Etsy Store Up And Running
Finally got the Etsy store up in full swing for the NES reproductions; making selling them much easier for both the buyer and myself. It still needs some work, but it’s up. I’ve even got my first sale and review already.
Chorus of Mysteries – Castlevania Hack
This hack has been out for some time, but only just recently finished a custom label for it. I rather like how it came out. Possibly my favorite one yet. I always enjoy the classic Konami style NES labels though. Click on the image if you want to check out a gameplay video.
Oh! Also, I finally opened up my Etsy shop. It’s still a little sparse at the moment, but I figured it would make things easier for anyone interested in purchasing a cart. Not sure why I didn’t do that earlier. Laziness or foolishness. Both probably.
The Future of Gaming is in the Past
Recently an article came up in my feed called, “The 20 Greatest Things About to happen to Your PS4.” http://www.gamespot.com/gallery/the-20-greatest-things-about-to-happen-to-your-ps4/2900-197/
Granted there were about 3 or 4 games on that list that I am genuinely excited about (the Final Fantasy VII Remake is not one of them, just in case there was any confusion). But it made me realize how completely ho-hum I feel about this current console cycle. A few of my friends have talked about how both the PS4 and the Xbox One have been big wastes of money and I’m almost always an optimist about the potential gaming consoles can have, but this is it? We should totally be in full swing of a new console cycle and I can’t get excited for more than just a few games?
I still play my old cartridge games way more than any of this next gen stuff. Luckily, there has been a huge influx if indie-developed, retro-style games released as of late. However, they always feel like they take backseat to their high profile cousins. I miss the majesty of opening a new game. Yes it’s friggin majestic! I miss not having to install a game for a half hour before I can play it. I miss not having another 15 minutes of updates and then a 5 minute loading screen thereafter. I MISS INSTRUCTION MANUALS! If you’re going to make me wait 30 minutes to play the game I just got, at least give me a manual to read while I take a dump and wait.
Some months ago I heard about the Retro Video Game System; Something I thought was a joke based on the name alone. Turns out it’s a thing that’s actually happening and they’re going to be starting up a Kickstarter campaign in September. What is Retro VGS you ask? Retro VGS is a full cartridge based console with brand new games being developed for it that the big publishers hopefully will be keeping their hands off of. I’ll repeat that again: Brand new game IPs produced in cart format.
At first I was a little skeptical, and still am to be honest. There are 3 things I can see as hurdles for this system really gaining traction.
1) I’m still worried about price. Not of the console itself, but the games. Cart games cost more to physically manufacture than disc games. But we’ll see. I’m sure they know that in order to be relevant, they can’t have restrictive pricing.
2) Retro and cart gaming is really a niche market. I’m not sure I see this really gaining mainstream success. Even those that consider themselves retro gamers tend to download and emulate the software.
3) It’s modeled after the Jaguar. To be more specific, they actually acquired the tooling from Atari for both the console and the game shells. This saved money and explains why it looks this way. But modelling it after a failed system is like asking a known sex offender to babysit for you – it might turn out OK, but why take that risk?
Either way, I’m super excited for this console. There’s already been a handful of games announced and it’s even going to get a pack-in game – another long dead tradition. Barring an absurdly Neo-Geo-like price tag, there’s nothing that would keep me from hopping on the Kickstarter campaign. The only way to get one of the custom colored consoles mind you. You can head to the official web page here: http://www.retrovgs.com/ to check out the systems specs and get a look at some of the games planned.
Adventure Island IV & Donkey Kong Pie Factory
Two more completed carts ready to roll out. Took me forever to make the label for Donkey Kong. Not that it was hard or anything, I just couldn’t land on a design I liked for it. Eventually landed on the classic arcade image and I think it fits rather well.
Adventure Island IV was never released in America. It came out in 1994 for the Japanese Famicom and by that time, the Super Nintendo had already cemented itself as the preeminent system. So this, like many other games that were developed late in the life of the original NES, was never given its fair shake on the American market.
Not sure how to accurately label this one. I would call it Original Donkey Kong, but they already have that for the NES, but it’s not an entirely accurate title. So Donkey Kong Pie Factory I suppose would be the best choice, but it makes it sound like an entirely different game. What it is, is the complete arcade version of Donkey Kong with the extra level that was removed from the NES console version.
Homemade Mother 3 carts for GBA!
Decided that I wanted to make some GBA repros as well. There’s a few GBA games that never came out here that I’d like to have a cart for; not too many, but enough to make me interested in the endeavor. What better one to start with than Mother 3.
That being said, they’re kind of a pain in the butt to make and I don’t think I’d ever really do this in any sizable quantities, unless of course someone has a stock of blank GBA PCBs out there.
So obviously Mother 3 is one of the hot ones, but what’s next? Anyone have any suggestions? Anything they know of they’d like to see in cart format? There’s a Suikoden card game I was thinking of doing…
Fun With Beads!
An Ice Hockey RPG?
Certain games never make it past development for stupid reasons. I can’t find a good one for Hit the Ice not being released. A hockey game with RPG elements and slap-stick humor (pun intended!). You can’t miss (also pun intended?). Anyway, it’s a silly, fun game that never made it past the prototype phase. They had the rom and the cart out there, but no finished product. Click on the picture below if you’d like to see some gameplay footage and send me a message if you’d be interested in owning your own copy!
Crushing Double Dragon
I’m pretty sure everyone has fond memories of Double Dragon, especially the arcade original. Double Dragon is essentially the reason we have the brawler/beat ’em up genre, which next to RPGs, is my favorite type of game. In the arcade, you might not have ever realized how unforgiving the game can be because you can always just keep dumping more quarters into it until you win. The NES versions of I, II, and III give you a good taste of what “Nintendo hard” means. I and II – 3 lives with no continues. And they both have stupid platforming parts. WHY?! Why does a brawler have platforming? If there was at least a singular jump button, maybe I could understand. But you have to press both punch and kick together to jump and it’s just not conducive accurate timing. III gives you 1 life. There have been many times I wasn’t even able to get past stage 1. At least after stage 2, you get additional characters.
Up until these longplays, I had NEVER in my life beaten the original Double Dragon for NES. Would always make it to the 4th mission and those stupid blocks would kill me. Or do enough damage there’s no way I could get past that last set of Abobo’s.
Mega Man 8 Longplay
We just wrapped up making a longlpay recording of Mega Man 8 for PS1. General consensus is that it’s one of the worst classic style Mega Man games in the series. The addition of character voices was not necessary and actually more than a little annoying. Not to mention the soundtrack being sub par, which is usually one of the high points of Mega Man games. Personally my least favorite, but still better than most other action/platformers. Your thoughts?
Adventures of Pip – Full Playthrough
Just finished beating Adventures of Pip, by Tic Toc Games. The full release will be available in May for Xbox One, PS4, 360, PC, Mac and Wii U, but it got an early release on Steam. I’m not sure how completely done the game is though. At least I’m hoping what was released on Steam isn’t the finished product. It seems almost fully polished. It’s a solid platformer with excellent controls and all gameplay elements are there and I didn’t encounter any bugs, but it’s lacking some music. Worlds 2 and 3 use the same tracks and every stage in each world uses the same music throughout. Boss music is also sadly absent. There just wasn’t enough variety. Jake Kaufman is responsible for the soundtrack and I’ve never been disappointed by his work, so I’m hoping it all just hasn’t been added in yet.
Honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of pure platforming games. I’ll play them, but they tend to get too aggravating too fast or I simply lose interest because there’s generally no substance. Adventures of Pip provided just the right amount of difficulty (for me anyway) and had a few challenges but nothing that got too rage-quit inducing. For the less casual platform gamer, I can see this game getting picked up and blown through in a single sitting.
Overall I enjoyed the game, which for the designer of a platformer, is quite a challenge to get me to say. Below is the full playthrough done on Twitch, laid out stage by stage. We had some technical difficulties throughout. Audio levels especially in the first video. It’s mostly the commentary (which is asinine anyway) that has problems. Game audio is pretty much fine.