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Found 31 results

  1. The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) has announced today that they will be officially resurrecting Habitat, the first graphical massively multiplayer game. Created in 1986 by Lucasfilm Games for the Commodore 64, Habitat proved to be popular, but costly, leading to its discontinuation in 1988. Nearly 30 years later, MADE has overcome the technical challenges and will be reopening Habitat to the public tomorrow. While there had been online games with thriving communities prior to Habitat, they had all been in the world of MUDs, Multi-User Dungeons, games where interaction and visuals were entirely handled by reading and inputting text. Habitat brought games from text into a functional graphics-based format. It also originated the word avatar as used for a digital representation of a player. Players could contract disease, commit murder, rob strangers, and own homes. The game world ran on its own player-driven economy and was also governed by the players. This apparently led to chaos in the early days of Habitat before laws and rules of etiquette were established. Cosmetic items and accessories became an obsession for many in the community - 30 years might be a long time, but gamers still loved looking cool back in the first graphical MMO. “Habitat was so far ahead of its time, it was never able to reach even a tenth of the potential of its capabilities due to the future having not been evenly distributed enough at the time,” said Alex Handy, founder and director of the MADE. “Today, we think of thousands of players being in a single world at once as normal, but Habitat built this type of environment 30 years ago with the digital equivalent of sticks and stones.” As an interesting sidenote: Habitat ran on a Commodore 64 online service named Quantum Link, the predecessor of America Online. This is part of what made making Habitat compatible with modern systems difficult. The architecture of the Commodore 64 and modern computers aren't super compatible, to say nothing of the server-side issues. Restoring Habitat took MADE four years and that was with the help of the original programmers, like Chip Morningstar and Randy Farmer, beta testers, and online contributions from retro enthusiasts and leaders in the tech industry. Fujitsu, the company that purchased the rights to Habitat in order to release it in Japan, Dolby, Sony, and Stratus all contributed to the restoration efforts, too. Randy Farmer was the original C64 client programmer and the first Oracle, one of the administrator gods of Habitat. He also took the lead role in restoring the Habitat software and service. Said Farmer, “We couldn’t have pulled off the small miracle of this game, then or now, without a lot of collaborators: some original team members returned to help out, like original lead Chip Morningstar, myself, and a few of the 500 1986 Habitat Beta testers (who built much of the online world you can see today). Also, many fans of the worlds/MMOs descended from Habitat and contributors from the vibrant C64 retro gaming community. Our contributors are around the world – and include various tech CEOs, CTOs and VPs! We’d all like to thank the MADE for making this project possible: to restore the first MMO, Lucasfilm’s Habitat.” The server hosting the restored alpha version of Habitat will go live to the general public on June 2 at 6pm PT. There will be a local kick-off event at the MADE's Oakland, California location. Players around the world who want to check out the revival of Habitat can do so for free. There will be some fiddling with a C64 emulator and connection to the server, but you can find simple instructions on NeoHabitat.org. View full article
  2. The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) has announced today that they will be officially resurrecting Habitat, the first graphical massively multiplayer game. Created in 1986 by Lucasfilm Games for the Commodore 64, Habitat proved to be popular, but costly, leading to its discontinuation in 1988. Nearly 30 years later, MADE has overcome the technical challenges and will be reopening Habitat to the public tomorrow. While there had been online games with thriving communities prior to Habitat, they had all been in the world of MUDs, Multi-User Dungeons, games where interaction and visuals were entirely handled by reading and inputting text. Habitat brought games from text into a functional graphics-based format. It also originated the word avatar as used for a digital representation of a player. Players could contract disease, commit murder, rob strangers, and own homes. The game world ran on its own player-driven economy and was also governed by the players. This apparently led to chaos in the early days of Habitat before laws and rules of etiquette were established. Cosmetic items and accessories became an obsession for many in the community - 30 years might be a long time, but gamers still loved looking cool back in the first graphical MMO. “Habitat was so far ahead of its time, it was never able to reach even a tenth of the potential of its capabilities due to the future having not been evenly distributed enough at the time,” said Alex Handy, founder and director of the MADE. “Today, we think of thousands of players being in a single world at once as normal, but Habitat built this type of environment 30 years ago with the digital equivalent of sticks and stones.” As an interesting sidenote: Habitat ran on a Commodore 64 online service named Quantum Link, the predecessor of America Online. This is part of what made making Habitat compatible with modern systems difficult. The architecture of the Commodore 64 and modern computers aren't super compatible, to say nothing of the server-side issues. Restoring Habitat took MADE four years and that was with the help of the original programmers, like Chip Morningstar and Randy Farmer, beta testers, and online contributions from retro enthusiasts and leaders in the tech industry. Fujitsu, the company that purchased the rights to Habitat in order to release it in Japan, Dolby, Sony, and Stratus all contributed to the restoration efforts, too. Randy Farmer was the original C64 client programmer and the first Oracle, one of the administrator gods of Habitat. He also took the lead role in restoring the Habitat software and service. Said Farmer, “We couldn’t have pulled off the small miracle of this game, then or now, without a lot of collaborators: some original team members returned to help out, like original lead Chip Morningstar, myself, and a few of the 500 1986 Habitat Beta testers (who built much of the online world you can see today). Also, many fans of the worlds/MMOs descended from Habitat and contributors from the vibrant C64 retro gaming community. Our contributors are around the world – and include various tech CEOs, CTOs and VPs! We’d all like to thank the MADE for making this project possible: to restore the first MMO, Lucasfilm’s Habitat.” The server hosting the restored alpha version of Habitat will go live to the general public on June 2 at 6pm PT. There will be a local kick-off event at the MADE's Oakland, California location. Players around the world who want to check out the revival of Habitat can do so for free. There will be some fiddling with a C64 emulator and connection to the server, but you can find simple instructions on NeoHabitat.org.
  3. In 1992, developer Cyberdreams teamed up with legendary nightmare artist H.R. Giger to create an adventure game unlike any other. Tasked with unraveling the mysteries of a creepy house, terrifying visions, and a spitting migraine, players were slowly roped into a world of imaginative horror as envisioned by the artist who brought the world Ridley Scott's xenomorph in Alien. Over the course of three in-game days, players must make all the correct choices or the consequences could be deadly. With schedules being what they are, sometimes coordinating a full episode of The Best Games Period can be difficult. When we can't have a proper discussion, we will be breaking off to do these shorter mini-casts, Honorable Mentions, to talk about fringe games that we might not otherwise be able to talk about on a full episode. Outro music: Dark Seed 'Introduction' and 'Passing Time' by CrazyGroupTrio (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvycbZ0FWP0) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  4. In 1992, developer Cyberdreams teamed up with legendary nightmare artist H.R. Giger to create an adventure game unlike any other. Tasked with unraveling the mysteries of a creepy house, terrifying visions, and a spitting migraine, players were slowly roped into a world of imaginative horror as envisioned by the artist who brought the world Ridley Scott's xenomorph in Alien. Over the course of three in-game days, players must make all the correct choices or the consequences could be deadly. With schedules being what they are, sometimes coordinating a full episode of The Best Games Period can be difficult. When we can't have a proper discussion, we will be breaking off to do these shorter mini-casts, Honorable Mentions, to talk about fringe games that we might not otherwise be able to talk about on a full episode. Outro music: Dark Seed 'Introduction' and 'Passing Time' by CrazyGroupTrio (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvycbZ0FWP0) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  5. A couple years back, we told you about how the Internet Archive had added 2,400 MS-DOS games to its collection. That number of MS-DOS titles has since grown to over 4,000, but there are actually almost double that number of gaming titles that archived from other systems and consoles. The current total number of explorable gaming software on the Archive stands at 7,700. That's a lot of games! The console collection of The Internet Archive includes a staggering number of obscure systems. Ever wondered what it was like to play a Fairchild Channel F? They have 45 games anyone can try out. Never heard of the Epoch Game Pocket Computer? You can play five of those titles. In fact, there are 27 collections of uploaded and emulated software available, including over 1,500 Sega games across four of their consoles. Below you can find a comprehensive list of the consoles, the number of games in the collection, and links to their related collections on Internet Archive: Amstrad GX-4000 - 23 APF-MP1000 - 15 Atari 2600 - 519 Atari 5200 - 43 Atari 7800 – 73 Bally Astrocade - 20 Bandai Super Vision 8000 - 7 Coleco Colecovision - 234 Emerson Arcadia – 58 Entex Adventure Vision - 4 Epoch Game Pocket Computer - 5 Epoch Super Cassette Vision - 31 The Fairchild Channel F – 45 Magnavox Odyssey 2 – 122 Mattel Aquarius - 13 Mattel Intelevision - 21 Mega Duck WG-108 - 9 Neo Geo Pocket/Pocket Color – 316 Sega Game Gear - 446 Sega Genesis - 575 Sega Master System - 563 Sega SG-1000 - 74 Socrates - 8 Shoot ‘Em Up Construction Kit games - 323 Super A’Can – 9 VTech Creativision - 17 Watara Supervision - 44 However, are all of those games worth looking into? That answer is definitely a bit hazy. While Internet Archive can successfully emulate all of these titles, the controls and responsiveness of said games leaves a lot to be desired. The ideal way to play these is definitely not on the Archive, but it stands as a useful repository of history and research for those who want to know more about gaming's past. The uploaded titles include unfinished prototypes and builds for various games, too! Just be warned - there are a lot of... eccentric titles on the Internet Archive that have been made by homebrew developers and may contain some explicit material. View full article
  6. A couple years back, we told you about how the Internet Archive had added 2,400 MS-DOS games to its collection. That number of MS-DOS titles has since grown to over 4,000, but there are actually almost double that number of gaming titles that archived from other systems and consoles. The current total number of explorable gaming software on the Archive stands at 7,700. That's a lot of games! The console collection of The Internet Archive includes a staggering number of obscure systems. Ever wondered what it was like to play a Fairchild Channel F? They have 45 games anyone can try out. Never heard of the Epoch Game Pocket Computer? You can play five of those titles. In fact, there are 27 collections of uploaded and emulated software available, including over 1,500 Sega games across four of their consoles. Below you can find a comprehensive list of the consoles, the number of games in the collection, and links to their related collections on Internet Archive: Amstrad GX-4000 - 23 APF-MP1000 - 15 Atari 2600 - 519 Atari 5200 - 43 Atari 7800 – 73 Bally Astrocade - 20 Bandai Super Vision 8000 - 7 Coleco Colecovision - 234 Emerson Arcadia – 58 Entex Adventure Vision - 4 Epoch Game Pocket Computer - 5 Epoch Super Cassette Vision - 31 The Fairchild Channel F – 45 Magnavox Odyssey 2 – 122 Mattel Aquarius - 13 Mattel Intelevision - 21 Mega Duck WG-108 - 9 Neo Geo Pocket/Pocket Color – 316 Sega Game Gear - 446 Sega Genesis - 575 Sega Master System - 563 Sega SG-1000 - 74 Socrates - 8 Shoot ‘Em Up Construction Kit games - 323 Super A’Can – 9 VTech Creativision - 17 Watara Supervision - 44 However, are all of those games worth looking into? That answer is definitely a bit hazy. While Internet Archive can successfully emulate all of these titles, the controls and responsiveness of said games leaves a lot to be desired. The ideal way to play these is definitely not on the Archive, but it stands as a useful repository of history and research for those who want to know more about gaming's past. The uploaded titles include unfinished prototypes and builds for various games, too! Just be warned - there are a lot of... eccentric titles on the Internet Archive that have been made by homebrew developers and may contain some explicit material.
  7. The Internet Archive added a staggering 2,388 pieces of video game history to its collection today. It has also launched the beta for its website that will make its contents more accessible and visually appealing. Jason Scott, one of the leaders of the Archive's push toward a more comprehensible website and a proponent of making these old game playable in-browser, explained in a blog post that not all of the MS-DOS games will be stable, but "on the whole, you will experience some analogue of the MS-DOS program, in your browser, instantly." And it is true! Some of the games on the Internet Archive work splendidly in-browser. There is no fiddling trying to get the programs to run on machine that can barely recognize what they are. True, some of them don't work properly, but all of them work enough to give you an idea of how they played; what they looked and sounded like. It is a really impressive feat. I highly recommend you go over and poke around the titles on stored on the Archive just to see what's out there. If you have trouble with the beta site, just switch over to the old version.
  8. The folks at Lizardcube release their side-scrolling action-platformer Wonder Boy today. The vibrant, dream-like game follows the either Hu-Man or Hu-Girl as he/she ventures into Monster Land in search of the dragon's room. Unfortunately for our hero, the room isn't without its traps. The dragon curses Wonder Boy, dooming him to live in various animal-human forms. The trailer shows these forms in action: Lizard-Man, Mouse-Man, Lion-Man, Piranha-Man, and Hawk-Man. Each one has different advantages, like a fire breath attack as Lizard-Man or the ability to fly as Hawk-Man. Players will need to master each form in order to recover the Salamander Cross and remove the curse for good. As a nice added bonus, players can switch back and forth from the modern, hand-animated style or a retro 8-bit aesthetic. These changes can be made on the fly and even extend to the audio and sound effects. Wonder Boy is an old Sega franchise that had some of the strangest numbering and naming conventions, even by gaming standards. The series goes Wonder Boy, Wonder Boy: Monster Land, Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair, Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, Wonder Boy V: Monster World III, and Monster World IV. Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is a modern reimagining of the 1989 Sega Master System title Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap for modern consoles and possibly an attempt to revive the dormant Wonder Boy IP for a new era. Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch View full article
  9. The folks at Lizardcube release their side-scrolling action-platformer Wonder Boy today. The vibrant, dream-like game follows the either Hu-Man or Hu-Girl as he/she ventures into Monster Land in search of the dragon's room. Unfortunately for our hero, the room isn't without its traps. The dragon curses Wonder Boy, dooming him to live in various animal-human forms. The trailer shows these forms in action: Lizard-Man, Mouse-Man, Lion-Man, Piranha-Man, and Hawk-Man. Each one has different advantages, like a fire breath attack as Lizard-Man or the ability to fly as Hawk-Man. Players will need to master each form in order to recover the Salamander Cross and remove the curse for good. As a nice added bonus, players can switch back and forth from the modern, hand-animated style or a retro 8-bit aesthetic. These changes can be made on the fly and even extend to the audio and sound effects. Wonder Boy is an old Sega franchise that had some of the strangest numbering and naming conventions, even by gaming standards. The series goes Wonder Boy, Wonder Boy: Monster Land, Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair, Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, Wonder Boy V: Monster World III, and Monster World IV. Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is a modern reimagining of the 1989 Sega Master System title Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap for modern consoles and possibly an attempt to revive the dormant Wonder Boy IP for a new era. Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch
  10. Beginning January 13th, PlayStation will be launching a subscription for their PlayStation Now streaming service. PlayStation owners can currently only pay to rent individual titles for differing period of time ranging from four hours to ninety days at prices that vary from as little as $1.99 to $14.99. Subscribers will have access to every PlayStation Now title for as long as they remain subscribed. PlayStation plans to implement two subscription bundles. One month will cost customers $19.99. Alternatively, a three month package will run $44.99. PlayStation points out that if the price seems steep, the service grants access to over 100 titles from the PlayStation 3's library. For the skeptical, PlayStation is offering a seven-day free trial. The subscription will be rolled out on PlayStation 4 before making its way to other systems and devices. To celebrate the launch of the subscription service, a free PlayStation Now theme will be available for PS4 users in early January. Downloading the theme before the end of January will automatically enter PS4 owners into a drawing for a shot at netting a one-year subscription to PlayStation Now. PlayStation Now has been criticized for having inflated prices and being a bit jittery or sluggish when it come to responding to inputs. Is a subscription plan the solution? Does this announcement make you more interested in using PlayStation Now?
  11. Get ready for some farming nostalgia and small town romance, Natsume stealth released their 2003 life simulator Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life onto the PlayStation Network for PlayStation 4. This move comes as part of the company's celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Harvest Moon series. A Wonderful Life represents the first of two games from the PS2/GameCube era to see a re-release on PS4. In A Wonderful Life, players start with next to nothing aside from a rundown farm with a cow and a dog. Over the course of a few seasons in-game, players can build the farm up into a production juggernaut or let it be and spent their time walking around the nearby town talking with the locals and wooing the several eligible romance options. Players can eventually marry their digital partner and have a kid who then grows up into an adult. The special edition of A Wonderful Life comes with a number of welcome additions to the original game. Players have an additional love interest, more animal types, and the option to continue playing after the end of the story mode. There are also a number of quality of life changes that veterans will likely notice. Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life is now on PSN for $14.99 - who else is going to be farming up a storm in short order? View full article
  12. Get ready for some farming nostalgia and small town romance, Natsume stealth released their 2003 life simulator Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life onto the PlayStation Network for PlayStation 4. This move comes as part of the company's celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Harvest Moon series. A Wonderful Life represents the first of two games from the PS2/GameCube era to see a re-release on PS4. In A Wonderful Life, players start with next to nothing aside from a rundown farm with a cow and a dog. Over the course of a few seasons in-game, players can build the farm up into a production juggernaut or let it be and spent their time walking around the nearby town talking with the locals and wooing the several eligible romance options. Players can eventually marry their digital partner and have a kid who then grows up into an adult. The special edition of A Wonderful Life comes with a number of welcome additions to the original game. Players have an additional love interest, more animal types, and the option to continue playing after the end of the story mode. There are also a number of quality of life changes that veterans will likely notice. Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life is now on PSN for $14.99 - who else is going to be farming up a storm in short order?
  13. A Boy and His Monster

    Video games are undeniably one of the most bizarre mediums of artistic expression. Sometimes, like right now, I’ll sit down to write about a particular game that is so spectacularly something that I just stare blankly ahead and think, “How do I even begin talking about this?” Super Godzilla for the SNES has consistently rendered me speechless when trying to nail down how I feel about it. It is just so inexplicable. Between the strange design and the repetitive, slow gameplay, it delivers almost (but perhaps not quite) completely the opposite experience you would want from a game about a skyscraper-sized reptile fueled by a lust for destruction and nuclear fire. And yet… I find myself drawn to it all the same, like a child to a comforting blanket. So, how do I even begin talking about this? Perhaps, like most things, it is best to start at the beginning. Over the past year, Extra Life has been accepting article submissions from the wonderful people in the online community. I’ve had the pleasure of working with dozens of talented writers, helping to edit and refine their work into the quality think pieces and entertaining musings you can find on the site. Being able to bounce thoughts off of each other and grow as writers together has been a rewarding experience. The process is very much collaborative, and often I come away feeling like I’ve benefited from being exposed to the deluge of fresh perspectives that enter and exit our little collective of willing authors. Out of that back and forth came two excellent articles in the past couple weeks, one by Dylan Dzedzy and the other by Eliot Hurn. Both approach gaming from a place of deep appreciation and respect for classic games and their place in the evolution of the medium. Working with them on their respective pieces made me wax nostalgic for a game that I spent a large chunk of time playing during my younger days. So it came to be that I popped a dusty Super Godzilla cartridge into my Super Nintendo over the weekend and played through the entire thing in one sitting. Before I get into the bones of what makes Super Godzilla so incredibly singular, I should probably give a bit of background on why I am so acquainted with such an obscure title. The most obvious, surface level reason is pretty straightforward: I love anything to do with giant creatures, real or fictional. That was true when I was a little kid, it is true now, and it will probably remain that way until the day I die. I find large creatures fascinating. I’ll readily admit that having towering monsters isn’t the best reason to like a game, but I’d be lying if I said that didn’t contribute slightly to the allure the game held for me once. It is a bland, uninteresting truth about myself, but it is the truth. Buried slightly below the surface enjoyment of large-scale monsters is another reason with a slightly more familial bent. One of my earliest memories of my dad is him coming home from a business trip when I was four or five years old with a VHS of Godzilla vs. King Kong. This created an abiding place in my heart for the movie monster that represented near unstoppable nuclear Armageddon to theater audiences in 1954. Of course, at the time I knew the history of neither the giant fire-breathing dragon nor that of the giant ape that it fought (nor the giant octopus that attacks said ape at the beginning of the film). All that mattered to me was that it was a movie my dad and I could watch together. And when we did watch it, my young eyes entirely bought into the illusion. To me, they weren’t laughable rubber suits fighting in prop cities, they were tangible forces of nature so powerful that oceans boiled and tanks melted. As I’ve grown older, I outgrew the illusion and lost some of the magic I once saw in those rubbery, titanic struggles, but the fondness remains. I’ll sheepishly admit that I have seen pretty much every Godzilla film that has been released in the United States (we are currently at 34 feature films, with another one on the horizon in 2018). While I recognize them for the campfests that they are now, I can also marvel at the artistry inherent in the massive sets that they created and tore down, the attention given to scale and the incredibly “out there” ideas they successfully translated into movies. That’s a theme song for a robot that grew to be the size of a building to fight alongside Godzilla against a giant beetle sent from a secret civilization under the ocean. What’s not to love? Remembering the delight that a younger me felt when I discovered that there was a Super Nintendo game that featured Godzilla still brings a smile to my face. There were Godzilla games on the original Nintendo, but I had certainly never encountered them at that point in my life. It was a moment of discovery; a moment when I learned that one of my favorite cinematic characters wasn’t limited to the rare VHS found in a rental store (remember those?). I can’t remember exactly how it happened, I think either a birthday or Christmas swung around and one of my parents slyly procured a used copy from Funcoland (remember those?), but I was eventually gifted this marvelous thing. Then I played it. And I played it. And I played it. I played Super Godzilla a lot, to the point that I can still remember some of the finer points of the game almost two decades later. The mechanics of it seeped into my bones. If that seems a bit strange, I agree with you. Underneath my natural inclination toward colossal beasts and Godzilla’s association with my father, there was a third layer to my obsessive playing of Super Godzilla. For a good chunk of my young life I found myself hard pressed to make or maintain friends. People were mysteries that I found hard to understand at a young age, in many ways that still hasn’t changed. But games? Those I could understand. Video games have rules, boundaries. You can win or lose a game. I don’t think the same thing can be said about people, at least not in the same way. As a kid, I couldn’t articulate those ideas, but I knew them on instinct. I didn’t know what I was doing to attract the attention of bullies and ostracize myself from classmates, so I retreated inward. If I was going to be a social pariah among my peers in school, at least I could find validation by spending time with one of my favorite movie characters. Now that I think on it, maybe another part of the allure was that Godzilla was so big that nothing could kill him. He could be hurt, definitely, but no matter how many tanks were thrown at him, no matter how many lasers pierced his sides, no matter what, Godzilla would come through it all and let out a wild roar. Maybe I was trying to be more like that. Maybe I’m reading a bit too much into it. Regardless, the third layer of my relationship with the terror of Tokyo was that I was just another lonely kid looking for something that eased the sense of isolation. What exactly did I throw so much time into? What is Super Godzilla? One of the first things that I can tell you with a fair degree of certainty is that there has never been, and will never be again, a game quite like Super Godzilla. It barely even conforms to a genre. If someone held me at gunpoint and demanded me to classify it, I suppose I’d say that it falls uncomfortably into the RPG category with fighting game elements. But that doesn’t really convey the essence of Super Godzilla, because I’d comfortably bet money that it isn’t anything like what you’d picture an RPG or a fighting game to be. Before I go further into the mechanics of Super Godzilla, it might help to have some context. It begins with the Japanese city of Osaka coming under attack by King Ghidorah, a three-headed space dinosaur that can shoot lightning out of its mouths. Luckily, a group of scientists have discovered that a method of mind controlling Godzilla for limited amounts of time by using the Super X-II, an experimental weapon originally designed to fight Godzilla. The player takes on the task of defending the city as Godzilla, but must first maneuver the towering monster through the streets of Osaka before engaging Ghidorah. After blasting the middle head off of King Ghidorah (I mean that quite literally), aliens show up and explain that they have all of the world’s other monsters under mind control and that they’ll use them to destroy Japan and Godzilla. That’s the set up for six stages worth of searching out monstrosities and battling them to the death. That seems like it would be a moderately good set up for a brawler set in the (incredibly insane) Godzilla universe, right? However, Advance Communication Company, the developers of Super Godzilla decided to try and make something unique. Boy, did they ever succeed. I want to preface my attempt to explain Super Godzilla by saying that the game can’t even explain itself. I’m not saying that to be mean; the tutorial is practically non-existent. Even though the opening level is relatively easy compared to the rest of the game, it can still get the better of players who have never encountered it before because none of the Super Godzilla’s advice makes a lick of sense. As a kid, I managed to overcome that learning barrier through sheer force of will. The gameplay of Super Godzilla is separated into exploration and battle modes. Every stage begins in exploration mode, which splits the screen horizontally into two different displays. The upper display shows the actions being performed by Godzilla as he crashes through mountains, skyscrapers, electrical lines, etc. The lower display consists of a map of the area with a blue dot representing Godzilla and other icons that represent tanks, artillery, mines, buildings, mountains, or places of interest. The map is where all of the action of the exploration mode plays out. Around the map are numbers indicating how much time remains before the scientists lose control of Godzilla (which results in a game over), another which gauges how close the enemy monster is, and a third that displays Godzilla’s energy (aka health). That last stat is important to keep an eye on because anytime that Godzilla gets hit with artillery, steps on a mine, or crushes a building while searching for the enemy, a fraction of his energy gets chipped away. The act of moving Godzilla around the map plays out at an almost agonizingly slow pace as players manipulate Godzilla square by square to the target of each stage. It takes a second or two to move to a new square, which only serves to hammer home the realization that waiting makes up the majority of the game. Exploration is little more than waiting to make it from point A to point B. To make things a bit more interesting, there are a variety of items and power-ups that players can collect during exploration that can then be used in battle for stronger attacks, invulnerability, or stopping the clock so you don’t fail the stage. There are also a copious amount of nuclear reactors scattered around each stage that restore health if the player has walked Godzilla through a few too many landmines. The only real appeal of this portion of gameplay is being able to see Godzilla interact with the environment and wreck things. Unfortunately, the locked camera angle in the upper screen limits the scenes of chaos and destruction, so it is a relatively poor delivery on that front even when taking into account the limitations of the time. When players guide the blue Godzilla dot into the red enemy dot, exploration mode shifts into battle mode. At first glance, these clashes look like what you might expect from a fighting game. Two sprites face each other on a level plane and look ready to kick some tail. However, a quick run through all of the SNES controller’s buttons reveals that the options of this fighting game are limited to moving left or right, guard, and throwing a punch. The only line of dialogue that even attempts to shed some light on the situation is something along the lines of, “Make sure to keep up your fighting spirit!” Which is completely unhelpful unless you make a flying mental leap and realize that the pulsating bars that take up a small portion of the screen represent fighting spirit. Moving to the right raises Godzilla’s fighting spirit, but being hit by the enemy causes it to fall significantly. Battles become a strange dance of shifting left and right at the appropriate times, getting the fighting spirit as high as possible before closing in to throw a punch. When a punch hits the enemy, players are supposed to instinctively know to move left, away from their enemy. As Godzilla moves away, a roulette of sorts appears in the middle of the screen and allows the player to select an attack for Godzilla to perform, from a puny tail whip to a mighty blast of irradiated fire. The higher Godzilla’s fighting spirit and the farther back he walks from his foe, the more powerful the randomly selected attacks can become. Once the attack is selected (hopefully before the enemy monster rushes in and cancels the selection) an animated sequence begins that shows Godzilla attacking the opposing monster. Of course, enemies can do the same thing and will often unleash obscenely powerful special attacks if they are allowed to strike Godzilla. That’s it. That’s all there is to Super Godzilla. A player that knows the game can beat it in two hours or less, but for someone who has never played the first stage can prove to be both confusing and fatal. Looking back at Super Godzilla’s 1994 release, the now defunct magazine GamePro recommended it only for the most hardcore of Godzilla fans. That recommendation fit exactly for kid-me. I was young, lonely, and motivated enough to play this game for hours. It was a time during which I still bought into the illusion of the movies, when I couldn’t see the seams that held the movie magic together. For that younger me, it wasn’t a boring slog through a frustrating wasteland devoid of fun. Instead, the illusion of the movies extended over the game as well. It was a battle between gods and demons, the fate of humanity resting on the shoulders of a great, green behemoth. It was all just so much bigger than me, and yet it couldn’t continue unless I played. It made me feel important. Playing Super Godzilla now, I can see every awful inch of it. It is horribly boring, weird, and has very few redeeming qualities. Despite the numerous flaws and my older eyes, it still makes my heart glad. The simple sprite work of the 90s era Godzilla smacking around aliens and movie monsters strangely comforts me. The lengthy waiting periods during which I can listen to the repetitive score aren’t as painful as I imagine it must be for other people. I suppose what I am trying to say is that the quality of Super Godzilla is almost entirely divorced from what it means to me. On a personal level, it is more of a symbol than a game; a symbol of good things in a not so good time. I imagine that we all have a few of those laying around in our hearts somewhere. That’s Super Godzilla in a nutshell. I can’t in good conscience recommend it to most people. If you are curious about video game oddities or interested in learning from it for a game design course, I might suggest that you to actively seek it out. It would probably be a great lesson in how not to make a video game. For the rest of you, if you see it in an antique shop or a garage sale or something, consider picking it up for a dollar or two as a novelty. As for me, I break it out sparingly to show to interested friends for a laugh. And, when those friends have gone home and I’m cleaning up, maybe I’ll take a minute to sit down with it again, remembering a young kid who could relate more with a monster than he could with people. By the way, this poster for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is better than anything that Americans have done with Godzilla.
  14. Review: The Legend of Grimrock 2

    The Isle of Nex, an isolated land of mystery and monsters, has a will of its own. Four prisoners wash ashore, guided through the rocky shoals by a mysterious intelligence. The nature of the convicts’ crimes, even their previous identities, no longer matter as the group of four attempt to survive and escape the deadly designs of the island’s master. It is a simple set up, certainly one that has been used countless times before, but Legend of Grimrock 2 squeezes every bit of traction out of that familiar scenario. The island presents itself as a giant puzzle for the player to solve, a puzzle surrounded by deadly traps and hungry monsters. Legend of Grimrock 2 is a fascinating look at what game designers can do with relatively simple tools. The gameplay harks back to an older era of PC gaming when the Might and Magic series was in its prime. The entirety of the Isle of Nex, from its dungeons to its sunny landscape and beaches, exists on a colossal grid. Every move players make take them from one square to the next or rotates the camera onto a different face of the square. For those who aren’t prepared for this kind of a world, simply navigating the terrain can feel very bizarre. It takes a while to acclimate to the combat system as well. Two party members make up the frontline, while the remaining two support from the backline. Each character has two hands in which they can equip weapons. Both hands can be clicked to perform an attack with the weapon in that hand. It isn’t the most intuitive system, but I found myself enjoying it quite a bit after a while. Due in part to how strange movement and combat can be, Grimrock 2 feels very different from anything else available right now. While combat can be an exciting prospect, especially when new monsters appear or a boss is encountered, Legend of Grimrock 2 shines when it comes to puzzles. That’s an impressive achievement for a game whose puzzles primarily consist of switches, pressure plates, and block pushing. From that description you’re probably rolling your eyes at the mere prospect of more video game puzzle clichés. You would be right to be skeptical; those tools used in trite and frustrating ways. However, Legend of Grimrock 2 manage through creative design choices to make these generic obstacles fun. There were times when I genuinely felt stumped, only for the solution to smack me in the face an hour later (puzzle based on Rock-Paper-Scissors really had me baffled). Particularly difficult puzzles might include a cryptic riddle that provides a hint as to how to proceed. Whenever a puzzle is solved and a new path opens, Legend of Grimrock 2 gives a strong sense of accomplishment as well as the itch to see what is around the next corner. I played through the first Legend of Grimrock, which took place entirely within one gigantic dungeon. I was curious how developer Almost Human would handle the transition to more open and natural environments. I’m happy to say that Legend of Grimrock 2 is gorgeous. The outdoor levels exist on a day-night cycle with various lighting conditions that spice up the visuals nicely. It is a bit bizarre when the natural world conforms to the grid patterns that really only make sense in dungeons, but that bit of dissonance dissipates rather quickly. The major boon of having outdoor areas is that the developers were free to create large, sprawling levels. Yes, there are still enormous dungeons, but it is nice to be able to take a break from those and explore a noxious forest, a haunted cemetery, or a sunny beach. There are a variety of different environments that each house unique enemies. From irritating giant frogs that steal equipment to terrifying ogres that can wipe your party with a single successful charge, indie developer Almost Human went to great lengths to make sure there is always something new waiting to surprise and challenge players. Anyone comparing the sequel to its predecessor can see that while the gameplay is virtually identical, the developers have added more of what made the first game such a successful indie game. There are more environments, more puzzles and traps, more monsters, more classes, more treasures, more game all around. Variety is the spice of life, as the saying goes, but it also keeps video games engaging. There are some holdovers from the first game that feel a bit out of place. For example, the scream that characters make when they die remains the same, as do a number of other sound effects. A few of the monsters make return appearances, like the giant crabs and green slimes. I could even swear that some of the wall textures are reused from the first game. However, none of those things are really terrible or game breaking. Legend of Grimrock 2 offers a really fantastic amount of customization. There is even an option to skip character customization altogether if it isn’t your thing. There are tons of unique classes that players can choose from when beginning their adventure, like the farmer class, which levels by eating food instead of fighting monsters. Each character can choose one class, two unique traits, and assign two skill points during character creation. After the game has begun, players can’t go back and switch their class or character perks. However, each character gains a skill point with every level and those points can be used to specialize characters into unique niches depending on the needs of the party. While I enjoyed playing around with different mixtures for my party, I found that having two high health, high defense characters in the frontline and two ranged damage dealers in the back row worked best. I eventually settled on minotaur barbarian, a dual-wielding lizardman knight, a human battle mage, and a ratling alchemist proficient with firearms. I think that last part bears repeating: I created a humanoid rat man that makes bombs and shoots guns. Beyond character creation, players can make Legend of Grimrock 2 more difficult by enabling a number of optional restraints. Old-School Mode eliminates auto-mapping and forces players to either hone their memory or grab graph paper and a pencil to make their own maps. Ironman Mode restricts saving to the healing crystals scattered throughout the world. Single-Use Crystals permanently deactivates healing crystals after they’ve healed your party. I found most of these modes to be cripplingly difficult, with the exception of Ironman Mode. Beware if you’re the masochistic type and unfamiliar with this style of game; don’t ruin the experience for yourself. Conclusion: Traversing Nex and uncovering its secrets is a fantastically old-school adventure with current-gen graphical polish. Legend of Grimrock 2 consistently entertains in creative and clever ways. The story isn’t terribly interesting, but the puzzles provide the motivation to delve deeper into the island’s many mysteries. The gameplay won’t be for everyone. There is a definite learning curve for combat and movement can feel a bit jerky due to the tile-based nature of the game. For those who can overcome those obstacles, there is a truly exciting undertaking that dips into fantastic unknown depths. Legend of Grimrock 2 is currently available on PC
  15. The Luftrausers Soundtrack Now Available

    The soundtrack to Vlambeer's retro arcade shooter is on sale and it's something like the Swiss Army knife of soundtracks. I was a bit confused when I read that the Luftrausers soundtrack was available because, for those who don't know, the soundtrack of Luftrausers is made up of numerous tracks that change their combination based on what gear is equipped to your rauser. That means that there are over 100 combinations for different songs that could be included in this bundle. My confusion has dissipated after discovering more about the final product. The Luftrauser's soundtrack holds five original songs and four specific songs used in the game. People who purchase the nine track album will also receive all the individual tracks separated, allowing more musically inclined gamers to remix and play around with them to their heart's content. Note: Kozilek, Luftrauser's composer, says that to remix the tracks "just remove the '.sav' part from the filename." You can download the soundtrack from Kozilek's bandcamp page. What do you think of the Luftrausers game or soundtrack? Do compelling game soundtracks or singles significantly influence your opinion of a game?
  16. The Regular Show is on track to get its very first video game treatment, and from what we’ve seen, it doesn’t look half bad. Borrowing from classics like Super Mario Bros. 3, Contra, and R-Type, 8-bit Land features a unique blend of all three of the classic gameplay types. The 8-bit visual style even takes some of its cues from the classic titles and references can be found scattered throughout levels. Enemies will be made up of their adversaries from the show like The Hammer. Fans of the show should can rest easy, Regular Show series creator JG Quintel crafted the story and concept of 8-bit Land and was heavily involved in its development. The Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby In 8-bit Land will release sometime this fall for the 3DS and retail at around $29.95.
  17. Retro video game reviewer and content creator over at Cinemassacre.com James Rolfe (AKA The Angry Video Game Nerd) has accrued quite the following over the last few years. With over one million YouTube subscribers and his own website, he reviews old video games and movies, makes his own films, and works on various other projects like the Monster Madness month-long events. The Angry Video Game Nerd (AVGN) show that he creates reviews retro games and features a lot of amusingly hyperbolic language and rage-filled tirades about crappy game design. (AVGN Disclaimer: The show makes use of a very colorful vocabulary. If you are offended by vulgar language, it isn’t recommended for you.) Today marked the Nerd’s entry into the arena of making games. The debut trailer for Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, which you can see below, makes it clear that it will be a sidescrolling shooter in the vein of classics like Mega Man, while retaining the show’s sense of impropriety and James’ trademark exaggerated frown. Not much is known about the title as of yet, but the screenshots released alongside the trailer seem to indicate that many of the levels will draw inspiration from a variety of classic 2D sidescrollers like Super Mario World and Castlevania. The game is currently slated for release on PC sometime this year. People who are partial to Steam, you can visit the title’s Greenlight page and vote for it to be released on Steam. For more information, you can visit the Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures Facebook page.
  18. Shovel Knight released to critical acclaim and financial success in 2014, becoming one of the most noteworthy indie darlings of the year for its retro aesthetic, tight controls, and boppin' soundtrack (yeah, boppin' - I said it). The DLC campaign Plague of Shadows followed in 2015. The new campaign allowed players to take on the mantle of Plague Knight, one of Shovel Knight's antagonists. Yacht Club Games revealed their next game in that retro platforming world at The Game Awards 2016: Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment. The new side-scrolling platformer has been created from the ground up to play differently than the original Shovel Knight. It follows the quest of Specter Knight to assemble the Order Of No Quarter, the league of knights who allied themselves with the evil Enchantress from the original Shovel Knight. Because Yacht Club Games started from scratch to create Specter of Torment, fans can expect to encounter new everything. The game will look different, sound different, and play different. While Shovel Knight was clearly a homage to Mega Man, Specter of Torment seems to be Mega Man-meets-Castlevania. Much of the gameplay seems based around movement and melee combat. The influence seems to extend to the soundtrack and visuals, too, which adopt more gothic, tones. Players can expect to get their hands on Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment when it releases Spring 2017. Yacht Club Games is also planning to release a campaign focused around King Knight sometime after, though details on that are scarce. Like Plague of Shadows, both Specter of Torment and the campaign for King Knight will be free updates for those who have purchased the base Shovel Knight game.
  19. Shovel Knight released to critical acclaim and financial success in 2014, becoming one of the most noteworthy indie darlings of the year for its retro aesthetic, tight controls, and boppin' soundtrack (yeah, boppin' - I said it). The DLC campaign Plague of Shadows followed in 2015. The new campaign allowed players to take on the mantle of Plague Knight, one of Shovel Knight's antagonists. Yacht Club Games revealed their next game in that retro platforming world at The Game Awards 2016: Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment. The new side-scrolling platformer has been created from the ground up to play differently than the original Shovel Knight. It follows the quest of Specter Knight to assemble the Order Of No Quarter, the league of knights who allied themselves with the evil Enchantress from the original Shovel Knight. Because Yacht Club Games started from scratch to create Specter of Torment, fans can expect to encounter new everything. The game will look different, sound different, and play different. While Shovel Knight was clearly a homage to Mega Man, Specter of Torment seems to be Mega Man-meets-Castlevania. Much of the gameplay seems based around movement and melee combat. The influence seems to extend to the soundtrack and visuals, too, which adopt more gothic, tones. Players can expect to get their hands on Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment when it releases Spring 2017. Yacht Club Games is also planning to release a campaign focused around King Knight sometime after, though details on that are scarce. Like Plague of Shadows, both Specter of Torment and the campaign for King Knight will be free updates for those who have purchased the base Shovel Knight game. View full article
  20. Favorite Old School RPG??

    Hey guys! I was wondering what some of your favorite old school rpgs are??? Lets say anything ps1 and older! Mine are: Chrono trigger, lunar silver star story complete, legend of dragoon, shining force and a few others!!!
  21. Check it out!! Couple of those people look kinda familiar!
  22. RetroFest

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    Good Morning Everyone! The Akron Extra Life Guild is hosting a recruitment booth for RetroFest, located at the Holiday Inn on 4520 Everhard Road NW in Canton, OH on Saturday, May 14. Tentative hours are 10 AM - 6 PM. Parking is available on site. We need people to man the booth, register interested gamers, pass out flyers & answer questions about Extra Life. Please reply to this thread with your name and the shift(s) you can cover. We can be flexible with shift times, just let us know what you need. Thank you! For details about RetroFest: https://www.facebook.com/events/510300779150300/
  23. "Retro"/"Parent" Initiative

    Happy Monday! I'm not sure if this would work better as a fundraising idea or a recruiting idea, but the thought may kick start something either way! I had made a list of some ideas for outreach and a "retro initiative" came to mind. Not necessarily a push for playing old Mario games or anything like that, but more of a way to reach parents or older generations. I know when I try to explain Extra Life to my mom (who was a PC gamer back in the day) it's still a bit over her head. Maybe Extra Lifers could ask their parents what they played as kids, or even as adults, and we could somehow use that to peak their interest in signing up themselves, or at the very least help them better relate to the program and be more willing to support and donate. For example, my mom played a lot of Riven when I was growing up. I never hear mention of that game anymore, but I know it was popular and it might peak some memories for people. Then today I saw a campaign from Netflix called #HookUpYourParents as a way to show how easy it is for those who may not be up to date with technology to download, register, and use Netflix. It pretty much nailed the idea I had in mind, so I figured I'd share the thought. I don't know how I would run with this idea, but if anyone else thinks it may work maybe we can brainstorm something great!
  24. until
    Come find Extra Life Austin at Classic Game Fest, the BIGGEST Retro Video Game Convention in Texas! We'll be at Booth #100 telling people what Extra Life does for the kids here in Central Texas! Sign up for a chance to win swag or a pair of tickets to RTX!
  25. The Internet Archive added a staggering 2,388 pieces of video game history to its collection today. It has also launched the beta for its website that will make its contents more accessible and visually appealing. Jason Scott, one of the leaders of the Archive's push toward a more comprehensible website and a proponent of making these old game playable in-browser, explained in a blog post that not all of the MS-DOS games will be stable, but "on the whole, you will experience some analogue of the MS-DOS program, in your browser, instantly." And it is true! Some of the games on the Internet Archive work splendidly in-browser. There is no fiddling trying to get the programs to run on machine that can barely recognize what they are. True, some of them don't work properly, but all of them work enough to give you an idea of how they played; what they looked and sounded like. It is a really impressive feat. I highly recommend you go over and poke around the titles on stored on the Archive just to see what's out there. If you have trouble with the beta site, just switch over to the old version. View full article