Posts Tagged ‘games’
Over the years I’ve amassed a fairly substantial games collection. From spectrum to multi mega, games from every era creep out of every nook and cranny. Until lately the one platform I neglected was the original xbox.
At the time it was current I was an ardent Nintendo fan, defending the Gamecube to the bitter last. As the fog lifted I started delving into the depth of the PS2 library. Aside from the occasional triple A foray, the big black paving slab was shunned.
This all began to change a month or so ago after the opening of a new local games shop – Game X Boy. Hidden away in the far reaches of the shop, next to the damaged GBA boxes and B movie DVD’s was a small pocket of Xbox titles. Their slightly darker hue of green spilling like toxic waste across the bottom shelf.
Spurned on by the relatively low prices and the chance to discover a true hidden gem, purchases began to rain in. In my quest to fill the void the last 4 weekends I have completed ‘the circuit’.
The Circuit has 3 distinct sections.
1, A full English breakfast.
2, Holloway car boot.
3, A game rich location.
I am slightly moving off the topic of games but this is a vital ingredient. When looking to go games hunting on the circuit energy is required (I am usually hung over). After years if painstaking research Daffy and I agree that the Seven Sisters road branch of the Croissant D’or is top dog. Friendly service, great value and passable food all make this our number one choice.
Nags head car boot
If you can wade past the mountains if broken barbies and soiled parachute pants, nuggets of gold can be claimed for pennies.
So far between us we have rescued Spyro (PS1), Disgae (PS2), Tomb Raider 3 (PS1), Rayman (PS1) and Nights (Wii).
Next thing we need to work on is haggling. We really suck at haggling.
Game Rich Location
Being based in north London means there are some fantastic hunting grounds on my door step. A guaranteed winner is Wood Green. Game and HMV are on offer for new releases and hardware. However these are merely carrots on a plate of beef when the true targets are considered – CEX, Gamestation and an independent – Game Zone. All of which have extensive retro sections. In age where gamestation is being ripped apart by game, Wood Green stands – shining in the darkness.
Other solid locations include Walthamstow, which has an average cex but a great independent – Awesome Games. I Will write a full article dedicated to this shop as it has some unique qualities that deserve to shouted about.
Venturing South, Goodge Street has a triforce of classic gaming. No less than 2 Cex’s and perhaps the ultimate collectors shop – Game Focus. Within these hallowed walls many hand picked classics reside. Currently I am psyching myself up to purchasing a particularly intriguing copy of Vandal Hearts 2.
Here ends my latest update. Now more than ever with all the new triple A Christmas titles on the horizon it is paramount to talk about the titles that oft are laid by the way side.
Here’s to you xbox, it’s mostly shit but I love you regardless.
After being inspired by Engadget (ripping off) I am toying with creating regular Top 3 lists.
With no further ado, I present my Top 3 Personal Computer based strategy games form the 1990′s.
3, Z (Bitmap Brothers, 1996)
Grunts reporting! Psycho’s reporting!
I remember this being billed as a rock hard by PC Zone, but after thrashing the demo and seeing the hilarious cut scenes, I knew I had to get it. Developed by the Bitmap Brothers (creators of Speedball), the game starred a couple of Californian surfer stoner robots under the command of a Full Metal Jacket drill sergeant Commander Zod. The aim is capture the entire map by balancing defence and attack simultaneously. The more of the map you controlled the quicker troops are produced . This meant that speed and cunning were the only way to get through Z.
A great game that now lives on via iOS and a PC remake. I have bought the iPad version and find it an adequate take. Whilst the controls feel clunky it is still playable and I am confident that they update the app as time goes on to improve the experience. Meanwhile the PC remake can be found at http://zod.sourceforge.net/ , it doesn’t have all the humour of the original but it does capture the core gameplay.
2, Command and Conquer : Red Alert (Westwood, 1996)
This needs no introduction.
Just a conclusion – I loved the cut scenes but hated the levels with just Tanya. Soviets will always beat boring Allies - Mammoth tanks and Tesla’s over light tanks and freedom.
1, Total Annihilation (Cavedog, 1997)
Apart from being impossible to spell, this Chris Taylor designed master piece still for me is the ultimate RTS.
Oddly, one of its big innovations was hills. You could place a turret on a hill and it would get a larger range, troops would pass over them at a slower rate, and the would be used for cover from artillery. You could build anywhere, which gave the game much more freedom. It was even great online, I used to play over a serial cable from my PC to my sisters Windows 98 laptop. I think I was more surprised I managed to make that work that anything else.
Lastly it had amazing scalability. As computers got better the unit cap was lifted, the maps got bigger and the units themselves were added to. Official expansions like Core Contingency introduced wonders like the Krogoth, however it was the online fan base that created many thousands of new wonderous units. One of my fondest memories was of getting my dad to draw a map, I would go and build it for him, using the easy to use level editor.
How do I know it was the best RTS of the 90′s ? I still play it now.
Over the weekend, my pal Daffy and myself went out touring the local gaming shops. We braved the wilds of North London and squinted through the bright lights of central London. Eventually we came away with a hodge-podge of random titles. However one theme did spring out of the quest – original Xbox games.
The original Xbox had an unusually short life span. A mere 3 years passed before its big brother the 360 took over. Coupled with being the new kid on the block and having to fight the might of the PS2, left the original Xbox with a comparatively small game catalogue. This is not to say there are not some of the all time classics lurking in there. For the time being I am going to make it my job to seek these classics out and get them into my catalogue.
A Darker Shade of Green
Xbox is great for collecting right now. Firstly the prices all ludicrously low, the most pricey game I am aware of is Steel Battalion (on the hit list!). Most games can be picked up for well under a tenner with the average prices at around £4, making them very easy to pick up on a whim.
Officially 483 titles are compatible with the Xbox 360. This means you can play the games on your current set up without having to dig out the black behemoth. Unfortunately that figure is a tad misleading. Regional differences mean that the list shrinks in PAL territories. The list shrinks further still if you plan on using VGA or HDMI as they do not allow the 50hz mode to work correctly.
Handily, exclusives are even marked with a stamp on the top of the box ‘Only on Xbox’. This lets you know that this game is likely to be rarer in the future, however it is also likely to suck a bit.
As gaming leaves its subculture roots and breaks into the mainstream, so to has game retailing.
Supermarkets are now among some of the biggest gaming retailers and sit alongside the core retailers of Gamestation, Game, HMV and CEX. All of these are great for games from the current generation, but fall short when it comes to the older or more niche titles. Since Gamestation was taken over and subsequently stripped of any character by Game, it is often easiest to to turn to the internet. However there does remain a last bastion to scratch the itch for the discerning gamer – independents.
Much like in the music scene, small one off shops dotted around the country can offer some of the most rare and interesting titles on offer. Locally to me I have two independent shops. One has just opened directly on my high street – Game XBoy. Forgetting the terrible name, they offer a decent enough selection of current generation titles, at competitive rates. Often I find that these shops are best for second hand games where they can offer decent prices. However the real fun is to be found in their last generation games on offer. In this range they stock Gamecube, Xbox and PS2. I spoke them today about the possibility of PS1 but this seemed to be off the cards for now.
Today I purchased a veritable 3 layer trifle of games on all of these systems.
Legend of Zelda Collectors Edition – Gamecube
Now, to none game fanatics this may seem a bit strange, I own all these of games on the original consoles. I also own the 2 disc version of Wind Waker that has most of these games included. For this very reason I could never bring myself to pick this version up. It is now quite rare to see this in a shop, I regret that decision. When I saw it today I knew I had to snap it up. The price was good too (£9.99) checking ebay it is currently selling for around £30 +.
The box is not in good condition (despite my arty farty photos) and has multiple scratches and tears. However the sleeve itself is in perfect condition. I will at some point switch it into a better condition box (which will be slightly trickier than normal as it is made of blue plastic and not the normal black). The manual is also a little creased but at the price point I think it is fair.
Capcom Classics Collection – PS2
Tongue twisters aside this was an unusual pick for me. It primarily caught my eye because I have seen similar emulation packs fetch very high prices (Namco collection on PS1 I am looking at you). Whether this is because they are comparatively rare or people just like them, I am not sure. Emulator compilations do sort of fly in the face of games collecting as they can never recapture the magic of the original. However at £3.99 I thought it was worth a punt. A quick google seems I may have been on the right track, there are actually 2 editions, this being the first. Both still command an unreasonable high retail value new for a dead format (~£20). Perhaps one to watch in the future.
Currently my PS2 is not set up so I cannot play this, I am however considering picking up an original PS3 so I can play PS2 games wire-free.
Magic the Gathering – Battlegrounds – Xbox
I bought this primarily as a bit of fun, my mate Daffy loves Magic and is a fan of the new incarnations on XBox Live Arcade. I thought if it works on 360 we could have a bash. To my suprise the game actually has some good reviews, I am a fan of strategy games so it may even turn out to be a good distraction. It was a mere £3, nothing ventured, nothing lost, so to speak.
That wraps up today’s purchases from Game Xboy. It’s important to keep these independents in business for games exactly like the three above – Tesco is not likely to stock them any time soon. I am going to travel up to around my area and visit a few more shops. So expect more of these updates!
Like many of us, I am often asked “what are the best co-op RPG’s ?” To this I always reply:
Borderlands (Xbox 360) Best Price - Zavvi.com £14.85 (with all DLC)
Terrible graphics, dated menus, repetitive sound clips, boring landscapes, lack of variety and skags aside this is the grand daddy of co-op RPG’s. A nautical ton of missions combined with simple game mechanics have made this the number one game to crack open a couple of cases of beer and play split screen for 5-6 hours.
Borderlands is now ludicrously cheap for the amount of gameplay and has a fantastic array of DLC available. Whilst not perfect, it is perhaps the first ever game to do co-op right in an open world. XP and money is shared, classes well defined, and difficulty spot on. I can only hope they make a sequel when the next gen hits.
Dungeon Siege 3 (Xbox 360) – Best Price – Play.com £18.99
OK I’ll level with ya, I’ve only played this beauty for about 6/7 hours. My gaming buddy Daffy has been busy opening doors and attending weddings. However the precious evening we did play this beauty we did so from 10pm till 5am. I sat down not expecting much, but two bottles of port late I was hooked.
Incredibly detailed, this is not a one dimensional dungeon crawler. Many side quests and fantastically balanced difficulty have made it a winner. One major gripe I have is that the inventory system is only accessible by one player at a time. This means that equipment changing has to be left to regular 30 mins or so stops. Gold is shared directly so if one person spends some, it is gone for both. Finally they mention the game’s lead villain so many times it feels like the writer was doing it for a bet.
Minor gripes for an otherwise exceptionally polished co-op RPG.
Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles (Gamecube)
In 2004 my love affair with the Gamecube knew no bounds. To play this correctly required 4 Game boy advances, 4 connector cables, the game, and a game cube. Which at the time cost a pretty penny indeed. The game itself was a basic RPG where 4 players would save a village by traveling out to the a level to pick up the sap of a magic tree. Whilst not a great idea for a game it did have a few cool innovations. The Gameboys were not just controllers they each contained a piece of the map, meaning a modicum of team work was required.
Worth playing as a novelty but not worth going out of your way to play, but what it did do was set the scene. Perhaps the Wii-U was inspired by the secondary screen idea used here.
Other Co-op RPG’s of note:
Zelda: Four Swords
World of Warcraft
Too Human (haha maybe not)
Warhammer 40k: Kill Team