Home

Why Did I Play This? Episode 8

Leave a comment

I used to have a bunch of toy Crash Dummies! Oh man I have so many ideas of how to make this a good game, but where to start? Oh screw it, let’s just jump right in and see if this game is everything I hope it could be!

Check me out on Twitter and Facebook!

Spooky Plays: Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Leave a comment

I would have loved to play some more survival horror games this year, especially with the relevant holiday this month! Driven by time constraints I decided to pick my halloween game based on the ability to pick up and play, so a good childhood classic came up as the forerunner.

You can smell the cheese through the monitor!

Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a tongue-in-cheek top down maze like action game for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis/Mega Drive (just called Zombies for the MD players out there) that released in 1993. The game is meant to be a spoof of old drive-in monster movies, putting the player in charge of a boy wearing 3D glasses, or a girl with a pony tail and baseball hat. Armed with only your trusty squirt gun you must go around and save all the civilians in each level while staying alive and avoiding all the monsters, or killing them for points.

No teens were harmed in this game.

Zombies is packed so full of levels it is ready to burst, boasting 49 on a regular playthrough, but 55 counting all bonus levels! That is a long haul for even some of the most dedicated gamers, thankfully the game has a password system that works. All you need to do is write down the 4 letter password you get after completing every few levels. 4 letters. Its glorious. All of these levels are built from many different tilesets which are smartly spread out through the entire game, no 5 hedgemazes in a row here.

Cliches are this game’s best friend, the team at Lucasarts really showed their love for all of those old cheesy monster movies by putting nearly all of them in the game. Secret areas are where many large nods are placed, the first one having a big Frankenstein’s monster guarding an extra life in the lab. Of course every game has its own first enemy, and in this one the choice is as clear as day, the name is in the title! It will not take long to encounter more difficult and annoying enemies though, like all the Evil Dolls, werewolves, chainsaw maniacs, mummies, and martians among others.

Others like gigantic babies for like, no reason.

In order to deal with all these enemies the developers gave you a ton of weapons to use, but first you have to find them strewn about or hidden in the various levels. One should never run out of ammo for their squirt gun, soda cans are used as grenades, popsicles can be thrown, paths can be blown open with the rocket launcher, forks and plates can be thrown, footballs can kill zombies. There is so much hidden around to find that the fun might never end! On top of weapons there are several secondary items to find, such as first-aid kits, keys, potions, shoes, and lazy clowns to name a few.

The game’s controls are smooth and responsive, the only real problem comes with the perspective. Since it is top down and some of the weapons require precision then sometimes you’ll shoot something and it will just barely miss. Think of beat’em-ups and how you have to be perfectly lined up with your opponent to hit them. The music and sound effects in this game are amazing, perfectly fitting given the game’s background and goal.

Now so far I’ve just been laying down my thoughts and a review of the SNES release of ZAMN but as of this writing I do not own the Genesis version, so can’t reliably comment on it. The Super Nintendo version is a must play, whether it is around Halloween or just at some random time. It is easy to pick up and play and get into, it doesn’t matter if you start from the beginning or use an old password, there is plenty of variety and challenge here to keep anybody busy until the dead return to their eternal slumber. Go play this classic right now if you have it for SNES, Genesis/MD, or Virtual Console!

Why Did I Play This? Classic Edition 2

Leave a comment

Well I’m finally back at work on some new content for my blog and channel, it should all be coming together and released next weekend. In the meantime I hope you enjoy the second post from my original concept blog about games that I regret playing. I reimagined this very entry as my first entry into the video world and the result can be seen on my youtube channel here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/WhyDidIPlayThis

And the videos can be seen right here:

This is the greatest game I’ve ever played! Crystal is on an epic quest of redemption, the introductory cutscene showing that all of her family and friends are lead off into the pastures of death and mowed down by automatic assault rifle firing. Enraged, Crystal dons a headband and grabs the closest AK-47 she can find, karate chopping a poor Vietcong soldier in two! She goes on the most epic shooting spree ever seen by human eyes, firing what appears to be hundreds of rounds into these pour souls without ever needing to replace her clip. Finally she confronts the evil mystic who communed with the gods and ordered her people exterminated. After giving some made up excuse Crystal pulls out her trusted Desert Eagle and blows the bearded man’s brains out.

Ok, it wasn’t actually that awesome. And I know exactly what you’re thinking, Crystal’s Pony Tale? That has to be one of the girliest games known to mankind. Trust me, it is, and they did not spend much time hiding it. So let us dive right in and start off by taking a look at the cover.

Well, now you know exactly how girly of a game this is, and as a muscular macho man I had to wash out the taste left behind by this game by playing some Altered Beast. First of all let’s take a look at the ponies themselves, in the immediate foreground you’ll notice a pink horse (Pilar) looking right at you with an open mouth smile. Right next to her is her brown coated, blonde maned friend Carla, also looking at the player. The pair are trotting along a narrow stone path leading to a bright, happy, suspended purplish castle. I’ve never understood children’s movies and those castles with those narrow stone paths, you wasted more stone building the castle up that high than just building one along a cliff face! Anyway to complete the cover we have a rainbow and pink clouds set to a normal blue sky behind the castle. Girls like pink right?

You will play as Crystal the Mystical, Wondrous Princess and Prettiest Pony in all of Ponyland. The evil, ugly, vile Storm Witch, has just cast a spell that has frozen all the other pretty ponies of Ponyland! Gasp! Oh noes! Conveniently Crystal dodges the lightning bolt and sets out on a quest to find the magical crystals (shocker I know) that will free all the other ponies from their magical prisons.

After starting the game up and navigating past the title screen you’ll come to an option screen where you have the options of changing the difficulty, changing the control scheme, and changing the colors of the pony’s body, mane, and tail that you’ll be playing. That’s… actually really cool for this time period in gaming history. Few games up till then had included a difficulty setting. And customizing the look of the character you’ll be playing as? Well it might as well have been unheard of then.

After finishing up with the options you’ll continue to another screen of your pony just standing there, this is the level select screen, letting you pick which level you’ll start at between three of them; the Farm, the Dark Forest, and the Storm Witch’s Cave. Again, this is a pretty awesome option to have at this point in gaming history.

Once you start playing either of these levels though you’ll notice that the bad decisions start showing their ugly heads. The controls are a bit sluggish, even with a wired controller there is some lag between the button presses and the actions that Crystal performs. She also turns and runs away from things that scare her, which is pretty much everything that’s not a cute animal, even water; ala Lester the Unlikely for you AVGN fans. What this means is that you’ll be running along, then press the jump button to vault over the obstacle and it will register too late so she’ll back away from it. Really annoying I know.

You’re also pretty much invincible as there is a flaw in the difficulty setting selection, all it does is toggle how much in game help you’ll get from the NPCs you run into. So you can turn it onto hard and rear up at everything by hitting the action button until you find out what you’re supposed to do. What makes you invincible is the fact that you collect horse shoes much like you would rings from Sonic, but when you run into an enemy you only lose one or two shoes each time. After playing for ten minutes I had almost 40 horseshoes, and going between the level portals eats ten of them, so this game can practically beat itself if anybody wants to take the time to do so.

All in all, its not the worst game. It is stupidly bright and so colorful that it will hurt your eyes looking at it for too long. Crystal’s Pony Tale, aside from being an obvious pun, implements some good ideas that stuck in the industry long after its 1994 release date. If you are a man, only get this game if you’re a completionist collector. If you have a little sister that for some reason has a hand-me-down Sega Genesis, then she might love this game. But to let you know how hilariously girly this game is, I popped it in and my girlfriend broke into insane laughter.

When Does a Console ‘Die?’

2 Comments

The topic of today’s post has been in the works for quite some time. And the topic of today is ‘When is a console considered dead?’

Traditional logic would say that a console is dead as soon as official support for it dries up and no new games come out from the big publishers. In the more recent generations those usually consist of watered down sports games or low budget niche titles that last for a handful of years after the console is no longer manufactured or sold. We’ll take a look at a few cases which turn this easy to grasp idea on its head.

First off we’ll take a look at a system which keeps selling, which is still being made despite being over 10 years old and only a very small trickle of games are still coming out for it. I’m talking of course about the monstrous Playstation 2. Brand new systems can still be purchased directly from Sony and even in retail outlets in larger cities. Why is this? It still sells, slowly sure, but it sells consistently and for a hefty profit. For the budget minded gamer or for collectors the Playstation 2 is the best system out right now because of this reason. Brand new systems are still available and there is a massive library of games that can be found online or in stores for $1-15, a starter set of a brand new system and a dozen games can be had for less than $150 easily.

Now let’s take a step in time and look at the Dreamcast. Sega officially stopped supporting this system in 2001, but a hardcore fanbase continues to support this system to this very day. Among this fanbase resides a few teams of homebrew developers that release physical copies of their games to diehard Dreamcast fans and collectors. One of the newest games to be released for this system is called Gunlord, which was developed by NG:DEV.TEAM which also developed this game for the Neo Geo MVS and AES systems, just a couple more examples of an arcade and home console system respectively receiving after market support.

Some of these homebrews are breaking away from the system they were originally developed for as well, allowing gamers with current systems to see what the all this fuss is about. For example, another developer, Senile Team, released a game called Rush Rush Rally Racing for the Dreamcast in 2009 and is working on a WiiWare port which is scheduled for release later this year in North America, and is already out for Europeans.

The Dreamcast has seen at least one brand new game be physically released for it every year since 2005, meaning that fans have had plenty to be happy about and to keep their Dreamcast. This can be considered a true measure of fan loyalty as despite the small development teams, the fans have supported them and allowed some developers to make multiple games and even publishers centered around the homebrew community.

Now let’s take a step back even further but keep our attention on a Sega system, the Genesis. I’m sure plenty of you readers have fond memories of either having a Sega Genesis, playing a friend’s, or listening to the arguments of Super Nintendo vs. Genesis on the playground. If you’re not only a Genesis fan but an RPG fan I have fantastic news for you. Pier Solar and Great Architects.

It was released in 2010 by WaterMelon Co. and diehard Genesis fans and collectors have already began to include this game into the list of best games ever to come out for the system. Going onto various collector’s and fan forums and you’ll see a common thread, “Name the best 100 or 200 games for X system”. Usually the rule is one addition per person so every list is different and in no particular order. But since its release the fact that this virtually brand new game for a system most in the mainstream or even niche would consider to be long dead is being included on virtually every single one of these topics shows not only the power of the homebrew community, but the fans that support them.

Pier Solar is also manufactured with its own unique Genesis cartridge as opposed to many other titles being made by small or one man teams using ‘donor carts’. Donor carts are ones where the original rom image is taken off of  some copy (hopefully a sports game) and a new one is flashed on. Pier Solar’s cartridge includes 64 Megs of power, making it the most Powerful Genesis game ever released.

Virtually every system ever made has some sort of homebrew community devoted to it, most do it for fun and to polish their own programming and game making skills, few do it specifically for profit (although they would like some). Even the maligned Atari Jaguar has some homebrew games for it. As mentioned earlier even the Neo Geo AES has games still coming out for it, and many fans and collectors consider it the Cadillac of video game consoles due to the fact that everything about the system (including the system) is legitimately rare and expensive!

So if you have an older console laying around that you only play for nostalgic purposes, take a look around online, chances are you can find a brand new game to add to your library and have it shipped to your door in a factory seal. Links for NG:DEV.TEAM and for Pier Solar are included below for those interested.

http://www.ngdevdirect.com/

http://www.piersolar.com/

Why Did I Play This?

Leave a comment

I’ve taken a bit of a break, doing a lot of spring cleaning and preparing for a move. But I have finally returned with a new feature in a series I’ve been toying around with for awhile now.

Why Did I Play This? is a series of video game software and  hardware now with the latest episode setting this precedent. For Episode 5 I took a look at an obscure piece of hardware from the 16-bit era, no not a failed console that’s been talked about thousands of times already. I found an arcade stick that is compatible with the Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and their international versions. Trying to dig up information about it on the internet lead me to only one article that gave a text review of the piece, so I did a bit more of an in depth look at it.

So ladies and gentlemen, I bring to you, the Naki Pro Player in all of its glory!

Prepping for a hardware review!

Leave a comment

So I have an interesting piece of hardware from a local thrift store. All of my Google powers have left me with no information about this strange piece and little more based on the manufacturer. My plan is to give some history of the product (if I can find any) and then review it based on the many things that would be relevant to this style of control scheme.

Do I have you in enough suspense yet? So what am I planning to review you ask? Well its an interesting little arcade stick called the Pro Player. It was manufactured by Naki International in 1993 according the box. What makes it interesting? It is compatible with the SNES, SFC, Genesis, and Mega Drive. So any gamer in the early to mid 90’s would have an easy time finding a use for this stick which was the “Choice of Fighting Game Experts!” And that’s about all the information I have for it, every detail coming from the box I bought it in.

Does anybody have any information on this to help me out? I would like to keep pictures secret until the video comes out so everybody can see how… nostalgic the box design is.

Newer Entries

%d bloggers like this: