Retro/Classic Feed

It Belongs In A Museum!

Mega Man for four hundred damned dollarsWe were on the road again this past weekend and, while wandering a mall, my girlfriend and I came across another local used video game store.  This one was smaller than last week's find, but it was stuffed with cartridges and discs spanning the late 1970s to present.  It didn't take long for my attention to drift to the lit glass case at the front of the store which contained boxed copies of Super NES games and loose Nintendo 64 and Virtual Boy cartridges, but what really leapt out at me were the price tags.  I'm accustomed to seeing high prices for the Super NES games of my youth, but this place wanted $400 for Mega Man 7 which is, last I checked, available for $8 on Nintendo's Virtual Console service across three different consoles.  Now yes, that is like comparing dollars to downloads, but c'mon — four hundred damned dollars for Mega Man 7?  Seriously?

I had to ask, so I dug down deep and channeled my late father who had a habit of asking shopkeepers if they were serious about this kind of thing.  "I have to ask," I said to the clerk, "Do people actually pay this kind of price for Mega Man 7?"

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Mini-Review: Mega Man X: Command Mission

Mega Man X: Command MissionThis article was originally published at Kombo.com on October 13, 2004. 

Capcom's futuristic take on the blue bomber has resulted in some of gaming's most memorable side-scrolling platformer games, but in recent years Mega Man X has begun to slip somewhat. His more recent adventures have been half-hearted misfires, containing more frustrating moments than actual fun. Poor localization/translation has also dogged the series in addition to some rather dismal voice acting. The Mega Man X storyline has also been circling the drain for some time, as one game in the series contradicts another (the end of Mega Man X6 proclaims that X's Maverick Hunter partner Zero has gone into a deep sleep for one hundred years so that he can star in the spin-off series Mega Man Zero, and yet Zero appears alive and well in Mega Man X7 and X8) and, on occasion, one game will contradict itself. When Capcom announced that an RPG starring X and friends was in development many fans shuddered at the thought of the company that seemingly couldn't tell a consistent story in an action game taking a stab at a plot-intensive RPG. It would seem those fears are misplaced, as X's first RPG — Mega Man X: Command Mission for the Nintendo GameCube and Sony PlayStation 2 — actually tells a coherent story and features voice acting from actors who can actually, well, act. Add in a deeply customizable battle system and plenty of playable characters and it would appear that if this is Capcom's attempt at bringing some cohesion to the Mega Man X saga, than they look to be successful.

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Wario Is The Crossover Hero We Need

Wario Ducktales

Nintendo and Hudson briefly took greedy anti-hero Wario in a surprising direction in 1994 when they dropped him into Bomberman's world in the Game Boy title Wario Blast.  For a hot second there I had hoped that this collaboration would be the beginning of a fun new career for Wario: professional party crasher.  I wanted him to drop into other game properties where he may not exactly be welcome and cause all kinds of trouble.  Imagine the possibilities!  Mega Man discovers that Wario has sold the Robot Masters for scrap.  Teenager Dave turns to his friends Bernard and Wario to save Sandy from Dr. Fred in Maniac Mansion.  Dracula gets more than he bargained for when Wario raids Castlevania. 

Above all else, I truly believe that the world is a poorer place because we were never given the natural team-up adventure with Wario and Scrooge McDuck of Ducktales scouring the world in search of treasure.  Working as reluctant partners in search of gold, they could work together until the time was right to try and screw the other over.  The co-op gameplay opportunities practically program themselves!  I know you're nodding your head in agreement right now as you read this.   It's the crossover you never know you needed in your life.  Nintendo, Disney, and Capcom, please start making calls.  This needs to happen!

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Will You Buy Street Fighter II Again?

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final ChallengersCapcom's Street Fighter II has been ported to all kinds of game consoles and computers.  You can find it on the Super NES and Sega Genesis, of course, where it premiered as one of the best selling arcade ports of the 1990s, but it's also available on the Game Boy, Commodore 64, Amiga, Master System, Saturn, TurboGrafx-16, Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U, New 3DS, PlayStation Portable... my point is that it's widely available on just about every platform out there.  You most likely own one if not multiple options for playing Street Fighter II in one form or another.  Now Capcom is about to release it yet again, this time for the Nintendo Switch as Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers at a MSRP of $39.99.  That feels very steep for a game that has been around the block this many times, but Capcom has added some new features to the game for its Switch debut.  Nintendo UK offers up the complete list, while Javy Gwaltney at Game Informer summarizes the details

The standout addition is the Way of the Hado, a motion control first-person action game that's goal is to make the player "feel what it’s like to be Ryu." Staple modes like Arcade and Versus will also be included alongside Buddy Mode, a tag team battle mode, and Fight Requests as well as the ability to save replays of your matches.

There's also a digital art book included.  While I would like to have Street Fighter II on my Switch, I have to admit that I'm on the fence about it over the cost, but as I think about that, I wonder if I'm not actually the target market for this version of the game.  I first played Street Fighter II on a neighbor friend's Super NES back in 1992 and have kept up with the latest updates to it over the years.  I bought it on PS2 as part of an anniversary compilation, I own it on PS3 as the HD Remix upgrade, and I carry it in my pocket on my iPhone as a decently playable app.  I also own Street Fighter III on PS3 and Street Fighter IV on PS3, PS4, 3DS, and iOS.  I even have the underwhelming Street Fighter V on my PS4.  Clearly my Street Fighter needs are met.

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Nintendo PlayStation Whirs To Life

Nintendo PlayStationFollowing the unlikely discovery at an estate sale, enthusiasts have been able to restore a prototype Nintendo PlayStation (that is, a Super Famicom merged with an unreleased CD-ROM attachment created as part of a short-lived Nintendo/Sony alliance in the early 1990s) to full working over.  Kyle Orland at Ars Technica tells the story of how the device was brought back to life and what it's future holds.  The big question about all of this is: since there is no official software for it, what can one play on a Super NES with a CD drive?

"I should really loan this to one of the emulator writers," Heck says in the video. "The bootstrap code to load games needs to be tweaked now that programmers know how actual hardware works... now it's down to the programmers learning what the hardware can actually do versus what they thought it could do."

As a practical matter, getting the Nintendo PlayStation "fully functional" isn't much more than a historical oddity. There's no known "official" software floating around for the system, and even homebrew games play pretty much identically to regular SNES cartridges (just with lots of additional storage space for music, levels, and the like).

It would be interesting to see homebrew game developers craft new Super NES games that take advantage of the extra storage space that a CD can offer, although anything they create could only be played on this one console.  Of course, then we get into emulation which would expand those games to the masses if Super NES emulator creators add the CD-ROM expansion to their software.  This could revitalize the Super NES emulation community.  It would be great to see well-crafted hacks and expansions of familiar games like, just spitballing here, a Super Metroid iteration featuring multiple planets or a The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past adventure with more than just a Light and Dark world available.  Beyond that, I'd love to see actual original games made for this console's capabilities.  Just kick out the back wall of the stock Super NES's limitations and go nuts with the extra CD power.  Of course, I've wanted to see that since 1992 when a CD-ROM expansion for the Super NES was first rumored!


Now You Can Play The Unreleased Primal Rage 2

Primal Rage 2Back in the 1990s glory days of Mortal Kombat and its many imitators (I'm looking at you, Tattoo Assassins), Atari Games took a run at the fighting game crown with Primal Rage, an arcade game in which players battled not as ninjas, damned souls, or gods, but as mighty dinosaurs.  With Jurassic Park still wildly popular, this combination proved to be... eh, not a runaway hit per se, but surely one of the better remembered Kombat klones, and even then mostly just for the novelty of mixing dinosaurs with a fighting game.  Primal Rage made the rounds on the home consoles and computers of the day and sparked a little marketing empire of its own with comics and toys.  It's only natural that a sequel would follow, and while Primal Rage 2 was in development for a short while with a targeted release date of 1996, it was canceled before completion and quietly buried.  Only one playable arcade cabinet has surfaced in recent years, but now thanks to a custom version of the popular arcade emulator MAME, it's possible to bring Primal Rage 2 home.  Here's Hardcore Gaming 101 to explain how the sequel changed the formula and why that likely contributed to its demise.

The game was left unfinished, and was presumed lost. While the ROMs would eventually surface, no version of MAME put the game into a playable state. Some time later, an actual cabinet would eventually surface at Chicago's Galloping Ghost Arcade, letting people experience the game for the first time. For those of us who weren't local or lacked airfare, however, we had to make do with Youtube videos filmed by camcorder. Until recently, that is, when Gruntzilla94, someone who had been researching the game heavily, made a special version of MAME capable of fully running this mysterious game.

Since the game was never finished, any real faults of the game should be given with that in mind. While there's plenty of glitches, unfinished animations, and things that are straight up broken, it should be assumed that all of these would have been fixed for release. Even if the game had come out, it's likely there would have been further revisions, much like the original Rage. Still, considering its early state, it's fairly playable, if not particularly amazing. Given the vast strides fighting games had made since 1994, PR2 had a lot more to go up against, and it can't really compete.

For a game built around brawling dinosaurs, Primal Rage 2 commits the greatest sin it possibly can: it sidelines the brawling dinosaurs.  The game's lore outlines that humans have begun to rise up and worship dinosaurs as gods, so in the sequel the dinosaurs choose humans to wage their wars for them.  If I wanted to brawl as a human, there were plenty of other, better games I could choose.  The whole point of Primal Rage is to see dinosaurs rip each other apart, and without the dinosaurs, the whole endeavor is revealed as the hollow experience it really is.  Presumably Atari realized this too late in the development process to change course, and as the Kombat craze started to wane, the company likely just pulled the plug and walked away.  A few toys and even a novel based on the expanded lore of Primal Rage 2 made it out to stores anyway, although today the whole franchise is, pardon the pun, extinct.


Collecting Games The Cheap And Pitiful Way

ET and the Cosmic GardenIt can be expensive to collect video games.  Sealed copies of beloved classics like EarthBound or Chrono Trigger can sell in the used market for hundreds of dollars, while copies of rare titles like Stadium Events can command prices that most assign to cars or down payments on housing.  Who needs all of that stress and expense when you can collect the cheapest, most worthless games in gaming history?  Platypux Comix gets you started on your new valueless buying spree with a look at some of the cheapest games out there.

There have been a lot of lists written about the most expensive video games collectors can buy. But if you were just starting out, you probably wouldn't start with one of those, would you? Today we focus on the other end of the spectrum and track down the absolute, bottom of the barrel, can't-go-lower CHEAPEST game to collect for each system. These were gathered from figures displayed at PriceCharting.com, which calculates the average prices old games are selling for on the auction market.

All of your, ahem, "favorites" are there like Monster Truck Wars for the Game Boy ($0.99), F-1 World Grand Prix for the Nintendo 64 ($2.25), and DICE: DNA Integrated Cybernetic Enterprises for the Sony PlayStation 2 ($0.01).  I was all set to tell you the story of the time I bought Virtual League Baseball for the Virtual Boy off of eBay in 2001 or so for a pittance and the seller threw in a second sealed copy for free just to get rid of his stock because the game was considered so worthless, but today on review I find that a new sealed copy of the game sells for as high as $20.  My investments are accruing in value!  So I suppose the lesson here is to take a chance on that cheap copy of DICE: DNA Integrated Cybernetic Enterprises.  Who knows what tomorrow plus fifteen years will bring?


Power Button - Episode 235: Scalper's Paradise

Power ButtonWe gather here today to bid farewell to the Classic NES console, a Nintendo nostalgia item too beautiful for this world and gone far too soon.  As we say our goodbyes, we also dip back into history to discuss some of the most expensive and rarest video games spanning from the Atari 2600 era through the 8-bit and 16-bit eras.  Best and worst alike, some of these older games fetch absurdly high prices, and we explore some of our favorites.   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.


Classic Super NES Rumored To Start Production

Super NESThe online community is absolutely buzzing today about Eurogamer's report that Nintendo plans to sell a Classic Super NES later this year that follows the plug-and-play model used by the discontinued Classic NES featuring built-in games as a one-and-done purchase.  Let's hope the company takes the apparently unanticipated demand for classic Nintendo games sold in bulk at a reasonable price into account when they set up manufacturing targets this time.  Here's Tom Phillips with the news:

The SNES mini (or, to continue Nintendo's official branding, likely the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System) is currently scheduled to launch in time for Christmas this year. Development of the device is already under way, our sources have indicated.

Nintendo's plans for SNES mini are also a major reason why last year's NES mini did not see a reprieve from discontinuation, Eurogamer understands, despite the latter's continued popularity and sell-out status.

Of course everyone has their wish list of games to be included in the Classic SNES, and I'm no exception.  Here's my list of twenty-five games that I'd like to see in the console.  I'm limiting myself to reasonable selections based on the Classic NES's library licensees (so Capcom, Square-Enix, and Konami are in, but no Aero the Acro-bat from Sunsoft or Plok from Tradewest), but I'm not accounting for the technology licensing issues that have kept classics like Yoshi's Island and Star Fox off of the Virtual Console services because, let's face it, not including those games would leave a noticeable hole in the library.

  • Chrono Trigger
  • Donkey Kong Country
  • Donkey Kong Country 2
  • Donkey Kong Country 3
  • EarthBound
  • F-Zero
  • Final Fight
  • Final Fantasy III (VI)
  • Kirby's Dream Course
  • Kirby's Dream Land 3
  • Kirby Super Star
  • Mega Man 7
  • Mega Man X
  • Pilotwings
  • Star Fox
  • Street Fighter II Turbo
  • Super Castlevania IV
  • Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts
  • Super Mario Kart
  • Super Punch-Out!!
  • Super Mario RPG
  • Super Mario World
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
  • Super Metroid
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

How about you?  Which games do you want to see in a Classic SNES?


Face The Wrath Of... Metal Beak?

The Disney Afternoon CollectionIt's such a minor error in the grand scheme of things, but one thing that grinds my gears in when support material for video games, movies, television, etc. fail to properly identify key characters.  While I'm impressed with Capcom's recently released The Disney Afternoon Collection, I involuntarily blurted out "Are you kidding me?" when I saw that Darkwing Duck's villainous nemesis Steelbeak, top agent of the Fiendish Organization for World Larceny, has been misidentified as "Metal Beak" in the Darkwing Duck music player.  I look forward to taking down Metal Beak along with the rest of Darkwing's rogues gallery including Megawatt, Jester Jack, Leafroot, and Liquidog.