Tag Archives: leonard 2012 video game olympics

Random Game #12 – Magic Johnson’s Fast Break [NES]

Magic Johnson's Fast BreakWhen you have a video game collection like mine, it can be hard to play all of the games. This is especially true when additions are made on an almost weekly basis. Still, I appreciate nearly every game I’ve accumulated for this reason or that. In the hopes of improving my writing through continuous effort and promoting ongoing learning of these games, I’m going to compose brief, descriptive articles.

There are some games in my collection that I don’t recall obtaining. Magic Johnson’s Fast Break is one such game. I can speculate how it came into my possession, but ultimately the game is pretty inconsequential to me. As best as I can recollect, I’ve played it once. My friend and I competed against each other as part of the Leonard 2012 Video Game Olympics. He’s much more adept than I when it comes to sports games and accordingly was victorious. It’s incredibly dated at this point, but I can’t imagine it had much going for it back in the day even. My belief is that basketball games weren’t noteworthy until NBA Jam, but many people have a fondness for Double Dribble so that would seem like the genre’s best on the NES.

Magic Johnson’s Fast Break was originally developed and published by Arcadia Systems and released as an arcade game in 1988. It was ported to the NES by Software Creations and published by Tradewest in North America in March 1990. It was also ported to a handful of European PCs at the time as Magic Johnson’s Basketball. Most notably, the NES version featured support for up to four players.

Skiing [Atari 2600] – Review

Not a lot of photos of Atari 2600 games without price stickers on them floating around on the internet.
Not a lot of photos of Atari 2600 games without price stickers on them floating around on the internet.

Qualifying as both a great score attack and time attack game, Skiing was, personally, an unexpected pleasure in Activision’s Atari 2600 catalog. Designed by Bob Whitehead and released in 1980, Skiing was an exemplary game for my friend and I’s ongoing competition, the Game-a-Thon Olympics.

In the early going, the skier seemed awfully stiff because movement was limited to slight degree changes either left or right. Soon enough though, this was a boon. Rather than holding a direction to avoid obstacles, I could instead push in the direction once (or more if needed) and change direction. In my mind, this lent to more “twitch” style gameplay which had me addicted.

Hit detection can be a little frustrating.
Hit detection can be a little frustrating.

Beyond the simple design and addictive gameplay, Skiing had two types of downhill races, multiple difficulties, and even random courses so there was a lot to do before growing bored. A simple game, like Dragster, that’s deceptively enjoyable and replayable. Finally, included alongside it in Activision Anthology is an unlockable patch (awarded upon completion of game 3 in under 32 seconds) and its original television commercial which includes a faux-Frenchman and lots of cheese.

In Between Posts, September 23, 2012

A great game, but perhaps not up to the claims on the box…

Another weekend, another platform or two down in the Leonard 2012 Video Game Olympics. This session we were able to complete the Sega Genesis and the Nintendo Game Boy. Jeff took the Genesis 21-17, and might I add fairly handily towards the end. We will revisit the platform at some point when we play compilations containing Genesis games so this might turn around in my favor eventually. The Game Boy was quick as there were only two games that we competed in: Super Mario Land and Tetris; I took both. Overall, the standings are 93-80 in my favor, but we have hundreds of games to go, after all, we’re only on the Super Nintendo.

Of the many realizations I’ve had during this competition, the one that is forefront in my mind at the moment is just how stellar the SNES/Genesis era generation was. Perhaps it’s because I have a smaller collection for these platforms and they’re more concentrated with quality titles, but there are so many fantastic games we’ve played. I’ll be interested to revisit these platforms in the future.

In Between Posts, September 16, 2012

A blast or a bust?

More Genesis escapades this weekend as the Leonard 2012 Video Game Olympics continue. This weekend my friend and I were reminded of just how great Sonic the Hedgehog is. The game looks and sounds fantastic, and the gameplay! It truly was something different and it’s no wonder it was such a success. Really great game. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 on the other hand… My memories of this game were… wrong.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 looks and sounds fantastic, but it doesn’t play like a Sonic game, at least from the first few acts. In my opinion, the Sonic games were so successful because of the stage design. The stages were conducive to running fast. And the scoring reflected this. Points from defeating enemies were minimal, whereas your time bonus at the end of an act could really bolster your score. Rings are also a big source of points, but even blazing through a stage, plenty are collected. Yes, Sonic isn’t about defeating every enemy and collecting every single ring, it’s about doing a little of both as you blast through a stage. That’s why Sonic the Hedgehog 3‘s first few acts are disappointing.

Rather than having a stage that is relatively flat with enough loops and obstacles to keep the game from playing itself, the first set of acts in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, feature a heavier reliance on slow-paced platforming. Lots of upward and downward platforming that only serves to bog down the pace and highlight Sonic’s poor movement at slow speeds. Not only that, but there’s tons of water! Nobody likes water stages in video games, nobody! The first few stages are almost designed to force players downward into the these pools of water. To top it off, the next set of acts are proper water stages! Because that’s what players wanted when they purchased Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the opportunity to move at a glacial pace as though Sonic had stepped in molasses. But I digress. Perhaps there is more to the game’s stage design that I haven’t noticed yet. Perhaps with more time, I’d be enlightened and realize I simply needed more skill and forethought. Anyways, the first Sonic is still mind-blowing.

In Between Posts, September 2, 2012

The SNES saw the bulk of my attention because I decided to stop holding off on purchases unless a game was complete with box and manual. I’ve missed out on many great, cheap games over the years.

Another week with no new posts, but that doesn’t mean I’ve done nothing! This weekend, like last, I actually did a noteworthy amount of game shopping. The largest of the two chains of local game stores had a buy two, get one free Labor Day sale and my friend and I took advantage of the opportunity and visited 4 of the 5 nearby stores. I haven’t purchased games at this frequency in a very long time. Partially I’ve been spurred to do so after reading jsicktheslick’s Sunday Roundup posts for so long. Another factor is the ongoing competition between my friend and I to play every game we collectively own and see who wins the most titles.

Our competition has begun to move briskly now. We completed the NES last week and today we plowed through the twenty Intellivision games and the eleven Apple II games I own. Both of these platforms on the whole were disappointing, but we also began playing the Genesis and man, there a lot of awesome games of that system. I’ll get around to posting results eventually and also, I think instead of talking about a select few titles individually and in a fairly long article, I’ll be switching formats. Rather, each and every game will be discussed in a three paragraph article, succinct and to the point. The first para will be an overview while the second and third paras will be my thoughts and my friend’s thoughts respectively. That way, I’ll be able to highlight each game, produce a veritable amount of content, and bring the other competitor’s views into the fold. I’m looking forward to doing this eventually, as school and work are all consuming!

Anyways, this weekend I managed to pick up many top-notch, or personally interesting titles and I took pictures of them, as well as the few titles I picked up last weekend. I managed to pick up many SNES games for cheap, mainly shoot ’em ups because I like that genre, but I also picked up Super Tennis, Stunt Race FX, Final Fight and Rival Schools: two hopefully great beat ’em ups, ActRaiser: an RPG from Enix, and the Super Game Boy. The more modern games are more visible in the following photo so I won’t highlight those.

I also picked up a handful of random games for a multitude of platforms too!

In Between Posts, August 5, 2012

These past few days, as I’ve been researching the Atari 2600 games I’m writing about, I’ve really gotten into the stories and developers behind them. Information about the stories behind their development are fairly prevalent and this information is helping me to develop a real appreciation for the platform. I’m reaching the point where I almost want to research all of the 2600 games I have.

I don’t know if I’ll follow through on that though because watching the Olympics has been consuming more of my time than I’d anticipated. This is the first Olympics that I’ve actually payed attention to and I’m enjoying it, especially beach volleyball. In other Olympic news, my friend and I are nearing the halfway mark with the NES. We got a couple gameplay sessions in this past week and played a variety of games. Most notable games from last week: Dr. Mario, Dragon Warrior, Duck Hunt, and Final Fantasy.

Sean Rosenthal makes a save with Jacob Gibbs in the background at the Olympics.

In Between Posts, July 29, 2012

Exerting a lot of effort into doing something and having that project pay off is so rewarding. I finished up my business ethics course last week and over the duration of eight weeks, I did a lot of research and writing and came away with a greater awareness of the foundations of ethical philosophies and they can be applied to the business world. I’m sad to say that it was the final course my professor would be teaching at my school. She motivated me to give more than what was required this semester and in general, I enjoyed her personality.

With that course done, I have a few weeks of downtime before the fall semester begins. With the Leonard 2012 Video Game Olympics underway, I have plenty to do with that extra time. My friend and I played through about a dozen more NES games since last week and the competition has remained super close; I believe he leads by two wins.

Outside of those two activities, last week for me was comprised mainly of work. I’m in a new position, helping out in the accounting department of the grocery store I work for and I’ve been training to take it over next week when the current accountant is going on vacation. I oversee a lot – dealing with a little bit of everything for six stores – and it’s a lot to do, but I’ll manage.

I did enjoy my Saturday though having attended the drag races with my dad. That’s been his lifelong hobby and growing up around drag cars and car culture has been so cool. It’s been years since I’ve been to a drag strip but the sounds and smells are something you’ll never forget.

My dad’s ride for the night, an AMC Hornet from the early 70s.

In Between Posts, July 22, 2012

My friend and I have competed in about a dozen NES games thus far in the Leonard 2012 Video Game Olympics. The NES round has been front-loaded with a large amount of sports games. Last time we competed we played one golf game, three baseball games, and one hockey game. We played Baseball – a stinker, Bases Loaded – an improvement over Baseball with solid gameplay, and Bases Loaded 3 – a further improvement over Bases Loaded, mainly in the graphics and soundtrack; we we wound up mixed on which was the best baseball game, split between Bases Loaded and Bases Loaded 3.

I’m excited to get back to the games but this is my final week of my online class and I’m afraid my time will be consumed by it for the first half of this week. I did make time for fun last week though. I completed Red Dead Redemption and was stunned! It is so very good. I also attended the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. Likewise, it was very good and I was stunned!

In Between Posts – July 15, 2012

I got a promotion this past week and I’m pretty happy about it. I’ve begun assisting the head honchos at the grocery store I work at with accounting and clerical work. The company is expanding pretty quickly and their workload is increasing. I’ll get a raise, but it’s a far cry from what I could earn with my accounting degree. Although, thanks to help from my parents, I’ve been able to remain free of school debt so I can afford to be less ambitious right out of the gate when I graduate in the fall. I figure I’ll stay on for at least a year or two in the hopes of working my way into corporate, and then I’ll see what happens around then. Regardless, I’ll be getting crucial experience that will be a boon going forward.

My summer class is still going on although it’s more than halfway done. I have a few more weeks of my business and ethics course and then I’ll have a week or two break before my fall semester begins.

And on the video game front, I managed to get a little progress done in Red Dead Redemption, and my friend and I have made an important step forward in our Olympic Games. I previously thought my Mattel Intellivision would remain unplayable for this event thanks to its outdated TV output – a coaxial cable or sorts. However, I always thought the TV output on my Atari 2600 looked strange and it turns out this is because it had an adapter on it that transformed its coaxial output into an RF output – something I can make work. Sure enough, I was able to remove it from the 2600, hook it up to the INTV, and voila! It was the first time I’ve ever played the INTV and we only got a couple of games to work. Still, it was a hell of moment when Burgertime popped up on the TV.

Have a good week!

Leonard 2012 Video Game Olympics – Round 1 – Atari 2600

To coincide with the London 2012 Olympics and to give my friend and I a proper reason to play through massive amounts of video games, all the while competing, I devised the Leonard 2012 Video Game Olympics. We’ll attempt to play through every video game in our combined collections, as long as there’s a fairly easy way of competing. Competitive multiplayer games are a no-brainer, as are video games including scores. I’m including every video game in the results, even though we may not play them. It’ll be a convenient way of cataloging my collection.

The first round revolved around the Atari 2600. One of the pioneers of the video game industry, it brought video games into homes in a big, big way. I have 21 games for the system and perhaps because of their simplicity, they were either good or bad. I’ll probably discuss them in further detail soon, but standouts were Asteroids, Combat, Dragster, Galaxian, Vanguard, Video Pinball, and Yars’ Revenge.

Of the 21 games for the Atari 2600, 15 of them were applicable to the event. I lead the medal count with 8 compared to my friend’s 7, while he leads the high score count with 8 compared to my 7. Essentially, the first round was a wash. up next is the Intellivision, if I can figure out a way to get it working.

If anyone has any ideas for games to include or possible prizes, lemme know. This event will take a very long time, but it’ll be a fun way to experience the evolution of the industry, game design, and advances in technology and thinking. Plus, it’ll just be fun.

Leonard 2012 Video Game Olympics