Gaming History 101

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Archive for July 2017

Podcast: Future’s Past

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This week Fred and Jam handle a slew of listener comments followed by the first part of the discussion on backward compatibility.  New consoles playing old games seems like a no-brainer that should be in every console, but over the course of history it was never consistent by any manufacturer.  Our duo compare the consoles that were backward compatible and how useful the function was in their own past.


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Written by Fred Rojas

July 26, 2017 at 11:00 am

Lode Runner Legacy Review

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Lode Runner is back.  That’s one of those odd phrases I never thought I would write.  While the game has notoriety and the series has continued to release games over the more than three decades since the original, I feel I’m not unique in my thoughts that the original was all I needed.  More recent attempts to create sequels or move the game to platforms that just don’t seem well suited have fallen flat, so needless to say I approached Lode Runner Legacy with a great degree of caution.  One thing stood out, though, the visuals.  I love the voxel (volumetric pixel) aesthetic and with the promise of the original 150 levels, it was a slam dunk provided they nailed the feel.  Lode Runner Legacy also excels gameplay and combines it with a whimsical classic soundtrack that made me feel just as addicted as I did back when I was five.  So, like I said, Lode Runner is back.

If you aren’t familiar with the 1984 Apple II game or the endless ports to just about every microcomputer and console since then, allow me to get you acquainted.  It’s a single-screen platformer with restrictions, and acts as more of a puzzle game than anything else.  Your avatar, “The Runner,” is tasked with collecting all of the gold pieces in a level and then escaping through a ladder that extends once the level is complete.  As you can expect there are obstacles and enemies preventing you from your goal and lets not forget the score, which counts down as soon as you begin in a push to have you speed run each level.  Probably the most distinct restriction is the fact that The Runner cannot jump, so in order to navigate the vertical puzzles you have to combine the use of ladders and ropes on the screen as well as your ability to dig away at the very platforms you walk on.  While this can open up new areas, help discover hiding gold, and capture enemies, it can also get you instantly stuck in a fail state.  This push and pull of figuring out just how to navigate the level while a timer ticks away and enemies chase you down is precisely the draw to Lode Runner, for better or worse.  If you are the type of personality that likes challenge, or you’re just a perfectionist, get ready for what will surely become an obsession.  I recall playing this game for hours on my dad’s Commodore 64 in the late 80s and it’s always held a special place in my heart.

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Written by Fred Rojas

July 21, 2017 at 3:02 pm

Podcast: Geralt of Rivia

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There are plenty of RPGs in the world and there are plenty of worlds in the high fantasy genre, but few are as robust and diverse as The Witcher series.  Jam had to miss this week, but Fortengard takes his place to discuss not just the games, but the world of The Witcher and specifically its protagonist Geralt.  Discussions are had on the origins, influences, characters, and of course video games that all stem from a home base in Poland.


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Written by Fred Rojas

July 19, 2017 at 11:00 am

GHX Ep. 13: Previously On…

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This week it’s Fred and Trees again discussing upcoming game releases, hugely priced deluxe editions, and alternative forms of XP before the show even takes off.  Topics include returning to games after major updates and titles we like to watch played instead of play ourselves.  It all wraps with some insightful “Just Stop!” segments.


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Written by Fred Rojas

July 18, 2017 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man

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In celebration of Spider-Man: Homecoming arriving to theaters, Fred and Jam discuss the rocky road of Spider-Man video games.  With humble beginnings on the Atari 2600 as the first comic book video game ever released, ol’ web head would go on to star in games both good and bad.

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Written by Fred Rojas

July 12, 2017 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Top 10 Super NES Games

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After months of people begging us to finally do it, the announcement of the SNES Classic Edition was the final straw.  We can’t very well let Nintendo be more punctual than we are.  Fred, Jam, and guest Andy get together to debate the top 10 SNES games in a very tough debate of games that takes almost 3 hours.  In the end, 10 final contestants are chosen and ranked.


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Written by Fred Rojas

July 6, 2017 at 11:00 am

GHX Ep. 12: Just Having Fun

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This week it’s just Fred and Trees as they ring in American independence.  Listener mail sees a lot of Nintendo Switch talk (and Fred just found one in the wild), but for the most part it’s all about having fun playing the games of summer.


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Written by Fred Rojas

July 4, 2017 at 11:00 am

Joust Review

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Joust.  Yes, that ostrich game you may have read about in the fiction novel Ready Player One by Earnest Cline. Well I’m going to talk about it today because the site needs more arcade love and its about time Joust had a review. Full disclosure, I did review this game across a few emulators including MAME and multiple Midway Collections on Mega Drive (Genesis), PSP, and Xbox. This review will feature some brief discussion on the cabinet itself, which I have been fortunate enough to try at retro gaming conventions.

Released in 1982 by Williams Entertainment, Joust is single screen joystick and one button flapping mash fest. You play a knight riding on the back of the magnificent ostrich. With a lance in hand, your goal is simple: take out every enemy rider on screen. Then you repeat that wave after wave until you run out of lives. The single button on the cabinet is responsible for flapping wings of your feathered beast. You have to rapidly press the button to get your bird off the ground, but once you have the momentum going it becomes quite the skill to take down the other riders. You need to be slightly above the other rider and hit them to take them down. Once they are out of action an egg will drop which you’ll need to collect before it re-hatches a new rider and you have to take them out all over again. It becomes a juggle of priorities, choosing to take out the other riders or collect the eggs. The first wave, titled “Buzzard Blitz,” is fairly easy. Just three opponents spawn to ease you into the game, but like with a lot of these Williams games don’t be disappointed if you do loose all your lives on the first wave. It can take a few attempts to come to grips with the controls and figure out your strategy. By this point – back in the arcade days – you would have sunk a decent chunk of change into the cabinet.

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Written by jamalais

July 1, 2017 at 11:00 am