Review: The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol. 1 (A–M)

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Get it from Amazon, or get it from the author himself with a some cool freebies (US buyers only on those), but just get it period if you’re an SNES fan.

Once again, I have the pleasure to plunge into another hefty, well-written tome by Brett Weiss and once again, it’s a must buy. Published by Schiffer Books, The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol. 1 (A-M)  is a solid 416 pages packed with Weiss’ personable personal reminiscences, recollections and remembrances (okay, they’re kind of the same thing, but I’m feeling a bit florid in my hyperbole today) on over 350 games for Nintendo’s stellar 16-bit console that, along with the Sega Genesis and other competitors, battled back and forth during the 1990’s for those hard-earned gamer dollars. Despite strong competition, until the Sony PlayStation’s dominance of the console space starting in 1994-95, the SNES ended up with a seven-year lifespan (the last officially licensed game was Frogger in 1998) and more than enough stellar titles to write a book about. Well, Weiss has written two SNES books (the second volume will be out at some point and I can’t wait to pore through that).

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There are also brief reviews from Weiss on the games he’s played along with other reviews and impressions ranging from short to lengthy and comedic to tragic from dozens of contributors that add interesting and sometimes multiple takes on certain key to not-so-key titles in the library.  I did a very short gargle-blab on one of my favorite games on the console, ALIEN³ that should have been longer in retrospect, but I think I wrote that close to the time (unbeknownst to me, surprise!)  I was about to be hospitalized for about a month, so I was a bit off my game.

A fine foreword by Bill Loguidice kicks off the book and there’s a nice page on the “console wars” that’s a miniature crash course in some of the frenzy of the era with game companies going all out to try and outdo each other with varying results. An interesting piece on emulation closes the volume with writer Alex McCumbers making the case for it in a clear and concise manner. But you’re buying this because you want to check out some titles you never knew existed, knew about but never saw (Hagane WAS available at retail – I got my copy at an Electronics Boutique thanks to the kid holding onto it putting it back and getting a cheaper used game instead) or just want to check out the assorted impressions Weiss rolls out in his amiable style. Recommended.

 

-GW

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Retro-Bit Generations In Action: Or, SOLD!


 

So, yeah. This thing’s getting bought before that NES Classic Mini for sure. Over three times as many games AND SD card support for the same low $59.99 price point? Yeah, that’s a sale and SHOULD be to any gamer no matter how loyal they are to the house that Mario built. Check out the new and complete list of games below:

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Yep, SOLD. Or sold out well before the holidays, I bet.

I’d write more, but I’m still wiped out from jury duty an even though I had today off, I woke up with a nasty scratchy throat and a cough that’s not gotten much better despite most of the day spent resting and treating. Damn courthouses are just as bad as conventions for catching buds, I say. Yuck. Okay, off to bed for me, as I need to drag myself back down to the halls of justice for what I hope is the final day of service. Good night, now!

-GW

Retro-Bit Generations Update: Getting Closer As Stiff Competition (And Then Some)


 

I’ve said this before, but after seeing this (too) brief teaser for the upcoming Retro-Bit Generations game console, I’ll say it again. While Nintendo clearly has brand recognition, a years longer and extremely loyal fan base, and an instant smash hit with its upcoming NES Classic Mini, the Retro-Bit may be a better fit for gamers looking to play more classic games, period.

Pre-orders are open and for that same MSRP, you get a more flexible system and over 60 more games including arcade, 8 and 16-bit classics. If the build quality and controllers on this are tight, I’ll be grabbing one of these first and going for that Mini once the frenzy over nostalgia beating sheer value dies down. These days, it just makes sense to go with value first. Well, at least in my book.

-GW

Retro-Bit Generations Games List (So Far): Better Than Expected Makes It A Better Deal

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Click this. CLICK IT NOW!

 

While Nintendo isn’t quaking in their boots at all (this morning’s 3DS Direct was pretty magnificent), the fine folks at Retro-Bit.com have released the not quite final list of NES and SNES games appearing on their upcoming Retro-Bit Generations console and it’s a doozy:

 

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Bring the power and entertainment of an arcade to your living room with the Retro-Bit Generations – Plug and Play console. Since 2007, Retro-Bit® has been at the forefront of the retro gaming world, introducing innovative and exciting platforms to re-experience a treasured vintage gaming era. Continuing with that tradition, Retro-Bit Generations is packed with titles from world-renowned pioneer videogame developers.

 

Revisit and replay these classics on your own or with a friend with two retro-style six button controllers, for an authentic retro re-experience. Designed with a sleek user-friendly interface and an HDMI port, Retro-Bit Generations brings a new look for the old school gamer and delivers fun for all ages!

Features

Packed with popular retro games from world-renowned developers
2 USB Retro-style six button controllers
HDMI and AV Outputs
SD card slot to save and transfer game progress (SD card not included)
Sleek compact design
Intuitive user interface
Internal game save feature – Save your progress anywhere, any time!

 

Remember, this thing is supposed to retail for $59.99… and that games list isn’t even complete. If the RBG works as advertised and the controllers are solid, that already pre-sold out NES Classic mini may have a bit of competition. We’ll see, of course.

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Retro-Bit Generations Just May Give That NES Mini A Run For Its Money

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Remember that big news about the Nintendo-produced NES Classic Edition coming in November? Well, say hello to some actual competition. Gaming accessory manufacturer/distributor/sourcing agent Innex Inc. is planning to distribute a rather and looking quite essential cool mini console of its own called Retro-Bit Generations this year for the same $59.99 price point as Nintendo’s system, but with a much larger on board games lineup (100 titles!), two controllers, and a VERY handy SD card slot.

INNEX logoCheck out the details below the jump. I’d never heard of Innex before today, but they just cracked my radar screen with this news. Click away here to check out their other Retro-Bit consoles. Thanks, Mika!

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Lumo: Brilliant Iso Platformer’s One of The Year’s Best Surprises

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Lumo is out now on Steam, gog.com, the Humble Store (PC/Mac/Linux), and PlayStation 4 now and that $20 price tag may actually be too little for such a gorgeous and brain-twisting platform/adventure game hybrid. Created by Triple Eh! (Gareth Noyce) and published by Rising Star Games, there’s so much packed into this isometric wonder that most gamers under a certain age with no sense of game history outside their own short memories will spin themselves silly trying to keep up with the seemingly endless references to games they’ve never seen or played. North American gamers with some experience will note the Solstice and Equinox homages along with nods to Donkey Kong, Marble Madness, and a few other classic arcade and console games while they jump through around and in many cases, OVER levels to locate some very-well hidden secrets.

This isn’t a proper “review” (yet) as I’m basing my wordy noise here on the preview code I received and finally got around to this past weekend. Think of this as a fine and dandy heads-up if you’re on the hunt for a lengthy, challenging blend of old and new schools that’s cute enough to be a kid’s game, but tricky enough to get the most seasoned player checking out every nook and cranny for hidden stuff. As you play, you’ll discover Noyce is indeed a very, very talented guy with an elephantine memory and deep knowledge about his favorite games and a willingness to share that with anyone who picks up a controller. 400 rooms in a beautifully rendered Easter Egg farm where fast movement is necessary, yet paying attention to visual cues makes for truly rewarding play sessions. The sense of discovery in Lumo is fairly remarkable because you’ll be doing things both inside and outside the box. See some crates stacked by a wall or what looks like a curious means of reaching the top of a wall? With a bit of effort poking around in nearby room or a bit of backtracking to other curious spots, you’ll be up and over those walls and into new territory. Continue reading

Stern’s Game of Thrones Pinball Machine: Silver Balls For The Royal Set

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Hmmm. This certainly gives the saying “When you play the Game of Thrones, you win… or you die.” a whole new meaning, folks.

For the record, it’s really difficult to play a standard pinball machine sitting down. That’s probably the sole reason this awesome and not at all inexpensive officially licensed Game of Thrones pinball machine doesn’t come with a life-size Iron Throne replica. Available now from Stern Pinball, this beauty comes in Pro ($5,995 MSRP), Premium ($7,595 MSRP) and Limited ($8,795 MSRP) Editions and is sure to get you kicking people out of your home when they won’t leave because they’re having a blast playing.

While the Pro model is packed to the rafters with features classic to current pinball wizards expect, the Premium and Limited Editions feature a massive and challenging Castle upper playfield with a second set of full size flippers, shots and an animated Dragon. Additionally, the Limited Edition gets you a Certificate of Authenticity, a numbered plaque, a designer-autographed playfield, a beautiful, hand-drawn cabinet and backglass artwork by Bob Stevlic. Exclusive, glossy, black- powder-coated, laser-cut side armor features dragon elements of the Targaryen Sigil and is inscribed with the Targaryen House motto, “Fire & Blood”, all highlighted with a rich, red mirrored backing.

If you can swing the funds for any of these gorgeous tables, all you need is enough room to fit your table of choice into comfortably and it’s party time!  Friends will drop by pretty much automatically (and regularly), as a working pinball machine is one of those great conversation pieces that will get even non-gamers and non-fans of the show wanting to see it in action. And if you have no friends at all and are surrounded on all sides by enemies, this is a sure-fire way to get them to swing by for a little friendly competition. What you do to them once they’re distracted is all up to you.

Back to the Future: What’s Old Is New Game News @E3 2015

(thanks, magicalmotionmuseum!)
 

It’s a good news/bad news thing today. The good news: time travel DOES exist, ladies and gents. Final Fantasy VII is finally getting a remake for the PS4 and possibly PC. The Last Guardian is now a PS4 exclusive (as I predicted a while back) Shenmue 3 was announced yesterday evening at Sony’s E3 event as a surprising show-announced Kickstarter project for PS4 and was COMPLETELY funded in about twelve hours (breaking a Kickstarter record). Even King’s Quest and HITMAN are making comebacks (and sooner than you’d think).

Microsoft’s formerly forward-looking only Xbox One gets Xbox 360 backward compatibility and legendary developer Rare is releasing 30 of its classic arcade and console games for $30 in a crazy must-have bundle this August (exclusively for the console, of course). Between this and the return of DOOM, the acceptance of indie retro games as necessary for part of a console’s success and other interesting developments, it’s a huge win-win situation for gamers with a good deal of disposable income. And no, I didn’t forget Nintendo in all this. I’m just holding out for a separate post on their always nostalgic ways and means of getting loyal fans continually hooked in. Give me a bit of time on that as it’s still construction central here with more to come.

Now, the bad news: In reality time travel DOESN’T exist at all. With all those new games coming (and this post doesn’t count the VR games invasion happening soon), no one will actually any free time to play them all unless their Doctor has a certain “timey-wimey” prescription that allows them to have their fun and return to reality not having missed much sleep or even a day of work. Oh well…

Bundle Stars Reminds You That You Don’t Know (And Should Buy) Jack!

BS YDKJCoverI should write a snappy holiday-themed poem here for you to chuckle at. However, as I’ve been up since just before 6am and it’s an icky rainy day that’s not getting any better, I’ll have to save my brainpower for this latest Bundle Stars deal. $3.99 for NINE You Don’t Know Jack games and expansions is more than a steal, it’s a trivial trivia fanatic’s dream plus tax!

In case you’ve been living under a rock, are that antisocial guy or gal with zero friends, or heck, just don’t play PC or board games but happen to love trivia, here’s what’s up, Jack!

Get it? Got it? GOOD. Now go get it so you slap it on a laptop and distract the family during that usually disastrous holiday dinner. Uncle Charlie won’t be getting gassed to the gills if he’s busy answering trivia questions only he knows the answer to because he’s been watching too many reruns on TV Land, correct?

Paper Sorcerer Now Available On Steam: And With A Hook, You’re IN The Book!

PaperSorcerorAnd the people have spoken! Paper Sorcerer is now on Steam! Yes, it’s still five bucks and yes, it’s been tweaked up a bit since my review. You can play using your keyboard and mouse or if you like configure a USB controller (a wired Xbox 360 one is recommended) if you’re more used to that means of playing games. Finally, new to the Steam version are 39 Achievements, which means I’ll need to play this version at some point just to see what they are.

Yeah it’s a short post, but hey – it’s FREEZING in here today and as noted earlier, my poor brain isn’t working as well as it needs to. Brrrr. I need to get the heck home soon and curl up with a good book, methinks…