Monday, May 16, 2011

Retro Gamer 88 and 89

Guess which ground breaking, vanguard pushing, demon-general-in-training journalist has written earth-shatteringly incredible articles for an award-winning magazine this month. Yes readers, that’s right, it’s me – your very own Lord Humongous. Articles for Retro Gamer magazine, which means complimentary issues. And guess who is placing scans from this magazine online – right again, it’s ME. And for those who recently posted in comments, arguing I came across as arrogant and pretentious, TOO BAD. You are tuned to radio Sketcz and there is nothing that can change the dial. I hope you’ll stay awhile and enjoy the scans anyway.

Included are full size scans of the 6 page article with shmup developer Cave – it’s so good I thought everyone should see it.

Now, let me explain what we have here, and we can all get along in peace. I'm just here for the magazaline.

Contents to issue 88, hopefully large enough after you click on it to read what's in the issue. My favourite issue in a while, mainly because of the epic Cave article. You don't often get interviews with Japanese developers in games mags, and RG seems to be getting a lot recently.

Minority report is a new series of articles looking at obscure games on obscure systems. Pretty good this one, with lots of niche shmups. There's another in issue 89, which I didn't scan, and it's good, but some of the choices are pretty known in my opinion (Baku Baku is pretty common, right?)

Another in RG's ongoing obscura machina series. This alternates with their collector's guide series, so we get one really obscure piece of hardware and then an in-depth guide on something common like the N64 or C64. This is a good idea, since it's not always easy to recover systems already looked at. My only gripe is this particular article must have mentioned shooters for the system 2 or 3 times, and what games do they showcase? Cards, a recent homebrew Pacman game, and noughts and bloody crosses! The Pacman game is OK, but I'm sure the Fairchild had more interesting games that the other two.

It doesn't mention it, but the creator of the system died recently. Now that was in April according to Wires, so it happened after the magazine came out. Sadly ironic the timing of things.

Good feature by Stuart Campbell. Looks at early 1980s clones of well known games from that time. It's a simple idea, simply executed, but I had a lot of enjoyment seeing just how many crappy Donkey Kong clones they made around the time. Heck, that along could have made a feature - 101 Donkey Kong clones over the decades. Fun read.

Missile Command making of. 6 pages. Apparently been in the works by Darran for years now.

Don't read my words, golden and fantastic as they may be, click the images and read this article for yourself. Full of great trivia, good flow, nicely written prose, plus an interview with the guys at Cave. Top design too. The perfect article.

Contents from issue 89.

The collector's guide for the C64. I like it because it covers a lot of niche stuff about the system, and I'm all about the weird and unusual. Good photos of some rarities too. It doesn't credit the author, but I have a feeling freelancer Matt wrote the piece, in which case he interviewed himself on the last page. Maybe not thought.

Has it really been 20 years? Seems like yesterday I was visiting my mate Paul and a group of us were having mini tournaments. Jeez, I'm turning into old man. :(

Ridge Racer making of. They seem to have gotten answers from Namco staff, so quite a coup. 6 pages.

FUN TRIVIA: I don't like Ridge Racer. In fact I dislike it immensely. I also dislike Virtua Racer and Sega Rally immensely. How many tracks and cars do each of these have? 3 or 4 cars and as many tracks. Now, take Mario Kart or F-Zero and count how many cars and tracks they have. Back in the day I never understood why people paid money for the home version of something which had so little content. I still don't today. I don't even find them fun to play. It's not like you can shoot a turtle shell out of the bonnet of a rally car, now can you?

Oddly enough, I really like the original Gran Tourismo. Lots of content there. Hours and hours of stuff to tinker with and do. How many tracks? Thousands probably.

Broderbund! Big feature. Haven't read it yet.

My article! Fantastic! Somebody give this man the Nobel Peace Prize.

If you want hi-res scans visit the Biohaze forum.In the article I speak with 4 members from the dev team and document some very interesting things about the game. My only concern is that the Biohaze forum has commented on the game being of poor quality - and the implication of their posts is that my claims of it being a gem were somehow spurious. Due to all the developer info I had, there was very little space to explain why the game is great. I managed to compare it to Die Hard and that was it.

I want to emphasise this: I didn't make claims of the game's excellence in order to facilitate the interview. I tried the game, and loved it so much that I was determined, absolutely determined, to document it. Every time I read someone criticise it I feel myself lost for words because I utterly cannot understand why. It's a lengthy adventure, it's got challenge, creepiness, and interesting story, absolutely beautiful visuals, and it works so well as a handheld title. I sincerely loved it from start to finish.It holds equal place with MGS Ghost Babel on GBC for me. I'm not making this up. Gaiden is golden.

Interview with Raff. I've only ever played one game of his (Last Samurai on SNES), so this didn't interest me much.

Daz old boy appears to be getting into old PC games and especially DOS. The original Half Life (Windows obviously), Jill of the Jungle, Diehard (the PC game), plus Jetpack here. This is great, because there is an incredible world of overlooked gems for DOS. The ease of publishing on PC compared to consoles resulted in a lot of cool stuff. Hope this coverage continues (hinthint: do the English DOS version of Princess Maker 2 next).


  1. YES! Resident Evil Gaiden rules!

  2. Very nice. I am a fan of this publication as well and I'm happy for you. Actually, you and I have a handful of things in common. You might see an article of mine pop-up's not Retro Gamer..but another publication you feature. ;)Congratulations, and I'll catch you around. -A

  3. Ridge Racer (the PSX version) has 12 cars and 8 tracks. Sega Rally has 3 cars and 4 tracks. Virtua Racing has various versions, featuring anywhere from 1 car and 3 tracks (Mega Drive) to 5 cars and 13 tracks (Saturn). F-Zero has 4 cars and 15 tracks. Super Mario Kart has 8 carts (though only 4 unique configurations) and 20 tracks. Gran Turismo, which came years later than these, has 180 cars and 22 tracks.

    Granted the racing games designed for arcades initially are lighter on content than the home-focused titles, but the disparity isn't huge (particularly comparing Ridge Racer) until Gran Turismo came along. But by then, Ridge Racer was at R4 which has 321 cars and 16 tracks.

  4. Strangely enough I just finished reading your article on Resi Gaiden this morning, well done. Really annoyed that the press of the time put me off buying the game.

    I remember Ridge Race having 1 and a half tracks for the PS1??