Author: ShawnS

Pinball at Disney World in 2017 isn’t so Magical

I found the one thing that's completely not magical at Walt Disney World: the pinball.

I found the one thing that’s completely not magical at Walt Disney World: the pinball. For starters, the parks are practically devoid of arcades now. The shop attached to Space Mountain that once had a small assortment of machines is now 100% merchandise. With Pizza Planet at Hollywood Studios being transformed into PizzeRizzo there are even fewer places to find some games at the parks, not to mention pinball.

Our home-away-from-home this time was Port Orleans French Quarter whose tiny, misshapen arcade had one pinball machine, TRON Legacy. We were killing some time waiting for our bus back to the airport so I finally gave it a shot. Almost immediately my ball got wedged in one of the side lanes and the machine had to go through its auto-shaking routine three times before it was finally released. Also, any time “Shoot Again” was active it would return multiple balls so I usually had 2 or 3 in play at once.

Earlier in the trip we stopped over at Port Orleans Riverside, a much larger resort that’s basically attached to French Quarter and shares similar Louisianian theming. Their arcade was three times the size of French Quarter’s and had 4 Stern tables lined up in the back for what amounted to $0.25 per play. The first one I played was Indiana Jones and I knew it was going to be a catastrophic game as soon as my credit activated the table.

The right flipper was not only super weak but it would constantly get lodged in place. Only the ball hitting it would cause it to drop back down. Making any specific shot from the right hand side was more impossible than usual for me. Somehow I still managed to get a multiball which resulted in a satisfying explosion of chrome balls from the Ark of the Covenant. Similar to TRON though, all of the balls were returned after multiball ended for the remainder of my game. Trying to get a ball back into play with 6 of them stacked up was kind of more fun than the table itself.

Sega's Jambo! Safari was a great surprise at Port Orleans Riverside

I didn’t get to check for pinball at any other resorts on this trip but after these experiences it would probably have end with more disappointment. “Ramshackle” is the word I’d use to describe the pinball at Disney World’s resorts. As entertaining as the janky behavior was I would have preferred to fail at pinball on my own terms. The highlight of the trip as far as gaming was concerned definitely goes to Sega’s Jambo! Safari which I haven’t played in … *does the math* … wow, over 15 years! I’ve got some video of it that I’ll hopefully have posted later this week.

Time for another Vacation!

Time for another Vacation!

When I was setting up the RetroPie last summer I was scrolling through the NES games and spotted Disney Adventures in the Magic Kingdom, a game I don’t remember even seeing as a kid. My sister had Mickey Mousecapades and I was naturally into Ducktales and Rescue Rangers, but somehow this game about Disney World slipped by me.

It pretty much slipped my mind again in 2016 even though I meant to play through it before this day arrived: the day we leave for our own adventures in the Magic Kingdom, in real life. I don’t think it’s going to be as charmingly pixelated as the map above but I’m sure I’ll run into a few game related things that I’ll post on Instagram. I guess it’s as good a time as any to finally say hey, I’m on Instagram! I never did set it up to post to GameLuv like I did with flickr so while we’re gone you’ve got 700+ photos to catch up on. I’ll just leave you to it then.

Take care over and we’ll  ♪  See Ya Real Soon 

Maximum Games sends Road Rage back to the shop

Remember nine months ago, just before E3 2016, when I posted about a potential Road Rash successor called Road Rage? At the time it was little more than concept renders and a feature list… and well, it isn’t much beyond that point today. I checked in with the official site (and that of publisher Maximum Games) throughout the year but I missed this one-and-only trailer of the game in motion from last September.

It has wonderfully extreme ragdoll physics when weapons collide with riders. There’s a bunch of environments from city to countryside (sadly, sparsely populated) and there’s even a couple of big jumps and shortcuts to be seen. But what’s most troubling is the final frame of the video that proudly touts “In Stores November 15, 2016”. Uhhh.

Thinking I might’ve missed a potential underdog favorite I checked Amazon to find the new date of “December 31, 2017”. That’s retail-talk for Unknown. Digging a little further I finally turned up some confirmation in this Facebook post from October.

“Since the beginning, our goal for Road Rage has been to create the highest quality motorcycle combat game possible. We’ve been hard at work to make this vision a reality, and while we’re incredibly proud of the work our team has done, we’ve come to the realization that the game needs more development time to ensure it lives up to our standards. Therefore, today we made the difficult decision to delay the release of Road Rage till next year. We’ll keep you updated on the progress, but in the meantime we appreciate your support and understanding!” – The Maximum Games team

I’m sure that was a gut-wrenching and heartbreaking decision to make a month after finally announcing a release date; my sympathies to all involved. Hopefully Maximum Games has much more to show at this year’s E3. I’m still holding out hope that Road Rage has stolen even a little of the secret sauce that made Road Rash so memorable.

Taking Screenshots as a Gameplay Mechanic in Eastshade

Some of us just can’t help walking around virtual worlds and spamming on the F12 key to take screenshots. It’s more an appreciation of the environment and artistry than a desire to capture broken mechanics, and now that meta mentality is being turned into a game itself.

Eastshade is an upcoming PC game from Eastshade Studios in which you, as a painter, explore a fantasy-themed 3D world in search of the perfect scenery. Plop down your easel, frame the shot and watch as it’s “painted” on the canvas as an in-game, 3D object. What do you do with it? That’s where Earthshade takes its next surprising turn.

The game promises “interweaving micro-stories” and dynamic conversations with its inhabitants who reveal the story, items and new locations as you gift them paintings and interact with them. It makes me think of Animal Crossing with its innocent and interconnected community.

Take a look at the trailer above to see an early version of Eastshade in action. It’s not due until sometime in 2018 but if that seems painfully far off you can get a taste Eastshade with Leaving Lyndow which releases tomorrow for $4. It lacks the screenshot-painting mechanic but will introduce you to the Eastshade universe and its characters through a short, exploration-adventure narrative that can be finished in one sitting. It’ll also bolster the development of Eastshade itself so if it seems like something you want to dive into next year, maybe give Leaving Lyndow a try this week.

Yes, of all the Switch Games, it’s Spelunker I’m writing about

Minna de Waiwai! or as Google calls it, Everyone is crazy! Speller Car

The only game in the entire Switch presentation that sent my fists pumping triumphantly into the air was Minna de Waiwai! Spelunker. It’s not a system seller for me like it was on PlayStation 4 but beyond Breath of the Wild it’s the only thing they showed that I was eager to play.

The gameplay (and stages) look to be the same as in Spelunker World but the trappings around them have been refreshed. There’s a new art style to the menus, a new world map and base camp screen, and the multiplayer lobby looks to be more informative about what gear everyone is bringing. Speaking of multiplayer, the game is reduced from a max of 6 players to 4, all of which can play together locally via splitscreen in TV Mode. It even supports 4 players in Tabletop Mode, though I can’t imagine staring intently at 1/4th of a 6-inch screen would be any fun. I was worried that the game would be local play only but word has it that online multiplayer is supported as well.

Visually the graphics feel pared down to me, lacking the reflections and sharp detail that frequently surprised me on PS4. Forgive me, but on the Switch it looks more like a Wii game in HD. It’s not a knock on the hardware, I think the flatter, more cartoony style just doesn’t play so well in screenshots. I’m still waiting to see it in motion beyond the 1.5 second snippet from the sizzle reel. See if you can spot it!

4 player local Spelunker is a brawl waiting to happen!

Possibly the biggest change is that the game isn’t free to play anymore! For roughly $45 you’ll be able to download the game or pick it up at retail. I am especially tempted to import the game just to have a physical Spelunker to hold and love and hate and love again… and smash against a wall for all the times it killed me. The price tag also means there’s no concept of buying Retries, at least there aren’t any Moon Stones in the screenshots released so far. New players will never know the real agony of death unless they come up with a new system to take its place. Maybe you lose coins or experience and it just takes longer to level up your gear.

But maybe my favorite thing about Minna de Waiwai! Spelunker is that Google translates the title to “Everyone is crazy! Speller car” which is the follow up to one of my favorite games, “Everyone with Sprank Car Z”. If I do somehow end up with a Switch you can expect much reporting on Speller Car after its Japanese release on April 20th (and then again whenever it hits the U.S.).