Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Retro Gaming's Genki Gongs

Not wishing to be outdone by the Oscars (and no doubt clocking up as many hits), we present without any further ado a couple of random Genki gongs:

First up, Scariest Gaming Moment ever. Without ever having the courage to play through Silent Hill (and be chased by something that even a kilo of Wensleydale couldn't induce in a nightmare...), Genki would have to go for those Dobermans that leap through the windows in Biohazard totally out of the blue. Admittedly a one off spook trick, but once experienced, never forgotten.

Secondly, Toughest Gaming Challenge. To prove they don't make them like they used to, playing Goldeneye on 007 difficulty and collecting all the pieces of the rogue satellite whilst dispatching a few rampaging rogues. Happy days but sweaty palms and armpits!

Finally, Most Pleasurable Gaming moment. A hands down winner in the Penguin Race downhill in Super Mario 64. This titles is packed full of fun, but never does the child like innocence and sheer pursuit of delight shine more brightly. Hats off.

No further ado and definitely no acceptance speeches.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Saturn Demo Disks

What do the following Saturn games have in common? Burning Rangers, Panzer Dragoon RPG Azel, Saturn Bomberman Fight, Solo Crisis, Sonic R, Soul Hackers/Ronde and The House of the Dead... Well they all have a demo disk released for them for the hardcore Saturn fans who want the ultimate collection. Pleasure can be had from comparing and contrasting against the original release to see where changes were made... But also from the brief sample of the game. Hope we don't get too much stick for launching collectors off again when they just thought you'd completed the collection...

Friday, 24 February 2012

Memories of Arcades

Thinking about the lavish Dreamcast VMU's on offer got a few cogs whirring as to the Neo Geo's memory card. It came with stylish silver or gold lettering on a sort of pseudo marble effect - what else for the Rolls Royce of home consoles? But the real home of hardcore badge getter must have been to take your top scores and save games on the card into the arcade to continue the quest in front of the coin op cognoscenti with as much kudos deserved as coins spent. Genki would love to hear from anyone who can claim the glory of having used their home memory card down the arcades. Proper class that mate!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

RYU GA GOTOKU 3 (Shenmue 3?)

Smoking cigarettes like Kojak pops in lollipops and looking like a Snatcher detective, but our hero in Yakuza 3 walks a thin line between law and the yakuza. Mini games of button tapping karaoke, golf, bowling, darts, shoot em up, even oil massages from models are on offer to distract Shenmue style from the main quest. But lapping these up like a salaryman forgetting the daily grind will soon lead to a queue of street flotsam awaiting to make your acquaintance. An epic quest, Shenmue III if you like, for the strong nerved and willed. Just ensure you have more moral fibre than Genki or you'll be more familiar to the ladies of the hostess bar than the poor children in the orphanage where you live...

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Dreamcast Mothra Dream Battle VMU

The Dreamcast may not have worked out financially, but it did serve as a great tool for Sega to reveal a giant heart tattoo with "I Love You" and a cupid heart plastered on it. An example can be find in the superb range of Visual Memory Units that was released to save data and at times add extra gameplay to the game. From strawberry patterns, to Sega Direct exclusives in wood like finishes, via this Dreamcast Mothra Dream Battle VMU. Standard VMU in appearance but loaded with King Gidora kaijyu data. Also comes with a King Gidora figure packed in. Tasty limited edition as you may expect from Sega in the Dreamcast era. Thanks for the love.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Club Nintendo: Super Mario Bros 25th Anniversary Handkerchief Set

Beautiful set of not so much handkerchiefs, but hand towels to be used for drying hands or mopping brows. Genki would definitely hesitate to put our big proboscis anywhere near these delightful pieces of patchwork heritage crafted with the skill of a national treasure kimono maker. For the Mario in your life (or Princess Peach) who has it all. Only available to Club Nintendo of Japan Platinum Members.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Samurai Spirits RPG

Harking back to the hey-day of SNK comes this fine piece of fan service featuring all your Samurai Spirit's characters miniaturised into a very nicely animated sprite based world. The series itself is full of intriguing characters and this RPG fills in alot of meat on the bones of their personas. But its not just waffle of a rushed job: some real thought has gone into getting into the mindsets of the characters in Samurai Spirits RPG. Be it the Ainu inspired Hokkaido inhabitant Nakoruru, or the thoughtful samurai the series takes its inspiration from. And it’s like many different RPG's in one as each playable character has a different story thread to follow. SNK fans will find it hard to resists the lure of diving straight back in to discover more of this fabulous gaming world. A must - have for fans of the series and highly collectable. Arigatou SNK san.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Formation Soccer

Human's Formation Soccer is distinctly retro when up against the latest Fifa Street. Like Genki would throw its Hat (and sweat bands) into the ring to defend old school kick arounds that made sure you could see your players well with no need to try and replicate the Sky Sports multicams to send you dizzier than a full back up against Adam Johnson. Human was more retro than most though as two player games were often a war of attrition: scoring meant plenty of hard work. Winning the ball and timing passes to perfection was the key to progressing down the pitch. But to hit the onion bag players had to keep winning the ball back, keep pressing: no risk of 'expansive' football here. So very much the unsung hero of the team on the football game roster making it one for your real, gritty, take-one-in-the-firecrackers football fan. Fancy Dan's be warned!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Game and Watch Key Rings

Game and Watch: even the name sounds retro in emphasising its not only a game but also a fine time piece (unless that was a cunning marketing ploy to help youngsters persuade folks it is an essential purchase to assist good time keeping for school...) These Game and Watch Key Chains aren't unfortunately playable (though should they have been playable, small, youthful fingers would have been a requisite.) Solar powered tribute to the immense Game and Watch series of the eighties which looks as good today as in their heyday. Gameplay was never too demanding, but top scores were where it was at in the pre-internet days and such top scores could be witnessed by friends to help vouch for you. Playground kudos from being the top dog at Donkey Kong with the repetitive gameplay requiring zen-like levels of concentration and Olympic levels of concentration and dedication at times to overcome finger cramp, bad light or the tricky scratch in the screen. This time its good to go back.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Edge's Saturn Collectors Guide

Genki has always held Edge magazine in high esteem. Recently we may have lost touch a little, but its scoring system was always direct and accurate whilst others may have rode on the game's wave of hype and possible freebies. Credit was also due for making full use of the scoring system rather than just the top 30%. Covering the score up of a big release was essential to avoid any disappointment before even reading the review. A bit like watching Match of the Day without knowing the scores. The thrill of the Goldeneye N64 review, the perfect Mario 64 ten and amongst the cutting reviews came some fine guides to systems now out of circulation. The Edge Saturn Collectors Guide was a real bible and we have taken the liberty of identifying such titles on the site. Dodonpachi, Dracula X, Dungeons & Dragons, Guardian Heroes, Kingdom Grandprix, Metal Slug, Radiant Silvergun, Sengoku Blade, Strikers 1945 II, Thunderforce V... To name just a few that may or may not be in stock on the site. God bless the Saturn's tricky-to-programme-in-3D architecture for some sizzling 2D gameplay. Happy days.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dead or Alive?

A fine fight title which took advantage of the slender curves of its pugilists: a far cry from the battered features of a Mike Bison or a Sagat. As such there was always the potential to diversify out into other arenas - and one involving plenty of jumping seems to have fitted the bill. These Dead or Alive figures capture the sunshine of the elegant ladies. Five femme fatales each in two different costumes make for potentially the most distracting desktop toy ever crafted from the land of exquisite PVC tributes. Bringing home the warmth of the DOA beach volleyball series. Hats off to you Tecmo: you certainly can't be accused of not knowing your market. Or certainly knowing a good percentage of the market.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Samba De Amigo: Bring the Sunshine

As winter still bites in the Northern Hemisphere, some may be in need of a bit of sunshine and few games have it on tap as much as the Samba De Amigo series. Pop a couple of maracas in the hannon-gamer and sit back and enjoy the show. Its no slur on Sega though to say sometimes its more fun to watch the participant rather than the on screen action. Mould breaking, pure distilled fun from the Sonic Team and the best way to get the party started. The 2000 version updated the arcade smash with plenty more tracks to choose from including a rock version of A-Ha's "Take On Me." Also includes Hustle mode where moving the maracas around in time to the beat is the central premise as opposed to hitting the beats. Then there's Love Love mode where success is measured by how many beats yds of a ou can hit together with your partner. Preach no more: this is the game to convince non gamers to get involved and samba. Bursting with colour and sunshine - at least when you're hitting the beats - more than any Tequila worm. Even for those Dad dancers lacking riddum like Genki. Thank you Sega.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Monkey Magic!

Reviewing the Famicom Disk Saiyuki games got us thinking about the spirit of Monkey: irrepressible and full of high jinx. This spirit comes across well in the games which graced the PC Engine and Famicom. And no finer tribute (or more accessible to Western gamers) comes in the compact form of Cloud Master (or Gokuraku Chuka Taisen.) Being based on the wondrous Monkey series from NHK and being a fine shooter in it's own right raises Cloud Master to Mount Fuji like heights in the Genki office. Buddhist related hi-jinx with our beloved, cotton wool cloud riding monkey god.
So good in fact the spirit was bottled and rekindled for the Nintendo Wii with side scrolling shooting update of the8Bit Chinese classic that'll bring a smile to retro heads and fans of the mischievous monkey yet stands tall as a spiffing example of the shooting genre. Four play modes with gorgeous backdrops of traditional Chinese settings including the Great Wall that look like they have been taken straight from a wall scroll. But thankfully the games distinct humour remains firmly intact as bazooka wielding angry pigs fire at your cloud as bowls of noodles whiz by and jade turtles plod obliviously along - meaning we can forgive renaming Goku the Monkey. Subtitled Michael and Mei Meis Adventure.
Monkey, Pigsy, Tripitaka, Sandy, the horse who was a Dragon, the naughty gambling oni who never made it to UK TV Screens: we salute you!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Samurai Spirits and Fight Game Backdrops

Genki can still recall the incredible atmosphere generated by this monster one on one scrapper from SNK. Taking a distinctly Nihon-centric approach to the fight genre, right from the off in Samurai Spirts we are clear this game positively oozes Eastern atmosphere as the lone samurai sits under the cascading sakura blossom. Creating a feel of life and death being on whim of a falling petal, we are soon treated to sea spray from island backdrops to the fires of hell themselves. Absolute treat of a game with atmospheric backgrounds from kabuki theatre, snowy Ainu inspired Hokkaido to Mount Fuji. The giant 'Earthquake' character is still jaw dropping even today. There is something to be said for great characterisation and backdrops in a fight game. Of course slick play mechanics help.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

World Soccer Perfect Eleven: Bouffants and White Feathers

Speaking of which World Soccer Perfect Eleven certainly tred a tightrope of image rights with players looking like the White Feather Fabrizio Ravanelli of Italy, Gabriel Batistuta of Argentina and the unmistakable bouffant of Carlos Valderrama playing for Colombia.
Konami changed the rules of the game with this sublime release. Combining easy pick up and play mechanics with a slick passing system, it took the patience of a Dutch master to be able to fully manipulate players to perform deft overhead flicks and inch perfect through balls. But the real thrill came in being able to recognise the stars of the world game for the first time in front of your very eyes. The pass master, the original. There was something about retro football games that seems to be missing from the modern day versions...