NFL Blitz Turns 20

By: D.C. Cutler, U.S.A.

From the first time I played the arcade version of Midway’s NFL Blitz at a movie theatre arcade, I was hooked. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of the colorful, over-the-top football game in arcades. And yes, that makes me feel old too.

Before there was Madden, there was Blitz if you were an NFL fan and gamer. Blitz wasn’t as technical and stylized as a year of Madden, but it was just as fun and competitive to play with your friends. When Nintendo 64 released Blitz, the game was so different than any other football game on the market.

Blitz had a blown up exaggeration to it with the humorous violence when you tackled an opposing player. The explosive crunching sounds and the streak of light behind the ball when you threw it deep elevated the gaming experience. The graphics and play popped off the smallest of television screens.

The “late hits” after plays were a bit much; so much so, it’s one of the reasons, along with some of the graphic collisions, the NFL almost offered to refund Midway’s licensing fee. I’m sure the NFL was pleased when they saw the early numbers of units sold.

Everyone I knew who had a Playstation or Nintendo 64 system owned Blitz. Like Madden or Goldeneye, playing Blitz was a happening at a friend’s house. I can’t count how many times in high school I participated in an NFL Blitz tournament. No money was ever involved, but a friend had to wash my Jeep after I humiliated him in a rout.

On weekends, I would play an entire season (usually with the Cowboys or Broncos) in a single day. And I loved the pitch play. My go-to-play was always “Da Bomb,” or the pitch to my running back down the right sideline. The reverse pass play was always a must on a difficult drive as well.

As much as I’ve enjoyed years of Madden, I think I have fonder memories of playing Blitz. It wasn’t as formal as Madden, but the action was just as enthralling and challenging. When you scored a touchdown against a really good opponent, it was just as gratifying as when you scored in a competitive Madden duel. And, I would know, I’ve played against some exceptional Madden players.

Twenty years ago, Midway created one of the most enjoyable football games ever. It still holds up, and when I play it, I’m flooded with bittersweet memories of close wins and crushing defeats.

I hope, somewhere in a lively arcade, kids are still playing and discovering a version of NFL Blitz.

source: The Arcade Flyer Archive

 

Coyote Peterson Finds ‘Pac-Man Of The Sea’

“On this episode of Beyond the Tide, Coyote and the crew explore the tide pools of the San Juan Islands in search of bizarre marine creatures… and OH BOY do they find them!

From Sea Lemons to Giant Purple Sea Stars almost everything they discover is truly and amazingly unique. 

To top it off they also find the largest species of Chiton, the “Gumboot”, in the world which is a creature so bizarre it hardly looks as if it’s even alive! However it does have a striking resemblance to one of the most beloved video game characters of all time. 

Get ready to meet the Pac-Man of the Sea!”

(Start watching at 13:26 to jump straight to the Pac-Man creature).

Source: Brave Wilderness via Laughing Squid

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msausretrogamerMs. ausretrogamer
Co-founder, editor and writer at ausretrogamer – The Australian Retro Gamer E-Zine. Lover of science fiction, fashion, books, movies and TV. Player of games, old and new.

Follow Ms. ausretrogamer on Twitter

 

 

Boss Fight Books: BOOM SHAKALAKA

BOOM SHAKALAKA! Boss Fight Books latest collection Season 4: Creator Access Edition has conquered Kickstarter!

With the successful crowdfunding now finished, we can’t wait to read about Final Fantasy V, Shovel Knight, NBA Jam, Star Wars: KotOR and Postal. If you missed the Kickstarter, don’t worry, just keep an eye out on how to order this collection on the Boss Fight Books website.

These books are making us drool in anticipation, but it is Reyan Ali’s chronicling of Midway’s arcade hit NBA Jam, that we are most looking forward to reading. With inside information on the game’s creation and interviews with key development people and industry leaders, this tome will definitely be a slam dunk!

source: Boss Fight Books

 

Atari Star Wars: Ultimate Arcade Game Based On The Franchise

Star Wars, the arcade video game may have just celebrated its 34th anniversary, but did you know how much it cost to make and what George Lucas thought of the game?

The Star Wars franchise has been going from strength to strength for 40 years and there is no sign of its star power going supernova. Atari may have waited a few years to make their awesome vector based coin-op game on the great franchise, but it was definitely worth the wait.

Released amid the American video games crash, Atari’s Star Wars (1983) was a godsend for operators and players alike. With its distinct sit-down cockpit and upright versions invading amusement centres, Atari’s Coin-Op division created a buffer from the wreckage of the industry around it. Starting out as Warp Speed, Atari’s Mike Hally quickly changed the game title to Star Wars once Atari secured the license – and the rest as they say, is history.

Looking at the Atari Star Wars bill of materials, it is unbelievable to fathom that the arcade unit cost was a mere USD$1,249 back in 1983, which is (approx.) USD$3,090 in today’s money, which is still damn cheap! The arcade version was given the seal of approval from Mr. Star Wars himself, George Lucas with a plaque that reads, “A special thanks for creating THE FORCE behind so much fun”. Once inside the cockpit, Lucas was smitten and the game went gangbusters, selling thousands of units, making Atari (or more accurately, Time Warner) a ton of money!

The FORCE will always be with Atari’s classic coin-op. Always!

Atari Star Wars – cockpit concept sketch (source: arcade blogger)

The bill of material! (source: atarigames.com)

Cockpit prototype (source: atarigames.com)

The finished product! She is (still) a beaut!

Atari execs watch in anticipation as George Lucas takes a test fly! He likes it! (source: video-game-ephemera)

George getting some game play pointers from Atari’s Don Osborne (source: arcade blogger)

Our preferred arcade flyer (via: the arcade flyer archive)

 

Line Defense: The Mobile Arcade Game That Blends The Past With The Future

Whoa, this newfangled arcade game Line Defense (Ed: not Defence!) melds the playing mechanics from two classic Atari games, Missile Command and Breakout. Line Defense was released almost a year ago (August 2016), so if you haven’t picked it up, then grab your Android or iOS device and hit download immediately. Oh yeah, did we mention that Line Defense is free? Well, what are you waiting for – go and get it and play it!

As massive fans of Missile Command and Breakout, we can say that the Legal Radiation game dev team have definitely blended the past with the future. For those of you that want to know the main features before you dive in, here is what Line Defense will deliver:

  • Simple one finger swipe control
  • Unique bonuses, power-ups, bosses & Motherships
  • Collect crystals and get special upgrades for your line (cannons, radar, shield power etc.)
  • 20 colourful maps & a challenging hardcore mode
  • Unique Mini Games for extra fun
  • Amazing original soundtrack with dynamic in-game music.
  • Easy to play – no tutorial needed!
  • Includes 50+ achievements
  • Gamecenter Leaderboards Support


source: Legal Radiation Team

 

SKYCURSER Is Coming Soon To Shoot Up Your Arcade

Who says that the arcade is dead? If you are sick of seeing redemption machines at your local amusement centre, then perhaps the new horizontal shoot’em up, SKYCURSER will draw you back for some good old fashion blasting!

Griffin Aerotech’s SKYCURSER takes players through some gorgeously drawn worlds in which they must battle mutant hordes to save the planet. SKYCURSER has a total of four missions with a reward scoring system that keeps things quite competitive.

The game runs on a platform called Airframe and its creators have also promised free game updates. A year ago, the Griffin Aerotech team expressed hopes that the open-source nature of Airframe would attract other independent designers to create games for arcade cabinets and controls. This means that operators could potentially swap several games on the same Airframe using only a USB stick, which brings back memories of swapping those good old Neo Geo MVS cartridges.

There’s a Pro (USD$700) and Deluxe (USD$1,200) version of the kitted game, each coming with necessary software and hardware while the Deluxe has additional conversion art. The game is also available in a dedicated arcade cabinet ready to hit the floor (USD$3,499). Conversion kits are expected to ship by June 2017. For information on purchasing the game in a dedicated cabinet, click here.

The arcade industry needs more of these good old fashioned arcade games, like SKYCURSER, to draw back the 80s and 90s kids (now adults) into arcade centres for them to have fun while introducing their own children to the kind of games they played at their age many moons ago.

image source: Griffin Aerotech

 

The Ultimate NES – Now You’re Really Playing With Power

Whoa, our socks have well and truly been blown off! From all of the console mods and superguns we’ve come across, Gamester’s Ultimate NES (UNES) is by far the most impressive!

Gamester’s UNES hybrid console supergun can play original NES carts, JAMMA boards and Neo Geo MVS carts – how awesome is that! The impressive feats just keeping coming – the UNES has dual video outputs, allowing two different games to be played simultaneously on two TV screens! Oh yeah, the addition of the Neo Geo controller ports, hidden under the flap above the NES controller ports is downright ingenuous.

Best part about this console mod is that it was not turned into some Frankenstein monster – if you look at it front on, you would swear that it was just an original NES console. No one can tell the power that lurks inside this beast! Gamester’s UNES is truly playing with some serious power.

Ultimate NES Specifications:

  • Base: 1985 Nintendo Entertainment System with new 72 pin connector
  • Power Supply: Astrodyne external triple output, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
  • Outputs: Composite Video, S-Video, Component Video and Stereo/Mono Audio
  • Inputs: JAMMA Connector, Neo-Geo controllers
  • Video Encoder: NeoBitz + JROK Sync Cleaner
  • Weight: 3lb 8oz / 1.6kg

Looks normal enough…
UNES, Gamester, Ultimate NES, JAMMA, MVS, Neo Geo

Wait a minute, what are these extra Neo Geo controller ports…
UNES, Gamester, Ultimate NES, JAMMA, MVS, Neo Geo

That is one sexy rear!
UNES, Gamester, Ultimate NES, JAMMA, MVS, Neo Geo

The power is within! Oh, great NES game inside too…
UNES internal, UNES, Gamester, Ultimate NES

source: Jamma Nation X – Gamester’s Ultimate NES