Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Archive for April 2014

Podcast: Final Fantasy in 3D

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This week we are joined by listener Fortengard and Andy from 42 Level One to discuss the original Playstation Final Fantasy games (FF VII – FF IX).  Controversy erupts over the endless love and condemnation for VII, the brutal Junction System of VIII, and the all-too-familiar nature of IX.  All beloved, the final opinion is that they should all be experienced.


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Written by Fred Rojas

April 30, 2014 at 11:21 am

Posted in Playstation, podcast

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Retro Game Night: MSX Antiques Collection

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This week’s Retro Game Night features games from the short but sweet library of the MSX Japanese microcomputer. We delve into a few of the known and unknown flagship titles. This was captured from the Konami MSX Antiques Collection on the Sega Saturn console.

Written by Fred Rojas

April 28, 2014 at 10:16 am

Podcast: Extra Credit – MicroSoft eXtended (MSX)

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For this extra credit Fred goes solo to discuss Japan’s only semi-exclusive microcomputer, the MSX.  Created by Microsoft as a computing platform, the MSX is responsible for many cart-based titles that found mass success on the NES and even today.  It’s an impressive library on one of the most niche worldwide consoles/computers of all time.

Opening Song: Main Theme – Nightmare on the MSX
Sequence 1 break: Intro/Main Theme – Metal Gear on the MSX
Closing Song: Main Theme – Salamander on the MSX


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Written by Fred Rojas

April 25, 2014 at 11:00 am

Podcast: It’s Pronounced Zed

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This week an America podcast treads where it never should: into the world of British Microcomputers.  Don’t worry, we have two Brits, Jam and Mark from Retro Game Geeks, to assist.  We discuss the infamous BBC Micro, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, and hint at the MSX and Amiga 500 (stay tuned for additional mini-eps on the last two).  If you grew up in the US and wonder why Europe makes such a big deal over these microcomputers, this is a must listen.


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Written by Fred Rojas

April 23, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Sega CD Marathon-athon, Part 1

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User/listener Mark E. on Facebook recently put that he wants more Sega CD as a reward for hitting some fantastic numbers for the podcast in March.  How could I say no to a bunch of content on my favorite console?  As a result I’m pulling all the games from my Sega CD collection (over 100 strong) and playing them all in alphabetical sequence in a new video series I call the “Sega CD Marathon-athon”.  In part 1 we kick off the beginning of the alphabet with 3 Ninjas Kick Back, Adventures of Batman & Robin, Afterburner III, The Animals! (Presented by the San Diego Zoo), and finally B.C. Racers.  I did have to skip over Advanced Dungeons & DragonsEye of the Beholder and for some reason Adventures of Willy Bemish was hidden in the Ws instead of the As, so watch for longer solo videos and write-ups of those soon.  As it stands I’m not doing review/retrospective write-ups on any of these games because, well, you’ll see. 

Written by Fred Rojas

April 20, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Rated M For Mature

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Today I’m going to touch on a topic that is near and dear to my heart: maturity.  It’s quite a complex word and rarely is it defined correctly because the USA, and most of the world, like to gauge a work’s “maturity” by the quantitative amount of content that is unsuitable for public consumption.  This does not make a mature game in my eyes.  While it may be chock full of breasts, f-words, and toilet humor that literally dnfhas you flinging feces, Duke Nukem Forever is not a mature game despite what its rating says.  It is a reality of a world that is forced to categorize appropriateness of a medium, in this case software, for a quick guide to consumers on what’s appropriate.  At the same time I do feel that games can and sometimes do represent true, mature scenarios that mix graphic content with justified plot.  Sadly this is not the case for the majority of titles and the main focus of this article deals with the controversy surrounding Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and specifically plot points that come about at the end of the 120 minute campaign.  In writing this I first read articles by Lucy O’Brien of IGN¹, Cameron Kunzelman of Paste Magazine², and on a more informal note the talented Ria Jenkins of Introskeptive³ (article links at the bottom), who have dissected the ending in a much better way than I ever can.  As you proceed forward, be warned that some of the topics of MGSV: GZ will be touched upon and the referenced articles definitely spoil these events in greater detail.  It should also be noted that the following content, while not explicit, does discuss some gritty subject matter.

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Written by Fred Rojas

April 19, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Retro Game Night: Einhander

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This week for Retro Friday we are playing the PS1 shmup Einhander from Squaresoft.  Released in 1997 this was an oddity because Square was better known for a slew of great RPGs, including Final Fantasy VII.

Written by Fred Rojas

April 19, 2014 at 11:32 am

Review: Velocity (Ultra)

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velocity_boxVelocity is one of those games that I remember first trying on my PSP on long commutes between London to Cambridge and had I not played this game I probably would have gone insane with boredom.  It released for the Playstation Network as a mini back in 2012 and then later given the HD make over and released for the PS Vita as Velocity Ultra.

Velocity is a space ship game that impressively mixes shooting, puzzles and speed all into one.  Set in the year 2212 (which is rather clever as this game was released in 2012) the star Vilio has exploded causing a massive electromagnetic pulse (EMP) field, cutting the power in nearby colonies. You pilot the Quarp Jet, a teleporting spacecraft, and your job is to rescue survivors while also shooting down the invading aliens. The story is presented in nice little graphic novel style panels which are short and to the point.  Velocity has fifty missions which are all pretty short – around five minutes, sometimes less – making this a perfect game for short bursts, but with its incredibly addictive nature it is very likely you will play much longer.

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Written by jamalais

April 18, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Posted in PS3, PSP, Reviews, Vita

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Podcast: Project Mercury

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This week we are talking about the Sega Game Gear (Project Mercury), Sega’s first portable console that took on the Gameboy head on.  While it didn’t come close to winning, the Game Gear still stands as the longest running competition for a Nintendo portable.  We also bring in special guests Jason and Mark (from Retro Game Geeks) to talk about beloved titles from the early 90s.


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Written by Fred Rojas

April 16, 2014 at 9:17 am

Posted in Game Gear, podcast

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Tetris Aid

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How Tetris Has Been Used in Research To Help Health Problems

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Tetris that famous game released in 1984. Beloved for its simplicity and addictive nature; but did you know that Tetris has actually been used in a variety of medical studies?  There is plenty of research reporting the benefits of gaming despite the media having us believe playing video games turn us into serial killers and dysfunctional members of society. Today’s article focuses on the research studies performed using Tetris.

Tetris good for the eyes.

le_tetOne interesting study carried out in America and even in the UK is using Tetris to treat Amblyopia. You may know this condition more as a “lazy eye”, where one eye is not seeing as well as the other eye and can be accompanied by an eye turn.  It usually occurs at a very young age and current treatment involves patching the good eye to force the bad eye to work. Spectacles are also given to aid this treatment. Unfortunately not all treatments are successful and the lazy eye can remain into adulthood; treatment for a lazy eye in adults is usually ineffective.

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Written by jamalais

April 15, 2014 at 10:56 am

Posted in Features, Gameboy, NES, PC/Mac

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