Monthly Archive: December 2015

The ZOOM Storefront fell out of My 90’s Head

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I was reading the issue of Retro Gamer that Katy got me for my birthday and my eyes immediately locked onto the news headline “3DO returns”. Things only got weirder from there.

The news mentions ZOOM, a DRM-free storefront that specializes in bringing some very niche PC titles back from the dead. They recently secured rights to several 3DO properties and are planning to bring them to PC, starting with the FMV-FPS, Killing Time. It’s a little disingenuous as Killing Time was already released on PC in 1996, but it’s a great start! Killing Time is a game I’ve been meaning to finally check out for ages and now it’s only $6 away.

I dug a little more into ZOOM and somehow all my odd gaming interests from the mid-90’s have seemingly materialized as an online eShop. For starters there’s the 3DO news but it turns out ZOOM’s Chairman is former Sony and Sega exec, Bernie Stolar. Chad and I had a peculiar fixation on the guy as he was driving Sega through and out of the hardware business. More peculiar than Bernie is ZOOM’s latest passion project: a reboot of FMV racing series, MegaRace.

MegaRace was another one of those games Chad and I latched onto thanks to its FMV cutscenes. We only ever played a demo of the game on 3DO but Lance Boyle’s sleazy-future-car-salesman schtick has stuck with us ever since. Now ZOOM is working to reboot the series and has secured original composer, Stéphane Picq, and Lance Boyle actor, Christian Erickson. They’ve even rebranded their twitter as @realLanceBoyle and recorded a handful of oddball interviews with him teasing a very overdue IndieGoGo campaign. Hopefully the reboot is still coming along because surely what the world needs now is Lance, sweet Lance.

Hey, I’m Still Here and Playing Games!

Howdy Dear Readers, it’s been a while! Spelunker World launched back in November, then Fallout 4 was released, then work got crazy hectic and then the U.S. holiday season kicked into gear. Between all of that GameLuv and YouTube have been derailed but I’m still here, slowly working on new stuff.  I have an immense stack of old games yet to record and I’m starting up my Year in Review work. I think those posts will have to wait until January though. For now I just wanted to relay some of what I’ve been up to.

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Spelunker World is going strong. They pushed out a huge December update that adds the first half of World 4: a handful of the most devious stages yet. Unfortunately, I’m still on World 2 in the U.S. version so I’ve only peeked at the new stages in the Japanese version. They have about 6 promotions going on at the moment from time trials to Santa and Just Cause gear to a fashion photo contest on Twitter. Most days I just log in to get my goodies and make it through another stage or two before jumping over to Guitar Hero Live to catch their daily login bonus.

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I picked it over Rock Band because the new guitar layout and “Live TV” mode were more interesting than the pared down Rock Band 4 experience. That guitar is something else, it’s like learning a whole new music game instead of playing another Guitar Hero. If you haven’t seen it I’ll try to explain quickly. Ya know what, just look at the picture above: 6 buttons in 3 rows, no more color coding, only black and white. The game defaults to Normal difficulty and I’m only just now daring enough to crank it up a notch. I definitely need more practice.

The “Live” in the title refers to the new, always-on music video mode that you drop in and out of. It’s sort of like playing VH-1 and MTV with each channel offering 30 and 60-minute blocks of different songs. One will be metal while the other is pop or indie so there’s usually something different to choose from. You can also jump into the catalog to play a song of your choice but this is where it goes all microtransaction/mobile game. Each song requires 1 Play Token which you earn by playing the game. Of course, you could run out and then need to buy chunks of other currency to trade in for more Play Tokens. It’s an insidious but not surprising design nowadays but the game has dished out enough free tokens that I have yet to even get close to thinking of paying. I’ll be back with more on the whole experience if I ever do dive into their microtransaction Hell.

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Most recently, we picked up the new iteration of Earth Defense Force, EDF 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair. It’s mostly a remix of last year’s EDF 2025 but they’ve thrown in enough new features, mechanics and twists to be really exciting to play through again. I already posted some video of that so take a look and expect more as the PlayStation 4 makes it really easy for us to stream co-op play.

That’s about all the writing I have time for right now. Hopefully the new year means a little less hectic madness so I can focus on what really matters, making videos and content about weird games!

The E.D.F. Deploys on PlayStation 4!

Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair launched yesterday and we dug right in! It’s a gussied up version of EDF 2025 that was released last year on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 but those are some satisfying gussies. Check out 46 minutes of some early gameplay featuring remixed missions, new features and vehicles. Oh yeah, the echo-y reverb only lasts for around 8 minutes. Using multiple headsets with microphones on PlayStation 4 is a little confusing.