Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review: Atari Greatest Hits: Volume I (DS)

There comes a time when every console gets the retro compilation that will allow gamers to enjoy Atari's deeply retro classics from the late 70s and the early 80s, and this time has finally come for the Nintendo DS with the release of Atari Greatest Hits: Volume 1. It's a budget priced retro collection sporting 50 games that were released for the Atari 2600 and for the now (mostly) defunct arcades.

The games selection is pretty impressive, including among others the arcade versions of Asteroids, Pong, Centipede, Tempest and Missile Command, along with the 2600 versions of Adventure, Outlaw, Gravitar, Basketball, Football and a few dozen other games. Unfortunately Activision's classics -especially Pitfall- haven't been included, whereas some of the games thrown in are beyond terrible and badly aged (think Slot Machine or 3D Tic-Tac-Toe), though generally speaking this particular cartridge hasn't left my DS for the past 10 days I apparently needed to prepare this review. Don't think I'll be playing anything else on it for quite some time too, as Atari's Greatest Hits is indeed brilliant.

Asteroids and Tempest, just to name a couple of games, are as addictive and incredibly fun to play as ever and the simplistic sounds and visuals do help bring the gameplay forth. As for the emulation -and presentation- of the games it is, well, spot-on. Both screens of the DS are used to allow you to fiddle with your virtual 2600's switches or to display the marquee of the arcade game you are playing. Oh, yes, and each game comes with a complete manual too.

To make a sweet deal even sweeter Atari has also thrown in the military training version of Battlezone (boo-hiss for militarism), the 2600 prototype of Tempest, a few vintage ads and more than a few other digital memorabilia, to complement the single-card download multiplayer most games seem to support.

Verdict: If you are into old games and/or have fond memories of Atari's classics you simply have to grab Atari Greatest Hits: Volume 1 on the DS.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Puzzle Agent HD Lite (iPad)

If you haven't tried Puzzle Agent just yet, you are definitely missing out on a truly unique and incredibly quirky puzzle game that sometimes feels something like Fargo meets Twin Peaks with a pinch of Telltale humour. What's more you can now grab the brand new Lite version of the game for free and see just how well suited this little beauty is for your iPad. Just follow the App Store link.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Caanoo PC Engine emulation

The PC Engine (a.k.a. the TurboGrafx-16 in the US) was a particularly powerful 8-bit games console with 16-bit bits, that was both incredibly popular in Japan and a brilliant platform for arcade conversions. It even managed a couple handheld versions of itself, though you really don't have to go looking for them. There's a much cheaper alternative, as the open-source Caanoo handheld can now emulate the PC Engine for free, via the just released Caanoo-HUGO. Download it here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Kindle plays Poker

Interestingly the rather excellent e-ink Kindle reader has just gotten one more game to call its own. What's more this is a release by the behemoth that is EA. The game itself, EA Texas Hold em, seems like a particularly interesting version of everyone's favourite poker variant. The game sports 3 difficulty levels, 6 AI opponents, a practice mode and ton of other features including multiplayer.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

L.E.D. Football Free Weekend

I don't need no stinking iPhone, but truth be said I would quite like to own one. There's all this retro love for the thing I'm more than jealous. Anyway; good news everyone! If you hurry you'll be able to get three excellent iOS remakes of Mattel's classic LED-based handhelds for free. Just follow these links to LED Football, LED Football 2 and LED Basketball 78 and smile smiles of nostalgia.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mario's Nintendo DSi LL

If you haven't got a Nintendo DS yet and are still interested in Nintendo's (slightly) aging handheld, well, this definitely is the time to grab the excellent Japanese Super Mario 25th Anniversary Edition of the Nintendo DSi LL from Play Asia. It's a red thing of beauty, it is.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Atari's Greatest Hits on the DS

Gotta love the current retro releases for the DS. Really. I mean just look at the just released Atari Greatest Hits: Volume 1. It looks shiny, well-thought out, nostalgia inducing and sports 50 truly classic Atari 2600 and arcade games, including Asteroids, Missile Command and Centipede. Impressively multiplayer head-to-head games have also been made possible.

Have a look at a couple screenshots below, and wait for the review that might just appear on this very blog.


Monday, November 01, 2010

Interactive Fiction Lives on the iOS

It seems that interactive fiction, classic text adventures if you prefer, is getting stronger and more popular on those iOS devices Apple seems to love producing. You can already play retro Zenobi adventures on your iPad, iPhone or iPod via the ZX Nostalgia app and Textfyre is also planning to unleash some modern i-f on the devices. You can even grab the excellent and very freeware Frotz app, that will let you enjoy both classic Infocom games (think Zork, Planetfall and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) and contemporary offerings.

What's more, Andrew Plotkin, a prolific and incredibly talented interactive fiction author has decided to produce epic, polished and hopefully impressive text adventures for the iOS. His project, that appeared less a day ago on Kickstarter, has already surpassed its 8,000$ funding goal, which means that gamers will soon get to enjoy his forthcoming interactive alchemical interplanetary thriller: Hadean Lands. Oh, and quite possibly many more interactive fiction goodies too, as Plotkin seems willing to invest part of the money on strengthening the i-f community and genre.

More info can be found here, where you too can also support the project, try a demo, watch a trailer, play some quality text adventures, discover what makes interactive fiction such a beautiful genre and effectively preorder the game.