Archive for February, 2011

Just For Kids, Right?

This is a little more of an unusual post, but it really brings home a subject that I’ve long contemplated when it comes to video games.

How old were you when you started playing video games? For that matter, what were some of your first video games? For me, I was 4 years old, cutting my teeth on games like Combat, Superman, Adventure, and Space Invaders for the Atari 2600, then Pac-Man in the arcades. Everyone has to start somewhere, and with gaming so new and novel at the time, it was a few years before the concept of “kid’s gaming” came around.

Think about what generally passes for “kid’s gaming” these days: Oversimplified concepts and design, repetitive gameplay, questionable production values, and some licensed character of the day cut and pasted for generally lackluster visuals. I mean, you don’t have to try to put effort into a game skewed for the younger set. Are they really going to be able to know the difference?

Back then, Atari had difficulty for their regular games marked with a friendly bear symbol to give even the littlest ones a chance. There were a few games for older computers like the Read the rest of this entry

The Legend of Zelda Turns 25.

Has it really been that long?

I remember getting my NES on my birthday in 1987. Zelda was still a “new” thing here in the States fully introduced by a color article in the Nintendo Fun Club magazine, and a few weeks after my getting my system, I was introduced to this:

I was mesmerized my this theme. It was haunting and beautiful, and I would sometimes listen to it as background music.

When I wasn’t doing that, I was obsessing over the wonderful illustrations in the instruction manual, presenting Link like this:

I prayed for some cartoon or movie to come out looking this good (I have better Zelda pics on older posts). There WAS a cartoon series, but it was nothing like this, featuring an immature Link who commonly cried out “Excuuuuuuuuuuuuse ME, Princess”, whenever he hacked off a rather snippy Zelda (which was often).

For all the “oohing” and “aahing” I did on the surface materials, I did even more in the actual game. This full, wonderful world housed in a golden cartridge that lasted hours, progress was saved, and every play session promised new adventures.

I’ve loved the series over the years, but my next big “love” for the Read the rest of this entry

A Terrible Confession To Make.

Yes, it’s true. I have a horrible, dark secret to share.


I’ve played a Facebook game now.

No, I’ve not (and refuse to) be swept into the multitudes of endless games on Facebook that end with “Ville”, but they had to go off and tap my nostalgia bone by releasing Oregon Trail and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?.

Yes, they finally hit upon my nostalgia bone, and so I had to see what these are all about.

Presently, I’ve only played Oregon Trail. The graphics are simple but inoffensive, the game plays the game, all the features of the old game are there, along with newer minigames from more recent versions. People are always split on the whole “Oregon Trail” thing. Some like it, others think it’s merely a game mired in nostalgia, and worth nothing more. I still hold a fond place for it, though I understand it may not be for everyone.

While it’s a competent version, the very reasons why I’ve held off from playing Facebook games plague this version. There’s the numerous option to flood your newsfeed (and resulting friend’s list) with every single move and update you make. Fortunately, you can choose Read the rest of this entry

Bad Online Designs.

I don’t get these gaming sites anymore. The gaming magazine is slowly dying out, and one day, it may be gone altogether. While Egon Spengler once said “print is dead”, it’s not hard to find potential accuracy in that statement in the ease of finding information in the digital age.

I have my own personal favorite gaming sites. I read IGN from the Nintendo 64 days of the min 1990’s to just a few years ago. I loved the site, and visited it daily.

Until that last style change.

The site has become much harder to navigate, and archived news and reviews seem to be pure luck, or direct online searches in finding past news or something that I want to reference. From easy to navigate and quick bouncing back and forth from platform specific sites to one giant unorganized mess, I eventually stopped going unless some other site directly referenced an article that I access from a link.

In short: I loved IGN, but their horrid new site layout of the last few years has caused me to quit visiting. That new site designer seriously ripped the company off.

Imagine my disappointment when Kotaku has Read the rest of this entry

The Death of Guitar Hero.

Gamers are undoubtedly aware that Guitar Hero has finally seen its final swan song courtesy of Activision.

While I’m sure that some view it as a sign of relief, it can’t help but be tinged by a hint of sadness. After all, Guitar Hero paved the way for a whole new genre (and a closet filled with tons of plastic instruments), as well as a respectable competitor in Rock Band. But really, the “Guitar War” broke down into a “Coke Vs. Pepsi” matter of choice. It was simply a matter of what appealed to the player’s personal preferences more.

So what killed it, really? I would think the multiple updates per year didn’t help matters. Rock Band put out three main entries, three spn offs, and a portable version for PSP. Harmonix did the first two Guitar Hero games and one spin-off before Activision took over. Activision did its regular “annualization” of the franchise like it does to pretty much everything else… except that it released multiple entries per year, spin-off series…. It became too much, and the series just ran itself into the ground. There’s only so many titles one can afford, and Read the rest of this entry

Insert Coin(s) – April 2011.

This has been discussed for months, but a new gaming/arcade bar is coming to Downtown Las Vegas this April. Considering what they promise, this could be very, very cool, and worth a visit by classic gamers. I’m just glad to see someone fighting to keep the arcades alive.

Here are two promos for Insert Coin(s):

Opening April 18!

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