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RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014)
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Posted on 12/07/14
RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014) I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...

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Under 100K Club: Retro Game Challenge
Posted on Friday, April 15 2011 @ 22:14:33 Eastern

I always find myself cursing the market for allowing some of my favorite games to go by unnoticed and un-purchased, so with my space here I think I'll start harping on at least a few of my favorites that DESERVE some time in the limelight… even if it's just a fogey like me rambling about how they didn't get the respect they should have received.

 

By the way, you kids and your new-fangled *grumble-grumble-grumble* and all that.  You totally didn't appreciate Retro Game Challenge.

 

Remember back to the olden days of gaming… if you're like me, it was back in the NES era, sitting in front of a heavy console TV with a boxy controller in one hand and a New Coke in the other (it's the only part of the image I'm afraid of), trying to get the Hammer Brothers suit in Super Mario Brothers 3.  Now, shrink that sort of experience down to the DS, fill it up with new games and multiple genres, and you've got a primer into the small world of RGC.

 

As far as games go, the complete list includes:

 

- Cosmic Gate (a Galaga clone)

- Star Prince (similar to early shmups like 1942)

- Haggle Man 1 and 2 (which is similar to Ninja JaJa Maru-kun)

- Haggle Man 3 (similar to Ninja Gaiden)

- Rally King and Rally King SP: Cup o' Chicken Noodle & Larry T. Bird Edition (similar to Micro Machines and other top-down racers)

- Guadia Quest (blatant ripoff of Dragon Quest, but in a good way)


The Ninja did a full review back when it launched (which can be found here) so I won't go into too much detail on all of them, but as a lover of the classics I just can't stand that the sales didn't warrant a sequel.  That's right... Japan got a second batch of the classic goodness called "GameCenter CX: Arino no Chosenjou 2," complete with a larger roster of games (with new genres touched on), hand-held games get a few entries, AND there are throwbacks to at least a few of the original RGC games (my Japanese sucks ROYALLY, so I'm a slave to translated walkthroughs which haven't shown me every game yet).  If RGC had sold over 100,000 copies, XSeed would have looked to translate and release it here, and since nobody bought it (except the few of us) I'm stuck trying to waddle through like the terrible gaijin I am.

But why should anybody care?  For me, it's simply surprising; the industry seems to have acquired a fever for classic games.  We have new, retro-styled Mega Man.  Rocket Knight was brought back with a face-lift.  Nintendo is readying the release of a new Kid Icarus title!  And apparently they're selling, because the whole WORLD is interested in revisiting the past!  But apparently, people want new retro games with names they already know... not play anything better than most of the games of yore were.  RGC has all-new-old games that bring up the same level of nostalgia that the real things bring us, AND they're more fun to boot.  It might be because they're original and fresh takes on old ideas, or because they simply bring back the memories of being seven years old and getting to the next boss, but whatever it is, I'm amazed it hasn't taken off like Mega Man and Rocket Knight have.

Which is why I'm writing this.  This game can still be found in some stores, it's available online, and it's CHEAP.  It debuted NEW for under US$20, and can be found on Amazon as I type this - brand-spankin'-new, mind you - for $14.  If you're up for a classic romp through gaming history, it's not only worth the purchase, it's worth losing yourself for a while in memories of footie PJs and craning your neck to see the screen you're already sitting too close to.

Let me know what you think, or tell me about the under-performing, under-hyped, under-rated classics you think deserve a second look and a plea for help.  I have a few games up my sleeve for this, but I love hearing about something I might've missed the first time around.  I look forward to hearing from you!

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