StarCraft for Free

Never played StarCraft: Blood War? If you were a gamer in the late 1999’s you no doubt remember this classic. Blizzard, the gaming company is releasing the original StarCraft for free. I suggest, if you remember this game or if you just want a look at what gaming in the late 1990’s looked like check this out – while it is free.

Image result for blizzard starcraft brood war

Why is it free? Blizzard is probably hoping to create some buzz around StarCraft: Remastered, an updated version of the game due later this year. That version will feature 4K graphics support and improved online matchmaking for multiplayer sessions.

To get the original, at no charge and with no strings, use these download links (these begin the download immediately):

Windows version

Mac version

(Keep in mind that freebies tend to melt the Interwebs, so don’t be surprised if you encounter a download delay or other issue. This is not, to my knowledge, a time-limited offer, so you should be able to get it at some point, even if you have difficulty initially.)

Interestingly, this is a newly patched version of StarCraft (1.18), the first patch the game has seen in over eight years. You can get a full rundown of the updates in this post on Blizzard’s StarCraft forum.

What’s more, this version includes not only the core game, but also the Brood War expansion pack. (Don’t be confused by the installer, which mentions only the latter during setup.)

I remember spending a lot of hours playing this back in the late ’90s. It may look a little tired and dated, but the gameplay is as solid and addictive as ever.

Check it out – and enjoy.

Share This:

Super Mario Run on the iPhone!

Super Mario Run is exactly what you’d hope and expect it to be. Why anyone thought Nintendo wouldn’t be able to make the most iconic figure in video games work on mobile is a mystery – because this is a very fun – nostalgic app.

This doesn’t mean that Super Mario Run is the greatest entry in the franchise to date. Nor does it mean you should expect the level of sheen that a home console version would offer. To do so is approaching this in completely the wrong fashion, because ultimately this is a mobile app. It’s meant to be enjoyed that way, too.

At its most basic all you’re ever really going to be doing is tapping the screen to make Mario jump as he automatically runs through numerous worlds. You can tell from a mile away that it was developed by Nintendo. It has that recognisable aesthetic, and all the usual additions are here; it’s just that they’ve been stripped back to make it accessible for a more casual audience.

Instantly that will sound offensive to some – gaming’s poster boy being shilled out to the masses. That’s an argument you’re welcome to have, but it doesn’t stop Super Mario Run from being extremely fun. Although you’re only ever in control of jumping, the way the world around you reacts and evolves means it can be far more tricky than it sounds. Mario will hop over small objects, including enemies, automatically, but timing your leaps right is imperative to both do away with foes, fly over giant chasms and execute special moves, the latter of which gets you more coins.

This is of the utmost importance, because coins fuel everything you do in Super Mario Run. While they’ve always been a staple of the franchise, now they not only determine how well you performed, but also act as the reason to replay levels and try to nab every coin you see. This includes special red coins which are even more devilishly placed, and black coins (which unlock after you’ve grabbed all the red ones and are even harder to obtain).

The point is that that’s three reasons to play through each level, which in turn triples your playtime. You’ll want to do that, too, to get your money’s worth, as you’ll probably have the basics done in about an hour.

Super Mario Run is so addictive, however, there’s a good chance you’d have wanted to replay it anyway. It progressively gets harder as you go on, and learning how to time your jumps to get the most out of an attempt is a skill within itself. You could call this an endless runner, and many have, but it’s much more in the vein of a platformer when all is said and done. The precision and care often needed isn’t so far away from Mario games of old.

There’s more to sink your teeth into as well, should the foundations start to wear thin. While it still follows the same basic structure, Toad Rally adds a competitive spin to proceedings. Using ‘Rally Tickets’ you’ve earned in the main game, you’re pitted against an opponent of your choice (and you can do this with friends by adding them into the game). The aim? To outshine your rival as you both race through a level.

This is achieved by timing your jumps right, not getting thumped by goombas, and looking out for the fabled ‘Coin Rush’, a power-up that allows you to increase the rate at which you’re gaining coinage. With each successful step, more toads will cheer you on, and whoever has proved themselves the most worthy by the end wins. Everything you’ve earned then gets shifted over to the creation hub.

Seeming to mimic in-app purchases (without asking for any real money), the kingdom-building element of Super Mario Run literally exists so you can unlock more objects, houses, shops and other bits and pieces for a central play area using your toads and coins. This then lets you play special levels, decorate the world as you see fit, or opens up the option to use other characters such as Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad.

Rather than just a visual change, they alter the pace of the game as – like always – Luigi jumps higher than Mario, so you have to switch up your playing style. That straight away gives you another reason to go around again, and it’s clear Nintendo isn’t looking for this to be a throwaway experience.

Is Super Mario Run a Worthy 10 Dollar App?

The question, then, is if it’s worth $9.99 – which is no doubt a premium price for an iPhone title. The novelty of having Mario on Apple’s device is probably worth it alone, but it’s only fair to say you’re paying a little extra given whose name is attached to it. The mechanics aren’t too out of the realms of what we’ve seen before, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. Because it is. And having Mario in it just makes it better still.

It’s no surprise that Nintendo didn’t skimp on Super Mario Run. It’s a Nintendo product and therefore a certain amount of quality is expected. There’s a novelty here, sure, and this isn’t a game-changer like the franchise has produced so many times in the past. It’s good, though. And sometimes that’s enough.

Super Mario Run is a great iPhone game that sticks to the expected formula but makes that formula extremely fun. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Share This:

GoldenEye Arrives on The PC

Recently I have been in a retro gaming mood. On my 65 inch TV I have been burning hours on Nintendo 8bit & 16bit games. Today I stumbled upon a fan remake of the classic Super Nintendo game, “GoldenEye” and it is awesome.

One of the greatest shooters of all time, GoldenEye has been remade for the PC by a group of developers. What is amazing is that this project apparently started 0 years ago! This week it received its first big update in three years.

pdgQQwN

The team has updated every single map in the game, as well as added a few classics from the original like Dam and Bunker, bringing the total total tally up to 25. There are also new 3D models, refined to character controls, improved sound effects and mixing, and more

Given the Source engine itself is pretty old now, the system requirements are on the low end, so you don’t need to have a powerful graphics card to play. All you need is Windows 7 or higher and 4 GB of RAM. Also be aware that the download is about 2GB.

You can download the game at the source link below.

5.0 release on Goldeneye: Source

Share This:

Nintendo Power – For Free!

Nintendo is continuing to give back to the gaming community — or at least the nostalgic members, like me. As we get ready for the mini NES to drop this Fall, Nintendo has made the first 13 years of Nintendo Power available online for free.

Via Internet Archive, we get a page-by-page digital recreation of all the original magazines. I think it is time to revisit all of those great classic Nintendo games!

Share This:

That’s One Darn Cute Game Console

When this tech news appeared you cannot know how happy it made me. Sure you can download emulators for these classic Nintendo games but to finally have Nintendo provide a new console with all of these glorious games available in one console with the same classic controllers is pure gaming heaven to someone my age.

Nintendo Mini-NES

The original Nintendo Entertainment System revolutionized the video game system when it was released in the mid-1980s here in North America after being first introduced in Japan. The combination of killer games, good looks and a lovable mascot in Mario was it all took for millions of kids (like me) to demand one from their parents.

I still have my original NES along with a few surviving games and it stills works. For people like me as well as gamers who are too young to have gotten their hands on one are now in luck because Nintendo announced today the Mini-NES, a $60 system with a HDMI port, classic controller and 30 built-in classic games for everyone to enjoy!

The new/old console is scheduled to hit store shelves November 11, 2016 which is just in time for the holidays!

Share This:

Revisiting the 70’s & 80’s Gaming Experience

Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library offering free universal access to books, movies & music, as well as 435 billion archived web pages.

Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library offering free universal access to books, movies & music, as well as 435 billion archived web pages.

Are you an old “8 Bit” gamer like me? Do you miss those times when you spent counless hours, and sometime quarters placing games like “Frogger” and “Galaga”? Well today is your lucky day because the internet archive has just made many of these games available for us to revisit and play once again, in all of their 8 bit glory and right their on your modern age PC or tablet.

In December of last year, the Internet Archive launched a “Console Living Room” that offers up browser-friendly emulators for a an incredible number of classic consoles from the 1970’s and 1980’s. Atari 2600 and Sega Genesis are both here!

This weekend The Internet Arcade added 900+ classic arcade games and the best news of all, there is no need to insert your hard earned quarters!

atari2600

The Atari 2600 a video game console released in September 1977 by Atari, Inc and the first game system I every played.

Be warned that some of these games do not work perfectly. Some are missing their original sounds.  However this is a work in progress and the Internet Archive is always adding more games and improving the ones they have already added to the immense and growing library.

It can sometimes also be challenging to figure out a game’s controls.

Here are a few tips.

  • The 5 key lets you insert a coin.
  • The 1 key is usually the Player 1 start button.
  • Arrows are usually used for directional stuff, with CTRL/ALT/SPACE used for the three primary buttons.
  • Beyond that, you’ll have to mash buttons a bit to figure it out [or hit TAB to dive into the key configurations]

Now stop wasting all that time and visit The Internet Arcade’s Console Living Room.

Share This:

Star Trek Trexels – The Next Generation

trexels_thumb[x]cube GAMES has released an update to the popular Star Trek Trexels iOS video game, that originally launched last December. Although I, myself have not played this much (there is only so many hours in the day after all) this update may have me reconsidering what I do for recreation. 

The version 1.5 update adds new TNG characters and best news of all is that the game is now available to download and play for free.

If after you watch this updated Star Trek Trexels trailer you don’t want to play the game on your iOS device then you mustn’t be a true Trekkie.

The game developer said this, of their latest Trexels update.

“With the leap to ‘Next Gen’ for Trexels, we’ve added more of the mystery, sophistication and excitement from this beloved era of Star Trek’s history, while still staying true to the fun spirit of The Original Series,” said Craig Bolin, Creative Director at [x]cube GAMES.

“We’re really excited for fans to see their favorite characters and ships from both series portrayed in the retro pixel art style that’s become so synonymous with the complete Trexels experience.”

Star Trek Trexels Ver. 1.5

You can check out more about the maker of Star Trek Trexels here.

OK — I need to go find my iPad now…

Share This:

The Burial of Atari’s “E.T”

Not much was expected of video games in the early 1980's but this game was so bad it is considered by many the worst video game ever created by mankind.

Not much was expected of video games in the early 1980’s but this game was so bad it is considered by many the worst video game ever created by mankind.

Here is an amazing news event telling the story how old tech, especially disastrous tech products never really die. This story begins back in 1982 with the release of the movie “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial”. This film turned into an immediate classic at the very time that the video game market was exploding. At the center of the blossoming video game market was Atari. If you are my age (late 40’s early 50’s) your family either owned an Atari system or one of your friends did.

The popularity of “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial”  found the video game maker rushing our a game based on the hit film.  Video games at this time were a very different animal then what we have come to expect during the past 2 decades. Most games released in the early to late 80’s were simple and not that good. However this rushed video game based on the 1982 movie was simply and truly unimaginably horrible. In fact the game was so bad that during the 1983 video game crash, it was reported that thousands of unsold “E.T.” game cartridges were buried in the New Mexico desert.   According to a 1983 New York Times article on the subject, Atari actually dumped 14 truckload of gaming gear into an Alamogordo, New Mexico landfill.

Many considered this story of a mass burying of the left over – unsold Atari “E.T” cartridges as somewhat of a urban legend. However fast forward to this weekend. In an effort that was partially financed by Microsoft — those cartridges (along with other relics of the period) were successfully uncovered. Microsoft’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb was on hand at the site and captured a few pictures of the unearthed “E.T.” cartridges along with a few other period-correct titles like “Centipede.”

View image on Twitter

There is actually a documentary titled, “Atari: Game Over” about this amazing story  scheduled to air later this summer and is set to air exclusively on the Xbox network.

Share This:

8Bit Star Trek Returns on the iPAD

I do not normally write about video games here but in the case of the new IPAD app (game) I will make an exception just because I look forward to checking it out.

If you are over 40 years old this 8bit interface is sure to bring back great memories.

In this new IPAD game from Xcube Games and YesGnome a temporal rift has caused old foes and surprising new allies to find their way into an unexplored region of space. You are directed to build your ship, choose your crew, and explore an 8-bit galaxy like no one has before.

Set within the original Star Trek universe, players will apparently encounter familiar characters and locations from Star Trek™: The Original Series and Star Trek™: The Next Generation, as well as all new crew members, aliens, and mysterious planets to explore. The game also features narration by the one and only George Takei, the original music from the series, and a user interface based on the iconic LCARS (Library Computer Access/Retrieval System) system.

Star Trek™ Trexels is available here for the $2.99.

Share This: