Last week, I picked up Retro Game Challenge
for the DS during the sale at Best Buy. Since then, I've been plying it almost nonstop. I realize this is kind of an older title now, but I want to talk about it for a bit anyway. Quite simply, this game is
my childhood: crystallized, crushed, and converted to a fine powder. The parallels are many and varied... Your player character has sporadic access to game review/hint magazines (I wasn't allowed to subscribe to Nintendo Power
, so getting an old copy from a friend occasionally was the best I could do). Though the game received an excellent translation, the games and their manuals are slightly mistranslated, leading to some quotes that rival the famous "A winner is you!" Everything from writing codes down on a piece of notebook paper to holding the manual open in your lap is represented through clever use of the dual-screen setup. Occasionally, your friend (who sits next to you and watches you play, much as my brother did) will even chime up with some rumor or another he picked up on the playground. While these occasionally don't work, they do usually have a nugget of truth to them. This game was clearly developed by people who not only grew up at the same time I did, but had the same passion for gaming.
All of that would be worthless if the games themselves weren't any good, but they are... all of them are. The games start off simply, (the first, Cosmic Gate,
offers a little more depth than Galaga,
but not much) but as you move forward through time, they get progressively more advanced and challenging. Even the genres I don't normally enjoy (racing, shmups) are fast paced, fun and easy to get the hang of. And like the best games of my generation, they all require practice to master.
I hope I've made myself perfectly clear-- Retro Game Challenge
is one of the best purchases I've made in the last year. It's a steal at $20, and even if you didn't grow up during this time period, you can probably have fun with the games and learn a little bit about gaming's history. Or an alternate history, anyway. If you don't already have it, I highly recommend tracking down a copy before they disappear. I'm seriously considering importing the sequel, something I've never done before. It's a shame that this wasn't more successful at its initial release, but please take my advice and get it while you can.
Ok, end rant. The game's story is a little silly, but rather like the games it is paying homage to, that doesn't really matter too much. It's loosely based on the Game Center CX
Television show, wherein an endearing but unskilled man named Arino does his best to meet certain challenges in retro video games. They're not hard to find on YouTube... here's a bit of one of my favorite episodes, where Arino takes on the wholly evil Ghouls and Ghosts.
Lots and lots of quality blogs today. Be sure to read more than just the Topsauce, there are some great ones in the Articles section of Wordtoid as well.
*-Tascar returned with a great counterpoint to Jim Sterling's article about the evils of used games.
*-Tubatic's Musing for this month is a first-person accounting of one of the best moments in Fallout 3. God I love that game.
*-WalkYourPath wrote a great article on the various ways to increase difficulty in games, and how developers can switch things up for the players.
*-Garison's blog about a subject very close to him disproved the notion that only fail blogs can get comments. The thread following this article is full of thoughtful commentary, and I encourage everyone to have a look.
*-Similar in theme but from a different perspective, Castle contemplates the legitimate racism to be found in Left 4 Dead and its sequel... not the fake stuff Willie Jefferson was talking about.
*-Finally, ScottyG (with special guest Black Yoshi) does more to sell me on the concept of Dtoid Game trading than ever before.
S-EternalDarkWing has been playing through his games on the hardest difficulty level all summer. This week he tackles Devil May Cry 4 and Mirror's Edge.
A-Do you ever use a strategy guide? One of my new favorite bloggers, Lenore Coffee, has your back. Like a naughty puppy.
S-Mr. Dillinger's Weapon of Choice series continues with this look at some of gaming's finest deathdealers.
S-Gemsi's EU release list is looking sparse. Time to brush up on your backlog, Europe.
A-Monodi eloquently laments the loss of the arcade. Pour an ounce on the curb in their memory.
M-Analoge's Musing looks into the myth of player choice, and how it can ruin your internal story.
M- Castle's Musing for the month tells his story of Fable 2 and how a canine companion can mean more than the rest of the world combined.
P-Drunkcast invites you to yell inappropriate things at them via Skype. I've got a bad feeling about this.
D-Aborto Thefetus posted this blog to help all of the Dtoiders heading to Comic con meet up.
D- Dtoid New York just had a NARP over the weekend, and it looks like a good time was had by all. Samit, fix your damn collar.
S-Drel got some bad news today, but the community rallied behind him. My best wishes to you and your mom too, sir.
I-Butterball introduced him-or-herself today. Welcome to Destructoid, do what Chrono said.
B- Suff0cat has survived one more trip around the sun. Happy Birthday!
N-Vexed Alex reports that Forza 3 will include a new vehicle type. No problem, one gentle curve and they'll all roll down the embankment.
N-And Wolverine beat the front page with the story that Command and Conquer 4 will require a constant internet connection. I'd probably rage if I gave half a damn about RTSs.
N-ScrewAttackDestin simul-posted the new Assassin's Creed trailer at the same time as the front page.
N-Another day, another PS3 price cut rumor.
T-TewDee has finished several high-profile games lately, and the endings left him cold. What do you think?
T-Diaport asks a great question: have you ever felt self-conscious about playing in public?
T-Magnalon asks the million-dollar question of multiplayer gaming-- are you a team player?
T-Megastryke had a great idea for a new blog series: knock off games. Inferior and inexpensive replicas of other, better games.
T-Similar to Tascar's blog up above, Lolthien looks at a different side of the new vs. used dustup.
R-Hard to say whether this piece from Bwark-Kupo is more of a thoughts post about Chrono Trigger, or maybe a review, it's kinda 50-50. We'll go with review.
R- Wry Guy did quite a nice review (or "Wryview", as he called it) for Shadow of the Colossus.
R-RandomBullseye's review of Blood Will Tell made it sound like a great bargain pick-up. I'll be keeping an eye out for this one... in black and white or in color.
D-Super Ghouls n' Ghosts has written a developer's diary about the new game he and GOS-CPT Stewart have been working on. You had me at jetpack pirate and fire-breathing dragon potato.
M-Snoogans775 posted some thoughts about the audio work in Suda 51's Killer 7. That rave track Monodi linked as a reply is pretty rockin'.
M-SyntaxError asked for some help identifying some game music.
M-NukaCola's drum skills must be seen to be believed. Also F*** YEAH River City Ransom.
L-Zgerhard just discovered the literary side of Marcus Fenix. At first I read this blog's title as "Marcus Fenix apparently has a dairy" and I just thought to myself... those poor, poor cows.
F-Emotoaster takes a moment away from cutting his toast to tell us about a wacky anime series from Capcom called Sengoku Basara. Sounds fascinatingly insane.
F-Smasher Imp returns with a TV recommendation: a British comedy called Black Books.
F-JehutyFromHell brought news from Entertainment Weekly that Scarlett Johansson will have a major role in the Iron Man sequel. Next summer will be better than this summer, CONFIRMED!
L- At one point in its history, Nintendo invited people to "Beat `em [or] Eat `em... Yikes.
R-AdamBlue posted a screenshot from what looks like a Civil War FPS called Darkest of Days.
?-Wry Guy put together a good-looking guide on how to do homebrew on your DreamCast. This one was added to my bookmarks almost immediately.
R-Mikeyed went in-depth on the Ork race in Dawn of War.
F-With any luck, this will be a link to a dead post by the time you read this.
F-I totally don't understand this. It's not just the accent, either.
F-Twitter doesn't cost anything, ya know.
F- I gave up on this one when I read about the diarrhea icing on the turd cake.