TBoD – Extra Points – 6 – Why Mario?

The exp train keeps rolling, this week The Quim Ninja poses a question about the ancient gods of gaming…. Why did Sonic die out while Mario continues to get stronger with each iteration.

Why Mario!?

Let us know what you think.

TBoD Greatest (S)Hits part 2

Howdy guys and gals,

Constraints on time means there’s no regular podcast this week. Instead, we have another installment of our Greatest (S)Hits. So put on some comfy clothes, settle into your favourite armchair or sofa, and crack open some booze to mitigate the aural assault we’re about to put you through.

Also, look out for some Eurogamer video diaries coming very soon.

Enjoy!!!

Right-click here and choose ‘Save as’ to download

TBoD Podcast – Episode 12 – The Good The Bad and The Cutlery

Due to too much frivolity (read; drinking) during our long weekend we totally neglected to make a podcast last week, so to make up for it today we have a bumper 2 hour episode – you poor bastards.

On this episode you can hear patchy half thoughts on the following things occurring in games and stuff: –

We talk about the upcoming digital card game from Mojang called Scrolls

The new gameplay footage from Zenimax for the epic Elder Scrolls Online.

Bethesda is bringing back Wolfenstein in The New Order

Sega and Nintendo team up to bring us three new Sonic games

Our main discussion is all about the good and bad points gleaned from the info released on the Xbox One following their press release.

Plus we introduce a couple of new segments that hopefully we will remember to do every week.

Take a listen and leave a comment if you have anything to say on this whole charade. Thanks

To download episode, right click here then ‘Save Link As’.

Ready, Jet Set, Go

276205sega.logo

Ever since the death of thier final console the Dreamcast Sega have been rebuilding themselves as one of the top dogs in publishing bringing out a plethora of new IPs but also bringing back old titles that we gamers had once thought of as long dead. XBLA and PSN releases are one thing but more recently our old friends have been breathing life back into old classics on various mobile devices. One game I never expected Sega to resurect was the Jet Set Radio (Jet Grind Radio in the US) series, a quirky, design heavy, fast paced and unique title though it was I had never realised just what a huge following this game had gathered over the years.

Jet-Set-Radio-jet-set-radio-future-23279882-1000-1049-300x314

If you don’t like bright colours, this game is not for you

Having picked up (with great difficulty) a Japanese imported version of the original Dreamcast title in Y2K I instantly fell for this game. A cell-shaded style which was at the time totally unique and an insane J-pop/Hip-hop soundtrack (some of the tracks still get stuck in my head to this day) for some reason really drew me in despite the fact I had no idea what I was doing or what was going on due to being unable to understand a word of Japanese. As a result I could never really get that far with the original title due to the objectives of later levels being something of a mystery to me. Later I picked up the sequel Jet Set Radio future for the original Xbox and that is where my love affair with this series really began.

jet-set-radio-iOS

Imagine my delight then to find out mere days ago that I would be able to rock out to ‘Oldie but a Goodie’ once more while covering the walls, cars and buses of Tokyo-To with tags all the while being able to actually understand what was going on ….. all this for the bargain price of £2.99 for my android device… yes please Sega … gimmie!

Installing this game plus the initial game set up is a bit of a monumental effort for my little HTC but it made it eventually and the results are something delightful. Sega America have managed to pack pretty much everything from the original into our little devices and that is an achievement to be respected. Imagine the future possibilities, a Dreamcast in my pocket? God yes give me that right now. How does it stack up against the original? Fairly well really, it does have a slightly laggier nature due to a heavily lowered framerate (something that might be less obvious on a tablet rather than a smartphone) and the directional stick leaves a little to be desired but I find this to be the case in almost all smartphone games. Apart from these very minor flaws this game is well worth the price tag. A full on gang battle/adventure through the neo-Tokyo streets avoiding the fuzz while raising the fame and increasing the territories of your in-line skating punk gang the “GG’s” is still a lot of fun and the tunes are easily as catchy as ever.

BeatJSRBeat knew cucumbers worked just as well as Lenses

You start out as Beat guided by Professor K (the host of the pirate radio broadcast station Jet Set Radio) who keeps the plot ticking over with little interludes not unlike D.J from the movie the Warriors. You must first defend your own turf from rival gangs before sweeping into their side of town and taking your revenge by leaving your mark on any flat surface you can find and avoiding the cities increasingly psychotic police force led by the bumbling Captain Onishima. Seriously these guys are nutjobs who take real pleasure in harming innocent young inline skaters, they’ll run you over doing wheelies on police bikes, they’ll chase you with machine guns and tear gas they even call in the attack helicopters at one point. Luckily for you they are about as well trained as the henchmen in an Arnie movie.

Jet-Set-Radio_4It’s tricky but soon enough you’ll be pulling tricks and spraying graff like a pro

Playing the game on a phone screen isn’t ideal, comboing tricks and grinds was never easy in JSR but the small size mixed with the lack of responsiveness from the control stick and some mammoth lag makes things trickier than ever here but it never renders things unplayable. The games mechanic for spraying your graffiti translates pretty well onto a touch screen however I cant help but feel they could have done a little more to integrate this input method into the game, the responsiveness is often not quite what you would hope for and you end up having to try your tags more than once before achieving painted perfection. That said it isn’t too far removed from the original stick input so you shouldn’t have any real trouble painting the town red or blue or whatever. All in all JSR is still great fun and it’s style still looks great Tokyo-To feels alive and vibrant and getting to those difficult to reach tag spots is as frustrating and rewarding as ever. Sega it seems are finally realising just how much love people still have for their old DC titles and I for one am hoping for many more revivals, if they ever manage to get Shenmue onto a phone I think i might just cry with delight. So get over to the google play/ App store now and pick it up it’s not a featured game and needs to have as much support as possible folks if the Dreamcast is going to continue to have the respect it deserves.

tumblr_mau330nCZz1r03fmso1_1280Buy this game or I’ll haunt your dreams bitches

Break out your roller blades, get out your headphones crank up your volume and roll with the GG’s.

– eremenko

To be this good takes Ages

As a kid I was always on the Sega side of the fence, fiercely maintaining that our blue hedgehog beat the ‘stache off of Ninty’s pipe fixing Italian fella, all the while staring curiously over the divide watching with envy as Ninty fan-boys rejoiced in the brilliance of Zelda and Mario’s many adventures. In my new wiser state I realise it is not necessary to choose just one of the controlling powers in console land, if I had to do it again however I would still make the same choice.

title screen from miracle world

Platform Mastery was never so tough.

Sega have had some mixed fortunes in recent years but there is no doubt in my mind that the gaming world would not be the same today were it not for the creators of the worlds most famous blue hedgehog. Alex the Kidd on Master system, ToeJam and Earl on the MegaDrive (Genesis) and Panzer Dragoon saga on Saturn are some of my fondest gaming memories.

sega dreamcast

It may look like a dinosaur now but to a 16 year old me this appeared capable of interstellar travel.

 

The Dreamcast proved to be the last foray into the console world for the Japanese giants, long gone now but in no way forgotten. I hadn’t realised until recently just how much of a cult following the DC has garnered over the years. It’s hardly surprising though with classic titles like Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio, PowerStone, Resident Evil: Code Veronica and Tokyo Bus Route coupled with a surprisingly powerful system a fab controller and a VMU which was completely unique to Sega’s ultimate console.

dreamcast game

Tokyo Bus Route … the most action packed bus simulator ever!

While they no longer produce consoles Sega are alive and well in terms of game production Sonic continues his geriatric sprint putting out titles like nobodies business, most of these however are rehashes or cash ins and the real question is “Where are the big hitters?”. Yes Mr Sega we know you can sell your blue hedgehog but what about the others? JSR and Crazy Taxi have enjoyed a resurgence of late with HD XBLA releases and even an IOS launch for the latter but isn’t it time we had some new releases from these series’? There are many rumours circulating that we will see a new Phantasy Star title on handheld devices at some point in the none too distance future which excites me no end given I was one of the few in the UK who tried with only little success to use the DC’s 56kbps built in modem to play the original console MMORPG.

Look it’s so colourful and fun …. and colourful

This brings me nicely to my main irk with Sega’s current hierarchy “Where is my Shenmue 3?”. Shenmue literally blew my mind the first time I picked it up and popped it into a console. Knowing literally nothing about the under promoted title, I spied it on a shelf at a friends asked if I could have a blast and proceeded to spend the next ten hours completely absorbed in an incredibly well realised world performing QTE sequences for the very fist time all the while knowing I was experiencing something truly magical.

What do you mean there will be no Shenmue   3?

By this point in time I had moved on from Sega and into the realms of the more “adult” PlayStation but this game snapped me right back in and once again harnessed those feelings of joy I had felt the first time I donned a pair of Super Sneakers and sprinted off in pursuit of the evil Dr Robotnik (Can anyone explain to my why he is called Dr Eggman these days? That name is just plain idiotic). Ryo Hazuki’s adventures literally forced me to go out and buy a DreamCast immediately and if Sega announced today that they were releasing a new console bundled with Shenmue 3 I would pre order it right away … no matter the cost. As it seems would many others, recently I stumbled across a twitter campaign calling for the one thing that me and my friends have wanted for years … Shenmue 3 and it seems we weren’t as alone as we thought all this time. The hashtag is gathering pace and the die hard fans are appealing to Sega to release the licence for Shenmue back to it’s original creator Yu Suzuki. If you haven’t played the first two games you probably wont understand and due to 32-bit console limitations it won’t extract the same response now as it did back then but you should still be able to see why it was so revolutionary and the reason that it still holds a place in the hearts of so many. So go now and support this epic cause #GiveYuTheShenmueLicense over on twitter RT, tweet your own desires and generally help convince Sega that this game must be made.

Allow me my vengeance or there’ll be trouble!

eremenko

Random Access Memory Lane Part 2: The fizzy drink diet.

Just before we get going on today’s nonsense I thought I would mention the new banner emblazoned across our blog, it was designed by one of the powerful chaps over at the emperors of design Me and Alan, I think it looks epic so please visit their site to see just how mint they are. Cheers.

If you haven’t read our part 1 you can find it here, if you have then lets crack on.

Its 1992 and shit is going down. For the adult world at least.

It is announced that a third of our coal mines are to be closed, which contributes to a record high in unemployment. A spate of IRA attack occur throughout the year across the nation of which Manchester suffers the worst of it. Windsor Castle is severely damaged after a proper massive fire. The economy is in tatters, so much so that it was decided the Queen is going to have to pay taxes.

For me it was a different kettle of fish, for me 1992 was all about my football team Newcastle United signing Alan Shearer for a record 15 million quid, watching some wicked telly including some particularly epic cartoons like X-Men and Animals of Farthing Wood and experiencing my first beat em up on a console. The glory that was Double Dragon

Now I know that technically Double Dragon had several iterations but I played the one on the Mega Drive which the internet tells me released in this year. This seminal game considered to be the progenitor of the modern beat em up. Taking on the role of either Billy or Jimmy Lee (twin brothers obviously) you are tasked with applying the fictional martial art with some ridiculous name, which incidentally was inspired by Jeet Kune Do and is one of the many references to the great Bruce Lee, to smash the snot out of innumerable enemies as you make your way through each level.

When I think about it, this game’s co-operative was probably the first time I felt that multiplayer buzz which would become the dominating force in my adult life as a gamer. Sure co-op was nothing new in the industry but to be 9 years old and to take on the role of a kick ass, muscle-bound Chuck Norris type with your best mate being every bit as ninja whilst to punch and kick your way through as many hapless bad guys whose skulls are standing in the way of you and justice, well that kind of experience will stick with you.

As a kid you wanted to be a hero, preferably one with granite hands and fly kicks up the wazoo (TMNT was huge at this point) and this game gave you that in buckets. To poach a phrase a friend of mind used to describe Dizzy when he read our last post, Double Dragon was ‘the tits’. End of.

As with my last post that offered up a link to play Dizzy, the generosity continues and this time it’s for you hipsters that have an iPhone. Here is Double Dragon for the iPhone for when you get sick of sketching out the same pictures in Draw Something. You will have to pay for it like I’m not made of money, probably due to the fact I’m always distracted playing or writing about games to achieve any true modicum of success on the career front.

– MS Dosser

Cast your mind back to the previous year. It’s ’91 and none of Dossers depressing issues have come to the fore as of yet. Operation desert storm is over, Mario and Sonic are locking horns in the battle of the consoles, Link has a new quest on his hands and Terminator 2 is out at the cinema surely you’d think there would be no reason for tiny green haired blue smock wearing animals to throw them selves off the nearest edge? Well you’re wrong.

Lemmings
(Atari ST ’91)

Lemmings box art

Blocker, Builder, Basher, Climber, Floater if these words bring to mind seven Dwarves for you then a) you didn’t play Lemmings and b) you don’t know much about Snow White. No these names were not those allocated to the Hi-ho chanting little fellas from the classic German fairy tale, they are in fact some of the skills which made these tykes into the lovable (if somewhat frustrating) stars from one of the most popular video games of all time.

Wiki tells me that Lemmings throughout the years has shipped over 15 million units and honestly I can’t think of a title that deserved more success. The thought and care that went into the level design of this game make modern puzzle game creators cry into their coffee every morning. It was a simple idea taken to monumental levels by DMA design, who it is worth noting are now the amazing Rockstar North, sometimes it would feel as though a level was impossible but once you figured it out it would leave you wondering how on earth you failed to spot the correct path through.

lemmings level

Diggers will be necessary.

So this bunch of ludicrously cute little sprites drop down from a trap door in the sky, screaming their trade mark “let’s go”, and it’s up to you to guide them past the various pitfalls, traps, spikes, lava, fire and whatever other devious little tricks the developers had hidden along the way. Through various typical video game sets such as desert, dungeon, ice land etc.

a gif of the two competing walking animations

This gif actually shows the original competing designs for the walking animation.

Originally an Amiga title its instant success led to multiple ports and sequels (it has even seen a re-release on PSP) and soon people all over the world were scratching their heads and smashing their mouse’s (mousai? mice?) in frustration as the poor little chaps met their grizzly end time and time again.

lemming jumping artwork

Let’s go!

So enamored with the artwork as a child I actually wanted a pet Lemming and I’m not ashamed to admit I would’ve dressed him in blue and dyed his hair green had I ever had one but alas I didn’t so I made do with an imaginary one that lived in my watch (I know, I know but I already told you I was a weird kid.). I even used to spend hours sketching crude Lemmings having fun little adventures, driving cars, fighting monsters and so on.

falling lemming

not one of mine

One of the main things I remember about this game was the music. Slightly akin to being stuck in a lift listening to pan pipe versions of classic pop songs the tunes on display here were midi versions of classical music and various random school yard tunes (I may be imaging this but I’m pretty sure one of them is ‘how much is that doggy in the window’) rather than adding to the infuriating nature of this puzzler I find them somewhat calming but that might just be me. Take a listen to one of the more memorable tunes for yourself and you will (hopefully) see what I mean.

So what is essentially an epic puzzle game becomes without a doubt one of the most phenomenal titles of all time. Don’t believe me? Well some clever so and so has ported it into your browser so you can enjoy the original game in all of its glory.(albeit without the fantastic sound effects.) YIPEE!

– Elth

P.S you ever get to the end of Double Dragon in co-op MS-Dosser? I did with my cousin….. it doesn’t end well.

Hope you enjoyed the second part of our trip along nostalgia avenue. Did you love Double Dragon? or were you more of a Streets of Rage kinda guy? Did Lemmings cause you to punch a hole in the nearest wall/person/screen available or were you lulled into a deep calm by the weird ass music? Let us know in the comments and subscribe to keep up with the continuing recap of the games that caused us to be hopelessly addicted today.