RETROTIMES #18Table of Contents
(Click below to go directly to the article)
02 Retrotimes Chat
03 The Legacy of Billy the Block
04 I Don't C it and Frankly, I Don't Want to!
05 MAME Reviews
06 That Would Make a Great Game, Wouldn't It?
07 Video Game Dream
08 The Many Faces of....
09 A Deeper Look
10 Coin-Op Corner
11 Licensed Game Fun!
12 Retro Times Awards of Classic Home Video Games
- Licensed Games Edition
13 Just Missed It
14 I Hope You'll Come and See Me in the Movies
15 eBay Notes
16 What's Happening in the Hobby?
17 The Valley of the Centipede
18 Intellivision Lives CD Reviews Part 2
20 Answers Introduction
Welcome to the big 18th issue of Retrogaming Times! This issue is another themed issue with the theme being licensed games. You remember those games based on movies, television shows, comics and more. So we will salute some of the fun and not so fun licensed games. Remember without licensed games, companies like Acclaim wouldn't exist. Maybe that wasn't a very good argument. Oh well, enjoy the issue as I try to think of a better example! Retrotimes Chat!
What are you doing tomorrow? Well, how about attending a chat about Retrogaming Times. On Saturday, February 20th at 8:00 PM EST, I will be hosting a chat about the latest issue of Retrogaming Times. If it goes over well, I would like to make it a regular event. This way I can have a chance to talk with the readers and possibly get some ideas for articles, themes, etc...
The chat will take place either here on this web site or can also be accessed via the Digital Press and Spike's Big Vectrex page. If any other pages join the network, I will let you know. So try to attend and let us make this the best newsletter it can possibly be!
(Billy's Most Famous Role, he is the block in the dragon's belly)
The Legacy of Billy the Block
(retold by Tom Zjaba)
Many people don't realize that the first celebrity of classic games went largely unknown. While he was right there in front of us, no one really knew him by name. But Billy the Block was an integral part of classic video games and his story needs to be told.
In the early days there was only pinball machines. The round balls ruled the arcades and no one could unseat them as t he kings. Many tried, like the gun games and driving games, but they just couldn't halt the mighty silver ball. Then auditions were held for a new kind of entertainment. Thousands of objects came and tried out for the part. But after a long audition, one object won out! That object was a simple little block by the name of Billy. So he was quickly sent to his first assignment, a game called Pong.
As you all know, Pong was a smash and soon there was work for all kinds of blocks. Soon they flocked to the game industry as the home market exploded. But having already done that, Billy moved on to greener pastures. With his resume ready, he went to work for a company called Atari. At first the work was rough. He had to endure being shot at tanks (the bullet in Combat), shot into the air (Air-Sea Battle) and even hit with a bat (Homerun). He would come home everyday with aches and bruises on sides a block didn't know existed. But it was all going to be worth it. He was going to get his big break!
In 1979, he was approached about a starring role in a game. Unlike his past roles, he would be the main character. No more would he have to kill himself without any notice. So he gladly accepted the role and the game was underway! In 1980, Billy the Block starred in the title role of Adventure! He was the main guy! He would fight dragons, cross bridges and find the golden chalice! The game went on to be a big hit and Billy was happy, except for one thing. The game was supposed to be called "Adventure - Starring Billy the Block". He was supposed to get the credit he richly deserved. But no, he was snubbed. Not even a mention in the credits. So like the many programmers who also felt they weren't getting the proper respect and credit, Billy quit and left Atari.
After months of searching, Billy found that the classic gaming world had no need for blocks. He auditioned for some parts, like in Venture, but they always went for the fresh, new face. People wanted full characters, not just blocks. Realizing the market had passed him by, Billy retired and headed to Mexico to live off his past earnings. But before he left the market for good, he left these words of advice to future generations "To look at me and only see a block is a testament of your imagination. It is proof of the lack of creativity that exists in the gaming world. When a child needs to see a knight to believe there is a knight in a game, then the gaming market has failed. We need to allow our imaginations to create some of the images for us. We need to be able to see a block and let our imagination tell us that it is a knight. That inner child needs to stay alive, we need to believe the unbelievable. We need to be creative or we will cease to create and that will be a very cold day".
That was the all he left in a letter that came with his story. He
mailed to me with no return address. At the top of his life story was the sentence
"Let them know the truth, let my legacy be known". So he sent me this story to
pass onto the readers of Retrogaming Times. While we all knew Billy and played the games
he starred in, we didn't know the story behind the block. But now we know who the first
true star of the classic game era was. May his legacy never be forgotten and may we all
see knights where others only see blocks.
Lately I have been seeing a disturbing letter in video game descriptions. More than once, I saw the following terms describing the condition of a video game "C-10' or "C-8". Seeing this creates a nauseous feeling in my stomach. Like the trick knee on an old man that can predict an oncoming storm, my stomach is warning me of another kind of disaster. That is the growing number of speculators that are pouring into the game market.
I remember when the sound of speculators was a trickle. It was like the leaky faucet that occasionally annoyed you. But the sound is getting worse and worse. Soon it will be a deafening roar. Soon the newsgroups will be flooded with posts for games with C-10 and C-8 ratings. Soon the condition will become important than the game. "Sure Pitfall II is a good game, but is the label a C-8 or higher" will be what we will see.
While I don't know the origin of this "C" rating system, I first saw it used for action figures. From what I gather, the C stands for condition and the number is a 1-10 rating with the higher being the better. While this is generally accepted in action figures (and one of the reason why I quit dealing with them), there is no set standards for video games. Do these supposed experts that rate these know how far down an actiplaqued cart should be? How about a rolled label? There is nowhere that shows how to grade carts, so these people are just making it up. Sure a "C-10" should look brand new, but how about after that? They have no clue and are merely guessing.
While I understand there are quite a few people who put a high priority on cart condition (and a few whose emails I never bothered to respond to when they asked about the most minute details of the condition of a cart), but I just hope in all of this they don't lose sight of the true intent of a video game cartridge......to be played!Why is it?
Why is it that Warner, the company that owned both Atari and DC Comics, only released one game based on one of their characters? The game of course was Superman. MAME Reviews
I moved the MAME reviews back to the top of the newsletter. I figured I would move things around a bit to keep the newsletter from getting too predictable. This month, I chose a few licensed games to review. While there are many different games based on movies and such that were made, I decided to review a few of the not so predictable ones. Sure I could have done Star Wars and Star Trek, but I will go a bit more obscure. So take a look and see the other movie games.
Most people probably don't remember the movie and from what I can remember, it is probably a better thing. But most classic collectors are familiar with the game, mainly the Atari 2600 version. But before it became a cart, it was an arcade game first. Krull was like many of the next generation of arcade games. Unlike the Pacmans and Space Invaders of the earlier generation, Krull featured multiple games in one. It wasn't the same board over and over again.
The game starts off with a bit of a chase! You must run around and pick up the pieces of your Glaive weapon. As you are doing this, a whole bunch of boulders are rolling down at you, trying to flatten your poor body. While it can be a bit overwhelming at first, you will soon find that this level is quite easy. A little patience will reward you as paths to the pieces will soon open up. But as soon as you finish, it is off to a harder challenge.
The next challenge will tax you a little more. This time you are out to save your men from the evil Slayers. This level plays alot like Robotron with a mix or Discs of Tron. Like Robotron, you must save the people who are running around. As you try to save them, you have to kill all the slayers on the level. But like Discs of Tron, you can only throw so many weapons at once, before you have to wait for them to return. So it is a good idea not to toss them all at once or you may find yourself weaponless and that is not a good thing.
The third stage once more has you saving your men. I personally think these guys are useless and you should just leave them to fend for themselves. But the game insists that you save them and so off you go. Once again the Slayers are out in force and you must move around a cave and grab these pathetic men. Get them all and you get to move on.
On the fourth stage, you have to shoot down the walls of a fortress to guess what......save your men again. They really should change the name of this game from "Krull" to "Save Your Pathetic Army". This level is pretty easy as you just have to wait for the wall to turn black and shoot it. Sure some of the Slayers come to stop you, but they are just a minor annoyance on this level.
But when you come to the last level, you must face the big boss monster. Where is this army you just saved? Nowhere to be seen. You spend the majority of the game, saving their hides and what do they do? All head to the bar for Miller time as you are left to save the princess. Be wary as the monster shoots a very accurate fireball and if it misses you, it will turn around and head back at you. That is right, a ricocheting fireball! What will they think of next? Anyways, save your sweetie and you win the game. Actually I am guessing this last part as I cannot get past the big bruiser. I know I did in my youth, but like all that Latin I took, it is long forgotten how it ends. But any battle beyond this would seem pretty anticlimactic. Maybe you get to go and berate your troops or something, but this is probably just wishful thinking.
All in all, the game is pretty fun. Not a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but a fun little diversion. Maybe I will go rent the movie and see if it is accurate. Wonder if any store still has it?
We all remember the video game based movie, right! You know the Disney movie that featured the first computer animated scenes or something like that? Well, it also spawned two successful arcade games. Since I already reviewed Discs of Tron (one of my all-time favorites), I decided to review the other game. Much like Krull, Tron is a series of different games put together to make up one big game. One nice feature about Tron is that it let you choose the order in which the games could be played. Now that is a novel concept!
Probably the most popular of the games on Tron is the lightcycles. Versions of this game are found on most game systems. It is a race between two lightcycles. where you have to box the other one in. You can move your cycle at two speeds, fast and really fast. Boost the speed and try to cut off the computer cycle and make him run into the wall you just made. It is as easy as that. But as you make it through the game a few times, there appears more and more cycles and your task gets tougher.
Another game is a tank game, much in the mold of Combat. You have to move around a maze and shoot the other tank without it hitting you. First stage on this game is pretty easy, one tank. But the second time around they boost the stakes as you must face three tanks. Ouch!
The third game is a pretty basic one. There is a wall of blocks that you must shoot out and get to the top. They keep coming so you have to make a path through them and rush up there. Pretty humdrum.
The last stage (if you decide to play them in this order) is the spiders. You must shoot past these creatures as you try to get into a room of sorts in the middle. Again nothing special, though those spiders get pretty plentiful.
Individually the only game that really stands on its own is the lightcycles. The rest of the games are decent, but not spectacular. But as a package, it is much better. The music in the game is enjoyable and it helps to elevate the game. I have never been a huge fan of the game, but do find myself playing it from time to time. The one major flaw with the emulated version is that you need to use the mouse along with the keyboard and it can be a bit awkward. While you can move and shoot with the keyboard (or V-Stick in my case), you need the mouse to control which way you are shooting. Try moving a joystick and hitting a button with one hand, not an easy feat. Besides this, it is a good game. But give me Discs of Tron anyday.That Would Make a Great Game, Wouldnt It ?
by Fred Wagaman
Licensed games. A topic that send shudders down the collective backs of the gaming community. A property that has done well in one medium thats expected to do well in another. TV shows, movies, comic books and ,yes, even real-life people (Shaq-Fu anyone ?) have been translated into video games. Some companies have made their mark on the industry by dealing primarily in licensed games. That mark could better be described as a stain.
There have been some exceptions over the years. Goldeneye for the N64 is a prime example of a licensed property put to good use. So is Star Wars: The Arcade Game.
How many times have you thought when watching a horror movie "DONT OPEN THAT DOOR !" or "GET YOUR GUN READY !" ? As a kid, didnt you think it would be great to be Superman or Spiderman ? So why is it so difficult for movies, TV shows and the like to make a successful transition to the gaming world ?
Lets compare something.
Batman vs. Superman.
Kids WB asked the question a few months ago. Whos tougher ? Batman or Superman. The opinions among those surveyed with a preference choose Batman. Notice, the question was, "Whos tougher ?".
If such a thing were possible, who would win if they fought ? As kids, we argued over this. And we batted around the possibilities. But lets face it. Super strength, heat vision, ability to fly and being invulnerable would allow Superman for trash Batman. At least on paper.
But in "The Dark Knight Returns" mini-series, Batman beat Superman through preparation, cunningness, teamwork and an extensive knowledge of his opponents weaknesses.
Now, lets look at Batman vs. Superman in a videogame. Justice League Task Force. Forget the background story. (Forget the game for that matter). Batman fighting Superman. Batman can beat Superman with a series of Bat-erangs and jump kicks ? Superman doesnt knock out Bats with one punch ? Whats wrong here ?
It comes down to this. Games give you control, but must fundamentally limit your actions. Other fiction (movies, books, etc.) have unlimited (within reason) actions, but limits your control. In the game, Batman must beat Superman with Bat-erangs and jump kicks because thats all you have to work with. Why were they even in a fighting game to begin with ?
I think this is why licensed games have a bad reputation. Unrealistic and unrealized expectations right out of the box. You want all of the possibilities and abilities that you saw in that movie and youre limited to running around with a gun and shooting things. Goldeneye gave you many of the abilities that James Bond had in the movie and put it in the confines of missions similar to the movie. (Then they added that great deathmatch mode). Star Wars: The Arcade Game took one part of the movie and put you in the same situation, with the same limitations.
So what other licensed properties would make good games ?
Based on the preceding criteria, the property would be required to have limited abilities and clearly defined objectives. By having this criteria, the property would translate into the limited world that games offer.
To that end I have a suggestion for a game based on a licensed property.
You never heard of them ? (A problem for any licensed property games)
And Diaper Man
Protectors of the town of Goodhaven against the likes of the Shredder, the Shrinker and the Stretcher.
Its a cartoon from the mid-60s by Terrytoons. The characters have limited abilities and every one of their cartoons went the same way. Trouble erupts, heroes respond and engage the villain and his minions, heroes get caught, heroes escape and heroes defeat the villain and his minions by learning from their previous mistakes. The villains minions are a bunch of duplicate robots or whatever that are dumber than dirt.
Sounds like a perfect video game formula to me.
What have ideas do you have ?
What movies or TV shows or books do you think would make a good game ?
Lost in Space ?
What licensed property translated to video game would make you take up needlepoint ?
Hope Floats ?
Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ill publish the best-of-the-best and the worst-of-the-worst in a future issue.
Fred has been playing games for over 20 years and actively collecting them for almost 10. The 2200 + games that he has takes up most of his home office and living room. He lives in Denver, PA with his understanding wife Jennie and his 3 year-old, button-loving son, Max. He encourages anyone with a love of video games to take the Video Game Aptitude Test at http://vgat.videogames.com/ . His certified score was 1290. A bit higher than his SATs. His teachers must be proud.
For more on the "Mighty Heroes" go to: http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Hills/1548/mh.htmlClassic Video Game Trivia
The license with the most released classic games was Star Wars! There were a total of 8 games released over the different platforms (4 on Atari 2600, 2 Atari 5200, 1 Colecovision, 1 Intellivision). After Star Wars, there is a tie between Tron and Star Trek, each with 5 games (Tron-3 Intellivision, 2 Atari 2600), and Star Trek (1 each for Atari 2600, 5200, Coleco, Microvision and Vectrex). Video Game Dream
Like most collectors, I have had classic video game dreams. Is is a sign of too much collecting or too many snacks at night? Irregardless, I decided to share my dream with you.
(Enter dream mode-add a little fog at the beginning and end for atmosphere) I was doing my usual rounds at the thrift stores, when I decided to stop at a drug store to get something to drink. After grabbing a Pepsi, I left and as I was making my way back to my car, I noticed an odd bag sticking out of a trash can. Being the inquisitive type, I took a look in the bag and saw there were classic game stuff. So I grabbed the bag, took a look around to make sure it was abandoned and headed back to the car to see what I found.
As I entered my car, I opened the bag and was shocked with my discovery. Inside the bag were three unopened, see-thru packages. One contained six games that I had never seen before. The top of the package said "Atari Classics on Coleco". Under that it read "Your favorite Atari games remade and enhanced for the Colecovision system! Now you can enjoy these games on your Colecovision system without an Atari adapter". The whole package looked generic, but the games had labels that looked like Atarisoft labels, but the games weren't anything Atarisoft ever released. Inside were the following six games: Adventure, Space Invaders, Asteroids, Super Breakout, Missile Command and Joust.
The other two packages were equally bizarre. Each one contained a Super Action Controller and two cartridges. While the controllers were identical in shape and design to a regular Super Action controller, their colors were different. One was bright red and the other was bright blue. They were almost neon in color and quite striking, in a gaudy manner. The red one came packaged with Super Action Baseball and Super Action Basketball. The blue one came packaged with Super Action Football and Super Action Soccer. Neither had instruction books or overlays, just the carts and joystick. The package simply said "Super Action Bonus Pack" and had a price of $9.95.
I then remember starting the car and driving home to try these new finds, but I woke up before I ever returned home. So I will never know what these games were like. Oh well, probably better since they don't exist. Is that a weird dream or what?
The Many Faces of.........Gorf
by Doug Saxon
Gorf is another one of those popular space games that was ever so present during the early arcade craze. Though I cannot be sure on this, supposedly Bally/Midway produced Galaxian, Gorf, Galaga, and Gyruss in the arcades in that order and they were all sequels to each other (feel free to correct me on this). Gorf has a taste of just about every space game genre. There are four stages or "missions" in the game. The first is an almost exact reproduction of Space Invaders, the second has more of a Galaxian swing to it with aliens actually coming down at you, the third is perhaps what set the example for Gyruss, an attempt at a 3-D attack, and the fourth and final stage is that which is seen on games such as Phoenix and Demon Attack: a big mother ship to destroy. What probably holds a special place in most gamer's hearts is the voice at the arcades. An alien-like voice seducing you to enter a quarter and play. Outside the arcades, this game can be found on the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, and Colecovision.
Bronze Medal: Atari 5200
Silver Medal: Atari 2600
Gold Medal: Colecovision
(Doug Saxon is an engineering student at the University of Cincinnati. He's mainly into 2600, 5200, Colecovision, and Intellivision. He's also a proud owner of a mint Chase the Chuckwagon cartridge and Swordquest Waterworld. He can be reached via email at email@example.com. Doug has finished his Atari 5200 collection. If you have any for sale or trade give him an e-mail.")A Deeper Look......
To coincide with the theme, I will review two of the licensed games out there. Since I covered quite a few in the past, this will be a bit of a challenge, but I am up to the challenge! So here we go!
The first part of the game has you flying a helicopter across the screen while dodging gunfire. You must grab the patients and fly them over. Once you finish here, you are sent to the next screen where you have to operate on a patient. There is this big guy and you must remove the shrapnel. This plays alot like Operation, only he doesn't have a nose that lights up. If you save the patient, you get to do it all over again. That is it. Not alot to get excited about.
It is a decent game, but doesn't really capture the spirit of the show or the movie. But considering the system (Atari 2600), it is understandable. There is a prototype on the Coleco, but like many other games it is the same thing with improved graphics.
A Deeper Look at.....Star Trek
The game tries valiantly to make a good game and for the most part it succeeds. You must shoot Klingon and Romulan ships as they fly overhead. You can tell them apart as one is two blocks long and the other is three. It plays alot like Air-Sea Battle and less like a Star Trek game.
But like most Microvision games, it isn't the most exciting and quickly becomes dull. While most fans of the system, make excuses for it (the technology wasn't there, it came out a long time ago), I cannot let such stuff waver my opinion. This game did not need the Star Trek name on it and one can only guess that it was there to help sell copies. If you own a Microvision, it is a worthwhile addition, but it is not a reason to go out and buy a Microvision.Coin-Op Corner
by Rayth Orlea
As many classic collections grow, one thing most people want is a full size arcade machine. The first thing you will want to do is pick out a game. Will you want a dedicated game or one that can handle lots of different games.
The dedicated games are fantastic looking beasts with all the art and such matching. Some of these are easily switched to other games, (Donkey Kong to Donkey Kong Jr.) and some require a complete rewire to run another game.
JAMMA (Japanese, arcade, machine, manufactures, association) cabinets run a common wire harness that lets you just put a new board in and play. Some examples of JAMMA games are: The Simpsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mortal Kombat. Though if you want to run MK you will have to have more buttons than the others. Most of the JAMMA cabinets are plain looking or an older game converted to the JAMMA standard. most games from the late 80`s to now are JAMMA
The second thing to consider is price. A lot of your older, dedicated machines will be pricey to a new collector. I have seen Defender go for over $700 and not be in working condition. Though there are a lot that can be had for a fraction of that cost. JAMMA machines tend to be cheaper depending on what game is in it. The key thing is what is the game worth to you and not to jump at the first one you see. Take your time and look a little and you will be much happier in the end.
Third, where to buy it. There are many places to get an arcade machine. You can ask your local arcade if they have any for sale. most Operators don`t want to keep a game if it doesn't make them any money. This is a good way to find ones you won`t even see in the arcade. It quit making money and is in storage someplace. The arcade owner are happy to get rid of it lots of times.
The news group: Rec.Games.Video.Arcade.Collecting is a great place to find games, but you will have to travel or have it shipped to you most of the time. Another great thing about this NG is getting parts to complete a certain game. I found the Blue, TRON joystick for mine to make it correct, there.
Auctions are another place to find your dream game.
US Amusement Auctions - Terms & Conditions this will give you a schedule of auctions close to you. There are over 500 games at some and prices from as little as $5 for a game that just needs a little work.
One last thing to consider is condition of the game. Are you handy at fixing electronic circuits or a woodworker? If so you will be able to save a lot buy getting a game you can fix yourself. Be warned, some parts are almost impossible to get nowadays. I have been looking for Donkey Kong side art for a year and haven`t found any I could afford.
This should give you things to think about as you dive into the arcade side of collecting. It`s a great thing to have your own game and to have your friends over to play it. One more thing you should do is read the FAQs on arcade so you will be armed with the knowledge to make a good purchase. A great place for this is:
The 'Wiretap' Arcade Game Collector's Archive
If you have any questions feel free to email me and I`ll help you as much as I can. Next time we will go into some easy repairs so you can keep on playing when things go wrong!!
(Rayth Orlea is 31 and lives in Danville Il, where he drive a bus for mentally handicapped people. He have several reptiles, and also collect arcade machines. He would like to get into some part of the game industry. You can email him at Repti3@aol.com or visit his web site at http://www.geocities.com/timessquare/labyrinth/6694)Licensed Game Fun!
Here is some fun trivia questions for you to answer. They aren't the toughest, but they are just for fun! Answers are at the end of the newsletter!
A. What System Were They Made For?
01. Berenstein Bears
B. Which Characters Appeared?
C. What Company Made Them?
01. Cabbage Patch Kids Adventure in the Park for Colecovision
By Alan Hewston
We return again with a theme issue of the Retro Times, dedicated to the many licensed-based home video games. Our editor has graciously allowed me to write another feature article on the Retro Times awards, provided that I do not make it too long this time. The best way to shorten the content is get you to choose the winners for each category. Feel free to vote for two in each category, and don't worry if your choices are based on game play, creativity, or just your own favorite. This is not rocket science, just fun. Please reply to TomHeroes@aol.com or me and tell us your votes for each category. Speaking of categories, they are the Best: Superheroes; Famous Personalities; Animated / Cartoon Characters; Vehicles; Childrens Stars; Toughguys; Spaceships; and Monsters / Villains - in a classic, licensed-based home video game.
Nominees for Best Superheroes are:
Nominees for Best Famous
Nominees for the Best Animated /
Cartoon Characters are:
Nominees for Best Childrens
The nominees for Best Toughguys
Nominees for Best Spaceships are:
Finally, in the most highly contested category,
Nominees for Best Monsters /
Don't forget to vote for your 2 favorites from each category. We'll post the results next issue.
(Alan Hewston, is a Rocket Scientist (actually an Aerospace Engineer) at NASA Lewis (soon to be named John Glenn) Research Center in Cleveland. Alan can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org]"Just Missed It"
By Alan Hewston
How many licensed-based, classic home video games just missed coming out? Well, there were quite a few that were either in the planning stages, or completed as prototypes, but never hit the shelves. Too bad the market crashed, as there were also many home arcade conversions that didn't make it either. Several of the unreleased games were either already advertised or had demos at the various consumer electronics shows. Unfortunately, the licensed-based games probably take longer to produce than a generic (original idea) video game. There can be delays in negotiating the contract, and getting approval on artwork, gameplay, sprites, violence, packaging, etc. etc. etc. Now days, the game programmer probably takes a generic game code, already written, and easily tailors it to suit the TV show, movie, licensed characters, or toy.
Using primarily the 1998 Digital Press Guide, here is an abridged list of games that "Just Missed It": 48 Hours, 9 to 5, Bugs Bunny, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, C.Hi.P.S, Donald Duck's Speedboat Race, Dukes of Hazzard, Dumbo's Flying Circus, Fall Guy, Flesh Gordon, Flintstones, Friday the 13th, Garfield, Good Luck Charlie Brown, Grover's Music Maker, Incredible Hulk, Jaws, The Last Starfighter, The Lord of the Rings, Magnum P.I., Marathon Man, McDonald's, Mickey & the Beanstalk, Mickey & the Great Outdoors, Miss Piggy's Wedding, Mission Impossible, Mr. Bill's Neighborhood, Mr. T., Pink Panther, Ripley's Believe it or Not, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Romper Room, Sherlock Holmes, Smokey the Bear, Smurfette's Birthday, Snow White, Star Trek: the Motion Picture, Star Trek: 2, Star Trek: 3, Sword and the Sorcerer, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, War of the Worlds, Wizard of Id's Adventure, Wizard of Oz, Wonder Woman, Woody Woodpecker, Yogi's Frustration, and at least 8 television game shows.
Time for those ambitious 2600 programmers to make some of these. Just don't name them as such - you'd need a license.
(Alan Hewston, who returned to retrogaming in February 1998 with his original collection of 44 Atari 2600 carts, can be reached at: email@example.com]Why Is It?
Why is it that in adventure games, a human can run a trading post in the middle of a dungeon and the monsters don't go over and kill him? "I Hope You'll Come and See Me in the Movies"
By Alan Hewston
There are still a handful of licensed-based games left unmentioned. These are the games that are (loosely) based upon a movie of the same name. I am sure that a few of these are not related, and maybe even the game of the same name came first. It would be neat if there were any games that inspired a movie. Anybody know any? Well, there was such a movie The Last Starfighter where the movie's plot was based upon an arcade video game. Joe Bob Briggs (or someone from TBS or TNT) said that Atari corp. made the game and that it was to have been made available to the public. I think that he said the movie credits listed it as available at your local arcade. 'Not the case', as Joe Bob told us. Atari did have a fine looking demo or prototype that worked for shots in the movies but sat on it otherwise. I believe that it was also slated to come out for the 5200.
Ready! Action! Here are the games based upon, or with the same name as a movie, or TV series: The Towering Inferno, Bachelor Party, Great Escape, Fantastic Voyage, Porky's, The Earth Dies Screaming, Bermuda Triangle, Super Cobra, Mega Force, War Games, Top Gun, Spy Hunter, and Commando. Is that Arnold in the Data East game? I didn't have time to research these all, but at least that will give you something to think about. Just in case, I listed all the 20th Century Fox games, save those that I knew were NOT licensed-based. I know that you probably said 'Hey what about Tapper and a license with Mountain Dew'. I wonder if PepsiCo paid Sega for this advert? Anyone know? Did Coleco (Rootbeer Tapper) fail to negotiate with Mountain Dew? Or perhaps only Sega had the rights. Maybe the 2600 version came later? Then there is Coke Wins, or the Pepsi Invaders . . .
(Alan Hewston's first year of retrogaming has addicted him to nearly all the classic game systems and he now has over 700 carts for the Atari 400/2600/5200/7800/XEGS, Bally Astrocade 64, Intellivision, NES, Odyssey 2, Sega Genesis, SNES, and Vic 20]. Alan can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org]eBay Notes
The latest news on eBay is that the deals are all but a thing of the past. Where you once were able to find a system and a collection of carts for a low price, now that is all but over. A Coleco or Intellivision with a dozen common games can easily fetch $60-$70 and sometimes even more. This is about twice the price they were getting over the summer and one more sign that classic gaming is becoming more mainstream. Even the common Ataris are now getting $35-50 for a system with 10-15 common games. These were barely topping the $25 mark only a few short months ago. Where there once seemed to be a shortage of buyers, there seems to be plenty.
The big news on eBay is that they are finally moving Atari games to its own section. After years of sharing a section with Nintendo, Playstation and Sega, it can finally be in its own section. The effects this has can go either way. It will either send the prices higher as people believe that these carts must be hot if they are given their own section or the prices will start to slow down some because they will get less exposure. Now all the people who are looking for Playstation and N64 games won't see some old cart like Halloween or Chase the Chuckwagon get some obscene price for it. This will mean that there will be less people getting the wrong idea (you know how people see one cart sell for $200 and assume they are all carts are worth that much) about classic games. We will have to wait and see how this plays out.Why is is?
Why is it out of all the great music bands out there, the only one that had a classic game made about them was Journey? What's Happening in the Hobby?
As always, there were numerous interesting threads in the newsgroups. Here are a few that kept our attention.
Personal Collecting Goals-This is one that garnered the most response I seen in a long time. People would respond with what their goals were, whether it was to get all the games from a certain company or for a certain system or whatever. Mine were to get the final board game I needed (Dragon's Lair), the three tabletops I really want (Zaxxon, King Kong and Star Castle) and marquees of the games I really like. It was great to see what everyone's goals were and we got response from some usually quiet members of the newsgroup. Kudos on a great thread!
eBay Feedback Change-There was talk of changes in the feedback system on eBay and how to get more feedback. A few good suggestions were given on how to get people to give you feedback, without begging and pleading.
Rarest Item in your Collection-This was another fun thread as people told about prototypes and other rare items they have in their collection. There were a few mentions of Vectrexes and Microvisions.
Super Mario/Duck Hunt-Probably one of the funniest threads was how a handful of people are buying up all the Super Marios from Funcoland. At a dime a piece, you are not talking a big investment. I added to the thread to say how funny I thought it was that Funcoland paid a penny each for this cart. What is even funnier is that the penny is in trade and the store doesn't even have a gum machine. Sheesh!The Valley of the Centipede
by Tom Zjaba
Chapter 1-The Chosen One
For generations, we lived above the valley of the Centipede. We stared down into the dark valley and watched as the creatures would scurry through the immense mushroom fields. The great mushrooms that littered the field, grew to enormous sizes. Some would be two men high (approximately 10 feet). Shielded under their gargantuan caps were the smaller, more succulent stems that our people would gather. Every few months, we would descend into the valley of the Centipede to stock up on the mushrooms. We would fill our sacks and carts to capacity and head out as fast as we could. Everytime the great Centipede would awaken and head down to claim his tribute. Like the great thunder above, we would hear those hundred feet pounding as the Centipede would weave its way through the patch. As it came down, we would send four chosen ones to greet the Centipede and the other inhabitants of the field and give their lives so the Centipede may feast.
Our fathers and their fathers always told us that the Centipede protected the field from the other insects. It kept the field alive and provided us with the mushrooms we became so reliant on. In exchange, we would help feed it. It was a great honor to give one's life to the Centipede. Once you were chosen from the drum to be one of the chosen ones, your name was inscribed in the book of saints and your place in the afterworld was secured. You would then go to live among the ones who came before you and feast at the table of the Gods. These lofty dreams were enough to make believers out of everyone. Everyone except me. My name is Galaan and I was just chosen. Unlike my people, I do not believe the Centipede is a God. Rather it is a monster, one which has enslaved my people and forces them to satisfy its ravenous hunger.
I have just entered my sixteenth season and by law, my name was added to the drum. Many have come to me and told me how lucky I was to have my name chosen so soon. They tell me how they wish the laws would allow us to trade places. Everyone treats you like a king for the week leading up to the gathering. Your every need is filled, be it food or other desires. The women of the tribe offer themselves to you. It is great honor to carry the child of a chosen one. But only one girl is the one I wish to be with. The fair Jolette, who was to be my mate, is the only one I ever longed for. But I don't want our time together to be so fleeting. I dreamed of a long life away from the village. I dreamed of a place where you could live to a ripe old age and noone had to give their life to some hellspawn creature. But fate has changed all that.
As the day grows nearer, I must make plans on how to survive. I cannot just leave the village or I risk losing my beloved Jolette. To refuse such an honor as being sacrificed to the Centipede would bring unspeakable shame to myself and my family. If I didn't escape, I would be stoned to death and my immediate family would suffer the same grisly fate. I could not bring such pain and suffering to my family, even if they are under the same trance that engulfs the entire village. Everyone except me and the local lunatic, Pangeon the wielder of the black arts. Pangeon has long fought against the sacrifices, but he only succeeded in having himself expelled to the outskirts of the village. He is the only one who agrees with me, so I must seek his advice and see if there is any alternative.
As the nightfall's and the sounds from the valley grow in volume, the people of the village head into their homes and lock all the doors. While the daylight provides protection from the creatures of the valley, the nightfall offers none. The lesser creatures rise up from the valley and roam through the village. The great spiders and the other beasts look for the house that is not securely locked or any animals not properly penned up. You can hear their clacking noises as they make their way down the streets. They come searching for the handouts that are routinely given to them. The sick and the aged are left out as their days of usefulness come to an end. To ease their pain, they are usually given strong medicines that knock them out. But tonight there are no such meals left for the beasts. Tonight I must venture out by myself and try to get past the hungry beasts who roam the streets.
As Jolette falls into a deep slumber, I quietly rise from my bed and
make my way out into the streets. As I leave the safe confines of the house, I make sure
to securely lock the door back up. While I have no reservations about placing myself in
mortal danger, I will not allow such harm to come to my beloved. It is for her that I make
this journey, even though she knows nor would approve of my intentions. Upon entering the
darkness, I pull my knife from its sheath and quietly make my way to the cave of Pangeon.
While the journey is only a few miles, the risks are great. But for my dear Jolette and
for the future generations, I must make it. I must find the means to end the menace of the
Centipede or die trying.
Only six games appeared on all three classic Atari consoles (2600,5200, & 7800). They were Centipede, Dig Dug, Joust, Ms. Pac-Man, RealSports Baseball, & Mario Bros. [Pole Position doesn't count because the 7800 version was Pole Position II]. -Sent in by Lee Seitz Intellivision Lives CD Reviews Part Two
Here is my second and final part of the Intellivision Lives CD review. I will take a look at six more of the unreleased games that come on the CD. Some are quite enjoyable and others are well.....not as enjoyable. Yeah, that's a safe answer! So read on and maybe this will help you decide if this is for you or not.
1. Land Battle-This is one involved game! Essentially it is a very advanced version of capture the flag as that is the main objective. But in this game you get bazookas, tanks and other stuff to use to capture the flag. One of the best features is that there are an unlimited amount of different maps to play on, making each game unique. You can start by selecting one of 1000 set maps or just hit for a random map and it will create one for you.
The game has different kinds of terrain that will affect your movement. The different types of pieces also affect the game and there is alot of strategy to determine where and when to attack. You can also take over captured troops and the game will occasionally award some troops to one side.
My friend Jeff and myself played this for awhile and while we were having difficulty figuring out all the game, we did have alot of fun. Just be prepared to spend a good hour getting familiar with the rules you should print them out as it is a very involved game). But if you put the time into it, you will be rewarded with a very good game! One flaw is that it is only a two player game, so if you have no friend to play, you are out of luck.
2. Meteor-This is essentially Asteroids, but with one main difference. While in asteroids you are on one field and the game takes place there. In Meteor, you can fly all over space and shoot asteroids. The problem with this is there is no way to gauge how many asteroids need to be destroyed to move to the next level, if there is a next level.
All the regular features of Asteroids is there, including hyperspace, asteroids that break into smaller pieces and the flying saucer. It plays well, but the endless space makes it a bit frustrating. Still a worthwhile game and a nice addition to the Intellivision library.
3. Number Jumbler-This is an educational game and that should say it all. You get to choose if you want to be a submarine a tank or a plane. You shoot two opponents and then you get a math problem. Figure it out and get points and go back to the action. It does have 48 levels of difficulty, so it has levels for all ages. But the constant breaks in the action are annoying and the games aren't all that exciting to begin with.
4. Party Line-This is a series of three different games that were to be part of a package. Two of the three games are playable on the CD and those are the ones I will review.
-Space Cadet-This is a very fun little game! You control a little alien in a space ship and you must destroy the other aliens planet before they destroy yours. One planet is all ice and the other is all molten lava. As you can guess, you must make them the opposite they are. You do this by running over these twinkling stars that randomly appear on the screen. They only appear a few seconds before they disappear and pop up somewhere else. When you hit one, they fly over and cause the damage to the planet. As you send more and more, they will slowly cover the planet until it is completely covered and the game ends.
As is the tradition of all great games, there is the outside force that noone controls. Like the hurricane in Utopia and the shark in Fishing Derby, this has a mad asteroid. This thing flies around and if it hits you, you alien is stunned as he pops out of his ship and does a flip. It is a cute little animation.
Another fun feature is that you can bump into the other player's ship. While you cannot damage the ship, you can push him away from a star or into the mad asteroid. Of course, he can also do this to you. This is what makes it a great two player game! Nothing infuriates a person more than having you push them into the asteroid. This is a great game and a shame it had to wait so long to be released!
-Hard Hat-Another two player game, this one isn't quite as much fun as Space Cadet. The best part of this game is the beginning as you and your opponent start the game off by sitting on a toilet and smoking a cigarette. That alone is priceless! Once the game starts, you have one mission, you must complete your building before your opponent does. This is done by grabbing pieces of glass that are on a lift that goes up and down between buildings. You grab the glass and move it over and snap it into place. That simple!
The one fun feature to the game is that you can go over and bust the glass your opponent puts up. But this only drags out an already long game. The one biggest problem with the game is that the building is too big. It will take you a long time to finish it and with your friend smashing your work, this could become the game that never ends.
If they made the building a little smaller or the panes of glass bigger, it would have been a better game. It is also missing the outside force that makes a player player game great. Even a cooperative game where you are racing the clock or something would have added to the game.
5. Super Soccer-This is a fun little soccer game and gives you two options at the start of the game. You can play a normal game of soccer or you can opt to do the penalty kicks instead. The penalty kick version has you taking the role of either the kicker or the goalie. Each team gets five shots on goal and the team with the most goals wins. You can choose the direction of the kick and the longer you hold down the direction, the more height you get on the kick.
The regular soccer game plays alot like the regular Intellivision game, with a one player feature. They were to have up to four players at once, but that is not included. Overall a good game and will keep you occupied for awhile. The penalty kick section adds to the longevity of the game.
6. Takeover-I cannot really review this game as there were no instructions for the game and I was not able to figure out what to do. It is supposed to play like Risk and seems really cool, but I am at a loss. Any help would be appreciated.Conclusion
Well, another themed issue comes to a close! Hope you didn't get overwhelmed with all the theme stuff. Next issue will be the last theme issue for awhile. It is a salute at the hardware of the classic game era! We will talk a bit about systems, add-ons, joysticks and more! A few special features will be an interview by Alan Hewston of an Atari Games Programmer. Also Lee Seitz has sent in a great trivia contest (much harder than my Licensed one). Plus you can expect great articles from Fred Wagaman, Doug Saxon and . Oh yeah, I will do an article or two. I would like to take this time to say that last issue was the most read issue yet! We had over 3700 hits! That is over a thousand more than the previous issue! While the actual readership is probably about one fourth that (some people come back to read the rest or go read some of the back issues and click back), that is still a very encouraging number! Remember that we always accept submissions and would love to hear from you! Keep those fire buttons pressed and see you in thirty days! Answers:
04-Atari 2600, Colecovision
05-Atari 2600(Pigs in Space)
10-Atari 2600, Atari 5200
Did they appear?
What Company Made Them?
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