Well, welcome back to my old school “Diaries” edition, which is where I started off on 8-bit Fridays and like returning too.
This Weeks Buy’s:
It’s been a week of lost auctions so nothing to report this week.
This Weeks Plays:
Damage Inc (PS3) - Ok, so this is actually a game that admittedly has been hanging out there for a while. When I played through a bunch of PS3 games about a month back I intentionally skipped this one. The reason being is that I didn't want to put the joystick together or find a place to it store it after. So the other night in preparation for this weekend I opened it up to take a look and was pleasantly surprised, the joystick is designed to be put together and taken apart as well as stored in the original box. So this weekend I decided to hook the joystick up and put Damage Inc in the PS3. Hooking it up was easy (being USB) but it took a bit more than that to coax the joystick into working with the game. After some plugging and unplugging and working with the settings in the game itself I got it working.
Damage Inc with the working joystick is surprisingly good. I know there seems to be a general belief that flight sticks on consoles aren't any good, most of those claims are made by pure console gamers, although there is some truth to it. In this case though the AV8R flight stick is surprisingly good since it's made by Saitek, who also makes many accessories for PC flight sims for that added bit of realism. I myself have a set of their rudder pedals, and they're very well made, and work well with most flight sims on the PC. The game itself Damage Inc is also pretty good and allows a player to get as realistic or video gamey as they wish in the settings. Obviously, coming from PC flight sims I decided to go more towards realism with an in cockpit view. However with that said it's still more video game than flight sim. The game is very entertaining in itself, and works seamlessly with the AV8R, but I do have to complain about how dark and muted the games colors are in game play. This ended up being a major detractor since at times I couldn't see what I was shooting or flying at particularly with regards to items close to the ground. Overall, based on how much I enjoyed playing it and how well the AV8R works with it, the game rates high in my book.
Bowling - Video Cart 21 (Fairchild Channel-F) - This same game although unplayed until now, was the inspiration for a 2015 article I wrote on the Channel-F. After all this time, and after being in the mood for digging out old systems and getting games played, it was finally this game's chance especially since I found having misplaced it shortly after writing the article. Anyway as with most Channel-F games this one is pretty simple. Basically the ball bounces from side to side in the alley and the challenge is hitting the controller at the right time and with the right angle to make the ball roll down the alley and into the pins. There is some skill to actually playing it and hitting the controller at the right time, but keep in mind this is one of those half-step beyond pong type games indicative of that early era in gaming.
Toy Bizarre (C64) - When my Mom bought me Park Patrol years ago for my SX-64 this was the other game she picked up with it. I had been scratching my head for years as to what the game's name was or what it was about until a little bit before Christmas when it popped up as a suggestion on my eBay lists. The first thing I did was plop the name into YouTube, and suddenly it all came back to me, every beautiful memory. To plug this into a 5 ¼ disk drive again and play it was a true reliving of my childhood. Toy Bizarre reminds me of a much more creative Mario Bros. whereby your character, a factory worker, must fend off a clockwork man and balloon breed toy helicopters, throughout the period of a night. It involves valves, jumping, popping balloons, and trap switches to deactivate your enemies. It's extremely fun, very addictive, and easy to play. Five stars in my book.
Silpheed (Sega-CD) - If you've been following my various 8-bit Friday articles at least over the last two months then you will know of my ongoing relationship with the Silpheed or Sylpheed franchise. Albeit the latter is a spiritual successor and not a direct member of the franchise, I will consider it the series third entry until there is a real third entry. Anyway, so far it's proven to be a fun and challenging series, but I have yet to travel to the franchise's origins. Silpheed started as an early computer game with the earliest entry being a TRS-80 CoCo version, but the best is said to be the MS-DOS version. Of course the game did have one console port with a version brought to the Sega-CD. In doing some research I’ve found out that each port of Silpheed stays relatively faithful to the first version, but with upgrades to each new edition as the systems became more powerful. The Sega-CD version is the last and final port, and was the most powerful system the game would appear on. The adaptation is very good and adds a lot of graphical elements like planet scapes and asteroid fields not available on the game's predecessor systems due to hardware limitations. The game itself plays very well, and stays true to its predecessors. It's fast paced, and is a great SHMUP, right down to power ups. This is the first SHMUP I have on the Sega-CD and so far it's also the best game I have on the system. The only major drawbacks are all the read errors I had, which may be more on the part of system or disk, than the game
Wing Commander (Sega-CD) - This in one respect is one of the best Wing Commander ports I've seen. The intro cut scenes and voice acting are all very well done being, smooth, seamless and spot on. However, gameplay is another story since the combat itself seems to slow the system down considerably, as does interacting with other space objects. It's odd to see a game graphically look and run better than the original PC versions in some respects, but not in others like the crucial gameplay. Otherwise it's a highly faithful port of the PC version, but the slowdown in action is a little bit of a downer.
I know in all likelihood I should be covering these PnP systems in a different posting all together, but I figured why not just cover them as part of this weekends gaming as a nice way to end the weekend. Even though these PnP’s carry multiple games, I just wanted to play a few games on both and give my impressions of each PnP.
Pac-Man: Store & Display (PnP) - This system was originally sold in 2013 as part of a Dollar General's Black Friday sale. Eventually the system found it’s way to Target, where it is now sold with additional games added, and can be found oddly enough in their board game section. The system which is designed to look like pixelated Pac-Man, has the unique feature off allowing the cords to be stored internally after play so that in may be displayed in a simple wire free compact form.
This system connects up with the standard yellow and white A/V cables, something that's a regular for these type of PnP’s. Once plugged in, selecting games and playing it is extremely easy. The joystick controller is, despite appearances, surprisingly comfortable to play on and works very well in the games themselves. My first pick after plugging it in was the always elusive Bosconian, which was a true joy to play here and is a highly faithful ROM to the arcade version. This system includes a total of 12 games, five of which are Pac-Man based including the Pac-Man 256, and two additional games I was unfamiliar with, Pac & Pal, and Pac-Man Plus. Overall, despite not being a well known PnP I had a lot of fun with this one, and enjoyed the games and ease of play.
Atari Flashback 7 (PnP) - With this being the newest Atari Flashback system out there I know there have been a lot of other articles, podcasts, and vlogs made about this. So I know this will be white noise but I’m just going to give my two cents anyway. Now, I know I said I didn’t think I’d ever get and Atari Flashback system since I have all the original equipment, and even now the TV that the Flashback 7 is connected to, also harbor’s my Atari 7800. So why did I ask for a Flashback 7 for Christmas? First of all having something like this that I can always grab in go with and hook up to most TV’s is always nice. Second, having a younger child getting his feet wet in video games it’s always nice to let him play the simple games of the old Atari, even if his educational games are so much more advanced. That and these things are great for parties too.
So what about the system itself? Well, Atgames adds a little more to each one of these systems they come out with and each subsequent system carries those add-ons with it. This one feature 101 games, some the standard classics previous Flashbacks have seen, to others new to the system like Frogger, and some homebrews, overall it’s a nice collection of games. As far as controllers this one comes with two wireless controller that are the exact same size as original Atari 2600 controllers. I do need to point out that one of these two controllers is the master controller and needs to be the first hooked up, you can tell the difference by the red reset, start, and select buttons at the bottom which the other controller doesn’t feature. Both controller use 2 AAA batteries, and each controller can be turned off when not in play. As far as functionality, being someone who has used a real Atari 2600 controller lately, I can tell you they almost feel identical in game play which was something I wasn’t expecting. The system also has a cool feature of allowing you to hook up two original controllers on the front too. I have to say the system pretty much meet my expectations, but also exceeded them in duplicating the feel of playing these games on the original equipment. Overall, it’s a nice system and a nice add for an Atari fan, even if like me they have the real deal available to them.
I will leave it there for now, although I had debating discussing the Atari Flashback Portable, but I’ve been playing that since before Christmas and not starting this weekend. I was pretty impressed by the above two PnP’s though, and I’m glad to have bought them into my collection.
This is probably one of the shortest 8-bit Fridays I think I’ve ever written though. A lack of new games coming in the last few weeks, mixed with a massive catch up on my backlogged games has meant that, outside of my Win 95/98 list, there’s not much new left to play. Obviously I am hoping to get a few new items over the coming weeks, but I’m also hoping this opens me up to replaying some games I pushed through previously. Anyway, that’s it for my plays this weekend. Have yourselves a great and peaceful week! God Bless!