Previous month:
July 2010
Next month:
September 2010

August 2010

Aero The Acro-Bat Retro Rough Draft Video Game Concept At Kombo

Aero The Acro-Bat As we close out the week it's time to pull the curtain back on the last part of my Aero the Acro-Bat retrospective exposé.  Today's installment is a real coup for us at Kombo, as Aero's creator, David Siller, generously offered up the original rough draft concept document for the original 1993 Aero the Acro-Bat video game for the Super NES and Sega Genesis for me to analyze over at Kombo.  You can read the entire document from start to finish and check out a little commentary from Siller and some interesting notes from yours truly.  Then, after that, we have some rare promotional artwork of Aero in action for you to see.  It's not often that we get a close look at the origin of a video game from that era, so this really is interesting reading.  Many concepts from the original document did not make it into the final version of the game, while some of the final version's elements are not listed in this document.  It's fascinating stuff and I hope you all enjoy digging through it as I did.  Feel free to spread this one around to your friends, social networks, and favored news aggregators along with yesterday's piece.  Everyone who enjoyed character-based 2D action platformers from the 16-bit era needs to see this.

"Liars And Cheats" Red Dead Redemption DLC Detailed

Red Dead Redemption Leave it to Rockstar to find a way to keep fans of Red Dead Redemption coming back to the game time after time with new things to do in the game's online multiplayer mode.  The next round of downloadable content, the Liars And Cheats Pack, has been outlined and detailed by the company, and as it turns out, we're actually getting two DLC packs in one with this $10 release.

We are excited to bring you our next packs, starting with the September 21st 2010 debut of our Free Roam release: the Liars and Cheats Pack, which focuses on expanding the Free Roam multiplayer experience as well as adding new modes to Competitive Multiplayer.

The Liars and Cheats Pack will contain a great range of new highly-requested features to expand the Free Roam world including Multiplayer Poker and Liar’s Dice, as well as a brand new Competitive Multiplayer gameplay mode.  The Liars and Cheats Pack will also include the content
previously announced as the Free Roam Pack.  The Free Roam Pack was originally planned as a free download, but due to the platform networks’ restrictions on numbers of free packs we can give away (and our promise to bring you the free Hunting and Trading Outfits Pack), we have instead added it to the Liars and Cheats Pack as one Free Roam release boasting the following features and more:

  • Multiplayer Poker and Liars' Dice Games
    One of the most fan-requested features comes to multiplayer.
  • Multiplayer Horse Races
    Ride out against your friends and foes online - with mounted combat guns blazing.
  • The Explosive Rifle
    A devastatingly destructive new weapon with its own new single-player and multiplayer challenges.
  • 7 New Gang Hideouts
    Posse up and take on the new Hideouts together to level up quickly.
  • 4 New Hunting Grounds
    New Hunting Grounds are now visible on the map for all to see, with some of the most action-packed wildlife hunting yet.
  • Stronghold Competitive Multiplayer Mode
    Teams take turns in attack and defense in multi-tiered Competitive games.
  • Posse Scoring and Leaderboards
    Compare stats with other posses and compete to see who are the kings of the Free Roam frontier.
  • Plus, 15 additional multiplayer characters from the Red Dead Redemption storyline are being made available as multiplayer characters, and more all-new Achievements and Trophies.

Once again, SOLD!  I'm especially looking forward to the new gang hideouts.  Clearing out the scoundrels from places like Tumbleweed and Nosalida are my favorite part of the game's Free Roam multiplayer mode (and they're an excellent source of XP!).  So much so, in fact, that I've barely bothered with the multiplayer's more competitive offerings.  The new rifle will be fun to try, too, just as the recently added tomahawk was a fun diversion.  September 21 can't come soon enough.  Looking ahead, there's also plans for new single-player DLC in which John Marston takes on the zombie horde for some reason.  I'm starting to feel burned out on zombies, but I'll take new solitary gameplay any way I can get it.

Taking Down The Clown: A Look Back At Aero The Acro-Bat At Kombo

The first half of the special feature article that I mentioned yesterday is now available over at Kombo, and as some of you guessed, it's all about Sunsoft's Aero the Acro-Bat and Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel.  In today's feature, I revisit the Super NES / Sega Genesis series, note where it's been, where it could go, and talk with Aero's creator, David Siller, about some of the ideas behind the character and the challenges of bringing him to 16-bit life.  There's also some vintage advertising and just over a dozen fun screenshots to see.  I've been working on this piece for just under a month and am very pleased with how it turned out.  Tomorrow you'll be able to read the second part of the series in which Siller's original rough draft concept document for the original Aero the Acro-Bat will show you just how much material was left on the cutting room floor and which aspects of the original idea made it all the way to the end of development as well as some seldom-seen promotional artwork.  Flip on over to Kombo today and tomorrow to check it all out and feel free to spread this series around to your friends and favorite social websites and aggregators.

Used Game Drama From Both Sides

Pre-owned gamesDid you know that when you buy a used video game, you're taking money away from the video game industry?  According to certain publishers, it's true!  As it turns out, trading in your old video games is cheating publishers and developers out of their rightful share of revenue because someone else will buy that used game and play it without any additional money going to the original source of the game in the process.  Yeah, I don't agree with that view either.  There are two sides to this debate and neither is going away, so Keri Honea over at Gaming Succubus takes a look at both angles and tries to find a consensus.

Make no mistake; I totally see how selling used games only helps stores like Gamestop and doesn’t give any money to the publishers. I see the same thing with Half Price Bookstores and the Movie Trading Company. However, I won’t go as far as some and say that this is the same thing as piracy. Piracy is downright theft, and I cannot stand piracy in any form. My brother-in-law constantly pirates movies and video games, and I cackled with glee when his nasty habit caused his Wii to get bricked. When it comes to used games, you aren’t stealing them; you’re buying them from another seller in much the same way that garage sales run. Do publishers lose a potential sale? Yes. Is that stealing? No.

I also don’t see that it’s entirely fair to “force” everyone or guilt everyone into only buying new games. The entire concept of capitalism revolves around the free market, and if Gamestop is making a killing with this idea, then more power to them.

I make it a habit of buying new games whenever possible because I like owning untouched discs and cartridges for my long-term collection needs, but I will buy a used copy of something if new copies are absurdly expensive or out of print.  There are some games out there that I don't get around to playing until they've long since gone stale in the gaming zeitgeist.  When I started buying Game Boy Advance games in 2004 once I owned a Nintendo DS, I hit the used market almost exclusively since many titles from 2001-2003 were long gone from the New section of stores.  Something similar could be said for when I started building a Sony PlayStation 2 collection in 2006.  I don't go for used games first and foremost, but they are a necessary part of the marketplace.

Tales Of Monkey Island Kicked My Brain

Tales Of Monkey Island I went into playing the Sony PlayStation 3 version of Tales of Monkey Island from Telltale Games with a cocky, I-can-solve-anything attitude, but as it turns out, Tales is devilishly difficult.  So much so that I was stumped by the very first major puzzle in "Chapter 1: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal".  Here's the situation: mighty pirate Guybrush Threepwood must use an enchanted cutlass to thwart nemesis LeChuck, but the cutlass must be spritzed with root beer in order to be, y'know, enchanted.  Root beer is available, but Guybrush botches an opportunity and ends up with a shattered bottle.  Where else can one find fizzy root beer on a pirate ship?  No where, of course.  I knew I'd have to improvise, so I tried my luck soaking the cutlass in a barrel of grog.  No dice.  Poking around the ship led me to a way to make the grog fizzy.  I patted myself on the back for solving the first puzzle in the game until I realized that my solution didn't work.  Searching the ship didn't turn up anything else seemingly useful, while talking to the ship's two other occupants offered no helpful clues.  So what was the trick?  After being stumped for a while, I turned to a Tales guide to discover that I had to take a piece of a root off of a plant growing on the deck and drop that into the fizzy grog, turning it into root grog.

Continue reading "Tales Of Monkey Island Kicked My Brain" »

Mega Man Online Animated Trailer Is Surprisingly Dark, Amazing

While you may never have the opportunity to play the upcoming Mega Man Online, at least you can marvel at its animated teaser trailer.  From the look of things, Dr. Wily's attack on the city led by the Robot Masters and Yellow Devil from the first Mega Man game is met by Mega Man and Proto Man (who also trade shots with one another), although somehow the Repliforce from the Mega Man X series factors into the equation somewhere, and of course Bass is lurking around as well.  Roll even makes a brief appearance, as does Dr. Light.  The music is a remixed medley of tunes from classic Mega Man games, so don't be surprised if it sounds a bit familiar in places.  I've never really thought of the original Mega Man series as being dark and gritty, but having seen this animation, I don't think I'd be opposed to exploring that notion further.

The Secret Messages Of Metroid Prime 3

Samus Aran's gunship Nintendo's Metroid Prime 3: Corruption for the Wii is full of secrets, but some of those secrets are buried deeper than others.  Sure, you found all of the energy tanks and weapon upgrades, but did you discover the secret messages from Satoru Iwata, Shigeru Miyamoto, Yoshio Sakamoto, and other key creative people who worked on the game?  You'll need to input special commands on a control panel inside Samus Aran's gunship.  Think you can strike on the solutions at random?  Good luck!  There are 1,680 possible combinations to try and only five correct answers. The Metroid Database has the information you need to unlock these secret audio transmissions.  The catch in all of this?  You'll need to be able to understand Japanese to get the most out of it.  Fear not though!  The guide also includes English translations.

Hello everyone, this is Sakamoto from Nintendo. Have you been enjoying Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, the final episode of the Metroid Prime trilogy? You have been enjoying it, I hope? Samus’ missions will still continue outside of this series. Please keep waiting for them. So, please look forward to the next Metroid. METOROIDO...OMOROIDO. [Metroid is fun!]

I love when games include little elements like this (even if I can't understand them nor have any hope of stumbling upon them).  I found the control panel in question when I played the game when it first came out, but never did find the purpose for it.  How would anyone even know to look for these messages?  Or which buttons to press on the panel?  I suppose the best secrets are buried deepest of all.

Special Kombo Feature Waiting In The Wings

Who's Waiting In The Wings To Astound You? You may have noticed that I haven't written much for Kombo lately.  I'm still working behind the scenes as the Assistant Director of Reviews and am about to start reviewing the first titles of the big autumn gaming rush, but for the past few weeks I've been on something of a special assignment.  I've been at work on a feature article that blows the doors off of one of my favorite video game franchises from the 16-bit generation that, sadly, has fallen by the wayside over the years.  I tracked down the original creator of the franchise for an interview and asked the questions I've had kicking around in my head for fifteen years.  He was even generous enough to provide the complete original draft development concept document and some classic artwork. Attentive PTB readers will probably figure out the franchise in question seen in this teaser image right away based on my past admiration for the series.  The two-part series kicks off tomorrow over at Kombo.

You Can't Play Glorious Modernized Sonic & Knuckles

Sega's upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is looking and feeling impressive, but I'm starting to wonder if maybe there's a better solution for re-creating the magic of the original Sonicgames from the Genesis era.  I say that after watching this video of a pre-rendered updated portion of Act 2 of the Mushroom Hill Zone from Sonic & Knuckles aimed at the technical specifications of modern consoles.  It's not a real game, mind you, but I really want it to be.  So many of the little details such as motion-blurred titles, metallic rings, and that fantastic stream of light filtering through the trees are just perfect.

The Simpsons Arcade Game Remembered By Season 13 DVD

The Simpsons - Season 13

How much fun was Konami's classic 1991 arcade game, The Simpsons?  So much fun that the newly released Season 13 DVD and Blu-ray set features new artwork based on the game's original sprites.  The discs themselves are covered in art of Homer, Marge, Bart, and Lisa brandishing their in-game weapons, and even the menus are inspired by gaming: Ralph Wiggum enjoys a game of Rev Rev Dance-olution, for instance, while the menu options are depicted by a joystick and buttons.  Fresh from my scanner, enjoy these neat images of the arcade-inspired packaging.

Continue reading "The Simpsons Arcade Game Remembered By Season 13 DVD" »