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!

Fun with Card Battles – Animation Throwdown

Genre:  Card
Platform:  PC and Mobile

I discovered a game a few days ago that has suddenly consumed the majority of my time.  I have played almost 24 hours since.  This game is Animation Throwdown, available on Steam or as a mobile game.

This game combines things I really enjoy – a good card battle game, adult swim (or Fox’s Animation Domination) cartoons and comedy.  The game contains card sets from the following cartoons – Futurama, Family Guy, American Dad, Bob’s Burgers and King of the Hill.  I am very familiar with all but Futurama, but I have seen it and at least know the basic characters.  I am regularly chuckling while playing this gem.

You play with your typical card-battle rules.  Each card has a damage and health number.  Each one of these numbers can be enhanced by combo cards, but you will have to research the majority of the combos.  This can take anywhere from 1 to 24 hours, depending on the grade of card you are researching.  The higher-level combos are well worth it.

There are several different game modes as well.  There’s a guild rumble, quest line (adventure mode), arena and challenges.  There is enough content to keep you busy for a while.  You can also upgrade your cards as you play and recycle cards that you don’t want to keep.  As of right now, you can only have three decks at a time.

The game is free to play, but it tries hard to get you to pay to advance quicker.  I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t suckered in once.  If you like any of these cartoons, even if you have never played a card battle game, please check this out!  You will likely have a fun time.

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.

Where is the NES Mini?

nes-mini

The NES Mini hit retail stores in the US in November.  It retails for $60, but I have yet to see one at that price.  I have yet to see one, period.  There are some on Ebay and Amazon, but I’m not paying $150-$300 for one.

So it seems that if you want to land your hands on one, you’ve got some options (none of which I have the energy for):

  • Make friends with the local stock folks in the big-name stores such as Gamestop, Target or Walmart.
  • Use a web site like http://www.stockinformer.com/checker-nintendo-classic-edition-nes to track stock in local stores.  Get on the phone as soon as you see one in stock and see if they will hold it for you.
  • Pay way too much for one.

I don’t really understand Nintendo’s strategy on this product.  You can get most of these games through Virtual Console.  The demand is obviously really high for them and you’d think a larger-scale release would do quite well.  I often have a hard time understanding what Nintendo is doing, however.

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!

Compilation Games – SEGA Genesis Collection

Genre:  Compilation
Platform:  PSP, XBox 360 (Genesis)

Recently, I did an article on AtGame’s SEGA mini.  It is just so-so.  I think a much better deal would be to purchase one of the compilation games that I am going to discuss now.  I own two of them – The SEGA Genesis Collection for the PSP and Sonic’s Genesis Collection.  These are both winners and you can’t go wrong with them.

They both contain all of the classics for the system.  The XBox 360 game has 49 games, some of which you have to unlock.  I actually like the fact that you have to unlock the games as it makes you play games that you may not otherwise.  For example, I wanted to unlock Phantasy Star 1, but I had to reach a certain objective in Sonic the Hedgehog first.  I’m not a huge fan of Sonic, but I did have fun trying to hit that objective.  As with every XBox 360 game, there are a multitude of achievements and you get ratings for each game.  Fun stuff!

The PSP game has 33 games.  Again, some are unlockable.  I haven’t spent a ton of time with this version, but it does have the classics you’re likely familiar with – Altered Beast, Golden Axe, Vectorman, Sonic, Streets of Rage, Phantasy Star, Ecco, etc.  I prefer the XBox version, but this one is great because you can take the games with you.  Of course, I’ve got my GCW Zero, so I just tend to take that as I have just about every Genesis game ever made on it.  But still, this is a more “moral and legal” option.