Today is the second anniversary of Retro Game SuperHyper! Happy birthday! Continue reading “2 Years!”
Last month’s announcement of the 17th catalog release from British video game soundtrack vinyl specialists Data Discs was an exciting surprise: Policenauts, Konami’s 1994 graphic adventure game, directed by Hideo Kojima. Available on multiple formats, beginning with the PC-9821 computer, then ported to the 3DO, Sony PlayStation, and Sega Saturn consoles, this spiritual follow-up to Kojima’s classic, Snatcher, never actually got an official release anywhere outside of Japan. Despite this, Policenauts has still managed to gain legendary status among import game enthusiasts and Kojima fans alike.
I’ve read a lot of books on video game history, and I’ve heard a lot of the same stories told several times. Therefore, rare is the story I haven’t heard yet; and here we have a book — the first of three massive volumes, no less — that is absolutely packed cover-to-cover with things I didn’t know, things I didn’t know that I didn’t know, and things I didn’t even know that I wanted to know, but it turns out I’m really glad I know them now.
At the risk of featuring too many PS4 games in recent posts (what can I say, they all have a retro connection or I wouldn’t be talking about them), Sega’s Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise (aka Hokuto no Gotoku) was released in the US this week, to the gleeful delight of combined Fist of the North Star and Yakuza fans everywhere. How wide or slim the overlap of that particular Venn diagram is, I don’t really know. But I’m wedged in there myself, and when this game was first announced, my head almost exploded like one of Kenshiro’s unfortunate opponents.
FotNSLP/HnG (it’s a long title either way, I don’t even know how to abbreviate it for this post) is just the latest in a really long line of video games based on the classic manga/anime property, Hokuto no Ken (lit. “Fist of the North Star”), dating all the way back to the ’80s when the manga was current and the show was actually airing on Japanese TV. Some of the games are good; many are not. And out of the dozens of HnK games released, only a handful were released outside of Japan. Let’s take a look at some of the good ones, shall we? (Perhaps I’ll do another post about all the not-so-good FotNS games someday, and call it “You’re Already Disappointed” or something.) (Don’t steal that, I just came up with it.) Continue reading “You’re Already Having Fun”
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age has finally been released in North America. For many of us, this is the first “proper” new Dragon Quest game we’ve gotten to play since the 2010 release of DQIX on the Nintendo DS, as the online installment, DQX on the Wii, wasn’t released over here. That’s eight years we’ve been waiting!
DQIX was a great game, but I absolutely loved DQVIII on the PS2, having sunk over 100 hours into it, and I’ve been waiting for another experience like that. I haven’t played enough of XI yet to determine if it lives up to my memories of VIII, but so far it’s headed that way.
The thing I really love about Dragon Quest, and the reason I’m writing about it here, is its solid connections to the past.
When I set off on my day-long arcade adventure to visit three arcades in the Chicago and Milwaukee vicinities, I was just expecting a fun day off filled with video games and food, and I figured I could maybe get a blog article out of each place I visited. However, on my way home from the last arcade, late at night, drained of energy and running purely on coffee, I came to realize that although the posts I would write about those three arcades were individual entities, there was also a fourth post asking to be written, relating all three places to each other.
See, what I realized after visiting Galloping Ghost, Level 257, and The Garcade is that there are many ways to approach arcade gaming in 2018, and while all three venues share the common bond of being public video game centers, they each provide a totally different experience. Continue reading “Arcade Road Trip Roundup”
Located in Menomonee (that’s pronounced men-AH-muh-nee) Falls, Wisconsin, which is a suburb of Milwaukee, The Garcade is a relatively new joint opened in July of 2017 by local arcade collector Gar Nelson (hence the name). And it’s everything you could want in a classic arcade. Continue reading “Arcade Pilgrimage: The Garcade, Menomonee Falls, WI”
Located in Schaumburg, Illinois, Level 257 is a Pac-Man-themed concept restaurant/arcade/entertainment venue owned and operated by Namco. I’d been wanting to check it out ever since it opened years ago (I can’t remember or find an exact date, but I recall hearing about it opening), but I didn’t want to drive 3 hours to the Chicago area just for that; I was hoping to tack it onto a trip for some other reason. Well, my visit to Galloping Ghost gave me the perfect opportunity.
As you classic gaming nerds have probably already guessed, Level 257’s name is inspired by Pac-Man’s “kill screen” that occurs at the 256th level. Apparently, after level 256, there’s food and booze and bowling and videogames, because that’s what you’ll find at Level 257. Continue reading “Level 257: Om-Nom-Namco”
There are a few arcades in the United States that are probably on all video game enthusiasts’ lists of places to visit before they die: Funspot/The American Classic Arcade Museum in Laconia, New Hampshire; Ground Kontrol in Portland, Oregon; and Galloping Ghost in Brookfield, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. I have been to all of them — a couple of them multiple times — and they all offer something different. They are also probably the most famous arcades in the country, so I feel like if you’re a fan of these Arcade Pilgrimage articles that I write, today’s installment may be one that you’ve been hoping for.
Galloping Ghost’s claim to fame is that it’s the largest video arcade in the US, if not the world. Continue reading “Arcade Pilgrimage: Galloping Ghost, Brookfield, IL”
Yesterday, August 2, 2018, I took a day off work.
I know, it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but look, I work my tail off 6 days a week, and with a family and a lot of responsibilities, I actually don’t get a lot of time to myself to enjoy this hobby that I blog about. So I decided to give myself a day off, and hit the road on a day trip that I have had in mind for a long time.
Of course, it revolved around video games. Continue reading “Introducing the Arcade Road Trip 2018 series”
I did a whole blog post a while back about how much I love joysticks/arcade sticks/fightsticks. (Actually, I don’t play a ton of fighters these days, so I guess for me they’re more “shmupsticks.”) Whatever you want to call that slab of arcade-perfect precision control, I have added them to most of my game consoles, and they’ve enhanced my enjoyment of shmups, fighters, and arcade classics immensely.
So when I realized that I had a handful of shmups on the PlayStation 4, I started to want to add an arcade stick to that platform as well. Then I picked up the Street Fighter II 30th Anniversary Collection, and remembered how much I HATE playing Street Fighter games with a pad, so that made up my mind in a hurry: time to shop for a PS4 stick.
But in this day and age of cool custom arcade sticks, I knew one thing: it couldn’t be just ANY arcade stick.