Hey everyone. As you might noticed I don’t update this blog often any more. Mostly because I’m hard at work at the VideoGamePriceGuides.Com and over at VGdex.com. Since I no longer have content ads on these sites, they no longer generate revenue. As an alternative to help support the sites I am now publishing a series of trading cards highlighting great moments in video game history. The first card: Marian’s Abduction from Double Dragon is now available for $2 with free shipping! This is a limited print run so if you’re even remotely interested in Double Dragon or gaming in general you do not want to miss out on this! The card can be purchased here:
Over at Video Game Price Guides, the Sega Genesis price guide 2013 is now available. Click here to view: http://www.videogamepriceguides.com/blog/2012/11/sega-genesis-price-guide-2013/
Hey, over at VideoGamePriceGuides the 2013 Nintendo NES Price guide has been posted. http://www.videogamepriceguides.com/blog/2012/11/nes-price-guide-2013/ I’ll post the rest in the coming days.
Over at the price guide I’ve included a brief article on purchasing an Original Nintendo NES for Christmas or birthdays: http://www.videogamepriceguides.com/blog/2012/10/classic-video-game-christmas-buyers-guide-part-i-nintendo-nes/
I recently updated the TurboGrafx-16 video game price guide, you can view it: click here. I had originally gotten a TurboGrafx-16 after a friend of mine (Vath) had purchased one, and a crap load of games from a Montgomery Wards. I found two of the games he got to be particularly interesting: Battle Royale and Final Lap Twin.
Battle Royal is actually a god awful wrestling game, but the quirky characters made up for the choppy animations and other elements that were lacking in the game. Its been more than twenty years since I played it but I do recall that you started out as a “manager” and you’d select your wrestler then the match would begin. The game featured instant replays and other useless crap.
Final Lap Twin on the other hand was an amazing arcade racing game, but this version featured an RPG mode where you’d race RC cars instead of fighting one another. You’d earn money, upgrade the car, and race some more. Its interesting that a “kid with an RC car” fits the mold of a traditional RPG so well.
Anyways, shortly there after I got my own TG-16. Vigilante was my favorite but so was Galaga 60, and Tricky Kick. I had Victory Run and Pac-land but I don’t recall what happened to my copies. Actually, I don’t remember what happened to my TG-16.
A few years later I did get a Turbo Duo which I still have to this day. I didn’t purchase any additional games after it as I was quite content with Y’s, Bonk’s Adventure, Bonk’s Revenge, BomberMan, Gate of Thunder, and Ninja Spirit. The system came with all six games so it kept me occupied for months. But this did overlap the time to when Street Fighter II was popular and the system got equal play along with the Super Nintendo. Then of course the SEGA Saturn came along, and the Turbo Duo went into the closet. Boo!
Anyways, the price guide has been updated! Check it out!
I don’t spend much money on video games. Actually, since running the video game price guides it’s rare I’ll spend more than $20 for an eBay lot of games, so my recent purchase of an AtariAge Harmony cart was really out of the norm.
I won’t share the exact price as I don’t know if the prices change based on demand but I will say I spent more than $40 for it. But what exactly is a Harmony cart?
Well it’s an Atari 2600 cartridge that started it’s life out as a Combat or an E.T. or other common Atari cart. The guts are swapped out with propriety circuitry that accepts SD cards. Load up some Atari 2600 roms and presto- you can play the game on original Atari hardware.
But wait wait wait Salzman! Aren’t you against piracy? Don’t you always lament how a true video game enthusiast pays for play? That if you’re not using original copies you are cheating the programmers?
ABSOLUTELY! My opinion on piracy has not changed, but the Harmony Cart purchase was not with the intent of piracy. Sure, some people probably use the cart in this fashion but not me. I bought it to test game binaries that I have created. Specifically Fighting Pit! Want proof? Check out Fighting Pit to see the latest progress on the game. But this isn’t the only game I’m working on for the Atari 2600. I’m also working on a version of Operation Wolf, and another Sequel to Berzerk/Frenzy which I’m tentatively calling Fury.
The programming is easier than I ever imagined using Batari Basic. It’s a BASIC compiler that allows you to create Atari games within the limits of the Atari hardware. There are some things that Batari Basic cannot do, but for what it can do it is amazing, and simple, and doesn’t require any knowledge of assembly (what the games were originally created in) to actually make a game.
But don’t buy a Harmony Cart just to test binary games that you created! You can also try the roms for prototypes and other programmers in the community. These titles are fair game and totally worth the purchase of the Harmony Cart.
The adventure of Mountain King for Atari 2600 started last night. I didn’t get far, but I got far enough to realize that this is a great game. You’re a stick figure who is highly articulated – elbows and knees bend, the animation fluid whether walking or jumping. Those clusters of dots are diamonds. Collect a thousand points worth and the audio cuts out. But why? I didn’t figure it out until I fully read the manual, which up to that point in the game I hadn’t.
The stick man can run left and right, and jump left or right by holding the controller up and in the direction you want to jump. Hold up to go up a ladder, hold down to go down a ladder. Press the button to shine the flash light.
So as I started exploring the mountain I realized that falling is far easier than climbing. So any chance I could drop a level down I would. Down and down and down I went. Until I found that peculiar monument you see in the photo above. Was that the legendary crown I was suppose to obtain? Had I found it this easily within minutes of starting the game?
Of course not! What a waste of money this game would be. As soon as I approached the monument Mr. Stick Man was struck down. Paralyzed it seemed. It didn’t matter if I approached it from the left, or the right, or from above. Stick man would instantly be stricken to the ground! Soon time ran out, and the game was over! I started over, and the same thing happened!
So it seems the Mountain King adventure is just beginning. I read more of the manual. There is a flame spirit I must attain first, and then, only then if I offer it to the monument shall I receive her treasures. It also seems that immediately after obtaining this flame spirit the enemies will appear… interesting. I shall journey to the mountain again tonight!
For having collected retro games for so long I find it more and more difficult to experience a game that hasn’t been ruined for me either by a Youtube video or by an FAQ. So when the opportunity presents itself to play and study a game that I know little about I jump on it with gusto!
In this case, it’s Mountain King for Atari 2600. I’ve heard different things about it, I’ve seen a clip of it here and there, and I know there is an Easter Egg of a new level/stage or something of that sort, but that’s about it. I don’t know if I’ve purposely avoid digging into the game deeper simply because I have a hunch this is a great game or what the deal is, but I finally I have a copy and I intend to play/review it as it was intended when it was released almost 30 years ago.
Like any new game purchase in the early 80′s I’m limiting myself only to the information that could be found in the box or the manual. And since my copy has neither, I’ll use AtariAge.Com to fill that void. The box art is pretty amazing. Flanked by a screen shot of the game is a bounty of treasure. A crown, a sword, some treasures, and even some spiders, bats, and a skull. It almost looks like a scene out of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. But this is no pirate adventure mind you, this game is about a mountain. Or a king. Or a king of a mountain. Or a mountain named king. I’m not quite sure by looking only at the box cover. The screenshot doesn’t reveal much of anything except a small man with a flash light shining on a skull or a giant mushroom.
The back of the box explains the plot further, but I prefer the manual’s description more:
“Deep inside a long-lost diamond mine is the secret Temple Chamber of a forgotten civilization. There, a priceless Golden Crown sits high on a pedestal, vulnerable to plundering explorers seeking to control its power. But this treasure is jealously guarded by the denizens of the mountain, and whoever has the daring and courage to challenge them, seize the Crown, and escape to the mountaintop with it will become MOUNTAIN KING!”
I’m not quite sure what the benefit of being the king of a mountain could bring you, but as a kid in the early 80′s the promise of this adventure seems… well… incredible. Remember, the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark was only two years old by the time this game was released in 1983, and in those days movies, in particular block busters such as Raiders weren’t in the theater for just a few weeks, they usually ran up to a year before being pulled then possibly becoming available on cable (which is where I saw Raiders), and if you’re lucky eventually on regular television. So based on this opening paragraph which I’m sure plenty of kids read from the manual on their way home from the toy store was all that was needed to come up with excuses to stay up late with the Atari, perhaps chugging popcorn and soda, and letting the phosphors from a wood-grain television set burn a headache into the skull right behind the eyeballs. This is what gaming was about – well to me at least. To others I suppose conquering the mountain means taking out your credit card and downloading a map-pack. Or, you could always go to PlayStation home and purchase a crown. Then you can be king of whatever you want.
So without further ado, I will play Mountain King, for the first time. Tonight. Expect a full write up tomorrow!
Skate or Die for Nintendo NES is one those games you either hate or love and there is plenty of content to give you these reasons. Visually the game looks great. It really does feel like a skate park and the variety of events rival other marathon sports games at the time such as California Games. The music is catchy and goes well with the events. But the real frustration with the game comes with the controls. They are just terrible. It feels like you’re skating through glue on any event that doesnt have a pipe or pool. Gain any amount of speed and forget about turning. The goofy foot options make the moves a little more intuitive but it doesn’t fix the lack of responsiveness. If the rise of Tony Hawk occured just five years earlier his name would have most likely been plastered on this heap. C+. Spend no more than $3.50..
For many of us we have specific memories tied to specific video games. For me I associate two things with Castlevania for the original NES: microwaved popcorn, Pepsi, and Wal-mart.
Prior to owning a copy of Castlevania my only experience with the game was the VS. Castlevania arcade game which I routinely played during any visit to Pistol Pete’s Pizza here in late ’80s Las Vegas. The game was in a dual VS. cabinet with RBI baseball on the left, and Castlevania on the right. The NES version and the arcade counterpart are mostly identical with minor changes to a few sprites and the difficulty level cranked up.
On that arcade machine I’d always make it to the first boss which was the vampire bat, and would always lose. Something about the game always alluded me – why are their weapons you can pick up if you can’t use them? It wouldn’t be until I owned the NES version that my youthful ignorance would be compensated with a manual that explained you had to press up and attack to use the special weapon. Well duh! That makes sense.
My home copy was purchased from Wal-mart – one of the first Wal-marts built here in Las Vegas on Nellis Blvd and Stewart. Back then Wal-mart was very different than it is today. The electronics section was about the size of a small convenience store and was located in the center of the store. Flanked by three shelved walls, two quarter walls, the register, and about three or four independent shelves in the middle. The NES games were adjacent to the register, and it was here that I bought many NES games. Skyshark, Punchout, etc. And with a copy of Castlevania, a few boxes of ACT II Microwave popcorn, and a few 2-liters of Pepsi I ventured home prepared to play and finally beat Castlevania.
The first two stages were easy-peasy, especially since I finally knew how to use the weapons. The third stage was a big more difficult, and the fourth stage seemed impossible. The boss at the end was a Frankenstein monster with a jumping hunchback that threw fireballs. The fireballs took four bars of left, and if the skeleton snakes thank you encounter before the boss didn’t take most of my life bar away, that damn hunchback would. As a kid I beat the Frankenstein monster only twice. Forget about making it to the Reaper, much less Dracula. For me the game ended at the Frankenstein. It also didn’t matter how much microwaved popcorn I ate or Pepsi I drank. Nothing was going to allow me easy passage.
A few months ago which worked out to about 21 years after my original attempt to beat Castlevania I tried it again. I didn’t even make it to the boss of the 3rd stage, but recently I set out to rectify it and made it back to where I found myself before two decades earlier: the damn Frankestein monster. Four lives, one right after another, were lost on him. Then I had an idea. I’d play through again but keep the stopwatch that is available earlier in the stage! If the boss is frozen I could easily whip him to death. But guess what? IT DOESN’T WORK ON THE MONSTER! Defeated I watched a TAS playthrough on Youtube. The player seemed to appreciate the holy-water. This was a weapon I hated because it was slow, and had no distance. The video showed the Frankenstein monster frozen as the player lobbed bottle after bottle of holy-water on to the monster’s feet. Success! So I set out to try that.
It was a little more difficult that I expected, but with some patience I made it to the monster with a 3/4s full life bar, the holy-water and a few hearts. It was just enough to defeat him, and I finally made it to the 5th stage. I did so well on the 5th stage I actually made it to the Reaper! But quickly lost. I was satisfied with that though as again, it was the furthest I’ve ever made it in the game. I don’t know if I should be embarrassed or ashamed.