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  • Thais 9:36 am on June 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Epic MegaGames, , space, , Tyrian   

    Forgotten Old Games – Tyrian 

    Hello every one! Today I’m covering up for Danilo, so I’m going to talk one of the sweetest memories of my childhood: Tyrian (of course it’s a videogame, what else did you expected?)!!!

    Tyrian is a scrolling space shooter made by World Tree Games Productions and published in 1995 by Epic MegaGames. In 1999 there was a re-release of the game under the name Tyrian 2000 with extra stages, in 2004 the game became officially freeware and in 2007 the graphs have been made available under an open license, so you can legally make custom levels of  this game. The original game had 3 episodes, each one composed by many planet stages, but in version 2.0 a episode 4 was added  and in Tyrian 2000 a episode 5. I’m reviewing the original Tyrian, with 3 episodes, but I also discuss some of Tyrian 2000 features.

    screenshots by MobyGames

    Well, now let’s talk about the game itself. Tyrian is set in the year 20,031 and you play as a skilled terraformation pilot named Trent Hawkins who scouts out habitable locations on newly terraformed planets for a living. One day, while in the new terraformed planet named Tyrian, Trent’s best fried is shot and before dying, he lets Trent know that he secretly worked for the giant company Microsol. Microsol had recently discovered a mineral in planet Tyrian called Gravitium, which had the power of controlling gravity. Gravitium power could be used in Microsol’s warships, which would make them pretty much unstoppable, so the company was also attempting to eliminate anyone else who knows of its existence. So, Trent has to, all by himself, stop Microsol evil scheme.

    screenshots by MobyGames

    But enough with the talking, mainly because this is just an excuse to blow out whole planets in one of the most frenetic and difficult space shooters ever made! Tyrian can be played whether in story or arcade mode, even though it was never released to arcades, just PCs. The main difference is that in arcade mode, player gets power-ups dropped by enemies in middle of the stages to upgrade weaponry, while in story mode he must earn money in each stage in order to upgrade his spaceship.

    screenshots by MobyGames

    Also, there are three initial playable difficulties (Easy, Medium, Hard) as well as the hidden options of Impossible, Suicide, and Lord of the Game. Honestly, playing in medium can be already really challenging, so I’d recommend hard and higher difficulties only if you are really really really sure of what you are doing. One funny fact about this game is that by spelling WEIRD at the main menu screen, your spaceship becomes a carrot and your attacks are now somewhat fruit-like things [thanks for the tip, Diogo Abdalla!]

    Talkin’ about weird…. More codes for this game here.

    Graphs are truly beautiful for its time, with nice colors and well worked textures. Stages are basically about going back and forth to the same planets, but every time you pass trough one, the level design is quite different. Talking about level design, Tyrian stages are very challenging, with a lot of enemies and blasts everywhere.  Sometimes there is so many enemies and laser blasts on-screen that it fells like you need another brain to process that. Well, at least my PSP fells like it for sure since many stages have some serious slowdowns. Enemy’s designs are really creative and every planet have a different sort of enemies. Bosses are really cool too tough, in my opinion, a bit disappointing compared to the stage itself. To fight all that, player also have a lot of weaponry to choose from [in story mode, since in arcade mode weaponry are power ups within the stage]

    There are also some gameplay changes trough the game, for instance in bonus stages. Those are minor changes, as stages that you don’t have to shot any enemies, just avoid mines, or stages in which you have to kill enemies while trying to reach a bouncing beer (???), but are fun enough! Songs and sound effects are also great! Sometimes, I find myself humming some of the songs (but that can be only a side effect of playing this game 8 hours straight for months when I was 9 years old…). Since the game is freeware now, I guess there is no trouble to link where you guys can download it to tell it for yourselves. So, that was Tyrian, a space shooter that I highly recommend to all ages!

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  • Thais 3:56 pm on May 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: gameplay, level design, Sebastian Möring, Swing Swing Submarine, Ttuper tario tros   

    Games and Blending 

    photo by loadblog.

    Videogames are, in their core, a hybrid media. So, it’s no surprise when some games use other games features, such as Call of Duty using Brothers in Arms features or that Gears of Wars takes advantage of Resident Evil 4 camera aspects or even Everquest using World of Warcraft’s yellow ponctuation marks. Those appropriation are so common that most of them goes unnoticed after sometimes, becoming a standard feature in most games of its genre.

    However, some of those mixing are deliberately more obvious, keeping evident the source of the features. Mario meets Portal, for instance, show in a humours way how Super Mario Bros could be played if Mario had a portal gun. In this way, Mario can easily jump high on flag poles or make enemies disappear through a portal. Sebastian Möring (in press) discuss how this mixing in two or more videogame’s gameplay can result in a new kind of gameplay. He uses as example Tuper Tario Tros, a browser game that mix together Super Mario Bros and Tetris, but creating a gameplay that could be solved by only one game methodology.

     
  • Thais 6:50 am on October 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Master System 25th Anniversary 

    photo by Koori A. Moonrise

    What a week! Monday was the American NES 25th anniversary, and today it’s the Japanese Sega Master System 25th anniversary! For most Americans and Japaneses, there is not much to say about this game console, since it haven’t achieved such a success as NES did. But for Europe, Oceania and Brazil gamers, Master System was as important as [or even more!] than NES. Why that happen is not clear, though, according to Wikipedia,

    Sega’s Master System was technically superior to the NES, capable of displaying twice as many colours on screen and featuring a CPU twice as fast as the one used in the NES; it arguably trumped the Nintendo Entertainment System in every possible technical respect and was released nationwide in the United States the same year, 1986. Yet technical superiority affects the market success of a console very little. Size and quality of a game console’s library might be given lip service in comments and editorials, but games tend to play second fiddle to popularity and brand over the history of the game industry.

    So, because or whereat Master System didn’t sell well in the States and Japan, many games weren’t even released there. But in other markets, the console sold even more than NES, therefore there was a huge library of titles to choose from. There even was third party games made in USA that were only released in those more successful markets, one which was Brazil, the lovely country in which I happen to live.

    Brazil is a interesting case in Master System history, not only because the console and most of its games were a huge success, but also some famous games were “adapted” [edited, if I may] to feature Brazilian celebrities or themes. The funny thing is that few or none of those Master System Brazilian games were made of scratch; it was always preferred to edit a already successful title instead of just creating something new!  That’s quite a interesting kind of cultural appropriation and hybridization that I’d like to talk more openly in a near future [keep tuned!]. Also, some of those “Brazilian” games will be subject of another today post, so let’s not spoil it.

    Another interesting Brazil/Master System fact is that, here, the console  is still in retail. Yes, you read this correctly, a 25 years old console is still in production as you can see in the manufacturer site.

    If you want to know a bit more about Master System golden age, you can check out the tribute site Sega 8 bit, but if you prefer some action and play those damn good games by yourself, there is Master System 8. I’d recommend Sonic, Alex Kidd and Golden Axe but, well, there are a lot of other classics over there.

     
  • Thais 8:23 pm on October 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , MUDs, , ,   

    Forgotten Old [Online] Games 

    printscreen by PCMag

    Don’t worry, Danilo is still going to write his weekly column tomorrow! This is only a freebie on archeological online games, some of which are still playable. Most of those games were popular in a time that internet wasn’t widely affordable [1980s and most 1990s], so I bet most of you haven’t heard of, at least, some of them.

     
  • Thais 5:24 pm on September 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , AtaRI Halo, Halo, Halo: Reach   

    Halo reachs record 

    The new Halo game, Halo: Reach, has already set new records on sales. Halo: Reach was released less than a week ago and gathered $200 million in global sales on its launch day.  Halo 3 had piled up about $300 million ins its release week, so Reach can still be quite more profitable. Also, according to Bungie, 31 million games have been played, a record to the company.  Halo is not the top selling game in charts this week, but it’s almost there  [it is in top of UK chart though].

    So, let’s get into Halo mood! Here it is a Atari 2600 adaptation of Halo. Beautiful graphics and great sound effects for those who like or remember Atari aesthetic. Also, I love the nonsense tasks you have to accomplish; nothing in the game relates to them and you have to die a lot understand them. Aka, Atari Style Gameplay.

    Also, this Robot Chicken tribute to Mario and Master Chief which always makes me giggle.

     
  • Thais 10:05 am on September 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: browser, browser game, controller, , kirny, One button   

    Between buttons and controllers 

    photo by Mark Ramsay

    Initially, they were quite simple; one button and one joy stick. But then, while video games evolved in a more complex way, the controllers also started to add up. Today, PS3 and Xbox 360 controllers have 17 buttons. Yes, that’s correct, 17! Blake Snow count them down in his critic to contemporary controllers. According to Blake, game designers grew used to using different buttons for different actions that could, with a bit of thought, be synchronized in only one button.

    When I read his article, I instantly remembered about some much good old day titles, and quite few recent games. Yes, there are many games today that use few buttons, like the epic Robot Unicorn Attack, but the gameplay experience don’t changes at all from the beginning to to end [is just get faster]. That’s why I think One Button Arthur is quite a example. In the hole game, you are only allowed to use one button, and each scene in the game, this same button has a different action. So, the game play is always changing though the way of interaction in always the same [button]. Kirby uses this same feature, but instead of the scene determining the kind action, in Kirby the last enemy you have “eaten” is the determinant.

     
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