Pimp Your Vectrex Controller

Even in its original guise, the Vectrex is one unique and gorgeous piece of gaming hardware! The all-in-one vector gaming system has been a long-time favourite of collectors, hence its hefty price tag.

If you happen to have a Vectrex and you want to make it pop, then perhaps some custom controller overlays of your favourite Vectrex games from German store, arcadeartshop, would be an ideal way to personalise your machine. Arcadeartshop also allow for individual designed controller overlays, all you need to do is send them the graphics and they’ll do the rest!

With a choice of glossy or rough laminate, these custom controller overlays are a cool way to add some colour to your Vectrex and protection for your controller. Priced at €5 (plus shipping) per overlay, we reckon that they are very reasonably priced – we’ll get a couple, thanks!

source: arcadeartshop.de

 

Resident Evil: Surviving The Horror

Wow, when Resident Evil was released on this day (March 22) in 1996, who would have thought that we would be talking about it all these years later!

Our first encounter with Resident Evil was quite memorable. Upon loading the game on our Playstation, we were subjected to some cheesy B-grade acting, but it was the rabid zombie dog at the end of the intro sequence that scared the pants off us when watching it at the dead of night – we still have nightmares!

We quickly learn that Raccoon City is a foreboding place, where an outbreak of the T-Virus (created as a bio-weapon by the Umbrella Corporation) starts spreading from the nearby Arklay Mountains, turning humans into zombies and other creatures into horrifying monsters. The protagonists, Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, both members of the Alpha S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics And Rescue Service) special forces from the Raccoon Police Department (RPD) are trapped in the Spencer mansion, attempting to find out what all the eeriness is about. This is where things get interesting in this awesome survival horror game; from encountering supernatural enemies – some that make you jump off the couch, to finding typewriter ribbons to save your progress and the dread you feel when opening a door to transition to another room, there were scares aplenty!

Interestingly, the game is known as Biohazard in its native Japan. When the Biohazard project kicked off, Capcom were planning a spiritual remake of their 1989 horror game Sweet Home. Once they found that a DOS game had registered the Biohazard title in the US, the company held an internal contest to choose a new name. This contest lead to the title, Resident Evil, which we know and love outside of Japan. Resident Evil/Biohazard was also first to be dubbed a ‘survival horror’ game – the term coined for the new genre.

Capcom weren’t convinced that Resident Evil would do well, with sales projections pencilled in at just 200,000. Once critical acclaim was widespread, Capcom were truly gobsmacked when Resident Evil went on to move 5.8 million copies (original, Director’s Cut and Director’s Cut DualShock), making it a massive hit.

Hit us up on Facebook or Twitter to tell us about your most memorable encounter or scary moment from the original Resident Evil. Oh, and a ‘Jill Sandwich’ is a thing!

image source: games revisited

 

Lack of Order

‘Press X to Jason’ the screen reads, as you play through Heavy Rain. ‘Press X to pay respects’ the screen offers, as you begin Call of Duty Advanced Warfare’s campaign. These scripted moments are something that try and engage the gamer but often feel as though they are awkward moments, much like when a parent says to ‘Make sure you send grandma a thank you card for the $5 she gave you for your birthday!’ You sigh; “But, why?” is the silent question, grandma knows you love her, after all.

In games, being prompted to perform an action is something that is here to stay. Be it through a quick time event or something that is set to move the plot, being told how to play a game is a break of immersion that is unfortunately commonplace. To say that all prompts shouldn’t exist is completely foolish as well. In the Batman Arkham series, an enemy can be countered as the prompt flashes over their head. In the Metal Gear Solid series, stealth is achieved best by being aware of what the enemies are doing or how they are reacting to the player movements – if they are curious, we know, if they know we are there, we know. Past this, games that offer tips to playing the game, such as Uncharted, can be a welcome addition, prompting the player to look in a certain place, even with the prompted option of ‘Hint’ appearing on screen when a puzzle takes a player too long to crack.

source: The Turbulence

How then, did we get here? When we say that moving narrative through a button press may not be the best choice, what does the alternative look like? The answer I have found is in Minecraft. This argument is not built on Minecraft alone, but rather, the use of its crafting system and completely wonky puzzles. Do you want to build a pickaxe? Boards in a row on top, then sticks underneath, which, is the only logical way to form a pickaxe. This type of crafting and puzzle solving works because it falls onto something that was all but forgotten in games – the intelligence of the player.

source: Xombit Games

I have a collection of Super Nintendo games, which I consider to be the height of gaming history. That opinion was formed due to playing games as a child and then replaying them as an adult. In assembling the collection, I swore to myself very early on that I would play each cartridge as much as I could. I did this to ensure the games still worked and to also understand the system better. I would also refrain looking up about the game. If I was to play them, it would be without the help of the internet, just like it would have been while growing up. My approach led to moments of utter frustration (trying to use the special skills and moves in Batman Forever) and fantastic exploration (shooting accidental fireballs in Mortal Kombat) but the thing that was never questioned was my ability to progress, built out of desire, I pushed myself into the games devices and was rewarded by being able to play the game.

source: alphacoders

Games used to be taken on their own terms and merits. Donkey Kong Country was about saving a giant banana and using an array of jungle animals to do so. The original Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat arcade games did not have character bios built into the game for players – none of that was the focus. If it feels out of place to give advice or to try and add context, it’s because it probably is. None of the old games needed reason to have the player do what they did (looking at you, James Pond) but they presented common ideas, and then let the player go.

source: The Escapist

As I continue to play games, now on the Xbox and Playstation, I wonder about this time. The time when games handed us pieces and nothing more and if it is truly fading away, and if it is, what do I do? I am playing Darkest Dungeon at the moment which has the same incredible thought tucked into it – “What if I pour holy water onto an altar?”, I thought to myself late one night. I poured it and moments later I was texting a friend with complete thrill that it worked! These moments continued as these thoughts, now written here, wrote themselves in my head. How much of the player’s intelligence will you remove from the game, before you realise that the desire to learn and struggle until success, starved until the sensation of winning, will always be tied to human nature just as much as story telling or visual appeal?

Press X to pay respect to the player’s intelligence.

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Matthew Squaire
Matthew hosts the Matturday Podcasts with amazing people in video games. He can also be found on Twitter

 

 

 

 

Sonic Forces: Gameplay Footage Teaser

Just in case you missed it, at last week’s SXSW (South by Southwest) in Austin, SEGA revealed the first gameplay footage of the upcoming Sonic Forces game. We must admit, it is great to see Sonic back in force (Ed: sorry, it was there for the taking). The blue blur is smooth and as speedy as ever!

Sonic Forces, the latest in the Sonic the Hedgehog games series is being developed by the gun Sonic Team. The game is scheduled for release later this year on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC!


source: Five Star Games

 

Origins Of The Sega My Card

Produced from 1985 to 1987, the Sega Card (known as My Card in Japan) wasn’t just created as a cheaper format to conventional game cartridges, oh no sirree!

The great Hideki Sato, creator of Sega’s SG-1000 console (and all other Sega consumer hardware) felt that the original game cartridges resembled small black tombstones when inserted into the console. Sato felt that an upgrade to the game cartridge media was required. This drove him to create the cute little pocket-sized alternative, the Sega My Card – games on microchips embedded in 2mm thick credit card sized plastic.

The compact design allowed game collections to be carried around with ease (instead of lugging around the much larger carts). Sega also experimented with a re-writable EPROM version of the My Card, which could be overwritten with new games at specifically-equipped kiosks (for a fraction of the usual retail cost), much like Nintendo’s Famicom Disk System, which arrived a year later.

Sega would eventually return to cartridges for higher memory capacity, while NEC would later use the My Card design pedigree for their PC-Engine HuCards.

The tombstone-looking carts

My Card VS Cartridge

The Rise And Fall Of SNK

Back in May 2002, US digital cable channel G4 (aka: G4tv) aired the video gaming documentary series, Icons. For four seasons Icons focused on the key people, companies, products, history and major milestones in the world of video games. In season five, which was its last, Icons broadened its scope by featuring general pop culture content.

From the many Icons video gaming documentaries, we loved their look at SNK Corporation (season 3, episode 12), from its humble beginnings to becoming an arcade gaming behemoth with their Neo Geo products, only to see it all crash and tumble a decade or so later.

Step back in time and get a dose of some video gaming history!


source: KonamiGamer

DISCLAIMER: We are well aware that SNK lived on via Playmore, but this article focuses on the old SNK Corporation that produced arcade games and home gaming systems.

 

The Sega Saturn killer: The Atari PlayOne

The Atari Jaguar didn’t stand a chance when it was released at the end of 1993. Coupled with hardware idiosyncrasies that made it difficult to program for and poor pricing and marketing from Atari, the Jaguar was already on the back foot. Once the onslaught of new consoles arrived from video gaming juggernauts Sega with their 32-bit Saturn and the new player in the industry, Sony with their PlayStation, the Jag’s fate was sealed.

But Atari’s black cat now enjoys a huge fanbase, with a shedload of homebrew hitting the market at a frenetic pace, a true testament to what the machine could have been back then if things didn’t turn pear shape. Now imagine if Atari had integrated the Jag console with the CD unit 24 years ago and then marketed it properly (Ed: JagDuo anyone?), the fifth generation console story may had been different. To gain an understanding of what this all-in-one Jaguar plus CD unit would have been like, German hardware modder 10p6 has created the Atari PlayOne prototype – a Jaguar and CD combo unit that we reckon would’ve given the Saturn and PlayStation a run for their money.

Atari Jaguar + Jaguar CD VS The All-In-One PlayOne

Oo’er, check out that rear!

The Atari PlayOne not only looks sexy as hell, but is crammed with cool stuff under the bonnet, like a proper integrated power supply (replacing the 2 separate power sources), a host of outputs and beefed up processing at an eye-watering (overclocked) 32MHz, compared to the stock 26MHz – which would have made it compete quite easily with the Saturn and PlayStation.

Before you get excited, the Atari PlayOne hasn’t seen the light of day, yet. If 10p6 ever decides to do a production run of the Atari PlayOne or the latter Atari PlayOne V2.0, we would be right at the front of the queue!


source: 10p6