Contra: Celebrating 31 Years Of Rock Hard 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 31st 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.


Going On A Rampage

By: D.C. Cutler, U.S.A.

When I was little and I would get my weekly allowance, I would run to my local arcade and play Bally Midway’s Rampage; one of the greatest arcade games ever made. Warm memories of turning cities to rubble with George, Ralph or Lizzie’s fists are still fresh.

I felt disgusted when I saw the trailer for the new film based on the Rampage video game starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It actually made me a little angry. My first thought: Does Hollywood have to suck the life out of everything 1980’s nostalgia? Can’t they leave Rampage alone – something that brought me so much joy when I was a child.

I saw the Rampage trailer before I watched Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. If Johnson can make Rampage as fun as Jumanji, the film just might work.

image source: Den Of Geek

Rampage was such a unique game. I hated getting hit with dynamite thrown by soldiers out of high-rise windows. There was something satisfying about causing so much destruction on each level. I usually played as Lizzie, a Godzilla-like dinosaur/lizard transformed by a radioactive lake. I chose Lizzie because I was a super fan of Godzilla movies when I was little.

The sounds of the arcade game are iconic. The familiar sounds of punching a building to pieces and reducing it to a pile of bricks gives me a childlike, reminiscent delight. The hardest part of the game was knowing if the people who appeared in the skyscraper windows were good or bad. Some were there to give you food, others were there to be saved for points, and some were there to throw explosives at you. The latter were the ones that made the game so challenging.

image source: The Arcade Flyer Archive

The helicopters that attacked you from above were my favorite part. There was nothing more gratifying than punching one of them out of the sky and watching the chopper explode. Punching the vehicles below you, like taxi cabs and railcars, was oddly gratifying as a kid as well.

I hope in the film they have soldiers and helicopters firing at the large creatures. That could be entertaining if the CGI team push their skills to the maximum. I believe the film is set in Chicago, a city that was on the dateline in the classic arcade game.

The filmmakers could do something original and exceptional with Rampage. Although, the track record of the quality of recent video game adaptations has been dreadful.


Replicade X Tempest Mini Arcade Machine: The Early Bird Catches The Cool Worm

If you were like us, you may have backed New Wave Toys’ first Kickstarter which was a Replicade Centipede mini arcade machine.

When we got the note that their Replicade X Tempest mini arcade was now live on Kickstarter, we jumped on it right away! Yes, we broke our first New Year’s resolution – no backing Kickstarters in 2018, but we made an exception for this, cause it is that good.

The Replicade X Tempest Kickstarter has already blown past its goal, so this will happen and we can’t wait! For everyone that went gaga at our photos of the insert coin light up keychain, here is your chance to grab one by backing this campaign with as little as $25USD.

Instead of regurgitating all about New Wave Toys’ Replicade X Tempest mini arcade right here, why don’t you go and check out the Kickstarter now and decide for yourself.

source: Replicade X Tempest on Kickstarter


Ausretrogamer is Six Years Old

Ausretrogamer launched six years ago today! We’re not doing a whole lot to celebrate, unless eating cupcakes and doughnuts counts as a celebration – but we didn’t want to let the day pass without some sort of acknowledgement. It would be an understatement to say that the retro gaming scene is a tad different today than when we launched in January 2012. Back then there was no NES or SNES Classic Minis nor was there a PAX event in Australia.

The retro gaming community has grown in leaps and bounds with its momentum showing no slowdown – long may it continue to be this way. In fact, if we can blow our own horn for a moment, we’ve set new traffic records on ausretrogamer in 2017 – and we have all of you awesome peeps to thank for that!

We at ausretrogamer are not planning on stopping anytime soon. Your enthusiasm and excitement for retro gaming and its limitless possibilities is what keeps us motivated to keep on going. Who knows what the next six years will bring, but rest assured, we will keep doing what we do as long as you keep reading and engaging with us on social media. Thanks heaps!


The Incredible Arcade Warehouse in Japan

Oh My Gosh! Micah Moore, the cool peep that explores the strange and wonderful as part of his Legend of Micah Facebook page has done exactly that – explored the strange, wonderful and incredible arcade in Kawasaki, Japan, modelled after the Kowloon Walled City – an infamous slum in Hong Kong. The Amusement Game Park Kawasaki (Anata No) Warehouse has narrow alleys, flickering lights and the sounds of an underground marketplace that create a maze filled with 80’s and 90’s arcade games.

Taishiro Hoshino, an art designer for kabuki theatre, painstakingly reproduced signs and posters from the real Kowloon Walled City, which was demolished in the early 90’s. This arcade is going on the bucket list immediately!

Big thanks to Skooota for letting us know about this one!

source: Legend of Micah – Facebook


Double Dragon: Busting Heads For 30 years

If you have been with us since we began our retro gaming journey, you’d know that we are huge Double Dragon fans, especially the arcade game!

Speaking of the arcade, would you believe that Double Dragon is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year! It’s amazing that after three decades, this game is still being talked about with such affection.

Kung-Fu Master and Renegade may have preceded it, but Double Dragon was the first co-operative beat’em up on the arcade block. Who could forget the two Lee brothers punching, kicking, elbowing Black Warrior thugs to get to their damsel in distress. Let’s not spoil it for those that haven’t finished the game, but let’s just say that brotherly love doesn’t count.

Being the first co-op beat’em up game, Double Dragon paved the way for all that came after it and kickstarted the golden age of the beat’em up. Long live Double Dragon!

Interesting fact: Double Dragon’s arcade board is quite complex – instead of utilising an expensive 16-Bit CPU, the game runs on two 8-Bit CPUs with a third CPU dedicated to sound! How ingenuous!


A Retro Gamer’s Review of LUMO on the Nintendo Switch

Hang on, this isn’t an old game on an old system. What am I doing reviewing a game on a current gen console?

That is an easy one to answer – I am definitely a sucker for anything that has references to the 80s, especially video games. My expectations were high of Lumo on the Switch, and right now, I can safely say that the game has exceeded my expectation by a long shot!

Screeeeeeeech, the load screen takes us back to 1985!

As soon as I started Lumo it grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and injected its nostalgia with its screeching and decompressing loading screen, just like my C64. Once I got to the menu to select the type of game I wanted to play, of course I opted for the old school ‘3 lives and you are dead’ option. Perhaps my retro tinted glasses totally missed the option to play the game with infinite lives or perhaps I am just a sucker for punishment.

Playin’ it old school!

When you begin playing Lumo, the immersion of being in the game is immediate, from your character walking through a room full of micros and arcade machines (hello 1980s!), to then being zapped ‘inside the game’!

Looks like our monthly Amiga Users Group meet-up!

Had to stop and admire the view

If you haven’t figured it out by looking at the screenshots, Lumo is an isometric platform puzzle adventure game in the mould of Ocean’s Head Over Heels and Ultimate Play The Game’s Knight Lore from 1984 – a great pedigree indeed. Don’t be lulled into thinking that Lumo is a reskinned Head Over Heels or Knight Lore – it isn’t. It stands on it’s own, with great and absorbing level design that makes you want to explore and see what’s behind each door. The control mechanics fit the Switch Joy-Cons like a glove – it literally becomes second nature the minute you start playing the game! The aural and visual extravaganza also had me smiling from ear to ear – this game looks and sounds ace!

Zap! That Speccy is dangerous!

Well the fun really starts once you start exploring rooms and completing puzzles. Did we mention that there are 400 rooms to complete? Wellllll, I guess Lumo will provide the longevity required to keep coming back to it, especially when played like it’s 1985 (3 lives and you are a goner!). I haven’t played Lumo on other platforms so it is hard to compare, but what I can tell you is that it plays beautifully on the Switch, either docked or handheld. Lumo is a challenging, rewarding and magical experience that is truly a love letter to the golden age of exploration adventure video games. If you haven’t already got Lumo, then I would highly recommend you hit the Nintendo eShop and get it quick-smart!

Take a bow Gareth Noyce, you’ve got me hook, line and sinker with your beautiful Lumo!

Lumo (digital) is available now in the Nintendo eShop store. The physical edition (AUD$69.95) will be released tomorrow (November 24)!

Lumo game and images were supplied for review by Rising Star Games