August 2009
August Virtual Console Highlights — RPGs and a Ninja Named Joe
31 August 2009 9:55 pm
If I had to pick one favorite RPG from the 8-bit era and one from the 16-bit one, Phantasy Star would crush the competition and Final Fantasy IV would be near the top of the ranks as well. Maybe I need to modify the RPG Top 10 a bit...Anyway, this month all three regions prospered mightily in the old-school style of level grinding as a necessity and exploration being a substitute for clear storytelling.

Next up in terms of excitement is Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. The game definitely has some issues, like the insane difficulty, but what I want to celebrate here is the fact that I game so heavily tied up in licensing issues is appearing on the Virtual Console at all. Does this mean that we could actually see Michael Jackson's Moonwalker one of these days? We can only hope...

The Revenge of Shinobi remains one of the most amazing and enduring nina games ever created. Ninjas never lose their cool factor, so myriad games with acrobatic masters of stealth have been made over the history of video games. Not a one has enduring as many years yet remained so brilliant as this one. The main character may move slowly and punish your off-timed efforts at double-jumps, but the level design and music are staggering. For more info, check out this review.

Rounding out the ranks, we've got Pilotwings and Pepin Ga Pengo. The first is a brilliant flight simulator that is equaled by none throughout the entire 16-bit era. The latter is a very clever action maze title where you kick blocks of ice at your enemies, a clever homage to Bomberman.
North America & PAL Region
North America
PAL Region
When Localizing Box Art Goes Wrong — PCE Art Vs. TG-16 Covers
23 August 2009 5:38 pm
I was cleaning out my "office" yesterday, and I found some notes scribbled on line paper for a feature that I had totally forgotten about. Basically, it's a critique of how well (or not well) box art for TurboGrafx-16 releases holds up to releases for the Japanese originals. In general, it's amazing how one game can be known by so many different names and pieces of cover art as it's marketed across different regions.

The PC-Engine was an incredible success in Japan, beating the NES and even giving the Sega Genesis tough competition. When the PC-Engine was rebranded as the TurboGrafx-16 and the Hudson Soft/NEC alliance attempted to expand into the American market, this remarkable piece of video game hardware stumbled badly. There were many reasons for the TG-16's failure in the West. One of them was poor marketing, of which cover art for games is an important component. You'll find a teaser below—same game despite the different name. Which one looks cooler, and can you guess which one is the original art? For the full feature, please continue past the break.
Top 10 Run 'N Guns — Shoot, Shoot, Shoot Again, and Maybe Jump
20 August 2009 10:47 pm
It sounds so easy. Play some games. Pick your favorites, and when you reach 10 you can stop. Damn, if only that were something that could be quickly accomplished. From NES to SNES there are over 6300 unique games! And when you find one that you really like, it's amazing how you end up doing a really thorough playtest session rather than doing the damn website update. Anyway, here is the latest installment for the top 10 series. Here's a sneak peak. Can you say 8-bit domination?
Addicted to NES — Here are 12 More Greats! Can't Stop Playing!
10 August 2009 11:04 pm
The NES holds a nostalgic place in my heart, and I can't restrain myself; there are so many great NES titles. Combine that with a deep range of genres and an unusually high threshold for quality—what you get is a very difficult to contain top 100 list. I've recently surpassed 100, and given present trends I fear that keeping the top NES list under 100 is an unreasonable expectation. The latest additions include:
August 2009 Archives