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NBA Jam Retro Review: From The Hoopsters That Brought You Mortal Kombat

August 21, 2009

NBA JAMIt could have been one of the most interesting ad campaigns in the history of video games; NBA greats like Larry Johnson, Patrick Ewing, or Dee Brown simply discussing just how fun of “NBA Jam” is. Use your imagination… I’ll give you a minute. The pinnacle of arcade basketball games was released by Midway and published by Acclaim in 1993 for most of the major consoles and handhelds at the time, with ports for both sides of the Nintendo/Sega console war. The game was so popular in arcades that it spawned a handful of “sequels,” which were basically just updates to the system, and expanded on the “NBA Jam” brand with “Tournament Edition” and “NBA Jam Extreme” until they removed all the fun, and called the game “NBA Primetime on NBC.” Through it all, “NBA Jam” carried a little extra clout due to the fact that the arcade version of basketball was more interesting then normal basketball. [Read more]

Shadowgate Retro Review: Welcome to Your (Many Forms Of) Doom!

July 29, 2009

Shadowgate

When ICOM Simulations Inc. was still doing point-and-click adventures, back in the days before they were bought out by Infinite Ventures, their eariler projects included classics like “Uninvited” and “Deja Vu” for early personal computers and the Nintendo Entertainment System. The games were detailed enough to work with the restricted graphical capabilities of the NES, and still manage to provide a well-developed horror or noir story. After those releases, ICOM went on to develop another game, “Shadowgate,” using the same system of item collection coupled with multiple screens of text and images to tell a suspenseful and immersive tale, where you just happened to be killed - almost constantly. “Shadowgate” was the third game to use the “MacAdventure” system as mentioned above, just before the sequel to “Deja Vu” finished off the series when it was released in 1989. [Read more]

Arkanoid Live Review: They Don’t Make ‘Em Like This Anymore

July 15, 2009

Arkanoid Live

It’s undeniable that “Arkanoid” is a longstanding video game classic. It’s been around for 13 years, and although it is a take on Atari’s “Breakout,” it’s Taito’s “Arkanoid” that is still around, and it’s their version that is the quintessential take on the brick breaker “genre.” The fact that it has been around for so long, makes it hard to say that the franchise is “back” with a new release for Xbox Live Arcade, because the franchise has seen releases as recently as last year’s DS version, so it may be more appropriate to say that “Arkanoid” is here, again. [Read more]

Kirby’s Dream Land 2 Retro Review: Gray Puffballs and Furry Friends

July 3, 2009

Kirby's Dream Land 2

For those of you too young to remember Nintendo once launched some of their big name franchises on their handhelds, the first of which was their lovable powderpuff Kirby. His first Game Boy game “Kirby’s Dream Land” hit stores in August of 1992, whereas he didn’t make his console debut on the NES until later that year. The franchise continued to grow in popularity with the re-release of “Kirby’s Adventure” for the Game Boy as “Nightmare in Dream Land,” as well as a couple of spin-off titles like “Dream Course” and “Avalanche” for the SNES, and “Pinball Land” for the Game Boy, but he didn’t see a proper sequel until 1994’s “Dream Land 2.” It came out right around the start of the SNES era, so the Game Boy fans still had something to play before the advent of the Game Boy Color, and it was released the year as the Super Game Boy allowing it to take advantage of some of that peripheral’s special features. [Read more]

Check Out “Doubt: The Video Game”

June 25, 2009

DoubtIf any of you have seen the movie Doubt, starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep, I’m hoping you realized what a fantastic showpiece for acting it was. The movie itself won numerous awards and told the story of a preacher being accused of misconduct with one of his alter boys. Both Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep offer unforgettable performances and it was a movie I really enjoyed… but great movies don’t always translate to great game ideas, as this clip from this year’s MTV movie awards demonstrates. [Read more]