Wow! It’s been FOREVER since I did a WAWP post! So…what ARE we playing?
Who makes video game consoles?
It’s typically the heaviest hitters in the industry, like Nintendo and Sega, or major electronics manufacturers, like Sony and NEC. In the early days it was Magnavox, Atari, and major toy companies Mattel and Coleco. Sure, there will be a lesser-known scrapper in there once in a while, like SNK, but their products typically cater to a more hardcore niche.
But remember, once upon a time back in the early 1980s, Nintendo wasn’t a console juggernaut — they just made and licensed arcade games. They were known for Donkey Kong and Popeye, which they licensed out to companies like Coleco and Parker Brothers to get them on the Atari 2600 or Intellivision. Nobody expected them to suddenly enter the market with their own home console. Same with Sega — I recall thinking, What? The company that made Zaxxon and Congo Bongo has their own systems??
With this in mind over the years, I’ve often wondered what it would be like if some of my other favorite software or electronic companies would throw their hats into the ring and produce new video game hardware. What would happen if, say, Capcom made a game console? Or Konami? Or Hitachi? Turns out, many of those companies not only asked the same question, but actually had plans of their own home video game platforms having reached various stages of completion. Some of them even actually made it to market, and I hadn’t even been aware of them until recently!
So what happens when some of the biggest names in the games and electronics business start kicking around the idea of introducing a new video game console?
If you haven’t seen the M2 documentary on YouTube by My Life In Gaming, watch it first, then come back for this article. Also, make sure to hit the Like button and subscribe to MLIG to show your appreciation! If you have seen the doc, read on!
Wasn’t that great?
For years, gamers have raved about the work M2 has done in bringing arcade games to home consoles with amazing accuracy and a wealth of added options, customizations, and assorted bells and whistles. And now, thanks to this new documentary, we know a little more about who is behind all that meticulous work: A bunch of crazy hardcore game nerds, that’s who. My kinda people! …and if you’re reading this, probably yours too.
Continue reading “Let’s Hear It For M2!”
The 16-bit Sega Mega Drive (aka Genesis) was released in Japan 30 years ago today, on October 29, 1988. Happy birthday!
Much like when I wrote a little about the PC Engine at 30 or the Famicom at 35, I’m not here to give a history of the Mega Drive, which you can find anywhere, but I will bore you with some of my favorite things about the console.
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”
I seem to keep writing these posts where I stick up for things that other people seem to be down on, like Riding Hero or Castlevania II. I briefly thought about renaming these articles “Shut Up It’s Awesome” and making it a series, but nah.
Anyway, today I’m here to lavish praise upon another oft-maligned facet of this diamond that is the videogaming hobby, and that is the Sega CD! (Mega CD in Japan and Europe, where the Genesis was called the Mega Drive.) Although this expensive add-on for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive became mostly infamous for grainy FMV (full-motion video) games like that stinker Sewer Shark and the notorious Night Trap, and derided for crapping forth Marky Mark: Make My Video upon the world, one needn’t look too far past those turkeys to find some unique, important, and pretty damn hardcore titles that the serious gamer really shouldn’t miss. Continue reading “For the Love of Sega CD”
Having been introduced to videogames through arcades and the Atari 2600, I have largely lived my gamer life feeling that videogames should be played with joysticks. I mean, naturally I’ve gotten used to control pads, and I do think that the SNES controller and the DualShock are two of the best game controller designs of all time, and there are plenty of games with control schemes that cannot be executed efficiently on an arcade-style joystick setup. But I’ve always been a sucker for adding arcade sticks to my consoles; to me, there’s always been something better, more formal, more serious, more proper about using a joystick whenever possible. Continue reading “Joystickery”