Cave Story on Genesis

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It makes me very happy to see continued support for old consoles, and this port of Cave Story to the Sega Genesis (Mega Drive), although not finished and still having a few problems, is absolutely spectacular.

Huzzah, indeed.

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World Series Baseball (Genesis) is the Retro Game of the Week for 27 September, 2016

Released: 1993
Publisher:  Sega
Developer: Blue Sky Software
Platform: Genesis
Genre: Sports
Played on: mednafen, gamepad

Another rough week, another last-minute Retro Game of the Week.  It’s as if I didn’t have seven whole days to prepare anything or something.

But this one is a game I played far too much of back when it was released, and the reason is that it was (and still is!) a really good baseball game.  I’m not the biggest fan of sports these days, but baseball is one of those games that really keeps my interest.  Something about a game that isn’t inherently violent and is so well-organized and balanced just appeals to me.

And World Series Baseball gives you a sense of real control over the game while still remaining very simple, as the pitching and batting controls are more than the typical “press button to pitch/throw” games of the time.  These days I do like a bit more behind-the-scenes management sim baseball games (which is why I like Out of the Park Baseball), but for an arcade-style game, this game is a really good one.

Seriously hope to have more than this next week.  Sorry, folks.  Go play baseball.

Go Braves! 

Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun (Genesis) is the Retro Game of the Day for 24 July, 2016

Another late one today.  Been busy the last couple of days.  The recording above is a raw, unpracticed recording that I did the other day because I didn’t have time to do a recording of anything today.

Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun is a traditional RPG (non-JRPG, non “modern RPG” which I liken to basically a Western copy of JRPG elements) for the Sega Genesis that I instantly fell in love with back in the day and somehow made it through and beat (and it’s been a long time since I’ve played, as indicated by my confused performance above).  It is a game based on the D&D Hollow World campaign and features a castle that falls into a valley of an eternal sun (hence the title) that you must find your way in and uncover the mystery of this strange place you and the inhabitants of the castle now find yourselves in.

The music in the game is absolutely fantastic, and one of the few games that I find the music truly memorable in and tolerable enough to listen to (usually, music in games are irritating or bad enough for me to want to turn it off, especially in modern games).  The gameplay is fun, the world is compelling, and the setting is just challenging enough to keep you coming back for more.  What a fantastic game.  Play it.

As usual, mednafen serves its purpose well here with a gamepad.

 

Gunstar Heroes (Genesis) is the Retro Game of the Day for 5 June, 2016

Just a nice, relaxing, intense, awesome, crazy, and fun Genesis shooter today.  Only one of the best games of that generation.  Only Gunstar Heroes.  That’s all.  Nothing big today.

Yeah.

I’ll just say this: if you haven’t played it, go play it right now.  Really, there’s no excuse.  It’s good regardless of what you think about any game, anywhere, any time.  It’s so well executed, allows a lot of trickery and skill, has perfect controls… yeah, it’s good.

So I’ll just stop gushing about it and let you go play it.  As I said, nice, relaxing Sunday Retro Game of the Day.  Right?

Zero Wing (Genesis) is the Retro Game of the Day for 20 May, 2016

Yep.  Zero Wing.

Sure, let’s admit it: it’s not a really great game.  At best, it’s an above average horizontally scrolling shooter with one fairly neat little gimmick of capturing small enemy ships to use as a shield/one-use projectile.  Beyond that, the game itself is good enough, but not very memorable.

Except for All Your Base Are Belong To Us. 

In the year 2000, emulation had gotten to the point where it was easy to emulate the Sega Genesis (aka the Mega Drive) and go through its catalog of lesser-known games.  And Zero Wing was definitely a lesser-known game, being a Europe-only release of an already lesser-known, mediocre game with a poor translation of its intro sequence.  But a remix of its intro music was made with voice synthesis lines of the hilariously bad translation, and that was coupled with a Flash video made of part of the game’s title sequence followed by a sequence of Photoshopped images with “All Your Base Are Belong To Us” (and/or some of the other intro lines) inserted in one way or the other.  This became a huge viral hit in the early 2000s, giving the game a sort of resurgence.

So what you have is a game that should have been mostly forgotten (and rightfully so) made “popular” by an inane non-game sequence that went viral and caused the game to become more popular.  Sadly, this is how many modern games work.  Thanks, Zero Wing.

 

Columns (Genesis) is the Retro Game of the Day for 10 May, 2016

Puzzle games became a huge trend in gaming back when a simple block-dropping game called Tetris became one of the top games of the era back in the late 1980s, appearing on every console and computer imaginable.  And there were a huge line of games ready to grab a piece of that puzzle game fame and fortune, predictably, as it is a rule in gaming to jump all over any innovator and bring out one’s own take on it.

One of those was Columns, for a variety of computers and systems but most famously for the Sega Genesis.  Its take on the puzzle game was to have dropping pieces like Tetris, but not to simply fill in empty spaces in that shape, which became a bit simplistic and repetitious in the long run; instead, it used a simple “match three” system where the player lined up jewels all of the same color, getting bonuses for more than three colors in a row and/or a chain of matches as the matched gems disappeared and the other rows fell to take their place.  It was a game that, to me, had quite a bit more strategy, forethought, and quick thinking than Tetris, which was a very simple game up to the point where it was simply all about reflexes and creating properly shaped holes.  With Columns, you not only had to set up your matches but also mitigate the extra colors that came along with the three-gem dropped column as well.

Honestly, I was never great at the game, but that is what made it more interesting to me when compared to Tetris, since Columns was more challenging, and therefore, more fun.  I still like Tetris, of course, but to me, Columns is the better game.

 

Thunder Force II is the Retro Game of the Day for 9 May, 2016

It was an exciting time in gaming.  We had been exposed to all the greatness the Nintendo Entertainment System had given us, and some were exposed to Sega’s underdog, the Master System, and the era of computing was going from the awesomeness of the Commodore Amiga to the brave new world of gaming on what was before a “business” computer, the IBM PC (and compatibles).  And we were about to see what the future of gaming was like with the release of Sega’s new 16-bit (yes, sixteen whole bits!  That’s twice as many as eight!) gaming console, the Genesis.

And if games like Altered Beast, Golden Axe, and today’s Retro Game of the Day, Thunder Force II were any indication, the future was very good indeed for the next generation of gaming.

(Too bad it all fell apart when the next generation rolled around and made games for people who weren’t gamers, not for people who had supported the 16-bit gaming systems.)

Thunder Force II (unknown to us at the time, there was an original  Thunder Force, not that we ever saw it from its early 1980s releases on Sharp and NEC computers) is a scrolling shooter game, with two distinct modes — a top down shooter that requires you to destroy a number of enemy installations, and a side scrolling shooter that plays like many other side-scrolling shooter games.  But it’s this division of the game into these two distinct modes and the challenge the game offers in both that makes the game incredibly enjoyable and replayable.  The amount of power-ups for your ship and the cool little announcements you get when you pick them up, along with the colorful graphics, the music, and the enemy variety adds up to a complete and fun package that is playable even today — all this from a title that was launched very early in the Sega Genesis lifespan.

Thankfully, the internet allows one to solve long-standing mysteries in old games.  On the game’s launch screen that says “Good Luck”, a garbled voice spouts out something.  The only part I could ever make out was the end, “Good luck.”  But fortunately, the internet has informed me that your ship is the Exceliza, and the voice is saying “This is Exceliza.”  “Roger; Good luck.”  Thanks, internet.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors is the Retro Game of the Day for 24 April, 2016

From Wikipedia:

Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a run and gun video game developed by LucasArts and originally published by Konami for the Super NES and Sega Genesis consoles in 1993.
One or two players take control of protagonists Zeke and Julie in order to rescue the titular neighbors from monsters often seen in horror movies. Aiding them in this task are a variety of weapons and power-ups that can be used to battle the numerous enemies in each level. Various elements and aspects of horror movies are referenced in the game with some of its more violent content being censored in various territories such as Europe and Australia, where it is known only as Zombies.

A nice and simple yet fun zombie-themed game from back when zombies weren’t over-saturated in entertainment media.  A game I really didn’t pay much attention to back around its release, I’ve really come to enjoy its simple run-and-gun mechanics and crazy enemies since then.