Tuesday, January 24, 2012


A Need For Speed...Ha I have a Need For Stunts

        This game is a game my brother and I played endlessly. Thanks to Baur's!One A Day Tech! blog post on a game called Track Mania. I was suddenly inspired to write about this game of which I had forgotten until reading about Track Mania. Pretty cool!! Follow him  he has a great many things you'll want to be updated on! 

I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes

        Anyway on to the game Stunts was made in 1990 by Broderbund. If you don't know this company, Myst, Lode Runner, Prince of Persia, that is all... I digress however Stunts is a pioneer of it's genre. If you ever played racing games during the time then you know that there wasn't a whole lot to them at least in my opinion. Stunts was nothing short of pioneering. Most racing games consisted of racing along a pre-made track trying to avoid crashing into the cars in front of you or beside you. Let me remind you I played very little amounts of racing games so I could be way off on the innovation department. However Stunts is somewhat your run of the mill racing game with a huge difference. It had opponents in which to race as well as pre-made race tracks to race them on. Which I can attest to being a really hard achievement to beat any of the racers within Stunts enless you give them the crappiest car even then it can be tough to beat them.

Don't give him this vehicle he will win!

     Now i'm sure your thinking to yourself "Well this stunts game is turning out to be your run of the mill racing game it seems this fellow is lying." Well one of the unique part of this game is the fact that you can pick from a wide(for the time)variety of vehicles to drive from 11 in total. It also had Automatic and Manual control which for the time was pretty new from my knowledge. Also there was a record feature in which you can watch and save your races to view them at a later time perhaps new for the time as well.

A boat in the middle of nowhere what is happening?

     The biggest reason this game is so damn innovative is the fact that there is a custom race track feature. I know it's crazy. 1990 and so much customization in a racing game. You bet your bottom dollar! The regular editor includes the track pieces themselves, The Terrain editor is only accessible by pressing Shift-F1, I don't think many knew about this terrain editor as it's not in the manual. But with the knowledge to make your own terrain and tracks is the greatest part of this game.  I remember my brother and I spending hours making tracks with loop to loops and sidewinders, only to end into a large lake or fly off a ramp into oblivion. I absolutly love the tracks you can make. You have a lot of freedom in this regard and are given a wide area to create your tracks. Also the amount of options you get to use are outstanding.

    I've always had a special place in my heart for Stunts it's one of the many games I played as a child that really pushed the limits of my imagination and influenced what I expect from games. Stunts is a game that holds a whole lot of innovation for the time. The racing can get difficult, although the racing with the A.I. is rather dull and gets old quick as do the pre-made tracks. The custom track makes up for the standard tracks in every way, shape, and form. If you don't like the main part of the game you will love the custom made tracks. I give Stunts a 9 out of 10 this game is worth a great deal of time I really don't care for racing games and this game is why. It's set the bar for me and no racing games I have played after have given me what Stunts has. But we will see with track mania! Thanks again Baur for digging up some childhood memories!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pickle Wars an oddity of Platforming or Genius? You decide!

Dazed and Confused

       Pickle Wars is perhaps one of the most obscure platformers at least to me. I've never heard anyone talk about Pickle Wars except for my brother and friend. They are the only two people I know that have played it. Which makes this game all the more sweet in it's uniqueness and obscurity. Pickle Wars was made in 1994 by a company called Redwood Games a little know company founded by Karen Crowther, Redwood Games is known for making gender neutral kid friendly games that are pretty fun regardless. Their 4 biggest games are educational games with Pickle Wars being perhaps the least educational but still somewhat educational. Regardless this is perhaps my favorite platformer ever. Not only is the story great it's also quite funny how things pan out and besides Pickle Aliens trying to take over is fun in itself. 

Look it's Dave on the LED HD TV of the Future!

      The premise of Pickle Wars is this, You begin your adventure on the planet Arcadia, The planet is a peaceful one yet it is besieged by Pickles and their alien cohorts. You play as either Dave or Linda and alternate between the two through out the episodes. There are 3 episodes in total like most 90's platformers. The levels are filled with all sorts of traps, pitfalls, pickles, robots and monsters that seemingly pop out of areas you least expect. Also the one of the funniest features is the mail service which you lose points for accidentally blowing up. You get funny messages if you catch the mail that floats around as well as helpful hints and a few points. 

Yep that's the mail bot through rain, sleet, snow, or invasions by pickles

They are everywhere!

It's Linda and some soda pop

Now you may be wondering what exactly do you use to defeat the pickles and save the planet of Arcadia from utter annihilation. The Salad Shooter now those of you who lived in the 90's know exactly what i'm talking about now if you don't i'll give a brief description. A Salad Shooter is a miraculous device that in fact "quickly slices or shreds vegetables, fruits, cheese and more for sensational salads, perfect pizzas, terrific tacos, and delicious desserts." Also it destroys Pickle aliens and obliterates machinery with the said projectiles of destruction above. The objective of each level is to get all the salad shooters and thus continue to the next area. Quite simple also obtaining carrots for health, junk food for points all along the way to defeating the evil pickle invaders.

It looks innocent enough until it kills you

Now with the game generally explained, my review follows as this. At times the jumping can be difficult for getting around it's not the worst but it's not the best. Sometimes dodging the monsters that pop out of random holes can be hard as well although it's easy to determine which random hole they are going to appear out of. The games uniqueness and fun greatly out weigh it's flaws I've always enjoyed a nice romp through Arcadia knocking out pickles from time to time and as a platformer it has remained a timeless classic with perhaps one of the most outstanding stories for a platformer of it's day. I give Pickle wars a 8 out of 10. Like the title says oddity or genius? Give it a go and see what you think some might like it some might not but you'll never know until you try!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

So It begins\Microsoft encarta 95' review

I haven't posted anything lately because today I start school and work, I've been preparing for my break to end. i'm going to be writing whenever I get a chance however that chance is unknown when it will occur. But regardless thanks to those who read my page and are following it and I shall write more soon!!

I played a game in 1995 called microsoft encarta 95' my grandpa would get things like this for free as he was a professor of geology and is now retired, now i'm sure you are thinking encarta isn't that an encyclopedia? Yep it sure is but it was also a maze puzzle called Mind Maze with questions you had to answer in order to continue on the maze it was pretty fun here is some screens to enjoy  an educational game sure but still lots of fun and you learn something in the process

Give it a go I don't know if it's freeware or abandonware in fact I doubt it. But either way if you find it, it is something worth experiencing so, enjoy and have fun, don't let the jester touch you, he is creepy as all jesters are. I give Mind Maze a 7 out of 10 for being a random maze generator but the questions do eventually turn into the same questions if you play it enough but believe me there are a ton of questions so it takes a long time to get to that point.

Friday, January 13, 2012

UBIart Framework/Rayman Origins Review

                I wanted to do a quick post on an video game engine that I personally think is going to revolutionize gaming. Making video games stand out more as an art form rather then just entertainment. When I was a kid I played video games that were awe inspiring in the art direction with hand drawn backgrounds and characters such as Legend of Mana, Rayman, Suikoden, etc. The game engine i'm talking about is UBIart Framework. I recently bought Rayman Origins for my girlfriend for Christmas, as Rayman was both our childhood firsts on the Playstation and hell we needed Rayman Origins. As we have played it I am so enthralled with the engine itself it has a cartoon feel but with that comes a great many things we can mold that into. I wanted to show a few examples from the UBIart Framework blog the link is show here for reference UBIart Framework Blog 

    You can see for yourself how amazing this engine really is

looks like a painting to me

I feel if I had a child and they drew me a picture I could take it and make a game out of it for them

Reminds me of Metal Slug for some reason

I'm not a fan of Tim Burton but if this was made into a full scale video game i'd buy

Things have changed

                   Some screens of Rayman Origins the top one is a bit blurry but it's till pretty to me.

       Things in the video game industry are changing all the time, but I really hope UBIart framework is recognized and utilized to it's greatest potential I promise i'll be watching for the next crazy game you come up with or the next game that's made with your free to use engine. You did well Ubisoft you did well

   I figure while i'm talking about Rayman Origins i should review.

             The Review: Rayman Origins is not only a beautiful game it is perhaps one of the funnest platformers I have played in years. It even outshines the original. It's not as hard as Rayman but it certainly becomes quite challanging also all the things you get to collect throughout the game is a fun way to pass the time. Also it is 4 player and not online 4 player. 4 people in a room 4 player. Which is something I miss, don't get me wrong I like myself some online but I greatly miss having people come over and play a game with me, It's a lot less lonely then sitting on my ass eating cheetos and crying cause I got pwned for the 30th time by a guy with a 30 kill streak. But I digress this game is simply genius it can get hard at times which can be a put off for some as there are some levels that you have to race through. But to make up for it there is a side scrolling shooter with the mosquito every 4 levels or so which is a nice break from the regular platforming. I give Rayman Origins a 10 out of 10 defiantly made it on my top 20 list of greatest games of all time

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pool of Radiance

Wait for it...Wait for it
          Today i'm going to be talking about Pool of Radiance one of the the first computer games I had ever seen or played. This game began the gold box series for SSI(strategic simulations inc) and TSR(Tactical Studies Rules) It was the very first pc adaptation of a D&D game as well as the first game to use the "gold box" engine it was released in 1988 and was the beginning to a very long line of D&D games. This was the first of a 4 part series including The Curse of the Azure Bonds,Secret of the Silverblades, and finally Pools of Darkness. These games revolutionized the Rpg genre and created a world of D&D no one could have imagined except of course the people that created them, but that's just a technicality we will over look anyway on to the game

          This game does have a copy write password doohickey of which is rather annoying but most downloads already have a bypass built in so don't worry about it too much. If you have a rune wheel you are luckier then most because that is the most ancient form of knowing the passwords 
My nordic ancestors would know how to play pool of radiance

             Pool of radiance was based off of the AD&D dungeons and dragons rule book or better know as the second edition rule set, which at the time wasn't even fully developed or published until the following year, in 1989. So this game was the coolest thing back then certainly for those fans of the series and for young aspiring nerds like myself.

Pop-eye up there says it best

       It's pretty standard AD&D stuff. You get Six party members in which to create your own mishmash of mages,fighters,thieves and clerics, being the main classes as well as cross classes for example the wonderful and versatile fighter/clerics, or the rogue/mage/fighter. Not a ton to choose from class wise but either way it gets the job done. 

I have a feeling this isn't natural

          There are several races to choose from, Human,Dwarves,Elves,Half-Elves,Gnome,and Halfling.  Each race has it's own level cap for each class. To me that is a huge short coming as sometimes elves are fighters too. But since their level cap is 8 I would rather have a dwarf fighter who can be level 9, or an elf who can be a level 12 mage then a dwarf who can be a level 9 mage. Either way you get my point here. After you get done changing the body and head to your preference you get to make your characters battle image. 

        This is where it gets really fun you can change what weapons they are holding and every color, so if I want a character that's blue and weilding a two handed flail I sure can, or a green armor wearing berserker red head I sure can. But this just really allows you to become attached to your characters, because you basically have all the say in what they look like you can even change them from tall to short considering there are wee folk in this game. For most games of the time this was not a possibility. here are some examples

I know it's hard to see but you can see the difference kinda

      Anyway you hit exit then it takes you back to the main screen then you add that character to the party and can either start out with just him or make the rest of the party. It is possible to play the whole game with a few people and then gather up npcs to fill up the rest of the party but to me it's more fun to make your whole crew and then jump into Phlan and mess things up.

Some men just want to watch the world burn

         The story is decent you are mercinaries sent to figure out what is going on with the city of Phlan and all the resurgances of monsters in the surrounding areas. A lot of the game takes place in Phlan but eventually you do leave and explore the countryside tracking down the ancient evil that is causing the ruckus. The art in this game is exquisite its like an moving second edition monster manual the monsters are all hand drawn and really cool looking. Exploration is fun as there is a map that helps you to navigate although it has no markers or anything of that sort it still helps by having.

Here is a partial map of Phlan and the surrounding areas

        Combat is perhaps the most interesting part of Pool of Radiance as it's turn based strategy made famous by SSI. You can fight using weapons or spells. Spells must be memorized at the camp screen seen below you can camp at any time to heal and memorize your spells and if your lucky you won't get interrupted by the various denizens of Phlan.

Thats a small looking fire
       Combat is based off of what a d&d game would look like if you happened to use die cast figurines and a grid board. In pool of radiance you can move a certain number of steps until you have to make an action. You can either run up to your enemies and attack or do ranged attacks from afar with ranged weapons or spells. There is a lot of different variations to do this but it is pretty simple so don't feel overwhelmed.

That's a whole lot of crazy going on

    The Review: Pool of Radiance is a great game for people who enjoy the box first person rpgs of yester year and even for those just beginning to play rpgs this is a good way to get into d&d as well. There are a lot of things I left out due to time constraints but this is an indepth rpg for it's time and the graphics are horrible. The character customization is fantastic and allows you to get into your characters and feel like your part of the adventure. There are a few things I wish were different such as markers for the map and a higher level cap since the game is rather long. Also the game can get extremely difficult as the monsters don't joke around about smashing your face in and setting you on fire however you just have to take it easy and work your way to the top and you will live strong. 

    You tend to collect tons and tons of loot which weights you down tremendously, making it hard to move around but then again. I lack the ability to buy things and tend to horde all the gems and jewels I find. Either way it's a solid game with many things to explore and plunder, if you have never played the old d&d games start here and your journey will be the most amazing one you could ever imagine I give this game a 10 out of 10 for making me the role playing person I am today and for making the dreams of d&d players come true 

The treasure being pool of radiance duh


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bethesda vs Interplay. Sucker punch numero dos for Interplay

All Fallout® Intellectual Property Rights Belong Exclusively to Bethesda
January 9, 2012 (Rockville, MD) –ZeniMax® Media Inc. today announced that a settlement had been reached in the lawsuit filed by its subsidiary, Bethesda Softworks®, against Interplay Entertainment Corporation in 2009, Bethesda Softworks LLC v Interplay Entertainment Corp., seeking cancellation of the license granted to Interplay to develop a massively multiplayer online game (MMO) based on the Fallout brand. Bethesda maintained in its complaint that Interplay had failed to meet the conditions for the license and the license was therefore of no continuing validity.

Under the terms of the settlement, the license granted to Interplay to develop the Fallout MMO is null and void, and all rights granted to Interplay to develop a Fallout MMO revert back to Bethesda, effective immediately. Interplay has no ongoing right to use the Fallout brand or any Fallout intellectual property for any game development. ZeniMax will pay Interplay $2 million as consideration in the settlement, each party will bear its own costs of the litigation, and Bethesda will continue to own all Fallout intellectual property rights. Interplay will be permitted to continue to sell the original Fallout ®Tactics, Fallout® and Fallout® 2 PC games through December 2013, after which time all rights to market those games revert to and become the sole property of Bethesda. Under the original agreement pursuant to which Bethesda had acquired the Fallout property, Interplay was granted certain merchandising rights to sell those original Fallout games, but those merchandising rights will now expire on December 31, 2013.      

The lawsuit against Interplay arose after Bethesda Softworks acquired all Fallout intellectual property rights from Interplay in April 2007, and conditionally licensed back to Interplay certain trademark rights to make a Fallout MMO, provided Interplay secured $30 million in financing for the MMO and commenced full scale development of the game by April 2009. Bethesda alleged in its complaint that Interplay failed to meet either condition of the license back agreement but refused to relinquish its license and insisted it would develop a Fallout MMO.  Bethesda filed suit to declare the license void.

In a separate but related matter, Bethesda commenced a second action against a purported developer of the Fallout MMO, Masthead Studios, Bethesda Softworks LLC v Masthead Studios Ltd. In the course of the original lawsuit against Interplay, Interplay had claimed that it had engaged Masthead Studios to develop the Fallout MMO under its license, and contended that Masthead was engaged in full scale development of that game. Bethesda filed its separate lawsuit against Masthead to assert copyright infringement and other violations of Bethesda’s intellectual property rights. Under the MMO license granted to Interplay, Interplay was not permitted to sublicense any rights granted without the prior approval of Bethesda, approval which had never been requested or granted.  In responding to Bethesda’s lawsuit, Masthead denied that it had been using any of Bethesda’s intellectual property in developing an MMO. Masthead and Bethesda settled that second lawsuit on December 29, 2011.  In the settlement, Masthead acknowledges it has no legal right to use any Fallout intellectual property, and agrees it will not use any such intellectual property of Bethesda in the future.  No payments were made by either party as part of this settlement. The two settlements resolve all pending litigation over the Fallout intellectual property owned by Bethesda.

Robert Altman, Chairman and CEO of ZeniMax, expressed satisfaction on behalf of the Company with the resolution of the two lawsuits saying, “While we strongly believe in the merits of our suits, we are pleased to avoid the distraction and expense of litigation while completely resolving all claims to the Fallout IP. Fallout is an important property of ZeniMax and we are now able to develop future Fallout titles for our fans without third party involvement or the overhang of others’ legal claims.”

Good thing, bad thing? Yes, No, Maybe so. give me your thoughts on this ground breaking news on the future of a beloved franchise and lets see what road it heads down.

As long as we have the Ron Perlman Perk everything will be alright

Monday, January 9, 2012


            Most of the games I review that are for DOS can be found at abandonia.com a site for abandonware in which I have used frequently as my main source for abandoned games. Also I use home of the underdogs and xtc abandonware once in awhile if abandonia doesn't have what I need. Abandonia includes the game, the manuals if you need them, and whatever random resource they have. Also make sure you get a hold of dosbox in order to run the games if you don't have an older computer to run them on. 

        Dosbox is a nice thing to use however i realize not all people can do it the same way I do it and some games just don't work that way so i'm going to provide a link with a full tutorial on how to setup dosbox A Beginner's Guide to Dosbox by the Fifth Horsemen this guide is really easy to follow, let me know how it goes for you. Thanks!

Space Quest The Sarien Encounter VGA

and a horrible death soon followed

      Today i'm going to write about one of my favorite adventure games Space Quest The Sarien Encounter in VGA. This is a re-release of the original with better graphics and sound as I never played the original but did play this and I was taken away on a journey the first time I died and have never once forgot of the misguided adventures of perhaps one of the most beloved space janitors of all time Roger Wilco.

     Space quest was originally released from Sierra in 1986 but was then remade from EGA to VGA in 1991 with this new improvement also came the addition of the mouse rather then inputing text commands which of course made the game much more user friendly for people who didn't really play games due to that fact alone
I see a few ways to die

Abandon hope all ye who enter here

      Now there is something that is quite unique about space quest and it's the fact that it is so crazy how often and in what ways Roger Wilco tends to die. He has got to be the most unlucky person in the whole galaxy. Now at times figuring out what to do takes a bit of trial and error but that is always something that I enjoyed I feel at times you even try your hardest to find out what ways Roger Wilco can die. It's a very hilarious game.

It looked tasty, oops

    As far as adventure games go you also have a backpack screen or some kind of thing that holds your stuff in which you collect a very random assortment of items such as a magnet or an ort finger. I'm sure your asking yourself, what would I need a magnet in space for? Who am I going to give this ort finger to? Quite the conundrum but there is always a reason to his madness and all is well in the world of Wilco when he finally figure out what to use things for.     

Broken glass and a green thing, perfect

      The Review: All in all this is probably one of the greatest staples of the adventure game era there is not a moment where you say to yourself I wish I was playing something else, From start to finish you will enjoy lots of laughs and smiles as you traverse the bowels of space in search of Roger Wilcos destiny. However one of the draw backs although a small one is there is a copy protection in the form of codes that you can only find in the manual so make sure to get a copy. Sometimes trying to figure out what to do can be slightly aggravating and confusing but you will get it eventually if you really put your mind to it. This is a game you should really pick up and give a try I give Space Quest: The Sarian Encounter a 9.0 out of 10

Get em Roger Wilco Get em!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Wasteland adventure in post-nuclear American 1987 (Apple II, C64),1988 (PC)

Wasteland is one of those games that pull you in from the start and don't let go. The quirky texts and battle images provide you with plenty to think about. It's perhaps one of the only games of the time that provides you with something to imagine almost to the point of a text-based adventure. But still provides great imagery to really get that good old imagination crank going

You start wasteland out as a group of 4 Desert rangers, wide eyed and ready to traverse the desert wasteland in search of civilization and high adventure. Much of the land is mutated and wild with pockets of civilization sprinkling the radiated desert sand.
What a nice lawn they have.

 You begin with 4 premade characters which is fine, they are well made but if you are like me and want to make your own rabble of mutant hunters then head on into the desert ranger facility and start creating. Character builds are based on Seven stats including Strength(ST), Intelligence(IQ), Luck(LK),Speed(SP),Agility(AGL), Dexterity(DEX), Charisma(CHR), and finally SKP stands for skill points which you gain from leveling and can place into the great variety of skills such as brawling or climbing. Every skill has a purpose and can be used at certain points throughout the game but aren't necessary to beat the game you don't have to be good at gambling to defeat the final boss. Also there is MaxCon which is your hit points so make sure you keep track of that or you will be destroyed. The rest of character creation is easy, pick some skills you want like Brawling, Pistols, Climbing, Forgery, Pick locks, etc. Then name your character and go out Into the wastes in search of long lost treasures such as hover rounds and sham wows.
Apparently when you die you instantly become a skeleton

The exploration system is a bit different then your run of the mill Eye of the Beholder or Bards Tale (also an interplay game) It's top down third person perspective created a more wide world to explore allowing for a less linear experience then that of the dungeon crawler variety.
Scuba suits are common in the wastes

Think Monty Python Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog

Combat is turn based and often funny with comments about blood sausages, or spinning into a dance of death which i'm sure you can imagine looks quite messed up if seen in reality so better to be left in the video game world. Most of the enemies in the game use the same portraits which can be off putting but for it's time it is certainly full of cool looking monsters and wasteland denizens to waste. Also the plethora of weapons is awe inspiring for a game of this age. Not your usual riff raff of swords and wands from the standard portrait rpgs of the day you get pistols,crowbars,fists,proton axes,assault rifles,rocket launchers, just to name a few. Here are some of the beasts and people you encounter through combat or as non player characters that you can recruit to fight a long.

Doom for the Naked Molerat

 As you can see the characters are interesting and defiantly make you imagine a wasteland full of lunatics, mutants, and those looking to survive by any means necessary. Also one of the main componants is a lot that happens you need to have the manual to know whats going on when not in combat which can be annoying but i'll provide a link to where you can find the manual. as many classic portrait rpgs it says see "paragraph 32" when you enter a room to get a better description of the situation which may be a drawback in some peoples eyes but for me it takes me back to listening to the Dungeon Master in a dungeons and dragons game describing the surroundings which makes the game more exciting for me because not only do I get a basic visual but I also get a chance to imagine how it looks.

The Last Lumber Jack but really hes a bunny handler
Beware the unwieldy Visa Staff of Credit

The Review: Sometimes it can get really frustrating figuring out what to do and where to go but once you get the hang of the interface it becomes second nature. Paying attention to what people say and asking questions can be difficult to master but given the right tools such as a pencil and paper for instance makes it much more involving and rewarding. having to reference the manual often can get annoying quick but that's how most rpgs of the time were so I can't fault it too much for that. The amount of detail gone into character creation and the depth of skills really allow you to get attached to your characters. Also the promotion system really makes you feel like your characters are getting rewarded for their hard work more so then just getting skill points like traditional rpgs also the higher the rank sometimes allows you to enter places you couldn't before as the denizens of the wastes are impressed by your achievements. However the skills can be confusing as to which ones are more important then others but this also adds to the replay value and multiple character builds in my opinion. The story itself is a really good one that is inspiration for many post-apocalyptic games of today it's tough to get there but in the end it's really interesting for a post apocolyptic game.
Too bad Kylie is unconscious she could have gone up a rank too

     The combat is difficult at times and battles happen far too often which can be tough when you hardly have a chance to heal up after your last battle and believe me the doctors in wasteland are a scary bunch. But all in all Wasteland is a classic game that still stands the test of time even against some of the more recent titles this game still has many ideas to offer the world of rpgs and hopefully in the future we will see a remake or sequel but for now if you get a chance pick it up replay it do whatever feels right, But honestly if you haven't played Wasteland it's something you just have to do. I give Wasteland a 9.5 out of 10