great?


Yes, yes they were. Oh that sound and the PS logo really take me back, excuse me while I nostalgia-gasm all over my room. Again, this commercial shows what the 90's was all about, trying to find your own voice, going against the grain, and supporting Bill Clinton.


What's awesome about this commercial is that everything the singers say about Crash Bandicoot: Warped is 100% factual. This is one of the greatest parodies of a Christmas carol I've ever heard, I might start singing it this year. I feel bad for Canadians though, $50 for a new PS1 game and its already $10 off? Man, you guys will hate when I say brand new PS1 games in the States were $40. What was the exchange rate in 1998? Tell me Crabby!

Let's head back to the Land of the Rising Sun.


Crash Bandicoot and PaRappa walk up to a random guy bearing Christmas gifts, just another thing to add to my list of things to experience before I die. Cosplayers, make this happen!

...


Kick! Punch! its all in the mind.

Well that about does it for the nostalgic video game Christmas commercials. I will be going on a small hiatus until 2013 rolls around. Until then, please share if you've enjoyed this post and my others, comment with feedback, and hit that follow button on the sidebar. SirPsycho out!



Posted on Nov 19th 2012 at 06:16:22 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under Taco Bell, top 10, spyro, super mario all stars, gothic, suikoden iii, super mario kart, super mario world, snes, super nintendo

Welcome to part 2 of my countdown of the most important games that shaped young Psycho!

5 Spyro The Dragon

A dragon voiced by the Taco Bell dog.

A purple dragon with a mean charge, fiery breath, and could glide through the air. This was my first 3D platformer, and my oldest sister and I would play it whenever she was over on weekends. It was because of our team effort with this game, and its two sequels, that helped us beat everything 100% or more. This game blew my mind when I first played it and the original trilogy is still enjoyed every summer for a quick playthrough on those scorching hot days.

4 Super Mario All-Stars


Ah, another good wholesome SNES classic. Sadly during my childhood my experience with SNES games didnt reach much further than the Mario series. I wouldnt really begin of learning of non-Mario adventures on the Super more during the years of the supreme Playstation overlord phase of my childhood. I also would not get the chance to explore many of them until my high school years and current collecting days. But, all that said, when compiling a list of very important SNES games I decided that I would not want to read one, think about my own life, and not have All-Stars be of the utmost significance. Everything, Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, AND 3? And go ahead and toss in the real Japanese SMB2 for good measure? And to think if I would have recieved my SNES much later then Super Mario All-Stars+World could have been the pack-in. Oh gracious me.

3 Gothic II


I bought this game randomly a few months before I bought the video card upgrade to my old PC. This RPG introduced me to the idea of open worlds in a deeper way than GTA2 and GTA3 did. Gothic II also got me interested in the larger world of PC RPGs in general, leading directly to Morrowind and KOTOR leading forward, and back in time to Fallout and even further backwards. Unfortunately, like Final Fantasy I cant stand the newer releases of this series, but in my mind the first two games are prime examples of how to do open world exploration right and despite being 10 years old, still has more NPC behaviors than Skyrim.

2 Suikoden III

All 3 colored characters are the main protagonists, letting the player see the events of 2/3s of the game from multiple angles.

This game is one of the most important discoveries of my life, and it barely squeaks onto this list. I discovered my favorite console RPG series on a random rental, much like the same day that I randomly rented FF8 and for some reason discovered a lifelong love of the RPG genre period. I rented this game when I was 12, just a few months before becoming a teenager and marking my endpoint of thought for this list. The anime styled intro cinematic had my jaw on the floor and the Trinity Sight System had me hooked as soon as I understood it. Since then Ive discovered an obsession, and have strong feelings as a fan of this series. This will not be the last time I mention this game or series.



1 Super Mario World & Super Mario Kart


What else should really go here? These two games were the first games that were mine. For a few months they were the only games outside of rentals that I could play. As the first two games for the first system that is mine (and I still own and use nearly daily). That SNES has been through many years, and I only hope that it lives alongside me for many more. This well built, rugged Super Nintendo has outlived my first dog, these two carts always nearby for a quick play. Some random days Ill just pop in Super Mario World and do a quick Star Road speedrun to kill some time. For a bit more of a touching story Super Mario Kart is still the only game Ive really gotten my dad to play with me, it was never for very long, a race or two on that Christmas day and a couple other times. But, those memories and that bonding will stick with me forever, giving me a good idea of how to be a father to my own children when that chapter of my life unfolds.




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
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