Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Archive for January 2015

Mini Podcast: The Story of Tetris

with one comment

tetris_atari

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.


Download this episode (right click and save)

Subscribe: RSS iTunes Google Podbean

Written by Fred Rojas

January 18, 2015 at 8:15 pm

Now & Then: God of War 1 and 2

with 2 comments

GOWcollection

God of War feels like a series that just exploded in popularity but has now been lost in the gaming community abyss. Last year the God of War Collection (featuring the first two games in the series) was released to the Playstation Vita to such a poor reception that a lot of friends were generally surprised it was actually released. Then again the same group of friends were gob smacked that Borderlands 2 also came out on the Vita. Now, it could be argued that this lack of enthusiasm may be due to the lack of interest in the Playstation Vita. But forgotten or not, I’ve played through both God of War games so it’s time to see how they hold up today.

gowhydraI was originally a massive fan of the very first God of War game on PS2. When I was first introduced to the game by a friend I got so into it we played through the entire game together in one single sitting, something that I rarely do with a video game. We spent a lot of the experience just gob smacked by how the PS2 was able to include great graphics and set pieces. Of course a lot of the great visuals are attributed to a fixed camera control and the set pieces being controlled entirely by quick time events (a feature I’m glad has started to disappear in the gaming industry). The game felt like a breath of fresh air. Although the game did not introduce a completely original experience it seemed to take elements that worked with other games like an anti hero storyline, hack and slash gameplay and upgrading your character with orbs. The game was not perfect, even for the time people criticised some of the challenging sections in the game most notably the infamous Hades area where you had to get pass various traps and obstacles. If you were hit just once you died instantly, leading to some massive gamer rage grinding your enjoyable experience to a complete halt. What made God of War stand out at the time was the epic adventure, where you travel into areas no man can supposedly enter (and the game clearly displays this by having dead bodies littered everywhere). You really felt like you were on this impossible quest. Every time you beat a gigantic boss or got pass a deadly trap you really felt a sense of achievement. The bosses were also enormous like the infamous hydra, a fantastic way to open the game and a design feature that seemed to carry over to all future games in the series as well. The game was well received by critics and gamers so it pretty much guaranteed a sequel. The developers seemed confident of this as well as the message “Kratos will return,” appears once the credits have finished at the end of the experience.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jamalais

January 16, 2015 at 11:00 am

Feel the Need, The Need to Speed-Run

leave a comment »

acdq

This past week a charity event has taking place in the America called “Awesome Games Done Quick” (AGDQ). For those of you who have not heard of this event, it is where gamers from all over the world gather together to speedrun various games (retro and modern). It’s twenty four hours of gaming goodness over seven days all in the name of charity. The event is to raise money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Today’s article is a tribute to the internet phenomenon that is speedruning.

AGDQ_1I first became interested in speedruns after getting into a debate with a friend about what the fastest time Resident Evil on PSone could be completed. Eventually we headed to YouTube to find a video of a speedrunner by the title of Carcinogen, running through the game in just over an hour. There was something quite mind blowing of how precise he played through the game. This then lead me to finding more videos and consequently discover ADGQ which almost feels like an esports event, as people speedrun a game live while crowds of people roar with cheer as they pull of a difficult glitch. I then soon learned there was a entire website of people speedrunning games twenty four hours a day (speedrunslive.com). Not only are runners somewhere in the world speedrunning games right now, there are also runners racing each other. I’ve have never really been much of a Sunday football watching kinda guy, but I guess I know the feeling now since watching speedrunners race each other can be quite exciting.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jamalais

January 15, 2015 at 11:00 am

Podcast: On the Aughts (5s and 10s)

leave a comment »

timeline_post

This week Fred and Jam return to the classic new year tradition of celebrating half decades of video games based on the current year.  What that means is that because it’s 2015, we’re celebrating every year in gaming that either ends in a “5” or a “0”, starting all the way back at 1950 and going all the way to 2005!  It’s a great journey with lots of interesting facts on the evolution of gaming.


Download this episode (right click and save)

Subscribe: RSS iTunes Google Podbean

Written by Fred Rojas

January 14, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in podcast

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , ,

Retro Game Night: Crypt Killer and Mad Dog McCree

leave a comment »

This week for Retro Game Night we go all light gun shooters (yes, they can be captured and streamed).

First up is arcade 3D shooter Crypt Killer, which was horror themed and moved from arcades to Saturn and the PS1 (Saturn version shown).  Sorry about the sound on the game being much louder than my voice, it was live and no one told me.

Next up is the 1990 “classic” Mad Dog McCree, one of the first laserdisc arcade games that was almost perfectly ported to the Nintendo Wii.  Here it is in all its glory (and in 720p!)

If you want to check out Retro Game Night, we do it every Friday night at 11:30 pm est on our Twitch channel (twitch.tv/gh101).  You can also follow us for random live broadcasts and check that page for our ongoing replay of Resident Evil HD Remaster on the PS3, which comes to the US on January 20.

Written by Fred Rojas

January 10, 2015 at 12:12 pm

Podcast: Tabletops and D20s

leave a comment »

Oh yeah and it's Fred's birthday and listener SieOne was kind enough to send a card.

Oh yeah and it’s Fred’s birthday and listener SieOne was kind enough to send a card.

This week we ring in the new year with guest Gary Butterfield from duckfeed.tv and the Watch Out For Fireballs podcast to discuss video games based on tabletop games.  Of course the big one, Dungeons & Dragons, takes up a chunk of the conversation but there are others that make their way in.  We also track the history and progression of taking earlier stat-based games and being able to integrate them properly onto the screen.


Download this episode (right click and save)

Subscribe: RSS iTunes Google Podbean

Written by Fred Rojas

January 7, 2015 at 11:00 am

Syphon Filter – PSone Review

leave a comment »

syphon_filter_boxPlatform: Playstation
Released: 1999 (worldwide)
Developer: Eidetic
Publisher: 989 Studios
Digital Release? Yes, this is available as a PSOne classic on PSN for $5.99
Price: $2.89 (disc only), $4.95 (complete), and $9.99 (new/sealed) per Price Charting

In the late nineties stealth was becoming a big deal in the game industry, a lot of this was thanks to games like Metal Gear Solid on PSone and Thief on PC. Along comes 989 studios with a little game called Syphon Filter. I knew very little about this game before it was released. In the UK this game received very little coverage in the magazines even though it ended up reviewing quite well. My first experience of the game was actually playing the demo which came free with Official Playstation Magazine. The demo was just of the first level but I found it enjoyable enough to sought the game out on release and I kinda enjoyed the game. It seemed like I was the only one of my circle of friends that knew about this game but that didn’t stop the game receiving two additional sequels on the PSone as well as additional games on the PS2 and PSP. For now lets revisit the original and see how it fairs now.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jamalais

January 2, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in Playstation, Reviews

Tagged with ,

Secret of Mana Review

leave a comment »

som_boxPlatform: Super NES
Released: 1993 (Japan, US) 1994 (Europe)
Developer: Squaresoft (aka Square)
Publisher: Square
Digital Release? Yes, Secret of Mana is available on the Wii Virtual Console for $8.00 or iOS/Android for $3.99
Price: $45.75 (cart only), $99.99 (complete), and $999.99 (new/sealed) per Price Charting

Please Note: As discussed in both reviews, we played through this game on the Wii Virtual Console and not the SNES.

Jam’s Take

This year I’m finally catching playing games on that much loved system, the Super Nintendo. So far I’ve been very happy with the games I have played. Earlier in the year on GH101 I managed to finally playthrough the fantastic Super Metroid. Its amazing how well these games play today despite never owning a SNES back when I was younger and better looking. For this November/December game club I played through Secret of Mana. This game is uncommon and kind of forgotten in Europe.  Released from Squaresoft the game came out very late in the SNES life cycle, so its time to get ready to grind and see how Secret of Mana fairs today.  Since I don’t own a SNES I played through Secret of Mana on the Wii virtual console.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jamalais

January 1, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in Reviews, SNES

Tagged with ,