classic gaming Archives

Double Dragon Neon: Post-Script.

I’ve always had a weird history with Double Dragon.

As a kid, I always felt like that I had no choice but to like it. The NES game was not a bad title by any means, and I still love the beat ’em up genre to this day, but I grew up in a small town in Texas, that also happened to be the place where the company Tradewest was housed. “Small town pride” made it somewhat obligatory that I support this game. The funny part of such devotion is that years later, when I grew up, the company became Williams, then Midway. So I ended up eventually working with the company and its legacy titles.

So yes, I know Double Dragon quite well.

And I’ve watched it go through a lot of changes. Double Dragon went through the 8 and 16 bit eras, changed publishers back and forth a few times, and even teamed up with Battletoads at one point. It was one of the first, but Streets of Rage and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (and later Castle Crashers and Scott Pilgrim) improved the formula, and the original series was just set aside.

That said, I freaking love Read the rest of this entry

Wreck-It Ralph Review.

Tonight, I got to see a preview of Wreck-It Ralph in 3D.

If you want the short of it, it’s now one of my “Top 10” Disney animated films.

The long of it, however, is best explained for a number of reasons. And you can start with the poster:

Basically, this is Toy Story for video games. What happens when the arcade closes for the night?

This movie has a TON of cameos, making Captain N: The Game Master look pale by comparison. You can spot dozens of games in the 30 year time progression of the arcade, from Star Wars to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to a virtual “Who’s Who” of classics. That’s nothing to say of the cameos of characters running around in “Game Central Station”. These two scenes alone are going to cause a lot of frame by frame scanning when it comes to home video. One cameo moment actually shocked me how “true to character” they were. I won’t reveal anything, but there are a few delightful nods. Surprisingly, however, is how devoid of Nintendo this movie is. Yes, Bowser is in there, and there are two other nods, but Nintendo was Read the rest of this entry

Midway Arcade: Post-Script.

While my opinions of my time working with Midway have been touched upon here, I wanted to get a little more into the history of some of those titles. I always had a soft spot for two major areas of their games: The Mortal Kombat series, and their arcade classics. How could you not have a fond reverence for titles such as Defender, Robotron: 2084, Joust, Rampage, Spy Hunter and others? Not to mention in 1996 when they acquired most of Atari’s arcade classics like Gauntlet, Paperboy, and Marble Madness. I say “most” because somewhere along the way, Midway lost publishing rights to a handful of these titles, and they reverted back to “new” Atari. I never got the full story of what happened there. One day, we were publishing Asteroids, Centipede, and Crystal Castles, and then one day, we weren’t.

But I loved this series largely because of my fondness for preserving the history of gaming. Certainly, both Arcade’s Greatest Hits and Midway Arcade Treasures highlighted some real gems, but as the series progressed, the already basic interfaces got even more simplistic, and the last compilation just seemed like an afterthought to toss a Read the rest of this entry

Catalogs Were Almost As Exciting As The Game.

I’m still getting the hang of this new site. Trying to see what I can do, actually attempting to follow through on making my site’s Twitter more, er, “twitty”, and apparently getting feedback from a lot of people who simultaneously love my website, yet seem to feel that I either need to lose more weight, earn more money now, or find an attractive bride from a third-world country.

….

I just can’t seem to please everyone.

But here I am regardless to talk about gaming, and more in this aspect, classic gaming. I’ve focused a lot on modern consoles and upcoming releases, but my real fondness does lie in the realm of classic gaming, and one of those aspects that I greatly enjoy collecting:

The video game catalog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The collage that you see here is actually a small sampling from my personal collection. I’ve amassed a number of these over the years from buying unopened games, eBay, and other classic gaming venues. It’s an interesting look at how early gamers got a taste of what was to come for our favorite consoles and computers before the internet was even a remote factor in our gaming lives.

I would like to say not much has changed from then Read the rest of this entry

Does Piracy Have Its Good Side?

Despite my fancy gaming blog name, I actually don’t pirate games.

Seriously! I’m too much of a collector. I want the box, and the (nearing extinction) manual, and a nice, clean looking disc or cartridge with good looking cover art. And having worked in the game industry, I know game sales can determine the longevity of a department’s, or even and individual’s continued employment. There’s no reason to pirate brand new games. Stop being so cheap. And if you can’t buy new, then buy used.

Now that I’m off my soapbox, I wanted to discuss an article that I found that actually hits the other side of the spectrum, and I totally agree with.

Some of you readers may be too young to know what one of these are:

But if you said “floppy disc”, you were correct.

These were the software of the computers through the 1980’s and in some instances, early 1990’s. True to their name, they were floppy in consistency, and were about the size of a CD jewel case.

They were also incredibly easy to break.

And my “break”, I mean it only took a minute or so to interrupt the program, load the file contents, and save to another disc. And so began Read the rest of this entry

R.I.P., Gary Garcia.

On November 17, Gary Garcia, one half of the Buckner/Garcia team that brought Pac-Man Fever to the radio waves, passed away.

I actually was lucky enough to get the album in the early 1980’s as a record (think of it as a large, black colored CD for you younger folk), and played it as endlessly as I poured over the record jacket memorizing Pac-Man patterns. To me, the album was great fun as it had the actual arcade sound effects instead of the wimpy “bonk bonk bonk” noise of the Atari 2600 version. The arcade always sounded more exciting.

In the late 1990’s, the duo brought the same album to the CD age by remastering the album, so I got that as well as the photo listed on the duo’s above-listed webpage.

Pac-Man Fever is one of those many footnotes in how deeply Pac-Man had ingrained himself in the public consciousness. Outside of Mario, no video game character has ever truly taken gamer and non-gamer alike in a rush of cartoons, bedsheets, breakfast cereals, T-shirts, pajamas, toys, games…. You had to have something of the actual “Pac-Man Fever”, and the song only played into that moment of a pop culture Read the rest of this entry

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