Retro Corner – July 2014
Hello and welcome, to what I hope will turn into a new monthly column. As you can probably guess, a lot of my time recently has been spent looking back into the gaming past. I’ve been reliving older games, classics that I missed the first time round. What I’ve found is an amazing community and seen just how big the retro scene has been getting. Some consoles still get the love they deserve, with some even receiving new games. I’m looking at you Dreamcast! So I thought I’d put this little column together… welcome to the Retro Corner. This is a chance for me to share with you all some of my favourite news stories from the world of retro and a look at one game that has kept me captivated for the last few weeks plus a little more. So without further ado, onto the news…
So a few months ago, the web exploded with the news that the massive iOS and Android hit – Flappy Bird – was being discontinued. In fact the game became so sought after, that phones and tablets were being sold on EBay for stupid amounts of money. I mean stupid amounts; I remember wondering why on earth people were being able to sell this game for money that could essentially buy you a car – or even cover you for a deposit on a house! Perhaps I’m getting old. What you might not have heard though, was that the retro community called to arms. We soon saw ports and clones of Flappy Bird appearing for classic consoles, like the Atari 2600 and even the Vectrex. Now, retro gamers can enjoy the game in Nintendo style! Yep there’s now a port of Flappy Bird available on the NES, available to use via flash cart or alternatively via emulators. The new port has been made available for free by Nioreh, apparently it was a break from a bigger project. So if you have a flash cart and an old NES about, you’re wondering what all the fuss was over Flappy Bird then now you can enjoy! More info can be found here.
Glitches, glitches, glitches. Since gaming began, games have had bugs and glitches. Some of these have proven to be a right royal pain in the arse! Nowadays the developers can just fix them with updates. However back in the day, these were not so easy to counter act. Some, however, have proven to be rather useful, a little like Easter eggs. Some are easy find and exploit, others can be a nightmare and remain hidden until years later. So begins our next story; 23 years after Super Mario World hit game stores, a talented gamer has unearthed such a glitch. The new glitch grants gamers a Lakitu cloud in the second stage of the game. It also appears to be available on the SNES cartridges, which means that it’s fair game to use in speed runs. This in turn has led to previous records being smashed and improved using this method to its full potential. It’s amazing to think a game, 23 years old, still has secrets to unearth and just shows that there’s life left in these classic gems. If you want to find out how to enable the glitch, follow the link here.
Last October a Neo Geo homebrew title, created by NeoBitz, was released for the MVS arcade cabinets. The game, Knights Chance is a card and puzzle game, including such standards as poker, blackjack and a Yahtzee style dice game. It had a medieval theme with such rather interesting graphics with some cool music and sounds effects. Originally this was confined to the MVS arcade cabinets, however there’s a new port on the way – a port ready for the AES consoles. In fact if you’re interested it’s now available for pre-order. Alongside the purchase, you’ll not only receive the cartridge, box and manual - you also get the choice to of English or Japanese box art plus a set of playing cards. The game will set you back $499.99, but get in quick as it’s a limited run. Only 100 copies are being produced. If that’s a little rich for your blood, then we’ve also heard that a CD version of the game is in development, ready for the Neo Geo CD system. This should hopefully be without the high price tag. If you want to preorder then you can find it here.
Game Of The Month
This month, I’ve been captivated by a game that was originally released back in 2000. A game developed by Overworks and published by SEGA on the Dreamcast, which has proven to hold up (in my opinion) to this very day. Skies Of Arcadia – I missed out on first time around. In fact I missed out on the whole Dreamcast, other priorities had come along at the time, meaning gaming was definitely placed onto the back burner. A few weeks ago though, I decided to rectify this and ended up buying a Dreamcast complete with Skies Of Arcadia. I have to say I’m glad I’ve finally gotten around to this excellent RPG.
The game follows Vyse, a Sky Pirate, and his friends as he takes to the skies to fight the might of the Valuan Empire. It’s set in Arcadia – a land comprised of floating continents and islands. It’s orbited by six moons of different colors, and is a truly beautiful world to explore. It has a Jules Verne sheen to it, with some amazing airships to travel in.
The main bulk of the game takes place in dungeons. There’s the usual treasure chests to find and monsters to defeat. Combat is turn based, and proves quite fun. For me there’s a little more strategy involved than I’m normally used to - thanks to the special moves and magic using up spirit points. These spirit points are shared across the group, which can be up to four in your party. Once the spirit points are used, that’s your lot for the whole group. However these points can be revived at the beginning of a battle and also with the focus move. I found it best to have three ready to attack and one at the back of the party in focus move, making up the spirit points. As for the special moves and magic, they do look rather fantastic when you pull them off.
The game is beautiful to behold, and can still hold it’s own against today’s titles, with characters that brighten up the screen and are fun to watch. Overworks have managed to create and amazing game, with some really memorable characters, it’s great fun to play and still has some interesting twists to the usual RPG mix. It’s definitely a game worth dusting off and replaying, or picking up for the first time. You wont regret it…
That’s it for this month’s retro corner. Until next month, I hope you enjoyed this and if you have any ideas for next month’s column, please let me know.