Saturday, July 13, 2019

Gaming Ads: Square Soft

Masafumi Miyamoto began developing games in 1983 with his company acting as a software division of his father's construction company before officially founding Square in 1986. It's first computer game was The Death Trap, a text-based adventure with graphics from Hironobu Sakaguchi. The company took off in 1987 with the release of Sakaguchi's Final Fantasy, the role-playing game that would spawn numerous sequels and spin-offs, and is still hugely popular today. All of Square's games were available on either home computers or Nintendo platforms only until the PlayStation released; Square never published games on Sega consoles.

In 1989 a North American office was opened that was called Square Soft (sometimes spelled as one word). The naming here is a bit confusing because Square also branded some game boxes with Squaresoft in Japan. Another publishing division opened in 1998 called Square Electronic Arts that, as the name suggests, was a collaboration between Square and Electronic Arts. As I previously posted for Enix America, Square and Dragon Quest developer Enix merged in 2003 to form Square Enix. Along with both Enix and Square's catalog of games, Square Enix also holds a number of former Eidos and Taito properties, such as Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and Space Invaders.

More ads can be found at Facebook: Square Soft

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Gaming Ads: Spinnaker Software and Sports Sciences

Spinnaker Software was founded in 1982 and based in Cambridge, MA. Initially it focused on educational software for computers, then adventure games in the mid '80s, and other games in the late '80s. Through a merger in 1994 it helped form SoftKey International which would go on to acquire The Learning Company and take its name. Of the five ads I've got for Spinnaker, it looks like one game was never released and The Lord of the Rings game appears to have been published by Konami instead.

Sports Sciences was based in Ohio and made one video game product as far as I can tell. That product was BatterUp, a baseball bat-shaped motion controller that released in 1994 for the Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and computers. While an interesting idea, the controller was, of course, only compatible with baseball games so it was a bit limited despite there being quite a few baseball games available in the '90s. The $69.99 price was rather high too.

More ads can be found at Facebook: Spinnaker Software, Sports Sciences

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Year 3: June Update

I almost let June go by without a monthly update! Obviously not a big deal but I've been busy and haven't been getting as much done as I'd like which seems to be the case most months. June was rather quiet with E3 being the highlight. My E3 predictions were posted at the end of May and then I updated it a few times as the show was in progress. As I stated in the updates, it wasn't a show of big announcements which was expected. Microsoft did reveal that its next Xbox hits retail holiday 2020 but didn't provide many details. Something I didn't mention since I was focused on the big games and my predictions is that Konami is going to release a TurboGrafx-16 mini (aka PC Engine mini and PC Engine Core Grafx mini). This is surprising because the console was never very popular though I believe it did fare better outside of North America. While the system was originally from NEC, Konami now owns the rights to the console due to its acquisition of Hudson Soft. No price or release date were given.

I've not been playing too many games. I did post a Let's Play video of the LEGO Speed Champions add-on that released a couple weeks ago for Forza Horizon 4. Since posting that I realized there is a barn find (it's an achievement) but from what I've read the vehicle in it is not yet available, and there are only three LEGO cars in the game currently. While the add-on is cute and I've enjoyed it, more cars and LEGO buildings in the world would make it much better. You can drive the regular cars there too, it's not LEGO-only. Yesterday I started Judgment which is a M-rated game from the studio that makes the Yakuza titles. One of my Let's Play videos that got a ridiculous (for me) amount of views is Paw Patrol from Outright Games. If anyone is interested in more licensed kid games that publisher did recently unveil upcoming games based on Jumanji (second movie) and Ice Age.

I currently have a free month of Netflix which is one of the reasons I've been busy. Every year Netflix offers me a free month to try and get me to subscribe but I always cancel at the end of the free month. During last year's free month I recommended the Netflix exclusive The Toys That Made Us. There aren't any new seasons but it's worth mentioning again because it is great. However, as I stated last time the Barbie and Masters of the Universe episodes are not kid-friendly due to some images in the background of interviews and the language used by former and current Mattel employees. There are two seasons available with four episodes per season that also cover Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Star Trek, Transformers, LEGO, and Hello Kitty. Season three is in production and it is expected to include Power Rangers, wrestling toys, My Little Pony, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

That's about all I've got this month though I will say summer has definitely arrived as Southeast Michigan is quite warm this week. I'll try to get a Let's Play classic game video done next weekend. 

Thanks for reading,

Gaming Ads: Spectrum Holobyte

Founded in 1982, Spectrum Holobyte was originally based in Colorado before merging with Nexa and moving to California in 1987. Spectrum Holobyte only developed and published computer games until the early '90s at which time it began releasing console titles. It acquired MicroProse in 1993 and a few years later was only releasing its products under the MicroProse brand. After Hasbro Interactive purchased the company in 1998 the Spectrum Holobyte name disappeared, and then MicroProse ended in 2001 after Infogrames got involved.

Spectrum Holobyte is best known for publishing the first versions of Tetris in North America. Other well known games from the company include the jet fighter simulation series Falcon, some Tetris spin-offs, and a couple Star Trek: The Next Generation titles.

More ads can be found at Facebook: Spectrum Holobyte

Sunday, June 23, 2019

[YouTube] Transformers G1 Combiners

Transformers combiners are sets of Decepticons or Autobots that can connect to one another to form one large robot. The first combiner was Devastator that Hasbro released in 1985. He's a combination of six Construction vehicle Decepticons where two form the center, two the arms, and two the legs. All other combiners I have were released in 1986 and are made up of four small vehicles and one larger central toy. Those are the Combaticons (Bruticus), Stunticons (Menasor), Protectobots (Defensor), and Aerialbots (Superion). Another Generation 1 combiner set which I do not own are the Predacons (Predaking).
Iron-On Patch

If you view the video at YouTube you can use the timestamps in the description to jump to the individual combiners. However, if you watch it here I'll list the time each one appears next to their name below. Also, if you skip the video let me point out that in the photos I am missing the lower shield piece of Devastator as well as its second hand so I'm using a drill piece in its place. Defensor is slightly incomplete as well because my toy came with duplicate shield pieces rather than one of each type.

I did not scan or photograph every single item. I've included scans of the build instructions and a single package from each combiner set, plus most single Transformers don't have their accessory attachments in the photos. Some of the photos I took on different days and later noticed I had Superion's feet flip flopped at times, including the video's preview image.

Constructicons - Devastator (1:23)

Stunticons - Menasor (9:58)

Combaticons - Bruticus (18:29)

Protectobots - Defensor (26:08)

Aerialbots - Superion (33:49)

Sizing Them Up (40:27)
The final few minutes takes a look at the height of the combiners. I only stand them facing the camera in the video though I have some side photos here.