The Classic Videogames Blog 

Why I Haven't Updated This Blog in a While and a Few Interesting Links

I know it's been four months since my last entry but I was incredibly busy. First there was this art class I was taking in Basic Design that was kind of stressful because our original instructor left his job midway through the class because he had another job offer in another state and his new employer wanted him right away and didn't let him finish the semester. So I had to adjust to a different teacher with a different teaching style from what I was used to. I did okay in the class but it was still jarring to switch teachers in midstream like that.

I also was doing some volunteer work for my church that was getting increasingly time-consuming and I became fed up with arriving for Sunday morning service only to be greeted by fellow members who wanted me to do something for them that was related to (or were complaining about how I was doing) the volunteer work instead of the usual greeting of "Hello, Kim, how are you?" so I ended up quitting that volunteer position. Then there were other aspects of my everyday life that also took up time, which I don't care to go into details about. Plus I spent a week in Ocean City, Maryland with some members of my family and I've recently returned.

While I was in Ocean City, I checked out a couple of places on the Boardwalk that I mentioned in this blog last year. I visited Pop's Joke Shop, which had a vintage Popeye videogame console that still worked last year. The good news is that the Popeye game is still located in the same location--namely a little alcove that's off to the side of the main part of the small store. The bad news is that the alcove is now completely blocked off so it is impossible to play that game. I was bummed because I saw the videogame right behind the blocked-off area and I had looked forward to playing it. As a result, I only visited that store once on my trip. I have no idea if the blocked-off area is temporary or if the videogame still works.

I also revisited Marty's Playland, which has an area full of classic games. The good news is that not only are the games still there (which includes Tetris, Space Invaders, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, and Tron) but there are a couple of additional vintage games that have been added since last year. One is a vintage Tapper game. Another is a special 20th anniversary edition of Dragon's Lair. Needless to say, I spent more time in Marty's Playland than I did at Pop's Joke Shop.

I'm glad that I devoted this blog to classic games instead of the latest and hottest videogames since, during busy times in my life, I don't feel pressured to add the latest videogaming news on--let's say--the upcoming Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas game that is scheduled for release within the next few months. Let's face it, how often do you hear the latest news about--let's say--Q*Bert or Tapper these days?

Here are a few interesting links I've been collecting for the past few months but haven't gotten around to adding to this blog until now.

Classic Gamer magazine is now offering free downloads of its first two issues.

hello, nintendo is a blog that's all about Nintendo. (One sample entry is a lament that Dance Dance Revolution hasn't been released for the Gamecube.) X-Box and Playstation 2 fans need not apply.

The Video Game Museum, which is self-explanatory.

Water Cooler Gamers is an interesting blog about videogames.

NES Famicon Games for the Game Boy Advance

Nintendo has announced that it will observe the 20th anniversary of the release of the original NES (also known as Famicon) by releasing a limited edition NES Game Boy Advance SP that has the black, white, and red coloring of the original NES as well as a series of games called Classic NES Series. Each game in the series will cost $20 each and it will emulate the NES games from the mid-1980's. Nintendo will release the following eight games for starters: Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros., Excitebike, Ice Climber, Xevious, and Bomberman.

Sounds cool to me!<

The World Pong Championships

BBC News has an interesting story about the third annual World Pong Championships that will be held in Belfast. The winner will receive an original 1970's Pong arcade cabinet.<

A "Crisis of Creativity" in Videogames?

Today I came across this interesting article on's site about the videogame industry.


By Reed Stevenson and Ben Berkowitz

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Reuters) - The videogame industry is facing a hardening of the creative arteries as aging gamers' tastes increasingly shift toward sequels and games based on movies, industry participants said this week.

With more and more titles chasing the success of their predecessors and content owners digging deep into their libraries to tap older material for quick fail-proof conversion into games, the industry is faced with a question more serious than rhetorical: What's new?

"The gaming industry will shrink unless we start to see new games," said Toru Iwatani, who created Pac-Man, one of the first videogames to become a worldwide hit.

One of the industry's first huge hits, published by Namco Ltd. in 1980, Pac-Man crossed gender lines and became a huge hit with women.

At the Game Developers Conference in San Jose, California, a gathering of industry insiders where the talk is more about how games are made than how they are sold, the dearth of new titles and the increasing cost of developing games was a common theme at keynotes and panel discussions.

The high up-front costs of developing games is also pressuring developers to rely more on sure-fire hits and take less risks on new, innovative titles.

Electronic Arts Inc., the gaming industry's largest publisher, has perfected the art of getting gamers hooked on yearly releases of sports games and turning out versions of movie hits such as "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" and "Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup."

EA's U.S. market share in 2004 is more than twice that of its closest competitor, and the company generates more revenue in the December quarter than its closest competitor does in an entire fiscal year, driven in large part by those repeat sports and film titles.


Out of the top 100 games sold in Japan during 2001, 10 were original titles, but that number was halved in 2002 and fell to merely two in 2003.

"The ratio of original titles to sequels is dropping dramatically," said Ryoichi Hasegawa, an industry veteran who was at Sega Corp. before joining Sony Corp.'s gaming business.

Things are little better in the United States, where last December, according to the NPD Group, more than half of the 20 best-selling games on all platforms were sequels or derivatives of existing properties.

Part of the problem is the advancing average age of gamers, which is rising as the industry matures.

Last summer, the Entertainment Software Association, an industry trade group, found that the average age of gamers had risen to 29 years old, dispelling the view that gamers consist mainly of teenagers.

"Core gamers are advancing in age and they are becoming more conservative," Hasegawa told a panel.

Sony , which dominates the global console market, is planning for its PlayStation 2 console to have a lifespan of at least a decade, and its executives acknowledge that with such a long cycle, its user base will naturally age and have different tastes.

"We have to think very carefully about the type of audience we're reaching with our games," Andrew House, an executive vice president with Sony Computer Entertainment of America, said in a keynote address at the conference.

But it is not just EA chasing after proven material. Upcoming titles such as "Halo 2," "Half-Life 2," "Doom III" and "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" are all expected to top sales charts this year, in large part because the games that preceded them were so successful.

And licenses for films and TV shows are being snapped up left and right by publishers counting on consumers to opt for something familiar when trying to decide how to spend their $30 to $50 per game in discretionary income.

Just this year, EA has licensed "The Godfather" and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. has set up an ongoing licensing deal with the Cartoon Network.

Ubi Soft announced Thursday that it had licensed the early 1980s TV series "The Dukes of Hazzard."

Despite the proliferation of sequels and licensed games, Pac-man creator Iwatani said that he had seen this happen before during his 20 year-career, and that new and revolutionary new games appear in a two- to three-year cycle.

"It's difficult right now but I expect to see a recovery in a couple years," Iwatani said.

Copyright 2004, Reuters News Service

Here's my personal take on this: With most new home videogame titles currently on the market are either a) based on movies and television shows, b) sequels to previous hit games or c) yearly releases of sports games, it's no wonder there's a "crisis of creativity" in the videogame market.

Back in the 1970's and 1980's there was a greater emphasis on experimentation in videogames. Granted not all of the experiments worked (I still have memories of trying out plenty of mediocre games in the arcades only to quickly revert back to Pac-Man or Donkey Kong) but at least videogame companies were willing to try something new.

Unfortunately there are now too many companies who are literally afraid of trying something daring and experimental out of a fear of losing lots of money if the game failed. Part of the reason is that there are so many companies who are now owned by giant comgomerates who are focused on the quarterly profit margins so they can pacify their shareholders on Wall Street. This narrow emphasis of making a profit each quarter instead of focusing on profits in the long-run tends to stifle creativity.

Putting the blame on videogame players getting older is a cop-out and based on the old stereotype of older people being more set in their ways and unwilling to try something new. (By the way, this is the first time I've heard of 29-year-olds being described as "advancing in age" and "more conservative" in their gaming habits.) I've met plenty of older people in my lifetime and I've seen people in their sixties and seventies try new things like learning how to surf the Internet.

I can remember seeing people in their twenties, thirties, forties, and even fifites playing Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, and Pac-Man during the games' heyday in the arcades.

I believe that if there is an exciting and original videogame that is excellent, plenty of older gamers would check it out.

I'd love to go back to the days when there were new and innovative games that were churned out on a regular basis. I would even buy those games for my Game Boy Advance and Playstation 2 in an effort to support innovation if I had the chance to do so. But I'm not going to hold my breath on this one..

Tetris by Kimberly Keyes Stark

Tetris Screenshot

Last summer, as I was visiting the various stores while preparing for an upcoming out-of-town trip, I happened to step in a local mom-and-pop videogame store that has a huge selection of older games that you literally can't find at a Best Buy or GameStop anymore.

I happened to find an early 1990's Tetris cartridge for the GameBoy for $15 and I purchased it on the spot. When I got home, I managed to load that cartridge in my GameBoy Advance and playing that game brought back memories of when I was hooked on the arcade version back in the 1980's.

Two weeks ago, while I was waiting three hours for my car to go through its 22,000-mile checkup at the local Honda dealer, I pulled out my GameBoy Advance and played Tetris (along with other games like Wario Ware, Inc.: Mega Microgame$), which made the three hours go by very fast.

I first discovered Tetris in a video arcade sometime in the mid-1980's. By that time I had gotten an undergraduate degree in journalism at the University of Maryland and I was slogging away at a series of dead-end jobs because it was around the time that newspapers, magazines, and television stations first began to be bought up by bigger and bigger conglomerates and it frequently resulted in reporters being downsized and it was harder to find a journalism job. At that point my visits to the video arcades had dwindled from every day to once a week then two or threre times a month due to the fact that I had less time to kill now that I was working.

At the time the idea of anything showing up from the Eastern Block countries was considered rare and exotic. A few years earlier Rubik's Cube, a 3-D puzzle cube that was created in Hungary, was released in the United States and it launched a craze that came and went quickly (mainly because it was relatively hard to solve the puzzle). When Tetris first arrived, it also created a craze that was longer lasting (due to the fact that it was so easy that even a child could play it) and, to this day, anyone can pick up a Tetris game for computer, PDA, cell phone, Game Boy, or console.

Last summer, when I was visiting Ocean City, Maryland, I got a blast from the past in one of the arcades called Marty's Playland (located on the Boardwalk) when I saw a vintage Tetris arcade game right alongside other vintage arcade games from the early 1980's like Tron, Ms. Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Galaga, and Battlezone. The game still costs 25 cents to play and I got a kick out of hearing the Russian music as I played the game.

Tetris is one of those games where it's incredibly easy to learn yet hard to master. You must arrange bricks to form rows without the 'wall' getting too high, or game will abruptly end. You can rotate bricks so that they fit into the wall and once a row is complete it will disappear, thus lowering the wall. Eliminated rows will lower the number of lines you need to complete a level. Bricks fall faster in the higher levels and sometimes there are already bricks in the field that block your path.

Clearing four lines at once is known as a "Tetris" and you get a huge amount of points for achieving it. Often, when you try to make a Tetris (four rows of lines that are removed at once), you end up waiting a long time for the long red brick (the only way of completing a Tetris). It is interesting to note that every brick is made up of exactly four blocks.

Tetris is incredibly addicting. It's like putting together pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. At first the pieces drop down very slow and you're able to figure out where to put a particular piece. As the game progresses, the pieces drop down at a faster and faster rate until you literally only have a half-second to place the piece. The game sometimes throws loops where it'll drop down--let's say--a zig zag piece and you don't have an appropriate place where the zig zag piece can fit perfectly so you'll end up with awkward gaps. Or you could be looking for that long piece in order to make your rows go away and you have to wait a long time until the game gets around to dropping that piece.

The early Tetris games had Russian music (which further emphasized the game's Russian origins) that was pleasant to listen to while trying to play the game.

In some ways Tetris' arrival in the United States in the mid-1980's was no accident. It was also around the time that the Cold War began its gradual thaw. A world-wide anti-nuclear movement that have been around since the 1950's began to pick up steam in response to President Ronald Reagan's nuclear proliferation policy. An anti-nuke movement even sprang up in the Soviet Union but that movement was authorized by the government, which meant that it could call on the U.S. government to adopt an arms reduction policy but it was forbidden to demand the same of the Soviet government. (Some activists who were equally critical of the Soviet government's policies were arrested and sentenced to jail.)

Then Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union. He felt that the Soviet economy was suffering from decades of stagnation and he attempted to reform the entire system through his policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring), which resulted in such innovations as allowing Soviet citizens the freedom to express their opinions in pubic without fear of arrest and lowering trade barriers between east and west. Soon afterwards the Soviet people began to revel in their new-found freedoms and people outside that nation warmed up to Gorbachev and his reform policies.

In 1985 a Soviet programmer named Alexey Pajitnov created Tetris on an Electronica 60 at the Moscow Academy of Science's Computer Center. It was ported to the IBM PC by Vadim Gerasimov. Tetris started to spread around Moscow and Pazhitnov becomes famous as a result.

By 1986 the game made its way to Hungary where it was discovered by Robert Stein, the president of the British software house Andromeda. Before he even tried to get the rights to Tetris from Pazhitnov, he sold the rights to the game to Mirrorsoft UK and Spectrum Holobytes. In the meantime Stein received a copyright for Tetris without contacting anyone in Russia first. On top of that, Mirrorsoft UK and Spectrum Holobytes began to sub-license their rights to other companies.

If that wasn't enough, all copyrights for computer games in the Soviet Union were made through one man, Evgeni Belikov at Elorg, the Russian ministry for the export of software, and all royalties were sent directly to the Soviet government, which did not believe in the idea of individual copyright. Belikov made his own demands for the rights to Tetris and he was outraged at the unauthorized Tetris games being released in the West. All of the authorized and unauthorized licenses touched off a whole slew of lawsuits all over the world and is documented fully in The Tetris Saga.

One result from all the authorized and unauthorized games is that Tetris became a big hit all over the world.

Pajitnov made nearly no money from Tetris but the Soviet government rewarded him with a very nice apartment and an 286-clone computer. In fact, he wouldn't begin to receive royalties until 1996, when he organized The Tetris Company LLC. In 1991 Pajitnov relocated to the United States, where he established his own company for game development. He was subequently hired by Microsoft as the first staff games designer and computer geeks can now make cheap jokes about Pajitnov moving from one evil empire (the Soviet Union) to another (Microsoft).

DISCLAIMER: This blog is based on one person's biased opinions of which videogames should be considered to be classics and why. It is not meant to provide a complete history of the videogame industry, the latest videogame news, technical support, or hints on how to play a certain videogame. None of the videogame manufacturers or programmers mentioned here have endorsed or supported this blog in any way, shape, or form.

NOTE: If there are any errors or updates to what I have written about this entry, please send an e-mail to [][/link] (remember to remove the capital letters from my mailing address before sending or else it will get rejected) and I'll edit this piece when time permits.




Tetris Blast


Magical Tetris Challenge

Tetris Dx


Tetris Worlds


Tetris Worlds



Tetris 2


Magical Tetris Challenge

The New Tetris


Handmark Tetris Classic Game Pak

Pocket Express Entertainment Pack Plus

Tetris Classic Game Pak


Magical Tetris Challenge

The Next Tetris

Tetris Plus


Tetris Worlds


Handmark Tetris Classic Game Pak


The Next Tetris


Tetris Plus


Tetris Attack

Tetris & Dr. Mario

Tetris 2


Galaxy of 3D Tetrimania

The Next Tetris

Tetris Worlds


Tetris Online

Tetris Worlds

TETRIS LINKS official site of The Tetris Company LLC, the company that was formed by Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov to administer all legal rights to the game. The site includes a list of all the various official Tetris versions that are currently available.

The Tetris Saga--Provides a brief history of the game, including all of the legal wrangling that resulted from it.

Tetris: A Chip Off the Old Block--A BBC News story about the game and its inventor, Alexey Pajitnov.

The Internet Movie Database's Information on Tetris

The Killer List of Videogames' Tetris (Atari) Exhibit

The Killer List of Videogames' Tetris (Sega) Exhibit

The Killer List of Videogames' Tetris Plus Exhibit

The Killer List of Videogames' Tetris Plus 2 Exhibit

The Killer List of Videogames' Tetris: The Grand Master Exhibit

Wario Ware, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ by Kimberly Keyes Stark

Wario Ware, Inc. Box Cover

A few weeks ago I used some of my Christmas money I received from my mother to purchase Wario Ware, Inc.: Mega Microgame$. I had been reading all kinds of positive reviews about this game and some have said that this could be one of the best games ever released for the Game Boy Advance.
Even though my collection of Game Boy Advance games is relatively small, I have to say that Wario Ware is my favorite right now.
The premise of this game is that you play a bunch of easy games like shaking a dog's paw or jump rope. These games are so easy that you can generally figure out how to play them quickly. But here's the catch: You only have five seconds to play each game successfully.
That time limit definitely makes this game a bigger challenge. On top of that, the more you master the short games, the more levels you clear and you get to unlock longer mini-games like Jump Forever, Dr. Wario, Chicken Race, and Pyoro. As an added bonus, if you select the two-player option, two people can play this game using the same Game Boy Advance so there is no need to get a second Game Boy Advance and hooking the two together with cables.
The best part about Wario Ware is that there are a bunch of classic Nintendo games hidden among the five-second games, including Duck Hunt, Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros., F-Zero, Balloon Fight, Hogan's Alley, and The Legend of Zelda. Of course you're only limited to playing them for five seconds but it's still cool to see games that one hasn't played in years.
This game seems tailor-made for people with ADD or ADHD. People who don't have those disorders but can tolerate short-attention spans will also do well at this game. It's also a perfect game if you're travelling to work or school by public transportation and you really can't commit yourself to spending a long time playing with your Game Boy Advance. You should steer clear of this game if you're a person who can't stand short-attention spans and is used to spending long hours playing the same long game like EverQuest or Final Fantasy.
In any case, Wario Ware, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ is a winner in my book. In other words, Wario Ware, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ is the one to buy if you plan on buying only one new Game Boy Advance game this year.
DISCLAIMER: This blog is based on one person's biased opinions of which videogames should be considered to be classics and why. It is not meant to provide a complete history of the videogame industry, the latest videogame news, technical support, or hints on how to play a certain videogame. None of the videogame manufacturers or programmers mentioned here have endorsed or supported this blog in any way, shape, or form.
NOTE: If there are any errors or updates to what I have written about this entry, please send an e-mail to [][/link] (remember to remove the capital letters from my mailing address before sending or else it will get rejected) and I'll edit this piece when time permits.
Nintendo's Official Site for Wario Ware, Inc.: Mega Microgame$: Includes short Flash games that you can play for free.
Wario Company: A fan site that's devoted to Wario Ware, Inc.: Mega Microgame$<

ToySight: A Macintosh Answer to the Eye Toy

Here's a case of irony. A few days after I wrote my last entry on Sony's Eye Toy, the Sunday edition of The Washington Post had a review of a program that can easily be called the Macintosh platform's answer to the Eye Toy.

It's called ToySight and it requires both Mac OS X and Apple's iSight web cam. Like Eye Toy, ToySight uses web cam technology to enable game players to play videogames using their arms to control the action. For $35 (not including the web cam, which is sold separately), you get two video toys (one which adds graphic effects to your image and the other lets you pluck out a tune on an onscreen laser harp) plus nine games: Submarine Battle, The Plank, Marble Factory, FreeFall, Volcano God, The Owl & The Pussycat, Toy Wars, Pie Sight, and Tennis Xtreme.

Even though I have a Mac, it's unlikely I'll ever buy ToySight since I already have the Eye Toy. But for those who own a Macintosh, are interested in technologically-advanced games, have a desire to want to physically move around more, and have no intention of every buying a Playstation 2, ToySight seems like a good alternative.

DISCLAIMER: This blog is based on one person's biased opinions of which videogames should be considered to be classics and why. It is not meant to provide a complete history of the videogame industry, the latest videogame news, technical support, or hints on how to play a certain videogame. None of the videogame manufacturers or programmers mentioned here have endorsed or supported this blog in any way, shape, or form.

NOTE: If there are any errors or updates to what I have written about this entry, please send an e-mail to [][/link] (remember to remove the capital letters from my mailing address before sending or else it will get rejected) and I'll edit this piece when time permits.
Apple's iSight Web Cam
Mac OS X

The Official ToySight Site
Trailers From the ToySight Game<

Eye Toy by Kimberly Keyes Stark

Eye Toy Screenshot

It's been several years since someone invented the cam that attaches to your computer and takes pictures of you. (The early models could only take stills while the more recent ones can take both st ills and moving video.) People began to use the cam technology on the Internet where they erected websites devoted to web cam images of coffee pots and fish tanks.

Many zoos started to focus web cams on various animals. The National Zoo in Washington, DC, near where I live, has web cams devoted to panda bears, giraffes, and even naked mole rats. Web cams were focused on tourist attractions around the world, such as the Eiffel Tower.

The most bizarre web cam site I've seen is the MessiahCAM, which provides a live cam on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem that's waiting to capture the moment when the Messiah returns to Earth as prophesied in the Bible.

Sometime back in 1996 a college student named Jennifer Ringley began to focus a web cam on herself, where she earned a distinction of being one of the first people to be a subject of a cam. Her site, JenniCAM, became an instant smash and she became one of the first major Internet celebrities. Her site paved the way for thousands of other people to live their lives in front of a web cam and these sites can be found in web cam directories like EarthCam, Web Cam World, and Camscape. Her site was mentioned in the mainstream media, especially when the movie The Truman Show was released.

One of the reasons why JenniCAM be came such a smash hit, aside from the fact that it was one of the first site of its kind, is that sometimes Jenni would disrobe in front of her web cam. Sometimes she was just changing clothes. Other times she would jump into the shower. On rare occasions she could be seen masturbating or having sex with men win front of her cam. But such flashes of nudity were usually brief and the bulk of the photos consisted of head shots of Jenni sitting in front of her computer. JenniCAM and other cam sites of their ilk were usually boring.

Last month Jenni had announced that she was shutting down her seven-year-old site after New Year's Eve, which led to another round of media stories about her. Her site is now off-line but she has definitely earned a footnote in the history of the Internet.

Until recently I felt that web cam was the most useless technological invention ever invented. You couldn't carry it with you (unlike a digital camera) because it had to be attached to a computer to take pictures. The web cam's resolution is inferior to a digital camera's. It seemed like it was only capable of taking headshots of people at their computers.

Sony has found a use for the cam that I think is innovative. They created a cam called the Eye Toy that attaches to your Playstation 2 via a USB slot (located under the controller slots). With the Eye Toy you don't need the controller since you use the cam to control your movemen ts.

The Eye Toy is a neat piece of technology that has great potential. Instead of trying to remember which buttons to press in which sequence, all you have to do is wave your hands at certain points in order to control the action.

Sony has announced th at it will release more games in the future that will utilize the Eye Toy. In the meantime, the company has bundled the Eye Toy with a disk called "Eye Toy Play" that includes video messasing software (where you can record messages, save them to your memo ry card, and give them to your other Playstation 2-owning friends) and 12 different games.

All of the games have an old-school feel to them and they can be quite addicting at times. In fact, some of the games are reminiscent of classic arcade games, exce pt you play them with your arms instead of a joystick. Here's a rundown of the games:

Beat Freak: This game is like Dance Dance Revolution that you pl ay with your arms. A CD flies from the center of the screen and you have to touch whatever speaker the CD flies to. The music is very catchy and fun to play with.

Kung Foo: You use your hands to whack a bunch of kung foo fighters before they whack you. T his is reminiscent of games like Virtua Fighter.

Wishi Washi: You use your arms to clean dirty windows within a timeframe while a catchy 1920's-style s ong about cleaning windows play in the background. It is sort of reminiscent of the classic videogame Bubbles and the game is much more fun than it sounds.

Soccer Cra ze: Soccer purists may freak over this game's requirement that you use your arms to keep the soccer ball up in the air but it's very addicting, especially as you try bouncing the ball at a bunch of people taunting you from the sides of tall buildings.

Boxing Chump: This game is similar to the current arcade hit Mocap Boxing where you use your arms to defeat your boxing opponent. Boxing Chump requires you to face your body sideways (because your opponent is facing sideways and it's the only way you can hit him) while facing your face forward to look at the TV screen while Mocap Boxing lets you stand directly in front of the screen and fight your opponent. Personally I think Boxing Chump is more awkward to play than Mocap Boxing but it's still a good alternative if you aren't able to get to the arcades to play Mocap Boxing. The opponent reminds me of the old Rock'em Sock'em Robot fighting game that I used to see the boys in my neighborhood play when I was a kid.

UFO Juggler: You have to help jump-start spaceships in order for them to fly. If you spin the spaceships just r ight, they will be able to reach outer space. If you spin the spaceships too slow, they won't fly but if you spin them too fast, the spaceships will explode. If that's not enough, you'll frequently see enemy aircraft firing at the spaceships struggling to fly. All you have to do is spin the enemy aircraft fast until it explodes.

Slap Stream: A bunch of mice are taunting you (including one that looks like Mickey Mouse's demented cousin) and you have to slap them. But be careful who you slap because if you slap any of the women dressed in bunny outfits, you'll get penalized. Get three penalties and the game's over.

Plate Spinner: Ever seen those magicians who are capable of spinning plates on top of tall poles? Well, you get to do the same by making sure that all four plates are spinning on top of four poles at once. If you're successful, the monkeys who are out to ruin your plates will jump on a plate only to get knocked out by the force of gravity. If your plate stops spinning or spins too slow, the mon keys can easily knock your plate to the ground.

Disco Stars: This game is like Space Channel 5 in that it combines [link=http://classicvideogames.b]Dance Dance Revolution[/link] with the 1970's electronic memory game Simon. A disco diva w ill point at certain lights and you have to repeat the pattern to the beat of the music.

Ghost Eliminator: You are standing in a graveyard while a bunch of ghosts are out to get you. Rub the ghosts to get rid of them.

Mirror Time: This one is the tricki est of the games. At first you are simply popping green bubbles and avoiding popping the red ones. But then the screen starts to flip and, before you know it, you have to remember to move your right hand if you want to pop the green bubbles on the left si de of the screen. You really need to concentrate with this game.

Rocket Rumble: This one is probably the weakest of the games. You have to use your hands to shoot off fireworks. This one is about as interesting as the old After Dark fireworks screensaver that used to be popular years ago.

The neatest thing about the Eye Toy is that, like Dance Dance Revolution, it encourages people to move around instead of just sitting on their butts and using the controller. The first day I used the Eye Toy I made the mistake of playing it for 45 minutes straight until my arms grew totally sore and it stayed that way through the next day. If you're playing with the Eye Toy for the first time, I recommend that you play with it for no more than 10 or 15 minutes until yo ur arms get used to it because it is easy to hurt yourself otherwise.

The only downside is that a lot of people are camera-shy because they feel that they are too fat or too ugly. I found that when playing with the Eye Toy I tend to look at my hands much of the time because I have to know where to place them to slap a mouse or spin a plate. I hardly ever look at the rest of my body while I'm playing.

Sony has announced that in the near future it will release more games that will require the Eye Toy. I h ope Sony goes through with it because the Eye Toy does have a lot of potential and it is such a break from the numerous games that require you to sit on your butt for a long period of time in order to clear a certain level.

DISCLAIMER: This blog is based on one person's biased opinions of which videogames should be considered to be classics and why. It is not meant to provide a complete history of the videogame industry, the latest videogame news, technical support, or hints on how to play a certain videogame. None of the videogame manufacturers or programmers mentioned here have endorsed or supported this blog in any way, shape, or form.

NOTE: If there are any errors or updates to what I have written about this entry, please send an e-mail to [][/link] (remember to remove the capital letters from my mailing address before sending or else it will get rejected) and I'll edit this piece when time permits.


"Things You Learn From Video Games" T-Shirt

Here it is, the last day of the Christmas season (also known as Eastern Orthodox Christmas, Feast of the Epiphany, and Twelth Night).

My teenage nephew is into videogames but he's into the more modern games like "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" and "True Crimes: Streets of LA". I gave him this t-shirt for Christmas that he really loved and I found quite witty. The t-shirt is black with white lettering and graphics and it includes a small image from Space Invaders, which is definitely appealing if you're into classic games. I found this one at a Hot Topic store, so if you're interested in getting this shirt, you may want to visit the one nearest you. Here it is:


*There is no problem that cannot be overcome by force.
*If it moves, DESTROY IT!
*Piloting any vehicle is simple and requires no training.
*One lone "good guy" can defeat an infinte number of "bad guys."
*Make sure you eat all food lying on the ground.
*You can break things and get away with it.
*You can push other vehicles off the road and get away with it.
*If someone dies, they disappear.
*If you get mad enough, you can fight even better.
*You can overcome most adversaries simply by having enough quarters.
*You can operate all weapons without training.
*No matter how long you fight, you can always fight again.
*Death is reversible (only for you!)
*Ninjas are common and frequently fight in public.
*Whenever big fat mean guys are about to croak, they begin flashing red or yellow.
*You never run out of ammunition, just grenades.
*All women wear revealing clothes and have great bodies.
*Shoot everything. If it blows up or dies, it was bad.
*Don't worry if your vehicle crashes and explodes. A new vehicle will appear in its place.
*A thousand-to-one odds against you is NOT a problem.o

Space Channel 5 by Kimberly Keyes Stark

Space Channel 5 Image

I wrote in a previous entry that The Simpsons: Road Rage may become a collec tor's item if Sega wins its copyright-infringement lawsuit against the makers of Road Rage and all copies are recalled from retail shelves. Space Channel 5 is another game that would go on my short list of Most Likely Collector's Item for three reason s:

REASON #1: The game's original developer, Tetsuya Mizuguchi, (who also helped develop the equally fascinating game Rez) left Sega in October when the unit that he headed, United Game Artists, was merged with another Sega unit, Sonic Team, in a corporate reorganization.

REASON #2: Lady Miss Kier, the former lead singer of the danc e-pop band Deee-lite (best known for the song "Groove is in the Heart"), has recently filed a lawsuit against Sega on the grounds that the game's heroine, Ulala, resemb les her too much.

REASON #3: This game features a cameo by the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson, who appears under the name "Space Michael," which is appropriate given his eccentric behavior over the last 10 years (i.e., [link= k/2/hi/entertainment/2809465.stm]his brief marriage to Lisa Marie Presley[/link], his frequent plastic surgeries, that incident last year where he dangled his infant son from the fourth floor balcony of a Berlin hotel, etc.). Ironically, Michael Jackson was arrested for se xually molesting a 12-year-old boy just as the Playstation 2 version of Space Channel 5 was being shipped to stores across the United States.

Space Channel 5 was originally released on the Sega Dreamcast in 2000. I have vague memories of seeing a story about it on CNN and it looked different for its time. If I had owned a Sega Dreamcast at the time, there is even the chance that I would've bought that game because it did catch my eye very briefly. But I didn't own a Dreamcast and I procrastinated on buying one. By the time I decided to buy my first console system in 1998, the Dreamcast was dying as a system so I ended up buying a Playstation instead.

As time went on, I became interested in dancing games like Dance Dance Revolution. Every now and the n I'd see a discussion of Space Channel 5 on the DDR Freak board and, based on what I read, I realized that I missed out on a cool game. My chance to try it for the first time came when a version for the Game Boy Advance was released earlier this year for $20 and I soon became hooked on that game. I became so hooked that when a Playstation 2 version was recently released just a few weeks ago, I bought it just so I can play it on a big screen TV with brig hter crisper graphics.

Space Channel 5 is a game that combines Dance Dance Revolution with the old 1970's electronic handheld memory game Simon. The object of the game is to repeat a series of dance moves (such as "left, right, left, right") to the beat of the music. If your dance moves are incorrect, then you'll get penalized. If your dance moves are correct but your timing to the music is off, you'll also get penalized.

In the tradition of anime, Space Channel 5 has a wacky science fiction storyline. The story takes place a few hundred years into t he future where a young mini-skirted television reporter with pink hair named Ulala (pronounced "ooh-la-la") is working on a story for Space Channel 5 about a bizarre alien invasion. The invading aliens, known as the Morolians, have been firing their guns at various Earthlings, which results in having the people dance uncontrollably.

Ulala becomes part of the story when she is forced to copy the Morolians' dance moves in exchange for freeing the hostages and shooting the Morolians. At times she also has to conduct dancing battles against rival reporters from other networks named Pudding and Jaguar. (Try to imagine Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric trying to vie for the same story by wearing mini-skirts and copying each other's dance moves. On second thought, don't imagine that.)

At the same time, while you're controlling Ulala, you also have to make sure that the ratings are up. If Ulala does the dance moves correctly, your ratings will go up. If you keep on blowing those moves, your ratings will decline so much that your show will suddenly be cancelled and your game will end.

If you make it to the last level, you'll see Space Michael appear. If you're a Michael Jackson fan, be aware that he only does a brief dance number with Ulala and the other hostages that she has freed. He does not sing at all and his appearance in the game only lasts a few minutes at most. If you hate Michael Jackson, you don't have to worry about seeing too much of him since his cameo is brief. He also doesn't appear with any childr en, which is a good thing given his recent arrest.

The music is reminiscent of early 1970's funk and is quite enjoyable. If you play the game often enough, you'll have a hard time getting the funky music (with chants of "Left, Right, Up, Down, CHU!" or something similar) out of your head.

One really cool feature about Space Channel 5 is that if you press buttons in a certain sequence at anytime during game play, you can see the game playing on its own without any input. (Dreamcast: Hold L and R buttons down while pressing Up, Left, A, Left, A, Down, Right, B, Right, B; Playstation 2: Hold L1 and R1 buttons down while pressing Up, Left, X, Left, X, Down, Right, Circle, Right, Circle; Game Boy Advance: Hold L and R buttons down while pressing Up, Left, A, Left, A, Down, Right, B, Right B) It's a pretty neat way to see the rest of the game if you want to listen to the music or if you're curious about how the story ends but you're having a hard time of mastering the higher levels on your own.

The best part about Space Channel 5 is that the game is pretty cheap to buy. The Dreamcast version can be found for under $3. [link= dos/tg/detail/-/B00005BRLQ/theunicornwithan/]The Game Boy Advance version[/link] costs $20 new (which is cheap considering that most new Game Boy Advance games start at $30).

The biggest bang for the buck is the Playstation 2 version, which is titled Space Channel 5: Special Edition. For $30 you not only get the original Space Channel 5 game but you also get the sequel, Space Channel 5, Part 2, that was previously unreleased in the United States.

Space Channel 5, Part 2 is similar to the first game, except this time Ulala has to deal with a bunch of invading robots from outer space who are zapping people with special guns that force them to dance uncontrollably. There are a few interesting differences: there is more variety in the music (at one point Ulala has to dance a waltz to free the hostages) and at various points in the game, Ulala gets to take a break from dancing and play a musical instrument (guitar, drums, and keyboard) against her opponent.

Space Michael also returns in a small role that's slightly bigger than his previous cameo. If Ulala succeeds in freeing him, the player gets rewarded with a short dance number where Ulala an d Space Michael bust a few moves together. That sequence reminds me of the glory years back in the 1980's when Michael Jackson used to awe people with his dance moves like the Moonwalk.

Like the first game, you can also have Space Channel 5, Part 2 running by itself if you're having a hard time with mastering a level and you just want to see the rest of the game. Playstation 2 owners can just press Start to pause the game, then hold the L1 and R1 buttons down while pressing Circle, Triangle, and Square.

Space Channel 5, Part 2 also have a mini game where Ulala does a dance-off against the Morolians from the previous game. This game lasts 100 stages and if Ulala cleares them all, then new costumes are unlocked. (New costumes can also be unlocked when you clear stages in the main game.)

Space Channel 5, Part 2 is just as addicting as the first one and it will have fans begging for more. Given the controversies that have swirled around the Space Channel 5 franchise, it's unlikely that another sequel will get made anytime in the near future. It's probably best to just enjoy the games that have already been released.

DISCLAIMER: This blog is based on one person's biased opinions of which videogames should be considered to be classics and why. It is not meant to provide a complete history of the videogame industry, the latest videogame news, technical support, or hints on how to play a certain videogame. None of the videogame manufacturers or programmers mentioned here have endorsed or supported this bl og in any way, shape, or form.

NOTE: If there are any errors or updates to what I have written about this entry, please send an e-mail to [][/link] (rememb er to remove the capital letters from my mailing address before sending or else it will get rejected) and I'll edit this piece when time permits.



Space Channel 5--This is the game that started it all.


Space Channel 5: Ulala's Cosmic Attack--This is a port of the original Dreamcast game.


Space Channel 5: Special Edition--This package includes both Space Channel 5 and Space Channel 5: Part 2 for one low price.


Sega's Official Space Channel 5 Site

Space Channel 5 Action Figures--If you'd like to see Ulala and company in the real world, you're in luck with these action figures.<

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