10 Classic Gaming Facts

The 3DS isn’t the first, or even the second 3D Nintendo product.
Several years ago Nintendo put out the Virtual boy. That was their second foray into 3D. Their first was on the Famicom back in the 80s. The Famicom 3D System was a pair of 3D shutter glasses. It creates the 3D effect by shutters closing over one eye at a time showing a different image to the eye that isn’t blocked. This creates a 3d effect.

Duck Hunt 1976

Duck hunt for the NES is a remake of an earlier Nintendo game.
In the early 1970s Nintendo created a game called Laser Clay Shooting. A home version of the game was called Duck Hunt.
Sega was originally an American company
Sega was started as Standard Games in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1940. They originally made coin operated games for military bases. In 1951 the company moved to Tokyo, Japan and changed it’s name to Service Games of Japan. In 1965 Rosen Enterprises and Service Games merged and created Sega Enterprises. Their name is actually the first 2 letters of both words of their name. SERVICE GAMES becomes SEGA.
Ms Pac Man was originally a Pac Man clone.
Ms. Pac-Man was originally called Crazy Otto. It was meant to be an enhancement to Pac-Man, made by a company called General Computer Corporation. While the game was in development, GCC settled a lawsuit with Atari. Part of the settlement stopped them from selling new conversion kits without the permission of the original developers. Instead of stopping development, they showed it to Midway. Midway was Namco’s American distributor of Pac-Man. Midway bought the rights to Crazy Otto and changed the graphics and the name and made it Ms. Pac-Man.
Nintendo operated a love hotel and taxi service.
It’s pretty common knowledge that Nintendo was formed in 1889 and originally made playing cards. Not many people know that in the early 1960s, Nintendo tried some new ventures such as a taxi company, a tv network and a love hotel.
Donkey Kong started life as a Popeye game.
In 1981, Nintendo was negotiating a deal to make a Popeye game. When the license fell through Shigeru Miyamoto changed the sprites into what we know as Donkey Kong. Bluto became Donkey Kong, Olive Oyl became Lady (Later Pauline), Finally Popeye became Jumpman (Later Mario).
Sega Master system wasn’t Sega’s first game system.
On July 15, 1983, the same day the Famicom was released in Japan, marked the debut of the SG-1000. It was Sega’s first home video game system.
The Sega Dreamcast wasn’t the first game system with a modem.
Most people believe the Dreamcast was the first game system with a modem. They are wrong. In fact, the Atari 2600, Intellivision, Famicom, NES, SNES, Sega Genesis and Sega Saturn all had modem attachments.
Golden Axe is linked to death row prisoners
Rumor has it that all the sounds in the game were performed by prisoners on death row in American prisons.
E.T. for the Atari 2600 sold better than Space Invaders

ET for Atari

Space Invaders was one of the biggest hits on the 2600, but it didn’t sell as well as one of it’s worst. E.T. was the 5th highest selling game for the system. Space Invaders was the 10th.
Posted May 25th, 2011

Guerrilla War

Guerrilla War for the NES is a port of the 1987 arcade game developed and published by SNK. SNK also brought us the Ikari Warrior series which, at first glance, Guerrilla War seems to be much like it’s big brother, albeit with a much deeper, much darker history. On the surface Guerrilla War seems to be the normal top-down shooting game, yet it was actually based on Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s plot to overthrow the Batista dictatorship of Cuba in the 1950s. Within the game there are subtle, mostly graphical (players 1 and 2 are actually based on Che Guevara and Fidel Castro respectively), hints that carried over from the Japanese release, but for the western release they changed some dialog and changed the name from Guevara to Guerrilla War.

In the game your mission is straight forward, defeat all the enemies along the way to the final boss. Your mission is cut up into sections and spread through out these sections are an increasing number of enemies, some hostages you can rescue and each stage finishes with a boss. Now, I say you can rescue the hostages because it isn’t necessary, in fact you can blow them up and keep going as it merely reduces your score slightly and otherwise has no effect on the overall goal of beating the game. To help you through each stage you have an infinite supply of ammo and grenades, also littered throughout the stages you can find many different weapons upgrades and in some stages you can even find a tank!

Guerrilla War is very generous with continues, my first complete play through took only about an hour. You can use as many continues as you need, but each time you use one your score will return to 0 preventing you from posting much of a high score. Since Guerrilla War was ported from the arcade, the 8 directional walking and shooting has carried over quite well and is used often thanks to some creative level designs. If you’re looking for that authentic feel, using a Nintendo Advantage is highly recommended!

Overall, the graphics are pretty standard for it’s time but can’t stand up to the graphics it was ported from. SNK did a very good job of filling the screen and bringing the many different environments to life whether it’s in a forest, sewer, riding in the mining car or walking through a town. If you’re a fan of other SNK games, such as Crystalis, you’ll notice many sound effects as well as the background music sound very similar. Although Guerrilla War may have a somewhat taboo back story, I can’t deny that this game is utterly and thoroughly enjoyable. Even with the simplicity brought on by endless continues this game is still challenging and very fun to play!

I found gameplay footage of “Guevara” on youtube!

Posted May 24th, 2011

Destiny of an Emperor

Destiny of an Emperor is a fairly obscure NES RPG by Capcom that never received much in the way of accolades, but is one I always thought should be in any serious old-school RPG collection! The story is based on the ancient Chinese epic “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms” (with quite a bit of liberty taken, I might add), which follows Liu Bei, Zhang Fei, and Guan Yu, and tells of the unification of the Han Dynasty. Many characters should be familiar to anyone who has played the Koei “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” games or the “Dynasty Warrior” games. Unlike those games however, this is a turn-based RPG similar in gameplay to the Final Fantasy / Dragon Warrior series, but has some fairly unique elements I’ve never seen anywhere else.

Your party is comprised of “characters” that are actually Generals that command large armies. You can have 5 Generals in your front line, and 2 more Generals as support/backup. Each General is actually played much like a normal RPG character however, and the “armies” they command are really just treated as hit points. You can buy weapons and armor for your armies, but they are equipped like normal RPG equipment, it is just assumed that the General’s entire army is now equipped with that kind of gear. It takes a little suspension of disbelief, but once you get past that and the occasional grinding, it is a thoroughly enjoyable, and at times challenging game. Just don’t forget to talk to everyone (as usual) and definitely bring along plenty of rations!!

A unique aspect of this game is that you can recruit 98% of the enemy Generals you will ever fight! The most powerful Generals are usually guarding towns and castles (virtually all towns and castles have an army defending them when you first arrive), but can also be found in smaller armies roving the local countryside. After you face a particularly nasty castle fight, you can usually take solace in the fact that most, if not all, of the guys you just barely beat up can now be added to your own team! This is also quite necessary through much of the game, because as you level, most Generals don’t get any stronger (ie. their armies don’t get any bigger). You start out with a couple of Generals that will grow as you level, but the vast majority won’t. You’ll eventually find a few more Generals that grow (like the 5 Tigers! Grrr!!), but until then, adding new, more powerful Generals from newer areas to your team is essential for success. An interesting aspect of this system is that it has a rather ‘Pokemon’ feel to it, and it can be very easy to get the “Gotta catch’em all” fever!! After a battle, some ask for money, some ask for a Steed, and some refuse outright, but with work you can ‘catch’ nearly anyone! Steeds are great later on when Generals ask for several thousand gold, or they’ll take a 200g horse instead! Seriously? I guess ‘I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.’ (har har har!)

The “magic” system in this game is quite unique as well. I put magic in quotes because it is actually referred to as “Tactics” and requires a designated Tactician. This is typically one of the 2 support characters (or the last General in the battle line-up if you only have 5 or fewer Generals in your traveling team), and has to be selected by the player. Once a character is designated as the Tactician, any Tactics that they have learned can be used by any of your fighting Generals, but you only have a limited number of Tactics Points (TP), which is determined by your army’s level. Different Generals make better Tacticians than others, having better and/or different Tactics and higher Intellect. Tactics can have a variety of effects, from causing Fire or Flood damage, to healing , to increasing combat strength  or durability . Like I said, “magic”! The names are all in Chinese though, so you’re gonna need to bust out the instruction manual or look up a walkthrough to understand which Tactics do what, but there aren’t too many, so it’s not too bad.

Since the Tactic names are jibberish to most, I made a list with effects and attempted my own translations (made by playing around with Google Translate for a while :p):

    Fire Tactics:

  • Lian Huo (Year of Fire) – Weak Fire attack, one enemy.
  • Ye Huo (Wildfire) – Slightly stronger Fire attack, one enemy.
  • Yan Re (Scorching Heat) – Medium Fire attack, all enemies.
  • Da Re (Great Heat) – Strong Fire attack, one enemy.
  • Huo Shen (God of Fire) – Massive Fire attack, all enemies.
    Water Tactics:

  • Shui Tu (Water Plan) – Weak Water attack, one enemy.
  • Shui Xing (Water Model) – Slightly stronger Water attack, one enemy.
  • Shui Lei (Water Category (?)) – Medium Water attack, one enemy.
  • Hong Shui (Flood or Red Water) – Strong Water attack, all enemies.
  • Shui Long (Water Dragon) – Devastating Water attack, all enemies.
    Healing Tactics:

  • Chi Xin (Novice Sustainment) – Weak healing, one ally.
  • Tong Xian (Expert Thread) – Better healing, one ally.
  • Yin Xian (Silver Thread) – Good healing, all allies.
  • Wan Fu (Thousand Blessings) – Complete healing, one ally.
  • Jin Xian (Golden Thread) – Very strong healing, all allies.
    Defensive Tactics:

  • Ji Rou (Strong Flesh) – Halves the damage received from all physical attacks.
  • Wuo Jian* (Partial Fire) – Halves the damage received from Fire Tactics.
    * – I think Wuo Jian was suppose to be Huo Jian. Wuo makes absolutely no sense here.
  • Shui Jian (Partial Water) – Halves the damage received from Water Tactics.
  • Ce Mian (Avoid Tactics) – Prevents all enemy Tactics from working.
  • Ji Mian (Avoid Strength) – Prevents enemy’s physical attacks from doing damage.
    Miscellaneous Tactics:

  • Cheng Nei (Inside Castle) – Forts add bonuses to the defenders, this nullifies that.
  • Yi Xin (Newly Alone) – Causes enemy to doubt allies, does nothing for a while.
  • Li Jian (Divided Plum (?)) – Causes enemy to start attacking his allies for a while.
  • Qi Shou (Timely Hand) – Increases target officer’s Agility, letting him act sooner.
  • Jie Ce (Expire Tactics) – Disables the effects of any Tactics the enemy has used.
  • An Sha (Assassinate) – Instantly kills target by cutting off the officer’s head.
  • Bei Ji (Strength of the North) – Doubles power of both attacks and Fire/Water Tactics.
  • Fu Bing (Fortunate Defect (?)) – Get in an extra attack.
  • Tui Lu (Route of Retreat) – Retreat from battle.
  • Gui Huan (Return) – Retreat from battle and go to Lui Bei’s current castle.

As the game progresses, you find yourself increasingly caught up in the middle of a growing political and military struggle to control different areas of ancient China (Shu, Wu, and Wei). Eventually, your role becomes saving it all from the would-be “Dragon” Emperor and unite all of China under the Han Dynasty (ie. yourself). Pretty ambitious if you ask me! There is plenty of intrigue along the way: dictators overthrown, alliances made and broken, betrayal… and Lu Bu. Good grief! Lu Bu must be Chinese for “drama”!!

There is a sequel to this game that was never released outside of Japan (Destiny of an Emperor 2). It re-tells the same set of events, but it is mixed up quite a bit with newer features, brand new maps, and tries to tell the story in a more dramatic way, with more specific character interactions. You could probably compare DoaE 1 and 2 to Dragon Warrior 3 and 4, as far as the story-telling quality is concerned. To play through the sequal though, you’ll need to find a translated version. That is unless you know Japanese and can find the original cart, of course!

Posted May 17th, 2011

Sam’s Scores III

Welcome to the third edition of Sam’s scores! I believe I’m finally getting things in order as I’m going to start weeding out the average everyday scores from the unique or harder to find items. I’ve literally found hundreds of games, systems and other classic gaming related items, obviously they are all scores to me, but not all of them are unique in the scope of collecting. I will also be cutting back from 8 to only 4 items per edition for a more streamline look and feel.

4) – A Bug’s Life N64 w/case

You may be wondering why on Earth this would be a score, well it isn’t much but it came with a case. Some of you may find out if a classic video game comes with a case, for some reason the store thinks the value is quadruple what it really should be! Now I bought it for 3 reasons, the case, the fact that I didn’t own one beforehand and the fact that it was only….

A Bug’s Life N64 w/case – $1

3) – Gameboy Pocket AC Adapter

After acquiring my Gameboy Pocket, I’ve fallen in love with it’s outdated dot matrix screen and vintage Gameboy charm in a smaller case. Sadly, with the technology of it’s time, the system eats batteries like the Cookie Monster eats cookies! You either pumped more batteries in or bought the power adapter! I happened to find the wall adapter, in really good shape, at a 50% off sale in a thrift store recently….

Gameboy Pocket AC Adapter – $1 (after 50% discount)

2) – NAMCO NeGcon

If you’re not familiar with the name, don’t worry I wasn’t either! I found this at a thrift store during the New Year’s 50% off sale, yes that long ago! I had no clue what it was and I didn’t purchase it on my first trip, I went back a month later and it was still there. The item had no price tag and I wasn’t sure what it was, to me it was rare. After some research I found they sold poorly in the US and only later did they become popular. Want to know why or even what it does? You’ll have to wait for a future series! Until then….

NAMCO NeGcon – $1

1) – 6x NES Controllers

Yes, you read that correctly, six NES controllers! Why do I need so many? I don’t! They had been sitting in my favorite thrift store for quite some time and to make room for new merchandise I got a really good deal on them. Naturally they all needed cleaned (2 are a really cool nicotine yellow — yuck!) and a few needed some internal cleaning and pad replacement, but overall they’re worth the price.

6x NES Controllers – $.80 cents (total+tax)

Posted May 9th, 2011