Monday, January 20, 2014
Back in the early 1980s, when videogames, the band Journey, and the Atari 2600 were all on the rise, the three merged in a wonderful way - Journey the videogame. At the height of their popularity, Journey lent their images, their music, and some would say their souls to an arcade game, and later an Atari 2600 cartridge.
The graphics in the game, correctly titled Journey Escape, were what they were for the time, the music was midis of Journey songs from the best-selling Escape album, and your job was to get the band, one member at a time, past obstacles (groupies, managers, and standard game menaces) and to the show. The show must go on. If you won, you got a mini limited graphic Journey concert.
The PS3 demo called Journey is something else altogether, and has zero to do with Steve Perry and company, absolutely zero. Journey is one of those games, similar to Flower, with amazing graphics, ominous soundtrack, and character and scene movement that syncs with how you hold the controller. It is also one of those frustrating games that has you searching online for instructions, or even just an explanation.
The PS3 game is a work of beauty, but not really my thing honestly, and at least Journey the band has won a Grammy. Ha. I know. The PS3 is gorgeous, but the Atari is more fun. Enjoy your Journey.
Friday, January 17, 2014
Warlords, back in the Atari days, was the fo'shizzle. This was after the initial rush was over, and the bloom was off the rose for the Atari 2600, and then all of a sudden there was a buzz about this new game that was soooo cool, could be played by up to four players, and even used the paddle controllers (which were fairly useless unless you played Pong or Breakout). That game was Warlords.
In Warlords, each player (or if less than four, the 'computer' was your opponent) took a corner in which there was a castle or fortress (or the best approximation you could get with the primitive technology, you had to use your imagination more with the 2600 games). You protected your castle with a rolling shield that could circle your corner. Then you would shoot and catch and shoot back little balls of fire to destroy your opponents' castles. It was like Breakout, only draped in coolness.
Next time, we'll talk about Journey, which is even further off the mark...
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Okay, those of you who read this blog, as well as Welcome to Hell and French Fry Diary, know that I was a sheltered child, and that I am no videogame genius. The truth is I was also a pretty dumb kid.
Outside of television, I had never seen a pinball machine until I was around ten, and that was in my uncle's basement. We visited and while the adults chatted upstairs I was supposed to keep myself occupied with the pinball machine in the basement for a couple hours. So I played my three or four balls, badly, mind you, then waited it out down there for my parents to be done visiting. Yeah, that's right, I had no idea there was a button to push to start over.
And that was my first pinball experience. Did I mention I was a pretty dumb kid?
Later, years later, when The Sweet Shop opened on my hometown main street Atco Avenue, and when I started going to Malibu Grand Prix, I did learn the basics, as well as the more subtle ways of the silver ball. I was never very good, but I had come a long way from that dumb kid in his uncle's basement.
While dating the woman who would eventually become The Bride I got my real education. She is the real player, getting multiple free games and lots of play time out of a single quarter. Watching her I learned how to work the flippers, move the machine, and finesse the ball. Damn, she's good. And she would little to no interest in the PS3 game Zen Pinball.
It is noteworthy that there are some cool tables, including some based on Street Fighter and Ninja Gaiden, and the graphics are outstanding. Pretty, but not playable in a pinball way.