But being a busy thirtysomething, I really don’t have much time to camp out in front of the television to play games much these days. And being a father of two, I have to fight with the kids for the controller anyway when I do have a few free minutes.
So whatever game playing I do these days tends to be on my iPhone. While I wasn’t too keen on iOS gaming initially, the platform is quickly becoming the portable gaming system of choice — which is convenient, because I’m already carrying it around with me anyway.
That being said, I’m not as big a fan of today’s “casual” games as I am of more traditional console style games. While established game powerhouses like Sega, Konami and Capcom have been scratching that itch for awhile now, Nintendo is notably missing.
But last year a game was released that captures the look and feel of an early 1990s Gameboy title better than even Nintendo’s own Virtual Console releases.
Supposedly this app is a port of a low-key title released by SkySoft in 1992 [EDIT: This is not true — it’s a brilliant PR stunt to promote the game.] While I’ve played some pretty obscure games back in the day, I’ve never played the original game. [because it never existed — but should have!]
The game itself is a pretty typical action platformer in the vein of Adventure Island from Hudson or Nintendo’s Kirby’s Dream Land titles. It’s a solid game in and of itself, but the game alone is not what makes this app truly stellar. It’s The Rotting Cartridge’s presentation that makes this app well worth the $1.99.
This app completely nails the look and feel of playing the game on a first gen Gameboy. Little things like the photographic Gameboy D-pad and button overlay to the virtual scuffs and scratches on your screen make all the difference in recreating a truly authentic retrogaming experience. You’ve even got the option to thumb through the game’s instruction booklet and have to fire up the game by virtually plugging in a “cartridge.”
The Rotting Cartridge does what Nintendon’t. Here’s hoping to see more titles like this from them in the future!
4.5 out of 5
Here’s a recent screengrab of my iPhone. Take note of all the retrogaming goodness.
Since we’re talking about retrogames on iOS, let’s review a few other titles I’ve been playing lately.
Midway Arcade [Download Link]
Another great retrogaming package that emphasizes recreating the look and feel of a virtual arcade circa the early to mid 1990s. This app not only features classics like Rampage, Tapper, Joust and Defender, but also features virtual recreations of arcade fixtures such as air hockey and skeeball, complete with virtual redemption center. In-app purchases unlock more games, such as Gauntlet and Total Carnage. It’s definitely well worth the .99 cents. In fact, it’s a steal at that price!
Final Fantasy I [Download Link]
While there have been a lot of ports of this game for portable devices over the years, I’d have to say that the iOS version is the best so far. Based on the PSP version, this remake of the classic RPG features redrawn higher resolution graphics than the Gameboy Advance port a few years ago, as well as another bonus dungeon.
If you haven’t played this title since the NES days, it’s definitely worth a download as the game has been completely reworked to be on par visually with the better-playing SNES titles, and the difficulty has been toned down considerably. Throw in the ability to save anywhere, and you have an excellent portable adventure. The only downside is the price. Square Enix’s iOS games cost more than average, but at $8.99 it’s still less than other portable versions of the game and considerably less than the $60 I paid for the cartridge in the early 1990s!
Mage Gauntlet [Download Link]
On a related note, if Square Enix still made new 16-bit action RPGs, they’d make something like Mage Gauntlet. This is an excellent indie title from Rocketcat Games, and you owe it to yourself to check it out if you’re a fan of the genre. Pixels FTW!
Mega Man X[Download Link]
Speaking of pixels, there aren’t any in Capcom’s port of the SNES classic Mega Man X. It’s still a solid title, don’t get me wrong, but the “improved” graphics look a little Illustrator-esque and I think the game loses a bit of its retro-charm because of it. I really wish they’d let players pick between the classic 16-bit look or the new look, but it’s not to be (well, not with this release, anyway.)
Sonic CD [Download Link]
It’s the mother of all iOS retro releases to date. It’s the best 16-bit Sonic, the best port of that game, with the best D-pad controls of any iOS title to date. Simply put, this game is a must own and you shouldn’t even debate whether or not to try it. Seriously, it’s that good!
Mickey is back, and is his ornery old self once again.
No, really. New Mickey is old Mickey.
And by old, I mean 1928 old.
Disney’s new Mickey short, Get a Horse!, is attempt at capturing the Mickey of yesteryear. Using a combination of hand drawn animation and digital effects to simulate film wear, Disney touts Get a Horse! as a “lost” Mickey short.
It’s great to see Disney utilizing their mascot in animated form again (aside from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.) The recent shorts have been a pleasant surprise, and I look forward to more from the Mouse.
After Paperman, Walt Disney Animation Studios we prove once again that they know their heritage and intend to use it. A technical bid, they prefer the technical (new or not, but always used cleverly) serving a true story, touching and moving.
Mickey, Minnie, Horace, Pete, they are all there … and we offer a great moment in cinema and emotion.
Check out the gorgeous hand drawn cels below. Click for a larger view.
Get a Horse! is set to premiere before Disney’s upcoming film Frozen, due in theaters on November 27th.
Now, before you go geeking out, remember that these are the same movies that gave us mute Bumblebee, flames on Prime, a one-eyed alien Ravage, testicles on Devastator and didn’t even bother to use a Vocoder on Soundwave’s voice. (Oh, and he was a car.)
In other words, don’t expect Bay’s Dinobots to resemble your childhood toys.
Or maybe they will. That would be pretty surprising.
What do you think of the Transformers live-action movies? Love ’em? Hate ’em? Comment below!
More stills from the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man 2 have arrived, thanks to Empire magazine.
Even though I had my doubts upon first seeing it, I think I actually prefer the Spidey costume from the first movie. It looked like something a high school kid could come up with. This one looks very much like Tobey Maguire’s costume from the Raimi trilogy. That is, it’s comic book accurate… but also looks very Hollywood.
Electro just looks like Mr. Freeze.
Still, I’m looking forward to this flick. The first one really surprised me, as I was expecting a rehash of the 2002 Spider-Man movie. Instead, it wound up being my favorite comic book movie of 2012.
More pics below. Click for a larger view. [via Empire]
Grandpa and I went to the antique show. Thankfully, this one was indoors. He had to sit down a lot and we couldn’t stay for more than a couple of hours, but it was still fun. He looked tired but much happier and his color was better afterwards. I’m hoping the surgery improves his condition.
Grandma drove us because he can’t drive yet. So afterwards, she took us out to lunch.
I feel a bit guilty. I sat at the table hoping no one from school would see me. One one hand, I don’t need another reason for Brianna to harass me. On the other hand, I want to be around my grandparents, even if it isn’t “cool.” Who knows how long I will have them and I am lucky enough to have fun grandparents!