Archive for April 2016
The Resident Evil 2 (or Biohazard 2 in Japan) that was released was not the original version. Series creator Shinji Mikami took on a producing role that it appears was heavily micro-managed and director Hideki Kamiya disagreed with a lot of his decisions. Eventually Mikami dubbed the game boring and without the strength of the original and it was scrapped completely, resulting in the delay of the game another year and a complete reworking. This is an exploration of the leaked 40 percent complete version of that original game, often dubbed Biohazard 1.5 in Capcom and also Resident Evil 1.5 online.
This review originally appeared on The B-Team Podcast site but given the fact that the author of that review owns Gaming History 101, it was also posted over here with permission. All of the content remains identical.
If you grew up in the mid-late 90s as a gamer, you have a certain affinity to the awkward early polygonal styles of games that graced consoles like the Sega Saturn, Sony Playstation, and Nintendo 64. Given the fact that most people born around the time to start gaming on these consoles are nearing their mid-late 20s, not to mention those in their 30s like myself, the time was right to have an indie era piece. More importantly was the fact that these consoles ushered in the more refined years of the survival horror genre that would become the template for that genre even today. Back in 1995 is acutely aware of this and developer Throw The Warped Code Out, which is mostly a single developer by the name of Takaaki Ichijo, has gone out of its way to recreate that time period. This will surely get many nostalgic gamers excited, as I was, with visions of Resident Evil and Silent Hill in their heads, but those games are a couple of years off from the era in this game. Back in 1995 is from an earlier era that is even more archaic and hearkens to Alone in the Dark 2 or for obscure Japanese fans, Dr. Hauzer on the Panasonic 3DO. It’s a technical marvel to me that the look and feel of those games is so perfectly crafted, but it all falls apart when you get down to the actual playing of the game. It turns out Back in 1995 is little more than a tech demo in a game’s clothing.
The great thing about video game collecting is there are all sorts of collectors with different goals and different reasons for getting into the hobby. If your new to the hobby this article is a introduction into my own personal story in collecting.
I have been playing games since the UK’s micro computer boom period but I didn’t start purchasing games myself till I owned a Sega Mega Drive. That is how I managed to build my first collection. I brought games and just never really sold them. I was always just kinda nostalgic for the system even before it got old. I was still playing on the system long into the original Playstation‘s life cycle. Being a generation behind is a pattern that remains today. Up to this point I was by no means a hardcore collector I pretty much just brought games I wanted to play and didn’t mind if they were cart only. When it came to the PS2 era I started delving into selling games. If you collect games you will probably be familiar with this tale, I sold my entire Dreamcast collection just to get a PS2. This was decision I still regret to this day as I haven’t been able to salvage some of the games I sold on. I would continue to trade games well into the PS2 life cycle I infamously brought the Onimusha series and sold it on twice. I now own a copy of the complete collection which I will not sell due to the likely pattern I’ll miss the game and want to play it again. When I went to University I did not care for collecting any more which was a little silly of me as it meant my brother could do as he pleased with my Mega Drive collection. During this five year vacation from gaming I lost some treasures like Sunset Riders and one of my all time favourites Rocket Knight Adventures. I also lost my entire N64 collection which included several cart only games and the expansion bay. I had left it at home so it meant anyone could have at it. Of course at the time I didn’t care but to this day I am yet to find a reasonably priced Sunset Riders on Mega Drive and replace many of the N64 carts I had collected.
Recently I saw on twitter that Sega was asking its fans to fill out a online survey to help them figure out what they need to do next for the company. That or it’s a long list of tick boxes just to take our e-mail address and sell it on to third parties. Well I got half way through the survey where I had typed a long page essay of why I wanted another sexy Altered Beast arcade game only to realize, “you know what? I’m going to write a letter instead!” So here it is folks, my open letter to Sega on some loving advice – from the heart – to get them back on track:
It sounds crazy, but online gaming has been around just about as long as video games themselves. The two technologies seemed to emerge from similar origins, despite games having a clear head start. Jam and Fred begin the journey of the history of online gaming starting with the educational PLATO network and ending this first part at the first dial-up modems for home consoles in the mid 90s.
This week was a bit different but also quite refreshing as Syd and Sean featured Kristen Sych. Kristen is a cinematics director at Activision who discussed his work on Call of Duty: Black Ops back in 2010. We take a look at one of the more heavily animated sequences (fair warning, it’s spoiler-rich) and appreciate all the hard work that goes into the story.
The Lost Treasures of Gaming podcast can be found at http://omgnexus.com
Sega is most famous for hyper segmenting its markets in the 16-bit generation with the Sega CD and 32X. This resulted in reduced audiences each time a game was developed. This was especially the case in 1994 when the Genesis/Mega Drive was struggling to keep up with the more popular SNES, the Sega CD was limited by the high price of hardware, and the 32X just plain didn’t have games. Fred and Jam discuss the attributes and games that make these two add-ons significant.
Maniac Mansion is a significant game in the evolution of the medium, but interestingly enough it’s also a game that is hard to find and not many have played. Perhaps it’s the fact that the point-and-click genre went away long ago and until recently, really hadn’t seen a resurgence. It also likely has to do with the fact that Lucasfilm was for many years no longer in the publishing business, didn’t have much interest in rehashing these older titles, and the fact that it was originally on microcomputers like the Commodore 64 made it hard to port. The reason Maniac Mansion holds such an important role and special place in my heart – which is impressive considering I generally hate point-and-click adventure games – is because it started a new trend for the genre.
When it was conceived in 1985 the rift between computer gaming and console gaming was vast. On consoles the experiences were more action oriented and based on feats of skill in the moment with titles like Super Mario Bros. or Gradius. This makes sense because consoles like the NES were tailor made for an experience like that with the ability to scroll and a gamepad as an interface. On computers, the story was a bit different. Microcomputers were terrible at scrolling and any attempt to do so was clunky with the player literally able to see the vertical lines being drawn as they progressed. Games had to have rudimentary sound, supported single button 9-pin joysticks, and could come from various sources such as cartridge, tape, and floppy disk. One thing the computer had over the console was the fact that it could use a full keyboard for its interactions and this is where the adventure genre really takes off. From text adventures like Zork and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and RPGs like Ultima came the point-and-click adventure. In the early 80s these were dominated by Sierra On-Line, a development house that also published and was responsible for notable graphical point-and-click adventures like King’s Quest. These titles, while incredibly immersive and entertaining for more mature gamers, suffered a fatal flaw in that you could overlook simple items in the beginning only to have them render the game unbeatable several hours later. Gamers like myself also hate the fact that the concept is basically to read the developer’s mind and in the end succumb to the horrid tactic of “try everything on everything.” Back then Sierra was even meaner, with fail states that could kill your character and thus if you forgot to save resulted in the loss of progress, sometimes large sometimes small. That’s not to say that Sierra games aren’t good or enjoyable, many of my peers will admit to loving the Sierra catalog and they are a welcome addition to the library at Good Old Games, but Lucasfilm Games hoped to do something different.
Virtual Reality began as early as the 1950s and slowly progressed into the goggles that released now. Remedy Entertainment is responsible for several unique titles including Max Payne and Alan Wake. This week we talk about the history of virtual reality and celebrate the development studio Remedy Entertainment.
Here is the link for the podcast from the end of the show: https://soundcloud.com/user-143230139/batman-vs-superman-spoiler-talk/s-tv39j