Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Childhood Toys Part 1 [Monster Toys]

- 1977 -
Godzilla (Shogun Warriors, Mattel 1977) complete with action tongue and flying fist.
This was such a great toy. Godzilla's projectile fist had some weight to it and the spring was fairly strong, strong enough to knock a-many other toy figures down.
Why Godzilla you ask? Well, NBC ran a Godzilla Cartoon from 1978-1981, so that helped to fuel the fire.

- 1978 -
Suckerman by Mattel (1978)

I actually still have Suckerman (mine is red), although he's missing a sucker or two.

- 1979 -
Alien 18" Figure by Kenner (1979)
It was large, it had glow in the dark decals on it's head, it's inner-jaws came out via lever (they were sharp too!), and you could fasten it's tail in different positions. It was based off of an R Rated movie yet marketed towards children. Supposedly when my dad was in line to purchase it some woman asked who it was for and when he said "my son" she was mortified! "It's soo ugly!"
I was fascinated by it yet at the same time it scared the be-jeezus outta me. I had to store it in my closet so it was out of sight and out of mind. Yet that didn't always work because I knew it was in there. I think there were a few times before I became accustomed to it where I needed it out of my room altogether for piece of mind.
I was the one that asked for it, so I can't blame anyone but myself - and now I want it back (but hell if I'm payin' upwards of $400 for it)!

Krusher (Mattel, 1979)
A monster which you would crush (or Krush) and it would come back to life!
The problem with this toy is that after it'd been crushed too many times, it's surface would crack and begin to break off.

Krusher is nowhere to be found, it's too bad it sounds as if he's a rare find these days.

I loved the Megabug Gladiators (Kenner, 1979), of which I had the Scorpion and the Spider (not sure if I had the Fly)

Everything That Tastes Good Is Bad For You

My last cholesterol test said I am in the "at risk" category, with a note from the RN saying that I "clearly need to be on some sort of cholesterol reducing therapy".

That was October 9th, 2009. Cholesterol was 263, LDL was 183. I started cholesterol reducing medication about a month or two later. I have yet to do another cholesterol test to see if it's made a dent.
Update: My cholesterol test from April 15, 2010 has my overall cholesterol at 208, down nearly 60 pts, and my LDL at 140, down 40 pts. So I guess the medication is making a dent.

So apparently my heart is pumping pudding.
You wouldn't know I have high cholesterol from looking at me. Sure, I could stand to lose 20-30 lbs., but I do not have a robust appearance.
I have no illusions. I realize that my diet could very well kill me someday. The men on my father's side of the family do have a history of heart disease (Grandfather had a quadruple bypass, Father died of a heart attack at age 52 at 210lbs). I am right around that same weight, but am taller and therefore more height-weight proportionate.

I am nothing short of addicted to caffeine, sugar, chocolate, red meat, and fast food. Cheeseburgers, pizza, sub sandwiches.
I've always been a bit of a junk food junkie.

I used to wake up early on Saturday mornings while my parents were still sleeping and sneak some junkfood to eat while watching Saturday Morning Cartoons. One time I was eating ice cream out of the carton and I made a last ditch effort to hide it behind a chair, and apparently I forgot about it because my parents found it all melted later on.
Once when I was a child, I rode my bicycle 37 city blocks to my grandparents house to eat cookies because my parents wouldn't allow me any junkfood on that particular day. They didn't know where I was off to, and when they found out that my grandparents unknowlingly gave me junkfood when I wasn't supposed to have any, my parents weren't too happy.

Funny thing is even today if I get strong hankering, a few times a year I'll find myself going to the 24 hour convenience store in the middle of the night for a big gulp and/or chocolate milk, and candy bar or donut if there's nothing in the house.

If there's anyone here who knew me when I was a child, or a teenager, and had me over for dinner, you probably have an inkling of how picky of an eater I was.
And really, nothing has changed since then. My taste buds didn't spontaneously grow immune. The only thing I'll eat now that I wouldn't back then are baked beans.

Don't get me wrong, my parents tried their darndest. My parents always had vegetables on their plate, and put vegetables on mine as well. I put up a fight. My parents tried the whole "you're not allowed to leave the table until you eat all your vegetables" thing. I remember sitting there for hours on a few occasions. I put up a strong fight, though maybe not as strong as this girl...

I do like some fruit. Apples, bananas and pears ...but that's about it.

Changing my diet is more of an obstacle to me than maintaining some sort of workout regimen. I was probably in the best shape when I was 24. I had a job that kept me physically active, and at one point I maintained a workout routine for 3-6 months (which is my personal best).

I tried to "eat healthy" a few years ago, and ended up losing more weight than I had anticipated. Funny thing is, it wasn't my intention to lose weight. All I ended up doing was eating less (which explains the weight loss), because I couldn't find healthy substitutes that I would be willing to eat.
I purchased a salad at a "fast food" place (Subway) and gave it my all. But I just couldn't do it. Every bite and my mouth and taste buds just go into shock. Everything my body tells me is that vegetables are poison to my system.

Everything that tastes good is bad for you, and everything that taste's bad is good for you.
I will never understand this as long as I live.
I mean, the other 4 senses work right. If you smell, hear, touch, or see something that is bad, it's probably bad for you. Same goes for the good.
I mean if you hold your hand under an open flame - OUCH! Your body immediately tells you that it hurts, therefore it isn't something that is good for you or your body.

Whether you believe in evolution or creationism, I think something went haywire. Something got lost in translation. Perhaps our taste buds evolved to perceive things that are bad for us to be good. You see, cavemen didn't have a grocery store. They ate what they could find and kill to survive. So maybe we are predetermined to crave red meat because our instincts tell us that it equals survival. But that still wouldn't account for vegetables tasting bad.

All things in moderation. Perhaps we as western society have come to lack self-discipline and simply gorge ourselves on the foods we enjoy most, while turning a blind eye to all the harmful effects they may have.

Perhaps processed foods "trick" our taste buds into thinking it's good when it's really bad, because the bad parts are disguised to form a good tasting whole. In other words, if a food product was compromised of nothing but the ingredients that are bad for us, it probably wouldn't taste good (would you drink a bottle of pure fructose corn syrup, or shovel spoonful after spoonful of sugar into your mouth?). But within a complex recipe things like salt & sugar enhance a products flavor.

In the end, I don't really want to change. I have a passion for eating bad. I wish that instead of slowly killing us, our human bodies would evolve to effectively process what's become of the western diet.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

SNK Arcade Classics Volume 0

The ESRB let the cat out of the bag on this planned installment of SNK Arcade Classics TBA for the PS2 and PSP.
"This is a collection of 20 classic arcade games comprising several distinct genres: action, fighting, sports (baseball, football, Olympics), shooting, platforming."

SNK released a previous volume, SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1, which was comprised wholly of Neo Geo titles. While it contained a solid list of titles at a great value, it is SNK's pre-Neo Geo titles I've always been more interested in. These are the games I grew up playing, a number of which had been ported to the NES (of which I own three; Athena, Ikari Warriors and Victory Road).

Moonco deserves credit for discovering the ad below from the Japanese KOF Vol. 4 comic, and identifying the games in the screen-shots. This entire blog posting is based solely on Moonco's discovery.

The big draw with this volume is the entire rotary controller, IKARI WARRIORS tree of games,

which are (in order of release); TNK III, Ikari Warriors, Victory Road, Guerilla War, and Ikari 3: The Rescue.

The only rotary controlled arcade game missing from the mix is Touchdown Fever II and Alpha Denshi's Time Soldiers (which SNK does own).
Some perhaps may even mistake Seta's two overhead rotary controlled games as SNK games.
The Seta Corporation/Seta Arcade Game Listing, which ran from October 1, 1985 to January 23, 2009, released two rotary controlled arcade games both in 1989, Caliber 50 and Downtown, which had a lot in common with SNK's rotary controlled arcade games.
Since Seta closed , I'm going to assume that all of Seta's former IP's now rest with their parent company, Aruze.
Aruze once had a working relationship with SNK. In 2000 Aruze promised financial backing for the failing SNK but instead instituted a program to liquidate SNK's assets. Sometime after SNK Playmore was founded, they sued Aruze for copyright infringement, claiming their use of SNK's intellectual properties was unauthorized by Playmore and won 57 million dollars. So Aruze licensing or selling Seta's IP's to SNK Playmore is something that won't ever happen. Probably the only way you'll ever get to play Seta's old arcade games is on MAME.

All in all, nearly half of the games in this collection (8 out of 20) of SNK arcade games utilized rotary controls in the arcade.
Replicating rotary controls at home has always proved to be a daunting task. And while dual analog sticks do work, they are not nearly as precise (if you've played Wild Western and Frontline on Taito Legends 2 you know what to expect) and will be less playable and therefore less enjoyable than they once were.
This is the largest number of rotary controlled arcade games emulated in one package ever to be released, and I feel like not including or selling a rotary controller of some sort is a disservice to retro arcade gamers everywhere. And since SNK is planning to release this on the Playstation 2 (that is, if we're lucky) instead of one of the three seventh generation consoles, you can expect little to no fanfare and no extraneous support.

The 20 titles identified from the ad are as follows;
Alpha Mission [1985] (vertically scrolling shooter)
Athena [1986] (side scrolling platform) Athena character overview
A punishingly difficult platformer. The NES port of which was one of the only games I owned for the NES that I never could complete, no matter how hard I tried! Even after all these years, I just had to look on Youtube to watch somebody complete that wretched game!
Bermuda Triangle (aka World Wars) [1987] (vertically scrolling shooter) (Rotary joysticks)
Gold Medalist [1988] (an enjoyable Track and Field clone)
Guerrilla War [1988] (Pseudo sequel to Ikari Warriors where you play as Che Guevara) (Rotary joysticks) Releases
HAL 21 [1985] (vertically scrolling shooter)
Ikari Warriors [1986] (Rotary joysticks) Ports
Ikari 3: The Rescue [1989] (Rotary joysticks)
Marvin's Maze [1983] (Maze game)
P.O.W. [1988] (Beat'em up)
Prehistoric Isle (In 1930) [1989] (horizontally scrolling shooter featuring dinosaurs)
Psycho Soldier [1987] (side scroller featuring the character Athena)
SAR - Search & Rescue [1989] (overhead shooting game featuring aliens) (Rotary joysticks)
Sasuke vs. Commander [1980] (the third game manufactured by SNK and the first to be in color)
Street Smart [1989] (unique in that it was the only one-on-one fighting game SNK produced pre-Neo Geo) Ports and Releases
Super Champion Baseball [1989] (a baseball game from Alpha Denshi. The Third game in the Champion Baseball series, with improved graphics and gameplay over the first two Champion Baseball games, which shared the same graphics engine.)
TNK III [1985] (aka TANK, Iron Tank for the NES) (the first game to use Rotary Joysticks)
Touch down Fever [1987] (overhead football) (Rotary joysticks)
Vanguard II [1984] (a vertically scrolling shooter. Unlike the original, there were no home console nor computer ports of Vanguard II released)
Victory Road [1986] (Rotary joysticks)

Here are some of my personal arcade high scores from back in the day;
Ikari Warriors;
Zach's Lanes (formerly Petroff's) at 54th & Burleigh Milwaukee, WI
High Score of 326,200 on Saturday May 9th, 1987
Victory Road;
Zach's Lanes (formerly Petroff's) at 54th & Burleigh Milwaukee, WI
Finished with a score of 1,238,990 on Monday April 27th, 1987
Finished with a score of 1,222,340 on Thursday April 30th, 1987
Finished with a score of 1,224,640 on Saturday May 9th, 1987
Finished with a score of 1,223,290 without losing any lives on Friday May 15th, 1987
Finished with a score of 1,226,240 on Saturday May 23rd, 1987
Finished with a score of 1,29?,??? on Sunday May 24th, 1987
Finished with a score of 1,23?,??? on Tuesday July 17th, 1987
Circus Pizza New Hope, MN
Finished game on $4.25 September 7th, 1989

*SNK purchased ADK's (aka Alpha Denshi) intellectual properties.
The games I wish were in this latest compilation most are Time Soldiers [1987] (Alpha Denshi) (Rotary joysticks)

and Sky Soldiers [1988] (Alpha Denshi).

Also, the brawler Gang Wars [1989] (Alpha Deshi) and the on-rail gun games Mechanized Attack [1989] (SNK's answer to Taito's Operation Wolf), Beast Busters [1989] & Beast Busters - Second Nightmare [1999] (One of only seven games to run on SNK's Hyper Neo Geo 64 Arcade Hardware).

Others include shooters Chopper I (aka The Legend of Air Cavalry)[1988] (vertically scrolling shooter featuring a helicopter), Sky Adventure [1989] (Alpha Denshi) (vertically scrolling shooter) (while Sky Adventure is not officially the sequel to 1988's Sky Soldier's, it can be thought of as a psuedo-sequel due to the similarity in gameplay), and The Next Space [1989] (vertically scrolling shooter).

Sports titles such as Fighting Soccer [1988], Lee Trevino's Fighting Golf (aka Country Club) [1988], Paddle Mania [1988] (tennis), and Touch Down Fever II [1988] (Rotary joysticks).

There is a noticeable lack of Pre-1985 or "Golden Age" arcade titles listed for SNK Arcade Classics 0. Although I suppose most won't miss them much, as (apart from 1981's Vanguard putting SNK on the map) it wasn't until the mid-eighties and the release of Ikari Warriors that SNK really began to hit it's stride, and the ensuing years are what SNK is known for moreso. The golden age titles omitted from volume 0 are as follows;
Gladiator 1984 [1984] (horse jumping), Jumping Cross [1984] (motocross racing, overhead view), Lasso [1982], Mad Crasher [1984] (futuristic cars in a 3D isometric view, similar to Sega's Zaxxon), Main Event [1984] (boxing), Munch Mobile [1983] (overhead race game), Ozma Wars [1979] (SNK's first game), Safari Rally [1979] (SNK's second game), Satan Of Saturn [1981], and Vanguard [1981] Ports and Releases
Excerpts rom Wikipedia; "The game is known as one of the first scrolling shooters ever made. Also, unlike other comparable games at the time, Vanguard was unique in that the player must focus on avoiding obstacles while firing in order to survive; which made this game a precursor to Konami's Gradius and Irem's R-Type."

The following titles are game series which began in arcades (pre-Neo Geo), and followed with sequels on Neo Geo hardware.
Alpha Mission II [1991], Baseball Stars Professional [1990] (Baseball Stars 2 on SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1), Ghost Pilots [1991] (sequel to 1989's Sky Adventure), and Prehistoric Isle II [1999] Game runs on the Neo Geo MVS but was not released on the Neo Geo AES home console.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Terminator Salvation

While it didn't match up to James Cameron's Terminator and Terminator 2 (big surprise), and overall, despite my criticisms below, I was entertained and satisfied with this new installment of the Terminator saga.
It was much better than T3, and introducing a new cast was better than having Nick Stahl and Claire Danes return as John Connor and Kate Brewster (which was what had previously been planned).

Also, I loved the grinding sounds of the machines.

Perhaps I'm being overly critical towards a franchise that features time travel (which is something I believe is a scientific impossibility) and the T-1000, a robot which can turn into liquid and mimic the form of almost anything it touches.
The more illogical speed-bumps one must endure makes it increasingly difficult to suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy the fantastical at face value. The premise of a science-fiction story is a delicate thing. Even with a solid premise, too many reaches and it will unsteady the foundation and the house of cards can come falling down.

The seeds of something better were visible, but just didn't come all the way together in the end.
I felt the supporting cast was somewhat weak & unfitting.
I didn't really feel like Bryce Dallas Howard belonged in this film, and I'm tired of seeing musicians/rappers (Common) getting sympathy roles in big budget productions.
Although Bale's performance may have fit the character, I have a problem with the flat one-note, heartless performances of Christian Bale leading both the Batman and Terminator franchise. It's just too much Bale to stomach.

In all previous Terminator films they never showed John Connor in his future leadership role. I feel as if the character of John Connor was over-exposed in Terminator Salvation. In the early script drafts, John was a secondary character, and I can only imagine 'what if'. Less could have been more.

The future doesn't quite capture the visions of the gritty downtrodden future shown in T1 and T2.
"The idea that events in Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines altered the future also allowed them to be flexible with their presentation of the futuristic world."
That was flexibility that director McG, who made his directing debut with Charlie's Angels (sigh), should not have been allowed.
The problem with having the freedom to alter the perception of the future, is that the dystopian future shown in T1 and T2 is what all Terminator fans wanted to see fully realized in a full-length film all along.

In regards to Skynet creating an infiltration unit in Sam Worthington's character, you'd think Skynet would just override his hybrid brain and force it to kill it's primary targets upon discovery.

Are you telling me that this gargantuan 50 ton machine shows up without anyone hearing it approaching? And that it forcefully scoops up people with giant metal claws without killing, let alone injuring them? I don't think so!

I can't tell you how sick & tired I am of scenes of people interacting with robots/supercomputers (i.e. The Architect from The Matrix etc.) which can mimic human form without fault, complete with all the complexity of human facial expressions and voice inflection. It's more than a reach, it won't ever happen. Not to mention machines will never develop emotion. To me it just takes thing from science fiction into a realm of fantasy, and makes everything less believeable. Save that for films more rooted in fantasy rather than science fiction.

"The original ending was to have John killed, and his image kept alive by the resistance by grafting his skin onto Marcus' cybernetic body. However, after the Internet leak, Warner Bros. decided to completely change the entire third act of the film."
It's ashame the original ending got cut, because it could have added an unexpected dimension and altered what we thought we knew. It'd almost make more sense and be more fitting that a half-man half-machine would go on to lead the resistance against the machines, and that John Connor's role in winning the war was cut short and not nearly as important as once thought.

Although entirely unrelated to Terminator: Salvation, I did happen to read through Darkhorses' Terminator Omnibus Volume 1 and Volume 2 comic compilations a month or so prior to seeing the film, which continued with the Terminator mythos starting in 1989.

Here's a comical dance remix of Christian Bale's profanity-laden rant on the set of Terminator: Salvation

Don't play the following clip unless you've already seen the movie!

Xbox Live Game Room

Official Xbox Live Arcade Game Room Site
XBLA Game Room Site (Unofficial)

- Xbox Live Game Room Suggestion Box
- Xbox 360 Arcade Sticks
- Konami Arcade Compilations

Microsoft Details Game Room Titles and Pricing Jan 7, 2010
Excerpt from Gamespot;
"Centipede, Crystal Castles, Tempest among some 30 coin-op classics headed to new social hub for 360, PC this spring; cost ranges from $5 to own to $0.50 per play.

The Game Room goes live this spring.
Microsoft has now offered additional details on the Game Room, which was developed by Krome Studios and will be available through Xbox Live and the Games for Windows - Live PC client this spring. As part of an announcement trailer, below, the publisher rattled off some 30 games that will initially be available. Games on the docket include such Atari and Intellivision classics as Centipede, Crystal Castles, Red Baron, Yars' Revenge, and Tempest. A full list can be found below. With plans to expand the Game Room to more than 1,000 titles, Microsoft intends to release additional offerings on a weekly basis. An average of 7 new games will be added to the service every week, starting in late April.

The publisher also announced a pricing structure for the downloadable classics. Games can be purchased for play on both the Xbox 360 and PC for MSP 400 ($5), or for an individual platform at MSP 240 ($3) apiece. Alternatively, gamers can carry on in the coin-op tradition by purchasing single rounds of any individual game for MSP 40 ($.50). Players can also sample games purchased by their friends for free by visiting their game rooms.

Up to two players can compete in online or local multiplayer in games that support competitive or cooperative action. The Game Room will also support Xbox Live Avatars, as well as voice chat, 1080p graphics, cross-platform leaderboards, and achievements."
Note: That last sentence is a bit misleading.
You have no control over your Avatar within the Game Room application, the games themselves are boxed-in and presented in their native aspect-ratio (as opposed to upscaled), and the achievements are not on a game by game basis, but are "logged against the Game Room application instead." "Basically, each arcade game will reward you medals and these will count towards your overall achievements."

Hands-On Video From

While this is pretty big news for fans of retro games and the potential is exciting, I do fear this has the possibility of deterring companies from compiling and releasing affordable compilations (on physical media) in the future, and instead releasing games from their library singularly into Game Room for a higher profit-margin.

1) Will they import golden age arcade titles which have been previously released on Xbox Live, into Game Room?
No. XBLA games are not interchangeable with Game Room.
2)Will you be able to play music off your Xbox hard drive while in Game Room?
Yes you can. Both while in the Game Room environment and while playing games within Game Room.
3) Can you stream music from Last FM while in Game Room? Streaming an eighties station into Game Room would be fitting.
The ability to stream Last FM while playing a game was stripped from the Xbox application, and that carries over to the Game Room environment and it's game emulations as well.
4) In pictures of Game Room you see Avatar's playing machines, will you have to line up virtual quarters in order to secure your place in line just like back in the day?
This was not meant as a serious question, though I found the question was infact asked in one of the video's and the answer is of course, no.
5) When customizing my own Game Room, how many unique machines can I fit in?
[Courtesy of Mansquito XL] There are currently 12 rooms with capacity for 8 machines per room. If you wanted to have 96 unique machines at the current price of 240 points each, it would cost 23,040 Microsoft points (or $288)!
6) How many achievement points can I get from Game Room without purchasing anything?
Answer: 80 Achievement Points. See Game Room Achievement Guide/Roadmap
7) What would be the bare minimum cost to get all the Game Room achievements?
[Courtesy of FunkDog] The two determining achievements are "Reaching Level 20" and the "Have Your Whole Arcade Use Unique Themes."

It takes 20 "points" to rank up a level. The most you can get on a single game that offers three gold medals is 15 points. The fewest amount of games you would need to buy, assuming they all offer three gold medals (some of the console titles only offer 1 gold) would be 27 titles (400 points for level 20 divided by 15 points per game equals 26.7). Assuming each title is $3.00, 27x3 = $81.00.

Next is the unique theme achievement. This is dependent on whether or not themes are included for free in future game packs. If so, then this achievement is a non issue. Just wait long enough for enough free themes to be released. However, if you don't get any for free and are forced to unlock themes, then it looks like you will need to play until you get your level into the 40s or 50. In order to do that, you would most likely have to spend over $160 to purchase enough games so that you could get your level up high enough to unlock all the themes (getting to level 40 would cost you $162.00, getting to level 50 would $202.50).

Of course this is assuming you BUY all the games. You could cut this cost down dramatically if you use the 50 cents per play option and can unlock two golds in one or two plays.

FYI, if you buy all the titles initially released with Game Room, and get all golds on all of them, you will end up mid way between level 18 and 19.

Confirmed Microsoft Game Room Titles;
I'm going to preface this list by saying that so far, there's really nothing to get too excited about. EVERY Atari and Intellivision game can be found on Atari Anthology and Intellivision Lives! respectively. The only games to make note of are those from Konami, who has yet to release a gaming compilation on a non-handheld next-gen console. Of the confirmed Konami titles, only 3 of them have never before been released on a gaming compilation of any kind.
All following Atari titles, both Arcade and Atari 2600, are available on Atari Anthology, which was released on November 22, 2004 for the Xbox and PlayStation 2.
Asteroids Deluxe (November 28, 2007), Centipede & Millipede (May 2, 2007), and Tempest (December 19, 2007) have all been made available on Xbox Live, complete with classic and evolved versions.
Asteroids Deluxe [1981] Legacy/Arcade History Entry/KLOV Entry
Centipede [1980] Ports/Arcade History Entry/KLOV Entry
Crystal Castles [1983] Ports/Arcade History Entry/KLOV Entry
Lunar Lander [1979] Arcade History Entry/KLOV Entry
Millipede [1982] Ports/Arcade History Entry/KLOV Entry
Red Baron [1980] Arcade History Entry/KLOV Entry
Tempest [1981] Ports and Sequels/Arcade History Entry/KLOV Entry

Adventure [1979]
Combat [1977]
Football [1978]
Outlaw [1978]
Outlaw was originally released as an arcade game, but it's the Atari 2600 version that's in Game Room, as that was the version in Atari Anthology (which all confirmed Atari titles are culled from) and the fact that the arcade version was in black & white.
RealSports Tennis [1983]
Star Raiders [1982] List of adaptations, sequels and tie-ins
Yars' Revenge [1982]

All following Intellivison titles available on Intellivision Lives! (Intellivision site/Xbox site), which can be purchased through Xbox Live (Xbox Originals) for 1200 points (the equivalent of $15).
Armor Battle [1979]
Astrosmash [1981]
Mountain Madness: Super Pro Skiing [1988] (basically an updated rendition of U.S. Ski Team Skiing from 1980)
Sea Battle [1980]
Space Armada [1981]
Space Hawk [1981]
Sub Hunt [1981]

All following Konami titles are arcade games.
Battlantis [1987] Arcade History Entry/KLOV Entry
*Never made available on compilation
Finalizer [1985] Arcade History Entry/KLOV Entry
*Never made available on compilation
Jungler [1981] Arcade History Entry/KLOV Entry
*Never made available on compilation
Road Fighter [1984] Ports and Related Releases/Arcade History Entry/KLOV Entry
Available on; Konami Arcade Classics (PSOne) and Konami Classic Series (DS)
Scramble [1981] Legacy/Arcade History Entry/KLOV Entry
Available on; Konami Arcade Classics (PSOne), Konami Collector's Series: Arcade Advanced (GBA) and Konami Classic Series (DS), Xbox Live Arcade (Enhanced version lacking the option to play with original graphics. Released September 13, 2006)
Shao-Lin's Road [1985] Arcade History Entry/KLOV Entry
Available on; Konami Arcade Classics (PSOne) and Konami Classic Series (DS)
Super Cobra [1981] Wikipedia Entry/Arcade History Entry/KLOV Entry
Available on; Konami Arcade Classics (PSOne)
Tutankham [1982] Arcade History Entry/KLOV Entry
Available on; Konami Classic Series (DS) as "Horror Maze"

If you'd like to know everything that's been made available since launch, the Wikipedia Entry on Game Room seems to cover everything. I'm probably not going to edit this blog entry and insert every game that has been added to the service since, nor will I start up new blog entries on the subject. Honestly, nothing too exciting has come about, and really only the arcade games interest me. Activision has joined the fray with some of their Atari 2600 offerings, and Namco is slated to join the party sometime in the future with games like Galaxian and Pac-Man.

Dave & Buster's Coming To Wisconsin

Dave and Buster's Wauwatosa
Dave & Buster's Official Website
Dave & Buster's Wikipedia Entry
Dave & Buster's Facebook Page

2201-2215 N. Mayfair Road Wauwatosa, WI
21 and up
Guardian age 25 (6 minors to 1 adult maximum)
Sun - Thurs: 11am to 11pm
Fri - Sat: 11am to 1:30am
34,000 square feet
210 employees

D&B's opened on March 1st at 2201-2215 N. Mayfair Rd., near the Ewald dealership space and a one-acre strip between the auto dealer and the DSW buidling. The location is kitty-corner to Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa, a suburb just west of Milwaukee.
This is the first Dave & Buster's in Wisconsin, and the structure was built from the ground up rather than converting an existing structure.

Dave and Buster's whirring to life Feb 17, 2010
Dave and Buster's targets March 3 opening Jan 5, 2010
Tosa overhauling development structure to lure projects July 24, 2009
Dave & Buster’s pays $5.7 million for Tosa site January 30, 2009
Council clears the way for Dave & Buster’s restaurant November 5, 2008
Committee puts brakes on Dave & Buster’s October 30, 2008
Wauwatosa wins a Dave and Buster's location July 11, 2008

I was initially a little irked by the continued pressure for reduced hours by a few Wauwatosa City Councilmen, which were moved from 2am to 1am on Sun-Thurs and 1:30am Fri & Sat, with the minimum age of entrance without supervision bumped up from 18 to 21, all in the name of accommodating "community concerns".
I realize that Mayfair and it's immediate area has it's share of security concerns, but in regards to Mayfair, isn't that mainly dealing with teens? And if I'm not mistaken, Dave & Buster's is strictly 21&up after a certain time (9pm).
"Alderman Craig Maher said he was concerned about the proposed hours of operation, which, according to conditions set by the Plan Commission, would have Dave & Buster’s closing at 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 1:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Maher motioned for the hours to conform with those at McCormick & Schmick’s (a high-end Seafood & Steaks restaurant), which closes at 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Wood said the corporation would work with the city to reduce hours if necessary, but requested those hours be extended slightly.
“An 11 o’clock curfew for an adult establishment, folks, is a little on the early side,” Purins said.
The motion to add an amendment reducing the hours failed, 12-3, with Maher, Dennis McBride and Tim Hanson supporting the motion.
Because the hours of operation are set by a conditional-use permit, the council may revisit the item at any time."

After all is said & done, the hours set for the Wauwatosa D&B are in line with the nearest D&B's (the 2 in Chicagoland and 1 in suburban Mpls).
In reference;
Addison, IL (opened Nov 1995) (21&up)
Sun-Thur closes at 11pm
Fri-Sat closes at 1am
Chicago, IL (opened Jan 1996) (18&up)
Sun-Thur closes at 11pm
Fri-Sat closes at 1am
Maple Grove, MN (suburban Mpls) (opened Nov 2006) (21&up)
Sun-Thur closes at 12am
Fri-Sat closes at 1am

Be that as it may, I still think it's silly to limit hours to an adult establishment (21 & up that serves alcohol) just because it has games. It's a double standard.
They don't have reduced hours at nearby Bigg's Roadhouse, Jojo's Martini Lounge, or Mo's Irish Pub now do they?

It's just ashame that "arcades" aren't really relevant anymore.
While the Dave & Buster's and Gameworks of the world may stock a couple newer games, the vast majority are outdated, and not in a vintage "golden age" kind of way rather games from 1995-2005 that should've been permanently retired a few years after they were released.
Sure there's Time Crisis 4 and House Of The Dead 4 and Tekken 6 (which are still 3, 4 years old), but fact of the matter is that there just aren't enough new games/installments being manufactured to keep gamers coming back.
If you take away that attraction you're left with food & drinks, which you can get elsewhere for less or for a comparable price in a more appropriate environment.

I still have a hard time accepting the fact that most arcades still have Daytona USA, a game that's over 15 years old now. The draw is of course the linked cabinets that allow for head-to-head competition, but as a racing game I never thought it was very good. If this location ships that outdated hunk of junk in, that's strike one.

Now we just need a Dave & Buster's in Madison. The Chuck E Cheese on Grand Canyon Dr is a sparce wasteland for arcade games.

Data East Arcade Classics

Data East Arcade Classics Feb 16, 2010 $19.99
Data East site
Wikipedia Entry
Data East began in 1976 and was a solid player in the 1980's and 90's arcade scene, releasing seminal titles such as Burgertime, Bump 'n' Jump, Karate Champ, Karnov, Bad Dudes, and Robocop among others.
Data East went bankrupt in 2003, and "most of Data East's intellectual properties were acquired in February 2004 by G-Mode (To see the list of games, check the Wikipedia entry on G-Mode), a Japanese mobile game content provider." G-Mode now licenses out Data East titles, and it's G-Mode whom you may thank for this compilation. It's important to note that this is the first compilation ever of Data East titles to be released.
Why this game is being released exclusively for the Wii I don't know. It deserves the added attention which would come from a multi-platform release, and it'd be nice to have Xbox 360 achievements and not be forced to purchase added peripherals to make the experience more authentic (as with the Wii's 'Classic Controller').

The included games are as follows;
BurgerTime [1982] and Peter Pepper's Ice Cream Factory (the rare sequel to Burger Time) [1984]
Bad Dudes (vs. Dragon Ninja)[1988]
Bump 'n' Jump (aka Burnin' Rubber) [1982]
Caveman Ninja (aka Joe & Mac) [1991]
Express Raider (aka Western Express) [1986]
Heavy Barrel [1987]
Lock 'n' Chase [1981]
Magical Drop III [1997]
Sly Spy (aka Secret Agent) [1989]
Side Pocket [1986]
Street Hoop [1994]
Super Real Darwin [1987]
Two Crude (aka Crude Buster) [1990]
Wizard Fire (aka Dark Seal II) [1992]

My only other complaint (aside from being released exclusively for the Wii) would be that some titles are missing in action, the most puzzling omission being that of Karate Champ [1984], a benchmark one-on-one fighting game credited for paving the way for all future fighting games like Capcom's Street Fighter series.

Photo courtesy of Fotoset
Perhaps they ran into difficulty figuring out a control scheme for the Wii (the arcade utilized dual joysticks), without forcing players to purchase the classic controller. To quote Gamespot in their review of SNK Classics Volume 1, another gaming compilation, in regards to the fighting games included within; "The GameCube controller isn't suited to fighting games and the (Wii) remote is outright allergic to them. If you want SNK Arcade Classics for the fighting games, the classic controller is your best bet..."

Other titles missing in action which I'd personally like to see included in a Data East compilation;
Bloody Wolf [1988] (shoot'em up)
While the Turbografx 16 port of Bloody Wolf is available through the Virtual Console service, an arcade-perfect port would've been the superior choice.
Break Thru [1986] (a horizontally scrolling shooter where you drive a military vehicle)
Cobra Command [1988] (a horizontally scrolling helicopter battle game based on their 1984 laserdisc game of the same name)
Double-Wings/KLOV Entry [1993] (Vertical scrolling shooter)
Gate Of Doom (aka Dark Seal) [1990] (fantasy hack-n-slash with an isometric view)
Dark Seal II (Wizard Fire) is included in the compilation, but not the first Dark Seal (Gate Of Doom)? Why not include both games, rather than skipping to the second in the series?
Darwin 4078 [1986] (Vertical scrolling shooter)
Again they've skipped the first in the series, fast-forwarding to the second with Super Real Darwin.
Desert Assault (aka Thunder Zone) [1991] (soldier shoot'em up)
While Desert Assault is a stand-alone title, it could easily be thought of as a spiritual successor to games like Heavy Barrel and Bloody Wolf.
Gondomania [1987] (Data East) (Rotary Controls)
Hippodrome [1988] (one-on-one fantasy themed fighter)
The Joe & Mac Quadrilogy
Why not just go ahead and include the entire Joe & Mac (Caveman Ninja) series, the Super Nintendo only sequels Congo's Caper (Joe & Mac 2) [1993] and Joe & Mac: Lost In The Tropics [1993] (known as Joe & Mac 2 in US and as Joe & Mac 3 overseas) (I realize this is an arcade compilation, but Capcom broke that rule by including Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts within Capcom Classics Collection Volume 1 just to cap off the trilogy, and I thought it made sense to do so), and finally the last game featuring the Joe & Mac characters, the arcade game Joe & Mac Returns [1994]
Midnight Resistance [1989] (military side-scrolling shoot'em up)
It would've been nice if they included Midnight Resistance, the sequel to Heavy Barrel. Both games used a rotary contol in arcades (first introduced by SNK's 1985 arcade game, TNK III), and I do wonder how the Wii remote will handle that. Even with dual analog sticks at your fingertips (something the Wiimote and Nunchuck lack), replicating rotary controls at home has always proved to be a daunting task.
Night Slashers [1994] (horror themed Final Fight style beat'em up)
Shoot Out [1985]
Super BurgerTime [1990]
Both Burgertime and it's (rare) sequel are included, why not complete the circle by adding Super Burgertime as well?

It would've been a treat if they were to include Data East's two Laserdisc arcade games, which are Cobra Command [1984] and Road Blaster [1985].
These two games were released on a single disc compilation as "Interactive Movie Action - Thunder Storm & Road Blaster" for the PSOne and Sega Saturn. Although it was never released outside of Japan.

Unfortunately, some of Data East's assets, including Karnov [1987] and Atomic Runner Chelnov [1988] (both side scrolling platformers) are owned by Paon Corporation rather than G-Mode. Karnov is a Data East favorite of mine and an arcade-perfect port has never been released. Many (like myself) may be most familiar with the NES version.

IP Unknown
Ring King [1987] (a boxing game, which laid the groundwork for games like Taito's Kageki and others).
The IP for Ring King is said to rest with either Namco or G-Mode, and will most likely remain unconfirmed.

Games that were created from licensed properties will remain lost in time, such as;
Captain America and the Avengers [1991] (Marvel) (side scrolling beat'em up), Robocop [1988]

and Robocop 2 [1991] (MGM) (both side scrolling shoot'em ups), and The Real Ghostbusters/KLOV Entry [1987] (Columbia Pictures) (an overhead shooter).

Now we just need to get Technos (another defunct developer, now owned by a company called Million), Irem, and especially Konami to release comprehensive compilations, and SNK to release their 'SNK Arcade Classics Volume 0' which features their pre/non Neo Geo Arcade games...

Hot Tub Time Machine

Yeah, I'm gonna have to see that. It looks funny, and just a plain old good time.
It's almost like paying an homage to Cusack's character Lane Meyer from 1985's Better Off Dead, revisiting the ski resort featured in that film.

Though, I was surprised to read that Cusack hated Better Off Dead, and told the director “You know, you tricked me. Better Off Dead was the worst thing I have ever seen. I will never trust you as a director ever again, so don’t speak to me.”
It broke director Savage Steve Holland's heart (who also directed One Crazy Summer starring Cusack) and made him "not care about movies anymore".
Cusack; “The director wanted to do absurdist comedy and that’s just not the thing I like to do.”
I guess Cusack thought he was above the material. Cusack is said not to ever talk about Better Off Dead or One Crazy Summer, even though those films played a big part in introducing Cusack to the world.

Here's some more of Cusack hatin' on the eighties;
John Cusack Hates The Movies You Loved In The Eighties
Cusacks Transformation From Cool To Sad Sack
And as witnessed on Cusacks March 24th, 2010 appearance on Craig Ferguson, his feelings on the eighties haven't changed, nor is it likely they ever will. It's something fans of his have just had to come to accept. The problem isn't his honesty, it's that it comes across as jaded.
John Cusack; "No, at the end of Hot Tub Time Machine I think you find out that the eighties are not worth revisiting except in a very very broad black comedy or unless you're probably on psilocybin (a hallucinogenic) or some sort of drugs."

I'm going to assume, hopefully, that he's wised up and gotten over himself - since he is starring in a movie about a "Hot Tub Time Machine", and that's a premise about as absurd as they come.

UPDATE 8-21-08;
So I finally watched HTTM on DVD 8-20-2010, and it was pretty forgettable. The previews made it look a lot funnier than it actually was. None of the characters were very likeable so it was difficult to feel sympathetic for them.
A shallow one-note blanket representation of the eighties, showing that it takes a lot more than just costume design and an eighties soundtrack to capture an era on film.
You know what the best way to re-experience the eighties (on film) is? To pop in an actual movie from the eighties. Cusack can take as many pot-shots at the eighties as he'd like, but when it comes down to it, the movies starring Cusack which I'll purchase to own on DVD/Blu-Ray will be the ones which were actually filmed and released back in the 1980's.