Archives for October 2012

Off The Beaten Path: Saturn Edition

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When people think of Japanese Saturn games, they quite rightly call to mind classics such as Capcom’s 4MB-enhanced beat ‘em ups, shmups like Battle Garrega and Radiant Silvergun, and the sequels the West wanted but never got (I hate to bring up old wounds, but I must mention Dragon Force 2 and the remaining Shining Force 3 scenarios). The Saturn had far more Japanese games than just these cult classics though and while the quality naturally varies from game to game there’s still plenty of interesting titles waiting to be played, often for $10USD or less. [Read more…]

Pumpkin + Tetris = Pumpktris

What do you get when you get a clever guy (Nathan from Haha Bird), a pumpkin, and the classic killer video game, Tetris ? Well, if you check out the video, you will see the coolest jack o’ lantern for this Halloween. [Read more…]

Astro Wars: A Blast From The Past

Back in the early 80’s, the closest thing to having an arcade in your home was to have one of a plethora of electronic tabletops. In a sea of these portable tabletops, one stood out head and shoulders – Grandstand’s (Epoch developed), Astro Wars. Everything about this black and grey beast was and still is uber cool. It looks like a miniature arcade and it even plays like one. It has a 2-way metal joystick (for left and right movement) and one big plastic fire button – what more could you want !


Even after three decades, the hardware oozes coolness. Just look at the unit ! The display is a “vacuum fluorescent display”, or VFD (the box says Multicolour FIP Display !). This was used on consumer-electronics equipment back in the early 80’s, like calculators. Unlike liquid crystal displays, a VFD could emit a very bright light with high contrast and could support display elements of various colours.

The unit feels sturdy and can be powered by mains (6 Volt) or with four ‘C’ batteries. The unit is “portable” – perhaps only around the house as you wouldn’t want to lug it around.


So, how does this Astro Wars play ? Well, as a shoot’em up, it is quite simple – move your earth ship left / right to avoid missiles from the fierce squadron of attacking fighters and fire back to blast them into smithereens. Once you blast away waves of enemy fighters, warships and command ships, you attempt the docking manoeuvre – landing the upper module to the rocket part of your earth ship. Succeed with this manoeuvre, and you are given extra points. Speaking of points, once you reach 9999, the counter resets to zero and you have effectively “clocked the game”. When you do end up finishing the game, you still want to re-play it. Now that is saying something for a game that has been around for 30+ years. How many other games can you say that about ? OK, I hear people screaming Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, and yes, them too.

If you want a cool piece of gaming history with “pew-pew sounds” and a great game to boot, then hunt down this unit – you will not regret it.

For more photos of Astro Wars, go to the Facebook album

What is in a console name ?

Remember the good old days when each generational system from Sega and Nintendo had its own unique name. There was the Master System, NES, Mega Drive (Genesis), SNES, Saturn and the N64 to name a few.

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Evolution of Strip Poker Games

Throughout the history of gaming, it is widely accepted to kill, pillage and destroy as long as the ladies keep their clothes on. OK, maybe we made that up. However, it is ironic that many companies will not touch a strip poker game but will make first person shooters until the cows come home. Fortunately some companies took a chance on this genre and male poker fans have been thankful ever since. Let’s take a brief look at the evolution of strip poker games. [Read more…]

Marching Band Video Game Tribute

Who says marching bands are not cool ? Well, no one told the Ohio State University Marching Band. At half time, the band decided to pay tribute to some classic video games. [Read more…]

Musée Mécanique: The Mechanical Museum Of San Francisco

San Francisco, it may not have Disneyland, but what it does have is an arcade aficionado’s paradise – the Mechanical Museum, or ‘Musée Mécanique’. [Read more…]