Posts Tagged ‘video games’

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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 Retroist.com. 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 Amazon.com as well as from the director’s web site. Check it out and let me know what you think!

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Sword of Pixels Blog

July 6, 2013

Just got word of a new blog started by a fellow named Joe. The blog is called Sword of Pixels and it starts off with a review of Arcadian. A good review of Arcadian! You can find the review here. Thanks to Joe and good wishes for the blog!

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Celebrities on Video Games

June 2, 2013

How did Atari and Intellivision sell so many consoles and cartridges prior to the great crash of 1983? By getting stars to shill for them, of course. Here are just a few stars (or soon to be stars) I’ve found in old video game commercials.

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What Nintendo Means

March 2, 2013

I realized just the other day that I didn’t know what the word Nintendo means.  Nintendo has had a huge impact on my childhood and my life.  I’ve said the word hundreds of thousands of times.  But I don’t know what it means.  Realizing that, I intended to look it up, then promptly forgot to.  Fortunately, I started reading Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America by Jeff Ryan, and I came across this paragraph:

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“Leave Luck to Heaven” or “We Do What We Can”.  There are probably complicated nuances to those concepts that we English speakers miss.  Nonetheless, I get a little bit of the idea in those two translations, and I think it’s an incredibly appropriate idea for a little gray box that gave me and still gives me so much joy.

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A Bunch of Books

January 27, 2013

I got $200 in Barnes and Nobles and Amazon.com gift cards this Christmas season, and I spent all of it on ebooks.  Not all the ebooks were about video games, but a good many of them were.  Here’s a few of them:

This one is more a scholarly examination of the early video game era than a memoir of early video games, but it is cool.  It also mentions Retroist.com!

A history of Nintendo.  I hope it doesn’t reveal any dark secrets about the company I love.  At least any I don’t already know.

Ditto this one.

This one is a reference book.  It has at least one companion volume, maybe two, and would have been better to have on hard copy because it is one I’d rather flip through than read start to finish.

Add to that this one I checked out from the library.

So I have a lot of reading to do.  When I get done with these books, I’ll let you know what I thought about them.

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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.

 

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Video Games by Daniel Cohen

October 24, 2012

A few weeks ago I learned about Video Games by Daniel Cohen, and I just had to have it.

Video Games is a survey of the video game universe as it stood in the early 80s.  Written for young adults, it covers arcade games, home systems, computer games, and even portable electronic games.  It doesn’t give a world of information about any of these things, but it does give an okay overview.  It also contains some information that was incredibly interesting, such as these screenshots of of Intellivision games that were in the works at the time of writing.

It also says that Pac-Man was also known as Packy.  Really?

Now it would be easy to laugh at how simplistic as well as outdated this book is.  But I have to admit that it was still a ton of fun to read.  It didn’t tell me a lot, but it reminded me not only of the kind of books I used to read as a kid but also how I mined them for every bit of information I could.  Books like these were my lifelines to my interests in the pre-Internet world, and for that they have a special place in my heart.  I know an 8-year-old me would have loved this book, and a 38-year-old me liked it pretty well.

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Topless Robot’s List of 7 Best Non-Fiction Video Game Books

October 6, 2012

What?  Arcadian isn’t on this list?  Slight aside, the folks at TR picked some great books for this list, most of which I’d never heard of before.  I’ve already bought Cohen’s Video Games, and I’m wanting to pick up the Pac-Mania books.  How could I pass up humor like this?

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If you want to see the rest of this list, or ask the TR folks why Arcadian isn’t on it, go here.

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