Retro Game of the Week

Shufflepuck Café

mossy_11 on Wednesday, 09 February 2011. Posted in Retro Game of the Week

As far as strange bars go, you'll be hard-pressed to find something weirder than Shufflepuck Café. Staffed by a robot, and replete with several dysfunctional regulars, its main attraction is an air hockey table. This standoffish group, composed of nine individuals (including the robot waiter), has just one interest: destroying you in a game of virtual air hockey.



Pixelcade on Tuesday, 25 January 2011. Posted in Retro Game of the Week

Editor's Note: After a brief hiatus, the RGotW community feature returns. I'm too young to have played this game -- or to have even seen it at an arcade -- but it seems that Sinistar lives up to its name. I believe it is also historically significant, as an influence on many later space shooters, so take note if you're into video-game history. -mossy_11


RUN RUN RUN! Greetings classic gamers! It's time for yet another instalment of Pixelcade's "games you may have not heard about" segment. This time, we are going to take a look at Sinistar by Williams.

Let me get the technical details out of the way first. Year: 1982; cabinet type: Space Shooter Vertical Cabinet or Environmental; players: 2, but only one at a time; input: two buttons, one joystick; MONO Sound (yes kids, I said MONO -- as in one channel of audio). So with those technical details gone done lets see what's going on here.

1982: I was crying my eyes out as that little lovable alien E.T. couldn't get a calling card to phone home. Ozzy found love and married his manager Sharon. And I was busy playing my Colecovision and still picking my nose. On trips to the local arcade one could hear dozens of games in attract mode, begging you to approach and put in that lovely silver quarter.

The Legacy of Tron (updated)

Pixelcade on Thursday, 16 December 2010. Posted in Retro Game of the Week

Editor's Note: I wasn't alive when Tron came out, but Pixelcade's youth was touched by both the original film and the many games it spawned. Check out this detailed run-down of the franchise, which is fused as always with a personal history. -mossy_11

1982 -- Robotron 2084 was driving people crazy fighting the hordes of robots bent on our destruction, Men at Work were asking “Who Can It Be Now,” and a young programmer/hacker named Kevin Flnn (Jeff Bridges) decided to hack into ENCOM. This would be the start of a great adventure into 3D graphics in film and a franchise that has a huge niche market around the world.

The movie Tron started as an animated feature, but cooler heads prevailed and Lisberger Studios pushed for live action and 3D technology well ahead of its time. It was all about sucking the player into the game and virtual world -- something today's viewing audience takes for granted. On July 9, 1982 Tron earned over $33 million -- in the U.S. alone -- and spawned what we are starting to see come back full circle this December 16th.

The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle

mossy_11 on Tuesday, 30 November 2010. Posted in Retro Game of the Week


Honey Bunny is being held prisoner in a castle and only Bugs can save her, but you’d have to read the manual to know that. I had no manual back when I played The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle on my Game Boy, so I thought maybe it had some kind of escape theme. Years later I discovered the real story, but that didn’t really matter. Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle is an action-puzzle game, and a fun one at that.

I was obsessed with completing this game as a kid, spending hours trying to master it and using dozens of sheets of paper to write down my passwords (yep, no save slots). The music and sounds are now permanently imprinted on my memory, and always make me feel like dancing. It is a game with personality, mixing a distinctly Japanese flavour with the traditional Looney Tunes humour and animation.


mossy_11 on Monday, 15 November 2010. Posted in Retro Game of the Week


Razzle Dazzle! Boomshakalaka! He’s on fire! These nonsense words and phrases are permanently imprinted on my psyche, so great was the impact that Midway's arcade basketball game, NBA Jam, had on my youth. In honour of the recent franchise reboot, I’m taking a look back at the original NBA Jam. I hope you’ll join me.

When I was a kid, my friends would often have their birthday parties at video game arcades. We had the entire arcade to ourselves for a few hours, with unlimited play on any machine. The first thing I looked for was always NBA Jam; I couldn’t get enough of its wild antics and crazy fun. This was basketball, minus the boring bits, with the kind of self-mocking edginess that attracted me to movies like Wayne’s World and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

E.V.O.: Search for Eden

Pixelcade on Monday, 01 November 2010. Posted in Retro Game of the Week

Editor's note: I was playing the game while I edited the article. It strikes me as being just as interesting and fun as Pixelcade says, and I can't help but wonder why Spore was not more like this. Check out the article, then get the game -- evolving your creature is immediately addictive and satisfying. -mossy_11

At some point in my misery called high school, on a good ol' fashioned "I don't feel well" sick day (which was conveniently a Friday), I drove up to the local video store and looked for a few games. Browsing the covers it seemed to me that every game was the same -- I had either played it or had no desire to. Out of nowhere appeared this cool looking box with the letters E.V.O.: Search for Eden (although with all the cool graphics I only noticed the E.V.O. part).

The back of the box had my favorite style of pixel graphics, featuring lots of color and creative designs. I thought, "What the hey, I'll give this one a shot for the weekend." Upon getting home and powering it up I was welcomed by an impressive musical score, which played as the game's title came into view over a space shot of half our planet. I have always enjoyed science and the history of how things came to be, but I had no idea I was about to embark on a creative study of evolution and the geological time scale, as they were understood by scientists at the time.


Ceremony of Innocence

mossy_11 on Monday, 18 October 2010. Posted in Retro Game of the Week

ceremonyThe rise of the CD-ROM in the 1990s brought great excitement to artists and storytellers interested in the digital medium. At last they could explore the concept of multimedia -- sound, animation, text, and graphics could be put together in one coherent piece of artistry and shipped out to millions of people.

It worked in theory, but not so much in practice. Most multimedia CD-ROMs released commercially were awkward to use, uneven in their artistry, and downright boring to explore. Many tried to cross the line from “interactive multimedia” to “game” -- to mixed success.

But one in particular was always likely to be an exceptionally successful -- in quality if not sales numbers -- piece of interactive multimedia. It was Ceremony of Innocence, an adaptation of artist and author Nick Bantock's Griffin and Sabine trilogy.

Civilization 1 & 2

mossy_11 on Monday, 04 October 2010. Posted in Retro Game of the Week

For much of my existence on this earth, I have been an unashamed Civilization addict, Sid Meier's historically-themed strategy masterpiece. The series has done more to cultivate my interests today than anything else, helping to determine my majors in school (history and computer science), my fascination with interactive systems, and my goal of a career in game design.

I was only four years old when the original Civilization came out in 1991, and I knew nothing of the game until a few years later, when my brother entered private school. He came home after school one day with Civilization installed on his laptop and showed it to me. I was hooked instantly -- before I’d even played it. The developers had abstracted an entire alternate history of Western civilization into this simple game that offered so much emergent complexity.