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retro

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 …

Bart's Nightmare

Retro Ads – Round 3

Whenever I find an old comic from the 90’s or 80’s, I immediately check out the old ads.  It really brings me back to the days of when all video games came in cartridges, you could order sea monkeys in the mail, and people actually gave a crap about sports cards.

The following came from Marvel’s “Ravage 2099” #4 – Circa March, 1993.  We scanned these in personally for your enjoyment!

Bart's Nightmare
Bart’s Nightmare is one of our favorite SNES games of all-time. This ad really paints a dark picture for the game!
Chuck Rock
In Chuck Rock, you were a caveman who…chucked rocks. One of Sony’s first games!
Mystic Quest was one of the first RPG's geared towards casual gamers.  Years before Pokemon!
Mystic Quest was one of the first RPG’s geared towards casual gamers. Years before Pokemon!
I love how this ad pokes fun at the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
I love how this ad pokes fun at the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

 

If you had a Game Genie, you were awesome.

Retro Game Ads – Round 1

Recently, I stumbled across an extremely inexpensive bundle of old 90’s comics at a local shop.  The coolest part isn’t the comics (because, let’s be honest, these are probably not key issues and almost worthless), but the treasure trove of cool video game ads inside the comics! I decided to scan these in because I love them so much.

These are both hilarious and highly nostalgic for anyone who was a gamer at the time!  The following were found in Batman #471 from November, 1991.

If you had a Game Genie, you were awesome.
If you had a Game Genie, you were awesome.
Cool ad for Smash TV home editions
Cool ad for Smash TV home editions
This one was a dual advertisement for the highly successful NES TMNT game, and their Gameboy counterpart.
This one was a dual advertisement for the highly successful NES TMNT game, and their Gameboy counterpart.
Remember WCW?
Remember WCW?

More next week…

 

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 …