Some 90’s Gaming Nostalgia
Back when magazines sometimes came with VHS tapes to show you upcoming games.
Some of these, like the Mega-CD and Dreamcast promos are pretty damn fascinating to look back on.
In particular EMAP’s Mean Machines Sega and later Official Saturn Magazine, and the first issues of Future Publishings N64 Magazine and Dennis Publications Official Dreamcast Magazine.
The Mean Machines Sega one was one I haven’t seen for almost 20 years, with the first 8 minutes being a promo for the Mega-CD in typical Sega fashion.
Youtube to the rescue, and I thought I’d share the way we used to see games running before the internet allowed for all these fancy trainers, teasers, teasers of trailers and teasers of teasers.
I find the Dreamcast one at the end to be particularly fascinating. In so many ways, Sega had seen the future.
They just lacked the clout of MS to make it happen in the 90’s.
Of course, the “Up to 6 billion players” tagline was rubbish and completely misleading, since you could only play online with people in the same region, but still… good times.
Looking for some feedback
Quick and simple as I’m doing some experimenting with FRAPS in order to capture quality PC footage, rather than being limited to consoles.
So here’s one video that was recorded at 720p
and another at 1080p
So I’m looking for opinions to see if it’s worth using 1080p for Youtube.
Upload sizes aren’t really an issue, 1080p just requires more PC horsepower for capture (but MSAA can be reduced or turned off), rendering the final video takes 3 times longer and the raw files sizes are almost twice the size of 720p
So please, I’d really appreciate if if people could have a watch of both and see if you think it’s worth the extra effort.
I Dared to Dream - Double Dragon Neon credits song
The whole of Double Dragon Neon was a tribute to the late 80s, especially it’s sound track and the main antagonist, Skullmageddon.
Who is, in no way, shape or form, inspired by Skeletor.
The game throws up this little beauty for the credits.
Arguably the greatest Ace to ever take to the skies of Strangereal, Mobius 1 is certainly the most legendary.
Mobius 1’s blue ISAF F-22A Raptor has become an iconic symbol of the series, and has made an appearance in every single Ace Combat game for the past 12 years.
A pilot who flew without wingmen, he successfully turned the tide of a war that was all but over, destroying the anti-asteroid super weapon Stonehenge, defeated the ace Yellow Squadron and destroyed Megalith.
He would return alongside AWACS Sky Eye in the arcade mode of Ace Combat 5 with a new story set a year after the events of AC04.
His final known engagement saw him single-handedly take on 6 X-02 Wyvern superfighters and emerge triumphant.
To quote Sky Eye from the ending of AC04:
“I don’t know… History determines the winner…
But there is one thing I can say for certain.
Heroes really do exist.
We’ve just seen one… and now, he’s coming home…”
He’s also made an appearance in other AC games as a bonus adversary.
Most memorably as the secret enemy in Ace Combat Zero’s Gauntlet mode if played on the hardest difficulty and the player was able to shoot down Espada Squadron within a minute.
He makes his entrance by destroying the entire Wizard Squadron before they can intercept the player.
To unlock this skin in Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, you must earn the “Hero” medal in competitive multiplayer, which is done by getting the final, destructive shot on the enemies HQ in Capital Conquest mode.
Kudos to @VideoGamerCom and @Jam_sponge for this one.
Earlier in the day I had a mini-grumble on Twitter about how silly trailers and teasers are getting in the world of gaming.
What brought that up was the Call of Duty Ghosts ‘teaser’ in advance of more information at the new Xbox reveal tomorrow.
The CoD teaser is just 6 seconds of wireframes.
But a few hours later, in an incredibly unsubtle effort to divert attention from Microsoft tomorrow, Sony themselves have released a ‘teaser’ of what the PS4 looks like.
And, well, it’s utterly pointless really. Not even something you can really speculate on beyond “It’s a black box” “It has vents” “It has ports” “It has a 4 engraved on it”, etc.
What you see here is the actual Sony PS4 reveal, but with a bit added on at the end by Matt Lees of videogamer.com
Strike Harrier -
In winter no less. My first screenshot from Ace Combat Assault Horizon Enhanced Edition for the PC.
As a port, it has it’s ups and downs. Overall, it’s very good to play and often exceeds the 60fps target.
On the downside, it has to used Games for Windows Live, so the online community is almost dead. The graphics options are also extremely limited.
You have on/off options for V-sync and Anti-Aliasing and the resolution setting.
Pretty limited, eh!?
Also, the horizontal resolution is slightly reduced. 1920x1080 instead of 1980x1080. A bit unusual.
That anti-aliasing though… it halves the framerate, or worse, and you have to use the in-game option too, rather than your graphics card handling it.
So I’m playing without it, but saving replays… then turning FSAA on in the settings menu, then loading the replay specifically for screenshots where framerate doesn’t matter at all.
Anyway, enjoy the AV-8B+. The definitive version of the Harrier II and possibly one of the best all-round aircraft in the world to day for it’s unmatched balance of capability, value and flexibility.
We really should have bought some here in the UK.
The Puppy and the Lizard
When I jumped over to the PC version of Skyrim, one of the first mods I installed was one called SkyTEST - Realistic Animals and Predators.
Essentially an overhaul of the games wildlife, with improved AI and vastly expanded behaviors.
Predators actively hunt prey, animals will gather for mating at certain times of the year, they will seek out a water source during certain parts of the day, bears hibernate in Winter, etc etc.
I had been using 1.30
Little did I know that sometime since then, 1.31 was released which introduced calves that stick close to their mothers.
I missed that one complete, but today the Nexus Mod Manager informed me an update was out, all the way up to 1.34
On top of the aforementioned update, it also seems to have added more more dogs into the games villages and holds.
Such as the above little critter. Puppies like this aren’t in the vanilla game.
An excellent video asking the question “What the hell happened to Aliens: Colonial Marines”.
Featured are a host of comparisons between a ‘gameplay’ demo shown to the public last year and the final product that was released in stores around the world in 2013.
Not only that, but a review embargo was placed on the game that was only lifted on the day it was released.
Customers who pre-ordered or went out and bought it on day one, they had no way of knowing (save, ironically, piracy) what they were getting into.
The video is a fascinating watch and really brings up some serious questions about how much we as customers can trust developers and publishers to deliver on what they promise.
Now I won’t go quite as far as agreeing with them in saying it looks like an N64 game, that’s an exaggeration too far, but in many ways it does look like a very late generation AAA game for the original Xbox/Wii or perhaps a first generation Xbox 360 game (the likes of Perfect Dark Zero, etc)
Now with Sega, perhaps its not entirely unexpected.
Just look at the shambles that is Sonic The Hedgehog (2006), a candidate for being one of the worst 7th generation games released. A fact made all the worse because we would generally expect Sega to do better.
Though in fairness, the demo for Sonic The Hedgehog was every bit as bad as the released game.
Gearbox on the other hand… well… actually, I suppose they’ve also been hit or miss. On the one hand, they’ve had the massive success of Borderlands, while on the other they actually went ahead and ‘finished’ (I’ll use that term loosely) Duke Nukem Forever.
Ultimately, Aliens: Colonial Marines brought the two together and apparently the worst of both of them.
As it stands now, a lawsuit has been filed against both companies for what amounts to false advertising. Misleading the public into thinking the product they were buying was much enhanced over what did hit the shelves.
This isn’t even a case where they used a mega-PC with the graphics boosted up to max settings. It’s simply impossible to achieve the graphics standard shown in the ‘gameplay’ demos.
To their credit, Sega have confirmed the Wii U version of the game has been completely canned.
In part that will doubtless be because the game has caused so much damage and it would essentially require a complete overhaul (read, lots of money) to bring it up to scratch, but at least they are admitting that the game is beyond repair by pulling the plug.
Bry - A History in Gaming
As far as being a gamer goes, I’m not really part of the true core old skool crowd.
While I did own a NES (which, btw, I say as a word, not as N.E.S.), it was not my first console.
For I did not cut my teeth in the realms of the 8-bit era, nor did my NES experience ultimately go beyond the Super Mario Bros. Trilogy and Duck Hunt.
Believe it or not, Nintendo was never actually the dominant force in Europe. On this continent, which Nintendo paid little attention to, the Sega Master System actually came out on top while the Sega Mega-Drive always dominated the Super Nintendo.
During that most vicious and mean spirited of the Console Wars I was able to sit on the fence, for I was fortunate enough in those times to be a multi-format gamer. A stance I have maintained ever since.
The very first computer I could call my own was a hand-me-down.
And it was the Commodore 64, with tape-deck. We’re going back
My memories of that machine are rather hazy to be quite honest.
It was not a particularly long relationship.
I do remember the boot and load times from the cassette tapes was painfully slow!
Games I remember were Cops & Robbers, Spy Hunter and Nigel Mansell’s World Championship (which I only played once, because it took FOREVER to load the Title Screen).
Spy Hunter ultimately gained most of my attention.
Have a super high-res pic of Staadnau-Mal-Hun.
Otherwise known as Knows-No-Bounds.
Some further tweaks have been made to my graphics settings so now the terrain LOD limits have been pushed back, but the likes of objects, grass, trees etc are untouched.
Basically means things like waterfalls are rendered in more detail at a greater distance than default. Those were especially prone to appearing as solid blocks, with no water animation, until you got rather close.
Today I’ve started a new clean save, having messed about with plenty of mods and decided which ones I’m going to keep.
One of the mods more apparent in this pic is called Longer Arrows and Quivers.
Does what it says on the tin, making arrows more realistically scaled.
Afraid I’m not quite done. :P
See, using the power of DXTbmp, Photoshop and NifSkope, I’ve made some tweaks to these items.
The most obvious was a re-colouring of the Hylian Shield. Making the colours more vivid and making it more blue than grey.
More subtle was to slightly increase the size of the shield to 1.0250 scale.
Based on pictures of Link, I just felt it was a bit too small.
Using the same tool, I also created a ‘shield on back’ mesh for use with the mod “Dual Sheath Redux”, which puts the shields of the player and NPC’s in the game on their backs when their weapon is sheathed.
In the default game, they walk around with the shield on their left arm all the time.
I’m actually astounded what a tool like NifSkope let’s you do, as well as the flexibility of the games .nif format for meshes.
Adjusting the scale of a model and how it interacts with a character with a few clicks is pretty cool. The Shieldonback mesh has a totally different centre point from the worn version, to ensure it’s entered correctly and angled so that it doesn’t clip with the sword.