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Raising a Gamer

Mario Teaches Typing

In an attempt to prepare my daughter, Mae, for the inevitable soul-crushing derision that is the American public school system, I thought it prudent to begin teaching her some basic keyboarding skills. I remember one of my go to keyboard practice games as a kid was Typing of the Dead and thoughtyea maybe not appropriate for a 4 year old. After some more searching and a few rounds of Typer Shark (look it up, it’s awesome), I had put the keyboarding lessons on hold for a bit. Recently, while listening to the fantastic inaugural episode of The Hall Way I was reminded of the massive library of MS-DOS games that are now available to be streamed in your browser for free (thanks, Tom). Hidden within the library of Sim games, 8 bit Strip Poker variants, and Street Fighter ports was a somewhat obscure Mario title that ended up being pretty fun and felt like a real way to introduce typing concepts like finger placement. Mario doesn’t venture away from Nintendo consoles often, but we should all be excited that he did for Mario Teaches Typing.

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So maybe the finger placement wasn’t our main concern at this point..

 

Mario Teaches Typing is brightly animated and features some familiar Mario music. The game is presented in a similar fashion to standard Mario games, the main difference being that in order to move across the screen, certain letters need to be pressed. The goal is to complete as many of the key strokes as you can within the two minute time limit. At the end of each round, Mario will show you your accuracy and WPM. I have no idea how this game calculates WPM but it is so far from any other method of measurement I have seen..7 WPM? Come on Mario! I type faster than that! (closer to 60wpm, just checked). Words per minute don’t really matter to a 4 year old just becoming familiar with a keyboard, but I thought it odd all the same. One other minor issue I had noticed was that as Mae was typing she was being asked to hit a semi-colon. I never paid much attention to grammar lessons in school (as my wife and Tom can attest) and it could be that the game was designed for slightly older hands than Mae’s but I thought this an odd request for any kid within even a few years of Mae’s age.

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Mae takes the prize for accuracy with 100%

 

Overall, we enjoyed our time with Mario Teaches Typing. After a little while, my wife got in on the action and it turned into a little competition. My wife led the board with WPM but Mae had everyone beat as far as accuracy is concerned. I guess I get one of those “Hey, at least you tried?” prizes. This seems like a great way to help familiarize Mae with the keyboard while helping her practice letter recognition. If you have not yet checked out all the games available over at the Internet Archive, I suggest you do, you can relive some childhood memories and maybe stumble upon some random stuff you didn’t realize existed.

 

I feel like I should wrap this up with something clever.

MyTwoGils

My Two Gils

How Motion Controls Ruined Gaming

Yes, you read that right. The Wii, the Kinect, the Move… THEY ruined the gaming world. Don’t try to blame this on EA, Ubisoft, DLC, early access, microtransactions or the misplaced egos of entryway mechanism fanatics. Gaming’s downfall started with the Wii and ended… who knows how long we have left… We’re already so deep. Luckily, we have retro gaming. I mean, there’s a reason why the 1 More Castle cutoff platforms stop at the Gamecube, Xbox and Playstation 2. While some people would say the limit wasn’t set to exclude motion gaming and cater to my every desires and needs, I certainly disagree.

Ugh… Disgusting

But, why am I talking about motion controls ruining gaming if they’re not “eligible” in retro gaming discussions? Because we could’ve prevented all this. We all saw the signs of the rise in motion controls and did nothing to stop them. Now they allowed our arch-enemy to penetrate the gaming market: The devious casual gamers. Or at least that’s what I’m told. I think I should make some kind of disclaimer here because I have a lot of ethics and all.

I don’t really follow modern gaming as much as I should, but some people have told me that “Candy Crush Saga is the worst” and “kids don’t know what they’re missing with their silly Angry Birds and touch controls.” I’ve also seen people debate how the inclusion of casual gamers in demographic studies brings the misconception that gamers are decent human beings capable of social interactions. While I do not see how any of this can influence a whole market to voluntarily give up on the very idea of making money by sabotaging the development of their own products, my self-doubting nature wonders: “What if all these possibly enlighted individuals were right?” If they were right, and not blinded by the light they generate, we’d soon learn how we, as retro gamers, could’ve prevented this uprisal. We could’ve identified these foul individuals and stopped encouraging them.

The enemy

The signs of casual gamers were obvious. They’re the ones who felt they just didn’t have enough control over their video games, it’s no surprise they’re now trying to control the entire medium. They were the ones who raised the controller when making Mario jump; they were the ones who turned the controller when they wanted their Top Gear driver to make a right; they were the ones who pushed harder on “A” to make their attacks more powerful; they were the ones who mashed buttons in fighters only to use their whole hands. Some of you might recognize these behaviors, as they were fairly frequent in the old days of gaming. These blasphemous ways of playing video games were often found in “non-gamers” or, as I now call them, “future-casuals.” It pains me to say, my own mother was guilty of this… and to think I invited her to play. And that invitation was the true downfall…

Our own desire for inclusiveness and our desire to share our passion were our greatest mistake. A bit later, when we acquired Nintendo 64 and other 4 player consoles, another enemy crawled into the gaming world: Mini-games. Despite their fun, mini-games only served as another way to reel in “future-casuals” to your gaming habits. We all wanted to enjoy video games with our entire family or that someone special, but had we known of the monster we would create… Soon our favorite franchises became polluted with mini-games collections or worse: puzzle games. When the Dreamcast came around, Chu Chu Rocket even became known as a classic!

It doesn’t even have guns or anime girls!

Now the world is buried under palette swaps of puzzle games and mini-games passing as full titles. They ignored the Power Glove shaming and designed countless controller wobbling experiences, all marketed to people unaware of the flawed technologies creating cruel split-second delays… They flooded the market all because we were trying to be inclusive. Now they’re infecting the next generations… Be warned, casual gaming is contagious. In fact, that’s the main reason why I wanted to write this… Seeing how I’m now finding Just Dance in my library, I understand that it’s too late for me. Thinking back, it was always too late for me. Ever since I started pressing “Up+B” when catching a Pokémon. It’s not that I have become what I hate, I think I always was a filthy casual.

Don’t cry for me, protect what’s left instead. Keep retro gaming pure. Let the casuals have their modern gaming, but make sure only the elite can have access to the treasure that is retro gaming. Let there be no more mistakes in official timelines, proper pronunciation and spelling. Run to your basement clasping your sealed copies and limited editions and don’t look back! Disconnect yourself from this doomed world that has already caused so much pain! You don’t have much time, I can hear the laughter of the women and children playing on their mobile phones! RUN! For all of us!

GO! I’ll hold them off!

Are they gone? Good. I hope that makes less idiots for us to worry about. Come on, motion controls are awesome! And mini-game collections? Man! Mario Party, Fuzion Frenzy, Pokémon Stadium, all great. Phew, making up a completely irrational rant sure drains your energy. I think I’m done here, see you in two weeks!

GMZ - 1st Gumzies

GMZ

GMZ – The Gumzies

The Gumzies

Hey everyone! It’s Daniel. I know this is late, but things have been a little crazy here around the office. A couple of interns died, and we are busy sorting through the paper work to prove that we are not at fault (I don’t know how the company pool was filled with electric eels, but I certainly didn’t put them in there. And last I checked, interns weren’t allowed to use the company pool).

Regardless, our lawyers advised us not to post any more editions until we had the whole thing sorted out, but we decided we couldn’t wait any longer, and released our first edition of The Gumzies. Much like the Academy Awards, but far more prestigious, these editorial awards are given from GMZ co-founders for the “Bests” of the past year. So sit back, relax, and agree with everything we say as Pierre and I count down our choices for 2014.

Game whose protagonist will most likely end up in a future GMZ article

Evil Otto from Berzerk. I vow to make it happen. – Pierre  

Q-Bert, probably – Daniel (Pierre: “Dude, he totally died last year.” Daniel: “It will still probably happen.” Pierre: “I vow to make it happen!”)

Game whose protagonist will most likely never end up in a GMZ article

Bomberman – As soon as real people stop blowing up buildings, people, and/or themselves, and a stupid article about a video game character being a suicide bomber can be funny again, we’ll write one, but it sure doesn’t look like that will happen any time soon. – Pierre

That guy from Dark Void. What was his name? – Daniel

Character most unfairly left out of the new Smash Bros.

Joe Musashi? Ryu Hayabusa? The guy from Faxanadu? I mean, if the trainer from Wii Fit and the fucking dog from Duck Hunt can be in it, why not characters from good games? Also, when are they going to start adding “celebrities”? Justin Bieber, Donald Trump, Chris Brown: how many of you would like to punch all three of these people right now? – Pierre

Space Invaders alien. That’s all I need say. – Daniel

Company most likely to copy the Smash bros. formula next

Likely to be announced at this year’s E3, Xbox All-Stars Battle Royale with Cheese – Play as Master Chief, Alan Wake, a Piñata (Viva Piñata), Banjo Kazooie, The Agent (Crackdown), Frank West, Bill (Left 4 Dead), a Ferrari (Forza), Marcus Fenix, and the entire Dance Central 1, 2, and 3 casts, as well as several other gritty men who shoot guns. – Pierre

Sesame Street beat down. A clobber-fest among all your favorite puppet creatures from the children’s television show. Big bird as the tank. Oscar as the long range sling character, or projectiles (throwing trash everywhere), Bert and Ernie as the tag team characters. So much possibility! – Daniel

Game least likely to get the sequel it deserves

An indie game that highlighted everything that’s right about indie games, Ling’s Cars’ “LINGsCARS” went seriously underappreciated when it was released, as it continues to be today. It had an unforgettable soundtrack, explosive visuals, tight controls, and a compelling storyline. You can play it on her website here http://www.lingscars.com/game.php#models or downloaded it for iOS (where it has a 4.5 star rating) here https://itunes.apple.com/app/lingscars/id562253163?mt=8

This game is truly deserving of a sequel, but gamers, as usual, are their own worst enemies, and since nearly no one reported on, reviewed, or played the game, it doesn’t look like a sequel will ever get made, as Ling has moved on from games to providing old Chinese Werther’s Original for old people in England for free instead: http://www.lingscars.com/werthers.php#models – Pierre

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – Whenever you guys are done making shitty MMO’s that eventually fail and go Free-to-Play, and are ready to make a true single player sequel to the best RPG ever, let me know. I’ll pre-order. – Daniel

Game most likely to be positively reviewed by Kelsey Gramer

Though he hated Super Mario Bros., I feel like Gramer would like Contra even though it’s a retro game. We should get him on that ASAP. Daniel, quick! Call his mom (you have her on speed dial, don’t deny it) and ask her to get him off his Xbox One in her basement so he can stop hurling racist, homophobic, and sexist insults at other online gamers for five minutes so he talk to me on phone right now. I’m gonna make this happen. We can pay him in Doritos and Mountain Dew again. – Pierre

*in the background, on the phone* Yes? Hey Mrs. Gramer! Yeah, is Kelsey home? – Daniel

Game most likely to be next labeled by Fox News as a “danger to youth”

Hatoful Boyfriend – Worried teens will start dating pigeons, and introduce avian chlamydia to the general human population. – Pierre

Octodad: Dadliest Catch – Preaching the “alternative lifestyle” agenda of octopus marriage. God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Cephalopod! …What? God did make Cephalopods? On the fifth day? Oh, my mistake. – Daniel

Best Game of the Year

I’m pretty sure I didn’t play a single game released in 2014, so I Am Bread?

Honest opinion? Lethal League. That game is ridiculous fun. – Daniel

Worst Game of the Year

Same problem as the last category, so I’ll go with…I dunno, some Mario game that’s just like the others except for the fact that he has a new hat/power up. – Pierre

Five Night’s at Freddy’s. Shitty jump scare after shitty jump scare. – Daniel

Best Game of Next Year

GMZ: The Visual Novel: The Sitcom: The Erotic Novel: The Movie: The Game. Should come out in time for Christmas 2015. We just need to finalize the loan agreement with the government of Rhode Island. – Pierre (Daniel: “Low blow, man.”)

Half-Life 3 (still hoping) – Daniel

Best Game of the 2020’s

Call of Duty 12: Modern Warfare 7 for Facebook: Oculus Rift Version – Pierre

The Munsters: The Movie: The Game – Daniel

Best Gamer Food

Shit (related to answer 4 questions down). – Pierre

Slap Energy Drink – Daniel

Best Game related Award Show

You’re reading it. – Pierre

TODD & AARON’S GAME AWARDS 2014!!!!!!!! (FAMILY FRIENDLY) – Daniel

Best Gaming website

IGN.orant – Pierre

2morecastles.com – Daniel

Best Con coverage

GMZ – Special E3 Edition: http://1morecastle.com/2014/06/gmz-e3-2014-special-edition/ – Pierre

GMZ – Mobicon Coverage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DhExT8fvPk – Daniel

Best gaming Controversy

I can’t think of the “best” gaming controversy, in as much as “best” makes me try to think of a “good” controversy, so I’ll apporach as the “best” means “biggest.” In this way, this would also be my answer for the “worst” gaming controversy. Anyway, here’s my answer.

iF the qUestion of best Controversy is asKinG is reflected upon logicAlly, there can only be a single, siMplE answeR. i won’t Give you the Answer though. you know whaT it is alrEady. SERIOUSLY. – Pierre

Battlefield: Hardline – As if our nation (the US) wasn’t distrustful of police enough, let’s make a game about police’s war on crime as an exaggerated all-out gunfight similar to military combat. Great idea, right? Let’s excuse, for a minute, the fact that Battlefield 4 was a buggy, poorly put together piece of shit, and that Hardline looks like it might follow suit, and focus on the real crux here: what are you fucking thinking? Don’t get me wrong, I am all for freedom of speech and artistic license, but as a lover of good PR, are you fucking idiots? Couldn’t you have waited a little bit? Let’s be honest, waiting probably would have been a good idea, given you a chance to work out those horrendous bugs, eh? – Daniel

Gaming icon that everyone hates the most

Luigi – Mario is pretty much the blandest video game character I can think of, and somehow his even more boring brother had a whole damn year dedicated to him that actually lasted more than a year. Luigi is a piece of shit and you know it. It’s time for him to die. Permanently. – Pierre

Sonic – I’ll be honest, I really wanted Sonic Boom to be good, because I wanted a justification for them to take Sonic away from Sonic Team and do something fresh with him. All it really proved is that new and remixed Sonic is just as remarkably shitty as old rehashed Sonic. I say we fucking ban all Sonic products internationally. Make it a UN action. Unless Jaleel White wants to come back to make another Sonic TV show. I’d be down with that. – Daniel

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Playing With Power

Playing With Power – Nintendo Power #3

So after the controversy of issue 2’s cover, Nintendo scaled back the cover of issue 3 for one of the most boring covers…a pair of tennis shoes.  Sure they are tennis shoes with rockets…but shoes none the less. Not too much changed with the issue, the format is the same and the amount of coverage per game is still pretty expansive.  A couple firsts in the issue…role playing games were given a true introduction with an explanation of how they are different than other games as it relates to slower action and longer gameplay and then proceeds to highlight Ultima and Legacy of the Wizard, neither which are greatly remembered these days.  Also, for anyone who might remember the cartoon Captain N: The Game Master, the character was introduced in this issue with a short story about the origin of the character.  The story isn’t the same as the one from the cartoon but it’s interesting to learn that the character did originate in the pages of this magazine. Enjoy issue 3!

On another note, as I’ve started working through my issues of Nintendo Power I have found I am actually missing issues 7, 8 and 9.  I am going to start searching online to purchase the issues but if anyone has a copy of any of these issues and would be willing to donate, please send me an email at ce_owens80@yahoo.com.  Thanks and see you next time!

Play with power!

Read More

Tetrisphere-Box-Art

N64 Connoisseur

N64 Review #17- Tetrisphere

Da da da da, da da da, da da da, da da, da da da da da da. Huh? Oh. That’s the Tetris theme we all know and love. Or at least I know and love it. I also love me some Tetris. I always have. It’s just so very captivating and addicting. I’m not even that good at it, it’s just plain fun. The Nintendo 64 was more than up to the task of quenching my thirst for the beloved puzzler. Perhaps one of the most unique uses of the franchise, however, comes in the form of Tetrisphere. Read More

Plok Title

The Retro Critic

Plok

As some of you may know, I left it to Twitter people to choose which Super Nintendo game I would review this week and, although I received some inspired bad game choices, after playing Plok for a bit, I just couldn’t resist reviewing that one.

So if the review sucks, make sure you complain to @UrzasRage on Twitter.

His idea: nothing to do with me!

Unless you like the review, of course.

A big thank you to everyone else who sent their requests, I’ll get to all those games eventually.

Now, the reason why Plok stood out, besides the fact that, once again, it bears a one-word title that sounds silly and we all know how much I like those, is quite simply that I really enjoyed it! Somehow, Plok has now become one of my favourite games to play on the SNES.

Ok, so maybe it doesn’t quite make the Top 10, there are a lot of terrific Super Nintendo games out there, but it’s in my Top 20 somewhere, for sure!

Plok is not just the sound it makes when you drop a golf ball into a frying pan, it’s also a platformer released back in 1993 and it follows the titular character as he tries to recover a flag which was stolen from his island. Upon his return, he finds that the whole place has been taken over by fleas.

Fleas Plok

Yes: fleas.

No prizes for guessing what happens next.

The game is very colourful throughout and boasts some great graphics so, fear not, it does use the Super Nintendo’s capabilities very well. Plok’s first mission, to retrieve his beloved flag, sets the tone brilliantly and gets you used to your character’s unique fighting style and the controls smoothly.

Plok, as a character, is a lot of fun: I love how grumpy and angry he gets.

Pants Flag Plok

I swear he even says “Bah, Humbug!” at one point.

Whenever the game pulls the old “this princess is in another castle” schtick on him, Plok just loses his temper and it is a joy to behold as I’m sure it mirrors our own frustrations when playing these shamelessly manipulative games.

The best parts come when he’s so annoyed he actually starts to sound genuinely threatening!

Limbs Are Gonna Fly Plok

Punching Plok

Hassle Plok

Plok is not a fan of fleas, let’s put it this way.

Who is?

Instead of hiring an experienced exterminator, Plok decides to take the law into his own hands and rid his world of every last flea making his life a living hell.

Plok’s big attack is using his own limbs as boomerangs. This may sound like a painful, not to mention exhausting, operation but, for Plok, it’s as easy as making an omelette. He’s perfectly willing to dismember himself for the sake of justice.

He can even throw his hands to turn on switches or catch inconveniently-placed shells.

Shells Plok

Shells being kinda like the “gold rings” of this game, except accumulating them means possible extra lives and more ammunition for your other attacks. Indeed, Plok isn’t just a limb-thrower, he can do it all! This is a frankly surreal game, in case you haven’t noticed, so expect rather bizarre, if awesome, upgrades:

Extinguisher Plok

Flame Thrower Plok

Hunter Plok

Fire extinguishers, flame-throwers, blunderbusses: Plok might just be one of the most versatile video game characters out there. There’s nothing he can’t do!

He even outdoes Sonic The Hedgehog at times:

Saw Plok

Plok can turn into seesaws and roll down hills destroying everything in his path. Sonic would just lose all his rings and make that stupid surprised face upon touching some pointy armoured forest creature.

Come to think of it, Plok is like a weird mix of Sonic, Rayman and Kid Chameleon.

And Ebeneezer Scrooge, somehow.

Now I know this isn’t so much a review of the game as it is just me trying to convince you that Plok is the best thing since spoons were invented but it’s a point that needs to be made, I feel. I mean, Plok’s genius doesn’t even stop at mere weapon upgrades, the dude has like a Batcave (or “Plokcave”) full of high-tech vehicles and he isn’t too shy to use them against fleas!

Patriotic rockets:

Rocket Plok Motorbikes:

Bike Plok

Helicopters:

Copter Plok

FRIGGIN’ TANKS:

Tank Plok

He’s even got super-powerful alien technology at his disposal!

Saucer Plok

Those fleas clearly had NO idea who they were messing with.

But enough about Plok: the man, let’s talk more about Plok: the game.

Wait– he can also make fruits grow.

Right, now I’m done.

The great thing about it is that, on top of being really appealing to look at and having varied, easy-to-use controls, it’s never dull. You’ve got some bonus puzzles to mix things up a bit, loads of non-flea villains to battle and it even introduces an extra plot about halfway through to keep you involved.

In fact, the game risks jumping the shark by adding this extra plot thread since it means not playing as “The Great And Powerful Plok” for a while and, instead, taking charge of his grandfather, the amusingly named “Grandpappy Plok.”

Amulet Plok

In the past.

In a dream in the past.

Ok, I’m not sure why that happens but it does, just go with it.

Suddenly you’re playing as an old version of Plok, the game gets all sepia-toned and it becomes about finding some lost amulet you’re meant to have buried somewhere whenever. Granted this flashback/subplot becomes useful to the main plot later on but, the first time playing it, chances are you’ll be scratching your head wondering why Grandpappy Plok has hijacked your game.

Another good thing about this near shark-jump is it gives us some sort of character development for Plok. I think I now know where he got his bad temper:

Hurumph Plok

By the way, if I found a human femur bone buried near my house, I probably wouldn’t say “Hurumph!!!”.

I’d probably freak out.

In all fairness, this side-mission isn’t the only time the game nearly goes completely off-track. What about this mini level that looks like it could maybe give you herpes?

Herpes Plok

*shudder*

This is almost as gross as that intestinal level in Earthworm Jim.

The game also makes some questionable decisions; like the use of the term “Plokontinue,” for example:

Plokontinue

It’s no good.

There’s no such word and if there was, no-one would use it. It’s actually so awful it makes my pun in the last review look like I was quoting Emile Zola or Charles Baudelaire.

I’m also concerned about the look of the Queen Flea you fight right at the end of the game. It’s hard to explain it but there’s definitely something strange about her…

Queen Flea

Why is she so happy?

What’s with the lipstick, eyeshadow and batting eyelashes?

I mean, I get this is the game’s way of telling us this is the Queen of the fleas, especially with the crown and everything but, seeing as she’s like 12 times bigger than the baby fleas you’ve been murdering up to this point, I’d say it’s pretty redundant to emphasize that point even more.

All in all, armed with springy shoes, Plok defeats all the fleas and finally gets to sit on his favourite chair and relax.

Plok Ending

A well-deserved pay-off for one of the unspoken badasses of the Super Nintendo.

I highly recommend you try out Plok: it’s a little bit mad, a little bit awesome and a lot of fun all around.

Big thanks again to @UrzasRage for the request, I was looking for a good old game to sink my teeth into and I found just what I needed.

*starts scratching*

Wait a minute…

*scratches shoulders*

*scratches back*

*scratches head*

HURUMPH!!!

119---Mavis-Beacon-meets-Zombies
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Playing With Power

Playing With Power – Nintendo Power #2

Happy New Year!  Welcome to 2015 and issue 2 of Nintendo Power!  I’m slightly changing the set-up of my posts.  In my first few posts, I’ve been commenting on certain pages of the magazines if I notice something interesting or noteworthy but that worked when the issues were only 30 or so pages.  Now the issues are going to be 100+ pages so scrolling through all the pages to find the comments will be difficult going forward.  Also, I realized that this will be the first time many of you will be reading these magazines and I would much rather you enjoy the issues for what they are without my comments interfering with your enjoyment of the magazine.  So for that reason, I will keep my issue notes and comments to the paragraphs.

So for issue 2, the cover was quite the controversy for the time.  Video games were still a kids hobby so a picture of a severed head on a magazine that was aimed at kids did not go over well with parents in America.  Looking at it now, it’s a very dramatic cover and another cover like this wouldn’t grace the magazine for a long time.  Beyond Castlevania 2, more NES classics like Bionic Commando, Life Force and a further in-depth look at Super Mario Brothers 2 are all highlighted in the magazine this month.  They all can’t be great though so we also get a look at Renegade and Golgo 13.  The number of pages dedicated to each game in the early issues of the magazine was incredible and you can easily see why these games were drooled over by the readers.

In another part of the magazine, Counselors Corner is giving tips on Metroid, Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros.  At first I was surprised they were spending time giving tips on games that had been out since early in the system’s life but then I realized that they probably had so many new subscribers coming on to the magazine that many of them may not have seen these same tips in the Nintendo Fun Club News in previous years.  A big announcement was slipped in to the Pak Watch section with the news that Zelda II would get a very limited release in 1988 but would see full release in 1989.  We got a look at Rare and the two brothers who started the company and every kid dreamed of doing the same thing.  Finally there was a pretty cool calender included with some interesting dates including October 11th being Mario’s birthday!

I hope your enjoying the magazines as much as I am enjoying sharing them.  Do you have any memories of reading the magazine or getting any of these games as a kid?  Post in the comments and let us know! Enjoy the magazine and stay tuned for issue 3….Play with Power!

Amagon Title

The Retro Critic

Amagon

Here’s a game that’s awesome right from the start.

If nowhere near as awesome as its Japanese version, unfortunately.

Amagon is a side-scrolling NES game in which you play as some tough guy whose plane crashes on a deserted island and who is then forced to cross it on foot.

So far, so Lost.

The game’s original title is already glorious: “Totsuzen! Machoman”.

And as for the plot, feast your eyes on this genius synopsis, courtesy of Wikipedia:

The storyline written in for the original Japanese release was somewhat different. The main character is a scientist named “Jackson”, who transforms into his “Macho Man” form, using the special drug “Macho Max” that has been taken from his plane, by the creatures of “Monster Island”

What do you mean you don’t get it?

Come on, that plot totally makes sense!

Looks like someone hasn’t been taking their “Macho Max”.

Now THAT’s one storyline which would have made the first season of Lost much more bearable.

The game is instantly loveable and instantly absurd.

Level 1 Amagon

Fans of senseless animal cruelty in retro games should love Amagon since it’s pretty much all about shooting cute bunny rabbits (with bow ties?!) who fall out of trees in the mouth. Also birds, bees and whatever else happens to be breathing nearby.

Or not: even mushrooms are a threat here.

Though I’ll grant you it’s worrying that these mushrooms are bouncing around all over the place.

You’d think that some super-serum would be put to somewhat better use, say like perhaps fixing the plane you crashed? Or breaking it apart and turning it into a boat to leave the island somehow? I’m just sayin’, maybe these guys aren’t Amagon’s biggest problems right now:

Hamsters Amagon

These hamsters wouldn’t last two minutes in Krusty’s Fun House, they’re harmless.

I’m all for getting rid of blue bees, though.

Blue Bee Amagon

They shoot fireballs and s***!!

It’s weird how this type of game discriminates against specific animals, by the way. Usually, 90% of all of them are good to kill but there’s always an inexplicable 10% of animals you don’t get to massacre as they are either part of the background or platforms for you to jump on.

Turtle Amagon

Sure that’s embarrassing for them and all but it’s a pretty good deal when compared to instant brutal death!

So one second you’re riding rocket-powered turtles like you’re some kind of Tarzan Flash Gordon…

*writes Tarzan Flash Gordon down in notebook*

*makes Tarzan Flash Gordon: The Movie*

*makes millions*

*loses it all on designing a real rocket-powered turtle*

*comes back to review*

The next you’re literally clubbing elephants to death!

Elephant Amagon

Like it’s totally a good thing!

Also, I wonder if lobsters are altogether frightening enough to qualify as valid villainous sprites. I mean look at this guy:

Lobster Amagon

He couldn’t hurt a fly!

Or whatever’s kinda like a fly underwater.

As for the bosses, they’re mostly a selection of ugly big giant heads save for some evil tree and a skeleton. Oh, and whatever this last guy’s supposed to be:

Alien Nun Amagon

I’m guessing a space wizard alien nun.

Those are always trouble.

The game may look rather basic visually but it is admittedly inventive with its main character who can become muscle-bound every so often and achieve more devastating attacks that way. The rifle becomes no match for just how darn macho you can get.

No need to fight two-faced floating lion heads (yeah, that happens) with some puny non-Macho Maxed body! Yay!

Amagon is an altogether pretty fun game with a likeably goofy sense of humour…

Small Amagon

Bird Armadillo Amagon

And although it feels more like a passing joke that somehow became a very playable game, it still works surprisingly well. Abandoning the original story in the Westernized version of the game, however, was obviously a mistake as that could have added a welcome extra burst of madness to the proceedings.

As it stands, this is definitely an underrated NES title, one that’s good fun while it lasts but which you’re unlikely to truly remember past completing it. The game’s ending itself is so rushed you’ll forget it even happened almost instantly.

Ending Amagon

The End Amagon

WHAT WAS THAT?!?!

Was I playing a survival horror game this entire time and I just didn’t know it? I guess that armadillo did look at me sorta shifty…

Still, that’s a lazy ending if I ever witnessed one. I bet the original Japanese game had, like, exploding salt-shakers with brain goop oozing out of ‘em onto flying windows made of crackers and ham or something similarly surreal.

Oh well, can’t have it all.

And now, if you don’t mind…

Amagonna get outta here.

(you knew that awful pun was coming)

The End Review

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Raising a Gamer

Sonic Adventure 2 Battle

Hey parents, get off your duffs! It’s time to go fast with everyone’s favorite mildly annoying hedgehog. If you and your little ones are looking for a fast-paced action game with a variety of game-types, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle for the Nintendo GameCube might be what the Doctor (Eggman…Sonic jokes..) ordered. The Book of Knowledge tells me that Sonic Adventure 2 Battle is a beefed up version of Sonic Adventure 2 which was originally released for the ill-fated SEGA Dreamcast of yore. The GameCube iteration of the game includes some extra content; like an expanded Chao-raising system, GameBoy Advance integration and some visual upgrades that take advantage of the extra processing power of the ‘Cube. I played the Dreamcast version of Sonic Adventure 2 when I was younger; and that game, along with Shenmue, are why I still hold that console in such high regard today. Now either I stuck at some of the earlier stages, or my memory is just terrible because I barely recognize half of the stuff offered up in the GC port. It actually works out well that I don’t recall much, as it allows both Mae and I to go into this fresh. Read More

MyTwoGils

My Two Gils

New Year Resolutions – For Dummies

Happy 2015 everybody! What an exciting start to the New Year! The elevators are empty because everyone is using the stairs; you have a lot more office donuts for yourself since others are eating right; most building entrances are relatively smoke-free for a couple of weeks; it’s New Year Resolution time!
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ROMAn

1 More Countdown

Top 10 Romances in Video Games

As I mentioned last time on 1 More Countdown, January is fan appreciation month. All the lists I write during January will be suggested by YOU! The list this week was suggested by Bigjoe91 aka Jonathan Hallée. He suggested Top 10 Relationships… which I interpreted as romantic relationships… I hope that was his intention.

It doesn’t count because it’s a new game, but a HUGE honorable mention goes to “To the Moon” on Steam. Play it for a true romance story in a video game.

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Queries

Queries: Episode 4 – 1MoreCastle New Year’s Resolutions

Ya miss me? Yeah, holiday break was a lot of fun (I slept more than usual). So, originally I was gonna do “The 25 Days of 1MC”, and interview one person on the 1MoreCastle site every day leading up to Christmas, then someone alerted me to the fact that we probably don’t have 25 people on staff, so that idea went out the window. I did, though, still want other people from the site involved, so instead, I asked people to send me their New Year’s resolutions and I would compile them for a mega-post (the evolution of a super-post, but not quite an ultra-post).

So without further ado, let’s get started.

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Joshua Border Joshua Caleb (RetroHate)

I have several New Year’s Resolutions that I may or may not even be able to attempt, but hey might as well set some goals, right?

First off, I’d like to continue/revive my YouTube content efforts with a few new projects I’ve been cooking. Let’s Play type stuff like Horror on Mute, Point n Lick Adventures, I R Gamr and InRetroSpection. It’s highly doubtful I’ll be able to do all of them what with work and school and all, but I can try.

Secondly, finish off some of the big games in my infinitely long backlog. Stuff like Kingdom Hearts HD, Mass Effect 2 & 3, Watch Dogs, Shadow of the Colossus, Shadow of Mordor, the Infamous series, Bayonetta 1 & 2 etc.

Thirdly, I’d like to try getting back to fiction writing (I still have a sci-fi/fantasy series I started that’s been sitting on the back-burner for years) as well as try a few new video game columns. Aside from RetroHate which I do right here on 1MC I also had an idea of doing a journal/log of my exploits through some old-school cRPGs, a genre I never really played growing up.

Fourthly, I have a bunch of gaming books I need to read. Stuff like The Witcher series, the Myst books etc.

Finally, my all encompassing goal for this year: start a Patreon and become at least partially self-employed.

I may or may not accomplish any or all of these, in fact its highly unlikely I’ll get to half of them, but a guy can dream, right?

Chris BorderChris Swartz (Raising a Gamer)

1. Drink more water.

This should be common sense but I really need to make an effort to drink more water. At the office, I pretty much subsist on coffee exclusively. When I get home I might have a soda or beer with dinner. Rarely do I have more than one or two glasses of H2O daily. I have been noticing dark circles under my eyes and I find myself tired for no real reason. Time to start listening to that whole 8 glasses a day thing.

2. Spend more quality time with the family.

I am fortunate enough in my career that I get to come home at a reasonable hour most nights. Most of the time our evenings consist of dinner and maybe a little TV before getting ready for bed. I no longer want to simply just go through the motions. I want to start organizing family game nights or some other activity for us to do together as a family. I have to get out of the mindset that fun should only be reserved for the weekend.

3. Make 2015 the year I start my retro collection.

I have always had a fondness for the games of my youth, but never really had a reliable way to enjoy them. Rather than continue to rely on others or more.. nefarious means available online, I have decided to start really padding out my collection. Hoping to introduce my daughter (and eventually, my son) to more great retro games I want to start with consoles and peripherals that would be best suited for kids, most likely Nintendo stuff. That said, if you come across a GameCube and a copy of Donkey Konga, let me know ;)

Jonathan BorderJonathan Hallée (My Two Gils)

My New Years Resolutions are pretty simple, really.

Number one: I want to continue to focus on my backlog. I don’t have the guts to tell myself that I won’t buy any new games, but I did a good job last year to focus on completing a couple of big name classics I hadn’t finished yet and I will do the same this year. Gotta reel in that RetroGaming cred!

Number Two: My experience with indie gaming is limited… to say the least. It’s still related to a backlog, but, for indie games in particular, I want to find the one. I want to find a game that I will love without the “for an indie game” label. I’m still waiting to find one and I hope I manage to this year.

Simon BorderSimon Reed (Retro News Round-Up, The Gaming Book Club, Handheld History)

My New Years Resolution is quite simple actually – I want to look a lot more into import gaming, largely retro stuff (as region locking is becoming the norm nowadays, sadly). I’ve been told by friends and colleagues that the library of games for systems such as the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Saturn is so much larger and more varied in Japan – so I’ll be hoping to explore the games for these systems in particular. This may have to involve a trip to Japan though…we will see!

 

 

Genesis BorderGenesis Moss (The Gamer Chronicles)

To beat Shenmue and to be more faithful in making more videos.

 

 

 

 

 

Bailey BorderEric Bailey (Masterpiece Microscope, 1MC Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief)

My resolution for 2015 is pretty simple, I guess: To be more positive.

I think I am already pretty positive — I crack a lot of bad jokes, I can be goofy/silly/zany, I use my fair share of smilies in tweets and texts, etc. By intention, I try to be approachable, whether on social media or in face-to-face interactions.

But when I look back on 2014, some of my biggest regrets were the moments that I chose to take a negative slant in my engagements. Again, this takes into account both my online interactions and my “real life” ones. I am not pacifist, but there were instances in the past year where I used a voice of hate when a calm reply or outright avoidance would have served better.

Life is good. I am a happy guy, overall. I can still do better, though. And especially in arenas like gaming… you would have to be foolish to recognize that a positive contribution to the community would be more appreciated than another helping of negativity.

So, hey, rather than make fun of Microsoft for some easy retweets or lash out with insults toward someone with little consequence, I will try to encourage, affirm, and assist instead.

Pierre BorderPierre Goguen (Game Overkill, GMZ)

Anyway, New Year’s Resolutions, eh? Honestly, I’ve never made any, but I did kind of “resolve” to do one thing recently. I decided to start doing it a few months before New Year’s Day, but I also plan to keep doing it for the next year, so I’m gonna use it. I decided to only buy video games if they are needed for Game Overkill. I might be going on strike this year at work, so that’ll put a large dent in my income, so I shouldn’t be spending much money on things like video games. This will also mean I should be putting a good dent into my backlog. Since I only have about 15 or 20 games on Steam/GOG, my backlog isn’t ridiculous, but it’s still just under 200 games.

So that’s it. If you see me tweeting about buying a new game, you can go ahead and assume it will be for Game Overkill in some fashion.

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So there you have it. You might be wondering what my resolution is. To that, I say: relax more. I stress myself out a lot, and I’ve found recently that I need to take more sabbaticals. Even only thirty minutes or so, where I can just tune out and stretch, maybe listen to some good music.

Anyway, there will be another post this month (which, at the time of writing this, is almost done being put together). I hope you guys enjoy it.

Till next time, seeya around folks.

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N64 Connoisseur

N64 Review #16- Aerofighters Assault

A thought came to me last week. It seems that we have lost a whole genre of games in the shuffle. I know RPG’s and Shootie Bangs are all the rage and as fun as they are, something is missing. Something we used to love and hold dear is now forgotten and lost. I am, of course, talking about aerial combat games. It’s no secret that I adore games like Star Fox 64Captain Skyhawk and Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, but what happened? A couple of Ace Combat games and we’re done? No, says I. If I can’t have a modern aerial combat game, I’ll go to the archives and so I fired up Aerofighters Assault. Read More

Rastan Title

The Retro Critic

Rastan

Between the time when the consoles drank the arcades and the rise of the sons of Playstation, there was an age undreamed of.

And unto this, Rastan, destined to wear the jeweled crown of Taito upon a troubled brow.

It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga.

Let me tell you of the days of high Sega adventure!
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