Retro Game of the Week

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

seanstar on Sunday, 24 July 2011. Posted in Retro Game of the Week

First, thanks where thanks are due. This article would not have happened were it not for the Commonwealth-Edison electric company of greater Chicago leaving me 56 uninterrupted hours to enjoy no games requiring more power than a pack of AA batteries. Way to go.

With that out of the way, let's talk about the game. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening has aged REMARKABLY WELL. Released in 1993, it is the first "out-of-canon" Zelda game in the series. Rather than focusing on gathering eight pieces of save-the-princess/defeat-Ganon hardware, Link finds himself on a mysterious island collecting musical instruments in order to awaken a mythical entity called the Wind Fish ("The Wind Fish in name only, for it is neither...") from within a giant egg on top of a mountain. Along his way, he encounters a cast of unusual characters -- some eerily reminiscent of people he knows from the outside world, some making cameos from other contemporary games, and many simply unique.

Skate or Die

Pixelcade on Sunday, 03 July 2011. Posted in Retro Game of the Week

1987 -- how rad was it? I had my Vision skate clothes and my Nash board. The NES was well on its way to making history before anyone knew it. Then there I sat at my local rental shop looking at this awesome cover of a dude doing a hand plant, with the words SKATE OR DIE emblazoned in graffiti above him


Ultra Games produced this title for our enjoyment. It featured many different play styles from downhill racing, pool jousting, and half pipe shredding, plus a couple more. We saw a few characters in the game -- like Rodney Recloose, who was the crazy dude you saw when you started the game in the skate shop. He sported a purple mohawk and tattoos. He had a crazy kid named Bionic Lester with green hair and a nasty attitude in events like the joust and downhill. He would cut you off and knock you on your face faster than you could say "shredded."

Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master

seanstar on Friday, 27 May 2011. Posted in Retro Game of the Week

For some reason, all the ways I can think of starting to describe Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master involve Essence of Ninja packed tightly into a 16-bit cartridge by ninja highly trained in the art of packing Essence of Ninja into 16-bit cartridges.

Shinobi III was released by Sega for the Genesis in 1993. While the Shinobi series is broader and more complex than even I was aware of prior to researching this article, RotNM has one very key distinction over its predecessors and even some successors. Previous Master System and Genesis titles were about walking around slowly and throwing shuriken at things. Previous Game Gear titles featured flips, ceiling-walks, and slashing stuff, but never as the same character. They were also about rescuing Power Rangers and recovering magical rainbow crystals. The most recent PS2 game is about some magic demon wizard stuff and getting killed by your own sword.

Shinobi III, by contrast, is about flipping out and killing people. More specifically, it's about flipping out and killing explosive zombie-soldiers armed with automatic weapons, slicing up giant bioengineered meat-golems, horse-stomping ninja super-soldiers, jetboard-flying-kicking heavily armed marine tank robots, destroying robo-godzilla, scaling cliffs by jumping between falling boulders, navigating entire areas using only wall-jumps, katana-ing heavily armed airships out of the sky, and I think something about an evil super-ninja trying to take over the world, but that's only the plot, and if you know what the plot is, you obviously aren't very familiar with the concept of Ninja-ing.

Blaster Master

seanstar on Friday, 13 May 2011. Posted in Retro Game of the Week

Chou Wakusei Senki - Metafight was published by SunSoft in Japan in 1988. It was a traditional modern Japanese tale of a blue-haired transforming vehicle combat driver saving the land from an invading robot army, with the help of a cute female sidekick who was also the vehicle's engineer. For reasons which remain ambiguous, the story was ever so slightly reworked for American audiences, and the result was Blaster Master -- a touching tale about a boy and his frog, a big hole in the ground, radioactive mutation, and underground aliens (which are at least still set on taking over the world).


Pixelcade on Saturday, 23 April 2011. Posted in Retro Game of the Week

Let's take another trip down my memory lane to about 1983/84. I was at an arcade with my favorite aunt when I heard in an electronic voice, "tatatatatata."

The game was taunting me! Oh, how it mocked me with its electronic voice -- unheard of when it was released in 1981. I remember the G.O.R.F. (Galactic Orbiting Robot Force) cabinet looked similar to a Tron cabinet using the same controller method -- except for the neon glowing handle, anyway. It had everything a person wanted in a shooter! EVERYTHING!


Pixelcade on Thursday, 24 March 2011. Posted in Retro Game of the Week

The year was 1983.  A little Pixelcade turned 4 and was given for his birthday a brand new ColecoVision!

It was already a year into its lifecycle, and I was very little, but I knew this was something special. Atari, Intellivision and Odyssey were constants in my life from friends and older cousins, but this was MINE! My first gaming system to have, hold, and forge memories on. But what was ColecoVision? And who was its manufacturer, Coleco Industries?


mossy_11 on Saturday, 12 March 2011. Posted in Retro Game of the Week

Before he co-created the legendary Mac game Dark Castle -- long before he led development on the now-dominant Flash multimedia platform -- Jonathan Gay made a little black-and-white game called Airborne. The Macintosh was still in its infancy at this point, and Airborne was released more-or-less alongside the freeware Banzai!, but this did little to detract from Airborne's appeal.

The concept is simple: destroy the advancing tanks, planes, helicopters, and soldiers with your mortar or anti-aircraft gun before they reach your position. If someone gets close enough to shoot you, you lose -- presumably ending an admirable, or perhaps foolish, last stand against all odds to repel an invasion force. If you manage to defeat them all, a new wave arrives. There is no winning, just a staving off of the inevitable and a hope of setting a new high score.

Final Fantasy I

Pixelcade on Saturday, 26 February 2011. Posted in Retro Game of the Week

Editor's Note: I'm sure everyone here is familiar with this game -- by name and reputation if nothing else. It kicked off a franchise that's still going strong today, with sequels, spin-offs, collectibles, films, concerts, and many other products all being released under the Final Fantasy brand. Pixelcade shares his memories of the game that started it all. -mossy_11


The Final Fantasy…or was it? Hello fellow gamers! This RGotW is brought to you by the year 1987 and the system Nintendo, sponsored in part by the company Square. With a helpful grant from MacScene and Pixelcade. Rather than my usual choice of some obscure game or movie or random event no one has heard of, this week I am doing a mainstream game.

So, 1987: Where were you what were you doing? US President Ronald Reagan was undergoing prostate surgery, La Bamba moved everyone's hips in dance clubs world wide, and PBS was hacked in Chicago by a man wearing a Max Headroom mask, babbling about who knows what -- it sure wasn't New Coke. Also at this time a video game that would go on to shape every single RPG to date in one way or another was developed by a little company going out of business -- Square.