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Star Wars 1313

Star Wars 1313 Could Have Been Awful, but We’ll Never Know

I decided to clean up the house a little bit the other day, and I stumbled upon this: It’s a USB memory card that I was given at E3 2012. See, publishers at E3 tend to give out all sorts of USB sticks filled with press images, and this is how those images end up on sites like Retrovolve. This is also how E3 attendees seem to have never-ending supplies of USB memory sticks and thumb drives. Out of curiosity, I decided to see what was on it. It wasn’t much, just a logo and a high-res version of the art that’s stamped on the front of the card. However, there was also a press site URL printed on the card, so I thought I’d see if anything still lived there.…
cocoron milk sea

Weird Games Are Good for You (and Good for Gaming)

No one fully understands why we like the things we do. Even the most beautifully crafted games have their detractors, and even bug-laden pieces of crap have fans. Sometimes, we love or loathe something for reasons that have little to do with its quality. But while the tastes of gamers aren’t an exact science, developers can make safe bets. It doesn’t matter what you think of Call of Duty, Madden, or even Pokémon. There are fans that will gobble up each new entry in the franchise. Certain IPs have reliable mainstream appeal, and will sell even if the game doesn’t live up to expectations. In an ideal world, the success of these games would give their studios the freedom to experiment.…
Ace Attorney and the Tetris Effect

Jamais Vu vs. The Tetris Effect: What Makes Games Memorable?

I like to think I have a pretty good memory. I can recite scenes from Final Fantasy VI verbatim, and I know all the words to “Shoop.” But when I replay games, I almost always encounter a scene I can’t recall. I’ll remember everything that came before it, and everything that follows, but that one moment will feel completely new to me. There’s a term for this. It’s called jamais vu, and while it’s commonly associated with brain fatigue, you can experience it when you’re feeling perfectly alert. Sometimes there’s a logical explanation — like being distracted the first time you you viewed a scene — and sometimes it occurs for no reason at all. Your memories of that scene were simply buried in the depths of your brain.…
Video Game Instruction Manuals

The Decline of the Video Game Instruction Manual

Once upon a time, tearing into a new video game instruction manual was a thrill for me. Even when I had the game itself in hand, the manual held a special allure. Manuals helped me decide what to name my characters, gave me a feel for a game’s controls, and provided a convenient place for me to take notes. Nowadays, manuals have lost their luster. The manuals I poured through as a kid were full of unique art and interesting information, but modern manuals are pretty bare bones. Many manuals are devoid of color, and most don’t feature any information you won’t learn in the tutorial. If it wasn’t for the Internet, they’d still be a useful reference, but as is, they don’t hold much value.…
K K Slider Lovin

Animal Crossing’s K.K. Slider Lands on a Sexy, Sexy Mix Tape

A friend of mine recently shared her appreciation for the mix tape section of the Tiny Mix Tapes website with me. Here, users can submit a theme and have other users make virtual mix tapes for them. Pretty cool concept, right? Well, I was scrolling through the page the other day and I found a sexy little playlist called “I can’t be any more clear. I only want to have sex with you.” This features tunes such as “I’m Fuckin’ You Tonight” by Heat Wave and “The Anal Staircase” by Coil. Classy stuff, right? They could make you want to enact on fantasies you gained from watching adult sites, for example https://www.hdpornvideo.xxx/?hl=ko and more. However, whilst I was wondering if any of the videos I may have seen recently, both on porn7 xxx and on other, more safe for work sites, had been using these songs, one track in particular caught my eye: “K.K.…
Corpse Party

Why Simplistic Graphics Make Horror Games Better

There’s a little song that creeps into my head when I’m trying to fall asleep. The words aren’t in English, but I understand them all the same. A sweet, childish voice sings sweetly about the entrails of your dead friend. Kids singing creepily is as overused as horror tropes get. It’s the kind of thing that makes me shake my head when I see it in a movie trailer. So why do I find it so chilling here? That’s because it’s from Corpse Party, a 16-bit survival horror game for the PSP. Created with RPG Maker, the game’s graphics are as basic as it gets. While there are character portraits and event CGs, the game forces you to rely on your imagination as you explore a haunted, body-filled school. Games and movies have never been able to frighten me the way stories do.…
Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodlines

Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodlines Is Everything I Want in a Video Game

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines is pretty much everything I’ve ever wanted in a video game. The best way I can describe the game’s genre would be “role-playing sandbox.” The game allows you to pick a character type (different types have different powers available to them), and then gives you five areas of a city to play through. Throughout these areas, you find an assortment of side quests and story missions. Each mission generally involves a combination of dialogue options with major NPCs, and attempting to either play stealthily or fight your way through some enemy-ladened territory. At certain points in the story, you get the ability to progress to other sections of the city. So, Sandbox. However, Bloodlines is based on a tabletop role-playing game, which means it has incorporated an experience system.…
720 Degrees

Why Is the Guy from the Classic 720 Degrees Arcade Game Not Wearing Any Pants?

Reddit user Jakobud once made an interesting observation concerning the arcade classic 720 Degrees. In the game’s title screen, the skateboarder character doesn’t seem to be wearing any pants. Now, maybe I’m just being overly concerned about his safety here, but that seems to me like a really bad strategy for a skateboarder. I mean, the dude knows to wear elbow and knee pads, and possibly a helmet (though that could just be an amazing 80s hairdo), so he clearly takes the safety of his elbows and knees very seriously. But apparently he has an “everything goes” policy when it comes to his genitalia. Oof. Of course, one commenter pointed out that he’s probably just wearing orange shorts, which is probably what they were going for, but the color is so close to his skin color that you can’t really tell.…
Super Mario Bros 2 Sleep

Don’t Sleep, There Are Video Games

The days when I could routinely pull all-nighters are far behind me. When it gets late, a switch goes off that reminds me I need to go to bed at a reasonable time. Barring setbacks, I get the seven hours a night you’d expect of a boring, responsible adult. There’s only one thing that can consistently distract me from my self imposed bedtime: video games. When I’m focused on a good game, I lose all sense of time, and hours slip away in an instant. I’ve told myself “just a few more minutes” until I’ve looked at the clock and realized I had to be up in 3 hours. These all-night gaming sessions sometimes leave me feeling predictably awful, but on other occasions, I’ve woken up feeling great.…
Claymation Mario

Old Video Game Magazines Are an Incredible Time Capsule

Thanks to the Internet and my pack rat tendencies, I have a sizable collection of old video game magazines. I’ve wasted countless hours re-reading the Nintendo Power letters page or admiring old Game Players layouts. The nostalgia factor is part of the appeal, as is my interest in gaming journalism, but what really fascinates me about these magazines is the way they let me see the past. There are things about  remember the video games of my youth with perfect clarity. I vividly recall flipping over tickets at Toys R Us, hoping that the games I could afford looked like something special. I remember being completely stuck in Final Fantasy VI and hoping the next issue of Nintendo Power would come to my rescue (it totally did).…
Wild Arms Rudy's Gun

Wild Arms Alter Code: F Is the Quintessential JRPG

Wild Arms Alter Code: F  is a remake of the original Wild Arms, which came out on the PlayStation in 1997. The original game is notable not only for being one of the first console RPGs released on the PlayStation, but also being a fucking bizarre Western Sci-fi Fantasy genre game. Wild Arms was the first game I got with my PSOne, and Alter Code: F for the PS2 is the first game I played to 100% completion. Like many of my PS2 games, it had been long enough since I’d played it that I’d forgotten many of the details, so I decided to replay it. Even after all these years, the story, the characters, and the gameplay still felt familiar.…
Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodlines

Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodlines Has the Only Worthwhile Super-Speed Power I’ve Ever Seen in a Game

Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodlines, the cumbersomely named 2004 PC game from the now-deceased Troika Games, is pretty much everything I want in a video game. It removes things I find obnoxious — such as grinding and other players — it tells a coherent story while still allowing you to feel in control of the narrative, and it gives the player a number of options as to how to approach gameplay while not making one option or character type feel more obviously “correct” than any other. It’s also the only game I’ve ever seen that does a super-speed type power correctly. My experience of super-speed type powers comes in two flavors; console RPGs and fighting games. In console RPGs, super-speed type abilities are simple for reasons I shouldn’t have to explain.…
Harvest Moon Dating Sim

Harvest Moon Turned Me into a Dating Sim Addict

I still vividly remember the day I discovered Harvest Moon. While flipping through the latest issue of Nintendo Power, I came across a game that was unlike anything else I’d ever seen. In retrospect, I’m not sure why Harvest Moon captured my imagination so completely. I’d never had any great love for farming or a burning desire to raise livestock. But somehow, I knew I had to play it, and a lifelong addiction was born. I had a surprising amount of fun growing crops, but where Harvest Moon really got me hooked was its dating sim aspects. Back then, I hadn’t played anything like it, and I obsessed over finding the perfect gift for each girl. During my first playthrough, it took me ages to get married, but by the second time around, I had it down to a science.…
Final Fantasy VI Mobile

Final Fantasy VI Mobile Is Terrible; Stop Pretending Otherwise

It wasn’t at all surprising to see Final Fantasy VI‘s mobile release described as garbage. Final Fantasy VI is considered to be one of the greatest games of all time, gamers have a tendency to be negative, and the game does indeed look like fresh garbage. What was shocking was that many insisted that the awful new graphics were an improvement. Worse, they claimed the only reason anyone would prefer the original was nostalgia. Everyone has their own tastes, and I’m sure some people like MS Paint chic. Still, it seems ludicrous to state that the bargain-basement version of FFVI is the superior one, especially when anyone willing to spend five minutes in the App store can find a better looking game for free.…
Jurassic Park Stripes

One of My Proudest Video Game Moments Happened in the Jurassic Park Game for Sega Genesis

The original Jurassic Park game for the Sega Genesis wasn’t necessarily the worst of the Jurassic Park-themed video games (it’s definitely better than Rampage Edition, also for Genesis, or the sub-par PSOne game), but it wasn’t the best either (I would argue that the Myst-like Sega CD version was the superior JP game). Still, I always loved the Genesis version. Between the dark and almost Flashback-esque visual aesthetic and some very memorable (though not particularly good) 16-bit music, it was a pretty great time for us young, Genesis-owning Jurassic Park fans. In it, you play as Alan Grant, a famed archaeologist (who suspiciously happens to be the male character with the least amount of onscreen chemistry with Ellie Sattler in the entire film, even though the two are supposedly an item).…
MTV Music Generator

Generating to the Beat of a Different Genre; Whatever Happened to MTV Music Generator?

I want my MTV… my MTV Music Generator 4. Or any new music generator game, for that matter. Now, I realize that this is probably the epitome of niche gaming. Somewhere along the lines of tractor simulators and Japanese beef noodle restaurant games. But gosh darn it, I can’t be the only one out there looking to get my digital beat-making freak on. After all, there were three entries in the MTV Music Generator series alone, the first of which was released to rave reviews, including a 9/10 from IGN. And that’s not counting the numerous other variations spanning a good deal of the consoles that have come out over the last decade and a half or so. The PSOne, PS2, PSP and DS all had their own music generators.…
Mario, Pac-Man

Falling Down the Nostalgia Rabbit Hole

Recently, I’ve been thinking  lot about the girly video games I played growing up, including Purple Moon’s Rockett series. I’ve been reading about the games on Wikipedia, looking for used copies on eBay, and trying to find out if the series ever revealed Rockett’s middle name. This is a common pattern for me. Something will remind me of The Incredible Machine or Logical Journey of the Zoombinis, and suddenly it’s all I can think about. It doesn’t matter if the game was good or if I remember much about it at all. It’s stuck in my head like an earworm, and I’m doomed to be fixated on it for at least a few days. Sometimes I get sucked into the nostalgia vortex without being reminded of anything in particular.…
Style Savvy

My Secret, Shameful Love Affair with Girly Games

There are exactly zero people in my life that would refer to me as a girly girl. It’s not that I eschew things that are feminine — I’m wearing both makeup and the color pink as I type this — it’s that I don’t have a natural inclination toward stereotypical “girly” things. I own less than five pairs of shoes, I can’t figure out how to do things like apply nail polish or eyeliner, I don’t know how people wear scarves with their outfits and make it look good, and I genuinely can’t remember the last time I wore jewelry. Obviously, none of this is a big deal. The truly stereotypical people I meet are few and far between, and I’m pretty content with my level of girliness.…
Hiroshi Yamauchi

How I’m Dealing With Hiroshi Yamauchi’s Death

It’s five in the morning. I’ve just finished up an especially long stretch of getting stoned and playing Minecraft, and I’m checking Facebook one last time before bed. After all, never know when yet another Grumpy Cat meme might show up. That’s when I stumble across something that makes me wish I’d simply gone straight to sleep. Hiroshi Yamauchi has passed away. This was the man who turned Nintendo from a playing card company into the video game company its known as today. When I hear this news, I rush immediately to open my word processor. A remix of some Castlevania music begins playing on my music player as I consider what to say to honor a man who made my childhood what it was in a very literal sense.…
Sonic CD

Sonic CD Is a Fantastic Game, Even on the OUYA

On August 2, 2013, OUYA early backers were awarded $13.37 in store credit as an apology for the many consoles that shipped later than promised. The following day, the recipients of that payout were given something worth spending $3.99 of that on. Sonic CD is now on OUYA. I’m playing it right now. While typing this. No, I’m serious. I’m just going to be real here for a second. If you don’t think Sonic CD is the best Sonic game ever made, then you have horrible taste in Sonic games. And if the following video doesn’t remind you of your childhood, then I feel sorry for your childhood.…
Anamanaguchi

Anamanaguchi Performs on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in 2013

Chiprock group Anamanaguchi brought some sweet vintage video game sounds to the stage of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon as a part of the show’s Video Game Week 2013. We can’t help but think it’s awesome that at least someone on late night television has an appreciation for gaming. (To be fair, though, Conan O’Brien made it out to E3 that same year.) Anamanaguchi has a special place in our hearts, since we once got to chat with them a bit after a show they performed at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis. We’re pretty sure everything they told us was a lie, but we loved talking to them nonetheless. Watch their performance of “Endless Fantasy” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Hulu.…
Mega Man

Former Mega Man, Dead Rising Producer Keiji Inafune Talks About Killer Bees

Keiji Inafune is known by many as “The Father of Mega Man,” though this is a title he denies himself. While he brought the Blue Bomber to life in one sense of the term, he doesn’t take credit for the initial creation. Still, the man’s been connected with Mega Man since the 1980s, so we here at Retrovolve have nothing but the utmost respect for him. So when I sat down in a small conference room with him the very same day Mega Man was announced as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. game for Wii U and 3DS (June 11, 2013), the obvious question was how he felt about that. But I didn’t ask the obvious question. (If you’re curious about that, Inafune told VideoGamer.com…
Anamanaguchi

Anamanaguchi Talks Kickstarter, Space Pizza, and Missing Teeth

On Sunday, May 26, 2013, the worlds of music and video games collided at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with a performance by the chiprock group Anamanaguchi. After a fantastic set that included flashing colored lights, crazy 8-bit videos projected onto a screen behind the band, and the obligatory encore, I had a chance to talk with bassist James DeVito and drummer Luke Silas. For the record, I did offer to buy them each a drink at the bar, but they had just finished paying for theirs when I approached them, so that didn’t end up happening. Still, we had a great chat about Kickstarter, space pizza, fake missing teeth, and even the origin of the name Anamanaguchi. I began the conversation on the most logical of topics: the band’s 2013 stunt of launching a slice of pizza into space.…
Resident Evil - You Died

Is Gaming Journalism Dead?

The popularity of gaming-related websites has brought us very near the end of gaming journalism in printed form. The last few years have seen some of the industry’s most influential publications discontinue their monthly offerings: GamePro, Nintendo Power, NGamer, PlayStation: The Official Magazine — all gone. However, most of the time I spent as a kid reading about games occurred in front of a computer screen. While many older gamers may decry Internet-exclusive outlets such as IGN and Gamespot, I don’t see why they are any less legitimate than printed periodicals. Just like the video games we play, the journalism industry evolves and adapts itself to new technology and distribution models. Like it or not, Web-based journalism allows readers instant access to the latest news and rumors.…
Nintendo Power

Your Childhood Is Dead; Nintendo Power Is No More

At the end of 2012, the 285th and final issue of Nintendo Power was shipped to subscribers and newsstands worldwide, in the process officially bringing to end to any shred of adolescence you thought you still possessed. Flipping through this issue is a bittersweet affair, and it really does read like a eulogy to your younger self. Nintendo Power is a name revered by even the most casual of gamers, and its demise has seemingly tolled the death bell for gaming-related printed media. There is a ton of great content in the issue for retro gamers to dig into. There’s a countdown of the 285 best games for Nintendo consoles (one for each issue), memoirs from former editors, a retrospective of each year of Nintendo Power history, and more.…
Metal Slug 3

Viva La Neo Geo! Hands-On with SNK’s Reborn Classic Console

There are few products in gaming that get a second chance at life the way that the Neo Geo has, thanks to a partnership between SNK Playmore and electronics manufacturer Tommo. Some gaming consoles thrive and go on to live long and fruitful lives, perpetually connected to television sets for a decade at a time. Others flounder under the weight of lofty expectations and are hastily forgotten. It’s feast or famine in the console manufacturing world (just ask Sega), and once a machine is pronounced dead, it stays dead. That is, until the Neo Geo X arrived after a year of speculation. Announced last fall as a portable unit pre-loaded with a handful of old Neo Geo games, it was quickly dismissed as vaporware, much like the Infinium Labs Phantom of a decade ago.…
Dikembe Mutombo's 4 1/2 Weeks To Save The World

Fear Not the Apocalypse! Dikembe Mutombo Is Back!

The film industry had Citizen Kane. The music industry had Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Now, gaming’s magnus opus — the standard bearer by which all titles past and presents will be forever judged — has finally arrived. Its hero is not a gunslinging space marine, nor is he a medieval warrior capable of toppling giants with but the blade of his sword. No, our hero is a 7-foot-2, forty-six year old Congolese former NBA center named Dikembe Mutombo. The marketing geniuses at Old Spice decided to throw convention to the wind, ditching traditional forms of advertising such as television commercials and Internet banner ads. Instead, a meeting of the minds at Old Spice HQ resulted in the greatest piece of digital interaction ever devised: Dikembe Mutombo’s 4 1/2 Weeks To Save The World. This awe-inspiring tapestry of 90’s basketball, old school shoot-em up action, and stupid Internet memes should have won every single gaming-related award of 2012.…

Valkyrie Profile: Confusing or Awesome?

Valkyrie Profile is a JRPG created by Enix and Tri-Ace (before the Square/Enix merger), focusing on the Valkyrie Lenneth. As per usual, Japanese game developers play fast and loose with western mythology here, so you history buffs should probably be thankful that they put Odin in charge and comprehend that Valkyries take the souls of dead warriors and leave it at that. The plot? Well, it’s complicated. The basic plot involves the awakening of the Valkyrie Lenneth, who is then tasked by Odin and Freya to retrieve warriors for the upcoming Ragnarok. Even though it’s the end of the world, you’re still expected to train up the warriors you grab. This is the main focus of the game, investing  skill points in your warriors  to raise up their hero level, and thus make them the kind of warrior Valhalla demands of you.…
GameStop Pizza

People Who Go to Midnight Launches Are Insane, but They’re Kind of Awesome Too

As a video game journalist, I don’t often attend midnight launches for video games anymore. I mean, I generally either receive a free copy of whatever game I need for my review in the mail, or I’m too busy playing whatever I’m reviewing to go out of my way to wait in line at a midnight release. Or I’m having sex. But since I’m a game journalist by trade, you’ve probably already called my bluff on that last one. But in 2012, I made a few notable exceptions. The first one was for Portal 2. I was scheduled to review it, but there was some mix-up where my review copy never showed up. So I did the only other thing I could think of: I attended the midnight launch so I could play it all night and have a review up the following day.…
Half-Life 2

My Refusal to Play Half-Life 2 Proves That I have Terrible Decision-Making Skills

I’m going to be honest: I hated the original Half-Life. In fact, my hatred for Half-Life burned so white hot that when Half-Life 2 launched, I absolutely refused to play it. Now, it’s been so long since my initial Half-Life experience that I can’t really say what it was about the game that convinced me to harbor such a passionate hatred for it. I mean, I’m pretty sure I liked the first part at least. Whatever it was, though, I remember seeing Half-Life 2 on store shelves and feeling this sense of bitterness, as if it’s mere presence were repulsive to me. I guess I was kind of an angry person back then. However, Portal eventually came out, and I really wanted to play it.…
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