Introduction Summer is over half over and the first thoughts of back to school are creeping
in the minds of kids. This is the time of year when you can go to almost any
retailer and hear someone say "Back to school already? It starts earlier each
year." You can come back in a few months and hear the same conversation about
Christmas. But in the world of games, this is the time of year when we are
looking for any tidbit of news we can about the upcoming systems. Will the XBOX
One or the PS4 be the dominant system? Will this be the final game system to
have physical games? These and many other questions are being speculated to
death in newsgroups, message boards and in game stores. It will be interesting
to see who comes out on top.
Video Game Hunter
When you hunt games, you will come across some strange people. I met my share of
interesting people, but this story is about the creepiest people that I ever
encountered. I received a call from my ad in the paper from a young woman who
said she had a Colecovision with all the adapters and over 200 Coleco and Atari
2600 games. She wanted $150.00 for the whole lot. I told her that I would be
interested if the number of carts was correct and everything worked. So we
arranged a time to come see the collection.
I went to the house with my oldest son,Alex, along for the ride. He was only
three years old, but with my wife very pregnant with twins, I did not want to
leave him home. So he joined me in my hunt. I arrived at a normal looking house
in a suburb. I was greeted at the door by an attractive but very shy girl. She
welcomed me in the house and without making any eye contact, told me she would
go downstairs to get the games. I stood in the kitchen as I waited for her to
come back with the games. While she was gone, a man wearing nothing but a pair
of leopard print underwear walked into the room. He asked if I was here to buy
the games. I told him yes and he asked me how much I was going to pay for them.
I told him that I would have to see how many games there were and the condition
but that his significant other offered them to my for $150.00. He started to
laugh and said there was no way she was selling them that low. He said they were
worth at least a grand. Right away, I knew this was a waste of time.
While his state of undress made me uncomfortable, it was his collection of guns
that really made me squirm. All around his house were gun racks on his walls,
each one with multiple rifles on them. This included a few assault rifles. This
made me question my sanity. I should have ran right there, but my curiosity got
the best of me and I needed to see if the games were any good.
In the fine tradition of game hunting, this one was a total whiff. She brought
up a couple of boxes with a Colecovision, an Atari adapter, a turbo steering
wheel and a roller controller. She was right about the adapters. All that was
missing were the super action controllers. And all the adapters and the sytem
had their original boxes. I was getting excited, but trying to temper my
enthusiasm as the nearly naked, gun collecting nutjob brought down one of his
rifles to either show me or intimidate me.
The game carts were a let down as the 200 turned into less than a hundred. And
they were mostly common games. A few decent games, but nothing worth getting
shot over. She asked me if I was interesed and I said that I already owned all
the games but I was interested in the Roller Controller for the Coleco. It was
the only adapter that I did not own. She asked me how much I would give her for
it. I looked over at her significant other with the assault rifle and gulped. I
said I would give her $50.00 for it. She said yes, but he quickly jumped in and
said "We cannot sell that for less than an hundred bucks." I politely said that
it was too much. He then went on how he gets over a hundred for an Atari 2600
system with no games. I just held my tongue. She then jumped in and said it was
her games and she wanted to sell it for $50.00. He then told her to shut the hell up. She left the room, visibly upset.
I said that I was going to leave and grabbed my
son and left the house as fast as possible. That was the last time I took my son
to a house to buy video games.
Ouya A Short Review
I have been wanting a game system for my bedroom for quite awhile. I wanted
something that was small in size and had built in wifi . With the PS3 in the
living room, I was looking for an affordable system to play when the other
televisions in the house are occupied. My first attempt at this was the Onlive
game system. It met the size criteria but unfortunately it was not WiFi. This
meant it had to be played in the living room as that is where the cable box is
wired. Then I tried the Vizio Co-Star as it let you play Onlive with WIFI. That
system was so bug riddled that I ended up selling it on ebay a month after
I was almost ready to give up my quest, when I heard about Ouya. It could play
games you buy in their store and it could play Onlive games as well as a bunch
of emulators. And it was tiny in size and only a $100.00. I decided to wait
until after it came out to see the reviews before making the committment. I
learned the hard way about being an early adopter. After the Co-Star, I was not
making that mistake again. This time I was reading some reviews and making sure
it was a good product.
After it came out, the reviews were coming out. There were some complaints as
there always were, but most were about the company itself as opposed to the
product. People complained about how long it was taking to get their system.
Others complained about the lack of communication from the company. They said
their customer service was less than stellar. There were some concerns about the
joystick, but people were able to make it so they could use a PS3 controller.
And there were complaints about a lack of quality software for the system. But
considering it was only out for a few weeks, that is to be expected. But soon
the emulators started to appear in the store and the reviews became more and
While a lack of good games was still a problem, the ability to play Atari 2600,
Colecovision, Commodore 64, Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, NES, Super NES, N64,
Playstation, Sega Genesis, Turbo-Grafx, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo
DS, NEO GEO and NEO GEO Pocket made sure there was no shortage of games to play.
And with more emulators rumored to be coming out or ones that you can side load,
the system became a nice little emulation machine that you could easily hook to
any HD television. Add in hundreds of games you could try before you buy and the
selection of games is amazing. And there are literally new games added daily,
sometimes a few times a day. It is nice that my wife can now play some of her
favorite games without switching systems. It is especially fun for her to play
Intelligent Qube and Devil's Crush on the same system. And with our Turbo-Grafx
dead as a doornail, it is nice to have this available.
The emulators are not perfect yet, but with the exception of the Playstation
one, they are free. While the Playstation emulator works surprisingly well, you
have to map out the buttons for each game, each time you play it. Most games are
set to the right controls, but if the game uses Start or Select, you need to
program them. I hope an updated version will arrive that fixes this. And some
like the DS are a bit choppy. One nice thing is you can add an external drive so
you don't fill up your paltry 8 gib of storage. It takes a little to get the
games to know where to find the roms on an external drive, but once it is set
up, you are good to go.
As far as the games for the Ouya system, I have mined a few gems from the
diverse collection. A free game called Plane Loopy is good fun. It is similar to
Barnstorming in design with designs from the endless runners that are so
plentiful as apps for Apple and Android systems. It is quick, easy and fun!
Another great game is Dig, which is essentially a Qix clone. You are digging out
a site and need to dig out 75% of a level while avoiding a mummy and other
enemies. Beast Boxing Turbo, a game that has been ported from the Apple Store is
an updated version of Punchout! But instead of crazy human boxers, you are
fighting crazy monster boxers. The graphics are very good, the challenge is
enough to make you have to use strategy and not just outpunch your opponent. It
costs $4.99 for the full games and is worth it. Another game I really enjoy is
called Ravensword and is also a port from the mobile devices. It is a smaller
version of Morrowind or Oblivion, but still alot of fun. The graphics, while not
as great as the aforementioned games are still very good. There is some
collision problems that occassionaly pop up and the enemy AI is a little weak. I
found that if you came across a creature that was too tough to beat, you just
get it to chase you. Then you head to a rock or a hill and climb up and keep
shooting arrows into it while it keeps walking in place.
So if you are looking for a good game system that doubles as an emulator machine
and don't have alot of space or money, the Ouya is your machine. For $100.00
(buy it on Amazon and get free shipping, will save you $15.00 from buying it
direct), you get a great system that is about the size of a coffee cup. Just
don't expect it to replace your PS3 or XBOX 360.
This month, I am going to review two apps that came and went through the store
very quickly. Both were removed within a few days or first appearing and if you
blinked, you missed them. But I was lucky enough to get both before they
MAME Yes, MAME, the most famous of the emulators was available for your IPAD or IPOD.
It did not remain for long. Word spread quickly and people grabbed it ,knowing
it was going to be pulled. I was able to be among the lucky ones to download it
and really enjoy it! It plays just like you would expect. I did need to find the
version 37 roms to get them to work with it, but once I was able to find them, I
tried it out and it was great to have a whole arcade on the go! Want to play
Donkey Kong on your IPAD, but know that Nintendo will most likely never port it?
Well, with MAME you can play a perfect arcade version along with Donkey Kong JR,
Mario Brothers and a host of other arcade classics. And the program was free!
Granted, you will never get an update but it is still a great little program
that I am happy to own.
Monino One of the most requested games for the Apple devices is Super Mario Bros. And
it is one game that will probably never be released for the platform. But a
Chinese company figured they would give people the next best thing. No, I am not
talking about the Great Giana Sisters (that is in the app store) or Sonic the
Hedgehog (he is also present and making Sega a ton of money). They figured they
would give you a blatant ripoff of the game. Monino is Super Mario Bros. The
only thing it is missing is the name and the level of polish you expect from a
Nintendo game. Otherwise it looks and plays just like Super Mario Bros. In fact,
it looked so much like the real thing that so many people bought it to make it
reached the top ten chart for the day. It had almost as many downloads that day
as Angry Birds and that is saying something. But it's success also put it on the
radar and it was very quickly that Nintendo brought it to Apple's attention and
they pulled it. Yes, the game lasted only one day but it still is talked about.
It is as close as you can get to playing Super Mario Bros on your Ipad without
jailbreaking it. I was lucky enough to buy it and while I do not play it much
(it does not control as well as the original), it does make for a fun
WOW Moment Many games followed the formula set by Galaxian. You know when a squadron of
ships comes after you. But one game took the idea and turned it upside down. I
am talking about Gyruss and it provided me with a WOW moment that still awes me
to this day. I still remember seeing the game and playing it for the first time.
At first I thought it was just another Galaxian clone. They already had Gorf,
Phoenix and countless others. But I figured that I would try and and see what
was different about this game.
It only took a few moments for the WOW moment to hit. Once the game started, I
started moving my ship towards the left when suddenly I found myself going
around in a circle. I stood there with my jaw agape as I could not believe what
was happening. You could move in a complete circle. While it may seem pretty
trivial today, it was groundbreaking at the time. Before, you were always stuck
on the bottom of the screen in shooters. But in this game, you could move all
around the screen.
There is a price to freedom and that is it takes time to get used to it. To say
my first game of Gyruss was short would be an understatement. It was over in a
few minutes. But the next game lasted much longer. It wasn't long before I was
headed back towards Earth.
Gyruss has always been among my favorite games and still is to this day. While I
have never made it all the way back to Earth, I vow to one day finish my
mission. The game may have WOWed me, but it has not beaten me.
Missed Opportunity Years back when MAME was first coming out on the PC, I thought about how much I
enjoyed all those old video games. Especially some of the obscure ones. And for
a moment, I thought about some of these companies and wondered what happened to
them. We are all aware of the big companies of the era like Atari, Activision,
Nintendo and Sega. But what about smaller companies like Tago who made the
arcade game, Anteater. Or what about Valadon Automation who created Bagman? I
thought that it could be a good idea to go around and find these obscure titles
and see about buying the rights to them. If you could get enough of them, maybe
I could license it to a company to make an arcade title for release. With a
fancy interface and a dozen or more classic video games, you could have
something that would sell.
(Anteater and Bagman, who forgotten arcade games.)
Well, the idea came and went and to be honest, I was not in a financial
situation to pursue it. But now with the popularity of apps, it made me think
about this idea again. These little games would be perfect apps for Apple and
Android devices. The games are small, fun to play and at a low price would
probably sell well enough. Who knows, someone may have already done it. I know a
similar thing happened in the music industry years ago when artists like Paul
McCartney and others bought the licensing rights to other artists catalogs. But
as far as I know, it has not happened in the game industry. I would just take
someone with time and money to track down all these old companies and see who
now owns the rights to the games and make offers for them.
Classic Youtube Videos Here are two more Classic Youtube reviews for you to enjoy.
Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.