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Amstrad Retroaction issue 1 DRAFT 0.2

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Sep 292019
 
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Homebrew reviews:

  • Magica
  • Doomsday Lost Echoes
  • A Prelude to Chaos
  • Outlaws
  • Vector Vaults
  • Defence

Features:

  • Arcade Action: ShinobiWe take a look at Shinobi, one of the finest games in the arcades converted to the Amstrad CPC
  • Film Night: Arachnophobia – This is one of Amstrad CPC’s hidden gems, forgotten through time in a similar way to the underrated film that it is based on

  • Random Retro: Manhattan 95 – We randomly select a… erm… random game to look at every issue. This time around, it is Manhattan 95 from Ubi Soft
  • Retro Memories: The Survivor – Regardless of the game’s quality, there is always at least one game we have a soft spot or remember fondly. For this author, The Survivor is one of them
  • Retro Rivals: Super Sprint vs. Grand Prix Simulator – There were a lot of rivalry between games, especially if they were of very similar design and feel. We pit these two rivals against each other and see who comes out on top
  • Same Name, Different Game: Renegade – We look at some of the games that share the same names, but are completely different games and genres. This issue we look at Imagine’s Renegade and Kuma’s Renegade


 Posted by at 9:06 pm

Retroaction Summer 2019 – Tenth Anniversary Special Issue

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Jul 142019
 
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Features:

Surviving the Horrors of Martian Gothic
A rather forgotten survival horror for the (original) PlayStation and PC from the turn of the millennium.

The Genesis of EA Sports
We take a look at Electronic Arts’ influential sports games from the height of the Sega Mega Drive’s reign.

Retro Games Hacks
Some of the best game hacks to enhance your favourite game right here.

Games World Lookback
We take a look back at the classic GamesWorld television show. The challenges, the games, the celebrities, the journalist commentators, and Bob Mills.

Computer Warrior
Part four of our coverage of the Computer Warrior comic strip, which was published in the Eagle comic from 1985-1994, where gamers discover how to play computer games within the computer’s realm.

Interviews:

Stephen Marley
We talked to game designer and author Stephen Marley about Martian Gothic and how it all came to be.

Dave Perry
We caught up with the Dave Perry to reminisce about his involvement in gaming magazines and television shows and how it all lead to one of his very first passions.

Roger Kean
Roger Kean kindly took some time out of his busy schedule to talk about the rise and fall of Newsfield Publications and the legacy it left behind.

Regulars:

Retroscene
We re-live some of the biggest news happenings since the last Retroaction issue.

Retro Respect: UFO: Enemy Unknown
We’ve all missed a classic during our time (I know I have). This is where we pay respects to the forgotten classics, the misunderstood, and the underdogs.

How to Cause a Complete Controversy: How to be A Complete Bastard
Forget the GTAs and Manhunts; games were causing controversy from as far back as the 8-bit days. We look at the controversy that surrounded these games.

Killer App: Super Star Wars
If there is one game out there that might persuade gamers to hunt out a Super Nintendo then surely this is it

Wacky Challenge: NHL Hockey 94
Bored with a classic? Prolong the fun by playing it differently.

Raiders of the Lost Arcades
The arcade is virtually extinct as a gaming platform, so we take a special trek back through time to relive some of the arcades’ greatest and underrated games.

Lost in Translation: Pulseman
With many games released first in Japan, many don’t reach Western audiences for many reasons.

Retro Respect: Decap Attack
Reconstructed and rewritten from its original Japanese release, Decap Attack is kind of unloved, so we try to fix that.

The Weird and Wonderful World of Retro Gaming: Super Magic Drive
We look at an interesting back-up device that emerged from the Far East in the 1990s.

Games Roundup
A lot can happen in ten years,and there have been many homebrew games released in the last decade. Here we catch up on some of the big name games.

Reviews:

Castlevania:Spectral Interlude (ZX Spectrum)

Precinct 20: Dead Strange (Commodore 64)

The Shadows of Sergoth (Amstrad CPC)

Xspelunker (MSX)

rOx Zero (Atari STe)

Putty Squad (Amiga)

Pier Solar (Mega Drive)

Star Fox 2 (Super Nintendo)


 Posted by at 8:37 pm
Mar 022012
 

It’s another month, which means another retro helping of ‘Back in Time’.  This time we go back twenty years to take look at the best videogaming magazines from March 1992. This was a time when the quirky platformer Harlequin appeared on the Amiga, WWF Wrestlemania grappled all comers on all formats, Buck Rogers showed everyone how to do a Sci-Fi RPG, Space Crusade made strategic moves on the 8-bit computers and the Game Gear played host to some fine arcade conversions of Space Harrier and G-LOC

As usual, we have chosen four articles to accompany the main feature itself and are available to read online. These include a review of Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday on the Mega Drive taken from Mean Machines issue 18; a review of Space Crusade on the ZX Spectrum from Your Sinclair issue 75; an interview with Gary Bracey, Software Director of Ocean Software, taken from Amiga Power issue 11 and an interview with Tom Kalinske, head of Sega US, which was taken from Sega Force issue 3.

The main ‘Back in Time’ feature and the online articles can be found at the Out-of-Print Archive website.

 Posted by at 7:15 pm
Mar 012012
 

Back in 2005, it seemed unlikely that Retro Gamer would survive past issue 20, never mind 100. Fortunately, the magazine was revived by its current publishers and still produces the goods to this day, content and design wise. With its 100th issue, the Retro Gamer team have pulled out all the stops and packed the 100 odd pages with superb content from start to finish.

First up, readers will notice that the magazine comes in a bag and is slightly dearer than usual – £5.99 – and this is because of a very special addition: the very first Retro Gamer issue, reprinted especially for this celebratory issue. Also of note is the Making of… Grand Theft Auto, Inside the Spectrum, David Braben on Elite, The Making of… Sonic the Hedgehog.

Other articles include The Story Of Game Boy Tetris, Ralph Baer, Eugene Jarvis on Robotron: 2084, David Crane’s Tricks Of The Trade, 100 Classic Gaming Moments, John Romero on Dangerous Dave, In The Chair With Andrew Braybrook, Rob Hubbard: The Music Man and more.

The landmark Retro Gamer issue 100 is available in stores across the UK now or alternatively, jump onto Imagine’s eShop to purchase either the print or digital copy. While you wait for your copy, be sure to check out the editor’s flick through preview video of the momentous issue.

 Posted by at 12:53 pm

PC Player issue 2 digitally archived

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Feb 242012
 

With the PC being this author’s main gaming platform for nearly 20 years, it would be unsurprising to see a return to the digital archiving of PC Player. As this author has mentioned previously, the magazine was vastly underrated with superb content and design, so hopefully, people everywhere can now see what was so great about the magazine.

With issue 2 of PC Player, we have one of the best in terms of content: multi-page reviews of Sam & Max Hit the Road, Frontier: Elite II, Star Trek: Judgment Rites, a profile of Westwood Studios, a feature on point-and-click adventures and much more. The first four articles mentioned there were so outstanding we’ve chosen them as online preview material for the website.

Of course, the full release of PC Player issue 2 can be downloaded in its entirety in iDevice, Tablet or Max-Rez editions – a version to suit all your reading needs. The PC Player issue 2 catalogue page can be found at Out-of-Print Archive. Enjoy the PC gaming nostalgicness.

Note: updates may be a tad slow at Retroaction – you may have noticed – so be sure to keep an eye on Retroaction‘s Twitter page for the latest updates, news and links.

 Posted by at 11:13 am

Mega issue 2 digitally archived

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Jan 212012
 

This author has spoken about his fondness of the Mega Drive magazine, Mega, for some time, here and here, but has it really been two years since the release of Mega issue 1? Apparently so. Well that is going to change as one this author’s favourite gaming magazine of all time will start to appear slightly more frequently. Starting with issue 2 right now.

With their second issue, cover dated November 1992, the Mega team continued the impressive array of content, layout and design, including news, previews and reviews of the day, with the style and wit you would expect from a quality Future Publishing magazine.

Highlights of the issue include the six-page review of Sonic 2, a feature on the Mega Drive’s history in the UK (pre-Mega), a news piece on why cartridges are so expensive, the Mega CD stonker that is Thunder Storm FX, an interview with Games Master host, Dominik Diamond. This and more can be found in the jam packed 108 pages.

It was quite problematic choosing four online articles from the magazine, as there is so much good stuff in there. However, after consideration, the following articles were plucked out for highlighting: Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the interview with Dominik Diamond, Thunder Storm FX and the undervalued pool game, Side Pocket.

The release of Mega issue 2 also sees some slight changes at Out-of-Print Archive. With the upcoming release of the iPad 3, the OoPA team felt it was necessary to up the full resolution of the releases to 2560px. So along with the iPod/iPhone 1024px and Tablet 1600px versions, there is a size to suit everyone’s preferred reading platform. To check out the online articles and to find the download links, jump over to the Mega issue 2 catalogue page now!

 Posted by at 3:08 pm

Back in Time: January 1992

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Jan 132012
 

New year, new ‘Back in Time’ article. This time we go back twenty years to take look at the cream of the videogaming magazines from January 1992. This was a time when the Sega magazine scene was kicking off big time with two new launches, Sega Force and MegaTech, while the first dedicated Nintento mag, Total!, also appeared. Games wise, Another World was simply out of this world on the Amiga, two unlikely aliens called Toejam & Earl crash landed on the Mega Drive, Donald Duck quacked his way onto the Mega Drive and Super Space Invaders invaded the 8-bit computers…

Accompanying the main feature itself are four online review articles taken from the magazines covered. From Zero issue 27, Another World is reviewed on the Amiga; from Total! issue 1, the NES game, Solstice, is reviewed; from Sega Force issue 1, the Mega Drive version of Speedball 2 is reviewed and from Amiga Power issue 9, Celtic Legends is reviewed.

The main ‘Back in Time’ feature and the online articles can be found at the Out-of-Print Archive website.

 Posted by at 12:10 am

Retro Gamer issue 98

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Jan 112012
 

As Retro Gamer rushes headlong towards that milestone 100th issue, we are treated to yet another fine issue. Taking centre stage is SNK’s Metal Slug, as the team look at the making of the classic run-‘n’-gun games. Other standout articles include Coin-Op Capers Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, In The Chair With… Bruce Everiss, The Making Of Alone In The Dark and The History Of Space Harrier.

There are also the usual regulars, including Cheap As Chips: Wonder Boy In Monster Land, From The Archives: Rainbird, The Unconverted, Retro Revivals, Back to the Eighties/Nineties, homebrew, and more.

Retro Gamer issue 98 is on sale across select stores in the UK as well as being available to order online at the Imagine eShop where it can also be found in digital form for your preferred portable device.

 Posted by at 11:30 am
Jan 082012
 

The RGCD C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition 2011, to give the full title, has recently been concluded with the judges’ results. This very author was kindly asked to serve as one of the judges and it was an honour to play through the games and comment on them. Some games were familiar already having had previews released through CSDb and RGCD, but others were a pleasant surprise. Personally, the puzzle games stood out more than the others, as I’ve never been a very big shoot-’em-up fan. The three games that I kept coming back to were Space Lords, Panic Analogue and C64anabalt. But enough of what I think, what did the other judges think – surprisingly, not too far away from my own thoughts, it seems

.

Coming in at first place by a fraction is Fairy Well with 35.5 points. Anyone who has seen or played Knight ‘n’ Grail (which was reviewed in issue 3 of Retroaction) will instantly recognise the smooth visual flair of this neat little flick screen affair as it came from the same developer, Wide Pixel Games. A superb effort, but perhaps a little too old school in the frustration stakes.

C64anabalt certainly received a lot of attention in recent months and deservedly so. Coming in at second place with 35.1 points, the C64 conversion of the original run-’em-up, Canabalt, is near perfect. Some truly super smooth animation – almost Flashback/Prince of Persia rotoscoping – and a great challenge lies ahead.

In third place with 30.2 points is Panic Analogue, which is apt as the game does become a true panic using the analogue paddle controls. You will need some pretty fast reflexes to beat this game. With some colourful visuals and addictive gameplay, this is one of the better games on offer here.

This author’s personal favourite, Space Lords, came in at fourth place with 27.7 points. Here, up to four players defend their wall while deflecting the ball onto their opponents in the process. Yes, it may just be a variant on Breakout, but it ramps up the frenzy with multiple players, perpetual speed and other additions.

The full rundown of the competion, including prizes and download links of the game entries can be found at the RGCD website.

 Posted by at 11:06 pm

Back in Time: 2011

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Jan 022012
 

As another year has just ended, we take a look back at the year’s highlights: the games, the ezines, magazines, podcasts and other retrogaming activities…

 

One of the first homebrew games reported in January 2011 was 1,000 Kung-Fu Maniacs. Developed by Alf Yngve and released through Psytronik, the game follows the kung-fu exploits of Master of Awesome as he travels through the Ninja invested city of Blapsville in search of a stolen toy robot. Next up was an interesting demake of Halo. This was a PC game made in the style of an NES arcade platformer by Eric Ruth Games.   This author’s monthly classic magazine lookback, Back in Time, kicked off for the new year with its January 1991 edition, featuring the likes of John Madden Football, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Navy Seals and Captive

February arrived along with an interesting new midzine in the form of SCROLL. Produced by Ray Barnholt, the zine launched with a Super NES 20th anniversary special. As well as the SNES love, there are other articles of interest.   Continuing the zine trend was issue 4 of PC Engine Gamer, an online digital retrogaming zine which is naturally dedicated to NEC’s underrated PC Engine console.   It’s not very often you will see a magazine digitally preserved and released, so this is a rarety indeed. The digital version of Mega Drive Advanced Gaming issue 3 was released this month with the full permission from its orginal publisher/company, Hugh Gollner/Maverick Magazines.   February also marked the conclusion of the 2011 MSXDev game making competition with Heroes Arena, a futuristic tennis style game developed by Imanok, winning the main award, along with ‘Game with Best Graphics’, ‘Most Polished Game’ and ‘Most Original Game’ awards, sharing the latter.

The fine One Man & His Mic returned for a very special Psytronik Software special.  Originally released as a bonus extra with the Armalyte PC remake, the podcast was now available as a free download. The updated podcast includes remastered, extended and extra tracks from early Psytronik releases such as Sceptre of Baghdad right up to more recent titles like Sub Hunter, Knight ‘n’ Grail and, of course, Armalyte.  The seventh issue of C&A Fan was released in this month. The Polish retrogaming ezine covers the Commodore and Amiga range of computers with news, articles, interviews, reviews and more.  

Lotek64, a quarterly German retrogaming zine, released its first issue of 2011 in April with issue 36.   Despite receiving massive amounts of coverage across the globe with previews – even a four-page article in Retro Gamer – the Streets of Rage Remake was pulled down from Bombergames’ website just a few days after being completed. Eight years in the making, Sega decided to pull their weight after all the hard work was done. If you can manage to grab a copy of the game then you will experience a remake that is as professional as the original and even improves on many areas.   One of the best zines we have come across is  RetroManiac, a Spanish retrogaming zine which covers both classic and modern retro with news, previews, reviews and more. With their third issue, they continued the high quality producion and content.  C&A Games issue 3 was also released this month. The spin-off from Polish publication C&A Fan is dedicated to Commodore gaming with news, reviews, interviews and more. Hot on the tail of the Streets of Rage Remake was Golden Axe Myth, a PC Windows fanmade prequel to Sega’s classic side-scrolling brawler. There is also an impressive array of extras available with the game, including a professionally produced instruction manual, art book (detailing concept artwork) and an original soundtrack.  Classic L337 celebrated its 50th episode this month. The weekly videogaming podcast features the best of both worlds, with Tony covering modern gaming and Scott covering retrogaming. This week’s interviews included Zebbe of Pier Solar (the fabulous recently released Mega Drive/Genesis game)…

 

May brought us a new Commodore 64 adventure in the shape of The Adventures of Jim Slim in Dragonland, courtesy of Protovision.   Commodore Free had reached its 50th issue this month, which is quite an achievement for a ezine. Launched towards the end of 2006, the Commodore dedicated retrogaming zine has been published every month since, with the odd exception.  May was also a packed month personally, as this author was asked to come on board the US gaming magazine, GameFan, as one of the Retro Editors to work on the website and soon to be launched retro section in future issues of the magazine itself. Things kicked off with a handful of articles on the website, which covered Road Rash II, The Genesis of EA SportsGhouls ‘n Ghosts and Remembrance of an Arcade Gaming Pastime.  With Retroaction issue 5 now deader than a long time dead thing, it seemed natural to publish the planned articles online. First up was Martian Gothic, an underrated PC survival horror from developers Creative Reality

We continued to publish Retroaction issue 5’s planned articles with the Weird and Wonderful World of Retrogaming feature. When it comes to weird games you can’t get any weirder than the appropriately titled Weird Dreams.  To celebrate the X-Men: First Class movie, GameFan published a multi-part retrospective which covered the many X-Men videogames with contributions from three of the Retro Editors, Anthony Earnst, Michael Chrisman and this very author.   The new Mega Drive RPG, Star Odyssey, was available to order online. The game, originally known as Blue Almanac, was only previously available in the Japanese market during the Mega Drive’s reign in the 1990s, but was now finally available in all its English translated glory.  Although not quite retro by our standards, this author couldn’t resist covering Rebelstar: Tactical Command in GameFan‘s doomed GBA special (hey, it’s almost Laser Squad 2, has a character named Corporal Jonlan and was developed by Julian Gollop – how many excuses do you need). With its 91st issue, Retro Gamer celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog with a foil coated front cover along with a Sonic map and timeline within the folds, as well as a multi-page feature on the blue spiky mammal and others.   Following up on our Martian Gothic article, we wanted to find out more about this gothic horror adventure and what better person to ask than Stephen Marley, the game’s script writer and designer?

After quickly starting July off with a GameFan retrospective of Flashback – an all time favourite – things slowed down somewhat this month. Following a lengthy period in hibernation, the NintendoAGE eZine was back with Vol. 5 Issue 1.  With Laser Squad being one of my all time favourite games it was inevitable that I would revisit the game. And with issue 5 of Retroaction on definite hold, the planned ‘mega article’ on the game was published in a week long special of articles, starting with a look at the original Speccy game, followed by a look at the various 8-bit versions, the 16-bit versions, the homebrew missions and the remakes.

August began with the release of GameFan issue 6. This was the first issue to feature the newly introduced retro section and new retro contributors. Personal contributions from this author included Best Bits articles on Super Star Wars and Decap Attack. Hoping to quench the thirst for ST magazine preservation, The Atari ST Magazine Archive opened its digital doors this month. A new Hungarian Amiga PDF magazine called Amiga Mania released its first issue. The Best Bits: Pulseman article would turn out to be the last that this author would contribute to GameFan and what a game to go out on. I’m quite happy with that article, despite it being online rather than the preferred format of a zine. (A side note about GameFan: when I was on staff as Retro Editor, the magazine had great plans and with the retro section, things seemed to be going in the right direction. However, things didn’t work out as well as everyone had hoped and with the whole retro editing team leaving, as well as the Art Director, it’s hard to see where GameFan will go from here. Indeed, with the latest issue still being this issue 6, the future doesn’t look great at all for print magazines in North America).

With the upcoming release of the X-Com reboot straying away from the franchises’ origins than humanly thought possible, we looked back at the first, and best, game in the series. For the first in a series of Format Wars, Edge Grinder was simultaneously released on both the Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC. It was the big 100 for The Retro League podcast as they hurled towards that centenary episode in a flash this month. A new zine titled NES-Bit Magazine System was  finally released. Created by the Nintendo community, the zine is devoted to the NES with articles, reviews and more. With a colourful design and enthusiastic team of writers, this is one zine to look out for.

October brought us a handful of retrogaming zines. First up was the belated issue 2 of Abandoned Times Magazine, which covers the PC gaming scene. Nest up was ZX Spectrum Gamer issue 1 which is from the same publisher as PC Engine Gamer, so expect high quality content and design. In between all the zine action, the Commodore 64 finally got its own version of Jordan Mechner’s classic 1989 platform game, Prince of Persia, courtesty of Mr SID.  GunLord, a Turrican style scolling shooter, was made available to pre-order for the Sega Dreamcast, Neo Geo MVS and Neo Geo AES.  Rounding off the zine releases this month was Retrocade Magazine.

While the holiday season meant that things slowed down somewhat, there was still time to look at  Protovision’s 4 Player Games Compilation on the Commodore 64, Psytronik Software’s Shoot ‘Em Up Destruction Set 2 (developed by Alf Yngve) and a rare homebrew release for the NES in the form of Zooming Secretary.

Well, that was 2011, so what can we expect to see in 2012. Undoubtedly, some more Back in Time articles, a small amount of digital scans of classic gaming magazines and interviews with people from the classic gaming magazine scene, oh, and maybe, just maybe, some sort of Retroaction publication, but keep it hush for now.

 Posted by at 12:30 am