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Underrated Retro – Power Punch II – The Lost Punch Out Sequel

Power Punch II is a boxing video game released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1992, and it has an incredibly interesting back-story.

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After the release of their hit, “Punch-Out!!”, Krome Studios Melbourne began developing an official sequel starring Mike Tyson with manager Don King. Originally titled, “Mike Tyson’s Intergalactic Power Punch”, the game was supposed to take the series into outer space where Tyson would participate in an intergalactic boxing tournament against various space aliens.

The game’s production ran into immediate trouble, however, following Tyson’s 1991 incarceration for the rape of Desiree Washington. Beam changed the Tyson character’s name to Mark Tyler and modified King but did little to change Tyson’s in-game character sprite.

Nintendo saw the game and disliked it, refusing to publish it due to lack of quality. Eventually, American Softworks Corp. published the title, and the game was released on the NES as, “Power Punch II”, despite the fact that it was the first Power Punch title.

The story-line of the game is something like this:  Mark “Tough Guy” Tyler (*ahem* NOT Mike Tyson) is the undefeated heavyweight champion of the world, with an Olympic gold medal and a 33-0 (30 KO) record to his claim. After knocking out another opponent with ease, Tyler and his manager taunt the world by saying that no one can stop him. However, the broadcast is picked up far from Earth in the outer reaches of the universe by an alien boxing promoter for the Intergalactic Boxing Federation. The promoter decides to accept Tyler’s challenge that he can beat “anyone”. Thus Tyler is brought into the throes of the universe to compete against the best boxers in the universe and defend his earthly title.

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The game-play in Power Punch II is extremely shoddy.  Let’s start with the controls:

Fans of the early Punch Out games will feel at …

The 80's summed up in one photo

Underrated Retro – Anticipation (NES)

The 80's summed up in one photo
The 80’s summed up in one photo

 

 

Anticipation was released in 1988 and developed by the same studio that would go on to produce Donkey Kong Country, Goldeneye, and Killer Instinct:  Rare.

However, Anticipation is not your typical Rare game.  It doesn’t have adventurers, or animals, or evil bosses.  In fact, there’s no characters at all in the game.  You are a pair of high heeled shoes, a horn, an ice cream cone, or a Teddy bear.

That’s because instead of trying to save a princess or the world, you’re essentially moving pieces around a board and playing a game of pictionary.  Anticipation was the first board-game that was released for the NES.

The object of the game is simple:  Solve the puzzle, as it’s being drawn, before your opponents, and move across the game board the fastest.   The number of spaces the player moves depends upon the number on a dice, which counts down from 6 as the picture is drawn. Once a player correctly identifies a drawing for each of the four categories on a level, that player rises to the next-higher game board level. The first player to complete every level wins the game.

Four different categories are used on each game board level, tied to the colors of the spaces (blue, green, pink, yellow).

The game is very easy on “easy” difficulty, but really ramps up on “hard”.  In fact, many of the “hard” puzzles are impossible to solve before the computer, which adds a somewhat cheese-factor to the game.

The good thing about Anticipation is you do not HAVE to play with the computer.  It makes full-use of the NES Satellite peripheral, that allowed the player to hook 4 controllers up.

The game can become fun with 4 players, as speed is key to buzz in before your …

Raiding in Rust is Fun

Rust is a survival game where, when you die, you lose everything on you and spawn in a random location. Naturally, you must be weary of strangers and expect to get raided.

We come across Ethan, holed up his house, and decide to scare him in the dead of night. Eventually, we get locked inside and hilarity ensues.

The full outfit

NYCC ’13 – Our Spaceballs Cosplay

For New York Comic Con this year, we wanted to go as something completely obscure. One of our favorite movies has always been Mel Brooks’ “Spaceballs”. If you’re unfamiliar with Spaceballs, then you owe it to yourself to check it out! It’s a spoof of Star Wars; starring Rick Moranis, John Candy, Bill Pullman, and Mel Brooks. There are many memorable quotes and moments in this movie that are extremely funny.

Spaceballs!

The Inspiration

Now, we knew wanted to go as one of the Spaceball soldiers. Mainly because we haven’t seen this done too many times before (only on the web), and it seemed fun to try. The gigantic helmets are hilarious and we knew we wanted to re-create them. However, we hit a few snags with development, and got started somewhat late, so we weren’t sure if recreating the armor was going to be do-able this time around. The next best thing? Be one of the guys who got their uniforms stolen by the main characters during one of the end scenes! We would be able to create one of the helmets, but only have to wear underwear, boots, and gloves.

These particular characters only received about 5-10 seconds of screen-time! Surely, this is obscure enough!  However, not obscure enough to where no one remembers the scene!  Perfect!

"Hey! Those are the guys who stole our uniforms!" "Yeah! And beat the shit out of us, too!"
“Hey! Those are the guys who stole our uniforms!”
“Yeah! And beat the shit out of us, too!”

The Helmets

For the helmets, we used a large plastic lamp dome that is made for outdoor use. Think of the lamp-posts that you see in parks or downtown areas. These can be found at Lowe’s, or various places on the internet.

The dome how it arrived.
The dome how it arrived

Once we dug the domes out of their boxes, we had to make sure we …

Never Forget: Mr. Bones’ Wild Ride

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“Never Forget” is a new ongoing segment that is meant to highlight obscure gaming memes or pieces of gaming history that flew under the radar. 

The Rollercoaster Tycoon (RCT) franchise is arguably one of the best simulator games in history.  It was, without a doubt, the best Amusement Park simulator.

However, the gem in the collection was always Rollercoaster Tycoon 2.  This game took the familiar graphics style and mechanics of the first game, and added tons of new rides and coasters.

In RCT, one of the best features is the ability to create your own coasters from scratch.  You lay down the track, pick the optimal speeds, and let it rip.  Most people stay within their guest’s limits and don’t create something too scary, so they can get optimal profits.  However, sometimes our morbid curiosity takes over, and we create rides that terrify, and sometimes kill people for OUR amusement.

Enter:  Mr. Bones’ Wild Ride.  A forum post that appeared on 4Chan’s /v/ board in 2012.  The OP (original poster) created a rollercoaster that his park’s passengers rode for 4 years of game time.  The exit to the coaster led to the entrance, so they had no means of exiting the queue.  Brutal.

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Below is the thread in all of it’s glory.  There are screenshots of the ride and hilarious commentary by the OP.  Have fun, it’s worth the read!  Now excuse me while I go and finish my death coaster that catapults people into the sky…

Mr Bones 1 Mr Bones 2 Mr Bones 3

 

 

Pixel Press Will Let You Draw Your Own Video Game

Did you ever sit around as a kid and draw video game characters?  Let’s take this one step further:  Instead of characters, did you sit around and draw platformer (Think:  Super Mario Bros) levels that you hoped would one day be real somehow?  I think the guys at Roundthird software did these things too.

My best drawing
Mine always ended up looking like this.

Pixel Press is an upcoming iOS (and hopefully Android) app that will let people take their game-design ambitions to real-life, even without any coding experience.   How it works is this:  The subject prints out a 2-page .pdf file.  One page is instructions, and one page is a proprietary “grid” that the pixel press app recognizes.  The user draws the level on the grid using the guidelines on the instructions page to draw the correct shapes (the app will need to recognize certain shapes, so they can be obstacles, blocks, etc. when translated to the game).  Once the level is drawn, a picture is taken with the iOS device, and the level is scanned into the game using the same technology that makes handwriting recognition possible.  For a full breakdown by the developers, check out this video:

 

The idea reminds us a lot of something like Little Big Planet.  Both games are more than a “game”, they are a “platform”.  The developer of Pixel Press promises to have user creations downloadable by the entire community so everyone can challenge each other.  Soon after the game is released the best levels will rise to the top via ratings – all of this makes the replayability virtually limitless.  Don’t like drawing by hand?  You’ll be able to play all the levels instead of create them.  Currently, the developers are toying with the idea of an “in-game” level editor that …

The Hit Squad – A Kickstarter Worth Your Interest

hit squad

Usually I don’t put much faith into Kickstarters.  In the beginning, Kickstarter was a novel concept to help an indy project get funded.  The only ones on my radar in the beginning were games and technology, which made sense.  Over time it became kinda saturated and I started to not take them seriously anymore.  There was a Kickstarter lounge at PAX East this year, but I didn’t really care, although I’m sure there were games in there worth seeing and funding.

This is why I was so surprised when I came across “The Hit Squad” on Twitter; an 8-Bit Pixellated movie about an 80’s band who is trying to reclaim their lost fame in current times.  It reminds me of “This is Spinal Tap”.  The animation in the trailer is very good, and the humor is promised to be full of pop-culture nods.  The most impressive part of it all is that so far it has been animated by just one man,  Chris Blundell.  He is looking for the final £5,000 to finish the movie and release it to the masses on DVD, Blu-Ray, and DRM-free digital download.

I’m not sure if it’s the determination of Chris that has me interested, or the fact that it looks like a hilarious 8-Bit movie that I really wanna see, but this is the first Kickstarter I have ever pledged for, and I don’t feel bad doing it.  Check it out!  He only has a few more days left to reach his goal!  Also, don’t worry, exchange rate will be calculated on checkout.

UPDATE:  It’s been funded!