Sunday, 25 May 2014

Single Screen Platform Games #12

Chuckie Egg (1983)
By: Nigel Alderton / A&F Software Genre: Platform Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: BBC Micro First Day Score: 173,320
Also Available For: ZX Spectrum, Dragon 32/64, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Acorn Electron, MSX, Tatung Einstein, Atari 8-bit, PC, Amiga

There have never really been too many single-screen platform games around but a good number of them were not only arcade games, but Japanese arcade games. One of the most notable exceptions is a game that's legendary here in the UK but less well known elsewhere. If you grew up in the 80's here it wasn't a question of if you had played Chuckie Egg but rather which version you'd had access to. Despite owning a Speccy, most of my time spent with the game was courtesy of my good friend Luke and his Dragon 32. Many pleasant weekends were spent charging around the luminous green stages (a trademark of many Dragon titles) and we loved the game, but all these years I've been hearing about how the BBC version is supposedly the best of the many available. Having recently 'explored' this classic system, finding proof of this claim seemed like an ideal way to start my reviews for the system.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Sega: To Be How Good Takes Ages? - Part 1

I suppose it's inevitable that companies come and go over time, much like people, cultures, and everything else really I suppose. Even behemoths like Microsoft and (shudder) Apple will be distant memories one day. Most of the time it doesn't really matter too much when a company goes down. I mean, it's sad that people might've lost their jobs and all that stuff, but it rarely makes much actual difference to our everyday lives - there's almost always another waiting to rise in its place after all.

On some odd occasions, however, a loss is more keenly felt. Take, for example, the downfall of arcade and console giant, Sega. They're still in business, I know, but what a shadow of their former selves they now are. Their fall from grace was one felt profoundly by me as well as many other Sega fanboys and it's one that has had a not-insignificant impact on our gaming lives and the industry at large as well. My recent acquisition of an Xbox brought back memories of my happy Dreamcast days, the sadness that followed when news of its apparent failure broke, and my short-lived hope that Microsoft's bulky machine would carry on where Sega's had left off. It was while musing over these events that I decided it might be interesting, for me at least (chuckle), to take a (hopefully fairly brief) look back at Sega's history as well ponder what the future could hold for them.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

PSN Downloads #3

PixelJunk Shooter: The Depths of Disaster (2009)
By: Q-Games Genre: Shooting Players: 1-2 Difficulty: Easy-Medium
Featured Version: Sony PlayStation 3
Also Available For: PlayStation 4, Vita, PC, Apple Mac

My knowledge of the modern game scene is slowly improving but back when I first got my PS3 I knew about as much as a blind octopus. The whole PSN, downloadable indie games thing was new to me then, but upon my first browse through the ominous PlayStation Store, I kept seeing games with 'PixelJunk' in their name. As primarily a retro gamer I like pixels so I decided to take a look at one of them and, as a shmup fan, the choice of which one to plump for was easy - PixelJunk Shooter. Despite featuring a name as generic as most other PixelJunk games, it still had to be a shoot 'em up, surely? And that meant it was already awesome, potentially at least! I still had no idea what to expect though...

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Adult Games #4

Celery (1989)
By: Parsley Genre: Action Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: NEC PC-98 First Day Score: ???,???
Also Available For: Nothing

Many of the few 'adult' games I've looked at so far have been obscure arcade titles but most of them have also been Japanese. I guess our Far-Eastern friends are a little keener on mixing gaming and nude girlies than us Western prudes - so much so, in fact, that a few of the systems native to that region are positively heaving under the vast weight of games featuring saucy minxes of all descriptions. One of these is NEC's Windows-based micro, the PC-98, so when I decided to start covering more of its games I suppose it was inevitable I'd encounter a nudey example at some point. It was actually the rather amusing name of this one that caught my eye but it didn't come as too much of a surprise to find... that's right, naughty girlies!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Film Review #64

The Straight Story (1999)
Director: David Lynch Starring: Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek, Harry Dean Stanton, James Cada, Wiley Harker

Certificate: U Running Time: 112 Minutes

Tagline: "A true story that proves a little determination goes a very, very long way"

David Lynch's name may be synonymous with the likes of Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, and Mulholland Drive amongst others, but my favourite film of his has always been The Straight Story. Unlike most of his output thus far it's fairly straightforward and it's also based on a true story - that of Alvin Straight, a pensioner from America's Midwest who embarks upon a remarkable journey. Alvin (Farnsworth), you see, grew up very close to his brother, Lyle (Stanton), and they remained close for much of their lives until an unspecified bust-up sent them their separate ways. Ten years later and the two are still not talking. However, news reaches Alvin that Lyle has had a stroke. Motivated to salvage their relationship, Alvin decides to visit his brother, but this is not nearly as easy a proposition as it might seem.