What is Gamer’s Choice Paralysis? Well, it is simply a term I have invented to put into words the feeling all gamer’s experience on a near consistent basis: how in the hell am I supposed to play, and afford, all these games?!
As a married adult with a full-time job and responsibilities (kill me), it is hard to keep up with the frantic release schedule of the current-gen and the ever-expanding, all-consuming hell-spawn that is my backlog.
In the past 6 months I also started this site, which resulted in additional pressure to play and complete games. Born from this necessity, I conceived a novel strategy to slowly advance through my backlog and complete games, while still actually having fun.
A genre I often ignore, but am almost never disappointed by is video pinball. Growing up, I loved playing pinball in the arcades. Since these games were almost always cheaper than the newest arcade titles, I would end my gaming session with pinball almost every time; prolonging the inevitable dwindling of my coin stash just a bit longer.
All this time spent playing pinball resulted in my growing very fond of the genre and playing fairly often. This translated into a few home purchases, such as Kirby’s Pinball Land, Sonic Spinball and Pokemon Pinball, all of which I enjoyed to varying degrees. As time passed, I stopped dabbling with the genre mostly due to an ever-growing and all-consuming backlog of games.
As part of my mission for this site, I wanted to spend time delving into a variety of genres, so inevitably, video pinball resurfaced. I was excited to find a treasure trove of games I had missed out on, but which was the best? After extensive research I settled on a gem of a game entitled Devil’s Fury for the Turbografx-16.
For a long time I have considered purchasing a controller to bring with me on the road when playing emulators on my Android phone, but never ended up pulling the trigger for one reason or another. I was concerned that bringing a Bluetooth controller around with me would be unwieldy and inconvenient, that is until the 8Bitdo Zero caught my eye. At a mere 50 grams, with 73mm x 35mm x 10mm dimensions, this pint-sized controller could easily fit in my pocket, permitting me to game almost anywhere. After trying it out for a couple weeks, I have decided to review the product for the good of my readership, considering hardware is as important as software. Just to be clear, I am NOT receiving any compensation for this review… though I would love to 8Bitdo ;).
To the disbelief of many younger gamers, there was a time when licensed games were not synonymous with crappy cash grabs. This is due to the fact that these games were developed by 3rd party powerhouses like Capcom and Konami, and were made with quality gameplay in mind.
A shining example of a stellar licensed game from the 16-bit era was SNES’ Goof Troop, a game based off of the Disney cartoon series of the same name. Growing up, I was not a huge fan of Disney’s television-based animated series, but Goof Troop was one of the major exceptions. I watched the show religiously, which is likely what lead to my parents purchasing the video game adaptation for me. Little did they know, they had purchased one of the greatest multiplayer experiences on the SNES, and a game I still play more than 20 years later.
Some time around 1999 or 2000, I purchased an Official Dreamcast Magazine and saw a multi-page spread on on a game called Phantasy Star Online. Being exclusively a console gamer, I was absolutely blown away by the next-gen graphics and the ability to play with strangers online. I read and re-read the article innumerable times, until I finally got the game as a gift from my parents. Though they would not agree to the recurring payment for Dreamcast’s online service, I spent 100’s of hours in solo mode and considered the game one of my favorite of all-time.
With the game, I purchased a strategy guide that had a history of the Phantasy Star series in the back, and I was intrigued. This directly lead to my exploration of these games that I had missed in my SEGA Genesis days, due to a lack of perceived interest in RPGs.
By the time I had experienced PSO, I had already been thoroughly indoctrinated in RPGs, my new favorite genre, and was ready to partake in the founding entries of the series. The obvious starting point was the game that laid the foundation for the series, a game that was truly ahead of its time; that game was Phantasy Star for the SEGA Master System, a console I had previously known nothing about.
In honor of Super Bowl LII, and my NFC Championship Philadelphia Eagles, I am reviewing a classic 16-bit sports title this week. Instead of picking a conventional football title, such as an entry in the Madden or Super Tecmo Bowl series, I opted for a much more chaotic and deliciously violent title: Mutant League Football for the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive.
Though the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive was immensely successful in North America, there are still quite a number of games that remained in Japan for a variety of reasons. This list is meant to elucidate some interesting titles that never left the shores of Japan. This is by no means a definitive list and these are not necessarily the 10 best Japan-only Genesis games, but they are simply games that I personally had a positive experience with.
As a kid, I was a somewhat late adopter of the Game Boy, despite being an avid gamer from age 2, when my older cousin taught me how to play games on the Sega Genesis and SNES. My only previous experience with the Game Boy was playing Baseball and Tetris on my uncle’s system during car trips with my cousin.
I even had a Game Gear before Nintendo’s much more affordable and kid-friendly handheld. That all changed one fateful Christmas in 1998, when due to some sort of miscommunication, I recieve BOTH a Game Boy Pocket, from my aunt, and the brand new Game Boy Color, from my parents.
With the systems, I received Pokemon Red, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX, Pocket Bomberman, and Wario Land II. With these games and the battery life of TWO Game Boys, I finally had experienced true, untethered, handheld gaming.
As I slowly, but surely worked my way through the games in my fledgling collection, I noticed there was a glaring hole in my Game Boy library: I did not have a Mario game! To temporarily fill this void, I borrowed a game from my friend, that game was Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
The Game Gear, SEGA’s answer to the almighty Game Boy; with true 8-bit color graphics, a backlit screen and the innards of a SEGA Master System, it outclassed the Game Boy’s technical specifications by miles. With an adapter, sold separately of course, it even had access to the Master System’s library… What could possibly go wrong? Well, a lack of first party support by SEGA with regards to original games, higher price tag than the Game Boy, and the Game Gear’s unquenchable thirst for its required 6 AA batteries helped expedite its demise; but does it have any great games? The answer is a resounding yes.
I’ve spent many a year tethered to my electrical outlet via the Game Gear’s short AC adapter playing the likes of Streets of Rage, Sonic Triple Trouble, Sonic Chaos, Ren and Stimpy: Quest for the Shaven Yak, and the shameless, yet incredibly fun Castlevania clone, Master of Darkness. There were however some gems I missed out on; that is, until I revisited the Game Gear as an adult. One of these games is The G.G. Shinobi II: Silent Fury.
I just wanted to give an update for what is going on with the site. I am very busy with work during the holidays, but managed to finish 70-80% of two different articles. The review portion of one is 100% complete, and I considered releasing it, but it is not a complete resource.
This means I will be resuming my regular release schedule of every Friday, starting next week.
I also received a Nintendo Switch with Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as a Christmas present from my wife. With that said here is a list of games I am playing at the moment:
Mario Odyssey (Switch)
Langrisser II (Genesis, pictured above)
Shinobi II: Silent Fury (Game Gear)
Snatcher (Sega CD)
All four of these games are legitimately incredible and I would suggest picking up or emulating them as soon as possible. I hope everyone had a great holiday season and made some great game pick ups. I look forward to a busy 2018, with hopes of growing the site exponentially.