November 26th, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Thanksgiving, megapost, Thanksgiving Collection, holidays, family, family gaming, multiplayer, Gauntlet IV, Super Bomberman, Mario Kart
Hello, and welcome to VC&G's 2013 Thanksgiving Spectacular. I'm your host for this evening, Burt Edwards.
Thanksgiving is a great excuse to spend time with family around a four-player game of Gauntlet IV for the Sega Genesis. Or perhaps a Super Bomberman tournament. Or eight-player networked Atari Jaguar Battlesphere? Did I mention a 16-player Mario Kart Double Dash LAN battle?
One of each, please.
But before you stuff yourself with turkey and get lost in multiplayer fragfests, feel free to enjoy the following Thanksgiving-themed posts I have culled from the annals of VC&G history.
That is all for now. Let the thankfulness begin!
Happy Thanksgiving from Vintage Computing and Gaming
September 2nd, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Sega, Genesis, Sega Channel, cable modem, EGM, advertisement, 1995
"Get hooked in."
Since its debut in late 1994, the Sega Channel remains one of the most fascinating footnotes of video game history. Essentially, the system had two components: a hardware cartridge that a customer plugged into his or her Sega Genesis, and a premium subscription cable TV service (usually $14.95 a month) that provided a selection of games the customer could download.
Games, when downloaded, were saved temporarily to DRAM in the cartridge (which lost its contents when the system was powered off), and the customer could download up to 50 games a month. The service also provided news about video game releases in the form of text displayed on the screen. The information transfer was one-way, however, so Sega Channel could not provide truly interactive online content.
When news of the Sega Channel first hit, I called my local cable company as the ad suggests. Unfortunately, we never received Sega Channel service in our area, so I didn't get to try it out myself.
[ From Electronic Gaming Monthly, September 1995, p.39 ]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you ever subscribe to Sega Channel? Tell us about your experiences.
August 19th, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Mega Man, Mega Man X, Capcom, PC, CD-ROM, hadoken, EGM, advertisement, 1995
Digging up video games in a mall ashtray
I was a huge fan of Mega Man X when it first came out on the Super NES in 1993.
…Well, I rented it, anyway, and I played it more than any other side-scrolling Mega Man game before or since. I loved finding the secret Hadoken fireball power up, which I read about in Nintendo Power.
Much to my present-day surprise (even though I owned this magazine when it was new), Capcom produced a version of Mega Man X for the PC, and on a CD-ROM no less. Has anyone out there played it? I'm wondering if the adaptation was any good.
[ P.S. Shortly after writing this entry, I tracked down a warez copy of Mega Man X for the PC, and it's surprisingly well done. However, its utilization of MIDI music provides for a pretty surreal Mega Man experience — surreal in the sense that the tunes generally sound horrible compared to MM games that are famous for their music. ]
[ From Electronic Gaming Monthly, September 1995, rear cover ]
Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite Mega Man game of all time?
July 22nd, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Sega, Game Gear, portable games, Prince of Persia, Klax, Paperboy, Super Space Invaders, Marble Madness, EGM, 1993
The Klax guy has too many arms.
[ From Electronic Gaming Monthly, June 1993, p.87 ]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Of the games listed in the ad above, which is your favorite? (Feel free to consider versions of the games for any platform, not just Game Gear.)
June 10th, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Ubisoft, Rayman, Atari, Sony, Sega, Playstation, PSX, Saturn, Jaguar, CD-ROM, frustration, violence, damage
Rayman: Missing limbs since 1995
I bought Rayman for the Atari Jaguar shortly after it came out in 1995, hopeful it would bring some Mario-style platforming magic to Atari's "64-bit" machine. While lushly illustrated with a deep color palette, I found the gameplay and the controls a little kludgy, and I had trouble advancing past one of the first few stages. I gave up and moved on to other games.
Shorty thereafter, I lent Rayman and my Jaguar to my brother and his roommate to play at college, and they beat it within a few days. Determination was just as important as skill when it came to completing video games in those days, and I had no motivation to torture myself with a frustrating game.
Which brings me to a tangential point: When I was a kid, if I couldn't beat a video game, I thought it meant that I was a bad video game player. I thought it was my fault. But years later I realized that the games that frustrated me most were just poorly designed.
Not to say that all difficult games are bad games — in fact, I'd say there's a big difference between "difficult" and "frustrating." Merely difficult games are still fun even if you fail; they make you want to try again to complete a challenge. Frustrating ones feel unfair and make you want to smash your game console with a hammer.
One of my friends did that to his NES once. He also threw it off his second story apartment balcony. Ah; those were the days.
[ From Electronic Gaming Monthly, September 1995, p.129]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever visited physical violence against a video game console or controller?
May 20th, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Sega, Genesis, 32X, EGM, 1994, advertisement, Virtua Racing, Star Wars Arcade, Star Wars
Surely you have newer locks in your house.
I bought a Sega 32X for $30 new in 1995 or '96 at Toys"R"Us. They were on clearance because nobody wanted them. (I also bought a Virtual Boy for $30 this way around the same time.) There were good reasons why no one wanted them: chiefly, because better machines like the PlayStation and Saturn were out there, and most games for the 32X weren't very good.
Still, I have a soft spot for this system. It touches some fundamental nerdy part of me that likes convoluted electronic expansion modules — it means more to collect, and more to mess with. I have a bunch of 32X games, perhaps even half of the entire library for that system, but I rarely play any of them. I seem to recall the Star Wars Arcade title being pretty good for it. Virtua Racing wasn't half bad either.
By the way, the only explanation I can muster for the inclusion of the keyhole in the ad above is that it's some sort of sexual metaphor, much like those found in Sega's other 32X ads at the time (See "The Sega Mating Game," Retro Scan of the Week, 2008). In other words, I guess we're spying on a Genesis and a 32X having electronic intercourse.
[ From Electronic Gaming Monthly, November 1994, p.180 ]
Discussion Topic of the Week: In an alternate universe where there was no Sega Saturn, do you think the 32X could have held its own against the competition for a few years?
February 15th, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro GIF, GIF, fruit, still life, art, EGA
Click to see other views of this image: [ Original Size ] [ 2X Zoom ] [ 4:3 Ratio ]
Have you ever seen an edible still life rendered in 16-color EGA?
It appears that this image, which shows fruits and vegetables, cheese, and a napkin or folded tablecloth, originated as either a video capture or a scan of a photograph that was then digitally cleaned up to isolate the centerpiece in absolute blackness.
[ Continue reading [ Retro GIF of the Week ] Digital Still Life » ]
January 11th, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro GIF, scanners, video capture, video digitizers, Jim Maxey, Event Horizons BBS, BBS, GIF, IBM PC, EGA, T-EGA, Videotex, NAPLPS, Videotex Systems, Bob Gillman
Click to see other views of this image: [ Original Size ] [ 2X Zoom ]
From 1983 to 1996, James "Jim" Maxey operated a very successful Oregon-based BBS called Event Horizons. Through that board's file section, Maxey made available thousands of GIF images in many categories, from landscapes to pornography, that he had created using a video digitizer board and conversion software called T-EGA.
Bob Talmadge wrote an excellent profile of Jim Maxey's BBS years for his site BBSDays.com. I recommend reading it if you're interested in learning more about Maxey's BBS. Also, Jack Rickard of BoardWatch magazine mentioned Maxey's early 1990s image-related BBS activities in an article he wrote for Wired issue 1.04 in 1993.
The early and pioneering nature of Maxey's color graphics files for IBM PC computers ensured that his digital pictures, which he called "MaxiPics," spread far and wide to other BBSes at the time. This is one such picture, and it depicts a house and yard in autumn. The 640 x 350 EGA format file dates from 1987 and was likely captured from a video source — more on that in a moment.
[ Continue reading [ Retro GIF of the Week ] Digitized Autumn Leaves » ]
August 20th, 2012 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Sega Saturn, Sega, Sega Sports, World Series Baseball, baseball, scrape, gross, gratuitous advertising, GamePro, 1997
World Series Baseball 98 for the Sega Saturn
I've written about gratuitous and graphic video game advertising of the 1990s more than a few times over the years, but I never get tired of revisiting this wildly bombastic era in consumer marketing.
Here we see a nice ad for World Series Baseball 98 for the Sega Saturn, complete with front-and-center forearm scrape. I don't know about you, but this makes me want to play baseball. Injury sells.
See Also: Broken Tetrisphere Teeth (2010)
See Also: Super Mario World 2 (2009)
[ From GamePro, October 1997, rear cover ]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Would a graphic ad like this make you more or less likely to play a certain video game?
October 26th, 2009 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Halloween, Splatterhouse, Splatterhouse 3, EGM, advertisement, 1993, Sega, Genesis
"The kind of game rating systems were invented for."
Splatterhouse 3 is by far my favorite entry in the Splatterhouse series. The other two just don't cut it for some reason. I prefer Splatterhouse 3′s room-based approach to the game, and its controls are pretty good. It incorporates an on-screen map too, which makes it feel more like an adventure game.
Happy Halloween, by the way!
[ From Electronic Gaming Monthly, November 1993 ]
Discussion Topic of the Week: What's the goriest video game you've ever played?