FUND THIS! Toe Jam & Earl: Back in the Groove Kickstarter

Toe Jam and Earl BITG KSSix days to go and I wish I had about a half million bucks to throw at this Kickstarter project just so it could get onto the Wii U as a stretch goal. Still, with just about $70,000 left to go before it’s fully funded as a PC, Mac and Linux game, it’s worth helping get ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove made if you remember the original Sega Genesis/Mega Drive game and its somewhat under appreciated sequel, Panic on Funkotron. Here’s a peek at an early version of Back in the Groove from the game’s KIckstarter page:


 

In terms of the art style of the new game, I like it quite a lot, but the more colorful and distinct look Panic on Funkotron had made such a strong impression on me that I’m slightly sad to see it not make a complete comeback. That said, those “stacked” levels are awesome to see in that early footage. Also great is the return to the roguelike play of the original that featured randomized levels, enemies and presents. Couch co-op is back, but with four players instead of two and online play is on board for those friendless types who need to reach out and touch someone. Just kidding on that last sentence, but TJ & E was (and is, as I still have my Genesis copy that gets whipped out from time to time) a game that worked best with a buddy next to you on the couch to work with. Or elbow in the ribs at when they weren’t doing what they needed to do.


 

Anyway, if you like what you see, do what you need to do and tell some friends about this one. They need some old-school retro rap roguelike love in their lives too you know…

Retro Sunday: The Maze of Galious

The Maze of GaliousSo, I’m soaking in La-Mulana EX on the Vita (or, it’s kicking my butt six ways ’til Sunday and today’s Sunday!) and I finally realized one game that was a huge influence on it is still out there and free for anyone to try. The Maze of Galious is an excellent fan-made remake of Konami’s 1987 MSX classic Knightmare II: The Maze of Galious.

Anyway, if you’re up to the challenge of a game made to test your skill while showing off some cool features implemented by the team who remade it, go grab this now and take it for a spin. You’ll get two playable characters, a HUGE map to explore in any order you wish and ten bosses to face off against. It’s “pay attention!” gaming at its finest, as while you can go anywhere you like, death awaits at the slightest mistake on your part. Have you got what it takes to get Popolon and Aphrodite to the end of their journey? I can very safely say that this game sure doesn’t think so because it tries its hardest to stop you from succeeding.

Maze of Galious SS14

La-Mulana EX Vita Code: We Have A Winner!

LMX_LaunchScreens_03
 

As my scratchy throat woke me up to get it some more tea with honey, and I kicked and almost tripped over the box I put the names in when I got up (Memo to self: next time, make sure the box in on a table and not the floor!), I’ve decided to pick a winner for the La-Mulana EX Vita code. The funny thing is, one of the names I wrote popped out of the box when I kicked it and I was going to declare that person the winner (hey, I was kind of half asleep!). But I decided to redraw the winner just to be fair… and actually picked the same name again. Not easy to do when you pick facing away from the box the names are in while in a dark room with your eyes shut. Anyway, congratulations go out to:

Nate V.! (applause)

Check your email, mister!

As for you non-winners, listen up (and put down those torches!). Stick around if you happen to:

a) likes indie games and could use an instant mini-backlog
b) are a Star Wars fan who likes oddball collectibles

I have a couple of interesting giveaways in the works soon you may want to be a part of. No spoilers here, but it’ll be fun to see what happens…

Random Art: “I Coulda Had A Hirschfeld!”

Art copyright Don Orehek

Art copyright Don Orehek


 

So, if you’re old enough and happened to be a New Yorker (or in NYC) during the 1970’s and into the 80’s, there was a chance you could walk into a certain place at a certain time of the year and have a caricature drawn by a world famous (or nearly world famous) cartoonist for FREE. Yes, that’s right. Before the days of “Pay me!” comic convention art, ebay, and heck, the internet, a lucky few locals and tourists smart enough to find out about the event could queue up at The Manhattan Savings Bank for it’s yearly (National) Cartoonist’s Show.

I’d heard about this back in the early 80’s and wanted to go, but never could find time to get downtown until 1987 when I was working in Manhattan. If I’m not mistaken, a friend of mine had gone either the previous year or the year before and lucked out big time, getting Al Hirschfeld to draw him. Who wouldn’t want a Hirschfeld for nothing? I recall not knowing who was going to be at the 1987 event, and with only an hour for lunch, I figured (correctly) that the more popular cartoonists would get the longest lines. I don’t remember every artist at the event (there were no cell phone cameras back then and I didn’t think to pack a camera with me on a warm summer day to record history), but I eventually made it in front of three of them and the results you’re seeing below the jump…
Continue reading

Want a La-Mulana EX Vita Code? I’m Sharing My Pain With One of You

 

La-Mulana EX_logo (Custom)

If you happen to have a PlayStation Vita and haven’t picked up La-Mulana EX yet, you’re missing out on a few things:

  • Your character dying while getting attacked from all sides by cheap enemies.
  • Your character dying during a boss fight with something over ten times your his size.
  • Your character dying after you missed a pinpoint jump because you panicked and jumped again to certain doom (oops!).
  • Your character dying because you’re really not that good at these retro action/platform games but keep playing them anyway.

LMX_LaunchScreens_09 

Get the picture? Okay, I’m only partially kidding. This game is hard as heck AND I’m not as fast on those buttons as I used to be. Pygmy Studios’ handheld port of this excellent throwback to the MSX days is out now and I have a spare code to give away. If you want it, just post in the comments below and I’ll RANDOMLY pick ONE winner. You need a Vita as well as access to the North American PSN shop, as that’s where the code needs to be redeemed. I guess that’s US and Canada entries only. Unless there’s a secret Canadian PSN shop I don’t know about. Let’s see now… it’s Wednesday, correct? Let’s shoot for a contest close of 11:59PM on Friday. I’ll pick one of you guys or gals at random and shoot you over your code. Get it? Got it? GOOD> Now, go enter already! No need to post an essay or reason you want to win at all, folks. Just an “I’m in!” gets you a chance. Good Luck!

La Mulana EX: Rising Star’s “Hidden” Treasure Headed to Vita Soon


 

I’d almost forgotten La Mulana EX was incoming on the Vita, but thanks to Rising Star Games hitting my inbox with this trailer, I’m reminded that this is a game that needs to be played. Of course, at my advance age, I’ll probably keel over from the old school difficulty curve the game sets up right from the first stage. But at least I’ll go down fighting, grrrr. Anyway, I need to bug Rising Star about that release date, as the banners on the site say it’s been out for a while, but I don’t see it anywhere on the US PSN shop. Eh, I’m in the middle of about twenty other things anyway, so perhaps that’s a good thing for now. Too many distractions means less work getting done, not more. At this point, I’m all for human cloning, provided I can have my double tinkered with so he types five times as quickly as I do (and uses more than four fingers).

Trash TV Now on Steam – Revenge of The (Not So) Idiot Box

Trash TV logo


 

Trash TV art colorWhen I think “Trash TV”, it’s usually any modern reality show or anything well-aged that I used to watch that was more of a guilty pleasure more than anything “educational.” Thanks to indie developer Lawrence Russell and publisher Reverb Triple XP, Trash TV means something entirely different and a hell of a lot more fun.

This inspired “retro” platformer/shooter is now available on Steam for $4.99, 30% off the list price. That’s a short-term sale, folks (in case you didn’t realize this yet). You have to love a game where you play as an old cathode ray tube TV on the hunt for its lost remote so it can get back to functioning as it’s used to. Hey, watch that game trailer and I bet you’re grinning quite a bit. I also bet that you won’t see some flimsy flat screen TV trying any of those acrobatics and surviving more than a few seconds. They built a lot of those old sets link tanks, people. I still have one here that’s used for games from the NES to PlayStation era and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Well, that’s because it keeps threatening me when I try to unplug it, but you don’t need to know this. *Ahem.*

Bravo for IDW! Alex Toth’s Classic Gets A Collection Worth Owning

Bravo For Adventure IDW 

File this under “It’s about time!” and “Thanks again, IDW Publishing!” as Alex Toth’s excellent Bravo For Adventure finally gets a solid-looking complete edition absolutely worth a buy. Toth’s work as a cartoonist and character designer is legendary, but his illustrated stories are for a number of fans, some of the most visually outstanding and memorable.

Headed to a comic shop or online book retailer in July, this 100-page 9.5″ x 13″ hardcover contains the original 48-page story from 1975 along with two other stories featuring Toth’s handsomely heroic creation Jesse Bravo, a slew of never before seen sketches and even color samples from the Bravo tale that was to originally be published back in 1975. The man was and is called “The Genius” by his loyal fans for good reason. Whether looking at a single panel or entire story he worked on, there’s a sense or realism and stylization blended together with a phenomenal use of black and white and a solid sense of storytelling. Anyway, keep an eye peeled for this one when the summer sun is strong, as it’s a great read from one of the best classic comic illustrators ever.

Toy Fair 2015: Wabbit Season Coming Soon, Courtesy Mezco Toyz

So, Mezco Toyz has this rather massive Bugs Bunny figure coming this year:

mezco bugs
 

and I couldn’t be happier. Not because I have the room for a two-foot tall cartoon rabbit in the collection (I don’t). Its because they got the license to the RIGHT Bugs from the era he was his funniest. it also (probably) means well see the more insane (yer perfect) versions of Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, and Porky Pig with the possibility of more on the way. Excellent. On the other hand, I could just be jumping the gun here with my guessing who else the company has licensed. I don’t think so, as those guys BELONG together. I’ll bet you all a baby carrot, too. Okay, I just want a boxed set of smaller figures because that big wabbit that’s going to go on sale later this year wont fit anywhere in my place.

make it so, Mezco 9and make me happy)…

VHS Video Cover Art – May Blooms Up A Killer Book From Schiffer

VHS Video Cover Art Book
 

Oh, yeah. As someone who grew up in the VHS era and had a rather huge collection of films (long sold off, sadly), seeing a book like this coming in May from Schiffer Publishing gets me all giddy. VHS: Video Cover Art by Thomas “The Dude Designs” Hodge (and yes, that nickname sounds straight outta the eighties) is a 9″ x 12″ hardcover, will feature 264 pages, 570 color photos (and an index, of course) and cost $34.99, a pittance for the sheer amount of nostalgia guaranteed to be on display.

For me, this one is a “shut up and buy it” book if there ever was one. I’ve looked over the first 24 pages and had a huge grin on my face that’s still lingering. This one’s going to do well amongst the collectors out there and any movie fan looking for an excellent gift will want to keep an eye peeled for when this drops into stores in a few months. Color me excited, folks. Between this and those Mill Creek collections I’ve been picking up for dirt cheap lately, my teenage years are coming back full force. Er, without the awkwardness around the ladies and doing stupid stuff for fun part…