Asteroids (Atari 2600)

asteroids_atari2600-large-070209Asteroids is a classic arcade game by Atari from 1979.  In 1981, a port of the arcade classic was released by Atari on their Atari 2600 console.  Like so many other 2600 ports, Asteroids‘  differences in both gameplay and graphics were very noticeable.   Asteroids had a completely different look and feel to it at home than it did in the arcades.  Using the Atari joystick instead of simply using buttons.   Also noticable is the required use of coloured pixels instead of a vector display.

That’s it.  I can’t take this seriously anymore.  I really wanted to, but I can’t.  No matter how much I want this game to hold up even today…  I can’t do it.  I could try and tell you about how (somehow) this game used a lot of memory for a home console cartridge, and that it was the first to use some kind of dual side switching memory technique.  I could tell you about how much fun I had with this game as a kid.  I absolutely love this game, still.  But even I can’t convince myself that it holds up today.  I started out wanting to compare apples to apples, and keep my state of mind geared solely towards 80s Atari games.  It’s not going to happen.  I firmly remember this game being a solid 9 or 10 when I was a kid.  That’s just not the case anymore.

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The Walking Dead (Xbox Live Arcade)

Days Gone Bye:

The Walking Dead is everywhere these days.  Over 100 issues of the comic have been released in the last 9+ years.  AMC is in the middle of the third season of their TV adaptation.  There’s social media games, pen and paper games, and board games.  Now indie-dev-darlings Telltale Games attempt at submerging us into the world of Robert Kirkman’s zombie apocalypse comic book series.

You play out the story of Lee Everett. When the zombie apocalypse finds him, he’s in the midst of being transferred from jail to prison to serve his time for a murder with extenuating circumstances.  However, when there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk in front of police transit vehicles.

The folks at Telltale have made a name for themselves among PC and Indie game enthusiasts in the last few years.  They’ve managed to tap into a market long forgotten:  The fan of the point-and-click adventure.  They’ve made critically acclaimed (and financially successful) games out of surprising movie, video game, comic and TV licences, including Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, Sam & Max, and Monkey Island.  These games are released episodically, over the course of a few months to a year.  This was my first venture into one of their games.  If the quality here is any indication, I’ll be trying at least 3 of those other games as soon as I take another run through The Walking Dead.

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Review Grab Bag (10/2/11)

Welcome again to the Review Grab Bag…  the Review Free-For-All.  If it can be reviewed, it’s fair game… good, great, bad or steaming pile of shit.

As always the Review Grab Bag has an open call to any and all guest reviewers.  The rules are simple:

  1. Have an opinion on a thing.
  2. Write a paragraph or two about it, and e-mail it to me at hamwallet@gmail.com.
  3. Make her open the box.
  4. And that’s the way you do it.
In today’s Grab Bag we have 3 movies, and a downloadable XBox360 title.

Bejeweled Blitz (Xbox Live Arcade)

Bejeweled Blitz is a puzzle game from PopCap games. You probably already know this game. If you know a woman over 30 who’s on Facebook… you’ve probably seen her spam your newsfeed with her latest and greatest Bejeweled High Score. Outside of Tetris and Angry Birds, it’s probably the next most successful casual video game to ever exist.

The reason for this is because it’s like shiny, flashy crack… with explosion sounds. If you ever owned an NES or Gameboy in the 90s… you played Tetris. Remember how addictive that shit was? You’d probably be playing it right now if your mom hadn’t stashed the Gameboy in a box and put it in the attic when you went away to school. Now realize that puzzle game designers have had another 20 years to perfect exactly what makes Tetris so addictive.

This is the new shit. It’s streamlined. It’s more accessible. The scores are higher. It’s fucking shiny. If you’re any good at it at all… it’s faster paced.  And worst of all… it doesn’t take long to play.  Rounds are one minute.   That’s it.  Just one minute and you’re done. Except… you’re not done at all. You could have one more round before you go back and do whatever stupid shit you’ve been avoiding…

Just one little round. That’s all. No one will ever know… Just one little round.

Buying the Cow Anyway…

Relatively recently the price of Bejeweled Blitz on Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) dropped in half. It used to be 800 Microsoft Points ($10 US to the un-Xboxed masses out there.) They dropped it to 400 MSP (or $5 US). Woah, wait. That’s not all. When I acted, they had it on for an additional 50% off. Stop opening up calc.exe. and put your fucking iPhone away. I’ll do the math here for you. That’s 200 MSP/$2.50 US.  I enjoy getting deals, achievements and video games I snatched this one up, but I’m still puzzled as to why the flying fuck I bought it.

Seriously. It makes no sense. The game is available for absolutely fucking free on Facebook. This isn’t something I learned after the fact. I bought the game knowing this. I’ve even played it on Facebook probably 5 times since buying the game.

I’d love to throw out some honourable bullshit and say that I did this because it’s important to support video game developers and vote with your dollars and such.  That’s all true, but when it comes to me actually shelling out my own cash on something that I can get (without even “stealing” it off the internet) for free… Normally I’d be first in line to say “Fuck the Devs.”

Maybe it was because I had some extra MSP on my account.  Maybe it was because I wanted another couple hundred Gamerscore.  Maybe I thought my wife might play it with me.  I will probably go to my grave, and this will be one of life’s great mysteries.  That’s it.

Here’s the complete list:

  • How did they build the pyramids?
  • Where did the Mayans go?
  • The Caramilk Secret
  • Who took the cookie from the cookie jar?
  • Why was Highlander 2:  The Quickening ever made?
  • Why the flying fuck did I buy Bejeweled Blitz?

I suppose I should probably actually review it…

Maybe later. I think I can probably squeeze in one more round.