Posts Tagged ‘Modern Retro’

Synopsis Quest: JRPG Parody fun

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Synoposis Quest is a mashup of Warioware and 8-bit JRPG parody with some solid puzzles and cute humor. Should take you 10-20 minutes to kick it.

Space Invaders never get old

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

If there’s one thing I love, it’s a classic shmup.  If there’s another thing I love, it’s weird modern takes on old games.  Space Invaders is hardly the only game to get this treatment, but it gets it fairly regularly and usually in an official fashion.

They're HEEERE!

They're HEEERE!

The latest rad version of this phenomenon is Space Invaders Infinity Gene.  This is really more like a modern shmup (with touch screen controls, actual good ones) with Space Invaders graphics and a vector-art sensibility than it is like old-school Space Invaders, but that doesn’t stop me from loving it.

The idea is that as you score points in the game, you fill up a “Gene” bad that unlocks new abilities, and it seems like if you replay you can unlock multiple abilities per level that you use as you replay (I don’t know if the abilities get unlocked in order or if you have to be on a specific level to unlock a certain ability) giving you more and cooler things to do as you bust some pixels.  All this accompanied by some great electronic music and sound effects.

Of course, if you missed it and have an Xbox 360, you should probably get your hands on Space Invaders Extreme, which goes a little more retro in the graphics area, and makes the whole thing into a crazy rhythmic affair with your shots and kills actually syncing into the music.  (This game also exists on PSP and Nintendo DS, but I ain’t got those).  And if you like THAT, don’t forget that Namco did something similar for Pac-Man and Galaga.  I have and love them all, but there’s frankly on so much a man can play at a given time.

Late edit: Holy crap, this game can just up and create new levels based off songs in your library.

G.I. Joe is a movie now

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

Like a live action one with actual actors. And it entertained me. It wasn’t good by any stretch of the imagination, but I did not want my money back.

Really I didn’t mind the cheese or the bad dialog, because it is G.I. Joe after all. What I did mind is how it falls apart at the end with really bad Star Wars idea ripoffs. It’s also made dumber than you would expect by the inclusion of a whole personal relationship subplot that is complex, silly, and doesn’t fit in the G.I. Joe story very well.

Wait for the DVD. And watch G.I. Joe Resolute first.

TRON Legacy

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

Two things:

  • Not much new since the original teaser except a much better-quality tralier.
  • Tron Legacy is a much, much better name than TR2N.
  • Hell yeah!  It’s gonna be in THREE DEE!  That’s one more dee than I had expected.
  • I guess that was more than two things.

Last minute edit: Also, Daft Punk. WOO!

I need this!

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Someone get me one. Now!

EDIT: The Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes ones are pretty sweet too, but what did they do to Duke?

“Leather-Wreck?! I’ll wreck you!”

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Yeah, I know we’ve all seen this, but:

I love it. Of course, I’m “that guy” that loved the Transformers movie, too. It won’t be perfect, but given what Hollywood is willing to pump out, it looks good to me.

Besides, do you really want this on your movie screen? Do you?

Yeah.  That COULD be the way they did it, people.

Yeah. That COULD be the way they did it, people.

Oh yeah, TI-99/4a games!

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Now, my family was always very tech oriented, but we didn’t always pick the most popular systems.  Oddyssey2 instead of Atari 2600? Yep. TI-99/4a instead of an Apple II? You betcha!

Still, I’m not going to complain. Everyone else had the common stuff, so I got to see more than my share of it, and I got to see the less well known but often amazing games available for the underdogs. In the case of the TI-99/4a, some of those games were actually pretty good, and at least looked better than the damn C64 stuff.

Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to get emulated games for the system, and legal to boot. I guess the Texas Instruments folks realized they weren’t about to get a huge Jakk’s Pacific deal for their stuff? If you download Classic99, it comes with ROMs for many of the most classic games.

But wait, there’s more! This “Dreamcodex” fellow (a Mr. Howard Kistler) has ported some of these games to Java, complete with fancied-up graphics! Let’s see what he’s done.

Hunt the Wumpus

Old Wumpus meets new Wumpus.

Old Wumpus meets new Wumpus.

This has always been one of my favorites. It’s simple, challenging, and very logic based. He got the basic gameplay here fine, which isn’t too much of a task, but where he really knocked it out of the park was making it look pretty with all new graphics without tossing the appeal of the nice basic circular room layout. Even his all new death and victory screens manage to be unique without losing the charm of the classic. My heart used to skip a beat when I accidentally walked into the Wumpus, and I find myself equally startled and terrified by the updated monster face.

ARGLE BARGLE! (click for retro terror)

ARGLE BARGLE! (click for retro terror)

I know this game originally existed in text form, and there have been a dozen variations on it each with their own ideas, but I grew up on this one. It’s the version I know and love, and I don’t adjust well to change! Don’t ask me to change! Here I have the version I want with nice new pretty pictures, and I can even play it right in my web browser! This has definitely replaced minesweeper as my time-wasting puzzle game of choice.

The game does leave out the classic blindfold mode (where the map only shows the current room you are in) but I can live without that. At that point I’m sure I could just go back to the basic text adventure version of the game.

Tunnels of Doom (Reboot)

Tunnels of Doom is a game that even now seems way ahead of its time. The graphics may be poop, but so was everything then. The real meat, the gameplay, was still basically valid in the later Ultima games in the end of the 80s.

Look at all this great stuff!

Look at all this great stuff!

That’s right, while bogged down crawling through dungeons in Ultima V, I had a flashback. The dungeons worked nearly exactly the same as this 82 classic, down the “3D” dungeon movement and the overhead tactical combat. Of course, Tunnels of Doom lacked a huge epic story and a massive overworld and quests and NPCs, but the dungeon crawl bit was pretty much the perfection of a formula that worked up until “real-time” took over even the beloved RPG genre.



In addition to neat, pseudo-3D dungeons and real time combat, the game featured unique things like an excellent vault-cracking minigame (not unlike mastermind) and the ability to bribe your enemies for safe passage.  You were also battling a timer in some quests, as well as the need to keep fed.  Fortunately, the update gives you a nice bar on each side so you can always track your characters’ stats, as well as time and rations.  A nice change, because you had to expect to return to the store fairly often for upgrades and supplies.

Rats, the cannon fodder of the RPG world

Rats, the cannon fodder of the RPG world

Now, due to the control options available at the time, both the original and this remake require memorization of a lot more specific key combos than anyone is used to by today’s standards, but at least the remake effort included a snazzy, comprehensive manual and benefits from modern interface decisions and larger keyboards. Also, those who remember the original game may remember having to load and save your games with a clunky audio tape drive (ok, there was a floppy, but nobody could afford it). It is a huge blessing of modern computers to no longer have to wait for up to an hour listening to “The Greatest Hits of 1200 Baud Modems.”  This is one game where the original is a little too much of a pain by modern standards to sustain the nostalgia, and I’m glad the remake takes it to a bearable level.

All the excitement of stats.

All the excitement of stats.

The really hardcore amongst us may remember that you could make your own custom dungeon scenarios, complete with custom classes, monsters, and weapons.  The remake comes with amazing set of tools that allow you to actually import those old scenarios.  Mostly I just played the original quest, but that’s a great feature, and it’s nice to see someone put the effort into making those files available to a modern audience.

Munchman/Munch Mates

Totally not Pac-man.

Totally not Pac-man.

Munchman (the remake is called Munch Mates) isn’t really a classic to me as I never played it much. I’m more of a Chisolm Trail kinda guy, but as far as Pac-man clones go, this one is pretty solid. In this one, you fill in spaces instead of clearing them out, but the end result is the same. I wouldn’t say it’s as creative as K.C. Munckin, but it’s good fun.

Here we have an above and beyond kind of situation, where the remake brings in a new maze for “Munch Missy” and a version of the maze based on the prototype of the original game. Oddly enough, this runs unplayably fast on my Vista machine , but this is probably an issue with my Java install itself rather than the game (it works fine on my laptop with XP).

Now, if these newfangled graphics are too much for you, or you miss some of the other TI-99/4a games, you can always check out Classic99 (linked above). I’m mostly going to stick with these, because Tunnels of Doom and Hunt the Wumpus were always my classics, and it’s nice to be able to play visually solid versions of them without loading up an emulator. But hey, if anyone decides to update Parsec or Chisolm Trail, let me know!

New Knight Rider show

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

It’s on tonight. I’m not justifying this with a link or a viewing or a picture.

I’m just sad.

“Snake” is “sneak” spelled sideways.

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Hasbro has been pumping out a lot of great boxed sets in the past few years, but the DVD Battle Packs take the cake. Based on the cartoons, these are the first actual toy representations of some of the classic Cobra superweapons.

The M.A.S.S. Device comes with a scuba-suit Baroness all kitted out to fight giant tubeworms at the bottom of the sea (because that’s where “heavy water” comes from in G.I. Joe land, you see). Also present is radiation-poisoning Snake Eyes, but don’t worry, he’ll live. A simple dressing of leaves and herbs will suck that radiation right out!

The Revenge of Cobra set actually comes with a full on weather dominator. None of the characters look really unique, but it does come with some evil vines so that Roadblock can “stick his big green thumb right up Cobra’s nose.” Sadly, this set does not contain a giant Aztec robot. Lame.

Each set comes with a piece to build the M.A.S.S. device and is makred with “Set X of 5,” so we know there will be more to look forward to. The next one is apparently the Pyramid of Darkness, but it looks a bit weak to me. Let’s hope they do better with Arise, Serpentor, Arise. Sadly, I expect the last set to be based on the G.I. Joe Movie, and no good can come of that.

Images from the latest “I Am 8-bit”

Monday, August 18th, 2008

For those who missed out on it last year, I Am 8-bit is an art show dedicated to classic gaming memories. I have the book from last year and there’s some great stuff in there. Joystiq has some of the first images from this year’s show up and they look pretty good.

Piranha Plants are difficult to maintain in captivity.

Piranha Plants are difficult to maintain in captivity.

This is a great event, and I really hope they keep having it. It’s generated some really neat stuff so far, and I think that with a higher profile it could pull in some really incredible artists.