July 13, 2011

Refresh Rate – Sonic the Hedgehog

Filed under: Archives — Tags: , , , — Nathan White @ 4:37 pm

Sonic the Hedgehog Refresh Rate Sega Master System
Nostalgia is a funny thing. I got into collecting old videogames around eight years ago, in part to re-establish a connection with my inner child; to transport myself back to a simpler period in my life. At the time I started snatching up the initial bricks and mortar of my current collection, I was in a strange place in my life. I had just completed my (somewhat delayed) post-secondary education, but couldn’t find a job in my field and was therefore employed as a “sandwich artist”. My girlfriend (now wife) and I were living in an cramped apartment in a not-so-great area near downtown (complete with corner dwelling hookers, an adjacent coffee shop populated by recently released psych-ward patients and a psychotic drug dealing downstairs neighbor).

I had never gotten rid of any of my old videogames from when I was a kid, and I even made enough use of them to justify taking them with me when I left the comfort of my parent’s basement.

I don’t remember the exact moment I started “collecting” videogames, I just started buying the old games that I remembered liking but never owned as a kid – some I’d rented, others that I’d played at friend’s houses. From there I got into games and systems that I never had access to, such as the Turbo Grafx-16 and Sega Master System. It was during my introduction to the Master System that I heard about the numerous ports of popular Genesis games that had graced the console. Titles such as Altered Beast, Streets of Rage 2 and even Mortal Kombat all saw 8-bit Master System releases. Intrigued, I started collecting and discovering them for myself, and the game that intrigued me most was the Master System version of Sonic the Hedgehog.


July 11, 2011

Refresh Rate – Metroid II: The Return of Samus

Filed under: Archives — Tags: , , , , , , , — Nathan White @ 2:14 pm

Metroid 2 The Return of Samus
As a kid I never actually owned a Game Boy. I was one of the “turncoats” who went straight from the NES to the SEGA Genesis in Sonic the Hedgehog’s brilliant blue wake. That is not to say that I didn’t ever play any Game Boy games at the time. I had this good friend whose Game Boy was practically communal between him, myself, and his twin sister. We used to play Super Mario Land and Tetris almost constantly, draining a King’s ransom in batteries. I distinctly remember playing Metroid II shortly after it was released in Chris’s basement; making maps on foolscap, color coding different sections, the whole nine.

As a child I never did beat the original Metroid, nor did I complete its sequel, come to think of it. The Metroid games were something of mystery, an impossible enigma. There was an older kid in my neighborhood who had a code (his own personal password, you see) for the original NES game. He wouldn’t allow us into his parents basement until he had entered it, for fear of his password becoming common knowledge. We didn’t really care, though, because we just wanted to watch in awe while he decimated Motherbrain and gutted the white whale that was Metroid right in front of us.


May 7, 2011

Refresh Rate – Snake Rattle ‘n’ Roll

Filed under: Archives — Tags: , , , , — Nathan White @ 12:28 pm

Refresh Rate Snake Rattle N Roll
As much as people discuss the emergence of casual audiences today, the 8-bit Nintendo era was the perfect casual crossroads in videogame technology from my nostalgic vantage point. It was far more cost efficient than the computers of the day, with the savings far out-weighing what those computers could offer the casual consumer for entertainment. It also offered the potential for more complex types of games than the vastly inferior blocks and bleeps of the earlier Atari 2600 and other contenders prior to the infamous crash of the industry.

And as the NES found its way into more living rooms, it became an ideal platform for the ultimate casual player time-sink; puzzle games.

From my own childhood, I can comfortably say that the release of the NES version of Tetris caused a massive influx of casual gaming interest. Different from the Wii boom, this was still a time when videogames were viewed as little more than children’s toys, and as a result this first casual revolution did not serve to sell more Nintendo consoles to casual players but instead saw game time on your own Nintendo eroded, chiefly by your parent’s newly sparked interest in your toy.


December 9, 2010

Refresh Rate – Crystalis

Filed under: Archives — Tags: , , , , , , — Nathan White @ 5:49 pm

It’s funny how growing up with video games can fragment your perception of them in retrospect. I vividly remember my mom picking up a game for me on her way home from work from Acme Video on a regular basis, and hastily grabbing the most visually pleasing box from the shelf devil-may-care, as she always did.

That habit led to my introduction to Crystalis, which I remembered really liking, but when the time came for the game to return to the store it fell away to new anticipation – would the next game to come home be another Crystalis, or merely a Captain Comic?

Crystalis must have left an impression on me, because later in life, being a grown up and able to pick my own games, my thoughts drifted back to that particular weekend, necessitating a trip to my local video game haunt to find out if my memory was playing tricks on me.


November 25, 2010

Refresh Rate – Devil’s Crush

Filed under: Archives — Tags: , , , , , , — EdEN @ 5:02 pm

Devils Crush
The Wii’s Virtual Console is one of the most versatile “selling points” of the three current generation consoles since it offers, as is my case, a gateway into one’s childhood at an affordable price and grants an opportunity to relive the 80’s and 90’s in all of its pixels to single shade polygons splendor. And don’t say an NES game is too expensive at 500 Wii points – remember the actual price of an original NES cartridge back in the day?

Now with an introductory paragraph in the usual review style out of the way, let me tell you a story about a young married couple that one day found themselves immersed in the claws of a harmless, even charming looking videogame.


June 6, 2010

Refresh Rate – Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts

Filed under: Archives — Tags: , , , , , — Dan Rankin @ 12:28 pm

Super Ghouls n Ghosts
Throughout the years, countless storytellers have taken up the legends of Arthur, monster-hunting king of yore, and his heroes of the round table; these storytellers sometimes seemed on a quest against one another to put Camelot’s king and his brothers in continually more romantic and fantastical adventures. While the chivalrous hero of Capcom’s 1991 SNES platformer Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts may not be the same Arthur of circular table-fame, he certainly shares his name, appearance, and general quest; that is, to save a princess from a slew of horrible beasts.

Arthur begins in a classic iron suit of armor, purely utilitarian and consistent with the mythical prehistoric defenders of Britain, but he can uncover several upgrades that become increasingly more ornate and regal. The suit upgrades also magnify the power of whichever weapon Arthur happens to be holding onto; he starts with a lance but other options encountered through the game include speedy daggers, frightful bows, and useless torches. No matter how terrific Arthur appears in his shiny armor, a single hit from an enemy instantly rips our hero from his protective shell, leaving him to carry on in nothing but his skivvies.

But aren’t suits of armor notoriously hard to put on and take off? One wonders if perhaps Arthur expected his quest to the princess to be a rather lackadaisical journey, and designed his suits of armor accordingly, so that when he finally reached his damsel he could more speedily disrobe and make with the obligatory reward sex.


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