Feeling Flushed? You Probably Have Pac-Man Fever

Fun Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Pac Man or Maybe You Did

Picture of arcades relating to Pac-Man and Pac-Man Arcades


Pac-Man Forever

Even if you never played the classic arcade game Pac-Man, you've no doubt heard of it. Here are some fun facts about the iconic yellow character that you may not have known.

For example, did you know that Pac-Man was originally intended to be a popcorn character? Or that in 1982, Pac-Man became the first video game to be turned into a cartoon series? I bet you didn't! Read on for more interesting tidbits about this popular gaming icon.

1. The original Japanese name for Pac-Man is Puck Man. The name was changed to Pac-Man for the US release because Puck Man could be easily vandalized to say *uck Man by vandals. Plus, there were hefty fines leveled at companies during that time for breaching the "code of conduct" values. That's why you never heard curse words on TV, in music, or in print magazines back in those days.

2. Popcorn to Pizza - Pac-Man's original design was intended for the character to look like a piece of popcorn moving about in the maze because Iwantani thought the popcorn shape would be easier for players to recognize. That's of course before he had pizza...

3. Pizza Anyone? - The creator of Pac-Man, Toru Iwatani, has said in numerous publications that the final inspiration for the Pac-Man character came from a whole pizza with a missing slice. Iwatani claims that he stared at the pizza and thought it would be more relatable to players than a character designed as a popcorn or potato chip. Thus, the legend was born. I bet after reading this you'll never look at a pepperoni pizza the same way again.

4. Pac-Man Sound - The “Wakka Wakka Wakka” sound made by Pac-Man when eating ghosts is actually derived from the sound of a mouth being opened and closed repeatedly which is a common practice in many Asian cultures. Did you know burping and slurping during and after a meal is a sign of appreciation in many Asian cultures? Here in the US, it would get you a smack in the face.

5. Ready, Set, Go! - Did you know that the first level of Pac-Man is based on the Japanese character for “mouth” (口), which also inspired the name Pakkuman.

4. Who's the Best? - In the early 1980s, there was a real-life Pac-Man World Championship held in New York City. The winner, Billy Mitchell, scored over 6 million points which was the highest score ever recorded in one playthrough.

5. TV Success - In 1990, an episode of the popular TV show Digimon featured a character named Agumon who transformed into a giant golden Pac-Man called Graniyan.

6. Time After Time - Pac-Man is one of only a few video game characters to have been featured on the cover of Time magazine (in May 1982) and also inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame in 2015.

7. Truth Unknown - One of the biggest myths about Pac-Man is that if you eat enough dots, you will be able to see a secret message from the creators. Despite the many attempts to verify this, no one has ever been able to prove this to be true.

Picture of arcades relating to Pac-Man and Pac-Man Arcades

Gameplay: Simple But Addicting

The rules of Pac-Man are simple. The player controls the titular character with a four-way joystick. As Pac-Man moves around the maze, he must consume all of the dots within it while avoiding contact with four ghosts: Blinky (red), Pinky (pink), Inky (blue), and Clyde (orange). If Pac-Man bumps into a ghost, he will lose a life; if all lives are lost, the game ends.

There are also four power pellets scattered around the maze that allow Pac-Man to eat the ghosts for a short period of time; during this "frightened" state, the ghosts turn blue and run away from Pac-Man. If Pac-Man consumes all of the dots in the maze, he will advance to the next stage.

Picture of arcades relating to Pac-Man and Pac-Man Arcades


Characters: More than Meets the Eye

The original Japanese name for the game was simply Puck Man, named after the Japanese term for “munching” (codenamed as Pakku-Man). The name was later changed to Pac-Man for the international release after it was discovered that Puck Man could easily be vandalized to read *uck Man.

There are only four possible mazes in the game, and only three different monsters AI types. The pellets that Pac-Man eats are actually called “power pellets” – eating one turns the tables and allows Pac-Man to eat the ghosts.

The Japanese character for “mouth” is represented by the character “Kuchi”, which is where Pac-Man gets his name. The name “Pac-Man” is actually a play on words – in Japan, Kuchi can also mean “addition” or “plus”, making Pac-Man a pun for “addition man” or “plus man”.

Picture of arcades relating to Pac-Man and Pac-Man Arcades

Reception: Awards and Recognition

When it was first released in Japan, Pac-Man was not a big hit. In fact, it was quite the opposite. The game was so unpopular that its creator, Toru Iwatani, considered quitting the video game industry altogether. Thankfully, he didn't give up and Pac-Man went on to become one of the most popular video games of all time.

It's estimated that the average person spends about six days of their life playing Pac-Man. That's a lot of time spent chomping on the dots! Pac-Man is such an icon that he has even been featured in a few movies, including Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Pixels. In 2010, Google turned the Google doodle into a playable game of Pac-Man to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the game's release.

Lasting Legacy

In many ways, Pac-Man is the perfect video game. It's easy to learn but difficult to master. It's appropriate for all ages but still challenging for adults, and most importantly, it's an incredibly fun game that can be enjoyed over and over again.

We hope you enjoyed reading our list of fun facts about Pac-Man. If you have any additional information or corrections, please let us know in the comments below. And, as always, if you found this article enjoyable, be sure to share it with your friends and followers. Thanks for reading!

Indie Recommendation: Moons of Darsalon

Early Impressions

The moon is always full in Darsalon! So party it up with your friends, and don't forget to bring a picnic blanket and a compass since you'll be going where no man has gone before. A telescope and some courage are welcome too since you might catch a glimpse of some intergalactic shenanigans as you traverse upward toward the skies or down deep into the caverns of the underground.


Koochy, Koochy, Koo!

Moons of Darsalon, by indie developer Dr. Kucho! Games is the next installment in the Darsalon series, (the first one being Pilots of Darsalon) and presents players with the task of rescuing a mining team lost on one of the moons orbiting the foliage-rich planet of Darsalon. The premise, as you can imagine might sound easy, until you realize the group you have to save have a combined IQ of a doorknob. But hey, that's what makes the game utterly fun and hilarious at the same time.

The first time I booted up the game, I was eerily reminded of the first few levels of Earthworm Jim, with its pixelated graphics and soft hues in colors. The actual gameplay, however, feels reminiscent of classic platforming and puzzle-solving games like Lemmings where the game challenges players to think strategically and use their abilities in creative ways to bring the mining team back safely.

But beyond just being an entertaining and charming experience, Moon of Darsalon also evokes feelings of nostalgia with its retro graphics and brilliant musical score. In a sea of big-budget blockbuster games, this one took me by surprise and it stands out as a refreshing and unique achievement in indie gaming. While the demo has its quirks, like resolution and controller issues, I still found the experience to be quite addicting, leaving me wanting to play more.


Bring Me Home, Baby!

Playing Moons of Darsalon not only brought me loads of fun, but it also gave me a sense of nostalgia for those classic games that I loved growing up. I would highly recommend this game to anyone looking for an exciting platforming and puzzle-solving experience. With its addicting gameplay and throwback feel, Moons of Darsalon is definitely a title to keep your eyes on.

We'll have more on Moons of Darsalon as it gets closer to release.


FAQ

Is Dr. Kucho! Games the real name of the developer?

Yes! According to his bio, Dr. Kucho! was/still is a well-regarded Spanish house DJ who is now tinkering in the world of video game design. How cool is that?

You said Moons of Darsalon reminded you of Earthworm Jim, I think you meant to say Abe's Oddysee, perhaps?

No, pal. Aesthetically, the game reminds me a lot of Earthworm Jim. Gameplay-wise, it does have elements of Abe's Oddysee with its command prompts. So, yeah, you're half right.

The game looks cool, When is it scheduled for release?

According to the Steam page, the target release is aimed at the 1st Quarter of 2023.


Something Old, Something New - EX-Zodiac (Steam) Review

Another Galaxy to Save

In the vast expanse of outer space, there exists a star system known as Sanzaru. Within the Sanzaru star system, and under the control of the ruthless Zodiac organization, its worlds have descended into chaos and oppression.

But there is hope – one lone hero rises to challenge Zodiac’s dominion: Kyuu, pilot of the phenomenal Ex-Zodiac spacecraft. As you embark on a thrilling rail shooter journey through 6 stunning galaxies, you'll turn the tide in your favor against overwhelming odds.

Haven't I Seen You Before?

From the moment you start playing EX-Zodiac, by indie developer MNKY, you'll raise your eyebrows and smirk to yourself, "Hmm, I think I've played this one before." And to no one's surprise, you probably have. EX-Zodiac pays tribute to Nintendo's Star Fox and it does it in a grand way. With crisp graphics, blazing-fast gameplay, and sound effects so identical to the original, you'd swear someone snuck a SNES console inside your PC.

From the get-go, it’s clear that no two levels are the same. As you fight your way through each level, waves of enemy ships threaten to take you down. But with quick reflexes and strategic thinking, you use your weapons, missiles, and smart bombs to take them down one by one. And just when things start to feel a bit too easy, a boss battle awaits at the end of each level – presenting an even greater challenge.

These bosses, ranging from massive robots to unknown extraterrestrial beings, will test every skill you possess as a player. With six levels available at launch and plans for twelve more in future updates, there is plenty of gameplay to keep you entertained. But each level brings forth new challenges and opportunities for growth as a player, creating an immersive and addicting experience as you dive into this fast-paced world where every second counts, and victory is all but guaranteed.

star fox and ex-zodiac meet

Aesthetically Retro

In an industry saturated with hyper-realistic graphics, EX-Zodiac stands out for its retro appeal. The colors are lush and vibrant, reminiscent of the games during the 16-bit era. Yet, this game is not simply a case of going for the nostalgic aesthetic, but creating the attention to detail in each pixel so clearly that it creates a carefully crafted world all its own.

Like the original Star Fox, the ship models, both yours and the enemies, are animated smoothly, and the background art is rich and imaginative with rolling mountains, snow-covered landscapes, and asteroids that break into pieces when fired upon. EX-Zodiac’s graphics may harken back to the glory days of the past, but they also show a mastery of form and function that elevates them beyond mere nostalgia.

The end-level bosses are imaginatively created and each has its own strengths and vulnerabilities. Exploiting where each of the weak spots is and how to attack them becomes the challenge. But once you become accustomed to where their weaknesses are, you'll have no problems taking them head-on.

In a time often fixated on pushing technology to its limits, it is refreshing to see a developer embrace simplicity and style with such finesse and deliberate pacing that it genuinely proves that sometimes less truly is more.

nintendo's star fox and ex-zodiac meet

Keep the Chatter Going

When you have the sound cranked up high, the sound elements truly add to the immersive experience. The soundtrack is booming with bass that perfectly complements the action on screen, and each sound effect is precise and impactful. It almost feels as if a full orchestra is playing in sync with the player’s actions.

But it’s not just about sheer volume or quantity either, the sound design also adds nuance to the game world and its characters. The subtle rumble of your ship's engine as it goes into hyperspeed mode, the unsettling screech of a monster, or the triumphant blast of a powerful weapon all enhance the atmosphere and bring greater depth to the gameplay. The game's implementation of sound, music and sound effects showcases the developer's masterful level of attention.

nintendo's star fox and ex-zodiac meet

You Had Me at Controls

As good as the sounds are, the controls in EX-Zodiac truly enhance the gaming experience. The tight, responsive, and intuitive motions allow for smooth movement of your ship, making you feel like a real pilot. What’s more, the addition of true mouse support adds another level of precision and accuracy, allowing for more precise movements and attacks. I actually did better using the mouse, so kudos to the developer for making this happen.

Each button serves its purpose effectively without feeling cluttered or overwhelming, elevating gameplay to new heights. Performing barrel rolls in the original Star Fox was difficult for me to do as a kid, but it's simple enough here with a simple press of a button. It’s clear that a lot of care and thought was put into creating these controls, ultimately creating an immersive and enjoyable gaming experience.

Kinks in the Armor

While EX-Zodiac may have sparked excitement for its futuristic, fast-paced gameplay and stunning graphics, it falls short in a few key areas. The biggest issue lies with the enemy’s uncanny accuracy. For example, no matter where you are on the screen, the enemy always seems to have laser aim, making it difficult to find any safe haven. to avoid their attacks. There are also Space Harrier-type bonus stages thrown in between levels, but those seem to feel out of place in the grand context of the game.

This becomes especially frustrating when combined with the breakneck speed of the game as trying to aim amidst all of the chaos is a very challenging feat. Another caveat to consider is that the game, like many others in this niche, is relatively on the short side and once you've played the game all the way through, there's a very little enticement to do it again.

While the game may offer impressive visuals and satisfying moments of victory, it’s ultimately hindered by these minor flaws. Keep in mind that the game is still in Early Access, so a lot of things can change or be added between now and its official release.

nintendo's star fox and ex-zodiac pc steam game review

A Worthy Successor

Overall, I really enjoyed my flight time with the game. EX-Zodiac is a nostalgic joyride back to the golden age of arcade gaming, especially for those who are big fans of Star Fox or just enjoy rail shooters in general. With its retro graphics and familiar gameplay mechanics, the game is a perfect example of how to do things right as it manages to capture the spirit of classic titles while offering new challenges to test players’ skills.

Despite its minor shortcomings, and I really do mean minor, EX-Zodiac remains a fun and exhilarating experience that anyone looking for some old-school arcade action would do well to give this game a try.

At the end of the day, it may not bring any major innovations to the gaming industry, but it delivers pure entertainment in spades. It's also very refreshing to know that in a time where big-budget blockbusters dominate the market, sometimes all we need is a simple indie game that allows us to relive our past experiences and just have a blast and that’s exactly what EX-Zodiac provides.


FAQ

Where can I purchase EX-Zodiac?

You can purchase the game on Steam for $9.99

Who is the developer and publisher of EX-Zodiac?

MNKY is the developer and PixelJam is the publisher

You wrote about the limited replayability. Is there no additional content in the game?

As I wrote, the game is still in Early Access, so a lot of additional content will be available when it is officially released. My review was based on the current game build.

Fun Fact:

As I was playing Ex-Zodiac, someone walked up behind me and asked, "How'd you get Star Fox to play on your PC?"


keywords: star for game, attack patterns, direct homage, rail shooter, early access release, barrel roll, super fx chip, steam, bombs, power, star fox game, ex zodiac project, homing missiles, branching paths, bonus stages, big fan, original star fox, early access version, fast paced rail shooter, Nintendo, low poly, frame rate, xbox, original intention, simple attempt, stylized look, feature, full release, point, fire, price, modern tech, horizon chase turbo, play, multiple routes, clear sense, heck, early access version, complete, fire, review, barrel roll. nintendo switch, fans,

Why Retro Fighting Games are Still the Best

Let's face it, fighting games today just aren't what they used to be. In the golden age of console gaming, fighting games didn't rely on flashy graphics and Hollywood-esque cutscenes to sell themselves. Instead, they were all about tight gameplay, interesting characters, and most importantly, fun. 

One of the major factors that set apart retro fighting games from their modern counterparts is the depth and challenge found in their gameplay. These games often had a smaller, yet highly skilled roster of fighters, each with their own unique fighting style and special moves. Mastering just one character could take hours of practice, let alone learning how to compete with every fighter in the game. 

Unfortunately, in recent years, fighting games have lost sight of what made them great in the first place. But don’t worry, there’s still hope. In this post, we’ll take a look at why retro fighting games are still the best around.

Graphics aren't everything

Sure, the graphics in current-gen fighting games are impressive. But at the end of the day, do they really add anything to the experience? In many cases, it feels like developers are using flashy visuals as a crutch to make up for lackluster gameplay.

Modern fighting games have instead opted for larger rosters, but often at the cost of making each character feel generic and unmemorable. Add in the ability to constantly buffer special moves with simple button combinations, and you drastically reduce the skill gap between casual and hardcore players. 

Besides, there’s something to be said for the charm of 8-bit and 16-bit graphics. In addition, retro fighting games were known for having rich and vibrant 2D graphics as well as addictive soundtracks. While current fighting games may impress with realistic graphics, they often lack the charm and personality found in their pixelated predecessors. They may not be realistic, but they certainly have a certain appeal.

Gameplay is Key

When it comes to fighting games, the gameplay is everything. If the gameplay is slow or cumbersome, chances are players will lose interest quickly. This is where retro fighting games really shine as developers during the golden age of console gaming, understood that fast-paced and responsive gameplay was key to a great fighting game experience.

The classic titles from the 90s, like Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat II, Final Fight, Virtua Fighter, and Soul Calibur, all have one thing in common: tight, responsive gameplay. That's why these games are still beloved by millions today because their gameplay remains top-notch.

On the other hand, newer fighting games may have flashy graphics and a larger roster of characters, but if the gameplay is lacking, they won't stand the test of time as these retro titles have. In the end, gameplay trumps all in the world of fighting games.

As a result, they focused on honing their mechanics until they were just right. And you know what? It paid off. Games like Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat II are still played by millions of people today because their gameplay is just that good.

Fun Matters Too

As fighting game fans know, the genre is not just about competition and winning. It's also about having fun with friends and enjoying the unique characters and atmosphere of each title. Unfortunately, many modern fighting games seem to prioritize technical elements over these important aspects of gameplay. While their graphics may impress, they often lack the charm and personality found in retro titles. 

Take the Dead or Alive series, for example. This classic fighting game not only has an iconic roster of colorful fighters, but it also offers a variety of mini-games and unlocks that add even more enjoyment to the overall experience. So while current-gen fighting games may look nice on paper, it's the retro titles that truly know how to bring out the joy in every fighting game fan.

Everyone Likes a Good Fight

When it comes to retro fighting games, console versions often offer the best experience. Take Street Fighter 2 Turbo on the Sega Saturn, for example, while not as well-known as its Super Nintendo counterpart, it offers an even faster gameplay pace and a wider variety of moves. And let's not forget about console exclusives like Eternal Champions, which features a diverse cast of characters with unique fighting styles.

In comparison, modern fighting games may have flashier graphics and more advanced controls, but they often lack the tight gameplay and thrill that can be found in these classic titles. So next time you're looking for a good fighter to play, don't overlook the old console versions - they just might surprise you with their staying power.

FAQ

What Makes Retro Fighting Games better than the most recent ones?

Many old-school gamers argue that retro fighting games, like Street Fighter and killer instinct, are superior to their more recent counterparts. One major reason for this is the absence of story modes in older games. This allowed for a greater focus on gameplay, with special moves and combos being memorized and practiced in order to defeat opponents.

These games were also often played competitively, with tournaments taking place both online and in person. Additionally, most retro fighting games were part of ongoing series that focused on consistently improving and updating the gameplay, rather than introducing new characters or companion apps every year. All of these factors contribute to the enduring appeal of retro fighting games among seasoned gamers.

Which Retro Fighting Game had the best combo features?

When it comes to retro fighting games, one feature that often stands out is the combo moves. While all 90s gamers will have their own personal favorites, there are a few that stand out as having particularly impressive combo features. One such game is Killer Instinct, which allowed for stringing together combos of up to 50 hits.

Mortal Kombat made a name for itself with its fatalities but also had memorable combos that could be executed with expert timing. Street Fighter Turbo's combo system was unique in allowing players to perform different combos based on the strength of the button pressed. Meanwhile, Ultimate Marvel greatly expanded upon traditional combos by adding aerial attacks and counter-moves.

However, some would argue that the King of Combos was and still is Tekken, which introduced innovative chain and juggle combos as well as launch moves. No matter which game took the title for best combo features, they all pushed players to perfect their skills and elevate the competitive nature of these classic fighting games.

Which Retro Fighting Game, if released today, would do well in the market?

If a retro fighting game were to be released in today's market, Super Smash Bros. would likely excel above the competition. The game's unique style of incorporating characters from multiple franchises and its use of stage hazards and items set it apart from traditional fighting games. Additionally, its family-friendly nature would allow it to appeal to casual players as well as hardcore fighting game enthusiasts.

The success of past Super Smash Bros. titles on home consoles also suggests that a new release would do well in this market today. However, the arcade gaming scene may not be as receptive to the title due to the lack of technical skill required compared to other fighting games with more traditional mechanics such as auto combos and special move inputs. Overall, we feel Super Smash Bros. has established itself as a popular franchise that would likely thrive in today's market.

Which retro fighting game provided the best single-player experience?

When it comes to a game night with a few friends, a classic fighting game can provide hours of entertainment. While both Capcom and King of the Fighters have a plethora of popular titles, I believe that Capcom's Street Fighter and its sequels were better for playing alone.

The various iterations of Street Fighter offered a diverse range of characters with their own unique moves and abilities, making it more interesting to play in single-player mode. In addition, the health bar functioned well for solo players as it made it easier to gauge how close they were to defeating their opponent.

Meanwhile, King of the Fighters' "team" setup was designed with multiplayer in mind, making it less enjoyable for a single player looking for a challenge. Of course, everyone has their own preferences when it comes to retro fighting games, but in my experience, Capcom's Street Fighter series provided a more fulfilling single-player experience.

Which retro fighting game had the best visuals for the era in which it was released?

While a few of my friends might argue for the nostalgia factor of Street Fighter II or the complexity of a game like Tekken, for me, Soul Calibur provided the best single-player experience in a retro fighting game.

Each character had a unique style and weapon to master, from a dual-wielding pirate to a giant ogre. Additionally, the novelty factor of tag team battles added a new level of strategy to the gameplay.

And while it wasn't the first game in its series, Soul Calibur was a reimagining that refined and improved upon its predecessors. Overall, it offered a varied and enjoyable single-player experience that kept me coming back for more.

At Last, a Crazy Taxi Game Set in the Future! Mile High Taxi - Early Impressions

I don't know about you, but I've been waiting for a Crazy Taxi game set in the future ever since I first played the original back in the day. And, finally, my prayers have been answered with Mile High Taxi. This new game from indie developer Cassius John-Adams, pays homage to Sega's classic while setting the action in a sleek, futuristic world.

In Mile High Taxi, you play as a taxi driver in a city that's, you guessed it, a mile high! You'll pick up passengers from super skyscrapers and fly them to their destinations while avoiding obstacles and other vehicles. The game features a variety of different cars and drivers to choose from, each with its own unique abilities. And you'll need to use all your skills to navigate the Skyways and find hidden shortcuts.

The best part of Mile High Taxi is definitely the setting. The skylines and massive structures are gorgeous and the city bustles with activity. The HyperDrive Boost is also a lot of fun - just be careful not to crash into anything. Picking up passengers is a breeze and has the grit and feel of the original.

The weakest parts of the game so far are the controls and navigation. The controls are very sensitive and the navigation is glitchy. Since I only had the opportunity to try the demo, the game obviously feels unfinished, and it's clear that the developer has some work to do before its release. But the core elements are in place so I'm definitely keeping my eyes on this one.

If you're a fan of Crazy Taxi or just love games set in the future, then you should definitely check out Mile High Taxi. So what are you waiting for? Go hail yourself a cab and wishlist this bad boy right now!

Have You Seen The Sun? Stop the Saturnians! (Steam) Review

In 1979, a strange phenomenon shook the gaming world: the Invaders landed ensuring that the gaming landscape would never be the same again.

Stop the Saturnians! by indie developer, Jeff Sinisac, is recreating that nostalgic feel with a game that is bigger, brighter, bolder, and to an extent, better than the original. The story, as told with uncanny humor, depicts the horror and threat that would unfold mankind if another alien race were to attack Earth.

Cover your head and don't lookup

In the opening scene and after terrorizing the God-fearing people of Earth, the invaders pulverize the planet with fire from above, dropping from the skies like the devil riding out of Hell. In fact, it’s too bad we don’t get more time with the invaders in the center of the story because they definitely understand how to embrace the bad guy persona.

On the other side of the moral coin, you play a hotshot pilot tasked with protecting the defensive layer of Earth against an onslaught of enemy ships, missiles, and asteroids as they come barreling towards Earth ravaging the planet's infrastructure. The genius of the game, for example, isn't about the invasion itself or having to succumb to a more advanced race, but the emotional devastation that proceeds from it.

The characters, done beautifully through narration, are vibrant and multi-dimensional and are given a smidgen of humanity as they bicker, criticize, and throw out witty one-liners even in the direst of circumstances.

Saturnday Night Fever

Gameplaywise, there's a lot going on; loot is dropped from either destroyed ships or asteroids that you can use to upgrade your ship, weapons, or use them to improve Earth's defenses. Every wave completed offers an opportunity to purchase or research technology to even the fight.

Each upgrade visibly changes your ship's appearance and adds a personal investment to the characters and plot. Whichever route you take, make sure to repair often as the game is challenging and gets progressively difficult the further into it you go.

As with most games of this genre, quick reflexes, hand-eye coordination, and luck are the keys to success. Since enemy ships come at you at a blistering pace, expect to take damage but not enough to completely take you out. If I had one complaint, it would be the difficulty seems to be a bit high, even on the first few levels, which will probably frustrate most players.

Can't Stop Us Now

Overall, Stop the Saturnian! is a solid piece of work and I applaud Jeff Sinisac's approach to making the gameplay, the story, and its characters as clear and concise as possible which fulfills one of the classic functions of retro gaming -to take a former trend and extend it to a possible future without compromising the core mechanics of the original. The more I played, for example, the further back in time I reminisced.

Stop the Saturnians! is a long, involving, and challenging game that looks incredible sounds great and plays smoothly. The atmosphere is thick and the missions are long and varied, with the obligatory boss battle at the end. Don't let the little aliens stop you from getting this game, it's a definite winner.

From Rags to Riches - Arcade Paradise Demo Available on Steam

Welcome to Arcade Paradise, the 90’s-fuelled retro arcade adventure. Playing as Ashley, your father, Gerald (voiced by The Witcher’s Geralt, Doug Cockle), has gone to the Riviera and given you the keys to his laundry business you to run the tedious day-to-day. Rather than washing rags for a living, you decide to turn the family laundromat into the ultimate arcade. Play, profit, and purchase new arcade machines, with over 35 machines to choose from, you can build your very own Arcade Paradise!

Arcade Paradise is coming to Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series S|X, and Xbox One during Spring 2022.

Add Arcade Paradise to your PC wish list on Steam or GOG.

For more information, visit: https://wiredproductions.com/games/arcade-paradise/

Down and Dirty! Wide Open (Steam) Review

Wide Open is an entertaining example of what reviewers call 'Simple but Effective' since it takes components from other games that worked and runs them through this tried-and-true formula once again.

Parts of these elements are beginning to wear out their welcome, but the key ingredients for a good racer are still pretty effective, which includes: fast cars, high jumps, tight controls, multiple tracks, and gameplay appeal.

Built around classic top-down racers of yesteryear, Wide Open presents itself as a tribute to classics like Rock 'n Roll Racing and RC Pro-AM and addresses its likeness to them without apology.

Wide Open was developed by Talpidae Game Studios and shows off their mastery of the terrain, tracks, and a host of different cars. The game's premise is the notion that just one camera perspective is boring unless you are zooming in at the cars or they are crashing into each other. Hence, the addition of multiple free camera modes consists of long shots of cars dashing precariously around the track and closeups of drivers looking as if they are experiencing intense vertigo.

Wide Open racing is about positioning, taking the best racing lines while slowly acclimating yourself to the physics engine. The deformable terrain, which quickly turns smooth surfaces into deep craters and mounds of stacked dirt, add another layer of uniqueness to the game as you have to carefully maneuver around or through them to maintain your tires' grips.

If you get caught in a deep crevice, for example, you'll be spinning your tires while losing valuable time. The terraforming turns into something pretty stunning and is one of the game's most impressive feats of animation so far.

Wide Open was developed by Talpidae Game Studios and shows off their mastery of the terrain, tracks, and a host of different cars.

With over 30 tracks to choose from you can be sure that each race will be unique and differ from lap to lap. Most of the racing is loud and fast enough to be exciting especially when you find yourself jockeying for position ahead of a wide turn or steep jump. Those wanting more twists and turns will be well catered for as the tracks are well designed and offer a variety of surfaces and troublesome spots to contend with.

As the developers for Wide Open see it, the principal strategies in this style of racing consists of trying to find the right angles to approach jumps and turns as well as maximizing the most optimal racing lines. But be warned though, keeping your vehicle under control while sliding around can be as much difficult as is exhilarating.

Crashing, which I seem to be very good at, happens a lot and you'll have to be accustomed to using your brakes quite often. If that doesn't work, sideswiping your opponents and forcing them into a barrier is just as effective. In a game like this, to be in control, you sometimes have to be out of control.

Most of the racing is loud and fast enough to be exciting especially when you find yourself jockeying for position ahead of a steep turn. Those wanting more twists and turns will be well catered for as the tracks are well designed and offer a variety of road surfaces and troublesome spots to contend with.

Visually, the game looks fantastic with bright, vibrant colors and attention to detail that makes it one of the best looking racers to date. The subtle effects when dust is kicked up from your tires to the realistic handling make it as much fun to watch as to play.

The only things missing that I personally would like to see is more activity around the racing areas like people running around or damaged vehicles piled on to the side of the tracks. Commentary and damage effects would also add ambience to the game and make it more immersive. Wide Open is currently in Early Access, so I'm hoping they get more features in before it goes final.

As for the retro part, Wide Open ranks right up there with other games reimagined from past memories. If we had a time machine and sent this game back to the 1990s, the terrain deformation alone would have, literally, changed the entire gaming landscape.

Nowadays it’s actually considered a risk to bring out a retro-inspired game despite being, by all accounts, about as mainstream racing as racing gets. Wide Opens delivers a real treat with its meat and potatoes gameplay, precise controls, and immersive soundtracks. I'm hoping the game can muster enough of an audience to inspire a sequel. It is also deserving of a few more accolades and deserves to be seen and played by more people.

Go! Go! Berserk Boy! Retro Inspired Platformer Coming to PC and Consoles

Get ready to GO BERSERK with Berserk Boy! Coming to Steam and Home Consoles Very, Very Soon!

Get ready to GO BERSERK! We have just announced Berserk Boy – a vibrant 2D action-platformer inspired by the likes of Mega Man, Sonic, Pulseman, and Gunvolt! It’s got an authentic, lovingly crafted retro aesthetic, and features a high-energy 16-bit soundtrack by Sonic Mania composer, Tee Lopes!

Features:

• Slick and stylish platforming action
• Change into different Berserk forms
• Play for big scores and fast times
• Multiple stages with alternate paths and hidden collectibles
• Classic visual look influenced by Sega Genesis/Mega Drive games

If you want to see more of Berserk Boy in action, head to the game's Steam page, where you can watch a play-through of the game’s work-in-progress first stage!

This Weekends Forecast: Warm, Breezy, and a High Chance of Gaming

watch out weekend here i come

Weekends are a time for everyone to relax and unwind from a stressful and busy week. What better way to unwind than playing a few games, right? From my experience, they can help you refocus your mind from situations that may have happened during the course of the workweek. Plus, it's a great excuse to stay home and relax.

The weekend is, arguably, the best time for playing games because you aren’t thinking about all the work you have to get done or all of your commitments where you have to be at. And if you're like me, you probably have a backlog of games you need or want to finish.

But no matter what your motivations are or what titles you choose, games are a great way to occupy a little bit of your time and take your mind away from the crazy world around us. Here are three classics I replayed over the weekend.

Streets of rage

One of the best titles on any platform. Period.

I'm a big Rage fan, so when I had to pick out a retro game to play over the weekend, I knew it had to be Streets of Rage. I dusted off the Sega Genesis and plugged it into an old CRT TV and got to work on a non-stop retro weekend. On the whole, I was very impressed with SoR considering it was released nearly 30 years ago. It remains to this day, the fastest and most playable beat 'em up ever. And although it wasn't that challenging (I beat it in one sitting) it was still incredibly fun while it lasted.

The power-ups and weapon-related special moves offered up some nice addition to the gameplay. Team Rage's fighting mechanics were honed to near perfection. And the graphics, though showing their age, was better than I remembered them to be. Add to that the soundtrack from Yuzo Kushiro and you literally got the perfect gaming package. It's no wonder why so many considered Streets of Rage to be one of the premier fighting games of the 16-bit era. If you're a retro gamer or a Rage fan like myself, I urge you to try this one out again. If you want to read about a modern-day version of the game, check out our review of Streets of Rage 4.

splatterhouse 2

Forget Jason or Michael. Rick was the best pipe-wielding badass of all time.

When I saw Splatterhouse playing on a Turbo Grafx-16 system, I was completely gobsmacked and knew immediately that this was the game I was gonna bed down with over the weekend. I was only a mere pup when the game was released in 1992, but that didn't stop me from breaking open my piggy bank and buying a Sega Genesis system just to play the game. I remember vividly my reaction when Splatterhouse 2 first popped onto the TV screen with its arcade-quality graphics, stunning sound, and brilliant beat'em up action, I knew it was the best video game since Pac-Man. Plus, Splatterhouse 2 was the first to depict real gore and upped the ante for shock value.

Splatterhouse 2 was a fantastic sequel to an already great game. I'm glad Namco had decided to keep the gore intact because if it hadn't, it would have lost a lot of its appeal. But just because it's an older game, don't expect it to be a walk in the park as it is not an easy game to complete. The action might be straightforward, but the execution and look of the game (especially for that time) are totally unique and well worth revisiting!

splatterhouse 3

Splatterhouse 3 promised more gore, more violence, and more splat. And it delivered!

Splatterhouse 3 takes the previous linear gameplay and gives it a gut-wrenching twist. Sure, the action is still side-scrolling, but you can now choose your path to the game. The gameplay is still iconic as you have to punch, kick, and whack the green stuff out of your enemies while annihilating the end boss. From there, you move from floor to floor on a mission to save your family. Unlike the previous versions, the soundtrack here is intense and fits the mood well. When Rick howls in agony, you can actually feel his pain. It's a sound that will remain with you for a long time.

Overall, I enjoyed reliving Splatterhouse 3 and considering it was released in 1993, I'd say the graphics and gameplay still hold up very well. The high 'gross-out' factor is good clean fun and will have you riveted to your seat until the last good splat! If you ever get a chance to replay this classic, don't think twice and just do it.

May the 4th Be With You

All Terrain Armored Transport (AT-AT) Walker '80

Length: 65 Feet
Height: 74 Feet
Weight: 4,400 Tons
Propulsion: Two Interconnecting FW3 Fusion Drive Systems
Weapons: Two (2) MS-1 Heavy Fire Cannons, Two (2) FF-4 Repeating Blasters, Two (2) MKE Repeating Blasters
Speed (Throttle): 37 MPH
Crew: Three (3) total crew members per Walker: one (1) Commander, one (1) pilot, one (1) gunner/co-pilot
Passengers: 40 Troops minimum. Can add an additional 30 plus troops with modifications.
Cargo Capacity: 40 Tons
Strengths: Intimidation / Fear
Weakness: None

Hoth Stuff

When I first saw Star Wars in the theatres back in 1977, I was hooked. Just like so many, I was mesmerized not just by the storyline, but by the strange and awesome technology the Star Wars Universe had at its disposal. From the X-Wing fighters to the Light Sabers and the fearsome Tie Fighters, watching the story playout was nothing short of amazing.

So when The Empire Strikes Back made its theatrical debut, I couldn't wait to get in line to see it. I loved the movie but one thing I loved more was seeing the mighty All-Terrain Armored Transport or AT-AT for short, fill up the screen during the attack on the rebel stronghold on the planet Hoth. A few months later, I was at Sears picking up my very own AT-AT unit from Kenner Toys.

In honor of May 4th, I present to you my AT-AT Walker that I purchased nearly four decades ago. Yeah, it has seen some better days with the stickers peeling off and a few missing pieces here and there, but no one can argue that it still looks pretty good despite its age. I hope these screenshots bring back some happy memories for you as it does for me.

At first, I was going to replace all the worn out stickers. But the more I looked at it, the more rustic and natural it looked which made it appear to like like old battle scars.
Even at this angle, the fearsome AT-AT strikes fear as it emerges from our flower bed.
Up close and personal.
Here, I place two Rebel scout in front of the mighty AT-AT. You can almost smell their fear and surprise.

Retro Review: Hover Strike on the Atari Jaguar

TL;DR: Some games can stand the test of time. Some games, however, are best left where they are.

Hover Strike is a futuristic semi-open 3D shooter game similar to Battlezone and T-MEK in which players pilot an armed hovercraft vehicle in order to complete a series of 30 missions, each one taking place across on different terrain types, as attempts to overthrow the Terrakian Pirates from a colonized foreign planet and rescue the remaining captured colonists before the Federation's armada arrives into the location to decimate the invading alien forces.

Hover Strike 2
It's a bit like Battlezone and T-MEK.

When Joel asked for volunteers to do a retro review on Hover Strike, I had no idea why I raised my hand. Maybe I was itching to play a few classic games or maybe I was just afraid that he would take away my bathroom privileges at the office. Anywho, here I am, writing a paragraph or two about Hover Strike and for the first time, I don't know where to begin.

My English teacher used to tell me that whenever I had writer's block, the best way to overcome it was to simply write down the first sentences that come to mind. Ok then, here it goes. What the hell happened to this game? I mean, wasn't this title suppose to showcase the strengths of the Jaguar? Instead, it validated what we all knew about it — that it was a slow piece of hardware disguised as a 64-bit machine and none of Atari's fancy marketing lingo would convince games otherwise.

This title was supposed to showcase the strengths of the Jaguar. Instead, it validated what we all knew about it — that it was a slow piece of hardware disguised as a 64-bit machine and none of Atari's fancy marketing lingo would convince games otherwise.

Where do I even start? The controls aren't responsive, the graphics are worse than any title on the old NES, and the slowdown is mind-numbingly aggravating like driving a semi-truck with four flat tires. I couldn't even force myself to finish the first few levels. With games like this representing the Jaguar back in the day, I can see why the system died a miserable and quick death.

Yeah, well, the game isn't -that- bad especially when you consider it was released roughly 26+ years ago. But it does have some serious gameplay flaws. The graphics are ok (at least for its time) and the sound effects range from tiny beep bop bops to muffled explosions that sound a lot like taking a plunger to the toilet. There's a subtle female voice that guides you throughout the game, but after a while, it starts to sound like your little sister nagging you to take her to the mall.

My biggest complaint is with the God-awful controls in which you have to select a weapon then press a number on the keypad to fire it. Whomever at Atari thought this control scheme would work should be strung upside down.

If you were a Jaguar owner back in the day, then you most likely owned this game. But reading the history of the game, it's safe to wager that it did not sell well at all, given that the development of the sequel (Hover Strike 2) was quickly canceled just mere weeks after it was announced. Even for a retro lover like me, Hover Strike....strikes out.

Daymare: 1988 PC Review - If The Suspense Doesn't Kill You, the Boredom Will.

TL;DR: Daymare: 1988 is a decent horror/action game that's plagued with repetitious gameplay and broken fight mechanics.

resident evil light

I decided to not write this review until I completely finished Daymare: 1988. I stuck with it through the first three levels, but constantly kept wondering to myself, why? The storyline is interesting, the genre appealing, and the only reason I wanted to continue was to see how the story and characters developed towards the end. But that's really about it for the good stuff.

The environments are detailed and vast, but are also very simple in design and architecture. Many of the rooms are nothing more than cleverly placed 3D models that force you to go in the right direction. The placement logic, however, is questionable. I mean, my tough-as-nails character can walk, run, shoot, and melee his way out of a room, but can't access an adjacent hallway because a small obstacle the size of a shoebox is in his way? C'mon now.

Poor fella. Hope he had hazard pay.

In fact you don't even have to fire a single shot to escape a room full of the undead. They'll simply chase you for a while until they eventually get bored and leave you alone.

the dead don't play here

The plot, while interesting, is as old as time and the story-driven characters each have their own distinct look and feel but lack any discernible charisma. Unlike the characters from Resident Evil or Silent Hill where you felt a strong connection, the characters in Daymare: 1988 are so devoid of any personality that controlling them felt more like a chore than an adventure. The enemies fare no better with predictable attack patterns and vulnerabilities that quickly get old. In fact, you don't even have to fire a single shot to escape a room full of the undead. They'll simply chase you for a while until they eventually get bored and leave you alone. This is where the fights quickly become monotonous and uninspiring. You're better off just running around and avoiding any nasty encounters.

Another unbalanced feature is the puzzles riddled throughout the game. Many of them just didn't make sense and after scratching my head a few times, I simply gave up and looked through a guide. I know these puzzles are meant to keep the gameplay challenging, but a few of them bring absolutely no value to the gameplay other than to add unnecessary frustration.

But the biggest disappointment has to be with the fight mechanics. Too many situations have I emptied my magazine at an enemy that was literally a few feet away and still, it kept coming even as I blasted it with headshots. There are mind-boggling events when the AI goes through a scripted action before taking a tumble forcing you to waste precious ammo because of the long-winded death animations. The reloading system is slow and the much-touted melee feature is pretty much useless.

It's good to see people like a good BBQ

As it stands now, Daymare: 1988 doesn't really add anything to the genre to warrant a purchase especially when you can get more value from other survival horrors games out there. Save your money and grab one of the Resident Evil remakes instead.

the boring dead

Included with these shortcomings are the average sound effects and soundtracks that are suitable but not memorable. I believe the developers were trying to go with a more intense cinematic theme, but a more ambient approach would have been better. I know it seems like I'm bashing the game, but it's only because I want it to succeed. It has all the ingredients to be so much more: it has the retro vibe and the classic horror adventure gameplay that I haven't felt since the days of Resident Evil.

If the developers had just allotted more time polishing up the gameplay and improving the fighting mechanics, this title could have broken out of mediocrity. As it stands now, Daymare: 1988 doesn't really add anything to the genre to warrant a purchase especially when you can get more value from other survival horrors games out there. Save your money and grab one of the Resident Evil remakes instead.