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Legend of Zelda Review

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The Legend of Zelda series has transcended time and now acts less as a genesis of the 80s and more as one of Nintendo’s long running trains through time.  Like all trains, many have gotten on and gotten off over the decades and thus the original is no longer that paramount flagship title that gave way to action RPGs that it used to be.  In fact, these days I can’t imagine how one not familiar with the game could get started without a guide.  Where would you go?  What would you do?  How long until you eventually enter the first dungeon that read “level one” and would you know that it means first dungeon instead of top level of the dungeon?  On the other hand there are that other half of the gaming populous that is acutely familiar with all of the intricacies of what was our first true digital adventure.  I myself know exactly where every dungeon is (on the second quest too), know exactly where to bomb a wall or burn a bush, and could navigate the lost woods with my eyes closed.  That’s because I’ve done it so many times that the very movements of my average run are more muscle memory than anything else.  It was one of the first games I played and one of the best.

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Written by Fred Rojas

May 27, 2015 at 4:20 pm

Finding the Diamond in the Rough: NES

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We’ve had quite a few articles about game collecting lately, most notably the process of how to find and get games from various locations with little to no issues.  One thing that was not as highly discussed is knowing how much items are worth/cost, especially because games’ values vary depending on re-releases and upcoming releases.  At the Midwest Gaming Classic 2015 I got to see first hand how that works and factors you may have never imagined can jack up the value of random items.  For example, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the 3DS was readily available when the game launched in 2011 at the retail price of $39.99.  These days it’s worth quite a bit more at $50 for a loose cart and $65 complete – I’ll get to these price trends in a sec – due to the fact, according to many of the booth vendors I spoke to, that in January of this year the carts became extremely rare on store shelves and it spiked a bit more when the Zelda Wii U delay was announced.  Looks like Nintendo decided to go more digital as the game can be easily purchased on the eShop for MSRP, but if you’re a tangible collector that game has outlived its apparent welcome.  Also it appears that gamers have begun to want that game back in their collections because of the delay of the Wii U title so they have something to be all nostalgic about until that game finally arrives.  These are things I neither knew about nor cared about, but they are important.  A while back I wrote an article on knowing the difference between different games and what games fetch high value, well today I decided to get a little more specific and show you some of the coveted titles that fetch a large sum of money on retro consoles.  Keep in mind this was written in April 2015 and a lot can happen with each passing day as of the writing of this article.  Please keep in mind all prices are based on Price Charting, a US-based price guide that compares eBay, Amazon, and third party sites for what games actually sell for as opposed to what they are listed for.

Note: Due to the size this article has become, I’ve broken it up into several articles that will go live throughout the rest of the week.  I will also feature each article under its appropriate console(s) for easier access.  So lets kick this off with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES):

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Written by Fred Rojas

April 23, 2015 at 1:07 pm

Smash TV Review

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smashtv_boxPlatform: Arcade, microcomputers, NES, Master System, Game Gear, SNES, Genesis/Mega Drive, Xbox/Gamecube/PS2/PSP (part of Midway Treasures)
Released: 1990
Developer: Williams
Publisher: Williams/Midway
Digital Release? Yes, it had a digital release on XBLA (360) but was delisted in Feb. 2010

Smashtv01These days there is a good chance any gamer is familiar with the “twin stick shooter”, a concept where you move with the left stick and shoot with the right.  Back in 1982 when fantastic game designer Eugene Jarvis premiered the concept in Robotron: 2084, it was unlike anything we had ever seen.  The merits of that game, and what it brought to video games, cannot be denied and if you want an idea of how Robotron played you need look no further than recent neo-retro release Rock Boshers Dx.  It wasn’t until almost a decade later, in 1990’s fantastic Smash TV, that Jarvis along with a talented team at Williams created one of the most addicting arcade games from my youth.  Set in the year 1999 – oh how we thought so much was going to change with the year 2000 back then – Smash TV has you and potentially one other person shooting it out in a room-to-room TV studio playing the most violent game show of all time (Running Man anyone?).  It takes the building blocks of Robotron: 2084 and brings it into the nineties by giving you a second player, having you kill tons of humans instead of rescue them like in Robotron, and of course you’re doing it all for cash prizes to selfishly grow your wealth.  I loved it then and I love it now.

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 24, 2015 at 11:34 am

Someone Got Netflix Running on an NES

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Hackers these days don’t necessarily do things because they should, they just see if they can.  That’s definitely the case in this post on Gamespot where a handful of hackers got the Netflix streaming service running on an NES via a specialized cart but on an unmodified NES.  You can watch House of Cards running on it in the video below in all its streaming text and 256 color glory.  Netflix on NES, now I’ve seen it all.

Written by Fred Rojas

March 11, 2015 at 9:31 am

Posted in NES, News

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Mini Podcast: The Story of Tetris

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Tetris has probably one of the most sordid tales about rights management.  This so-called “first game from behind the iron curtain” was one of the most popular and addicting games of the late 1980s.  Even more interesting is the story about how Nintendo snuck in behind a handful of eager parties who got in at the ground floor and secured sole console rights to one of the most money-producing games of all time.


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Written by Fred Rojas

January 18, 2015 at 8:15 pm

Podcast: Ready, Aim, Fire!

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This week Fred and Jam tackle the wonderful world of light gun shooters.  What started as a mere carnival game evolved into one of the more interactive – and for some of us fun – genres that has not withstood the test of time.  With the advent of newer screens, the technology that made light guns possible is now ruined by delays of no more than a fraction of a second.  In this episode we discuss the history, technology behind, and our fondest memories of the games that utilized the light gun peripheral.


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Written by Fred Rojas

December 17, 2014 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Test Your Might

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This week Fred and Jam are throwing around fighters of the 90s (that aren’t Street Fighter II or Tekken, we did a show for those already).  In the 1990s, the fighter genre was the most popular type of game available (like First Person Shooters today), and among those that have withstood the test of time there were plenty of others that played the field.  From Mortal Kombat to Soulcalibur you had plenty of arcades (and home ports) to drink your quarters in arcades.


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Retro Game Night: New Ghostbusters II, DecapAttack, and Kid Dracula

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This week’s late Retro Game Night features the Famicom title New Ghostbusters II by HAL Laboratories (they made Kirby and Lolo), DecapAttack for the Genesis, and finally the Famicom version of Kid Dracula.

Written by Fred Rojas

October 30, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Podcast: Zombies Ate My Podcast

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Traditionally horror and comedy are entwined, faithfully representing a laughable moment of relief to accompany the graphic depictions of death that follow.  Although more rare, there is also room for comedy with horror elements and this week Fred and Jam are celebrating the games that get it right.  From some of LucasArts classic hybrids to bikini clad samurai warriors, there’s no lack of hilarity in gaming for those not looking for a scare.


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Podcast: I Have No Mouse and I Must Scream

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This week Fred and Jam are joined by Kole Ross of the Watch Out For Fireballs (WOFF) podcast to discuss point-and-click adventure horror games.  Whether it was your first go with early Mac titles like Uninvited, the eventual movement to traditional titles like I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, or the love of the FMV cult favorites like Phantasmagoria or Ripper, horror and adventure were quite the match.  Combining graphic elements with deep storytelling (at least for games of the 80s and 90s) these titles certainly are a niche, but great, addition to video game history.


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Written by Fred Rojas

October 15, 2014 at 11:00 am

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