Oldies but Goodies – Duck Hunt

Genre:  Arcade
Platform:  NES

I think most of us played Duck Hunt the day we got our new NES back in the day.  It was the “B” side of the dual-game cartridge that came with the system.  Super Mario Brothers was the star, but Duck Hunt was certainly a pleasant surprise.  The NES came with a gun attachment, so you could actually shoot at the screen and kill the ducks!  This amazed me as a sixth-grader.

When you start playing, your dog buddy rustles up the weeds and up fly some ducks.  It starts easy enough – you see one duck at a time and you only need one shot to take them down.  As the game goes on, you get more ducks at once and they get a bit tougher.  I’m not sure how many levels there were, but I really enjoyed this one.  If you’re like me, though, it didn’t take you too long to realize that you could cheat by taking the gun straight to the TV screen.  I didn’t do that often, though, as there was a lot more fun in the challenge of the game.

And admit it, you aimed and shot at the dog when the he laughed at you when you missed.


Oldies but Goodies – Paperboy

Genre:  Arcade
Platform:  NES

It is Labor Day here in the US, which is a day honoring workers.  What a better game to review today than a job that many people started out with – a paper route.  This game was released on multiple platforms, but I had primarily played it on the NES.  It started as an arcade game.

In this game, you are a paperboy simply trying to deliver all of his papers accurately and on time.  However, this is a neighborhood from hell for a paperboy.  There are obstacles at every single house on your route.  If it’s not a kid on a big-wheeler trying to run you over, it’s a cat getting in your way.  You can take your revenge, however.  Using well-timed throws, you can break windows and vandalize other items.  This was where most of the fun was for me.

Your goal is to deliver all of your papers to the correct houses as accurately as you can.  It’s a near-miracle if you can actually throw one in the paperbox.  It will count if you get your paper somewhere on their property.  You can ride either on the sidewalk or on the street.  Both have their perils.  The sidewalk gives you little time to react to the obstacles, but you’re likely to be run over by a car on the street and it’s harder to make your throws.  At the end of your route, you have to go through an obstacle course for some reason.

This game is HARD.  I think I got to the fourth level once.  I could cruise past the first level, but after that, it was tough.  I still played it repeatedly, however.  It’s a fun game and it kept me playing for hours.  I played it recently and found that I just didn’t have the patience for this anymore.  It’s a good game, though, and I recommend it!

Oldies but Goodies – Ms. Pac-Man (SNES)

Genre:  Arcade
Platform:  SNES

Ms. Pac-Man is still a great game, 30 years later.  It’s hard to improve upon the original formula.  Her game was superior to Pac-Man in just about every way.  In this Super Nintendo version of the game, however, they did manage to improve on that arcade classic.

The SNES version of the game lets you select what kind of maps and difficulty you want.  There are tiny, regular, large and strange maps.  I loved the strange maps as they were significantly more difficult than the regular.  For example, here’s one that is missing the side guides in the map:

Ms Pacman Strange map

It might not seem like much, but when you have Blinky breathing down your back, it is really tough.  There were also some really weird items that you could collect such as a pizza or ice cream cone.  One of the best features of this game was the “pac-boost”, which allows awesome speed relative to the ghosts.  It allowed you to feel like an awesome player!  All of these changes made the game more fun and made the replay-ability greater.

If you’ve never played this version of it, check it out!

Stinkers – Zuma Deluxe for the XBox 360

Genre:  Arcade
Platform:  XBox 360

I love Zuma.  It has entertained me for 100’s of hours on my PC or laptop.  This is a great game.  It’s very simple – you shoot colored balls at the other colored balls to match at least three and clear them.  So I was excited to play it on my XBox 360 quite a long time ago.  FAIL.  This is a terrible port of a game.  Of course, you use your 360 controller.  However, the controls are just awful.

You need to use the thumb sticks to control the cursor, but it is really hard to use.  I don’t understand why they chose to make this game difficult.  You have to hold the position with your thumbs to shoot the ball, but it requires a fair amount of pressure from your hand.  This means that it is slow and painful.

I was really good at Zuma on the PC using a mouse.  With this version of the game, I am horrible.  I can’t get past the third level.  Which means that this game is no fun.  I do not recommend anyone play it as you will be frustrated and disappointed.

Hidden Gems – Pogo Island

Genre:  Card and Board, Arcade, Word, Puzzle
Platform:  DS

I believe I have expressed my satisfaction with Pogo.com previously on this site, so it’s no surprise that I really enjoyed this compilation of 5 different Pogo games, Pogo Island for the Nintendo DS.  This game contains a couple of my favorites – Word Whomp, Tri-Peaks Solitaire, Phlinx, Squelchies and Poppit.  Each game is fun in its own right and I can easily play them for hours on end.  This is a great game for travel for me.  Just pop it in and the time on planes just flies by (pun intended).

This game also lets you collect tokens as you play and upload them to your Pogo account, which is a nice bonus.  If you’re a fan of Pogo games or just solitaire games in general, I think that you will really enjoy this one.  I happened to have found it by accident in a GameStop one day and picked it up immediately.  I had never heard of it before, so it was a true hidden gem.


Oldies but Goodies – Simpsons Road Rage

Genre:  Arcade
Platform:  XBox Original

I was a long-time fan of the Simpsons, although I haven’t really watched much of it the last 10 years or so.  So when Road Rage came out, I picked it up and really enjoyed it.  If you’ve ever played Crazy Taxi, it’s basically that with the Simpsons crew.  You select one of the cast to play and drive around Springfield acting as a taxi.  The faster you get people to their destination, the more money you get and the more time you have to play.

You only start with maybe 5 characters to play with and can purchase the rest as you earn money.  This really adds to the replayability of the game as you’ll enjoy playing the different characters.  Here’s everyone you can play:

Simsons RR characters

I have always been a big Lisa fan, so that’s usually who I played.  I also enjoyed Homer and Mr. Plow a lot, too.  You can destroy just about everything in this game.  Springfield is fairly large, so there is a lot of territory to cover.  There are shortcuts everywhere, so once you find them, the game becomes even more fun.  I just picked this one up again and I’m looking forward to replaying it.  I would recommend it if you’re looking for a fast-paced racing type of game and you are a fan of the Simpsons.


Oldies but Goodies – Frog Bog

Genre:  Arcade
Platform:  Intellivision

I know this game is called Frog Bog, but for some reason, it’s called Frogs and Flies in my mind.  We had this game for the Intellivision when I was a kid and I thought it was one of the funniest games I had ever seen.  I remember playing it with my parents and laughing a lot.  The premise is simple – you play against another person and try to catch flies with your frog.  It’s a very easy game – easy enough for my 7 year-old self to master.

There is a mode, however, which allows your frogs a bit more freedom.  This means that they can jump off the screen, change direction mid-air and fall into the water.  This was the mode that entertained me for so many hours.  As you can see in the picture above, the frogs look pretty silly when they jump.  I remember my aunts and I playing the as well when they would babysit and we had so much fun as well.

I do have this one in my collection now, but I haven’t plugged in the Intellivision yet to play it.  I’m sure it won’t be near as much fun, but it will always make me smile to think of it.

Oldies but Goodies – Bust-a-Move

Genre:  Puzzle
Platform:  SNES

Bust-a-Move has been released, in some form or another, on pretty much every console since SNES.  I had actually played this one first on an arcade machine and immediately had to have it.  To my surprise, I found that it was available for the SNES, which I had.  I still have this game on my SNES and do actually play it.  There have been many clones of this game since, one of my favorites being Phlinx on pogo.com.

This version of the game stars Bub and Bob, of Bubble Bobble fame on the NES.  You are helping them clear a board of balls by matching three or more.  If you’re good, you’ll become skilled at bouncing them off of the walls to make tough shots and have large groups fall at once.

My favorite mode is the multiplayer battle mode.  I played through the story, but this is where the fun is.  You go through rivals until you reach the boss.  You can set how many wins you need per match before you move on to the next foe.  I have played through this many, many times and it’s still fun.

The graphics are just ok, but the soundtrack is great. I was humming it just thinking about it. The sound effects are also cute and add to the game. If you like simple puzzlers without a lot of story in your way, check this out!