Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Review: Zombies Ate My Neighbors (SNES)

Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Run and Gun, Super Nintendo Entertainment System
1993 Konami

Over a decade before Dead Rising, there was only one way for gamers to get their comical, zombie-slashing, destructive fun. From Dracula, to Frankenstein, to just about any B-movie creature you could conceive of, this game has them all. Even a few you may never have heard of before. Horror fans rejoice, because today we discuss Zombies Ate My Neighbors!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bottom of the Barrel: 5 of the Worst SNES Games

While basking in the nostalgic glory of the best retro games, it's easy to forget that in a dark corner somewhere are the rotten ones, lying forgotten and dejected. Join me on what will be the first of many painful visitations to the bottom of the barrel. Today, we look at a selection from the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review: Shadowrun (SNES)

Action RPG, Super Nintendo Entertainment System
1993 Data East

For those unfamiliar, Cyberpunk is an odd man out among the science fiction/fantasy genres. Popularized by authors like Neal Stephenson and William Gibson, it came to be in the 1980s with the popularization and increasing affordability of computer technology to the general public. It was a time when words like "hacker" finally found their way into our lexicon, and computers seemed to be the surefire way to propel ourselves into the magnificent future. But with every gleaming image of the great world around us, there must be a dark counterpart. I like to think of cyberpunk as the underbelly viewpoint of technology's ever-increasing entanglement in our daily lives.

Cyberpunk worlds are ones of the highest technology and the worst kinds of people. Neon signs and skyscrapers tower over the city slums where hackers are mobsters, detectives, and cold-blooded killers. The genre often has a lot of parallels to dystopian and film noir type stories, and it's easy to see why. Shadowrun originally began as a tabletop RPG (like a cyberpunk version of Dungeons and Dragons), but its ever-increasing lore and storylines expanded it into a series of novels, and ultimately, the video game here before us.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New X-COM Reboot to Remain True to Original Series

In 2010, an X-COM remake was announced by game studio 2K Marin. Many online were furious at the decision to turn it into a first-person shooter, a choice that some other studios had taken with classic game reboots.

But now those angry gamers can rejoice, because Firaxis is making yet another X-COM reboot, which promises to stay true to the series roots. XCOM: Enemy Unknown promises to maintain the isometric point of view, ruthless difficulty, and strategy gameplay elements that players hold so dear, while updating the graphics to reflect modern hardware capabilities.

Oddly enough, Firaxis and 2K Marin are both 2K subsidiaries, meaning 2K is publishing both a first-person shooter and strategy game reboot of the same series, at roughly the same time. I wonder if they're just hoping one of the two sticks so they can ditch the other. No word yet on a release date.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rate With Friends: Top 5 NES Platformers

For the Rate With Friends series, I will be pairing up with different cohorts to rate our individual "top 5" of a given category of game. To start it off, My friend Andrew (of the blog Yes, These Things Matter) and I break down our top 5 favorite NES platformers.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Classic Gaming Innovator Hudson to Close Doors March 1

Working since the late 1970s to develop some of the most beloved classic gaming franchises, on March 1st 2012, Hudson Soft will be fully absorbed into the Konami Corporation. Notable games included the Bomberman series, the Adventure Island series, and the Mario Party series. Hudson also was responsible for some of my favorite obscure titles such as Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom and Felix the Cat.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review: Secret of Evermore (SNES)

Secret of Evermore
Action RPG, Super Nintendo Entertainment System
1995 Square Soft
See this beastie? Yeah, he's the first boss.
As a kid, I frequented my local grocery store to peruse the small video rental alcove near the checkout lanes. It was a time before video rental stores existed in my town, so I took what meager media entertainment I could get. The selection was mostly comprised of VHS versions of major release movies, but there was always one small wireframe shelf that held what my child self regarded as the motherlode - Super Nintendo games. The variety was minimal to say the least. Occasionally they would refresh the stock with games rotated in from neighboring stores, but at $1.00 USD per rental, how could I protest?

The result of this formula - a young kid starving for Nintendo games, plus allowance money burning a hole in his pocket, plus limited selection of games to play - meant that a great deal of what I rented ended up being terrible. I mean godawful. But all in all, it was worth it for the few gems I stumbled upon. And the day I spotted the cover to Secret of Evermore, my naive brain could only vaguely comprehend the cornucopia of nightmare fuel that I would fall neck-deep into (and I mean that in the most wonderful way possible).