Gaming History 101

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Posts Tagged ‘xbox

Extra Credit: Top 10 Xbox Games

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xboxMicrosoft’s big clunky box from 2001 may have been laughable at first, but whether you were aware or not it hit like a limited interest storm that holiday.  From a certain shooter to the catalog of Sega and a myriad of PC ports, there’s no denying the Xbox started to bridge the gap between console and computer.  Fred and Jam duke it out once again with 40 more of their favorite titles to see which 10 remain in this month’s Top 10 Xbox games.


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Written by Fred Rojas

July 2, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in podcast, Top 10, Xbox

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Podcast: Gaming History X: This is Next Gen?

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WiiU_Next_Gen_post

This week we celebrate Jam (@Jamalais) coming on board as a permanent co-host, a slew of retro news, and onto the more modern topic of contemporary consoles.  Now that the gang’s all here, we dissect the current state, conditions, and factors of the previously called “next gen” and loosely discuss the upcoming future.


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Written by Fred Rojas

March 12, 2014 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Xbox 360 Retrospective

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360_logo

This week Fred is joined by Steve (@r9cast) of the R9 Cast and Norma (@normii477) of Knuckleballer Radio and Zombiecast to discuss the beloved Xbox 360.  They discuss the console launch, launch titles, significant advances, hardware setbacks, and a bunch of other ups and downs in Microsoft’s second, and currently most notable, console.

The photo of my Tauntaun sleeping bag as referenced in the show can be found here.


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Written by Fred Rojas

November 20, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Podcast: Gaming History X – Xboned: Microsoft Market Perception

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xboned_post

This week we are trying something new.  Fred is flying solo (just this week) and he’s talking about Microsoft’s poor messaging of the Xbox One, the way it should have been handled, and in true GH101 fashion the myriad of consoles that have failed in the past.


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Written by Fred Rojas

June 26, 2013 at 6:34 pm

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Podcast: Ultimate Play The Game

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rare

Fred and Rob “Trees” discuss Rare titles.  We actually mean the developer Rare as opposed to video games that are considered “rare.”  Originally formed as Ultimate Play The Game, we go over the history and game library of one of the most influential and abundant 2nd party developers on Nintendo’s platforms.

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As promised, here’s gameplay footage of Nightmare on Elm Street for the NES:

Written by Fred Rojas

January 23, 2013 at 11:00 am

The Hobbit Review

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hobbit_boxConsole: Xbox
Released: October 24, 2003
Developer: Inevitable Entertainment
Publisher: Vivendi Universal
Instruction Manual: Not Necessary
Difficulty: Easy
Played it as a child? Yes
Value: $4-$10 (used), $10.49 (new) (pricecharting.com
Other Releases: Yes – PS2, Gamecube, and PC and a modified version for the Gameboy Advance
Digital Release? No

No, sorry, this is not the ZX Spectrum game from 1983, but rather the more widespread console release from twenty years later, although I’ve never played the original so perhaps it’s garbage and this is the better choice.  Back when the Lord of the Rings film trilogy was nearing its end, a slew of video games hoping to cash in on the wild success of Peter Jackson’s movies released.  After sapping all of the film properties, the books themselves became source material for spin-offs and one of the first was based on Tolkien’s prequel book The Hobbit.  As a mild fan of the series I always felt that The Hobbit was the better book and overall story, which explains the tale of how Bilbo Baggins became the first hobbit to embark on an adventure with 12 dwarves and wizard Gandolf the Grey.  Not only that, but it introduces the ring, odd creature Gollum, and probably one of the only dragons in that universe, the unrivaled greedy dragon Smaug.  Despite the semi-decent cartoon version of the book that I had seen in my youth, I was immediately drawn to the playful cartoon re-imagining of Tolkien’s book and despite some major snags in the gameplay department, I was pleasantly surprised.

hobbit_bilboshire

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Feature: Max Payne – A New Perspective

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Growing up, I played Max Payne for the excitement I got out of the gameplay, that slow motion diving and shooting mechanic. It felt perfect when I was in my teens playing these games for the first time. It was over-the-top action fun. I wasn’t looking for realism or a great story, I just wanted to shoot things. The Max Payne games were a perfect fit with their smooth and methodical gunplay.

I’ve played through Max Payne 1 and 2 about four times each, always playing the second title just after the first. It isn’t hard to do. Each game is only about 5 to 6 hours long. If I wasn’t completing one of the games in less than 6 hours it sure as hell felt like I was.

Other things that kept me coming back were the locales. They’re iconic and memorable – a frozen New York City, a grimy subway station, a sleazy hotel, an old church turned gothic nightclub, just to name a few.

“Life knows two miseries: getting what you don’t want and not getting what you want.”

Even though the locales were iconic, the gameplay superb, and the playtimes short, the story of Max Payne was something I had never paid attention to. I haven’t played the first two games in years, but I recently went back and finished them again before playing Max Payne 3.

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Written by Fred Rojas

November 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Day 3

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On the 3rd day of Christmas my memories gave to me…

Three New Consoles

          

When you look up the Playstation 2 in either gaming history books or Wikipedia, you’ll notice a late 2000 release date that seems to suggest the PS2 had a year head start on the Gamecube and Xbox.  What they won’t tell you was that those who experienced its release in person knew better than to even suggest the PS2 was on store shelves in 2000.  In fact, it took until about holiday season 2001 for PS2s to reappear at retail and have a few decent games.  This resulted in the first time all consoles of a specific generation were initially available together, despite release dates.  Christmas 2001 was a wild cluster and there we were wrapped up in it and trying to presume which console would be the best.

Ironically this generation would end up with all three consoles having similar libraries save for the Gamecube versions of games being mildly stripped.  Given the scant launch selection, it really came down to what you thought the console could offer in the future.  Nintendo and Sony touted the strength of their first party titles while Microsoft had only one ace in the hole: Halo.  Debates among my friends waged for days, fanboys coming out of the woodwork and fighting with everyone because they didn’t agree on which console was worth it.  The only reason everyone cared what their friends were buying was because the college atmosphere thrived on borrowing your friends’ games and for the first time there was a lot of variety. 

In the end the Gamecube remained the outlier with its cheaper price tag, lack of a DVD player and no true Mario game in sight.  Of course I decided to ask my parents for it because it fit within the budget of a Christmas present and it was going to be the home of a Resident Evil remake and future series titles.  Although the PS2 clearly won the overall generation by a landslide, it was a pretty split world on college campuses.  Sure, you could play your old Playstation library and watch DVDs, but the Xbox allowed for Halo LAN parties.  In true hindsight, Halo aside, there was very little difference between each console.  With simultaneous launch windows being the ideal situation for competition, all that resulted was overall conformity within each console.  Funny, isn’t it?

<- Go back to the second day                                             Go on to the fourth day ->

Written by Fred Rojas

December 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Generation Gap Pt 5: “Last” Gen

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This installment will conclude our Generation Gap coverage.  Please note that upcoming coverage on handhelds, arcades and microcomputers will follow.  A lot happened just over a decade ago – the gaming market changed and one strong competitor bowed out as another took to the plate.

Fifth Generation – 1999 – Present (technically)

Sega Dreamcast – Launch Price: $199.99 – Released: 1999
Launch dates are getting more technical by this time, so from a Japanese standpoint the Dreamcast was a 1998 launch but we didn’t get it here until much later in September 1999.  Although it is a 128-bit system, consoles had stopped toting the strength of “bits” and instead focused on a sleek design – most likely because Sony did it with Playstation and it worked.  Dreamcast was Sega’s final nail before bowing out of hardware manufacturing and has been argued to also be its best offering.  Regardless, the Dreamcast was definitely ahead of its time.  It featured things that no console would dare launch without today and basically had the same features that Microsoft would include in its console just a few years later.  A few years, that’s the difference between success and failure.

Until the Dreamcast most video game consoles were specified hardware that was far behind PCs.  By all accounts the Dreamcast was a simplified PC, even running Windows CE, a modified version of the operating system that would be put to greater use on later pocket PCs.  The Dreamcast had a built-in modem on all consoles, which supported the earliest form of online console gaming and provided a web browser service to those fortunate or rich enough to afford the high cost of long phone calls.  Furthermore a keyboard attachment allowed players to truly use their console as an Internet device and even gave way to early MMOs on the console.  Memory cards included LCD dot matrix screens and were called “visual memory units” or VMUs that not only held data but gave the player on-the-go mini games and Gigapet-style games.  Aside from that Dreamcast boasted higher storage with the proprietary GD-rom format (1.2 GB of storage space), impressive graphics, and a slew of solid titles.

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Written by Fred Rojas

December 5, 2011 at 9:21 am

Strength in Numbers

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Anniversaries.  As time progresses everything ages at the same pace and with each passing year a ton of video games hit new milestones.  Popular titles from the past can be revisited in short periods of time for the sake of nostalgia or the chance to finally complete a difficult game for the first time¹.  Since no one day can go by without something in the video game industry reaching a notable age, it’s no surprise that retro articles are riddled with regular anniversary celebrations.  This site will be no exception.

Sonic 20thGaming companies have now begun to celebrate series anniversaries themselves on a more consistent basis.  In some cases I feel these creations are warranted, but I find myself frowning a bit when it’s a last-ditch effort to revitalize an intellectual property that should have died off long ago.  I think the better anniversary is the for titles that stand on their own and you rarely think about until they are brought up.  A perfect example of this is Chrono Trigger.  Despite a few remakes and Square’s occasional interest in bringing attention to the title, it’s mostly one for the nostalgia vault.  Thankfully, unlike so many other titles, Chrono Trigger holds up today and stands as an individual game even though it technically has two other entries in the series².  Oddly enough, even though the game celebrated 15 years in 2010, it received a GBA port on its 13th birthday and didn’t come to virtual console and PSN until this year (its 16th anniversary).  This only further proves that incremental numbers aren’t always on a publisher’s top priority list.

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Written by Fred Rojas

October 18, 2011 at 6:09 pm