Speculation on the Playstation Classic and Nintendos response.


September 20th, 2018

Sony has announced their Playstation Classic, releasing December third of this year.  This system is obviously Sonys attempt to cash in on the lucrative Classic line that Nintendo brought out with both the NES and SNES Classic, and they are releasing during a prime sales period.  Sony has made a very smart decision on the timing of the release, and so far, the five announced games show that they have put some thought into the mini console.  The first five announced games are Final Fantasy VII (a game many claim is the absolute best in turn based RPGs), Tekken 3 (a fantastic fighting title that many thought wouldn’t see re-release due to legal woes surrounding a secret character), Ridge Racer R4 (a strong racing game, likely included instead of Gran Turismo due to licensing issues), Jumping Flash (a platformer I am unfamiliar with, but received good reviews and got sequels made) and Wild Arms (another strong RPG from the era).  The console will be slightly limited by the fact that it uses the original Playstation controller design instead of the significantly better Dual Shock, but this decision was likely made both to save money and to give it more of a classic feel.  This decision will limit possible games on the system, as obviously games designed around analog sticks will likely not be on this system.

Beginning speculation on the other 15 games, I don’t see this system being released without a few seminal titles released on the original console.  Metal Gear Solid strongly influenced the next generation of gaming, and is a must have in a system like this.  Castlevania:  Symphony of the Night is often considered the best Castlevania game of all time, and created the “Metroidvania” genre.  Twisted Metal 2 perfected the vehicular combat game style that was hugely popular during this era.  Resident Evil did amazing things for horror games, and was a system seller.  Parappa the Rapper was a very unique game that also featured a unique graphical style and was very popular in the PS1 early days.  I would be shocked if these five games are not included.

The final ten games are a trickier matter to guess.  The first ten are light on 2-D platformers, so I can see one or two other slots filled in this role.  Mega Man X4, X5, or 7 are all good candidates to be brought over, as Nintendos Classic line all featured a Mega Man game, although we may get a curve ball and see something like Tomba, or something that is 2.5D like Brave Fencer Musashi.  3D platformers are close to nonexistent in the core 10, but it’s hard to imagine a PS Classic without one.  Spyro and Crash Bandicoot are my first choices, but they may not be featured due to recent remakes of both games.  Croc is another well made 3D platform game that has seen little attention in a long time, and is a possible candidate.  Another racer is likely, with the front runners being Wipeout and Jet Moto 2.  Gran Turismo would be preferable, but as previously mentioned will not likely see life on the new console due to licensing issues.  I think it is likely we will see one more RPG on the list.  Chrono Cross has received little attention for quite some time, and I think it would be a front runner as the other RPG on the system.  However, there is a chance we could see something from another company, such as Lunar Silver Star Story.  I also fully expect a shmup game to be included, with the three big possibilities being Einhander, R-Type Delta, or Darius Gaiden.

I don’t see Nintendo just letting Sony release this without some competition down the line.  I fully expect a new Nintendo Classic edition being announced inside a six month window.  The one many of us are hoping for are an N64 mini, which I discussed in a previous blog article.  That being said, Nintendo could easily simply update the firmware of the NES or SNES mini (or both) and come out with a “version two” that has different games on it than the originals, or perhaps even make minis that resemble the second versions of the NES or SNES hardware that were released towards the end of each consoles respective life cycle, this time with different games on each.  There has been speculation on a Game Boy classic, however, I feel that if that happens it needs to be at a lower price point of maybe 50 dollars, and also the game selection has to be very carefully done, especially if they stick with monochromatic Game Boy titles.

Regardless of Nintendos next move, it’s very obvious that the retro game scene is more alive than ever, with two of the three hardware console makers now making mini classic versions, and the third (Microsoft and their X-Box One) making their current console backwards compatible with a huge chunk of its back library from the previous generation, and also including some of their first generation era.  We are also seeing many IP holders of hardware makers long gone getting in the game with a C64 mini, Sega Genesis mini, and previously the Atari and Intellivision Flashback lines.

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RoundUp 132 – Cream PiTop


September 1st, 2018

TOPICS COVERED IN THE SHOW
Hardware Flashback – (00:00)
Dinosaur Pie – (25:22)
David Whittaker: Shadow Of The Beast Intro – (1:20:43)
Mike Giam Interview – (1:24:10)
Top Ten Vacation Games – (3:07:47)
Gaming Trivia – (4:45:40)
Read Only Memories: Turing’s Theme – (4:46:07)
Live News And Listener Views – (4:50:40)
URLs And EMails – (6:20:10)

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RoundUp 131 – Single Breast Physics


July 29th, 2018

TOPICS COVERED IN THE SHOW
Hardware Flashback – (00:00)
Outrun – Passing Breeze (97Bit Offcut Mix) – (32:22)
Top Ten Summer Games – (43:20)
Gaming Trivia – (1:43:20)
Tetris (Linear Groove) – (1:50:11)
Live News And Listener Views – (1:50:11)
URLs And EMails – (4:06:04)

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RoundUp 130 – The Numbers Don’t Add Up


July 2nd, 2018

TOPICS COVERED IN THE SHOW
Hardware Flashback – (00:00)
Dinosaur Pie – (30:46)
Chris Huelsbeck: Super Turrican 2 – (1:28:35)
Bill Budge Interview – (1:32:03)
Top Ten Couch Co-Op Games – (2:24:27)
Gaming Trivia – (3:47:15)
Alistair Brimble: Project F – (3:47:57)
Live News And Listener Views – (3:50:45)
URLs And EMails – (5:44:20)

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Striking while the iron is hot, Nintendo needs to make the N64 Classic


June 30th, 2018

On 6-29-2018, the NES Classic has been re-released.  This time the mini-console has been released in numbers that allow the consumer to actually just go to the store and purchase one instead of fighting scalpers who want to charge double or more for the unit.  The SNES Classic is still in production as well.  While it seems to be harder to find than the NES Classic at the moment, the system is still restocked in stores, and can be purchased via resellers for either at or slightly above MSRP.

With the runaway success of the first two, Nintendo is likely to eventually release an N64 Classic, which would likely be the last in the mini console series (although I do see the possibility of them releasing a handheld lineup of Game Boy Classic, Game Boy Color Classic, Game Boy Advance Classic, and maybe DS Classic).  However, if Nintendo wants to do this, the time is now,  and a lot of the reason behind that is due to Microsoft.

Microsoft owns Rareware, who is the company behind many classic Nintendo titles, and especially are known for their abundance of quality N64 releases.  Rare was the top third party publisher on the N64, and its hard to imagine an N64 Classic Edition without Rare games on the console.  Now that Microsoft owns them, Nintendo has to work directly with a competitor to get rights to those games.  However, the gaming landscape right now paints the two companies as allies.

Going into modern gaming, cross-play is becoming a major feature, since most AAA titles are released across multiple platforms.  Recently, we have seen the release of Fortnight on the PS4, X-Box One, and Switch.  Nintendo and Microsoft have allowed cross-play between players on their two consoles, allowing them to play against each other.  Meanwhile, Sony has locked players to only playing against people that own a PS4.  Nintendo and Microsoft have even released a joint video touting their cross play teamwork.  Soon to support cross play is the mega hit Minecraft.

Since the two companies are working in tandem, Nintendo should take this opportunity to try to make a deal for publishing rights for some of RareWares N64 hits for usage in the N64 classic.  Titles such as Donkey Kong 64, Banjo Kazooie, Conkers Bad Fur Day, Perfect Dark, Killer Instinct Gold, Diddy Kong Racing, and Blast Corps will not be on the N64 Classic unless Nintendo can strike a deal, and it’s hard to imagine an N64 Classic without at least a couple of those titles on the console.  While it is possible for Nintendo to release the system without Rare titles, the lineup would likely be a lot weaker.  As an example, lets assume the console will have 20 games on it.  Here is a potential list of best-of games, leaving off Rare titles.

  • Super Mario 64
  • Star Fox 64
  • Zelda:  Ocarina of Time
  • Zelda:  Majoras Mask
  • Super Smash Bros
  • Mario Party
  • Mario Kart 64
  • F-Zero X
  • Paper Mario
  • Cruis’n USA
  • Yoshis Story
  • Mega Man 64
  • Castlevania 64
  • Space Station Silicon Valley
  • Battletanx
  • Mystical Ninja
  • Harvest Moon 64
  • Vigilante 8
  • Bomberman 64
  • Kirby 64

Honestly, that’s a fairly strong list of games that features a very strong Nintendo with some of the better third party games as well, with 11 first party Nintendo games and 9 third party releases.  That being said, it would be easy to improve that list by removing Kirby 64, Vigilante 8 and Battletanx and replacing them with Killer Instinct Gold, Perfect Dark, and Banjo Kazooie.  Just those three games instantly move the console up a tier in terms of solid games (although Kirby 64, Vigilante 8, and Battletanx are among some of the best N64 titles as well).

In my opinion, there is no better time to get the N64 Classic on shelves, because right now Nintendo has the best chance they have had in years to form a strong lineup of titles for an N64 classic.  They would also get the added bonus of being able to have all 3 Classic Consoles on store shelves at the same time to give newer games a great introduction to Nintendos cartridge era of video games, and to see how the game industry developed over time firsthand, using authentic controllers but made for use on modern televisions.

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