Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category
I was contemplating whether to write a review for the recent port of Streets of Rage 2 on the 3DS but I kinda thought there’s little point. Most people reading this article will have played the game and know its great. Instead I wanted to write about the fun I had re-visiting the game and why I actually had no problem re-buying this game despite owning it on multiple systems and compilations. If you are someone that needs a score the game is 5 out of 5. Fred and I also talked extensively about the game on our Top Ten Mega Drive/Genesis games of all time, which I highly recommend checking out, you might be surprised what makes the cut.
Sega really is trying to keep the company alive by pure nostalgia these days. Originally when I heard about re releases for the Mega Drive games with the cheap tagline that they are now in 3D, I just wasn’t sold. The price point in my opinion is fair, but I just really didn’t feel the need to play Ecco the Dolphin, Sonic, and yes even the original Streets of Rage in 3D despite enjoying all three of those titles. I am still happy to play all of these games on original hardware or on the Ultimate Mega Drive Collection (Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection in the US) on PS3 or Xbox 360.
Streets of Rage 2 is different. When I heard the game was being remastered in 3D for the 3DS I started to get a little interested. When I was younger Streets of Rage 2 was one of the very few games my brother and I got brand new and we were very lucky to enjoy the experience so close to launch. My brother and I enjoyed the game immensely even if he was always playing as Max and I was forced to play as one of the far more inferior powered characters. It’s a game we played to death, so much so, I’m amazed the cartridge still works. Despite new game consoles coming out it’s a game we constantly revisited. Things have changed a lot now I sadly don’t see my brother a lot as he lives very far away from me. We’re lucky to meet up a couple of times a year and when we do we usually play a bit of the original Halo on Xbox and Streets of Rage 2.
So even though it sounds kinda sad and soppy, the main reason I purchased the game was because I was feeling very nostagic and buying the game on launch day from the eShop kinda mentally reminded me of the good times I had with my brother. Collectors thrive on this sort of nostalgia and there really is nothing like replaying that one game you love on multiple systems. Even though I was playing alone I felt like I was right back at that moment, playing the game for the first time. Sure I was playing the game alone as Max of course, who’s abbs that looked badass in the begining, somehow look better in 3D.
It’s interesting re visiting a game you’ve literally played what seems hundreds of times. I still chuckle at reading the names of some of the enemies as you watch their health bars gradually drain as you consisitenly punch them in the face. A particular favourite of mine was the punk haired knife throwing biker fella called “Beano.” It makes me laugh because it shares the same name as a British comic I used to read in my youth.
I guess at the end of the day Streets of Rage 2 is one of those games kinda like Rainbow Islands that has that extra special place in my heart, that when I need that kick of nostalgia or something just to remember the good times with my brother, I can head over to that game. I don’t care if I have to re buy it, i’ll be part of the problem and download it again and again. Sega is looking to release some more beloved Mega Drive titles to the 3DS like Gunstar Heroes and Sonic 2 at the reasonable price of £4.49 later in the year, and I have to say I’m tempted. Some may argue the price point is a bit much as you can pick up the titles probably for less on Pc and free if you go the emulation route. It’s still a lot cheaper than a brand new physical game for next gen game, and this one will keep me entertained on my long travels to work.
In the past I have had quite strong opinions about emulation, going so far as to say I prefer not to use it. My basis was clear in the article, but to sum up I don’t like the screen tearing and framerate issues that often happen with emulation, I hate not using a console’s native controller and the potential of input lag, and of course my ongoing aggression toward piracy. Since I boldly declared my stance almost four years ago (yep, we celebrate our fourth anniversary in October), a lot has changed. First of all, many of our readers and listeners have brought to my attention circumstances involving distribution, bootleg, and socioeconomic factors that force them into utilizing emulation, which as a middle class American I don’t have much experience with. In addition, rarity has become a big reason why I see the value in emulation (or flash carts/burned discs on original hardware, which is the same thing to me). I don’t think that people who want to experience Snatcher, Panzer Dragoon Saga, Michigan: Report from Hell, and so many others should pay a random dude hundreds of dollars that the publishers and developers will never see for this “privilege.” Those transactions are for the collector, who wants the tangible item, but for the player I think access should be made available and if the business of games does not support this then skating the line of the law is a personal decision each player can make. Also my experience on Twitch lately has been hilarious because I tend to play on actual hardware and I appear to be one of the few, so my choice to avoid emulation is more of an old man theory than a crusade against piracy and authenticity.
I’m sick of hearing the phrase, “nothing is coming out,” in relation to video games. That’s not true, so many games are coming out on a consistent basis that we cannot even have a single day of the week they all release. What I feel most people mean is “there’s nothing coming out that interests me.” That’s a much more fair appraisal. Depending on your interests or tastes in games, this summer can either be chock full of great releases or a barren wasteland with nothing new to experience. Personally I am enjoying Batman Arkham Knight, Godzilla, looking forward to cracking the seal on Onechanbara Z2 Chaos, and of course the Mega Man Legacy Collection and Rare Replay retro efforts soon to hit. Aside from perhaps Batman, the rest of these games fall into a specific category that has grown a lot of steam lately: niche gaming. Niche gaming, much as the title suggests, caters to a dedicated but specific audience – not one unlike the audience here at GH101 I might add. It’s easy to scoff at niche titles, especially when you consider that they often have frequent sequels that don’t appear to iterate much. It’s good that these games exist because they are essential to keeping the experiences of gaming as a whole strong, not to mention they’ve been around as long as gaming has.
On the most recent episode of Retronauts (Vol. IV, Ep 43), the retro team had on a special guest who goes by the name Dr. Sparkle, the founder of the Chrontendo blog. Chrontendo videos are a project set on analyzing the Famicom/Nintendo Entertainment System in chronological order from the month of release in order to get some insight on game development, trends, and even development studios maturing over the course of the console. It’s known as “chrono gaming” and there are plenty who have attempted it and far fewer that have succeeded in these lasting projects for archival purposes. For better or worst, I have decided that I want to cover early CD consoles, starting with my favorite and dearest gaming console friend, the Sega CD. When you set out to cover a large number of games, especially in chronological order, there’s going to be a great degree of tedium and tempation to get lost in rabbit holes, that’s why I have decided to limit myself off the bat to the Sega CD. Unfortunately the list of releases and release dates are poorly documented, however Dr. Sparkle has provided me a thorough spreadsheet (no idea where he got some of this information, but a massive thanks to him) that I will use as a guide while I attempt to cover the entire Sega CD library in order. Most are probably content with this explanation, but for those of you like me who wonder how I plan to do it, what I’m going to use for capture, and the format, I have your answers in the following paragraphs.
This generation has become a bit of an anomaly. Instead of a throng of new intellectual properties (IP), fantastic sequels, and even downloadable titles we are inundated with re-hashes from the last generation. Don’t get me wrong, last generation was fantastic and I can’t say enough good things about it, but my fear is that we have lost our identity to the concept of the remake or remaster. Look at the release list of the Xbox One or the Playstation 4 and it’s clear that touch up work on games less than a decade old, some of them within the last few years, have become the norm. I can’t scan a news blog on a gaming site anymore without hearing about it. Video game consumers have become churn factories, now abandoning the old hardware at the same moment that the new hardware releases. I guess it was only a matter of time in an age where we upgrade nearly thousand dollar iPhones every year for a new model that barely bumps the specs of the old, but I hate that with those purchases comes the loss of the software they supported. It’s odd that the first generation to abandon backwards compatibility reveals the strong need to keep the feature, if only to prevent these re-releases from coming out at the rapid pace we are seeing. When I buy a new iPhone I still get to keep all the apps from before, so why are games insisting on being different? Then it dawned on me. We need these remakes and remasters because unlike apps, movies, books, and really any other medium, video games can consistently improve with age and games thought lost and abandoned can become new again. The problem is not that we are getting remakes, it’s the selection of remakes that we are getting.
Guys, lets face it, nostalgia is a bitch. I even wrote an article about this in the past, but beyond my casual forewarning, I would like to extend a realistic look at what is going on today in gaming. Some big fans are trying to re-write history with how much they love games that, in hindsight, weren’t all that good. You’ll notice that I said “how much they love games” and “in hindsight”, which I would like to break down. People who are massive unapologetic fans of fair-to-poor quality games should not be told they are wrong because they aren’t. Your opinion is your own and without even a discussion you have a right to it, not to mention those that can properly make an argument for why they love a game, but realize your opinion is shrouded in nostalgia or just a lack of basic sense.
This weekend I was allowed to see an advance screening of an upcoming summer movie. I did tweet what the film was prior to going to view it, but when I got there a very specific NDA (non-disclosure agreement) has me not wanting to give any more information. There still is a point to this post, I assure you. The thing about NDA’s, for example, is that they are vague and pretty much don’t want you talking about anything, but yet I often feel compelled to follow them provided certain circumstances. I was not brought in to see this movie because of this site or any affiliation, in fact I’m betting the production company doesn’t know or care that this post exists provided I leak no information on what I saw, including the title of the film or my opinion. I also want to point out that while this site does receive review copies of games from time to time, there is no connection between this film and games directly and thus there’s no fear of retaliation associated with my compliance. While quite rare on the Internet, I intend to respect the NDA because it’s the right thing to do. Rest assured I am writing the review while the film is fresh in my mind and it will release when I get the permission to do so.
In a recent article, I gave my personal tips into how to get the most out of the car boot sale. However, if your hungry for more games finds there’s more than one place to hunt. In this article I’m going to go through the other places I have located gaming deals.
This has always been a fascinating one to me. I know people that will literally avoid charity shops like the plague because they don’t want to be looking through other peoples junk. This is a real shame as you can genuinely find some amazing deals in charity shops (in America this will be like your Goodwills). In the UK the majority of charity shops are linked to charity like the British Hear Foundation, Oxfam, Cancer research etc. Charity shops take donations usually from the local community, Oxfam however, actually does send stuff to various stores through donation bins found at supermarkets. Most charity shops generally will have a dvd rack somewhere with a couple of games thrown in. Now it will really depend on the the staff at the specific store to whether the games are priced reasonably or not. If there is a volunteer that is into gaming there is actually a possibility they will take the games for themselves and leave the stuff they don’t want for the shelves. This is of course is a pain but its something you just have to put up with. Some staff have no idea about pricing games usually they will sell them for the same value as DVDs or even CDs. But then I have seen examples of staff over pricing video games because they think they are worth more than DVDs. What is quite sad in the UK is I have heard stories of charity shops receiving donations of loose consoles and carts but they consider these junk and throw them away. This doesn’t happen everywhere though, I have actually found loose N64 carts in an Oxfam store before but this is quite a rare occasion. Some advice here is if you feel brave enough you can actually say to the staff you are looking for old games and if they see any loose carts or consoles you will be whiling to take them off their hands. Most of the time the staff will feel uncomfortable with this and will give you nothing. But on that rare occasion someone might take note and even bring out some stuff they were intending on chucking possibly for free. But remember this is a charity shop so its only fair to give a donation if you get lucky here. It’s also only worth doing this with the stores that are close to where you live, unless of course you enjoy travelling far out to stores.
BEST SCORE: A couple of rare N64 loose carts including Mystical Ninja: The legend of Goeman, Mystic Quest, Diddy Kong Racing, Shadowgate 64, and The World is Not Enough