Tag Archives: GC Limited

Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition – Demo Gameplay Live Stream

Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition

Welcome to Gaming Compass’s first ever live stream on Twitch! We’ll be playing the recently released demo for Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition on Nintendo Switch. Check it out below or over on our Twitch channel by clicking here. Thanks for watching and be sure to follow us on Twitch to get notifications for when we go live!

Update: Our live stream is now over. But if you missed the stream, you can check out the recorded version below!

Why Gaming Events Need To Move Beyond The Major Cities

Why Gaming Events Need To Move Beyond The Major Cities

Ever wish you could go to E3, PAX, GamesCom, and other gaming shows? So have I, but you know, air travel can be pretty expensive sometimes. So this week we’re going to look at why gaming events need to move beyond the major cities. As you might know, most gaming events are held in major cities.

This makes some degree of sense as major cities tend to have more people in them by definition. But in reality, there are more people in all of the non-major cities combined than there are in all of the major cities combined. According to an article on City Mayors, as of 2012, the top 100 cities in the U.S. combined to a total of 61,325,698 people. Wikipedia’s USA article has a 2016 estimated total population of the country at 323,127,513 people. That means that there are 261,801,815 more people outside of the top 100 U.S. cities than in them. To put that in perspective consider this pie chart.

As you can see, non-major cities represent a much higher portion of the country’s population. Therefore, publishers, developers, retailers, etc. can reach a much larger base of gamers by occasionally adventuring outside of the major cities for gaming shows. Take for example the area I live in. While Hampton Roads isn’t technically one city, in terms of metro size it can be theoretically considered one. The population according to Wikipedia for the metro area is 1,724,876. That’s 37th in metro area rankings, but if HR was all one city, it’d be high enough to rank #5 on City Mayors list of top 100 cities, beating out cities like Philadelphia, San Antonio, Boston, Seattle, and more (all of which have a gaming show or shows) in their area.

And this is just one area of the country. What about the Midwest (outside of Texas) or the South (again outside of Texas)? There are little to no major gaming shows in either of these areas that I’m aware of. Perhaps a smaller comic/anime/etc convention, but nothing major. So while I don’t think all major shows should permanently abandon the big cities because that wouldn’t be wise, I think it wouldn’t hurt to alternate from year-to-year. So for example, E3 could be in LA this year and maybe I don’t know Knoxville, TN the next. It’s close enough to major cities like Memphis & Nashville, but also relatively close to non-major cities/towns like Boone, NC, Norton, VA, Williamsburg, KY, etc.

Will this happen? I doubt it, but it’s nice to think about and I hope that someday it might. I also wouldn’t be opposed to the Entertainment Software Association and the like holding smaller shows throughout the rest of the year in other parts of the country other than major cities. Penny Arcade & Reed Exhibitions have a decent idea kind of along these lines, though their shows (PAX) are still only in major cities as far as I know. It’d be nice to see some non-major cities see some gaming shows one of these days.

What do you think? Do you think gaming shows should stick to the major cities? Should they come to smaller cities/towns? Would it be better or worse to have smaller shows for non-major cities? Let us know in the comments below.

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Image: Wikipedia

Site Update – Free Wanderer Subscription Trial & New Subscription Plans

Free Wanderer Subscription Trial & New Subscription Plans

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Why There Needs To Be More Innovation In Gaming Controllers

Innovation In Gaming Controllers

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The Power Glove

The Power Glove

Welcome to another edition of Retro Rewind. This week we’re talking about the Power Glove. The NES accessory is arguably more infamous than famous given its reputation for  lackluster play control. But at the same time it was easily featured quite prominently in the 1989 cult-classic The Wizard. So what’s the real story? Was it really that bad? Or was it actually a good product? Well like most things in life, the truth probably lies somewhere in between.

If you’ve never used the Power Glove (it was officially licensed, but Nintendo didn’t make it. It was made by Abrams/Gentile Entertainment (AGE) & Mattel), basically the concept was to utilize a somewhat more primitive form of motion controls to play your NES games. Unfortunately it generally was viewed as more of a cool gadget than a functional controller. Only two games were ever released that had special Power Glove only features, Super Glove Ball & Bad Street Brawler. Though you could use the device with other games through its built-in keypad. The codes you entered basically remapped the existing controls for a game to functions of the Power Glove. It also featured a full NES controller in addition to the keypad.

The Power Glove was a good idea, just executed poorly. According to the Wikipedia page, it was “based on the patented technology of the VPL Dataglove…The Dataglove can detect yaw, pitch and roll, uses fiberoptic sensors to detect finger flexure, and has a resolution of 256 positions (8 bits) per finger for four fingers, the Power Glove can only detect roll, and uses sensors coated with conductive ink yielding a resolution of four positions (2 bits) per finger for four fingers.”

Basically this meant that the Power Glove had far less functionality than the technology was capable of. This was likely done as a cost-saving measure. The Power Glove originally retailed for $75 which would be nearly $150 in today’s money. Had they used the full features of the Dataglove, the price may have been double what it was, or perhaps even more. This obviously would’ve put it out of reach for most families.

As for actual gameplay, you were far more likely to crash your car or fall into a pit than have any success at playing games with the Power Glove. This is far different from what is seen in The Wizard for eample, where Lucas is able to easily win a race in Rad Racer without crashing once.

It’s kind of sad to look back on and think about what could’ve been. In retrospect the Power Glove was ahead of its time in a lot of ways. The Wii Remote itself wasn’t even true one-to-one motion when first released, and that was over 20 years later. But hey at least we have videos like the ones below to enjoy for all of their cheesiness and so bad it’s good quality.

If for some reason you’d like to purchase the Power Glove for yourself, you can find them on Amazon or eBay at these links.

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Source: Wikipediamacjoshy, ingpanda101

Image: Player Attack

The Game Boy Worm Light

Do you remember the Game Boy Worm Light? Chances are if you were playing video games in the early 1990’s, you probably do. You may have even owned one at one point in time. But why? What was this accessory’s purpose? Are they even worthwhile these days? Find out in this edition of Accessory Focus.

So for those of you who might not know, before the Game Boy Advance SP (technically the Game Boy Light was the first backlit Nintendo handheld, but it was never released outside of Japan), Nintendo handhelds were not lighted. That means if you wanted to see the screen, you had to have an external light source of some kind. A lamp, street light (when traveling at night in a car), overhead light, the sun, moon, etc. This limitation of the hardware could make playing games difficult at times. If you were someone who liked to take your Game Boy outside to play, really sunny days meant you had to deal with constant glare on the screen which as anyone who’s used a cell phone outdoors on a sunny day knows, it’s very challenging to see the screen much at all.

That is where accessories like the Game Boy Worm Light come into play. Several manufacturers had their own take on a Game Boy light source product. Nyko had the Worm Light which we’ve been talking about in this article. Vic Tokai had a product called Light Boy which you can see below. This particular accessory not only provided light but also magnified the screen. I think there were other manufacturers who had magnification accessories too and perhaps other lights.

As you can see, giving players a way to view their games in low light/no light conditions was a pretty good way to make some money in the Game Boy days. It was a clear need that Nintendo didn’t account for in the design of the hardware (likely as a cost-saving measure) and thus third parties came up with solutions to the problem. These accessories can still be viable today. The Worm Light can be purchased from eBay or the like for $4-10 each. The Light Boy meanwhile, is quite a bit more at ~$45+.  Conversely if you prefer an all-in-one solution, you can find Game Boy systems that have been modded with backlights for around $125-150 on eBay. Clearly the Worm Light is the cheapest option. You could also use a DIY approach, repurposing book lights and similar items for the same function on a Game Boy. Though depending on the kind you were to use, these might require some method of adhering the light to the system.

Of course you could always just play your original Game Boy games on the Super Game Boy accessory for the SNES or on a Game Boy Advance SP. The former would be on a TV while the latter is the first system that is Game Boy compatible to feature a built-in backlight.

Here’s some links to lights and pre-modded systems on Amazon & eBay.

Worm Light – Amazon | eBay

Light Boy – Amazon | eBay

Pre-Modded Backlit Original Game Boy – Amazon | eBay (Note: Amazon link is for a backlight kit, I was unable to find a pre-modded system on Amazon.)

Game Boy Light (NTSC-J/Japan Only) – Amazon | eBay

Images: Amazon (1 & 2), DDRGame, & Wikipedia

Why Movie Based Games Are Usually Bad And How To Fix Them

Movie Based Games

Ever wonder why movie based games are usually bad? How do you fix them? Well as someone who has played a fair amount of movie games, I have some possible solutions to this problem. First off we have to look at what makes a lot of movie games not worth buying/playing. One of the mains reasons for this is because the games deviate too much from the source material. A good example of this concept is the Back to the Future (BTTF) games on the NES.

Now anyone who knows me knows I’m a big fan of the Back to the Future movies, but the NES games? They were mediocre at best and that’s being generous. The first one was so bad even Bob Gale (Producer & Writer for the BTTF films) hated it. According to the game’s Wikipedia article, Mr. Gale said it was “one of the worst games ever.” He also instructed fans of the films to not buy the game and that LJN (the game’s publisher) refused to let him help with the game and give input. The game sees you have to collect clocks, partake in some mini-games, or get the DeLorean up to 88 MPH in the final stage. All of this would be okay in theory, but it’s not just very fun. The other NES BTTF game has similar problems, despite combining Parts 2 and 3 into one game.

Conversely we have Telltale’s Back to the Future: The Game, a point-and-click adventure (on PC, Mac, PS3, PS4, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One, & iOS). It is a much, much, much, much better game overall. They even got a lot of the original cast to do voices in the game. Obviously this wouldn’t have been possible in the NES days, but even if they didn’t have voices, they at least could’ve done 8-bit likenesses and made the games more fun. BTTFTG is definitely fun in my opinion and in some ways can serve as a Part 4 of the film franchise. The game’s story even picks up where Part 3 leaves off (with Doc & Clara traveling to an unknown time period). Unlike with LJN, Bob Gale was involved with Telltale’s game helping to write the story, a very important distinction. These things are what makes Telltale’s game a success where LJN’s were not. If you haven’t played it and like Back to the Future, I highly recommend you check out Telltale’s Back to the Future: The Game. It shows what can be done when a movie is treated with respect and when a movie game is created the right way.

So it’s really not that difficult to make a good movie based game, it’s just that a lot of the time either someone in the process gets lazy or just doesn’t care. Bob Gale wanted to help with the NES games, but LJN wouldn’t let him. Had he been involved from the beginning, I think those games would’ve turned out much better as Mr. Gale comes across as someone who doesn’t want to tarnish the BTTF legacy or his name.

One of the most important aspects of any game is that it’s fun to play. After all, that’s why most of us play games right? To have fun! So that’s how developers and publishers can fix their movie based games. Focus on making a fun game and make sure the people involved with the movie(s) are involved with the game. It’s really not that complicated. Sure this might be more expensive, but you’ll be more likely to recoup that investment in sales because fans of the movie(s) are far more likely to buy a game that is fun and has actual actors/characters/producers/writers/etc. from the movie(s) involved.

Here’s hoping one day we no longer have to worry about whether or not a movie based game will be worth playing or buying and can just worry about whether it’s fun or not.

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Super Mario Bros. Review

Super Mario Bros. Review

Super Mario Bros. is without a doubt one of the best known games and most revered games in the history of the video game industry. But how does it compare with more recent entries in Mario’s illustrious franchise? Read on in our Super Mario Bros. Review to find out.

So most of you have probably played Super Mario Bros. (or SMB) at some point in time. If you haven’t what are you waiting for? Even if you never finished it, you probably at least played part of the game. From the opening theme, one of the most memorable pieces of music in gaming history it’s clear that this is going to be an entertaining adventure through the Mushroom Kingdom. Yet, despite SMB being so highly thought of, the game is not without its flaws, especially when looking at it with a modern perspective and what Nintendo was able to do with later entries in the series.

For example, you can’t backtrack in this game. You can go right and that’s it. Well that’s not entirely true, you can go left to an extent. But you will eventually hit an invisible wall which prevents you from going further left. Later games in the SMB franchise don’t have this limitation. This could’ve been done simply to save space for the game as it was one of the earliest NES titles. Another thing that happens in newer Mario games is that if you get hit when you have a power-up, you go back to being Super Mario or Big Mario if you prefer. Not so in Super Mario Bros. If you get hit, you downgrade all the way to Little Mario. This can be quite frustrating at times. Especially if you had just gotten a Fire Flower and then proceed to get hit by an enemy almost immediately.

Speaking of being hit by enemies, the hit detection in the game can be suspect at times. In playing through the game again for this review, I had several instances where I got hit when I wasn’t even touching an enemy or projectile. There were other times when I was clearly touching an enemy and didn’t get hit at all. I guess if you consider both of those, it’s kind of a wash, but it’s still noticeable and if you get hit by something that clearly shouldn’t have counted as a hit, it can be pretty annoying. For example, I got hit by a hammer from a Hammer Bro when I was nowhere near the hammer.

Fortunately though, even if you do suffer some cheap deaths because of this, there is a built-in checkpoint system in SMB. Though this is not visually indicated, you just have to know where it is, or hope you pass it before you die. Later games in the Mario series have physical checkpoint markers and even give Mario a free Super Mushroom when passing by if he’s small.

There’s not a lot of item options in this, the original entry in the franchise. There’s no Cape Feather, Ice Flower, Hammer Suit, Super Leaf, P-Wing, etc. The only power-ups present in Super Mario Bros. are the Super Mushroom and the Fire Flower. One thing you might know from newer Mario games is that they tend to feature item storage. That’s not the case here. You get an item and that’s it. Say for example you’re already Fire Mario and get a Fire Flower? In newer games you’d get a second Fire Flower in storage, but not in SMB. You get the points for it and that’s all.

Some people might consider this a difficult game. I don’t think it’s that complicated. Even if you do game over, you can start from your current world by holding A while pressing Start. Otherwise you have to start over from the beginning of the game, there is no continue option by default. If you don’t know this ahead of time, this can be quite the unwelcome surprise, especially if you’re far into the game when you game over. But overall the game could stand to be more challenging. Once you know the enemy patterns and paths to take it’s a pretty simple game.

As for, the replay value? It’s lackluster at best, with pretty much your only challenges being trying to beat the game without dying and going for a high score, but this was a common concept in the early days of gaming. There doesn’t seem to be any real benefit to getting a high score that I can tell. I broke over 600,000 and didn’t get anything for that score. Some games would give you extra lives or continues or something like that for a high score. In SMB the only ways to earn extra lives are by getting 100 coins, 1-Up Mushrooms, or by hitting enough enemies in a row (either with a shell or while jumping without touching the ground).

Another thing I would’ve liked to have seen in the game would be two player simultaneous multiplayer. Instead, in SMB it’s alternating. All-in-all though, this is a classic game and an all-time great. A lot of what I said could be consider nit picking and admittedly these things are rather minor flaws. Overall it’s a pretty fun game and if by some chance you’ve never played it, you really should.

So what’s the verdict on Super Mario Bros.? Here’s our scoring breakdown.

Pros

  • The game is pretty fun despite some minor flaws.
  • It’s easy to pick up and play.
  • It has a pretty simple concept and control scheme.
  • The music in the game is iconic in gaming and quite memorable.

Cons

  • It would really be nice if some of the modern features of newer Mario games were present in this entry, but they are not.
  • The hit detection can be a bit off at times, leading to some cheap hits/deaths.
  • The Flying Cheep Cheep stages can be a bit irritating in this regard, especially when Koopa Troopas are added.
  • The game is pretty short and there’s little to no replay value.

Graphics

6/10 – Let’s be honest, Super Mario Bros. is not going to wow anyone with its graphical prowess. But that being said, it’s not a bad looking game by early NES standards. Sprites are relatively easy to distinguish and you rarely (if ever) lose track of your character’s positioning on the screen. Some sprites are reused multiple times (the bushes/clouds for example or Bowser), but that could’ve been due to space limitations.

Sound/Music

9/10 – How can you not love the classic SMB theme? It’s one of the most famous songs in video game history. It’s quite catchy and memorable and suits the game perfectly. Sound effects are spot on too, with the coin sound in particular being a classic favorite. In fact, some even use it as a notification sound on their cell phone these days.

Gameplay/Play Control

7/10 – The gameplay is not bad by any stretch, but it’s not something astonishing by modern standards. But you have to remember, this game was released over thirty years ago. That being said, the controls are pretty good for the most part, though there were times where I narrowly made or missed jumps. But I’m not sure if that was due to my positioning or the controls themselves.

Story

2/10 – There’s not much story present in the game itself, but that’s to be expected. This isn’t Final Fantasy or even Zelda. This is a platformer and you play these games for platforming action, not epic storylines. But this is the one that started it all in the Mario universe with Peach (then called Princess Toadstool) constantly getting kidnapped by Bowser.

Challenge

4/10 – The game isn’t that difficult overall. Sure, the hit detection can cause some cheap hits/deaths, and if you misplace or mistime your jumps it can result in some unfortunate deaths, but overall it’s not that complicated. Once you know where to go and how to defeat/avoid enemies, it’s pretty easy.

Replay Value

3/10 – The replay value in SMB is practically non-existent. High score? Okay, sure, if you’re into that. Other than that, you can try to make it through the whole game without dying or without getting any power-ups. There’s also a “Second Quest” of sorts which unlocks once you beat the game. This adds Buzzy Beetles in place of Goombas and enemies in general move much faster, but it’s basically the same as the “First Quest.”

Fun Factor

8/10 – SMB is pretty fun in general. It’s not without its flaws, but it’s definitely a game worth playing through if you never have. And it set the stage for dozens, if not hundreds of future games in the industry. Nintendo & the Mario franchise have been cited by multiple developers as inspirations in their work.

Overall Average

5.6/10

Final Overall

8/10 – I bumped up the score for Super Mario Bros. quite a bit because the story and replay value were lower scores but shouldn’t be weighted as highly for a game like this. SMB is all about the overall experience and gameplay and in that regard it generally succeeds. It’s a great game and you should definitely play it if you haven’t for some reason. The game is available on a variety of platforms and I’m sure whenever Nintendo decides to launch Virtual Console on Switch, it’ll be available there too.

Buy/Rent/Borrow/Pass?

Buy It!

Image: Wikipedia

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Remakes And Remasters, Are They Good Or Bad?

Remakes And Remasters, Are They Good Or Bad?

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Do You Remember This Mid 90’s Sega Commercial?

Sega Commercial

Do you remember this mid 90’s Sega commercial? This was made right in the middle of the ongoing 16-bit console between Sega & Nintendo. Do you even know what blast processing is? Does anyone? In this week’s edition of Retro Rewind we look at the Sega Genesis and everyone’s favorite mid 90’s phrase, blast processing.

Well that’s the thing. Not many people did actually know what blast processing was or meant. Basically it was a marketing term Sega created to explain a slight technical advantage the Genesis had over the SNES. It was a decent effort from Sega to try to market themselves as the cooler, more adult alternative to Nintendo, something you might notice that Sony & Microsoft do to a lesser extent these days. But unfortunately for Sega, they still lost the 16-bit war to Nintendo. The SNES/Super Famicom managed to sell over 49 million units while the Genesis/Mega Drive moved nearly 34 million.

So while it was somewhat close, that’s still a gap of 7 million. Though compared to NEC’s TurboGrafx-16/PC-Engine, that’s nothing. NEC’s system finished a distant third with 10 million systems sold. Can you imagine if those 10 million people who bought a TG-16 bought a Genesis instead (assuming there was no crossover)? Sega would’ve been much closer to Nintendo and maybe could’ve surpassed them.

If that happened, Nintendo may have wound up the third-party game developer while Sega continued to make consoles. Though this is probably unlikely considering Nintendo’s huge war chest of cash. I mean if the Virtual Boy and Wii U weren’t enough to sink Nintendo, having a slimmer lead or slightly losing in the 16-bit days wouldn’t have killed their hardware business either. Still it’s interesting to think about. Most likely though, Sega would’ve probably kept on the same path with their bungling of the Saturn launch and the over-saturation of Genesis add-ons (Sega CD, 32X, etc.). And that doesn’t even count their software development teams (and the games they produced) which are a bit different from the mid 1990’s.

Partial Source: Wikipedia

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