Friday, April 25, 2014
Most of the mall arcades began as pinball places but moved forward with the times. The Sweet Shop in Atco started as a penny candy place, thus the name, but soon became something else all together. I remember when they first opened, they had one machine, a tank game, which may or may not have been Atari's Combat. In a very short time they added a poolroom in the back, got rid of the candy counter, and filled the front room with videogame machines. I loved playing Space Invaders and Astro Fighter there notably, and remember how the place was always filled with smoke.
While there are some still around, some even as nostalgia museums like Barcade, the arcade is for the most part dead. I think the last tiny one I know of was gotten rid of when the Marlton 8 theatre was remodeled. Malls are dead too, some crushed by 'forward thinking' opportunists, look at what used to be the Echelon Mall for an example of that. That place ironically does have an arcade of sorts, more skeeball and the like than videogames, but still. I guess home gaming and social media have killed the mall and the arcade, and it's a shame.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Sunday, April 13, 2014
before about my utter inability to play Grand Theft Auto in its intended form. And we've also talked about my love for the tiny little game GTA: Chinatown Wars that I played on the iPhone for hours and hours until my eyes bled or the battery ran out. Well, I've found another GTA like the latter, that I just can't get enough of.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was originally released for the PlayStation 2 back in 2004, but that's not where I've played it, or even seen it before. I got on board when I first got my iPad, and they were offering it a reduced price. I liked Chinatown Wars, so why not? At first glance, it reminded me a lot of the PS3 game I'd played, lots of things I wanted to do, but was unsure I could make it work - that old bugaboo I have with controls, ya know.
Surprisingly and happily, the controls were similar to those of Chinatown Wars, so easily playable for me, and of course a whole step up from the tiny size of the iPhone screen. The graphics were incredible as well, on par with some I've seen on the PS3. I love this game, and like the iPhone game, I've been playing for hours on end.
While I was on a GTA kick, it should be noted I also downloaded Vice City for the iPad. Did not like it. While it's not bad, and it could be fun, I got spoiled by San Andreas and its fancy graphics. They make Vice City look and feel downright primitive. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time to crash more cars. If you need me, I'll be in San Andreas.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
I first encountered the game, and conquered it at Malibu Grand Prix some time around 1980 or 81. I would play it dependably every time I was there. When I first went to college, there was a Star Castle machine in the lounge that I'm sure contributed to my low grades that first semester.
I loved it, and sadly, it was not a game I saw again that much in the years since. Star Castle was supposedly the basis for Atari's Yar's Revenge, though similar, and even though I loved that game too, it wasn't the same. I never saw it much because, as far as I knew, it was never available for a home video game system.
I have been since able to find Star Castle online, but with keyboard controls, it's just not the same. Check it out here. Then I found Vectrex on my iPhone and my iPad. Granted, it's bigger, and therefore more fun on my iPad. And the touch controls make it easier to work, but for the real thing, I guess I'll just have to break down and buy a real Star Castle machine. I could always hustle folks for the money to pay back the machine…