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Monthly Archives: April 2016

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?…
Half Glass Gaming Lego

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 41] : An Obsession You Need to LEGO

Why is the gang so tired this week? Probably because Josh and Mandi helped the Reverend move into a new apartment, while Julian got all excited about biking. We tell you all about that before reminiscing about childhoods filled with tree houses, video games, and LEGO bricks, which transitions well into our topic for the week. We come back from the break ready to fill your head with factoids about the LEGO video game series. What was the first LEGO game? (Hint: It wasn’t LEGO Star Wars.) Why did it take so long for LEGO games to become a thing? Why has the franchise become so popular? What are our personal favorite games in the series? Plus, we’ve got some info on LEGO games that died in development, wishes for a LEGO Die Hard game, and the definition of Poop Dunk (sort of).…
ralph mcquarrie atari

The Strange and Wonderful World of Atari Box Art

In the age of Atari, games couldn’t sell themselves on graphics alone. Games needed ways to spark players imaginations, to convince them that their villains and heroes were more than awkward clumps of pixels. And for that, they relied on box art. While some video game companies gave little thought to their cover art, Atari made it a priority. “I felt fundamentally that this was a consumer product that needed all the care and attention that a record album did,” explained Atari’s founder, Nolan Bushnell.. “I wanted the artwork to have a consistency to it, so that immediately, when you glanced at our packaging, you knew it came from Atari and you knew it was beautiful.” One of the first artists Atari partnered with was Cliff Spohn, a commercial artist with a distinct detailed style.…
Dungeons and Dragons

The Dungeons & Dragons Panic of the 1970s and 1980s Is Tackled in This Retro Report Video

Dungeons & Dragons was introduced to the world in the 1970s. While many saw it as an escapist fantasy game to enjoy with a small group of friends, others, including several prominent religious figures, saw it as a gateway to satanism. A private investigator named William C. Dear took this “Satanic Panic” very seriously when he investigated the mysterious disappearance of a teenage boy in 1979. He hypothesized (incorrectly, it turns out) that the boy had disappeared into the steam tunnels of his college campus to binge out on D&D. About the game, Dear says, “It advocated murder, decapitation… And I’m going, ‘This isn’t a healthy game. How can it be a healthy game?'” Dear went on to publish a book titled The Dungeon Master: The Disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III, and some have come to the conclusion that Dear was stoking the flames of this particular fire in order to sell more copies of it.…
BB8 Hug

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 40] : Record Scratch

“Where are the facts?” you may ask if you listened to last week’s low-key episode. Well, the facts are back, Jack. This week, we’ve got a whole stack. But before all that, we catch our listeners up on some of the adventures we’ve had since the last episode. Julian pays way too much for ice cream, Josh and Mandi explore a prohibition-era gangster cave, and the Rev weighs in on breakfast smoothies. We’ve also got opinions on the first trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, as well as movie trailers in general. And, after panning all of your favorite movies in previous episodes (including The Shawshank Redemption and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial), we put our collective stamp of approval on 1993’s Demolition Man.…
mike tysons punch out easter egg

This Punch-Out!! Easter Egg Stayed Hidden for 29 Years

In the 80s, video game Easter Eggs felt like elusive treasures. Although you could occasionally stumble across a secret in the pages of a video game magazine, most gamers had to uncover mysteries on their own. Many now-famous Easter Eggs were the stuff of legend — or playground gossip — for years. Nowadays, it sometimes feels like that magic has been lost. Secrets spread like wildfire the second a game hits shelves. Cheats, dialogues, and even endings can leak long before a game is officially released. But every now and then, someone manages to prove that there are still a few treasures buried away. In April 2016, nearly 20 years after the game’s 1987 release, Reddit user midwesternhousewives stumbled upon a Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!…
A Bunch of Toys

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 39] : Further Destroying the Proud Frankenstein Name

We’ve got a little bit of Spring Fever this week, since the weather’s been warming up, so we came into the studio without an outline or a topic. What resulted was a conversation about diets, Pinterest algorithms, and our unanimous hatred of inspirational quotes. After the break, we dig into some recent games we’ve been toying around with, including Dying Light, Stardew Valley, Fire Emblem Fates, Grand Theft Auto Online, and so much more. We also talk about Mandi’s passion for spreadsheets, the origins of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, and how Chess is an example of the worst map design ever. Oh, and there are plenty of old stories about dating, both in-game and IRL. Plus, the Rev details an elaborate plan to create complex stories inside of Skyrim, which you can read more about at Rebecca Elfprincess’ Shared Skyrim Narrative on Tumbler.…
ET Atari

Was Atari’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Really as Bad as You’ve Heard?

When I was a kid, I spent an extended stay in a hospital because of a sick family member. As any kid without entertainment is bound to do, I got bored very quickly and probably complained loudly about it. To mitigate my boredom (and to keep me from getting into too much trouble), a nurse brought me into a private room, set up an Atari 2600, and showed me a selection of games to pick through, allowing me to check out no more than one at a time. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial caught my eye. Just imagine this cover through the eyes of a third grader in the late 1980s: With its promise of age-appropriate alien adventures and dismantled telephones, it doesn’t look too bad, does it?…
Word Munchers

I Was Mad Good at Word Munchers

One of the highlights of elementary school in the late 1980s was being allowed to play edutainment games in the computer lab. Back then, we had classics like The Oregon Trail, Odell Lake, and Spellevator. (All of these games were published by MECC, or the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium, an organization that was basically the king of edutainment in the 80s.) Of course, The Oregon Trail was the undeniable cream of the crop, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun with others, especially 1985’s glorious twins, Number Munchers and Word Munchers (also published by MECC). In both games, you’re given a simple problem, which you solve by eating all of the appropriate answers from a grid while avoiding the evil (or perhaps just carnivorous and hungry) Troggles. The main difference between the two games was that in Number Munchers you were solving math problems or finding multiples and factors, while in Word Munchers you were finding correct vowel sounds or parts of speech.…
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