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SPB Episode 72: Retro Gaming on Nintendo Switch

Over the last two years, the Nintendo Switch has slowly become the go-to source for retro gaming on modern console hardware. Gone are the days of waiting patiently for Virtual Console updates that rarely came. In it’s place is a steady stream of arcade gems, an on-demand NES library, and plenty of retro gaming anthologies and compilations. That’s right, we’re leaving the comfy confines of our decades old legacy hardware to play some vintage games on modern technology!…

The Super Mario Bros. Fragrance Collection Made Us Wonder What Bowser Smells Like

It’s hard not to be curious about the lives of your favorite video game characters. What do they do when they’re not off fighting monsters or saving the world? While old video game instruction manuals provided the occasional morsel, one of the most interesting tidbits we’ve discovered came from a little-remembered piece of merchandise: The Super Mario Bros. Fragrance Collection. Released in Japan in 2014, the collection consisted of four scents that represented four of Nintendo’s most famous characters: Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Bowser. Most of the scents featured in the collection weren’t too surprising. The Luigi cologne had a manly musk scent, and, to the shock of no one, the Peach fragranced smelled like peaches. Mario and Bowser are where things get interesting.…

SPB Episode 71: 2018 Year End Special

While 2018 wasn’t our most active year, we still have plenty of gaming memories to look back on. Sometimes it was a newly discovered game, and other times we were falling in love with old favorites all over again. For Tim, it was a questionable 80’s movie tie-in, while Andy finally understood why a classic Nintendo franchise is so universally beloved. Come along and join us for our fifth annual end of the year special! Top Ten Results:DNQ: Porky’s (Atari 2600)DNQ: Moonstone (Amiga)10. Greatest Nine 98 (Saturn)9. Energy Breaker (SNES)8. Computer War (TI-99/4A)7. Cybernator (SNES)6. Knight’s Lore (Amstrad CPC)5. Dragon Breed (Arcade)4. Captain Commando (Arcade)3. Alien Brigade (Atari 7800)2. Full Throttle (PC)1. Metroid: Zero Mission (GBA)…

SPB Episode 70: Top 70 Video Game Cover Art

In gaming’s early days, sometimes the only information you could find on a game was it’s packaging. The internet wasn’t in our pockets with highly analytical reviews just a few button presses away. No, we’d often take a blind leap of faith and hope that our hard-earned cash was going to good use with the latest purchases. Click here to view the gallery of cover art for this countdown.…
Bubsy 3D Pull Quotes

Those “Faked” Bubsy 3D Pull Quotes Were Actually Real

Bubsy 3D is famous for being a trainwreck of a game. It was one of the very first 3D platformers, but it was in the unlucky position of coming out after games like Super Mario 64 and Crash Bandicoot (though just by a few months — Mario 64 launched June 23, 2006; Crash launched September 9; and Bubsy launched October 31). One version of the game’s cover art features a mystery that’s been puzzling Bubsy haters for several years: There are pull quotes on the cover, supposedly from reviews of the game, that present the contents of this jewel case as something of a masterpiece. One quote comes from the esteemed EGM, while the other mentions the game winning the “Gold X Award” from PSExtreme.…
Patrick Hickey, Jr.

A Conversation with Patrick Hickey, Jr. – Part 2: From Game Journalism to Voice Acting and Beyond

I recently spent about 45 minutes chatting with Patrick Hickey, Jr., author of The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers. In the first part of the interview, we talked about Hickey’s motivation behind writing the book. (Click here to read that.) In the second part of the interview, Hickey explains how The Minds Behind the Games has propelled his career into some unexpected places. Parts of this interview were edited for clarity and flow. Josh: So now that your book is out, what’s next for you? Patrick: Brett Weiss has a Super Nintendo encyclopedia coming out in August, and I wrote something like 25 entries in that. It’s a two-volume collection that contains every single Super Nintendo game that ever came out.…
Patrick Hickey, Jr.

A Conversation with Patrick Hickey, Jr. – Part 1: The Minds Behind the Games

One of the reasons Retrovolve exists is to document forgotten stories and facts about retro video games so they don’t get lost to the ages. It turns out, we have a partner in this great endeavor. Patrick Hickey, Jr., has recently released his book The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers, in which he interviews the developers of 36 video games. In this book, he records the stories behind a broad range of games. Besides being the author of this fascinating book, he is also the voice behind The Padre and Relentless Rex. He also runs the website ReviewFix.com. I recently had the chance to chat with Hickey for about 45 minutes, so we dove into the inspiration behind The Minds Behind the Games and explored his journey from video game journalist to voice actor and more.…
The Minds Behind the Games

Retrovolve Reviews Books: The Minds Behind the Games by Patrick Hickey, Jr.

Because video games were once such an upstart medium — and because the medium rose to prominence before the Internet did — much of the history of how we got here has simply been lost. In a lot of cases, information must be dug up retroactively (not unlike a particular pile of Atari 2600 games). And that’s the point of The Minds Behind The Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers by Patrick Hickey, Jr. — it digs up, dusts off, and puts on display a tiny sampling of the could-have-been-forgotten stories about game development. The Minds Behind the Games contains interviews with the developers of 36 video games that span several decades. In it, there’s a wealth of knowledge about the journey of video game development, detailed by the people who made it all happen.…
Jerry Glanville's Pigskin Footbrawl

Jerry Glanville’s Pigskin Footbrawl Brought Hyper-Violent Football to the Genesis in 1992

American football is often seen as a violent sport. Charlie Camosy, a professor of Christian ethics at Fordham University in New York, called it “a great combination of raw caveman strength and gladiatorial combat and the most complicated chess match you can ever imagine.” This was part of a BBC interview in which he questions the ethics of football as a sport that glorifies violence. But long before professors (and columnists) began debating about the more violent aspect of the United States’ beloved sport, back in a golden age called the 1990s, a few game developers had the idea to simply turn that violence up to 11 and run with it. Thus Pigskin 621 A.D. was created. Released in 1990, this arcade classic pitted two teams of brutish Medieval warriors against one another in a game that resembled modern American football.…
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

The 3D Platformer: How 1996 Witnessed the Birth of a Genre

In 1996, the 3D platformer was born. That’s not technically true, of course, as the first 3D platformer was almost certainly a French game called Alpha Waves that came out in 1990. But Alpha Waves failed to kickstart the 3D platformer genre, and very few people would be comfortable citing its influence on the genre. I’d even argue that it’s been largely forgotten by mainstream gaming culture. It simply came out too early and for the Atari ST, a system that few people owned. Jumping Flash! is another 3D platformer that pre-dates that 1996 mark as well. It launched for the original PlayStation in November of 1995. It too failed to make a significant mark on the genre, though it had the luxury of launching for the PlayStation so it’s better known than Alpha Waves.…
Wild Arms

Just a Friendly Reminder That Wild Arms Had One of the Best Video Game Soundtracks of All Time

One thing that often goes unnoticed in conversations about classic video games — with the exception of horror games, I suppose — is atmosphere. And Wild Arms for the PlayStation was a game drenched in it. With such a rich atmosphere, Wild Arms could jump between steampunk Western, high fantasy, and even science fiction while never compromising its identity. Part of this, of course, is its incredible soundtrack. When you fire up the game for the first time, you’re greeted with one of the most memorable RPG opening sequences of the PSOne era. From the moment your hear that whistle over the acoustic guitar riff, you know you’re in for something you won’t soon forget. And then there’s “Lone Bird in the Shire (Rudy’s Theme),” which brings the memories flooding back. The village theme, too, is just fantastic. Wild Arms won’t soon be forgotten, and that’s thanks in part to its incredible music.…
Pokemon Nintendo Power

Nintendo Power Predicted a “Pokémon Trade War” in 1998

In 1998, Nintendo Power magazine took on the monumental task of trying to explain Pokémon to its American reader base. With Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue fast approaching a September 30 North American launch date, Game Boy owners were going to need the scoop if they were to jump into a crazy new world their Japanese friends had been enjoying since 1996. After all, the West had seen nothing quite like it at this point in history. In Volume 108 (May of 1998) issue of Nintendo Power, five whole pages were dedicated to these strange little pocket monsters. While there’s a lot of good information on those pages, there are a couple points that seem kind of odd in retrospect. For example, the Poké Ball we know and love today was referred to as a Monster Ball. Now, it’s probably safe to assume Nintendo Power‘s information came from Nintendo of Japan, and Poké Balls are actually called Monster Balls in Japan.…
Disney Afternoon Collection

Capcom’s Disney Afternoon Collection Is a Nostalgia Overload

Nowadays, a new licensed video game is typically met with eye rolls and groans. But there was a time — an oh-so-wonderful time — when Disney’s licensed video game lineup was legendary. From the incredible, Mega Man-like DuckTales to Darkwing Duck, the Disney games for NES were almost all pure gold. It seemed the teaming up of Capcom and Disney had uncorked some sort of genie’s lamp of inexplicably awesome video games. Well, Capcom has announced that it’s bringing back six of its NES classics in The Disney Afternoon Collection for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. For a complete list of games, check out the list below. Included games: DuckTales DuckTales 2 Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 2 TaleSpin Darkwing Duck On top of these games, Capcom also promises new features, like Boss Rush and Time Attack modes, A Braid-like rewind mechanic, and full 1080p support.…
stardew valley switch

Stardew Valley Console Multiplayer Will Be on the Nintendo Switch First

Since Stardew Valley was released, fans have been eagerly awaiting the release of its multiplayer mode. Now, more than a year after the game’s initial release, multiplayer is headed to consoles and PCs. Surprisingly, the multiplayer functionality will be making its console debut on the Nintendo Switch. During Nintendo’s “Nindies Showcase” presentation (which can be viewed on Nintendo.com) the company announced that Stardew Valley multiplayer will be debuting on the Switch this summer. According to Nintendo, it will be the first console to support Stardew Valley‘s multiplayer mode. ConcernedApe, the game’s developer, has confirmed that Stardew Valley co-op will be coming to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as well. @EmotionalDaisy yes, I think it will come to Xbox and PS4 about 1 month after Switch — ConcernedApe (@ConcernedApe) February 28, 2017 He also clarified that while the Switch would be the first console to get multiplayer, it will still be coming to PC first. Just to clarify: the Switch Stardew Valley multiplayer announcement DOES NOT mean that PC will get multiplayer later.…

Remastered Turok 2: Seeds of Evil Coming to PC with Multiplayer

The folks at Night Dive Studios have confirmed a remastered version of Turok 2: Seeds of Evil will be hitting PCs on March 16, 2017. This isn’t incredibly surprising, as the studio released a slightly touched up version of the original  Turok: Dinosaur Hunter on December 17, 2015, and it’s been assumed for a while now that Turok 2 would follow. But what is surprising is the addition of multiplayer. Night Dive has added a new gameplay mode called “Last Turok Standing,” which, according to a press release, will let players “battle with friends for an even more visceral gaming experience.” It sounds like a pretty standard deathmatch, but its addition is a welcome one for anybody who’s ever wanted to use Turok‘s assortment of sci-fi guns on their friends (digitally, of course). I actually spent a good deal of time with Night Dive’s remaster of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter.…
GoldenEye 007

The Making of GoldenEye 007

GoldenEye 007 for the N64 is a landmark game that solidified the 4-player multiplayer shooter genre. It was a staple of dorm rooms and living rooms across the nation at the end of the 1990s. On September 2, 2004, Martin Hollis, director and producer of the game, delivered a long speech about the development process at the 2004 European Developers Forum. Below is a full transcript of the speech, courtesy of the now-defunct site Zoonami. Picture the scene: It’s E3. June 1997. GoldenEye the movie came out an embarrassing 2 years ago. The next Bond film has already finished shooting. It’s called Tomorrow Never Dies. It will be released in a few months. The world’s most famous FPS, Doom is ancient history.…
Super Mario 64

Super Mario 64 Was Ultra Game Player Magazine’s 1996 Game of the Year

1996 was a great year for Mario. The smash hit Super Mario 64 launched September 29 in North America (June 23 in Japan), and it was immediately hailed as a masterpiece. In fact, Next Generation magazine gave it the #1 slot on their list of “Top 100 Games of All Time” before the game was even out in the US (they’d received an early copy for review, so they had played it by then). In their 92nd issue (Holiday ’96), Ultra Game Players magazine called Super Mario 64 “The Best Overall Game of the Year,” and they acknowledged that folks (such as those writing for Next Generation) had already taken to calling it “the greatest videogame of all time.” Ultra Game Players praised its depth, the hugeness of its 3D world, and its clean visual aesthetic, among other things.…
super mario kart snes screenshot

How Gamers Took Screenshots in the 90s

Nowadays, capturing images from video of games is essentially effortless. If you’re using a modern console (or playing old classics on an emulator) the perfect screenshot is just a button press away. In the 90s, however, getting a shot of your favorite game could get pretty complicated. These screen capturing instructions (from the March ’97 issue of Nintendo Power) show just how difficult capturing an image could be: Of course, anyone that took pictures in the 90s knows that these instructions were just the tip of the iceberg. Although digital cameras existed in the 90s, film cameras still dominated the market. If you wanted to show off your Mario Kart times — or any other gaming accomplishment — you had to find a camera with film, keep taking shots until the roll was finished, and then pay to have your film developed.…
Crystal Castles Atari 2600

Comparing the Crystal Castles Arcade Classic with Its Atari 2600 Port

I can’t blame folks in 1983 for thinking Atari’s arcade hit Crystal Castles was incredible. Its isometric viewpoint made great use of its limited resolution, presenting a tangible 3D environment. Plus, you can tell a good deal of work went into its character designs and animations; just look at how much detail there is on the dancing skeleton in the above image or the game’s red-shoe-wearing protagonist Bentley Bear. Its gameplay holds up too. While navigating the narrow pathways can be a little finicky with the arcade cabinet’s trackball, Bentley handles smoothly enough that players will advance further and further into the game as they memorize layouts and practice the required movements. And there’s a satisfyingly crunchy low-bit noise when Bentley collects the gems that are scattered across each level.…
Bubsy 3D

Bubsy 3D for PlayStation Was Reviewed by Ultra Game Players Magazine in 1996

Bubsy 3D has an unfortunate reputation for being one of the worst video games of all time. While many people like to pretend the game was considered a colossal stinker right out of the gate, these people tend to forget the world was a very different place back in 1996. In 1996, Bill Clinton was elected to a second term as US President. The Chicago Bulls were unstoppable in the NBA, winning a record-smashing 72 games in the ’95-’96 season and following that up with 69 wins the ’96-’97 season. Billboard called “The Macerena (Bayside Boys Mix)” the most popular song of the year. Clearly, it was a good year for things that start with B. And sure, Bubsy wasn’t living it up like Bill or the Bulls or the mixes of the Bayside Boys, but he certainly wasn’t having the terrible year you might expect.…
Atari Flashback Classics Vol 2

Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2 for PS4 and Xbox One – Complete List of Games

On October 4, 2016, Atari released two collections of classic Atari games for PS4 and Xbox One: Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 1 and Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2. This is just a matter of opinion, but we think Vol. 2 has more variety (sports titles feel a bit over-represented on the first volume), while Vol. 1 has better cover art. Unfortunately, the back covers of these games just mention a few of the high points instead of a full list of all 50 titles included on each disc. But we at Retrovolve have your back: A complete list of games found on Vol. 1 can be found here, and Vol. 2‘s games are listed below. Arcade Asteroids Asteroids Deluxe Crystal Castles Gravitar The Adventures of Major Havoc Missile Command Red Baron Sprint Super Breakout Home Console Adventure Asteroids Atari Video Cube Basic Math Brain Games Breakout Casino Championship Soccer Codebreaker Concentration Crystal Castles Demons to Diamonds Double Dunk Flag Capture Golf Gravitar Hangman Haunted House Maze Craze: A Game of Cops ‘n Robbers Missile Command Night Driver Off the Wall Outlaw Race RealSports Baseball RealSports Basketball RealSports Tennis Return to Haunted House Secret Quest Sentinel Sky Diver Space War Star Ship Stellar Track Street Racer Submarine Commander Super Breakout Surround Video Checkers Video Chess Video Pinball  …
Atari Flashback Classics Vol 1

Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 1 for PS4 and Xbox One – Complete List of Games

On October 4, 2016, Atari released two collections of its classic games for PS4 and Xbox One: Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 1 and Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 2. Each collection includes game manuals, multiplayer support, leaderboards, Trophy/Achievement libraries, and, of course, 50 classic Atari games from arcades and home consoles. While Vol. 1 has some real stinkers in the mix, it’s also got some essential classics, like Centipede, all three released SwordQuest titles (the fourth was never completed), and Yars’ Revenge. Upon closer inspection, you might also notice that a few games are included twice in the collection when there are both arcade and home console versions. It’s kind of neat to be able to compare versions, but note that these games are counted twice to make up the total of 50.…
The Duke of Lancaster's Arcade Haul

The Duke of Lancaster Ship Contained a Treasure Trove of Arcade Machines

For some, finding a long-forgotten arcade machine and getting it into the hands of a collector who will care for it can be a thrilling experience. Few arcade excavations (or arcade raids, as The Arcade Blogger‘s Tony Temple calls them) can match the bounty that Oliver Moazzezi found inside The Duke of Lancaster, a ship that’s been resting in Llanerch-y-Mor, North Wales since 1979. The ship, once a pleasure cruiser, held over 50 arcade cabinets just waiting for someone like Moazzezi to find them a loving home. The Arcade Blogger did a very thorough article that documents the whole process, from finding the cabinets to getting them out of the ship, and it’s fascinating. We definitely recommend checking it out.…
Not a Michael Bay Transformer

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 45] : Not a Michael Bay Transformer

We’ve come to the end of the road, folks; this is the final episode of the Half-Glass Gaming podcast. We kick things off with a bang, as Josh delivers the grand finale in his ongoing saga of hearing things outside his bedroom window. We then get into murder in Minneapolis, wild foxes, and the wonder of video game toilets, before checking in on Uncharted 4, Survival Mode in Fallout 4, and baby-making anime video games. We bring you up to speed on why the podcast is coming to an end before getting into Geralt’s genitalia in The Witcher 3, which brings us right back to where Half-Glass Gaming began. But even with all this emotional hubub, we didn’t want to end the show without some cold hard facts, so we dig into our last topic: the history of video game advertisements.…
Half Glass Gaming 44

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 44] : Can’t Get Taste like That in the Big House

It’s been a long time coming, folks, but our Final Fantasy episode is finally here. Before we get into all that business, though, we discuss Prison Ted’s Super Subs and Mandi’s obsession with nature documentaries. She’s got a fistful of factoids straight out of the animal kingdom, and she’s dropping some mad science about panda poop and narwhal horns. After the break, we dive into the history of the original Final Fantasy game for the Famicom, and we explain how the numbering system for later games in the series got so confusing in the United States. We also dissect Final Fantasy VII to try to figure out how it changed the game, and we follow the series through the decline of Squaresoft and the emergence of Square Enix.…
Half-Glass Gaming - I'm the Problem

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 43] : I’m the Problem

We start off this week’s discussion by catching up on the Reverend’s wrestling career. Yes, that means we’ve got some more Wasserman anecdotes, as well as some stuff to say about Hulk Hogan. We spend a bit of time exploring Fallout: New Vegas versus Fallout 3 and 4 before diving into Far Cry Primal, which Josh and Julian have been really into lately. But hold on a second; did Far Cry Primal reuse a whole bunch of assets from Far Cry 4? That leads us to our topic of the day: asset reuse in video games. Mandi brings us on a factoid-filled adventure, walking us through the strange history of asset reuse. We talk through Capcom’s long history of reusing their character sprites, how Nintendo’s Yakuza ties may have aided them in their battle against The Great Giana Sisters, the origins of Yo!…
Bare-Knuckle Slobberknocker

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 42] : Bare-Knuckle Slobberknocker

After some bad French and Shakespeare non-jokes, the gang talks about Julian and Josh’s birthday gifts. Both of those guys had birthdays in March, and they got matching 49″ TVs in celebration. So what video games were used to christen those new HD screens? Fallout 4, Zombi, Diablo III, Disgaea 5, and, of course, Star Wars Battlefront. After the break, we take a look back at the console wars, starting with Big, Evil Nintendo vs. the world. When Sega entered the fray, they came in with guns blazing and aimed straight at Nintendo (Nintendon’t, as Sega called them). How do you come back against Mario? Well, by inventing fake processing technology (AKA Blast processing) and introducing the world to Sonic the Hedgehog (who began his life as the Japanese everyman, Mr.…
Mega Man 2 Box Art

Mega Man 2’s Box Art Explained by Artist Marc Ericksen

Like many Mega Man fans out there, we at Retrvolve have always been fascinated by the American box art for Mega Man and Mega Man 2. (In the 23rd episode of the Half-Glass Gaming podcast, we spend a bit of time pondering the mysteries of such art.) An an interview conducted by NintendoAge at the 2012 Portland Retro Gaming Expo (and archived by Rockman Corner), Marc Ericksen, the artist behind the Mega Man 2 cover, explains how it came to be: What happened was I had to go down to Capcom and do a game they just got in from Japan. They had a beta version; they were in a hurry to get this thing out. So I went down there.…
Jurassic Park Sega Genesis

Jurassic Park for Sega Genesis Was a Worthy Movie Tie-In

The Jurassic Park blockbuster movie was an unstoppable hype machine in the mid-1990s. This means there were Jurassic Park video games on just about any game system you could imagine back then, including arcades, NES, SNES, Game Boy, DOS, 3DO, Mega Drive/Genesis, Game Gear, and even the oft-forgotten Sega CD. While the Sega CD version might be my personal favorite, BlueSky Software’s Genesis version is a close second. In it, you take on the role of Dr. Alan Grant and platform your way across a chaotic, dinosaur-filled park. It’s not very long, but it’s brutally unforgiving — filled with faith jumps and lacking anything resembling a mid-level checkpoint — and it culminates in one of the most obscure platform puzzles I’ve ever encountered.…
Box Art Documentary

Video Game Box Art Documentary Lands on Kickstarter

We’ve compiled a fairly robust history of Mega Man box art, and we’ve dived into some of the stories behind Atari’s box art philosophy; clearly, we’re very much into video game box art here at Retrovolve. On April 19, 2016, a Kickstarter project appeared that’s very exciting to box art addicts. Box Art – A Gaming Documentary is a documentary by award-winning filmmaker Robert McCallum that explores the history behind those images on your game cases. (Is that Color a Dinosaur we see in the image above? Why yes, yes it is!) The Kickstarter page promises answers to such questions as: But who created those images? Why was it on a box? Why did some games have different covers in different parts of the world?…
The Super Mario Bros. Fragrance Collection Made Us Wonder What Bowser Smells Like
The Minds Behind the Games
Retrovolve Reviews Books: The Minds Behind the Games by Patrick Hickey, Jr.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
The 3D Platformer: How 1996 Witnessed the Birth of a Genre
Pokemon Nintendo Power
Nintendo Power Predicted a “Pokémon Trade War” in 1998