Remembering the Sega Game Gear: … because I have no idea where I put the thing…

*… because I can’t find my Game Gear Featured Image is provided by Nostalgia Nerd (Original) under CC-BY-2.0… oh you sweet Flickr valet of moody-lit consoles and stuff…  

… I mean, seriously… where have I put it? I know it’s here somewhere! 

Attic hunting aside, the Sega Game Gear was my first console and the company’s 1990 answer to Nintendo’s GameBoy. It’s a contest which my beloved bulky hunk of plastic never really stood a chance of winning; Nintendo’s fighter had a year head start and Tetris which catapulted it in to the stratosphere amassing over 100 million lifetime sales compared to a meagre 10 million accrued by the Game Gear. All that being said I loved that little system. Loved it in-spite of the monstrous appetite it had for AA batteries (that I rarely fed it, choosing to play mostly using a power adaptor) and that sometimes hard to see screen… and the way that if you knocked the power cable it would often reset the game. Continue reading “Remembering the Sega Game Gear: … because I have no idea where I put the thing…”

Smashing CRTs: Unpicking Sonic’s Boxes

Anyone who dares follow me on Twitter may have picked up on my recent obsession with the CRT monitors (AKA Boxes!) that litter the various zones of the early Sonic the Hedgehog Games. I don’t exactly know why my brain has been idling on these iconic ingame items, but the more I turn it over in my mind the more bizarre it seems: Hedgehog smashes CRT monitor… gets stuff!

I’ve certainly not been one to shy away from applying ‘science’ to Plant Mobius in the past, but all I have to work with here is that Sonic smashes CRT and one of five different things happen (taking the SMD original as the blueprint): He picks up 10 gold rings; Grabs the Power Boots for Super Speed; Gains a one hit shield; Becomes invulnerable for a short time; or gains an extra life. So the big question is:

Is there a scientifically feasible explanation for the CRT item boxes in Sonic the Hedgehog?  Continue reading “Smashing CRTs: Unpicking Sonic’s Boxes”

Resident Evil: Director’s Cut; What’s the Deal With That?

… oh yes, it’s another Resident Evil related post!… 

A few blog posts ago, I vaguely said that my next streaming outing was going to be ‘Resident Evil: Director’s Cut’ (RE:DC) for PS1. Unfortunately life got in the way of me actually streaming, and whilst I might cover this in more detail in an editorial, the cinematic release version of events is that I got crazy busy (both home and at work) and went on an impromptu blogging hiatus because I just couldn’t find my blogging motivation with other things happening. Part of the upshot of the hiatus was that I really wanted to play RE:DC but didn’t have the time to set up a whole streaming evening and finally gave in to playing it as-and-when I could grab a gaming session, sadly without having all you good people over to watch…

… this doesn’t mean that streaming is off the table, I still have to come up with a time and theme for my next evening on Twitch…

Part of the reason I wanted to go back to RE:DC is that it is the version of the original Resident Evil that I own, but I’ve never played it half as much as the sequels. Resident Evil 2 was my initial ticket to Raccoon City and the original game was something I discovered afterwards. The other thing that I’d never really considered was what exactly that ‘Director’s Cut’ subtitle meant or why it existed in the first place. Continue reading “Resident Evil: Director’s Cut; What’s the Deal With That?”

Microsoft Flight Simulator ’95: What Was I Thinking?

Strolling around the halls of Rezzed last weekend, my wife and I paused for a while to watch ‘Bus Simulator’; it’s a game where you drive a bus… around a route… and stop to pick up passengers. Aside from the odd curb clipping incident and missing a stop by a few feet (shocking!) very little happened for the few minutes that we stood and watched four different people have a go. I wandered away from the stand with two distinct thoughts: firstly, despite being touted as something super realistic, it’s clearly not because who drives a bus from a third person perspective? and secondly that this is a game I don’t understand.

… and if this is your thing then drive-on good person, drive-on! I’m not judging. I’ve played plenty of games that felt somewhere close to ‘a job’ in the past including ‘Viscera Cleanup Detail’ and ‘SpaceChem’ so I can understand that there is appeal in performing virtual-mundane tasks. 

Almost immediately after having this thought however I suddenly remembered something: Microsoft Flight Simulator ’95. Oh, how I wanted Microsoft Flight Simulator ’95. Continue reading “Microsoft Flight Simulator ’95: What Was I Thinking?”

Weird Retro Mumblings: Resident Evil Survivor – A Missed Opportunity

Few people know this, but way back in my mid-teens, I used to be a moderator on a Resident Evil forum (Wow, you’re learning so much about my gaming related past this month!). Looking back I guess it wasn’t for very long; after all there’s only so often that you can speculate on the seedy private life of Brian Irons or endlessly moderate a fanfic thread with the impossible task of keeping it from swerving dramatically out of the community content guidelines…

never venture on to a Resident Evil fanfic forum….

only get your Resi-fic from legitimate sources… like me..

Alongside these forums, the site offered a number of fan made guides and walkthroughs to the handful of Resident Evil titles that existed at the time. At some point the ‘top-website-person’ messaged me and asked if I would write a walkthrough for the newly released “Resident Evil Survivor”; a game that I’d picked up close to launch….

… I declined…

He persisted in his request so I finally jotted down a few notes on the various weapons and enemies within the game, but no way was I doing a walkthrough because that would mean I’d have to play the game through again at least once, but more likely several times to hit all the path branches. This wasn’t something I was prepared to embark upon; Survivor is not a good game, but it does fall in to that category of “Games that I really wanted to be good”. Continue reading “Weird Retro Mumblings: Resident Evil Survivor – A Missed Opportunity”

Butterfingers: Seller’s Remorse

Two weeks ago I rambled on about that slightly bizarre outing in Raccoon City “Resident Evil Outbreak“. Aside from the obvious disappointment that ‘Raccoon Hospital’ and ‘Raccoon University’ didn’t feature little fuzzy tailed surgeons and professors respectively, there was also the slight disappointment that I’d ever parted ways with this game and its sibling (File #2) in the first place. Adding to that seller’s remorse were some comments I made the following week as I talked about my rediscovered PS2 collection, and the games that were absent from it that had slipped through my fingers some years before. Continue reading “Butterfingers: Seller’s Remorse”

Resident Evil Outbreak: Here Comes the B-Team

… as the intro kicks in we see the events of William Birkin’s confrontation with the Umbrella agents play out amid the unfolding imagery of the spreading infection. Outbreak is a game firmly seated in the lore and style of the original trilogy. 

It’s no secret that I love the first trilogy of Resident Evil games; they were the reason I owned a PlayStation and consequently a big part in why I graduated on to a PS2 as soon as it was released. Unfortunately there weren’t any Resident Evil titles confirmed for PS2 at the point of release and through its life it would play a surprising second fiddle to its contemporary consoles in those tales of S.T.A.R.S. & Co. especially considering how the first games had been such prominent titles in its predecessor’s roster. The two big RE titles that would find their way there were both ‘exclusive’ to other consoles at launch: RE: Code Veronica being originally made for the Dreamcast and RE4 setting sail with the GameCube. PS2 didn’t even receive the fantastic REMake of the original or similarly styled RE: Zero. I did play and enjoy RE:CV at launch on the PS2 but had drifted further away from the series by the time I would have been able to play RE4 and when I finally did get around to sampling it in recent years I wasn’t a fan of the new, action-heavy, style of gameplay.

Between these two titles was dropped the PS2 exclusive RE:Outbreak subseries (Outbreak & Outbreak File #2) which could be considered some of the last Resident Evil games to feature the classic style of gameplay and shambling zombies. They shared the fully 3D backgrounds of RE:CV, but maintained the fixed camera angles (albeit with panning and tracking) that defined the feel and pacing of the early games. Given my own background I find it hard to believe that I owned both of these games and barely explored them at all before trading them in – I think I may even have sold ‘Outbreak: File #2’ with the cellophane still intact given that I didn’t finish Outbreak itself. A couple of weeks ago however I spotted Outbreak for £5 in a branch of popular-chain-of-used-games-stores-here-in-the-uk and decided that it was worth a revisiting. Continue reading “Resident Evil Outbreak: Here Comes the B-Team”

QotM*: ScaredStrasse – Cosmic Chasm on Vectrex

*Question of the Month is a pumpkin spiced latte without the pumpkin or the latte and more of a chocolate mint thing going on… kind of just a minty mocha, with marshmallows, and a cookie on the side brought to you in your favourite armchair by Later Levels

It has been a while since I last participated in a Question of the Month. That last entry was something of an epic foray in to the world of my roaming imagination and seemed to consume an inordinate amount of my QotM energy. I think it’s about time to venture back in to that QotM world with my take on this month’s question.

For October, the month of the Ween-of-Hallow, the question has a distinctly appropriate spooky vibe and has been set by Megan over at A Geeky Gal; it’s an exceptional blog that I thoroughly recommend you check covering gaming, anime, and general geek-ery. Megan recently unleashed a set of her five personal favourite horror games that not only include some of my favourites, but are a neat place to start if you’re looking to explore her work and read something seasonally-appropriate at the same time.

As always check out the MONSTER POST! over at Later Levels for all the details and to see all of my fellow word-lers’ take on October’s question by looking through the comments. This month Megan asks:

In honour of Halloween, tell me what video game scared you the most. What is it about the elements, environments, music, or characters in the video game that scared you?

Continue reading “QotM*: ScaredStrasse – Cosmic Chasm on Vectrex”

Max Payne: Min Gain

… Let’s all head back to Roscoe Street Station for that bullet-dodging, slow-mo jumping, classic, Max Payne…

I’m not sure where my recent retro-mood has come from, but being at a bit of a loose end for a couple of evenings last weekend I scrolled through my Steam library looking for something to delve back in to and was warmly greeted by an old friend: Max Payne. The original PC outing was developed by Remedy studios and released back on 2001 for PC before being ported to a number of consoles and spawning two sequels, but it is the original game that has its own special place in my personal gaming hall of memories. I first played the game at a friend’s (who had significantly more PC horsepower than me at the time) house around the time of release but didn’t get my own copy until the PS2 port some years later. A quick search will tell you that 2001 was a darn-tootingly good year for gaming and with Max winning the BAFTA for best PC Game (this was at the time when games were shoved into the main BAFTA’s in the interactive media category) it must’ve been a standout title in a standout year. Continue reading “Max Payne: Min Gain”

Metal Gear (NES): I Feel Asleep

This is Mission Commander Big Boss. The following article contains spoilers for the original Metal Gear. The game is thirty years old, do I still need to warn you? You have been warned! 

In my recent 20 year retrospective about Metal Gear Solid for PS1 I mentioned that the original Metal Gear for NES was one of the few games that I own for that system and yet I’ve never completed it (to clarify, my NES is not a childhood console, I picked it up about ten years ago on eBay). With that thought gently turning the cogs of my mind I decided to finally play it and see where the series began and how it shaped the follow up monster of the PlayStation 1 era. Blowing the dust off both the console and the game I fired it up and…

Continue reading “Metal Gear (NES): I Feel Asleep”