Review: Tetris (Game Boy)

Tetris. A game that has likely been ported and adapted and reimagined so many times it’s beyond ridiculous, but there’s always one version that most gamers remember fondly – the one packed in for free with the original Game Boy. In fact, even Alexey Pajitnov, who CREATED Tetris in 1984, said that the Game Boy version was his favourite, mentioning that it was very close to his orginal version… Quite the praise.
If you’ve never played Tetris before – welcome to Planet Earth! Essentially a simple puzzle game, the player guides various shapes down a 2D pit, and tries to fit them together at the bottom. If the player can complete a line without any breaks, that line will disappear, and the player is awarded points. The game ends when the pieces pile up to the top of the pit.
One of the most memorable things about this game (apart from how deceptively simple EVERYTHING is – from the graphics to the gameplay) is the title song. Linked below for your enjoyment. Continue reading

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Are we ready for the Next Generation? [Updated]

I was having a good hard think this morning, and (prior to the headache) I came to the conclusion that it’s possibly NOT likely that Microsoft will announce a new Xbox at CES (particularly given such announcements are usually made at E3 – still, I had thought it might happen). Of course, there’s still a chance, and I’m kind of divided as to how I REALLY feel, but it would appear to me that we maybe just aren’t ready for a new generation of gaming consoles. Bear with me, because this is going to take a while to get out… Continue reading

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iCloud and iTunes Match: What are they anyway?

As the resident geek in my family, I tend to have to explain things from time to time. In fact, they’ll generally ask me even though there is a somewhat more technical nerd in the family, particularly as I tend to explain such things fairly simply (and I read a hell of a lot more info on the ‘net, so I guess I tend to understand the function of consumer products a little better).

Anyway, this is one that has come up fairly often recently – which was a surprise to me, as I thought it was a fairly straightforward concept. Turns out I’m just a nerd who spends too much time on the Internet. As a result, I decided it might be a good topic to take a brief and general look over, in the hope that the average Joe might better understand how these services will make life easier. Click through if the terms iCloud and iTunes Match mean nothing to you.

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Review: Tempest 2000 (Jaguar)

Tempest was originally an arcade game, first released back in 1981. It was a popular title, and as a result was ported across to various home consoles over the years (it’s interesting to note that many ports were created in the late 2000s). Tempest 2000 was a sequel of sorts (more accurately a remake), created by Jeff Minter (of Llamasoft) for the Jaguar in 1994. The game was very well received (as was the techno soundtrack), and as a result, was ported to several other consoles, but the Jaguar version is considered by many to be the best of the best.

Essentially, the game is what has been referred to as a tube shooter, whereby a player, controlling a spaceship, sits at the edge of a set (totally) tubular environment, and tries to stay alive as long as possible while fending off the invading hordes of invading invaders (yeah, I kind of gave up there – see the video below for an example of gameplay).

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Console(idol)ation: Nintendo Game Boy

Game Boy

Well… What can you say about Nintendo’s Game Boy that people don’t already know? Nothing, I guess… Released in 1989 (yeah, I know), Game Boy was extremely well recieved. Even though, by today’s standards, it’s big, has a small monochrome LCD screen (which is not backlit, so it was impossible to play unless in perfect lighting conditions), kinda heavy, and took batteries, back then it was the right product at the right price, and it was released at the right time.

Intended to take the wind out of Atari’s sails (Atari also released the Lynx in 1989), Game Boy came with a copy of Tetris, and to this day this version would most likely top most people’s “best version of tetris” lists (generalising, I know). Game Boy became so damned popular that everyone seemed to have one, and this is where Nintendo started their now very common practice of simply updating handhelds from year-to-year as opposed to releasing a completely new system every other year (if you get my drift – and drift I did). It worked in their favour, and while there were no real standout classics on the original system (this is my opinion – I just can’t think of a single game I simply MUST have… suggestions welcome), it sold bucketloads, had a million titles released for it (not quite literally, but close), and the name “Game Boy” even replaced the common vernacular for ‘handheld gaming system’ for many years to come… Continue reading

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