You Are Browsing ' Old School Otaku ' Category

By N64Memories On 15 Aug, 2016 At 08:59 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, Old School Otaku, ROG News | With 0 Comments
n64

No Gravatar 

 

The Nintendo 64’s library of games was always bemoaned for being tiny. However, many gamers in the late 1990s and early 2000s still would not have had the money or time to really experience all the excellent games the console did have despite its relatively small number. Classic games such as Super Mario 64, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Mario Kart 64 were in most people’s collection, of course, but casual N64 gamers might not know of all the excellent alternatives to commonly owned classic games that are out there. Below, Steven Smith (aka @N64Memories on Twitter) suggests 20 alternative N64 games you might want to try instead of your usual go-to games…

Mario Kart 64/Diddy Kong Racing South Park Rally

Mario Kart 64 and, some might say, Diddy Kong Racing are the kings of the kart genre. However, South Park Rally is certainly worth playing if you need to refresh your racing fix because it not only taps into what makes the aforementioned games great, but adds in a classic dose of South Park humour as well as unique challenges not found elsewhere. Trying to collect and hold onto an antidote that will cure you of Mad Cow’s Disease is a unique way of using the karting skills honed in Mario Kart 64. It is a well-crafted game, bundles of fun and different enough not to just be a clone.

GoldenEye 007 The World is not Enough

file-2A lot of what made Rare’s GoldenEye 007 the seminal console first-person shooter is shamelessly plagiarised here in TWINE, but ultimately that’s not a problem. This is because the developers, Eurocom, have reused these features exceptionally well to create another immersive Bond adventure that is just as exciting as GoldenEye 007. In fact, there are a few aspects of TWINE that are better than GoldenEye, which I outlined here in an article on my blog. With this article, I wasn’t saying it is the better game but that it has taken the successful GoldenEye 007 formula and added good gameplay elements to it. Definitely worth playing if you haven’t already.

International Superstar Soccer/FIFA Michael Owen’s World League Soccer 2000

Released in the USA as Mia Hamm Soccer 64, this soccer sim is definitely on a par with the N64 FIFA games and just shy of the brilliance of Konami’s ISS series. The British-based developers used varied camera angles, tight responsive controls and a range of player moves to try to offer an alternative to the dominance of EA and Konami. It sold fairly well but was unfairly overlooked because of the likes of FIFA and now is the time to tell people to give it another chance!

Wave Race 64 Hydro Thunder

Surprisingly, the success of Wave Race 64 early on in the N64’s life didn’t cause of flood (pun intended) of replica games onto the system. Maybe developers knew they couldn’t match its success, who knows. However, Midway’s release is a viable alternative as it is a great conversion of the arcade game. The graphics are gorgeous, the tracks are numerous and varied enough to repeatedly enjoy, and it handles responsively too. Although it isn’t a Wave Race 64 beater, it is similar and it is very accomplished. There’s no harm in putting down Wave Race for a little while if you haven’t tried this yet.

Yoshi’s Story Mischief Makers

2D gaming was going out of fashion in the late 1990s and it took something extra special on a 3D console to get gamers to take notice. Although not as deep as Yoshi’s Island on the Super NES, Yoshi’s Story was a popular 2D platformer on the N64 and clearly had a sprinkle of that Nintendo magic that got people fawning over it. A few other alternative 2D platformers exist to Yoshi’s Story but none as exciting as Mischief Makers. You are Marina, a robot out to save her creator who has been kidnapped. Levels are unique because you SHAKE SHAKE your way up, down and through the semi-2D levels. The story line is bonkers but the levels and worlds that occupy the game are lovely and it gets pretty darn challenging towards the end. To extend longevity, each level can be completed in a time frame to earn awards and there are plenty of secrets to uncover. With 2D back in fashion, there’s no better time to rediscover this one.

Turok 2: Seeds of Evil Armorines: Project S.W.A.R.M

From the same development company came an alternative first-person shooter in a similar vein to the Turok sequel. However, Turok 2 was a hugely popular game and Armorines also had GoldenEye 007 to contend with. This means it was overlooked by many casual N64 gamers and shooter enthusiasts. This is a shame because Armorines is a nifty little shooter: swapping dinosaurs for bugs as well as prehistoric settings for futuristic ones. It plays and handles exactly the same as the Turok series and anyone who is a fan of Turok would adore this as well.

Resident Evil 2 Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness

Resident Evil 2 was the ultimate survival horror game for the N64 and PlayStation. However, a decent alternative is the second N64 Castlevania game (the game the first release was meant to be). It is survival horror of the more action variety as you battle giant skeletons, werewolves and chainsaw-wielding maniacs. The levels are vast, the puzzles are solveable but not too easy and there’s plenty to unlock. It’s not as tight a game as Resident Evil 2 but seeing as RE2 was quite a short experience, it’s probably time to think about alternatives and Legacy of Darkness is worth a go.

F-Zero X San Francisco Rush 2049

file-1Lots of futuristic racers exist on the N64 but this is the most worthy alternative that many have probably missed out on. The third N64 instalment of the Rush series is great because it gives you lush futuristic cityscapes with maximum speed and adrenaline-filled racing. The challengers in a race are hard to beat and there are secret passages packed into every track to take advantage of in order to win. F-Zero X is king but here is your prince.

 

 

Banjo Kazooie Rayman 2: The Great Escape

Although not a Banjo Kazooie beater, Rayman 2 is a solid platformer that owes a lot to Rare’s great game.  It shares similar types of non-playable characters who speak oddly, focus on collectables, great variety in locations, puzzle solving and cut-scenes. It never reaches the heights of Banjo Kazooie’s quality because of its linear nature and lack of save points. However, for those who like the Banjo type of platformer, then this is definitely an option.

WWF No Mercy Virtual Pro-Wrestling 2

The N64 is home to many a great wrestling game: mostly thanks to THQ/AKI Ace and, to a lesser extent, Acclaim. These mostly come with a WCW or a WWE licence but there was this Japanese-only release that rivals them all. VPW2 was also AKI Ace produced and featured the great grappling with no sluggishness or over-complicated bout types that come with American Sports Entertainment. This was fast-paced wrestling at its best and has the added bonus of some whacky Japanese commentary. If you have a NTSC-J N64 and love wrestling games then definitely play this as an alternative to WWF No Mercy.

Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask Hybrid Heaven

Comparisons between these two games are numerous: action/adventure mixed with RPG, a more sinister storyline with darker environments to explore as well as a host of idiosyncratic characters to meet along the way. Konami’s Hybrid Heaven was a great attempt at producing something the N64 didn’t have at the time and while they are not all successful, it does well at gripping you from the outset with its curious main character and storyline. If you have exhausted Majora’s Mask on the N64 and 3DS then Hybrid Heaven is your next point of call.

Rogue Squadron Battle for Naboo

Battle for Naboo was the spiritual successor to the fantastic Rogue Squadron before Rogue Leader came along on the Nintendo GameCube. It has a lukewarm reputation because of the lacklustre film it is based on. However, if you can see past its Episode 1 links (like you can with Episode 1: Racer) then you will have an enjoyable Star Wars shooter on your hands. It not only sends you to the skies but has you grounded too in various machines doing battle. In addition, you are treated to a lush graphical upgrade as well as maintaining the medal challenges of Rogue Squadron. A worthwhile alternative.

Snowboard Kids Snowboard Kids 2

A little bit of a rarity this sequel but if you are a huge fan of the first and haven’t played the second then you must look this up. In terms of gameplay it is identical, but you have a whole new set of tracks, some new racers, improved graphics and even a little hub world to explore. Only for serious fans.

Perfect Dark Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion

The threequel starts off in a world not too dissimilar to that of Perfect Dark’s; the similarities in location, non-playable characters and futuristic weapons are too hard to ignore. Clearly, Iguana Entertainment saw how stupendous Perfect Dark was looking and went for it! Therefore, Turok 3 is a nice little alternative initially to sink your teeth into before you start to see its roots in the two prequels coming through. For me, it was the best of both and is certainly a game to find and play if you haven’t before.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

Similarities between the two extend further than using a colon in their respective titles. In fact, I suspect the Hercules development team played Ocarina of Time throughout the game’s creation. By no means is Hercules a like-for-like game – both in terms of content and quality, because it is not. However, casual fans of both the TV series it is based upon and Ocarina of Time will enjoy sinking their gaming teeth into this one if you haven’t already. There are many locations to explore, fighting on your journey to be had, bosses to battle and items to collect. The RPG elements are by no means as in-depth as Ocarina of Time but they do exist and it has a Zelda-like feel to its graphics and music.  Worth a sniff.

Super Mario 64 Rocket: Robot on Wheels

This was the best third-party platform game on the N64. fileThe storyline is fun, engaging and unique – having to scupp
er the evil JoJo’s plans to ruin opening day for the theme park; the graphics are sublime, with a lovely frame rate and easy-to-use camera (essential for a 3D platformer); and it is mightily innovative because a lot of puzzle solving needs Rocket to apply the laws of physics. What makes it familiar to fans of Super Mario 64 is the fact that the worlds and puzzles do seem to take inspiration from the portly plumber’s adventure. But this is not a negative because it is highly enjoyable. Fans of Super Mario 64 that haven’t played this, must!

Jet Force Gemini Body Harvest

Both are third-person shooters involving bugs to blast. Jet Force Gemini has the unique Rare charm and sublime polish but Body Harvest, for me, is the more immerse game and certainly more challenging. Ignore the poorly-aged graphics because the game is full-to-the-brim with content – so many vehicles to drive, puzzles to solve, places to explore and bugs to squish. If you haven’t experienced it, please do so, but be prepared to sink many hours into Body Harvest. Great value for money right now.

Excitebike 64 Top Gear Hyperbike

If you’ve exhausted Excitebike 64 and love this type of racing game then Top Gear Hyperbike is the next best thing. More accessible then Excitebike was, Top Gear Hyperbike is an easy game to pick up and throw yourself into. The gameplay is solid, the graphics and frame rate are fine, and the races are as fast and furious as they would be in real life. This hasn’t got Excitebike’s depth but if you need some new tracks to race around then you should purchase this.

Super Smash Bros. Rakuga Kids

file (1)Despite the many beat ‘em ups on the N64, there’s no other alternative to Nintendo’s masterpiece than Rakuga Kids by Konami. It’s the only other dedicated game where cutsey characters can wage war on each other. The characters look like they’re right out of a Bust-a-Move game yet the amount of variety on offer, both game options and beat ‘em up moves, means this is nothing like one of those games! Where Super Smash Bros. has Star Fox’s pistol, this has water guns! Rakuga Kids did a great job back in the day of refreshing the genre and probably didn’t enjoy the success it deserved. If you’re a beat ‘em up fan, you have to find this!

Banjo Tooie Conker’s Bad Fur Day

Despite both games being developed by Rare and releasing very late in the N64’s lifespan, Banjo Tooie well out-sold Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Therefore, many gamers haven’t had the chance to really enjoy Conker’s eventual adventure for the Nintendo 64. This is made even more difficult because even a cartridge on its own is around $100/£80. Both are platformers and both are graphically gorgeous, otherwise they are quite dissimilar in tone and action. I consider Conker an alternative to Banjo Tooie because they both require an investment from the gamer to really maximise the satisfaction you will get from playing them. They are large, explorable worlds to immerse yourself in. Try finding a ROM if you cannot afford to invest in a Conker’s Bad Fur Day cart.

 

Steven Smith runs the #N64Memories Twitter feed, Facebook page and blog – www.n64memories.blogspot.com

203298

No GravatarSometimes there are very special games that will forever hold a place in the heart of gamers. Chrono Trigger is one of those games. It is a game that is often hailed as being one of the best RPGs of all time and, in many cases, can be considered on of the greatest games of all time, period. Here are the reasons why:

203298

Chrono Trigger is a role-playing game developed by Square (now Square Enix) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The game was created by a team of extremely talented individuals, including Final Fantasy’s creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi. It was published in 1995 with critical success and was the third best-selling game of that year. Chrono Trigger was later ported to the PlayStation in 1999 and then repackaged in 2001 with Final Fantasy IV as “Final Fantasy Chronicles.” With such critical and commercial success, it has been later ported to the mobile platforms of the Nintendo DS, iOS, and Android. It is a revolutionary game that spawned the sequel Chrono Cross and gave a lot of fans some very happy memories.

The game follows Crono, a main character who never speaks during the game, Marle, a princess, and Lucca, Crono’s super-smart friend. During a Millennial Fair for the time period of AD 1000 in their world, Lucca and her father demonstrate a new teleporter. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work quite like it was supposed to and teleports Crono, Marle, and Lucca in time. They bounce around both forward and backward in time, learning about a creature named Lavos that wipes out civilization. The party is then determined to do what they can to save the world through time travel.

campfire

It is a fantastic story, filled with twists and turns. Players end up traveling between seven different eras with their distinct characters, setting, and feel. Along the way, you meet the wonderful characters of Robo, Ayla, Magus, and the best and coolest video game character of all time, Frog. That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it. Trust me, though. Frog is freaking amazing.

One of the many revolutionary aspects of Chrono Trigger was the possibility of multiple endings. However, there were other advancements including plot-related, character-driven sidequests. These may not seem like a big deal today, but in 1995, that was unheard of.

Though the game play is a fairly standard RPG, there were several new ideas to come forth as well. Done with beautiful two-dimensional graphics (that still look good, by the way), the player can roam around in an overworld typical of RPGs of the time and visit different areas. Each area has things to interact with, whether it be people to talk to, puzzles to solve, or enemies to defeat. One change to the traditional RPG is that Chrono Trigger has random encounters for enemies, some which may be visible and some that will ambush you. Unlike other RPGs at the time as well, the game’s battles take place in the same map area instead of being whisked off to a different screen.

chrono-trigger-sprites

During fights with enemies, Chrono Trigger uses an active battle approach. Each character can do an action based off of a personal timer that is affected by that character’s stats. Characters can either do a straight attack or use their Techs, which use their magic points. One unique feature for the time was the ability to do combined attacks with characters using the Techs. The characters can double or triple their Tech use to create an even greater effect.

The game play is a lot of fun and allows a player to use many tactics to defeat enemies. Another really cool element that Chrono Trigger officially introduced was the New Game+ feature that allowed players to keep their characters’ stats, techniques, and inventory when playing a new game. This helped players go through the multiple endings easier. Though this idea may have been used in earlier games, from my research, it does look like Chrono Trigger was the first to actually use the term “New Game+.” Pretty awesome, right?

nexusae0_2012-10-29-19.00.17

One of my favorite game elements of Chrono Trigger is actually the soundtrack. It was primarily done by Yasunori Mitsuda, who had some help with the legendary Final Fantasy composer, Nobuo Uematsu. The shear amount of tracks for the game was an amazing feat for the time frame. The music is otherworldly and consists of some amazing songs, one of which is my all-time favorite: Frog’s Theme. Seriously, whenever I do something cool, I start humming it. Yes, the song is THAT epic.

Chrono Trigger took some giant leaps forward for gaming. It helped push some of the gaming elements that we all love so much in modern RPGs, especially Western RPGs. The game will always hold a special place in my heart, and I am planning on making it the first game that my daughter and I play together. It is just THAT amazing.

urban champion

No Gravatarurban champion

 

Welcome to our new series, “Games That Should Be Revived”, in which I will be discussing various games that the IP holders should revive. Today lets look at a game that many absolutely despise but has some potential, Urban Champion.

Urban Champion, a fighting game on the NES  was one of Nintendo’s first attempts at a fighting game and to be honest, the game was awful. It is widely regarded as one of Nintendo’s worst games, so why am I arguing for a revival? Well its quite simple, the technology for what they wanted to do with the game was not quite there yet and while they did make an NES fighter with Joy Mech Fight that got a lot right, that was only released in Japan. With modern tech, a reboot could work, especially if it an in name only reboot.

Here is my proposal, hire Bandai Namco or SNK Playmore to develop it. Make it be Nintendo’s own 2D one on one fighting game like Capcom’s Street Fighter. With the proper work done, it could end up well. I think it would be best for Nintendo to farm it out to one of those 2 publishers mentioned due to their history of fighting games, especially SNK Playmore, who could make it work well.

This would not need to be a major production but rather let’s call it a b project. It could be done as a test to see if the series would work. It would need around 12 characters, online, arcade mode, 2 additional modes for multiplayer and single player to entice casuals as well as hardcores and the potential for DLC. It would also cost less than other games, again to hook people in. If this succeeds, DLC could be done to add a lot more content, or a sequel could be made that would be bigger and better like with Smash Bros 64 and then Smash Bros Melee.

But now the question, Why make the game? Well to be honest, Nintnedo is lacking in traiditional fighting games. Microsoft has Killer Instinct ( which formerly was with Nintendo) and Sony has locked up Street Fighter and King Of Fighters. Smash is not a traditional fighting game and Pokken requires two consoles for local multiplayer to work right. I feel that Nintendo needs a traditional 2D fighting game in their lineup and this could work perfectly. It doesn’t need to necessarily be a Street Fighter or King of Fighters clone but be similar yet different.  There is a market for these games, poor sales of SF V not withstanding ( and that was more due to the game ‘s barebones content at launch.) A traditional 2D fighting game would be welcome and a reboot of Urban Champion as an In Name Only reboot is just what the doctor ordered.

 

Next time: A look at Joy Mech Fight.

By Jessica Brister On 20 Sep, 2015 At 06:52 PM | Categorized As Featured, Old School Otaku, PC Games, Reviews | With 0 Comments
526027

No GravatarEvery once in awhile there are a few special games that come around and really push the boundaries of what games can be. For me, Tomb Raider II is one of those games. Being the sequel to the extremely popular original Tomb Raider, there were a lot of high expectations the second installment to be even better. Tomb Raider II passed with flying colors to be an entertaining adventure with one of gaming’s most iconic characters.

Tomb Raider II is an action-adventure, puzzle-based game that was the sequel to the original Tomb Raider, which came out in 1996. It was developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive. It was released October of 1997 for PlayStation and PC (it eventually came out for Mac later) and had critical acclaim and sold very well.

tomb_raider_2_box

The game follows adventurer and tomb raider, Lara Croft. The story revolved around the Dagger of Xian, a weapon that was used by an ancient emperor of China to transform into a dragon and command armies. Monks were able to get a hold of the dagger and keep it hidden within the Great Wall of China. Lara goes to investigate the dagger and realizes that she’s not the only one after it. Marco Bartoli, a man who is obsessed with the dagger, is also digging up artifacts in order to wield the dagger’s power. Lara’s adventure goes to places like China and Italy, where she is pushed to find out more about Bartoli’s plan.

It’s quite a fun story with an Indiana Jones-like adventure to it. Whether it’s driving a boat through Venice or exploring an underwater shipwreck, the game has a delightful entertainment value to it that you only experience with adventure games. However, it’s actually Lara who really shines. Unlike the new direction Crystal Dynamics is going in with the Tomb Raider reboot games, this Lara Croft is strong, confident, and fearless. She pushes herself to the limits as she works against the forces of evil.

lara161

The third-person perspective game play improved with Tomb Raider II from the original by adding new weapons and moves, as well as having vehicles, more human enemies, and larger levels. There’s even a level with a snowmobile that is an absolute blast to play. There was also a training level that allowed the player to roam around Lara’s mansion. The best change, however, was the fact that a player didn’t need a save crystal in order to save the game, making complicated jumping puzzles much easier to manage.

The original Tomb Raider franchise was all about exploration and puzzles with some enemies thrown in to keep things fresh. Unfortunately, that is not the case anymore with the reboot, but Tomb Raider II really shines in both instances. Puzzles typically are usually jumping or timing-related, and there is a lot of exploration involved. The levels might not be the huge open-world maps that gamers are used to now, but it’s a lot of fun trying to figure out how to get to certain places or find key items. Shooting is emphasized in Tomb Raider II more than the original, and it features Lara’s signature dual pistols, as well a grenade launcher, and M16 rifle, dual Uzis, and a harpoon gun for underwater fighting. The fighting sequences utilize a jump and dodge system, instead of the sit under cover and shoot. This type of game play is not considered ideal anymore because it’s not very realistic. However, it is super fun.

289451-tomb-raider-ii-starring-lara-croft-windows-screenshot-first

The only real problem with going back and playing Tomb Raider II is dealing with the outdated graphics. They were really awesome at the time, but the sharp angles and grainy textures are hard to get used to. People who enjoy retro-gaming won’t mind, but it’s glaring for those who prefer modern games. The cut-scenes aren’t bad, but Lara is definitely very square and so are all of the other people. It’s amazing to see how far graphics have come since then.

So, if you want a fun, action-adventure game with an amazing heroine, you might want to play or replay Tomb Raider II. You do have to like puzzles, but that’s half the fun. It was a different game for a completely different time. Sadly, I just don’t think we’re going to get anything quite like it again.

20140905_163806

No Gravatar20140905_130131

I showed up opening day to the Baltimore Convention Center for my 1st time ever stepping foot into the biggest comic book convention in Maryland the Baltimore Comic-Con. I had a blast for the four hours i walked the convention center checking out all the wares in “Artist Alley” located in the back of the center. I will within the next few days post interviews with three exhibitors that was kind enough to oblige me with an one on one with them amongst all the hustle and bustle.  The featured artist will be Kat Brenowitz of Square City Comics showcasing the Square City Anthology and other comics at Booth# A259-A260  , Gregory Garay of Visual Verbosity showcasing his Jack B series at Booth# A191 , Finally but, not least Colin Lawler & Joseph Grabowski for Spirits: The Soul Collector at Booth#A351 .

 

To get the word out before the last day comes upon us I will reveal to you several locations at Comic-Con that just might tickle your fancy.

 


 

  • Third Eye ComicsBooth# 307-308, 407-408

One of a few booths with two variants of the latest mini-series of comic “Death of Wolverine” one variant being an rare one. Third Eye has a four block booth jam packed with a wealth of modern comics along with some classics to pick up. The booth’s staff has a welcoming sensibility just like the store in Annapolis, MD the folks are knowledgeable, please stop by and check them out.

20140905_135045

  • Charles Soule – Booth#2309

All I have to say this guy just like the other talented artist are signing autographs. Oh and by the way he too is the person behind the latest mini-series “Death of Wolverine” so, yeah you have that. He also has another rare variant not carried by Third Eyes Comics, make sure you throw some money his way to get a piece of future history. The Death of Wolverine series has been quoted from Charles Sole that a new comic will come

                   “Once every week, depending on shipping that schedule might slide but, not too far from the once a week scale”

So, keep a look out for the four part series sure to give your heart a tug.

 

  •  High Grade ComicsBooth# 901-903

Retailing high caliber and rare vintage comic books HighGradeComics.com is here for those serious collectors at any capacity like Buying, Selling or Trade. Check them out the prices vary but, be mindful because of quality and rarity of these collectibles be ready to pay upwards of $20+ for these classics.

20140905_133344

  • That Creative Fox/ Runaway Rosettes – Booth#A44

Their names are totally indicative of what they create on one side you have pleasant Eve Cowan she provides hand sewn plush dolls geeked up to perfection with cute DeadPool cats, Pokemon characters along with Flash & Wolverine. Her prices are reasonable and are well worth the cost. To the right we have Runaway Rosettes headed up by Casie Smith, the Rosettes are ribbon badges with various themes spanning from Star Wars, Harry Potter and DC comics celebrities. These Rosettes are as wild and elaborate as the person who sells them make sure you stop by and chat up the both of them while purchasing their wares.

20140905_153254

  • Josh LymanBooth#A377

Josh is a laid back Illustrator deep from the heart of Texas he is also a Concept Artist and I scooped up three conceptual prints based off of one of my favorite movies “Alice in Wonderland” it has the Cheshire Cat on a tree and scrolled on the branches are every line the came from the lofty cat from the movie. Josh Lyman has a ton of other prints all priced at a great price among other art pieces see what he has I’m sure you’ll walk away happy.

20140905_162634

  • Ben HarveyBooth#A304

Didn’t get a chance to sit and chat Ben Harvey up too long because it was getting time for me to check out everything he had in his booth table but, from what I saw Ben Harvey has some great stuff in store for you. On this last day Sunday the 6th check him out.

20140905_161404

  • RoundStone Publishing – Booth#A179

Casey Caracciolo, the Author of the book Shadow Of The Gauntlet already given high marks around other comic-cons and online outlets like Amazon. Shadow Of The Gauntlet available in print and digital copies are ready to leap off the pages or your tablet screen and into your mind to set your imagination on an epic journey spanning the the galaxy. Go to the Artist Alley and speak with anyone at the both to get more on the story and buy it directly with an autograph of the author or if you are reading this from abroad please go to Scargen’s website and download a free chapter digitally or purchase either copy from them.

casey-caracciolo-scargen-author-C

  • Harley Yee Rare Comics – Booth#905-906

If you are looking for classics boy I will tell ya HYRC will take you from Rare collectibles like “Forever People” to “Adventure Comics” yes plenty from the Silver and Golden age of DC Comics. If you have that itch for some ultra rare comics that you remember from your youth (That is if you are 40+ years old) Harley Yee Rare Comics just might be for you. Harley Yee has experience in collecting and enjoying comics for over 30 years. I’m sure you can find interesting convos surrounding this booth on comics, I sure have.

20140905_134302       20140905_134238

  • Hot Flips Comic books & Supplies – Booth#3701-3703

While draining your wallets and pocket books at Baltimore Comic-Con it might be wise to stop by this booth to protect your new found treasures. Hot Flips can furnish you with protective sleeves for your comics, posters or bust sketches that you commissioned by one of the many artists in “Artist Alley” Don’t worry Hot Flips won’t knock you over the head with the prices either. While you are there make sure you check out their comic book selection also.

20140905_135810 n            20140905_135704

Home of the Pearler Bead sculptures and they sure are a hit! I’m sure you have seen these bad boys all over the interwebz well today you can get your very own. Josh and his brother decided one day to create a comic book series (of course) and with a lack of funding the entrepreneurial bros. surmised a plan to use some loose pearler beads to iron out that financial wrinkle. Reasonably priced at $3, $5 & $10 these themed pieces which are key chains, magnets, table figures, faux potted plants & mini piggy banks. All are from our famous comics, cartoons and pop culture icons like Adventure time, Super Mario Bros. & the cast of the Avengers to name a few. Stop on by and see what this table has in store for you I’m sure something will jump into your heavy bag right after you pay for it (or them)

20140905_140556


Now, while I haven’t even scratched the surface of the talent that is here at Baltimore Comic-Con I can attest that these wonderful people and the booths that they are running are top notch and are sure to impress in one way or another. I can also say that even this list is missing some other retailers & artists I just couldn’t fit into my article. Again, if you are near by please stop pass Baltimore to score a ticket to gain entry to one of the geekiest shows in Bmore.

 

By Sean Jacobs On 5 Sep, 2014 At 01:49 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Conventions, International News, Old School Otaku | With 0 Comments
Baltimore Comic-Con

No Gravatar

20140905_135045

One of Maryland’s finest comic book retailers

Opening day is among us for The Baltimore Comic Con at the Baltimore convention center. The scene is brimming with an cornucopia of talented cosplayer out front of the Pratt Street entrance at the Baltimore Convention Center. Like previous years at the BCC the lines are seemingly endless and with that the downtown inner harbor area of Bmore is teeming with characters from all over the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) and abroad.

High Quality Statues on deck baby!

Today I Sean Jacobs will be roaming the Comic-Con landscape on the lookout for the bizarre costumes, interesting comic book finds and anything that might surprise me. This is my first Comic-Con I am excited to spend four hours covering the spectacle that will unfold upon my virgin eyes. I have seen documentaries and have read articles on these events but, on this day I will witness hopefully a panel and whatever else that is planned in their itinerary.

Nice company's like Valiant are present at the Comic-Con

Stay tuned as Real Otaku Gamer peers into this event and shares with you our experiences at The Baltimore Comic Con.

Follow Sean Jacobs on Twitter &  on Facebook

Follow Real Otaku Gamer on Twitter & Facebook

smoking mirror 2 title

No GravatarIt’s been a while since I’ve played point and click adventure games; they were a childhood staple for me. Most kids had either a Gameboy or a console, both if they were lucky, for me it was adventure and educational computer games. I grew up in a strict household where if we were having fun we better be doing something that wasn’t making our brain rot so that’s how I ended up playing lots of point and click games. From what I remember most of those games probably wouldn’t be much fun for me today, but those mystery and puzzle games had always been fun to figure out. Apart from Nancy Drew I hadn’t really ventured in the point and click adventure game genre since but Broken Sword 2 has refreshed my curiosity.

smoking mirror 2 title

Definitely not for kids it’s the second game in the Broken Sword series which revolve around the adventures of George Stobbart and Nico Collard. The remastered game is available in both PC and mobile devices in download format. In this installment Nico goes with George to investigate a carved Mayan stone she came across while investigating a drug ring. When she goes to a professor’s house to get more info George is knocked out and she is immediately abducted. The game has you step in the shoes of both Nico and George to unravel a strange conspiracy that puts their lives in danger and might have the fate of the world rest in its balance.

The controls are easy to figure out in both mobile and computer with options to look, talk, pick up, and interact depending on the nature of the thing you’re clicking on. With simple controls you’re free to examine and figure your way through the game. One of the things that has always been frustrating for me was the common stuck feeling I always got when playing through these types of games, but Broken Sword 2 has hints to help you through the game when you need a nudge. My favorite thing about the hint feature is the games give you escalating hints that go from slight nudges to detailed instructions on what to do the more hints you ask for, which allows you to still get the satisfaction of figuring things out and not have to consult walkthroughs if you hit a brick wall.

This game is hard enough to not be a one sitting game, requiring me to stop playing halfway through so I don’t finish by the time the sun rises again. According to Steam I played for 8 hours, your experience may vary.

smokingmirrordialogue

Perhaps what made my game drag out so much was the witty dialogue and excellent voice acting, which had me pick every talking option with the other characters. If you’re like me in that aspect you’ll enjoy some of the jokes throughout the game, one of my favorite involves a tequila worm I picked up, and you have the option of showing it to most characters you encounter in the game with Stobbart himself seeming to notice his strange attraction to the worm as the game progresses. Everything else is top notch too. This game came out in the 90’s so there’s only so much you can remaster until it loses its old fashioned charm, and to me it seems tweaked enough to still feel like a game from the era but enough retouching to make the game look like a really good version of its old self. The cut scenes are some of the most gratifying things you get out of the game and push you to see how the story ends. The new game even comes with a prequel comic, a great bonus for such a satisfying game.

Smoking Mirror 2 bonus comic

So what I’m saying is you should definitely check out the remastered version of Broken Sword 2: The Smoking Mirror, it’s a great game. If you want to watch the trailer be mindful that it might contain some spoilers.

By otakuman5000 On 30 Jul, 2014 At 09:26 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, NINTENDO, Old School Otaku | With 0 Comments
cI1pBQAL3x

No GravatarGames, at their roots, are a social hub. From board games to arcades to home consoles: there has always been a social aspect. Unfortunately the social aspect of video games is, for the majority, met by a microphone strapped to your head. While the ability to play with friends from around the globe is great, some couch multiplayer is still wonderful. Unfortunately as video games become more and more popular with consoles in more homes every day, local multiplayer is beginning to slip. While I do not think the transition to online social links is at all bad, I still love local multiplayer. One of the prime examples of a system designed for social gaming is the Nintendo 64.

N64

Tangled mess = Good night

The Nintendo 64 may not be the best Nintendo console (the worst in my personal opinion), but the gems it did have are truly gems. I am going to pick the top 5 multiplayer experiences I had on the system. I did not play, nor do I have any intention of playing, every game on the system so this is far from a definitive list. With that disclaimer let’s start:

#5 Mario Party 3

MP3            

This game is a staple for the system. I chose this entry before Mario Party 1 and 2 for one reason: more mini games. Since this series is made by the mini-games this only makes sense. I hate to include a Mario Party game on the list because it is the “Monopoly of videogames” in that it is a very realistic possibility to lose friends to the sheer level backstabbing that forms the foundation of this game series. Boo may as well be the grim reaper.

Boo

The “lost friend” count is only rivaled by the “dead friend” count.

That aside: it is a blast. Whether it is you and one friend or a room full. The constant zany actions of characters and the mini games is enough to entertain you for hours. Assuming the fun is not interrupted up by the need for first aid attention.

#4 007: The World is Not Enough

WINE

I know that 007: Goldeneye is generally regarded as the best fps of the N64, and maybe of all-time, rivaled only by Perfect Dark on the system. If anyone were to ask me? The superior fps is Goldeneye’s younger brother: it did everything Goldeneye did and more. Granted in its own right Goldeneye was iconic and it has inspired many creators The World is Not Enough aged much better than Goldeneye and it is far more tolerable in terms of gameplay and graphics. Controls are just as awful thanks to the inbred octopus of a controller that the N64 has. Also worth noting is that none of your friends can play as Odd Job now, so now everyone wins. Except for the one that picks Odd Job, now everyone knows how bad they are. Sorry.

oddjob shot

You can’t help anyone who mains Odd Job.

#3 Mortal Kombat 4

mk4

Mortal Kombat is an influential series for me. It is the game that made me a fan of fighting games and real virtual competition, and maybe a little spine ripping out of the body action. This was a saving grace for the Nintendo 64. The N64 had a weak market of fighting tolerable fighting games composed mainly of Mortal Kombat: Trilogy, Killer Instinct Gold, and Clayfighter 63 1/3. Mortal Kombat 4 was a game I did not originally own on the system, but one that I picked up after I began collecting older games from my youth. That being said this is a game that I am glad I picked up. It keeps the Mortal Kombat charm and is entirely suitable for a few rounds of fun. It is by no means as defining as a fighting game that is soon to be mentioned. It was nice to find that the game had a nice character roster too. That is always nice to be able to swap in between fights to a better color ninja.

characters

Ah yes I love yellow ninja way more than blue ninja.

#2 F-Zero X

fzero

As far as racing games for the Nintendo 64 went: a lot of good ones existed. The Crusin’ series, Mario Kart, and Diddy Kong are a few prime examples. This game is another that I didn’t own in my youth. Upon playing it more recently I feel I can say without wearing nostalgia goggles that it is the pinnacle of racing for the system. The game is entirely based on speed. No lucky items, just pure racing skill and a mix of irrational and nonsensical speed. Along with 29 competitors. Yes 30 racers in a single race going faster than one reasonably should, even in a race. Games are all about nonsense like that. I love that nonsense.

fzero screen

757 km/h is almost as fast as a falcon punch.

The game is really content heavy as well, look at this select screen for the vehicles alone.

machine screen

What goes great with all those vehicles? How about a samurai to drive them? No? A dinosaur maybe? That’s right you can’t say no to a dinosaur. If you somehow are not into totally rad sentient dinosaurs you can choose the always punching Captain Falcon. Or a multitude of other character, but who cares because dinosaurs driving fast cars.

fzero char

This is not a godly evolution line.

With so much pure awesome packed into so much cartridge, how could you go wrong? Other than some sharp turns. It is sure to be a great use of a few nights to fly through this game with some friends.

#1 Super Smash Bros

ssb

I’m sure this surprises literally no one. Super Smash Bros is the series that makes the N64. It may have some other great games, but this is it. If all else fails you can always return to this. I could babble about this game for pages, but you already know. Everyone knows.

ssb2

Where arguments are really settled. If for some reason you don’t know, just know this: some of the best Nintendo characters on one screen fighting it out for supremacy. Controlled by you and 3 friends. If you lose you want to prove yourself, if you win you want to stay on top. It’s a never ending cycle of always coming back to this game.

By Jessica Brister On 22 May, 2014 At 04:09 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Old School Otaku | With 0 Comments
01-566376

No GravatarMany people have complained over the years to the fact that movies and games that are taken from books almost never turn out to be as good as the original source.  Happily, there are some gems that are hidden in the crowd of mediocrity.  Parasite Eve is an older Playstation game that was actually the sequel to a popular Japanese horror novel of the same title.  The book and game are tied tightly together, and they demonstrate that one really can have an extremely well done game based from literature.

Parasite Eve, the novel, by Hideaki Sena is a Japanese horror novel with many science fiction elements.  It was originally published in 1996, but people who couldn’t read in Japanese had to wait to read it until 2005 when it was finally translated into English.  The story is heavily based on science, including biology and genetics.  The book is so technical that it is often confusing to follow, unless the reader has a thorough background in biology.  That’s what makes it such good science fiction, though.  It takes real science and twists it a bit to make a fast-paced story.

Cover Art for Parasite Eve, the novel.

Cover Art for Parasite Eve, the novel.

The story follows Toshiaki Nagishima, a biology and pharmaceutical researcher.  His wife, Kiyomi, has been declared brain dead after a horrible car accident.  However, there is more going on than meets the eye.  The novel presumes that the mitochondria in a human’s cells have been evolving since the days of primordial sludge.  The mitochondria have formed a new life form, called “Eve,” which has now reached a peak in her evolutionary process.  Kiyomi’s body just happens to have the right conditions for Eve to begin to take control.  In fact, Eve is the one responsible for Kiyomi’s car accident in order to be transplanted into others.  Throughout the novel, Eve manipulates the people around her on a cellular level.  Her ultimate goal is to give birth to a child that will be able to chance its genetic code on a whim and there be the perfect life form that will replace humans as the dominate life on earth.

Though the novel sounds scientific and dry, it is actually first and foremost a horror story.  The reader gets suspense, creepy, and downright scary all rolled into one novel.  The science just adds to the realism of the novel.  Since the novel is based in science, the reader gets to wonder: What if this really could happen?  Don’t we have mitochondria in all of our cells?  What if someone’s body was taken over at the cellular level?  These questions and more make up some of the thematic elements of the story.  It allows the reader to question whether we really know everything about the human body.  Are we even in control of our bodies?  It’s a creepy thought and is one of many that this novel brings to the table.

The novel was so popular that it spawned a video game sequel with the same title.  Though the game takes place in the United States, many of the same elements that made the novel so unique appear in the game.  Parasite Eve is an action-based RPG that also falls into the “survival horror” category.  It was released in 1998 on the original Playstation.  In a sea of traditional RPGs, Parasite Eve was unique in its tone and game play.

Parasite_Eve_Coverart

The story follows Aya Brea, an NYPD cop who just wants to spend a quiet evening at the opera.  Unfortunately, everyone at the opera spontaneously combusts, leaving her and an actress named Melissa alive.  After investigating, Aya finds out that Eve is up to her same old tricks again: She is again trying to create the “Ultimate Being” by manipulating people whose bodies have the right conditions for Eve to flourish.  Aya finds out that her mitochondria is evolving as well, which gives her some pretty awesome powers.  It is up to Aya to go up against Eve to save New York City.

Though having RPG elements, such as leveling up and gaining new powers, the player must also dodge attacks during battle (something that was unique for that time period of RPGs).  Aya develops powers and is able to use those as well.  Battles are chosen more through random encounters, although there are spots that if you walk over, you are guaranteed a battle.  Weapons and armor can be upgraded or replaced as the player explores.  The game play gets a creepy vibe with the genetically altered creatures, although the best part of the game could actually be the cut scene graphics which still look great even after all of this time.  The in-game graphics are a little grainy, but there is nothing like those amazing cut-scenes.

The cut-scenes of this game still look good today.

The cut-scenes of this game still look good today.

It’s hard to imagine that an excellent novel could spawn an excellent game.  There have been so many let-downs with novel to movie that sometimes it’s easy to forget that video game developers can get it right.  However, Parasite Eve remains amazing, regardless of being in print or in pixel.

pax-page-pic

No Gravatar

20140410_121807

The staff here is wonderful

 I was so amazed by what I walked into the main show floor at PAX East I witnessed all developers, hardware manufacturers have their very own nook carved out of the Boston convention center. Before I walked down the long steps and I snapped the 1st picture of my face in utter amazement. I first walked into the Boston Convention Center and stood in line to receive my first media badge. I proceeded to walk towards the big glass doors spotted with a few security guards and some structures promoting PAX. As I walked through the door  I had an Idea of what was to be in store for me but, what took me by surprise the most was the amazement that stemmed from the actuality that I have finally made it! I have made it to one milestone of mine to go to one of the big shows in the gaming world PAX East!

 20140410_122147     Like a bawse     20140410_122429

  I descended the staircase I first noticed Bethesda Softworks booth showcasing large walls of Wolfenstein & The Evil Within images the large titan tron screen had no image up yet, later they were to display two titles ESO (Elder Scrolls Online) and Wolfenstein.The two titles displayed are good as some of you know already of ESO but, the beginning sequence to Wolfenstein was awesome a far cry from the original game of course in the graphics department but, more importantly story. Later, I wandered around snapping selfies of me in from of Turtle Beaches mammoth sized headphones and snapshots Xbox One’s large setup. In Microsoft’s booth they were setting up Kinect Rivals Sports definitely a game I would love to play on the show floor tomorrow. I also snapped a picture of a barely set up of Project Spark another title I must play coming from the wonders over there at Rare Games. As I moseyed around the corner from there I saw roughly 15 monitors half in which had Xbox One’s hooked up, I’m sure the rest will plug into the flat screen tvs. I wandered around avoiding heavy machinery and guys and gals pushing carts around with serious merch and building supplies and I got side swiped by that hinted at behemoth two legged dinosaur monster from the game Evolve and this statue is surely fine crafted and gargantuan!

20140410_12244620140410_13002120140410_12320920140410_123418

 There was several sections setup for pc play for titles from developers like NC Soft & Carbine Studios WildStar  and games like Infinite crisis which has a large section carved out with custom comfy gamer PC chairs on stage and off… sounds like some great things will happen in that side of the convention center. I have heard some rumbling about Infinite crisis but, when I saw a little bit of the cast which is DC universe characters, if you didn’t know made me flip my wig (just a tad). When I took a deeper look on the outskirts of the show floor where all the large displayed casted its shiny shadows I saw random geekery merchandise from creators like Fangamer whom makes all types of stuff showing reverence to our video game favorites like Animal Crossing New Leaf socks and Legend Of Zelda shirts and the flying P from Super Mario Bros 3. There is plenty from these wonderful folks and hopefully I can catch the ear of one of their booth reps to ask them a few questions for realotakugamer.com. I also saw small booths displaying mobile games, This weekend I will try to over the small indie mobile games that are glue that binds this convention. I saw merchandiser booths for retro games and even retro systems to go along with those classic gems. Oh yeah, The Crew had a grand display too giving us the feel of working in the garage set of fast and the furious RIP Paul Walker.

20140410_12343520140410_12385820140410_130046

Come to find out after I recharged my body phone and wrote part of this article on the 1st floor when I went back inside to check out some more booths for around 20 minutes an “Enforcer” people whom are hired to secure the floors for random things that shouldn’t be happening, spotted me and noticed I had a Media Pass. The nice fellow asked if i had any “other passes like a vendor badge”, I honestly said “no” and he politely asked me to leave. He walked me to the front counter, the information counter and explained to them that the security at the door was not checking badges properly. I was elated that i was able to experience the behind the scenes of PAX East while also giving you, our readers the inside scoop on my Twitter account.

Boy oh boy I have plenty to say about my 1st PAX East but, to the thing is it hasn’t even started yet! This is only the beginning and oh how sweet it is even at the crunch time for the shows main opening. Stay tuned for future reporting from myself Sean “NoirZilla Gamer” Jacobs and Tiffany Marshall on whats going down on the show floor at PAX East 2014 from RealOtakuGamer.com

REAL OTAKU GAMER is using WP-Gravatar