Ice Climber As a Life Metaphor

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nzBivwWI4A

So there I was, at the local Gamers in Control, and what do I see? A cartridge for the Game Boy Advance of the classic 1984 Nintendo game “Ice Climber”! I had to grab it and the game’s still cool! In it, you play some little guy with a pickax who must climb 32 mountains in order to win the game. Obstructing your climb are a number of video game creatures that you must evade or kill. At the top of each mountain is a bonus stage where you have 40 seconds to prove your climbing skills so you can score bonus points and be a winner!

This game is still fun because of the simplicity of the concept and the ease of the gameplay. Its like life, you climb and slip, but get back up again and keep climbing some more! Climbing is fun, for example because the retro graphics of the mountains invoke serious gaming nostalgia. The bonus round is also enjoyable because it poses a real but necessary challenge for the gamer. I just got this game but I am planning to play it regularly until I win. If you have a Game Boy Advance or a Nintendo DS that plays Game Boy Advance games, don’t miss “Ice Climber.” It still holds up after all these years!

Dark Castle Macintosh Very Underrated

aSometimes I flash back to my favorite childhood memories. One of the most fond of these memories is playing “Dark Castle” at my friend’s house in the late 1980’s. What is “Dark Castle”? It’s a black-and-white platform game with an extremely engaging soundtrack and very fun gameplay. It was one of the first games where you used both the keyboard and a mouse to control the action. In it, you play Prince Duncan, who is on a quest to topple the throne of the Black Knight and save his town. In order to do this, he must enter the Dark Castle and travel to and survive the four sections of the castle. This involves the player entering the castle doors and entering the four doors, which lead to Fireball, Shield, Trouble and The Black Knight.

 

This game was an intense, better-than-arcade quality experience at the time because it was fun to play and listen to and it created a believable fantasy environment. The monochrome display enhanced the game, giving it a surreal quality. The game was ported over to MS-DOS, Commodore 64, the Amiga, Atari ST, IIGS, Sega Genesis, CD-I, and MSX. The game is also available for download on some cell phones. Two sequels, “Beyond the Dark Castle” (1987) and “Return to Dark Castle” (2008) followed. Check it out on YouTube; this game still rocks! I’m ready to enter a time machine and play through the Macintosh “Dark Castle” again, and I suggest you do the same!

Namco Museum is a Classic

At my local Gamers in Control I found a really good one. The “Namco Museum and Virtual Arcade” for XBOX 360 is a wonderful collection of some of the best arcade and online games spanning a period of about 30 years. The games include several of the “Pac-man” games, the “Dig Dug” games, the “Galaxian” games, the “Pole Position” games, and the great “Rolling Thunder.” Each game has been painstakingly ported over, with wonderful graphics and controls. “Rolling Thunder,” for example, is just as fast-paced and difficult to play as ever. It’s unbelievable for a 1986 game:

The “Pole Position” games are still really fun, and the precedent they set for racing games continues today. In total, there are about 37 games on this collection, and all of them are very interesting and rather trippy. I’ve played every vintage game collection on the XBOX 360, and I would definitely say that this one is the best. So if you see it at the store and are ready for some retro gaming, buy this collection!

Why I Love the Atari ST

Many years ago (back in 1988) I had an Atari ST personal computer. We kept using it until the mid-90s. It had pretty impressive graphics for its time. Some of the best games for that system were the Leisure Suit Larry series, Death Sword, Flight Simukator, Mean 18, Gauntlet, Rampage, Prime Time, Operation Wolf and Thunderbolt, Time Bandit, The Uninvited, Shadowgate,and Nightbreed (Clive Barker).

 

 

The system was great because not only were the graphics good, but the system offered a premium gaming experience.  For example, “Death Sword” was a state-of-the-art fighting game where you could decapitate your opponent.  The fun of getting to that part of the game was priceless.  And when a little troll comes and kicks the decapitated head off-screen, we are seeing brilliance here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0d3Re3MMjk

There were also some excellent arcade ports on the system.  “Operation Wolf,” for example, was exactly like the arcade game except you use your mouse to shoot people instead of a gun.  The thrill of victory on that game was tremendous. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66gMUnM2IbI

 

 

Switching gears, “Primetime” was a fun game where you run a TV station.  You can pick which shows to buy and when to air them.  It is hard to put into words why this game is so good.  Against all odds, it would draw you in and you would become addicted to it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66gMUnM2IbI

Another really intense game was Hostages.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Er7JnSa3LG0

And Codename Iceman, where you solved murder crimes involving dope.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oE1RtpGBtQ&list=PLDE5E5962688DBC1D

 

The Atari ST is an important chapter in videogame history because it is the one time Atari built a really powerful system.  It had 512K to 1040K RAM, depending on the model.  The graphics and sound, for the time, are mind-blowing,  and since BASIC was the operating system for the ST, it was possible for a novice to program and create games.

The system had one huge flaw: no hard drive.  If the designers had figured out a way to put one in, gaming history could’ve been very different.  Nevertheless, I love the ST because it was great to use and opened the door to the future of gaming. I will never forget the days of fun it gave me as a child, and I hope Atari makes a comeback someday. Stay tuned for retro reviews of Atari ST games!

New Atari System

There is a brand new Atari game console system on the way. https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2017/07/17/weve-seen-ataris-new-ataribox-console-and-its-more-confusing-than-ever/#71b30252d448

It will have a mix of new and old classic Atari games. It has hdmi slots, USB card slots, SD card, and ethernets. The design is a combo of modern and retro , like Videodrome or something. Possibly it runs on Android or Windows. The company itself isn’t divulging that much about it at moment , but we will keep you posted. The local video game store clerk had not heard about it, so its kind of under the radar.