Classic Video Game Blog of Rants, Raves, News and Info

8 Bit Central - Retro Gaming Blog

Archive of Classic Video Game Blog Articles
Second Quarter 2012 - April, May, June

June 2012 Retro Gaming Articles:

June 30, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I never would have guessed that my local grocery store sells Nintendo Wii Point Cards!

On a recent pilgrimage to stock our house with Cheese-Its and chocolate donuts, my son turns to me and says, "Hey, they have Wii cards over there".
Nintendo Wii Points Cards for sale at Stop & Shop grocery store
At 7 years old he has a remarkable eye for detail and points out all sorts of interesting things to me, but I still couldn't believe the local grocery store would sell Wii Points cards. I usually have to drive 30 minutes to the nearest electronics store to pick up point cards. Now I can snag WiiWare and Virtual Console titles after a short jaunt to Stop & Shop. Cool!

I'll have to add retro gaming to my shopping list :)
Nintendo Wii Points Cards for sale at Stop & Shop grocery store
June 28, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Atari offers some deals and giveaways in celebration of their 40th anniversary

Atari is offering several promos and contests to celebrate their 40th anniversary!

Atari 40th anniversary sale
June 27, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Happy 40th Birthday Atari! Founded June 27, 1972 by Nolan Bushnell & Ted Dabney #HappyBirthdayAtari

Atari Logo
It's hard to believe that the arcade genius that led to my first gaming console (the Atari 2600) and Chuck E. Cheese is 40 years old today. Of course one has to note the various incarnations and transformations the company went through. Their claim to fame has always been insanely clever arcade games, but most of them are from the company's inception. Atari has become synonymous with beloved games of many of our childhoods. The Atari of today is a much different entity.

Atari's incarnations:
  • Founded 27 June 1972 as Atari, Inc.
  • Split into Atari Corporation and Atari Games in 1984
  • Became Atari Interactive (division of Hasbro Interactive) in 1998
Nolan Bushnell left Atari before the 7800 was came to market and Atari was under new management when the Jaguar made a valiant attempt at a comeback. Regardless of "who owns what" and "who's behind Atari" today - they are arguably the most famous gaming brand of all time, recognized even by those who's first gaming console was a Microsoft product.

Happy 40th Birthday Atari!

June 26, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Maxim Gamer Girl contest is down to 3 finalists! We're down for Danielle- @tradechat

As Maxim's Gamer Girl Contest churns on we're hoping the massive onslaught of votes for Danielle will continue in the final round. She's not just a pretty face, she's the real-deal when it comes to gamer girls! Maxim Gamer Girl contest is down to 3 finalists

Check out her TradeChat Youtube Channel then go vote for Danielle!
Maxim Gamer Girl contest is down to 3 finalists
June 24, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Am I the only one wondering what happened to the second control pad on the Nintendo 3DS XL?

original Nintendo 3DS with strap-on Pad So the 3DS XL has been announced with larger screens, battery life and price. Wasn't there a big fluster over that additional control-pad (a GameStop exclusive) that enabled additional controls in games programed for it? I was sort of expecting to see that on the next 3DS hardware release.

When Sony added the second "stick" to the Vita and blended the handeld into its PS3 scenario, what's Nintendo doing? The folks at Forbes are speculating that this negates the 3DS as a potential "controller" for the Wii U and sends Nintendo down an opposite path from Sony and Microsoft who are trying to tie handheld devices closer to their gaming consoles.

new Nintendo 3DS XL All I can say is everyone thought Nintendo was insane to release the Wii in 2006 and it turned out to be an amazing forward leap in controller interaction. I'm guessing that the Wii U and 3DS XL will again be out-of-the-park winners... but many won't see the genius until later on :)

Having mentioned the former add-on pad - I'm wondering if it is compatible with the 3DS XL. Who knows, but I have to admit I'm a bit skeptical of the new XL model in that the original model underwent a huge price drop very early in it's cycle. Will folks now pay more for the larger screens and battery life?

Time will tell...

Nintendo DS global shipments from Gamasutra

The chart above (from Gamasutra) shows an interesting history of the DS life-cycle from it's inception. I'm betting Nintendo will survive and thrive as always!
June 11, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Imagine having protective cases with original artwork for your loose Atari 2600 carts- Retro Game Cases

For retro game collectors, loose cartridges can be hard to manage. Shoe boxes don't do your collection justice, but neither does having them spill off the shelf into a heap. And what about those pristine manuals? How does one preserve them?
Custom protective archival game cases for retro games
The YouTube video below tipped me off to a pretty cool product that I'm hoping is as awesome as it looks! These look like a cool way to protect, organize and store retro games and manuals. These cases will look awesome on a shelf. What Atari collector could pass up such an amazing way to display carts?

I am so amped to discover a company that will make cases for Atari 2600 cartridges. With the original artwork, these are a welcome addition to anyone's collection. I'd be pretty psyched to begin a game of Asteroids by opening a hard-shell case! :)

Check out the Retro Game Cases web site.

From the Retro Game Cases web site:
Custom protective archival game cases are not only a safe way to protect your vintage video games, but also a very appealing way to show off that collection you've been working on. Each case insert is designed using styles from the artwork of the original boxes, but in a vertical format that matches that of movies and modern games from the Wii and PS3 platforms.

Custom protective archival game cases for retro games

Video game storage for retro game cartridges - Retro Game Cases

June 9, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Maria Sharapova Stump-Smashed her way to win the French Open! Fire up Virtua Tennis 4!

Maria Sharapova with Skylanders Stump Smash- Winning the Roland Garros final She did it! We always root for Maria Sharapova - she has such amazing determination and will to win. She plays hard and wins gracefully.

There are few things better than playing as Maria in Virtua Tennis 4 on the clay courts of France.

Virtua Tennis 4 with Maria Sharapova

June 8, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

GameStop crams it's brick & mortar into your Android smart phone

When I decided I'd had enough of the limited offerings of Blackberry I had to choose between Apple's iPhone and an Android phone. Gamestop mobile app for Android Smart phones Despite being a long time Apple fanatic, I really wanted a PHONE, but couldn't justify the added cost of putting an "i" in the front of my phone - not to mention the larger screens I found on several Android models.

The BlackBerry was great for email, but the apps available to it were so minimal, it was easy to jump that ship and explore all the utility that smartphone apps are supposed to deliver.

When I received an email from GameStop mentioning a free Android phone and app, I had to take a look. Of course Verizon would happily rape me to the tune of several hundred dollars if I dared stray from their bloated rates and insidious My Verizon Mobile app that wants to monitor my every move while gleefully draining my battery.

GameStop Mobile App Features

The GameStop app is no speed demon - weighing in at 19MB, on my phone. It chugs along however when it fully loads (about 10-12 seconds), there are a lot of features to it. At first launch, you're asked to put in your Power-Up Rewards account info. From here it seems to present you with recommendations - which I hope are truly based on your account history, rather than random titles they are trying to get rid of. Launching the app several times I get the same 3 recommended titles, but they are all Wii titles, so I'm inclined to think there is some relation to my known buying habits.

The first GameStop app screen displays a search bar that seems to accurately return good selections based on a number of searches for existing and upcoming games. Next are 2 bars showing a tally (and access to) messages and In-Store Offers. Below this are the Wants, Haves and Reservations.

Next several rows with box-cover images for Recommended Titles, Best Sellers, Now Shipping and Coming Soon. Clicking the covers brings up a detail screen offering the ability to buy the title, view a video, screen shots and a text description. This info loads quite fast which surprised me considering the lag in the initial launch. Gamestop mobile app screen shots for Android Smart phones Many of the features are tied to having your Big Brother setting on so the app can garner your location. As much as I hate the idea of random strangers knowing where I am, it can be helpful for locating nearby GameStop locations and identifying which store you want to pick up your purchased title from. For store locations, you can also enter a zip code and get a listing of nearby stores - a nice addition!

We also liked the integrated barcode scanner which lets your phone's camera snap a code in order to return info on the title. Additionally, it will tell you which stores have it in stock which seems like a nice feature, but aren't you holding it in your hand when scanning it? OK, I guess you could scan a friend's copy and find out if your local GameStop has it in stock so you can buy it ;)

The buttons across the top of the screen take you to the Home screen, Store Locator, Library of games you've bought (via your Power-Up Rewards card), available Rewards and your account details. There is also a Four-Square-ish check-in feature that lets you rack up some Rewards points just for wandering around your local GameStop.

The GameStop App offers quite a few nice features beyond the typical database dump of info that many apps offer. I've only recently installed the app, but I'm pretty happy with it. It would seem that many of the issues about crashes and phone compatibility have ben addressed in the few months since the app's launch. So far, we're digging it!
June 7, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Maria Sharapova's mega-fierce battle on her way to the Roland Garros final- Virtua Tennis 4 style

Maria Sharapova and Pitfall Harry We love Maria Sharapova's gnar! She gets on the court and just takes her wins. It's a beautiful sight... for a variety of reasons, but her determination is awesome to watch.
Virtua Tennis 4 with Maria Sharapova
There are few things better than playing as Maria in Virtua Tennis 4. How could Topspin 4 omit her?!?

Go Sharapova!
June 6, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

RTFM to unleash your inner ability to become a cutthroat gamer

They always tell you to read the manual, but how many of us really do?
You plug it in and go for it!
Reading the manual enables defense of the game
As you can see from our gamer-girl progression graphic, reading the manual can help turn you into the cutthroat gamer your want to be :)
June 5, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Maxim's Gamer Girl contest is down to 3 finalists. Will TradeChat's massive fan-base come through?

Maxim's Gamer Girl Contest- TradeChat is 50,000 votes ahead When Maxim decided to have their first ever official Gamer Girl, they solicited contestants to register, then let rabid fans vote for their favorite. As you can imagine, hundreds of applicants signed up - most of whom didn't seem to have ever played a video game in their lives.

Soon a clear winner emerged and surged ahead of the competition - way ahead. This is where we first discovered TradeChat (aka Panser). When most of the more successful girls attained 2 or 3 thousand votes, TradeChat had over 40,000. Yes, forty thousand! She didn't stop there and went on to out-pace her competitors by more than 50,000 votes! If you view Tradechat's YouTube Channel you'll see why she shot ahead in this contest.

The chick is the real deal. She is more of a gamer than most of us. With a huge fan-base of gamers and folks who dig pink hair, she'd seems almost destined to become Maxim Magazine's Gamer Girl. Go Vote for TradeChat!!

Maxim's Gamer Girl contest
June 4, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

While E3 ramps up in CA, NH offers the International Classic Video Game Tournament at FunSpot

E3 isn't the only gaming attraction this week. As most industry insiders wander the halls of E3 soaking up the upcoming awesomeness in the gaming industry, players congregated at the largest arcade in the world - FunSpot in New Hampshire. An article in the Arts section of the New York Times featured a picture of kid next to an arcade cabinet with the caption: "Zachary watches his father at the International Classic Video Game Tournament".

Now, isn't that the way it should be - kids watching their fathers rack up impressive Defender scores?

International Classic Video Game Tournament at FunSpot

Hailed as "The Mecca of Classic Gaming" by MSNBC, The American Classic Arcade Museum at Funspot is the first 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and displaying vintage coin-operated amusements and their history. Located on the third floor of the immense Funspot Family Entertainment Super Center, the museum celebrates the origins of the arcade industry with popular games from the past. Asteroids, Pac-Man, Centipede and Gorgar are just a few of the nearly 300 games inside ACAM. The museum also contains static displays of game history and the walls feature many posters of vintage arcade games.

My kind of place! :)
June 4, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

SmartGlass sounds interesting, but I don't allow Microsoft products in my house

Microsoft's SmartGlass sounds like an interesting option if it really works with enough devices that have the horsepower to do something useful with it.

Burnt toast from Microsoft Windows toaster

Apple Logo Toast Aside from MS Office, I don't let Microsoft's invasive, spyware attracting products into my home. I'm pretty indifferent towards their offerings and associated terms of use. I find my life is easier by ignoring their products whenever possible. Of course there's always that person who insists on sending me a docx file, not knowing I'd have been just a happy to get a PDF.

Their Windows Phones have been largely ignored by the public and it often surprises me how successful they've become since buying their way into the video game industry. As someone who greatly enjoys movies, I'm not sure I want to watch an epic flick on a large hi-def TV and then compress that scenario into a tiny cell phone screen despite the Neat-o factor of SmartGlass. I guess the bottom line is Microsoft has never created a product that I felt would benefit my world to the point at which I'd make a purchase. Above all else...

I'm fairly certain a toaster running Windows would ruin toast in the blink of an eye.
June 2, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

GameStop Expo opens up to Power-Up Reward members - for 5 hours

GameStop Expo If you thought American Express was the only company touting "Membership has it's privileges," apparently GameStop is taking the famous 1987 to 1996 AMEX advertising slogan. GameStop is offering Power-Up Rewards members the chance to get the game-insider treatment.

Each year GameStop managers are whisked away to a boot camp that more closely resembles an E3 event. Each year GameStop managers are given some hands-on experience with upcoming games from all the big boys in the gaming industry.

This year they are expanding the format to offer all 18 million Power-Up Rewards members the same opportunity. Don't get your hopes up. This intimate gathering of gaming gurus only lasts 5 hours and is limited to 6,000 attendees. I guess it's first-come, first-served. Oh yeah, you also have to get to TX to attend. But if you meet the criteria, August 29, 2012 is your lucky day!

GameStop Expo

May 2012 Retro Gaming Articles:

May 25, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Memorial Day still commemorates fallen soldiers despite becoming a commercial-sale holiday

Many people seem to forget the origin of our national holidays in the US. These once sacred holiday's have become little more than 3-day weekends of drinking and shopping. Memorial Day is known to most (who've never served in the armed forces) as the kick-off for Summer and a 3 day sales event in which everything from toaster ovens and cars to gas-grills and dildos are marked down in price. Yes, even sex toys get the resonant mark-down treatment.

The ad below appeared in my email and I swear I didn't alter anything on it - not even the Fleshlight neatly tucked into the picnic basket! Memorial Day sale on pocket-pussies from Fleshlight

I have to applaud the NewsHour on PBS as the only news outlet that pays tribute to our military forces who have died in battle. To this day, they still give a moment of silence for our fallen soldiers and list their names and photos.

I'm sure some of you are hoping to save a few bucks this weekend on a new PS3 (I might too). But don't stop there! It's a holiday weekend so everyone is obligated to go shopping so the scumbag credit card companies can gleefully charge you 35% interest on items you can't quite afford. This begs the question: who is more horrible - The Banking or Insurance industry? Tough call these days...

For those of you looking to upgrade your worn out pocket-pussy with a sleek modern day Fleshlight will be delighted to know you can now satisfy your alien fetish with this intergalactic spunk-coaxer. Slip in and enjoy the long weekend.
May 22, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Eugene Polley, inventor of the Flashmatic wireless TV remote died

Next time you can't change channels because you can't find the remote, take a moment to think about how the ubiquitous clicker came to be. You didn't create it, but your lazy ass was probably part of an R&D theory. The first color TV my family owned was a Zenith and the first Betamax I bought in the 80's had a wired remote control. My, how times have changed.

Eugene Polley, inventor of the Flashmatic wireless TV remote Eugene Polley (November 29, 1915 - May 20, 2012) was an engineer for Zenith Electronics renown for inventing the wireless remote control for TVs. The term "clicker" came from a mechanical remote, created by Robert Adler, that used ultrasound to change the channel and volume. When a button was pushed it struck a bar making a clicking sound. Each bar emitted a different frequency which the television detected.

Prior to the "clicker", Eugene Polley devised the Flashmatic remote that turned the set on & off and change the channel by shining a beam of visible light onto a photoelectric cell. However the cell did not distinguish between light from the remote and other light sources and required precise accuracy to work properly... hence the pistol-grip.

Eugene Polley, inventor of the Flashmatic wireless TV remote Polley and Adler shared a 1996-1997 Technology & Engineering Emmy Award for "Pioneering Development of Wireless Remote Control for Consumer Television. Ad for the Flashmatic wireless TV remote
Even this ad touts the avoidance of commercials!
May 20, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Derek Slaton's The Sega Master System Encyclopedia aims to be the definitive book on the system

The Sega Master System Encyclopedia by Derek Slaton There's no shortage of books written about video games, the industry or it's prominent figures. There is however a shortage of good books on these topics. Too many "game books" take a wide focus or feel disjointed as though they've been compiled from various gaming articles. I prefer focus and depth. I love gaming books that take a unique element and delve into it with good tech information while remembering that video games are fun.

Derek Slaton's book, The Sega Master System Encyclopedia, aims to be the definitive publication on the system. I love the idea of this book because much has been written about Sega and their long journey through gaming, but to point the focus on one system is very enticing.

Many folks think "Genesis" when they hear "Sega". So to dig into an encyclopedia dedicated to the Sega Master System and it's game library sounds good to us! I'm looking forward to learning more about this system.

Info and sample pages can be seen on Slaton's The Video Game Archeologist website. It's available in both print and digital formats. Check out our review of The The Sega Master System Encyclopedia!
May 19, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Twin Sword Trading- game-inspired art giveaway contest from @8_BitGirl

Pac-Man, Twin Sword Trading gamer-art giveaway contest from 8_BitGirl Marrying into Twin Sword Trading has it's perks for 8-Bit Girl. She's sharing some of those perks with her fans via a contest to give away several high-quality gaming-inspired prints. She describes her future mate's works as "Specializing in all kinds of nerd art".

If you dig this rendition of Pac-Man, check out her 8-Bit Girl Blog for all the details, rules and more samples of the prints she's offering. Good stuff!

If you're not feeling lucky (in a contest winning sort of way) head over to Twin Sword Trading and buy a few prints.
May 15, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Store-bought is OK but DIY gamer fashion is the way to go

Store-bought is OK but DIY gamer fashion is the way to go It's seems rare to find real gamer-fashion in the average store, but as much as we like this Pac-Man dress, we totally admire the DIY spirit of this hand-made NES dress. Made from a Nintendo t-shirt and some ingenuity, this is the way to impress us ;)
May 14, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Joust arcade warrior tours the nation topping high scores with ease

As if the sounds and visuals of arcade games' attraction-mode weren't enough to draw in players, high score displays were the next big thing. Until the power was shut off for the night letting those beautiful machines rest until the next day's onslaught. William's Defender was the first game to save high scores even when the cabinet was restarted.
Joust record tracker
I used to wonder who those 3-character scores belonged to. Some were obvious names like Max or Ted (whoever they were), but many would remain a mystery. I got my initials onto a few cabinets in my home town, but they were always gone by my next visit.

Imagine traveling the country with mad-skills and putting your initial stop every cabinet you encountered? Meet Joust virtuoso, Lonnie McDonald...

He's touring the US on a mission to put 9's across the board on every classic Joust arcade game he can find. There are some great articles and a tracking map on PSP's site that geographically show Lonnie's progress.

I love this idea and it brings back so many great arcade memories. Hell, I'd love to tour the country just to find "real" arcades! I hope his quest generates more interest and excitement in the arcade industry. Two cabinets at a movie theater doesn't do justice to the real arcades that really create a great experience. Support your local arcade... if you're lucky enough to have one.
May 13, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Atari pushes Mothers Day down the 8-bit path

Seeing the Atari logo in a modern context I long for the days when oxidized cartridge contacts needed a quick scrub before Spider Fighter would spring to life. These days, Atari is about Flashback licenses and iOS games that capitalize on the era when Atari ruled arcades and the home video game console market.

Just in case you'd forgotten to snag a Mother's Day gift, Atari is pumping in-boxes full of 8-bit ideas for Mom. Whereas I applaud any Mom who would love playing Missile Command while waiting on line at the Bank or spend her lunch hour with a sandwich and cellular variant of Pac-Man - I'm skeptical about iOS games reigning over standard Halmark-approved items for Mother's Day.

I'm not one to judge, so if your Mom is down with the classics - go for it! But if she's like most Moms, I'd avoid presenting her with a digital present that's conveniently loaded on your phone. ;)

Atari for Mothers Day
BTW... Happy Mother's Day!
May 13, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Forget Time Magazine- Are YOU Mom enough to let your kids play video games?

I saw this image and concluded it was a PhotoShop'd gag, but came to realize it's a real cover story about breast feeding a la attachment-parenting. Naturally, I feel compelled to say something :)

Time Magazine has the balls to ask if you're Mom enoughx I have to admit that years of exposure to porn has not sufficiently numbed me. I was shocked by the idea of attachment-parenting and by this image itself.

For all the parents who think video games are bad and breed evil intentions in the kids that play them - take a good look at this picture. This kid will be traumatized for life, especially when he awkwardly discovers that his friends have juice-boxes while he's unknowingly living out teenage MILF fantasies.

I'm not one to dole out parenting advice, but I tend to avoid things that seem creepy and make me cringe.
May 12, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The gap between 1st & 2nd place in Maxim's Gamer Girl Contest is 42,000 votes. Go @TradeChat!

Maxim's search for their first official Gamer Girl is still in it's first phase and already TradeChat is 42,000+ votes ahead of the 2nd place contestant.
Maxim's Gamer Girl logo If you've seen Tradechat's YouTube Channel, it's easy to see why she's light years ahead. Her videos are prolific, engaging and span a variety of topics although most are gaming-centric. The best thing is she's really a gamer!! Pink hair goes a long way too - gotta like that!

I'm confident we'll be seeing her hosting something on G4 in no time, not to mention the Maxim exposure. Go vote for TradeChat as Maxim's Gamer Girl.
Maxim's Gamer Girl Contest- TradeChat is 40,000 votes ahead Maxim's Gamer Girl stats

Smart gal! She offered various voter rewards including- "35,000 votes: Video of me on my channel dancing around in my rainbow fluffy outfit". This video alone makes us want to vote repeatedly for her.

May 11, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Finding the right 8-Bit shoes is a hassle when hitting the town in a new chipset

Comfort and fashion rarely seem to go hand-in-hand, but I dig these shoes even if they clash with this cool, but uncomfortable looking chipset ensemble.

chipset dress
May 10, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Some Nintendo infatuations evolve into becoming NSFW - Landing strip?

Never underestimate the extent to which someone will go to profess their love for the glorious worlds created by Nintendo...

Nintendo NSFW love
In the 8-bit vernacular - is this what they mean by a "landing strip"?
May 8, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Animal Planet presents: Gaming on the Serengeti

Chances are you won't find mention of this in any Big Cat Diary...

Aniimal Planet presents: Gaming on the Serengeti
May 4, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Happy Star Wars Day! May the fourth be with you

You are formally obligated to watch the trilogy today (the good one, that is).
Happy Star Wars Day! May the fourth be with you    
Here's a smattering of plagiarized "Force" trivia...
When Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister on May 4, 1979, an advertisement in The London Evening News read, "May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations."

In an interview on German news, George Lucas was asked to say the famous phrase "May the Force be with you." The interpreter interpreted the sentence into German as "We shall be with you on May 4".
May 2, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Remember when travel by rail was a luxury? Will TSA safety-groping makes trains appealing again?

Waiting on long lines at airport security checkpoints only yields an unpleasant encounter with body-scanners and TSA hands going where they oughtn't. And don't get me started about all the cut-backs from spikes in fuel costs.

All this makes me wonder if rail travel will come back into vogue as a way to see the countryside and read a good book while ambling along the high-speed rails architected for travel at highway speeds.

Airport Mania is the best way to interact with air travel.

TSA safety-groping makes travel by train appealing again
The rails certainly look like a pleasant way to travel. Peep Peep, Thomas!

April 2012 Retro Gaming Articles:

April 30, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

You can't have too much security when you're giving away a 911 Carrera

Most of us would like to win $115,000 and a Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet, but few can do it like Maria Sharapova who won the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart.
Maria Sharapova wins a Porche 911 in Stuttgart Porsche Tennis Grand Prix
Watching her kick ass is quite a joy from a number of perspectives. Playing as Maria Sharapova in Sega's Virtua Tennis 4 has some odd joys as well. I'm also a fan of Topspin 4, but the dearth of Sharapova leads me towards Sega's game.

Maria Sharapova in virtua Tennis 4 for Wii Either way this gal is hardcore as hell and we always admire that in a competitor. Tough chicks are at the top of our list - they usually make the best gamers too ;)
April 29, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Planking at GameStop. How the fuck did THIS become a fad?

When I saw this pic I thought it was some sort of odd PhotoShop gag. Then I saw the term "planking" and realized this might be some sort of thing - a fad perhaps. Something this moronic demanded a 3-minute dive into google which led to a Wikipedia page about Planking.

I won't go into the intrinsic details strew across the consumer-ruined ARPANET, but I'm bewildered as to how the fuck something this ridiculous can go viral to the point at which people "know" about it.

Planking at GameStop

Planking is idiotic. Photographing it is idiotic. Seeking bragging rights on the aforementioned is idiotic. My spending time to bitch about it is idiotic. I fucking hate myself now.
Thanks for nothing, you stiff-spined dopes.
April 28, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

If your local tavern doesn't offer 8-Bit Pale Ale from Tallgrass Brewing, drink and game elsewhere

8-Bit Pale Ale from Tallgrass Brewing If you're wondering why more bars don't have arcade games for their patrons who don't care for darts or pool, it may be the same reason arcades are dwindling in numbers as time marches on. Maintaining arcade games is a labor of love if you own one or two at home - tenfold if you have a roomful of them and an LLC (like most arcades). Things frequently go wrong with them and most bar owners have enough issues having to tend to a roomful of drunks. Besides, video poker machines tend to be small, solid-state and spill-proof.

But that doesn't mean your trip to the local watering hole can't be infused with some retro gaming spirit. Enter Tallgrass Brewing, makers of 8-Bit Pale Ale in Colorado. From their website...
Just like those classic video games we all grew up with, 8-Bit Pale Ale is spectacularly simple at first glance yet remarkably fun and complex when you get into it. Our Hop Rocket infuses the character of Australian grown Galaxy Hops into an American Pale Ale, giving a unique tropical, almost melon aroma in a classic American style.

8-Bit Pale Ale packaging from Tallgrass Brewing
Too often novelty items show up to cash-in on a current trend or fad. This has occurred across many product lines including wine labels. However, Tallgrass Brewing shows a lot of love for retro gaming with their 8-Bit Pale Ale as well as having a sense of humor about it with their beer-altered slogan on t-shirts.

We applaud their retro gaming love and look forward to their mid-western distribution making it's way East!
April 27, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The King teams up with BurgerTime World Tour to raise "Eye Booger" awareness

The King teams up with BurgerTime World Tour to raise Eye Booger awareness Turn those nasty eye-boogers into fashion forward eye-burgers! Playing BurgeTime World Tour isn't merely about reliving the joy of 1982's arcade hit BurgerTime. Nor is eating fast-food hamburgers just a delicious way to experience diarrhea.

These unlikely entities are now promoting awareness of that gross gunk that forms in the corner of one's eyes when extreme yearnings for retro game reboots and crown-adorned burgers come to a head. Burgers. Boogers. Whatever - play hard & eat! Next time you wipe away that ooze don't forget to have a hearty meal and play a retro game.

OK, we made this shit up... The King teams up with BurgerTime World Tour to raise Eye Booger awareness

Last April (yes, in 2011) I saw a press release about MonkeyPaw Games making a reboot of BurgerTime. I was elated - then heard nothing about it. I began to suspect I'd fallen victim to some sort of April Fools gag. "Where the fuck is my BT reboot," I'd scream as I cried myself to sleep after playing BurgerTime on my Data East Arcade Classics disc.

Every few months there was a brief rumble of it's impending release. Throughout last Summer I stressed about it's absence as the heat faded to Fall and finally I had to have some dude plow the snow off my driveway. Then as Valentine's Day drew near my hopes rose that I might really be able to amble around a 3D structure constructing burgers as I lept over & pepper'd contentious condiments.

And so it was to be! I finally had BurgerTime World Tour on my Wii. It didn't seem as slick as the PS3 trailers, but I had mad passion for the idea that BT had been resurrected, rebooted, and made available! I have to say that all the negative reviews pissed me off. I felt as though gamers were perhaps comparing it to modern games as opposed to playing it with the arcade original in mind.

I suggest the nay-sayers check out the arcade version, then play BurgerTime on the Atari 2600 and see if this reboot from MonkeyPaw isn't a nice update that adds a lot of creativity to the original game. This reboot may not be a stellar creation, but it's priced for online download and I say it's a fine addition that brings me back to my passion for retro games. If you want to be pissed about a game, how about the latest $60-wonder that totally sucked. Now THAT pisses me off!

Give it a shot and see if a smattering of arcade-lust doesn't ripple through you :)
April 26, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Not everyone is distressed by Best Buy's recent demise and store closings

Every time I buy anything at Best Buy they ask if I'd like to purchase extra insurance through Best Buy. Even if I'm only buying a used game for $12 they still want to snatch an extra few bucks. I always decline. The ratio of insurance cost -vs- my purchase always seems way out of proportion.
Not everyone is distressed by Best Buy's recent demise and store closings

But prior to declining I always ask, "What happens if you guys go out of business?"

This question is always met with a chuckle, from the clerk, as though I just asked where their complimentary customer-appreciation fondue bar was located.

In my head I reel through the list - Crazy Eddie, Tweeter, Nobody Beats the Wiz, Circuit City, KB Toys, CompUSA.
"Just give it time," I think to myself. So here we are and Best Buy is closing 50 stores. Didn't Borders Books just do the same thing in an effort to stave off the inevitable? Hmmm...

It's always interested me that box-stores of this sort don't adapt to the times. It always seems to take another company to do it better and put the competition out of business. Someone always has the next innovation, but the current stores plod along business as usual. I guess great thinkers don't save the world, they build new ones.

Good luck, Best Buy. Now I really don't want your extra insurance.
April 23, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Put down the game controller, it's World Book Night!

World Book Night is an annual celebration designed to spread passion and the importance of reading and books. To be held in the U.S. as well as the U.K. and Ireland on April 23, 2012. We're pretty sure this festive event is supposed to spur one to read such works as Homer's The Iliad & The Odyssey or the lofty War and Peace, but reading is reading and many of us don't do enough of it.
Put down the controller, it's World Bookk Night
I find it hard to set aside time to enjoy a good book, but once I do I'm glad I did. Reading has an interesting effect on the mind. It seems to awaken dormant areas that suddenly come to life as a good story unfolds, but it also has a lasting effect that adds a wave of interest to other less literary activities.

Since It's World Book Night, I heartily encourage everyone to put down the game controllers and yank out a good book - even if only briefly. Get lost in a cool story and see if those video games don't pop a bit more once your noggin' gets a little jumpstart from a good book.

Then call your friends and tell 'em to go read a fucking book because Reading Is Fundamental! Reading Is Fundamental
April 22, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Benefits of health & fitness video game genre transcend the living room to be seen in everyday life

It makes sense that moving while gaming would yield better health than sitting like a lump. However the medical community is ecstatic over the unexpected results of fitness-oriented video games and their impact on normal day-to-day life.
obvious benefits of Wii Fit video games
I've long been impressed with Nintendo's Wii controller by both it's utility and the level of creativity it adds to gaming.

Just the simplistic notion of shaking the controller to effect game play adds many dynamics to the standard norm of controlling a game or character. Add in various swinging motions and you're well on your way to being more engaged with the game as well as being "in motion" as a player.

Sony & Microsoft have been stumbling along, years after the Wii's launch, to replicate the wireless experience delivered on the Wii. No luck, for the most part. Its no surprise that the uniqueness of Wii control has extended itself to a variety of fitness and dance games that really get your body moving.

I look forward to seeing the health benefits of gaming in motion for myself as well as those choosing to demonstrate their video game induced flexibility in public!
obvious benefits of Wii Fit video games
April 21, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Dearth of Skylanders: swapping DLC for actual action figures means keeping them stocked!

I bought my son (and myself) Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure for Christmas. The more I read about it the more excited I became for him to open it up and play with me. As this excitement mounted, it fed my craving for MORE. We're all accustomed to unlocking or downloading new/additional characters in games, so buying them as physical action figures is quite a change.
Skylanders screenshot
My local Toys R Us kept offering buy-one-get-one-free deals on video game accessories and to my amazement, they considered Skylander figures to be accessories. Needless to say, I bought every 3-pack they had. By the time Santa tried to fit his fat ass down our chimney, we were knee-deep in Skylander awesomeness. I think my son opened 18 Skylander figures on Christmas day. We loved the game and the uniqueness of plopping action figures onto the portal to bring them into the game.

It wasn't long before we wanted more. Skylanders are classified by clans and each one has special powers in their own world, so we wanted to have at least one from each clan. In some cases, this is necessary to access certain areas of the game. Off we went to the store. Then another store. And yet another. No fucking Skylanders! We assumed that stock was low after the Christmas rush.

Not the case! It wasn't until April that we saw ANY skylanders on retail shelves. None at Toys R Us, WalMart, Best Buy or GameStop... until April! WTF!?! We snagged the ones we could and hoped that Activision was resolving the issue.

I'm wondering if Activision is more accustomed to the re-stocking routine for game titles, not realizing the different landscape of the toy market. Who knows, but I can't believe that they simply figured they could restock once each quarter and be done with it. People were ravenous for Skylander figures in the first quarter of the year. Reports claim that Activision is doing their best to stock retailers, but prior to April 2, I've seen nothing but baren shelves at every Skylander display in my area.

One really awful part about this shortage is the price gauging that's occurring on auction sites like eBay and by affiliates on Amazon. I can't say I'm surprised. Every time I discover a toy shortage, I see the prices jump on such sites. As a manufacturer, Activision needs a punch in the face for letting this gauging, due to stock shortages, occur so early in the Skylander lifecycle. You expect rarity to cause price spikes, but Skylanders aren't rare (for the most part). Activision simply underestimated demand and hasn't been able to rectify it. OK, 2 punches in the face!

Now GameStop is taking in used Skylanders and reselling them as "used". Quite a change from the dearth of figures for the last 4 months. Thankfully I was obsessed as I was at Christmas and bought all the ones I could find. Lesson learned ;)
April 16, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Conquering the world should always involve GameBoy-inspired swimwear

GameBoy swimsuit swimwear GameBoy Swimwear GameBoy Swimwear You may think conquering the world is about power and strategy, but the right outfit can also play a significant role. So, when setting out on a deadly quest - always dress to kill, so you'll look good doing it! :)

We totally admire this gal's geek fearlessness!
April 11, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The nuclear option boosts developer revenue at the expense of the used game market

So, the used game market has come to this, has it? A nuclear option? Are you fucking kidding me? The allegation that used games cut into the new-game market isn't a recent argument. It's just one that has become a rallying point for demanding that customers pay $60+ per game or go fuck off!

The nuclear option seeks to boost developer revenue at the expense of the used game market

The current economy is horrible and developers are shrinking as costs rise, not to mention that each new generation console adds more cost to development. So consumers need to make up the difference? Developers need to realize that price ceilings are very real and consumers dictate them via their purchasing decisions.

Change or be left behind

Home owners suffer the same delusion. Sure a $100,000 house in the early eighties could easily quadruple in value over 15 years. Do you really think it valued-up to 8 times it's original worth in the following 15 years? It's still the same $100,000 house! Have you ever purchased a $30 hamburger from Ronald McDonald? Fuck no! PRICE CEILING!

Perhaps developers need to change with the times. If it takes an 8-figure budget to produce a game, maybe you're doing something wrong. That isn't to say they aren't making exceptionally awesome games. But it may be necessary to achieve this awesomeness via different means. Multi-million dollar movies often do very well and take in an incredible amount of box-office money before the flick even hits the DVD market. Then some dudes make a kick-ass indy flick with a camcorder and it makes the same insane profits as the Hollywood blockbuster. Hmmm...

I've purchased and played some outstanding games that obviously had enormous budgets behind them. I've also played some phenomenal games that were brought to market on a shoe-string budget. Hey, didn't the US Government bail out General Motors because they were filling car lots with gas-guzzling SUVs when consumers wanted eco-friendly vehicles? Plenty of people were content to see GM sink like a rock. My tax dollars? Fuck that noise!

How many of us remember 2008's Game Of The Year? How about 2009's?
It wasn't THAT long ago.
Raise your hand if you remember the joy of playing Space Invaders?
We live in a disposable society where everything has an expected duration. There has been an obvious shift in gaming from games being a lot of fun whenever you chose to play them to having games with endings and conclusions. Space Invaders never ended... keep shooting at shit! It was awesome! These days we've been trained to know that games have endings. When you finish a game, stop playing. You're done. Go buy the next expensive game in the series.

Benefits of the used game market

The used game market opens up both hardware manufacturers and developers to new audiences that may have just been introduced to a great title and want to check out the other titles in the series or other games by that developer. Shifting everything to the here & now eliminates a lot of consumers and opportunities for the retail gaming industry.

Nuking the used game market is like telling folks they can't have yard sales.
"Sorry, you have to keep all your old shit."
Selling off old or unwanted games has always been a help to those who need this scenario to buy more games. Used games give gamers a less risky way to try a game. Maybe that inexpensive used game will prompt them to buy the latest $60 game from the same developer. Conversely, no one likes to be told what to do. If the used game market is nuked by retail greed and an inability to change with the times, consumers aren't going to shrug it off. They're going to find other outlets.

Smart-phone game proliferation = wake up call

Who owns a smart phone? Anyone wondering why these games are taking off at an epic rate? They're free or a few dollars. Would these phone gamers rather have an immersive PS3 experience? Probably. Angry Birds is no Skyrim, but the price difference makes a casual game of Angry Birds a new and different sort of gaming experience. Sure, that's a simplistic example, but the trend in cell phone gaming is taking off at a rate that console devs can't compete with under their current regime of spending millions to bring a game to market over a long dev cycle.

A horse used to be a good way to get from one place to another. Not many horses on the turnpike these days. Wake up!
Change is good and so are used games.
April 10, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Jessica Nigri, Lollipop Chainsaw's official Juliette Starling, was too hot for Pax

Jessica Nigri, Lollipop Chainsaw's official Juliette Starling Having been cast as the real-life Juliette Starling means Jessica Nigri's schedule filled quickly with appearances at expos, trade shows and any venue requiring a cheerleading zombie killer with a flair for pink. That's the life of being the star of Lollipop Chainsaw.

Word has it that her pink costume's V-neck was a bit too risque for Pax attendees - forcing her to revert to a less revealing costume. What has the world come to when a gorgeous cheerleader is asked to leave an event for being too revealing. Is there such a thing? Don't cheerleaders have free reign to be as sexy and revealing as need be? I guess one has to draw the line when a plunging neck-line goes south of one's waist-line.

Apparently, Pax-goers complained quite a bit about the Juliette costume and Ms. Nigri was asked to change or leave. Apparently, Penny Arcade has a "no booth babe" policy at its expos in an effort to squelch the bimbo-factor. We agree with this policy as far as bimbos go. Sexy is good, but "smart" always trumps skimpy clothing (yeah, we really believe this). As long as the the booth babes know the product and represent it, as opposed to simply standing around, we're down with that!

Jessica Nigri, Lollipop Chainsaw's official Juliette Starling
April 9, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Founder of Commodore Computers, Jack Tramiel passes at 83

Renown for bringing low-cost computers into homes, Jack Tramiel (December 13, 1928 - April 8, 2012) began with the Commodore PET in 1977 via Commodore International. Commodore PET Two models sold for $595 and $795. It was then followed by the Commodore VIC-20 in 1980. In 1982 the Commodore 64 arrived and became a best-seller that initially sold for $595 and dropped to $199.

In 1984, Tramel Technology bought the Consumer Division of Atari Inc. from Warner. A few laters he put his son Sam in charge of day-to-day operations at Atari. Both the 7800 and Jaguar were released under the Tramiel reign at Atari.
April 8, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:
April 7, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Maxim magazine rams sexy back into gaming with their 1st Gamer Girl competition

We try our best to sex-up our video gaming console pictures, but Maxim has taken a more direct route and is sponsoring a contest to hunt for their very first Maxim Gamer Girl! Happy Atari Easter
The opportunity for this pixel-pushing girl includes exposure in Maxim magazine and their web site, trips to VIP gaming events, and a potential contract to become a Virgin Gaming spokesmodel. We're not really sure what that entails, but it sounds like more fun than some bullshit office job!
April 5, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The Pong Indie Developer Challenge lets code junkies compete for reboot rights to Pong #PongDevChallenge

Just when you think modern gaming is pulling the industry toward 8-figure budgets along comes a challenge with 8-bit flair. Atari has had good success with reboots of some of it's most beloved games. The Pong Indie Developer Challenge They're opening the brain-trust to developers, code junkies and anyone with the skills to revamp Pong for the App Store.

Give it a whirl at
April 2, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

GameStop is creating a used Skylanders market by reselling used figures

Finally, my son and I found 6 Skylanders figures on retail shelves that we hadn't seen before. When I say "before" I mean since Christmas! We went to WalMart, Toys R Us and 2 GameStops. We asked the various clerks what the problem had been, they all reiterated the same tale... obviously they didn't know.

The Pong Indie Developer Challenge GameStop had some interesting news...
GameStop will now buy your used Skylanders figures for resale. The used game market now has some bulky companions destined to take up more retail space than any corporate HQ would like. Stump Smash requires a lot more space than a PS2 disc in an envelope.

An odd request that they stressed very intently was that figures could not be traded in unless they were reset - no upgrades. That's easy enough to do, but what's the point?

For some gamers, it might be fun to buy a used figure to see what upgrades came with it. Others may want the challenge of building up the character's powers. I found the request odd because GameStop has always sold current-state memory cards. They don't require traders to erase memory cards, nor does GameStop erase them prior to resale. And... how would they know anyway?

My only issue with this is: when was the last time you bought a used game from GameStop that wasn't badly scratched? I've bought MANY used games from them that were so badly damaged they wouldn't play. Their liberal return policy is mainly due to the abysmal quality of their used games. Are we to expect any better from this newfound Skylanders figure business?

How many busted-up Skylanders do you think you'll see in GameStop's familiar "Used Product" baggies?