Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

GHX Ep 2: Do Gamers Do That?

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This week Fred and Trees have a blast from the past guest on, Heffe!  The discussion delves mostly into the behavior of gamers regarding the sale of E3 passes to the public, PS4 Pro’s “boost mode” potentially selling more consoles, and the illustrious art of pre-ordering.


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Written by Fred Rojas

February 13, 2017 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Press X To Be Awesome

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This week Fred is joined by Eric from the Everyday Gamers to discuss the history of the Quick Time Event or QTE.  They go all the way back to the origins of the genre, the games that led into today’s definition, and some of their favorites.


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Perspective of a Retro Gamer: Resident Evil 7

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This series is basically a review of a modern game but with the context of a retro gamer visiting the present.  As such it does not contain a review score and often speaks to concepts and franchises from the past.  This article is spoiler free outside of what is revealed in trailers and public demos, which is why the screen shots are so vague.

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Resident Evil has had a rocky journey over the last five years, up to and including the “Beginning Hour” demo for this very title.  The comparison to P.T., Hideo Kojima’s “playable trailer” for Silent Hills that has since been canceled by Konami, is unmistakable.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t want my Silent Hill getting mixed into my Resident Evil, the two should remain mutually exclusive.  Couple that with the recent missteps of Resident Evil 6, my personal distaste for Revelations 2, and whatever goal Umbrella Corps. had, it wasn’t looking good.  I for one was also a bit worried about the hodgepodge of features thrown at this title including support for 4K resolution, PS4 Pro support, Playstation VR support, and HDR support on all platforms.  To my shock and awe, every bad indicator going into the release was without merit as Resident Evil 7: Biohazard demonstrates a return to form I have not felt since the remake of the original on GameCube in 2002.

resident_evil_7_eerieSet in an old farm house in Louisiana, you play as main protagonist Ethan in search of your girlfriend Mia, who went missing years ago.  Those that played through the “Beginning Hour” demo, especially if you caught the final “midnight edition” will find the opening scenes to be familiar but clearly re-engineered.  I like this touch and I feel it was necessary for how many times Capcom made us play that thing in hopes to figuring out what was with the dummy finger and several other mysteries from the last six months.  While it’s interesting to play through – not to mention the reward you receive for completing it with the good ending and the on-edge “kitchen” demo on Playstation VR – none of this is required if you’re just jumping into the main game.  It reminds me why I’ve always appreciated the original work Capcom did on the Resident Evil series.  Whether it was “arrange mode” in the original, the way the mansion was reworked in the remake, or even the drastic differences between the shack in the demo and the main game of Resident Evil 7, you won’t be able to guess what’s coming.  After that opening sequence you will descend into a literal house of horrors and beyond that kept me on the edge of my seat and thoroughly creeped out for a majority of the game’s 8-12 hour campaign.

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Written by Fred Rojas

February 7, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Video: Keith Courage in Alpha Zones Retrospective

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A look back at the origins of the PC-Engine, its Western counterpart the Turbografx-16, and the pack-in title Keith Courage in Alpha Zones.

There is also an accompanying livestream that can be viewed here or by following the link in the card at the end of the video.

Written by Fred Rojas

February 1, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Podcast: The History of CD-ROM Consoles (Part 1)

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This week Fred is flying solo as he discusses the origins of optical-based video games, the CD and Laserdisc format, and the consoles that shaped the early CD-ROM generation.  In part 1 the focus is Turbografx-CD, Philips CD-i, Sega CD, the LaserActive, and a brief discussion on the 3DO.


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Written by Fred Rojas

February 1, 2017 at 11:00 am

GHX Ep 1: The Incidental Resident Evil Show or Old Gamers

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For the first official episode of Gaming History X, Fred is joined by co-host Trees to introduce the concept of the show. It eventually devolves into discussions about the legacy of the aged console gamer and of course Fred can’t shut up about Resident Evil 7.

Our GHX theme was originally created by Ozzed as DeDeDe Metal Remix and then remixed into the theme by Fred Rojas with permission.  You can find all of Ozzed chiptunes at ozzed.net.

Closing theme is Go Tell Aunt Rhody from the Resident Evil 7 official soundtrack.


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We should have a feed available soon and you can also expect to see Gaming History X hitting iTunes and Stitcher within the week.  All episodes will also appear on the main Gaming History 101 feed.

Written by Fred Rojas

January 30, 2017 at 11:00 am

Version Comparison: Metroid II vs. AM2R

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Back in our 24 hour livestream, Fred did an impromptu episode of Version, our video series that compares the different versions of video games.  This time he delved into Metroid IIReturn of Samus and compared it to AM2R (Another Metroid 2 Remake), the fan created and now taken down remake.  This has also been added to both the Version and 24 Hour Livestream playlists.

Written by Fred Rojas

January 28, 2017 at 11:00 am

I Never Thought I’d Say This: GameStop is Good for the Retro Gamer Market

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This article is NOT a paid advertisement of any kind and we are receiving NOTHING from GameStop.  It is an opinion piece.  If you do not like GameStop or have vowed not to shop there, please do not take this as an encouragement to change your mind, screw ’em.  It’s merely an article about how the author has found some good prices there lately.

yoshis_island_screenshot_3The title says it all.  As of late prices on retro games and consoles have skyrocketed.  It’s not just trends, either, because the modern day releases have just as adverse an effect on the hot titles of yesteryear as the fact that the Super Nintendo generation is now entering its 30s.  Couple that with the fact that the market has started to dry up with collecting and hoarding – and I assure you I’m criticizing neither –  that retro retailers are raising prices left and right.  These shop owners track price charting, eBay, Amazon, and retro sites to keep up with a market in constant flux and are the first to put a premium on whatever item may come to pass.  This is what they are supposed to do and I commend it because without these shop owners staying in business, the market for carts will diminish significantly.  Then there’s GameStop, the powerhouse used video game chain that will buy all your games for pennies on the dollar and sell them back to you for ten times what they gave you.  It’s easy to hate GameStop, but their reach and pool for grabbing used titles is unrivaled and as of late the non-collector gamer in me has been continually impressed by the retro selection.  In short, if you’re looking for a game to play and you’re not that worried about condition, GameStop is often the best deal in town.  Not only that, but currently if you spend over $25, you get free shipping, and all games are covered by a brief warranty to assure the game works when you get it.  This is significant because GameStop often has multiple copies of a game so they can swap out non-working titles for you, whereas most sellers online only have one copy of the game and even if they will refund your money, you still have to hunt for another good deal.  These factors are why I’m actually digging buying retro from GameStop.

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Written by Fred Rojas

January 27, 2017 at 11:00 am

Posted in Blog

Podcast: P.N.03 Game Club

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It’s finally time to discuss the Gamecube title Fred didn’t even know existed.  The first of the “Capcom Five” titles, what starts off looking like a traditional third-person action shooter ends up being a bit lighter on content and much heavier on replayability.  With Jam on haitus, Fred is joined by special guest Strip Mahjong and they delve deep into the development, gameplay, and campaign.


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Written by Fred Rojas

January 25, 2017 at 11:00 am

Perspective of a Retro Gamer: The Last Guardian

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Perspective of a Retro Gamer was formerly known as “cross talk” when I was actively involved in the B-Team Podcast.  Since I’m on a hiatus, this is the same context in that it’s a largely old school gamer playing a modern game.  Think of it as a review that’s more about my perspective as opposed to that now “traditional” definition of a product review fused with a content review.  As such, no scores are part of this series.

The Last Guardian has become synonymous with retro gaming, most likely because the design is as aged as the development itself: over 10 years old.  So while many contemporary players are walking into the title wondering if it will appeal to them, it seems like the retro crowd such as myself are expected to take to it naturally.  Couple that with the assumption that if you like previous games by Team Ico, especially the studio’s initial title Ico, you should enjoy this as well because it is similar in gameplay and design.  I’m here to say that after a wonderful initial three hours and a painstaking three more that followed, this is simply not the case.  I like old games, I like old game design, and I really like Ico, but I think I’m done with The Last Guardian.  Not only that, I find the claim that this title shares much in common with old game design or Ico to be as inaccurate as those that compared Prototype to inFamous back in 2009.  For me this is heartbreaking because the game leads you down a path with such wonder, grace, and promise that when it all gets taken away it seems cruel.

the_last_guardian_1Your journey begins as a young boy protagonist – nothing new for Team Ico games there – awakening in a room.  The first thing you will notice is the hulking body of your soon-to-be companion, Trico, fast asleep in the room with you.  This introduction was abrupt and unexpected, which was magical, as was the reality that you are stuck in a room with a creature you don’t understand yet.  There’s no prompt to do something outside of a bit of narrated exposition seemingly told to the player by a future self as well as a handful of prompts on what buttons do without a hint as to your goal.  Shortly after Trico wakes up, doesn’t do a great job of telling you what’s expected, and you have to figure it all out.  Your journey begins, you go exploring, it’s all basically self explanatory.  It’s also stunning to look at.  I will admit that the textures are stretched in areas, the shading on the game is an obvious attempt to make it look better than it should, and a vast majority of the whole art direction screams Playstation 2 game.  That said Trico is crafted to near perfection.  The way the fur or feathers all move as Trico walks or part away like blades of grass as you maneuver its body make the whole thing seem so real.  Its eyes, those Trico eyes, are a glance so lifelike that any dog or cat owner can appreciate.  Perhaps most convincing was that its movements were so familiar even though no creature like Trico has ever existed.   I loved this opening.

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Written by Fred Rojas

January 23, 2017 at 11:00 am

Posted in Blog, PS4, Reviews

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