Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Archive for January 2015

Mini Podcast: The Legacy of Shinobi

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For this week’s mini podcast Fred tackles the Sega franchise Shinobi, and more specifically the Joe Musashi games from the earliest years of the franchise.


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Written by Fred Rojas

January 31, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Psychic World Review

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pw_smspw_ggPlatform: Game Gear (there is a European Master System version) – For the hardcore, the Japanese MSX version is worth looking up.
Released: 1991 (worldwide)
Developer: Hertz
Publisher: Sega
Digital Release? No
Price: $3.75 (cart only), $15.00 (complete), and $15.00 (new/sealed) per Price Charting

Psychic World is one of those old Sega games that just seemed to get lost in time. Originally called Psycho World, in Japan on the MSX computer, the game was brought over to Europe in 1991 and renamed the more suitable Psychic World. The game was released on the Master System and Game Gear, for this review well be delving into the Game Gear version (which did come out in the US). This was probably one of the first Game Gear games I ever played next to the original Wonder Boy.

Psychic World is set in the year 19XX. which no matter how you write that on paper now sounds like it’s in the past, even though the setting of this game feels far into the future. I guess the game developers thought we would enjoy the 20th century so much we wouldn’t want to leave it so they started sticking Roman Numerals at the end.

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Written by jamalais

January 29, 2015 at 11:58 am

Posted in Game Gear, Reviews

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Podcast: Who Hasn’t Pirated? Come On

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This week Fred and Jam are tackling the tricky subject of video game piracy.  It’s older than you would guess.  In fact, ever since there were video games it appears there were ways to pirate them.  They discuss the history behind piracy, ethical and practical considerations, and all of the best piracy and anti-piracy methods used.


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Written by Fred Rojas

January 28, 2015 at 11:00 am

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Retro Game Challenge: Shinobi (PS2), Part 2

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More than a year ago, Fred  featured the Playstation 2 game Shinobi on Retro Game Night.  I was told that this is a brutally hard title that will test my skills.  He put it to the back burner, but after recent feedback we’re returning to these games to take up the challenge.  In his own words, here’s Fred’s reflection:

I remember playing it at first and didn’t understand what the big deal was.  Shinobi’s battle mechanics are pretty basic, not even coming close to the skills required of games like Ninja Gaiden on the original Xbox.  While the two games may be compared based on premise, time of release, and challenge, they couldn’t be more different.  Shinobi is not hard at the beginning, it’s barely a challenge, while I know plenty who haven’t completed the first level (and specifically boss) of Ninja Gaiden.  All of that changed with part 2 of this Retro Game Challenge.  Shinobi ramps up fast and despite beating the level at the end, it made my blood boil and wasn’t worth the effort I put in.  My conquest felt cheap, possibly even cheating.  I’m not done with this title, but my skepticism on it’s fairness and ability to provide a proper challenge that I enjoy in gaming, is raised.  I guess we’ll see.  In the meantime, enjoy a video that starts very positive and ends with a nearly embarrassing response from me.  As you may have already guessed beware of crass adult language near the end.

Written by Fred Rojas

January 27, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in PS2, Retro Game Challenge, Videos

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Mini Podcast: The Pages of Myst

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For this special episode Fred flies solo to discuss Myst, it’s concept, and it’s rightful place as one of the “killer apps” for the CD-ROM format.  Logic puzzles not included.


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Written by Fred Rojas

January 23, 2015 at 11:37 pm

Posted in PC/Mac, podcast

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A tribute to 100!

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Authors notes

I wrote a article for GH101 to celebrate the 100th episode last year. However, I decided not to post it because I felt it didn’t really fit in with the site.  After receiving a very touching e mail from a fan of GH101 I’ve changed my mind. It’s important to stand by your passions and I love writing, talking rubbish and being part of GH101 and this article is very much a tribute to that. Of course this is written in the past tense so take the content for what it is. Thank you.

Original article

On the 22nd of July Gaming History 101 is going to hit the milestone of 100 episodes which is a fantastic achievement. I thought I would share some of my memories listening to the podcast as well as becoming a co–presenter (co-host).

The route to G101

ffviiA couple of years ago I had taking up a job in Cambridge (a well known town in England) and commuted everyday from the outskirts of London. I was probably travelling around four hours a day either by foot, bike or train. Of course I was very much into gaming on the handheld, this was the perfect opportunity to play RPGs like Final Fantasy 7 on the PSP. But I often returned to my personal favourites, the Resident Evil games to see if I could complete them in a single day. I also read books, caught up on work on my Netbook, but I needed something else to fill this incredibly long void.

I was a big fan of YouTube and one evening I was watching a random video from YouTuber “PeteDorr,” who announced he was doing a podcast with some other members of the community called “AllGenGamers” and that it could be heard on itunes. I downloaded it to my ipod and its safe to say I became pretty hooked on gaming podcasts from then on. Since I traveled so far I listened to several podcasts including IGN UK and US, Giant Bomb, and Joystiq. I would also throw in non gaming podcasts as well like Hamish and Andy and Radio 4 film podcast.

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Written by jamalais

January 22, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Posted in Blog

Podcast: Big Boss Man Part 2

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Listener @Fortengard joins us to continue our earlier discussion on the art of the boss battle.  With tons of community news, e-mails (thanks guys), and news articles, we don’t get there until about halfway through but then we get down to the concept of the doppelganger, the “dark” version, and attacking oneself.  We then tackle roundtable discussion about our significant boss battles.


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Written by Fred Rojas

January 21, 2015 at 11:01 am

Posted in Blog

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Just Because: Die Hard Arcade (Dynamite Deka) PS2 Complete Playthrough

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Recently Fred played Die Hard Arcade on the Sega Saturn to show off one of the oddest directions licensed franchises have gone in games.  Well the game was known as Dynamite Deka (Dynamite Cop) in Japan, but retained all the Die Hard similarities, and was re-made in arcade perfect form on the PS2 (only in Japan as part of the Sega Ages 2500 series).  When Fred noticed it on the Japanese PSN for the PS3 – and at only ¥400 on sale, ¥823 normally – he had to pick it up and play through it.  Feel free to grab it for yourself if interested, but without further ado we present the complete playthrough of Dynamite Deka.

Written by Fred Rojas

January 20, 2015 at 11:34 am

Talking Ports: Half Life on the PS2

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I’ve always wanted to dedicate an article to Half Life on the Playstation 2 (PS2). However, Half Life is one of those games I genuinely get a bit worried about when reviewing, since so much as mentioning anything negative about this series will cause the entire Valve fan base to storm on you with torches and pitchforks. No where is safe, you are screwed. But since so few people have even played Half Life on the PS2 hopefully, its safe to come out of my Half Life hermit cave and talk about it.

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Now here is where I make my first shocking statement: Half Life on PS2 is the first time I ever played Half Life. One redeeming factor maybe that it did lead me to playing the game on the PC later when I was able to. Anyway, I was in day one for Half Life on console. I’d been anticipating the game since the hyped up Dreamcast port which never official surfaced outside of the homebrew scene (despite being advertised in leaflets that game with games at the time). It seems like a lot of the assets used to make the game on the Dreamcast surfaced on the PS2. Whether your a massive fan of the Dreamcast or not, its hard not to argue this game was much more suited to the PS2 due its its dual analogue sticks. This was the time where First Person Shooters (FPS) were finally getting easier to control on consoles, with thanks to Halo, gamers where just no longer stomaching the single analogue nub system famous on the N64 and Dreamcast.

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Written by jamalais

January 19, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in Blog, PS2

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Resident Evil HD Remaster Review

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Fred’s Take

After long last it appears that Resident Evil, specifically the Gamecube remake from 2002, is making a widespread appearance on modern consoles complete with increased resolution, performance, and controls.  This is significant because the number of people who owned a Gamecube was relatively small and the Wii port had such a limited print run it was a bit difficult to find.  Not only that, but at 12 years old, the game itself has plenty of dated setbacks that most gamers I talk to refuse to put up with.  Thankfully this new version is digital only (no need to hunt down copies), adapted for today, and relatively inexpensive ($19.99 on all platforms).  With all the tweaks made to this game it is so close to being worth the money I can’t see any fan of horror games or the original series not wanting to pick up this new version.  Besides, it’s January, what else is coming out?

If you played the original to death – and pretty much anyone who owned the game back in 1996 did as we waited two whole years for the sequel – it’s a pretty rudimentary journey at this point.  You know where everything is, you probably know most of the tricks, you don’t need to save often, and your completion time will be somewhere in the 3-6 hour mark.  On the other hand, the limited release of this game and the cumbersome systems it can be found on means that you probably aren’t that familiar with it.  This is no graphical coat of paint over the original design, it’s a brand new experience.  The mansion’s layout has been changed, most of the puzzles are different, there are new enemies, and everything is scattered in completely different places.  That doesn’t mean that experts of the original can’t jump in and easily conquer this title from start to finish, but it’s going to take you some time.  Even more impressive is the fact that despite me completing the original at least once a year since it released, this version was able to get some tense and great jump scare moments out of me along the way.  It’s a new Resident Evil and it’s worth replaying.

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Written by Fred Rojas

January 19, 2015 at 10:43 am