RayGunn’s High Score Review!

Hey Arcaders!

Let’s talk High Score– the new six part documentary on Netflix. This one kind of came out of the blue for me. There have been a lot of video game documentaries. Some are great (Once Upon Atari is one I liked) some.. not so much for me (Videogames, the Movie– I’m calling you out!) I’m really going to have to do reviews on them as well.

Once I saw the trailer for High Score- it peaked my interest- a documentary not just about the games, or the players…but focused on the designers and programmers (some of which have never done interviews!) I had to watch. And… I wasn’t disappointed.

Right off the bat, it felt like an episode of The Toys That Made Us- which is a great thing. Also, having Charles Martinet- The voice of Mario- narrating… was genius. Another thing I loved about the series, was the chapters- focusing on an era or genre of gaming, and making the flow seamlessly was fantastic. Which should be no surprise- one of the executive producers, France Costrel- has some experience with this subject: she also directed the seven part series- 8 Bit Legacy: The Curious History of Video Games for Great Big Story (a part of CNN). Which seems to be the case for this series as well.

Let’s talk about the episodes (spoiler free where I can.)

Continue reading

Coming Soon- The High Score Review!

Hey Arcaders!

I’m working on new Pac-a-lisious content (plus a few surprises along the way!)  

When- all of the sudden, I’m slapped upside the head with this commercial on the Book of Face for a new documentary series- High Score! Check this out!

It looks great- and having it narrated by the voice of Mario- Charles Martinet is a win in my book!

I’m watching the series NOW- I will post a review this weekend! So far… IT”S AMAZING!

Keep Playin’ Like It’s 1981!

The Electric Circus! Episode 17- PlayStation Memories!

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Hey Arcaders!

with Sony announcing the PS5, we thought we would go over all of our PlayStation memories! What was your favorite PlayStation system? or your favorite game on any of Sony’s platforms?  Let us know in the comments!

Pac-Man On Square Pegs!

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Hey Arcaders!

I want to thank each and every one of you for making Pac-Man month better than I could ever imagine. It’s been a blast! Don’t worry- I’ll be keeping up on the Pac-Man articles even though it’s over!

But to end everything on a high note (pun intended) I want to have the last article of Pac-Man month be a great one!

So here’s an episode of a show I grew up with- I think most of the older Arcaders (like me) will remember.

in 1982, a show aired called Square Pegs. It’s a fun romp, showing the different cliques in a high school. one episode in particular had our little yellow friend- and it’s called Pac-Man Fever! Check it out!

Don’t fret- the month may be over- but The Pac-Fun isn’t!

Keep Playin Like It’s 1981!

The Games That Pac-Forgot #3- Pepper II!

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Hey Arcaders!

In the early days after Pac-Man was released to the world, there were a lot of arcade and home console companies that wanted in on the Pac-profit! This series will focus on these lesser known games. weather it’s an original game, or a Pac-bootleg, we will be touching base with these games that Pac-forgot!

The next one is one is a golden age Maze game it it’s finest- Pepper II!

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Pepper II was designed and manufactured in 1982 by Exidy- a company known for games like Death Race, Fax, Crossbow, and a game that’s in  one of my favorite movies- Star Fire!

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Ok- let’s get this question out of the way-  This isn’t a sequel. There wasn’t a Pepper I. Originally, The game was called Zipper. but a higher up at Exidy didn’t like the name. The story goes- he looked at a packet of pepper on a table in the lunchroom and said… “How about Pepper?” The name stuck. The “II” comes from the two personalities your character has.

The character “Pepper” is an angel. There are two types of enemies that must be avoided: Roaming Eyes and the Whippersnapper who unzips all uncompleted, zipped segments by moving over them. Pepper’s one defense is to enclose an area containing a pitchfork, which turns him into a demon “Pepper II” for approximately four seconds. At that time he can go after all Roaming Eyes for points while the Whippersnapper freezes. There are four pitchforks in the corners of every maze. A deluxe energizer is located in the center of each maze. This energizer alternates between being a pitchfork and a halo symbol. If Pepper encloses the middle area when the energizer is a halo, the Whippersnapper disappears from the maze.

Points are made for enclosing a segment, consuming a pair of roaming eyes when energized by the pitchfork (similar to Pac-Man), obtaining prizes, completing a maze, and completing 4 mazes. A bonus turn is awarded at 40,000, 50,000, 70,000 or 90,000 points, depending on the dip switch settings. When a full screen (of the four) has been completely filled, “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” is briefly heard.

Let’s talk about those mazes. there’s four of them. And they’re all connected.

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Each maze has exits leading to three other mazes. All four mazes must be filled to advance to the next level. To fill in a maze, the player maneuvers “Pepper” around different segments of the maze. As Pepper travels, he leaves a “zipper”. Once he encloses or “zips” a segment, it fills in and points are awarded. If Pepper backtracks on an uncompleted segment, it unzips.

Fun Fact- the intro music is Gounod’s “Funeral March of a Marionette” or as most people that frequented Universal Studios Florida know it- the intro song to “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.”

 

Hey- why don’t we watch this wonderfully crazy game in action, shall we?

This is a fun game but it ramps up quickly!

Extra fun fact- There was a version made for the completely awesome Colecovision system- Check it out!

However you can play this game- give it a shot- you’ll love it!

Keep Playin’ Like It’s 1981!

 

The Games That Pac-Forgot #2- Piranha!

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Hey Arcaders!

In the early days after Pac-Man was released to the world, there were a lot of arcade and home console companies that wanted in on the Pac-profit! This series will focus on these lesser known games. weather it’s an original game, or a Pac-bootleg, we will be touching base with these games that Pac-forgot!

The next game is one I remember playing at my local roller rink’s arcade- Piranha!

piranha_marquee Piranha was programmed by a small company- GL. This was one of the biggest Pac-Man bootlegs- it actually had an dedicated cabinet release in the U.S. by U.S. Billiards.

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The cabinet looked like a standard Sega cabinet of the time (Frogger, Carnival, Pulsar) with some beautiful artwork, the cabinet’s quite a looker. Check it out!

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Now that we have seen the cabinet- what about the game?

Here’s a write-up from Strategy Wiki-

  • This hack of Pac-Man was released as a conversion kit. It was available as an upgrade board, much like the original Ms. Pac-Man was.
  • The graphics have been drastically altered to present an underwater theme. You control a red piranha, while you are chased around by four squid-like monsters. (In an earlier variant of the game, they are little more than altered ghost sprites, with extended sprites for the tentacles).
  • Most of the maze in the game is wide open. You’re free to move about various open portions of the maze, but so are the squid-like monsters.
  • One central tunnel is present on the left and right sides of the maze, as well as another central tunnel at both the top and bottom of the maze.
  • There are fewer bonus items, and their values start at 500 points for the Crab, and end at 5000 points for the Yellow Anchor. The Fish (Rounds 3 & 4) is worth 1500 points, the Red Anchor (Rounds 5 & 6) is worth 2000 points, the Cyan Whale (Rounds 7 & 8) is worth 2500 points, and the Blue Whale (Rounds 9 & 10) is worth 3000. Eating the squid-like monsters is also worth four tremendously different point values: 300, 700, 1200, and 2000 points, which adds up to total of 4200 points.

The first thing You’ll notice- there’s not really a maze. I always felt it was like you were in a large salt water tank. The whole nautical theme has been done very well- from the seaweed, rocks, to the kelp bed- you feel like you’re underwater! The screen has four exits- two on top and two on the sides! The ghosts have been turned into squid- with soulless, hollowed out eyes!

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Your power pellets have been turned into shells! The bonus fruit are now crabs, anchors,and other fish. Interestingly, the dots are placed in a pattern. But, the piranha’s control is still 4-way… meaning you’ll be circling around a few times to get a single dot. So the game’s challenge is tough- even for the most seasoned of players.

So- why don’t we watch a game?

If you have a emulator, you can play this game- I suggest giving it a go. It will keep you coining up for more!

Keep Playin’ Like It’s 1981!

The Games That Pac-Forgot #1… Make Trax!

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Hey Arcaders!

In the early days after Pac-Man was released to the world, there were a lot of arcade and home console companies that wanted in on the Pac-profit! This series will focus on these lesser known games. weather it’s an original game, or a Pac-bootleg, we will be touching base with these games that Pac-forgot!

The first game we’re talking about, is one that is in my top five games of all time-

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Make Trax started it’s life as a maze chaser called Crush Roller. it was developed by  Alpha Denshi and originally published by Kural Samno Electric in Japan. It was also licensed for North American release to Williams Electronics, and in Europe to both Karateco and Exidy.

What makes this game so unique?

You don’t eat dots- you PAINT THE MAZE!

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Make Trax is a maze game in which the player controls a paintbrush and must paint the entire layout in order to advance to the next stage. Two fish – one yellow, the other light-blue – emerge from separate aquariums to pursue the paintbrush around the board, and if either of the fish succeeds in making contact with the paintbrush, the player loses one of three lives.

And unlike the ghosts- the fish can see you wherever you are in the maze. So, they can plan an attack- most of the time cornering you.

It’s a challenge- checkout Youtuber CrazyClimber 80 playing!

 

I love this game. The maze layout, the roller powerups, The hidden WARP HOLES, the sound, and it’s kooky nature keeps me coming back for more! I might even do a Coin Up episode soon…

How about you? Have you ever played Make Trax? Love it? hate it? let me know in the comments!

The Electric Circus- Episode 14: The Pac-man 40th Anniversary Special!!!

Hey Arcaders!

We all know what today is- Pac-Man Day! But- do you remember the first time you saw Pac-Man? was it in the arcade? On the Atari VCS? On a later system? Well, that’s what Josh, Danny, and myself talk about in this episode!

Happy Pac-Man Day… And Keep Playin’ Like It’s 1981!

Pac-Man Day Is Here!!!!!

I can’t believe it! 40 years ago TODAY the yellow one was released to the public- and we were never the same again! And to celibate this momentous occasion, Jerry Buckner- one of the founding fathers of Pac-Man Fever is doing a live stream! let’s join in on the fun!

Pac- Future-Past: Pac-Man 2 The New Adventures!

Hey Arcaders! I really enjoying Pac-Man Month! I hope you are too.

I thought it was a good time to start another series- about the Pac-Man games after the original maze chasers. You see- Namco knew their icon had to evolve. So, I thought- Let’s take a closer look at these games… and see if they keep their Pac-Man feel, but more importantly, is the game good? I thought we would start with one that I remember being so quirky, fun, and so- different- that it was THE PERFECT GAME to start with. Arcaders- I give you…

Pac-Man 2 The New Adventures.

Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures is a graphic adventure game, a vast departure from its predecessors. Players assume the role of Pac-Man as he must carry out different quests given to him by other characters. Many of these involve retrieving a specific item, such as a bottle of milk or a flower. Unlike other adventure games, players cannot control Pac-Man directly, who will wander and interact with the in-game world at his own pace.[2] Instead, players use a slingshot to guide, or “influence”, Pac-Man to his destination or to attract his attention towards a specific object.

In each quest, the player will need to solve puzzles to progress. The solutions to these puzzles are based on Pac-Man’s moods, which differ based on the player’s actions. For example, the player can shoot down an apple from a tree, which Pac-Man will eat and makes him happier, while shooting Pac-Man in the face will make him irritated or depressed. Pac-Man’s moods will also determine how cooperative he becomes; for instance, making Pac-Man too happy will cause him to become smug and cocky, and as a result less willing to follow the orders of the player. Some sections of the game follow Pac-Man riding on a hang glider or in a minecart through “chase” scenes, which require fast-reflexes from the player. Pac-Man may sometimes encounter his enemies Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde, where he will immediately become frightened and run around the screen. Feeding Pac-Man a Power Pellet, stored in an inventory at the bottom corner of the screen, will transform him into Super Pac-Man and allow him to eat the ghosts. If the player visits the arcade, they can play the original Pac-Man. Finding three game cartridges will allow them to play Ms. Pac-Man in the SNES version, or Pac-Jr. in the Sega Genesis version.-

Wikipedia

My first question was- Pac-Man 2? Where is Pac Man 1? Here is my hypothesis- Pac-Man 1… Was Pac-Land.

Pacland is a very unique scrolling platformer that predated Super Mario Bros in the U.S. by a year! and we will be getting to this game soon!

Back to Pac-Man 2- It’s a point and click adventure. So, you don’t control Pac-Man, you make him look, or hit an object (or him) and get his attention and make him react.

The best part- was Pac-Man’s emotions. He could be happy, sad, hungry, scared, mad, and more! Check them out!

Enough talk- lets look at the game!

What did you think Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures? Did you love it? Hate It? Never knew it existed? Let Me know in the comments!

Keep Playin’ Like It’s 1981!