Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Game 14: 4-in-1 Fun Pak

Oh no, another pirate cart that doesn't work?! Nope, we're safe this time, it's just a bunch of boring games in one boring compilation. Hooray?

Okay okay, I know, these aren't boring games. Chess is one of the world's oldest games, played by people way way smarter than I am. Checkers is like Chess' uncultured cousin - easy to understand but much deeper than you expect. Reversi is a classic game of strategy and requires a good understanding of your opponent as well as the game. And Backgammon...well, I don't know how to play Backgammon so for all I know it involves space lasers and ancient incantations. I guess I'll find out.

I'd like to note that the chess and checker boards on the title screen very obviously have the wrong amount of squares on them. If this is the level of detail that they put into the rest of the game...well, we're in for a treat.

Let's do these in the order presented, shall we? That means that Chess is up first according to the startup screen. I know how to play Chess in the sense that I know how the pieces move, and I know that I'll never ever beat anybody except very young children who have never played the game before. Unfortunately, I am not up against a naive young person, I am playing against Sargon.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Game 13: 3-pun Yosou - Umaban Club

I knew this day would come. I just didn't know it would come this soon. In all honesty, I wasn't fully prepared. I should have trained myself, watched some Let's Play videos or something.

Obviously I'm talking about the day I'd have to tackle a Japanese horse-racing game.

In my long years of randomly downloading old games I've found a whole category dedicated to horse racing. It seems to me that there are an inordinate amount of horse racing games from Japan, but nowhere else. I'm not sure why Japan is such a hot area for simulated equine competition, but clearly it is.

If you've never seen one of these before, then you probably have the wrong idea.  They're not action or racing games. No, instead, they're gambling games. You bet some money, your horse wins or loses...yeah that's it. I think some games get into managing various horses/jockeys as well but to be honest, I'm not sure.

And so that's what I'm doing today. I'm gonna bet some fake money on fake horses with fake statistics so I can bet some more fake money on fake horses!

If you can't tell, I'm really not certain why anyone would play a game of this nature. It's not like real horse racing where real money is on the line, nor does it require skill since it's just random numbers. You might as well roll dice to see what horse wins and loses. And then go watch a real horse race.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Game 12: 3D Ultra Pinball - Thrill Ride

You know, I was just gonna skip this. But I've had a change of heart, partially due to the terribly impressive screenshots I got from this game. I figure I can stretch this long enough to get a little bit of entertainment value out of it.

See, I was looking forward to this game. I like pinball, and I'm fairly certain that I have played this series on the PC or somewhere else and liked it. And video game pinball is usually okay if not great.

And so I started up the game on my PSP, heart full of child-like joy and other lovely feelings I can't be bothered to describe accurately. "Let's get some low-res pinball on!" I said to no one in particular. "Okay!" I replied to myself internally, praising myself as well for not shouting all my thoughts out loud while riding the bus like I usually do.

Okay, loading...some cute music...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Game 11 - 3D Pocket Pool

Games on older systems billed as 3D are nearly always going to be disappointing. Usually it's some sort of disorienting use of 2D sprites and trickery. On top of that, the games are usually awful to play because the developers blew the whole budget on the technology making the game look "cool" but forgot to actually consider how it would work in practice.

So I was not looking forward to this game at all. Not only does it have 3D right in the name, it's also a game that I hate in real life. Ugh, pool.

The title screen does not to do anything to persuade me that I'm going to like this game. I mean, come on guys, sci-fi pool? How many gimmicks can you cram into this? And don't get me started on the art for the only two women in the game. Color me not impressed, and also pink.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Game 10: 3 Choume no Tama - Tama and Friends - 3 Choume Obake Panic!!

What a mouthful, eh? This is what I was looking forward to though, the Japanese games that never made it to the states either because they were too different for us, or we would have no idea why they even existed. This is in the latter category.

Tama and Friends was apparently a short-lived anime in Japan that continues to sell merchandise there. Here, we didn't even get to see the complete run or any of the movies, so this would have made no sense at all.

I played this without doing any research on the source material though, so I was pretty much just guessing my way through it. I would also like to note for posterity that I do not speak any Japanese, so for those of you who do, I apologize for choosing all of the wrong options, always. For the rest of us, well, be prepared to see some squiggly lines that neither of us understand.

Game 9: 2nd Space

Look at that little apple go. It's just zooming along like an offroad apple should. Go go, offroad apple, but make sure your little Robin Hood hat doesn't fly off. Then you'd be totally naked except for your goggles.

Um anyway this is 2nd Space. It's an unlicensed game by Sachen, a Taiwanese company that is apparently well known among bootleg connoisseurs. They created a ton of games for the NES and GB without the permission of Nintendo. Which is fine by me because Nintendo's licensing policies back in the day were apparently just awful.

So, let's not delay any further. Push start for me, will you? Thanks, that's a dear.

Here in 2nd Space (no one knows what 1st space is) we have two options. Those options are Slow...and Fast. Which do you choose?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Games 5, 6, 7, & 8: Four in One Pirate Cart Special!

I knew it was going to happen. Eventually, I would get to one of those less-than-trustworthy cartridges. You know the ones. You're in a flea market. You find a cartridge that has a weird shape, the color of the plastic is just slightly wrong, the label is peeling off. 128 games on one cartridge? It sounds too good to be true -  but it's selling for $5 so you pick it up. What's the worst that could happen?

You just wasted $5 that's what because when you actually load the cartridge nothing works. You might as well have bought a notebook that just listed the names of games you'll never, ever play.

Well, today we're going to talk about not just one, but FOUR pirate carts. Mainly because none of them work at all and I don't want to do this crap four days in a row. Also I think it's funny

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Game 4: 1942

Oh wow do I really get to play a good game this time? I mean, c'mon, it's 1942, classic Capcom arcade game. In the one or two times I played the arcade version, it seemed simple-as-pie. It should be a breeze to dutifully recreate on the Game Boy, especially considering the original was released in 1984. This is a no-brainer.

Except...it looks like the damnable Digital Eclipse had their fingers in this game as well. If you remember, they were part of the disaster that was 102 Dalmatians, and I've never really had a fondness for their Xbox 360 arcade ports at all. In fact, they're usually pretty terrible.

But it doesn't matter because we have to soldier on. It's a dirty job, playing all of the Game Boy games alphabetically, but somebody has to do it. Otherwise, how will we have categorical knowledge of one person's opinion on every Game Boy game? Exactly, we wouldn't, and where would we be then? The dark ages, that's where. Or when. Yes.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Game 3: 102 Dalmatians - Puppies to the Rescue

I forgot that the Game Boy was where licenses came to die. Of course, I'm remembering that now, given that two of my first three games have been shoddy licensed games with no souls. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Booting up this game I actually had a glimmer of hope. An Activision game? Not bad, Disney! Crystal Dynamics too? They made Gex or something...that's okay! Digital Eclipse? Wait, you mean the folks who poorly port arcade games to the Xbox 360? Um.

Then, the title screen. Oh such inspiration. Just look at it. The flat blue background, the weird dithering effect on the ears, the generic "PUPPIES TO THE RESCUE" font, the poor composition in general...this title screen communicates more about the game than any essay I could write.

After hitting start, I get a cute little animation that helpfully shows me that all dalmatians are purple, and Cruella De Vil is still cruel and/or a devil.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Game 2: 10-Pin Bowling

I'm finding that, as a rule, games that start with numbers are not the most inspiring bunch. First we get a licensed game, now we get a generic bowling game. You don't even want to know what's coming next.

That said, this title screen is super nice, huh? I mean, look at it. All the excitement of bowling, the ball rolling, the pin colliding, the...9...and the 2...it's all there! I mean, there's no beer or vietnam vets with guns, but other than that I think they nailed it.

"Now now, don't get so excited just because of a title screen" I hear you saying from the future. "There's more to bowling than still pictures of things colliding and random numbers, friend." Fair enough. Well, sort of anyway because I actually hate bowling, so to me the "more" to bowling is embarrassment, wrist pain, and really strange smells. I really really hope this game doesn't smell like old nachos and sweat.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Game 1: 007: The World is Not Enough

Starting at the top of the list of Gameboy games, I assumed I'd get some weird "1,300 in one" sort of game. Unfortunately, I got a James Bond game instead. I'm not a huge fan of the Bondster. I've seen and kind of liked the new ones with Daniel Craig, but I remember explicitly hating the ones with Pierce Brosnan even as a child. And I've never even played Goldeneye, so there's that.
James Bond laying on his back in the
eye of a hurricane, shooting at God

But here we are playing a Game Boy version of an N64 game that seems to be best known as "not Goldeneye." Starring Pierce "The Pixel" Brosnan. Great. At least it's in color.

The first thing I noticed is that the music is only playing out of one speaker. At first I thought my headphones were busted again, but it turns out this is a design decision, if you can call it that. Apparently they thought it was important that all the music is in my right ear, while all the sound effects are in my left. This is instantly irritating, especially considering that every sound effect is awful and the music is squealy and makes me want to die.

That's okay though because the rest of the game is just as irritating. I'm given a mission by M, which I accidentally skip because apparently the A button is the "skip everything important" button. Then, I have a conversation with someone named "Prance" or "Priere" or something, which consists of aggressively incomplete sentences. Was the dialogue in the movie this bad?