When Capcom Made Sports Games

December 15, 2012 at 9:13 am | Posted in Features | Leave a comment
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Capcom’s legacy in the video game industry will forever be linked to popular series like Mega Man, Street Fighter and Resident Evil.  The publishing giant was a top third-party contributor going back to the 8-bit era and their titles have graced almost every video game console.  Capcom has tackled multiple genres along the way, demonstrating a mastery in platformers, fighting games and role-playing games.  Booming after a successful run on the NES, Capcom turned its eyes to sports games on home consoles for the first time in 1992.  How did things turn out?  Here are the stories of the five sports games Capcom released over three years in the 1990s.

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Kirby’s Dream Sport

November 25, 2012 at 8:32 am | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment
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Nintendo recently celebrated 20 years of Kirby adventures with a Wii compilation that features his main conquests through Dream Land.  Kirby’s gaming catalog extends far past his canonical platformers and these ancillary games could fill their own compilation disc.  He’s been the headliner in multiple puzzle games, a pinball title and a Breakout-style block-busting game.  Kirby has had a racing spin-off and has dueled with his Nintendo peers in the Super Smash Bros. series.  Even though Kirby has clearly been able to handle yielding a sword or spear in his own games, he has never been invited to one of Mario’s golf or tennis outings.  Despite his multi-genre flexibility, the pink puffball has only had one appearance in a sports-themed game.  When King Dedede stole all the stars in Dream Land, Kirby shook off his non-sporty stereotype to do mini-golf battle in Kirby’s Dream Course for the Super Nintendo.

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TIME Magazine’s All-Time 100 Greatest Video Games

November 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Posted in News | 1 Comment
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All-time lists are always subjective but at times can be purposefully confrontational or downright lacking in thoroughness.  The TIME tech staff that put together their list did an amazing job and I absolutely recommend reading their work.  You can never please everyone with these type of lists but there is a terrific blend of appealing to both casual and hardcore gamers with their selections.  How did the sports genre fare?

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Wide World of Retro Sports Game Videos Vol. 1

September 25, 2012 at 12:13 am | Posted in Videos | 3 Comments
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There are a lot of great retro sports game videos on YouTube and across the internet.  We highlighted the excellent Polygon mash-up A Brief History of Sports Games recently and it prompted me to explore the medium further for our readers.  Our newest feature, the Wide World of Retro Sports Game Videos, gathers five videos all in one place for your viewing pleasure.  We’ll look to share sports game highlights, reviews, mash-ups, and more.  If it is retro sports-themed, then it belongs on Retro Sports Gamer World.  Volume One features one of the most popular sports game videos of all-time, an ambulance montage from John Madden Football ’92, crazy defensive plays from a softball game, the fastest “tool assisted” fingers to ever face Mike Tyson, and a “Lets Play” review of the classic NES game Ice Hockey.

Bo Jackson goes crazy in Tecmo Super Bowl

If you ever needed to show someone proof of Bo Jackson’s power in Tecmo Super Bowl, witness the hapless New England Patriots chasing him around for an entire quarter before he finally completes a 99-yard touchdown run.  I would love to know how many takes this video took to complete as there are some really close calls.  Bo knows YouTube views.  This video has surpassed an audience of 1.25 million.

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Behind the Scenes with Tecmo Super Bowl 2013

September 21, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Posted in Features | 6 Comments
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Tecmo Super Bowl.  I would like to channel John Facenda’s stoic voiceover of “The Autumn Wind” while I wax nostalgic about one of the greatest sports games ever.  There was the joy at finding a copy at the video store to rent with a buddy for the weekend, followed by hours of play, eyes bleeding from a lack of sleep when my parents would pick me up for church the next day.  There were the stories a friend would tell over lunch after staying home sick from school the day prior to play through another season.  The game had every NFL team with real players and a complete regular season mode.  These were dreams coming true for sports gamers in 1991.  And if you didn’t witness Bo Jackson with your own NES controller, you’ve probably seen him in YouTube videos racing around defenders or on someone’s list of the greatest video game characters of all-time.  How do you recapture this video game magic of decades past?  With hard work, passion, and a dedicated community, the team from Tecmobowl.org keeps Tecmo Super Bowl alive with an updated game each year.  Here is the story of Tecmo Super Bowl 2013.
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EA’s NHL Hockey Series Through the Years – Infographic

September 13, 2012 at 11:15 am | Posted in News | 2 Comments
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With NHL 13 now released, EA’s NHL Hockey series has amassed 22 titles since debuting in 1991 (23 when you include EA Hockey).  Justin Bourne at http://www.thescore.com blogged an awesome infographic highlighting different pieces of trivia about the series.  The tidbit about NHL Hockey debuting on the Mega Drive is technically incorrect (was released on the Genesis in North America only but would work on the Mega Drive) but that’s just nit-picking.  Seeing all the covers next to each other brings back a lot of memories.  Did you know that NHL 95 had 24 players with a rating of 100?  And if you were ever curious about the geographical background of all the cover athletes, well, this infographic is for you.
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College Lacrosse 2012: Indie Dev Covers Ignored Sport

July 29, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Posted in Reviews | 2 Comments
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In the industry’s history, there has been exactly one commercially-released lacrosse game. In 2001, Blast Lacrosse, a NFL Blitz-style game, was released by Acclaim for the original PlayStation. This dearth of lacrosse interest among video game developers is what makes the work done at Cross Studio and Complex Games all the more impressive.  Fueled by a passion for the sport and video games, owner Carlos Sunseri’s initiative has yielded five lacrosse titles on the Xbox Live Indie Games scene over the last four years. This library includes three College Lacrosse games and two National Lacrosse League licensed titles, with real teams and players from the indoor league. The newest title, College Lacrosse 2012, is a game ripe with promise but flawed in a number of areas of execution.
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Retro Sports Games Roundtable

May 14, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Posted in Podcasts | 1 Comment
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The Racketboy podcast has produced 36 retro gaming episodes, interviewing the likes of James Rolfe, Nathan Barnatt, Retroware TV’s Lance Cortez, and the Smithsonian’s “The Art of Video Games” curator, Chris Melissinos.  They’ve talked with folks from XSeed and traversed different conventions like Pax East and Too Many Games to interview game developers on upcoming titles.  I was flattered to have been asked to join the show to discuss some of my favorite and least favorite retro sports games of the 8 and 16-bit eras in their latest production.

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iOS Mini-Review: Ski Champion

April 14, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Posted in iOS Reviews | 3 Comments
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While the seasons have changed and the boys of summer have started the 2012 baseball season, you can still revisit winter fun with Ski Champion, a new iOS release by Majaka (Free, Appstore).  Ski Champion sits alone in the handheld skiing market but being on top of the mountain by default does not have the developers at Majaka taking the bunny slopes with this effort.  Packing in 14 different courses, tilt controls, and a leaderboard with medals and rankings, Ski Champion hits the high spots on Majaka’s first run out of the gate.

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Retro Replay Diary: Coach K College Basketball

April 9, 2012 at 1:12 am | Posted in Features | 4 Comments
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In the mid ’90s EA Sports hit their stride.  Their ongoing NHL Hockey and Madden franchises were winners, they struck gold with NBA Live ’95, and FIFA Soccer was a big hit.  College Football brought in money with the Bill Walsh College Football series of games, which then spun off from the (then) Stanford coach’s license and became College Football USA.  On the hardwood, college basketball wasn’t a yearly lay-up for the guys at Electronic Arts.  In 1995, they wisely took their incredibly successful NBA Live engine and created a college basketball counterpart.  Coach K College Basketball was a one-time unique enigma in the 16-bit sports universe as the game came out for just one console and had no yearly follow-ups.  With the white cover branding of EA titles of that gaming generation, Coach K College Basketball had real universities (32 teams plus 8 classic squads) and real college players (just with numbers instead of names – similar still to restrictions today).  This was the first attempt at any type of college basketball simulation that didn’t have generic state-named teams with made up players and EA delivered the complete NCAA basketball experience on its initial try.  When the game was first released, I was ecstatic that one of my favorite teams, Villanova, was in the game.  I knew all the player’s real names and played through a full season before being shockingly bounced out of the tournament by #1 ranked Arkansas in the Regional Final (Elite 8).  While I played the game for years after that stunning loss, I never played another season nor took my beloved Wildcats through another tournament run.  My thirst for nostalgic revenge was the motivation for this Retro Replay Diary.  It was time to dust off Kerry Kittles and friends and make another run at the college basketball championship.

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