Saturday, December 29, 2012

R.I.P. PS2

Sony has recently pulled the plug on their venerable Playstation 2 console. After almost 13 years in production, and almost 150 million units sold, Sony is ceasing production of the console that housed the resurgence of the Grand Theft Auto franchise, allowed Kratos to become the most violent console mascot in history, and provided us with just as many horrible moments as any other console in history (Fugitive Hunter, Anyone?). With that in mind, good night to Sony's Playstation 2, arguably one of the three greatest consoles in history.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Nintendo, Sony, And Phillips Walk Into A Bar

Today's video takes a look at the history behind the Super NES CD-ROM drive that never happened

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: The Legend Of Zelda - A Link To The Past

Today's video looks a The Legend Of Zelda - A Link To The Past from Nintendo

Friday, December 21, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Gunstar Heroes

Today's video looks at Gunstar Heroes From Treasure for the Genesis

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Record Of The !6 Bit War: 16-Bit Contra

Today's video takes a look at Contra III and Contra: Hard Corps from Konami

Record Of The 16-Bit War: MK Changes The Game

Today's video discusses Mortal Kombat and the fallout from Mortal Monday

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: DJ Boy

Today's video takes a look at the Genesis port of Kaneko's DJ Boy

Monday, December 17, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: F-Zero

Today's video takes a look at F-Zero from Nintendo for the Super NES

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Pocky & Rocky

Today's video takes a look at Pocky & Rocky from Natsume for the Super NES

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Ghouls N' Ghosts

Today's video look at the Genesis port of Capcom's Ghouls N' Ghosts

Friday, December 14, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Blackthorne

Today's video takes a look at The Super NES port of Blackthorne from Interplay

Record Of The 16-Bit War: 16-Bit Castlevania Titles

Today's video takes a look at the three 16-Bit Castlevania titles from Konami

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: ToeJam And Earl In Panic On Funkotron

Today's video takes a look at ToeJam And Earl In Panic On Funktron from Sega for the Genesis

Monday, December 10, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Altered Beast

Today's video takes a look at the Genesis port of Sega's Altered Beast

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Rocket Knight Adventures

Today's video takes a look at Rocket Knight Adventures from Konami for the Genesis

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Axelay

Today's video takes a look at Axelay for the Super NES from Konami

Stop Complaining, We Don't Know What The Phantom Pain Is Yet

During the VGAs, a trailer was shown for a title called "The Phantom Pain". Little is known about the title or it's developer, Moby Dick Games, but gamers have been throwing conspiracy theories ever since. Many have concluded that all of this is a teaser for the next game in the Metal Gear Solid franchise. For some reason, though, members of the gaming community have started to wave their "if it's MGS We Riot" signs. These are likely the same gamers who have been buying the same Call Of Duty, Madden, WWE, and Assassin's Creed games for years. If this does prove to be a title in the Metal Gear canon, then kudos to Konami for all of this. It has us talking about Metal Gear Solid without reference to Raiden or "Revengence" being attached. This also proves though, that fandom can and does suck every ounce of fun out of a room every time. Can we not just let Konami and Metal Gear fans have this. If you don't want a new MGS, then don't buy it. In all honesty, we don't know what "The Phantom Pain" is yet, but for me, it may be you flamewar inducing fans.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Eternal Champions

Today's video looks at Eternal Champions from Sega for Genesis

Help The Spawn Point Give Back

Our friend Kahlief over at The Spawn Point is doing a really good thing and we want y'all to know about it and help out. The Spawn Point has set up a chipin page to help raise money to help out those in need after Superstorm Sandy. This chipin runs through January, and every cent donated will go to help those affected by this monumental storm. We here at The Digitized Ramblings Of An 8-Bit Animal know how a storm like can affect even the smallest part of everyday life, and we just wanted you to know that there are folks out here in the gaming community that are willing to help. We hope you will consider helping this great cause.

In case you were looking for the link, the chipin can be found here: Sandy Relief Part Deux

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Super Baseball Simulator 1.000

Today's video takes a look at Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 for the SNES from Culture Brain

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: SNK Goes All In

Today's video takes a look at SNK's Neo Geo console

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Super High Impact

Today's video takes a look at the Sega Genesis port of Midway's Super High Impact from Arena Entertainment.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Dynamite Duke

Today's video takes a look at Dynamite Duke from Sega / Seibu Kaihatsu for the Sega Genesis.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Skyblazer

Today's video takes a look at Skyblazer for the Super Nintendo from Sony Imagesoft

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Dynamite Headdy

Today's video takes a look at Dynamite Headdy from Treasure for the Sega Genesis

Friday, November 30, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: WWF Super Wrestlemania

Today's video takes a look at WWF Super Wrestlemania from LJN for the Super NES

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Lightening Force

Today's video takes a look at Lightening Force: Quest For The Darkstar for the Sega Genesis from TechnoSoft.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Knights Of The Round

Today's video takes a look at Knights Of The Round from Capcom.

#1ReasonWhy Male Gamers Continue To Fail

I stumbled across an article this morning that chronicled an interesting discussion that recently took place on Twitter. Using the hashtag #1ReasonWhy, several women attached to the video game industry in form or another explained the reasons behind an apparent dearth of women in game development. Most of the responses these women posted pointed to rampant misogyny from their male counterparts, as well as from male gamers. This saddens me, especially because I know women who love gaming, but feel incredibly in certain arenas because of members of the male gaming community. I will not speak for a woman because I'm not one, but I can sa my piece and hope that a male member of the gaming community, whether on the consumer end or creation end,  sees this post and takes heed. How can you feel anything other than regret or remorse for your actions when you grope a woman at a gaming convention, call a woman some lurid insult because she pwned you in Call Of Duty, or dismissed her while she's voicing her frustration at the behavior of other male gamers. Pretending that the disrespect women in gaming receive is a figment of their collective imaginations is a sad and callow action. We saw it during Cross Assault, we see it at conventions, we hear it on Xbox Live, and we read it online daily. Why are you so threatened by the talent and ability of women? Does the success that women celebrate in other arenas scare you so much that you dump all you energy into turning gaming into the last bastion of the "dudebro"? Some of us like having gamers of the opposite sex around, and some of us don't care what's between the legs of whoever is making our games as long as they're making good games. Bottom line is that we as male gamers are in the midst of a teachable moment, and we have an opportunity to change the conversation about the way we interact with women within this community. What should we do? It's quite simple, actually: STOP BEING A MISOGYNISTIC IDIOT!! That "this is our culture" excuse you continue to use to brush off racist, sexist, generally idiotic behavior isn't working  anymore.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Nintendo Unleashes A Monster

Today's video looks at the origins of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Borderlands 2 = LOOT!!!!!!!

                In October 2009, GearBox and 2K Games released a video game that a lot of people overlooked initially. They released Borderlands which was a First Person Shooter with RPG elements built in. It was a well put together game that left the gaming community anticipating the sequel.  Move the clock forward three years and Borderlands 2 has come out just in time for the holiday season.  Borderlands 2 adds new playable characters, an actual villain, and the one thing that made the first Borderlands such a fun game, LOOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
                When you first start playing Borderlands 2, you have to decide which character class you will choose. The class choices are Siren, Engineer, Assassin, Mecromancer, and Gunserker.  Each character has a different talent that you unlock at level 5.  Every time you level up you get a skill point to assign to a different skill tree. Each character has 3 skill trees that vary depending on the character. After you have decided on your character class you start the game and are immediately introduced to the antagonist of the game.  Unlike the first Borderlands, this game has a clear villain.  His name is Handsome Jack, and he spends a lot of time verbally harassing you.  The whole story revolves around you trying to stop Handsome Jack from gathering Eridium and awakening “The Warrior”, a mystical entity that can destroy the world. During your play through you will encounter characters from the previous installment that are there to help you on your journey.  Also different areas that you visited in the first game make an appearance in this game as well like Fyrestone, which was the place you first visited at the start of Borderlands.  While there is a lot going on with the story, what keeps Borderlands 2 as a huge game are the plethora of side mission. The good and sometimes bad idea about having a lot of missions is that they have a chance at becoming repetitive, but there are such a variety of missions that you will never get bored playing them.
                Gameplay in Borderlands 2 is very streamlined and simple. If you have played a First Person Shooter before, then you have an idea at what the button layout is. While Borderlands 2 is a very good single player game, it is best played with a group of people online.  Up to 4 players can play together in an online Co-Op game and fight the good fight to defeat handsome Jack.  The Co-Op aspect of Borderlands 2 was the major selling point to this game.  Adding more players to the game not only increases the difficulty of the enemies you are facing, but it also gives you better loot, whether it is Grenades, Shields, Guns, Relics, or Class Mods.  Nothing is more pleasing than trading loot with your fellow players. Maybe one player is better at using a Sniper Rifle where as you are better with Shotguns. This allows you and your team to play to each other strengths.   
                Overall Borderlands 2 is a great game, but it is not without its flaws. During my pIaythrough I experienced a lot of texture pop-ins when entering new areas and opening containers.  Also during my initial playthrough I received a lot of fire elemental weapons, which isn’t a bad thing, but a vast majority of enemies I faced were fire resistant.  These problem may vary depending on your console (Xbox360 or PS3), but they are small problems and do not take away from the game itself.  I would say if you are looking for a great FPS with RPG elements attached, and gameplay that keeps you wanting to continue playing, then I would suggest you pick up a copy of Borderlands 2.  Being that this game recently came out; it will run you about $50 - $60.  If you can afford it, pick up a copy next time you see one.  

FTL.......Quiet Gem?

      Have you ever wanted to be a Captain of your own Starship? Have you ever watched Star Trek and wondered what it would be like to be Jean Luc Picard? Well has a game for you. It is called FTL. FTL is a strategy simulation where you are the captain of a Starship carrying important data and on the run from a Rebel Invasion. You control every aspect of your ship like powering up weapons when it is time to fight, or diverting power from certain systems to help you survive a critical encounter. FTL is not a long game but each playthrough will be different than the last, so this game has a lot of replay.  It is $10 on Steam’s website, and I if you are into a small PC game made by the Indie community, then you should give it a shot.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: James "Buster" Douglas Knockout Boxing

Today's video takes a look at James "Buster" Douglas Knockout Boxing for the Sega Genesis

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Heart Of The Alien

Today's video takes a look at Heart Of The Alien for Sega CD

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Flashback

Today's video takes a look at the Sega Genesis port of Flashback: The Quest For Identity from Delphine Software

Friday, November 23, 2012

Record Of The 16-Bit War: Sega Fires The First Shot

Today's video takes a look at the Sega Genesis, and how it was the opening salvo in the rivalry between Sega and Nintendo.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hideo Kojima Dangles A Carrot: Zone of the Enders HD Collection

A lot of gamers, myself included, have typically frowned upon the explosion of “HD” editions of previously released games. They usually come off as lazy and serve no real purpose other than cashing in on a game that may have been popular in the previous console generation. Every now and then, though, a publisher uses this method of recycling older games to introduce a series to another generation of gamers to a series in preparation of a new game in the series. The latter is indeed the case with the release of the Zone of the Enders HD Collection. Hideo Kojima’s other franchise from the last console generation is poised for a comeback with a new game in the series currently in development, and this HD collection does a good job of giving gamers just that.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Double Dragon Neon: A Love Letter To 80s Gamers Everywhere

The Beat Em Up is a genre that has seen better days. There hasn't been a really good entrant into the genre in a long time, and no gamer worth his salt is going to spend $60 for a Beat Em Up. This means download services like Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network have become the home for Beat Em Ups on consoles as well as other genres. With that in mind, what does a beloved franchise like Double Dragon do when it is poised to make a return to the gaming world? You make it extremely colorful, undeniably influenced by the 80s, and add a general truck load of nostalgia. The result is Double Dragon Neon, which isn't perfect, but it's fun and that's he most important thing.

Double Dragon Neon is essentially a remake of the original game, with a few tweaks here and there. The game even starts with the iconic exhibition of objectionable activity the led to the Lee brothers' mission to rescue Billy's girlfriend, Marian from The Shadow Warrior gang. Players guide their respective Lee brother through a number of levels, from gritty downtown streets, to a fortress in orbit around earth, to a graveyard, to the Shadow Warrior hideout. The traditional Double Dragon gameplay has been tweaked, adding special moves and powerups to accompany the punches and kicks gamers have been throwing at enemies since the original title hit arcades in 1987. The special attacks range from Double Dragon staples like the Whirlwind Kick and Knee Drop to new techniques like fireballs, lightning strikes, and a dragon summon. They can all be leveled up via collecting mixtapes (another beautiful nod to the 80s), as can a series of attribute boosts.

The atmosphere in Double Dragon Neon feels like an overly exaggerated version of the 80s, as does the soundtrack. Jake Kaufman's reimagining of the music that drove every jumpkick attached to the Double Dragon series is a blissful throwback to the cheesy martial arts movies that were a staple of late night and Saturday afternoon tv back then (you can get the soundtrack here: ). all in all, Double Dragon Neon proves to be a joy both visually and aurally.

My negatives are few because I'm honestly used to the difficulty games of this genre provide, even in the case of insanely cheap boss fights. I must warn those who didn't cut their teeth on "quarter thief" arcade games that would get your money strictly because they were brutal or home ports that were just as hard or harder, this one may send you running. There's also a mild issue with floatiness that initially turned me off when I played the demo, but after a few minutes, things settled down, and I thoroughly enjoyed this title. In all though, I'm not sure if this game is for everybody, though, as it is decidedly and unapologetically a product of the 80s.

Double Dragon Neon is at it's core a love letter to the 80s. It's politically incorrect, loud, a little stupid, and full of eye-bleeding color. It definitely won't appeal to everybody, but the folks at Wayforward made a Double Dragon game that feels as fun as the one from Technos Japan back in 1987. If you remember the differences in the NES and Master System versions of Double Dragon, and you know what you can do when you get your third heart, Double Dragon Neon may be right up your alley.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Why There Hasn't Been New Content Up This Week

I'm writing this post in the spirit of annoyance and frustration. I was intending to have a post up discussing the recently released Zone of the Enders HD Collection, but because my latest frustration with AT&T, that post has been put on hold until my home internet service is restored. In my time dealing with AT&T, I have had to consistently deal with my service dropping out on it's own without any warning, therefore my time gaming online has been severely hampered. now, I am informed that I magically owe an amount that I can't currently afford to pay to restore my service, even though the payments were made from my checking account via their autopay service. you sent me a replacement modem to rectify my outages, but didn't send me a return slip or instructions regarding the old modem, then billed me for the new modem. I am about done with them and their horrible internet service and equally horrible customer service. I probably wouldn't recommend their service to my worst enemy, as it's been that bad. Hopefully, I can get my internet service back up and running so that I can continue to yell about gaming related topics with y'all.

UPDATE: I was called by multiple members of their Customer and Technical Support teams and my service has been restored.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Y'all...I'm Touched :)

This may honestly be the easiest post I've had to write in quite some time. Some time ago, readers of the  blog may have noticed a badge  on the right side of the page that recognized that this blog was nominated for a Black Weblog Award. The results were released this morning, and I am incredibly proud and ridiculously humbled to say that The Digitized Ramblings Of An 8-Bit Animal did indeed win an award for "Best Comics or Gaming Blog". I've never been one to toot my own horn or laud accomplishments at anyone, but knowing that people actually voted and care about what has been posted here since 2010 is an honor.

I want to thank folks, but the amount of people I feel the need to thank is enormous, so I'll offer up a blanket "Thank You" to everyone who has contributed, donated games or consoles, been an extra pair of eyes, offered support or constructive criticism, or urged me to not quit when I got discouraged. You all mean a great deal to me, and any growth this blog experiences in the future is a result of your immeasurable level of support.

So again, I say Thank You from the bottom of my pixelated heart. This has been a humbling experience and I have a feeling it is only the beginning.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Leon Feeds The Beast: A Look At A One Man Reproduction Cartridge Operation

Collecting retro games can be a tough row to hoe, and hunting for NES titles can be downright perilous. There are around 756 officially licensed games that were released in the US during the NES life cycle, but after the console left market in the 90s, the desire to "catch em all" didn't go away with some gamers, and eventually, prototypes of unreleased games became the holy grails of the NES library. some collectors have taken it upon themselves to make these never before released titles available to play via emulators, while others have gone the extra mile to make the games available to play on actual cartridges that are playable on the NES. One such collector, Leon Kiriliuk of NES Reproductions, has brought us here in the good old USA some titles that would have never gotten official releases here, as well as prototypes, homebrew games, and hacks that breathe new life into titles that have long seemed dead.

Leon's road to making reproduction carts began as many gaming related loves begin, with an NES. A few years after his NES and games were sold off at a garage sale, his brother picked up another NES and it promptly rekindled his love for Nintendo's 8-Bit console. Eventually, Kiriliuk learned that many of the games that were never released on the NES in the United States were floating around on the Internet. He then learned how the ROM files for these games could be made into actual cartridges. While making reproduction cartridges of prototype games that were never officially released here
for his personal collection, word got out and requests started coming in. Fast forward a few years and Kiriliuk is providing reproductions of well known unreleased prototypes, Famicom imports, and homebrews that you'd be hard pressed to find outside of an emulator website.

Of the close to 60 titles available on his site, the most popular seem to be Earthbound(the prequel to the insanely popular SNES title) and Super Mario Bros. 2(known to American Gamers as The Lost Levels). Kiriliuk's site also features rereleases of Tecmo Super Bowl that contain current rosters(TSB 2013 was recently released in September) and the now infamous prototype of Seta's Bio Force Ape. the cost of these games is $25(shipping included). I'll be picking up a few games from Kiriluk and will be reviewing them as soon as I get them.

Leon Kiriliuk has successfully given the gaming public a way to play some games that would never have seen the light of day here in the US the way they were meant to be played. While he admits that he probably won't be able to continue providing his reproduction cart service for too much longer, it's awesome that he's able to do it while he can.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The 2012 8-Bit Animal Holiday Buyer's Guide

This guide is fluid, and as such, new items may be added. Stay tuned for any changes that occur.

The weather is starting to get brisk, the leaves are starting to turn, and Wal Mart is advertising their Lay Away program. This only means that the Holidays are right around the corner, and to help you shop for the gamer on your Christmas list, We here at The Digitized Ramblings Of An 8-Bit Animal are going to give you our picks for the best stuff to pick up for the Holiday season.

In Case You Missed Them...
A few pretty good titles hit the market earlier in the year that may have been out of your price range or off your radar. These should be easy to pick up since they are older titles

Dragon's Dogma - Capcom: This one snuck up on a lot of gamers, but proved to be as awesome as advertised. A fantasy RPG with excellent combat, deep customization, and a gorgeous countryside to explore, Dragon's Dogma would be a great pickup for any RPG fan looking for something not called Elder Scrolls or Final Fantasy.

Mass Effect 3 - Bioware/EA: The conclusion to one of gaming's great trilogies, Mass Effect 3 gave players everything they could have asked for (except for the ones who complained about the ending, but Bioware gave them that too). With the announcement of a compilation of all three ME titles, this one may be dropping in price soon.

Max Payne 3 - Rockstar: After nearly a decade, the third installment of the most depressing cop story in gaming history fell into the hands of gamers last May, and while it didn't reinvent the wheel, it was a solid third person shooter.

Lollipop Chainsaw - Warner Bros./Grasshopper Manufacture: The latest action title from the painfully awesome developer Grasshopper Manufacture was as controversial as it was fun, and with it dropping in price, this may be a great time to pick up a copy.

Transformers-Fall Of Cybertron - Activision/High Moon: The followup to the critically acclaimed War For Cybertron, This title continues with all the awesome provided in the first game and throws in some new stuff as well.

New For The Holidays!!
This next list is all about the stuff that has either just come out or will be out by the time the holidays are here
Borderlands 2 - 2KGames: Part RPG, Part FPS, Party  Online Party...Borderlands 2 takes everything that was fun about the first game and builds something that you honestly have to play to truly appreciate.

Assassin's Creed III - Ubisoft: This installment of the insanely popular stealth action game moves the player to the birth of the United States of America, and tasks them with helping the Minutemen push back the British army.

Call Of Duty-Black Ops 2 - Activision: The long running First Person Shooter franchise returns with it's latest installment and some major tweaks to the series' multiplayer, that long time COD players will either love or loathe, but should help to draw new players in.

Zone of the Enders HD Collection - Konami: Take Hideo Kojima's giant robot masterpiece and give the games all new cutscenes, a shiny HD redraw, and loads of bonus content and you may have a $40 gem in your hot little hands.

Halo 4 - Microsoft: One of the biggest titles to be released this year is a first party. It's also the latest in a series of games that changed the way we play First Person Shooters. After the highly publicized departure of Bungie from the Microsoft umbrella, all eyes are on Halo 4.

Disney's Epic Mickey 2-The Power Of Two - Disney Interactive/Junction Point: Arguably the best Disney game since the 90s was Epic Mickey, but a lot of folks missed how incredible it was because it was a Wii exclusive. This time, the sequel will show up on all consoles, including Nintendo's WiiU. It also features co-op play that may not require player 2 to be on another console to take advantage of.

NBA 2K13 - 2KGames: Every year, critics and gamers proclaim the latest iteration of NBA 2K "the best sports game ever made". According to reports from gamers who currently own the title, this years' game blows last years' out of the water.

Dishonored - Bethesda Softworks: Giving the player multiple options when it comes to the way they seek out their revenge is a good thing. The way Bethesda gave players those options in Dishonored makes it a must play.

In an effort to fairly recommend games to the consumer, no WiiU recommendations will be made until the console and launch titles are released to the public.

There you have it. I hope this list gives you some insight on a few titles I think will be worth your $50-$60 this Holiday Season.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dust: An Elysian Tail - Unlocking Awesome

Nowadays, most gamers expect the biggest and best games to be the product of huge teams working on a tight and fast schedule. Most games aren't the work of one person anymore like they were in the early days of gaming. Dean Dodrill has bucked that trend in impressive fashion with Dust: An Elysian Tail. Dodrill is solely responsible for every piece of the actual gameplay of Dust, while he had assistance with writing, voice acting, and soundtrack duties. Dodrill effectively eliminated the problem of having "too many cooks in the kitchen" by working on this title's gameplay for pretty much the last 3 1/2 years. Did this translate to a good game, though? To put it lightly, this may be one of the best titles I have played this year.

Dust begins with it's titular character unconscious in the woods. He is roused by two voices, that of a nervous little creature named Fidget and the deep haunting voice of a spirit housed within the Sword of Ahrah. The sword informs Dust that he is destined for something great, even though Dust can't remember anything. Dust is immediately attacks by monsters and uses the sword to fight them of, though he doesn't fully understand how he's able to do what he did to fight off the monsters. These first few moments set into motion a story that would prove effective for a manga or a limited run animated series it is so well written, albeit cliched at points. Dust's journey to unlock his past contains a few plot twists that nobody will see coming right away, and that's one of the hallmarks of a good story.

Gameplay wise, Dust is engaging, fun, and gives you a feel reminiscent of two of my favorite Vanillaware titles, Muramasa: The Demon Blade and Odin Sphere. The action flows incredibly well and with enemies respawning when the player goes back to a screen, there is ample opportunity for stat grinding without it feeling as such. controls are tight and responsive, and the "Metroidvania" level design gives everything a seamless feel. The combo system is simple, yet it does have a bit of depth that one may not expect from a downloadable game. The downside of such simplicity is that there is no real penalty for spamming the basic three hit combo throughout the entire game, but stringing together lengthy combos does reward you with achievements and bonus experience. The item building mechanic is possibly the only thing that seems to need tweaking as far as the balance of item appearances is concerned, as one can accumulate ridiculous amounts of one material while never being able to find some. Thankfully shops frequent the landscape and provide a place to dispose of useless items.

Aesthetically speaking, Dust is a gorgeous game. The character animations are fluid to the point that at times it feels like Dodrill channeled Jordan Mechner (of Prince of Persia fame) during the character design process. The character art seems like it jumped out of a top rate anime, and the backgrounds are incredibly bright and colorful. The voice acting is superb and conveys the emotions of the different characters incredibly well, while the game's score builds mood is strong fashion. In a word, this game looks and sounds as fun as it plays.

2012 has been an interesting year in gaming, especially in the realm on downloadable and independent games. With all of the great titles that have appeared on download services this year, it can be a bit of a surprise to some that a game conceived and largely developed by one man could be one of the year's best. What Dean Dodrill achieved with Dust: An Elysian Tail not only put him on the gaming radar for years to come, but it brought back memories of the early 80s and the birth of Activision. Anyone wanting to play an engaging action adventure title with beautiful visuals and a story that will make you feel an array of emotions should play Dust: An Elysian Tail, they won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Help Support The 8-Bit Army

I typically wouldn't approach you guys with this, as I feel like this is a labor of love, and I get all the personal reward I want from the feedback folks give when they enjoy the posts here, but reality can be a bit of a monster. I need to purchase equipment to improve certain aspects of this blog, as well as buying a stand alone webspace, screen capture equipment, and other important things. After agonizing on how to approach this, I decided this would be the best way. I'm posting this chipin button here for now, but it will be embedded on the blog soon enough.

Thank you for your consideration,

The 8-Bit Animal

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Curious Case Of Def Jam Vendetta

Sometimes, a game comes along that has such a peculiar concept that it warrants a second look into it's history. One such game was the first in a series of games released by Electronic Arts that featured hip hop artists in environments that had nothing to do with hip hop. The title, Def Jam Vendetta, was a wrestling game. A very good wrestling game, actually, and it received a great deal of praise from many gamers and critics who considered it one of the best wrestling games that wasn't released on a Nintendo console.

It was peculiar to some as to why the rappers and actors in the game seemed shoehorned in, but no one gave it a second thought. It wasn't until I stumbled across copies of two reviled wrestling games released a few years earlier by EA, WCW Mayhem and WCW Backstage Assault, that I realized what Def Jam Vendetta was originally supposed to be. It's a fairly short story, but an interesting one that may remind gamers of happened with Sunsoft involving their NES title, Journey To Silius (for context on the weird story behind the existense of Journey To Silius, read my post on that game here: ).

You see, once upon a time, THQ let their license to produce games featuring wrestlers from World Championship Wrestling expire to go after a possibly more lucrative World Wrestling Federation license. When this happened, Electronic Arts bought the WCW license and began making their own wrestling games. The problem was, EA's wrestling games were kinda lackluster and WCW's wrestling product was pretty bad too. after gasping for life for a few more years, WCW was purchased by the WWF in 2001 and pretty much went the way of the Dodo. This left EA in an interesting position because they were at that point working with developer AKI on a wrestling game for the Playstation 2 and Nintendo Gamecube, and without a strong license attached to the game, it would be overlooked in the marketplace.

Instead of going the route Acclaim went in with it's Legends Of Wrestling series, EA went a bit left field. The video game giant went to a place they would usually go for pieces of the soundtracks of their sports games, Def Jam Records. Since EA already had a bit of a working relationship with the label, they pitched the idea of putting rappers in a wrestling game, and the label decided this would be a great opportunity to extend it's brand. Several artists on Def Jam's roster already had music on the game's soundtrack, so it was a bit of a no-brainer that those artists would be playable characters in the game. However, they would end up being the primary characters, with a few random characters created by AKI thrown in as well.

EA published the game in 2003 under it's EA Sports Big label, which had previously seen success with arcadey titles like SSX and NBA Street, so an over the top wrestling game featuring a roster full of rappers was a perfect fit. It was also successful and spawned two sequels, one of which won a number of fighting game of the year honors in 2004 (Def Jam: Fight For New York).

The story surrounding the history of Def Jam Vendetta is proof positive that a good game can garner success, regardless of how mismatched the license attached to it may be. It also proves that had they not gone out of business, there could have been some excellent WCW games on the PS2 and Gamecube.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Summer Of 8-Bit (Finale): Super Mario Bros. 3

Today's video takes a look at Super Mario Bros. 3 from Nintendo

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Summer Of 8-Bit: The Legend Of Zelda

Today's video takes a look at The Legend Of Zelda from Nintendo

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Summer Of 8-Bit: Pac-Man

Today's video takes a look at Tengen's port of Namco's Pac-Man