Saturday, August 20, 2016
Being born in the late 60s, we were teens in the 80s. Like most kids of this era, we grew up with video games. When we had kids, we were not adverse to exposing them to games as well. A good bridge at the time was the Video Buddy system. Using a similar technology as the light guns, it had a console with colored buttons and a sensor that connected to the TV with a suction cup. It had a series of videos on VHS tapes. They would stop the show occasionally and ask a question and you would use the console to answer. The sensor would get the information from the sensor and would tell you if your answer was correct. It was interesting enough but our kids weren’t super into it. We still have a bunch of the videos that haven’t even been watched. I checked with them to see how attached to it they were. My daughter wants to give them another try before we give them away. In trying to streamline, my niece said that she would be glad to try them with her young child. I had to check with her to ensure that she had the requirements – a VCR and an old TV.
Monday, August 15, 2016
As a child in the eighties, I had arguably the best video game system available – the Intellivision. Arguably is the key word here. A lot of people said that the Atari 2600 was better – but they are wrong. The graphics on the Intellivision were miles ahead of the even-more-blocky Atari ones. The Atari did have more ‘arcade’ games – but the versions available at home were nothing like the arcade ones. Most of the best Atari games were watered down ports of the Intellivision games. The complaints about the difference in controllers really falls down to a matter of preference. The Atari had an 8 position joystick and a single button while the Intellivision had 2 pairs of buttons, a 12 digit keypad, and a 16 position disc. While most of the x-box or PS kids today would probably have no problems with the extra buttons, to a group that hadn’t played anything before the Intellivision controller must have been overwhelming. I had no problems with it. A later addition to the console wars was the Colecovision. While it had arcade-level graphics, and actual arcade games, it’s base controller was a bit more awkward then the Intellivision one. It did have a stubby joystick knob instead of the disc, but placed it at the top of the controller rather than under the keypad. It also had a super complex controller for the time – the Super Action Controller – with 4 trigger buttons, a 12 digit keypad, a standard ball joystick, and even a speed roller. When nostalgia calls, it is awkward to hook up the old Intellivision system through an RF switch to be able to play. The Intellivision Lives game (70 games) for the Nintendo Game Cube and the Intellivison Play emulator (25 games) were both disappointing as they both required modifications to the games to use on the modern Game Cube style controllers. I know as I had picked up both of them hoping for that old Plimpton experience but did not get it from either. Intellivision Lives! currently has listed an Intellivision Flashback – with a mini deck similar to the old woodgrain unit and two classic controllers. It’s loaded with 60 games but is missing a few of the licensed ones. They even have a Coleco Flashback unit as well. I know that they are both going on my list.
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
The Dune board game remains one of my grail games. I have recently watched a few videos on the game and rules – drive run thru review, harsh rules, etc. It does seem like a game that I will like. The potential length may be a bit much for my gaming group though. With the Dune license tied up, Fantasy Flight released the basic rules as Rex – Final Days of an Empire by retheming it to their Twilight Imperium universe. I’ve never played Twilight Imperium and have no ties to that mythos, so I’ve no interest in getting that verson. I printed out the rules and read through them. It doesn't seem much more complex than Diplomacy. Now I just have to find a group to try it. While there are a few files on BoardGameGeek for printing your own version, I decided to use the one ‘Dirt Cheep Dune’ with simple graphics and low print requirements. With this, we can play a game or two and, if it plays as well as it seems, then I should be able justify picking up a game online or spending the time and effort to make a really nice print-and-play version of one.