Archive for February, 2010

2600 Magic.

I plan to start my new series in the next few days ago (I’m actually trying to figure out a good order to present everything), but I stumbled across this app for my iPhone and had to share.

It’s called 2600 Magic, and is created by industry legend David Crane. Does the name not sound familiar? He’s the guy who did Freeway, Pitfall!, the original Ghostbusters and A Boy and His Blob games, among several others.

The app itself is impressive if you’ve ever wanted to know how the Atari 2600 works, and includes interactive examples to elaborate on points. For two bucks, I couldn’t really pass it up, and I felt like I learned some new things in the process.

Part 2 is already out, and focuses on the Activision game Dragster. Part 3 will focus on Pitfall! – I always knew the 2600 hardware was limited, but never knew the level of mastery some of the designers did to really trick out the system and get it to do things it was never meant to.

A look at the app description is here. I plan to brush up an be a little more old-school savvy by the time Read the rest of this entry

Aliens Vs. Predator: Post-Script

I’m really not sure what the critical hate is about when it comes to Rebellion/Sega’s new Aliens Vs. Predator game. While I’m still waiting for a friend of mine to pick his copy up so we can delve more into the multi-player aspects, I’ve completed all three single player campaigns, and have yet to see what the fuss is all about.

The biggest critical issues in the game seem to be the lighting aspects and the story. Before reading website commentary, I tackled the Marine campaign first. Is the story amazing? Not really. It borrows plot elements very heavily from Aliens, making it seem like the little brother of an awesome film. Sure you recognize it, but it does have differences. Does it feel out of place? No. Did I hope they would have changed some elements at the end of the story from Rebellion’s 1994 Jaguar title (yes, I once owned that)? I do. But the boss was still interesting, if a little easy, and the CG cut scenes are great.

The lighting did make it difficult to navigate and play at times. You essentially have the feeling of being Read the rest of this entry

Potential New Series.

I’ve been thinking of ways to add more personal touches to my blog for a while now. While I’ve somewhat neglected the “Five Favorite Games” and “Arcade Oddities” features of late (don’t worry, they haven’t retired), I was thinking on adding a new feature, discussing various aspects of gaming, from concept, design, story, art, music, genres, technology, even promotion and packaging.

As many of you may be aware, I was in the gaming industry off and on from 1995-2005, My biggest collection of experience was based with Midway, but I also worked with MumboJumbo/MacPlay, and to a much smaller extent, Sony Online Entertainment and TKO Software. I thought that some of you might find it interesting to hear perspectives of what it was like from someone who has actually been “on the other side”. This is also coupled with someone who has been gaming as a hobby since the late 1970’s, and even without the professional experience…. I’ve still seen a lot.

Of course, I’d want to encourage discussion in this feature, so questions, talkback, agreements/disagreements are welcome. I think it’s important to find perspectives from different types of gamers I’ve had some ideas brewing, and I Read the rest of this entry

Valentine’s Day.

I’m still disappointed that Nintendo doesn’t use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to hawk Pit from Kid Icarus out more. In my restarting games, I’m trying out the NES classic again, and while I had previously beat the game twice on the Wii, starting over with zero power-ups is a stern reminder about how unforgiving the difficulty initially is. Love the game, but it’s a brutal beast.

Hope the V-Day festivities have worked out for all. I got a 16GB SD card for my PSP, which finally allowed me to download Final Fantasy VII on the system. It’s funny how many people bash on that installment, calling it “overrated”. The polygon-based characters are a little archaic (as was just about any other 3D game during the 1990’s), but the art direction, backgrounds and music are still compelling. I felt that little tinge of magic in going through the first scenario, and it reminded me why I loved the game so much (and by proxy Advent Children and Crisis Core).

The odd thing about my PSP? My faceplate cracked. I’ve ordered a new one, but it’s not presenting a good indication of how carful I am Read the rest of this entry

Oregon Trail For Modern Times?

According to the Thule Trail, then yes.

Check out how modern “pioneers” brave the open road here.

(And yes, I do have a copy of the original Oregon Trail for my Apple IIc, and one for iPhone. Best educational game ever created).

Transformers: War For Cybertron Trailer.

Ordinarily, I’d “poo poo” anything Activision does of late, and I’ve never understood why they’ve never been able to make a decent game based off a license seemingly as perfect for video games as Transformers (save for Atari’s PS2 version), but this trailer admittedly looks cool:

THIS is how the movies should have been. Different, but instantly recognizable designs, no lame, emo “human connection” story perspective, lots of fighting, and again, the robots don’t look like modern art threw up.

Nice to see Peter Cullen returning as Optimus Prime. I wish they had gotten Frank Welker. This looks to be similar to how Batman: Arkham Asylum was presented, and if it turns out that good, I’m all for it. Nice to see some respectful nods to those classic cartoons.

Otherwise, I’ve been playing Bioshock 2 of late. I’ve got some thoughts to share on that, and the return to Rapture.

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