On August 21, 2018, something that nobody thought would ever happen did, in fact, happen: Shenmue I & II were re-released in HD for current consoles and PC. Continue reading “I’m in the Shen-mood”
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”
UPDATE: Since I last visited, Level 257 has changed its name to Pac-Man Entertainment.
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.
“In my day, we didn’t have no innerwebs to search and instantly find maps and passwords and solutions to our Nintender games. We had to play them by ourselves, with no help, and draw our own maps, and write down the clues that some mistranslated NPC gave us, and write out our own passwords, and if you screwed up one single letter, it was no good and you had to go back to the beginning of the game and start it alllll over, and that was the way it was, and WE LIKED IT!” Continue reading “Ye Olde NES Notebooke”
Bill Kunkel is a name you should probably know. He, along with friends and business partners Arnie Katz and Joyce Worley, were extraordinarily important figures in video game history: They created the very first video game magazine, Electronic Games, in 1981, which covered arcade, home console, and computer video games throughout their Golden Age until the Crash in 1984.
Not only that, but within those pages, Kunkel himself coined gaming terms we all take for granted today, such as “Easter egg” and “screenshot.” Yeah, that was Bill Kunkel. Continue reading “Gamers’ Library: Confessions of the Game Doctor by Bill Kunkel”
It seems that no matter what game genre we “retro” or “classic” gamers may cite as our favorite — be it platformers, maze games, puzzle games, fighting games, etc. — the shmup, or shootemup, or STG, or shooting game, or scrolling shooter, or whatever you want to call it, is almost universally revered. Despite the various strengths and weaknesses of individual titles, the shmup, as a genre, seems to be beyond reproach for many retro gamers.
Whyzzat?? Continue reading “Why Shmups?”
Okay, so if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, it’s been established that I’m a geek for laserdisc games. With that said, I recently dove back into that rabbit hole and came up with something interesting: a game I had never heard of, hidden in plain sight.