Sonic Mania 


Sonic the Hedgehog has always been my favorite video game character of all time. Both because of his games and also for personal reasons, most notably motivating me to draw. As of late though Sonic games have gotten a really bad rap. I not saying that those games don’t deserve it but it sad seeing you favorite fall from popularity.
One of the things that always confused me is why hasn’t Sega gone back to the original formula instead of consistently trying to reinvent Sonic. So I have stayed away from most of the newer Sonic games. And if I ever get the urge to play a new version of the classic Sonic games the only choices were to play Sonic Generations, Sonic Colors, or play Freedom Planet. All great choices but you do kinda miss the blue blur in a new adventure after a while.


This year marks Sonic 25th anniversary and for weeks now Sega has been teasing a new Sonic game, making me curious. Though I was not expecting what we got however: Sonic Mania. When I saw the trailer for Sonic Mania I almost cried tears of joy. Finally Sega is going back to Sonic’s roots and bringing back (or at least it seems) what made Sonic great. From what I’ve seen I like the classic Sonic gameplay feel even with a the few tweaks and even some new elements they have added like the new bounce dash. Plus only 3 playable characters Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. Not that I really have a problem with the other Sonic characters (except for Big the Cat but we won’t go into that here) but it gives it that classic feel.

Sonic Mania comes out spring of next year. So let’s hope that this will be a return to what makes Sonic the Hedgehog the blue blur we know and love.

 

Video Game Boom Box Halloween Edition: Mystic Cave Zone (Sonic The Hedgehog 2)

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Video Game Boom Box Halloween

Mystic Cave Zone- Sonic the Hedgehog 2

If you’ve been around the site a while this might not come as a surprise to you but I am a huge Sonic the Hedgehog fan. I have been a fan since the original came out on the Genesis long ago. One of the best parts of any of the old school Sonic games (especially 2’s) is the soundtrack. Now most of the tracks in Sonic 2 are upbeat sometimes even happy or relaxing but that’s until you get to a zone called Mystic Cave Zone. This zone almost seems out of place in the game since most Sonic zones take place in the day time and this one takes place at night. It’s also filled with all kinds of deadly traps from secret spike walls to giant bushes trying to crush you. Not to mention the Badniks (Robotniks evil minions) which come out of nowhere and attack you. This of course is amplified by the equally spooky and mysterious music that plays in the background. This tune itself sounds more like it should have been used as a background tune for a haunted circus zone then a dark forest…inside a cave? Well, wherever this zone takes place it is still one of the levels that I wanted to get out of as fast as my red shoes would take me.

Electric Circus SideShow AT Games Review pt.1 Sega Genesis

The Hoildays have come and gone so now it time to review some of the toys we go this year! This is a review for AT Games Plug and Play Sega Genesis.

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Tales From The Game Grid #12

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The images of Sonic and Miles “Tails” Prower are owned by Sega, please support the official release. The Tales From the Game Grid logo and all Tales From The Game Grid related images are copyright Joshua Jordan.

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Top Five Underrated Video Game Characters

Ask any non-gamer and they will tell you who Mario is and what he does. Or ask anyone who Sonic the Hedgehog is and most people will probably answer “isn’t that the blue thing with the red shoes?” But just like any medium there are some characters that only the true hardcore gamers will only be aware of. The following is a list of characters that I believe are totally underutilized and could be on the same level as Mario or Sonic but for some reason or another it hasn’t happened.

Jak and Daxter

Jak and Daxter

Sony wanted to have a new mascot for their new Playstation 2 since they lost Crash Bandicoot. So they decided to create several games and see what stuck. One of the first was Jak and Daxter created by Naughty Dog, who also created Crash and would go on to create Uncharted. This game alone was reason enough to own a Playstation 2 with a mix of platforming, adventure, and even third person shooter. The trilogy  is one of the best stories in gaming. Starting with the more kid friendly game and then going to a darker story line in the other adventures. There is also three spin-off games one for the PS2 Jak X: Combat Racing and the others for PSP Daxter and Jak and Daxter the Lost Frontier. Jak X: Combat Racing was one of my favorite kart racing games besides Mario Kart. With an unprecedented car customizing system that made the game more challenging. Their character dynamic worked really well for the games with Jak being the straight man and Daxter being the mouth. Jak started off in the first game as the quote cliché mute protagonist but in the games following started talking. Daxter being the comedy relief making wise cracks to you and other characters as well as serving as  a more tolerable Navi (from The Legend of Zelda) type character reminding the player about missions and objectives you needed to do in the game. The sad part is that it seems once Sony got to the Playstation 3 the need for a mascot kind of just disappeared and it’s very unlikely we might see a Jak 4 on the Playstation 3. But i am still hoping that something will come out for the Playstation 4. However you can buy the HD version of the trilogy for the PS3, which I highly suggest.

Ratchet and Clank

ratchet and clankI will admit out of this list these two are not as underrated as the others but still I think Sony could do so much more. Ratchet and Clank were introduced in 2002 for the Playstation 2 and was created by Insomniac games. Again Ratchet and Clank were anther one of Sony’s hopeful mascots which for some reason didn’t stick. Regardless of that fact Insomniac did make five games for just the PS2, two for the PSP and not to mention the PS3’s six games. The game play very similar to Jak and Daxter in which it’s a platforming adventure game with a third person shooter element. However unlike Jak and Daxter the game puts more emphasis on the arsenal of weapons from the wacky like a burping gun to the more devastating multiple rocket launchers. But the best part is with the ability to upgrade and level up your weapons. In my opinion the trilogy, Ratchet and Clank Future for the PS3 is one of the best the system has to offer. With an interesting story and excellent visuals the Future series is defiantly worth the price. However with all these games it seems these characters don’t get a lot of love. But it doesn’t seem like these characters are on the same level as a Mario or a Link like Nintendo has. Which I am hoping will change soon with the announcement of the Ratchet and Clank movie in 2015. 

Kirby

kirby When you think Nintendo what are the first characters that come to mind? Characters like Mario, Link, Donkey Kong, or maybe Luigi. But very few think of Kirby. Kirby was first introduced in 1992 on the original Gameboy. Ever since then the pink wonder has floated into my heart with excellent games from the Gameboy to the Super Nintendo and beyond. He has even got a permanent spot in the Super Smash Bros. line up. So why do I think he is underrated? Because if you look at the amount of games that Kirby has is doesn’t stack up. It seems like Nintendo only makes one Kirby game for each system (with the exception of handhelds). But I think Kirby could have a triple A title that’s not a handheld game. My evidence Kirby: Return to Dreamland for the Wii an excellent game which introduced four player co-op to the series. I guess I kind of biased since I love side scrolling games but you have to admit Kirby games are fun. Let’s see how he does on the 3DS when Triple Deluxe comes out later this year.

Mega Man

megamanTalk about an underrated characters, if I was giving an order to these characters I would put Mega Man in the top three. Not because of the gamers, because we love Mega Man but because of Capcom the company that owns Mega Man. I really think Capcom underrates the Blue Bomber maybe thinking he is a relic of the past. My evidence is that fact that Capcom canceled every Mega Man game that was in development and has no plans to bring out any new Mega Man games. WHY!?! Mega Man was introduced in 1987 for the NES and revolutionized side scrolling games. Since then he has several games and several very popular spin offs like Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero. Plus, side scrolling games are starting to make a comeback. Games like New Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Heck! Even Rayman has an excellent side scrolling game. So why does Capcom underrate they own character? I don’t know, but I am hoping with his appearance in Super Smash Bros. coming this year that Capcom sees the light. 

Bravoman

bravomanNever heard of Bravoman before don’t worry you are not alone. I didn’t even hear of him until just recently. Bravoman was a Japanese exclusive arcade game that was released by Namco in 1988. It was created as a parody of video games and Tokusatsu. Tokusatsu basically can be described as real life Sci-fi movies or shows that use lots of special effects similar to movies and shows like Godzilla, Masked Rider, or Ultraman. Sort of an “Airplane” of the video game world. Unfortunately the game never made it to the States in arcade form but you can still purchase the game on the Wii’s Shop Channel. So why do I think that Bravoman deserves a spot on this list even though no one has heard of him? Well, check out shiftylook.com this is a web comic site where you can not only read the adventures (or mis-adventures) of Bravoman. You can also watch the adventures in a beautifully done cartoon series. This cartoon series features the amazing voices of Dee Bradley Baker (Perry the Platypus, and The Clone Troopers from Star Wars Clone Wars) and Rob Paulsen (Yakko from Animaniacs and Pinky from Pinky and the Brain), two of my favorite voice actors. But what does this all have to do with video games? Check out the free Bravoman app and play it for yourself. I describe it as a cross between Mega Man and Temple Run. This mix reminds me of a very obscure Genesis game called Vectorman which is another great side-scroller. If they made a video game for the consoles that was along the same lines as Vectorman or the app it would make for a great game.

What about you Arcaders what are your thoughts? What about other characters not on the list? If you have any suggestions please leave a reply with your ideas below!

The Gift of Gaming

Hey Arcaders,

Christmas time is a time to be with family and friends and celebrate all that we have been blessed with. So don’t get me wrong as I post the following because Christmas is not about the gifts. However there is one Christmas I will never forget as long as I live. Now I will admit to you that I don’t have a very detailed memory. I can’t remember how old I was or what I was wearing or anything like that but I can remember the most important part. But before I go into this story I have to go back a ways before this Christmas. Around the time I was born there was a revolution that just started in gaming. For the longest time video game could only be played at arcades but for hardcore gamers it was a dream to play them at home. However, shelling out enough money for an arcade of your own could almost be as expensive as buying a car. But that all changed when companies like Atari, Coleco, and Nintendo came out with their first home entertainment systems. These were the things to have anyone who was anyone had one. As for me the only way I could play video games at home was through  my Father’s Commodore 64. But then one day my Father found an Atari 2600 at a garage sale for $10 (which included like 30 games with it). I almost immediately got hooked playing games like Pac-man, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Pengo, and others. It wasn’t long before I started to get a lot of friends and eventually started playing their NES systems. Games like Super Mario Bros., DuckTales, even Duck Hunt got my attention and just like any kid back then I wanted to have a NES. Eventually one of my friends was moving and he sold my parents his NES along with a couple of games, not to mention Super Mario Bros. 3 (one of my favorite games of all time). But when I got into fifth grade I started hearing about another game system, a kind of different game system. It wasn’t until later that I got to play this system. It was black colored and about the size of a textbook it had a circular design on the top were its logo was. In big bright shiny silver letters it spelled out Genesis.

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I played the Sega Genesis at a family friend’s house for the first time and I loved it. The first game I could remember was Altered Beast. Playing a muscle-bound strong dude that could go around beating up zombies and things and got to transform into animals as well was so great. But it wasn’t until one year that the system started to get my attention. I went over to that same family friend’s house that I was introduced to the game that would turn out to almost be a lifetime obsession. The game was like Super Mario Bros. but different it was faster more colorful and the music blew my mind. It started a blue hedgehog in red shoes whose name was Sonic. It blew my mind that I could run around at the speed of light over hills and around loops and even through walls. Now I am kinda embarrassed to admit to this, but I wasn’t that good at the game at first. In fact it took me hundreds of times to beat the first boss battle but I was definitely hooked to the game. Soon Sonic became my favorite thing I couldn’t stop talking about him. It also didn’t help that I also had a friend in school who was obsessed with Sonic as well. Soon my little kid heart wanted to own a Genesis so I could play Sonic’s game all the time.

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Now we didn’t have a lot of money as a family so if I wanted it (as my parents kept telling me) I was going to have to save up the money. I had a pencil box that I would put all the change that I collected and even the money that I earned in it. I was so obsessed with this idea that my friend who already own a Genesis give me a poster with the system and all its accessories on it. Just like any fan boy kid my age I put the poster above my bed and looked at it everyday. Soon I started to realize that it was going to be almost impossible for a kid to save up that much money and I started to get sad yet determined to get it.

I hung this over my bed

I hung this over my bed

One day, my Dad came home and started to tell me that he heard rumors of an adapter that I could put in my NES and play Genesis games. Now I wasn’t buying this but because as a kid I knew more about games than any adult would know. But my father was consistent and almost everyday would come home and tell me that he was trying to track them down. I knew that Dad was being miss lead by someone but he wouldn’t listen to me. I just ignored him and tried to think of other ways to get money but nothing came to mind and I was losing heart.

Now to that Christmas, every year we would wake up around 7 or 8 depending on my parents mood. Now my mother was Artistic and she loved setting our presents in such a way that each of us would have a pile. Now sometimes she would put them under the Christmas tree and other times would display them in the front room. She would use presents to stack  almost like Legos, presents on presents, or would even just use empty boxes. So this Christmas when I woke up and saw the presents under the tree stacked on top of a box it didn’t put up any flags. I was one of three brothers and every year we would take turns opening presents, I would start then my young brother and then the youngest brother. One of the first presents I opened was the first Sonic game. I was excited but it didn’t last long as I realized that I didn’t have a Genesis. The second present was Sonic Spinball again another high and low moment for me. I turned around and looked at my Dad asking him what the deal was. He just smiled and said that he had found a way to play them on my NES. I still didn’t believe him but I continued opening presents. The next one was one that made my heart skip a beat it was the game that I wanted even more than the first Sonic game; Sonic 2. Again this was a short victory as I remembered again how I lacked a Genesis. I gave my father an ugly look again but he just kept smiling which was starting to bug me. Soon all the presents were opened and I had three Genesis game and no way to play them. Again I looked at Dad again and asked what the deal was, he continued with the same smile. Then told me that the clerk at the store told him that these were special and all I needed to do was put it into my NES. I did but only to prove him wrong and just like I thought the game didn’t work. My mom then stepped in and said that there was one present missing and I should check the box that my presents were sitting on top. As you may have already figured out it was the Genesis. I believe that I was so excited that the rest of the day was a blur. More than likely I spent the rest of the day playing my new system. This was truly a Christmas I will never forget!

I want to dedicate this post to my parents who made every Christmas great for all of us, even when they didn’t have a lot of money. But they never wanted us to forget what Christmas was truly all about! So Merry Christmas to you and your family and have a wonderful New Year!

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