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SNES-CD Add-On

If you are too much of a hipster to read the full article, check out my YouTube video on the topic: 

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The most well known add-on with a CD-ROM slot for a retro system would most likely be the Sega-CD (or the Mega-CD, depending on the region that you live in). Nintendo never got to see an add-on for the SNES that added this format. Or did they? In this article, I will talk about the SNES CD add-on, and the more well known “Nintendo Playstation” system.

Back in 1988, the NES had dominated the market, and Sony wanted in on the video game industry. 久夛良木 健 (Ken Kutaragi) bought a Famicom for his kids. He wasn’t impressed. He went to Nintendo, and signed a deal. With the NES successor approaching, Sony would supply the audio chips for the system.

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The Famicom already had an add-on called the Famicom Disk System, and this was Nintendo’s first attempt at a disk based add-on. However, it broke often, and was unreliable. Despite this, Nintendo were still keen to use CD-based technology for their systems. Sony noticed this, and went to Nintendo for another deal; Sony would build and release a system that played both SNES cartridge games, and CD games (that Sony would provide).

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The Super Disk was finally in development. A few years past, and in 1991, Nintendo re-read the contract they had signed with Sony. They were shocked. Sony (being the evil company they were), had made it so that they had all control over CD based games, and Nintendo got no money from the games.

June 1991; Sony unveils the Nintendo Playstation to the world. Games weren’t the only things this system could play; it could play movies, music, software and more. Nintendo had a plan. The day after …

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Sonic Eraser Review

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Didn’t expect this obscure game, did you? Sonic Eraser is a game that was exclusively for the MegaNet service. However, this game seems to be more of a cheap tie-in game, and doesn’t live up to the quality of the original trilogy. Also, this game makes a great game for Valentines Day (that’s actually a lie; don’t give your Sega fangirl wife this game, because there are better games than this). So, in this article, I will review Sonic Eraser.

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The first thing to point out is the game is in Japanese. But, it is also in English. The instructions/How to play screen is in Japanese, and there isn’t an option to turn it to English. But for the UI, some of it is in English (like text that says “1 Player” and “2 Player”).

There is no story for this game (as far as I can tell). I can’t read all of the Japanese text, so I cannot be sure about this. With all I know about Hiragana, and a mix of Google Translate, the pages in the title book include the controls, the gameplay and the credits, but no story.

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The gameplay is a mix between Tetris and Columns. You can’t rotate the blocks, you can only change the order of them, and move them left and right. When they land, they are affected by gravity. This is a nice change from other games, but it’s nothing revolutionary.

The graphics in this game are alright. It uses some sprites from the main games, but the new graphics (like the new UI or the blocks). I wouldn’t say it looks as good and vibrant as Sonic 1 or Sonic 2, but it doesn’t look terrible like Sonic 3D: Flickies Island. They hold up, only for the …

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Sonic Generations Beta

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Sonic Generations: one of the best modern Sonic games to date. This game features Classic Sonic and Modern Sonic, running through old levels from their past, in glorious HD. However, it wasn’t always like this. So, in this article, I will talk about the beta of Sonic Generations.

Generations started out as a game codenamed, “Sonic Anniversary”. In an interview with a SEGA representative, it was leaked that it would be a combination of 2D and 3D gameplay, and would be for the Wii, PSP, PS3 and DS. When he was asked about the Xbox 360 version, he indicated that talks were still ongoing. The cut ports (Wii, PSP and DS versions) were most likely cancelled not far into development.

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Ryan Drummond (one of the original voice actors for Sonic) was contacted by SEGA to re-audition for Sonic. He would have played Dreamcast Era Sonic. However, due to a fundamental professional disagreement, he declined the opportunity. Classic Sonic was also going to have a speaking role. Aaron Webber (the brand manager, at the time) said it would have to be Jaleel White. However, Jaleel was never contacted about the game, meaning the idea was dropped early on, and they made Classic Sonic mute.

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While looking through the game, hackers have found Sonic Unleashed Debugger files. This wouldn’t be that interesting, if it wasn’t for the extra files that were found. They found multiple files leftover from an install process, more debug files and an old video renderer.

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There were images that would be used in an install process. However, they weren’t images from Generations. It had Modern Sonic, but it also had Werehog Sonic. Generations most likely started out as a port of Sonic Unleashed to the PC platform. However, since the 20th Anniversary of Sonic was coming up, and …

Best of 2014 Quick Picks

With 2014 firmly closed, here are our quick picks for the best games of the year!

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@LucasMadWorld:  “I’ll have to go with Little Big Planet 3. It took a while to get used to the new features, but the objectives system was good…I liked the new characters, the graphics were very good, and I liked how you could import LBP1 stuff into it.”

@Sprodigy:  “Wolfenstein:  The New Order really surprised me.  Hangs right up there with Half-Life 2 as one of the best FPS’ of all-time in my opinion.”

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@MNEPodcast:  “Telltale’s Walking Dead Season 2

@RazielKane:  “Dragon Age: Inquistion – epic, immersive story”

@VidyaBum:  “For me, easily Shovel Knight. A breath of fresh air in a year mired by some crappy AAA disappointments.”

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Underrated Retro Store:  “Probably Mario Kart 8 for Cassie, and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire for Tom!”

@NES_Dudes:  “(Michael) I’m going to have to go with Mario Kart 8. It’s probably the most fun I’ve had playing a newer game in years.”

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@DignifiedBeard:  “Super Smash Bros. for WiiU: 8-player, online play that works, best multiplayer, Amiibo, trophies, & limitless fun.”

 

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Sonic The Hedgehog (MegaDrive) Beta

Sonic the Hedgehog for the Megadrive; the first game in the series that started a
large franchise. However, there were many scrapped concepts and ideas. So, I will be
talking about the beta of Sonic the Hedgehog.

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Before we talk about the game beta, we need to talk about the creation of Sonic the
Hedgehog. Originally, they wanted to create a character that would be the mascot for
SEGA. They went and asked all employees to create mascot designs. (And entered them into a competition).

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There were many ideas thrown around. This includes a rabbit, Mighty the Armadillo,
and Mr Needlemouse. It eventually came down to a hedgehog and Mighty. However (as we
all know), Mr Needlemouse won. His name was changed to Sonic later after this competition.

Other scrapped concepts include: him being in a rock and roll band, having a “girlfriend” named Madonna, and him being a lighter shade of blue.

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Now that we’ve got the character development out of the way, we can talk about the
actual game. The levels include Green Hill, Labyrinth, Marble, Star Light, Sparkling
Zone and Clock Work Zone.

What’s that? You don’t remember Sparkling Zone and Clock Work Zone? This is because
they were renamed. Sparkling Zone was actually Spring Yard Zone, with a different
color palate. Clock Work (or Clock Ork Zone, as it said in all screenshots) was a
differently designed Scrap Brain Zone. The designs are actually quite interesting,
though they look similar.

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Now, lets talk about Green Hill. The palate is slightly different, and there is a
rolling ball in the middle of the zone. The was a ball that you could run around on,
but you also had to dodge it. It would have controlled similarly to how the same
concept controlled in Pana Der Hejhog; it …

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Underrated Systems – Dreamcast

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The Sega Dreamcast is one of the best systems ever released, yet it is very underrated. So, without further ado, here are a few reasons why the Dreamcast is an underrated system:

The Dreamcast was released on November 27th 1998 (in a select few countries) and October 14th 1999 (for the rest of the world). However, many gamers steered away from this Sega console, as a new competitor was arriving soon, the Playstation 2.

The Dreamcast had many good games. So many, in fact, that it would take so long to list them all and explain why they were amazing. Because of this, I’ve had to pick a select few games that I remember from the system.

Sonic Adventure/Sonic Adventure 2
These games were some of the best 3D Sonic games. They had colourful visuals, high poly models, and most importantly, fun gameplay. These games were the pinnacle of the Dreamcast’s library; if you owned a Dreamcast, you had to own one of these games.

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Sega Bass Fishing
You know you want to play this game. Doesn’t it sound like fin (bad pun)? But, seriously, this game had very good visuals for the time, and the gameplay was solid. It may have not been the most original idea on the planet, but it was certainly a good game.

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Jet Set Radio
The graphics and gameplay in this game still hold up today! The cell shaded style made this game really vibrant, and even if you dislike the game, this deserves to be in your collection, as it is one of the best looking Dreamcast games. Let’s not forget the amazing gameplay; it was so great it won many awards!

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And many other games!
It would take up an entire page if I had to write about every single great Dreamcast …

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Playstation – 20th Anniversary

Happy birthday Playstation! It has been 20 years since the Playstation brand was created. Ever since then, Sony has continued to make amazing consoles, rivaling Nintendo, and even Sega (back when they made consoles).

To celebrate this date, Sony has released a custom grey PS4, that has the same colour scheme as the original Playstation.

I would just like to say, Happy Birthday Playstation! I hope we get to play PS consoles and games for years to come!

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#IndiesVSPewDiePie

IndiesVSPewDiePie refers to an even that happened on November 21st. Now, I know what you’re thinking:  What is IndiesVSPewDiePie?   It was a game jam!  You may also be asking, what is a “game jam”?  Well, luckily for you, I know, as I was a part of the game jam!

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A game jam is where you have a certain number of hours (72 hours in this case) to make a full indie game. But, this game jam had a twist; the top games would be played (and recorded) by PewDiePie himself.

There are a few rules, however. The game has to be exclusively for IndiesVSPewDiePie. All audio, designs and visual assets must be created during the 72 hours (so no Google for you!). However, you can use pre-existing scripts, languages, engines, programming, libraries, scripts or fonts. And also, you have to be cool. No hate speech and no bad content.

Currently, there are 897 games that were published to the jam. This includes amazing titles, such as:

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Worst Game You Ever Seen
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ARNOLD GETTING KICKED IN THE BALLS IN TOTAL RECALLL

These were two of the funniest games I saw from the jam. My project was Flight Simulator 2020.

All these games are free to play, so if I were you, check out the rest of the games! Some are awesome, trust me. The rest of the games are here!

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Underrated Systems – Epoch Game Pocket Computer

The Epoch Game Pocket Computer is an obscure system from 1984. It is disappointing that this console only had 5 official games released. It was only released in Japan, and even though this was one of the first handheld consoles, it was a failure. This was not the first handheld system, that title goes to Microvision. 

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The console had an LCD screen with a resolution of 75×64. It could produce graphics at a level equivalent to early Atari 2600 games. It required 4 AA batteries, though it could last about 70 hours on these batteries. This console had a 6MHz NEC microprocessor, and supported up to 16K ROM cartridges. This console had 4 buttons, an 8-way joypad, a sound on-off switch and a contrast dial.

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I believe this system is underrated as it was an interesting system, and many people don’t realize that it exists. This console is overshadowed by the Gameboy, the GameGear, and the Atari Lynx.

Only 5 games exist for this console, and as a result it didn’t sell very well. Astro Bomber was one of the titles available for the system. This game is based upon the Konami game, Scramble. It is an interesting game, and it is also quite fun.

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Another game for the system is Block Maze, has the same concept as Pengo. You must push 4 central blocks into each corner. This game is also an interesting concept, though not original (this is a port of Pengo, just for an inferior game system).

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Sadly, these are the only interesting games available for the system. The 3 other games include Mahjong, Reversi and Sokoban (warehouse keeper). Some programs built into the system include 11-puzzle and a paint program.

If they would have bundled a game with the system, and made more games, this system …

How Have You Not Played That? Metroid Prime.

“How have you not played that?” I hear that question too often. I have played hundreds of games, yet somehow I have missed some of the “greatest games of all time”. I will be going back and exploring these worlds for the first time to see if these games hold up, and for my first game I donned the orange armor and morphed into a ball to explore Metroid Prime on the Nintendo GameCube.

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I had a GameCube when it came out.  I played tons of great games on it, yet somehow, without any reason I never played the Metroid Prime series. To be fair, I had never played a Metroid game, so I had no real investment in the franchise.  So I finally played it, on a GameCube (not the remade Wii version) and here are my thoughts:

The first thing that caught my attention was the audio. The music and ambient noises really captured the whole “you’re all alone” vibe the game was going for. I felt powerless when I was meant to, powerful when I was, and alone when I wanted some help. Even after experiencing sound direction from games like The Last of Us and BioShock I was still surprised by the depth and quality of the audio. Every enemy noise or change in music had me quickly scanning my environment for danger.

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Obviously, FPS controls have continually been refined and improved and it was jarring at first to play one with a single analog joystick.  Although I felt hindered at first, the game does well in its lock on mechanic, reminding me of the Ocarina of Time lock on system. Playing the game also reminded me how great the GameCube controllers actually were.  I loved the shoulder buttons and the overall feel for the controller was …