Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Archive for May 2019

A Plague Tale: Innocence Review

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14th century Europe was a challenging time for citizens.  The Catholic church was rampant in a quest to thwart heresy resulting in punishment, torture, and excommunication.  If you were targeted by the inquisitors you may be forced to leave your home, your town, or even this life.  Also during this time came several versions of the plague, specifically in England the bubonic plague that introduced a specific bacteria into the bloodstream resulting in painful boils, fever, and eventually death over only a handful of days.  The bubonic plague traveled easily in England throughout the mid 1300s via fleas living on rats, which found their way into living quarters thanks to early sewer systems and poor ventilation.  Needless to say once an outbreak occurred in your area, the death of many was eminent.  It is during this dangerous time for any living creature, especially children, that A Plague Tale: Innocence begins.

Video games have always seemed to handle story in a largely dichotomous way: either story is everything and gameplay suffers for it or gameplay is king and the story can be forfeit if need be.  A Plague Tale: Innocence is therefore a rare treat because it prioritizes the story and builds the gameplay mechanics around it, seemingly sacrificing little in the balance.  This wouldn’t be possible were it not for the plot, dialogue, and gorgeous visuals that introduce protagonist Amicia, a teenage daughter to an English lord, and her five-year-old brother Hugo.  Once the story is established and the realities of the world begin, the adventure adapts to the story that’s being told.  If you need to run from the pursuant Inquisition, you will be greeted with an action-heavy sequence whereas if you’re trying to sneak by them, stealth sequences become necessary.  This pattern continues to create a myriad of different gameplay mechanics to move the story along.  Even in sequences that have little to no gameplay, where you are simply traversing an area during a rare moment of safety, the steady banter between characters keeps it feeling alive.  There are even moments where you discover new circumstances or information along with your characters, but only when you migrate the pair or the camera to be able to see it, which made these discoveries feel like one of the entire group – both the on screen characters and the player alike.

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Written by Fred Rojas

May 16, 2019 at 11:00 am

Game Boy: Play It Loud

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This week Fred and Jam celebrate 30 years of the Game Boy.  Probably the most prolific portable console of all time, it was more than just a device for delivering Tetris and getting adults into video games, it ushered in a new way to play and design games.  We cover the gaming environment Game Boy released into, the portable efforts before it, a large talk on the library, and of course the many companies that tried to compete.


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Written by Fred Rojas

May 15, 2019 at 11:00 am

GHX Ep 45: Hodgepodge

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As the name suggests, this one has it all.  Disney World, Endgame (no spoilers!), PSP, Social Issues, Raiden Trad, Mortal Kombat, and oh so much more.


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Written by Fred Rojas

May 8, 2019 at 11:00 am

Venture Kid Review

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Fact Sheet

Developer: Snikkabo AS
Publisher: FDG Entertainment
Genre: Action Platformer
Available on: Switch, Steam, iOS
Originally released: 2016

Venture Kid is a retro action platformer that’s reminds us of the good old 8-bit days. Taking heavy inspiration from a certain Man that was Mega, the game was originally released to iOS in 2016 and appealed to the handheld touch screen crowd. Two years later it was re-released to Steam, appealing to those that prefer the controller and a screen. With the Switch becoming ever more popular, it makes complete sense that FDG Entertainment would release the game on this platform, especially since players can choose to take the game on the go or just chill out in front of the TV.

In Venture Kid you play as plain old blue T-shirt wearing Andy. He’s not the most inspiring video game hero; however with the power of my weird brain I decided he was based off my friend Andy in real life. For some reason carrying this thought with me throughout the game made me enjoy the rather basic story immensely. You see my friend Andy has to stop evil Dr. Teklov who has built a giant space fortress for evil reasons, of course. A fine bearded gentleman with an eye patch gives Andy a space pistol, which is where our adventure begins. The story is presented in some pretty decent pixel art. Straight from the title screen where your greeted with “Venture Kid” and some catchy 8-bit chiptunes. Additionally an angry Andy leaning on the title which gave me Kid Camelon flashbacks from the Mega Drive/Genesis, the only exception being the lack of sunglasses and the 90s angst.

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Written by jamalais

May 6, 2019 at 11:00 am

Konami’s Arcade Classics

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This week Fred and Jam discuss the eight highlighted arcade titles in the Konami Anniversary Arcade Classics Collection that recently released on all major platforms.  It’s mostly shooters with one odd action title and some glaring omissions.

Songs (in order of appearance):

  • Stage Start – Gradius (Arcade)
  • Cross Your Heart – Haunted Castle (Arcade)
  • First Attack – Thunder Cross (Arcade)
  • Poison of Snake – Salamander (Arcade)


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