So today I went over to a cookout at a friend's place. Of the guests there was a family of 6 with kids who ranged from age 4 to 13. After eating, my friend and I pulled out the Wii for them and they started playing the usual party games like Wii Sports. Eventually they got tired of those and started looking through the downloaded games on the system when the oldest asked us, "What's this?" We went over to the TV and saw this on the screen...
Apparently none of these kids had ever played an NES game before; hell, they didn't even know that you could hold the Wii-mote sideways to simulate an NES controller. Sure they know who Mario is but had never seen him in 8-bit before. They started playing through the first few stages and realized that this was the game that Super Mario 3D Land and New Super Mario Bros. U were based from. They had a blast, like this game was the greatest thing they had ever seen and when their parents said "It's time to head home" all four of them said "Awwwwww..."
As part of the generation that had the NES when it was new, I often criticize younger gamers for not having any appreciation for the games that came before. If it wasn't for the gray box pictured above, the gaming industry as we know it would not have existed. While there are a few that simply cannot get over the graphics of past gens, I'm betting that there are many more who are just like these kids and never had the opportunity to play these classics. The excitement I saw in their faces as they were playing Super Mario Bros. 3 was the very same excitement I felt when I first played it 20-something years ago, showing that a classic stands strong no matter when someone plays it. Have any of you had a similar experience to this or had something that took you back to that childlike wonderment?
It seems there is hope for the next generation after all.
Hey g1s! This is g1 JinjaBredMan, and as you already know, MAGFEST (Yes in all caps, yes everytime) was held over the weekend... and holy shit! After work Friday, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to head up there Saturday morning. After a 3 1/2 hour drive which I cut down to 2 hours because I did 80 the whole time (plz don't tell the VA state troopers!), I picked up my bro and we headed to MAGFEST.
First thing I said after checking in and heading into the arcade/game room, "This is what my heaven looks like." Got a little teary-eyed. It was glorious. Played a few races of Initial D and when I got stomped, I got up and noticed Craig waiting to play the Daytona USA right next to it. Talked to him for a sec about how Sidescrollers went, watched my brother get destroyed in Initial D and he thanked me for showing up and saying hi.
Played various games for the next few hours till the AVGN Panel; there I got a couple questions answered about Motherfucking Mondays and possibly doing reviews/retrospectives of other good games like he did with Super Mario 3 and Castlevania. Saw Bit Brigade do their show (ie Megaman 2 speedrun with band covering the music), it was friggin awesome. After that I met the rest of the Screwattack crew at the dealer's table (nice meeting ya, Lauren and Jared!)
Last but certainly not least, we got to see the Nobuo Uematsu/Earthbound Papas concert! Legends in the flesh, who created at least half of the most memorable music of my childhood, right on stage. Can't even begin to put that in words, so instead I'll share this vid of them playing one of my favorite songs.
Was trying to post video from downloaded straight from my friend's phone but couldn't figure it out, so found this one instead. Any suggestions for this noob? Lol, thanks for reading as always and I'll seeya next time. <Colossus yell!>
Awesomeness, that's what! Welcome to Unknown and Underrated, Vectorman edition. I know some of you may be saying, "Vectorman is a Genesis classic. Both games are featured in Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection, ffs! Why would you place him in Unknown and Underrated?" I decided on Vectorman because every time I bring him up while playing the Collection with friends, all of them respond with, "Who the hell is Vectorman?" And with only 2 games released in the final days of the Genesis lifespan, I can't entirely blame them. So let's get started.
In case you didn't catch the story setup at the tail-end of the intro, its goes a lil like this. Humanity creates Orbots to clean up its mess while vacationing in space. The attendants of the Master Control System accidently (lol) attach a nuke to its head, turning Raster into Warhead. Warhead sends out a virus to infect orbots worldwide, repurposing them into war machines to enslave the humans when they return. And the only one who can save the day is a barge pilot, Vectorman, who was away dumping sludge into the sun during the virus outbreak. o_O... Wait, didn't a well-respected animation studio win an Oscar a few years back for a similar story?
Vectorman was released in 1995 from developer BlueSky Software for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. Also released in 1995 were the Sony Playstation and the Sega Saturn along with the idea that 2D games were going to soon die out in the wake of 3D games. In a sort of acknowledgement to this trend and homage to the games before it, Vectorman is a 2D platformer that made use of pre-rendered 3D models. Some felt that this was the Genesis's answer to the Super Nintendo's Donkey Kong Country.
So how exactly does the orbot-equivalent of a garbage truck driver save the world? Well much like a particular blue bomber, the orbs that make up the orbots are interchangeable (more apparent in Vectorman 2 in which he can mimic the forms of some enemies) and can be rearranged into many different forms. Got a floor you need to get through? Morph into a drill. Got a wall blocking you from a secret? Morph into a bomb. Wanna travel through water faster while making you randomly impervious to bullets? Morph into a fish, uh, form of some type. Vectorman also has many power-ups available to him by destroying tv's (Sonic, anyone?) which upgrade his blasters with various, limited-use shots such as the spreader, bola, etc. Also the sheer force of his double jump kills things!
The sound in this game is one of its best elements, granting as much if not more personality to Vectorman and the world as the on-screen animations. All the shots from his blaster, the satisfying explosions and the "voice" of Vectorman showcase all that the 16-bit generation was capable of. I would even say that it put most of the early entries of the next generation to shame in their sound design (go back and play the PS1 launch titles Ridge Racer and Battle Arena Toshinden and you'll hear what I mean). However I feel that the music of this game kind of takes a backseat to all the other sound effects. It's a decent techno soundtrack but it gets drowned out by everything else that's going on.
Another one of the game's strengths was the versatility the developers showed in their level design. The game includes stages that have Vectorman in a level-specific transformation usually taking on a form of Warhead. These include a train form, a frog form that is very remeniscent of Frogger, and even a disco tornado! The normal platforming stages are also laced with alternate paths, hidden secrets and bonus levels.
Over the years I had hoped that someone would revive the series, especially with the retrogame trend going on right now. Well while finding info for this retrospective, I found out that at one point someone attempted to and guess what they came up with!
Who the fuck is that? I know that's not Vectorman. Looks a lot like a certain Spartan from a series I love to hate. Some of you may recall a game called Bomberman: Act Zero, where they took our beloved Bomberman and tried to make him edgy and hardcore but ended up with a generic disaster. Well looks like someone tried to do the same with Vectorman and thank God they realized that it was a terrible idea somewhere along the way because the project got scrapped before completion. Unless you're gonna make a title akin to the style they used for the new Donkey Kong or Rayman Origins, you know the style that does justice to the originals, I'll just stick with the classics.
Thanks for viewing and stay tuned for the next installment of Unknown and Underrated. Also play Vectorman; do it now.
Welcome to another edition of Unknown and Underrated. As always I'm g1 JinjaBredMan and today I presenting you with another title that is very dear to me, Descent: FreeSpace- The Great War. So the story of how I acquired this one is definitely out of the norm. In elementary and middle school, they would send small leaflet-styled catalogs every month during the school year for you to order books that they would send to the student through the school's mail. I would order some books every now and then but for the most part I blew them off, that is until they started selling PC games. Most of these games were usually point-and-click adventures and educational (such as the first game I got which you played as an MI6 agent trying to advert the World Wars by exposing a conspiracy aboard the soon-to-be-sinking Titanic). But every so often more legit games made the catalog such as Myst and Descent: FreeSpace, which were often sold for less than they were in stores. So being the gamer I was and am, of course I took advantage of the deal. Never thought I'd order an awesome video game from school.
That intro still gives me chills. Descent: FreeSpace- The Great War (known as Conflict: FreeSpace- The Great War in Europe) was released in 1998 by publisher Interplay Entertainment and developer Volition, Inc. As the name implies FreeSpace was a spin-off of the Descent series also published by Interplay, though it would become a short-lived series in its own right (though I am unsure of how much is actually related to the other Descent games aside from the name). This would also be Volition's first title (you know, those guys behind Red Faction and Saints Row) and it was a great start for the developer. Even though the games garnered many awards and praise from the PC community at the time, the series only lasted for an expansion called Silent Threat and a full-fledged sequel simply called FreeSpace 2.
As with most Space Combat Sims, the HUD can be very intimidating (I think they even mention it in-game). However like most great Space Combat Sims, after you do a few missions the HUD becomes like a second skin. The first 3 missions of the game are flight school for you, and though you are given the option to skip the training (like I foolishly did when I first turned the game on), it is highly recommended that you complete it. Each of the training missions put you in various situations in a controlled environment, teaching you the ins-and-outs of the controls. This includes maneuvering, speed settings, weapon usage, targeting, disrupting subsystems, disabling ships, scanning objects, etc. There is also a 3rd-person perspective that you can enable (which I only ever used to get a quick look at the new ships I pilotted as I acquired them), but like in the Elder Scroll series, FreeSpace is much better from the 1st-person perspective.
Though it was highly praised by reviewers, many felt the overall story, while epic, was uninspired. In many ways I agree, even when I first played it since I had just recently played the campaign in StarCraft. The game begins with the player as a new pilot in the Galactic Terran Alliance (humans) which is constantly at war with the Paliamentary Vasudan Empire (aliens). Just as another all-out conflict looms between the 2 races, a third species, the Shivans, appear with vastly advanced technology poised to wipe out Humans and Vasudans alike. It is a story that's been repeated in StarCraft, in Wing Commander and more recently in Mass Effect. But all these games share something else in common: presentation goes a long way. The scale of the conflicts in FreeSpace range from small skirmishes to all-out battles with dozens of fighters and multiple capital ships. There many different classes of ships that the player will directly pilot or encounter, all with their own distinct feel and combat capabilities, ranging to the capital ships which truly dwarf the player's fighter. There is a robust mission editor that allowed you to share your creations in the online multiplayer. And the first few encounters with the Shivans truly make the player feel helpless, forcing you avoid or merely survive their onslaught until later on.
Besides the cutscenes that you are rewarded with every now and then are just simply amazing. They do an excellent job of showcasing the dread of impending doom.
Descent: FreeSpace is often compared to TIE Fighter and the Wing Commander series as being the pinnacle of what Space Combat Sims have to offer. Of the 3, this one definitely has my vote as the best. Being another of my favorite games of all time, it is because of FreeSpace that I hope this genre makes a triumphant return one day in modern gaming. As always, thank you for viewing and I'll see you next time.
Welcome to Unknown and Underrated, Star Ocean edition. This also marks the first non-Genesis game to be included in this series, jumping into the 32/64-bit era (my personal fave) with Star Ocean: The Second Story. After beating Final Fantasy VIII, I wanted to find another RPG that would fill the void until the next entry in the series. One day I randomly ran into this game at my local Blockbuster. When I picked up and looked at the game, my older brother said, "That looks like one of those boring story games. Let's get something else." Well I got it anyway and the funniest thing happened... he ended up playing it MORE than me. By the 3rd day of the 5-day rental period, we had bought our own copy of Star Ocean, playing it on 2 PS1's at the same time (we're half brothers and he brought his PS1 from his mom's place when he moved in with us). Though he never liked RPGs before, this game opened his eyes to how fun and engaging they can be. It's really that awesome.
Contrary to what many have come to believe, Enix actually put out some great games before their merger with Squaresoft, becoming what is now Square Enix. While Squaresoft was often regarded as the King of JRPGs around the world, in its native Japan Enix was actually more popular largely due to the legendary Dragon Quest series. Before the late 90s, the only noteworthy Enix titles to reach US shores were ActRaiser and ActRaiser 2 on the SNES, and Dragon Warrior, an English-adaptation of the first Dragon Quest, on the NES. However when RPGs started becoming more mainstream on the Sony Playstation (ironically due to the Final Fantasy series), Enix felt confident enough to start releasing more games in the states, giving us such gems as Jade Cacoon and Star Ocean: The Second Story.
When you first start the game, instead of diving headfirst into the story you are brought to a selection screen to choose which of the 2 main characters you want to play as your primary protagonist. And surprisingly this feature is not the does-not-really-matter gimmick that it may seem at first. Though you still get the same overall story, depending on who you pick it alters certain aspects ofyour experience such as the introduction, sequences when the characters split up, and in one case determines which of 2 characters may join the party. This choice also introduces the player to one of the main themes of the game: Perspective is everything.
Star Ocean: The Second Story has an eclectic cast of party members for you to recruit. There are a possible 12 party members to recruit, all of which are as memorable as the next. However the player is limited to 8 party slots, 2 of which are filled by Claude and Rena, causing the player to choose between their favorites of the personalities they run into. Some recruits are more difficult to find than others and having one person in your party sometimes negates the chance to recruit another (my 1st playthrough only had 6 party members). Once a character is officially asked to join the party, they cannot be kicked out for someone else unless a special event prompts you with the choice, which only happens in 1 or 2 cases. To facilitate growth in characters and relationships, when a player reaches a town they have the option to push square for <Private Action> which causes the members of the party to separate and run their own errands. This allows the protagonist to have one-on-one conversations with each member (or often times, see them cause havoc in a shop or at a tavern). Sometimes this even leads to gaining items that are otherwise unobtainable. The characters also create relationships amongst one another, slightly independent from primary hero's actions.
Now I'm going to say this, and it'll probably garner some hate but it's my opinion and I still feel its true. This game has the BEST combat system of any RPG I've ever played. That's right. Better than any Final Fantasy. Better than any Dragon Quest. And better than Chrono Trigger. When I picked up this game it seemed to be like any other turn-based RPG: you can have a combat party of up to 4 characters, characters are either fighters or casters, and they have special skills or spells that can harm the enemy or make the party stronger. But the first time that screen swirled and the fight started, I realized just how wrong I was. Like many past RPGs, when you roam around a dungeon or the world map you run the risk of triggering a randomized battle. However instead of the typical characters and enemies waiting to take turns wailing on each other, combat takes place real-time in an enclosed space where you can use the direction pad or joystick to freely move your selected character. The only other game that I feel shares a somewhat similar system is the Mana series created by Squaresoft. Normal attack is mapped to X for all characters; You can assign 2 special techniques to L1/R1 for your fighters, and casters can bring up a spell menu with triangle. Combat starts up simple enough to get players used to the system with battles such as this:
Later on you begin working different strategies on how to compliment your party's strengths and weaknesses, until it becomes totally insane (also I apologize that both of these are from the PSP remake, Star Ocean: Second Evolution but I was not able to find a decent vid of the original without someone talking):
Along with learning new spells and skills as they level, the characters can also make their known abilities stronger by gaining a proficiency point every time they use it. The more they use that skill, 3 things happen: It gets statistically stronger, it gets visually stronger often with a much larger area-of-effect and its MP requirement gradually decreases. Partnered with passive abilities, strategic formations, specifying AI behavior and crafting items and weapons, this description only scratches the surface of what this combat system has to offer.
Unless you've played this game, you have absolutely no idea how much I hate these guys.
I haven't mentioned any of the storyline for this game because I personally believe that in RPGs, story has a much greater impact for the gaming experience than any other genre. After playing many RPGs though, I still think back to the story of this game and how it blew my mind at a particular point of the game. Like I said one of the main themes for this game is perspective, and throughout the game your perspective of the events going on constantly expands until the very end. And with 2 primary perspectives to choose from and other party members to gain, it is almost required that you give it at least 2 playthroughs. With all the choices you are given throughout this game, there are an estimated 83 different endings that roll after the final cinematic. It is highly unlikely that you will find another player that had the exact same experience as you. So if you're looking for an excellent, classic RPG with a vast world, pick up Star Ocean: The Second Story on PS1 or its remake Star Ocean: Second Evolution on PSP. It's just a shame that the sequels after do so much wrong in trying to imitate what this entry did so right.
You know after looking back, I can see why I often struggle with whether this or Final Fantasy VII is my favorite game ever.
After a grooling, extremely extended edition of Screwin' Around, Professional Jared and Chad were able to kill one ugly mofo (or like 20 ugly mofos). If you did not witness this history making achievement, do yourself a favor and check out the archive footage.
And the most important life lessons we learned today:
1. Ride the Scorpion.
2. Get the Laser, Dawg!
3. Roof Scorpion will friggin kill you.
*Edit* Links to things more awesome than and somewhat related to this post-
So while scouring the internets (aka Screwattack and Youtube) this week, I came across a few things that have locked horns in the running for My New Favorite Thing EVAR This Week Maybe.
First up we have someone many of ya may be familiar with who I've just discovered, JonTron, doing everyone's favorite style of vid, a Top10:
After watching a few of his vids on his Youtube channel, I found one he made solely just to promote an under-hyped show with the geniusly simple name of "Continue?" Please check these guys out and show others to get them views they deserve.
The runner-up is something almost all of you have seen and, in the words of Egoraptor, continues to "Make My Dick ROCK HARD!"
At this point, you may be wondering, "What can top all this epicness?" Well if the teaser and the banner don't clue you in, the answer to that is simply: Moar epicness. My New Favorite Thing EVAR This Week Maybe goes to: Chipocrite for this awesome cover of the Game of Thrones Theme. If your favorite music comes from grand symphonies and chiptunes, prepare to have an eargasm.
Showed up at the Screwattack room at noon. Met Craig, Chad and the crew. Signed up for the tournament (Player #1, so I think I was the first). Got some grub. Came back at 3 and did my run (here's hoping F-Zero got me to the next round). Bought a movie (Goemon) and a game (Evil Zone, PS1) at the bazaar. Went to a Screwattack panel. Craig handed my ass to me in Third Strike. Watched the making of a video that you'll see posted soon. Spent the next 3-4 hours in the game room.
Day 1: Alotta fun. Counting on doing better in Black Ops and Mortal Kombat in Round 2.
As the holiday season quickly approached this year, I was rather indifferent to the whole affair. With an ever-tightening budget and without a want for any particular thing, I would have just been satisfied with a dinner at my parents' before heading back to my apartment. But with the arrival of more family (specifically my brothers), the spirit of Christmas has finally gotten to me. So outta pure randomness, I decided to post a small wishlist. Enjoy.
1- Rayman: Origins- Played it at IMoG and was amazed by it; however due to the excess of anticipated excellence that dropped in October, November and December (now renamed Dark Souls, Skyrim, and TOR), I have yet to pick it up.
2- A fireaxe- For two reasons: firstly and more important, zombie attack; secondly, for the slaying of vampires and werewolves (particularly those involved in Twilight).
3- A flamethrower- *See wishlist entry #2... Also to destroy more copies of Shaq-Fu.
4- A trip to Magfest- Well not really all expenses paid; I can drive there ie 4 hours away, just funds for admission, survival, and a hotel room...
5- A friggin, replacement battery for my laptop- This mofo overheats like no one's business. After doing some research, I have discovered that I have what seems to be the worst laptop battery of all time.
So what's on your wishlist? As always thanks for viewing and have a happy holiday(s)!
Realized that I didn't know what time the top 32 started on the way to Nekocon today. Saw my name on the list at #17 of the 32 along with the words "Starts at 10 AM, sharp!" Look at my watch: 2:20 PM, damn. Open the door to see Craig, Chad and Angel playing Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey. Asked if I missed out on the whole round, Chad says I missed Black Ops and Mortal Kombat (such irony) but Wayne Gretzky's starts at 3. Knew there was no way to make up the points to get in the top 16, but still showed up to play. Won the first match in overtime by more shot attempts. Tom beats me by 1 goal in the second roound. Wayne Gretzky's turns out to be the hit of the tournament. So many epic matches, good times.
Day 2: Started in Epic Fail but was fun anyway. Going to show up in the morn to see what the mystery game is... And this time I know when I'm suppose to be there lol.
First I crawled, then I walked and then I ran to the nearest NES controller I could find. My first games were Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the one with that hellish underwater stage). Of the current gen, I primarily play PC and PS3. My favorite genres are RPGs, fighting, horror and retro/indie. Though I've been caught up in many sidequests, I have an interest in getting into the industry as a developer and a writer.