Gaming History 101

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Archive for the ‘Dreamcast’ Category

Podcast: Old Console, New Hardware (Part 2)

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This week the mod conversation continues as the guys move into the CD-based consoles and the wonderful world of modchips.  There were many ways to get different things done in the Playstation era and beyond.  Finally the show wraps up with soft modding and the various things that can be done from consoles only a few generations old.


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Written by Fred Rojas

May 11, 2016 at 11:00 am

Altered Beast Review

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Altered Beast was a game that lived in screenshots.  Like it or not, the arcade System 16 classic was less known for the roller skating rinks, bars, and bowling alleys that it was intended to get popular on and instead became the poster child for early Genesis advertising.  I say this as someone who was under 10 years old at the time it premiered, though, so perhaps it was burning up the arcades, but all I seem to remember was it coming home.  I did get a chance to play the title in coin-op form at my local bowling alley, but after a handful of attempts that never got me further than the second level I gave up on replaying the game.  When it came home, however, I needed it on my Genesis and I replayed it constantly.  In fact, for a game that is not only easy but also quick to complete (probably about 30 minutes), I find myself replaying it more than most other games from my past.  This even more odd given that, sadly, Altered Beast is not a very good game.

altered_beast_arcade_beast_modeThe premise is that of a centurion of Greece brought back by Zeus to save Athena, his daughter, who has been kidnapped.  Upon your resurrection, you now gain the ability to take the form of different animals in a sort of “were-” hybrid (werewolf, weredragon, werebear, etc) that can be accomplished by collecting power-ups in the level.  Beyond that Altered Beast is nothing more than a walk to the right and beat up everything in your path game, often known today as a brawler, but given that it pre-dates most of the Konami licensed brawlers and Capcom’s Final Fight, it was significant for the time.  Levels can vary in length, but if you know the game in the least – and what needs to be done – you’ll clear each one in 5 minutes or less.  Given that there’s only 5 levels, that’s a short time span.  When I refer to knowing what needs to be done, that’s the need to destroy the albino wolves in each level, which contain the power-ups needed to make your character’s strength grow and eventually trigger “beast mode.”  Each level rotation has 3 albino wolves and it takes 3 power-ups to go into beast mode, so you have to do it right the first time through or go through another rotation of the level that is usually harder than the first.  Beast mode refers to your character transforming into the aforementioned were-beasts from earlier and has even crept its way into pop culture as a meme.  While there are new enemies in each level, they all take basically the same amount of hits to defeat and aside form some basic change in behavior, don’t differentiate very much.  That’s still not to say this game didn’t have talent behind it because designer Makoto Uchida would earn some notoriety for his future work on Golden Axe and a personal favorite Dynamite Deka (Die Hard Arcade series).  Co-designer Hirokazu Yasuhara is even more notable with his planning and design on the early Sonic the Hedgehog titles before moving on and being involved in the design of Jak & Daxter titles with Naughty Dog and eventually the first Uncharted.

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Written by Fred Rojas

February 1, 2016 at 11:00 am

Celebrate Halloween with Splatterhouse 2 and Typing of the Dead

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Happy Halloween from Gaming History 101!  To celebrate we had Fred tackle Splatterhouse 2, a game he tragically had not played until today.  Can he overcome the house of horrors and save Jennifer?
Warning: Both videos contain adult language and gameplay violence.

Then to lighten things up Fred moves over to the Dreamcast to play through Typing of the Dead.

Written by Fred Rojas

October 31, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Shenmue Review

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The life simulator genre is quite popular in Japan, but it seems that every time it makes its way to America or Europe, the titles are mostly seen with contempt.  A handful of games have transcended the trip from the East to the West, but these titles have appeared more recently save for the one standout: Shenmue.  Originally planned as an AM2 title for the Saturn led by Yu Suzuki, Shenmue ended up being a near-launch Dreamcast game that was seen as an influential powerhouse for gamers of the time.  It now sits as one of those games that is only appreciated by the smaller avid fan community, but looking back at reviews almost every outlet that existed in 2000 loved it.  Although it has now been 15 years since its release – and despite the fact that until recently I had never played it – Shenmue‘s draw, attributes, and puzzling attraction are just as present now as they were the day it released.

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Written by Fred Rojas

August 3, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in Dreamcast, Reviews

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Ongoing Series: Let’s Play Shenmue

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Fred has never played Shenmue and wants to see what all the fuss is about after the announcement of Shenmue 3.  Each day, he and a few great viewers delve into this long title for approximately one hour in a quest to complete it and see what it has to offer.  These recordings are from nightly livestreams on twitch.tv/gh101 every night in July at midnight Eastern (5:00 am GMT).  This playlist and post will update automatically as a playlist on YouTube.  Until the game is completed there will be no future posts, feel free to head to the YouTube channel or simply search “Shenmue” on our site to find it.

Written by Fred Rojas

July 3, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in Dreamcast, Videos

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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

Podcast: Ready, Aim, Fire!

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This week Fred and Jam tackle the wonderful world of light gun shooters.  What started as a mere carnival game evolved into one of the more interactive – and for some of us fun – genres that has not withstood the test of time.  With the advent of newer screens, the technology that made light guns possible is now ruined by delays of no more than a fraction of a second.  In this episode we discuss the history, technology behind, and our fondest memories of the games that utilized the light gun peripheral.


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Written by Fred Rojas

December 17, 2014 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Test Your Might

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This week Fred and Jam are throwing around fighters of the 90s (that aren’t Street Fighter II or Tekken, we did a show for those already).  In the 1990s, the fighter genre was the most popular type of game available (like First Person Shooters today), and among those that have withstood the test of time there were plenty of others that played the field.  From Mortal Kombat to Soulcalibur you had plenty of arcades (and home ports) to drink your quarters in arcades.


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Review: Dino Crisis

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dc_boxConsole: Playstation, Dreamcast, PC
Released: 1999
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Digital Release? Yes, PSN version compatible with PS3, PSP, and Vita for $5.99
Price: $7.50 (disc only), $10.00 (complete), $35.00 (sealed) per Price Charting

Dino Crisis really sounds like a winning formula if, like me, you are are fan of survival horror and dinosaurs. What could possibly go wrong? Well its time to revisit this Sony Playstation 1999 release and see if it stood the test of time or should have remained extinct.

Dino Crisis released when survival horror was hitting a peak in the industry, at least in terms of the “tank-like” control system. The Sony Playstation had plenty of games like it to offer. In the same year Dino Crisis released we also saw Silent Hill from Konami and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis also from Capcom. Interesting to note: Shinji Mikami – creator of the original Resident Evil – was heavily involved in the production of this game so much so his name was put on the front of the box in hopes it would sell the game. Clearly something worked as Dino Crisis managed to sell over one million copies.

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Written by jamalais

August 10, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Podcast: Silent Evil 2: Resident Hill

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This week we are tackling quite possibly the two most popular titles of survival horror: Resident Evil 2 and Silent Hill 2.  Resident Evil 2 was scrapped only a few months before completion and completely redone, resulting in many of the staples that carried the franchise forward and stands as a fan favorite.  Meanwhile Silent Hill 2 waited until the Playstation 2 hit the market and with one of the creepiest atmospheres of all times redefined what horror gaming could be.  We openly discuss the notable aspects of both.


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Written by Fred Rojas

July 16, 2014 at 11:00 am

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