Archive for February, 2005


Tuesday, February 15th, 2005

I know I’ve probably been playing entirely too much World of Warcraft, but I just can’t help myself. With the amount of time that I’ve been investing into the game, I’ve started to notice some of the smaller details that just make the game that much more fun.
For example, in one of the quests, you are charged with retrieving punchcards because they contain some kind of super sensitive data.

Above is an example of one such card. While staring at it, I came to realize that the data encoded on it was 8-bit ASCII. Now I couldn’t very well realize that and not do something about it, so I ran (quickly!) to my favorite encoder/decoder and feverishly started putting on ones and zeros until I had translated all the cards.

Card Super Sensitive Data (TM)
The gnome king wears night elf underwear
Thrall and Jaina sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G
If you can read this, you’re standing too close
Help! I’m trapped in a binary punch card factory!
Message to Castpipe: your laundry’s ready for pickup.

I can put up with the weekly downtime, the bugged quests, the disappearing transports, and the throngs of morons I’ve met throughout the game if I can keep finding things like this to satiate my curiosity and keep the game interesting.

The List: Rejects

Tuesday, February 8th, 2005

Just for fun, let’s run down a few of the games that I was considering for the big list, but that didn’t quite make the cut. There are any number of reasons why a game didn’t make it, chiefly it’s because I had to trim the list down from over 100 to a svelte 50.

Game Name Quirk
1080ยบ Snowboarding (N64) Marketing teamup with Nintendo and Eddie Bauer
Blades of Steel (NES) Hockey game where fighting was more fun than the actual hockey.
Double Dragon (Arcade) Sure, it’s a classic, and most everyone’s heard of at least one game in the series, but I couldn’t think of anything that made the game particularly unique. Aside from the cheesy soundtrack.
Double Dribble (NES) Other than the digitized voice on the title screen (that sounded like it was saying ‘Bubble Bibble’), I couldn’t think of anything particularly interesting about this game.
Dragon Warrior (NES) Packed in with an issue of Nintendo Power magazine
Excitebike (NES) This game, originally released for the Famicom Disk system, still had the option to save the tracks you designed… to the Disk system that never existed on American shores.
Fast Draw Showdown (Arcade) Laserdisc game that pitted you in the old west in a series of fast-draw competitions. Unique idea and just plain fun.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles (GameCube) RPG Game that requires teamwork and is best played with four people, each with their own Game Boy Advance hooked up to the game. Very cool game if you can get three of your friends to help you play it.
F-Zero X (N64) Similar to Excitebike in that is was compatible with the 64DD (disk system) so that people could design their own tracks and save them to the disks. Since the 64DD never materialized in the US, this feature was essentially worthless. There is a random track generator left as a remnant of the editor.
Gauntlet (Arcade) “Don’t shoot the food!”

That’s all I could come up with.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City It was popular… but I couldn’t think of anything particularly unique about it.
Gunstar Heroes (Genesis) Excellent game that managed to pump out some 3D effects on the Genesis hardware.
Harley’s Humongous Adventure (Super NES) The animation in the game was done with claymation.
Myst (PC) Unique game. Kind of like a text adventure with pictures.
Ninja Gaiden (NES) The story between action scenes played out like a low-budget ninja movie.
Nintendo Playchoice 10 (Arcade) Arcade system that let you play several games that were available for Nintendo’s home systems. One quarter at a time.
Rampage (Arcade) “You too can destroy Peoria for $0.25 a day!” Prior to the game’s release, press releases were sent to newspapers all over the nation. Many of them printed headlines like the one quoted above.

And there you have it. A partial list of the games that weren’t quite good enough to be on the Big List. This almost makes me want to compile a list of games that aren’t good enough to be on any list… but that’s another article.