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December 25, 2013 9:10 AM   Subscribe

Racketboy is a retro-gaming site with an excellent series on Hidden Gems, a Beginner's Guide to old consoles and genres, the games that defined them, rare games for collectors and cheap games if you'd like to give that old console a try. Bonus: Top 20 games that nobody played but you should. Happy retro Christmas!
posted by ersatz (22 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
Some interesting-looking things in the beat-em-ups section!
posted by curious nu at 10:10 AM on December 25, 2013


A lot of the entries are questionable as titles "nobody played" (or "hidden" gems), but that's kind of par for the course with Racketboy lists. It's a good place to get an idea of what to play, though, and /v/'s Recommended Games Wiki is another place one could try.
posted by Redfield at 10:32 AM on December 25, 2013


Looking at the NES games list, I can't help but remember owning some of the games (Guardian Legend, Captain Skyhawk, Ironsword...) and pretty much hating them. The nostalgia filter is strong with the NES era, but most of the games of that period were pretty bad. These days I have no actual desire to go back and play anything besides the "high water marks" (Super Mario Bros. 3, Double Dragon 2, Mega Man 2/3) and a couple of games that have a special place in my nostalgic pantheon (Zelda and the original Super Mario Bros.)

Captain Skyhawk in particular I can't imagine calling a "great game" by any stretch. It was the first game I ever played that made me understand what bad control and physics design could do to a game.

Oh god, Pool of Radiance is on there, too...
posted by sonic meat machine at 10:50 AM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Treasure made a Dreamcast game? oh my gosh
posted by hellojed at 11:14 AM on December 25, 2013


Yeah, questionable judgement for some of these. I mean, Crystalis is an interesting game, but "better in every way" than Legend of Zelda? Crystalis has incredibly annoying forced-grinds and some other iffy design choices.

Also it listed "Shadowrun: SNES/Genesis/Sega CD" as a single entry at one point, but it's a very different game for all three platforms.
posted by curious nu at 11:14 AM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


A small correction for the list of games "nobody played": Shadowrun for the SNES and Genesis are, in fact, completely different games, not ports of the same one.
posted by Nomyte at 11:16 AM on December 25, 2013


curious nu: Yeah, questionable judgement for some of these. I mean, Crystalis is an interesting game, but "better in every way" than Legend of Zelda? Crystalis has incredibly annoying forced-grinds and some other iffy design choices.

Better in every way is a bit strong, but I'd argue that it is better. Crystalis had a much better storyline, a larger game world, more interesting gameplay, etc. The biggest problems with it were a couple of puzzles you might never figure out without a guide (less of a problem now than before) and some really nasty mazes. There really isn't a lot of grinding unless you dash through areas without killing anything.

Of course, Zelda predates it by three years, so Crystalis had the advantage of learning from it, and probably some better technology.

Zelda gets a lot of passes from people who haven't actually replayed it recently. There are significant flaws. It has a pretty bad translation, it's really easy to get lost, there's grinding for rupees and bombs, secrets are fairly necessary but not hinted at all (so you have to bomb tons of rock walls and burn tons of trees), there are places you can get stuck if you don't have a guide (like using the whistle to uncover the hidden dungeon), etc. It's obviously essential to gaming history, and it was extremely good, but it is definitely not perfect.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:34 AM on December 25, 2013


Devil Dice/Bombastic! Th(at/ose) w(as/ere) (a) brilliant game(s).

Robot Alchemic Drive, however, was not.

I was going to say "where the hell is Rez?" but that was addressed. I'm still annoyed that it's on XBox Live Arcade instead of modern Sony platforms though. I'd pay unreasonable amounts of money to have it on my PS Vita.
posted by Foosnark at 11:53 AM on December 25, 2013


In the NES defining games article is this, under Duck Hunt:

There was something magical about being able to shoot the NES Zapper at the TV and watch the ducks get knocked down. Many of us also wanted to be able to shoot the dog, but every game has its flaw.

I'm amazed more people don't know this: In the arcade version, you can, in the bonus round.
posted by JHarris at 12:41 PM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Treasure made a Dreamcast game? oh my gosh

In addition to the awesome Bangai-O and its purposely bad translation ("The beautiful world of 2D! The tension is getting good! Three cheers for Bangai-O!"), Ikaruga was originally a Dreamcast game.

Captain Skyhawk in particular I can't imagine calling a "great game" by any stretch.

Yeah, but how many other NES games have been the subject of a Dave Barry column?

Better in every way is a bit strong, but I'd argue that it is better. Crystalis had a much better storyline, a larger game world, more interesting gameplay, etc.

No, I'm going with curious nu on this one. Crystalis has its strong points, but it's super linear, and the forced grinding is terrible -- literally you cannot damage bosses if your level isn't high enough. It's basically a "you must grind this much to pass" yardstick. In retrospect, it doesn't do a whole lot that Ys didn't do, except you actually have a button to stab with your sword.
posted by JHarris at 12:48 PM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was thinking of doing a bigger retro post, but Christmas dinner (and Wallace Stevens parodies) won the day. So, here's a look at the re-release of Oracle of Seasons/Ages (the GBC Zeldas) and how graphics changed in previous console generations (1, 2, 3).

I find that racketboy can be a good starting point even if I disagree with individual writeups. One of my favourite games, which disappeared quietly, was Mischief Makers (another Treasure game). Unfortunately, it couldn't be emulated properly for ages and it hasn't appeared on Virtual Console either.
posted by ersatz at 1:01 PM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


What on earth is X-COM doing on a list of games that 'nobody' played?
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 1:13 PM on December 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


because of this post I played Dungeon Explorer until I unlocked the Harmet and now am playing Military Madness which I was SO GOOD AT when I was 8 and not so good at in my 30s
posted by avocet at 1:33 PM on December 25, 2013


Hello, I'm David McGahan: What on earth is X-COM doing on a list of games that 'nobody' played?

Well, except for all of the people who justified the making of two direct sequels, several indirect sequels, and one direct remake.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:29 PM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


While not necessarily bad, this site pales in comparison to some others that tread similar ground, like http://www.hardcoregaming101.net, a truly in-depth exploration of gaming history.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 6:09 PM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can confirm that Rocket: Robot on Wheels is one of the best 3D platformers ever and that Sin and Punishment is one of the craziest and coolest on-a-rail shmups ever (the sequel, S&P2, is also really good and much easier to get ahold of).
posted by straight at 9:15 PM on December 25, 2013


It's pretty clear the person that wrote this didn't actually play the games on the list, but merely compiled the list based on reviews of games they found.
posted by cellphone at 7:11 AM on December 26, 2013


The top 20 list has validated my many years of Sega fandom. Nintendo/Sony-only people were really missing out.

One other comment- Pac Man Vs. was THE party game for my group of friends for a while. It's really, really fun, and would be perfect on the Wii U. I think they made a version for the DS at some point, but I never tried it.
posted by Dr-Baa at 8:32 AM on December 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


What on earth is X-COM doing on a list of games that 'nobody' played?

Console bias.

I do remember Ogre Battle fondly, though, and isn't Panzer Dragoon a classic?
posted by porpoise at 10:00 AM on December 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't care for this site and it's opinions! I disagree strongly with all of them! This site did remind me of Bangai-O though so thanks for that I guess.

Everyone should just go to HCG101.
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 12:55 PM on December 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bangai-O is amazing, really. There may not be another game so cheerfully insane, and I mean insane. The screen is so scaled down that your giant robot is only a few pixels high on screen. You regularly blow up whole neighborhoods of houses and cars to collect the fruit they contain. The dialogue is literally like from a fever dream -- one notable opponent talks in child's drawings.

And yet the game itself tops it. You have a special attack button that sprays missiles/shots around you in a circle. The thing is, the attack's power is wholly dependent on how dangerous the screen is, and how close that danger is to you. If no one's shooting, the attack will only have forty missiles in it, but if the screen is full of explosions and shots are just grazing you, then it'll have four hundred missiles in it, and the game will slow down (on a 2D game on a Dreamcast!) to render them all, and the carnage is glorious to behold. Oh also, the value of the fruit goes up the more explosions going on at once, and if you manage to trigger a truly amazing matchbook the game will then throw in some invincibility time to boot.

It is glorious.
posted by JHarris at 2:19 PM on December 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Here we go (3h 12m), a YouTube playthrough of all of Bangai-O, illustrative proof of what happens when you let genius insane people make a video game, from the nonsense prologue, to the rantings of Ms. Infostation (and later her sister), to blue-faced, big-chinned "street urchin" Sabu, to the rocking shooting game action.
posted by JHarris at 10:32 PM on December 28, 2013


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