Retro News

July2013

June2013

  • Weirdness The Mystery of the Mega Man 2 Box Art Pistol is Explained

    Capcom's Art Director blew it

    Retro game covers can be fascinating, on occasion because of just how awful they can look. Often there's a charm on display that you just don't see in many modern-day, high budget cover designs that have clearly been produced by a rather expensive branding agency; back then, video games were also predominantly targeting...

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    GameCube

    Review Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader

    A force to be reckoned with

    In many ways, Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader is the definitive Star Wars game. That's not to say that it's the best game that's ever been based on the franchise, but rather, it's the best at capturing the pure essence and magic of it. Developed by Factor 5 in collaboration with LucasArts, it's a technical...

  • News Spruced Up Version Of The Chaos Engine Could Be Coming To Consoles

    Bitmap Brothers' classic shooter is getting a new lease of life

    Fans of 16-bit gaming will no doubt be jumping for joy at the news that The Chaos Engine is getting a revival of sorts. Published by Mastertronic and overseen by original developer Mike Montgomery, the new version will be launching on PC, Mac and Linux this August — but we could see...

  • News Capcom Teases More Mega Virtual Console Releases

    You got a new re-make, Virtual Console Nostalgia!

    Capcom loves Mega Man. It does, really, giving the Blue Bomber excessive Anniversary merchandise and official soundtrack releases to satisfy plenty of monied collectors. The company doesn't love the character enough to develop a new game, it seems, but those are the breaks. What Capcom's also...

  • News Shigeru Miyamoto Wishes Nintendo Had "Done More" With Zelda II

    Still one of a kind in the franchise

    The Legend of Zelda is a franchise that has typically come in two stylistic flavours — top-down 2D/2.5D or fully 3D worlds. The latter began with Ocarina of Time while the former was common on older systems and notably on handhelds, with the DS entries shifting the top-down camera angle slightly. With that in...

  • Weirdness If Only Monster Hunter Was Released on the Game Boy

    On a scale of one to awesome, it'd be awesome

    Monster Hunter is a huge deal in Japan, with the upcoming Monster Hunter 4 likely to cause retail mayhem, or perhaps crashes of the 3DS eShop servers. Despite the high quality of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on Wii U and 3DS, however, it's not hit those heights in the West, relying on a loyal core following...

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    Nintendo 64

    Review Bakuretsu Muteki Bangaioh

    Insanity redefined

    Bakuretsu Muteki Bangaioh (which translates as Explosive, Invincible Bangaioh — you might know it as Bangai-O) is a relatively obscure Japanese exclusive for Nintendo 64 that holds a rather interesting history. Released in 1999 and developed by Treasure — the same team that produced the Sin & Punishment games — it is...

  • News A Hat In Time Developer Claims Donkey Kong 64 Was Instrumental In Killing Off Collection Platformers

    Believes modern platformers should strike a balance

    Wind-Waker lookalike A Hat In Time is currently being developed by Gears for Breakfast after it smashed through its Kickstarter goal. It's a cell-shaded homage to the classic N64 plaformers and though it's currently only down for a PC and Mac release, the developer has expressed its desire to...

  • News New Collection of Video Game Books Gets The Go-Ahead After Smashing Kickstarter Goal

    Earthbound and Super Mario Bros. 2 both feature

    A new set of books based on video games is set to be published after the team behind it smashed through their goal on a recent Kickstarter campaign. The series - known as Boss Fight Books - will feature five books based on historic and groundbreaking video games - two of which are on a Nintendo...

  • Feature The Humble Origins of Animal Crossing

    How an obscure little N64 title grew into a hit franchise for Nintendo

    The hype and excitement for Animal Crossing: New Leaf across the web is reaching a critical level. Hitting North America on 9th June and Europe on 14th June, it begs the question whether some people might literally explode as a result of not being able to contain their...

  • Video You'll Wish You Could Play Tetris As Well As This

    Thor Aackerlund is a Tetris master

    Like the talented and popular sporty kid you used to hate at school, Thor Aackerlund has been annoying the hell out of Nintendo fans for decades, thanks largely to his superhuman gaming skills — skills which won him the coveted Nintendo World Championship back in 1990. Turns out Aackerlund hasn't allowed his...

  • News Don't Look Now, But There Could Be A New Shaq Fu Game Inbound

    Be very afraid

    Those of you old enough to recall the 16-bit era will no doubt remember a fighting game for the SNES by the name of Shaq Fu. It took the famous basketball star Shaquille O'Neal and placed him in a fantasy world when he had to use his intense B-Ball skills to defeat the malevolent Sett-Ra. Despite being created by the respected French...

  • News Link's Awakening Turns 20 Years Old

    First portable Zelda was a dream come true

    Two decades ago, on 6th June 1993, Japanese gamers were the first to explore the mysteries of Koholint Island in what is still considered by some to be among the top Zelda games in the series — all on the now-humble Game Boy, no less. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening was originally intended as a...

  • Feature The Making Of Street Fighter Alpha 3: Upper

    How the GBA’s best fighter doomed the company that made it

    We’d be willing to bet that if you quizzed any games developer, they’d admit that pushing a system to its absolute limit is one of the most satisfying parts of the job. Taking a piece of hardware and making it do things it really shouldn't be capable of shows incredible talent and...

  • Weirdness Capcom Selling a Rush Tissue Pouch in Japan for Mega Man Anniversary

    Just what the fans want...

    While this year has been a celebration of the Mega Man franchise's 25th Anniversary, Capcom's mainly been offering soundtracks, USB pen drives, laptop skins and other non-gaming products. We've also seen the release of the classic NES titles on the 3DS Virtual Console, with some doubling up on the Wii U Virtual Console for...

  • Video A History Of Nintendo Controllers in Less Than 30 Seconds

    The N64's is still the strangest...

    Nintendo has often played the role of innovator with its control schemes, particularly in more recent times. When not innovating it's been satisfied with simply producing the best controllers of their kind — in the NES and Super NES variants — with the Nintendo 64 starting a trend for curious designs and...

  • Weirdness Someone Is Planning On Digging Up Atari's Buried E.T. Cartridges

    Could this urban legend be true? We'll soon find out

    Before Nintendo came along and revolutionised the video game industry with the NES, American company Atari was the undisputed king of the home gaming arena — right up to the point where low-quality software and catastrophic mismanagement resulted in a massive video game crash. One of the most...

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    Nintendo 64

    Review Star Wars Episode I: Battle for Naboo

    Tour de Force

    While it wasn't quite the workhorse that Rare was during the Nintendo 64 era, Factor 5 developed a handful of third-party games that arguably matched Nintendo's own efforts in terms of technical quality. The studio had a knack for getting underneath the hood of the system and exploiting its raw power to create fascinating visual...

May2013

  • News Happy 15th Birthday, Banjo-Kazooie!

    Guh-huh!

    It’s hard to believe now, but before 31st May, 1998, no one believed that a bear in yellow shorts and a bird in a backpack could ever make an effective team. A spunky little Twycross-based company called Rare, however, set out to prove the world wrong, and did so with quite admirable results. Today marks the 15th anniversary of the North...

  • Hardware Classics Nintendo Virtual Boy

    Nintendo's nadir, or misunderstood masterpiece?

    According to the history books, the Virtual Boy is Nintendo's biggest failure — both commercially and critically — in the hardware arena. Launched in 1995 to almost complete consumer apathy, it bypassed Europe entirely and was discontinued the following year. It is also thought to be the reason...

  • News Donkey Kong 64 Required Expansion Pak to Prevent Game-Breaking Bug

    Game would crash when using the N64's standard setup

    When Donkey Kong 64 released all the way back in 1999, it was the first Nintendo 64 game to require the system’s 8MB Expansion Pak add-on in order to work. Advertising at the time suggested that the game was just so big that it couldn't possibly work without it. However, Chris Marlow, one of the...

  • News Western Journalist Looking To Chart The Untold History Of Japanese Game Devs

    Unprecedented project looking to Kickstarter for funding

    Although many will argue that Japan's status in the games development world has lessened over the past few hardware generations, there once was a time when all the world's best software seemed to flow from that modestly-proportioned selection of islands. Back in the days of the 8 and 16-bit...

  • Feature A Brief History of Pokémon - Part One

    Contracting Pokémania

    In the mid-nineties, an epidemic spread across the world. First discovered in Japan, it soon spread across the pacific, consuming vast areas of America. We were powerless to stop it. No cure was to be found. Before long, it broke America's shores and hit Europe with similarly devastating effect. The worst affected were...

  • News Super Mario Bros. Movie Sequel On the Way, as a Webcomic

    You know you want it

    Earlier today we shared John Leguizamo's thoughts on the Super Mario Bros. live-action movie, as a special screening celebrated the movie's 20th Anniversary. It divides critics, but does enjoy a cult-status and loyal following. Scripted by Steven Applebaum and Ryan Hoss, with the story by Parker Bennett, a new webcomic will...

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    Wii U eShop / SNES

    Review Kirby's Dream Land 3

    Third time's the charming

    Kirby’s Dream Land 3 is the epitome of a lovable gaming experience. Carefree and popping with irresistible charm, this SNES platformer builds off the two previous Game Boy entries in the series and fulfills the potential they introduced. That doesn’t mean the core mechanics have suddenly become nuanced or up to par with...

  • Weirdness Pokémon Fusion Fan-Site Remixes Your Favourite 'Mon

    We like the Hypbat

    With Pokémon X & Y coming later this year, many fans of the franchise are no doubt enjoying every second of the buzz and hype. Part of that fun is learning about new evolutions or, when we're lucky, all new creatures, which makes fan-site Pokémon Fusion worth a look. It's the work of Alex Onsager, and he's currently working...

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    Wii U eShop / SNES

    Review Kirby Super Star

    Dedede-lightful

    Kirby Super Star is a smorgasbord of creativity, as if the developers at HAL Laboratory had a game jam for two weeks straight and came out on the other side with a beautifully disheveled collection of Kirby’s best. Nine sub-games, ranging from one-button tests of reflex to multi-hour adventures, are stuffed onto the SNES with no...

  • News John Leguizamo: We Were Pioneers With The Super Mario Bros. Movie

    The actor who played Luigi gives his 20th anniversary speech

    As you may or may not be aware, the Super Mario Bros. live-action movie is now two decades old. Attacked by critics and gamers alike when it originally hit cinemas, the film has nonetheless gained a cult following in the past twenty years. LA's Nuart Theatre played host to a special...

  • Review Banjo-Kazooie Symphony by The Blake Robinson Synthetic Orchestra

    A Rare treat

    Rare is a company that is fondly remembered by many Nintendo fans. While it had success on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System with the Donkey Kong Country series, it was during the years of the Nintendo 64 that the development studio truly came into its own. It produced hit after hit, arguably saving the 64-bit system from the...

  • News This Custom Twin Famicom Is The Stuff Hardware Dreams Are Made Of

    Remember when console designs actually mattered?

    We hate to keep going on about it, but Microsoft revealed the Xbox One to the world this week. We're obviously biased, but we happen to think it looks a little underwhelming in purely physical terms — Nintendo Life Operations Director Darren Calvert said it best when he described the console as...

  • News New Mega Man Graphic Novel Lands in North America on 22nd May

    Order now for a pre-order discount

    If you like Mega Man and if you also like comics/graphic novels, then chances are you know about the Archie publications on the franchise. The graphic novel releases combine multiple comics into one juicy bundle, with the story-lines covering enough lore and background to the many games to satisfy the most ardent...

  • News Mega Man 5 Soundtrack Rocks Onto Capcom Store

    Tsk, it only has 57 tracks

    If you're a Mega Man fan that simply has to buy every re-release that graces Nintendo Virtual Console platforms, chances are you may have just recently downloaded Mega Man 5 onto your 3DS. Coincidentally — or not, we suspect — Capcom has updated its gradual release of the Blue Bomber's soundtracks with the fifth...

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    Nintendo 64

    Review Star Wars Episode I: Racer

    Watto way to go

    Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace may have been panned by film critics and audiences alike when it released back in 1999, but not everything borne out of it was as big a disaster as Jar Jar Binks. One of these truly rare exceptions was Star Wars Episode I: Racer, a sci-fi racing game developed by by LucasArts. The game was a...

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    Wii U eShop / NES

    Review Xevious

    An early vertical scrolling classic

    When Xevious hit arcades in 1982 it represented one of the first vertical shoot 'em ups of its kind. Not only that, but the game introduced a second bombing mechanic to give it a little more flare. After seeing a handful of home releases, it sprang upon the NES system with a vengeance and once again showed that...

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    Wii U eShop / NES

    Review Super Mario Bros. 2

    The stuff dreams are made of

    By now we all know the story of Super Mario Bros. 2: concerns about the Japanese sequel to the original Super Mario Bros. kept it from release in North America and Europe. Different reasons have been given over time, from the game being too difficult to it simply not demonstrating enough creativity to keep gamers...

  • News Capcom Open To More Retro Remakes, Reveals Fan Demand For Aliens vs. Predator

    Company looking to the past for potential projects

    This year, Capcom will be bringing DuckTales Remastered and Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara to the Wii U, as well as other systems. Remakes of two beloved past classics, these titles are apparently just the tip of the iceberg. Speaking to

  • News Banjo-Kazooie Symphony On the Way From The Synthetic Orchestra

    Licensed and released on 31st May

    Not so long ago, you may remember us drawing your attention to the Super Metroid Symphony, which is the work of talented composer and sound engineer Blake Robinson, the man behind the Synthetic Orchestra. If you like the music from the iconic Super NES title but want to hear it with a fully orchestrated sound, it's...

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    Wii U eShop / NES

    Review Solomon's Key

    One door closes, another one opens

    In Solomon’s Key – an action / puzzler from Tecmo – you take command of a wizard named Dana as he searches for a magical formula that’s said to banish all evil from the world. The game began life in arcades back in 1986, finding its way to NES a year later, and now it’s resurfaced on Wii U Virtual...

  • News Time to Rock Out With Some Chiptunes, Thanks to Diad

    Could have been called "Super Mosh Bros."

    Occasionally we like to direct your attention to some awesome music or videos that we come across, and today we bring you a rock chip-tune album called Diad. As that description suggests, this seven track album aims to produce 8-bit chiptunes that, given the right instrumentation, could very easily be...

  • News Capcom, Take Note: This Is How You Mark Mega Man's 25th Birthday

    Shame this custom Game Boy is just a fan mod

    Mega Man is 25 this year, and while Capcom has at least acknowledged this fact, there seems little chance of fans getting an all-new Blue Bomber outing before 2014 rolls around. Still, if Capcom isn't prepared to go the extra mile to mark the event, then the fans can show their respect in their own way...

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    Wii U eShop / NES

    Review Pac-Man

    Pac is back!

    When Pac-Man hit arcades in 1981, it was a phenomenal success. Spawning clothing, cereals and even a hit song, the game took the world by storm. It saw a rash of home console and personal computer releases during the 80s — some better than others — but it wasn't until the NES release in 1985 that the game finally saw a replica close...

  • Weirdness Own The Manual To ClayFighter Sculptor's Cut? You Could Be Sitting On A Grand

    Super-rare game has an even rarer instruction booklet

    We'll forgive you for not being aware of this — because we certainly weren't — but ClayFighter Sculptor's Cut was a Blockbuster-only rental in North America. The 2D fighting title is therefore pretty rare already, but it's near-impossible to find with a mint instruction manual, mainly because...

  • News This Famicom GamePad Skin is a Thing of Beauty

    A retro reminder every day

    So, who is it says that the Japanese market gets all of the coolest limited edition Nintendo hardware and accessories? Well, lots of people, including us at Nintendo Life — because it's often true. The latest example is the pictured Famicom skin on the way to lovingly cover Wii U GamePad controllers in Nintendo's...