Retro Game Review: Klondike

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While my main computer is out of commission, I have been seeking other games to play, and have decided to seek out “light” games I can play on my very underpowered netbook.  I found this curious and strange game known as “Klondike” (other people simply call it “Solitaire” for some unknown reason), played with a deck of cards, which heretofore I thought was only used for the popular sport “Texas Holdem Poker” shown on ESPN along with other games like the one where a bunch of guys line up in overly protective padding to fight over some oblong turd-looking ball.  I think they called it “feets-ball” or something.  Regardless, I now realize cards can be used for other games.  Go figure.

The rules of this game seem simple: you line up sequential cards in alternating red and black colors and then ultimately weeding out and separating all the colors and their “clans” into their own spots atop the playfield (which seems very much like promoting racism and gangs to me, but I digress).  You win when every card is separated into their own type, which I can only assume would preclude some sort of turf war that isn’t explored in the game.

The gameplay, however, is very suspect: all the cards are not presented in the same order every time, making the game a bit of a roguelike, and worse, all cards are not accessible and are, in fact, blocked off by other cards that you cannot move, making the whole thing very luck-based.  Also, why the game felt it had to include royalty as standing in for the higher numbers (eleven and above) smacks of elitism and an obvious rich vs. poor divide, which also makes the game confusing as they could have simply added the higher numbers; space on the card for two-digit numbers obviously was not a concern, because the number 10 is represented as a number card.

In short, this is a poorly made, highly racist and elitist game that no one should play.

And please, please tell me you all recognized that all of this is one huge joke and that I don’t mean any of it.  Just wanted to amuse myself while trying to find a way to play real games again.

Except the random part.  THE LAST CARD I CAN’T GET TO IS WHAT I NEED.  EVERY TIME.  DAMN YOU, KLONDIKE.

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Sega Saturn Doom

My word, I haven’t tried this version in a long time.  It’s much less smooth than other versions and takes a lot from the PlayStation version, but man, Doomguy fires quickly.  I mean, it’s almost rapid-fire mode.  Almost cheating, really.

It’s not the best Doom by far, but at least it’s interesting.  And yeah, I played it on a real Saturn.  Yeah, she still works.  Ain’t she a beauty?

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I may not be a fan of most gaming of that era, but at least Sega tried to do true gaming right with the Saturn and Dreamcast.  With tons of arcade-style and straightforward games that sharply contrasted with the direction Nintendo and Sony were going, the Saturn was awesome.

Golvellius: Valley of Doom is the Retro Game of the Week for 17 October, 2016

Released: 1988
Publisher: Compile, Sega
Developer: Compile
Platform: Sega Master System
Genre: Action/Adventure/RPG
Played on: mednafen, gamepad

Quick one this week, because this basically preempted other games I had planned for this week’s RGotW.  The reason: I had no idea this game existed until a short while ago.  The gameplay above is from very few attempts to play the game, thus it doesn’t go very far, but I plan to play a lot more of it and get better.  Because it is good. 

The game features an overworld where you fight monsters and find caves and secrets, Zelda 1 style, but also has side-scrolling and even vertical shooter-like elements, and that’s just in the little bit I played — who knows what lies in store in this game?  And I’m excited to find out.

This is why I can’t understand why we bother with new games when there are so many old games to play and discover.  I have played games on many systems my entire life and am still discovering “new” games to play.

Pinball Games (Arcade) are the Retro Games of the Week for 3 October, 2016

(No stats this week because we’re not concentrating on a single game, but the above, as stated below, is Tales of the Arabian Nights played via Pinball Arcade on Steam, controlled with a keyboard.)

This week is a special week here on RGotW as we are including a ton of games in one week, beating our previous record of three.  In fact, we’re just going to go ahead and celebrate an entire type of gaming, retro and non, because really, they are all good.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you: pinball. 

The above example is from a very nice game available for Steam called Pinball Arcade: it very faithfully replicates a ton of pinball tables from throughout the entire history of pinball.  While getting all of the tables is a bit on the pricey side, you at least get the table I demonstrated above (Tales of the Arabian Nights) for free, and can play others for free for a limited time.

But let’s talk about pinball itself.  Unlike other videogames, pinball is a very mechanical and real-world entity that has a definite feel and charm to it.  Sure, playing pinball on the PC through means like the above Pinball Arcade is well and good if you have no other way, but honestly, if you’re going to enjoy pinball, go out and find a real machine at a reputable arcade that keeps their tables well-maintained and in working order.  There’s really no substitute for the feel and the sound of a moving ball rolling around on an inclined surface colliding with obstacles and being bounced around, while you try to prevent it from escaping to the bottom of the table with the flippers, controlled by side buttons almost as if you are embracing the table, inviting it to become a part of you, and of you, it.  If this all seems almost sensual, you are right.  It is a very involved, wonderful dance of skill and perception that requires one to sense everything going on.  And in this way, computer pinball simulations don’t really do it justice, but again, it’s better than nothing at all.

You can find many old pinball machines that are all mechanical, with no electronic components, and modern ones that integrate many electrical, crazy components in it, including a scoreboard that can be interactive, elements that can control and change the table, speech, graphics, and so on.  Both are absolutely wonderful and I’m not sure if some people have their preference, but I have none.  I adore tables like Royal Flush just as much as I do, say, Theatre of Magic.  It doesn’t matter how much or little the game adds with electronic wizardry; the game is still about a physical ball rolling around in a physical space, and as long as you have that, you have pinball.

Go out and find some pinball games out in the wild.  Enjoy them.  Love them.  Maybe even bring them back.  We’ve brought electronic videogames into the home to stay, but pinball needs to be experienced in its purest form.  I’d love to see an arcade today full of tables from all eras.  On second thought, maybe I wouldn’t, because I would go there and never leave.