Xbox Live Arcade and its contemporaries are interesting places to look back over. Since XBLA and PSN were some of the first high-profile digital storefronts for console gaming, a lot of companies decided to get a bit experimental with their low-cost, download-only releases.
For some developers, this meant the opportunity to experiment with new and exciting styles of game that probably wouldn’t have gotten greenlit by retail publishers at the time. For others, it was a good excuse to return to some of their classic properties that had lain dormant for a while — and a chance to bring these beloved names kicking and screaming into the digital, high-definition age.
Konami’s Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition from 2012 very much falls into the latter category, as you might expect. And while it’s a far from essential part of any digital console library, it does manage to keep the essence of Frogger intact while providing some intriguing new ways to play — particularly if you have friends over.
Continue reading Frogger Hyper Arcade Edition: Froggy Moves One Step At a Time
Mappy is perhaps not one of Namco’s most well-known arcade games from the early days — here in the West, anyway — but it’s still one that the company frequently acknowledges and pays tribute to.
Many of the cars in the Ridge Racer series feature “sponsorship” by the series, for example, and the first Mappy title, which we’re concerned with today, was successful enough to spawn several sequels. There was even an animated series made in 2013 as part of Namco’s ShiftyLook initiative, but sadly this is no longer officially available.
Whether you’re a longstanding fan of the series or a newcomer, you can now enjoy the original Mappy’s NES port as part of the Namco Museum Collection 1 for the Evercade retro gaming platform. So let’s take a closer look!
Continue reading Mappy: Your Move, Cat
Data East may be a slightly lesser-known company than the big hitters of the 8- and 16-bit era, but they still put out some cracking arcade games during this period, many of which got home ports.
One fine example is Burnin’ Rubber, which is also known, depending on where you are in the world and what platform you played it on, as either Bump ‘n’ Jump or Buggy Popper.
It’s a top down racer that predates Bally Midway’s better-known classic of the genre Spy Hunter by a full year, and you can play an official modern rerelease of the NES version right now on the Evercade retro gaming handheld as part of its third cartridge, Data East Collection 1. Let’s take a closer look!
Continue reading Burnin’ Rubber: Let’s Bump ‘n’ Jump
It’s arcade classic time today on Atari ST A to Z, with the game that supposedly popularised the idea of two-player cooperative gameplay.
Joust, originally developed by Williams for the arcade in 1982, was a well-regarded and influential game, and found itself ported to a wide variety of platforms over the years — including numerous Atari systems.
The Atari ST version showed up in 1986 — better late than never — and provided a solid adaptation of the arcade original for those who fancied some classic cooperative action on their 16-bit home computer. Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
Following on from my article about it, I felt compelled to show the wonder that is G-LOC to all of you.
If you’ve never encountered this game, it’s one of the later Super Scaler games from Sega in the arcades, and until the recent Sega Ages release for Nintendo Switch, it has never had a particularly good conversion to home consoles.
Now though… whoo. You have to tear me away from this damn game. Enjoy the video below, and subscribe on YouTube for more.
We’ve got it pretty good these days. Even if we haven’t quite mastered true photorealism as yet, we’re getting pretty close, and a lot of game developers have really figured out what is and isn’t fun for the player.
Back in Hard Drivin’s day, though, all sorts of things were still new, exciting and unproven. 3D polygonal graphics, analogue controls, simulation-style handling… all of these things still had to be figured out properly. But Atari Games had a good old crack at it, and actually came out with a decent — if somewhat limited — driving experience.
And, moreover, we actually got a fairly authentic port to Atari ST, too — albeit without all the fancy specialist hardware of the arcade version. But, again, it was a more than valiant effort…
Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.
Rolling Thunder is a classic Namco title with good reason. Its slower pace, methodical gameplay and learnable patterns make it an obvious precursor to the stealth games of today.
Its 1990 sequel offers more of the same in many ways — but with considerably enhanced visuals, refined mechanics and presentation and an all-new option to enjoy the game with two players simultaneously.
It’s not nearly as well known as its predecessor, but it’s a great game in its own right. And, conveniently, it’s part of the Namco Museum collection on Nintendo Switch!
Continue reading Rolling Thunder 2: Leila Takes the Lead
Yes, yes, yes, I know it was Halloween yesterday and thus I was supposed to cover a spooky game then, but I was busy then, so you’re getting it now instead.
Splatterhouse is a classic 1988 horror game from Namco, and there are a variety of ways you can play it today — the most recent and readily accessible of which is the excellent Namco Museum on Switch.
It’s also a very interesting game to look back on from a modern perspective, given how popular horrific, gory games have become as the gaming medium has matured.
Continue reading Splatterhouse: Elements of Horror
One of the nice things about the two Taito Legends compilations on PS2, Xbox and PC (and the separate PSP release, which acts as a kind of “best of” compilation containing elements of both) is that it includes both well-known games and more obscure affairs.
One such example of the latter is The Electric Yo-Yo, an unusual Taito America game from 1982 that is so obscure that it doesn’t even have its own Wikipedia page (shock!). If Giant Bomb’s rather bare-bones page on the game is to be believed, it seems that it wasn’t all that well-received back in the day — but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in MoeGamer’s lifetime, it’s that it’s always worth considering something on its own merits, devoid of its original context and popular reception.
And y’know what? I kinda like The Electric Yo-Yo. I mean, sure, it’s kind of infuriating and I’ve hurled some deeply offensive language at it during my time with it… but I still kinda like it.
Continue reading Taito Essentials: The Electric Yo-Yo
New Zealand, as beautiful a country as it is, is not a place that gets a lot of attention. I mean, it’s tucked away down there right in the corner of the map where everyone forgets about it.
However, back in 1988, the country left a sufficiently lasting impression on one of Taito’s programmers that, upon his return from holiday, he wanted to make it a setting for a new arcade game.
The result was The New Zealand Story. And it’s one of Taito’s most interesting games.
Continue reading Taito Essentials: The New Zealand Story