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Game Overkill - Doom

Game Overkill

Game Overkill – Doom

If you follow me on Twitter and were paying attention (by following #GameOverkill), you might have noticed that as I started playing Doom, I slowly came to the realization that this game I thought I loved for two decades… yeah, I had never played it. Turns out I had it confused with Doom II all this time. I even had the original on my personal list of games everyone should play at least once, but not its sequel. Also, I played the DOS version via DOSBox. I also used the Doomsday Engine, which allowed me to play an enhanced port while easily configuring the controls. I should’ve played the PS1 version as well, since it was listed, but I wasn’t able to. I hear it’s good.
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N64 Connoisseur

N64 Trick or Treat 2- The Treatening

Two years ago, I went trick or treating, N64 style. That trip admittedly was more trick than treat. Two years have gone by, though, and there has been much connoisseuring since then. Surely, if I were to try this again, it would turn out better for me, right? RIGHT? Well, we’re gonna find out. I took the entire North American Nintendo 64 game library and threw it into a randomizer. What follows is the first five games from the list, presented as the story of my trick or treating experience.  Read More

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Chasing Ghosts: One Quarter at a Time

The old college try: Stepping up to the Dance Dance Revolution series

College was a time of exploration.

No, I never did any illegal drugs and never got blackout drunk at a party, but when I wasn’t learning how to become a journalist, I was entering a whole new world of gaming.

College was when I discovered how great multiplayer first-person shooters are (Halo on the original X-Box), the thrills of the Madden and NCAA Football series, the amazing world of PC game mods (adding a Waffle House to Simcity 4 is fantastic) and the breathtaking beauty of The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker.

It’s also a time when I took more responsibility with my gaming, as the Gamecube was the very first console I bought with my own money.

Video games had been made brand new, and were more plentiful at Arkansas State University than they had been in my little podunk town in western Arkansas.

While in college, I met a dear friend named Courtney. It wasn’t a romantic relationship, but I had more fun hanging out with her than any date I went on in college. She loved gaming, and we
would spend hours playing the X-Box together. And then one day, she changed my life.

She invived me to the Galactic Hurricane to play something called Dance Dance Revolution (DDR).

Galactic Hurricane (no longer in business) might be my favorite arcade I’ve ever been to. It was like an arcade renaissance to me, as I hadn’t been into the arcade scene since sixth grade. It completely revitalized my interest in the scene. Aside from arcade staples like Skee Ball, basketball, and laser tag, they also had a four player NBA Jam cabinet, an Atari Tetris cabinet, a bootlegged Ms. Pac-Man cabinet that had hearts instead of pellets to eat, and a Capcom Multicade.

 

They also had a lot of Japanese arcade cabinets, including MoCap Boxing (what a workout that game was), one of the Beatmania games, and three diferent Konami DDR cabinets.

What a fantastic place. The DDR machines were particularly mesmerizing. Instead of your standard arcade machine with buttons or a steering wheel, this cabinet had a two metal mat with lights neon lights everywhere. A giant monitor, much bigger than anything I had seen before, and speakers blaring music and that infectious announcer screaming “DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION!”

While some corners of the web goof on the music for not being that great, I for one fell in love with the soundtrack, choosing to stand in line at one machine instead of playing an empty one, just because I wanted to hear a particular song. I was already partial to Japanese pop culture, but the electronica club music just felt magical, and was certainly different than anything that was playing on the radio.

Everything about this was different than anything I had ever seen before. I can’t specifically remember which versions the place had, but I’m pretty sure it was 5th Mix, 2nd Mix and DDR Extreme. If you were at the Galactic Hurricane in Jonesboro, Ark., and remember differently, please let me know.

I stepped up to the machine, put my two quarters in, and proceeded to fail miserably. Dear reader, I do wish video existed of this moment. Sure, it would be embarassing to me,  but the pleasure you’d take in my shortcomings would outweigh any need on my end for a quality reputation. I picked an intermediate difficulty song, and those arrows might as well have flown by at the speed of sound. There’s the up arrow, so I put my foot on the up spot. But then a down arrow. Quick! Move my foot back! OK, so far so good. But what’s that, a left arrow immediately followed by a right arrow? Hurry and step on the spots! But wait, there’s too many arrows bunched together! Step here! Step there! I’m out of breath! My sides hurt! OMG I AM A FAILURE!

And that wasn’t just my conscience talking. The people who lived inside the machine started booing and my round ended early. A big fat F was my grade.

Eventually I did get better at this game. I learned that you should keep your left and right feet on the left and right arrows to start with, instead of keeping them inside the middle. Such a novice mistake. I would go by myself to play many times when I had some free time in between classes, or even on my days off from college (my final two years of school I arranged my schedule so that I didn’t have classes on Mondays and Fridays. Four day weekends every week. I miss college). A few bucks in my pocket meant I would be getting a great 30 minute workout. It’s no suprise that when I slacked off from playing DDR that I began to gain weight.

Courtney and I would continue to go to play DDR all throughout college, always having a blast, and occasionally dealing with the smartass middle school kid who scoffed at our lack of ability. One kid in particular was playing on the highest difficulty, and doing a good job at it. This was during the summer, so he no doubt had a lot of time to play.

“It’s easy, you just have to be dedicated enough to spend 7-8 hours a day playing,” he told the two early-20s adults with school and employment responsibilities. I mentioned that little fact to him.

“Oh, well I guess you’ll have to try harder,” he said.

I wanted to punch him harder.

Eventually, I moved away in 2006, and while I was able to introduce my sister to the joys of DDR (and we have fantastic memories of playing together), I’ll always cherish those evenings playing this fantastic game with one of the most fantastic people I’ve ever met. Our friendship has had ups and downs. But without Courtney, I might have never played DDR or had my second arcade renaissance. Thank you friend.

My six favorite DDR songs

One reason I didn’t enjoy playing DDR as much at home (I had the X-Box version) is that the music wasn’t ever the same. I wanted the actual arcade playlist, and the home versions always seemed to omit a few songs I really liked. But here are my six favorite songs from the series.

1. Tribal Dance (DDR 5th Mix) –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkxwzzRBgDA

2. Against All Odds (Phil Collins cover, DDR 5th Mix) –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtd1nkgMoIE

3. Look to the Sky (DDR 6th Mix) –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jDCJWydXCo

4. Healing Vision (DDR 6thMix) –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6cFe3pBQ0c

5. If You Were Here (DDR 2ndMix) –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_Ilh61nj2U

6. La Copa De La Vida (Ricky Martin cover, DDR Extreme)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4p7kdReEoH4

Playing in Mame

So, you want some DDR on your home custom arcade cabinet? It’s not going to happen. And frankly, why would you want to even attempt it?

For obvious reasons, the controls are going to be a huge issue for you. On my cocktail machine, I’d have to connect a mat and stand over the machine looking down the whole time. Staring down the whole time would not be fun, and having the mat sitting next to a machine that it’s not designed for would just look weird. If you have a standup arcade cabinet, this would be a little easier for you to pull off, and from a decorative standpoint, not as bad. But the DDR appeal is the entire set up: you want the flashing lights, giant screen and blaring speakers. Playing this game in front of a standard arcade cabinet isn’t going to be as much fun. It’s the same reason why I don’t like the home versions of DDR as much, that and the music is NEVER as good as the arcade versions.

But that’s probably why you want DDR on your home MAME setup: to get things to be exactly the way they are at the Galactic Hurricane, or whatever arcade is on your mind. Here’s the next problem: You can’t run the games in MAME. The few instances I’ve seen features the earliest late 90s versions of the game running really choppy. To me, that is a completely unappealing way to play this game. Even when I go the roms up and running on my main PC, an I7 processor with 8 gig of ram, it still struggled to emulate it correctly.

If you want to truly experience Dance Dance Revolution in it’s arcade form, you’re going to have to go to the arcade (they need your support anyways, and even though I have many arcade games on my MAME cabinet, it’s still much better to play them in an actual arcade setting), buy a machine (which costs a few thousand dollars), or invest in a solid metal mat and an imported Playstation version (better music) of the game. Or get a playstation emulator on your arcade machine, but me being an arcade enthusiast, I wouldn’t enjoy that workaround nearly as much (I want to insert credits, not press start on a control pad)

Oh, and this game isn’t apartment friendly at all, much like the NES Power Pad. Keep that in mind if you decide to buy your own mat, something I’d LOVE to do. But living in a second story apartment building,  I cannot.

My Wife Plays DDR

In an effort to get my wife Allicia Faber to play more video games, I give her this space to write her thoughts on each arcade game I write about. Oh, and follow her on twitter, @alliwait.

I just gave birth to your second child. I’m not playing that dancing game.

Lycan

1 More Countdown

Top 10 Lycanthropes in Video Games

Stay on the road, keep clear of the moors and beware the moon lads, because today we’re counting down the top 10 lycanthropes in video games. Lyncanthropes, more commonly known as werewolves, are humans who have the ability to transform into wolves or hybrid wolf-man creatures. We’re going to count all lyncanthropes in this list.

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Ghouls N Ghosts Title

The Retro Critic

Ghouls ‘N Ghosts

Forget goblins.

Goblins are for THE WEAK.

Sure Ghosts ‘N Goblins was a fun game and it kick-started a really popular franchise but those goblins had to go. 1988 was the year of the ghoul and yes, I’m basing that statement solely on the game I’m going to talk about today.

Ghouls ‘N Ghosts was the first sequel to Ghosts ‘N Goblins and although it was released in the Arcade and on a variety of other ports, I’ll be focusing on the Sega Master System version because we all know how sloppy and, by extension, amusing those Arcade conversions can be on that console.
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GMZ - #2-3

GMZ

GMZ #2-3 – LaBeouf, LaDead, and E-La-Vator

Shia LaBeouf creates meta-modernist love art exhibit based on IGN

by Cece Romano

Shia

Last week, Shia LaBeouf, famed actor, artist, and paper-bag wearer, opened a new meta-modernist art exhibit. A follow-up to his exhibit #IAMSORRY, the newly titled @IGN consists of LeBeouf sobbing loudly and rolling in a pile of money naked in a small room as people enter. The entrants are them allowed to take an item off a table (a bag of Doritos, a bottle of Mountain Dew, and a copy of the latest Call of Duty) and physically assault LaBeouf with it.
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Cover

Queries

Queries: 2xAA (Episode 2)

Recently (but not too recently, because I was stupid and got late on this post), I was able to correspond the programmer, chiptuner, Englishman, and internet cool guy, Sam Wray, or as the internet likely knows him, 2xAA. Now, before you ask, yes, we are going to move out of the territory of Chiptune and video music, but I just happen to think Sam is both a great musician, and a great guy, as well as someone who interests me personally. I do have other guests in mind, who lie outside the realm of chiptune, so fear not. But for now, let’s get down to business.

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Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 9.11.38 PM

Retro Power: Issue 1

Greetings readers! Welcome to the very first issue of Retro Power. We got a lot of great feedback from you. We hope you enjoy reading these great stories as much as we did! We could use more art from you guys next month. If you are an artist or know an artist who is into retro gaming, please feel free to spread the word. We also really want to see your retro gaming hauls too, don’t be shy! Keep being awesome, readers. We are quite fond of you.

-Alex and Valerie
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Numberland Title

The Retro Critic

Mickey’s Adventures In Numberland

Believe it or not, I haven’t reviewed that many educational kid-friendly games.

No, Fisher-Price: Perfect Fit doesn’t count.

I have, however, reviewed one of my favourite Mickey games, Mickey Mania for the Sega Genesis and revisiting that one was a joy so I trust Mickey to, once again, offer something worthwhile.

Oh, who am I kidding?

Mickey’s Adventures In Numberland looked terrible.

And, in a way, it still does!
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God of War
Race_Drivin_arcade_flyer

Raising a Gamer

Arcade Adventure!

Sundays are lazy days in our house. We typically take care of some overlooked housework and then lounge around for the rest of the day. This past Sunday my daughter, Mae, seemed a bit restless and wanted to get out and go do something. Having just finished vacuuming out the car, I still had a few quarters in my pocket and thought, “Hey, let’s go to the arcade”. Read More

MyTwoGils

My Two Gils

Top 5 Favorite Moments (For Real)

I wasn’t going to leave you guys with joke picks, was I? Truth be told, I almost get jealous when people post their personal experiences with video games. A lot of retro gamers have had life-changing interactions with the medium. I don’t think I have enough fingers to count the number of people that owe their life to video games in one form or the other. Of course, I’m not really jealous, because these people have gone through a lot of challenges and generally difficult phases. I just love to see someone able to embrace gaming on such a personal level. You know what? Have some links:

ZFunk007’s piece on anxiety

KingSigy on goodbyes

In any case, while I personally don’t have touching stories of my interactions with these games, I do have “actual” favorite moments. Keep in mind, my experience with gaming hovers around big name franchises and far from SEGA consoles. I may have missed a couple of great moments, but, guess what? I’m open to comments and suggestions!

Oh and, let’s be honest here, there will be spoilers.
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Honorable mention to this giant baby from the criminally underrated Zombies Ate My Neighbors.

Top 6 Pregnancies in Retro Video Games

My wife is pregnant with our second child. Nine months to be exact. Baby Neil could pop out at any time. [Editors note: he has!]

At important moments in life, I ponder the big picture. Retro video games.

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109---Nester---President-of-the-Terrestrial-Federation
Snake Logo

The Retro Critic

Snake

Snake.

Why did it have to be Snake…

The game I’ll be talking about today has technically existed since the 70’s but, for many of us, it’s only been around since the time of brick Nokia phones with silly antennas, a time of bad Vengaboys songs, a time of not pawing your computer or mobile screen like a child pretending to play the piano on a wall made of candy.

This was the late 90’s, man.

TO THE MAX.
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GMZ - #2-2

GMZ

GMZ #2-2 – Exclusive Interview with Daniel Lamplugh & Ubisoft’s Secret

Exclusive Interview with GMZ Co-Founder, Daniel Lamplugh

By Pierre Goguen

Once a generation, a world class interviewer gets to sit down with a person who has exerted their will and influence across the globe and gets to ask them the questions no one else dared. We’ve had Frost/Nixon, Yankovic/Madonna, Winfrey/Cruise, and now, sit back and bask in what shall surely be remembered for decades as Goguen/Lamplugh.
PG:  So for the very few people who might not know you, how about you tell us who you are?
Daniel:  I am the all-important, all-powerful, all-american Daniel Lamplugh. Co-Founder of GMZ, and soon to be owner of IGN. I’m also a goofy high school senior who writes about video games, makes goofy videos, reviews sodas on my Instagram, and doesn’t sleep enough.
Pure Sex

PG:  So, how did such a young guy come up with the genius idea of GMZ all by himself and absolutely without any kind of help or input from anyone else?

Daniel: I remember, I was talking about MicroCollective (a chiptune website) on Twitter. My and Pierre’s mutual friend Brent mentioned 8BitPeoples (another chiptune group). Pierre jumped in, and said “I’m more of a 8BitPeepholes kind of guy”. Another buddy, Francisco, talked about how that would be a funny website idea. That idea morphed several times, actually over the next year. It went from being an image series, to images with captions. Then we realized how funny the captions were, expanded them to full stories, and began to ask where we would get such compromising photos. We came up with the Tabloid persona, and from there, it just grew crazier and crazier.
 
So I was only 1/4 of the equation
PG Speaking of crazy, everyone keeps telling me that Pierre guy is crazy sexy. What do you do as a manager to prevent the staff from getting too distracted by his mere presence?
 
Daniel:  Joke: Staff? Distracted? Pierre? Sexy? Pierre works in in the Canadian branch. His workers would probably be too busy fucking a moose or something. Assuming they didn’t all die out in the last Winter.
PG:  What does journalism mean to you?
Daniel: This is actually something I have struggled with a lot, recently, especially since making GMZ. “Journalism” should be a practice, and institution, made to report events, but also to filter the information available. Journalism should provide a sense of clarity to the citizens it services: be it the electorate, the population, etc. It should resist bias, but not be robotic. It should not be obnoxious, but it should have personality. It should not scare, but it should caution.
But seriously, I don’t report the news, I fucking predict it, okay? This isn’t just “Journalism”, this is a fucking crystal ball connected to God. To me, journalism is just a chance for me to spread my divine knowledge to the masses.
PG: What does intern mean to you?
Daniel: Replaceable, cheap, scum labor.
PG: Speaking of @Bigjonathan91, GMZ has a couple of recent hires. What can you tell us about them?
Daniel: None of them are very good. Sharon, our correspondent supervisor, left a while ago, and the freelancers and writing staff who was on contract refused to deal directly with us, so they quit. Our permanent staff is still with us, but I think most of them probably have nowhere else to go. The new guys are different though. 
 
Jonathan is so funny, but he is also intelligent. He very weirdly straddles these two worlds of being goofily entertaining, but being able to analyze games and gamers well. Eric is an insomniac, I’m convinced because of how much he works on 1MoreCastle. So now, the idea that he wants to do more, blows my mind. Francis, I don’t know that well, but when I read his article, I couldn’t help but laugh. He seems like a really funny guy, and I can’t wait to see more from him.
PG: Is Eric Bailey as big of an asshole as I think he is?
 
Daniel:  Eric is an absolutely amazing editor who puts up with my crap way more than he should. Also, he is a genuinely a very amiable guy. Glad to call him my boss/employee.
PG: Yeah, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Bailey is not only expecting his first kid, but he’s also working on launching 1MoreCastle Films LTD. He’s working on turning Atari Poop into a sitcom, Raising a Gamer into a reality TV show, and It Came from Japan into a tokusatsu series of shows, films, and toys.
Daniel: Is it sad that I really want to make these a thing? Raising a Gamer would actually make a REALLY GOOD documentary. I should talk to Chris about that. He doesn’t live unreasonably far away from me, actually. Or it could be a Home Improvement style cheesy sitcom.Also, I imagine It Came From Japan as almost a Good Eats show, but with toys and games. And if you don’t know what Good Eats is, go watch it now. It’s the best show Food Network ever produced.I want to make these shows real.
PG:  Alright, now for the part of the interview where people get tired of reading long, boring answers to stupid, pretentious questions. Here’s a series of quick questions that require a yes, no, or 9 digit number answer. Ready?
Daniel:  Sure.
PG:  Trick question, since that was the first of the questions and I made you answer it. Lol, newb.
Have you ever killed a man?
Daniel:  Yes. Several.
PG:  What’s your fave prog rock band?
Daniel: Rush
PG:  Trick question again! The only acceptable answers are yes, no, or 9 numbers, so the only answer was Yes, even though it was also wrong. Can you touch your toes without bending your knees?
Daniel: No.
PG:  What’s your Social Security Number?
Daniel: No.
PG:  Wanna make out?
Daniel:  No.
PG:  That was even worse than those early questions. Oh well, back to the hard hitting questions. What can we expect from GMZ in the coming year?
Daniel: I should be going back out on the convention circuit, with a larger crew. Maybe finally getting down to that list of ideas that me and Pierre have been wanting to do since the early days. Hopefully, if more controversy comes up, we can make fun of it. But seeing as how the video game community on the internet is so tranquil and reasonable, and in no way inflammatory or argumentative, I believe those controversies will be few and far between.
PG: Speaking of controversies, GMZ has clearly never shied away from them. With all of the controversies in gaming recently, from no homosexual relationships in Tomodachi Life, Gamergate, and Kirbygate, to Ninja GAiTEn, Shadowgategate, and Sony’s Vita confirmed to run solely on the tears of children, I have to ask the question all our readers want you to answer the most. You obviously know what I’m talking about, so here it is: which Mega Man is the best, 2 or 3?
Daniel: I think Mega Man 2. Mega Man 3, while good, is simply a very good imitation of 2. Mega Man 2 was fresh an innovative, with a catchy soundtrack and brilliant art direction. Mega Man 3 was Mega Man 2 with some less cool bosses.
PG: Excellent answer. Also, correct answer.
 
When is the GMZ nude calendar you made me pose for coming out? You said it would come out last summer.
Daniel: That was a joke. Canadians don’t have summer.
PG: We’re almost ready to wrap up here. Any projects you’re working on you’d like to share. Shoutouts you’d like to give?
Daniel: I’d like to shoutout to Variant for producing my tracks, Jason Lamb for playing me in all of my public appearances, and Defy Media for ruining GameTrailers.Also, Chris Swartz. His series, “Raising a Gamer”, is phenomenal. Bailey for being a great editor. Pierre for staying up till 1AM to interview me. My girlfriend for not breaking up with the guy who writes about video game frogs adopting foreign children. Cole Porter for writing Anything Goes. Trailer Park Boys, for helping me learn to speak to and interact with Canadians. And lastly, to Defy Media for ruining GameTrailers.

Also, I have another series, where I interview people, titled Queries, on 1MoreCastle, which you should totally check out. And a show called Sub Pop that I post on my Instagram where I review soda.

PG:  Cool. Wanna make out?
Daniel: No.
PG:  Jerk. Interview over! *Flies off on jetpack.*

The Secret Origins of Ubisoft

By Noriko Kashiwagi

With Nintendo having recently celebrated its 125th anniversary, many were surprised to see that most gamers were completely unaware that the company was so old, or that they started off by creating the Seattle Mariners, a worldwide chain a love hotels for seamen.

Well it just so happens that another video game publisher/developer with a bizarre origin story is celebrating its 50th anniversary this very week. Ubisoft, mostly known for releasing a steady stream of flawless games and DRM software gamers absolutely love, has reached its golden anniversary, which you might not have known if you get your information from Wikipedia. There, you’d get some nonsense about it being founded by 5 brothers in 1986. The truth is something a little more weird.

In fact, the company was founded in 1964 by the father of the 5 Guillemot brothers, Organes Génitaux Guillemot and his brother-in-law, Charles Atan Breton, and those boys my have the product that served as the foundation of the company to thank for their very existence.

Ubisoft - Pierrot

The elder Organes and Charles were amateur apothecaries who both suffered for a particular disfunction which was erectile in nature. While working one a pill that would make facial hair only grown in a thin line directly above the upper lip, the two accidentally discovered that their pill, instead of making you look like a dick, gave them erections that lasted for hours.

Sales were poor when it was only sold in France and then French speaking areas of the world (for obvious reasons), but a name change (they called it Pénisilline) and selling their products in other markets helped the company survive until the 80s, when it branched into video games. The name Ubisoft can be chalked up to nothing more than a poor understanding of English and spelling. The founding duo wanted their advertisement to ask the readers if they were “soft,” thus “You be soft?” became “Ubisoft.” The rest is history.

Ubisoft - First American Ad