Contra: Celebrating 30 Years Of Awesomeness

Contra, Gryzor or Probotector. No matter what name you know this classic Konami run and gun game by, you will definitely remember it as one tough mother of a game! Konami had an instant hit on their hands when they released the arcade machine on this day [February 20] in 1987. Happy 30th anniversary Contra, you irresistible force!

For those that have been away from Earth since early 1987, here is the lowdown on Contra:

Midnight, September 12 2631. The Marines catch sight of a small-sized meteorite that is fast approaching Earth. The meteorite plummets 20km north-east of New Zealand, at the Gal Mosquito Archipelago. The command keep watch of the meteorite.

Two years later, in December 2633, an intruder known as the Red Falcon is occupying the Gal Mosquito Archipelago and is planning the fall of mankind. Command orders confidential investigations at the enemy’s front base. The marine post orders for two “Contra” soldiers, Private First Class Bill “Mad Dog” Rizer and Private First Class Lance “Scorpion” Bean on a mission. The mission being: penetrate the insides of the enemy, destroy the front base and the entire centre of operation.

image source: GameFAQs

 

Movieland Arcade: A Hit Of Nostalgia In Vancouver

Ah Vancouver, the city of many cruise ships and retirees boarding these massive vessels! This post has been a long time coming, but that’s because we’ve been distracted – till now!

Continuing on with cool places we visited while on our North American trip (like the Seattle Pinball Museum, Toy Shack and A Gamer’s Paradise in Vegas), the city of Vancouver delivered its own piece of gaming nostalgia via the Movieland Arcade!

There are some amusement centres that are stuck in a bygone era, a period of time when arcade parlours in the 80s were lined with machines, both of the arcade and pinball kind, checkered linoleum flooring, cheeky signage, an attendants booth for exchanging your notes for coins and of course, the smell. Well, it is safe to say that Movieland Arcade encapsulates this 80s era perfectly.

Situated at the hipster end of Granville Street in central Vancouver, Movieland Arcade cannot be missed – its distinct red tile facade enticing you to go in and experience some real gaming nostalgia. With pinball tables and arcade machines ranging from the 70s to the late 90s, you better exchange your notes for a shed-load of coins as you will want to play them all!

Movieland Arcade reminded us of the arcade joints we used to frequent in the 80s on Swanston Street and Russell Street in the centre of Melbourne. Unlike those arcade joints going the way of the dodo, Vancouver can count itself lucky with a place like the Movieland Arcade.

Whoa, we spot Movieland Arcade across the road!

You definitely can’t miss the distinct facade of this majestic arcade parlour

We better grab some more coins!

Here we go! Hmm, pinball or straight to the arcade machines?

We shall start from the left and work our way to the right..

You have to go slow when you are in here! Too many awesome distractions!

We can’t go past some Neo Geo action

Killer Instinct is next!

Whoa man, haven’t seen a Gauntlet Legends machine in almost 20 years!

Some single racing action on Daytona USA!

Inserting coins now!

Nothing beats some 8P head-to-head racing!

We spy Medieval Madness! Time to destroy some castle!

Needing some gun action, which Area 51 will satisfy

We enjoy gunning down zombies!

Hmm, not sure if these ‘movies’ and that ‘theatre’ are appropriate, but…

OMG, Raiden Fighters! There go all of our coins!

Our shmup senses have gone into overdrive! Get us some more coins!

We spent our last few coins on some Playboy action *wink*

Darn it, the booth attendant must’ve had a toilet break. We’ll be back.

It’s-A-Me, Charles Martinet! Let’s-A-Go!

Mamma mia! Surely by now you should all know the great Charles Martinet. For those of you that don’t recognise him or the name, we bet you’ve definitely heard him.

Charles is the voice of our favourite video game plumber, Mario! He has voiced Mario since 1995 but that’s not the only Nintendo character he has lent his vocal chords too, he also voices, Baby Mario, Luigi, Baby Luigi, Wario, Waluigi and Toadsworth. Yahoo!


source: Great Big Story

Get Your Gaming Fix At ACMI’s Screen Worlds

If you are struggling to keep yourself and the kids entertained during the summer break, why not head on down to the free Screen Worlds Exhibition at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) at Fed Square (Melbourne).

There is plenty of interactive and immersive experiences at Screen Worlds, from playing video games such as Way Of The Exploding Fist, to checking out Minecraft in the Games Lab section. No matter your age, there is plenty to see and do at at Screen Worlds.

It is great to see a free exhibition such as Screen Worlds for all to enjoy. For retro gamers like us, we are absolutely delighted to check out the classic gaming area to get a history lesson on where games came from and Australia’s early involvement in the gaming industry.

Where: ACMI – Federation Square, Melbourne
Exhibition: Screen Worlds
Open: 10am to 5pm daily
Cost: FREE

 

photos: Ms ausretrogamer

 

Final Fight: The Complete History

We reckon  Daniel Ibbertson from Slope’s Games Room must have a direct link to our gaming memories. Either that or we have identical tastes in video games – which is a great thing!

Daniel’s Double Dragon, Metal Slug and Splatterhouse complete history videos were absolutely brilliant, and now with his latest video, a complete history of our second fave beat’em up of all time, Capcom’s Final Fight, Daniel has nailed it yet again! From the game’s inspiration and franchise origins, to the game series and its many characters, Daniel leaves no stone unturned.

What’s this Street Fighter ’89? Daniel explains it all in his video

So head on down to Metro City, smash some telephone boxes, grab some meat rolls and swing a pipe at the complete history of Capcom’s awesome side scrolling brawler!


source: Slope’s Games Room


Back To The Virtual Future

image source: VR Source

We live in a brave new world of virtual reality and ‘real’ 3D experiences. The race for full-immersion is on, with big money invested in tech to transport you into a virtual world. It seems some people won’t rest until every home has access to a Star Trek style holodeck. In these heady days of VR pioneering, it’s easy to forget that the seeds were planted long ago. This post looks at early appearances of VR in popular culture that inspired the current gold rush.

Simulated reality is a very powerful idea. It strikes at the heart of the human experience and touches on existential questions about our nature. I’m not suggesting Oculus Rift is going to shed new philosophical light on the writings of Descartes, but it certainly highlights a longstanding human desire to shape our own reality.

Early science fiction novels played with the idea of virtual reality from as early as 1941. Robert A Heinlen’s book ‘They’ tells of a man confined to a mental institution because he believes he is one of the only real people alive and that the rest of the universe has been created by a few others to deceive him. This solipsistic work sets the tone for many early virtual realities. Most are generally dystopian in nature and play heavily on people’s fears of being unable to trust their own senses and the people around them. This theme reoccurs frequently in popular culture.

Phillip K. Dick, took a slightly different tack. In his 1953 novel “The Trouble with Bubbles” we first see the idea of humans creating virtual worlds for others to experience. It is an interesting concept with relevance to the creators of today’s VR experiences. The book fully explores the morality of having total control over the lives of others.

image source: DailyTech

It’s not just books that play with virtual reality. TV and films explore the trope in great detail. One of the first references to VR on TV was, of course, Star Trek. In 1974, long before Captain Picard was flouncing around the holodeck, the crew of the Enterprise has an encounter with an unusual cloud that affects their computer. The ship starts to play practical jokes; including turning the recreation room into a dangerous virtual reality area that almost kills the unfortunates who get stuck there. A far cry from the holodeck’s mainly benign incarnation in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

image source: Front Effects

Tron (1982) is one of the first examples of close human computer interaction in film and of course borrows heavily from computer games for its action scenes. Again, it is a very twisted form of reality with the main character trapped in a computerized world, fighting against the very system he programmed. The VR on display is highly advanced, with full body immersion and the very real possibility of death.

Other films like Lawnmower Man (1992) and Johnny Mnemonic (1995) come closer to the current day experience with headsets and body suits that relay information between user and applications. The Matrix (1999) has a connection straight to the brain that delivers an almost fool-proof illusion of reality. The first two have technology that is either within our grasp or very close, while the direct brain plug of the Matrix is not as far away as you might think. Advances in direct neuro controls for things like prosthetic limbs shows our understanding of the brain is expanding at a rapid rate.

You can bet that the brains behind the current crop of VR are aware of the fiction behind the science. Science fiction has always influenced technology, inviting scientists and engineers to turn the imagination of writers into reality. With the amount of money being invested in the new generation of VR, it’s only a matter of time before more outlandish ideas become reality. At the current pace, we will likely see highly convincing virtual reality with haptic feedback and all senses engaged within our lifetimes.
It is strange that something that is clearly a great fantasy for many people is inspired by popular culture that generally warns of the dangers of the technology. Let’s just hope that science fiction has only predicted the emergence of the tech and not its dystopian themes.
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Andy Trowers is a game design consultant, freelance ne’er-do-well and staff writer for www.australia.for-sale.com

 

MAX: The Forgotten Commodore Computer

commodoremax_headerWe take a closer look at the long forgotten Commodore computer, the MAX MACHINE. Step back in time and take a look at this pretty little thing in the below pics!

Before you do go wandering down below to check out the MAX, let’s just pause and reflect on this Japanese made Commodore computer that never really got any market traction. The Commodore MAX Machine (aka: Ultimax in the US and VC-10 in Germany) was a home micro computer designed and sold by Commodore International in Japan at the beginning of 1982. It was the C64’s predecessor, and hence it was swiftly discontinued when the Commodore 64 went gangbusters! Due to it’s low production run, it is now considered a rarity.

The MAX did share the same CPU (MOS 6510) and SID (sound) chip as the C64, but that is where the similarities stop. With only 2KB of RAM, the MAX Machine was severly handicapped when compared to it’s bigger and more successful brother. One saving grace of the MAX was its ROM cartridges – they worked on the C64, and it also paved the way to the ‘freezer’ carts (like the Action Replay) due to the MAX compatibility mode that was built into the C64.

For those technically minded, here are the specs to whet your MAX appetite:

Operating system: MAX BASIC (Cartridge), 2047 bytes to program in, LOAD/SAVE support
CPU: MOS Technology 6510 @ 1.02 MHz
Memory: 2.0 KB, 0.5 KB color RAM
Graphics: VIC-II 6566 (320 x 200, 16 colors, sprites, PETSCII keyset)
Sound: 3 / 4 channel 6581 “SID” chip
Ports: expansion port (cartridge), RF/TV port, audio port, cassette port, 2 joystick ports

The MAX♦Machine bundle!

Nothing too exciting on this side of the box!

The back of the box reveals something out of this world!

Not to be outdone, the sides are look lovely!

Not sure about those keys, but it’s still beautiful

Taking closer look at the membrane keyboard…

The MAX does have a few interfaces to insert bits into them!

Not matter which way you look at it, the MAX Machine has gorgeous curves

Aha, so the model reveals itself, it’s the MAX-04!

Even the MAX requires power! Oh, and it’s all RF baby!

No gaming computer is complete without a killer game! 

Hook us up to the MAX!
image source: eBay