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.

Oldies but Goodies – Coaster!

Genre:  Simulation/Builder
Platform:  PC

I really like roller coaster building games.  I have played nearly all of them and I’m about to venture into one of the newer ones – Planet Coaster.  My love for the genre first started with a game called Coaster by Disney games.  This was one of the first coaster sim games.

This game was really ahead of its time.  It was released in 1993 and didn’t benefit from the internet for much endorsement.  I don’t think a lot of people know that it existed.  In this game, you could not only design a roller coaster and put it through computer simulations, you could ride it yourself!  It wasn’t the best graphically, but they get an A for effort.

Coaster 3

You could also have other people test it for you and they would rate it.  I tried so hard to find an image of the folks after they rode it, but didn’t.  Their faces would change based on the intensity of your coaster.  On your most insane (that didn’t kill them), they would have vomit on their faces.  It was pretty funny to my juvenile self.

I was able to find this game on gog.com.  It doesn’t run very well, however, as the speeds are just off.  I tried tinkering with emulation settings to no avail.  Try it for yourself, though, and enjoy the ride!

Oldies but Goodies -Bart vs the Space Mutants

Genre:  Platformer
Platform:  NES

The Simpsons have been around for a long, long time.  Along their long history have come some pretty good video games.  One that I played as a kid was Bart vs. the Space Mutants on the NES.  This was actually the first licensed Simpsons video game.

In this game, you are playing as Bart and you’re wandering around Springfield.  You’re just trying to go about your daily business of vandalizing the city when you notice that something is off – aliens have invaded the city!  You are armed with your spray can and x-ray glasses.  Using these, you can identify and deal with those pesky aliens.

Many of the show’s gags make this game, such as Bart’s catch phrases (“eat my shorts!”) and his phone gags to Moe:

bart-1

I don’t remember much else about the game, but I think it was fairly difficult as I never finished it.  I do own this one and will likely pop it in my NES some time.

Oldies but Goodies – Babble by Galoob

galoob-babble

This isn’t a video game, but it’s still an electronic game, so it’s going up here.  I had this game as a kid and my family and I had a blast with it.  What the heck is it?  It’s Babble by Galoob.  It was a really goofy game where one person took it into a different room, out of earshot, and said a word or phrase into it.  You then returned to the group, and it would play what you just said either backwards or at a super slow speed, depending upon the game you selected.

Someone would then press the “mimic” button and try to repeat what they heard.  It would then either play that at normal speed or front-wards and you would try to guess the phrase based on that.  It was really funny and very typical of a game that my family played back then.  This beauty was from 1988.  I have looked all over Ebay and the interwebs and I cannot find it.  If you happen to run across it, let me know where!

Oldies But Goodies – Number Munchers

Genre:  Educational
Platform:  PC

I came in to school at a great time in history.  Home computers were newly affordable, which meant that they had a couple of them in schools.  They began using games as teaching tools, and we were learning while having fun and not even realizing it.  One of these early games that I remember is Number Muchers.  There were several “Munchers” games after that, but this was the first.

You played as the hero, the number muncher.  I’m not sure what you were trying to save and I don’t think there was much of a story behind this game.  Anyway, it was your job to “munch” the numbers (press the space bar) that fit the category at the top.  It typically focused in number multiples, but sometimes it would be prime numbers and other varieties.  The Troggles attempted to foil your plans for heroism.  They were cute monsters that were trying to eat you.  Every time you moved a square, they moved a square.  They started out pretty random, but on later levels, they had some AI and made the game more and more difficult.

I remember this game very fondly.  So much, in fact, that I just bought a Number Munchers t-shirt.  You can still find this game online in various forms.  If you want to play the original, you can find it on abandonware sites and play it using a DOS emulator such as DOSBox.  It’s a blast from my past and I’d be interested to know how many of you also played this game in school!

Oldies but Goodies – Excitebike

Genre:  Racing
Platform:  NES

Matt and I are taking a motorcycle safety course today so we can legally ride the new Tao Tao scooter that we recently purchased.  What a better post for today than Excitebike!

I believe Excitebike was one of the first games I played on the NES.  It seemed so fun at the time.  It was action-packed and could get difficult.  We all had the struggles with the stupid bike overheating (see video below).  Sometimes the computer seemed to cheat.  It did that a lot in these older racing games.  The obstacles seemed ridiculous.  But it was still a fun game and actually did get a bit challenging as you played through it.  I don’t know that I ever made it past the first five levels or so, but I was a kid and just had fun playing it.  My sisters and I would compete, but they were quite a bit younger and I would destroy them.  And gloat.

I also spent quite a bit of time with the level creator.  It was the first game on the NES that I had played that had something like that and I really enjoyed it.  If I thought the obstacles on the main game were ridiculous, then the levels that I created were just insane.  It was jumps from one end to the other.  Needless to say, I didn’t play my own levels very often.

I’m not sure that I would recommend going back to play this now, however.  I recently did so, and it’s just not that much fun anymore.  Enjoy the game in your memory!

Oldies but Goodies – Super Mario Brothers 2

Genre:  Platformer
Platform:  NES

Have you ever been playing a game in a series and it just didn’t feel right?  Like maybe it just doesn’t belong in the series?  If you felt that while playing Super Mario Brothers 2, you were right.  Nintendo of Japan had developed a Super Mario Brothers 2, but audiences in Japan found it too difficult.  These levels were later released as the “Lost Levels” and can be found in several places, such as Super Mario All-Stars on the SNES.

Instead of starting from scratch, Nintendo re-purposed a game called Doki Doki Panic and released it as Super Mario Brothers 2.  This is a really odd game and as a result, doesn’t really feel much like a Mario game.  But we all still love it.  Some of the odder parts are the fact that you can pull items out of the ground and throw it at mobs, secret potions that sometimes create doors, weird monsters, Birdo and the slots between levels.

Birdo was especially weird.  That is the name of the monster in the picture above.  Even though it wears a bow on its head, it is a male.  He throws eggs at you from his mouth and you need to land on them mid-air, pull them over your head and throw them back at him.  After you do this a few times, you can enter the big eagle’s mouth on the side of the wall.  Yeah, I told you this got weird.  Here is a picture of the slots between levels, which was also strange:

smb2-slots

However, you could play as more than just Mario or Luigi.  You could also play as Toad or Princess Peach.  They all had their strengths – Peach could hover for a while, Toad was really strong, Mario was good all-around and Luigi…well, Luigi was funny to play?  He always seems to get the shaft in these games.

I still like this game to this day.  I don’t think I ever played it all the way through, though.  I’ll have to do that soon.  This game is available in Nintendo’s Virtual Console store, so it’s easy to go play!