Gaming History 101

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Tomb Raider Review

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The original Tomb Raider exploded in popularity on its release in 1996. People were blown away by the 3D graphics and the title helped promote the Sony Playstation despite being released in mind for the Sega Saturn. The game was praised to high heaven by gaming critics and it launched Lara Croft into icon status by being the first digital character to feature on the cover of Face magazine in the UK. Lara would then quickly go on to be more of a sell out than Krusty the Clown. Her image was used to sell various products like the Lucozade energy drink and Land Rover vehicles. After all why not, she was huge in the UK. This game was the talk of many playground conversations when I was younger not just because of the mythical “Nude Raider” code but gamers would discuss how to get through difficult sections of the game. Guides were not common place back then and the small ones printed in magazines lacked the impressive detail we see in fan made guides online today. It was considered a badge of honour if you were able to finish this game without using cheat codes. Its almost twenty years now since this game came out so I made this months Game Club my personal mission to finish this game without a guide. After lots of blood sweat and gamer tears here are my thoughts.

Time has not been kind to Tomb Raider along with the rest of the back catalogue of early 3D 32 bit games. Before I get started on the game itself I really wanted to hit home that I am very nostalgic for games of this era. Resident Evil on Playstation one still remains one of my favourite games of all time, my enjoyment of titles from this generation seems to have actually grown as I got older. This is the beauty of nostalgia, unfortunately for the someone who doesn’t share this connection you’ll probably go into a lot of these old 3D games and have issues with the controls and be generally turned off by the graphics. I acknowledge all these negative points yet I still enjoy these games. I feel these points are worth bringing up before you hear what I have to say about Tomb Raider now.

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Written by jamalais

December 15, 2015 at 11:00 am

Extra Credit: Tomb Raider Game Club

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Tomb Raider and its infamous heroin, Lara Croft, are a culture phenomenon.  While Ms. Croft garnered more attention and mass appeal – both from a gaming and culture standpoint – in the UK rather than the US, it was nearly impossible to live in the late 90s and not know about Tomb Raider.  With countless ports and even anAnniversary face lift thanks to now series developer Crystal Dynamics, we delve into the original game once and for all.  Join special guest Andy Urquhart along with Fred and Jam as they discuss Lara’s first adventure.

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Written by Fred Rojas

December 13, 2015 at 4:30 pm

Ongoing Series: Tomb Raider Anniversary

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For the November game club we are playing through Tomb Raider, both the original and anniversary. Fred is tackling Anniversary. By popular request two versions of each video is being uploaded: one with and one without commentary. This has commentary, so if you wish to see the one without simply go here.

Written by Fred Rojas

November 17, 2015 at 11:00 am

Podcast: What Did You Expect?

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This week Fred and Jam are joined by guest Fortengard to talk about the world of video game movies.  Now, if we just sat around and ragged on them all day we would be just like every other gaming podcast.  Instead, we delve into concepts of production, adaptation, and what makes these movies good or what makes them completely worthless.

Note: I promised to post the chat for this show as well, you can find it here (.doc version).

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Good Old Games Holds “Time Machine” Sale

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If you head on over to Good Old Games right now you will see they are holding a “Time Machine” sale on the main page.  It looks like each offer goes live for around 75-90 minutes with really decent discounts.  Already today Tomb Raider 1-3 could be had for $1.99 and currently Carmageddon and the expansion, the Splat Pack, are $1.49.  According to the press release the sale goes all day, covers 30 years of gaming, and some sales will offer games as low as 59 cents.  As with all GOG content, these games come DRM-free, are optimized to work on modern day (typically Windows XP-7 at least) machines, and include plenty of goodies like PDF versions of the manual along with bonus content like wallpapers and soundtracks.

Editor comment: Unlike Steam and other digital distributors, GOG has always done an excellent job at creating a package that you can quite literally double click on and play in today’s PC gamescape.  With retro gaming on PCs being plagued by incompatibility issues it can be risky to pick up your classic games elsewhere.  To see sales like this shows that GOG is ready to compete with other online stores head on.

Written by Fred Rojas

January 29, 2014 at 8:49 am

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Podcast: It’s Pronounced La-Ra

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This week Fred and Trees are talking about the Tomb Raider series and its busty protagonist Lara Croft that shadowed the video game as a pop culture icon in the late 1990s.  We discuss development, creation, and production of both Core and recent Crystal Dynamics’ vision for Lara and her many adventures.

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Written by Fred Rojas

May 8, 2013 at 11:00 am

Revisionist History

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March 16, 2010 was an important day for Playstation manufacturer and video game publisher Sony Computer Entertainment.  It marked the release of God of War III, a technological stunner that promised to be every bit as fun as it was beautiful.  Not only was God of War significant for being the third in the series (and subsequent end to the second title’s cliffhanger), but it was to be the first outing for Kratos on the Playstation 3 console.  God of War II had been slated for the PS3 at one point in development, but Sony opted to keep the title on PS2, marking it as one of the best titles on that console and a fitting end to usher in the PS3.  There was just one big problem.

God of War Collection PS3

Starting in November, 2007, the Playstation 3 consoles had removed backwards compatibility with Playstation 2 titles, rendering them unable to play God of War or God of War II.  When the decision was made to put God of War II on PS2, it was always thought that new PS3 buyers would be able to use this feature to replay the previous titles.  In an era where storylines are significant and a series like God of War required you to know the storyline of the previous titles to understand the current one, Sony was in trouble.  Fortunately a long rumored concept ended up coming to pass – a high definition remake of the first two games on one PS3 compatible blu ray, and at half the price of a contemporary release.  In November of 2009 the God of War Collection was released to masses, an impressive appetizer to the third iteration, which still loomed more than four months away.  Not only that, but it was a great deal, amassing an impressive 1 million+ sales to date and a solid holiday season.  Not bad for two titles that had released a generation ago.  At $30 apiece gamers (myself included) ate it up and IGN’s Chris Roper even declared it the “definitive way to play the game” (guessing he meant games) in his review.

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Written by Fred Rojas

October 19, 2011 at 10:56 pm


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