Monthly Archives: December 2012

The 12 Video Games of Christmas: Galaga 30th Collection

Title screen for Galaga 30th Collection, an iOS version of Galaga, an arcade video game by Namco 1981

Galaga 30th title screen

As our final entry into The 12 Video Games of Christmas we bring you Galaga 30th Collection for iOS, made by Namco Bandai.

This app was released in 2011 to mark the 30th anniversary of Galaga, the sequel to 1979′s paradigm-shifting Galaxian by Namco, distributed in North America by Midway.  The initial download is free, and for that you get the original Galaxian for free.  The rest of the games, available through in-app purchases, are as follows:

  • Galaga  $2.99
  • Galpus $2.99
  • Galaga ’88 $3.99
  • All-games pack: $7.99

The app keeps the basic mechanics of the arcade games, and gussies up the graphics so the aliens look cleaner and buzz around with coloured glowing streaks behind them.  Besides the normal versions of the Galaga and Galpus games, you can also play a score attack round and try to beat your high score in three very difficult screens.  For control, you can chose a standard joystick/button configuration, or go for the option to move your ship by sliding your finger to and fro across the screen and tapping to fire, which feels much more precise.  The app provides rapid fire shooting, which makes dispatching a large number of aliens at once much easier than the originals.

You also have access to a store where you can spend Galaga points in order to upgrade your ship with such ordinance as faster reloading shots or a forward shield.  These points are earned by playing the game and performing well.  Achievements and a ranking system rounds things off.  Over all, this is another good update of classic arcade games for iOS devices.  You can snag Galaga 30th Collection at the iTunes store here.  Happy holidays!

The 12 Video Games of Christmas: Midway Arcade Origins

Today in our The 12 Video Games of Christmas feature, we have Midway Arcade Origins for PS3, developed by Backbone Entertainment and released by Warner Bros. Interactive.

Warner Bros. picked up the assets of Midway when the company filed for bankruptcy in 2009.  Their presentation here of 30 classic Midway arcade games is certainly a no-frills affair, where you merely  quickly cycle through the cabinets to choose your game, while the murmur of a busy arcade plays in the background.  A nice option though is being able to tag games as favourites, so you can use that option to quickly find the cabinets you prefer to play on.  You also get access to operators switch options, letting you do things like change difficulty or add more lives.  Unfortunately, there are no bonuses or history offered.

There could also be some more options given for configuring controls in the games, although most of them feel pretty good on the PS3 gamepad.  It’s also great to see these classics up on the big screen, bezel art and all.  A high score leaderboard system helps you keep tabs on your friends’ activities in the arcade.

I wouldn’t exactly call this collection the “origin” of Midway’s storied past in the video game world, but it certainly is a cornucopia of gaming goodness from the company.

The 12 Video Games of Christmas: Ms. Pac Man for iOS

The 12 Video Games of Christmas continues with Ms. Pacman for iOS.

Now, this one was before my time but I have actually played an arcade cabinet of this before. I can remember playing this and Operation Wolf at an old boardwalk arcade when I used to live in the UK. I was pretty young so I had to stand on a milk crate to play them. 

I remember having a great time with this because at its core the game is classic Pac Man action. It’s all here; the classic gameplay is replicated in style with a neat cabinet style controller interface down the bottom of the screen and faithfully recreated gameplay. If you’ve ever played the game before and are wondering just what the difference between the two games is here is the short version: Ms. Pac Man features redesigned mazes in four different styles, moving fruits, random ghost movement making predicting their movements a lot more challenging and new music and sound effects. 

There is a reason these arcade games were so popular (and let me tell you, Ms. Pac Man was one of the most popular arcade games of all time!) and if you want to get in on the arcade action you can drop some iTunes credit here and download the game to your iOS device.

Were you addicted to pellets back in the day? Share your stories of obsessive Ms. Pac Man playing in the comments section. No intervention required. 

The 12 Video Games of Christmas: Pitfall!

Leaping into The 12 Video Games of Christmas today is Pitfall Harry, in a drastic iOS remake of Activision’s original 1982 Atari VCS/2600 game Pitfall!, by developer The Blast Furnace.

30 years after the fact, this new version almost seems like a retro-themed version of the hit mobile game Temple Run. Here we send Harry running pell mell through 3D-rendered native villages, cavernous er… caverns, and wild jungles.  Obstacles in his way must be jumped over, slid under and, in the case of the snakes and scorpions that return from the original, whipped with an accessory borrowed from Pitfall Harry’s original influence, Indiana Jones, all the while snagging treasure that lines the paths.

Solidly falling into the Freemium category of apps, here the in-game currency are diamonds and the treasure you find, which you use to upgrade Harry with more skills, or even just to continue the game where you left off.  Given the breakneck, twitchy gameplay, you’ll be dying a lot, and since diamonds are given out sparingly by levelling up, you’ll be feeling the pull to purchase a bunch, ranging from $1.99 all the way up to $29.99.  It’s feasible that you could plow through the game without actually spending a cent, but only for the devilishly patient gamer.  A very nice touch of nostalgia are the “Explorer Club” badges you collect in game by reaching achievements; a nice throw-back to the real badges Activision would send to players who mailed in proof of their accomplishments.

It’s good to see Harry back, even if he’s aping another gaming app like Temple Run.  Swing on over here to continue his scorpion dodging exploits on your iOS device.

The 12 Video Games of Christmas: Another World for iOS

Welcome back to the 12 Video Games of Christmas! 

Today, we’re looking at another fluidly animated platformer from the past with Delphine Software’s masterpiece: Another World.

Originally released for home computers and consoles in 1991 Another World (or Out of this World) amazed gamers with fluid animation and cinematic presentation that many thought was impossible on a cartridge. Using rotoscoping the visionary developer created a pulse pounding science fiction adventure that roped players into a brilliantly realised world. Who doesn’t remember that massive black monster bounding ominously towards them in the background at the beginning of the game?

With remastered sound, HD graphics and achievement support BULKYPIX has given iOS gamers a great little piece of gaming history if they missed out on it originally or they can’t play it on an original console anymore. I for one will be sticking to my Mega Drive copy though. Head here to drop some iTunes credit!

It’d be great to hear if anyone has played Another World or the equally excellent Flashback. Share some memories in the comments section everybody! 

The Visual Cortex: Remembering Christmas Wishes

I’m fairly certain that heading into the Christmas season, a lot of kids in 1983 were lying under their blankets at night with a flashlight, pouring over the video game section of that year’s Sears Wishbook.  Crammed full of every important video game of the era, it was a cornucopia of gaming goodness.  It also has a tinge of doom with all the price slashing, a herald of the collapsing market that would lay waste to the video game landscape the following year.

In the Cortex today is a page from the 1983 Sears Wishbook, featuring what was considered a great, shining hope for the continuation of the industry, Coleco’s 3rd-gen powerhouse ColecoVision.  Sadly, the great “arcade in your home” system sank with the rest of them in the great video game crash.  A page of history, forever turned:

For more on the history of the ColecoVision, consult your local Dot Eaters entry.