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Developers notebook

Category: Games (page 1 of 2)

Gaming retro to current

Fantasy World Dizzy (1989)

Fantasy World Dizzy

Fantasy World Dizzy

First tape game I brought after getting a cassette player for my Spectrum +3. A 48K version on one side of tape and a 128K version on the other. The only difference I could tell was the 128K version had a speech sample when the game first loaded announcing the title of the game. Impressive feat considering the hardware limitations. You girlfriend Daisy has been egg napped by Zak and you have to get her back. A relatively easy game to play through and the first Dizzy to introduce other members of the Dizzy’s family, the yoke folk. These guys help you through the screens by giving you items. Part of the game includes a trip to Australia where the playing area is flipped upside down, you could make this a bit easier by turning your T.V upside down! Repeating the coin collecting from Treasure islands Dizzy once Daisy has been rescued you need to collect 50 coins to pay for your new home to live together in. Dizzy was a very successful series with 8 adventures and several spin off titles. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dizzy_series for more info.

Hard Drivin’

30p a play or 50p for two credits. This was my all time favorite arcade game. It’s even got it’s own wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_Drivin’

Two linked cabinets so you could race you mate on the same track. A 3D stunt racer with features way ahead of it’s time. Polygon graphics engine, great sound effects, network play, clutch pedal, ignition key start, force feedback steering.

If I ever see one come up on eBay I’ll be placing a bid to two!

Metal Gear Solid online beta

I logged on to the new look Playstaion store Sunday and found MGS Online beta. I thought great never been involved in a game beta test before this should be good. Oh dear, first you download from the Sony store the install file, no problem took about 20 minutes. Next you install and launch the game, but what’s this? An update is available and must be installed to proceed, but I thought I just downloaded from the Playstaion store, and would expect the latest version to be available. It’s a beta so maybe they have a team of programmers working round the clock updating the code fixing all the bugs already discovered, you have two choices to update by either peer to peer file sharing or http. I started with p2p but this was super slow, so I gave http ago. The server must have been swamped it wouldn’t connect at all. So back to p2p and 40 minutes later 6% complete, this is going to take awhile.

Once downloaded I was more than ready to play. Installed update and now I’m asked to provide my Konami gamer ID! So on to the registration site with is painfully slow and badly designed. You have to go through a 5 step registration process and if you take too long on a form it times out helpfully explaining the page has been deleted, nice. I powered up the Mac an installed AutoFormer for Firefox so I could get through the registration pages in the fastest possible way, with minimal chance of a timeout. It didn’t work, after half an hour I gave up. Next day I had more luck and managed to get gamer ID, now I’m ready to go. Downloaded game, update installed and gamer ID registered. Sign in and play time, if only it were that simple. I tried it out but all it get for my troubles was a can’t connect server message. After checking the forums it appears the betas been delayed till Friday, hope its worth it. Fingers crossed…

Playstation 3 is pre-ordered!

I had a tip off last night that Game stores would be taking pre-orders today, and sure enough they were. I’m number 8 in the queue and although the sales assistant wouldn’t tell me their store allocation he assured me I’m guaranteed a launch day console! I’ve also got my name down for a HDMI cable, Resistance Fall of Man and Motor Storm. 41 days to go…

Countdown to PS3 UK launch

We could be only two months away form the UK Playstaion 3 launch, according to gamesindustry.biz the date could be 23/03/07. Sony has taken a lot of bashing over the late European release but I’d prefer all the bugs to be worked out on the American consumers first. Then by the time we Brits get our hands on a system, software updates should be available for download.

I’m a bit concerned over the lack of pre-order schemes up and running yet as retailers are yet to hear from Sony as to the quantity allocations the will receive. But let’s not worry too much about that at the moment fingers crossed Sony will do a good job with the UK launch.

Looking on the positive side, there will be many more UK launch titles ready than there were available back in November. My launch days wish list: Motorstorm, Resistance fall of man, Genji days of the blade, Full Auto 2 Battlelines, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Ridge Racer 7, Formula One Championship Edition.

Will you be camping outside your local Game store on launch night? It would be great to hear from fellow nextgen fanatics.

Gears of war (Xbox 360)

Last night I played Gears of War on the Xbox 360. Wow, what a masterpiece. The graphics are outstanding and really show what the xbox 360 hardware is capable of and this is only a year after release imagine what treats are yet to come. The first thing I noticed was the realism, objects have true texture, walls look like they are made from bricks and mortar. Rain water flowing down from the roof on the inside of a building looks very real. Epic have really put a lot of effort into the details, the machine gun emits a heat haze after being fired. When you run the camera jolts around wildly.

I’ve only tried out the online play so cant say what the story mode plays out like. Online maps were reasonably quick to load with a full 8 players most times. Exchanges of fire can go on for quite sometime but quick kills with the shot gun or chains saw are also possible. When your out of health you can tap to slow the bleeding and stay alive, if your lucky a team mate will come along and revive you, but if your opponent comes to check your dead you’ve had it. There’s a lot more to this game than I can do justice in a quick post but if you have an Xbox 360 then you need this title, but then you probably already have it…

Canis Cane Edit (PS2 2006)

Well I hope you have all had a good Christmas Holiday and are looking forward to the New Year.  2007 will see the last of the next gen consoles released in the UK, roll on March!  In the meantime I’ve been keeping myself busy with Rockstar’s latest release Canis Cane Edit, (Bully in the U.S.) which I have been reliably informed is a Latin translation for Dog eat dog.  This title has caused a lot of controversy, which I’m sure the publishers are used to by now.

You play Jimmy Hopkins a lad who has been expelled from all the good schools and is now trying to make his way through Bullworth Academy.  A rough boarding school nestling at the bottom of the league tables. The missions are arranged like GTA, you can pick and chooses what you want to do and when you want to do it.  There are two classes a day which if you attend will open up new skills and objects, do well at chemistry and you can make your own stink bombs or pass shop and get a BMX.  Jimmy’s not restricted to the school premises either there’s the nearby town with extra missions and shops or you can visit the fun fair to race go carts.

You can decided to be friendly or not to fellow students and staff its a system that you can play to your advantage depending on who your trying to get it with.  I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve played so far and highly recommend it.

Sega Mega CD

I’d read about the Mega CD in Sega magazines but hadn’t seen one, then I brought a promotional video tape from a boot fair of all places and the Sega marketing team had done a great job because after I’d watched the tape I wanted a Mega CD. As they didn’t sell to well here in the UK it was hard to find one after the high street shops had sold there initial stock however I did see one in a second hand shop just round the corner form my home and it was mine for £90 so I decided to blow my savings and get it.

I never did get to play Night Trap one of the games demoed on the video but I did get to play some really unique interactive video style games like Sewer shark and Area 51. The Mega CD came with Sol Feace and Cobra command in the box, neither game really showed off the advantages of having a CD-ROM based system. You could play CD & CD-G discs through the system but I rarely did as the sound came through my TV speaker which wasn’t great. The Mega drive piggybacked the Mega CD and had an expansion slot on the side to connect the to devices, and they had independent power supplies. A fun console that I could never find any games for, if only eBay was around back then! I think it’s cost new prohibited large European sales, which is a shame as it did have a lot to offer. Poor old Sega it was all down hill from there wasn’t it?

Nintendo bounding back

Nintendo have been bounding back into the gaming industry since the success of the DS Lite and the huge response to the launch of the new Wii console.  Last weekend I was in the game store in Canterbury, there was a sign in the window “We still have some DS Lite available” inside was a smaller hand written note, we have 6 DS left?, in the fifteen minutes I spent in the shop I watched the manager changes the sign a few times 4 left, 2 left and as I was leaving the main sign in the window was coming down.  Nintendo’s new products are really selling strong in Europe this Christmas I can only see good things ahead for the company.

Reports of a shortage of component cables for the Wii have caused a lot of buzz on the gaming forums and podcasts.  I guess as the Wii isn’t HI-DEF Nintendo thought it wasn’t necessary to include these in the box but it’s kind of surprising these aren’t readily available at launch as most earlier adopters are going to be techie types that have HD equipment and want the best quality display possible.  Also I thought extras such as cables are the main money makers, Sega and Microsoft certainly went for this business model.

Even if the Wii is a Game Cube with a new controller, as a piece of hardware it sure looks good, and if the games work well with the motion catching controller Nintendo could be sitting on another DS like gold mine.  Things have changed a lot since the heydays of the SNES but it’s good to see Nintendo is doing more than just hanging on.

I’ll be interested to see which online multiplayer games go on sale in 2007.

Road Blasters (1988)

Road Blasters was converted form the arcade to the Spectrum.   I played the arcade version a lot while on holiday at Butlins in Bognor Regis.  When the adverts went out for a home version I couldn’t wait to get it.  Experience again the holiday magic without having to keep putting 20p coins in to keep playing!  The game can best be described as Outrun with guns.  You have to drive to the end of each stage without running out of fuel, which can be collected from green orbs opportunely sitting in the road.  Make sure you collect all the fuel orbs as it can get a tad infuriating when you’re inches from the finish line and run out of fuel.

Now on to the blasting bit, you had a standard gun with infinite ammo to quickly dispatch other cars and motor bikes that insist on getting in your way.  But the real magic comes from the special weapons delivered to you by what looks like a NASA space shuttle that hovers over your car, you have a limited time to collect the roof mounted weapon treat before the shuttle fly’s off.  Because the special weapons are so hard to come by it makes them all the more fun to use!

There are also mines to look out for but you do get a warning on your dashboard when you’re entering a mine ladened area.  The loading time from cassette was about 10mins but it’s worth the wait.

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