Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Complete Super Nintendo Collection

Things have slowed down as I have been busy with Xmas duties.  Will get back in earnest here soon...

Saw this on Headline News.  It's a listing on Ebay for the entire collection of Super Nintendo games ever sold in the US, Mexico and Canada.  The listing even has graded ratings of the condition and contents (manual, etc) for each game. 721 games.  $25,000.  Got get it.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Game of the Day - Slap Shot

There are many different reasons games are enjoyable.  Graphics, gameplay, challenge, depth, complexity and theme are all important aspects.  Some games lack many of these elements yet benefit greatly from competition.  The mano a mano ass-kicking floats many games because it's just plain fun to kill your buddy or destroy him in a simulated sport.  Of course, the competition itself would not be any fun without effective gameplay, and that's what Slap Shot does well.

Let's not kid ourselves, Slap Shot is just a suped-up version of pong.  It's one-on-one hockey in super fast style.  The graphics are weak and cheesy, the story, set-up and backgrounds are silly and weak, but it all doesn't matter when you start playing against your opponent and you start laughing your ass off with the high-octane fun.

You use the joystick and two buttons (MAME info says 3 buttons, but I can't figure out anything button 3 does).  One button hits the puck normally, the other gives you the ability to curve it by moving the joystick after you make contact.  Your "goal" (pun intended) is to score a goal on your opponent.  Each game goes until a preset number is scored by the winner or time elapses.

Like most Vs. fighting games, you play two out of three games to determine the winner of the match.  Also, like Vs. fighting games, if you are playing the computer, you play successively more difficult opponents if you keep winning.

But make no mistake, while the game is fun against the computer, the game is built for two humans to go after each other with each goal/volley only lasting a few seconds.  High intensity fun for all.

There are a few other features, for instance you have a power bar, and when it fills up you can execute a special shot by pressing both buttons simultaneously.  Also, your goal starts with shield/blocks in it to repel the first shots and then the blocks disappear when hit by the puck (breakout style) leaving your goal exposed.

The venue changes between matches and some of the rinks are shaped differently, changing some of the angles.  But in the end, the game stays very simple, very fast, and very fun.  And in fact is one of the most fun 2-player "versus" games I play with my friends (yes I have some friends).  As such, I will be inducting into the Hall of Fame for 2 player Versus games.

Sweet Retro Atari

Yeah, you probably have some version of this, but cool is cool, so here's another retro console reborn with 5 or 6 dozen built in games.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Game of the Day - Captain America and the Avengers

Capt America is just about at the apex of popularity for games I'll feature.  Essentially, if you are a little older, you probably played it in the arcades, and if you are a little younger, you probably never bothered with it on MAME.  Because of that, it is necessary for me to feature it as today's GOTD, for if you haven't tried it, you are missing out.  (You can see a little more about determining a game's popularity here.)
CaptAmer is a beat-'em-up featuring several favorite Marvel comic characters that is well done enough to give you the feeling that you are actually playing a comic book from the inside.  The characters are relatively small, giving a feeling of vastness to the screens and backgrounds, and allowing for great animation even though this game was made when graphics were still not top notch.  The cartoon style and the rich colors, enemies and backgrounds make it a visual feast only rivaled by the great gameplay.

There are two buttons you fight with along with the joystick - attack and jump.  But it's not as limiting as you might think.  Each character has special moves based on button combos and joystick moves and more importantly, the context and position of the current fight.  Moreover, each character also has a special attack (Capt Amer throws his shield, Iron Man sends out a beam, etc.) when you push both buttons at the same time.  Combine this with jumping and adept maneuvering for all kinds of crazy-cool fighting.  The enemies are cool and imaginative and some of them are uber-difficult.  And, occasionally, you get help from non-player characters for some good tag-team action.

Wait, but that's not all (just like the infomercials say), there are actually levels where the gameplay changes and it becomes a horz shooter.  You can see in the pics accompanying this post.  And lo and behold, it's a damn fine horz shooter at that.

So CaptAmer is a great comic book beat-em-up with sumptuous graphics, fun fighting and horz shooting thrown in for good measure.  It should not be missed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012