Coffee Talk 1: The Daily Grind, I Guess

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Despite that name, no aliens were harmed in the making of this post.

 

I’m no coffee connoisseur, but I’ve certainly had my share of awful cups over the decades. Granted, I was never a badass brew-meister, but amusingly enough got my first gig making coffee at a law firm I worked at back in the early 80’s as a messenger/light legal clerk (or: a messenger who could pick up and deliver all sort of legal stuff from paperwork to banking related stuff). No one else in the small office could make a good pot of coffee, although there were two secretaries who did the basics with the office’s pricey Bunn automatic.

One day, one of the gals was out sick and the other kind of refused to make the coffee, so I figured “what the hell, it doesn’t look *too* hard”, only to discover one reason the guy running the firm wasn’t happy with the coffee was no one had EVER cleaned the darn machine. Ugh. I ended up hoofing it down to the nearest deli, buying a few cups of coffee there for the lawyer, rushing back and giving the Bunn and area around it a thorough scrubbing. At one point, the lawyer popped out of his office and saw what I was doing and was kind of floored that someone would go to all that trouble. Yes, he reimbursed me for the coffee I’d bought and told me that I was now responsible for getting that brewer brewing up his cuppa Joe. Pressure much?

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Sega Genesis Classics Switch Bound This Winter

Sega Genesis Classics Switch

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Oh, yeah. It’s SO on this Winter on the Switch.

Hot on the heels of the SEGA AGES™ titles announced last week and set to launch during the Tokyo Game Show, SEGA continues a winter of bringing great classics to the portable Switch. Retro fans can now finally play the Genesis Classics collection on their way to school or work, in their lunch break or basically anywhere on the go! SEGA Genesis Classics has over 50 retro favorites to experience across every genre: arcade action, shooters, beat’em ups, puzzlers and hidden gems, with a raft of modern features. Exclusively for the Nintendo Switch players can now compete in same-screen local coop mode and use each Joy-Con individually if desired. Familiar features like online multiplayer, achievements, mirror modes, rewind and save states are all part of the collection for everyone to revisit and enjoy.

The physical edition of SEGA Genesis Classics is now available for pre-order from U.S. retailers. Details of the digital pre-order will soon be announced.

On one hand this was wonderfully inevitable, but on the other, it’s a case where some stubborn Sega or Nintendo-only diehards will need to pipe down and accept what’s going to be a superb deal when all is said and done. Remember, Sega games new and old have popped up on Nintendo’s systems for quite some time after the company got out of the console business.

I’m guessing that “winter” release timeline means before the end of the year, but I’ll err on the side of “sometime between December and next March” just to be on the safe side. Between this and the upcoming Sega Ages collection, it’s certainly going to a great time for Sega and its legion of loyal fans. Yep, I have this set already on other consoles and PC but it’s still a triple or quadruple dip so that nostalgia thing spreads like fresh butter on hot toast.

-GW

Review: Sega Genesis Classics (PS4)

Sega Genesis Classics PS4Since you’re in a hurry, here’s the short version: Yes, Sega Genesis Classics is worth the $29.99 just for the JRPGs alone, but you’re getting a whole lot of other okay to really decent to superb games for that price. Here’s something to consider before you more jaded gamers turn up your noses at this latest Sega compilation that yes, has most of the same old games you’ve either played to death in the past or just have little to no interest in. Every day there’s likely someone trying out a retro game of some sort and those who’ve never tried anything on the Genesis are going to be very well served here.

Granted, this collection is missing a few titles found on other collections (notably, the PC version which not only has a few more games, it allows users to mod and add other games as an option), there’s online play that’s not quite flawless and a rewind feature that can make certain titles too easy to beat. That said, as an introduction to a classic console, it’s quite the deal at the end of the day.

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Wait. If you leave the phone off the hook, you can’t call your friends over for some couch co-op action! Oh, you need to make more friends? Okay, then.

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Coffee Crisis on Steam: A Guaranteed Caffeine Hit

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Before you ask, YES, they still make games for the Sega Genesis. Well, small indie studios do. MegaCat Studios, for example. They put out a fun and funky Sega Genesis game called Coffee Crisis that got enough notice as a cartridge game that it was eventually ported to PC and can now be yours on Steam for less than the price of a can of coffee, or a few small coffees if you need a gauge of some sort.

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As for what the game is about, go pour yourself a cuppa joe (I’ll wait) and click, then read what’s below the jump.

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Random Film of the Week: ALIEN³

(Thanks, THX1968!)

 

Alien 3_bI think it was sometime in mid-to late 1991 when I first saw the teaser trailer to ALIEN³ and had my eyeballs pop right out of my head followed by my jaw hitting the floor way too hard in the theater I saw it in. Ladies and gentlemen, do you know how hard it is to clean sticky goo off your eyeballs after they’ve rolled underneath a movie theater seat? Trust me, it ain’t easy. That and yuck-o, stale popcorn and half an old hot dog have the tendency to rather easily get into a fallen jaw if you let it sit down there for more than a minute flapping away in shock mode. Hey, I was busy trying to find my darn eyeballs, thank you much.

Needless to say, I was kind of shocked by this news that we’d get a third film in the franchise and it was coming in under a year. I wasn’t sure I liked the “On Earth, Everyone Can Hear You Scream” tagline at all and yes indeed, I thought bringing that cranky xenomorph to Earth was a bad (not a bad-ass) idea for a few key reasons. Although at that point, I was kind of screaming myself.

It seems 20th Century Fox may have agreed (or at least was pulling a fast one on us because they didn’t really have an idea about the film they were planning to make), as a few months later, this was the follow up trailer:

 

(Thanks, Media Graveyard!)

 

After gathering up my eyeballs and jaw again and handing a few people in the theater their eyeballs that rolled under and around my seat (which was quite interesting as I had to wait until the guy who picked up one of my eyeballs by mistake returned it or today I’d be the Jane Seymour version of myself or something like that), I took time to take in the trailer. Bald Ripley. Bald bad men, some bald men screaming and running, NO weapons at all and a reused music cue from the previous film had me both puzzled and really curious as to how the helllllll Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley character was going to get out of this new mess. That said, the art direction and sets looked solid and that finale bit with the Alien getting too close to Ripley had me intrigued as hell, as did my wondering who the heck was this David Fincher guy directing the film.

There were other trailers and eventually TV spots that arrived before and after the film was released, but I was sold before that point to the point that even if I didn’t like the final product, I had the feeling it would be really interesting and maybe even impressive.  Let’s just say I kind of got my money’s worth more on the visual side of things and a temporary gumball substitute for an eye after I picked up the first round object that I could touch after they popped out again.

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BUY IT! Bundle Stars Offers Up Sega Genesis Classics Dirt Cheap

SEGA Genesis Classics BundleSo, Bundle Stars is running a really nice deal on Sega Genesis/Mega Drive classics that can’t be beat.If you’ve got a Steam account, LOVE great deals and are into classic 16-bit games, this is a deal you cannot miss out on. You’ve just under five days to take advantage of this, so get on it, I say!

Although I have all of these (and more!) on cart, I ended up grabbing 20 for $4.99:

Gain Ground
Alien Soldier
Streets of Rage
Streets of Rage 3
Phantasy Star II
Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
Wonder Boy in Monster World
Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
Golden Axe II
Golden Axe III
ToeJam & Earl
ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron
Bio-Hazard Battle
Beyond Oasis
Light Crusader
Dynamite Headdy
Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole
Shining in the Darkness
Shining Force II

24 cents each? A steal, I tell ya. Of course, getting to PLAY them with my backlog? HA! I may as well go adopt a few kids and leave them my Steam account for future reference.

Sega 3D Classics Collection: A Throwback That’s A Keeper For Nostalgic Fans

Sega 3D CC_3DS Longtime Sega fanatics have probably been wondering when the company would get to revisiting some of it’s well-aged classics outside the usual suspects and come April 26, those fans who (paradoxically) own a Nintendo 3DS will get to dive into Sega 3D Classics Collection for the more than reasonable price of $29.99. The retail and eShop release will contain nine games total:

7 Classic Games:
Power Drift
Puyo Puyo 2
Fantasy Zone II W
Sonic The Hedgehog
Thunder Blade
Galaxy Force II
Altered Beast

2 Bonus Games:
Fantasy Zone II
Maze Walker

In addition, you can disguise (or try to disguise) your 3DS with a set of Sega-themed stickers that will come included with launch edition copies of the game. Or you can save that sticker sheet for future use or even slap them on all the actual Sega consoles in your collection. Of course, if you’re a collector, those stickers will stay stuck to the paper they come on, right? Yeah, I figured as much. Me, I want this for Maze Walker, Galaxy Force, the two Fantasy Zone games and Power Drift, but everything will get played to death at some point. As much hard work went into getting this set of games out, it would really be nice to see a follow up at some point just to get Space Harrier II, After Burner and a few other classics onto the 3DS in that eye-popping 3D. As usual, we shall see…

Super Fighter Team Kicks Off 2016 With New & Old Releases

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Fans of Super Fighter Team are more than likely pretty pleased and having a Happy New Year plying some nostalgic fun as the two Mega Drive/Genesis titles Magic Girl and Cascade announced early in 2015 have finally shipped out to buyers and the return of Beggar Prince, Legend of Wukong and Star Odyssey means those most asked for titles will finally be re(or re-re)-released at some point this year.

As usual, HUGE Props to Super Fighter Team head honcho Brandon Cobb for fighting the good fight and getting these games out his way in this day and age of plenty of beauty pack reissues of the not so legal sort getting snapped up by collectors in record time. SFT’s small but solid library of console titles make for perfect entry level collector purchases as well as great gifts for your favorite classic gamer.

RPG Trifecta Pack 

If your budget is lower but you still want to surprise someone (or give yourself a gift), you can drop $20 on the cool RPG Trifecta Pack and get three of those games digitally for your PC and save a chunk of cash. Isn’t freedom a wonderful thing? Yeah, I thought so.

3D Gunstar Heroes Out Now on Nintendo 3DS: “Blast Processing,” Indeed

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3D Gunstar Heroes logoFor those of you who’ve never played it, Gunstar Heroes is quite simply one of the best 16-bit games ever made, period. Japanese developer Treasure made itself a household name among gamers with this 1993 Sega Mega Drive/Genesis release that seemed to use every bit of processing power the console had and then some.

While the game has popped up in a few newer console ports over time, it seems that the 3DS just may have the “definitive” version thanks to Sega’s remaster team, M2. Here’s a fun extra credit read from the Sega Blog on how tricky it was to get the game up and running on the handheld in stereoscopic 3D. The plot is nuts if you try to make total sense of it, but you won’t be playing this for the story. It’s a total run ‘n gun with killer boss fights, a “board game” level that’s worth an entire game in itself under the right developer, and a great soundtrack that drives the action from beginning to end.

Anyway, if you have a 3DS, BUY THIS GAME. If you’re thinking about getting a 3DS, see that last sentence. Hopefully Sega has plans to get this on the Wii U as well as an HD version at some point as it’s a total no-brainer that this is a game that really benefits from a larger screen. We’ll see if that ever happens (it would be nice, Sega), but for now, this one’s a must-buy that still packs quite a few wallops.

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Shining Through: Old Memories Return Thanks To New Friends

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The first Japanese game I ever played to completion with no knowledge of the language outside a few basic characters was Shining and the Darkness for the Sega Mega Drive, later localized as Shining in the Darkness for North America by Sega of America. It wasn’t mad savant skills that got me through this text-heavy role-playing game, but a spoiler-free walkthrough and plenty of maps yanked from a Japanese magazine that came with the game when I purchased it. I’d played a few Japanese MD games previously, but most were shooters such as Gaiares or not quite perfect arcade ports like Golden Axe or Altered Beast.

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I stumbled upon Shining and six of seven other imports at a used book and record store in NYC back around early 1992 and couldn’t pass up buying all of the games at somewhere between eight and ten dollars each. All of those games are still in the library here and some even get pulled out and played on occasion. It took me the better part of the summer to complete SitD because I was only using the walkthrough when I got stuck and was filling in the plot on my own. It ended up being pretty close to what the actual game and English version would be because it was a simple “rescue the kidnapped princess!” story with a few expected and unexpected twists.

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