Even though I passed a never-ending supply of racers playing Hang-On, my true race was against the clock. I had little room for error, maybe one or two mistakes if I hoped to complete each stage before time ran out. Skillfully managing the throttle and brake, especially when cornering, was the key. Before long I was weaving in between racers and passing them in corners, making good time. Stages lasted about a minute and segued immediately into the next until the five-stage course was complete. In one sitting, it’s about a forty-minute game and not too challenging on the default difficulty. I made plenty of mistakes, often cornering too quickly or misjudging a racer’s proximity, but usually finished with ample time on the clock. When I was in a groove and listening to the hum of the motorcycle, the sounds of passing racers and squealing tires, it became a Zenlike, albeit monotonous, experience. Although my playthrough lacked much excitement, I’m glad to have finally spent material time with Hang-On. It’s an enjoyable racing game that tests one moderation, and patience.
Astro Warrior is, ostensibly, a ten minute game. After devoting multiple hours to it these last couple of days, I finally completed it last night. Understandably, I was over the moon. Developed and published by Sega in 1986, it’s a shoot ‘em up where success was predicated on quick reflexes and memorization. With each session I hoped to reach deeper into space, witness another wave of enemies and figure out how to overcome them, eventually doing well enough to complete the game. While the game was only three stages long the impressive enemy variety kept me on my toes. Inevitably, as failures mounted, I grew frustrated. Power-ups were generated by shooting tiles and I had my preferred arrangement. So, when I prematurely lost a life and reverted back to basics, I angrily hit the reset button. My experiences ultimately resulted in a magical final playthrough and an adrenaline rush that postponed my bedtime considerably. So much for a ten minute game.
My expectations for Parlour Games were low but I’ve come away pleasantly surprised. Developed by Compile and published by Sega in 1988, it’s a collection of various forms of billiards, darts, and bingo. While each game supports four players (impressive!), I played each versus the computer. In both billiards and darts I found the level of challenge fair; I won some, the computer won some. Although I lacked a manual (and didn’t bother reading it online) billiards was easy to understand. On the other hand, in darts I remained perplexed on how to accurately throw the dart. Nonetheless, I enjoyed both and appreciated the multiple game types. Bingo was… bingo. Inherently designed around luck, bingo was a total bore without human opponents. Granted I won, but I don’t even know how considering I never completed a full line! This is a robust compilation of party games with billiards and darts both offering respectable variety and enjoyment. I can’t say it’d be at the top of my party game list, but if we’re playing retro games, it’d be in consideration.
Looking forward to playing a traditional shoot ‘em up, my hopes were dashed soon after starting Global Defense. It falls squarely within the genre but is anything but traditional. Originally released as SDI – Strategic Defense Initiative in arcades in 1987, the Master System port followed a year later with a less obtuse moniker. Gameplay remained unchanged but proved complex for the simple control options of the platform. Playing solo was a cumbersome affair that yielded little enjoyment. With a partner, it was much more fun but still lackluster.
It’s been nearly a year (!) since I last played the Sega Master System or recorded gameplay, but I’m getting back in the groove. First order of business: highlighting Enduro Racer! Originally released as an arcade game around this time of the year in 1986, it was another popular hit designed by Yu Suzuki. The Master System port released a year later and perspective-wise, was quite different. Whereas the arcade version featured a behind-the-back perspective akin to Hang-On, this version featured an isometric viewpoint more like Zaxxon. That difference aside, gameplay still revolved around racing dirt bikes and catching big air. Once I understood the mechanics, I was off to the races and had a great time. Continue reading Enduro Racer [Sega Master System] – Review and Let’s Play→
The Double Dragon series is one that I have no particular fondness for. The maiden entry was originally released as an arcade game in 1987 and ushered in what most consider the Golden Age of the beat ‘em up genre. It was an extremely successful game, spawning a live-action film, cartoon series, and unsurprisingly, many sequels and home conversions. Playing through the Sega Master System version with a friend this past week served as my first hands-on experience with the series and it was a little underwhelming. The depth of combat and stage variety was a drastic improvement over the primitive Black Belt but my natural tendencies resulted in an initial playthrough that was less entertaining than later entries in the genre, such as Streets of Rage. Persistent sprite flicker and vague hit detection didn’t help matters. Continue reading Double Dragon [Sega Master System] – Review and Let’s Play→
Having recently completed After Burner for the Sega 32X (truly a port of After Burner II), I thought what better game to start playing my basically untouched Sega Master System than its port of the classic Sega arcade game! Well, there may have been better options. I lasted all of two videos before throwing in the towel. Heck, most of the second video I do little more than cheese it. It’s not a great version and my impending review will elaborate further on my thoughts regarding it.
I’ve got the Atari 2600 hooked up and have been playing with it the past few nights. That’s when I got the idea for this fun little video. These four games were acquired at a garage sale or flea market and up until this recording, I had no idea what they were. So, watch me discover what these four unknown games are. Except for Frogger. That one’s on the house.
Inspired to begin recording videos of older video games, I purchased the Roxio Game Capture HD Pro in August 2014. I was previously using a Dazzle DVD Recorder but it could only capture from an A/V input. With component and HDMI inputs, the Game Capture HD Pro allows me to capture just about any game console. After about a year using it, capturing footage from the NES to the Xbox 360, I’m ready to move on. Capturing footage is easy to do but every now and then a session will result in garbled, almost unusable footage. Editing software is also bundled with the device but after using it a few times, it’s easy to realize why.
At about a hundred dollars, this device is one of the more affordable HD capture devices. It’s easy to setup and install too. It’s a physical device that has component and HDMI inputs and outputs, as well as a USB port to plug into the computer. The device you’re capturing from feeds through the Game Capture HD Pro and outputs on a TV while the computer is recording the footage. The capture software doesn’t have the ability to record commentary while you’re playing opting instead to allow that feature in the bundled VideoWave editing software. I avoided this by recording my commentary simultaneously with Audacity and then layering the separate audio track over the footage while editing.
Capturing footage is fine nine times out of ten but every now and then a recorded session will result in garbled footage that’s nearly unusable. I’ve recorded a few dozen hours of gameplay over the past year and when this happened, it made me want to snap the device in two. Losing a video can put me in a bind; I’ve just been recording let’s plays and it can be difficult for me to regress in a game in order to have a video showing my efforts. Alternatively, I can just forget it and mention the reason for the skipped progress in a successive video. I’ve had this occur enough times that I’m ready to be done with Roxio.
That’s not the only reason why though. As I mentioned the Game Capture HD Pro comes bundled with Roxio’s VideoWave editing software and it’s just as spotty. Just like setup in general, the editing software is easy to use and learn, and this is coming from someone with little experience with any other video editing software. In the editing space are additional windows for inserting video or audio from the computer’s folders quickly. But, if there’s any video or audio files in the selected folders, VideoWave crashes nine times out of ten, no joke (besides all the general crashes that occurred). After finding little help on the official forums, I found guidance from another user’s YouTube explanation (here), and it worked! Think about that. A feature that’s activated by default and part of the software causes it to crash; wonderful! I’ve been able to get by since stumbling upon that video, but I still have to deal with frequent crashing.
At this point, I’m done with it just getting me by. I want a capture device and video editing software that’s more than passable. I want something that’s reliable. Roxio’s Game Capture HD Pro has gotten me through my first year of recording video games and I’ve learned a lot, especially on the post-production side. I’ve got more to learn and I’ve not lost my inspiration because of this either. I can’t say I won’t ever try another Roxio product (I certainly wouldn’t recommend this under most circumstances) but I am looking forward to getting my feet wet with another company’s capture device.