Gaming History 101

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Posts Tagged ‘star wars

Extra Credit: Battlefront

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There were two main franchises we couldn’t get to in our Star Wars episodes: Battlefront and Knights of the Old Republic.  Both have significance not only to the fan base but to the world ofStar Wars gaming because they are excellent examples of how to take the license, think outside of the box, and run with it.  First up is Pandemic’s Battlefront series hosted by Jamalais and documenting one of the more addicting early online console franchises.


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Written by Fred Rojas

December 22, 2015 at 11:00 am

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The Phantom Podcast

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On the week of The Force Awakens release, we decided to go ahead and finish our Star Wars video game series with the most controversial and feared topic of all: the games based on or released around the time of the prequels.  It’s not so bad and it leads to a discussion on the impressions and impact of the prequel films before the Internet changed our minds.


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Written by Fred Rojas

December 16, 2015 at 11:00 am

Retro Game Night: Atari’s Star Wars Arcade Games

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One of the only redeeming traits of Rebel Strike: Rogue Squadron III on Gamecube is that you can unlock all 3 of the original Atari developed arcade games from the early 1980s.  These games – Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi – were games that I had to play every time I saw them regardless of the situation (like me really not liking Return of the Jedi in arcade form).

In lieu of Lost Treasures of Gaming (this week’s ep I’ve already done, Smash TV, and can be found here).  Next week we will return to another great Lost Treasure of Gaming.

Written by Fred Rojas

December 12, 2015 at 11:00 am

Podcast: …In A Galaxy Far, Far Away

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Part 2 of this week’s episode continues with Fred and Jam discussing the move into 3D and divergence from the original trilogy.  As Star Wars titles moved into the 90s, they included worlds, characters, and settings found outside the movies and either in the creator’s mind or in the expanded universe told through books.


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Written by Fred Rojas

November 22, 2015 at 8:00 pm

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Podcast: A Long Time Ago…

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This week technical difficulties continue to plague the live show and cut it short (however you’ll notice nothing on the recorded show other than length).  Despite this, Fred and Jam start to tackle the history of Star Wars games and get rather far before time is up.  Fortunately they will continue the show later this week in a second part and hopefully all will be fixed for next week’s live show.


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Written by Fred Rojas

November 18, 2015 at 11:00 am

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May the Fourth Be With You: Super Empire Strikes Back (SNES)

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Here it is, the challenge that spawned from Fred’s mystery game 3-pack in March.  It was brutal, it was frustrating, it was on easy…but Fred has beaten Super Empire Strikes Back and what better time to reveal the video but May the Fourth.  Enjoy.

Written by Fred Rojas

May 4, 2015 at 11:00 am

Podcast: There is no Try

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With the recent unfortunate closure of LucasArts by new owners Disney, we reflect this week with Fred, Trees, and Derrick H on the long standing library of titles that included point-and-click adventures, flight sims, platformers, and of course Star Wars games.

Opening Song: Star Wars Theme by John Williams

Closing Song: Maniac Mansion Theme from the NES version


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Star Wars Arcade (Atari)

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There is a surprising similarity between Star Wars Arcade, released in 1983, and Star Fox, released in 1993.  For starters they are both 3D graphical on-rails shooters that involve space battle and a predominance toward the cockpit view.  In addition they’re all about blowing up things in space while people scream at you with words and phrases that offer no assistance in the gameplay.  Okay, so they’re not actually all that similar when it comes down to gameplay (honestly I find Star Wars Arcade to be the better game), but it does demonstrate that the style of gameplay does withstand the test of time.

Even though it coincided more with the movie release of Return of the Jedi, Star Wars Arcade was a vector graphics 3D shooter where you controlled Luke Skywalker as he attacked the Death Star in Red 5 at the end of the Star Wars: A New Hope.  The game involved three stages of battle, called “waves” in the game, that they had to overcome in order to complete it.  In the first wave you would destroy TIE fighters as you approach the Death Star, in the second wave you would destroy turrets on the surface and in the final wave you would fight in the trench against both types of enemies and take a crack at shooting the exhaust port and destroying the space station.  If you did so, you would loop into the game again and receive an extra shield that allowed you to play for longer periods of time.  Doing so without firing a single bullet in the trench until the perfect shot on the exhaust port would be considered as a “using the force” run and net you a huge point bonus in addition to your additional shield.  Because of these bonuses it was possible to play for a long time on one quarter, which was like finding gold in old school arcades, and one guy even played for more than 50 hours on a single credit.

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Shmuppreciation 2012

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Suquels: Newer Isn’t Always Better

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Okay so the title (pronounced “suck-wells”) is a tad unsophisticated as is the concept it implies, but frankly I’ve had it up to my ears in recent sequels that don’t even remember what made their predecessors great.  Congratulations gaming, you’ve now entered into the same dangerous realm Hollywood has where production budgets are so great that the slightest tweak can result in a hit or miss product.  Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a new problem – ask anyone who was around for the crankfest that was the Mega Man series on the NES and they will tell you that it peaked at either Mega Man 2 or 3 and then tapered into oblivion.  Don’t misunderstand me, though, these games aren’t bad by any stretch, they just can’t live up to the quality of the previous game.  I know what you’re thinking, you’re wondering how one goes about topping Uncharted 2 within the same series or competing with the achievement of Legend of Zelda.  In short, perhaps you don’t.  Maybe its high time that publishers, because they are the boss, understand that some games run their course.  On the other hand God of War 2 was definitely the apex of that series  but thanks to a console generation between the second and the third, it was refreshing to receive a sequel that looked so much better.  There’s a formula that works, so stop worrying about your own personal issues or listening to too many focus groups and do your best to capture the magic of the property.  Please keep in mind that like the mantra of Scream 2, trilogies are not considered sequels in my eyes and thus are awarded certain liberties as a result.  That doesn’t mean I’m not going to rip into the entire trilogy once the third releases if obvious oversights weren’t dealt with.

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Written by Fred Rojas

February 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm