Posts Tagged ‘game boy’

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

When I moved to a new school to start off 1st Grade, my teacher had me fill out a new student worksheet so they could hang it in the hallway to introduce me to the rest of the school. One of the questions was “what do you want to be when you grow up?” No one had ever asked me that. I was only 6 years old. I chose something on the spot: race car driver. It seemed relatively normal for a 6-year-old to pick. Some other the other new kids said army guy or princess. Race car driver was a safe choice. But I knew in my heart I had a greater destiny. I wanted to be the 3rd Mario Brother. My (totally platonic) love affair the mustachioed Italian plumber runs deep. At 27 years old, Mario and I have been maintaining a gamemance for nearly 25 years and counting. I get geeked about new Mario game releases just as much as a kid. Girlfriends have had to deal with my irrational exuberance when E3 rolls around and Shigeru Miyamoto via translator Bill Trinen debuts Nintendo’s hot new ware. When said hot new ware releases and I get my hands on it… it’s, well… good. But for about the last 8 to 10 years, something has felt missing from the core Mario releases. New Super Mario Bros. certainly feels new, but I think therein lies the problem. It’s new, not old, which is what this retro gamer is used to.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

I make no bones about saying my favorite game of all-time is Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES. It’s a fun game and still incredibly challenging after all these years. I still get an incredible sense of satisfaction after beating it because of the trials and tribulations of taking Mario through World 8 (especially the latter half of it, woof). I have great memories of playing this game as a child and watching others play it. But it makes me wonder, is Super Mario Bros. 3 my favorite game because it’s such a great game? Or is my undying love for it because I have such treasured memories of days past? I mean, it’s not exactly a stretch for someone to choose SMB3 as their favorite game. It is one of the best-selling games of all-time after all. But one of my earliest memories is watching my dad play it. My dad these days is absolutely NOT a gamer. I’m not even sure he’s touched a video game since I tried to get him to play NASCAR Thunder 2003. Even then, he probably hadn’t played a game since the early 90s. But I have such a vivid memory of watching him go through the second fortress on World 5 (the one that connects to the sky portion of that particular map). Maybe I’m looking into this too much, but could my love of Super Mario 3 be a result of it being, as far as I’m concerned, one of two video games I’ve ever seen my dad play? My dad and I never had a really close relationship. Could I be involuntarily holding on to this cherished memory by continually playing this game in the hopes of one day tossing my dad the second controller because I desire a closer relationship with my father? Yikes, this is getting a little deep for me. But this is only an explanation for one game, my favorite game. What about the other oldies?

Moby Games

Moby Games

Everyone has their reasons for being a retro gamer. Some may be hard pressed to find a reason for being a retro gamer other than “because it’s fun.” Well, of course it’s fun. You enjoy things that you find fun. But I want to go deeper. It may seem a bit self-serving, but I’m doing this introspective into my own head because I want to learn more about me. Maybe by doing this I can learn about others, but for now, I want to share my results with the world. One theory I came up with is how my post-high school life has been treating me. Adulthood has definitely had its share of ups and downs for me. I’ve faced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It perfectly matches my senior yearbook quote of “Life is like a rollercoaster. It’s scary.” Perhaps because my adult life has been less than desirable for the majority of my 20s, I’ve been holding on to childhood memories to remind myself of happier times. What better way to relive those memories than with the one constant in my life?

GameFAQs

GameFAQs

When I was living with an emotionally and mentally abusive girlfriend, my gaming room was my escape. For a small block of time, I was able to block her out and go back to a time where my feet didn’t touch the floor when I sat on the couch. I could sit in the basement and pretend I was 9 years old all over again. When a different girlfriend left me and I sat alone in an empty apartment, I picked up my 3DS and started speedruns on the copy of Super Mario Bros. I downloaded from the eShop. I didn’t have much, but I had the pure unadulterated elation of beating Super Mario Bros. without not just dying, but not even getting hit by an enemy. When I had a bad day at work and just wanted to yell and scream and ask whatever supreme being is in the sky “why?” I would go home, fire up my Nintendo, and take it out on the pixilated baddies. Ha! Take that goomba-who-is-an-8-bit-representation-of-that-customer-that-really-pissed-me-off-today! Okay, this seems to me that all I’m talking about is Mario. I mean, I played a lot of Mario as a kid as well as other series, but how does that account for my collection and love of retro games that I’ve only recently discovered?

GameFAQs

GameFAQs

When I originally started Five Dollar Gamer, I had not really started my retro gaming collection. I was mostly collecting games that I had as a kid, recovering what had been stolen from me in what I refer to as “The Great Nintendo Heist of 2000.” I managed to build that collection back up and then some, but Five Dollar Gamer started when my curiosity was piqued by a $2.99 Super Nintendo game. As a result of this almost 2-year venture, I have amassed nearly 100 “new” games to add to my collection. But what do I find so appealing about these games? These are not games that were a part of my childhood. But a lot of the time, these games hit the right mental notes. I had so much fun playing Solar Striker on the Game Boy, a game I only found out existed hours before the first time I ever played it. I feel it’s because of the similarities of the games I’m used to playing. The race for the high score, the simplicity, and the imagination required to craft your own story. Today’s games have the story spelled out for you. While sometimes that’s pulled of masterfully like in Bioshock or Grand Theft Auto V, for me, the kid who wanted to be the third Mario Brother, a little imagination goes a long way when enjoying an older game.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

I don’t want this to come off as I only play old video games when my life is being shitty and I need it as a crutch to not fall further or a ladder to try to climb out. I play it during the happy times too. Everyone loves reminiscing and telling stories from the past. It’s just something that people do when they get together after not seeing each other for a while. We tell old stories. “Hey, remember that one time…?” For some social circles, “Hey, remember that one time…?” could mean “Hey, remember that one time we played 4-player Mario Kart 64 at your mom’s house?” Next thing you know, you and friend are huddled around the TV playing Mario Kart 64 and bringing up more stories. As a result of Five Dollar Gamer, I’ve got to hear from many readers who will suggest a game for me and tell me a story about how awesome it was as a kid, or someone will leave a comment on a game I wrote about sharing a story. It’s awesome.

Wikitroid

Wikitroid

Retro gaming unites us. It’s so easy to hop online nowadays and connect with a faceless gamer on the other side of the world. But where’s the camaraderie in that? How many people honestly wax nostalgically while sitting in a lobby while waiting for the next Call of Duty deathmatch to start? Hell, how many people are even sharing a laugh when they’re playing against nothing but strangers? Can you imagine if you took four strangers from a deathmatch lobby, sat them on a couch, and had them play Mario Kart? There would be a lot less swearing, name calling, and insult flinging. Sure, there’d likely be some, but not to the degree that you hear when hiding behind the wall of anonymity, and I bet it’d be a hell of a lot more light-hearted. There would be more sharing of stories and of good times past. Get four strangers on a couch. Put a controller in their hands. They’ll find common ground.

Giant Bomb

Giant Bomb

I think the notion that older games aren’t fun is silly. Everyone, one way or another, is nostalgic about the past. Nostalgia transcends different mediums. It’s why your parents listen to classic rock and oldies. It’s why your neighbor takes his ‘67 Ford Mustang to the car show every summer. It’s why you just bought that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt from TeeFury. It’s not necessarily because it’s better. It’s what you grew up with, it’s what you know. When two 10-year-old kids walked into a GameStop I was working at once, a coworker and I happened to be testing a Nintendo Wii. We were playing the NES version of Punch-Out!! that someone had downloaded from the Virtual Console. One kid asked us how it could be possible that this game could be fun. I asked him to clarify. He says “Well, look at the graphics! They’re horrible!” 21-year-old me was angered by his statement. How dare this snot-nosed brat shit on my childhood with his naïve statement! But 27-year-old me can look back at this incident with wiser eyes. All this child knew was realistic 3D graphics. His line of questioning wasn’t malicious in nature. He was just curious why I was riding a bike when I have a car in the garage. He wasn’t old enough to be nostalgic. Maybe when he’s 21 he’ll be feeling nostalgic about Spyro the Dragon (or more likely Grand Theft Auto IV) in the same way I’m nostalgic about Punch-Out.

Video Disc Things/Tumblr

Video Disc Things/Tumblr

In writing this, I’ve learned so much about myself in regards to my treasured hobby. I desire to be a happy person. I desire to make those in my life happy. Retro gaming makes me happy, so naturally it’s something I want to share with others. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not something I like because I’m trying to desperately cling to my youth as I continue to climb in age. It’s just fun. It’s a hobby. It’s partly nostalgia, but not fully. I can have just as much fun with a Super Nintendo game I discovered just recently as I can with one I played when I was 10. I can also have as much fun with a AAA Xbox title from 2013 as I can with an obscure Game Boy game from 1990. Right now, NES Kirby’s Adventure is getting equal attention with Fire Emblem: Awakening on my 3DS. For me gaming transcends the decades. It’s a timeless hobby. The question remains: am I, or anyone else, retro gamers because we play mostly retro games or our collections are mostly retro games? Or are we just gamers?

solarstrikerbox

Source: GameFAQs

System: Game Boy

Release Date: February 1990

Rarity: 21%

Price: $3.99

I’ve passed this game up numerous times when shopping around for games to play. For some reason Solar Striker was never very eye-catching to me. I just imagined it as some cruddy space-shooter game that probably sold for $20 brand new upon release. But I recently discovered that Solar Striker was a 1st-party game developed by Nintendo R&D1. What other classically legendary games was Nintendo R&D1 responsible for? Go ahead and take a look at the Wikipedia page for Nintendo R&D1 and see for yourself. There’s too many to list here.

They also developed and created the Game Boy itself. Whoa. (Source: giantbomb.com)

They also developed and created the Game Boy itself. Whoa. (Image source: giantbomb.com)

Learning that, I had high hopes for this game. This was the only shooter of its kind developed in-house by Nintendo, so I was excited to experience their one-and-only take on a classic genre. I hoped to find out if there was a reason Nintendo never made another game like this. Was it was so great that no follow-up could ever top it? Or was it so bad it was doomed to live in the obscurity that I rescued it from. Well… this is Nintendo we’re talking about here. If it was good, they WOULD have made a sequel to it. My hopes have slightly diminished.

Seeing "Nintendo" next to that copyright date gives me the warm 'n' fuzzies.

Seeing “Nintendo” next to that copyright date gives me the warm ‘n’ fuzzies.

As soon as the start button is pressed, the game begins. No backstory to learn, no opening cutscene, nothing. This was the (almost) 80’s! That’s what the instruction manuals are for!

30 seconds of reading and some imagination in 1990. 15 minutes of opening cutscenes in 2014. (image source: eBay)

30 seconds of reading and some imagination in 1990. 15 minutes of opening cutscenes in 2014. (image source: eBay)

The game plays like your everyday basic vertically-scrolling shooter. Both A and B fire your lasers and the control pad moves your ship up/down/left/right. Nothing complicated here. That said, that’s the only real issue with this game. It’s not very complicated. It’s a very simple game. Scroll up, shoot enemy ships, and rack up points. That’s what games in this era were all about! Forget the backstory! Let me blow stuff up! I’m like a kid playing Grand Theft Auto for the first time! Pew, pew, pew!

Don't forget getting that double laser. Double lasers rule!

Don’t forget getting that double laser. Double lasers rule!

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

It helps that, despite its simplicity, it does what it does well. The controls are great, the framerate and speed are good, and even the music is fun. Just like Mole Mania, this game is an overlooked gem in the 1st party Nintendo library. I think for $3.99, this is the maximum you should pay for this game. It’s relatively common and there’s not a whole lot to it, but it’s amazing nonetheless.

Not all things that are simple are bad. (image source: quickmeme)

Not all things that are simple are bad. (image source: quickmeme)

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mmbox

Source: GameFAQs

System: Game Boy

Release Date: January 1990

Rarity: 25%

Price: $0.99

One of my earliest gaming memories involves playing Excitebike on the NES. My friends and I would use the edit mode to create the wackiest tracks we could to see if we could out do each other. It all came to a head when one of us (probably me) made a course of nothing but large hills. They take forever to get up if you don’t have enough speed. Of course as close as these hills were put together, building speed was impossible. This led to a course of nothing but grass patches and the eventual demise of Excitebike in our NES gaming rotation.

It wasn't exciting anymore.

It wasn’t exciting anymore.  (Source: Wikipedia)

I bring up Excitebike because it seems quite the inspiration for Motocross Maniacs. This game was published by Ultra Games, a subsidiary of Konami, created to skirt Nintendo’s early limits imposed on 3rd party developers as to how many games they can release per year on Nintendo systems. Those crafty bastards.

Like Excitebike, Motocross Maniacs is a side-scrolling dirt bike racing game in which you race against the clock to finish the course. The controls are similar. A to go, B for a nitro boost, left and right tilts your bike on jumps. There is also a mode that adds in a computer controlled opponent. Unlike Excitebike’s drones, you are actually competing against him instead of dodging what are essentially moving obstacles.  The courses are actually pretty challenging, even early on. Not only do you have jumps and hills to contend with, but also loop-de-loops. This adds a really neat dynamic to the game. Some of these loop-de-loops require skillful timing to get on to. Your nitro boosts are limited (rather than Excitebike’s turbo button) and are often required to hit these loops. In fact, nitros are required to make pretty much any jump.

This jump is impossible to make without nitro.

This jump is impossible to make without nitro.

This issue left me frustrated as hell. The game’s 4th course (as pictured above) is all about jumps requiring nitro boosts. Problem is, if you run out, you get stuck. I often had to restart the game or wait for the timer to run out so I could try again. I was getting frustrated with the game until I realized something. There is a strategy at work here. Some jumps you have to use nitro on to complete… but you don’t have to complete all jumps. There are multiple paths through the course. The trick is finding a path that works best for your nitro conservation strategy. This added another cool layer to the game that I hadn’t noticed right away (courses 1-3 allow for liberal use of nitro boosts). Only problem is, as of writing this, I still haven’t found out that strategy and am stuck on course 4. I haven’t given up hope yet.

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

And it’s because I don’t want to give up that I’m scoring this game as a high-five. I’m actually compelled to try to figure out how to tackle this course. It’s frustrating in a good way. I love when a game can challenge me not because of frustrating level design or poor gameplay, but because I haven’t properly formulated a strategy to beat it.  I feel like I’ve definitely got my dollar’s worth out of this game.

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apcover

System: Game Boy

Release Date: May 5th, 1991

Rarity: 57%

Price: $0.80

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may have seen where I decided not to review Atomic Punk for Episode 29. That’s because, after playing it, there’s not much I could say about it. It’s another Bomberman game. Please don’t take this to mean it’s a bad game! I really like Bomberman games, it’s just this one is not all that different from other Bomberman games. The upgrade store seems to be the big difference. Check it out if you’re jonesing for a Bomberman experience on the Game Boy (assuming you’ve already played Wario Blast, my preferred Bomberman Game Boy game).

ithcover

System(s)- Game Boy (Also available on: Mega Drive/Genesis, Super NES, Amiga, Amiga CD32, 3DO, PC, Jaguar, Lynx, Atari Falcon, Nintendo DS)

Release Date- December 1992

Rarity- 24%

Price- $4.99

The Humans. What a lovable bunch! Look at ’em up there! Just like you and me. Romance, jealousy, fear, happiness, creativity. Why not make a game about them?!

Oh...

Oh…

Ah-ha! But this game came out nearly 8 years earlier …and has nearly nothing to do with The Sims! Actually, if you’ve played Mario vs. Donkey Kong: March of the Minis or Lemmings, you’ll be right at home with this one. The story goes about how you would think a story about cavemen at the dawn of time would go. They have just discovered tools and you must use these tools as they are introduced to assist you in completing the level such as spears and ropes. You also have your fellow tribesmen to rely on as you can use them as a step ladder of sorts to climb small ledges. At the beginning of the level, the tribal chief will tell you what your goal is. You are then told how many tribesmen are available and how many you need to complete the level. For instance, on the first level you have 12 tribesmen available, but only 4 are needed to complete the task. The others are in reserve just in case someone gets killed.

"You know... we already have these spears here. No need to scale that dangerous cliffside to get another one. We could always make more too... what's that? 'Do it or you'll eat my family,' gotcha."

“You know… we already have these spears here. No need to scale that dangerous cliffside to get another one. We could always make more too… what’s that? ‘Do it or you’ll eat my family,’ gotcha.”

The controls took a little getting used to for me, but after a minute or so, it’s pretty easy. Right/Left on the d-pad moves your little caveman, B is used to select an action, and A sets that action. The Select button brings up a cursor which you’ll move to select another caveman once you get another one into proper position.

"Okay, so I'll be the Y, you guys decide who's gonna be the M, C, and A."

“Okay, so I’ll be the Y, you guys decide who’s gonna be the M, C, and A.”

 

Spear get! On to Level 2 where we use that spear! The spear can be used to fend off dinosaurs, vault over small gaps, or can be thrown. To leap over a gap, you must stand next to said gap, start a meter to set the power of your jump, and watch as your little caveman makes a daring leap over a pit of spikes. Now, you need to throw that spear over to the next caveman, so that he may also make the leap and oh dear I just killed him with the spear.

Sure did!

Sure did!

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

I was really surprised with this game. It’s got a certain charm to it. Maybe it’s the graphics or the little caveman sprites. The cursor and walking speed of the cavemen could be faster considering the amount of ground (or air, in the case of the cursor) they have to cover on each level. Also, the timer on each level seems redundant. You never feel pressured by the timer because they give you an arbitrary amount of seconds that you will not even come close to using all of (711 seconds for Level 1, 826 for Level 2, etc.). But these are minor gripes. There are not many games out there like this one, so if you’re looking for a strategy/platform/puzzle game, give The Humans a chance. The Doctor did…

"It's a game full of humany-wumany, timey-wimey stuff. You''l love it. Is this the face of a man who lies?"

“It’s a game full of humany-wumany, timey-wimey stuff. You”l love it. Is this the face of a man who lies?”

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all

I said I was gonna do it in my last Top 5 article, so here it is! My Top 5 Nintendo Handheld systems! Now, for some of these there ARE some hardware revisions (Game Boy Advance, then Advance SP, for example) that I am keeping in mind. So when I list one, I am also including all revisions of it. With that said… let’s do this thing:

#5- Game Boy Color

gbc

We start off with 1998’s Game Boy Color! This was Nintendo’s first handheld system capable of displaying colors (hence the name, duh). This was the first big step in Nintendo overhauling their handheld offerings. The reason I list this at number 5 is because there wasn’t that much time that went by between this system and the release of the Game Boy Advance (about 3 years) and there isn’t really a classic GBC game that jumps out at me as being particularly outstanding. There were several good games, don’t get me wrong, but outside of some Pokemon and Legend of Zelda games, nothing was real noteworthy.

#4- Nintendo DS

ds

This was a system I was super pumped for upon its release. The power of a Nintendo 64 in your hands?! Whoaaaaaaaa! I got my DS and Super Mario 64 DS for Christmas the year it came out and I was blown away as much as when I got my 64 and Super Mario 64 seven years prior. The reason I don’t hold the original DS (and Lite, DSi, DSi XL) in higher esteem is because I went through kind of a jaded gamer phase during my ownership of the system early on. I bought and sold it about 3 times (owning an original DS, DS Lite twice, and a DSi XL) and I also had a PSP so I could play “cool games” (ugh). The DS is an amazing system with amazing games, but I didn’t quite have the love for it that I had/have for other Nintendo handhelds.

#3- Game Boy Advance

gba

I was so excited to get the Game Boy Advance, that I got the system before I was able to get any games for it. I didn’t even care that Super Mario Advance was merely a Super Mario Bros. 2 remake. The fact that this (at the time) super-powerful handheld system was capable of displaying Super Nintendo-quality (sometimes better) graphics was amazing! I brought my GBA everywhere! To my friend’s house, my paper route, to school… where it got stolen!  I loved this system so much, I spent every dime I had to my name to replace it after that. When the SP came out, I HAD to have it. The 1st Nintendo handheld with a BACKLIGHT?! WHAAAAAAAAT?! I was saving up money for it when all of a sudden…

spnes

THIS! This beautiful golden God of a handheld system was released! The NES-skinned Game Boy Advance SP. I drooled like Homer Simpson when I saw that. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to drain my savings and I was never able to get the SP. I never ended up owning an SP until earlier in 2012 (a plain silver one), but I would still LOVE to own the NES-skinned version (always accepting donations!)

#2- Game Boy

oggb

The original, the old-school, the O.G.G.B, the big fatty Game Boy (and the Pocket). This was among my first presents I ever requested when I was old enough to request stuff for my birthday. There are so many games I loved on this thing and so many I’m still discovering. One of the first sections I hit up whenever I go to a game store selling retro games is the Game Boy case. There’s just something about the cartridges and artwork that just invokes childhood memories and makes me wax nostalgically about “the good ol’ days.” There’s a reason I’ve done more Game Boy games for reviews on this site than any other system. I just happen to get more curious about Game Boy games than any other system. Now, if I was writing this article before March 27th, 2011, the Game Boy would be #1, but there was a certain handheld release that day that totally stole my heart.

#1- 3DS

3ds

That’s right. The most modern day Nintendo handheld system on the market is #1 on a list made by a guy who is primarily a retro gamer. I freaking LOVE everything about the 3DS. I feel this is the most complete system Nintendo has ever released. Fantastic games, fantastic features, and fantastic graphics (by handheld standards) make this the total package. How do you make a fantastic system even better? Release the 3DS XL! Oh my Shigeru Miyamoto, this is such a good system! Any design flaw the 3DS has (aside from a 2nd thumbstick, but I’m one of the few who doesn’t care about that), was addressed in this redesign. The eShop is fantastic and has plenty of classic games to whet my retro appetite and I’ve even discovered some classic games I never knew about. The 3DS is a great system and I’m looking forward to what the future holds for it!

What do you think? How would you rank these systems? Let me know in the comments or get at me on Facebook or on Twitter!

As always, thanks for reading!

System: Super Nintendo

Release Date: October 1991

Rarity: 36%

Price/Location: $0.99/Gaming Warehouse (Grandville)

I know next to nothing about Ultraman. I know of Ultraman. I know Ultraman is ultra popular in Japan. But I don’t know if he has a lot of appeal outside of Japan, namely America. I don’t know anyone who would call themselves a fan of Ultraman (and if I do know someone, they certainly haven’t mentioned it). After playing this game and looking up a bit on what Ultraman was all about I can’t help but think that he would have fit in alongside several live-action Japanese shows (dubbed and re-done for American audiences), and ones inspired by them, that were popular in the mid-1990’s.

It also would have lead to several 9-year-old kids calling him a Power Rangers rip-off.

Unfortunately the timing was poor for both this game and a show based on this incarnation of Ultraman as far as a U.S. audience goes. Ultraman for the SNES was released in 1991 and an Ultraman TV series ran in the U.S. for about 3 months in early 1992. Both of these came out before the Power Rangers took the U.S. by storm in 1993. It could be reasonable to think that because of the relative obscurity of Ultraman in America today and this Super Nintendo game for that matter, that this game was not exactly a classic. But I’ve discovered some great games so far that weren’t exactly popular. Could Ultraman be any different? Will America ever learn to love Ultraman?!

Probably not! (2 people will get this joke)

Ultraman plays like your typical fighting game like a Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. But there’s no character select or 2-player mode. You play as Ultraman and you must defeat each monster in a 1-0n-1 battler to move on to the next level. Sounds pretty simple, and it is at first. The first two enemies are practically a cakewalk once you get the controls down. To defeat your enemy, you must deplete their health bar until it reads “Finish.” That’s when you hit them with a Level 4 laser blast! Level 4 laser blast?! What’s that?!

This is the “Glass Joe” fight.

You see that meter in the middle there? That meter will charge up as the fight goes on. You can use your laser at any point during the fight, but it resets the charge. Only a level 4 will finish your enemy off, however, so you won’t want to use it late in a fight when his health is low, rather than reading “Finish.” One thing that got me a couple times is your health and your enemy’s health will both slowly recharge if neither get hit for a while. During my playthrough, my enemy would have a meter reading “Finish” only for my Level 4 laser blast to reach him just as he recovered a sliver of health. This caused him to not die, but merely get knocked back down to “Finish.” It was quite frustrating.

I saw something similar to the above quite often because of it.

This game strangely has more in common with Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out than another side-view fighting game. The timing and strategy required to avoid enemy attacks and get hits in requires you to be focused quite a bit. Mashing buttons will get you nowhere fast, especially after the first two guys. The problem with this though is sometimes your timing needs to be somewhere in the neighborhood of perfect.

I don’t see what nice houses has to do with this game’s controls.

Example: When your enemy fires a laser of their own (because that’s what giant Japanese lizard monsters do) you cannot avoid it by jumping or ducking. You will get hit and you will get laughed at. You must perform AN ACTION BACKFLIP or AN ACTION SOMERSAULT! This is done by pressing down and left or down and right depending on the direction you are facing. Sounds easy enough, right? Like I said, timing on this is everything. More often than not, you will dodge most of the laser, then get hit by the tail end of it when you snap back up. It was quite frustrating.

I saw something similar to the above quite often because of it.

Whoa, deja vu.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

The game gets progressively harder as you go on, as it should. The problem is how difficult it gets. It is not an easy game. Perfect timing, the flawed laser/finish system, and the fact that some enemies move WAY faster than you do keep it from feeling fair. I’ve said many times in the past about other games that I felt that the difficulty of a game was because of my lack of skill and that I could become better with practice. Here I feel it’s because of how imbalanced some fights can be. I can’t describe the anger I felt when I finally got an enemy down to “Finish” in a close fight where I’m almost finished myself, only for my L4 laser blast tink off the sliver of health he’d recovered as the blast traveled towards him. This was a game I really wanted to like because it showed so much promise early on, but later levels proved to be an exercise in frustration.

Again, what do difficult workouts have to do with this game?

Ultraman is getting deported back to Japan! Migrate on over to the land of Facebook and Twitter and tell me how lame the jokes in this article were!

Folks, I ran into a bit of a problem a few months ago. You see, during one trip out looking for games for the blog, I ended up buying several Game Boy games. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem but this was after I had already done a few Game Boy articles. I couldn’t help it! I love Game Boy games! Since I already had a backlog of other games as it was, I decided to lump these games together into a GAAAAAAAAMMME BOYYYYYYYYY SPECIALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!
(If I knew Photoshop, I’d put a fancy “Game Boy Special” logo here. But I don’t so… pretend?)

So, for each one of these, I’ll do the usual Release Date, Rarity, Price, and Location Purchased (not System because… well… Game Boy Special) and I won’t go too in depth with them for the sake of brevity. I got like 5 of these. It would take forever. People don’t read this because they got a lot of time on their hands. They read it because I bug them about it until they do.

Anyway…

Mole Mania (now available on the 3DS eShop)

Release Date: February 1997

Rarity: 28%

Price/Location: $2.99/Play-N-Trade

I actually purchased this about 2 or 3 weeks before it was released on the eShop. I was very surprised to find out who made this game. Judging by the cartridge, I could tell this was at least published by Nintendo, hence why I picked it up. I had never heard of this game. BUT! This game was developed by Nintendo. As in… SHIGERU MIYAMOTO HIMSELF WORKED ON THIS GAME! The guy who created Mario! How in the heck did I never hear of this game? It’s a pretty interesting action-puzzle game. You go in and out of the ground to avoid obstacles and enemies while moving from room-to-room. It’s a fun game, some solutions will make you scratch your head, and if you don’t have a Game Boy, it’s available for download on the eShop!

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

WWF Betrayal

Release Date: August 7th, 2001

Rarity: 19%

Price/Location: $2.99/Play-N-Trade

This game sucks.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

TMNT II: Back From the Sewer

Release Date: December 1st, 1991

Rarity: 34%

Price/Location: $2.99/Play-N-Trade

This is the sequel to the TMNT game I did wayyyyyy back in Episode 6. Remember that? Remember how awesome I said it was? This one is just as good! This one doesn’t have the level select like the 1st one did, but it does have a similar character select to the original NES “classic.” You can’t switch turtles on the fly, but you can switch after each level with their current amount of health remaining intact. So if you switch out Mike for Donatello, and he only has 1 bar of health, he’ll have 1 bar of health when you use him later. My only complaint about this game is the walking animations for the turtles. They walk like a little kid who has to pee walking on his tip-toes to the bathroom so he doesn’t wake his parents. Otherwise, the game is just as good as the 1st one, maybe slightly better because of the slightly varied levels (auto-scrolling skateboard level!).

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

Mercenary Force

Release Date: October 1990

Rarity: 22%

Price/Location: $0.99/Gaming Warehouse (Grandville)

This was an interesting looking game. I had never heard of the developer (Meldac) or the developer (Live Planning), but they came together to create a pretty fun game. You start by purchasing from a selection of 5 characters with your starting pool of money. Some mercenaries cost more than others, so you’ll have to spend wisely. Then you go out into the field. It plays similar to a side-scrolling shooter like R-Type. Each merc has their own shooting pattern. Some shoot straight, some shoot diagonally, some shoot straight up-and-down. You’ll have to strategies your hiring of these guys to maximize your bullet spread. You can collect money throughout the level to re-purchase a merc, should you lose any. This game can be quite difficult, but it doesn’t come from cheapness. I felt this game could be winnable with skill building. A very surprisingly good game.

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

Power Quest

Release Date: December 1998

Rarity: 26%

Price/Location: $4.99/Play-N-Trade

I thought this was a cool looking game, so I took a chance on it. Kinda glad I did. It’s a fighting/RPG hybrid. It takes place in the near future (I guess) where “modelling” is all the rage. “Models” are what they call these R/C robots they fight with, so “modelling” is what they call the act of fighting with them. Kinda weird, but whatever, the fighting is really not bad for a Game Boy game. The controls are simple, but hard to master. It’s kind of like the Othello of Game Boy robot fighting games. BUT! It’s got a crappy password system. It’s not quite as bad as the one in Guardian Legend, but for a game released at the end of 1998, there’s no reason why it couldn’t have battery backup.

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

Yay! That clears out my backlog of Game Boy games! Like the page at Facebook or follow on Twitter! Thanks for reading!

There are many moments as gamers where we look back on our gaming achievements and say “That was awesome!” I looked back at my past and came up with 5 moments (because I’m the Five Dollar Gamer and Top 5 just seemed right) that I felt were defining moments in my gaming life. Numbers 2-5 are in no definite order, but #1 is there for a reason. So with that said:

#5- Getting My 1st Game Boy

We had an NES in the house since before I was born, but the Game Boy, along with Home Alone and Wheel of Fortune, were the 1st video game presents I requested. This was for my 4th birthday. This was the first video game anything that I could call my very own. This Game Boy, moreso than the NES we already had, sent me down a path of spending most of my waking moments as a youth in front of a TV screen gaming, that would eventually spill into adulthood and I would never recover from.

#4- The Halo 2 LAN Party

This was a night to remember. 4 Xboxes, 4 copies of Halo 2, 16 friends, 1 house. I had only played Halo 2 a few times before this particular night and I didn’t have an Xbox of my own, but I included this on my list because of the pure fun I had on that night. This wasn’t a “get drunk and play video games” kind of LAN party. This was a soda, chips, yelling, and laughing kind of night. We wired all of the Xboxes to each other in different rooms of a friend’s house and huddled 4 people together on each TV. I remember vividly our gracious host shouting obscenities from the other room, his little brother going into the negative point totals for teamkilling, only to come back and win the match, and the prank phone calls we made during one break. My friends may not look back on this one as fondly as I do, but for me, this was probably the last pure, innocent night of gaming goodness before we hit legal drinking age.

#3- When I First Stayed Up Late To Play Video Games

Oh boy, this was a fun night. I’m almost certain this was the summer of 1996. I was 9… probably… (Let’s see… May 1987… summer of ’96… yeah, 9-years-old). The person who would eventually become my stepbrother and I stayed up until 5 AM playing NES games, including a 4-hour Blades of Steel marathon. As a sign of things to come later in life, I had to be up at 7 AM that morning to leave for vacation. Yes, a 2-hour turnaround between between falling asleep and getting up to travel 6 hours in a car. Not good news for a 9-year-old. Although my gaming sessions these days don’t reach near what they did that night or what they did the following years, there was something about this night that prepared me for what was to come.

#2- Playing Super Mario 64

Holy cow, did this game blow my mind! I remember the first time I played it was the 1st day of 5th Grade. I finally got my Nintendo 64 hooked up for the 1st time that morning before catching my bus. I managed to get the 1st star before having to rush out the door, but I was enthralled. On this particular start of the school year, I was starting at a completely different school and I didn’t know a single person. But making friends was not on my mind that day. Getting back home and playing more Super Mario 64 was priority numero uno. The reason this is on this list is because just how different it was from any other game I have ever played. I was exclusively a Nintendo gamer at this time and Super Mario 64 was my introduction to 3D graphics and gameplay. This huge jump in the way I played games was almost magical to my 10-year-old brain. I’m sure everyone felt somewhat similar to how I did when playing this game for the first time, but for me, it was my introduction to a whole new world of gaming.

#1- Getting Over My Fear of Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

“Oh hey, Five Dollar Gamer, that’s an awesome choice for your number… wait, what?!”

Yes, it is true. For the longest time, I was deathly afraid of the picture of Mike Tyson at the beginning of Punch-Out!! It scared me s***less and gave me nightmares. The white, soulless eyes. The evil grin. AAAAAAGH! My friend’s older brother was well aware of my fear of it and would use it as a tool to prank me. It was not fun times for me. I avoided the game like the plague until I was a bit older. When I was in 8th Grade I found the game in my closet. It was the only game to survive the Great “Holy Cow, All My NES Games Got Stolen” Caper of 2000. I decided to take a chance and see if I was still scared of Mr. Tyson’s 8-bit digitized image. Could I handle at 14, what I couldn’t since age 4? Well, not only did I find the picture of Tyson HILARIOUS because of his missing teeth, I discovered what would eventually become one of my favorite games of all-time. We sat there for hours discovering the deep strategies and patterns for each boxer and working our way up the WVBA rankings. The reason I put this at #1 is the sheer turnaround in regards to the esteem in which I held this game. In mere minutes I went from thinking this game was the spawn of Satan to becoming a classic. It remains as the only NES game I still have in my collection that I had as a youth. The very same cart. It has never left my possession. I have re-purchased most of the games that were stolen from me, but I still have the same exact cartridge that I had when I was deathly afraid of it. For that reason, I have some sort of weird bond with it, and it’s why getting over my fear of it and my subsequent adoration for it, is my #1 personal gaming moment.

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System: Nintendo 64

Release Date: February 10th, 1999

Rarity: 47%

Price/Location: $3.99/Gaming Warehouse (Grandville)

I love racing games. Whether it’s more of a simulation like Forza Motorsport or more cartoony like Mario Kart, the racing genre has been one I’ve always held near and dear to my heart. It’s also the genre I tend to be the most picky with. Why do I like Forza over Gran Turismo when they’re essentially the same game? I don’t know, because… ummmm… ahhh…

Here’s hoping your ADD kicks in right now and you forget about that question.

So Penny Racers is one of those games I always looked at and went “Huh. I like racing games. This is a racing game. It’s even got ‘Racers’ in the title! And those cars are so cute! How bad can this game be?” As with every other game, I bought this one used and it caused me a little trouble at the start. You see, as I started playing the game, I noticed a distinct lack of music. The sound effects, although slightly annoying, were perfectly functional. My first thought was “What kind of cheap-ass game is this with no music? Was there seriously no money in the budget for a sound composer?” Where was the music?!

 

Listen, it’s not like I’m asking for this guy. Just get me SOME music.

Well, I found my music… in the options menu… that I failed to go through… like I normally do with a new game. Looks like the previous owner didn’t like the music in this game. I don’t see why. While it’s no Mario Kart, it’s hardly grating. If anything, the sound effects should have been turned off. So enough about the music, what of the game? Well, for starters, the game… certainly looks like a Nintendo 64 game: a slightly fuzzy, colorful, polygonal assortment of graphics. The controls aren’t bad. It’s certainly playable. There are a few issues I have with the gameplay though. Bumping into another car, is like running into this:

It’s like you’re racing against 5 of these.

It seems almost unavoidable when rounding corners. Merely bumping another racer can send you from 1st to last. Equally as frustrating was navigating the menus. When you come in the top 3, you get to steal a part from someone in the bottom 3. A fine idea that you don’t really see much in games today. The problem comes when trying to equip your new item. The menu system is just so confusing and item installation is located in the settings menu. Just imagine you’re playing Call of Duty and to equip your new weapon you just unlocked, you had to back out of your game, go into the options menu, select settings, and all of a sudden you’re presented with the option to equip your gun. This is like if you had a frozen pizza and you had to walk through your bathroom to put it in the oven located in your garage.

GET OUT! YOU DON’T BELONG THERE!

Unfortunately it appears a memory card is required to save any parts you earn. Weird, because it appears track times are saved on the game cart itself. I lost what little progress I made by turning the system off. Ahh well.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

Maybe it’s because I really am picky, but I had a hard time getting into this game. The environments, while colorful, also manage to be quite bland. What a feat. The game is kind of easy, but as stated before, one bump into another racer is the difference between winning and finishing dead last. The part swapping is cool, but the odd placement of the menu to do so lessens the coolness by a significant factor. Why part swapping had to be buried in the settings menu instead of being given its own menu is beyond me. I can’t really recommend this game, but it’s not completely terrible. Enjoy at your own risk.

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