Jeopardy! (Game.com) – Review

Jeopardy! is one of the better games on Tiger’s Game.com.

Four games into this feature and I may have found another decent title for the Game.com. I initially believed that Lights Out would be the only worthwhile game on the system, especially after realizing anything with motion would be heavily disadvantaged. It’s an oldie, but it’s a goodie, it’s Jeopardy!

Based off of the television game show, Jeopardy! the game is a fun test of random knowledge. The questions present weren’t skewed towards a younger crowd and I appreciated that. They covered a range of topics and in the few rounds I played, I didn’t encounter duplicates, although I’m sure the library of questions is small.

Thanks to the Game.com’s touch screen, inputting answers wasn’t as difficult as it’d be on a rival system like the Game Boy. Still, the poor image quality of the screen coupled with its small size and lack of backlighting made it a chore to read questions and type in answers.

I had peculiar trouble getting it to play when another cartridge was inserted into the system. In this situation the game would hang on the start screen until I acted like I was going to back out to the system menu and cancel, at which point it’d operate just fine.

I got the most fun from reading the hilarious wrong answers the computer would give occasionally, but all things considered, it still represents the game show accurately and it’s not terrible.

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Indy 500 (Game.com) – Review

Another Sega title appearing on the Game.com, Indy 500 is barely like it’s “big brother” version.

Indy 500 is the sole racing title on Tiger’s Game.com. Like Fighters Megamix and many other Game.com games, Indy 500 is based off of a “big brother” title. Also like Fighters Megamix, Indy 500 is based off of a Sega game.

It seems that every game on the Game.com that has on-screen movement will suffer from horrible blurring. It’s not game-ending in Indy 500 though because the car I drove remained mostly stationary while the background and fellow racers passed me by. Racing around the seemingly infinite circle track grew old fast thanks to the poor handling of my car.

Turning to the left was an ordeal in Indy 500. If I went too fast in a corner, the game would halt so it could show my car spinning out of control as I collided with the wall. I learned to feather my car around corners until they weren’t a problem. Next on my agenda was passing. This I never quite got the hang of. If I so much as looked another car wrong, the game would halt so it could my car spinning out of control as I collided with another driver. The animation of my car spinning out of control probably had more animations to it than the rest of the game! The visibility was terrible too. Thinking back, I don’t remember being able to see the nose of my car! Kidding aside, visibility was an issue as I got closer to cars ahead of me. Fortunately, upcoming turns were indicated by arrows. Needless to say, I never got a pole position in this awful excuse of a racing game.

Fighters Megamix (Game.com) – Review

Fighters Megamix is a mashup mixing together two of Sega’s fighting games as well as some bonus characters.

That Sega would allow some of its series to appear on Tiger’s Game.com is unfortunate; as unfortunate as Nintendo similarly allowing some of it series to appear on the Phillips CD-i. Fighters Megamix was one of those games, and I know that you’re probably thinking “I’ve never heard of that game before so what do I care?” Well fine. The “actual” Fighters Megamix appeared on the Sega Saturn and was a mashup of Virtua Fighter 2 and Fighting Vipers, plus a few characters from other Sega games.

Fighters Megamix on the Game.com is a total bore. It has a character roster of eight from the get-go, with an additional four unlockable special fighters. The few characters I played as did seem slightly distinct, but the horrendous blurring caused just by moving was hard to get over. Not to mention the game’s attempts at duplicating 3D by “scrolling” stages.

Fighters Megamix is a poor game that I can’t find any motivation to play. With “barebones” fighting games such as this one, the best incentive to repeatedly play it is the multiplayer mode. While Fighters Megamix does have multiplayer (!), I also believe that continued play of fighting games requires an appreciation for learning it, and this game isn’t worth learning.

Tiger Game.com – Intro

Lights Out was included as a pack-in game although the system came preinstalled with solitaire!

What a bummer! Tiger Electronics’ Game.com is a pretty shoddy video game system. Released in 1997, it attempted to differentiate itself from Nintendo’s Game Boy, but personally I think it feels cheap and that probably contributed to the system apparently never catching on. It seems more like an upscale toy rather than a serious video game system.

Mimicking the PDAs of the day (remember those?), the Game.com features a touch screen and a system menu with a few layman productivity software features. Included are a phone book, calendar, and a calculator, which would’ve appealed to my younger self as I could organize important information and feel like an adult, but their functionality is reduced in the modern age we’re living in fifteen years later. Also included at the system menu level is a high score application that tracks player’s high scores through all the games they’ve played and solitaire. I really like the idea of consolidating every high score into one place and solitaire is always solid. The system also had internet functionality through a separate cartridge, but I didn’t get the opportunity to try it out.

One of the most interesting features of the Game.com is the dual cartridge slot allowing two games to be inserted at once. But with a lackluster catalog of games, there isn’t much reason to use both. Twenty games were released for the system and I believe they came in two or three waves. Nearly every one of these releases were licensed titles and a gamut of genres were present, but in my experience they were hampered by the system’s infernal motion blurring. Another hindrance to my enjoyment was the system’s monochromatic screen and lack of backlighting. But, it was mostly due to the blurring whenever there’s movement in-game.

They’re available for cheap although many of the games can be hard to track down. I was “lucky” enough to have a local game store that had an abundance of games for cheap and built a large collection very quickly. I recently decided to play through them and compose mini-reviews. This feature will continue for a couple of days.

Activision Blizzard – Summary Analysis of the Years 2006-2010

For my Financial Statement Analysis final, my professor tasked me with researching an American, publicly traded company and I chose Activision Blizzard. They’re the largest publisher of video games in the U.S., and they’re probably one of the largest period. For this assignment I had to research and analyze their financials. The newest financials I found through the source I used were for the period 2006-2010 so this report isn’t entirely relevant, but it highlights wonderfully the pre- and post-merger status of the company. I won’t get into detail here, because I do in my report. Anyways, check it out!

Activision Blizzard – Summary Analysis

A Recommendation

Kudos to Eurogamer! I read this article over Free Radical earlier today and I wanted to share it on my blog. It chronicles Free Radical Design, the UK-based developer most known for the TimeSplitters series. Last generation, they were one of my absolute favorite developers and I played the crap out of TimeSplitters 2 and TimeSplitters: Future Perfect.

Although it was later revealed they had multiple games under wraps for the now-current generation of consoles, Haze eventually put them under, or so it was assumed. What I learned from this lengthy article, was it wasn’t just Haze that forced them into administration (bankruptcy). This article also shed a great deal of light on how an independent developer works, and how hard it can be at times. A very informative read that I highly recommend.

Free Radical vs. the Monsters

In Between Posts, May 6, 2012

Weeks like last week are just the worst. I’m always disappointed when I begin writing these weekly posts and find out that the only thing I wrote in the previous week was one of these points. But, that’s the way it goes sometimes. On the bright side, I used that time away from video games and writing about them to construct a 20+ page financial report on Activision Blizzard. It’s the final in one of my classes and I’ll be sure to post it here when it’s finished. Speaking of finals, they’re this week! I’m elated to be done with school and gain an abundance of free time. I will be taking a summer class, although it’ll be online, so no biggie. Hopefully I’ll post something else this week!