Review

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Reviews of software, hardware and everything in-between.

Cat and Mouse (Magnavox Odyssey, 1972)

Cat & Mouse Overlay: What's a five-letter word for devoured?Cat & Mouse Overlay: What's a five-letter word for devoured?Picture a crossword puzzle grid (see overlay left). You know the type, empty squares (for the letters) and full squares (uh, not for the letters). The players start with their Player Spots on the Mouse and Cat icons respectively, which are already placed in the maze. In one corner of the maze is a "mouse house". (Yes, that's what "they" call it). The mouse has to get to his house before the cat gets him, but must do so by moving through only the white squares of the maze. The cat must obey the same limitation. If either the cat spot or the mouse spot overlap with one of the dark parts of the crossword puzzle-like landscape, they have to go back to their starting position.

Matt Barton's picture

A Review of Zack Snyder's "300"

Although we normally only review videogames here at AA, I thought I might be permitted to make some comments on the movie 300, which I feel has plenty of connections to the world of not only graphic novels but also videogames. I'd heard the movie described as "watching a videogame," and after viewing it last night, I can see why. However, I also read a review that described it as one of the battles in the Lord of the Rings trilogy expanded to movie-length--after excising out all the character and plot development. Both of these criticisms are fair. 300 isn't really trying to tell a story. It's just an effort to render an epic battle in a sort of highly stylized, highly gritty form. It's eye candy.

I'd like to think that no one would really need to be told the story of The Battle of Thermopylae, which is perhaps one of the most famous "last stands" in history, not to mention one of the most important battles the Greeks ever fought with the Persians. If these battles hadn't been fought, and if the Persians had managed to conquer Athens and Sparta, the entirely of Western civilization would probably be unrecognizable today. So, to that end, if this movie helps spark some historical interest in the typical zombie moviegoer, my hat is off to Snyder.

Submarine (Magnavox Odyssey, 1972)

Submarine's Overlay: Similar to Ski except for the "being torpedoed" part.Submarine's Overlay: Similar to Ski except for the "being torpedoed" part.I think that Submarine would count as the First Home Shooter, ever!

PlayerOne plays the Convoy Commander and controls the square on the screen designated as “The Convoy”. The Convoy Commander must move the ConvoySpot through the shipping lanes, represented by a convoluted path, by staying on the path the whole way. If the Commander strays off the path, a ship in the aggregate ConvoySpot inevitably hits a mine and sinks. Meanwhile, PlayerTwo is the Submarine Commander. The Submarine Commander sits just outside the shipping lanes and tries to sink the convoy ships.

Matt Barton's picture

Review: FunCom's "Dreamfall: The Longest Journey" (2006)

There are so many critics nowadays who like to scoff at the venerable old graphical adventure game (GAG) genre. All I can say is that the news of the GAG's demise is highly exaggerated. If you desire proof, then I suggest you give FunCom's Dreamfall a chance. This epic-sized adventure game is an amazing achievement, and certainly ranks as one of the finest GAGs of all time. Although it's certainly not flawless, Dreamfall capitalizes on its key assets: Interesting and well-developed characters, a fascinating storyline, and excellent pacing. Although some GAG fans will dismiss any game that doesn't burden the player down with "puzzles" and other distractions, I'm refreshed by FunCom's focus on story, characters, and dialog. If videogames are ever going to move beyond just simple diversions for young men, we're going to need more games like Dreamfall.

John Leguizamo Reveals Horrors of Playing Luigi in the movie Super Mario Bros

The Super Mario Bros. movie is not one of the better flicks based off a video game. It's certainly not the worst, but is odd in so many ways that it is probably worth watching at least once.

In his recent autobiography Pimps, Hos, Playas, And the Rest of my Hollywood Friends, John Leguizamo (the actor who played Luigi in the movie) devotes an entire chapter to the horrors of making is usually considered to be the first video game movie.

Here are some highlights:

Ski (Magnavox Odyssey, 1972)

The Overlay for Ski: Deep in the heart of the Vazhdok Mountains . . .The Overlay for Ski: Deep in the heart of the Vazhdok Mountains . . .Ski! We liked this! Whoo-wee!

There's an alien concept you need to understand about this game in case you haven't actually seen it. Look at the Uberlay. This is a different type of Uberlay from the Hockey, Tennis or Football Uberlays, which were translucent. The Uberlay for Ski is almost completely opaque. The only areas through which any light shines at all are the dashed lines indicating the skier's intended trail and various obstacles located "off-trail" like trees and mountains.

Hockey (Magnavox Odyssey, 1972)

1972HockeyOverlay: It is pretty, but I keep thinking, why are they facing-off over the Japanese flag?1972HockeyOverlay: It is pretty, but I keep thinking, why are they facing-off over the Japanese flag?Hockey is another "sport port" from the real-world to your television through the magic of . . . The Odyssey!!! I'm not sure I "get" this game of Hockey. I do get it in the real-world, all right, but not this variation.

The game starts with a face-off, which is refreshingly different from the first three games we played. (Table Tennis, Tennis and Football) Set the two paddles across from each other and maneuver the PUCK between them so that it is whizzin' back and forth at an amazin' speed.

yakumo9275's picture

Rose Tinted Memories of CRPG's

After Matt's couple of CRPG articles, I’ve sat down and thought through rose tinted memories on my favourite CRPG titles, time for some armchair commentary on my favourite golden age CRPG's.

Magic Candle, Wasteland, Questron II, Curse of the Azure Bonds + Pool of Radiance, Eye of the Beholder, Bards Tale II, Ultima III, Demons Winter.

yakumo9275's picture

Classic Genesis Games on PSP

Managed to pick up the Sega Genesis collection for the psp yesterday. I did a lot of arcade playing but never really owned a console (I had a dreamcast for a week), and this collection was a nice way to get some classic arcade action that didn't quite suck.

Sega Genesis + 90's Cheese = The New Adventures of Captain S

Captain S uses the rare Sega Mouse!Captain S uses the rare Sega Mouse! While Internet only TV shows are common, it is rare to see ones devoted to the gaming crowd. One of the more amusing ones is The New Adventures of Captain S, a parody of the Captain N cartoon combined with the cheesiness of 90's sitcoms.

The plot involves Chad Belmont discovering he has the power to be sucked into his Sega Genesis in order to fight his evil nemesis, NES. Only 3 episodes have been produced so far, but the best by far is the most recent one, All's Fair in Love and Sega.

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