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About this blog

The red-headed step-blog of Retromags.com

Entries in this blog

 

Floating Down to Agenais

Realizing I haven't posted a blog entry in well over a year is kind of becoming an annual event here in my Retromags world. I'm not as active as I should be, as I'd like to be, and much as I wish I could promise to change all of that, I don't make promises I can't be certain of keeping. One of the most recent things I blogged about was the question of what happens when one's desire to keep up with gaming flounders, and as it turns out, there's still no cut-and-dried answer to that. Playing video

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What Happens When It Leaves?

I feel like I've hit the wall, both creatively and when it comes to gaming. I've so far ignored this current generation of games, as none of the "next gen" systems on offer feel like they have anything to offer me, and yet this creates a conundrum for me. I honestly cannot remember the last time a game absolutely blew me away, and yet looking back through the past, through my own memories, I can see dozens upon dozens of instances. Some of them were gaming "firsts", such as the first time I saw

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The Fine Line Between Fear and Hope

I've needed to write this since Wednesday morning, but I haven't been in the proper emotional state of mind to do so. I still might not be, and if that's the case, I beg your forgiveness but also your indulgence. Yes, this is political. No, I don't want to stir shit up. Yes, I want your comments. No, I won't delete dissenting viewpoints. Emotion ultimately fuels everything we do, but too much emotion can be as damaging to the body as overfilling the gas tank is to your vehicle. It's taken days t

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A Warrior Nun's Most Difficult Adversary

The above song, "Santa Monica," comes from Savage Garden's self-titled debut album. It's the final track. Chances are, unless you're a huge fan of the band, you've never heard it. It got no radio play, there was no official music video, it's just one of those songs the world glosses over. It's also the one most completely out of place on the record. It's no pulse-pounding dance club track like their breakout hit, "I Want You". It's not a poetic profession of love like "To The Moon and Back" or "

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Game Difficulty - What Makes You Play Again?

Retromags member Softballchic and I spend a lot of time talking most nights, and it's often about video games: what we like, what we dislike, and what we're really good at. Last night the topic of achievements/trophies came up. On the PS3/Vita/PS4 model, acquiring every other trophy in a game rewards you with a final achievement, a Platinum trophy, which showcases that you've not just finished the game, but COMPLETED the game. By the time you acquire a Platinum in most games, there should be lit

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Five Horror Films That Were Ahead of Their Times

The recent death of "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, who starred in such memorable films as "They Live" and such immemorable ones as "Hell Comes to Frog Town" and "Sci-Fighter", really got me thinking about movies that were ahead of their time in one way or another. So I'm not boring my readers to death, I'm restricting myself to the five best examples that I believe fit this mold and I'm only allowing one John Carpenter flick on the list. That said, here are my picks: 5) John Carpenter's The Thing (1982)

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Going (PS) Home One Last Time

There are a couple of Retromags members on my PS3 friends list, but I'm not sure if you all knew that outside of blasting Necromorphs in Dead Space, or ruling the city streets in Saint's Row, I spent an awful lot of time in Sony's online avatar-based virtual world called PlayStation Home. If any of my readers ever ran across me on there, feel free to chime in and say hello in the comments--I was "Areala" on there, just as I am here. I know, how original, right? Anyway, I got involved with Home

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Another Year Passes

Holy crap, it's been well over a year since my last blog post. How on earth does that happen? I guess 2014 just got away from me, that's all. There's really nothing else I can say beyond that. I haven't abandoned the blog or anything, I just don't have all that much to say about gaming at the moment. Most of my work here on Retromags as of late involves the magazine database. Just as few minutes ago, I put the finishing touches on the index for issue #50 of Computer Gaming World, and befo

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Happy Father's Day, Daddy

Dear Daddy, I hope it's OK that I call you 'Daddy' because it's all you ever heard me call you when I was a little girl. I suck at buying cards, so this letter will have to suffice. Basically, I just wanted to let you know that I love you, I hope everything is well, and that I've been trying my best to be the sort of kid you'd be proud to claim as your own. A huge part of who you are influenced my formative years. Whether it was a quick trip into town to pick up a bite to eat at McDonalds,

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A Clive Barker Gaming Mystery

Magazine demographics often come into play when deciding what ads agencies will submit to a particular publication. In the case of this ad, which came from the very first issue of Next Generation magazine in 1995, their attempt to reach an older, more mature audience meant they got stuff that wouldn't fly in the pages of EGM or GamePro, which were targeted at a younger teenage audience. Check this out though: that's an offer to write a horror fiction story for a video game inspired by Clive Ba

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Gaiares - Can You Say 'Mullet'?

One of the best things about flipping through old magazines is, of course, the ads. Doesn't matter whether you're looking at EGM or National Geographic, the ads always hold up a mirror to the culture of the time period. Advertisers know that twenty years later, neither anyone's going to care about the way an ad looks, nor will they be mocked for it by future-dwelling homo sapiens. Because of the internet, they're also wrong. Video game ads don't often approach this level of hilarity, but my

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Fifty Shades of Pissed Off

My PS3 suffered the Yellow Light of Death problem today about an hour into my playtime of the Silent Hill HD Collection which I had just purchased today. *sigh* Skyrim FINALLY gets its DLC released on the PS3 this coming week, and for the first week it's available, Bethesda is offering it at 50% off to apologize for taking it so long to get here. Gonna miss out on that sale, because there's no way I'll have my PS3 fixed in time. *double sigh* Sending my PS3 in to Sony to get it repaired wil

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Resident Evil Prototype Preview

Even if you played the daylights out of Resident Evil, even if you can beat the game handily with an S-ranking and one hand tied behind your back, you've never seen Resident Evil quite like this... EGM previewed the original Resident Evil for the Playstation back in issue #75 in their "Next Wave" column. This was over two years before the game made it to the US, and still very much in its beta stage. And wow, what a difference a couple of years makes! Click that picture to your left and chec

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[Let's Read] - Nintendo Power #11

I didn't make the connection until just now, but the cover to NP#11 is obviously an homage to the original clay modeled cover of the premier issue. We're now nearly two years into Nintendo Power's run but their momentum is only building from here on out. If you need to ask why, just take a look at that cover again: they're talking about the biggest, most hotly-anticipated video game release in NES history. Hey, piezanos, it's Super Mario Bros. 3! But first, more big news rocking the Nintendo Wo

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So Close, Yet So Far - Fireteam Rogue

Digging through the collection, I unearthed this gem discussing a really awesome-looking game being developed by Accolade for the Genesis and Super Nintendo. I'm pretty familiar with the bulk of the Super Nintendo library, but I didn't remember ever seeing this title on the market. Was it yet another unreleased game previewed by EGM, this time in their January, 1994 issue? A quick trip to GameFaqs confirmed my suspicions: Fireteam Rogue was in development in the mid-90s and then axed before c

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EGM - A Day In The Life

Every so often, the magazines from back in the day would give us a peek behind the scenes so that the rest of us would know (or at least have a vaguely better idea) what those weirdos whose names all appeared on the masthead at the front of the magazine did for the magazine besides the obvious. So for their 50th issue, EGM treated us to a four-page spread of insider information, Photoshopped antics, personal photos, and other goodies. In case it's not obvious, this is one of the best reasons t

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Gunpei Yokoi: September 10, 1941 - October 4, 1997

Today marks the fifteenth anniversary of Gunpei Yokoi's death. Many things we take for granted in the gaming world today can be tracked back to this man, including the cross-shaped directional pad (NES), portable gaming systems (Game Boy), and Metroid (every freakin' Nintendo system except the N64). Not bad for a janitor. Yokoi was a simple custodial worker and maintenance man at one of Nintendo's hanafuda (playing card) manufacturing plants, where he amused himself in his spare time by tinke

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So Close, Yet So Far - Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill

Remember Socks? He was the black and white feline counterpart to former US President Bill Clinton. Children everywhere used to write letters to Socks (and his canine bro, Buddy); the best of these got collected and published in a book entitled, "Dear Socks, Dear Buddy." Everybody loved the First Pets, so what better way to show your appreciation for all their trials and tribulations around the White House than to immortalize one in a video game? Er...right. So somebody at Kaneko has this br

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So Close, Yet So Far - Drac's Night Out

"It's Gotta Be The Shoes." With that five-word tagline, Reebok launched a sneaker fad for the 90's over which people went absolutely apeshit. And just as with every other great product innovation, there had to be cross-promotion. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ate Pizza Hut pizza, Modern Warfare soldiers drank Pepsi, Alan Wake used Energizer batteries in his flashlight, and vampires wore Pumps in that classic NES title, Drac's Night Out. What's that? You've never played Drac's Night Out?

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Some Neat Parasite Eve Prototype Shots

I frigging love Parasite Eve for the Playstation. It's one of my favorite RPGs of all time (small wonder, since it's written and directed by the guy who directed Chrono Trigger and designed Final Fantasy IV on the Super NES, and scored by Yoko Shimomura who did the music for Breath of Fire, Kingdom Hearts, many incarnations of Street Fighter II, and Legend of Mana among others), and I've felt it never received the recognition it deserved coming as it did in the wake of Final Fantasy VII and bei

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Why Grammar Is Important - Fighting Force

Today on Retrochick Retroblog, we're going to remind everyone why grammar is important, even when you're dealing with video games. To wit: please open the image on your left. This is the second page of a two-page-spread ad for the PS1 game Fighting Force, developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive. It comes from the Sept. 1997 issue of GamePro. I'm sure it ran in other magazines, I just happened to be reading this one when I spotted it. The first page contains an image of a

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What The F&!@ Were They Thinking? - Masters of Teräs Käsi

In the days before the Internet started shoving a cruel, pointed stake into the hearts of video game magazines, we had no choice but to trust the reviewers who got paid to do what we all wished we could get paid to do: play lots of video games and then write about it. The guys and gals of the gaming journalism world were supposed to be our lifelines, making sure we didn't buy the crap and didn't miss the gold. Usually they were on the money. But sometimes...well, deadlines can do strange thin

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Eleven Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals

"Hooo boy, Areala, do you really want to go here?" Yes, yes, I think I do. Because it's my blog, and it's my opinion, and you're all entitled to it. Besides, what's better than potentially starting a gigantic flame war over music and personal preferences? OK, besides sex. Right, nothing! So here's the deal. I'm going to list some covers that are better than the originals and explain why. You're all going to tell me how correct I am or that I'm going to burn in hell for blasphemy, and eit

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Teased By An Asylum

Are you crazy? Well, whether you are or not, you should consider the research. For example, did you know that ten out of every ten people polled by Hanwell Mental Institute's top-rated researchers tested positive for at least one mental illness, and eight out of those ten tested positive for two or more? And that three of those remaining eight were found to have a staggering five or more mental illnesses according to the soon-to-be-released DSM-V? Are you sure you're not crazy? Remember: a

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Solo Board Game: Intruder

I always thought somebody should make some kind of board game based on the Aliens universe. They've made plenty of video games based on the property after all, on everything from the 2600 to the modern-day consoles with the pending release of Aliens: Colonial Marines. There was also a fun "Aliens vs. Predator" collectable card game released in the 90s. Surely somebody somewhere thought about a board game, right? Well, they did. It was called "Alien", it was released in 1979 as a board game

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