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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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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
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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

Road Trip

Raising a Gamer

Retro on the Go!

Traveling as a kid I can remember how miserable long family car trips could be. My mom tried to make it as bearable as possible, but there is only so much that you can do when stuck in the car for hours on end. My Game Boy became my best friend on those long car rides. I remember my first play-through of Pokémon (Blue is best) came on a trip down to Florida from Maryland. My Game Boy Pocket and a bag of AAA batteries kept both me and my mom from going insane on those long rides.

This past weekend, my Grandfather’s 90th birthday celebration was was held in the middle of nowhere Appalachia at a cabin they had rented for the weekend. (Deep in the Smoky Mountains, where cell phone towers dare not tread…) In order to attend his birthday weekend, we had to pack up the car and chug along for ten or so hours (no cruise control by the way). Rather than go the traditional route by giving my daughter, Mae, a tablet to keep her occupied, I stuck a Game Boy in her hands loaded with a few games and set out on our trip.

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These headphones were way larger in person..like hilariously large.

The games I have on the Game Boy for Mae are Tasmanian Devil: Munching Madness and Yogi Bear’s Gold Rush. We also have Pokémon Blue which I played while my wife was driving. The drive was long but being able to entertain our four year old made for a much smoother trip. With the dimly lit screen, I can easily see why so many 3rd party peripherals were created to make the Game Boy more user-friendly. The Game Boy experience was pretty great as long as we had direct sunlight, as soon as the clouds set in the screen became harder to see and required special angling in order to use. I will be on the look out for a Light Boy, some extra light and magnification would be very beneficial in getting a rambunctious four year old to sit down and try out a few games.

Tasmanian Devil: Munching Madness is a top down platformer that allows you to control, you guessed it, the Tasmanian Devil. As one might expect, the game is fast paced and sort of all over the place, but it sure has a catchy soundtrack. Taz was able to keep Mae occupied in between those long stretches between pit stops. We have these big obnoxious headphones which kept the 8-bit tunes pumping and provided a constant source of laughter for my wife and I considering they are roughly the same size as Mae’s head.

Something I wanted to mention about the music in this game, It’s just great. the music from the first stage is so catchy that I actually went searching for a way to download it onto my iPod.

I could only find the GBC version of the song which is basically the same.

Our final destination was a log cabin tucked away in the mountains so I thought it might be a good idea to bring along something that would get Mae thinking about the great outdoors, you know..for education and such. Well that was a bust, but I did find Yogi Bear’s Gold Rush…which is about bears…bears live in the mountains, so I guess I was on the right track?

Yogi Bear is a pretty basic platformer that plays a little like a Super Mario clone. You run through the forests and caves collecting picnic baskets and jumping on mushrooms. Although she didn’t make very much progress, she still enjoyed the game and played it for a while on the car ride and while waiting for everyone to wake up on Saturday morning. She told me that she actually preferred making Yogi Bear stand still because he starts dancing if you leave him alone for a while.

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She woke up early and immediately grabbed the Game Boy.

Overall, the Game Boy is a great way to introduce your little one to retro gaming while still allowing you to keep your sanity on the trip. The Game Boy was also helpful in keeping her occupied during those lulls between family events. I think it is funny that  20+ years ago I was using my Game Boy in the same way that Mae is using hers now… to avoid uncomfortable interactions with distant relatives. A few accessories and this bad boy will be able to provide enjoyment for our whole family for a long time to come.

MyTwoGils

My Two Gils

Top 5 Retrogaming Moments (Spoiler Free)

The number one is from the first Super Mario Brothers. Why did I tell you that upfront? I did it to hurt you. Do you feel the disappointment?  That feeling, is it familiar to you? Do you feel betrayed? Like someone crossed the line? Is your heart broken? Is this your heart bleeding before me? Is this you down on your knees? These foolish games are tearing you apart. These thoughtless spoilers are breaking your heart. They’re breaking your heart.
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Rampage World Tour Arcade Logo
hvsh

RetroHate

Stupid Blinkin’ Sprites

You know in Pac-Man, that one ghost Blinky, who doesn’t actually blink? What if he did “blink” or rather, flicker in and out (you know like “real” ghosts do)? In fact, what if all the ghosts in Pac-Man flickered in and out of view? The game would probably be near unplayable.
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Tetris The Movie

The Retro Critic

Tetris The Movie: A Preview

So there’s talk of a possible Tetris sci-fi live-action movie and I, for one, am all for it!

I love Tetris!

And if Clue can be a movie, then why can’t a beloved retro gem like Tetris be a movie too?

Now, if we’re really going to take this news seriously, we’re going to have to set an example because we, as retro gamers and retro gaming aficionados, have the power to influence Hollywood this time and help steer this project towards something a little bit better than that House Of The Dead movie, for instance.

Let’s put our heads together and try to figure out the best way to make a Tetris movie work.
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