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By Jonathan Balofsky On 20 Nov, 2017 At 01:52 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Old School Otaku, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News, ROG Retro | With 0 Comments

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RPGs are a beloved genre, but when it comes to video games, most of the best RPGs trace their roots to one series and that is Ultima, the series from Lord British himself, Richard Garriot. There is so much that can be said about the Ultima series that I will need to do this in parts. Today we look at Ultima Underworld, the spinoff that inspired so many games.

In this game, you explored things from a first person perspective, but unlike dungeon crawlers at the time, this one not a single flash screen affair. Rather, the game scrolled in real time which allowed a deeper sense of immersion than anything else at the time. This was more than just a dungeon crawler though, as there was a massive world to explore with multiple sidequests. It eschewed typical expectations for RPGs and instead created a new format and style for itself. The best games are not those that try to be the best or try to be the most unique for the sake of being unique. Rather the best games are the ones that set out to do something different because they are doing what is best for the game.

Ultima Underworld was the first indoor, real-time, 3D first-person game to allow the player to look up and down, and to jump. This would influence not only later RPGs but also first person shooters as well. The games also told a real story rather than the generic plots of many other RPGs, by expanding on the worlds introduced in Ultima and giving us a new part of it to explore. The result was a fully realized world that even the main series borrowed from. Ultima has always been a series of firsts and the  Ultima Underworld games continued that. This is the point where games started relying less on imagination and moved from telling you the details, to showing them. Suddenly what was once the norm in gaming, became obsolete very quickly.

I do not hesitate when I say that Ultima Underworld 1 and 2 influenced the creation of almost all first person open world RPGs that came out after. This includes multiple styles of games such as The Elder Scrolls as well as Bioshock and Deus Ex. In fact, Warren Spector himself worked on this game. In addition, the music for Ultima Underworld: The Sygian Abyss was done by George Sanger, the fat man himself, and one of his frequent collaborators David Govett, and they brought their best to this work. The soundtrack was created as a powerful work with  great combat music and the best feeling of immersion, with moments of dread and excitement being conveyed beautifully.

Ultima Underworld 1 and 2 can still be appreciated today. Even with the older style of visuals and game design, the games hold up surprisingly well, which is a testament to how well they were made. I encourage you all to try these games, and see for yourself why they helped make gaming what it is today. If you do check these games out ( available on GOG.com right here), you might also be interested in knowing there is a third game coming. Underworld Ascendant will see Warren Spector return to the director’s role for the game and once more bring his insight. Now is the perfect time to see why these games matter so much.

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Last week, I wrote an editorial about 7 NES games that should get online play on Nintendo Switch via the Nintendo Switch’s online service. However,  in the last few days, I began thinking more about what Super NES games would benefit from getting online play as well. Because the SNES had so many great co-op games, I had to think carefully about which games deserve it the most, and once again I left out licensed games, and/or games that Nintendo will not be able to get the rights to. With that said, let’s begin.

 

 

Number 7

Contra III The Alien Wars

 

The Contra ( or Probotector if you live in Europe) series is a truly amazing run n gun series from Konami, and the third entry is arguably the best. In addition to better visuals, the action is more intense, the weapons are better and everything just has a bigger feel. The game was an excellent co-op experience on the SNES, and with online play it would be a major standout, and enable a new generation to enjoy it with the same wonder gamers did on the SNES. Both the frustration from difficulty and having 2 players and the euphoria of beating the game would be experienced very differently online and that alone makes it worthwhile.

Number 6

Super Bomberman II

I wasn’t sure which to put on this list. Super Bomberman or its immediate sequel. I ultimately picked the sequel after re-watching a video from TopHatGamingMan, in which he talked about the game. and I ended up agreeing with him. Super Bomberman II is an excellent game both in terms of single player and multiplayer, and this is where the series began to take the form we know and love today. Far superior to the original Bomberman games, Super Bomberman II’s multiplayer would truly benefit from online play similar to the later sequel Super Bomberman R. In fact, Konami could actually use this to further promote Super Bomberman R, by showing the roots of the series, since despite being a much earlier game, Super Bomberman II is an absolutely awesome game.

Number 5

Sunset Riders

Sunset Riders is a beloved arcade classic run n gun game that received an excellent port to the Super NES, with all the characters intact. The game had amazing visuals and fun gameplay that was unlike any other before or since. A Wild West shoot em up that incorporated the best of the arcade era, combined with small amounts of platforming and a lot of awesome music, Sunset Riders was in a league of its own. Giving the game online play via Switch can actually be done in two ways. It could allow two player co-op or could go for full 4 player co-op since all for characters were available on the SNES version. Regardless, this one deserves a new audience.

Number 4.

Mortal Kombat II

Surprise! I didn’t pick the obvious choice of Street Fighter II for this list. While Street Fighter is a great series, I feel it would be almost a cliché to pick. Mortal Kombat doesn’t really get acknowledged for its history with Nintendo except for the disastrous port of the first game. However, inlike the SNES port of the original game, which was a disaster, Mortal Kombat II on SNES was almost arcade perfect. Not only that, the fighting itself was far improved over the original Mortal Kombat, as something many forget about the original game was that the fighting was actually pretty bad aside from the fatalities. Mortal Kombat II though, improved on every last detail and was where the series truly got good. The fact that the SNES version was amazing would allow for some great online fights as well.

Number 3

Saturday Night Slam Masters

I did not leave Capcom off the list though. Saturday Night Slammasters was one of their most underrated titles, but a truly excellent fighting game. This was Capcom merging their fighting games like Street Fighter, with the wrestling world and it came out beautifully. This was also Mike Haggar’s debut in a fighting game long before the Marvel Vs Capcom series, as well as being home to several other colourful characters. This was so different from Capcom’s usual fare and deserves more spotlight. Giving this online play on the Switch would show just how amazing the game was, as well as make Capcom realize they have some great fighting games they haven’t used in years. Plus it had art from Tetsuo Hara, co-creator of Fist of the North Star, so it has that going for it also.

Number 2

Secret of Mana

An RPG with multiplayer was almost unheard of for the SNES but Secret of Mana showed it could be done. This game has had its praises sung already, so I will just mention that enabling online play for it on the Switch would allow a feature that was missing from later ports to finally be used again. Who wouldn’t want to play this gem with their friends? And to do so online would be an excellent addition!

Number 1

Super Mario Kart

It was always going to be  Super Mario Kart at Number 1. This was the game that kicked off the Mario Kart series, as well as kart racer games in general. Fans have made mods that enable online play in emulated versions, but an official Nintendo release that adds online to the original game would be nothing short of incredible. Add in support for 8 player online racing and this will become one of the most popular games Nintendo can bring to their service.

 

 

 

 

This is just a small list of what could be done. Let me know what you think of this list though and what suggestions you have.

 

Thanks again to TopHatGamingMan, check him out on twitter here

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The above was the opinion solely of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of Real Otaku Gamer or its staff.

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 11 Nov, 2017 At 07:31 PM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Old School Otaku, PC Games, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Maniac Mansion, a name that adventure game fans know very well. This game was the first point and click adventure game from LucasArts ( then called LucasFilm Games), and was unlike any other adventure game at the time. It made full use of the mouse as a full point and click game, rather than make use of typing like other adventure games. The game, made by Ron Gilbert, used the SCUMM engine (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion), which became the engine for several LucasArts adventure games including Ron Gilbert’s masterpiece, The Secret of Monkey Island.

Taking the plot of having teens enter a mansion to rescue a cheerleader, the game was a hilarious sendup of clichés and became a sleeper hit the world over, and a pop culture phenomenon in Canada. In fact, the game was such a hit in Canada that a TV show was made by several alumni of SCTV and aired on YTV and the Family Channel in the US. It was ported to several systems including the NES, where despite heavy censorship, the game still retained much of its charm ( and managed to sneak a lot past the radar) and had an amazing soundtrack as well.

It is difficult to stress just how much of an impact Maniac Mansion had on gaming. From the iconic puzzles to the surreal humor, MM innovated on how stories were told in gaming. It was for this game that the term Cutscene was coined, and thus is a pioneer in storytelling. The different characters that were playable all had unique features to them and their own personality, which again was miles ahead of anything else at the time. It managed to mix some intentionally uncomfortable moments with later moments that just were hilarious and wore its surreal nature proudly.

As I stated earlier, Ron Gilbert later went on to create the Monkey Island series where he refined everything he did in Maniac Mansion and raised the bar higher. Maniac Mansion was THE turning point in adventure gaming and it changed things for the better. Everything we love about Telltale Games, for example, comes from the work done on Maniac Mansion. The game also spawned a direct sequel to the equally renowned, Day of the Tentacle, which was recently remade. I encourage any who have not played either game to check them out. These are adventure gaming done right, and you will be amazed how well the games play still!

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Something that often doesn’t get mentioned a lot when discussing Nintendo Switch’s online service is that some games will have online play. While we do not know how this will work just yet, we can make some guesses. If the games do allow online co-op or other such multiplayer, then here are seven NES games that truly need online play. (Note, there will be no RARE games or licensed games on this list)

 

Number 7: Bomberman

Okay, Let me just say that yes the NES Bomberman is very basic compared to later entries. It didn’t have many of the series staples that would come later, but it is still a very fun game. Bomberman has always been a great series for multiplayer and either of the NES Bomberman games would be very much worth having with online play. It is still fun and challenging and would make for a great time.

Number 6: Tecmo Bowl

An all time classic, Tecmo Bowl is a football game that is easy to learn and quick to get the hang of. That being said, it is still challenging and in 2 player mode, the game requires strategy as well as timing.  This was in spite of its seemingly simple inputs that quickly showed themselves to have a lot more to them. Obviously this would continue to lack the NFL license due to EA having that exclusively, but that doesn’t matter. This is a sports game that just works!

Number 5:Double Dragon II

Beat Em Ups are awesome, we all know that, and Double Dragon II was one of the best available for the NES. Improving on the original in every way, including finally bringing in co-op mode, Double Dragon II is an all time classic about getting revenge for a loved one, and kicking ass while doing so. The enemies are iconic, the sound effects are memorable, and the fact is that this is a game that is a must for 2 players.

Number 4: Ice Hockey

Nintendo’s Ice Hockey is a deceptively awesome game. It seems bland with its generic title, but then you get tot he gameplay and it is amazing. This is pure arcade style fun, and the game offers so many options for variety. You can speed things up to insane levels, or alter the character sizes, just for two examples. The game is a classic example of easy to learn but difficult to master, and it is one of Nintendo’s best NES games.

Number 3: Life Force

I had to include a space shooter on the list and Life Force was the best choice. This game offered unique gameplay, great power-ups and excellent co-op. It also was one of the first NES space shooters to switch perspective between horizontal and vertical during gameplay. The game holds up well all these years later, and I feel that a new generation will love it also, especially if they can play online with their friends!

Number 2:Contra/Super C

This one is a toss up as Konami seems to only re-release Super C instead of Contra 1, but that is besides the point. The Contra series is an absolutely legendary run n gun series, that only gets better with two players. Two players running through hordes of enemies while trying to not get hit. With online play, players from around the world can team up and take on the enemy together, which would only make a Contra game even better. The series is just better with two players and online would make it even more awesome.

Number one: Bubble Bobble

There was no other option. This is one of the best ( and arguable THE best) co-op games on the NES. Its gameplay is still as great today as it was back in the day, and multiplayer is a major part of the series. In fact multiplayer is needed if you really want to get the game beaten. This is the perfect example of a co-op game on NES that would benefit from having online multiplayer added in, and no one can deny that. It would make an all time great even better and show why this game gets the praise it does.

 

But this is just my list. What suggestions do you have?

 

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Disclaimer: The above is the opinion solely of the author and not necessarily that of ROG or its staff.

 

 

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I am a major fan of retro gaming, and with regards to that, the Neo Geo holds a special place in my heart. The games had so much to them and they felt like nothing else at the time. Today, I wish to highlight 7 Neo Geo games that you can play right now via Arcade Archives on PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. I will only include one entry per franchise, as otherwise this list would be a little repetitive.

 

Number 7: Magician Lord

Magician Lord was a launch title for the Neo Geo and holds up surprisingly well all these years later. It has challenging gameplay yet is still fair and most of all fun. The game allowed you to transform the main character in different ways to take on enemies, sort of but not quite like Altered Beast. The game was very action oriented combined with excellent platforming gameplay that would come to show why the Neo Geo was a force to be reckoned with. With fans both old and new, Magician Lord is one to try!

 

Number 6: Neo Turf Masters

A golf arcade game doesn’t sound like an extremely exciting game that would be beloved decades later, but Neo Turf Masters is a different kind of beast.  The game has fast paced action combined with excellent fluid animation that still looks great today. I would even go so far as to say that Neo Turf Masters is the direct inspiration for games like Everybody’s Gold and Mario Golf. Neo Turf Masters is still as fun today as it was when it was first released, and it may interest you all to know that this was made by the same team that made the Metal Slug games. The game was easy to learn but difficult to master and that is something that I can appreciate.

 

Number 5: Spinmaster

This one is just fun, no other way to say it. It is a side scrolling platformer run n gun game but more akin to Mega Man than anything else. It has some of the best visuals of any Neo Geo game, visuals which stand on par with games from today in fact, and has a charm that just cannot be artificially replicated. This is a game I can play over and over again non stop and still be enthralled by. The combination of platforming and shooting is extremely well, and the different power-ups you get are all fun to use. If it seems like I am gushing a bit, it is because I am. Spinmaster is an amazing game that has sadly fallen from the minds of many. I daresay this is one of the best Neo Geo games of all!

Number 4: King of Fighter 98

A King of Fighters game was of course going to be on the list and this one deserves the spot. Considered by many to be the finest in the series,  KOF 98 combined everything that was good about the previous entries into a Dream Match game. The fighting was refined, the music was incredible, even by today’s standards, but most of all, it was just fun. This is a game that should be on every fighting game fan’s radar and is a must play at least once. SNK fighters did not get the same attention from many gamers that Capcom fighters got, but KOF 98 will show you why SNK also delivered greatness.

Number 3: Magical Drop II

The Magical Drop series  is a series of puzzle games very similar to the Puyo Puyo series, but with its own unique identity as well. The games have a colourful cast of characters and a fantastical sense of charm. Magical Drop II refined the series gameplay from the first entry and added new modes and gameplay options, as well as an improved single player campaign. The Japanese version also contained another gameplay mode as well named Hirameki, in which players are given preset puzzles to solve. I should also point out the arcade archives series contains the Japanese versions of the games as well.

Number 2: Metal Slug X

X or 3? X Or 3? I debated for a while which to include but I finally chose X, as it feels more refined. X was a remake of 2 that corrected all of the flaws of the original and added in numerous changes and improvements. Many of the highlights in 3 were also present in X, including transformations and weapons. Metal Slug is just an incredible series and one of the best Run n Gun series ever. WHile many view Metal Slug 3 as the best, I feel X is a better entry point as it is better paced and balanced for both veterans and newcomers.

 

Number 1: Waku Waku 7

 

Waku Waku 7 is one of the most off beat fighting games ever made. It parodies numerous genres, animes and tv shows while adding its own spin on things and being a great game. The fighting was excellent, and I daresay even better than the KOF series, and the music was on another level altogether. Waku Waku 7 was sadly lost among the other fighting games on Neo Geo, but in truth, was a step above them all. Like other entries on this list, it is easy to learn but difficult to master and very rewarding. There really isn’t another fighter like it and that is a shame. This is a fighting game done right that deserves more attention. It is a damn good one.

 

 

Well that was the first list. I’m plan on highlighting more Neo Geo games going forward. Leave your feedback and suggestions for what you think deserves a mention.

 

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The above is the opinion of the author of the piece and not necessarily that of Real Otaku Gamer.

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Nintendo has made so many great games over the decades, that have grown into established series. We all know Mario and Zelda, and to a lesser extent games like Golden Sun, F Zero and Star Fox, but there are games that Nintendo has made that have not been touched in an extremely long time. I have looked back at some of these games, and there are 7 that stand out as games that should be revived for Switch.

I only had two criteria for this list. It had to be a game that was only in the NES or SNES era before falling off, and it had to be either a Nintendo IP or an IP of a company that works exclusively with Nintendo. With that said, let’s begin

Pro Wrestling

Pro Wrestling was one of the first NES games and is widely regarded as a true classic. It was very basic but still fun and the game’s developers did work on future wrestling games but not in this series. It would be amazing if Nintendo could find a team to revive the IP as a cartoonish wrestling game similar to Ultimate Muscle on the GameCube. To me, the best choice would be Next Level Games, who were developing a game with wrestling elements using Mario characters which ended up cancelled. A game that is a pure wrestling game with its own characters and some cartoonish over the topness would be great for Nintendo and the Switch.

 

Startropics

 

Startropics was a rare thing on the NES. It was a Nintendo developed game made for the western market and not Japan at all. The games are similar to Zelda but with more variety at the time and a modern modern feel.  A reboot of this IP would be great as an action adventure game with a sci-fi focus, maybe with marketed more to the west than other games. It would also be something different and that is a good thing.

 

Gyromite

Gyromite was another early Nintendo game, and one that utilized R.O.B. the robot. Obviously I do not expect a new game to use R.O.B. again, but rather I think Gyromite could be a great eShop download game with a  local co-op focus. Nintendo has other games like Snipperclips that are based on local co-op, and with the JoyCons, Gyromite would be a great fit.

 

Ice Hockey 

 

Ice Hockey was another early NES game but it has held up incredibly well. It is an over the top hockey game on the NES that didn’t bother tryin to do realism in any way possible at the time. Nintendo does not have a lot of sports games and this is one they could use. It could be done as Nintendo Ice Hockey and made as either a small download game with a cartoony style and online play, or it could be a full retail experience and modelled after the classic Midway arcade sports games. It would be something different, both for Nintendo and for the video game market in general.

Urban Champion

 

 

I can hear the booing now but hear me out. Urban Champion was terrible in every sense of the word, but a revival could be interesting if done as an In Name Only revival. It could be a neat fighting game if a company such as SNK was hired to work on it and make it a smaller project. Nintendo has been getting into fighting games more as seen with Arms, so why not Urban Champion? This would be a hard sell, but worse games have been remade as great games so it could work.

 

The Mysterious Murasame Castle

 

The Mysterious Murasame Castle was a Japan only Famicom game that played very similar to Zelda 1. It was far more action oriented and this is what interests me for a possible revival. The Mysterious Murasame Castle starred a samurai named Takamaru who fought demons invading Japan and that would make an excellent action game from the likes of Koei Tecmo or Platinum Games. There was a sort of remake on the Wii but it was more having Takamaru appear in Samurai Warriors and get a mode for himself that recreated the game in Samurai Warriors, and thus not a true remake. The Mysterious Murasame Castle could be the definitve action game for Nintendo that they are looking for.

 

Arcana

 

This one was made by HAL but as they work solely with Nintendo, I am counting it. Arcana was a unique game that combined the dungeon crawler RPG genre with more traditional JRPG elements and new ideas such as a card system. It was unlike anything before it or since and I feel it was truly underrated gem. Admittedly it had its issues, such as poor pacing and some ideas not meshing well, but with the resources available today, and years of experience and hindsight, Arcana could be done again  and be a true masterpiece. heck, Nintendo could have Camelot work with HAL on this to iron out the issues and ensure it would be one of the best RPGs ever made.

 

Well there you are. Seven Retro Nintendo Games that should be revived. What do you all think of the choices and what would you choose?

 

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The above was the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of ROG or its staff.

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Double Dragon is a beloved beat em up franchise that has endured for years. When I was young, I would play Double Dragon II on NES with my older brothers all the time, and it was great fun. However, some of the later games were not as good, such as Double Dragon III on NES, and when Double Dragon V came out on the SNES, it was just bizarre. It was a fighting game and while it had its good points, it wasn’t particularly good as a fighting game. Most agreed that the series should be strictly a beat em up, but thankfully Tecnos did not agree.

1994 was the year that Double Dragon was adapted into a poorly received movie. That movie, received a video game adaptation that stood out. Most video game adaptations of movies are not great and games based on movies based on fighting games…..well you all remember Street Fighter: The Movie :The Game. Double Dragon for Neo Geo was something else entirely, as it was an SNK style fighting game, and was also the last game Tecnos made before going under.

It was criticized as generic and poorly designed at first, but like many other hidden gems, it has aged very well. The fighting is well done, and even though the announcer has poor English even by fighting game standards, the game has a lot of charm, It is remarkably well polished and has animations that are better than many fighting games from the last 15 years. The stages feel different than stages in fighting games from today, and all feel like unique. For instance, Dulton’s stage starts with him jet skiing to the platform while the jet ski continues going off in the background till it crashes into a building that explodes. That is not the only example, however, as the backgrounds all had something going on that felt unique. . Each fighter while having some generic moves, still felt unique in their own way like Burnov, a character from Double Dragon II. It made great use of the camera view and even helped make a few visual innovations for fighting games.

Forgive me for my fandom heresy, but this is actually my favourite game in the series and as the last game Technos made before they went under, it was an excellent game to leave on. I would love it if this could be brought to modern systems, even though some changes would need to be made.  With proper online support, this could even develop a scene around it and that would be amazing, since more people should experience the awesomeness of Double Dragon on Neo Geo!

 

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Bandai Namco has brought their first game to the Switch, and what better way to start than with a collection of their classics. Namco Museum brings classics like Pac-Man, The Tower of Druaga, Splatterhouse, Rolling Thunder and more, along with Pac-Man VS as well. This is not just another collection however, as numerous additions have been made to enhance the experience.

The games included in this collection are:

  • Pac-Man (1980)
  • Galaga (1981)
  • Dig Dug (1982)
  • The Tower of Druaga (1984)
  • Sky Kid (1985)
  • Rolling Thunder (1986)
  • Galaga ’88 (1987)
  • Splatterhouse (1988)
  • Rolling Thunder 2 (1990)
  • Tank Force (1991)
  • Pac-Man Vs. (2003)

 

Among the changes made to the games in this collection, include a challenge mode for the games that help provide additional replay value and help give more fun to the experience. In addition, Namco Museum on Switch takes full advantage of the system’s HD rumble. This is excellent with games like Splatterhouse, with the HD Rumble giving more of a sense of immersion to the game. This is not always for the best though, as some games like The Tower of Druaga do not really need HD rumble and it ends up taking away from the experience.

But aside from these additions, is the game worth getting? Well that depends on how much you like retro games. If you do not like the older era which could be more simplistic, then you will not like this collection all that much. That said, these are excellent games, and the addition of Pac-Man VS. is a great one, even with the need for multiple systems to use the multiplayer to its full effect.  With the games included, it comes out to a reasonably priced package and could be a great introduction to the retro scene. HD Rumble and challenge mode may not appeal much to some, but if you are curious about the older games but need just a little more to push you into buying them, you could do a lot worse.

For retro fans, I would definitely recommend this collection. For fans of modern gaming, I would say take a look before you buy. These aren’t the 90’s era bombastic arcade games but a more simplistic style. That said, I think I for my money’s worth with games like Splatterhouse, Sky Kid, The Tower of Druaga, and Rolling Thunder. It is worth checking out, but be aware it may not be to your liking.

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Jul, 2017 At 06:58 PM | Categorized As Featured, Games You Slept On, Old School Otaku, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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I am a big fan of The Elder Scrolls series and have been for years. It is one of the premiere RPG series and one of the premiere open world game series. People rave about how amazing Oblivion and Morrowind were, and Skyrim is considered one of the best games of the last few years, but many don’t realize just how important the first games were.

I will concede that the first game, Arena, is rather generic. It came off as more of a Wizardry clone, as well as containing many basic fantasy elements that didn’t make it stand out. later games would take the ideas and make them great but Arena is not the best the series has to offer. That said, too many people write off the second game in the series, Daggerfall. I am of the opinion that Daggerfall was one of the most important games ever made, and was a turning point for the RPG genre and open world games.

To begin, Daggerfall was a true 3D game unlike Arena’s 2.5D engine, and took full advantage of that to create a explorable world. In fact, the world in Daggerfall is one of the biggest ever in a video game, albeit with the drawback of having a lot of dead space. Still, it is this open world 3D development that directly led to more innovation in open world games and also taught developers what the limits should be. Thanks to this, we have gotten great games including not only Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim, but also the Witcher games and Breath of the Wild.

Another point to mention is that Daggerfall allowed for true roleplaying rather than just getting experience. You had to mold your character and develop them by choices. Choices were a big part of the game, including the very ending, which had multiple possible outcomes. It had a lot more of a unique feeling than anything else at the time and part of the reason was that unlike Arena, the developers did not take many influences from other games.

Daggerfall had some very important lore aspects as well for the series, as it was this game that introduced the Daedra, as well as started several long running storylines such as the Dwemer, Mannimarco and so on. the events of this game’s story had a major impact on all the later games, yet that isn’t realized by many players who came late to the series. Yes, Daggerfall seems dates by today’s standards, but it is this game that laid the foundation for so many greats, including one can argue, Baldur’s Gate. Through both storytelling and game design, Daggerfall helped make RPG gaming what it is today, and we all owe a debt to it for that.

If you haven’t played the game, you really should. it is a true classic and indeed it is one of the most important games ever made. Even if many people simply do not realize that this is the case, it needed to be said.

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The above was the opinion solely of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of Real otaku Gamer or its staff.

No GravatarE3 week has rolled around yet again and that can mean only one thing:  It’s the perfect time to look at your backlog!

Wait, what?  But Days Gone is coming and there’s  Anthem from Bioware and Destiny 2 and Super Mario Odyssey and The Last Night looks fantastic and and and ad nauseam!  This isn’t when you want to look at old games!  Or is it?  The average gamer has more games than they have time to play these days.  On top of that, the industry has normalized the idea of preordering games up to several years in advance just to get your foot in the door when they come out, even though virtually no preordered titles get under-printed.  So with E3 just getting underway, I thought I’d take a look at all the things I still haven’t played yet…and that’s a lot.

I’ve been collecting since the mid-nineties, ever since I sold my copy of Final Fantasy III for the SNES, decided I wanted to play it again, and then couldn’t find a copy for months.  Ever since then, if I buy a game, I keep it until I play it and decide if I like it.  But in the 90s, games came out much more slowly.  By the time you’d rented the game (yes, you could rent games at a corner mini-mart or video store back then), played it to death, and moved on to something else, the next game you were waiting for still wasn’t out.  That simply isn’t the case anymore.  There are so many games out and coming out that it’s hard to even keep track of what might be interesting, let alone everything that’s been released.  And that’s why backlogs are such a problem.  There are more good games coming out than most people have time to even try, much less play through.  Most people simply buy what looks good, get sidetracked, and end up with a bunch of things they don’t even have time to open.  It’s a ridiculous consumer feedback loop that doesn’t benefit anyone but game companies and retail stores.

For example, I still have Super Nintendo games that I haven’t gotten around to playing yet.  I bought them in the nineties!  It’s a habit that becomes a compulsion; the fear of missing out on the next Suikoden II or Shantae or Panzer Dragoon Saga.  What if you don’t buy it and when you go to get it, you can’t afford it anymore?  But will you ever play it?  Do you even have the time?  Assuming you work a 40 hour work week or go to school full time, you likely have limited time for gaming.  Add a commute, a relationship, or even a child to that equation and you have even less.  You might get three to five hours of game time in a week.  The average game takes around 20 hours to complete.  That’s ten weeks to finish one game, assuming you don’t play anything else or get bored of it.  You might be able to finish five games a year at that rate.  Round it up to ten for people with summers off or extra free time.  But even at ten games a year, you aren’t remotely scratching the surface of what comes out in any given year, and that’s just looking at mainstream titles!  If you have PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold, you get four to six games free every month on top of what you purchase.  If you have Steam, GOG (Good Old Games), Origin, or uPlay, you might get another 5-10 games free a year if you pay close attention online.  That’s well over a hundred games excluding retail purchases if you use all of those services.  At an average of 20 hours each, you’re looking at roughly over 2000 hours of gameplay, and following our formula that says we have five hours a week, that backlog becomes 7.7 years of gameplay.

Over seven years of gameplay just in random titles from online services.  Then we add in the AAA titles that most people buy and tend to play more heavily and the average serious gamer has a backlog of up to ten times what they could realistically play at any given time.  A quick look at my collection made me nearly nauseous when I used this formula.  On Steam alone, I have 1003 games, many of which I have never even installed.  For the PS2?  128.  The DS?  101.  The PS1?  72 games.  That’s over 1300 games and doesn’t include about two-thirds of my collection.  And don’t forget about flash carts.  I have access to every single US and Japanese game for the NES, Genesis, Turbografx 16, and DS.  Thousands of titles.   My Steam library averages out to about 77 years of backlog.  Statistically, I will literally die before I can possibly play every game on my Steam account to completion.  An actual, honest-to-goodness lifetime of gaming is at my fingertips at any given moment.  And yet I still I buy games all the time, but I literally cannot play them.  I’ve talked to other gamers that have backlogs on Steam of up to 3000 games.  It’s almost a status symbol for them.

We don’t need this much media.  But as we buy more and more, faster and faster, we show developers that they don’t need to take their time or fully playtest a game for us to buy it.  Half the time, we stick it on a shelf and don’t get to it for six months.  Or a year.  Or five.  Or even ten.  The situation has degraded so much that there are even sites like www.backloggery.com that allow you to track not only your collection but your completion rate as well.  Steam does this for you automatically, and it can be rather disheartening to see right there in black and white.  I’ve been a Steam member for 12 years and I’ve only managed a 13% completion rate.  However, even that is inaccurate because that number is calculated on the achievements you’ve earned, not the games you have finished.  I wouldn’t hesitate to say that most people don’t end up finishing the games they start these days due to the nature and volume of the market, and it almost doesn’t matter that the developers haven’t properly programmed and playtested those games.

So what does all this mean?  To me, it means the market is utterly flooded; inundated with content ranging from indie games to AAA titles to the point where it’s hopelessly diluted and difficult to have a pure gaming experience.  Very few games end up being memorable and at the same time, we’ve created a sub-culture where people brag about all the items they own but never actually use them.  There are too many games and we can’t play most of them.  A lot of the most highly advertised titles end up being terrible too, due to compromises made to appeal to wider audiences.  Reviews are bought and sold like commodities and it’s very difficult to judge for yourself what might be good.  E3 is the perfect example of this, creating massive hype for titles that test well with audiences and critics, overproduced shows of products that won’t be coming out for some time, and generally driving a multi-billion dollar ad campaign that sucks dollars out of the pockets of hard-working people.  As I write this, Xbox has wrapped up their E3 presentations and already most of the bigger titles are available to preorder on Amazon, even though the release dates are as far away as next fall or later.  Money is flying into the pockets of companies as we speak for nothing more than a promise of things to come drifting on the wind.

Gamers need to stop and think about how excited they were for the items that are already sitting on their shelves when they were announced.  We can’t let that feeling of wonder end the second we get the actual product.  If we all stop to play what we already have, perhaps it will make the industry also reconsider the type of games it is releasing and the volume it is releasing them in.  Having a backlog says a lot about a person, but it also speaks volumes to the way marketing and consumer culture affect us as individuals.  That’s a message many of us need to heed more often.   So take a look at your shelf.  Make an effort to try that game you’ve always been meaning to but were never in the mood for.  You might just recapture the magic in gaming by popping in a hidden gem.  And you might find that the entertainment you’ve been scouring the net looking for is something you already had the whole time.

A Contest And An Addendum

In writing the above article and looking at my backlog, I also realized that in addition to a ridiculously large backlog, I also have a ridiculous number of games sitting about unused on my Steam account and other digital accounts.  These are extras I’ve gotten to give as friends, freebies that came with purchases, and just random extra codes I’ve acquired over the years.  I thought to myself, “What better use could I have for all these games than to give them away to people who will play them?”  And so, The Great Real Otaku Gamer Steam Backlog Contest was born!

For those of you that are interested and want to put in a minimal amount of effort, I’m going to give away my extra Steam codes!  But the rules for winning are something a bit different.  The winners for this contest will be the entrants with the smallest uncompleted backlogs!  After all, in this day and age with everyone oversaturating themselves with media, maybe the person who actually finishes what they start deserves a reward!  So please take a moment and head on over to The Great Real Otaku Gamer Steam Backlog Contest right here on Real Otaku Gamer and drop an entry my way!  You might just win a new game to play…and it might even be good!