Weird Retro Mumblings: Sonic the Hedgehog on Game Gear was Strange

This post is in response to the most excellent Ian Shepard of Adventure Rules as part of their Charming & Open blogging community event

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m super into the community aspects of blogging, it really is one of the best parts of putting together these posts and I’m lucky enough to be brushing shoulders with some excellent like-minded people (although diverse in gaming habits and tastes) who take the time and courage to throw community events out there and cause a storm. The aforementioned Ian over at ‘Adventure Rules’ had been teasing followers with the promise of something blogger directed and social for about a week before releasing his ‘Charming & Open’ event, a sort of cultural exchange of questions; so whilst I asked him to reveal all about his guilty gaming pleasure, he posed this puzzler right back at me:

What is the first game you ever beat, and do you have special memories with it?

 … it really is quite a puzzler. Some of my first gaming memories relate to my Dad’s ZX Spectrum, and later the Atari ST (Which I mentioned in one of my much earlier posts). In both of these cases the games were either endless (ie. high-score based) or I simply wasn’t old enough to posses the skill & patience to cross the finish line of a single player experience. I turned to my first ‘proper’ gaming system, or rather sibling-shared gaming system, the battery guzzling behemoth that was the Sega Game Gear to find this memory. My first clearly remembered completion of a single player game was ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’, so it’s no wonder that my turbulent friendship with that attitude fueled blue mammal would continue well into the next generation and define the 16-bit era for me. Continue reading “Weird Retro Mumblings: Sonic the Hedgehog on Game Gear was Strange”

Weird Retro Mumblings: Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty… a Retrospective

Spoiler Warning: This post discusses the plot & themes of Metal Gear Solid 2 … also you probably should have already played it… 

Only a few gaming powerhouse franchises sit in the dubiously privileged position of making gamers everywhere say “Sooo… how many of these games are there now?” upon each new offering; spanning generations, decades, and poor numbering conventions will do that to a series. The ‘Metal Gear Solid’ franchise fits comfortably into that mitten with five numbered sequels, a few canon but non-numbered games, at least one sub-series (the gloriously bizarre ‘Metal Gear Acid’ which, and I’m looking at you my secret Konami readers, is due for a PC re-release), a few remasterings, and that’s without opening the pantry door to find the “old” Metal Gear titles from way back into the 8-bit era. It shouldn’t surprise me (but it does) that we’ve recently passed the 15 year marker since Hideo Kojima’s misunderstood sequel was first rattled into PS2 disc trays across Europe and, given that this title probably represents the peak of my interest in the series, I began to turn it over in my mind.

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Weird Retro Mumblings: Second Games…

Soooo… Who’s getting a Switch? I’m not getting a Switch… are you getting a Switch?… 

All this Switch talk is getting me nostalgic for console ownership; my various feeds have filled up with first impressions, trailer breakdowns, comparisons, loving sonnets, and angry monologues all in honour of Nintendo’s latest upcoming home console (are we calling it a home console?). Being in the PC party, all I can do is fidget with an overly complicated low-latency mouse and jealously watch as the Nintendo faithful flip-out about the good and the bad and how Mario has now decided to rent a trendy Manhattan apartment and… erm… drink coffee. I assume that’s what people in New York.. sorry.. New Donk City … do. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to own a number of consoles and those special first few weeks of exploring that new tech are something that it’s difficult to recreate in the PC realm. One aspect about getting a new console that sticks out was the limited game library; sure there was always ‘That One Game‘ that I really wanted, but my parents (And I’m grateful to my parents for buying me consoles growing up to feed my interest) always seemed to know that I probably wanted a little variety so would pick out a second title to go with it… ‘The Second Game‘ … These second games were a curiosity, I hadn’t specifically picked them out, but they nevertheless made up 50℅ of my playing options on this new and wondrous entertainment box. I spent many happy hours on these, often B-team, offerings so the least they deserve is a ramble now that I’ve brought them to mind:

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Em-Bossed: Bosses That Stand Out

In my last ramble outing regarding the upward moving deceased, Pine717 (Who incidentally runs a tight ship over at ‘The Maximum Utmost‘) jumped into the comments box in defence of the Boss fights of that particular title. Pine717 countered that, whilst relentless, the point was to prepare well, study the attack, and make good use of the brief openings when they appeared (feel free to correct me if I’ve paraphrased poorly). Discussion is one of the best parts about blogging and I always appreciate being spun around to face something from a different angle; the comment rattled around in my head, and I began to wonder what I looked for in a good Boss fight…  Continue reading “Em-Bossed: Bosses That Stand Out”

Dead Rising: Gaming Without Nostalgia

…kick off your shoes, grab some kind of vessel full to the brim of your favourite beverage, order takeout food, and fire up *INSERT READER’S FAVOURITE GAME OF PAST GENERATIONS HERE*…

A nostalgic gaming session is all about reliving the emotions from the first time that you fired up a retro-classic from your own personal library of seminal games. The blank screen melts away to reveal the game’s title, you hit start, the familiar opening scenes play out, and your hands instinctively slip into some comfortable, deeply programmed, position removing the barrier between your consciousness and the onscreen action. You know where to go, how to deal with obstacles, and the best way to tackle each situation…

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Weird Retro Mumblings: ‘Ecco the Dolphin’

*Spoiler Warning – ‘Ecco the Dolphin’ is 25 years old… but if you don’t want the plot spoiled then maybe don’t read this post…* 

The marks on your head look like the stars in the sky” – That one dolphin at the beginning

I’m going to start off with a controversial confession – it could change the entire way you read the rest of this post.. ready?… ok… I pronounce it “Eco the Dolphin”, not the more popular (and undoubtedly correct) “Echo the Dolphin”. *Sigh*, I’ve been carrying that burden for too long…

… secondly… and much less shockingly – I’ve never completed this game without cheating… 

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The Undercaves is the third stage… and damn hard… 

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Unexpected Other Games…

Spoiler Warning: I discuss some aspects of ‘The Stanley Parable’ in this post, if you havn’t played it and want to experience it without any prior knowledge (and by this point that’s a privileged position to be in) then read no further!

It could just be a symptom of my chocolate addled brain meandering around the idea of how much of a gift Easter is to gaming blogs, or that we recently stumbled upon a ‘Minecraft’ secret hidden inside the grizzly antidote to gore splattered FPS’s that is ‘Viscera Cleanup Detail’, but my post-Easter-hiatus ramble focusses on that dangerously recursive topic, ‘Games within games’. More specifically the surreal feeling of stumbling into a different game universe unexpectedly; something familiar, but in the wrong place. It’s the same clash of realities as bumping into a well known actor on the street and almost greeting them like an old friend.

The gentle nod of an in-game secret towards another game is commonplace; the DOOMed space marine in ‘Duke Nukem 3D’ or Jill’s Sandwiches in ‘Dead Rising’ for some reason spring to mind. The less subtle nod of a game such as ‘I Wanna be the Guy: The Movie: The Game’ is also nothing new and the idea of having crossovers has been well established (largely in the rosters of fighting games) for years. The immersion of one ‘game world’ into another however, is surprisingly trickier to find examples of; I’ve pulled together as list of four which stand out for various reasons:

Continue reading “Unexpected Other Games…”