Sunday, July 21, 2024

Year 8: July Update

I've been very slow to get any videos done this year and have been falling behind on blog posts too. Sorry! I don't talk too much about my personal life, aside from the past in relation to toys and video games, but that's what will likely keep me from updating very often going forward. There isn't much to say other than I lost my long-time job earlier this year and am starting something new this month that will keep me busy. When I've had free time, I've been playing Marvel's Midnight Suns from 2K and Firaxis which was free on the Epic Game Store not too long ago. Although it has tactical combat, it's not like Firaxis' XCOM games. Players control a team of three in battle, drawing and using cards to perform most actions. Outside of battle players control an original character that interacts with the Marvel heroes to gain friendship, edits card decks, explores their home and its grounds, and selects poolside, casual, and battle outfits.

As I sit here after viewing the numerous digital press events from the past two months, I can't recall anything that stood out. Let's see, the Nintendo Direct announced Mario & Luigi: Brothership, Super Mario Party Jamboree, The Legend of Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom, and Donkey Kong Country Returns HD. There are plenty of sequels and updates in development, like Sid Meier's Civilization VII, Gears of War: E-Day, and Age of Mythology: Retold. Unfortunately, my PC is on the old side and I don't have a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X so I probably won't be able to play the games I'd like to try later this year, such as Indiana Jones and the Great Circle, Dragon Age: The Veilguard, Star Wars Outlaws, and Assassin's Creed Shadows.

                                        Mario & Luigi: Brothership                                      TMNT: Mutants Unleashed

Rumors appeared online in May about a Total War Star Wars game but there still hasn't been an official announcement. Also, two months ago Outright Games and Mattel unveiled a multi-year deal. The family-friendly game publisher will be releasing at least three titles based on Mattel properties this year: Matchbox Driving Adventures, Monster High: Skulltimate Secrets, and Barbie Project Friendship. Other upcoming games from Outright include Transformers: Galactic Trials, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants Unleashed, and Nick Jr. Party Adventure.

In an unexpected move, Hasbro and Mattel teamed up to create a Hot Wheels Optimus Prime, and it does transform, of course. Optimus is exclusive to Mattel Creations and is currently sold out; I'm not sure if that's final or if more are in production. LEGO always has a lot of cool sets on the way but I'll only highlight a few: Great Deku Tree 2-in-1 from The Legend of Zelda series, the Transformers' Bumblebee, and Star Wars TIE Fighter & X-Wing Mash-up. With the Star Wars set you can create standard TIE Fighter and X-Wing ships or swap the wings between the two iconic starfighters.

Something unexpected occurred in video games as well. Back on May 23rd, Atari announced that it had acquired the Intellivision brand. It now owns the Intellivision name and classic game catalog, not the company Intellivision Entertainment (now Amico Entertainment) or its long-in-development console, the Amico which I'd thought dead on more than one occasion. The sale provides Amico Entertainment some much needed financial help but, surprisingly, it isn't ready to give up on the console yet. While it can still release games based on Intellivision properties for Amico, those are now under license from Atari. 

One final note before I sign off. Author Lewis Packwood contacted myself two years ago to ask for permission to use a Captain Power photo from the blog in his then upcoming book. I agreed and while I've not read his book, nor am I benefitting from its sales in any way, I thought it was worth mentioning as the subject matter will likely interest Vault 1541 readers. The title is Curious Video Game Machines: A Compendium of Rare and Unusual Consoles, Computers and Coin-Ops. There is a nearly 40-minute video about it on YouTube with store links in the description.

Thanks for visiting,

Monday, July 1, 2024

Indiana Jones Game Reviews

Within the last hour I learned that July 1st is the birthday of one of the most iconic movie characters of all-time: archaeologist Indiana Jones. Although this is very last minute, I'd been scanning Indiana Jones game reviews when I came across them over the past few years so I already most of these ready to go for whenever I had a good reason to post them. Maybe I should have put a post together when the fifth movie released but I forgot to do that. Four of the eight reviews are based on The Last Crusade and five are from Video Games & Computer Entertainment  (VG&CE). Surprisingly, I couldn't find any Indiana Jones game reviews in my issues of GamePro and only one in Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM), which is of Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures, the game in the ad to the right. One of the VG&CE pages has a couple of other handheld game reviews I'm leaving in: Star Wars (Game Boy) and Pinball Jam (Lynx). The other two are from Sega Visions, however, the Sega CD game doesn't read like a review even though it's from the "Just Review It" section. 

Electronic Gaming Monthly & Sega Visions

Video Games & Computer Entertainment

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Magazine: Premiere Issue (Summer 1990)

When I posted about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in July 2019, I thought I had included everything I had related to them. However, I forgot that I own the premiere issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Magazine. It was published in summer 1990, a few months after the first live-action film debuted. The magazine features a variety of columns and articles, such as a letters page, a puzzle, coverage of activities the turtles enjoy, such as martial arts and skateboarding, a 4-page comic, and a couple stories about the movie with behind-the-scenes photos and an interview with Elias Koteas, the actor who played Casey Jones. 

You'll also see a partial Cheetos ad with Chester Cheetah that's part of a foldout poster, but I didn't remove the staples and pull it out. I did scan everything else though, and here it is, complete with ads:

Monday, June 10, 2024

E3: The Show That Was (Next Generation #44 - August 1998)

While the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) has been canceled the past few years, last December the Entertainment Software Association not only announced that E3 would not happen in 2024, but that it was gone for good. Had there been an E3 2024, this would have been the week for it and many game companies are still using this time to hold presentations, as yesterday was the Xbox Showcase and earlier today there was Ubisoft Forward. I've always enjoyed the week of E3 and have written or posted about E3 many times since I started the blog in 2017. I'm not sure if this week will be my final posts in regards to E3 as I've got a stack of E3 show dailies that I could one day scan, and I might do at least something with some of them later this week. In any case, I think I am running out of E3-related magazine articles to scan. This article, appropriately (for 2024 at least) titled, "E3: The Show That Was," is part of Next Generation magazine's "Intelligence" column from issue #44 and it's not 100% E3, though I did scan all nine pages of the section. 

It's always interesting to see if games that made a good showing actually ended up being successful. Next Generation thought the 1998 exhibition had a lot of promising games and not too many disappointments. It viewed Trespasser, a Jurassic Park game, as one of the best of the show but when it came time to review the game, the magazine only gave it two stars out of five. 

A system likely long forgotten by now, there is a page about VM Labs' "Project X" which would not release until 2000 as Nuon. It also isn't exactly a platform per se, instead it is a technology that was incorporated into select DVD players that added game functionality. The company's CEO thought things were going quite well in 1998 with some strong interest from third-party developers. However, only eight games officially released for Nuon. Also, this issue was published a few months before the Dreamcast released in Japan, and there are a couple spots where an unnamed shooter is mentioned, even stating that it could possibly be a pack-in for the console. That shooter, later titled Geist Force, never released.