Long Live The Sega Mega Drive

Long Live The Sega Mega Drive

Sonic and tails running

Long live the Sega Mega Drive

I’m sitting here with my fingers hovering over my keyboard. I’m staring at a blank word document like I’m staring into an abyss. I know what I want to talk about but where on earth do you begin talking about the Sega Mega Drive whilst giving it an ounce of the importance it deserves?I keep hearing Bane’s voice in my head: “You merely adopted the dark… I was born in it! Moulded by it!”
And I was moulded by it! The Mega Drive that is, not the dark. But then the Mega Drive sort of was the dark side. And the devil’s always had the best tunes! Or in this case, games!

Sure, there was the NES and I had a ruddy good time on Duck Hunt with the Zapper. The Gameboy too …even though I was essentially just playing Tetris on a big calculator display that I could barely see in daylight! It was still great fun though and impressive for the time. But the Mega drive? Now that was something else…

I remember the first time I laid eyes on it. It was at a friend’s house. His name was William and there, on the carpet just in front of his living room TV was this mysterious, black box. Somehow it looked both slick and futuristic yet rugged and imposing at the same time. Like if Honda had designed a tank. William switched the TV to channel 00 and we were met with static. But then… he reached for the power button on the mysterious console. He slid it to the On position. The static disappeared from the TV screen and for a few seconds… nothing happened. Then all of a sudden, the screen turned white and flooded the darkened living room with light! “SEEEAAAGGGAAAA!” screamed at me from the lo-fi TV speakers! The next thing I know, there’s a certain blue hedgehog waving his finger at me and the sound of one of the most glorious chip tune songs ever programmed! Where had this been all my life?! I mean I was only 7, but still!

The Revenge of Shinobi title

The Revenge of Shinobi

Sonic The Hedgehog was just the beginning! What else did William have? What’s this? Batman? Wait a minute, a game based on the 1989 Batman movie?! The one where he kills people?! Fire it up, godammit! Within minutes I was punching a number of identical looking purse snatchers in the face and hurling batarangs at pixilated goons! Oh but it gets better… This one has a ninja on the cover! The Revenge Of Shinobi? Out went the Batman cartridge and in went my new best friend, Joe Musashi! Surely it couldn’t get much better (or more bloody difficult) than Shinobi? Oh it could! William had one final ace up his sleeve: the box art hit me with that same excited intrigue I got the first time I saw the VHS sleeve for Sylvester Stallone’s Cobra in a video shop. Or the more forbidden fruit of the tapes on the shelves I couldn’t reach – No! Not the scud! I can’t believe your mind went straight there?! I meant the horror section, your A Nightmare on Elm Streets, your Fright Nights, or absolutely anything on the Medusa label (seriously! Check them out! Incredible artwork!)Just who was this furious looking blonde lad doing a flying kick on a stereotypical looking thug complete with micro uzi? Who was this raven-haired, femme fatale also doing a flying kick to the face of a thug, albeit one with a Jason Voorhees mask? Well it was none other than Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding! I was staring at the box art for Streets Of motherfucking Rage! …It’s actually just called Streets Of Rage. There’s another character, Adam Hunter who is mysteriously missing from the box art. Not sure why? He should be on there! He’s on the title screen, so why the hell is he not on the box art?! Okay, fine. I can put up with that glaring error. But only because the game is absolutely incredible! Seriously! It is absolutely incredible! A lot of people will argue Streets Of Rage 2 is where the original series peaked and I agree that the larger sprites looked good but I’m sorry, once again poor Adam has been whacked with the brown end of the shit stick! He’s nowhere to be seen! They brought in his brother, Skate who is basically useless! Nobody has ever won a fight in rollerblades! The music was nowhere near as good as the first game and really, to be honest, Streets Of Rage 2 is really just a reboot of Streets Of Rage 1 with bigger sprites and not quite as cool levels. Don’t look at me like that! It’s good! I’m not saying it’s not good! I’m just saying the OG Streets Of Rage will always be superior and I will fight anyone who says different!

Street of rage police car

When you accidentally press ‘A’ – Streets of Rage

I think one of the biggest problems I have with SOR2 over SOR1 is the unexplained lack of police backup? In SOR1 I could call in the cops, who’d then proceed to do a drive-by on a boss with a bazooka or a minigun! Instead, in SOR2 I can do a special move that doesn’t do a great deal more damage than a combo already can and I have to sacrifice my health to do it?! That’s insane!Anyway, there was nothing else for it, I needed a Mega Drive and I needed it yesterday! Later that same year, for Christmas, I was lucky enough to get my own Mega Drive. Not just any Mega Drive though, the newer, more refined, stealthier looking Mega Drive II! And what was that bad boy bundled with? Only Sonic The Hedgehog 2 and Mega Games 3! Arguably the best Sonic game AND Shinobi, Streets Of Rage AND Golden Axe all on one cartridge in one foul swoop? Golden Axe I was aware of, having tried it in the arcades but having an almost perfect port of it on a home console was mind blowing!

I think it was when I finally got my hands on Robocop Vs Terminator that my attraction to the Mega Drive began to make sense. I came to discover that it was only on the Mega Drive version of the game that I could reach the dizzying heights of ultraviolence that were so integral to the satire of the actual Robocop movie. It was only on the Mega Drive that you could perform proper fatalities in Mortal Kombat …even if it was a total bastard to do with only three buttons! It was only on the Mega Drive that you could compete in illegal superbike races and wallop a cop just trying to do his job around the head with a length of chain! Yes I’m talking about Road Rash 2 and no I’ve never played Road Rash 1. To this day I’ve never seen a copy of it in the wild! But I digress…It was only on the God damned Mega Drive that you could don a skull-shaped hockey mask and lay waste to demons and other abominations straight out of a Clive Barker novel with a chainsaw! Where else was a seven or eight year old going to get their hands on stuff like this?!

The reason the Mega Drive sucked me in like a tractor beam is because it was the alternative. It was the path less travelled. It was that song with the heavy guitars in it with the words I knew I wasn’t allowed to say. If it could of, it would have wore a leather jacket covered in patches. It was dangerous.
Even Sonic, on the surface, when your parents were looking, he was just a cute blue anthropomorphic Hedgehog. But in reality he travelled at ridiculous speeds, smashed shit up and was a freedom fighter! Mario, no offence, you have earned your place but I’ll take a maverick, vigilante hedgehog over a plumber who punches bricks any day!

Sure, the Mega CD didn’t exactly go to plan and sadly the Saturn bombed. The Dreamcast… I’m not really sure what went wrong there? But that seemed to be the final nail in the coffin. But regardless of all that, at one point, Sega fought their way to the top, leaving their competitors in a heap, bleeding from cyber razor cuts and admitting to their eternal shame that Sega does what Ninten-don’t. I’m just so glad I was there to experience it as it happened!

Long live the Mega Drive!
Guest Blog by Marco Hibbins @Cultofniche_design

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OLL23: One of the Finest Gaming Conventions in the UK

OLL23: One of the Finest Gaming Conventions in the UK

 

OLL23: TheGebs24, John Riggs, Dawbs and Olly (Retro Gaming Revival)

OLL23: TheGebs24, John Riggs, Dawbs and Olly (Retro Gaming Revival)

OLL ’23 will once again be celebrating the biggest and best of the region’s gaming scene alongside Norwich’s gaming communities, as well as showcasing the region’s largest exhibition for indie game studios, curated by Debug.

Over the past weekend, Retro Gamers, content creators and vendors from across the world descended upon Norwich Showground to take part in the mighty schedule of OLL 2023. What is OLL I hear you ask? OLL is a popular Video Game Convention that brings thousands of people together with classic stage shows like The Retro Game Championships, Quizzes, independent retro game shops, traders, gaming artists, Indie Developers and much, much more. But before we talk about the tremendous lineup, let’s take a moment to mention the Safe In Our World Charity; whom OLL teamed up with to promote this event. It’s wonderful to have affiliations to such a wonderful cause. Well done to Jon and his team for this.Lineup and Traders
OLL was packed with us content creators from as far away as Seattle, USA to Sweden! The full lineup was:

​I was stationed next to the mighty John Riggs. As you walked through the doors on to the show floor, the creators booths were within twenty feet. I was happily stationed next to the mighty John Riggs and Asobi Tech. Throughout the day, all of the content creators would hang out and chat with one another as well as fans who visited us. I would like to personally thank every single person who came over to talk with us. And an extra special mention to Mike from Bitmap Bureau. Bitmap Bureau are an Indie Game company that recently released Final Vendetta; a  side scrolling Beat ’em Up that was influenced by Streets of Rage and Final Fight. Of course, the lads at Bitmap Bureau have other games to their name, including Xeno Crisis, which is just about to release on the N64! I was lucky enough to be given one. I would personally like to thank Mike for this gift, along with the signed, framed Xeno Crisis poster.  

The Retro Game Championships took place on Saturday. We were placed in to teams of two and were pitted against another team of two. The games varied from round to round. 

  • Round 1: Crazy Taxi
  • Round 2: Pilotwings
  • Round 3: Street Fighter 2 (forgot the iteration)
  • Round 4: Bomberman
  • Round 5: Sonic
  • Round 6: Tony Hawks Pro Skater (remake)
  • Final round: Street Fighter V (it should have been Tricky Towers but tech couldn’t get it working)

Now, I’m probably going to get roasted here as I may have gotten the order wrong! What I can tell you indefinitely are two things: John Riggs and I were team mates. We were playing Pilotwings with Dawbs and Olly from Retro Gaming Revival. Sadly we lost by two points. The mighty John Riggs took a massive gamble and attempted to land on the moving platform on Rocketbelt. Needless to say, we could not have conceded to a better pair to be honest. (SPOILER ALERT: Adam Koralik and Nostalgia Nerd won).  Well done everyone. 

After 6pm, we all hung out at the after party with a small bar and a Super Smash Bros tournament rattled on in the background on stage. Jess, myself, John Riggs and his amazing wife Michelle, left before the quiz and music started pounding and off to dinner we went. 

Traders, vendors, Indie’s and more
OLL23 kept us all busy for the entire weekend. From the amazing RAW Talent Art to Sega Mags to Last Level Games to Wave Game Studios and more. For the full lineup you can click here. You’ll see how the show was set out in my YouTube Episode from day one. Compared to OLL22, it felt clear that the organisers have gone much bigger this year. Every time I saw Jon, I thanked him for the amazing job him and the OLL Team had done. Well done from everyone here at Team24. I mean, anyone that can get a wall of CRT TV’s at short notice is a legend in my eyes.

I would love to see more Retro Video Game vendors at OLL24 (assuming there will be one). In fact, a few people said this to me. 

If you did not fancy purchasing any retro games, you could sit down and play them. Norwich Amiga Group had lots of hardware and new software on show, Game Cubes, N64’s, PS1’s, loads of retro games consoles were all free to play and it felt great seeing people relive their childhoods all over again. 

I close this blog with a huge and heartfelt thank you to you, the reader, the fans! Without you, none of this would have been possible. See you at the next one.

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Roguecraft is an upcoming Amiga Game but what is it?

Roguecraft is an upcoming Amiga Game but what is it?

The Amiga is the gift that keeps in giving. Why, I hear you ask? Indie Developers like Badgerpunch Games Studios, continue to churn out amazing games, and not just for the Amiga. No! The Commodore 64 is also supported with games like Rogue 64. Badgerpunch Games caught my eye during some research I did for an Amiga Episode titled 6 Amiga  Upcoming Games that will tickle your fancyPerhaps I should change what I said here because it was shortly after I had edited this video that I learnt about an upcoming title called Roguecraft. What is Roguecraft? Rather than me sit here and whaffle; I decided to reach out to Ricki Sickenger (Lead Programmer) to find out more about what we can expect from this upcoming Amiga Game.

1/ So Rick, tell us a bit about your gaming history?
I got a Commodore64 when I was 11 years old, with the 30-Games Collection from Argus Press. That was the start of a lovely relationship with the C64 and gaming. I started programming BASIC on the C64, and when I upgraded to an Amiga a few years later I made myself learn 68k assembly. I never made any games on the C64 or Amiga even though I was pretty active in the Amiga demo scene for a while. That was where I got to know Henning Ludvigsen, who makes the pixels in our games.

I ended up getting a computer programming degree and in my mid-twenties starting my own gaming company with some friends. We wanted to make an MMO, and after 10 years of development we released Darkfall Online in 2009.

After that I was pretty fed up with games development and started working as an IT consultant. It only took a couple of years before I started making games again, but in my spare time now. My friend Henning Ludvigsen and I started Badger Punch Games to make retro-inspired games.

In 2019 I was missing the good old times I had with my Commodore 64, and decided to try to make a C64 game. Henning and I ended up making multiple games. The last game was a roguelike called Rogue64 that got quite a lot of attention, and excellent feedback from the players. It even got some mainstream gaming press attention, and it was nominated for multiple game-of-the-year 2022 awards.

I never really had any consoles growing up. I used to play games on the C64 and Amiga, and then I got a PC and continued gaming there. I do have a Nintendo Switch though, and I love playing games on it. 🙂

2/ What inspires you to create video games?
Mostly the fact that creating video games is a way to express creativity that I do not have an outlet for in my day job.

There is something about making something that needs to work, look ok, sound good, and on top of that has to be fun. My part of the job is programmer and game designer, and seeing all the parts come together to make a great game is magical!

3/ Badger Punch Games; Is this a game studio you created?
Badger Punch Games is a studio Henning and I created to make retro-inspired games. We ended up making games on Retro systems (C64, Amiga and Mega65 so far), but we have also made games for modern platforms like Android and Windows.

4/ Roguecraft is your upcoming title for the Amiga (and other platforms). How would you describe Roguecraft?
Roguecraft is a turn-based roguelike where the focus is simple and fun gameplay.

A roguelike is often a dungeon crawler game where the aim is to get as far as you can in the dungeon. If you are lucky you might get to the end where a boss-monster and treasures await. You only get one life, but since the levels are randomly generated then every play of the game is a unique experience.

There is an element of strategy to playing a roguelike, and as you learn the game mechanics you get further and further into the game.

Roguecraft tries to balance keeping the mechanics interesting without making them too complicated, to maximize the joy of playing the game and the replayability of it. You should be able to complete the game in around 40 minutes if you have a perfect run.

We are also making sure Roguecraft looks as good as possible for a non-AGA Amiga game.

5/ What kind of experience will players feel when they play Roguecraft?
The players will hopefully feel joy, dread, a tiny bit of frustration, and lots of accomplishment playing Roguecraft.

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Immortal Joysticks – Putting the ‘Joy’ in Joysticks

Immortal Joysticks – Putting the ‘Joy’ in Joysticks

Immortal Joystick orange decals

Immortal Joysticks are the new Sticks on the Block

A joystick is not just a joystick right?! RIGHT! Immortal Joysticks are taking your game to the next level. I could go one with these puns but I wont bore you. Today we hear from the founder and brains behind Immortal Joysticks, Andrew, who talks more about what makes Immortal Joysticks better than the rest.1/ Andrew, what can you tell us a bit about your gaming history?
In terms of where it started, I go into that in the next question but my journey through computers that I played games on and consoles went something like this:

  • Amiga 500 plus
  • Sega Master System 1
  • Nintendo Gameboy
  • Sega Mega Drive 2
  • 486 PC
  • Sony PlayStation
  • Sony PlayStation 2
  • Nintendo GameCube
  • Microsoft Xbox 360
  • Nintendo DS Lite
  • Nintendo Wii
  • Sony PlayStation 4
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Valve SteamDeck

I had quite a few overlaps between those consoles where I had a couple at a time. I also got quite a few of them after they had been out for a while. I wasn’t really an early adopter of any of them.Now though I’m trying to collect all the systems that I never had when I was a kid. Systems that I either played at friend’s houses or saw on TV and in magazines. I feel like retro game collecting is a slippery slope and you very quickly end up wanting everything!

2/ You’re clearly a huge Amiga fan. What drew you to the Amiga?
I have huge nostalgia for the Amiga. My parents bought me an Amiga for Christmas in 1991 when I was a kid. It was an A500plus in the Cartoon Classics pack with Lemmings, The Simpsons, Captain Planet and Deluxe Paint.

We hadn’t had a computer or console in the house before that and my only experience of games had been on a friend’s Commodore 64 or at the arcade when we were on holiday. It was huge for me and was what started my gaming journey.

When I started getting back into original retro hardware a few years ago, it was the nostalgia for the Amiga that really caught my attention.

3/ What can you tell us about your products; Immortal Joysticks?
Immortal Joysticks are arcade-style joysticks for retro gaming systems. They are made with high-quality materials and components, and are designed to last.

Some of the key features of Immortal Joysticks include:

  • Aluminium alloy enclosure
  • Authentic Sanwa Denshi and Seimitsu arcade parts
  • Braided cable
  • Standard moulded DB9 connection
  • Switchable auto-fire
  • Switchable ‘up to button 2’ mapping (up still functions normally)
  • Zero-latency

Out of the box they are compatible with the following systems:

  • Amiga (all models)
  • Atari (all models)
  • ZX Spectrum (using Kempston interface)
  • Commodore 64
  • Vic-20
  • C128
  • Sega Master System

But with known third-party adapters, they can also be used on:

  • USB for PC, Mac, Linux, Raspberry Pi and MiSter
  • Amiga Mini
  • MSX / Sharp X68000
  • BBC Micro
  • Amstrad

4/ What inspired you to make your own joysticks?
When I first started getting back into the Amiga, the joysticks I got with the machines I bought were old and battered and had pretty much had their day.  I went looking for something new, but I found that the joysticks that were available on the market didn’t quite meet my high standards for quality and durability. I wanted something that would last a long time and not break down easily after extended use. But no matter how much I searched, I couldn’t find anything that fit the bill.

I’ve always enjoyed tinkering with electronics and a bit of DIY, so the idea of building my own joystick struck me as something that would be fun and interesting. I loved the idea of being able to customise every aspect of the joystick, from the buttons to the casing, to create something that was truly unique and tailored to my preferences.

With a bit of research, some trial and error, and a lot of patience, I was able to create a joystick that exceeded my expectations in terms of both functionality and longevity.

Immortal joysticks back switch

Top view Immortal joystick

5/ What will player’s experience when using an Immortal Joystick?
Players using an Immortal Joystick will experience arcade-style gaming in the comfort of their own home. The joystick is designed to provide an authentically retro gaming experience with a modern twist. The joystick’s high-quality construction ensures that it is solid and built to last, giving players the confidence to use it for hours on end without any concerns about durability.

The joystick features zero latency, meaning that players will enjoy a responsive gaming experience without any delays or lag. This ensures that their movements and actions on-screen are accurately reflected in real-time. Additionally, the joystick features precision microswitches that provide an excellent tactile feedback, allowing gamers to execute precise movements with ease.

Overall, using an Immortal Joystick takes away the frustrations of an unresponsive, creaky plastic joystick and allows players to focus on the game.

6/ Tell us what we can expect to see with the brand; Immortal Joysticks?
Until now Immortal Joysticks have all been hand built by myself in my shed at home. but the demand for them has gone beyond what I am able to produce alongside my full-time job and family.  I am therefore pushing things onto the next step to have Immortal Joysticks professionally manufactured in larger quantities.

In order to do this I will shortly be launching a Kickstarter in order to raise the required funds to turn my current designs into something that can be batch produced and to enable me to achieve the minimum order volume.

The focus will continue to be on quality and I will personally review the output of the manufacture to ensure that I am happy with the end product.

Anyone who would like to be notified when the Kickstarter goes live can join my mailing list at immortaljoysticks.co.uk/signup

Looking further ahead for Immortal Joysticks, I would love to expand further into other systems and markets. I have had lots of requests to make joysticks for consoles from the NES to the Sega Saturn, USB and Bluetooth joysticks for modern gaming or emulators, larger fight sticks and even stick-less or HitBox style units. Who knows where it could go in the future.

7/ Where can people find you online? And where can they find more information about Immortal Joysticks?
In terms of me, people can find me on Twitch and most of the socials:
twitch.tv/amigaformortals
instagram.com/amigaformortals
facebook.com/amigaformortals
twitter.com/amigaformortals

And for Immortal Joysticks the best place to find out more is on the website. There is loads of information on there along with links to reviews etc.
immortaljoysticks.co.uk
instagram.com/immortaljoysticks
twitter.com/immortaljoystix

Blog Post by Gemma @ Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24

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Here Comes a New Challenger: DO NOT MISS IT

Here Comes a New Challenger: DO NOT MISS IT

 

Picture

I’m getting straight to the point here: Here Comes a New Challenger, is the Street Fighter 2 documentary I never knew I always wanted. It’s tremendous. But what is it? Here Comes a New Challenger is an absolute love letter to the global phenomenon; Street Fighter 2. Directed by Oliver Harper, the documentary covers a wealth of Street Fighter information; literally starting with Street Fighter. Now, we all know that Street Fighter was nothing in comparison to the monsoon of fame, hype and hysteria that arrived with Street Fighter 2. Here Comes a New Challenger takes a deep dive in to this world and to help the story along the way, the documentary is packed with some big names. From the likes of Mick McGinty (artist), Yoshiki Okamoto (Street Fighter 2 Producer), James Goddard (Dev),Steven E. de Souza (SF2 Movie Director) and many more key players that facilitated the Street Fighter 2 craze of the 90’s.

Now I can assure you that throughout your two hours and twenty minutes with this documentary, there are some seriously juicy topics to sink your teeth into. The following synopsis is taken direct from the Here Comes a New Challenger website:

  • Toys & Merchandise – how did the success of Street Fighter II drive the endless amounts of merchandise, what toys and merch we loved as fans and ones that left us disappointed.  
  •  Strategy Guides – the importance of them and which ones provided the best source of information on how to become a better player. Plus will cover explore the extensive coverage by video game magazines during the 90s. 
  •  The Music – The incredible theme tunes provided to the game and the soundtracks that become part of our youth. 
  •  The conversions to the home consoles with ports to the Super Nintendo, PC Engine, Gameboy, Mega Drive & 3DO, and the creaky ports to the home computers for the Spectrum, Commodore 64, AMIGA, and PC-DOS. 
  •  Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie – why it worked for the fans and its faithfulness to the video game. Will explore the differences between the various cuts and change of music for western audiences plus the strange FMV game for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn.
  •  Street Fighter: The Movie – The hype surrounding the live-action film, the cast, its success at the box office, and its failure with critics & fans and of course cover the arcade game and ports to the PlayStation and Sega Saturn!
  •  Re-releases and 30 years on – the compilations of SF2 released over the years and why the game is still played and adored by gamers today!
Here Comes a New Challenger poster

Here Comes a New Challenger poster

So what was my viewing experience like? Absolutely amazing. I was gripped from start to finish. I firstly fell in to a hypnotic trance over the stunning animation at the beginning of the documentary. The pacing, the music; everything ebbed and flowed in a way that hooked me in those first few minutes of: Here Comes a New Challenger. It was interesting to hear about the Arcade market. It turned out that Street Fighter 2 helped revive the arcades in many ways and sales far exceeded what Capcom had expected. Being a consumer and a player of Street Fighter 2, I guess I never considered what went in to the graft of delivering Street Fighter 2 to arcades across the world. Watching the documentary definitely elevated my appreciation for SF2 in many ways. 

Perhaps one of my favourite parts was the part about the hack: Street Fighter 2: Rainbow Edition. This hack found its way in to the arcades and a soon as players got their hands on it; there was no going back. Rainbow Edition made significant improvements to SF2: Champion Edition, by speeding up gameplay and adding crazy things like giving Ken and Ryu the ability to smash out five Hadouken’s in one. How did Capcom respond? The easy answer is that they released Hyper Fighting. Adding Turbo to Hyper Fighting meant that players could still experience the speed that Rainbow delivered; whilst playing an official release. You will have to watch the documentary if you want the full scoop though. 

Since watching the documentary, I purchased that Street Fighter 2 Player Guide VHS. This is something that was covered alongside the strategy guides. I did not expect to see the finer detail of Street Fighter Mania. I guess this proved to me, the influence of this documentary right? Right! The question on your lips is where can I watch it? There are 2500 limited run Blu-Rays that are due to be shipped at the end of May/beginning of June. You might be shocked at the hefty price tag of £34.99 but I believe it is worth it. Even though I’ve seen the press burner, I still snagged my copy. UK shipping is £3.50. Honestly guys, don’t miss out. Enjoy.

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My Love Affair with the Nintendo Entertainment System

My Love Affair with the Nintendo Entertainment System

My birthday is in January and all my hopes were pinned on getting the most talked about game of the time. Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. Turtles was at its height in 1990-1991 and the NES game was selling bucket loads. I think Gemma may even have the NES console variant of it. Then as the 16th January 1991 rolled on, I had my worst experience of gaming in my life whilst playing Turtles and I’m not talking about the swimming bomb level.I had come home from school that day as I normally would. I knew I had the game as I opened it that morning. I was just mega excited to play it. It was my 10th birthday. I headed upstairs with my little brother and we put the game in and started it up. No problems whatsoever. After around ten minutes. I couldn’t see properly. All my vision went blurry. I told my brother this and he was eight. He probably thought I was taking the piss.

Even so. I managed to make my way to our living room using touch and the blurred vision. I shouted to my mum that I couldn’t see. Again she initially thought I was joking. I said again I cannot see properly. That was the last memory I have of that day. The next moment I was waking up on the children’s ward at Wigan Hospital. What had happened to me.

I had collapsed to the floor at home and started convulsing and from stories I got told I was jerking and foaming from the mouth. I had suffered a seizure due to playing video games. I never had a history of epilepsy in my family and had never experienced anything like this at all.

Luckily enough I never had any physical damage as a result of the seizure. I’ve never had one since either. My main concern at ten years old was that I wouldn’t be allowed to play video games again either.

I had the clearance to go home after a couple of days. I was also told that just as a precaution i should get my eyes tested. I did and my family spoke to the relevant people and asked could I continue to play games. The answer was Yes but I had to restrict myself to an hour at a time with twenty minutes break in between. So I ended up with glasses and a new copy of Gradius for being brave. Win win.

Aside from that, the NES has always had the biggest place in my heart. My library grew so much with titles such as Metroid, Castlevania, Digger T Rock, Super Mario Bros 2 and 3 and The very underated Gremlins 2. Even better was that I could trade games and swap with my pals. This opened my eyes to such gems as Mega Man 2, Burai Fighter, The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong Classics and many many more.

Unfortunately, I no longer own all my old hardware and software. I got rid of it all to buy more Super Nintendo games. I am lucky enough to have Nintendo Online on the Switch and also through emulation I am still able to relive the classics every now and again.

Here are my top 10 NES Games.

1. Super Mario Brothers 3
2. Mega Man 3
3. Blades of Steel
4. Tecmo World Wrestling
5. Duck Tales
6. Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers
7. The Legend of Zelda
8. Popeye
9. Castlevania
10. Probotector

I hope you enjoyed this piece. I will hopefully be writing more for Gemma over the summer and the remainder of 2023.

In the meantime. Keep Gaming
Adam 

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The Demise of the Arcade Industry

The Demise of the Arcade Industry

As I lay here in my hotel room in Blackpool, I see a striking sign across the road outside my window. The sign reads Arcade Club Blackpool. Now, if you aren’t familiar with Arcade Club here in the UK I’ll tell you. Essentially it’s a place where you can totally absorb yourself in a sea of nostalgia. The three locations are based in Bury, Leeds and as mentioned above here in sunny (I use the term loosely as it’s pissed down all day) Blackpool.You pay a one off entrance fee to enter, and once you are in , all the arcade games, pinball etc are free to play. Good food and drink can complete your experience and in my opinion is a fantastic trip out for the family, or a gang of like minded friends who want to relive their youth by playing the classics as they was meant to be played in their original housing

What inspired me more about this topic is the fact that I am in Blackpool. Typically considered one of the UK’s most popular places to visit, the Golden Mile was awash with arcades and still is today. However it’s a different experience now to what it was say thirty years ago.

In my hometown of Wigan I was probably blessed that we had a few places where we could play arcade machines. My first ever memory of an arcade machine was a table top Galaxian at a Berni Inn up in a small area called Orrell. Galaxian was one of the more well known Space Invader type games which were ten a penny back then. I can’t remember how much money was put into the machine.i know I enjoyed it though.

I wrote a previous blog about the NES and its huge influence bringing gaming into the home back in the late 80s and early 90s. Before that though I suspect the majority of young people was playing arcade machines in Wigan. The two main places were Starburst and Wallpaper Supplies.

Starburst was your typical generic arcade. Dark, dingy and the whiff of stale Benson and Hedges lingering in the air. The main games I remember in here was the original Street Fighter and Renegade. Both classic games of the time but haven’t particularly aged well now. Even so. Starburst was always busy and people would consistently pop their money in to keep playing.

Starburst didn’t last much longer, but Wallpaper Supplies (yes it was a DIY store) still kept that vibe going in a small section of the store. They used to get a lot of footfall from the local Swimming Pool which was across the road. Back in 1992/1993 this was the place to spend all of your money. The reason why: Mortal Kombat.

Mortal Kombat was so revolutionary and realistic. Don’t get me wrong, the other cabs in the small selection had amazing games on them. Street Fighter 2 : Hyper Fighting, Simpsons Arcade, Lucky and Wild and After Burner were good munchers of the 20 pence piece, but nothing could hold a candle to Midway’s ultra violent smash hit.

After this. I feel we saw the huge decline of the traditional arcade. I can only certainly recall playing arcade games in the local bowling alley. They still had some crackers like NBA Jam, Ridge Racer, Tekken, Virtua Cop, Killer Instinct but you could see the loss in popularity.

Arcades in the mid 90s were expensive machines. Big, bulky and having to at at least £1 a go. It was sad to see them leaving but it just wasn’t cost effective any more for places to have them in.

Even in places like Japan they are seeing a steady decline of arcades. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s just how people’s tastes and preferences evolve over time. The Promenade here at Blackpool is still awash with amusements, but they are no longer what you could call the classic arcades

Places here have to make money to stay alive and pretty much every machine here now has the end goal of winning tickets to exchange for prizes. It’s a very clever business model. You could pump ten quids worth into a game win like 100 tickets and then exchange them for a small tub of slime.

That’s just the way of the world now. I genuinely think that the eighties and the nineties were the best decades to grow up in. So much cool stuff around back then. Would we ever see a resurgence in the classic arcade scene again ? I don’t think so . 

As long as we have places like Arcade Club there is still enough to whet the appetite of us gamers for years to come. For more info go to www.arcadeclub.co.uk. Also, be sure to check out Arcade Paradise on the PS4, PS5 and Xbox Consoles. 

In the meantime Keep Gaming.

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DaemonClaw now also coming to MegaDrive, Neo Geo, and modern systems!

DaemonClaw now also coming to MegaDrive, Neo Geo, and modern systems!

A big thanks to Gemma for letting us share this exciting news with everyone here!We’re Corey and Mike at BitBeamCannon and we we just teamed up with Neofid and PixelHeart to bring our retro arcade style game called DaemonClaw to Megadrive, Neo Geo, and modern systems!

NeoFid have proven themselves to be great developers for Megadrive with their two previous games called Demons of Asteborg and Astebros which were recent successful Kickstarter campaigns. We’ll be revealing some great footage of DaemonClaw running on real Megadrive hardware in a couple of days on our youtube channel here.

PixelHeart have a long record of producing and publishing indie and retro games and are already making good progress with getting DaemonClaw up and running on the Neo Geo and we look forward to showing that off in the near future as well.

One really cool aspect of these three distinct versions of DaemonClaw (Megadrive, Neo Geo, and modern systems) is that each one will feature an exclusive second selectable character to play as and no matter which version anyone gets they’ll be able to play all three versions via an included Steam key!

So now DaemonClaw’s Kickstarter has been live since September 12th, and thanks to generous backers and others who love classic arcade and console style games the campaign is funded and now working towards the third stretch goal!

You can check out the kickstarter here. For you fellow Amigan’s out there who might be wondering why the Kickstarter doesn’t mention the Amiga version of DaemonClaw, don’t worry, the plans for DaemonClaw on Amiga have not changed. It will be made using the same code base as Metro Siege once it’s finished, but with AGA features added to the engine to make sure the Amiga version of DaemonClaw looks and plays very competitively against any other version. Because it’s unknown how long it will take to finish Metro Siege, the Amiga version of DaemonClaw can’t be offered through this Kickstarter.

For those wondering what Metro Siege is, Gemma actually covered it previous on her youtube channel here.​

Here are some new screen shots exclusively for Juicy Game Reviews, the last of which is the first ever public reveal of the intro to the level 2 boss (the Ram King)!

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Remakes, Remasters and Sequels. What we want…

Remakes, Remasters and Sequels. What we want…

 

Who doesn’t love a remake, remaster or sequel to one of their favourite gaming franchises? I know I do. The last couple of years alone we have seen some amazing titles such as Resident Evil 4, Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Tears Of the Kingdom to give us that buzz we had been craving for so long. I’ve no doubt there are many more games we can look forward to in the next few months. Tekken 8 is one that I am really looking forward to.However. There is always the need for more. Is it lazy to do remakes and remasters and sequels of games? I don’t think so. It gives the player more of what they want and especially with the technology available to game developers these days, there is no end to what they could recreate for us.

Think of all the games out there you have played in the past, think of all the games you may have recently played. Now think about what you would like to see in the future from those IP’s from your favourite game developers. Here are my picks for remasters, remakes and sequels.

F-Zero
Did anyone else get really excited at the last Nintendo Direct? The anticipation of seeing Captain Falcon’s blue vehicle and then the lovely 16-bit graphics of Mute City. Hoping that in a few seconds time we would get a glorious new F-Zero racing around at maximum speeds. Then it turned out we were getting F-Zero 99!

Don’t get me wrong I think F-Zero 99 is a lot of fun and really is a clever idea from Nintendo. But it wasn’t what I wanted. It’s criminal to think the last real F-Zero game was twenty years ago back on the GameCube with the fabulous F-Zero GX. I just don’t understand why Nintendo aren’t bringing this quality franchise to this generation. Could it be they’re concerned how the Switch can handle a high fast paced racer, given that we know it struggles with frame rate sometimes in games when there is too much action on the screen?

Maybe the next set of hardware from Nintendo can bring us that high octane futuristic race to us once again and we can bask in the views of Mute City once again.

Final Fight
Side scrolling brawlers have had somewhat of a resurgence in the last couple of years with games such as Streets of Rage 4, Final Vendetta and the awesome Shredders Revenge gracing us with their presence. I think now the time would be perfect to bring us another instalment of Final Fight. We’ve seen Metro City being used as a hub world in the recent edition of Street Fighter. I think it would be so much fun to bring Cody, Haggar and Guy back to us for another mission to take down the Mad Gear gang.

Capcom have always insisted that the Final Fight and Street Fighter franchises are within the same type of world. Could you imagine if we could bring some of the Street Fighter characters into a 2d scrolling environment, or even create some new characters who could cross over into Street Fighter games at a later date, whether that be DLC for Street Fighter 6, or the inevitable Street Fighter 7 ? Come on Capcom make it happen.

Earthworm Jim (NTSC SNES)Earthworm Jim (NTSC SNES)

Earthworm Jim
Back in the 90’s there was a plethora of platform games which came out on both the Mega Drive and the SNES. Each game developer hoping to try and create the new Mario or Sonic. Plok, Mr Nutz, Bubsy all come to mind. None of them were as good or as quirky to me as Earthworm Jim. We can forget about the dodgy attempt at 3d on the N64. Earthworm Jim 1 and 2 I feel were really good games. Good level design, lovely graphics, decent sound track and it was silly. It didn’t take itself too seriously and that’s what made it fun for me.I think a new Earthworm Jim game could work in this generation, whether it sticks to the classic 2d origins or ventures again into the world of 3D who would know what’s best. We’ve seen what the PS5 can do with a game like Ratchet and Clank. Would Sony or Microsoft be interested in taking this IP and making it super special for us. I genuinely think there is enough nostalgia for us older gamers to bring it back. I also think a new polished artwork style combined with the silly humour would resonate with new younger gamers too.

Gauntlet
I had to think about this one in terms of how you could recreate Gauntlet to cater for a modern audience. No doubt about it Gauntlet was an arcade classic. Whether you selected Warrior, Elf, Valkyrie or Wizard you know you was in for fun battling the demons in the dungeons to escape to the exit collecting treasure and keys along the way.

I think there could be three ways you could recreate or reimagine it. Number One would be an action style RPG where the four characters start an ultimate quest to the end. Number 2 a potential rogue style game in the form of Diablo or Hades which could keep that traditional top down view. Or Number 3 a team based game similar to that of the recently released Exo-primal where you battle through waves of monsters levelling up your characters and as you do, unlock parts of the story. Could this one happen? Let’s hope so.

Guardians of the Galaxy
My last pick is a personal favourite of mine. I genuinely feel as though this game released a year or so ago is a true hidden gem and did not get the recognition it truly deserved. It’s an awesome third person action game with a great plot, fantastic combat and an epic soundtrack with complimented everything so beautifully. Eidos Montreal did a great job in developing this game.

I would love to see Star-Lord, Drax, Groot, Gamora and Rocket in another romp around space battling their enemies along the way. A sequel would have been music to my ears, especially as this game was such a departure from the Avengers game, as no DLC, no micro transactions and a true fulfilling single player experience.

So that’s five picks from me. What would your picks be? Give me a shout and let me know. In the meantime stay tuned here for more content from me.

Guest Blog post by Adam @AngelicWiganer / @snoopfozziefozz


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A NEW Retro Gaming Podcast Arrived: Game Older Podcast

A NEW Retro Gaming Podcast Arrived: Game Older Podcast

Game Older Podcast is a new and exciting UK based podcast made by adult gamers for adult gamers. It launched in February 2024 and we have some exciting upcoming episodes planned in.Hosted by Heather, Stu, Ash and Tom with some occasional guest hosts too. We are a group of friends who all share a love for gaming, each with our own memories and experiences of gaming from a young age right through to current day.

We cover all things gaming (retro and current gen) such as the latest industry news, thoughts on what we’ve recently been playing, reviews, special segments and topics, interviews and even retro gaming quizzes.

Episodes drop every 2 weeks on Thursdays. Our next episode drops on 21st March which is a Jeff Minter special where we will discuss and review Digital Eclipse’s latest release, Llamasoft: Jeff Minter story along with an interview with Tony Longworth who produced music for the game release (and also happens to be a Jeff Minter super fan!).

Come along and have a laugh with us and check us out on all major podcast platforms:

Spotify    https://open.spotify.com/show/7LVSpSDmSKXiL8spGVt1md?si=FzumSUdfSF64GK1yj-RSrA

Apple Podcasts    https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/game-older-podcast/id1732680696

Amazon    https://music.amazon.co.uk/podcasts/dd499b66-172c-49ab-9aa5-c2e6305cb9a8/game-older-podcast

YouTube    https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZ9UqxyjQiyacJY1A4ehO1uZIjmFduduE&feature=shared

Socials:

Twitter/X @gameolder2024

Instagram @game_older_podcast__

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