Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Metal Gear Arcade

So you've played Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (one of my all-time favorites) on PS2 and you've played MGS IV on the PS3. Maybe you've even played MGS: Peace Walker on the PSP (I haven't). But now Solid Snake is back in the Arcades (in Japan anyway) in Metal Gear Arcade!

I'm late to the party again as this has been kicking around on the internet for about a year but I just heard about it yesterday as I was perusing Arcade Heroes' blog about the latest location test for the game.

It is basically the MGS IV online gameplay ported to a networked arcade game with a force feedback gun and the coolest part - a set of glasses that allow you to see the game in 3D and also track your head movements to really immerse you in the game. That's pretty cool! Of course, you'll have to buy a ticket to Tokyo to play it, so you'll have to decide for yourself if that is worth it or not.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Joust Pinball

I saw the post on about this RARE 1983 head-to-head Joust Pinball game for sale on eBay and had to check it out. I'd seen pictures of these before but have never seen one in person and never seen one in action before the eBay videos below.

I really wish I had a few thousand bucks burning a whole in my pocket to snag this unique pin - but it still has a day and a half left in the auction and is already up to $2,650 so it is going to be too rich for my blood. SO - if you live in the Houston area - or anywhere in Texas really - please go to the auction here, purchase this, and invite me over to play it!

[Update 8/12/2010] I forgot to come back and post the final price - the Joust pin sold for $4,349. Too rich for my blood but sure would have been a kick-ass addition to the gameroom (that I'll have some day)

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Totally Amused in Humble, Texas!

Hold crap - how did I not hear of this sooner? Like I mentioned in my blog a few posts back one of my favorite weekend haunts in Houston is Joystix - it has tons of classic arcade games for play the first and last Friday of every month.

Well I happen to stumble onto this post at the "
Best Blogs of Texas: Deer Park, La Porte, Pasadena" that clued me in to ANOTHER arcade service/sales/play establishment that recently opened just up the road in Humble. Totally Amused Classic Arcade reportedly opened its doors last October to allow the general public to pay $15 and play tons of arcade games on free play every 2nd and 3rd Saturday and Sunday of the month. Apparently Amused has been around for several years but just specialized in arcade sales and service. In 2005 it even hosted Houston Arcade Championship where several arcade high-score records were set - including Frenzy, Tapper, and a few others.

The Chronicle did an article on the place and its owner Brian Sternberg of Spring that you can read here and ABC 13 News ran a piece on him you can watch below. I just heard about this place so I can't vouch for it yet but I will almost definitely be up there this weekend to verify and if it isn't boarded up I will report back next week!

[UPDATE August 1, 2010] I was finally able to contact Totally Amused and unfortunately they confirmed by suspicions - their arcade is no longer open to the public. They do sell arcade games (at pretty reasonable prices) and perform repairs, but if you want to have some old-school arcade fun in Houston the only real option is still to hit Joystix on Pac-Man Fever Fridays.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Because I'm Billy Mitchell

The Retroist featured this video of arcade guru Billy Mitchell and I thought it was kind of a cool/amusing quick hit. I don't know how much they may have edited King of Kong to make this guy look like a douche but I'm guessing there is a good amount of truth to it. Regardless, the guy definitely knows how to play arcade games so props for that anyway. Actually, I am much more uncomfortable with the drones that follow him around with that starry-eyed hero-worship. Those dudes creep me out.

The Retroist is the latest addition to my podcasts that I listen to from time to time. His website has a lot of cool old-school stuff (not just gaming-related) so check it out at

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Since I know most of the people that might possibly be reading this I realize the likelihood of you owning an Xbox 360 is very low - consequently the interest in this post about a 360-exclusive will be similarly low. But that won't stop me. I just read that one indie game that has spurred my curiousity will be available on Xbox Live Arcade on July 21 for $15 and I'm pretty sure I'm going to download it. That game is Limbo - a stylistic 2D black and white platformer/puzzle game. Think a darker, more somber version of Little Big Planet. Less yarn, more corpses. Should last about 5-6 hours which sounds just about right for me at the moment.

If you care to check out the trailer/gameplay - here ya go.

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Sunday, July 4, 2010


My gaming moods swing rather wildly and lately I have been pretty much all retro. Tonight I was thumbing (middle fingering on the touchpad actually) through a digital image of the January 1983 Electronic Games magazine and I came across a couple of ads for some gaming gear from a company called Starplex.

The first was the Starplex Deluxe Video Controller. This shiny little piece of woodgrained retro-goodness plugs into your Atari 2600 or C64/Vic-20 and allows you to use pushbuttons for the up, down, left, right, and fire commands instead of using a joystick. It also offers a rapid-fire option allowing you to just hold down the fire button.

I checked ebay and what do you know - there happens to be a new and unused (new old stock) Starplex Deluxe Video Controller complete in the box for sale right now with a starting bid of $18 (hey it was originaly $30 retail so that's a pretty good deal!). Given how much I like playing arcade games that have all-button control panels and my love for all things retro gamish this is right up my alley, but I probably won't bid on it (I just can't buy every cool but useless retro thing I come across) - so you can check out the auction here.

On the other hand if I saw the second item up for bid I probably WOULD bid on it because I've never seen it before and think it is even cooler.

The Game SeleX was a wood-grained (of course!) case that allowed you to plug in 9 Atari 2600 cartridges and then select which game you wanted to play with a selector dial. There was a dummy cartridge connected via a ribbon cable that you plugged into your VCS to reduce wear and tear on your original cartridges. Like the Deluxe Video Controller, probably not tremendously useful at this point in time but EXACTLY the sort of thing I would buy just because it's cool. Fortunately for me the SeleX was NOT for sale on ebay so I don't have to face that dilemma this day.

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Crisis in the Gulf Video Game

Apparently Indie publisher Super Boise Games has made a game about fighting the oil spill spewing out into the Gulf of Mexico. It costs $1 on Xbox Live.

Kotaku did a piece on it here: and New Orleans news station WDSU got a couple of local reactions on a video you can check out here:

I'm not offended by the game like some people apparently are - hey it's not like your goal is to kill the dolphins to make room for more oil in the water! You're saving the day with ships armed with high-tech oil-burning lasers! (Are you listening Obama?) And games about newsworthy events might encourage people to become more informed. But c'mon that game looks pretty lame. Even for a dollar - I'll pass.

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Starcade and Wild Western

I keep hearing a lot about Red Dead Redemption but I've been in an arcade mood lately, so I've been checking out old west themed arcade games on the MAME cab with the tentative idea of doing a "Who Needs Red Dead" type of post. Last night I tried out one called "Wild Western" for the first time. To make a long story short the game was mediocre at best so I won't feature it, but I came across a video of it being played on an old episode of Starcade and my brain switched gears on me - "hey do a post about Starcade" it said. So I did.

Starcade was a 1982-1983 game show where contestants (typically kids or teenagers) competed against each other by first answering trivia questions about arcade games and then by playing a selection of arcade games to see who could get the highest scores. The winning contestant then played a bonus round where he had a chance to win the grand prize - usually an arcade game of their own.

I was watching an episode tonight of one contestant with coke bottle glasses with goofy looking hair and equally goofy clothing and I told my wife "look it this poor dweeby little kid". Her response - "it looks like those pictures of you as a kid". I took another look - "Oh shit, you're right. Damn, I even had a velour shirt just like that. OK."

It's not exactly riveting action, but it definitely has a certain kitschy appeal. You can view 41 full episodes (or as many as you can stand) on their website here:

They have lots of other goodies on their website to check out too:

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