Gavin, Sparks and Retr0gamer talk about the 8-Bit Microcomputers including the Spectrum, C64 and Amstrad. We talk at lenght about the games of Codemasters, Ocean and Ultimate.
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Gavin and Gary discuss the classic graphic adventure games of Lucas Arts.
From the late 1980s to the early 2000s, LucasArts was well known for their point-and-click graphic adventure games, nearly all of which received high scoring reviews at the time of their release. Their style tended towards the humorous, often irreverent or slapstick humour, with a few exceptions. Their game design philosophy was that the player should never die or reach a complete dead-end, although there were exceptions to the former.
Many of the games shared similar game interfaces and technology, powered by SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion). After 1997, these games transitioned into 3D graphics with the GrimE game engine. Common features between the games include in-joke references to both other LucasArts games and Lucasfilm productions, as well as other running gags, such as Chuck the Plant and Sam & Maxcameo appearances, that spanned numerous games. Most of the games were designed by the people with experience from creating preceding adventure games for LucasArts, whilst the same composers were involved in the majority of productions.
Traditionally romance isn’t a subject that video games have handled very well. Especially in most retro titles where it’s generally limited to rescuing a princess from a castle. But as it’s Valentine’s Day this week and it’s also a week that sees the release of Catherine, a relationship centred horror adventure game, Gavin and Steven decided to take a look at some of the best and worst examples of video game romance from over the years.
A big gang in this week to discuss a selection of survival horror games. Joining us in the studio are Gavin, Stephen, Sarah, Gary, Shane and Sparks.
Games discussed include:
- Forbidden Siren
- Rule of Rose
- Resident Evil
- Haunting Ground
Survival horror is a subgenre of action-adventurevideo games inspired by horror fiction. These games mostly involve making the player vulnerable by providing them with less ammunition and fewer heavy weapons than other action games. Although combat can be a part of the gameplay, the player is in various ways made to feel less powerful than in typical action games, because of limited ammunition, health, speed, or other limitations. The player is also challenged to find items that unlock the path to new areas, and solve puzzles at certain locations. Games make use of strong horror themes, and the player is often challenged to navigate dark maze-like environments, and react to unexpected attacks from enemies.
The term “survival horror” was first used for the original Japanese release of Resident Evil in 1996, which was influenced by earlier games with a horror theme such as 1989’s Sweet Home. The name has been used since then for games with similar gameplay, and has been retroactively applied to games as old as Haunted House from 1982. Starting with the release of Resident Evil 4 in 2005, the genre began to incorporate more features from action games, which has led game journalists to question whether long-standing survival horror franchises have abandoned the genre. Still, the survival horror genre has persisted in one form or another.
Gavin, Stephen and Sarah discuss the long and varied history of Hudson Soft.
Hudson Soft Ltd. was founded in Sapporo, Japan on May 18, 1973 by brothers Yuji and Hiroshi Kudo. The founders grew up admiring trains, and named the business after their favorite, the Hudson locomotives (especially Japanese C62). Hudson began as a shop selling telecommunications devices and artphotographs. In September 1975, Hudson Soft began selling personal computer-related products, and in March 1978 started developing and selling video game packages.
Hudson became Nintendo‘s first third-party software vendor for its Family Computer. Hudson’s second title for this console, Lode Runner, sold 1.2 million units after its 1984 release. The business continued developing video games on the Famicom and other platforms (NEC PC-8801MSX, ZX Spectrum), and was reorganized as Hudson Soft Co., Ltd. in November 1984. In July 1985, a “caravan” was held at sixty venues throughout Japan, a first for the video game industry. Bomberman was released in December of this year on the Famicom and was considered a “big hit” by Hudson Soft.
In July 1987, Hudson developed the “C62 System” and collaborated with Nippon Electric Corporation to develop the PC Engine video game console. It achieved a second-best success to Famicom in Japan, but its release as the TurboGrafx-16 in North America had less market-share than Nintendo’s new Super Nintendo and Sega‘s new Genesis. Throughout 1990, Hudson Soft developed and published video games for an array of systems. In 1994, the 32-bit semiconductor chip “HuC62” was independently developed by Hudson and used in NEC’s PC-FX video game console.
In December 2000, Hudson Soft Co., Ltd. entered the stockmarket, listing on Nippon New Market Hercules, formerly known as NASDAQ Japan Exchange. This led to Konami purchasing a stock allocation of 5.6 million shares in August 2001, becoming the company’s largest shareholder. Within the terms of this purchase, Hudson acquired the Sapporo division of Konami Computer Entertainment Studio, renaming it Hudson Studio.
In April 2005, capital was increased via an allocation of 3 million shares from a third party. Konami Corporation, holding 53.99% of all Hudson stock, became Hudson’s majority shareholder and parent company. Hudson continue to self publish, although works closely with Konami.
In January 2011, Hudson Soft Co., Ltd. was acquired by and became a wholly owned subsidiary of Konami.
Monkeyfudge and RetrOgamer discuss the Star Fox series of games.
Star Fox (スターフォックス Sutā Fokkusu?) is a video game series published by Nintendo. The original game was a forward-scrolling 3D Sci-Firail shooter. Later sequels added more directional freedom as the series progressed. The game concept was inspired by a shrine to a fox god who could fly, which Shigeru Miyamoto visited regularly. The shrine was accessible through a series of arches, thus inspiring the gameplay.
The first game in the series, developed by Nintendo EAD and programmed by Argonaut Software, used the Super FX Chip to create the first accelerated3D gaming experience on a homeconsole. The Super FX Chip was an additional math co-processor that was built into the Game Pak and helped the Super Famicom and SNES better render the game’s graphics. The Super FX Chip has been used in other Super Famicom/SNES games as well, some with increased processing speed. Its remake, Star Fox 64, further revolutionized the video game industry by being the first Nintendo 64 game to feature the Rumble Pak.
Due to trademark issues over the name Star Fox in PAL region territories, Star Fox and Star Fox 64 were released in those countries as Star Wing and Lylat Wars respectively. However, Nintendo bought the rights before the release of Star Fox Adventures so future games could be released worldwide with the same name.
The games follow an independent mercenary unit called Star Fox (made up of anthropomorphic animals) and their adventures around the fictional Lylat system.