The Thrill Of The Chase: NYC Style

If you are ever in the city that never sleeps, then you are in for a treat. Apart from the many great sights and sounds, you must head down to the gritty and cool East Village (Lower Manhattan) area – there, you will find two amazing retro gaming stores: ‘8Bit & Up’ and ‘Video Games NY’.

VGNY_1            VGNY_2

VGNY_3     VGNY_4     VGNY_5

I was lucky to be in the Big Apple on my last US trip when a few kind Twitter friends passed on some inside tips on these two stores. I seized the opportunity, and I am glad that I did. For mine, ‘Video Games NY’ is the pick of the two – it oozes retro from floor to ceiling, literally! The hardest problem you will have is getting an increased luggage allowance to bring your retro haul back to your country of origin (or state).

Oh yeah, while you are in New York City, you must also visit the ‘Nintendo World’ store – you can read about it here.

VGNY_7              VGNY_8

8bit_2      8bit_4      8bit_3
8bit_5          8bit_6

Video Games NY: 202 E 6th St  New York, NY 10003

8Bit & Up: 35 St. Marks Place #2  New York, 10003

 

Competition: Win Atari 2600 Games

a2600_comp_banner

COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED!

In celebration of the new look ausretrogamer.com, we would like to offer you the chance to win these Atari 2600 games: Missile Command, Space Invaders and Freeway.

To enter this competition: email your age, gender, occupation, and the amount of time you spend gaming in a typical week to competitions@ausretrogamer.com with “A2600 Comp” in the subject line. We won’t pass your information on to anyone else; we just want to know a little bit about our readers. Read our privacy policy here.

a2600_comp1

California Games: Fun In The Sun

CaliGames_Lynx_boxFormat: Atari Lynx
Media: Cartridge
Year: 1989
Developer: Epyx
Publisher: Atari

 

 

Ah California – where the sun always shines, the surfing is great and beach parties rock with scantily clad women with golden tans aplenty. Throw some cool sporting events into a competition and you have yourself some California Games.

If it was one game that Atari was betting on to shift more Lynx units, this one was it – California Games. The Lynx version of Cali Games turned out a bit different from its console and home computer counterparts. Firstly, the number of events was cut down to four: BMX, Half Pipe, Surfing and Footbag. Secondly, the BMX and Surfing events were tweaked for the Lynx screen which actually made them quite enjoyable to play.  Thirdly, you could not pick your sponsor (oh no, I wanted Santa Cruz boards!). Lastly, gone were the earthquakes, the taunting dolphin and the menacing shark with sunglasses.

Now, I know what you are thinking, what the hell is left in this Lynx version of California Games! Relax, chill out like a real West Coaster. This game is so awesome, I would recommend you to get a Lynx just to play it. The learning curve to play the events is quite easy, with the half pipe event being the most difficult to get used to out of the four. For those of you that have never had the pleasure of playing California Games, let’s run through the event playbook:

Cali_Games_BMX_ausretrogamer

BMX – Ride your bike on the stunt course strewn with obstacles and get to the finish line before the timer runs out. The more stunts performed and the faster you hit that finish line, the better your score. If you keep on crashing on the way to the finish line, the event spits you out.

Cali_Games_Half-Pipe_ausretrogamer

Half Pipe – grab your board and hit the half pipe to build up your momentum. Once you have some speed, hit each ramp with some cool tricks to gain points.

Cali_Games_Surfing_ausretrogamer

Surfing – my personal favourite of all the events. Surfing was changed on this version to riding the wave from ‘right to left’ – this actually breathed a new life to this event, as I was never crazy about surfing on the console versions. You earn points by staying ahead of the wave and getting airborne to perform (multiple) spins. Yes, I can do quadruple spins – that is a 1440! Oh yeah  you must land the board on the wave at an angle that won’t see you diving into the surf.

Cali_Games_Footbag_ausretrogamer

Footbag – or hacky sack. The premise is simple, keep the bag off the ground by kicking, kneeing or head-butting it in the air. Earn extra points by spinning around while the bag is in the air or by hitting George. Who is George you ask ? He is the friendly seagull that you hit as he flies across the top of the screen. Luckily animal welfare groups were cool about knocking off seagulls back in 1989.

The challenge of each event is always to beat your (or your friends) high score. The only way to achieve a higher score is to nail the timing in each event. Get the timing wrong, and not only does your score suffer, the game also humiliates you with light hearted quips. Thankfully, these were left in the Lynx game.

So there you have it – four obscure events that are quite enjoyable to play. If you have a Lynx, California Games is a mandatory addition to your games library.

Graphics Awesome detail and animation in all events. This game shows off the power of the Lynx

92%

Sound Simply awesome and ambient tunes for each event. The sound effects are just so sweet too

92%

Playability Four distinct events which will keep you on your toes

94%

Lastability Single or multi player, this game is built to be replayed so those high scores and records can be broken

95%

Overall The perfect mix of variation, challenge, enjoyment and fun.

93%

 

Video Games Graveyard

Survival of the fittest or just plain bad business decisions. Just as Betamax was left in the wake of the VHS behemoth,  the video games market is strewn with carcases of systems and games that just never made it.

Jaguar

Some of history’s most spectacular gaming console flops come from two of the industry’s heavy hitters, Atari and Sega. The hardware manufacturing death knell was getting quite loud at Atari – they decided to throw in the towel and quit making games consoles after the Atari Jaguar was caught in the crossfire of the Sega versus Nintendo battle of the 1990s. The Jaguar was rushed to market and suffered the consequences. Selling fewer than 250,000 units just wasn’t going to cut it. Perhaps Atari should have done the math (get it!) before they embarked on the Jaguar.

dreamcast-console_arg

A few years after Atari ceased making hardware, it was Sega’s turn to wave the console making white flag. Once a pillar of the video games console industry, Sega’s Dreamcast was met with initial enthusiasm but Sega also abandoned making consoles after the Dreamcast was smashed by the new kid on the block, Sony’s PlayStation 2.

Atari_ET_arg

As for gaming flops, Atari’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial takes the gong. The game was rushed (it took 5 weeks to develop) to retail stores for the 1982 Christmas season but was such a disappointment, that millions of unsold game cartridges ended up in landfill in the New Mexico desert. Atari ordered more E.T. cartridges to be made than there were installed Atari VCS 2600 units! Again, Atari should have DONE THE MATH.

 

LeMans: Start Your Engines

LeMans_Box_ausretrogamerFormat: Commodore 64 (C64)
Media: Cartridge
Year: 1982
Developer: HAL Labratory, Inc.
Publisher: Commodore
Game Mode: Single Player

 

 

Gentlemen, start your engines! How apt that I pull out the LeMans C64 cartridge on this day, the start of the 2013 Formula 1 (F1) Grand Prix season. I am aware LeMans and F1 are two separate sanctioned sports, but hey, it is a racing game, and that is all there is to it. Perhaps I should have ripped out Checkered Flag on the Atari Lynx. I just have to stop second guessing myself and stick with this old game.

LeMans_screen1

LeMans on the C64 is a top-down up-the-screen driving game, where you as the driver, must hit the pedal to the metal and drive to a never ending finish line. The goal of the game is to pass as many cars as you can. The more cars you overtake, the more points you earn. It’s not about the finish line in this game, it is all about accumulating the highest points score.The faster you go, the more points you earn – 2 points per metre to be exact. Every 10 cars passed you earn 1000 bonus points. Keep an eye on the countdown timer, as you will only get time extensions every 20,000 points. This is old school tough.

LeMans_Night_ausretrogamer

The strategy to doing well in LeMans is to drive as fast as you can for as long as you can, passing computer drivers (watch out as they veer in your path!) and traversing all kinds of terrain. The terrain sections in LeMans is what makes the game quite interesting – there are icy roads (your car slides as if it’s on skates), divided highways (squeezing into 2 lanes), night driving (relax, you have headlights) and the famous “LeMans Esses”.

Every time your car is hit by another vehicle or if you steer into the walls, your car turns into a wreck and you must “Pit” to the left as the on-screen message tells you to. This kills off precious seconds, so try and avoid hitting or being hit by cars and stop steering into walls. If you can avoid damage to your vehicle, then you will be well on your way to that precious high points score.

Paddles_ausretrogamer

The only (fun) way to play this game is with the ‘Commodore Paddles’. The Paddles add to the playability of the game as you hold the accelerator button with your left thumb and steer with your right fingertips. There were no “steering wheel” contraptions for the C64 back in the day. The Paddles did (and still do) the job just right.

Well, enough of my ranting, I am off to play another game before the F1 race kicks off.

Retro Gaming Street Art

I do not condone graffiti, but when I see ‘street art’, I am always in awe of the talented artists that came up with the idea and created their masterpiece (well, they are masterpieces to me).

Art is quite personal, therefore each and every one of us will take something different from each piece being viewed. With that said, check out these clever retro gaming inspired masterpieces: