Another year is nearly at an end. This is the third anniversary (minus a day or two) of this site, and it was a good year for Video Games Are Rad; readership has doubled again for the third year straight, and I couldn’t be happier. In fact, the page views for December 2010 are nearly 5 times what they were a year ago! So thank you for checking out my ramblings and pictures whenever I post them, it’s much appreciated.
Now, as is custom ’round these parts, join me as I take a stroll back through the year that was.
In recent retro gaming news, after years of waiting, the first original Genesis RPG to be released in English in 15 years, Pier Solar, was finally released. Of course me, being the idiot that I am, pulled my pre-order after it missed it’s October 2009 release date thinking that the game was never going to come out. Well, it did, and it’s impossible to find now. I just hope there is a second printing… you can check daily (as I have been) at www.PierSolar.com.
Speaking of original old school titles a definite surprise this year was the release of Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril. Inspired by the deviously awesome downloadable retro-styled game I Wanna Be the Guy (which made my list of best ROM hacks a few years back), this game is hard as hell and packed to the brim with retro platforming charm. For a measly $30 USD you get the game (created using new boards and chips, in a green translucent cartridge), a full color manual with artwork by Guru Larry, and a Retro USB branded clear cart sleeve. Not bad! Head over to Retro USB to get one for yourself.
One of the best surprises of the year for myself personally has to be Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, which was released in August for XBox Live and the PlayStation Network. I was a huge fan of the movie (how could you not love a movie that references The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past so many times?) and the game radiates that same charm. The game is essentially a 16-bit update of the NES favorite River City Ransom. You fight your way through the mean streets of Toronto en route to destroy Ramona Flowers’ evil ex’s. In a great nod to the graphic novel’s Canadian roots, baddies drop Canadian money, which you can use on upgrades and items. DId i mention the music? No? Anamanaguchi’s score is absolutely incredible. After just thinking about it now it’s instantly stuck in my head again, and I mean that in the best way possible. The game is pretty much exactly what a SNES River City Ransom follow-up should have been. The only crappy thing is, it took twenty years to happen. Seriously, go buy this game right now.
But what has been going on around here, you ask? As I mentioned earlier, views and readership of the site are way, way up. Let’s look at what in the hell you guys find so interesting.
Most Viewed Post
Nintendo Vs. Arcade Hardware / Red Tent Cocktail Cabinet
The most viewed post from 2010 is my overview of the Nintendo Vs. arcade hardware from back in September. I have been getting an awful lot of Google search result hits on this post, due mainly to the fact that there just isn’t a whole lot of information available regarding these wonderful machines.
The most viewed post of the year overall was a little blurb I wrote in April of 2008 about Reproduction cartridges. Again, entirely thanks to Google searches.
Favorite Find(s) of the Year
I found it impossible to narrow this down to just one deadly ‘get’, so here are a few of my favorites.
CIB Earthbound – Who am I kidding? How can this one not be tops? After years of admiring it from afar, I finally mustered up the guts (with a little help from my tax return) to grab a complete boxed copy of one of my favorite games of all time, Earthbound. I picked this up for dirt cheap over at the Racketboy forums. I still find myself just looking at it sometimes…
CIB Double Dragon (Genesis) – I found this just a few weeks ago just before the holidays. A complete in box copy of Double Dragon for the Sega Genesis. This game is in fantastic condition, and I only paid $15 for it! There are a few CIB copies parked on Ebay right now with BINs of $90. Again, this is another game that I have always wanted for my collection, but could never justify paying Ebay prices for.
GameCube LCD screen – This is one of those finds that popped up out of no where and is totally something I never thought that I would find in the wild. Back in August I was out with my brother killing time in the afternoon, when I found this amazing deal. I had wanted one of these things for ages, but there was no way I was going to drop $80 +shipping on one. The best part, other than getting a GameCube LCD screen, was the price. $10!
CIB Star Ocean repro cart and SegaCD RPGs – This pick-up goes without saying; after years of searching and emailing and then more searching I finally found someone to make a reproduction of the seminal Super Famicom RPG Star Ocean for me… and the seller even included the original box and manual! Also notable in this post, I picked up Lunar 2, Vay, and Dark Wizard from a local second hand store for $50 total. June was a pretty great month.
All in all it’s been a fantastic year for old video games as a whole. The online community is continuing to grow. Here are some of the best websites centered around old games:
RetrowareTV – Still provides some of the best original content, all though most of the newer shows desperately need to buy cameras with microphone inputs, because the sound is downright embarrassing on some of these videos. The best part of the site this year were without a doubt the Happy Video Game Nerd Derek Alexander’s videos, with the stand-out being his epic three part, three game Halloween special.
Famicom World – Everything you ever wanted to know about the Famicom, plus the forums kick ass.
Game Spite – After more than a decade GameSpite is still pumping out the best in the way of the written word on old games on all of the internet.
GameSniped – Updated daily, GameSniped showcases rare and unusual video game related auctions. Put it into your rotation.
Sega-16 – The ultimate source for Sega Genesis and Sega CD info. They have a database of reviews consisting of a huge chunk of the 16-bit Sega library.
Retro and Contemporary Review Archives – Satoshi Matrix’s reviews are among the most well researched and throughly entertaining old game literature on the web. Keep your eye on this.
The Gay Gamer – A friend of VGAR, a entertaining read cover new and old games that is updated very frequently.
The Famicom Blog – This guy’s Famicom collection is insane. Insightful, well written, and Famicom. What else do you need?
The Video Game Masters Club – A fantastic site with tons of potential. The page needs a redesign, but the content is top-notch.
Fuck Yeah Famicom – Not updated nearly as often as it once was, it’s still an excellent time killer.
I think that about does it for 2010. I am really looking forward to 2011. My wife and I are expecting a baby boy (second child, AND LAST) this March, plus their are a lot of great games coming out, and even more old games to snap up so I should it should be awesome. See you next year!