Gaming Steve

Classic Archives - Page 1

February 13, 2008

Matt Chimes in With His Fave Console of All-Time – The Super NES

An article that Steve posted recently regarding the greatest gaming console of them all has spurred me on to post some thoughts regarding that of my own. Yes siree, the good old Super NES. Please, allow me give you 20 reasons as to why it holds such a crown....

20. It Looked Fab
20-snesbest.jpgWell, the Euro model did at least. A pleasing mixture of smooth, sensual curves married with a fun and harmless toy-like feel, the Super NES was far less industrial next to its peers of the early '90s, and proved simply perfect for kitten-like pawing.

The American model looked ghastly by comparison – purple, blocky and really rather hideous – also marking an ever rare moment where PALers avoided the short end of the stick from Nintendo to boot. The happy times, as I like to think of them. Which promptly ended about five minutes later.

19. Super Mario All-Stars
19-snesbest.jpgIt wasn't enough that the big N invented a plethora of new franchises for this machine – ones that still live on to this day – but they also brought along arguably the very best games from their previous system too. Bundled together, no less.

Via the Super Mario All-Stars compilation, you not only got the original and charming Super Mario Brothers in all its simplistic box nuttin' glory, but also its demented sequel, the startlingly brilliant Super Mario 3, and even the previously unreleased "Lost Levels" collection too. Even cooler? All of the above had been remade to make use of the redonkulously ferocious power of Nintendo's new machine; flat and dull backgrounds were now gorgeously rendered parallax vistas, characters had detail and personality they could never have dreamed of previously, and damn, that vintage SMB music was better than ever also.

The whole thing looked, and indeed sounded amazing, and arguably still does ... which is a relief, seeing how often Nintendo have since whored these games out on every other platform known to man.

18. Japanese RPGs
18-snesbest.jpgNot a huge deal for me personally, but the SNES pretty much single handedly kick-started the relentless world-wide obsession with Eastern RPGs that still refuses to die 18 years on. Not only did it play host to a ton of games from none other than the big bad Final Fantasy saga itself, but also boasted a wealth of additional and much-loved titles that many similarly swear by, such as Breath of Fire, Secret of Evermore, Earthbound, Secret of Mana, Chronotrigger... hell, even good old Paper Mario was conceived here, via its great, great, grand-daddy Super Mario RPG.

Like your Final Fantasy XII? Dig your Lost Odyssey? Can't wait for White Knight Story? Thank the SNES. Chances are you wouldn't be playing 'em without it.

17. The SuperScope
17-snesbest.jpgLaugh all you will, but I for one loved the darn thing. For those not in the know, the SuperScope was the Super NES' answer to the light gun. No simple hand cannon to shoot birds outta the sky with though, this thing was a full-blown bazooka! Literally. You held it on your shoulder, aimed via a side mounted sniper scope, and blew the heck outta your TV as if an 8 year old Schwarzenegger reenacting Commando. Forget that though, I was all about holding it at waist level myself, mowing down bad guys like an AK-wielding Iraqi insurgent.

Sure, there weren't a ton of games released for it at the end of the day (Mole Patrol!), and those too cool for school simply pointed and laughed. But us true believers? AKA those blessed with rich parents? We had the last laugh. The SuperScope rocked. Hard.

16. Pilot Wings
16-snesbest.jpgNintendo's early experiment into the world of (fake) 3D hasn't aged particularly well – hence the lack of screens – and these days could barely be considered a game in all honesty, but at the time? Holy hell.

A flying sim for kids, essentially, your goal was to sore through the sky as everything from a hang glider trying to make it through floating rings, to a sky diver trying to land without going splat. It harnessed the Super NES' crazy new "Mode 7" graphics to render and distort truly massive environments though, fooling your eyes into thinking you were actually there, when in reality, it was doing little more than zooming in and out of flat 2D planes.

As an innocent young whippersnapper, you had no idea about such things though. For all you could tell, it was real. It was amazing. It was frakkin' Pilot Wings. Just don't play it these days if you value your memories.

15. The Sound Chip
15-snesbest.jpgThe Super NES' audio capabilities were flat-out insane, truly incomparable to any other home system at the time. In fact, many still look back upon its sound chip as one of the very best ever heard, with those oh so specific chimes and bllllllings just all-but impossible to emulate these days. Try as Nintendo might, subsequent systems never quite matched up.

This extended to the music, of course, which had a depth and a style to it just leaps and bounds ahead of the bleeps and boings previously associated with gaming, and about as close as you could get to full blown CD quality tunes in them there days. If that wasn't enough, the console's enhanced CPU power (a whopping great 3.58mhz) and its ludicrously insane wad of memory (128k!) made it one of the first to boast extensive use of genuine voice sampling too.

Dying in Alien 3 for the first time to hear Hudson yell, "Game over man!" was enough to melt pre-pubescent hearts.

14. Mortal Kombat
14-snesbest.jpgOne of the earliest victims of video gaming violence/censorship hysteria, Mortal Kombat marked both a high point and a low point for Nintendo's 16-bit age. On the one hand, they opted to remove all blood from the game, ironically ripping out the very heart of what made Kombat so memorable in the first place. Instead, character's emitted "sweat" when you upper-cutted 'em off bridges, and Sub-Zero's infamous spine removal finisher become a depressingly lame ice blast freeze-'n'-shatter. Worst of the bunch was Kano's ramming his hand into his opponent's chest, then pulling out their ominous grey "soul".

Uh huh.

Strangely though, with all the hilarious violence removed, Kombat was forced to rely almost solely on good old fashioned gameplay instead, and as a result? I became mildly obsessed with it. Believe it or not, a fab 2D beat 'em up was buried deep down beneath all the splodgy red paint. Matches were fast, skillful and satisfying, while blocking and specials proved deep enough to give it some surprising tactical value as well.

And cripes, how about them graphics?

The Sega Genesis muppets laughed at us with our sweat covered Rayden merely scorching dudes instead of blowing their heads apart – while they enjoyed full-blown violence and decapitations as the Mortal Kombat gods intended. But hey. You know what, guys? At least our version was playable.

Oh no he didn't...!

13. F-Zero
13-snesbest.jpgA futuristic racer boasting the most insane jolts of adrenaline and sheer sense of speed ever seen in a game, any who played F-Zero fell instantly in love.

For me though, pace, excitement and good old gameplay took a distinct second place to simply the sheer style of the thing. Taking those aforementioned Mode 7 capabilities to the next level, F-Zero was truly stunning to behold. The courses – set high above everything from Blade-Runner style metropolises to massive desert canyons – were 100% epic in every sense of the word. It may look blocky, low-rez, if not down-right ugly these days, but back then ... this was the future. Hitting a jump at the wrong angle and going hurtling over the edge into the great abyss thousands of miles below had never been so much fun.

It didn't hurt that this sucker had officially the best music ever heard in a game either, hinting back once again to the aforementioned killer sound capabilities of this demented beast of a machine. No F-Zero since has touched it; could the Wii perhaps remedy that?

12. Actraiser
12-snesbest.jpgA dinky little bundle of joy most probably never touched, but one that unquestionably marked a genuine highpoint for all games of the pre-CD-ROM era. Actraiser was beautiful, inventive and incredibly rich, in a way seldom seen these days, let alone in 19-bleedin'-93.

A great grandfather to Black & White of sorts, you played a god watching over a typical medieval fantasy land here, but you did so through a variety of different means. On the face of it, it looked like any other old god game, one where villager's needs had to be met and peace constantly maintained as you'd expect. Yet while tending to structures, building houses and leveling forests for the growth of civilization took precedence, evil flying meanies would continually rain down havoc upon your towns, resulting in a constant need to shoot the little mongrels outta the sky with your cupid-like avatar. As a result, Actraiser became the first – and indeed last – god-game-slash-vertical-shooter ever. T'was an ingenious way of intertwining proper action into an otherwise somewhat slow and more thought-provoking genre, and made the hours simply fly by.

But wait. That was barely half the game, as particularly nasty monsters and lairs could only be destroyed by actually traveling down to Earth yourself, taking over a full blown human body, and kicking ass mano a mano. Just like that? The game became a side scrolling beat 'em up, with your sword-wielding Barbarian tearing up enemies like a crazed Conan.

It was truly inspired stuff, full of variety and invention, with no doubt its baseline premise of melding a ton of these different games and genres together proving a blue-print for future such genre-benders for generations to come. As a bonus, it too had the best music ever.

11. Prince of Persia
11-snesbest.jpgQuite simply, the Super NES boasted the greatest Prince rendition of them all. Forget the original PC game. Forget your squillions of ports and sequels. Forget even the recent 3D re-imaginings. Nope, this was the one.

Has there ever been a game quite so atmospheric?

A ludicrously enhanced take on the original, SNES Prince was not only twice as long as its PC counter-part, but also came totally revamped from top to bottom to harness true next-gen sound and visuals on top. The Prince himself looked better than ever, animated and detailed gorgeously enough as to pass for real in those days, but it was the levels themselves that saw the true fruits of the upgrade.

Not content with mere character-less corridors and nondescript platforms here, now we had beautifully extravagant palace interiors and stunningly epic caverns to behold. Exploring the game's every nook and cranny took on a whole other level as a result, one bulking up and adding immeasurably to the otherwise somewhat simplistic trial and error puzzle-based gameplay at its core.

Many cite Flashback and even Another World as the classics of both this genre and system, but as ace as those games indeed were ... Prince was the one for me. Unless I'm mistaken, it too had the best darn music ever.

10. Multiplayer Gaming
10-snesbest.jpgAll the way back to the Atari 2600, home systems have boasted multiplayer of some form, but I'd argue the SNES was the one to truly sculpt it into the work of sheer brilliance it always deserved. From co-op games on Contra III to edge of the seat rivalries with your best buddy in NBA Jam, gaming suddenly sprung to life in a whole new way as a result. Clearly, this was the future of not just consoles, but video gaming as a whole.

Killer Instinct, Zombies ate My Neighbors, Sunset Riders, Smash TV, Turtles in Time...not to mention the various others mentioned on this here list that I'll resist spoilerating for now, all proved alarmingly fun and utterly hysterical with a pal by your side.

But it didn't end there. A copy of Super Bomberman with the oh so sexy Super Multi-tap adapter provided instant 4-player craziness in your very own living room. And you know what? The world would never be the same again.

The SNES brought multiplayer gaming to my life with that in mind, and for that I'm eternally grateful.

9. Super Tennis
9-snesbest.jpgThere's no better example of that than good old Super Tennis in fact. Make no mistake, there'd be no Wii Sports without it.

As an early launch window title that experimented with taking simple, every day games, then sprucing 'em up and re-branding them as home-grown Nintendo titles, Tennis revamped an arguably somewhat dull and lifeless concept into one so full of character, charm, and sheer fun that I'd even go as far as saying was one of the coolest games on the system.

Needless to say, when played with friends – either on the same team, or in cut-throat versus matches – it took on a whole other life of its own. Simply amazing stuff, that's still a blast here in 2008.

8. Super Mario Kart
8-snesbest.jpgAs far as multiplayer titles go, I think few would argue that this was indeed the pinnacle of the SNES' library though ... if not gaming full stop. The original Super Mario Kart was so freakin' mind-blowing in fact, one could argue that in spite of its endless sequels and dreary rip-offs over the years, it took well over an entire decade to finally better it.

Gotta love that DS rendition.

Of course, with Crash Bandicoot, Star Wars, Diddy Kong, and even Mortal Kombat all jumping on the cutesy go-karting spin-off bandwagon in more recent times, the concept as a whole has dropped to depressingly sad at this point. All it takes is one single lap of Mario Circuit 1 to remember just why we all fell for it in the first place though. That's right; pure, adulterated fun.

I love you, Mario Kart.

7. Sim City
7-snesbest.jpgWhat the? What's this doing here? Give it a whirl, non-believer, and you'll soon see.

Sim City marked another fab Nintendo-ization of a comparatively bland game. Don't get me wrong, I was a huge Sim City PC guy, but what Maxis did for its console port is deserving of wedding night bliss.

You still had your residential, commercial and industrial zones to build. You still had to contend with power supplies, traffic, and mass transit systems. You even had earthquakes, fires and Godzillas running rampant around your beloved city. But the whole thing had been blessed with personality at last. There was a nutty professor guiding you through the game now, your citizens regularly blessed you with amazing
(Nintendo-y) gifts, and best of all, Godzilla had been replaced with good old Bowser. More than anything, the sound once again rocked, allowing Sim City to boast, quite possibly, the best music ever.

For those who missed out on it first time around, this title was quite rightly one of the very first SNES games to see its way onto Nintendo's Virtual Console service, and as a result, needs a purchase right now from each and every one of you.

6. Shadowrun
6-snesbest.jpgI mentioned the amazing breadth of Japanese RPGs the SNES played host to earlier, but far more deserving of love in my book was the very American, very futuristic roleplayer calling itself Shadowrun.

Cast all memories of the recent cross-platform FPS from your mind, SNES Shadowrun was a far more divine and stylish works you see. In fact, you could call it Deus Ex before it was even a whisper of an idea in Warren Spector's oh so young head. Fusing cyberpunk grittiness with quasi-real-time combat and an expert conversation system that I've still to see beaten, it holds up wondrously to this very day. Trust me, I'd know; I play it through at least once a year!

Undoubtedly one of the finest RPGs ever made, I still lay awake at night crying over FASA's ill-conceived, 14-year late follow-up. Is redemption on the cards?

5. The Controller
5-snesbest.jpgDiscussing the glorious nature of each and every one of these games and genres, it's easy to forget just what made them all so special in the first place. Yep, the control pad. The sheers guts to chuck positively tons of buttons onto a controller next to the comparatively few seen on all systems previously, is quite possibly the single most important gift the Super NES ever gave to the world of gaming. Without it, you wouldn't have your Xbox pad, your Wavebird ... even your Sixaxis (although some might cheer such a concept). Quite simply, it influenced console gaming forever.

The fact that the SNES pad also proved ever so comfy to hold, looked amazing, and boasted the sweetest D-pad of them all didn't hurt either. Wisely Nintendo trademarked the cross style design itself, resulting in minor alterations on all other pads since as to avoid copyright infringements, none of which have ever thus matched up.

More than anything though? It was all about them triggers. So clicky, they were. Without 'em, Halo would nay exist.

4. Super Street Fighter II
4-snesbest.jpgThe perfect test for that controller in fact, turned out to be this game. What could have been a disastrous home-port of the arcade classic surprised pretty much the entire world as a result, in a pixel-perfect reproduction that might well have been the single, defining title that signified the beginning of the end for arcades as a whole.

I mean heck, now you could get that same hardcore fighting experience in your very own home, and it didn't cost 20 pence a go either. Forget putting on clothes and leaving the house!

Street Fighter II really took console gaming up a notch with that in mind; clearly we were now entering a whole new age. Graphics were arcade-quality, sound was phenomenal, and you had the first real glimpse into just what these machines were gonna be capable of in the coming years.

Incidentally, I remember paying a whopping great £75 for an early import copy back then. Which in them there days ... was about 500 zillion dollars.

3. Star Fox
3-snesbest.jpgIf the laundry list of accomplishments listed above weren't enough, Nintendo managed to dabble in the world of true 3D merely a year or two into the Super NES' lifespan as well. Although blessed with zilcho in the way of polygonal capabilities outta the box, the brilliance of those age-old cartridges meant additional new hardware could be thrown in on a game-by-game basis you see. As a result? The Super FX graphics chip was born.

I guess what one could only compare to perhaps buying a new PC game and having it come with its own built-in 3D card, the Super FX imbued the SNES with incredible new extra-dimensional graphic capabilities. Now it could render full 3D models and even entire games with startling beauty and razor-sharp crispness.

Star Fox proved the first such title to make use of this technology, and seeing it for the first time was to behold a sight unlike any other. Wow. These were actual spaceships. Those were real buildings. You could look around and see an entire bloody city. One could say it practically set every other SNES game back an entire generation by comparison.

Of course, it didn't hurt that Star Fox itself – or Star Wing as us Euros bizarrely called it – was a dynamite game in its own right. A genuine, epic space opera brought to video gaming for the first time. Like the Star Wars game we'd always dreamed of, mixed with a zany, Japanese twist. Crazy talking animals and insanely brilliant gibberish speech brought it all to life particularly well, the latter being a feature in fact, that I wish the subsequent sequels hadn't scrapped ("MY EMPEROR!
I'VE FAILED YOU!!").

Between blazing through asteroid fields, skimming along planet surfaces, and weaving in-between massive space armadas along the fringe of space, it left your jaw-gaping open wide from beginning to end. It's truly odd how successfully Nintendo captured that exquisite, galaxy hopping sci-fi atmosphere in fact, compared to how disgracefully they since fumbled it in all subsequent sequels and systems that followed.

There was a SNES-boundStar Fox 2 incidentally, but it found itself canceled towards the end of development and its better ideas set aside for use in the upcoming N64 sequel. Leaked screens and even half-finished roms of that game litter the internet's seedier corners, but I for one would rather not. No doubt it'd just gimme a lump in the old throat over what could have been ... as opposed to what this series has instead since become.

I have to mention incidentally, that this game has the best music ever.

2. The Legend of Zelda – A Link to the Past
2-snesbest.jpgAs we rapidly approach some of the greatest video games ever made, I think few would argue that A Link to the Past deserves a spot in the hall of fame next to just about any other classic on any other system that you could ever possibly imagine.

None of its relentless follow-ups – as highly praised as they all were by pretty much the entire gaming world -–have ever really knocked it off that top perch for me; it's just an ever so rare marriage of sheer perfection right across the board. 100% faultless gameplay. Cartoony, yet timeless graphics. And the music? Quite simply ... the greatest ever heard.

Unforgettable moments. So many housed within one meager game. Waking up to Zelda's cries of pain. Grabbing that lantern and setting off into the rainy night. The death of your uncle before your very eyes. Taking his sword in your hands. Your first spin attack. Beating your first boss. Nabbing the Pegasus boots. Battling Gannon. Saving Zelda. Perfect snapshots from a perfect journey.

Go on. You know you fancy a replay.

1. Super Mario World
1-snesbest.jpgPipping Zelda to the post by all but a hint of a fart though is, understandably, good old Mario himself. Don't feel bad though Link old buddy; it's only the best dang console game ever made.

No I'm serious. It is. I can prove it, in fact. Quite easily.

Just play it.

See?

Super Mario World truly revolutionized what to expect from a video game. No simple platformer like its predecessors, what Nintendo admirably nailed so spectacularly well this time around was the concept of having a huge, gargantuan, and truly enormous world to explore. Split into literally dozens of different areas – including underground caverns, beautiful forests, and lava filled dungeons plucked straight outta hell – Mario felt truly unleashed at last.

Yeah, you still had linear(ish) levels to complete, a central goal to accomplish, and a very clear – if ludicrously long – straight path with which to get there, but you were also free to splinter off and explore to your heart's content if you so desired. And my god, the game sure as hell rewarded you if you did.

The sheer volume of secret passages, hidden levels, even entire unlockable worlds was so ludicrously alien and new, I honestly didn't know half this stuff was even in there 'til years later. I worshiped this game back in its day, you see, but it took a more recent replay via its GBA port – one in which a far older and more experienced Mr. Robinson was able to revisit it with a fresh outlook – to really explore and uncover just how much sheer game it contains. That's a true sign of a title made ahead of its time. It's enormous. It's daunting. It's epic. 96 full-blown levels so.

Of course, Mario 64 went on to define 3D gaming years later, and is thus the one many look back on as the more pivotal and revolutionary title. Fair enough. But make no mistake. The blue-print was forged here. The underlying concept, the wealth of content ... heck, just the pure vision alone? All present and correct. 64 simply made it 3D.

Super Mario World is the ever rare golden oldie that holds up just as well today as the day it was released, if not more so. To replay it here in the new millennium is to see it instantly spring to the top of your fave games of all-time list, and then some. Not only was it the single title to make the Super NES the most important and downright greatest machine of them all – regardless of the wealth of additional classics mentioned above – but that this baby came out on day one of the system's life? Wow. What a stark and alien concept next to more recent console launches.

SEGA were cool. I love my 360. And I hope Sony aren't destined for doom as many have trumpeted these last few years. Ya know what, though? Compiling this list, I've come to the conclusion that deep, deep down ... ignoring swishy next-gen graphics and HD-TVs ... with age and "wisdom" and jaded cynicism aside ... I'll always be a Nintendo guy above all else.

Do a barrel roll!

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January 8, 2008

Rumor: GoldenEye, Other Rare Games Headed to Xbox Live Arcade?

Goldeneye 007

Citing “very reliable sources” and “seeing evidence themselves”, Xbox Evolved is claiming that Rare's Goldeneye 007 will appear on Xbox Live Arcade. Originally for the Nintendo 64 and remembered nostalgically as one of the best (and first) multiplayer console first person shooters, Goldeneye is reported to come with updated graphics and Xbox Live multiplayer support.

Xbox Evolved also reported that through a complicated agreement between Microsoft, Rare, MGM Studios (the owners of the Bond movies), and Activision (new owners of the license to make Bond video games), Goldeneye 007 will be released shortly before Activision's first James Bond game. Even more interesting is their evidence that Rare will be releasing more of it's back catalog from the Nintendo 64, including Bango-Kazooie and Perfect Dark.

What I find most intriguing about this rumor is that if it is true, more Nintendo 64 games could find their way to the Xbox 360 Arcade, so long as their developers and/or publishers are not owned by Nintendo. Less interesting to me is the actual game, Goldeneye. Truth be told, I can't stand some of the first 3D games from the Playstation and Nintendo 64 platforms.

Detailed 2D and stylized 3D graphics from older consoles are fine by me, but those first attempts at 3D look so jaggy and rigid, I find it hard to stay interested. With the likes of Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4 to “compete” against is a game like Goldeneye still worth playing?

Posted by Clayton Ashley at 10:45 PM | Comments (17) | Posted to Classic | Rumor | Xbox |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 2, 2008

The History Of Mario Power-Ups

History of Mario Power-Ups

One of the Gaming Steve readers just sent me this picture which I file under my "this is just freaking cool" category. As you can see it depicts the history of Mario power-ups throughout the years. The picture isn't perfect in that it's missing some of the newer ones, it does have the extremely rare 3-up moon found in Super Mario World. Awesome.

I have no idea who made this picture, where it came from and where I can purchase this, but I want this picture for my office. Now.

After the jump is the video evolution of Mario from Donkey Kong to Super Mario Galaxy set to the Zelda theme. Thanks for tip Doug!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 6:00 PM | Comments (6) | Posted to Classic |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

December 11, 2007

Gaming Steve Episode 65 - 12.11.2007

goblinz welcomeAlthough this week's news wasn't as crazy as last week there was plenty of interesting items in the world of gaming. Plus find out the status of the Name That Game contest where you can win a free next-gen game console.

And by amazing coincidence I had the opportunity to sit down with yet another representative from Wizards of the Coast (seriously, it was completely unplanned). This time I get to chat with legendary Magic: The Gathering player and VP of of Digital Gaming Randy Buehler.

Randy and I discuss Wizards new digital initiative and how they plan to implement move all of their games to the online space, plus Randy critiques my Vintage (Type 1) Magic deck ... awesome! Enjoy the show!

Gaming Steve Episode 65 Program

  • 00:03:28 Game News:
    • Xbox 360 sales to rival the Wii, PS3 still plays catchup.
    • Kane & Lynch site caught fibbing about review scores.
    • Boy attacked by moose "feigns death," and loses aggro thanks to WoW.
    • GameStop promoted to the S&P 500.
    • Nintendo pulls their Wii ads ... must make more Wiis!
    • Eve Online patch accidentally bricks XP, oops!
    • Activison to replace Guitar Hero III Wii discs, will anyone even notice?
    • Wii Fit debuts at #2 in Japan ... and Assassin's Creed debuts at #8?
    • PaRappa creators to make new music game for the Wii.
    • GameSpot on Gerstmann-gate.
  • 00:30:43 Interview: Randy Buehler, Vice President of Digital Gaming from Wizards of the Coast.
  • 01:04:37 RetroReview: Culdcept for the PlayStation 2.
  • 01:09:02 Name That Game: Do I pick the winner for the next-gen console this week?
  • 01:12:32 Show Mail: I answer your email and audio questions.
  • 01:35:26 Final Thoughts: Updating the site!
Download the show (99 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 65 (MP3).

Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
Add the Gaming Steve Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator.
Digg the show? Then Digg it!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 9:00 PM | Comments (11) | Posted to Classic | Interview | Podcast |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

November 28, 2007

Classic Video Game Labels + Modern Games = Pure Genius

Crysis Atari 2600

I used to absolutely love the old Atari 2600 video game boxes and their crazy artwork. Remember those days? Before "branding" and "product placement" took over the video game industry. When games were simply called Football or Bowling or Adventure?

No fancy brands or celebrities to sell your product. Just a simple name and some groovy cover art that you hoped convey the awesomeness that was 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe.

Which is what makes the site Label Maker 2600 so much fun. Mixing and matching the latest state-of-the-art games with 1970s cartridge technology and viewing the results is endless fun. You can even select the ancient text labels, the classic picture label, and the futuristic silver label. You just need to upload an image, type in some text, and the site does the rest. Pure awesome.

Now I just need to find a label maker for the 5200, 7800, Intellivision, Odyssey, Vectrex, ColecoVision, Genesis, TurboGrafx-16, and every other obsolete gaming system ever to exist and I'll be in heaven!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 9:00 PM | Comments (2) | Posted to Classic | Culture |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

October 3, 2006

Gaming Steve Episode 59 - 10.03.2006

Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket SlimeRumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated! I'm back and I have a great new feature where I explain in detail the entire game development process from beginning to end. This week I examine what type of games publishers are looking to publish. Enjoy!

Gaming Steve Episode 59 Program

  • 00:04:09 Game News:
    • Lots of Wii info.
    • Where did all the PS3s go?
    • Tons of new Xbox 360 content.
    • Seaman gets a seaquel.
    • Wii's first-party games to be region-free?
    • Psychonauts, Bloodrayne available via Steam.
    • Bully grabs the coveted Teen rating from the ESRB.
    • BioWare developing for the DS.
    • Microsoft offers free repairs/refunds for defective launch 360s.
    • ESRB must play every game in its entirety says proposed legislation.
    • 1.1 million Lego Star Wars II sold.
    • Oblivion coming to the PS3.
    • South Park gets hooked on World of Warcraft.
  • 00:37:16 Game Review: Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime for the Nintendo DS.
  • 00:41:46 RetroReview: Shining Force for the Genesis and GameBoy Advance.
  • 00:47:08 Making The Game: A new special feature where I explain what it takes to make a video game from beginning to end. This week, what do publishers want?
  • 00:54:34 “Name That Game!” contest winner from last week, a new clip, and the always cool prize!
  • 00:57:55 Show Mail: I answer your questions ... sort of.
  • 01:01:26 Final Thoughts: Love that Puzzle Pirates.
Download the show (68 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 59 (MP3).

Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
Add the Gaming Steve Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 8:00 PM | Comments (45) | Posted to Classic | Podcast | Review |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 25, 2006

Gaming Steve Episode 36 - 01.25.2006

Dragon Quest VIIIThis week I give details about the first official Gaming Steve Tournament for Mario Kart DS, a new contest about your "funniest" gaming moment, and answer a ton of show mail.

Gaming Steve Episode 36 Program

  • 00:04:17 Game News:
    • GameStop expects to fulfill 360 orders in February (but not online or EB Games orders).
    • Give thanks, the Revolution to be released by Thanksgiving.
    • Majesco no longer a "premium" publisher.
    • WoW nabs millionth European customer and more than 5.5 million worldwide.
    • China's online game regulations relaxed.
    • Gizmondo Europe bankrupt.
    • Heroes of Might and Magic V beta now open.
    • E3 dresses up the babes and games.
    • Nintendo snags 3 million online.
    • New Mother has a date.
    • 50 Cent sells through a million.
    • Star Trek: Legacy to beam onto PCs and the 360.
    • Sony zips up Zipper.
  • 00:31:12 SporeTalk: I answer lots of questions about Spore.
  • 00:41:09 Game Review: Dragon Quest VIII for the PlayStation 2.
  • 00:58:32 RetroReview: Baldur's Gate II for the PC.
  • 01:10:47 “Name That Game!” contest winner from last week, a new clip, and a very cool prize!
  • 01:14:26 Show Mail: I answer your audio and email questions.
  • 02:01:11 Final Thoughts: A new contest and details about the Gaming Steve Mario Kart DS Tournament.
Download the show (126 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 36 (MP3).

Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
Add the Gaming Steve Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator.
Vote for Gaming Steve on Podcast Alley.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 9:00 PM | Posted to Classic | Podcast | Review | Spore |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 23, 2006

Plug and Play Sega Games

Plug and Play Sega Games

I'm a big fan of those TV Game Systems where they cram a whole bunch of classic arcade and home games into a tiny controller. So far many of these games have been hit or miss, but on for the most part the selection of games has been surprisingly good.

Well it's about to get a whole bunch better as Sega has just announced that they're jumping onto the TV game system bandwagon! Details are a bit vague right now but two systems should be available in April, a 10-in-1 and 20-in-1 system. Games to be included are 7 Sonic games, 5 Alex Kidd games, 2 Phantasy Star games, and a whole lot of others (a total of 48 games are available for license right now).

The retail price is expected to be $29.95 for the 10-in-1 game systems, and at least $39.95 for the 20-in-1 systems. These should be available in April through Asiantoysource.com as well as other stores.

I don't know about you, but getting the chance to replay the two Phantasy Star games again, two of the best RPGs ever made, is worth the price of admission alone. Yeah 21st century technology!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 2:00 PM | Posted to Classic |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 20, 2006

Old Games Never Die ... Nor Do They Fade Away

Adventure IIWhat is it about old computer and video game systems that people just can't seem to let go? It's amazing just how many people are developing new games (aka "homebrews") for systems which are ten, twenty, even thirty years old. There is even a two-day Classic Gaming Expo which is going into its ninth year. Then again, without this hardcore gaming niche where else could you find Adventure II, coming out for Atari 5200 and Atari 8-bit computers (you can even download the demo if you want to give it a whirl).

Pretty much every single classic system has a online community cranking away on new games. If you want to find some games for your ancient (but beloved) system, make sure to start your search at AtariAge which has tons of the information on homebrew games and is the central hub for the extremely popular Atari homebrew scene.

For other systems there are simply way too many sites to list here, but make sure to check out the Classic Gaming System List, the free monthly online newsletter Retrogaming Times Monthly, and ClassicGaming to find that new Bally Astrocade, Odyssey², Vectrex, or other hard-to-find game system.

So what is your long lost system of days gone by? Personally I'm going to download that Adventure II and give it a try.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 2:00 PM | Posted to Classic |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 18, 2006

Gaming Steve Episode 35 - 01.18.2006

Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!This week I review a Japanese import for the Nintendo DS and actually play it on the show. The results are, err, interesting. Also the results from the "Final Thoughts Contest" from a few weeks ago and the list of your favorite games of 2005.

Gaming Steve Episode 35 Program

  • 00:01:45 Game News:
    • BloodRayne opening declared "a debacle".
    • EA trademarks "System Shock".
    • The Tetris are coming! The Tetris are coming!
    • 25 to Life (anyone remember this game?) is released.
    • 2005 a record year for US console gaming.
    • 2005 is also a record year in the UK.
    • Meanwhile Nintendo totally owns Japan in 2005.
    • US PC sales drop 14 percent.
  • 00:21:29 GameTalk: What is the future of PC gaming?
  • 00:36:33 SporeTalk: I answer lots of questions about Spore.
  • 00:47:43 Game Review: Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! for the Nintendo DS.
  • 00:56:30 RetroReview: System Shock 2 for the PC.
  • 01:06:10 “Name That Game!” contest winner from last week, a new clip, and a very cool prize!
  • 01:09:06 Show Mail: I answer your audio and email questions.
  • 01:46:00 Final Thoughts: Results of the "Final Thoughts Contest" from a few weeks ago, what were your best games of 2005, and getting "into the gaming zone".
Download the show (118 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 35 (MP3).

Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
Add the Gaming Steve Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator.
Vote for Gaming Steve on Podcast Alley.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 8:00 PM | Comments (4) | Posted to Classic | Podcast | Review | Spore |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!