Year In Retro Gaming: NESCaline (RIP), C64, Dragon’s Lair, DOOM Etc

As the year comes to a close, we were blessed with a good amount of retro titles from the AppStore.  Some of which were garbage retreaded, others were masterpieces.  As you know I am the oldest of the bunch here at a young 37. I have played some of remixed titles in their glory days for sure.

Either in a pizza joint or a three story arcade, it was there I cut my teeth on the classics. Have I known how addicting those were back then I could have saved up a boatload of quarters and bought myself something useful like a home console, whatever was the latest at the time.  Even through college I tend to take a “study” break and play some vids. And again as a married man, with two girls, I still play these games in any form they come.

Lately it’s my iPhone being plugged in and recharged A LOT, playing the games NAMCO, Taito , ID Software and so on who shaped my life with a wealth of knowledge.  When something new comes out, the latest fad, it’s usually something that has already been released, other with minor tweaks here and there.  So my admin asked me to go through a few titles and review what has been released this year in the retro department.

**Space Invaders & Space Invaders Infinity Gene**

I reviewed both of these as they came out.  The First one was a perfect rendition of the classic.  For those purists, it’s a no brainer to pick that one up!  But the 2nd one, holy moley, I was NOT expecting Taito to take such a left turn, it’s one I kept on my phone, just to show how cool it is and how much went into the remix.

space_invaders_classic space_invaders_infinity_gene

Such a good job and worth the 5 bucks spent when it was released a few months ago. Both are easy to play, with the second being so graciously over the top. As of lately Taito has gone into the OpenFeint realm. Hey better late than never!

**Nescaline & Commodore 64**

Wow, Nescaline slipped in the cracks of the App Store approval dudes. Only for a day was this available to purchase and it was yanked just like C64 was before thedev took out the BASIC coding feature.  I was able to get my hands on both, I’m telling ya, if Nescaline has a bigger screen it would have been better!

nescaline c_64

It came with a handful of crappy homebrews. If you own some of these actual cartridge based NES games and are able to upload them to a site, you could play them as well.  Hence the reason why it was pulled, most of us don’t own any actual NES games.  Although I don’t see Nintendo releasing any Apps in the future anyways, which is a shame other than the third party releases I see here and there (Mega Man II).

C64 on the other hand is built with licensing involved. The titles themselves are out of date, so the authors were excited to see them being resurrected once more. With updates in the future, more games are added in packs for 99 cents.  For retro gamers, it’s a blessing to see some exclusive C64 titles able to be played again without trying to hook up a coax cable to a 1080 high definition TV.

**Pinball Dreaming & Pinball Fantasies**

pinball_dreaming pinball_fantasies
Both published by the same company, Cowboy Rodeo it’s good ol’ simulated pinball with several themes to choose from.  The games came from the Amiga era, in which the publishers bought the license for the games.  Both titles are identical, with 4playfield to choose from.  The only part missing in this is the ability to tilt the ball when needed.  Something every pinball wizard knows how to manipulate the field without tilting board.  Good retro fun from the Amiga!

**Wolfenstein 3-D & Doom**

Wolfenstein 3-D was released first, it’s a classic and it’s the first FPS, the one that started it all.  Just two guys and they made a serious fortune.  For those who have only played Doom, it’s just you against a German army with acyber double chainsaw bearing boss at the end.  And yes you can beat it without using the God Mode code.

doom

Doom on the other hand has your guy descending into what looks like hell and taking care of business as usual.  The interface and movement was greatly enhanced with the 2nd go-round.  From there other developers starting learning the code, engine and other knockoffs came about like DukeNukem, Quake and so on.  The more that came out, the better the genre got, bringing deathmatch via lan and online via dial-up.  Yes I said it, dial-up. Both play with near perfect controls, sans the virtual dpads.  It’s just something we need to accept on our iDevices.

**Dragon’s Lair & Space Ace**

I never got a good chance to actually play the game since it was hogged in the arcades all the time.  In fact the arcade owners used to add a second mirrored monitor on top so others can watch the action!  Dragon’s Lair was innovative at the time, utilizing thelaserdisc setup, but in this app it’s all been updated to do the virtual thing.  It’s always been a memory game + quick reflexes, and those who finish by slaying the dragon spend a good amount of time and money doing so.

dragons_lair

Space Ace was the second one out, within a year I believe by the same company that made Dragon’s Lair.  They added a few twists but the as the video game market took a dive, this one didn’t do as well as the first.

space_ace

**Pac-Man Remix & Dig Dug Remix**

Namco drank the kool-aid and started churning out the classics shortly after the App Store was opened.  For the most part, it’s retreaded, with little tweaks andpowerups .  On a positive not, they decided to offer the originals in the game as well for some.  For the most part, I feel like if I was going to remix it, I would have remixed it as far as I could take the title.  There were several spin-offs for the Pac-Man franchise, some were unbelievably stupid. But given the era, anything Pac -Man was played.  This one is playable, but I feel the CE version is better.

pac_man_remix

Dig Dug Remix is very cool, it was one I was able to get in the top ten high scores as a kid. The remix is decent with a few twists, the gameplay was spot one and fun to play. Namco released several other remixed titles to noted: Pole Position Remix, Galaga Remix, Mr Driller (from the Dreamcast, great game), and others.

dig_dug_remix

**Myst & Glypha**

Both of these titles were first released on a mac (or apple at the time). Myst is a graphic adventure video game designed and directed by the brothers Robyn and Rand Miller, faithfully ported over to theiphone/ipod touch. Since my attention span is nil, I could not play this back in the day. But roommate spent countless nights and eventually beat it. Every once in a while he would tell me to come over and check it out, it was marvelous for its time. For this port, everything was redone from the bottom up to make sure this one wouldn’t be 1.) Trashed by the purists 2.) Hook new players into the game. Oh, it hooked me rather quick! Such a good game.

myst

Most folks don’t know anything about Glypha, it’s a Joust clone.  Joust is a Midway/Bally classic that was popular in the very early 80s. Same game play, you fly around by tapping the screen and your object is to land on top of your enemy, them collect the eggs before they hatch.  Wave after wave they get harder.  The best part is this one is FREE in the App Store.  It’s a good idea to pick it up!

glypha

Looking Forward to Retro 2010!

With plenty more to go over, I’d say retro titles belong in everyone’s library.  It’s always a blast to look in the past and play some classic games without any movie tie-ins or lame professional athlete endorsements (except for Kobe Bryant).  For what was offered, I’m satisfied with the titles published this past year, and I look forward to more of these in the future. Happy gaming in 2010 everyone!

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  • http://twitter.com/ghovnanian GaroH

    It's just ironic that developers can pour hundreds of hours into a new game concept designed specifically for the iPhone, and everyone expects it to be $.99. Or you could port an old game that was designed specifically for something that was 20 times bigger and 2,000 times less powerful, and it's still $.99. If I were a developer, I'd be annoyed.

  • http://twitter.com/ghovnanian GaroH

    It's just ironic that developers can pour hundreds of hours into a new game concept designed specifically for the iPhone, and everyone expects it to be $.99. Or you could port an old game that was designed specifically for something that was 20 times bigger and 2,000 times less powerful, and it's still $.99. If I were a developer, I'd be annoyed.

  • http://twitter.com/SaintCurmudgeon @SaintCurmudgeon

    I know a lot of people think it is lame, but I love Dig-Dug on my iPhone. It has become one of my biggest time sink holes.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/ninjames ninjames

      Daniel likes it too!

  • http://twitter.com/SaintCurmudgeon @SaintCurmudgeon

    I know a lot of people think it is lame, but I love Dig-Dug on my iPhone. It has become one of my biggest time sink holes.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/ninjames ninjames

      Daniel likes it too!

  • Jeremy

    In my opinion it would be so cool if Nintendo DID make an emulator for the iPhone. They could charge for it and license it so everybody would be happy. Even Sega could make one. I personally have never jailbroken but might so I can try the emulators.

  • Jeremy

    In my opinion it would be so cool if Nintendo DID make an emulator for the iPhone. They could charge for it and license it so everybody would be happy. Even Sega could make one. I personally have never jailbroken but might so I can try the emulators.

  • http://www.rustysabre.com Eric

    I didn't care much for the whole "remix" lot. I think I have all of them and played most of them for maybe 5 minutes before they got the boot. I was also disappointed in the C64 emulator mainly because I wasn't familiar with any of the games that came with it. I may give the update a whirl since I know at least one of the games that is now bundled there. I never was a big fan of the original Wolf3D lineage, so that one didn't do much for me either.

    Most of my retro-enjoyment came from adventure games. I personally found titles like Mystery House, Transylvania and Simon The Sorcerer quite enjoyable, even though a couple of them were 20+ years old (complete with graphics in-tact!).

    I realize there were probably a lot of retro games that couldn't be covered in this article, but I notice a lack of mention of any of the "ports" that SEGA did. I'd be curious if Daniel (or anyone that reads this article) has any thoughts on those. I was tempted to get Golden Axe, but was kind of turned off when I realized it was just an emulated ROM. I was hoping it would at least be a native iPhone app, even if it used the same graphics to retain the retro flavor.

  • http://www.rustysabre.com Eric

    I didn't care much for the whole "remix" lot. I think I have all of them and played most of them for maybe 5 minutes before they got the boot. I was also disappointed in the C64 emulator mainly because I wasn't familiar with any of the games that came with it. I may give the update a whirl since I know at least one of the games that is now bundled there. I never was a big fan of the original Wolf3D lineage, so that one didn't do much for me either.

    Most of my retro-enjoyment came from adventure games. I personally found titles like Mystery House, Transylvania and Simon The Sorcerer quite enjoyable, even though a couple of them were 20+ years old (complete with graphics in-tact!).

    I realize there were probably a lot of retro games that couldn't be covered in this article, but I notice a lack of mention of any of the "ports" that SEGA did. I'd be curious if Daniel (or anyone that reads this article) has any thoughts on those. I was tempted to get Golden Axe, but was kind of turned off when I realized it was just an emulated ROM. I was hoping it would at least be a native iPhone app, even if it used the same graphics to retain the retro flavor.

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  • http://twitter.com/smithy1111 @smithy1111

    Never really been a fan of retro gaming…maybe I'm too young to appreciate it.

  • http://twitter.com/smithy1111 @smithy1111

    Never really been a fan of retro gaming…maybe I'm too young to appreciate it.

  • Igoo

    Amazing year for games! Hope next year brings even more surprises…

  • Igoo

    Amazing year for games! Hope next year brings even more surprises…

  • Daniel

    On Eric's comment… I had limited space to keep it from being a long, long column. There's so much more to cover than the 12 that's for sure. Out of Mystery House, Transylvania and Simon The Sorcerer, I'd say Transylvania is the better out of the bunch. Sonic, Columns, Streets of Rage and Golden Axe are all popular Genesis titles indeed. Maybe I should have written up two more? If I did, Sonic and Columns would be the ones to cover. Thanks Eric, happy gaming!

  • Daniel

    On Eric's comment… I had limited space to keep it from being a long, long column. There's so much more to cover than the 12 that's for sure. Out of Mystery House, Transylvania and Simon The Sorcerer, I'd say Transylvania is the better out of the bunch. Sonic, Columns, Streets of Rage and Golden Axe are all popular Genesis titles indeed. Maybe I should have written up two more? If I did, Sonic and Columns would be the ones to cover. Thanks Eric, happy gaming!

  • kdhomick

    I still can't believe that I'm playing Wolf3D and Doom on my iDevice. These were some of my earliest comp games. I'd get the shareware disks for Christmas and play for hours and hours. Now, I can do that anywhere, anytime….. LOVE IT!

  • kdhomick

    I still can't believe that I'm playing Wolf3D and Doom on my iDevice. These were some of my earliest comp games. I'd get the shareware disks for Christmas and play for hours and hours. Now, I can do that anywhere, anytime….. LOVE IT!

  • http://twitter.com/watever486 @watever486

    The first time I played SIIG my mouth was agape. Simply an incredible game. Almost had the same feeling with Pacman CE, but it doesn't have quite the same wow factor. Not really a fan of straight retro ports, but maybe that's because I'm too young for the nostalgia factor to kick in.

  • http://twitter.com/watever486 @watever486

    The first time I played SIIG my mouth was agape. Simply an incredible game. Almost had the same feeling with Pacman CE, but it doesn't have quite the same wow factor. Not really a fan of straight retro ports, but maybe that's because I'm too young for the nostalgia factor to kick in.

  • http://twitter.com/Alex_Ferrigno @Alex_Ferrigno

    Tbh, I think i'm a bit too young for all these retro games, the only ones I'd think about would be pacman or nescaline, pity I can't get the second one anymore :(

    • http://twitter.com/watever486 @watever486

      If you're going to get a Pacman game, get Pacman CE, not Pacman Remix; it's much better.

  • http://twitter.com/Alex_Ferrigno @Alex_Ferrigno

    Tbh, I think i'm a bit too young for all these retro games, the only ones I'd think about would be pacman or nescaline, pity I can't get the second one anymore :(

    • http://twitter.com/watever486 @watever486

      If you're going to get a Pacman game, get Pacman CE, not Pacman Remix; it's much better.

  • http://twitter.com/watever486 @watever486

    The first time I played SIIG my mouth was agape. Simply an incredible game. Almost had the same feeling with Pacman CE, but it doesn't have quite the same wow factor. Not really a fan of straight retro ports, but maybe that's because I'm too young for the nostalgia factor to kick in.

  • http://twitter.com/watever486 @watever486

    The first time I played SIIG my mouth was agape. Simply an incredible game. Almost had the same feeling with Pacman CE, but it doesn't have quite the same wow factor. Not really a fan of straight retro ports, but maybe that's because I'm too young for the nostalgia factor to kick in.

  • http://www.twitter.com/erichd ErichD

    It's really crazy how this ultra-modern device has brought about the largest resurgence in retro games in the last two decades (for those games that existed before twenty years ago)….

    And after some hours and hours of playing, I can finally admit it to myself: I'm not a big fan of virtual D-pads, joysticks, or buttons. AT ALL.

    I prefer emulated controls when they're necessary, such as gesture-based walking/viewing as in x2 SOccer and Eliminate Pro, or area tap-responsive controls as in Hook Champ, Super Knockout, etc.

    I cant wait to see what legends of the 1970's and 80's find a rennaissance in 2010! Final Fantasy or Xenogears, anyone?

  • http://www.twitter.com/erichd ErichD

    It's really crazy how this ultra-modern device has brought about the largest resurgence in retro games in the last two decades (for those games that existed before twenty years ago)….

    And after some hours and hours of playing, I can finally admit it to myself: I'm not a big fan of virtual D-pads, joysticks, or buttons. AT ALL.

    I prefer emulated controls when they're necessary, such as gesture-based walking/viewing as in x2 SOccer and Eliminate Pro, or area tap-responsive controls as in Hook Champ, Super Knockout, etc.

    I cant wait to see what legends of the 1970's and 80's find a rennaissance in 2010! Final Fantasy or Xenogears, anyone?

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