Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Video Game Purists Ep 28: Without the Chief

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Seems everyone is stuck at home these days, even the Master Chief as 343 decides to delay Halo Infinite into 2021.  Fred and Trees discuss life, next gen consoles, the recent Playstation event, and more.  Then on the gaming front, Trees is still making everyone jealous in No Man’s Sky while Fred wraps up Transformers: War for Cybertron and Yoku’s Island Express just before it departs game pass.

Opening Song: Facehammer by Ozzed (ozzed.net)

Closing Song: Theme of Simon Belmont (MSU-1 Enhanced Version) – Super Castlevania IV (SNES)

Written by Fred Rojas

August 13, 2020 at 11:00 am

Flash: An Unsung Hero by Guest Author Cluedrew

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Introduction

To many people Flash may just be an annoying internet thing-a-ma-bob that updates frequently. But for a time it was the root of one of the largest and most open gaming communities in existence.  And I was a part of that. Admittedly, my part was primarily as an observer, but that was enough for Flash to leave a significant mark on my gaming history. There is a huge collection of games I look back upon fondly. You will not find much in the way of beautifully rendered 3D graphics or epic open worlds, but there are other treasures to be found.

Flash is a browser plugin that allows websites to display animations and games. Well before the modern indie game scene got started, hobbyists produced hundreds of games that you can still find scattered across the web. Most were made by a few people in their spare time and most were completely free, so you got plenty of weird idea-focused arcade experiences, puzzle games with a twist, smaller adventure and a lot of art games.

Now Flash is going away. It had a good run all things said – a run that was a quarter century long – but it is definitely getting into its twilight years now. For one last bit of praise from an unremarkable fan: here is what I have to say about Flash.

About Flash

Before getting into the games, I would like to talk about Flash itself. I had to look up things about the early days. Flash was created in 1995 by FutureWave and was called FutureSplash Animator at the time. It changed owners and names over the next decade. By the time I became aware of it its purpose had shifted from a simple animation tool to a platform for web games.

Flash is the editor, player and browser plugin for .swf (Shockwave Flash) files. You can use it to create games, play them locally on your computer, or in your browser. And most browsers come – or rather came – packaged with it. In the early days Flash gained popularity because the files were small and downloaded quickly. Then people found it was surprisingly good at making games and, as they say, they rest is history. Flash will soon truly be history as many browsers have declared they are going to get rid of it by the end of 2020.

Over the years, however, a lot of games were created.  Many of these games were collected on Flash game sites. I got my start on Miniclip but probably spent the most time on Armor Games. Newgrounds was probably the largest site and Kongregate has possibly held up the best as the years have gone by. I also want to mention Nitrome, a game studio that created their own site and produced over 100 solid games on their own.

These collections are huge! Of the ones I have mentioned, Nitrome’s is the smallest by an order of magnitude or so. The bar to entry was very low to non-existent and the more popular ones had a lot people submitting to them, so the collections soon had hundreds or thousands of games. Sorting through them to find the ones you liked could be a bit of a challenge. In fact if it I ever get a bit vague it’s probably because I am talking about a game I haven’t been able to dig up again and so I am working on memories from many years ago.  On the other hand, if you were in an exploratory mood, it was great. Try a game and, if you liked it, then you could keep on playing; otherwise just move onto the next one. Playing Flash games could very much be about the exploration as much as playing any particular game.

Flash has had detractors for a long time. Some were concerned about the wide use of a proprietary format.  Others argued it should just be included in HTML (Hyper Text Mark-up Language), which did eventually expand to cover many of the things Flash does. But the thing that really killed it was the security risk.

Speaking of which, don’t run Flash games from un-trusted sources. It is not at all secure so people can slip in pretty much any virus or malware into a Flash application if they want to and are willing to put in the time. On one hand, the community is largely in the clear and this seemed to never happen. On the other hand, it continues to be a worry for users and the browsers which all depend on having a reputation for security.

Despite all that, Flash still held on for quite a long time. Even as people declared it dead, it kept going, supported by the weight of existing content and grassroots developers still producing new content. Even with browsers proclaiming they are taking it out soon, new Flash games came out this year, such as the long-awaited Epic Battle Fantasy 5.  That is where we are today: support is fading but there are huge archives and a small but dedicated community. In the rest of this article I will mostly be talking about all those games in the huge archives.

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Video Game Purists Ep 27: A Little Sauced

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This week things are winding down a bit but that doesn’t stop our brave hosts from enjoying the finer things in life like playing the Switch during a power outage and enjoying The Transformers in movie form.  Trees is future planning for Kingdom Come: Deliverance leaving Game Pass, seeing the better life in No Man’s Sky, and finally purchasing Mr. Driller.  Fred learned that Shadow of the Colossus on PS4, although beautiful, is not for him.  On the other hand a cheap pick-up of Trine: Enhanced Edition (XB1) and Transformers: War for Cybertron (PC) are keeping a strong smile on his face.

Opening Song: Facehammer by Ozzed (ozzed.net)

Closing Song: Transformers Theme Song (1984 TV Show)

Written by Fred Rojas

August 7, 2020 at 11:22 am

Video Game Purists Ep 26: Yep, It’s Halo

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This week Fred and Trees talk about the infamous Xbox Showcase that left almost everyone less than impressed.  Trees has started up Paper Mario: The Origami King and returns to the drastically changed world of No Man’s Sky.  Fred played a bunch of demos on Xbox, gave up on The Witcher 2, completely played Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap as well as Resident Evil 0, and finally struggled with Shadow of the Colossus (PS4).

Opening Song: Facehammer – Ozzed (ozzed.net)
Closing Song: The Monster’s Lair – Wonderboy: The Dragon’s Trap

Written by Fred Rojas

July 30, 2020 at 11:00 am

Video Game Purists Ep 25: Meet Ribbie the Rib

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This week it’s almost no real life and all games.  Trees and Fred discuss the glory days of Playstation Home, HD Retrovision cables and the bubble economy of second hand gaming.  Trees has been working his way through Nascar Heat 5 (and enjoying it) as well as delving into Mr. Driller in Drill Land on the Switch.  Fred continues to work through The Witcher 2 and Halo 2 co-op with his daughter, while also going all retro on Saturdays with Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap and of all things Burn: Cycle on the Phillips CD-i.

Opening Song: Facehammer by Ozzed (ozzed.net)

Closing Song: Nuts! – Mr. Driller in Drill Land

Written by Fred Rojas

July 23, 2020 at 3:00 pm

The Last of Us Part 2 Spoilercast

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The Last of Us Part II is one of those games you just have to talk about.  Naturally, Fred is ready to talk for nearly 4 hours about all aspects of the game along with special guest Jacob from Chosen Totem.  They don’t go through the campaign step by step, but rather discuss the four major elements that appear in the game: tech, gameplay, plot, and discourse.  If it hasn’t been made clear, this podcast contains spoilers.

Songs (in order of appearance)

  • Ellie’s Song (Through the Valley)
  • It Can’t Last (Home)
  • The Cycle of Violence
  • They’re Still Out There
  • Wayfaring Stranger

Written by Fred Rojas

July 21, 2020 at 11:00 am

Video Game Purists Ep 24: Jockey Promise Fail

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Trees is back from his vacation, Fred is just relaxing, and things are starting to get back to normal.  Trees takes a break from Kingdom Come: Deliverance to try out his new copy of Nascar Heat 5, Infinite Mini Golf on PSN Now, and Observation on Game Pass.  Meanwhile Fred is having random nights on Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance and after finishing the first book, started on a little game called The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.

Opening Song: Facehammer by Ozzed (ozzed.net)

Closing Song: The End is Never the Same from The Witcher 2

Written by Fred Rojas

July 16, 2020 at 11:00 am

Video Game Purists Ep 23: The Ali and Fred Show

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This week Fred joined up with Ali for an impromptu discussion about…really anything.  Very few talk of actual games but fun discussions to be had and with Trees off on vacation this made a perfect Ep 23.  The video of this podcast, in case you want to watch instead of just listen, can be found below.

Opening Song – Facehammer by Ozzed (ozzed.net)

Written by Fred Rojas

July 10, 2020 at 11:00 am

Video Game Purists Ep 22: Getaway

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This week both Fred and Trees are talking about adventures with cabins and a few movies before jumping into games.  Trees headlines with a forgotten 3DS gem, Pocket Card Jockey, before delving into another adventure in Kingdom Come: Deliverance.  Fred is still deep in The Last of Us Part II and wrapping up his impressions before a brief (spoiler free) discussion about the coverage of the game.

Opening Song: Facehammer by Ozzed (ozzed.net)

Closing Song: I’m on a Boat by The Lonely Island

Written by Fred Rojas

July 2, 2020 at 11:00 am

Video Game Purists Ep 21: Solid Weekend

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This week Fred and Trees delve deep into real world events, but mostly positive ones.  Then there’s a dive into Animal CrossingPuzzle and Dragons Super Mario Edition, a new 3D voxel NES emulator on Steam called 3DSEN, and of course The Last of Us Part II.

Opening Song – Facehammer by Ozzed (ozzed.net)

Closing Song – A Link to the Past Commercial Rap from Super Famicom Japanese commercial

Written by Fred Rojas

June 25, 2020 at 11:00 am