Posts Tagged ‘arcade’


Game Pro TV

February 18, 2014

I’m finalizing my latest book, TV In My Time. It is about all the TV I watched in the 80s. As I was finalizing it, I remembered a show that times into my video game books: Game Pro TV.

Actually a show from the early 90s, Game Pro TV featured J.D. Roth (who would appear in a host of other youth-oriented shows) and Bren-nan (a Bill and Ted clone) talking about video games. The only clear memories of this show is a preview of Act Raiser for SNES and a clip that ran that was submitted by a viewer. This viewed explained that if you left one creature alive on any board of The Legend Of Zelda, the creatures would not be respawned. So if you left one creature on each board, you would easily be able to navigate Hyrule. I thought it was a lame tip, especially considering that The Legend of Zelda was an old game by that time. Still, I liked the show and am glad I remembered it.


Dragon’s Lair on Android

January 21, 2014

My wife has become addicted to Candy Crush on her Kindle Fire. Seeing her indulging her addiction made me wonder if I should look for a game to play on my Kindle Fire. I don’t game much on the Kindle as I don’t find the controls that accessible (I have the Atari collection, for example, but I can’t really do any serious gaming on it because the controls are so unwieldy). Still, I decided to look and I found something I’ve always wanted: Dragon’s Lair.


I have always wanted a home version of Dragon’s Lair. I’ve wanted it for a couple of reasons. One is that I like the game. The other is that I’m no good at it and I need a home version that doesn’t require quarters so I can learn to last more than five seconds. I’ve never been able to find this home version. Even the PC versions I bought didn’t work. I think this was because they were always a system behind whatever system I was using and I was no good at hacking them. But that is now moot, because the Android Dragon’s Lair is the port I have been waiting for. It is even better, actually. Not only does the Dragon’s Lair app have the arcade version, an exact translation of what you found in the arcade, but it also has a home version, which includes deleted scenes.


I was quite pleased with those options. I was also quite pleased with the controls. Dragon’s Lair doesn’t really require aggressive controlling, so controlling wasn’t a problem. I got much further through the game my first time through than I ever did in the arcade. It looks pretty good as well.



Now this Dragon’s Lair will put a hurting on your Kindle storage. After it originally installed, it had to download additional data, and I think that data was 5 gig, more than half my 8 gig Fire HD. That aside, it is the best version of the game I have personally had, and I’m quite happy with it. You can get it for a reasonable $4.99 in the Kindle App store. There is also a Space Ace app as well. I did not see Dragon’s Lair 2, but hopefully that will be coming soon. Until it does, I highly recommend the original.


And don’t forget to check out my book Arcadian, which describes my original experiences with Dragon’s Lair in the arcades!


The Space Invaders

July 14, 2013

I couldn’t make it to this year’s California Extreme arcade game convention, and I’m super bummed about it, not just because I missed a chance to play some great retro games, but also because I just learned about a great documentary that was shown there. That documentary is called The Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time.

I haven’t gotten to watch this documentary yet, but I will later this week and will write a review on I can tell from this trailer, though, that I’m going to love it.

If you want to beat me to it, you can get The Space Invaders from both as well as from the director’s web site. Check it out and let me know what you think!


Arcade Ambiance Project

February 9, 2013

I’m still trying to work my way through Before the Crash.  Today, I read a chapter on arcade sounds and was directed to the Arcade Ambiance Project by Andy Hofle.  This is an attempt to recreate the barrage of background sounds you would hear as you walked through an arcade.  These sounds are presented in several long audio files, each of which matches a different year (81, 83, 86, 92).  Here’s the track from 1983 (the first few seconds of which listeners to the Retroist podcast might identify).

Though Hofle has obviously put a lot of work into this, he’s offering the project for free.  So if you’re missing this incredible ambiance, go over to his site and download these great files.


Old Video Games Couldn’t Be Won

January 17, 2013

I think I mentioned the first part of this idea in ANESthetized.  The fact that old video games couldn’t be won and never ended was what made The Legend of Zelda such a surprise.  But Atari’s recent Facebook post puts a much more pessimistic turn on this fact.




Ninja Gaiden on Sega Master System and Arcade

December 14, 2012

I logged enough hours on the NES version of Ninja Gaiden that I thought I knew everything there was to know about the game.  Turns out I thought wrong.  Did you know there was a Sega Master System version?  There was, and it looks pretty cool.  The game is different but plays similar to the NES version, and the graphics are excellent.

Not only so, but there was an arcade version that I never knew existed, either (or, if I knew, I never experienced).  It is significantly different from the NES version, making it one of those weird games (like Strider) whose port is something different and better from the arcade original.

I still think the NES version is the best.  I have to; I’m too invested in it.  But these others are at least interesting.



The History of SNK

December 2, 2012

I’m not sure if Neo-Geo machines got a mention in the final chapter of Arcadian or not, but I remember seeing them in arcade during my high school years.  I also remember being aware of the home console.  I never played either, but I was interested in them.  I was particularly interested in the memory card feature.  I don’t know how it actually worked, but I thought it allowed you to take the arcade game home with you.  If that’s not how it worked, it is how it should have worked.

I remained interested enough in the Neo-Geo to watch this short doc on the rise and fall of SNK.  If you were a Neo-Geo fan (or just a casual observer like me), check it out.



Space Invaders Laser Base

November 4, 2012

When does an Atari 2600 arcade port have better graphics than the original?  Is such a thing even possible?  It was with Space Invaders.  If you’ve read Arcadian, you know that I wasn’t happy with the Space Invaders laser base.  I thought it looked like  a bracket put on its side.  I still think that today.

Well, when Atari ported the game to the 2600, they refined the laser base a little.  Here’s how it came out on the Atari.

Is that better?  I think it is.  And so it is a time, perhaps the only and only time, when the Atari 2600 had better graphics than an arcade game.


Shark Attack

October 23, 2012

There were hundreds of arcades games I never heard of back in the day.  This is one I wish I had.  Please understand that you are the shark in this game.  Not the divers.  The shark!!!  Why didn’t someone tell me about this game back then?


Invasion of the Space Invaders

October 9, 2012

So I’m on a video game book jag, and I can’t get off it without mentioning this one: Invasion of the Space Invadersby Martin Amis.

Just the author and title are enough to give us some pause here.  The author is apparently a well-known literary writer.  I have to take that from other folks, because I’ve neither read any of his books nor heard of him, but that’s what I’ve been told.  The title is a tautology.  Invasion of the Space Invaders?  Of course they’re invading.  They’re invaders!

There are apparently some real gems in the book as well.  I say apparently because the book is out of print and used copies are going on Ebay for as high as $200, putting it far out of my range.  But here are some of the quotes I’ve dredged up:

PacMan player, be not proud, nor too macho, and you will prosper on the dotted screen.

There is something wilful, is there not, something voulu, about putting the last coins you own into one of these squat monsters . . . that is part of the spur. What more eloquent and effortless way of showing that you don’t care, that nothing matters? . . . Money has never looked cheaper. It looks disposable, throwaway stuff.

Before . . . these tribes of spacefaced conquered would brood about God, Hell, the Father of Lies, the fate of the spirit, with the soul imagined as an inner being . . . But now the invader is a graph shadow swathed in spools and printouts, and he wears an alien face.

Yeah, that’s a little more esoteric than I got with Arcadian.  That prose, together with the fact that the author has disowned the book and Steven Spielberg wrote the intro, has made this book quite a highly sought prize.  I’m not going to plunk down the $200 to get it, but if you do, let me know how it is.  And if you’d just like a sample, you can find it here.


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