Whoa whoa whoa, what? Yeah, you read right. You’re reading [Retro Monday] Michelle Edition. Did you know that this time twenty-two years ago I was busy being born? Actually, I wasn’t born until about a good eleven hours from now, but you get the point.
Because it is my birthday, I probably won’t be writing a [Retro Monday] article today. On Thursday, you can definitely expect one–and you can blame the delay on college and everything being due in the same week!
See you all Thursday!
[Retro Monday] is a series that takes a look at games of the past. Expect articles chock full of interesting information; how the game ties into the political, economical, and cultural situation of its time; and most importantly, pretty pictures.
This week’s focus? Lunar Lander. There’s not much information on it, but that won’t stop me from presenting some interesting stuff to you all.
Lunar Lander is one of the first video games I played upon coming home from the hospital as a baby. The controls are simple and the results of hitting a key were immediate. This was perfect for my little toddler mind. Did I know what I was doing? No. I only knew that hitting the ground at the wrong angle would cause certain death. Did I have fun? You bet I did.
Let’s take a look at a game whose name I didn’t discover until a mere four years ago.
The little-article-that-could has now become a full-fledged weekly column. [Retro] will run (to the best of my abilities) once a week on Mondays. The format will be very similar, with articles chock full of interesting information; how the game ties into the political, economical, and cultural situation of its time; and most importantly, pretty pictures.
We’ll be taking a look at Ninja Gaiden in the arcades.
All of us got our start somewhere, whether it was seeing Star Wars as a kid, listening to Radiohead as a teen, or taking a biology course in college. While I owe Zelda: Ocarina of Time the honor of solidifying my desire to work in the games industry, there were several games before that point that influenced me and what I wanted to do. One of those games was Gauntlet Legends for the N64. Released in October of 1998, I played it a few months before I ever played Ocarina of Time. I could rent Gauntlet whenever I pleased, whereas OoT was property of my older brother. Ignoring the fact that I was only 8 and playing a T-Rated game, I had a blast. I loved the hack-n-slash dungeon crawler and it opened up a new world of games to me. I later went on to play Baldur’s Gate, The Bard’s Tale (PS2 and iOS!), and several others in that same vein.
Below is a written version of the picture-iffic presentation (or pecha kucha) I gave on the original Gauntlet, the harbinger of the hack-n-slash genre. We were to tie together the game with contemporary issues (at the time) and present how it influenced arcade culture and how it was influenced by pop culture. Without further ado, check out the written form after the jump!
I finished Gears 3 last night. This is a series I’ve followed since the first game made an appearance on the 360, and it’s one that I’ve loved from the get-go. My friends and I would gather around and play the first one together, remarking on the controls and the cover system. I played Horde mode non-stop once the second came out, and I was immediately the best of my friends. At this year’s past E3, I waited a little under an hour in line just to play a few rounds of Horde mode in the third game.
While Zelda: Ocarina of Time will forever be my most favorite game ever, the Gears series is definitely my favorite as a young adult. Why?
A year ago, I would have given the answer, “It’s simply a fun, well-executed game. The pieces all come together. The result is cinematic and epic. I feel like a hero.”
After finishing up this last entry, I want to bring up another aspect that has caused me to enjoy the series even more. It’s something that Gears detractors (one of them a dear friend of mine) enjoy bringing up and ridiculing.
The character insight given to players in Gears 3 reverses previous notions of an all-brawn-but-no-brain cast, and the characters become stronger and more developed in simple moments throughout the game.
Spoilers, from here on out.
I was an avid Oblivion player and modder. I didn’t submit anything to sites–something I regret doing now–but I was only in high school and still unsure about my skills. I played or modded Oblivion every day, for at least an hour. I balanced that with advanced placement classes, being captain of a club volleyball team, being a starter on a softball team, hanging out with my friends, and being an active volunteer in the community.
I read last week an interesting article on how liberally Batman: Arkham City slings the word “bitch” about. I don’t yet have the game myself–of course I’m itching to play it–and I’ll wait until I get my hands on it to pass judgment. The articles that have stood out most to me have been Kotaku’s own articles on Batman’s weird “bitch” fixation and the hypersexualization of female characters in game worlds. I thought these two to be well-written articles that certainly incited a lot of discussion in their comments. That is, of course, never a bad thing–discussion begets critical thinking. Hopefully.
Gun Fight was released in 1975 on arcade cabinets everywhere within the US. Prior to that, however, Gun Fight had an interesting history. It was originally entitled Western Gun in Japan and was designed and programmed by Tomohiro Nishikado, of Space Invaders fame. It was published by Taito and released in Japan and Europe. The decision was made to then adapt it for Western audiences. This would be the first time a Japanese game was licensed for release to America. The title was changed to Gun Fight because it was thought that American players may find the current title odd or confusing. Dave Nutting and Tom McHugh of Dave Nutting Associates adapted the game for its new audience, making a few changes along the way.
Tom McHugh programmed Gun Fight a little differently than Nishikado—his programming and architecture called for the game to use an Intel 8080 computer microprocessor. It was the first arcade game ever to use a microprocessor, and the smooth frame rate and crisp graphics caused others, including Nishikado, to use microprocessors to their advantage in the future. Visually, Gun Fight was nice to look at—it ran at 60 frames per second at a resolution of 265 x 224 pixels. It made use of a black and white raster monitor with a yellow screen overlay, allowing the characters to look a bit more colorful than their counterparts in competing cabinets.
Today I spent some quality time with my mom, and surprisingly we didn’t engage in very many battles. In fact, I don’t believe we had any at all during the time we spent together. Let me tell you from experience that when a mother and a daughter are very much alike, they clash. A lot. Little did I know that we were also alike in our career aspirations.
This was my final paper for my advanced writing course. I wrote this in perhaps the worst way possible, and did not give it the time it deserved. It just came at a horrible time, while projects were due, other papers were due, and I was putting in extra hours at work. That all left me to complete this the night before and over the course of the night. Sometimes, life just decides there aren’t enough hours in the day.
You Monster looks at the answer to the question, “How can we create a realistic, strong, and smart female game character?” GladOS plays a rather large starring role as the solution.