Author: ikillomega

WedNESday: Winter Games

Do you have Olympic Fever?  I have Olympic Fever (two vaccines later and all I have is a rash at the injection site).  I enjoy the overblown bombast and moments of individual triumph that permeate the games.  However, after nearly six decades of video games, and about 10 winter games events since the start of the golden age of gaming in the late 70’s, we have yet to see one title that actually captures the event well.  There were a few that landed and were good enough to sell well, however.  One such game was Winter Games from Epyx,...

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WedNESday: Tiger-Heli

Less than a year after its release, the Nintendo Entertainment System was a hot ticket item in the US.  Finally it appeared there was a savior for the dying games industry, which by 1985 had lost roughly 95% of all market value since its 1983 revenue peak!  After Nintendo almost single-handedly revitalized the gaming market by labeling the NES as an “entertainment system”, not a “video game system” (hence the famous “toaster” model not having a top-slot), more and more companies were encouraged to fill up the NES library.  For many publishers, ports of popular arcade titles seemed a...

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WedNESday- The Simpsons: Bart vs. The Space Mutants

1991 was an excellent year for quality video games.  We got Sonic the Hedgehog, Street Fighter II, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and the Simpsons arcade game!  Also released in 1991 was The Simpsons: Bart vs. The Space Mutants, a lackluster platformer from Imagineering and Arc Developments and released on the NES by Acclaim, who was primarily known for localizing mediocre imports and aggressively acquiring otherwise-talented developers such as Iguana (NBA Jam and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter).  They closed down in 2004 after shifting the focus of operations primarily to sports games, a fight it obviously...

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WedNESday: My Favorite NES Boss Battles – A New Year “Special”, Part 2

5. Jagger Froid – Super C Big bosses are an iconic trope in gaming.  The bigger, the badder, the better!  Jagger Froid (a truly odd name) is one of those legendary 8-bit bosses whose face you’ve seen time and again on box art and in reference to other creatures in the Contra series.  In Contra III, his horrific visage was the inspiration for the first phase of the final bout with the “vile Red Falcon”.  The multi-faced array of the first phase to the (I would call it ‘goofy’) sub-boss theme leads into a rumble followed by the tense...

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WedNESday: My Favorite NES Boss Battles – A Year-End “Special”, Part 1

December has been a crazy month for me so I apologize for the lack of articles.  I had planned a year-end special to be published after Christmas but I wasn’t entirely sure what to do.  I landed on a simple list of some of my favorite boss fights to be published in two parts.  I wouldn’t call this a “definitive” list.  Rather, it’s some of the best boss fights I feel are the most intimidating, creative or memorably on the NES.  I could easily expand this list in the future as well with more options from a variety of...

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Retro Game Review: Color a Dinosaur- A Jurassic Waste of Time!

“Ages 3 to 6” is printed on the hideous box for Color a Dinosaur. “3 to 6″… That alone should be a brontosaurus-sized red flag on its own for any video game, but this is not a video game. Color a Dinosaur is a distraction at best; A pointless, boring, hideous distraction. Developed by FarSight Studios and published by Virgin Games in 1993, Color a Dinosaur is an art program released for the NES where you do just what the title suggests. You pick from a list of pre-drawn coloring-book-style dinosaurs at the start, and you are taken to...

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Halloween MadNESs: Maniac Mansion (1990)

Alright!  Last Halloween entry for 2017!  Here we go… In the 80’s, Lucasfilm Games (later to branch off in the 90’s to who we now know as LucasArts) had built up a reputation as a quality games studio and were growing in fame for a number of adventure and puzzle games.  Maniac Mansion was the brainchild of one Ron Gilbert, who is now a legend in the annals of game designers having led the development of some of LucasArts most famous point-and-click adventure games including The Secret of Monkey Island and would also become lead designer at PC game...

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Halloween MadNESs – Sweet Home (1989)

When it comes to the survival horror genre, a few popular franchises come to mind for most gamers; in-particular, Resident Evil and Silent Hill.  However, there is a game that predates these entries by several years.  Released by Capcom in 1989 on the Famicom in Japan, Sweet Home is a survival horror game that makes it unlike anything else released on the platform at the time; a violent, creepy, unsettling experience from the mind of Japanese horror icon Kiyoshi Kurosawa, based on his film of the same name. Sweet Home combines top-down dungeon crawling with a traditional turn-based combat...

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Halloween MadNESs – Monster Party

Like in movies, horror games have long been part of the medium through the years.  From Haunted House on the Atari 2600, to 2016’s Salt & Sanctuary, horror is a common and very traditional genre, varying in style and tone.  If something like, say, Friday the 13th is too normal for you though, if you can dig it up, Monster Party on the NES is just the right blend of head-scratching strangeness and hair-pulling frustration! Released by Bandai in 1989, this early NES title centers on a young boy named Mark who is, out of nowhere, approached by a...

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8-bit Disney: Darkwing Duck

The Disney Afternoon is a nostalgia mainstay in the hearts and minds of many young people who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s.  As the block progressed it evolved, becoming more focused on action-centric programming after spending a few years showing childish tripe like The Wuzzles.  The success of Adventures of the Gummi Bears, Chip n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers and (most of all) DuckTales gave us yet another entry in the Disney Afternoon lineup: Darkwing Duck.  A superhero-inspired comic animated action series, DW was exciting funny and honestly still holds up today in my not-so-humble opinion.  It is...

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8-Bit Disney: TaleSpin (1991)

Apologies for the late post.  It has been a hectic week… The games released under the Disney Afternoon brands up to this point had been quite good.  DuckTales and Rescue Rangers both are solid platformers for the NES that deserve their praise.  TaleSpin, however, was Capcom’s attempt to bring the Disney license into the realm of the scrolling shooter and it seems as if it were doomed from conception.  That said, Capcom isn’t really known for excellence in the SHMUP genre.  Eco Fighters, Forgotten Worlds and 1942 are solid games in their own right but compared to their contemporaries...

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8-Bit Disney: Adventures in the Meh-gic Kingdom

By 1990, the NES already had a few years on it and there was a demand for games with a little variety.  There were a surprising few games that really worked to feature multiple styles of gameplay and give players something a little different, however even most of these weren’t very good (at best).  The problem was that at the time programming a video game on a console was a lot different than it is today and it was difficult to find a programming staff that was good at many different styles of games.  Rather, they were often “specialized”...

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WedNESday: 8-bit Disney – Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers

Returning to The Disney Afternoon for this entry, Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers is a classic platformer starring the titular former-B-list Disney characters.  The TV series revitalized the characters by placing them in an action TV series with solid writing, real stakes and a great theme song.  As was the case with Duck Tales, Capcom brought on Tokuro Fujiwara to spearhead the NES license and it definitely paid off. Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers is a very traditional platformer, borrowing the “pick-up-and-throw” mechanic from Doki Doki Panic! (Super Mario Bros. 2 in North America).  You navigate multi-layered platforming stages...

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WedNESday- 8-bit Disney: Mickey’s Adventures in Numberland

I know I’m going a little out-of-order here chronologically, but given the holiday I just did not have the time to do the next official title justice, so instead I am going to go ahead and put in the article for Mickey’s Adventures In Numberland… It’s pretty common knowledge that educational games are terrible.  With the exception of a few simulator titles and the very occasional adventure game, the concept of education is more or less lost in the world of games.  The NES was no exception and suffered no lack of lazy, tossed-together educational titles.  This week’s target…...

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