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marurun
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by marurun Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:50 pm

Doesn't one of the Bloodrayne games have Skittles somewhere?
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:57 pm

ET collects Reese's Pieces to keep his health up.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
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Michi
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Michi Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:58 pm

prfsnl_gmr wrote:Reese’s Pieces FTW

prfsml_gmr is a quality man of high tastes.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by pook99 Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:56 pm

darkened skye was a gamecube game with a world inspired by skittles, it kind of doubled as a skittles commercial or something like that. Totally random but factually accurate
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:22 pm

pook99 wrote:darkened skye was a gamecube game with a world inspired by skittles, it kind of doubled as a skittles commercial or something like that. Totally random but factually accurate


+1

That’s correct! Reese’s Pieces, as Popo noted, show up in ET for the Atari 2600, and there are a bunch of bad games starring M&Ms. I suspect that Darkened Skye is the best of the bunch, but as someone who likes E.T. And has never played any of the M&Ms games, who knows? There’s also a Jelly Belly game for the Wii and NDS, but I don’t know anyone whose actually played it...
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by ElkinFencer10 Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:31 am

Games Beaten in 2019 So Far - 59
* denotes a replay

January (12 Games Beaten)
1. Army Men 3D - PlayStation - January 1*
2. Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished - NES - January 4
3. Mega Man - NES - January 6
4. Mega Man 2 - NES - January 6
5. Mega Man 3 - NES - January 6
6. Mega Man 4 - NES - January 7
7. Dr. Discord's Conquest - NES - January 7
8. Mega Man 5 - NES - January 26
9. Just Cause 3 - PlayStation 4 - January 26
10. Mega Man 6 - NES - January 27
11. Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight - Vita - January 27
12. Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space - PlayStation 2 - January 27


February (2 Games Beaten)
13. Earth Defense Force 5 - PlayStation 4 - February 2
14. Fallout 76 - PlayStation 4 - February 3


March (4 Games Beaten)
15. Octopath Traveler - Switch - March 2
16. Resident Evil 0 - PlayStation 4 - March 9
17. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered - PlayStation 4 - March 10
18. Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade - Game Boy Advance - March 30


April (3 Games Beaten)
19. Moemon - Game Boy Advance - April 5
20. Yoshi's Crafted World - Switch - April 10
21. Wargroove - Switch - April 26


May (8 Games Beaten)
22. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen - Switch - May 5
23. Battlefield V - PlayStation 4 - May 9
24. Timespinner - PlayStation 4 - May 12
25. Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain - PlayStation 4 - May 17
26. Shenmue - PlayStation 4 - May 19
27. Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht - PlayStation 2 - May 26
28. Team Sonic Racing - Switch - May 29
29. Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse - PlayStation 2 - May 30


June (5 Games Beaten)
30. Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprache Zarathustra - PlayStation 2 - June 2
31. Gato Roboto - Switch - June 3
32. Katana Zero - Switch - June 4
33. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct - Wii U - June 8
34. Dark Savior - Saturn - June 12


July (12 Games Beaten)
35. The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim - Switch - June 7
36. The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim: Dragonborn - Switch - June 7
37. The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim: Dawnguard - Switch - June 7
38. Tiny Troopers - Switch - July 8
39. Tiny Troopers 2: Special Ops - Switch - July 8
40. Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth - 3DS - July 10
41. Super Robot Wars T - Switch - July 13
42. Super Mario Maker 2 - Switch - July 13
43. Command and Conquer - Saturn - July 16
44. Command and Conquer: Covert Operations - PC - July 16
45. Super Neptunia RPG - PlayStation 4 - July 18
46. My Girlfriend is a Mermaid!? - Switch - July 19


August (5 Games Beaten)
47. Fire Emblem: Three Houses - Switch - August 10
48. Wolfenstein Youngblood - Xbox One - August 24
49. Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem - DS - August 27
50. Metal Wolf Chaos XD - PlayStation 4 - August 31
51. Fire Emblem: Archanean War Chronicles - SNES - August 31


September (5 Games Beaten)
52. Golf Story - Switch - September 2
53. Red Dead Redemption - PlayStation 3 - September 7
54. Far Cry 4 - Xbox One - September 14
55. Muv-Luv Extra - Vita - September 19
56. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - Switch - September 23


October (3 Games Beaten)
57. Muv-Luv Unlimited - Vita - October 1
58. Panty Party - Switch - October 2
59. Mario Kart Tour - Android - October 3


59. Mario Kart Tour - Android - October 3

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When I heard that Nintendo was releasing a Mario Kart game for cell phones, I was skeptical. Just a touch screen? No buttons? How will that work? When I downloaded this Mario Kart game for cell phones, I was skeptical. When I was starting the first race in this Mario Kart game for cell phones, I was skeptical. When I finished that first race in this Mario Kart game for cell phones, I had been converted into a born-again believer in the Word of Mario Kart Tour.

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First thing's first - the game's not perfect. The controls feel kinda awkward. The motion control works pretty well, and it does give you two basic control schemes - "basic" controls that lets you turn your kart normally and "drift" controls that offer more precision but are a bit tougher to get the hang of by making every turn into a drift - but neither scheme ever felt particularly "good" in my opinion. That said, however, it does work very well; it's just not ideal. Honestly, though, with just a touch screen and no actual buttons or control sticks, it works way better than I expected. There's no accelerating to worry about; that's done automatically. The game pretty much keeps you on the track and out of the grass or sand or whatnot for the most part. What you need to do is focus on collecting and using items, getting on jumps for the boost, and maneuvering your way around the tracks.

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Visually, the game isn't as nice looking as some modern smartphone games I've seen, but keeping in mind that Nintendo has always focused largely on accessibility and likely wanted to keep the required specs fairly low so more folks could play, it looks pretty good. The sound design is fantastic and feels right at home with the Mario Kart series. Being a freemium game, it's naturally filled with microtransactions as well as a "Gold Pass" subscription that unlocks extra rewards, but I was able to play through every tour and have a FANTASTIC time with the game without spending a penny on it. As far as I can tell, almost everything can be unlocked for free in-game (although that would take a looooong time), and while not purely cosmetic, I wouldn't call the things that can be unlocked more easily via microtransactions pay-to-win, per se. Yeah, the ruby unlocks are pretty much just loot boxes, but it doesn't feel quite as scummy as Battlefront II's loot boxes. Maybe that's the Nintendo fanboy in me talking, but that's the impression I got from the game's unlock system.

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Your opponents in the tours are AI controlled versions of other players' accounts, and while PvP is supposedly on the way, that won't be available until the future update. Still, though, with tracks being relatively short and only lasting two laps, this is a great game to play while pooping (or pretending to poop) at work, and it's undeniably enjoyable. The amount of characters and karts that can be unlocked is pretty expansive, too, but I'll always be loyal to my ol' faithful, Koopa Troopa. I'm not the biggest fan of mobile games, and given the portability of the Switch, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is still obviously a VASTLY superior portable Mario Kart experience, but if you either don't have the time for full fledged Mario Kart or don't have your Switch with you (because if you just plain don't have a Switch, shame on you), this is a good, solid stand-in. Especially with the low price tag of $0.00, I can't think of anyone to whom I wouldn't recommend this game.
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isiolia
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by isiolia Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:05 pm

ElkinFencer10 wrote:As far as I can tell, almost everything can be unlocked for free in-game (although that would take a looooong time), and while not purely cosmetic, I wouldn't call the things that can be unlocked more easily via microtransactions pay-to-win, per se. Yeah, the ruby unlocks are pretty much just loot boxes, but it doesn't feel quite as scummy as Battlefront II's loot boxes. Maybe that's the Nintendo fanboy in me talking, but that's the impression I got from the game's unlock system.


To me, the downsides seem more like something that'll develop over time. Similar to the Fire Emblem mobile game - the initial release is limited in scope, so the low-tier characters and so on were fine. What may become a long-term issue is that, just like that game, this is a gacha fest that's already somewhat frustrating. It's not just the ruby boxes, but it all plays into the system that's less about racing as it is about points. You get a nice point bonus for coming in first, second, or third, but the game barely cares about that by itself. It's all about the point total Sorta like you mention, building that takes using items, hitting jumps, etc...but you also get a good chunk of your total by having the right driver/cart/glider for benefits on the track, and leveled up to get a larger starting bonus for points. It's much easier to rack up a point total getting three items at a time instead of one, and so on. Quite a lot of that comes from grinding rewards, though it caps out per day, or by...spending real money.

Theoretically, enough ranks on stuff, and you'd have the points to basically clear races by default. While it's currently playable enough without spending a dime, as the necessary point totals climb, it does get harder to succeed simply by running a good race. Which makes me wonder about how it'd be going forward -again, Fire Emblem quickly got to the point of really not being able to hang if you didn't have high tier, ranked up characters in your roster, then having a number of them...and it got harder and harder to do that for free. Which seems like the way this is going to end up. Especially if/when real PVP arrives.

It does give a bit of the feel of playing Mario Kart, limited controls and all, but it's almost beside the point. You end up running the same handful of tracks, remixed a little, with a higher and higher point standard to break by collecting and grinding (or buying) levels on drivers, carts, and gliders. That's the real game, and it's a shameful cash grab - probably one that would only be mentioned here to lambaste mobile pay-to-win mechanics, were it not for the IP.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by dsheinem Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:04 pm

Games Beaten 2019

Kentucky Route Zero Act 1 - PC
All Our Asias - PC
Shape of the World - Switch
Hidden Folks - PC
Hyrule Warriors - Wii U
Onrush - PS4
Assassin's Creed Origins - X1
Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown -360
Metro Exodus - PS4
Split/Second - 360
Far Cry: New Dawn - PS4
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon - X1
Marvel vs Capcom Infinite - PS4
Rage - PC
Red Faction: Armageddon - 360
Momonga Pinball Adventure - Switch
Psycho Soldier - Arcade/Vita
Super Mutant Alien Assault - Vita
Burly Men at Sea - Vita
Sigil - PC
Fat Princess - PS3
Borderlands 2: Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary - PC
Monster World IV - Genesis (PS3)
Marvel's Spider-Man - PS4
Mega Man X4 - Switch
Armored Warriors - Switch *new*
Battle Circuit - Switch *new*
Borderlands 3 - PS4 *new*

Total: 28


Previously: 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010


I picked up the Capcom Beat Em Up Collection and started with two I’ve never played through before. Both are pretty enjoyable, but I was psyched to find out that Armored Warriors is connected to the excellent PS1 fighter Cyberbots, which is probably my favorite “hidden gem” fighter of that era. It was fun seeing some of those same robots in a sidescroller.

Borderlands 2 is a “god-tier” game for me - probably in my top 3-5 games of all time. Borderlands 3 offered some improvements and some regressions over its predecessors, but all in all is still a great FPS/RPG hybrid that accomplishes again what the series has always done best. There’s no dramatic shakeup to the Borderlands formula, the writing is good but not great, the gunplay feels even better than prior entries (I played BL2 on PC, consoles, and Vita - the combat here is generally improved over all of those versions), and the game feels a little easier with easier campaign bosses than the series typically offers. I’ll def dive into some post-game content and DLC when it comes around. It feels good to have a new Borderands game to keep coming back to.
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Markies Sun Oct 06, 2019 3:57 pm

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2019!
*Denotes Replay For Completion*

1. Power Stone 2 (SDC)
2. Radiata Stories (PS2)
3. Dusty Diamond's All-Star Softball (NES)
***4. Saiyuki: Journey West (PS1)***
5. Shining In The Darkness (GEN)
***6. Metropolis Street Racer (SDC)***
7. Half-Life 2 (XBOX)
8. Soul Blazer (SNES)
9. Mario Party (N64)
10. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (GCN)
11. Street Fighter Collection (PS1)
12. Pokemon Stadium 2 (N64)
13. Burnout (PS2)
14. Phantasy Star III (GEN)
15. Batman: The Video Game (NES)
16. X-Men Legends (XBOX)
***17. Final Fantasy VII (PS1)***
18. Maximum Pool (SDC)
19. Puzzle Quest (PS2)
20. Jet Moto (PS1)

21. The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition

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I beat The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition for the Nintendo GameCube this afternoon!

After beating The Wind Waker, I was looking for my next Zelda game to purchase. After doing some research, I saw two collections that looked rather interesting. One was Ocarina of Time Master Quest and the second was the Zelda Collector's Edition. I had already played all four of the games on their original consoles, but I'm always a sucker to replay some Zelda games. So, I decided to take a break from the 'new' Zelda games and play some of the older games first.

The first game on the Collector's Edition was the original Legend of Zelda. Thankfully, I have a Hori Controller used for GameBoy games to play on the GameCube and that worked for this game, so I got to play the game with a regular D-Pad. The original Zelda is one of my favorite games of all time and it felt wonderful to go back and play again. Though, I always feel ashamed when I die in that game, which I did a few times.

Zelda II was up next and I had played the game for the first time a few years ago. The was one that I wasn't looking forward to as it beat me down. If I didn't have the Hori Pad, I don't think I would have beaten the game. The game is innovative and unique, but damn is it tough.

Ocarina of Time followed as we skipped Link to the Past. I had also played through Ocarina of Time recently, so I went through this one as quickly as possible. The extra sensitive thumb stick made the game rather interesting than what I was used to with the N64 stick. Also, the C-Stick and C Buttons took some getting used to for that particular game.

Finally, I played Majora's Mask, which was probably the game I was looking forward to the most. The last time I played it, I was in college and I couldn't beat the Water Temple, so my roommate did it for me. I felt like I needed to beat the game myself and do it without collecting every item. It was much more difficult and I don't think the game is intended to play it that way, but I did finally do it.

The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition is a great way to play four amazing games. I would always recommend playing the games on their original console first, but this collection will do in a pinch. Make certain that you find a better D-Pad than the GameCube's for Zelda II or you will loose your mind. It is always fun to replay Zelda games, no matter what the platform and I was glad to take a trip down memory lane.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:12 pm

1. Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (Famicom)
2. Dragon Scroll: Yomigaerishi Maryuu (Famicom)
3. Ninja-kun: Majou no Bouken (Famicom)
4. Hello Kitty World (Famicom)
5. Galaxian (Famicom)
6. Esper Dream 2: Aratanaru Tatakai (Famicom)
7. Ninja Jajamaru-kun (Famicom)
8. Jajamaru no Daibouken (Famicom)
9. Front Line (Famicom)
10. Field Combat (Famicom)
11. Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken (Famicom)
12. Mississippi Satsujin Jiken: Murder on the Mississippi (Famicom)
13. Space Harrier (Famicom)
14. Geimos (Famicom)
15. Attack Animal Gakuen (Famicom)
16. Sky Destroyer (Famicom)
17. Ripple Island (Famicom)
18. Oishinbo: Kyukyoku no Menu 3bon Syoubu (Famicom)
19. Bird Week (Famicom)
20. Baltron (Famicom)
21. Yie Ar Kung-Fu (Famicom)
22. Challenger (Famicom)
23. Ikki (Famicom)
24. Dough Boy (Famicom)
25. Atlantis no Nazo (Famicom)
26. Bio Senshi Dan: Increaser tono Tatakai (Famicom)
27. Yume Penguin Monogatari (Famicom)
28. King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch (Famicom)
29. Congo Bongo (Atari 2600)
30. Coconuts (Atari 2600)
31. Arcade Archives: Donkey Kong (Switch eShop)
32. Dragon Quest V: Tenkuu no Hanayome (Super Famicom)
33. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Super Burger Time (Switch eShop)
34. Fire Fly (Atari 2600)
35. Fire Fighter (Atari 2600)
36. Space Jockey (Atari 2600)
37. Airlock (Atari 2600)
38. Makai Hakkenden Shada (PC Engine)
39. Squeeze Box (Atari 2600)
40. Lagoon (SNES)
41. Atlantis (Atari 2600)
42. Xak III: The Eternal Recurrence (PC Engine CD)
43. Blue Blink (PC Engine)
44. Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys (PC Engine CD)
45. Cally's Caves 3 (Steam)
46. Planetarian: The Reverie of a Little Planet (Steam)
47. Contra (NES)
48. Arcade Archives: Vs. Super Mario Bros. (Switch eShop)
49. Arcade Archives: Moon Cresta (Switch eShop)
50. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Joe and Mac Caveman Ninja (Switch eShop)
51. Ice Hockey (Atari 2600)
52. Indy 500 (Atari 2600)
53. Video Olympics (Atari 2600)
54. Fast Eddie (Atari 2600)
55. Muv-Luv (Steam)
56. Air-Sea Battle (Atari 2600)
57. Combat (Atari 2600)
58. Street Racer (Atari 2600)
59. Food Fight (Atari 7800)
60. Galaga (Atari 7800)
61. Donkey Kong (ColecoVision)
62. Cosmic Avenger (ColecoVision)
63. Mouse Trap (ColecoVision)
64. Zaxxon (ColecoVision)
65. Armor Battle (Intellivision)
66. Armor Ambush (Atari 2600)
67. Basic Math (Atari 2600)
68. Astrosmash (Intellivision)
69. Astroblast (Atari 2600)
70. Donkey Kong (Intellivision)
71. Beauty & the Beast (Intellivision)

72. Surround (Atari 2600)
73. Borderline (SG-1000)
74. Omega Race (VIC-20)
75. Star Battle (VIC-20)


Surround
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When I was much younger I used to play a "snake" game on my graphing calculator. The game starred a snake moving around a field, eating randomly appearing items. Each time the snake consumed an item it grew longer, eventually twisting its way across the bulk of the playing field. The goal was to gobble up as much as possible, without running into the outer border, or smacking the snake's head against its ever-increasing body. It just so happens that there was another variation of "snake" that made some waves in the late 1970s. This foodless one-on-one variant pits two players (or a single player and a computer) against each other. The "snakes" grow automatically as they continuously move, the goal being to trap (or simply outlast) the opponent - whoever smacks into something loses. Several arcade games showcased such gameplay, though Atari brought the action home with their launch title Surround.

Unsurprisingly, Surround features multiple "modes" of gameplay, fourteen to be exact. Though two modes feature a computerized opponent, this is certainly best played with a duo of human players. While the AI isn't completely incompetent (like that of Street Racer or Air-Sea Battle) it's still pretty lame, and incredibly exploitable. Grab a buddy, and a second joystick. Seriously. The default gameplay mode has two players face off in a closed-in arena. You'll have to use some imagination to envision any reptiles: each player takes control of a square that leaves a winding "wall" behind as it moves. First one to hit any wall is toast. Movement is four-directional, and some simple beep-beep sound effects play as maneuvering occurs. Strategies vary based on the skills of the two playing. You can be aggressive and try to envelop an opponent as soon as possible, play the "long game" by making huge loops around the outer edges of the screen while slowly closing in, or just "hide" as best as possible while waiting for the opponent to make a critical error. Two skilled opponents make for some tense matches; first player to hit ten points is declared the overall winner.
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As for those other gameplay modes, they change the rules a little. One causes the snakes to speed up as they make progress (the audio also speeds up each time a "gear shifts" which is pretty cool). Another eliminates the arena wall and allows for "wrap-around" movement. Yet another allows for eight-directional movement instead of four. Lastly, the players can choose an "eraser" mode, where the fire button toggles track-laying on and off. Of course, we reach fourteen total modes by allowing the players to combine said attributes. Mode 12, for example, allows the players to wrap around the screen, speed up, move diagonally, and elect to stop laying track. It's total chaos!!!

Graphically, the game looks rather plain and many of the color choices are questionable. It's like the developers were trying to show off how many colors the console could support, and some stage backgrounds are quite gaudy as a result. There are some "video graffiti" modes tucked into the tail end of the cartridge, which allow players to "draw" onscreen. Slightly amusing for the time, but also rather slow and tedious. Overall, this is a good outing for Atari. The compelling two-player showdowns make Surround one of the more interesting launch titles.


Borderline
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Growing up, I always assumed that the Genesis was Sega's first console. It was the only one I had been aware of, plus its very name suggested a debut of sorts. My mind was blown years later when, in an attempt to play the first Phantasy Star game, I discovered an 8-bit Sega console: the Sega Master System. My mind was doubly blown when, as an adult with disposable income and a game collecting habit, I discovered yet another ancient Sega system known as the SG-1000. The SG-1000 is indeed Sega's first piece of home console hardware. It had the unfortunate luck of being released in Japan on the exact same day as Nintendo's legendary Famicom. While the Famicom achieved even further success with its NES variant, the SG-1000 saw only a limited release and faded quietly, quickly superseded by the Master System. It never even made it to the shores of North America. Though the SG-1000 helped usher in the third generation of gaming consoles, it feels very much like a second gen system, with its joystick controller and hardware specifications that greatly resemble those of the ColecoVision. Unsurprisingly, a huge portion of the SG-1000 library consists of Sega arcade ports, including the system's launch title: Borderline.

Borderline is an "action" title that, to use the game's own terminology, consists of a single looping "round" which is then broken down into a series of segments. First comes a vertically-scrolling "driving" section that's vaguely reminiscent of Bump 'n' Jump, but with more of an emphasis on combat. Enemies fly out of the walls that line both sides of the screen. The selection here is a little disappointing: the only thing to shoot down are these plain white triangular "missiles." Pressing either joystick button executes an attack: the player's jeep emits bullets from the left or right side of its hood. The shot types alternate, which is something to consider while aiming, though good old-fashioned button-mashing usually does the trick regardless. There's a fuel meter that acts as a de facto timer; shooting red gas tanks will replenish it. The scrolling is a bit choppy, and pulling back on the joystick will slow things down. Surprisingly, it is possible to shoot left and right by holding the joystick in one of those directions while shooting. This maneuver is essentially required to hit the fuel tanks, and tricky to pull off without also careening headlong into a wall.
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Following the driving segment comes a series of "digging" sections. Dig Dug is the obvious comparison here, though in the arcades Borderline actually predates Namco's classic monster-popper. These single-screen challenges adhere to more standard action game controls: no screen scrolling and top-down four-direction movement. The "dirt" provides cover from enemy fire, as only the player's jeep is capable of digging. There are also rigid unmovable walls to contend with. The goal throughout the trio of digging segments is to destroy the enemy "reactors" which are guarded by tanks. The tanks aren't especially fearsome. Slow and lumbering, their incoming shots can also be taken out by the player's bullets. It's a testament to the uneven difficultly that characterizes Borderline: while the driving segments can be daunting, mainly owing to the controls, the digging segments take almost no effort to complete.

The game looks acceptable (and yes, incredibly similar to what was on the ColecoVision in North America), but the massive monochrome chunks of brick and soil leave something to be desired. A musical ditty plays throughout, which is competent enough if not especially memorable. Sega was really fighting an uphill battle here. Nintendo launched their Famicom with arcade royalty in the form of Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior. Meanwhile, Borderline made little splash in the arcades and this port isn't enough to make anyone a believer. Had the difficultly been smoothed out and the controls tightened we'd perhaps have a winner on our hands. Instead, this stands mostly as an intriguing piece of history rather than a compelling play. And given the rarity (and accompanying prices) of SG-1000 cartridges, Borderline is best left to the most dedicated Sega devotees.


Omega Race
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I can't be the only one that assumed Omega Race would be a racing game, right? It really isn't. Omega Race is a shooter, released in the arcades by Midway in 1981, subsequently ported to multiple home consoles and computers. This isn't your typical fixed shooter though (Midway did have one of those, called Gorf); Omega Race is more akin to Atari's Asteroids and Sega's Space Fury. In other words, the player's ship has a free range of movement, the joystick is used to rotate and align the ship's nose, and a "thrust" command is used to accelerate forward. The most common variant of Omega Race is on the 2600. That particular port came packaged with a special controller (actually, it's a very odd "adapter" for the standard joystick) with two buttons: one for fire and one for thrusting. It's an interesting idea, and rather faithful to the arcade original's control scheme, but ultimately unwieldy and frustrating. Instead, I'd opt for something like the Commodore VIC-20 port, which uses the traditional "up for thrust" mechanic.

Gameplay is self-explanatory. Steer the ship and blast all enemies in sight. There are flying UFOs to contend with, along with stationary mines. Enemies get more aggressive if allowed to linger onscreen, with the ominous background music speeding up to serve as a warning. An occasional "death ship" appears, which needs to be blasted quickly as it can outrun and outmaneuver the player's ship with ease. The game's a "looper" with one repeating piece of scenery, perfectly suited for high score chasing.
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Despite the obvious inspiration, Omega Race doesn't stick too closely to the the Asteroids formula. There's no screen wrapping; hitting the edge of the screen causes the player's ship to "bounce" off. This can be detrimental, as the closed-in arena makes it tougher to avoid certain enemies, but a well-timed bounce is a great way to reposition. Additionally, the game's score/life display isn't contained within the typical horizontal bar situated at the screen's top or bottom. Instead, it's housed within a rectangle set dead in the screen's center. This rectangle is also "bouncy" and makes the battlefield resemble a large racetrack. And while playing it feels like you're constantly "running laps" with the ship. Kind of like a ..... hey, wait a minute.

The graphical style is interesting. This was Midway's only arcade release to utilize vector graphics, a look that was carried over into the VIC-20 port. This means that the game's entirely in black & white (minus the title screen), with every sprite resembling some sort of hard-angled geometric shape. The lack of detail won't please everyone, though I personally adore the stark unambiguous visuals. Why this wasn't ported to the Vectrex (the console to actually use vector graphics exclusively) is beyond me, though a homebrew port was apparently crafted many years after the game's initial relevancy.

Overall, Omega Race is a solid effort from Midway and Commodore. The "track" playing field subtly adds a layer of intrigue and strategy that would be missing from your bog standard Asteroids knock-off. It's a quick play, but a memorable one. To reiterate, I'd steer clear of that Atari port in favor of this (everyone has a VIC-20, right??).


Star Battle
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Star Battle is a space-themed fixed shooter released for the Commodore VIC-20 in 1981. There are seemingly millions of games just like this, so what makes Star Battle different? Well, it was programmed by the late Satoru Iwata. Yes, that Satoru Iwata, the one of HAL Laboratory, later to become president and CEO of Nintendo. This particular game dates back to his pre-HAL days, when he was involved with Commodore Japan. Who knew?

Don't get excited though. This isn't come obscure Japanese hidden gem that somehow slipped into the Commodore library (check out Curse of Babylon on C64 if you do desire such things). No, Star Battle is simply an attempt to recreate Namco's Galaxian for the VIC-20 computer. It's an unauthorized "clone" game, if you will. All the core elements of Galaxian are present. One or two (alternating) players control a spaceship firing vertically into a horde of alien fiends. The blue, purple, red, and yellow extraterrestrials all adhere to slightly different attack patterns, and move at varying rates of speed. In addition to firing their own projectiles, aliens will frequently swoop down in a kamikaze fashion, attempting to make direct contact with the player's ship. Points are gained upon defeating the bad guys, and the game "ends" only when all lives are depleted. The iconic "flags" to mark stage progress have been retained here as well.
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Now, Galaxian is an excellent game, offering up a simple but addictive dose of score-chasing, with a steadily climbing difficulty curve. Had Star Battle competently emulated Galaxian we'd have a real winner. Unfortunately, it falters in many places. While the alien sprites look correct when still, they move in a rather choppy fashion. There's plenty of sprite flickering, which can lead to some frustrating missed shots. Sound effects are terrible: alternating between staticky thumps and shrill whines. The shortcomings of Star Battle make it a difficult game to contend with, and there's little incentive to keep practicing.

These copycat games were common on old computers, probably because the publishers either couldn't (or didn't want to) obtain proper licensing rights. Anyone who's delved into the VIC-20 library has likely encountered Star Battle -- along with Avenger, Jupiter Lander, and Radar Rat Race (which copy Space Invaders, Lunar Lander, and Rally-X, respectively). One could argue that Star Battle may have served a purpose as a compromised but playable "substitute" for Galaxian, for those 80s gamers that owned a VIC-20 but no gaming console. However, Galaxian did receive a proper VIC-20 port via Atarisoft, a few years after Star Battle hit the scene. This essentially renders Iwata's creation moot, though it's undeniably a cool historical oddity. Kirby would be willing to inhale it, I bet.
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