BLAST FROM THE PAST

Ghosts, Ghouls, Goblins, In The Mix - [soundbyte g]

Sir, Madam, are you familiar with Ghosts 'n Goblins' (1985) most iconic tune?

If not, I urge you to first check out a minute or two of any of the playthroughs below.

 

 

Got that theme memorized?

Time for some chiptune-infused drum 'n rocksteptrance overkill, courtesy of Capcom's 30th Anniversary Music Best: Original & Arrange:

 

It's crazy. I like crazy.

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"ALIENS"

So I binge watched and binge played everything so-called 'canon' Alien out there, and this is my conclusion:

"A few minutes is all you need to appreciate the little things in life."

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Days of Ruin - [soundbyte d]

Disclaimer: last-gen handheld soundtracks can sound grating to the uninitiated ear. Imagine you're on a battlefield or something. Enjoy!

One of my favorite handheld games - it's still plugged into the old dusty DS for when the need arises - is a turn-based war sim called Advance Wars - Days of Ruin, and it caught me completely by surprise when it came out in 2008.

 

It introduced us to a grim post-apocalyptic madness that was the complete opposite of the colourful and playful Dual Strike - the third game in the Advance Wars series - and its predecessors on the GameBoy Advance.

Orange is the new black.

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Another old acquaintance, another heartfelt reunion.

 

Like Odin Sphere (2007) became Odin Sphere Leifthrasir (2016) when it fluttered from PS2 to PS4 / Vita, so did Muramasa - The Demon Blade (2009) become Muramasa Rebirth (2013) when it made the jump from Wii to Vita.

And just like I loved Vanillaware's remake, so do I adore their handheld port with extra storylines.

#screenshotsaturday

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The forgotten Prey

About 10 years ago, some time after Half-Life 2 (2004), and some time before BioShock (2007), a game was released.

It blew me away.

Forget about Cowboys & Aliens.

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Bionic Soundsystem - [soundbyte b]

Bionic Commando is rad.

Its protagonist, Nathan Spencer, is Rad.

The soundtracks are, most of the time, super rad.

No, seriously.

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Wonder Boy Meets World

It's taken almost 30 years, but our Boy Wonder has returned!

Relive his epic adventure in high def hand-drawn glory, or in 8-bit nostalgia-drenched bliss!

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Only THE best combat racing game. Evahr.

Don't even bother.
All your arguments are invalid.

Why am I bringing this up now?

First of all, Jak X - Combat Racing is COMING BACK!

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You've got mail.

"It is with deep regret and profound sadness that we inform you we have lost our final bit of integrity, with this upcoming Collector's Edition re-release of Final Fantasy XII - The Zodiac Age."

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Zombies Ate My Neighbors - [soundbyte z]

Not named Zombies Ate My Neighbours in the UK, or the rest of Europe.
Just Zombies, and the "censorship" didn't stop there.

As if an axe would be less deadly than a chainsaw, somehow.

Even between the SNES and MegaDrive versions there were many differences - with SNES coming out on top for most discrepancies - which was almost considered standard procedure in that bygone era.

Thank the lord I was taught how to slay 'n spray Z's at the beat of the SNES' soundtrack.

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Short and powerful, just the way I like my battle themes - [soundbyte y]

I sometimes imagine hearing this track in other games, just because it fits the INSTANT PUMP UP THE BATTLE RAGE bill so much.

 

This is Milanor's fighting theme. This is Milanor.

Sporting the most bad-ass weapon ever. Ever.

Milanor is a main character in the turn-based RPG Yggdra Union: We'll Never Fight Alone (DS and PSP), which is part of the Yggdra Union series, which is part of the Dept. Heaven series.

But none of that matters.

Only music does.

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Jesus Christ - [soundbyte x]

It's hard to find games that start with an X.

And of those few that are worth playing, it's even harder to find a game with a decent soundtrack.

So allow me to cheat this once, and come clean at the same time: Xenogears.

Never played Xenogears. It's a darn shame but I haven't touched this piece of JRPG history from the PS1 era as of yet.
But things are going to change.
After all, with such a resplendent soundtrack, it's clear I've missed out on much.


One of Yasunori Mitsuda's best works, Xenogears' soundtrack managed to touch the hearts of many a gamer in its time  (1998), and plays a big part in the cult following the game itself garnered.

Also, you can kinda kill God.

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Hello there old friend

Can't put down the best remake ever to have graced my hands.

For reference, the re-releases of Shadow of the Colossus (2005 / 2011) and Muramasa - Rebirth (2009 / 2013) rank alongside it as most exquisitely brushed up games ever.

Leifthrasir (2016), the remake of Odin Sphere (2007), fleshes out all aspects of its former self, as gameplay, music, story and artwork each got something new going for it.

Not happy with change? You can always play classic mode with updated graphics.

#screenshotsaturday

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Boogers, zits, and a healthy dose of vomit

That about sums up the mostly cringy, live-action part of Osmosis Jones, whose - quite extraordinary - animated scenes seem to have flown under my radar for a good 16 years.

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N Sane in da M Brane

The long wait is over.

Your favourite mentally challenged furball is coming back to your home screen, in all its 'remastered plus' glory.

June 30th is the date to mark, and expect an extremely touched up PS4-worthy Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, comprised of Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot: Warped.

What a time to be alive.

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Gaming Paradise. Gaming Hell.

Irasshaimase!

Welcome to the neon coloured streets of Tokyo, where arcade halls can be found near practically every train station - of which there are many.
Like, many many.

Not only an assault on the eyes, but basically all other human senses as well, these ear-deafening places of monetized fun offer anything the gamer's heart desires, and more.

If you don't mind the cigarette smoke, the sound of several dance/rhythm games screeching through each other, the sight of scantilly clad anime girls, or the excessive sweating from entering this overheated electronic world of madness... you're in for a treat.

The keen eye will notice that these pictures DO NOT depict a lot of actual people in action. That's because I stayed respectful and made most of these shots in Odaiba Leisure Land, during the week, in the middle of the day.

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Cater to the masses

Something old, something new, in The Return of the Sierra Bundle...

or The Sierra Bundle Strikes Again, whichever you fancy more.

 

Something singleplayer, something multiplayer, in the current Yogscast Jingle Jam 2016.

Entry packs for many major MMORPG's

Priced at a hefty $30, you do get more than 30 games worth during the month of December, some of which are... okay, most of which can provide hours of entertainment.
If you're into MMORPG, you're in for a treat.

And here as well you can find a healthy mix of new and old(ish). Think Psychonauts and Guild Wars 2.

Icing on the cake: 100% goes to charity.

 

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Blue Bomber Blues - [soundbyte m]

I'm kidding, this ain't blues. This is 80's chiptune so rad your brain will never be able to compute it, from a game series as hardcore as the soundtrack itself.

Originally Published
2016/08/05

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DR. QUIRKEY'S GOOD TIME EMPORIUM

Besides discovering a little retro haven of solitude in the lower levels of a Dubliner hostel, we also happened upon A BIG RETRO HAVEN OF MULTITUDE right next door.

This is the one arcade hall that didn't solely thrive on slot machines and, ergo, the addiction of  many a passersby - and it had a marvelous slection of polished machines from 2001 up till now.

That's worth a few coins in my book. Let the good times in.

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Dublin Hostel Game Room

Besides stuffing my face and blatter during a river dance or two, or taking shelter in an ancient burial mound so as not to get drenched by a Celtic monsoon, I discovered a little retro haven of solitude in the lower levels of Avalon House...

Not depicted: backpackers defiling these relics with their greasy paws

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Killer Cuts - [soundbyte k]

Arcade games from the nineties are friggin' awesome. Their console ports... not so much.

But still a load of fun, due to the fact you weren't spending all your allowance in one go with prying eyes in your back.

And some ports - although graphically or musically inferior - gave a little extra in the form of new modes, more skins, and in the case of Killer Instinct (1995)...

 

That's right.

Inside the SNES box of Killer Instinct you'd find a CD with arranged tracks from the arcade game. I even played this disc so much it evaporated into awesomeness.

That said, the new Killer Instinct (2014-2016) on Xbox One is also pretty rad. The music is very... modern. It'll probably grow on me, but nostalgia hasn't kicked in yet.

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THE WAR IS ON AGAIN! TIME TO CHOOSE!

Would you prefer an old mainstay, but with little to bring to the market? You know you'll have to pay up extra to get the whole package, right?

Thirty 8-bit classics for one person, unless you cough up the dough. Wired non-usb controllers.

Or would you go for brazen bravado, offering so much more even though it's mostly a pile of shit?

Eighty 16-bit classics for two persons or one person on-the-go, but only a handful are actually fun. Also, bad ports. Also, no HDMI.

Maybe it's time for change, go back to our roots, and choose the underdog.

                    A hundred and one '8'-bit classics for two persons, or sixty for one person on-the-go. You can't get any more oldskool than this.

Or stick with you cell phone and don't choose. BUT DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU.

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[f] Back in the day…

What is ‘retrogaming’?

And why does this usually imply a delicate balance between rose-tinted nostalgia and piss-poor ageing?

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What to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon

Go back in time to 1997 and protect your keep in Dungeon Keeper, free of charge on Origin!

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Donkey Kong Country - [soundbyte d]

...or the perfect blend of pseudo-3D from over two decades ago.

I remember not being able to sit through the intro theme, on account of me running off to get my dad while screaming "I SAW THE FUTURE AND IT IS NOW".

He was impressed but it wore off a few days after, on account of him trying to peel my hands from the controller.

If you're a true Nintenboi / Nintengal, you might remember our favourite ape dabbled in full 3D for a while - much like his Zelda/Mario counterparts - before reverting to the tried and true DK formula in Donkey Kong Returns (Wii) and Tropical Freeze (WiiU).

Nintendon't break what you can't fix.

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Suck it Dracula - [soundbyte c]

"Vampire Killer" and "Bloody tears" are bad-ass tracks that grew along with Castlevania from 1986 to date.

Here's a compilation of both for your listening pleasure, but if you tackle them in one go, don't come complaining about becoming brain dead or blood deprived or something.

Originally Published
2016/08/08

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The 7th Guest - [soundbyte #]

I never played The - critically acclaimed horror puzzle game - 7th Guest (1993), nor its sequel The - less than stellar - 11th Hour (1995), but if the music's any indication, I should really be getting to it.
Loving the main theme, and I keep hearing Minnie the Moocher in the ending song.

When a cult game reminds me of a cult movie, that's never a bad thing.

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I found the PERFECT CELL

and it already has Android 8

And it's already got Android 8.

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Hey Square Enix

Good job adding Ehrgeiz as a minigame in the Final Fantasy VII remake. You rock.

TAKE ALL OF MY GIL

TAKE ALL OF MY GIL

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Mind=Blown

You know that feeling when something finally dawns on you, something so obvious, something you should have noticed years ago, and now you feel like a complete moron because of it, and you're afraid to tell other people because they will laugh in your face and poke you with a stick?

Do you know this little guy?

That's Tails.

I've known him since his 'conception', in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, from 1992. I could understand English thanks to eg. Transformers cartoons, but wordplay was still a mystery for pre-teen me.

Tails' real name is Miles Prower.

MILES PROWER.

Get it?

He's Sonic's buddy? The fastest hedgehog alive? Going a gazillion... miles... per hour...? AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO DIDN'T GET THE MEMO?

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The arcade is dead! Long live the arcade!

That carpet tho

That carpet tho

No seriously, I haven't seen a functional, flourishing gaming arcade in my home country for over a decade, and ancient gems hidden in some dingy bar will never be able to compete with 2 to 3 floors of stroboscoping neon lights and blip-blop sounds screeching through way-out-of-date speakers.

I remember going to a multi-story haven of pleasure in London, where you could also buy action figures, anime-related knickknacks, and assorted gadgets, in shops strewn around the staircases of the rather imposing gaming arcade. I can't recall the name of the place though - it wasn't SEGAWORLD for sure - and it certainly held no candle to the ones in Japan or Dubai.

So yeah, let's stick to the hidden gems for now, until I reach the shores of the promising Far East.

Found this one in a Burger Grill, surrounded by creepy Indian mugshots, on a derelict commercial site some ways of the Parisian periphery.

You drive around catching motorbikes I guess.

Native Americans be watching.

 

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DIGITAL POCKET MONSTERS

You'd almost think I'm an avid fan of Pokemon with those recent blurbs.

Well, I'm actually not.

Let me rectify this misunderstanding with a nice wallpaper.

(Would love to credit the artist, but his id has been swallowed by the net...)

Too bad Digimon Story - Cyber Sleuth is the only recent Digimon game to hit our shores... But there are ways...

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Game of Laughs

Are you a fan of watching British people do very British things to your gaming childhood memories?

Then Go 8 Bit will totally tickle your fancy.

Pull out the old UK VPN and go live, or take comfort in the fact that YouTube will always cater to some of your needs.

The excellent chiptune intro is made by Liam Tate, and not Anamanaguchi as I first thought. There, I saved you some googling headache.

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OLD PEOPLE! YOU MAY REJOICE AS WELL!

You might or might not have heard, Steam just put entire collections online of Space Quest, Quest for Glory, Gabriel Knight, King's Quest, and maaaany others. Of course you could find most of them on GoG for years, but the moment they were released for Steam, Humble Bundle took their shot and are presenting you:

THE SIERRA COLLECTION!!

Give what you want, up to $20 for the entire NEW King's Quest collection, with some damn fine newer indies thrown in the mix to keep things fresh.
If you ever wanted to relive your childhood, or wanted to know what that crazy old bastard next door is always on about, now is the time.

Squander.

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GOTTA HATCH EM ALL

Painfully accurate.

Sonic could use some more devolutions tho, and Crash a mega-evolution soon!

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Turtles in Time - [soundbyte t]

After 25 years, this title finally makes sense. The tunes are absolutely positively ageless though.

 

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Bubble Bobble Braindamage - [soundbyte b]

This was the soundtrack of my life when I was an 80's kid.

Please kill me.

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Grand Theft Articuno

Reconciling adepts of wanton destruction and domestic animal abuse, here's something that will make everyone grin stupidly for minutes.

 

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The One True Top Gear - [soundbyte t]

90's music can only wish it was this good.

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There's always time for some oldskool T&A

Especially when you're out fighting the occult in your cell-shaded panties.

Fear Effect and Retro Helix have been re-released for a while now, and even though they haven't aged quite as well as that bottle of Bordeaux I keep lying around, you should grab 'em while they're hot and get prepped for the next instalment.

It took more than 15 years, so I'll gladly crack that bottle open.

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