Zooming Secretary released on NES

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Dec 292011

It’s not often we get to play much in the way of NES homebrew games at Retroaction. However, Zooming Secretary is one game we simply couldn’t ignore. Developed by Shiru in collaboration with PinWizz, the game has the player in control of a new secretary who must make it through a week’s trial without getting fired. This involves answering telephone calls, filing and the usual avoidance of the office gossip. Great visuals, gameplay and full of witty observational scenes and dialogue, Zooming Secretary is a class act all the way.

The game’s archive package, which includes the NES ROM, instruction manual, notes and NES/Famicom label images can be freely downloaded from Shiru’s website. While there, why not check out his fantastic back catalogue of games? Also be sure to check out the fantastic review on RGCD (where I first heard about this game) and also this YouTube clip of the game in action. Enjoy.

 Posted by at 11:50 pm

Shoot ‘Em Up Destruction Set 2

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Dec 122011

Man, we’ve been meaning to look at this fantastic compilation for some time (sorry for the delay, Alf). To be honest, when we first heard about Shoot ‘Em Up Destruction Set 2, we didn’t know what to expect and weren’t that thrilled about playing a bunch of shoot-’em-ups. Our initial trepidationwas soon unfounded, as the compilation features such a varied mix of classics from Alf Yngve.

First up is Super Tau Zeta, a sideways scrolling shooter. Now, we said we weren’t fans of shoot-’em-ups, but Super Tau Zeta intrigued us for various reasons. Immediately noticeable is that the player controls a fleet of space ships battling against some rather bizarre alien enemies and landscapes.  This is an update of the entry that was entered into the Sideways SEUCK competition 2010 and features some impressive effects and scrolling. A must play for fans of the genre.

Next up is Bloodwheels, an unreleased game from 1994!  The game was set to be released on the original Psytronik label, but has remained in Alf Yngve’s archives ever since… until now. This is essentially a vertical scrolling shooter where the player controls an armoured car taking on the might of tanks, planes, choppers and soldiers. Probably the weaker of the games on display here, but still a good effort.

2,000 Kung-Fu Maniacs is the follow up to the popular 1,000 Kung-Fu Maniacs and features the Master of Awesome on a quest to find the sacred scrolls that have been stolen by the evil ninjas and destroy their fortress. Hard as nails beat-’em-up action ensues with some nifty side scrolling action. Accompanied by some neat visuals, music and gameplay, this is a standout in the compilation.

Being an updated game from the early 1990s, we weren’t expecting much from Trojahn, but, once again, we were taken by surprise. The player takes control of Trojahn, who is out to rescue his beloved Elena from the Spartan King. This involves negotiating the vertically scrolling landscape, taking out the spear-wielding enemies. Luckily, Trojahn has his very own unlimited supply of spears to throw at them. Another standout from the compilation with unique game design, great aesthetics and some fine gameplay.

The bonus game, Forgotten Forest, is Alf Yngve’s homage to the classic Forbidden Forest and was the winner at the C64 Sideways Scrolling SEUCK Compo 2011. Here, the player traverses through a dark and spooky forest flushing out the nasties with his flamethrower. As expected, Forgotten Forest features some super hard gameplay, but with practice, progression will be made. Suitably gothic visuals, effects and music compliment the gameplay.

All the games in SEUDS 2 have been updated and enhanced from their original versions, including specially produced front-ends by Richard Bayliss, in-game enhancements and weapon power-ups, and new loading screens by STE ’86 & Kenz. The compilation can be purchased from the Psytronik website in tape, budget disk, premium disk and digital download formats. There are also special offers available if you purchase the compilation, including a free digital download link for SEUDS 2 and the first SEUDS compilation. 

 Posted by at 11:50 am

Retro Gamer issue 97

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Dec 102011

As Christmas is fast approaching, Retro Gamer produces another festive themed cover in the same vein as Newsfield Publications’ classic gaming mags, Crash and Zzap!64. And that’s fitting, because the highlight of this issue is undoubtedly The Making of… Zzap!64, the Commodore 64’s much loved gaming magazine, with input from Oliver Frey, Roger Kean and Gary Penn – a must read. Tying in with Newsfield’s Crash magazine – which covered gaming on the ZX Spectrum – is the Covertape Wars, which documents the covermount wars between the three main Speccy magazines, Sinclair User, Your Sinclair and, of course, Crash.

Elsewhere, there is The Making Of… Super Star Wars, The Lynx Effect, 30 Years Of Frogger, The History Of Dragon Quest, From The Archives: CRL Group, all the regulars – Back to the Eighties/Nineties, Minority Report, Retro Revivals, Future Classic, Retro Rated, Homebrew – and much, much more.

Retro Gamer issue 97 is on sale across the UK and can also be purchased online at the Imagine eShop where it can also be found in digital form for your preferred portable device. Also, check out Darran Jones’ (RG Editor) video preview of the issue.

 Posted by at 3:54 pm
Dec 102011

We’ve previously commented on the brilliance of RetroManiac over the past year or so, and, once again, we’re amazed at the quality, in both content and production values, of this brilliant gaming zine. The ezine features super design throughout, including internal links – click on an article in the contents page and you will be taken to that page – and external links, which really enhances the enjoyment of an ezine (although it would be perfect if there bookmarks available to zoom back and forth as well).

Released in perfect time for a good Christmas read, issue 5’s main focus is the retro themed Rayman Origins, which features on the front cover and is also reviewed. However, the standout article of the issue is surely the impressive 22-page History Of Nintendo 64, including the hardware, software, magazines, timelines and more. If that’s not your bag, there are other gaming delights in the equally impressive 12-page Pixel Art feature, the Time Extended: Mega Man and RetroDossier: R-Type.

All that and much, much more can be found in the 156 pages of RetroManiac issue 5, which can be freely downloaded in two-page displayed PDF format or individual single page display PDF. The zine can also be read online via the ISSU website. A high-resolution print version is also promised. One last request… Please, guys, do consider an English language version.

 Posted by at 2:00 pm

4 Player Games Compilation released on Commodore 64

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Dec 102011

To celebrate their 15th Anniversary – founded late in 1996 – Protovision have released a special boxed compilation set comprising of four of their Commmodore 64 games. The 4 Player Games Compilation features the four player games Bomb Mania (Bomberman clone), Hockey Mania, Team Patrol and Tanks 3000, which can all be played with four players simultaneously. Hurry, though, as stock is limited to 40 units.

The boxed compilation comes with the games, instruction manual and optional purchase of 4 Player Interface. Check out the Protovision online shop for more details and makes sure to check the main website for playable demos of the mentioned games and other gaming goodness.

 Posted by at 1:06 pm

Commodore Free issue 57

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Dec 052011

The Christmas edition of Commodore Free focuses on the short lived Commodore 64GS (basically a C64 minus the keyboard/tape drive). This includes a look at the machine itself as well as reviews of the four games that were bundled with it, including Fiendish Freddy’s Big Top O’ Fun, Flimbo’s QuestKlax and International Soccer.  Also notewrothy within the feature is a screen grab of one boxed C64GS going for a pretty penny.

It’s not all C64GS, though, as elsewhere there is a review of Slide, a new homebrew puzzler game for the C64, a review of The Golden Age of Video Games book by Roberto Dillon, the usual up to date news on all things Commodore (FCUG Meeting update, Commodore OS Vision, Beret 2D puzzle game, The Last VIC game…) and more.

Commodore Free issue 57 is freely available to download from the CF homepage and comes in multiple reading formats, including PDF, text, html, seq, D64 (C64 disk image) and eBook (ePUB and MOBI).

 Posted by at 2:13 pm

Back in Time: December 1991

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Dec 022011

The ‘Back in Time’ article is back for another helping of classic gaming magazine nostalgia. This month, it’s December 1991 when RoboCop 3 patrolled the 3D gaming scene on the Amiga, Smash TV was ported to many home machines, RoboCod swam onto the 16-bits, Sid Meier’s landmark Civilization emerged and Populous returned for a second coming…

Along with the main feature itself, there are four online review articles taken from the magazines covered. From Ace issue 51, we have the in-depth six page review of RoboCop 3 on the Amiga; from Mean Machines issue 15, we have the NES conversion of LucasArts’ classic adventure, Maniac Mansion; the rebirth of Zzap!64 brings us the Commodore 64 port of the arcade hit, Smash TV, and, finally, we return to the Amiga with First Samurai, taken from Amiga Power issue 8.

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

 Posted by at 2:33 pm
Nov 142011

There has been a surprisingly copious amount of videogaming zines released in the past few months, ranging from average to good. Thankfully, Yesterday’s Gamer falls into the latter category. However, this is intended as a one-off production.

Produced entirely by Joshua Croft over the course of 18 months, Yesterday’s Gamer covers everything from the true classics right up to the recent “future” classics. Taking centre stage on the fine understated front cover is Shadow of the Colossus (Yesterday’s Gamer’s favourite game), while older classic coverage is given to Sega’s Mega Drive, Metal Slug, Tekken 3, Silent Hill 2 and more.

Of course, with a solo production of this magnitude, minor niggles have crept into the writing, but the excellent content, design, layout and enthusiasm shown throughout more than make up for any slight mishaps. A superb effort all round and proof once more that the magazine format has more allure than any website; if these articles were published on a blog, I would never have read them. There’s something enthralling about reading a new collection of articles in a magazine format. Let’s hope this isn’t the one-off as stated.

Yesterday’s Gamer issue 1 can be downloaded for free with the option to donate funds through PayPal.

Thanks to 8-Bit Girl for bringing news of this fantastic zine to our attention.

 Posted by at 9:51 pm

Mean Machines issue 6 digitally archived

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Nov 132011

We head back to the birth of the console gaming boom with issue 6 of Mean Machines from March 1991, courtesy of meppi from Out-of-Print Archive, who has lovingly digitally restored the magazine to its former glory. This was a time when the classic multi-format console magazine covered the Sega Master System, Mega Drive, NES, Game Boy and the ill-fated GX4000.

As usual, four articles were chosen as online preview material to accompany the release of the magazine archive. These include the Mega Drive shmups reviews of Gynoug and Aero Fighters, along with the cover featured review of Duck Tales on the NES and rounding things off with the NES conversion of the arcade classic Gauntlet II.

Visit the Mean Machines issue 6 catalogue page to find the download links (iDevice and full resolution versions), along with full issue contents, editorial info, links to those online articles and more…

 Posted by at 6:22 am

Retro Gamer issue 96

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Nov 102011

Whether you love it or hate it, the Final Fantasy series has proven to be the world’s most popular Role Playing Games ever and Retro Gamer looks at, arguably, the best of the whole lot with a Making Of… article. Other big articles include The Story of Monty Mole, The Making Of… The Revenge Of Shinobi and Top 25 Commodore 64 games.

In amongst the many other articles are Cheap As Chips: Dino Crisis, The Making Of… Radiant Silvergun, From The Archives: Domark, Classic Game: Toobin’, The History Of Jetman, The Making Of… Kid Chameleon, Obscura Machina: Sharp X68000, A Moment With Eric Chahi, Desert Island Disks: David Leitch. Then there are the other regulars such as Back to the Eighties/Nineties, The Unconverted, Future Classic, Retro Rated, a revamped Homebrew and more.

Retro Gamer issue 96 is on sale across the UK now and can also be purchased online at the Imagine eShop where it can also be found in digital form for your preferred portable device. Also, check out Darran Jones’ (RG Editor) video preview of the issue.

 Posted by at 2:17 pm