Archive for September, 2005

Retro Profile: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)


by Nicholas Roussos

If you were anything like me as a kid, you spent hours of your childhood contemplating the benefits versus the drawbacks of being mutantly transformed into a giant turtle. I was a huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan. I watched the cartoon, I loved the movie, and the arcade tmnt-nes21.gifgame was superb. Needless to say, when they released TMNT for the NES, I bought it up faster than a group of hungry kids could put away pizza.

With a combination of an overworld map mode and a side-scrolling action mode, the first thing you will notice about TMNT is that it is nothing like the arcade game. They released that game for the NES later and aptly named it Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Arcade Game. This TMNT game, unlike the sequel, follows a long line of taking good franchises and turning them into bad games. The graphics are shoddy, and the gameplay is tedious.

I can recall playing the game over and over again in hopes that it would become more like the tmnt-nes1.gifarcade. It never did, and this TMNT fails to draw you in. In stark difference to the rest of the franchise, this game simply isn’t fun.

Stay or Play? Bad game tranformations of popular franchises is unfortunately one of the lesser remembered aspects of retro gaming. I don’t care to relive the mistakes of the past, nor do I expect you too. Unless you have an unusual TMNT fetish, stay away for sure.

Published on September 30th, 2005 under

PSP Boy?


Look closely…

[Source: Flickr]

Published on September 30th, 2005 under



[Edited with additions.]

Q: When will the PS3 be released?

A: Novemeber 11th in Japan. November 17th in North America and Europe.


Q: How much will the PS3 cost?

A: Sony will have two versions of the PS3. One with a 20GB HDD, no WiFi, no memory card readers. The other has all that stuff and 60GB instead of 20GB HDD. In Japan they’ll be 49,800 Yen and open-ended, respectively. In US, $499US and $599US. In Canada $549CDN and $659CDN. In Europe 499EUR and 599EUR, including VAT.


Q: What resolutions will the PS3 support?

A: The PS3 will support the HD resolutions of 1280 x 720, 1920 x 1080i, and 1920 x 1080p. There are a few HDTVs starting to come out with 1080p HDMI inputs, from the likes of Sony and HP. The PS3 will also support SD (standard definition).


Q: How do I hook up my PS3?

A: See this article just on this subject.


Q: Will the controllers be wireless? How? How many?

A: The controllers will indeed be wireless, using standard Bluetooth technology to achieve this. The PS3 will support up to 7 controllers. (More accurately, it supports up to 7 Bluetooth devices – they don’t have to be controllers. The PS3 itself takes up the eighth spot in the Bluetooth hardware’s scheme of things.) No more multitap!


Q: How will I recharge my wireless controller?

A: Through the USB port on the PS3.


Q: What about a HDD?

A: Sony’s two PS3 machines will have 20GB and 60GB HDDs.


Q: What kind of discs will games be distributed on?

A: Sony has indicated that games will be distributed on Blu-ray Disc (BD) media. BD supports capacities of 25GB for a single-layer disc, and 50GB for a two-layer disc.


Q: Will I be able to play PS2 and PSone games on the PS3?

A: Yes, though you won’t be able to use your old controllers, memory cards, or other peripherals. The PS3 will upscale the PSOne and PS2 games’ video to HD resolutions, should you choose.


Q: Will it be available in multiple colours?

A: It seems that black will be the only available colour.


Q: What about network connectivity? Does Sony have an answer to Xbox Live?

A: Yes. It’s called the PlayStation Network Platform. It will include free player versus player gaming, lobbies/matchmaking, scores/ranking, game data upload/download, friend lists, avatars, voice and video chat, instant messaging, downloadable content, and more.

Q: What are the launch games?

A: No official launch list has been released. The closest we have is a list of games in development, released at TGS, available here.


Any other FAQ-like questions you’d like answered? Please contact us.

Published on September 23rd, 2005 under

Retro Profile: Pilot Wings (SNES)


by Nicholas Roussos

pilotwings.gifSome games are memorable for their story. Some are memorable for their graphics. Others are memorable because they innovated. Pilotwings is memorable simply because it was so much fun to play. Pilotwings was supposed to demonstrate the SNES’s power to its fullest. It may have done that, but what it really did was provide enticing and varied gameplay that could be enjoyed over and over again.

The premise for Pilotwings is simple. Players earn piloting licenses for different air sports including lightplane, skydiving, jetpack, and hang-gliding. Each level features a different island with various degrees of difficulty. As the game progresses, you find yourself performing tasks such as skydiving through rings while aiming to land on a ground target, and eventually taking off and landing a lightplane.

pilotwings2.jpgThe game has an authentic feel to it. With the whirring sound of wind as you skydive and the humming of the lightplane’s engine, the sounds of this game not only make your experience feel more real but also memorable in their own right. While it is somewhat of a short game, Pilotwings’ difficulty varies greatly from start to finish and the levels can be enjoyed numerous times. Each vehicle is very much like its own mini-game, and it’s easy to pick favorites.

Stay or Play? Pilotwings is a great game that’s loads of fun. Even if you’ve mastered the cartridge many times before, it can be fun to break it out and just fly around. Plus, you can always impress your friends with a near perfect skydive landing. Play it for sure.

Published on September 22nd, 2005 under

Retro Profile: The Legend of Zelda (NES)


by Nicholas Roussos

Legend_of_Zelda_NES_ScreenShot1.jpgThe first Nintendo game that I ever saw was The Legend of Zelda. I was at a cousin’s house, and he showed me how you could use a bomb to blow a hole in the wall. I even remember that it was the second dungeon. I was hooked on this game from the first time I saw it. The Legend of Zelda introduced so many paradigms that are central to videogames even today; it’s worth playing again just to see them in their original setting.

In the Legend of Zelda, just like life, you start with nothing. You receive your first weapon, the wooden sword, from an old man. This gift sets the pace for much of the game. You are constantly exploring and discovering while receiving advice and gifts from old men wearing reddish-orange robes. The plethora of items that you collect are just as varied as the ways you collect them. Whether it’s the raft you obtained in the a dungeon or a boomerang you took from a strong opponent, The Legend of Zelda gives you items that you are excited to be able to use again and again. Some items like the White Sword, you have to pass an unspoken test to receive. Others can be purchased at the many stores you find along your way.

Legend_of_Zelda_NES_ScreenShot2.jpgWith eight dungeons, a large over-world map, and tons of secrets, The Legend of Zelda strikes a prefect balance. You find yourself exploring for the simple enjoyment of sights like the rolling slopes of Death Mountain. Cryptic clues are given throughout. Hidden dwellings abound under bushes, behind rock walls, and even in a lake.

Stay or Play? This retro game is one that still evicts enormous emotion. It’s more than retro; it’s classic. If you’ve never played The Legend of Zelda, play before you touch another game. If you have played it, don’t think you should stay. It’s worth revisiting from time to time. When I lost power for six days after Hurricane Katrina, I happened to have a copy for my GBA. It had a way of making my wait for electricity into an epic battle of good versus evil.

Published on September 19th, 2005 under

Retro Profile: XIII (GC)


by Nicholas Roussos

[Note: While this is “quasi” retro, it’s live cause it’s so well written and we are still lovin’ our cubes]

XIII is a sleeper hit, first person shooter that mixes in a great cell-shaded, comic book style with intrigue and amnesia. From conspiracies to slow blood gurgled deaths, this game is a feast for both the eyes and the imagination. Unlike many FPS games, XIII brings the story to life with rich characters, flashbacks, and good old-fashion story-telling. Levels in this game are both fun and challenging.

XIII.jpgXIII mixes a fun selection of weapons with tight gameplay. From the quiet thwarp of the crossbow to fast action machine guns, the weapon sare fun to use; the simple knife is even entertaining enough to pullout after stocking up a full arsenal. The locations are varied with beaches, bank vaults, and even some surprise underwater entrances. Plus, there’s nothing like shooting a guard off a bridge and seeing a four panel close-up of him falling.

With a surprise ending, the story really seals the deal for XIII. It feels like more than just another FPS. The game leaves you satisfied and even wanting more. There’s also a four player mode that I never got to enjoy, but it’s likely to be a lot of fun.

Play or Stay? Play! With this generation of consoles winding down, snag yourself a copy of XIII and get reminded what it was all about.

Published on September 16th, 2005 under

Retro Profile: Actraiser (SNES)


[by Nicholas Roussos]

Although the graphics are timid compared with today’s standards, Actraiser was at the cutting edge for its time. But great graphics alone didn’t make this game stand out. A solid story and varied gameplay make Actraiser as entertaining today as it was almost fifteen years ago when it was published by Enix in November, 1991.

actraiser-1.jpgThere’s no need of a God-mode cheat for Actraiser, that’s because you play as God. As the Omniscient, you play in two very different game modes. The first is a side-scrolling, monster-bashing action mode where you begin and end every level with a cleaning of the city. You display your kinder side in a strategy-based second mode by helping each city’s people build their homes and roads, overcome plights, farm their lands, and of course worship yourself.

actraiser-21.jpgActraiser is an extremely fun game that has a strangely involving story, especially considering the rather distinct viewpoint you take as the main character. The two game-play modes, however different, compliment each other well. The sound along with the graphics were top tier for their time, and the nostalgia is for real.

Play or Stay? An easy question with a difficult answer. This game should be an easy “Play, right now!” Unfortunately, some might have trouble getting there hands on a SNES and/or the game (emulators not withstanding). So, if you happen upon a dusty copy, break it out. For everyone else, here’s to hoping the Revolution will make playing (and downloading) our favorite games from the past a breeze.

Published on September 13th, 2005 under

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