100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience

For me , as a gamer, arcades are one of the major symbols of gaming. A few years ago, arcades were one of the best ways to play great quality games, when consoles didn’t pack that much power. Who doesn’t remember playing their first Street Fighter match on a coin-op, or your first Sega Rally lap?

In Portugal, the arcades are dead. You can still find a Arcade Saloons but not many as you would in the 80’s and 90’s. And while this might be a world wide phenomena, Japan maintains their arcade tradition. These guys are working on a Japanese Arcade scene documentary and after seeing the trailer I wish it would be finished before fall 2011 🙂

100 YEN: The Japanese Arcade Experience from Brad Crawford on Vimeo.

The ZX Spectrum Book – 1982 to 199x

The ZX Spectrum Book – 1982 to 199x

“‘The ZX Spectrum Book – 1982 to 199x” by Andrew Rollings covers over two hundred of the best games for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum.You can download it here.

Masters Of The Universe Wallpapers

He-Man vs King Hisss

If there’s something I really love from MOTU is the artwork created for the different media used to promote the line. Among many other artists, Earl Norem was one of the most commissioned to create illustrations for MOTU, from posters to the art featuring in the toy packages.

I created a set of wallpapers based on MOTU artwork from the 80’s and 90’s, most of the illustrations are by Norem. You can check the Flickr set here and download the full 1920×1200 versions here.

Update!

Here are a few more wallpapers! Download the 1920×1200 versions here!

Enjoy!

Halo Reach

Those who know me, know that I’m a sucker for Sci-Fi and Fantasy stuff. Be it games, books, movies, if it falls under these two “categories”, I like it. It’s probably one of the major geek characteristics, still I don’t mind. The worlds depicted in sci-fi and fantasy are often interesting and complete to a degree that makes one wanting to explore and, some times, expand those universes.

If there’s one universe that amazes me each passing day, for it’s story, characters and detail it’s the Halo Universe. Halo started as a game for the Xbox and PC but since then has evolved to a full fledged sci-fi universe, complete, detailed, with amazing characters and tales. Our tale, of humanity in the future. The games tell a story of decisive moments in the Halo Universe time line, but there’s much more information, the novels, the encyclopedia, the comics, loads and loads of information about this universe is told outside the games.

Next week, Halo Reach is coming out. It’s a very special game because of two key elements: it tells the tale of Noble Team and the demise of Reach and, we’ve been told that it’s the last Halo game developed by Bungie, the company that made all the previous Halo games.

Although Reach is set before all the other Halo games and most fans already know the outcome, the story of Noble Team will be a heck of a ride. For what we’ve seen of Bungie’s work on the Halo series, Reach will definitely be Bungie’s “swan song”.

If you’re looking for a great game in all fronts, and a strong candidate to game of the year, get Halo Reach next week. I haven’t played it, but I trust Bungie and I know they won’t let their fans down 🙂

More info on Halo

Masters of the Universe Classics – September 2010

MOTUC Collection September 2010

I updated my Masters of the Universe Classics collection Flickr set, so if you’re in the mood for some action figure “porn” check it out 😉

Gaming Rants

I don’t write about Video Games for some time now, but the latest news from E3 kinda triggered this post. So, with no further a do, my rants 😀

Nintendo 3DS

As usual, Nintendo invest more into their portables than the home consoles and this is obvious because the portable consoles have always saved Nintendo from being defeated by the competition. From what I’ve seen so far, the 3DS seems impressive.

The 3D screen is a huge sales factor, but the true value of this console it’s in the kick it delivers. The demos shown on E3 make me think that the 3DS graphics engine is way more powerful than a GameCube and a PSP and until Sony releases the PSP 2, which they should have announced on E3 instead of milking the fail that is the PSP Go, the 3DS will sucker-punch the competition out of the map.

Third party support has never been so strong for a portable that is yet to be released, but still, I can see the 3DS being plagued by ports of old games, like it happened to the PSP when it was launched.

It’s been rumored a few changes to the DS Ware shop, which I hope they do because compared to other console marketplaces it sucks. Another rumor is that the 3DS will feature even more social and network capabilities, which is always good. I really hope they include a faster and more friendly version of their Opera browser and deliver a working Internet experience and not just a gimmick like we have on the DSI.

The future will tell, but I’m betting that this will probably be the best portable Nintendo has ever made. Don’t screw this one up Nintendo!!

What I’ve been Playing

As a BIG Mario fan, of course I bought the new Super Mario Galaxy 2. At first it may look as “more of the same” but Nintendo really managed to improve the game mechanics by including new power-ups and 2.5D levels.

Sometimes it feels you’re playing New Super Mario Bros Wii but suddenly the entire level transforms and you’re back to the full Super Mario Galaxy 3D experience . The basics are still the same and there are common elements between the games, but the new stuff is really fun and has a big addiction level, not to mention that this time you have Yoshi 😀

What amazes me (in a mixed way) is that Nintendo continues to provide tutorials and in-game help for new players. Super Mario Galaxy 2 even comes with a DVD explaining how to play the game as well as the Superguide that plays some stages for you (if you want) when you die more than 10 times in a level… I understand that this is way to get more inexperienced gamers to buy and play the game, but isn’t it part of the fun to find out how to finish a stage???

Old school baby… those were the times 😉

Besides SMG2, I went back to finish Metroid Prime 3 Corruption. Sadly, I remembered that I didn’t finished Prime and Prime 2 Echoes… although I have the games for the Gamecube, I managed to get my hands on a Metroid Trilogy copy and I’m going back to the start!

The Metroid Prime Trilogy games are still 3 of the best games ever made for Nintendo consoles, and the collector’s edition for the Wii allows you to play the 2 first games as the 3rd one, with the wii mote pointing at the screen, and believe me, it’s a all new experience to play Prime and Echoes that way.

And that’s all… there’s not much time to play games nowadays but I’ll have more time next month when I’m on vacations 😀

ThunderCats Are Back!

Do you remember the ThunderCats? If you’re 30 or older you probably do 🙂

ThunderCats, like He-Man / Masters of the Universe and Transformers was one of the coolest and successful cartoons back then. The good news is that they will be back on Cartoon Network with an all new show in 2011. Check the press release!

THUNDERCATS, HO!

WARNER BROS. ANIMATION ANSWERS THE CALL WITH A NEW
TAKE ON THE CLASSIC ANIMATED SERIES “THUNDERCATS,”
TO AIR ON CARTOON NETWORK

(June 3, 2010 – Burbank, CA) – Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) has begun production on “ThunderCats,” an all-new animated series for Cartoon Network, based upon the iconic 1980s action classic. “ThunderCats” is the newest series from WBA, joining “Batman: The Brave and the Bold,” which was recently renewed for a third season, and the following forthcoming programs: “The Looney Tunes Show,” “MAD,” “Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated” and “Young Justice.” The announcement was made today by Sam Register, Executive Vice President, Creative Affairs, Warner Bros. Animation.

“In addition to being Warner Bros. Animation’s first anime series, ‘ThunderCats’ marks our most ambitious foray yet into fantasy,” said Register. “The realism and dynamic visual style we’ve achieved are sure to thrill viewers, and the cool weapons, vehicles and technology should help the show appeal to a diverse audience.”

The 21st century reimagining of the series marks a creative collaboration between WBA and Studio4°C, one of the most vibrant animation studios in Japan, with credits including “The Animatrix,” “Gotham Knights” and “Halo Legends.” WBA is working closely with Studio4°C, utilizing the latter’s expertise to give the “ThunderCats” characters a new cutting-edge look while remaining true to the compelling storylines and mythology of the original series.

“We at Studio4°C are excited to be in this creative partnership with Warner Bros. Animation to bring ‘ThunderCats’ to life,” said Eiko Tanaka, President and CEO, Studio4°C. “This collaboration combines the strengths of our two companies – high production values and great storytelling – toward reintroducing this classic fan-favorite to a new audience.”

Roaring to life through WBA and Studio4°C’s use of the Japanese animated artistry of anime, “ThunderCats” characters Lion-O, Mumm-Ra, Panthro, Cheetara and others will spring off the screen with realistic cat-like characteristics inconceivable in previous incarnations.

The new “ThunderCats” will appeal to viewers who have loved the characters all their lives as well as young newcomers to the franchise. A sweeping tale combining swords and science and boasting ferocious battles with the highest of stakes, the grand origin story of Prince Lion-O’s ascension to the throne – and of those who would thwart his destiny at any cost – takes on epic dimensions in this sharp new telling. As the forces of good and evil battle each other in the quest for the fabled Stones of Power, Lion-O and his champions learn valuable lessons of loyalty, honor and mortality in every episode.

“ThunderCats” is executive produced by Sam Register (“Teen Titans,” “Ben 10,” “Batman: The Brave and the Bold”). Michael Jelenic (“Batman: The Brave and the Bold,” “Wonder Woman”) and Ethan Spaulding (“Avatar: The Last Airbender”) are the producers.

About Warner Bros. Animation
Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) has been producing award-winning original animation since 1930, when it released its first cartoon, Sinkin’ in the Bathtub. Since then, WBA’s characters have set the standard for innovative, quality animation. Producing for network and cable television, online, home entertainment and feature films both domestically and internationally, WBA is highly respected for its creative and technical excellence, as well as maintaining the studio’s rich cartoon heritage. WBA also oversees the creative use of, and production of animated programming based on, classic animated characters from the Hanna-Barbera and DC Comics libraries. WBA is one of the most honored animation studios in history, garnering a grand total of six Academy Awards®, 36 Emmy® Awards, the George Foster Peabody Award, an Environmental Media Award, a Parents’ Choice Award, a Humanitas Award, five Prism Awards and 20 Annie Awards.

About Studio4°C
Studio4°C is Japan’s leading animation studio. Led by producer Eiko Tanaka, Studio4°C is renowned for its ultra-energetic, cutting-edge feature films, progressive music videos, radical short films and numerous outstanding television commercials, promotional materials, video/computer games and TV series. Studio4°C was an early adopter of digital technology and is now a brand name with global recognition for its progressive hybrid visuals and funky crossover creations. In 2003, through a joint production with Warner Bros. Studios, Studio4°C created the revolutionary “The Animatrix.” Studio4°C’s crazily innovative feature film “Tekkonkinkreet” was a 2007 Oscar® nominee in the Animated Feature Film category. Taking its name from the fact that water is at its densest at four degrees Celsius, Studio4°C represents the creative manifesto to “create only works that are dense with substance and extreme quality.”

Masters Of The Universe Classics – Scareglow


Scareglow

Real Name: Karak Nul

In life, Nul was a shifty bounty hunter who spent years attempting to break into Castle Grayskull, obsessed with the countless legends that it contained the power to be Master of the Universe. In death, he was cursed and banished into the dimension of Infinita, forever chained to his past crimes. He was brought back to Eternia by a magical spell of light cast by Skeletor to locate the most evil warriors in the five dimensions. Provided with a Scythe of Doom, Nul agreed to join forces with Skeletor and quickly became known as Scareglow, thanks to his ability to burst forth and freeze his enemies with fright.

Back in the 80’s, Scareglow was one of the figures released near the end of the vintage line and due to this, it’s one of the most sought figures for vintage collectors. Dubbed as “The evil ghost of Skeletor”, Scareglow cause some confusion since no one back then could figure out if this was Skeletor in ghost form or an evil ghost at Skeletor’s command. In the classics line, a back story was created for our pal Scareglow and now we know who he really is. The classics version is very true to the original, yet improved in many ways like all the other figures in the classics line.

Scareglow comes with one of the most peculiar accessories of the line (so far): A Cursed Grayskull reliquary that contains the key to Castle Grayskull but it’s impossible to open (at least for the bad guys since we can open and check the key inside).

This is one of my favorite figures of the line, Scareglow is one of those figures that’s impossible not to like. He’s a skull, he has a Scyth, a cape and he glows in the dark! The cool factor is way over the roof on this one.

Try to sleep with this guy on your nightstand… guaranteed grim reaper nightmares!