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Genre Study: The Niche Game

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deadly_premonition

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 KnightGodzilla, 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.

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Written by Fred Rojas

July 21, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Posted in Blog, Features

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So I’m Getting Into Chrono Gaming

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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.

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Written by Fred Rojas

July 13, 2015 at 11:42 am

Opinion: The HD Remakes We Need

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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.

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Written by Fred Rojas

May 14, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in Blog

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Opinion: Don’t Try to Re-write History With Your Fanboyism

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battletoads

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.

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Written by Fred Rojas

May 5, 2015 at 11:43 am

My Weekend at the Movies

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nda

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.

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Written by Fred Rojas

April 20, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Posted in Blog

Collecting Tips to Boot Part 2: To the Stores

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.

Charity Shops

goodwillThis 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

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Written by jamalais

April 19, 2015 at 6:10 pm

Posted in Blog

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Collecting Tips to Boot

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It’s that time of year again where people from all over the country go through their lofts and garages and find various junk they don’t want any more. They then throw it in their car drive to a field somewhere and sell it members of the public. Yes people, car boot season (or flea market if your American) is here. I have been heading to car boots with my lady friend for the last couple of years looking for good deals on video games. As a collector of old video games the car boot is a great chance to possibly find a game for a reasonable price that would otherwise go for some ungodly amount on eBay. In this article I’m going to give my personal tips on how to make the most out of the car boot.

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Written by jamalais

April 18, 2015 at 11:58 am

Posted in Blog

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How Mature

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Recently in the UK news there was an article stating that a head teacher would report parents to the local authorities if they discovered any of the children in the school were playing mature rated games, citing that the parents would be accused of “neglect.” While I feel accusing parents of being neglectful is not entirely fair it does pose the question: just how mature are games these days? This article is going to cover my own experiences of mature rated games as I grew up and how I feel about the subject now.  [Editor’s Note: Fred wrote an article in the past dissecting mature rated games in the US, that perspective is here.]

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Written by jamalais

April 16, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in Blog

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MGC 2015: Pinball’s Future is Emulation

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pinball1Depending on who you ask, perhaps pinball shouldn’t even be on this site.  It’s not a video game at all and in truth the only thing pinball even has in common to video games is that they both tended to occupy one another in arcades, bowling alleys, bars, and various other popular locations of the 70s, 80s, and 90s.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t appreciate both and thanks to some great physics engines and crafty programming games like Zen Pinball/Pinball FX and Pinball Arcade exist and do a nice job of bringing that thrill home.  But it isn’t pinball.  No friends, those of us who love pinball and played the games growing up would not consider T2 on Pinball Arcade to be the same as sitting in front of the cold steel original pinball machine with the gun handle for a launcher.  At the same time a T2 pinball machine runs you around $2,000-$3,000 and that doesn’t even factor in getting to and into your place of residence, so the relatively cheap $10 price for the table on console is a better option for most of us.  If you buy the actual pinball machine you’ll probably enjoy the game for less than six months before it needs service of some kind – assuming it was in perfect working order when you purchased it, which is almost never the case.  Even if you have a pristine new Stern pinball machine that gets professionally set up, routine maintenance and cleaning is part of the role that any pinball owner has, whether it’s handled by the owner personally or they have a professional come out for routine service.  That’s why pinball is a much larger investment than arcade machines: you have to know how to care for an afford to maintain it.  Not only that, but the machines are specific so you can’t just drop a T2′s guts into a Funhouse machine without a lot of time, effort, and basically rebuilding it.  All of these factors are why pinball emulation may be the best option for the average pinball enthusiast that’s ready to pony up that initial investment, but doesn’t want all the hassle of actually owning a pinball machine.

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Written by Fred Rojas

April 15, 2015 at 5:30 pm

Jam’s SNES Unboxing Video

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Yes, it finally happened, Jam  got a SNES.  A retro console he never thought he would actually own due to the kinda crazy prices the games sell for in the UK. He appears very happy with this and wants to dedicate this video to good friend Mr. SieOne who has been a huge support to GH101 and to all the content we have provided in the past.

Written by jamalais

April 13, 2015 at 4:15 pm

Posted in Blog, Videos

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