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Posts from — November 2010

Game #17: Shark! Shark! – Intellivision

In Shark! Shark!, you’re a small fish in the big ocean.  You’ll be eaten by any fish that’s bigger than you, but you can eat any fish that’s the same size or smaller.  You get bigger by eating a number of smaller fish.

Then there’s the shark.  He’ll eat you.

You can nibble on the shark’s tail, you you want, but be warned:  The shark does not like that…

The Intellivision controller actually works in this game’s favor.  You can slide it smoothly around in a circle and your fish will follow.  You can also dash, which is the key to avoiding becoming dinner.

Shark! Shark! is the sort of game that belongs on the iPhone, if it isn’t already.  It’s uncomplicated and addictive.  And it’s got a catchy tune.

November 5, 2010   No Comments

Game #16: Mission X – Intellivision

You’re on a bombing run behind enemy lines.  Boats, tanks, trains, bridges, and AA batteries are all on the list of targets.

If you fly long enough, it will turn to night.

Unfortunately, you probably won’t want to fly that far.  The controls are an absolute killer.  They scream for a joystick or a game pad.  It’s hard to control the plane and it really starts to hurt after a while.

Another knock against it is the fact that you have machine guns, but I was never able to shoot anything with them.  They always seem to be shooting over the rockets, they don’t hit anything on the ground, and the one enemy plane I saw killed me before I had a chance to shoot back.

November 5, 2010   No Comments

Intellivision Time

Yesterday was entirely Genesis games (Or SMS games played on the Genesis using the Power Base Converter), so today it is time to bring something else into the mix.

This is the Intellivision.  ((Okay, technically it’s an Intellivision II system, but I’m using it because the original Inty is massive and I need space on the shelf for quite a few systems…))  It was released in the late 70’s and represented the Atari 2600’s first real competition.

The controllers have a 12-button keypad, which took an overlay.  This let games have more complicated controls, but in most games, the keypad was only used to select the initial game or difficulty level.  Games that used it for in-game controls were often difficult to play without the overlay.  The controller also has two buttons on each side of the keypad.  The big round thing at the bottom is the control disc, which had something like 12 way sensitivity.  Overall, these controllers are horrible to use.  Games such as Astrosmash would end up as tests of how much pain you could endure, rather than how good you were at the game.  In the original Intellivision, the controllers were hard-wired to the console, so there was no room for third parties to introduce more ergonomic controllers.  And the most unfortunate of all is the fact that this controller inspired many others in its evil ways.  The ColecoVision is most notable, but the Emerson Arcadia had similar controls, and even the Tomy Tutor came out with the “Joy Controllers”, which were disc-based.  Even Atari got into the act for the 5200, and the impossible to hit side buttons made an appearance on the 7800’s controllers.  Thankfully, Nintendo ended this reign of terror with the NES gamepad. ((Although the Atari Jaguar did try to bring back the keypad and overlay concept, even it had a gamepad style layout for the main controls.))

Anyway, let’s see if I can play a few games without getting Carpal Tunnel…

November 5, 2010   No Comments

Camera Troubles

In order to get in-game screenshots, I’ve pointed a webcam at the TV and have it automatically snapping pictures every ten seconds.  Unfortunately, the camera really doesn’t like motion and doesn’t seem to be able to remember its focus settings.

Oh well, it’s not like I’m trying to start a screenshot repository.

November 5, 2010   No Comments

Game #15: Blockout – Sega Genesis

Blockout is like a 3D version of Tetris, looking down a well.

Except where Tetris is fun and addictive, Blockout is just plain suck.

Oh look.  There’s some colored squares all the way down there.  I need to figure out which of the three buttons rotates the block in the right direction, then figure out how to line up the block with the hole I want to stick it in.

Or, on the other hand, I can just pile all of the bricks in one corner to make the game end and put me out of my misery.  That sounds like a better idea.

November 5, 2010   No Comments

Game #14: Todd’s Adventures in Slime World – Sega Genesis

I just don’t get it.

The game seems to be entirely a series of slime tubes that you wander around and shoot slime creatures in.  And pick up slime things.  And clean yourself off in pools of water.  And listen to the same 20 second musical loop over and over and over and over and over…

I think this game came from the Lynx, where this kind of gameplay makes more sense.  On the Genesis, it just seems empty.

Strangely, this game has a password-based continue system and many checkpoints.  It doesn’t seem like this game would be long enough to need something like that, but I’m not complaining.

November 5, 2010   No Comments

Game #13: OutRunners – Sega Genesis

OutRunners is a two-player, split-screen variant of OutRun.

I only have one player, so the split-screen aspect of this game was very annoying.

But at least there’s this:

November 5, 2010   No Comments

Game #12: Shaq-Fu – Sega Genesis


“I’m gonna rock your chair, grandpa!”

November 5, 2010   No Comments

Game #11: Golden Axe Warrior – Sega Master System

I’m not really going to be playing Golden Axe Warrior.

I’ve already played it, several times.

I’m mentioning it here because it is purified awesome encased in plastic.

It is the lost sequel to The Legend of Zelda.

It is a pure, unashamed rip-off of the original Zelda…  And that’s what makes it so good.

Most games try to “Innovate” or change the core gameplay, so that they’re like Zelda, but not an exact copy.  That usually just ends up making the game suck.  GAW didn’t take that route.  They saw that Zelda worked, they saw why Zelda worked, and they stole it all.

There’s a series of underground dungeons, with a magic item and a slice of Ultimate Power protected by a boss in each one.  There’s doors locked by keys.  You slowly upgrade your weapons and armor (And you change color when you do).  There are even secrets hiding in trees and pig-faced arrow-shooting enemies.

There are also some additions, like a boat, a few villages scattered about, and an item that will help reveal secrets.

All in all, this game is what Zelda II should have been.  If you haven’t played it, go find it and play it right now.  It wasn’t on the Virtual Console the last time I checked ((Can’t imagine why not…)), but I think it was part of the Ultimate Genesis Collection for the XBox 360, available in bargain bins everywhere.

November 4, 2010   No Comments

Game #10: Aztec Adventure – Sega Master System

Aztec Adventure has gameplay that’s somewhat reminiscent of a Zelda game.

If Zelda had linear levels, didn’t have dungeons, and gave you the ability to bribe bunny rabbits and dogs dressed in Aztec clothes to fight by your side.

Which Zelda doesn’t have, of course.

So this game’s really nothing at all like Zelda.

November 4, 2010   No Comments