There are six new games to choose from this week on Xbox Live Arcade and Virtual Console, though none of them are original games (which you expect from VC but even XBLA is arcade ports this week). Plus, most of this week’s games are relatively inexpensive with one exception.
Games this week include Bonk 3: Bonk’s Big Adventure, Adventure Island, Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole, Donkey Kong Jr. Math, Cyberball 2072 and Fatal Fury Special. Details for the releases are below.
Read More | Nintendo Press Release
Nostalgic about video games of yore? Strap on your Pac-Man Belt as we tell you about the bi-fold Nintendo Wallet, made of distressed leather, which holds all your credits card, ID and what little cash you have left after buying your Nintendo Wii. The cool thing? The wallet not only looks like an NES controller, it even comes in a tin case shaped like a game cartridge! A great way to get your geek on—with style. Available for $30 USD.
Ok, this writer is just going to admit it: in addition to goofy USB items and off-kilter (or useful) iPod docks, she has developed an obsession with anything recently retro, waxing nostalgic about doo-dads that remind her of the 70s or 80s. Case in point: Rockza’s Space Invaders Bag, made of PVC (translation: faux leather), and decorated with rows of the scurrying aliens. Oddly missing are the four protective “shelter blocks” and cannon, but we’ll let it go. Unfortunately, the bag is only available in Korea for 42,000 Korean Won ($45 USD). But let’s hope the trend comes stateside, as we think a Centipede version would look really cool, in a geeky sort of way.
Gamers of a certain age, if given half a chance, will gladly recount grand tales of smoky rooms, dimly lit by a few dozen cathode rays where the only sounds are the white noise of competing digitized soundtracks, crude speech sythesizers, blips and bells, pings and whistles and artificial arpeggios rolling down an electronic scale.
The misty sincerity of those gamers who cut their teeth on the quarter-munching cabinets of Space Invaders, Asteroids, Missile Command and Sinistar is almost enough to make one forget what a mess the modern arcade equivalent has become. The gargantuan interface machines with their elaborate weapon approximations and physical demands juxtapose over a likewise spectacular price per play resulting in a hollow shell of what the old guard knew so well. These are not arcades as exist in those guarded memories, they are interactive entertainment experiences: The kind of branded, marginalized speciality device that has been focus tested and trade-show marketed to get the premium floor space right out front in view of the mall concourse is showpiece here.
Even those arcade machines which can still accurately be described as video games compete for the higher-yield ticket-generating skill games (which ironically involve very little skill). Most of those who recall the days when 3D graphics referred to the vector lines of Tempest pass by these modern emporiums. Perhaps they shake their heads a little or make a disparaging comment. Kids these days. Get off my lawn. They don’t enter; inside is only heartbreak.
Perhaps what hurts the most is that it is a heartbreak we chose. We have no one to blame but ourselves, for while the arcade as it was may be dead, ultimately it is us who killed it.
We wanted the more valuable entertainment experience. We asked for and then demanded a perfect replica of our arcade favorites that we could play at home from the comfort of our couches. We pressed for more arcade-quality graphics on our home consoles until our set top boxes had visuals that outpaced anything showcased on a standalone machine. We asked for, and received, greater narrative depth in our games and as a casualty for our insistence we killed the arcade—the very entity we now mourn.
This week the Arcade goes retro with the 24-year-old Track & Field. For 400 Microsoft Points you’ll get the classic button-masher, complete with 4-player split-screen and Xbox Live support. Along with this announcement, Microsoft has revealed some of the XBLA games we’ll be seeing in August and by summer’s end.
Headlining releases this month is Hexic 2, sequel to the XBLA launch game, Hexic HD. We’ll also receive Ecco the Dolphin and War World during August.
And “in the coming weeks,” we’ll see Geon: Emotions, Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, Space Giraffe, Streets of Rage 2, and Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. (That one’s a mouthful.)
Check after the break for a brief description of all these games, and a few more screenshots of Track & Field in action.
Ever wonder what Namco’s classic arcade game “Pac-Man” would look like live and in person? Neither have we, but we love this toy just the same. It’s the Pac-Man Moving Plush Set, including the Pac-ster and his 4 elusive compadres, each 8 inches tall and battery-operated. Just turn them on and watch the go! Great for parties, kids,
or the hardcore Pac-fan. If the $100 USD is too high, consider the Pac-Head, or the considerably saner Pac-Man Belt. Requires 2 AA batteries (not included), but unfortunately Club Namco is currently out of stock.
Thanko has designed a clock that will allow you to wake up to music, your cat purring, the ocean, or any other soothing sound you desire. The USB Retro Alarm MP3Clock can be customized by connecting it to your PC. It is compatible with Windows 2000/XP, can hold up to 50 seconds of WAV/MP3, and uses 3 AAA batteries for up to a year of use. We are considering making it a gift for our kids and preprogramming it so that we won’t have to scream personally to get the recipients to wake up. The timepiece is available at AudioCubes for $39.99.
Read More | Audio Cubes
It almost frightens us that this tote bag is already considered retro. Carry all your hi-tech gadgets in the low-tech Classic Cassette Tote that measures 16 x 10.25 x 4.5-inches. It is made of non-woven flexible plastic to keep your iPod, iPhone, and any other iGadgets safe and dry. The handles resemble unraveling tape and the bag is available for $14.99 from perpetual kid. At least there is no rewinding involved, but merely unwinding on your next trip to the beach.
Read More | perpetual kid
While the Xbox Live Arcade is set to get the classic Marathon, Virtual Console’s additions this week include Star Soldier (vertical shooter; NES, 500 Wii points), Dynamite Headdy (platformer; Genesis, 800 points) and Drop Off (puzzle; TurboGrafx16, 600 points) – all pretty old titles. This is really a hardcore retro week, apparently.
All three are now available. Check after the break for more details.
Retro clothing, gadgets, toys, accessories, etc. seem to be the rage these days (that is if your idea of “retro” is the 70s and 80s), which is why we loved the Gold Cassette Belt Buckle, the Boombox Bag and the Pac-Man Belt. Now we’re getting all wistful over Jellio’s Lite Table, which has 100 large, colorful acrylic pegs to arrange and re-arrange to create your own designs. And of course the pegs light up when “positioned over a small light source.” Somehow we suspect grown-ups will create decidedly different —and more adult—designs from the rainbows and unicorns we made as kids. Sounds like fun and it’s a great conversation piece, but feel it’s a tad expensive at $600 USD.