Where Does He Hide The Weapons? – Arcade – Black Tiger – 1987


Black Tiger
© 1987
Genre: Action Sidescroller

With the announcement that a barcade will be opening right up the street from me in a few months, I thought it was time to start brushing up on some of my favorite arcade games from that sweet spot in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  An arcade that I had played a few times online, but had never seen a cabinet in person until I went on a vacation a year and a half ago has quickly turned into one that ranks in my top five arcade games, easily. Continue reading

Speaking Arcade-ically – A Brief Overview of (My) Arcade History


By some strange twist of conversational fate, arcades have been coming up a lot in my everyday life.  There is a new retro-arcade opening the next town over from me in a couple of months, my friend just had a birthday at a Dave and Buster’s nearby, and I have been running into a lot of articles outlining old arcade games or interesting information about the entertainment complexes of yore.  Not that there aren’t still plenty around to spend your hard earned quarters at, but people certainly don’t run into arcades as often as I remember.  In fact, there used to be one (or two) at every mall I used to spend time at growing up.  Recently, I ran into a couple of games that really showed me how far arcades have come, even if they are pretty far and few between, and reminded me of the games I used to waste more money than I’m comfortable thinking about back in the day.

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Howard Would Be Proud – Sega Genesis – Golden Axe – 1989


See if you can find all the hidden weapons in the kanji!

Golden Axe
(c) 1989
Genre: Dark Fantasy Hack n’ Slash

Many games borrow heavily from iconic imagery found outside of the world of videogaming. The arcade crime beat’em’up Dead Connection has pretty liberally used images from multiple mobster movies.  Snatcher, a cyberpunk mystery point and click, has scenes lifted straight out of the timeless classic Bladerunner.  Even much beloved games franchises have done it – look at the Silent Hill debacle, where they based their entire creepy elementary school off of the film Kindergarten Cop.  Thankfully, most games do avoid lifting straight from their source material, and try to stick more to homage.  The Golden Axe franchise has its roots in the works of Robert E. Howard (famously known as the creator of Conan the Barbarian stories), and the artwork of Frank Frazetta (Some NSFW art), but does an excellent job of standing up on its own. Continue reading

Creature Double Feature: Two Games to Set the Mood for Halloween

Ghouls 'N Ghosts (UE) (REV02) [!]_000

Somehow? I did not die after taking this screenshot.

Ahhh, October.  Easily my favorite time of year.  I grew up and live in a city that treats the entire month as an opportunity to prey upon tourists – every day of the month is Halloween, and an endless stream of people come into the city to enjoy that atmosphere.  It will come as a surprise to no one that knows me that, while I loathe crowds and touristy kitsch, I am a huge fan of horror movies and videogames.  For this creature double feature, we can start with one of my favorite series, before delving into a fantastic standalone game.

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A Future To Look Forward To – Sega Genesis – Strider – 1990

Strider (UE) [!]_002

Hang gliders: the high tech travel we have ready for us in 30 years.

Sega Mega Drive
(c) 1990
Genre: Action Platformer

Back in the 80s, you could generally know three things about ninjas: they would take down hordes of faceless enemies with little to no effort, they weren’t good at hiding, and they were usually the good guys.  Strider Hiryu is the protagonist in this story of a sort of dystopian future ninja in the year 2048, sent to assassinate the terrifying dictator known as Grandmaster using his mechanical animal companions, and his laser beam tonfa.  This game was definitely written with every cool thing in the 80’s in mind, but how well did this hack-and-slash play? Continue reading