Editor's Note: Aftera brief hiatus, the RGotW community feature returns. I'm too young to have played this game -- or to have even seen it at an arcade -- but it seems that Sinistar lives up to its name. I believe it is also historically significant, as an influence on many later space shooters, so take note if you're into video-game history. -mossy_11
RUN RUN RUN! Greetings classic gamers! It's time for yet another instalment of Pixelcade's "games you may have not heard about" segment. This time, we are going to take a look at Sinistar by Williams.
Let me get the technical details out of the way first. Year: 1982; cabinet type: Space Shooter Vertical Cabinet or Environmental; players: 2, but only one at a time; input: two buttons, one joystick; MONO Sound (yes kids, I said MONO -- as in one channel of audio). So with those technical details gone done lets see what's going on here.
1982: I was crying my eyes out as that little lovable alien E.T. couldn't get a calling card to phone home. Ozzy found love and married his manager Sharon. And I was busy playing my Colecovision and still picking my nose. On trips to the local arcade one could hear dozens of games in attract mode, begging you to approach and put in that lovely silver quarter.
Editor's Note: I wasn't alive when Tron came out, but Pixelcade's youth was touched by both the original film and the many games it spawned. Check out this detailed run-down of the franchise, which is fused as always with a personal history.-mossy_11
1982 -- Robotron 2084 was driving people crazy fighting the hordes of robots bent on our destruction, Men at Work were asking “Who Can It Be Now,” and a young programmer/hacker named Kevin Flnn (Jeff Bridges) decided to hack into ENCOM. This would be the start of a great adventure into 3D graphics in film and a franchise that has a huge niche market around the world.
The movie Tron started as an animated feature, but cooler heads prevailed and Lisberger Studios pushed for live action and 3D technology well ahead of its time. It was all about sucking the player into the game and virtual world -- something today's viewing audience takes for granted. On July 9, 1982 Tron earned over $33 million -- in the U.S. alone -- and spawned what we are starting to see come back full circle this December 16th.
Imagine a house filled with thousands of rooms, each unique in some small way. Now pretend that its occupants are mysteriously absent, yet the house is teeming with life, and there is no connection whatsoever to the world outside -- not even a single window. Goldfish jump in and out of their bowls, which are haphazardly placed high and low all around. A nearby basketball bounces of its own accord. Elsewhere, an exposed pipe drips water in a darkened room and balloons magically rise through the floor.
Paper helicopters materialise out of the ether, only to disappear just as suddenly, while two slices of bread hop up and down in a toaster that sits on a small table. And you are a paper airplane, at the mercy of air currents, whose very survival depends on the avoidance of these strange and wonderful -- yet simultaneously mundane -- household objects.
This is the world of Glider, a classic Mac game with a devoted fan base that remained strong for over a decade. It spawned from the mind of John Calhoun, whose childhood was filled with dreams such as the one described above. His dreams took on a kind of reality with the release of Glider 1.0 in 1988, although this first version was rather simpler.
The game evolved considerably over the following decade -- growing in depth and complexity, expanding its fan base, adding a level editor, and even picking up a commercial release. This is the story of the origins and evolution of Glider, from its humble beginnings as a mere experiment to the aftermath of Glider PRO -- the final version of the game.
Razzle Dazzle! Boomshakalaka! He’s on fire! These nonsense words and phrases are permanently imprinted on my psyche, so great was the impact that Midway's arcade basketball game, NBA Jam, had on my youth. In honour of the recent franchise reboot, I’m taking a look back at the original NBA Jam. I hope you’ll join me.
When I was a kid, my friends would often have their birthday parties at video game arcades. We had the entire arcade to ourselves for a few hours, with unlimited play on any machine. The first thing I looked for was always NBA Jam; I couldn’t get enough of its wild antics and crazy fun. This was basketball, minus the boring bits, with the kind of self-mocking edginess that attracted me to movies like Wayne’s World and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
Editor's note: I was playing the game while I edited the article. It strikes me as being just as interesting and fun as Pixelcade says, and I can't help but wonder why Spore was not more like this. Check out the article, then get the game -- evolving your creature is immediately addictive and satisfying. -mossy_11
At some point in my misery called high school, on a good ol' fashioned "I don't feel well" sick day (which was conveniently a Friday), I drove up to the local video store and looked for a few games. Browsing the covers it seemed to me that every game was the same -- I had either played it or had no desire to. Out of nowhere appeared this cool looking box with the letters E.V.O.: Search for Eden (although with all the cool graphics I only noticed the E.V.O. part).
The back of the box had my favorite style of pixel graphics, featuring lots of color and creative designs. I thought, "What the hey, I'll give this one a shot for the weekend." Upon getting home and powering it up I was welcomed by an impressive musical score, which played as the game's title came into view over a space shot of half our planet. I have always enjoyed science and the history of how things came to be, but I had no idea I was about to embark on a creative study of evolution and the geological time scale, as they were understood by scientists at the time.
The rise of the CD-ROM in the 1990s brought great excitement to artists and storytellers interested in the digital medium. At last they could explore the concept of multimedia -- sound, animation, text, and graphics could be put together in one coherent piece of artistry and shipped out to millions of people.
It worked in theory, but not so much in practice. Most multimedia CD-ROMs released commercially were awkward to use, uneven in their artistry, and downright boring to explore. Many tried to cross the line from “interactive multimedia” to “game” -- to mixed success.
But one in particular was always likely to be an exceptionally successful -- in quality if not sales numbers -- piece of interactive multimedia. It was Ceremony of Innocence, an adaptation of artist and author Nick Bantock's Griffin and Sabine trilogy.
Editor's Note: I remember seeing advertisements for this game on TV and thinking it looked absolutely hilarious in its reversal of "cute" cartoon characterizations. HDL gives you the low-down on just how deep and "mature" the humor ran in this uncharacteristically adult Nintendo 64 action-adventure/platform game. -mossy_11
Ever wonder what an obscene version of Looney Tunes would be like? If youʼve ever imagined vulgarities coming from characters like Bugs Bunny, you may have some idea of what this game has in store.
Unlike most games with a cartoony approach, Conker's Bad Fur Day makes no effort to hide its brusque nature, even before you start playing. Not long after the game is turned on, protagonist Conker the Squirrel cuts the iconic Nintendo 64 logo straight down the middle with a chainsaw. Even the gameʼs menu select screen is actually a tavern, containing many of the crazy characters Conker will interact with in his story. This approach was partially responsible for the gameʼs less-than-stellar commercial success, on top of being released only months before the GameCube in 2001.
Editor's Note: I've never heard of this game, but it looks interesting -- like a more complicated Lunar Lander with added story elements and better physics. Pixelcade gives you a run-down. - mossy_11
Welcome readers back to the "games that you probably didn't know existed and have lots of gravity and physics involved in them" series. This week I bring to you Solar Jetman: Hunt for the Golden Warship. The game was developed by Zippo Games for Rare and released in the US by Tradewest, then in Europe by Nintendo. I'm not sure how that lineage goes but well there it is (as laid out by Wikipedia). I first encountered Solar Jetman at a yard sale in the early 90's and to my luck found a great game for a super low price. Upon bringing it home and powering up my NES I was hooked.
You control a small jet pod that is ejected from your main mothership. Should your jet pod be destroyed (1 hit unless your shields are running) you revert to a single lone space explorer. This does not end your game but makes you a very easy target. If you return to the mothership you'll be given another pod to continue the mission. The real challenge is getting the items you collect back to the mothership. With gravity being different you have to be creative on how to move them. Some will suck you right back to the surface while others will not even move an inch.