April 16, 2008
I picked up another girlie game from the same office store that usually supplies such titles. This one is Let’s Ride: Corral Club. It’s a horseback riding game. The game’s mere existence might not be so outlandish; that there is an entire series of Let’s Ride titles, more so.
First, you customize your girl’s appearance. Girls are the only option, eliminating any doubt of the series’ target demographic. Then it’s time to trick out your pony as seen in the screenshot above. Then choose one of 3 game modes: Practice, Competition, or Pasture.
Practice allows you to rehearse the one task you have to perform in this game: maneuvering your virtual equine organism around 3 barrels. The game guides you with arrows in this mode, but offers no such guidance when you leap hoof first into the actual competition:
Competitive times are are well under 20 seconds and get tighter as you reach higher levels. I don’t mind telling you I became extremely proficient at rounding those barrels. You wouldn’t believe how many different competitions there are in the game: Local, City, County, Sectional, Regional, State, National. I didn’t play long enough to see the Planetary or Galactic stages.
Can this possibly be all that there is to the game? The cliche that immediately springs to mind would be, “one-trick pony”. I proceeded to the Pasture stage. This presented a no-pressure romp around the same 3 barrels. However, it then offered a different barrel course called slalom:
So the game mixes it up a little bit. I have no idea if this arrangement ever comes into play for the main competition, though. And I wonder what can possibly comprise all the other episodes of the game? Barrels in daring new arrangements? Hopefully, other series titles at least feature jumping. And you know that I’ll probably be the one to find out sooner or later.
Posted by Multimedia Mike under Action Games,Girlie Games,Windows Games | Comments (11)
April 6, 2008
Remember when I wrote about that South Park episode that featured World of Warcraft and I said that I would likely be analogous to the Butters character playing a Hello Kitty franchise game? Did you think I was joking?
I present Hello Kitty Dream Carnival. I was buying a new office chair at the same office supply store where I procured My Fantasy Wedding and Bratz: Rock Angelz some months back. They’re firmly equal opportunity in their game selection and had 2 different Hello Kitty titles. The other one is Cutie World, but that has already been entered into MobyGames by — who else? — kiddie game-playing comrade DJP Mom.
So there are 8 games/activities, par for the course for this type of game. I just knew there would be a memory/matching game. To its credit, this game’s matching activity is better engineered than most — Ferris Wheel Friends:
This is the first time I have encountered a word search in computer game form. I have to admit that this actually challenged me, if only because I was up against a timer that resets when you find a word.
I can’t believe I actually developed a strategy for beating this kid’s game: find a word in the list and put off circling it until the timer is almost up while searching for another word in order to maximize the time.
This was my favorite game: Penguin Plunge. Adjust the drop height and the angle of deflection of the trampoline and try to land the penguin in the tube. Sometimes there are other goals, such as a hoop to jump through or airborne treats to collect on the way.
Not a bad little 1/2 hour screenshot recon.
Posted by Multimedia Mike under Childrens Games,Windows Games | Comments (5)
April 5, 2008
You started out playing the Atari 2600? That’s nothing. Oh, you started even earlier, perhaps with an Odyssey2 or even the original Odyssey? Get out of here. Today, I had the privilege of playing what is sometimes considered to be the very first video game ever– Spacewar!. The experience took place during a live demo of a restored, 45 year old, DEC PDP-1 computer at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, USA.
I had always heard the tales of this program but never paid them much mind. How good could such a game possibly be? I was roundly impressed when I saw it in action. I was one volunteer who got to demo the game for the crowd. The other player and I had makeshift controller boxes with 5 buttons– one for rotating left, one for rotating right, one for activating the thrusters, one for firing, and one for an emergency hyperspace jump. The goal is to take out the other ship. However, there is more to the game. There is a gravity center (sun) in the middle of the screen and both ships must take that into account and not get sucked in. Further, you will eventually run out of fuel and ammunition. Be advised.
I read now that there are many modern incarnations of that same game, following the exact same thread. However, as I type this, it occurred to me that one of my favorite NES games was somewhat inspired by this same concept, or at least the control scheme — Solar Jetman.
In Solar Jetman, you pilot a pod around different planets, collecting necessities and goodies. You rotate the ship and thrust while taking gravity into account. It’s all very unintuitive when you have a gamepad at your disposal. Maybe my Solar Jetman experience had something to do with why I got the hang of Spacewar! so quickly.
The first video game ever? Arguably. However, Google for the “story of mel” to read an epic tale about one Mel Kaye. According to that story, Mel had programmed blackjack on a few different business-oriented computers. The story seems to take place in the late 1950s. Spacewar! originated in 1962.
But who’s counting? Anyway, I think I’ll propose to MobyGames that PDP-1 be added as a platform.
Posted by Multimedia Mike under Action Games | Comments (3)
April 2, 2008
Taco Bell is running another 4-CD-ROM promotion– the Comics Constructor series. Unfortunately, these discs are not actually games. I know; I checked. I picked up all 4 tonight (hey, they’re only a dollar each). I was holding out hope that these would have some kind of gaming elements, but alas, it’s just a comic creator. I gave it a quick whirl on the first disc: Neptune Quest:
No MobyGames immortality for these titles. However, for Google posterity, the other 3 “issues” are Amazon Raiders, Hero Adventures, Super Snoopers. Actually, I’m thinking that this could provide an interesting framework for those among us who have more talent with the keyboard and text editor instead of the mouse and drawing program. I’ll be keeping these discs around.
This Taco Bell promotion was put together by the fine folks at Maxx Marketing, the masterminds behind the Tek Kids series. The promotion runs through June, in case you’re interested.
Posted by Multimedia Mike under The Big Picture | Comments (3)
April 1, 2008
Some fellow MobyGamers are steadily whittling away at my list of missing NES games. I thought tonight would be a good night to attack a few more NES titles that looked interesting before they all get snatched up for entry. And I thought I had already purged the NES list of all racing titles. But I found 2 more to play tonight, one that even has “race” in the title.
That race-named title is Race America. The most notable aspect of this game is the opponents– a colorful gallery of 8 brazen stereotypes, such as Mike Linguini here:
I suspect Google will soon pick that up as its top image search for “italian stereotype”. Other competitors include Ito Speedo, Pierce Sedan, and Hans Von Brakemann.
Other interesting aspects of this racer include its diversity of perspectives and its control scheme. Depending on the phase of the race, the action might be third-person, side-scrolling, or top-down. You are either allotted 1/2 or 1/4 of the screen depending on whether you are in the lead. And the screen shift can be quite disorienting when you gain or lose that lead.
The control system took a little figuring out. At first, I couldn’t figure out how to move. Then I managed to move but ever so slowly. It was like a race car stuck in 1st — only literally! Eventually, I reasoned out how the control system works (for anyone scouring the internet for help on this forgotten title): Up and down on the control pad upshift and downshift, respectively. However, these only work if you are not pressing the gas button (A).
Oh, and there is more than one way to lose, and the game spells out your failures in a very public manner. This is me losing because I ran out of gas:
The second game tonight was Stunt Kids. I don’t have much to say about this one except that I suspect it’s an Excitebike clone. I can’t be certain at this time because I have never played Excitebike.
I wasn’t very good at this game. I spent most of the game flying off my bike. The computer beat me handily but I think I was only racing against the clock.
Posted by Multimedia Mike under NES Games,Racing Games | Comments (0)
April 1, 2008
And so it came to pass last night — no joke:
Look at that, it took me almost exactly 3 years to reach 10,000 points. As of yesterday, all I needed was 7.5 screenshots to put me over the limit. I submitted 8 new screenshots for Wrath of the Demon. Quite ironically, the last one of the set — the one that technically put me over the limit — was a “game over” screen:
I’d like to thank all my friends at MobyGames who never gave up on me, who kept encouraging me no matter how bad the game quality was or how ridiculous the interactive movies got. I guess I’m proof that dreams can come true and hard work really pays off.
Hey, quit laughing.
Posted by Multimedia Mike under The Big Picture | Comments (2)