Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Posts Tagged ‘genesis

Podcast: Silent Evil Gaiden

leave a comment »

silent_evil_gaiden

Special guest Vos joins.  Resident Evil and Silent Hill are known for the canonical tales in the numbered storylines, but amidst the biological warfare and haunted towns lies a lesser appreciated series of tales.  Enter the “gaiden” or side story.  These are the titles on the lesser known consoles, portables, and even mobile phones that surprisingly create unique gameplay and plotlines that, while not as appreciated, are welcome additions to the library.


Download this episode (right click and save)

Subscribe: RSS iTunes Google Podbean

Community Choice: Top 10 Genesis/Mega Drive Games

with 4 comments

When Jam and I posted the Top 10 Genesis/Mega Drive games we knew that given our two styles and having to find a top 10 was going to be difficult and pretty much hated on without a true Sonic game.  What is even better was that you all in the community came together and commented, wrote in, and gave us your favorite top 10s.  We then compiled all the games and gave them a point value based on the location on each person’s top ten (number 10 = 1 point, 9 = 2 points, and all the way to number 1 = 10 points) and generated the community top 10.  For better or worse, here’s the community voted upon Top 10:

comm_gen_top1010. Fatal Labyrinth
9.   Streets of Rage
8.   Vectorman
7.  Sonic the Hedgehog 3
6.  Mortal Kombat
5.  Gunstar Heroes
4.  Aladdin
3.  Shining Force II
2.  Streets of Rage 2
1.  Sonic the Hedgehog 2 

So there you go, the much more balanced top 10 voted on by all of you out there.  In the upcoming months we are going to do the editors versus the community on future top 10’s, all with participants being entered to win a prize, so stick with us for more top 10 criticism.

Written by Fred Rojas

April 14, 2015 at 8:00 pm

Podcast: The Treasure Box

leave a comment »

treasurebox

This week Trees returns and we are talking about the Japanese developer Treasure, best known for some of the most impressive games on Sega’s consoles (Gunstar Heroes, Radiant Silvergun, Guardian Heroes, and Ikaruga) as well as Nintendo’s later consoles (Bangai-O and Sin & Punishment).  We discuss the company origins, values, and of course the entire library of this impressive developer.


Download this episode (right click and save)

Subscribe:   RSS   iTunes   Google   Podbean

Below is a video of an unreleased (canceled) title, Tiny Toons: Defenders of the Universe.  The beta that was presumably used as a trade show demo eventually leaked on the internet.  We have acquired it and played it on an original, modded, PS2.  Enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry »

Buying Guide: Sega Genesis (plus Sega CD and 32X)

with one comment

Behold "Frankenconsole"

Behold “Frankenconsole”

We all love our retro consoles, but in many cases the consoles we are buying are because they are cheap enough or we have enough money to purchase what we never were able to in our youth.  Unfortunately the business of making used retro items available to the masses can at times be a money grubbing market where consumers are deceived by people they will never meet in real life.  As an individual who has spent the last decade scouring the local area, conventions, eBay, and the internet as a whole I have learned many valuable lessons.  For that reason I present my buying guide series, which is a handy quick guide to knowing what to purchase and what will cost an arm and a leg to replace.

We have finally come to the console I started this entire buying guide series for: the Sega Genesis (and its many add-ons).  With a short period of its life having a 55 percent market share over the SNES (the year it launched, mind you), there were plenty of households who had a Sega Genesis.  So many, in fact, that there were five different versions of the console and 3 iterations!  Depending on the console version, your specs will vary but the list of what you need should stay the same so I’m going to run over the list.

First of all, figure out which model you want, here’s the gallery of what they look like:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

December 20, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Genre Study: Japanese RPGs (JRPGs)

with one comment

jrpg

Nowadays when people refer to a “JRPG” it’s either associated with a flood of nostalgic love for a handful of long-running series or a groan as modern Japanese companies try to capture the form of evolution that many game players strive for.  This is because modern day JRPGs aren’t a whole lot different from the ones that started life and popularity back in the 16-bit era in Japan and the 32-bit era in America.  If you’re not too familiar with or have never played any of these games, modern or classic, you may wonder why games that follow a well-known and successful formula may fail.  Sure, gamers’ tastes have changed to a certain extent, but there’s still plenty of us that love to play these classic titles and have no problem sinking tens of hundreds of hours into beating them all over again.  Unfortunately for modern titles of this ilk, they suffer from a lack of resources and that personal touch that made the older games so charming.  Even when they do, like the recent Wii release The Last Story, these titles still can’t hold a candle to the heavy hitters of history.  As a result fans of the genre have pretty much independently decided to freeze this genre, and its subsequent games, in time and appreciate that era as exactly that: a specific time of genre-specific gaming bliss.  This makes it difficult for modern gamers trying to break into the genre because the amount of time to complete most games is much lower these days, lack of explanation and exploration are things of the past, and the price tags on the “classics” are either sky high or dirt cheap for the “poor ports.”  For that reason, we’ve compiled a basic overview of the genre as a whole, it’s roots, and the factors that make a title considered JRPG.  At the end we also suggest a handful of very accessible titles that are good for those starting out, especially with many of the classics porting to handhelds with varying results, and will continue coverage throughout this site.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Sonic CD (Sega CD)

leave a comment »

soniccd_boxConsole: Sega-CD/Mega-CD
Released: 1993
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega
Instruction Manual: Not Necessary – Link
Difficulty: Moderate
Played it as a child? Yes
Value: $11.99 (used), $23.50 (new) (pricecharting.com
Other Releases: Yes – PC, PS2/Gamecube (Sonic Gems Collection)
Digital Release? Yes – Steam, Xbox 360, PS3, Android, iOS ($5 on all platforms)

Sonic CD is one of those games that it’s just popular to like.  I don’t want to start on a negative note, the game does have some merit, but it’s not a particularly good Sonic game and doesn’t quite change the universe like many will claim.  Before Sega decided to blitz every console on the market with the digital version, Sonic fans were gnawing at the bit for a decent port (sadly the Sonic Gems Collection ports had emulation issues).  Now that it’s everywhere the gaming community seems to have adjusted to a more realistic view of the CD adventure that throws a few imaginative ideas at relatively lackluster level design.

At one point you're forced to beat Metal Sonic in a race.

At one point you’re forced to beat Metal Sonic in a race.

For those that aren’t up on their Sonic history, the hedgehog was co-created by Naoto Oshima and his more known partner Yuji Naka.  After the release of the first game, Naka and several members of that team moved to the United States and joined with STI (Sega Technical Institute) to create Sonic the Hedgehog 2.  Meanwhile the remaining developers, including Oshima, took the concepts that were in early development for Sonic 2 and expanded upon them into what eventually became Sonic CD.  This is why despite coming out around the same time as Sonic 2, Sonic CD looks graphically more like the original and doesn’t seem to adapt some of the great ideas of the sequel.  Still, it does feature some interesting gameplay mechanics, like the ability to move into the past and future with two full versions of the many levels.  This dual expansion of the campaign does have a casualty: level design.  Many of the levels in Sonic CD feature plenty of wasted real estate in the interest of moving quickly to the right, odd gimmicks that net death if you don’t tolerate the so-so platforming, and several instances where Sonic’s momentum is completely spoiled by a random ramp or springboard.  Despite these layout flaws I still contest that the boss designs are superior over Sonic 2 and prove that not all of the talent in Sega’s Japanese team migrated to America.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

November 30, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man vs. the Kingpin (Sega CD)

leave a comment »

Console: Sega-CD/Mega-CD
Released: 1993
Developer: Technopop
Publisher: Sega
Instruction Manual: Helpful – Link
Difficulty: Moderate
Played it as a child? Yes
Value: $8.88 (used), $39.99 (new) (pricecharting.com
Other Releases: Yes – Simply known as Spider-Man on Genesis, Game Gear, and Master System
Digital Release? No

As we sometimes see in the 16-bit era, first party published titles became interesting exclusives on either side of the console wars and among the various Spider-Man titles I have to say this is my favorite.  Amazing Spider-Man vs. Kingpin (or better known on all other ports as Spider-Man) tasks you with defusing a bomb set by the nefarious Kingpin within 24 hours (pretty sure that’s not real-time) by collecting keys from different foes in the Spider-Man universe.  This was the first game I played that gave me exactly what I expected out of a superhero title.  It allowed me to play as Spider-Man, it had solid controls that included web slinging and wall grabbing, and it did it all in a side scrolling platformer/brawler.  Not only that, but the game embraces a non-linear structure where you visit locations throughout the city and face whatever is in certain locations, which felt like it freed the game up to your personal pacing, something quite uncommon in the days of early platformers.  While the plot centralized around the Kingpin, you will take on almost all of Spider-Man’s key foes including Venom, Doc Oc, Lizard, and Electro, just to name a few.  Graphically the game had that semi-real grit that Sega titles all seemed to offer in the early 90s with great animated storyboard art throughout.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

November 25, 2012 at 11:34 am

Review: Make My Own Music Video (Sega CD)

leave a comment »

Console: Sega-CD/Mega-CD
Released: 1992
Developer: Digital Pictures
Publisher: Sony Imagesoft
Instruction Manual: Not necessary
Difficulty: Non-existent
Played it as a child? Yes
Value: pricecharting.com has hilarously not even covered these games
Price: Don’t even bother
Other Releases: Absolutely Not
Digital Release? No, aside from how horrible they are, the music is timely

There is just no getting around this, these are terrible video games.  Not only are they pop groups that only existed in the early part of the 1990s, but they aren’t games at all.  You goal is just as it sounds: make a music video.  It’s a crash course in linear digital editing where three streams of video appear on the screen at once and you use the A, B, and C button to select the “active” feed that will become your master video.  Unfortunately the three feeds are made up of a random lot of public domain videos from the first half of the century, sometimes altered slightly for the beat, and the original music video for the game.  I’m not saying that these videos are directorial masterpieces, but when combined with the patethic hodgepodge of public domain video, they’re the next Star Wars, I have never once wanted to leave the feed of the main video.  Having said that, they are amazing fun at a party when you want to laugh your head off at how pathetically cheesy this generation of pop music was.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review: The Adventures of Willy Beamish (Sega CD)

leave a comment »

Console: Sega-CD/Mega-CD
Released: 1993
Developer: Dynamix
Publisher: Sierra
Instruction Manual: Not necessary
Difficulty: Moderate
Played it as a child? Yes
Value: $8.99 (used) $15.01 (new) (pricecharting.com) – Price for Sega CD version only
Price: $6.00-$10.00 (used) $88.00 (new) on eBay
Other Releases: Amiga, PC, Mac
Digital Release? No

Another early Sega CD release, while most of the games that came out near launch were cool new CD-ROM interactions and FMV games, The Adventures of Willy Beamish was a port of an Amiga point-and-click adventure title that received several enhancements on Sega’s system.  Published by Sierra, one of the two major producers of the adventure genre at the time, Willy Beamish totes you along on an adventure of a nine-year-old boy and the several decisions and influences you will deal with.  Beamish is somewhat of a troublemaker as established by the opening scene in detention on the final day of school before summer break, which begins your adventure by sneaking past your ancient teacher and getting home.  In typical Bart Simpson emulation for the time, Willy rides a skateboard, has a pet frog, and is prone to causing problems for any adults in his wake.  From then on an amusing tale of a young boy saving his town unfolds that has you doing everything from the mundane – playing with your younger sister on the swingset – to the completely crazy – combat with a vampiric babysitter.  As much as many critics have compared this game to a storybook come to life, little touches like a playable video game console in your bedroom and somewhat brancing plot paths show impressive game design for the time.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

November 7, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Review: Final Fight CD (Sega CD)

with 2 comments

Console: Sega-CD/Mega-CD
Released: 1993
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Sega (Sega/Mega-CD, 32X CD)
Instruction Manual: Not necessary
Difficulty: Hard
Played it as a child? Yes
Value: $21.50 (used) $76.00 (new) (pricecharting.com) – Price for Sega CD version only
Price: $23-$60 (used) N/A on US Version (new) on eBay
Other Releases: Arcade, SNES, Gameboy Advance
Digital Release? Yes – SNES version on Virtual Console ($8), Arcade version on XBLA/PSN as Double Impact ($10)

Final Fight is a pivotal late 80s arcade release for Capcom for two reasons: it established the norms that would make up the concept of the “beat-em-up” genre for its short-lived life (although it oddly enough didn’t introduce any of them) and it created the aesthetic and building blocks of Street Fighter II.  Anyone who has played this game or SFII will immediately be familiar with that semi-realistic semi-animated graphical style of Final Fight that remained exclusive to these two titles moving forward for a few sequels (I’m considering the numerous re-hashes of SFII to be sequels).  In full disclosure this is my favorite brawler of all time and definitely ranks highly in my overall top games I’ve ever played despite the fact that Final Fight doesn’t translate well to home consoles because it’s intended to take your money and prompt more quarters rather than be completed in a finite number of lives/credits.  In order to complete the game in the allotted five credits requires you to memorize the cheaper boss battles and exploit the collision detection.  For me it was just repetitive stupid fun.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

November 5, 2012 at 1:33 pm