A Handful Of… The Video Games That Got Away

It’s closing in on Gimme Gimme Day, and what better way to celebrate the joyous overconsumption and high-expectations of youth than to examine the video games I was never Given Given.

Here are A Handful Of… The Video Games That Got Away:

Ah, the good ol' days of 16-color EGA graphics...

Not what you’d expect to be first.  This came out back in the days of me playing the original Maniac Mansion and Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, but it was only available for Commodore 64.  I had an IBM-compatible.  To those not around at the time, that’s like wanting Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, when all you have is the Wii.

I had a Sega Genesis, but I didn’t get the system when it was originally released with Altered Beast.  Then again, ToeJam and Earl was still released after that.  I’m not sure why I didn’t get this game.  All I know is that I wanted it.

Another nerdy PC game.  (It was available for DOS, but it looked fantastic on the Amiga.  So I wanted the Amiga.)  I didn’t even really play chess, but I guess I craved digitized violence.  Don’t be surprised if one day it’s revealed that this game paved the way for Mortal Kombat.  Speaking of kombat

This was one of the two arcade fighting games I was good at (the other was Virtua Fighter), so when it was announced that there would be a version for the Super Nintendo, I was ecstatic.  Then I realized how people must have felt when Pac-Man was finally released for the Atari 2600…  Here’s the SNES commercial:

cavern of the evil wizard

"I get to be on top!"

This game might look familiar, although its name is not.  That’ sbecause you probably saw Tom Hanks playing it in the movie Big.  Sadly, TCOTEW never existed in the real world… until now.   Try it by clicking here.

Think of it as my early Gimme Gimme present for you.

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The Sh– To Just Sh–ty… How Video Games Could Go The Way Of The Cinema

I could start this post off with a partisan political slam, but that’s not what this site is about, so I won’t.

Instead, I will hint about it and borrow Stephen Colbert’s concept of

TRUTHINESS

because this about something I can’t prove, but it just feels right.

Allow me to begin with an image:

It's better that swallowing pennies.

What you see is a computer generated image of my gut feeling that video games may soon go the way of the cinema.

By that I don’t mean they will soon become megaplexes that take over strip malls and shut down at the earliest signs of ticket sale decline.

No, instead I feel that as new games become easier and easier to produce and replicate, the quality will decrease.

As of right now, according to some random person the video game industry releases 30 major releases per year.  That’s less than one per week.

Hollywood, on the other hand, releases at least one movie per week, and usually it’s more than that.  According to another random source, in 2007, there were 453 movies made.  That’s the amount of movies produced, and not necessarily released, but you can see the vast difference.

Now back to the gaming market.  Of those alleged “truthy” 30 games – even if there were 100 – that’s not taking into account the new outlets available.  The iPhone/iPod Touch.  Android devices.  The Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft marketplaces.  Games are being released at alarming rates, and what happens when that, um, happens?

I’ll put it in movie terms.

For every Inception, you’ll get Yogi Bear, The Last Airbender, Jonah Hex, Eat Prey Love, The Killers

I miss the old days of the anticipation for the newest Zelda game (wait we still do) or the next Super Mario (ditto).

The long and the short of it is… creative industry insiders should take their time to make one solid film/game versus ten mediocre ones.  Let’s get back to The Shit, and far away from Just Shitty.

So, Duh! Pop Quiz… Classic Video Game Flowchart Edition

(Mushrooms not included...)

This one is pretty (Press Start) straight forward.  I’m presenting the flowchart of a classic video game, and you have to  guess which game it is.  No multiple choices on this pack, folks.  Also, take note that this was more time-consuming than I planned, so the clues change accordingly.

1)

2)

3)4)5) HINT: This one is a game series

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Drunken Recollection… Video Games Look Better Than Movies These Days

While kicking back brews and shooting the breeze with my pals, the glow of the TV showing whatever game we’re interested in holds our gaze.  And that’s what it’s all about with us men, so they say.  We’re “visual creatures” allegedly.  Our eyes are too big for our stomachs, and our stomachs are the way to our hearts.  Wait, I got off topic…

Oh, yeah.  During said television events, especially of late, companies have been promoting the hell out of two video games: Left 4 Dead 2 and Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City.

And all I think upon watching these previews is how much more like movies video games are becoming.  I have Unchartered 2: Among Thieves and it’s better than any action picture I’ve seen in a long time (The Dark Knight notwithstanding), and it makes me laugh…

Haven’t we as a public (well I know I have) been bitching about how much movies are starting to look like video games?  I could give two shiitake mushrooms about James Cameron’s Avatar or Robert Zemekis’ A Christmas Carol*, and they’re really no different from the games.  Except for the fact that I partake in one and watch the other… Hmm…

Perhaps men aren’t just “visual creatures” after all… We’re touchy, too.

*I do want to see 2012, and it’s as heavy a CG feast as Avatar.

In My Brain While Sleeping… Tweaking Existing Toylines

Those that claim to know me might say that I’m a child at heart.  Those that really know me would call me an overgrown child.  According to my subconscious, I have the mind of a child.  I prefer to say I’m living the 13 year-old me’s dream…

This set of dreams involved a pair of toy collections that I’ve previously mentioned on this post, but were sort of blended together.  It was the Lego Batman video game, and though I haven’t played it in a while, that did not prevent me from dreaming that there was a Batman toy collection that was kind of like a model train town set (Exhibit A) and a bit like Playmobil (Exhibit B).

Tiny figurines representing each of the characters could be purchased, as well as scenery components, and you could assemble a miniature Gotham City similar to Exhibit C.  I guess there’s a toy line called Imaginext that’s kind of like what I envisioned (Exhibit D), but I still imagine(xt) something much darker…

Where the other half of the Lego Batman connection ends up has nothing to do with a Lego town (Exhibit E).  It’s more like the Marvel Legends action figure collection (Exhibit F).  Every Lego set you purchased could be put together (or should I say combined because of course Lego sets are put together) with other Lego sets to make bigger predisposed items.  Again, not like Exhibit E, but like how Galactus is assembled in Exhibit F.

You see, Galactus’ head comes with Professor X, and other pieces of him are packaged along with five other figures in that series.  So if you buy all six figures, you can make Galactus.  That’s how the Lego sets worked…

Never mind.

You’re adults… you don’t understand.

In My Brain While Sleeping… Baby Pac-Man All Grown Up!

Remember this iconic offspring? 

baby_pac_man

Born in 1982, Baby Pac-Man was the third game in a series that didn’t have much life left in it.  Not because of the slow advancements in processing technology or because the games themselves were repetitive (well maybe that’s exactly why video games died back in the day), but just as quickly as arcades burst on the scene, the movement was deemed a fad in 1983 and they went away.  (There were other reasons, too.  Check ’em out here.)

SIDENOTE: That’s why Nintendo dubbed their new console an Entertainment System in 1985.  “Video games” left a sour taste in many people’s mouths.

But that’s neither here nor there.  This is about a dream I had, and it’s about as odd as they get.  According to the Wikipedia entry, Baby Pac-Man was a he.  And he was born to Pac-Man and Mrs. Pac-Man.  But there is no Mrs. Pac-Man, only a Ms.  So for all intents and purposes (or is it intensive purposes?), in my subconscious state, the baby’s a she.  Pink bonnet anyone?

Well, basically, the dream happened to become the foundation for a feminist diatribe.  Baby Pac-Man had grown into a lovely Pac-Woman, but she could not get any respect in the workplace.  People kept calling her Ms. and Miss and that didn’t bother her as much as the fact they wouldn’t call her Pac-Woman rather than Pac-Man.  People also thought she got the job because of who her father was and not on her own merits.  Also, people kept offering her fruits and pretzels.

I don’t remember much else, but I’m sure it all ended swell.  But I do wish there was something about mazes or ghosts, though… 

"Why do I keep getting spam for power pellets?"

"Why do I keep getting spam for power pellets?"

 INGREDIENTS: Two different kinds of Powerade, a late night viewing of Saturday Night Live, and Little Debbie chocolate chip muffins.