Tuesday 30 March 2010

tORP Update

More of a catch-up if anything

I give you one updated Pocket Monster NES page and one updated Super Mario Land 4 page. The reason for a lack tORP activity is due to a lack of interesting pirates emerging on the net, or obscure games that require more than a blog post of discussion.

There's likely more work to be done but I'm sure it can wait. Still fairly certain one day a wiki-like site will emerge sometime in the future and put my efforts to shame anyway. They are more efficient after all.

Saturday 27 March 2010


Are you ready for some horrific screen resolutions!?

This is Turbo as MAME currently sees it; a 1981 arcade game by Sega. All racing games that adopt a third person perspective owe their success to this game, as Turbo was the first to take the genre out of the top-down world of the 70s and into the psuedo-3D world we all know and love today. I first learned of this game when I inherited it in its 1983 Milton Bradley board game state. Yes kids, they used to make board games out of video games. It had lots of little blue plastic formula one cars and spinning dials.

Friday 26 March 2010

Gremlins 2: The New Batch

A possible candidate for one of the worst games I've ever played, it's Gremlins 2: The New Batch for DOS! The Elite version that is, since back in the late 80s, a movie could easily get itself a couple of completely different video game tie-ins. There was a NES exclusive and a DOS exculsive, but Elite's version is the most well known as it wasn't restricted to one piece of hardware.

Long story short, this (and a Windows 3.1 flight simulator) was bundled with my copy of Sink or Swim which is why I feel the need to write about it. As well as the DOS version which I'll be covering today, Gremlins 2 appeared on the Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MSX and ZX Spectrum. They're all quite horrible, though the Amiga/Atari ST versions are slightly more bearable for having nicer graphics and music. The C64, MSX and Spectrum versions were always guaranteed to be worse, but since those platforms are littered with terrible games it doesn't stand out as being exceptionally bad in those libraries... just "below average". Rest assured that this is an exceptionally bad DOS game though.

Sink or Swim

Because impending death is fun!

Sink or Swim, a 1993 platform-puzzle game developed by Zeppelin Games for the IBM PC. It later drifted into the seas of the Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, Mega Drive (as "S.S. Lucifer: Man Overboard") and the Super Nintendo, with a watered down version showing up on the Sega Game Gear too. I got the DOS version about a decade and a half a go, and it violently refused to run on anything other than computers released between about 1991 and 1994, making it a fairly pointless purchase. It's taken until 2010 for me to bother to emulate it, but what does the squirrel think?

Tuesday 23 March 2010

It's dangerous to go alone

I don't have a string of women to entertain me (partly because I don't come with a standard namespace declaration attached to my head), but I do have the next best thing - a Nintendo prototype. If you're not affiliated with the crazy world of half finished games, you won't know that Nintendo prototypes are stupidly rare. This one apparently cost about £3000.

Brought to us by a bloke called "cen" and a god called "drx", The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask prototype #1 is now part of the interwebs. It's debug heavy and slightly broken but could be of interest to mad Zelda fans. Majora's Mask was the second Zelda title for the Nintendo 64 and supposedly one of the best the series has produced. I don't really share that view, but that's because I don't really like back-tracking and time limits in a Zelda game.

Monday 22 March 2010

Submarine Attack

When UK retailer Gamestation set up a few stores in the area, life for the retro gamer suddenly started to become fairly grand. They were the first store to have a pre-owned section that wasn't just concerned with the latest generation of brown and bloom. The first time Master System games would get a shelf in a nation-wide chain of stores since about 1993.

Of course one of the major downsides of this is many old games just won't sell. Submarine Attack is a classic example. It's just a vague description of an unknown average shoot 'em up, and since it adopts several of the ridiculously poor Master System box-art tactics of the day, it's amazing this thing ever sold. Of course, it stands more of a chance than Italia '90 these days, but you still need a special type of person to take this off your hands.

Or a buy-one-get-one-free deal.

Sunday 21 March 2010


WinUAE is a horrible emulator.

Time for some games with stupid names. First is the appropriately titled "Aaargh!", from the land before fracture meshes and havok physics. Developed in 1988 by Binary Design, players take control of a giant monster and destroy everything for no particular reason. It's like Rampage all over again!... no really. But there is a twist this time around - we're not confined to the hustle and bustle of city life, we get to go across an entire island smashing human colonies and each other.

Saturday 13 March 2010

Congo Bongo

Time to wage war on older stages of evolution with

Congo Bongo. A game by Sega that does exactly the opposite of what it says on the tin, unlike "Donkey Kong" which translates to "stubborn gorilla" or something to that effect. Bongo is an ape who has mastered FIRE, prompting our unknown protagonist to go on an isometric mission of revenge. It's a platformer where the object is always "get to the top right of the screen while avoiding enemies/traps" built on the engine that powered Sega's Zaxxon.

Monday 8 March 2010


I've been doing some work on an incredibly ambitious secret project, and in my travels I've, yet again, found an amazingly weird underrated video game for a console nobody cares about. On the menu today is...

PACAR. It's one of Sega's old creations from 1983, and comes with a side order of fries or onion rings. It's an SG-1000 game that successfully fuses Rally X and Pac Man into something potentially better than both of them. The SG-1000 was Sega's first video game console, and one of Sega's first commercial failures, mostly because it was released on the same day as Nintendo's Famicom in Japan (though its computer equivalent, the SC-3000 did a bit better). The hardware behind it is similar to the first MSX computer (aka rubbish) and its games library was mostly made up of Sega arcade ports due to a lack of third party support. But you can't get Pacar on Nintendo.

Saturday 6 March 2010

Ball Bearing

Sonic gets everywhere these days doesn't he?

Presenting "Ball Bearing", a game for the Amstrad CPC computer released by a group known as Radical Software in 1993. Bearing in mind that the Amstrad CPC was released in 1984, a full nine years before this game, it's fair to say Ball Bearing wasn't much of a success. In fact it only seems to have been released in the UK, for a budget price of £3.99. Why is it notable? Because it's heaviliy inspired by Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Mega Drive, and that doesn't happen often with old computer games.

Kong Strikes Back!

The people of New York really need to work on keeping their giant apes locked up.

Yet another forgotten tale in the book of the Commodore 64. It also appeared in the book of the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC, though they're not as good of a read. Kong Strikes Back, released by Ocean Software in 1985, is, I suppose, an "unofficial sequel" of Nintendo's Donkey Kong. It's not officially related (just like neither game is officially related to King Kong) but unlike most rip-offs at the time, this game actually does something new. Gone are the half finished industrial buildings, and in their place, a theme park!

Wednesday 3 March 2010

Sonic 3D

I can review mainstream games once in a while can't I?

Sonic 3D Flickies' Island. Or "Sonic 3D Blast", if you're feeling optimistic. Released in the glorious year of 1996 when the 32-bit generation was on the horizon, it was created as one of many responses to Donkey Kong Country in a last ditch attempt to extend the Mega Drive's life span. Personally I don't believe any of these attempts were really that successful for Sega, and in fact probably hindered development on the Sega Saturn, much to my distaste. But despite being more of a stunt than a classic Sonic game, Sonic 3D keeps coming back to haunt us in the many pointless collections and re-releases Sega flush out every year. Someone must like it.