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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.…
Game Boy Pocket Seriously Distracting

This Game Boy Pocket Ad Is Seriously Distracting (and Seriously Disturbing)

In early 1997, Nintendo ran the following Game Boy Pocket ad in Loaded, FHM, and Viz magazines: We see a woman tied to a bed with a [insert emotion here] look on her face. Which sounds like the start of a porn film similar to what you can see at websites similar to www.tubevideoshd.xxx. While the agency responsible for the ad (Leo Burnett) filled in that blank with “frustrated” (due to being ignored), many readers found the word “terrified” to be more appropriate. After several complaints, the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) asked Nintendo to withdraw the ad. Crispin Reed, account director for Nintendo at Leo Burnett, defended the ad, saying, “When you look at [our] ad in the context of the environment it appeared in, it’s exactly in keeping with the editorial pages which, I would say, go further than we did.…
Bill and Ted

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 38] : Keanu Reeves Would Be Like, “What?”

This week, we chat about a recent cooking mishap, then break into some fortune cookies before the Rev endorses the Kung Fu Panda movie. That doesn’t seem all that strange until you realize that we’re the podcast who told you you’re not allowed to list The Shawshank Redemption as your favorite movie. We also don’t like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. But we do love video games, even licensed ones, so we talk about those after the break. What was the earliest licensed game we could find? Why are licensed games typically so bad? Were licensed games the root cause of the video game crash of 1983? We also dig into advergames, though we can’t figure out where the animosity between snakes and Skittles started, nor can we tell whether the world loves or hates Yo!…
Wings out of Shadow

Baen Software Rose and Fell While Barely Making a Sci-Fi Splash

The name Baen has been associated with science fiction since at least 1983, when Jim Baen founded Baen Books (and maybe even before that, since he’d worked as an editor for various publications beginning in about 1973). What many people don’t know, however, is that Jim was also involved in video game publishing, having created Baen Software in 1979. The first game they published was Starclash, released exclusively for TRS-80 computers in 1980. The object of the game was to wrestle control of the galaxy from your computer or real-life opponent. A sequel, Starclash II, was released for MS-DOS in 1983. At first, Baen exclusively published games, but they teamed with sci-fi author Fred Saberhagen to start a development studio, Berserker Works, in 1982.…
Half-Glass Gaming Sci-Fi

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 37] : I’ve Read the Back of Ringworld Several Times

The Reverend has recently returned from MarsCon, a Minneapolis-area science fiction convention, which gets the whole gang into a sci-fi mood. Josh realizes the sci-fi short story contest he entered back in 2010 is far more prestigious than he’d ever imagined before we get into the nitty gritty of what we think Scientology might be. Note: We’re not willing to guarantee the accuracy of any of our information about Scientology, even if the Rev DID attend a recruitment event a long time ago. After the break, we explore the early days of video games, when sci-fi was a part of just about everything and Baen was publishing games instead of books (more on that here). We also talk about real science, debate sub-genres, and take a look at games that don’t typically get labelled as sci-fi even though they absolutely are.…
Hiroyuki Kobayashi

Capcom Releases Hiroyuki Kobayashi Interview to Celebrate Resident Evil’s 20th Anniversary

March 22, 2016 marked the 20th anniversary of the Resident Evil franchise. In honor of two decades of RE games (and movies), Capcom released an interview with producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi, who’s been a part of the series since the beginning. He later served a producer role on the GameCube remake, as well as Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 6, and — this may surprise you — he was also involved in the movies starting with the second installment. If you’re interested in the history of the franchise at all, you should absolutely check out the full video below. If you don’t speak Japanese, you’ll have to turn CC on to see the subtitles.…
Boba Fett

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 36] : The Berlin Interpretation

We kick off this episode all full of fury, as Josh has quite a bit to say about bumper stickers. If you thought our billboards conversation back in Episode 11 was intense, buckle up! We’ve even got the origin story of the “My other car is a _____” bumper stickers. We also touch on Ayn Rand’s obsession with the color yellow, Bronson Pinchot’s glory days (the 1980s), and the mysterious allure of Steve Buscemi. And before we settle in, we recommend a little indie game called Siralim. After the break, we dig deep into the roguelike video game genre, which is unique in that a congress of game developers actually met in Berlin to create a hard definition for the term.…
Stardew Valley Truffle

Stardew Valley: Truffle Guide

In Stardew Valley, it might not be immediately clear where you can find truffles or what to do once you have one, and several players have been confused about this. So here’s a super quick guide to help you solve the mystery of truffles. To acquire truffles, you must have at least one adult pig. In order to get one of those, you’ll have to have at least one Deluxe Barn, which is the third tier of Barn. (You’ll have to go to the Carpenter’s Shop and upgrade your Barn to a Big Barn, then your Big Barn to a Deluxe Barn.) Once your Deluxe Barn upgrade is complete, you can visit Marnie’s Ranch (south of your farm) to buy a pig.…
Sticks to Snakes W

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 35] : Sticks to Snakes W

We’re back, and we’re sounding better than ever! Our audio issues have been taken care of and our voices sound clear and crisp. It’s a good time to be alive, folks. To warm things up, Julian tells tales of his sick dog’s miraculous recovery and his rap career (Julian’s rap career, not his dog’s). The Reverend hits another Skyrim milestone. Josh talks trash about GoDaddy (GoDaddy really is the worst) and then rejoices in the greatness of Stardew Valley (which is a much better way to spend your time than being on the phone with GoDaddy customer service). Mandi sheds some light on the Fire Emblem controversy, which is a hot topic right now. When we return from the break, we have an informative conversation about the history of video game localization.…
Stardew Valley Wagon

Stardew Valley: 16 Tips for Beginners

Stardew Valley seems like a pretty simple game at first, but once you dig in you’ll find a deceptively complex, deeply layered experience. In my first save file, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how things worked, and by the time I made it to Fall, I had learned an enormous amount of information that, had I known it when I started the game, would have saved me a lot of time and headaches. So I started over and had a very successful first year. Below is a list of things I wish I’d have known sooner: Turn on Autorun Yes, you can enable autorun in the options menu. It will save you from cramping your pinky finger by holding down Left Shift all the time.…
Stardew Valley Spirit Festival

Stardew Valley: Calendar of Important Dates

In Stardew Valley, there are several dates you’ll want to keep in mind as you farm your way through the seasons. You can find most of these dates on the calendar outside of Pierre’s shop (you can also buy a calendar for yourself), but there are some events that aren’t listed. Here is a list of the important dates in Stardew Valley: Spring Spring 4 – Spring onions are in season Spring 5 (Year 1) – The mine opens Spring 7 – Lewis’ birthday Spring 10 – Vincent’s birthday Spring 13 – Egg Festival Spring 14 – Haley’s birthday Spring 15 – Salmonberries are ripe Spring 18 – Pam’s birthday Spring 20 – Shane’s birthday Spring 24 – Flower Dance Spring 26 – Pierre’s birthday Spring 27 – Emily’s birthday Summer Summer 1 (Year 1) – An earthquake opens up the path to the spa Summer 4 – Jas’ birthday Summer 8 – Gus’ birthday Summer 10 – Maru’s birthday Summer 11 – Luau Summer 12 – Crab mating season, causing an unusually large amount of shells to wash up on the beach Summer 13 – Alex’s birthday Summer 17 – Sam’s birthday Summer 19 – Demetrius’ birthday Summer 22 – Dwarf’s birthday Summer 24 – Willy’s birthday Summer 28 – Dance of the Moonlight Jellies Fall Fall 2 – Penny’s birthday Fall 4 – Blackberry season begins (though you might not see any berries ripen until about the 8th) Fall 5 – Elliott’s birthday Fall 11 – Jodi’s birthday Fall 13 – Abigail’s birthday Fall 15 – Sandy’s birthday Fall 16 – Stardew Valley Fair Fall 18 – Marnie’s birthday Fall 21 – Robin’s birthday Fall 24 – George’s birthday Fall 27 – Spirit’s Eve Winter Winter 3 – Linus’ birthday Winter 7 – Caroline’s birthday Winter 8 – Festival of Ice Winter 10 – Sebastian’s birthday Winter 14 – Harvey’s birthday Winter 17 – Wizard’s birthday Winter 20 – Evelyn’s birthday Winter 23 – Leah’s birthday Winter 25 – Feast of the Winter Star Winter 26 – Clint’s birthday…
Star Wars Toys Jakku

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 34] : Dear Diary, Today I Got Bit in the Face by a Wolf (Low-Fi)

We apologize once again for the low sound quality; we spent this episode hiding out in our survival bunker where our technology was limited. And, speaking of survival, we’ve got a great episode for you about the survival game genre. Before that, though, we talk through some of our recent television-watching habits and try to figure out why people like The Big Bang Theory so damn much. Even Stephen Hawking is apparently pro-Big Bang Theory, and he’s a genius, so we’re willing to admit that we might be the ones who are wrong on that (no we’re not). We also talk about real-life camping as opposed to camping in Tomb Raider, as well as solving wolf and deer murders in The Witcher 3.…
Stardew Valley Flower Dance

Stardew Valley: Where Is the Spring Flower Dance?

In Stardew Valley, your character will be treated to various festivals throughout the year. One of the first is the Flower Festival, which includes the Flower Dance, though it can be a little tricky to find in your first year. On the day before the festival (Spring 23), you’ll find this reminder in your mailbox: If you follow its instructions, it can be a little confusing. You’ll want to enter Pelican Town, go to the south edge of the town, then head due west. Of course, there’s an easier way to get there: Just head straight south from your home. You’ll end up finding a bridge to an area that’s otherwise inaccessible at this point in the game. Cross it and follow the path and you’ll be enjoying the festivities with the rest of them.…
david lynch ps2 commercial

Remember When David Lynch Directed a PS2 Commercial?

When it comes to advertisements, Sony has never played it safe. During the PS1 era, they had Crash Bandicoot to infiltrate Nintendo headquarters, created an anti-Playstation activist group, and inexplicably transformed a Scottish girl into an alien. Their early ads ranged from ballsy to downright disturbing. So naturally, when it came time to promote the PlayStation 2, surrealist filmmaker David Lynch seemed like the perfect choice. Lynch teamed with the London brand of TWBA to create a concept called “The Third Place,” a mysterious world that could only be accessed through PlayStation consoles. “The Third Place is not up nor down, not waking or sleeping, not the past; not the present,” explained the commercial’s creative director Trevor Beattie. “It’s a third thing.”…
Einstein Shadowgate

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Castle Shadowgate

1. Share and share alike. You share it, I like it. 2. Play dirty. Do not pay the troll a single gold coin. 3. Don’t hit yourself, or set yourself on fire, or hit yourself with the hammer, or jump out windows. 4. Put all the items you’ve “found” in your limitless inventory. 5. Clean up nothing. Break the mirror. Do not pass go. It was like this when you got here. 6. Take everything that isn’t nailed down, except the book in the hallway. And if you can’t take it, torch it. 7. Please apologize if you’ve inadvertently hurt and/or killed any person and/or magical creature that is not related to the completion of your quest. 8. Wash your hands after you’ve sent Cerberus back to the depths of hell.…
Bobby's World

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 33] : Bobby Always Rides His Big Wheel (Low-Fi)

We apologize in advance for the sound quality of this episode. We hit a snag with our hardware, but we decided against tossing out this fantastic episode; we really wanted you to hear it. We hope you forgive us for sounding so low-fi. This week, we’re talking piracy. We cut through some of the bullshit arguments surrounding this controversial topic to explain that yes, piracy does hurt game developers. And musicians. And maybe even Ben Affleck. Of course, we’ve managed to dig up some caveats as well, giving examples of gaming studios that might not exist without piracy (ahem, CD Projekt Red, ahem.) We also explore the history of video game piracy, beginning with the easily dub-able cassette tape years and stretching all the way to the recent Witness controversy.…
Aladdin Genesis

Disney’s Aladdin for Sega Genesis Is Still Ridiculously Good

Licensed video games have been hit or miss for pretty much the entire history of gaming. However, in the early- to mid-1990s, Disney’s properties were making the transition to the gaming world unbelievably well. DuckTales for the NES perhaps led the charge in 1989 in the hands of Capcom, who created a very memorable game with some of the best music of its era. Virgin Interactive Entertainment would collaborate with Disney for a while, creating the Holy Trinity of Disney games for the Genesis: Disney’s Aladdin, Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book, and The Lion King. (Virgin would also develop more forgettable titles like Disney’s Pinocchio.) Of these games, Aladdin is probably the best. Aladdin also appeared on the Super NES, but this was an entirely different game developed by Capcom.…
Deathsmiles on Steam

Deathsmiles and Its Notoriously Saucy Papercraft Minigame

Deathsmiles, Cave’s 2007 arcade bullet-hell classic, has never really been a mainstream hit here in the United States. It’s notable, however, for using some pretty “unusual” tricks as part of its marketing strategy. Promotional flyers were handed out in Japan that contained a papercraft minigame on the backside of them, the point of which was to get a peek at an anime girl’s bottom. By cutting and folding this thing properly (following the included directions), you’d wind up with a skirt and slip that you could blow on, lifting it up to reveal the character’s panties. Did it work? Maybe. The game found its way outside of arcades, with a 2009 Xbox 360 release, an iOS version, and a PC version via Steam (released March 10, 2016).…
Zelda Toys

The Legend of Zelda 30th Anniversary – Celebrate with Us

February 21, 2016, marks the 30-year anniversary of the Japanese release of The Legend of Zelda. We here at Retrovolve are longtime fans of the franchise, and we wanted to find a fitting way to celebrate such a milestone with our staff and readers. So we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite Zelda-related things we’ve published and we thought it’d be fun to share those. You’ll find them below in no particular order. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Is a Beautiful, Profound Masterpiece Josh Wirtanen explains why he thinks The Wind Waker is one of the best video games ever made, looking at the art, story, and emotional impact of the game. Read it here. A Link to the Past and the Mystery of Link’s Missing Pants Mandi Odoerfer explores the instruction manual art of the Zelda series to get to the bottom of a strange mystery: Where are Link’s pants?…
Legacy of Kain

Legacy of Kain: Crime and Punishment

Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen was the first game in a series about a nobleman-turned-vampire seeking revenge. It was set apart from other games at the time by its strong anti-hero qualities and cinematic, complex story line. I fell in love with it for its voice acting and dark tone, despite its seriously annoying load times and lag. It was also the first RPG I bought for the original PlayStation, so I treasured every moment as I patiently waited for Final Fantasy VII to be released. Back in 2012, a NeoGaf forum member culled published information and created a fascinating account of the series’ development woes. This includes a full account of the legal problems between the original developer and Crystal Dynamics, who was credited with publishing — and even helping finish — the game.…
famicom controller ii

The Japanese Version of The Legend of Zelda Used Voice Commands

When comparing the NES and Famicom versions of The Legend of Zelda, you’ll notice all kinds of little differences. In the North American version, the Zora sprite was more defined, making them much easier to find and fight. The Japanese version had much clearer hints, and wasn’t afraid to use words like “kill.” But while edits like these are par for the course, the Famicom version included some features that made localization a real challenge. While the Famicom’s first-player controller was fairly similar to its American counterpart, the second-player controller had a completely unique feature: a built-in microphone. It functioned similarly to the microphone on the Nintendo DS; it could pick up sounds and would react when it was blown into. …
Geralt vs Bear

Half-Glass Gaming [Episode 32] : Shoot the Dumb Bear

The gang returns from a breakfast adventure at Denny’s, remembering fondly the Denny’s Atari Remix app that delivered food-themed versions of Atari 2600 games to our smartphones (yes, that’s a real thing). We also share a newly discovered PlayStation Vita game that is perfect for bathroom visits. After the break, we break down the Trophies and Achievements craze. We don’t just touch on modern consoles, though; we go way back to Atari’s patch program from the 1980s (a thing Josh totally missed out on as a kid). From there, we explore the origins of Microsoft’s Achievement system and ponder the question: Do Trophies/Achievements enhance video games? Mandi and Josh are Trophy addicts, while Julian is beginning to warm up to them.…
Retrovolve - A Link to the Past

How a French Version of A Link to the Past Improved My Relationship with My Fiancée

When I first moved in with my fiancée, she lived in a small, two-bedroom apartment that just fit her and her kids, so we had to move some things around to make room for my stuff. This is how we happened upon an SNES and some games she had forgotten she’d had. Most of the games were clearance-bin fodder, but one of them was the French version of Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It played perfectly fine on a North-American SNES; the text was just was written entirely in French. By that point in my life, I knew the story of A Link to the Past well enough that I didn’t need to read any of the text, and I also didn’t have an English copy of the game.…
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