My Retro Game Box
About a month ago I stumbled across something called “My Retro Game Box” on my friend’s Facebook feed. It was another one of those box-a-month subscription programs where they fill a box with random goodies and send it to you, except this one was specifically retro video games. Obviously I was immediately interested. I did some research and found out that it’s a relatively new, small mom & pop operation run out of Scotland. Now my collection has gotten to the point where the games that I am missing are very specific, so I was a little skeptical about signing up for a subscription where I would be sent random games. But I was curious enough to see how it all worked out, so I signed up for 1 month just to check it out.
They’re very friendly and right off the bat they send you a questionnaire asking you to list all the games you have for NES, SNES, Genesis/Mega Drive, N64, Sega Master System, Game Boy, and Game Boy Advance and then even asked what game preferences you had and said they would strive their best not to send you things outside of your personal tastes. One of the things I found most intriguing, is that they give you the option to get PAL or NTSC games. Doubtful it would ever reach me, but I’d love to see Probotector, the PAL version of Contra where everything is a robot, arrive in one of my boxes. They give you the option to do subscriptions by 1 month for £23, 3 months for £65, 6 months £125, and a year for £230. All those prices are in British pounds sterling btw, for those who didn’t understand what they funny symbol was. I was glad they single month purchases for those who wish to remain noncommittal and it allowed me to take just a taste of what they had to offer.
A few days ago, in my mailbox was a unassuming, nondescript, small, rectangular, brown box. And I never would have known it was from a subscription service if it didn’t have a little round sticker on it from, “My Retro Game Box.” To add to the mystery of what games you are randomly sent, they place them in these delightful little striped paper bags. I ended up getting Wrath of the Black Manta and Defender of the crown, both for the NES and both rather ho-hum games. But I also got Dr. Mario for the Game Boy and it was the PAL version, so I was happy about that. I’d actually rather get PAL games. Feels more exotic.
Overall, I’m pleased with this service. I decided to go for another month more out of curiosity than anything else. There’s something exciting about random video games. With ebay, Craig’s List, Amazon, etc, the thrill of the hunt is gone. I don’t expect to ever get Earthbound, or Chrono Trigger or anything of course, but there’s almost 800 games for the NES alone and I don’t even have half of them. My only complaint with My Retro Game Box would have to be their website. It’s rather bland and unintuitive. I understand that they are just starting out and it’s only like 2 people working on it, so I can look past it.
Working on some Longplays
Been doing a lot of longplay vids lately. Posting some of my more favorite ones below. Anyone interested in doing some co-op longplays, drop me a line and come be a part time member of the Squad.
Gamergate – who cares?
Yeah I know I’m a little late on this. Haven’t really cared to keep up with current events since I’ve been so preoccupied with my newborn.
I only just learned about gamergate a few days ago and all I can say is, holy shit, what’s the fuss about? So some chick allegedly fucked someone to improve her position. Like this has never been done before. And it’s not like good reviews haven’t been bought off in various ways before. Since when is journalism about integrity and ethics? I always assume that any review that comes from a reviewer that isn’t completely independent is a paid for review anyway. Someone wants to fuck their way to the top – who cares? The only thing that makes Zoe Quinn a bad person is that she supposedly cheated on her partner, which should remain out of public scrutiny anyway since that in itself has not a god damn thing to do with video games, so ultimately, who cares?
And as I understand it, this became a whole big male vs female thing. Why? Is there some imagined slight that women feel they need to constantly prove themselves as gamers? Or does this really happen? Are guys really such assholes that they can’t offer some wiggle room to allow the girls a shot at the controller? Video games are neutral gender. That’s something that I’ve always enjoyed about them. Why was there fighting over this bullshit? The only fights with video games that ever really mattered are Nintendo vs Sega and Sony vs Microsoft, and even those are complete bullshit arguments. The point of video games and being a gamer is as follows: HAVE FUN AND ENJOY THE ENTERTAINMENT. That’s it. That’s all video games need to be about, put as succinctly as possible. And if you disagree, then you’re in the wrong medium.
Sonic Fan Remix
Sonic Generations finally released last week and most of you probably don’t even care. And who’s to blame you? The last…decade maybe of Sonic games have been awful. Although, Sonic Colors was pretty good. Too bad it was only on the Wii and DS, pretty much ruining any legitimacy it might have gained. Sonic Generations however is really awesome. But that’s not what this post is about. It’s about a fan made Sonic game that I played some time ago and was disappointed because it never came to full fruition.
Back when I first heard they were doing a Sonic 4, I started to do some research to find out release dates, style, graphics, etc. and I stumbled upon the Sonic Fan Remix. After seeing only a couple of screen shots, I immediately sought out a demo. The project was being lead by Pelikan13, who has unfortunately stopped production. Despite only releasing a couple demos with a few playable stages, the fan remix was still loads better than Sega’s official Sonic 4 release. A lot of things kept that game from being a good side-scroller; the momentum in Sonic 4 felt all wrong for starters, and overall I don’t think it really recaptured the essence of its 16-bit ancestors. Sonic Fan Remix just feels right, like putting on a pair of socks fresh out of the dryer on a cold winter day. SFR has vibrant colors, great lighting effects, weather effects like rain and wind in the trees, it has more lush backgrounds and foregrounds (though some say it’s too overpopulated with stuff), and mainly just feels more like an authentic Sonic game. Pelikan13 has said that it’s possible he may return to the game at some point in the future, but I won’t hold my breath. Like too many fan made and indie games, it will probably never see completion. I guess I understand. Making a game for free doesn’t pay the bills.
Check out the Sonic Fan Remix homepage for some screenshots and a video. Unfortunately the download link there doesn’t work anymore. A lot of hosting sites I’ve seen have taken down the demo, but it’s still accessible on fileplanet and various other sites. But here’s a favor. I’ve got the link directly to the download right here. This is the most complete version I’ve seen. It’s got 3 stages in the Emerald Hill Zone, the first zone from Sonic 2. There’s also a less complete demo of the Chemical Plant Zone which you can download here. Both are executable files with nothing to install. So take a few minutes and enjoy the demos and if you like them, let Pelikan13 know. Maybe with a big enough push we can see a complete remake.
Why on earth did I not list this as part of my top picks from E3? Now I know what you’re thinking, “Sonic? Really?” Yes, really. For those of you who didn’t grow up with the Sega Genesis, I feel bad that you’ve, for the most part, had only crappy Sonic games to deal with. Sonic Adventures was all right though, but there was too much stuff you had to do that really bogged down the game… like Big the Cat.
There has been a demo available to download for a few weeks now, check it out. Unfortunately it only has 1 level of the classic Sonic mode. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it would be nice if they showed you both styles of play. Classic is fun, it plays exactly like the Genesis version, but with a few tweaks here and there and a major graphical overhaul. It would be cool if they added a feature that allowed you to play it in 16 bit mode. Modern Sonic mode plays more like Sonic Colors. Which, if you haven’t played it, is actually a decent game. Modern Sonic is more about blazing speed; you almost never stop running. It’s awesome that they put both types into one game. I guess it could really expand the appeal of who’s going to buy it. I mean the handheld Sonic games have been somewhat like classic ones, but for the most part kids buy those. Putting both types into one game and on a console really opens up the age boundaries. And if you own a 3D TV, the visuals in the modern Sonic mode look amazing. The sense of speed you get running right behind a 3D Sonic feels even more intense.
I haven’t been this excited about a Sonic game in nearly 15 years. Too bad it comes out holiday 2011 when the wallet’s gonna be tight with all the other big new releases coming out. Is it wrong that I’m more excited about Sonic Generations than Call of Duty? This might even be the game that causes me to upgrade to a 3D TV.
And for those of you who are too lazy to look this up on youtube yourself, I did the favor for you and put it right here. You can’t imagine the overwhelming impatience I get when I watch this video, knowing I still have 4 more months to wait. Enjoy.