Stinkers – Nintendo 64


When the Nintendo 64 came around, I was in my late teens and video games were off of my radar.  I had actually not played it until this weekend at the arcade expo.  I know a lot of people hold this console dear, but as an objective observer with no prior experience, I thought it was crap.  I hated the controller.  The third “leg” is just weird and I didn’t know how to hold it.  There seem to be far more buttons than needed as well.  I played Super Smash Brothers and the graphics were not good.  I still think the pixelated look of the NES and SNES look ok.  But the polygon “3D” fad in games was not a good experiment.  It could have been the TV we were playing on, but I could hardly see what was going on.

I can only list a couple of games – Super Mario Sunshine and Goldeneye – that were famous from this system.  I had planned to get one at some point, but my hands-on experience this weekend has saved me a lot of money.  Nintendo has been a hit and miss company (for me, at least) since then.  I wasn’t a fan of the Wii, either.

Oldies but Goodies – Slugfest

While at the Houston Arcade Expo, I discovered a game that I sunk a lot of allowance into when I was a kid.  This table was at our local Shopko (department store), of all places.  It’s Slugfest by Williams, a baseball “pinball” table.  As you scored runs, it would spit out baseball cards.  I was a big collector of baseball cards, so this game was an instant hit with me.

It isn’t pinball in its truest sense, however.  Your goal is to score runs.  You do this by selecting the pitch you want (fast ball, change up or curve) and then you use the flipper bat to hit the ball.  There are different players at the back of the field, and you hit the ball into one of them.  Whichever LED is lit at that time is the action you get.  For example, if double is lit, you get a double.

I have played the crap out of this table this weekend and I occupy the top six spots on the leader board now (see picture above for proof).  The sad part about this table is that rarely anyone else is playing it.  It is truly an underrated game.  If you are a baseball fan, see if you can track this one down.

Houston Arcade Expo

Matt and I have had a stressful couple of months and really needed some time away.  This weekend is the Houston Arcade Expo.  We got ourselves a VIP package, which included two all-weekend passes and some swag.  A friend of ours rented a hotel room for us next to the expo and we have been able to forget everything for two days.  It has been great!  It’s all games, all the time.

The expo heavily favors pinball, which is great for me because I’ll take a pinball table over an arcade cabinet any day.  They also have a section with consoles and old computers, which Matt has been enjoying a lot.  There are plenty of good arcade cabinets, though, such as Donkey Kong, Centipede, Asteroids and Asteroids Deluxe, Tempest, Joust, Rampage, Mario Brothers, Mortal Kombat and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I play a lot of pinball video games (Pinball FX2 and FX3 are my favorites) and I’ve found that they have helped me a lot with my physical pinball game.  I see the tables really well now and I am able to concentrate on the ball much better.

There are loads of great tables here – Addam’s Family, AC/DC, Ghostbusters, Apollo 13, Harley Davidson, Fish Tales, Bugs Bunny Birthday and The Simpsons, to name a few.  It has been so fun to play through all of these games and so many more.  They are all on free play, so we have play to our heart’s desire.  The expo was open until 2AM last night and is open until 2AM again tonight.  It’s a lot of standing, so we only play for a couple of hours at a time.

This was a great idea, though, and if something like this comes to your town, I suggest you check it out, even if it’s only one day.  I may post a day two post here as we do some more gaming tonight.


SNES Classic

Nintendo’s gone and done it again.  I consider the NES Classic a failure.  Not because it wasn’t a cool idea, but due to the way Nintendo handled the rollout.  They simply could not – or did not want to – keep up with the demand.  I really wanted one, but so many jerks were buying them as soon as they were available that normal people like me couldn’t get one at the $60 price tag.  Nintendo has since stopped production, so my only option is to pay 2-4 times more than retail to own it.  I have a GCW Zero with just about every NES on it, so I don’t have an urge to pay it.

Recently, the Super Nintendo Classic was released.  I thought for sure Nintendo would realize the problem with the NES Classic and simply create more of these awesome little devices.  Nope.  I still can’t get my hands on one without either stalking every retailer to find out when their shipments come in or just forking out 2-4 times as much to an online scalper.  I consider this another fail.

You are honestly better purchasing a homebrew (home-made) device that has way more games on it.  Some of them have up to 700 games on them for only about $100.

Nintendo, you have let me down once again.

In the beginning, I was pretty loyal to Nintendo.  I bought the NES with my own money and was so proud of that.  I loved the NES.  Then came the Super Nintendo.  I bought that as well.  Then, as young adulthood set it, I didn’t play console games for a long time.  That is, until the XBox original came out.  I got it on launch day and fell in love.  Several years later, I got a XBox 360.  Then a XBox One.  Next month, I’m getting the XBox One X.

I have had little interest in the world of Sony’s Playstation, outside of the PSP, which I got many years after it had been retired.  I knew of the consoles, of course, and some of the exclusive games that weren’t quite enough to taunt me to get one.  I had a PS2 briefly because Guitar Hero wasn’t yet available on XBox, but sold it as soon as it was.

I have recently changed that.  On Prime Day in July, I bought a PS4 Uncharted 4 version for around $250.  It was a deal I couldn’t refuse.  I had been thinking about getting one due to a TV series that I had been watching (more on that in the next post) and pulled the trigger.  I think I had actually purchased my PS Vita (handheld) shortly before that for the same reason.

I have had both for some time now.  I am enjoying both.  There are enough differences between the XBone and PS4 that it stays interesting.  I have purchased a few console-specific titles for PS4 such as Infamous, Sword Art Online, Uncharted and Little Big Planet.  I have quite a collection of games building for the Vita (most weren’t harmed during the flood).

So, expect to see some posts in the near future regarding both of these consoles and the games I’m playing for them.  I’ve recently updated the “Now Playing…” page with the titles I’m currently working through.

By the way, I’ve heard the Nintendo Switch gently calling out to me recently…

An Apology to the People of the Fallout Universe

I owe an apology to the people of the Fallout Universe (at least in games 3 and 4).  I have been quite judgmental as I have played over the years.  I could not understand why they could not take just a small bit of time and clean up their homes a bit.  I mean, you could hardly turn around without running into this stuff:

Fallout Abraxo

Yep, that’s cleaning powder.  I reckon it’s similar to Comet.  So why couldn’t they use the darn stuff?  Everywhere you go in the Fallout world, the interiors of the houses look like this:

Fallout 3 mess

If I lived there, I would surely try to clean it with that abundant cleaning powder, right?  I had thought so up until recently.  Now my own home looks like this:

Flooded House

It’s been that way for over a month, but have I picked up any Comet to start cleaning?  No!  Why not?  Because I know it doesn’t matter right now.  It’s just going to become an even bigger mess later as the contractor comes in and fixes it.  Not only that, but just being in the house drains all of my energy.

I assume that the people of Fallout must have felt similarly after their disaster.  Many of them probably evacuated from the worst areas.  For those who stayed, I’m sure they simply didn’t have the energy to clean up.  People of Fallout, I sincerely apologize.