Thursday, December 30, 2010

Retro Review--Donkey Kong (Wii Virtual Console)

Man, I love me some Donkey Kong. There are certain games from my childhood that are embedded in my brain permanently, both for their gameplay and their unmistakable sounds. From the moment the ominous intro music starts, Donkey Kong brings me right back to 1981.

Sadly, however, the Virtual Console version of Donkey Kong fails to fully complete my nostalgic trip back to my childhood, as the version available for the Wii is the NES version, not the arcade one.

 This is bad, because the NES version, for those that don;t remember, is missing one of the four levels (the conveyor belt one).  This game has only three levels, and it’s also missing the intro where Donkey Kong jumps on the girders before Mario starts making his way up to Princess Paulina.

It’s not all bad--the base mechanics and graphics are fine, and the signature sounds are all still there. This version also offers two levels of difficulty, for those that like their barrels to be coming fast and furious.

So, if you’re looking to take a trip down memory lane, you can download Donkey Kong on virtual console for five bucks. Just keep in mind, you won’t be able to go all the way down memory lane. But, a short walk is better than no walk at all.

3 out of 5 Incomplete Trips to the Past

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Grab Pac-Man on the New Chrome Web Store

If you aren't using Google's Chrome web browser by now, you should be. Not only is Chrome a great, simple browser, but Google just launched an app store featuring hundreds to apps that will make your browser feel like your smart phone. Many of the apps are free, and a couple cool free ones feature everyone's favorite ghost-chomping hero, Pac-Man. The first is Pacman Classic Arcade, whihc is a recreation of the original, and the second is Google Pacman, which features a board designed like the Google logo.

Both apps are free, and when you download them to Chrome, they become buttons you can click when you open a new browsing tab. To find them on the app store, just do a search for Pac-Man.

Sure, you can find these game elsewhere as well, but it's nice to have them just a click away when you're already using the Chrome browser.

Monday, November 29, 2010

That Game is So Hard

How many times have you heard that about an NES game? I was reminded of that line when I did an interview with No Apologies last week. I was speaking with Darrel Taylor and a few games came up.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
If you've ever played the original for the NES (and I don't mean the four turtles at a time walking around the street version) you know how hard it can be to make it through this game. All the side scrolling platforming in the sewers loaded with respawning enemies can be a bear. Not to mention, when you get low on life, you're listening to the loud beeping health reminder, go topside and get taken out by the rolling top view enemies of the streets. I always remember dropping the first three turtles like flies and then being VERY careful with the last and final turtle of the game.

Top Gun
Seriously, do I even have to point this out? How many of you can land the jet on the air craft carrier? We all have talked about it. I may have done it once or twice in my life. When I got to that point, I handed off the controller to the kid who could land it. And usually it was that kids only claim to fame. Any other game and he was terrible. But landing that plane? He could do it in a heart beat.

Honestly, I never got past the first screen of this game. It's just ridiculous and rage inducing. And that all I really can say about it!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Retro Review: Splatterhouse (TurboGrafx-16 / Wii VC)

"Splatterhouse" is one of the classic games from the TurboGrafx-16 console, and it was the one game that made me pine for that console (even though I never actually ended up getting one). Nintendo brought the game over to their Virtual Console, and now everyone with a has a chance to check out the game.

For those that don’t remember, "Splatterhouse" was an arcade game that was ported over to the TurboGrafx-16 console. The game put players in the role of Rick, a parapsychology student that went into a supposedly haunted house called West mansion with hi girlfriend Jennifer. They get attached by strange creatures, Jennifer is kidnapped and Rick is mortally wounded. Rick wakes up some time alter, having been revived by the “Terror Mask” (which looks a lot like Jason’s hockey mask), and he sets off to save his girlfriend.

The gameplay is straight beat ‘em up-style, with Rick punching and kicking his way through floors of hideous monsters. He can also pick up weapons along the way--2x4’s, machetes and the like. The game is very graphic, even in it’s “censored” TurboGrafx-16 version on the Virtual console, which replaces some of the more disgusting elements. There are six levels that culminate in boss battles, and the bosses are some of the more unique ones you’ll see in a beat ‘em up. One of my favorites is the second boss, which is basically a haunted room right out of "Evil Dead 2," where the furnishings themselves attack you. The final level features an interesting twist that I will let people experience for themselves.

"Splatterhouse" still holds up pretty well as a beat ‘em up in my opinion, and with the remake slated to arrive for the 360 and PS3 later this month, it’s a great time to revisit this old classic. I have heard that the original will be an unlockable in the new game however, so you may want to hold off on the Virtual console version us you plan on picking up the new game, as I’m not sure if the unlocakble version will be the original arcade game.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Steampunk Arcade Cabinets

Many of you know I enjoy steampunk art and any sort of functional art. When I was googling steampunk cabinets today, I came across this steampunk arcade cabinet. How cool is this!? Would look great in my studio don't you think? Here's the article:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Review--Haunted House (2010)

So I mentioned a little while back that Atari was updating the 2600 classic "Haunted House" after almost thirty years. I picked the game up a couple weeks ago, and I have been having a lot of fun with it.

In the 2010 version of haunted House, you play as one of the grandchildren of Samuel Silverspring, the protagonist of the original game.

You can choose to play as either his grandson Jacob, or his granddaughter Silvia. Samuel disappeared thirty years ago, and the grandkids get a strange letter that leads them to head to Graves Mansion to find out what really happened to granddad.

Like the original game, "Haunted House" has you exploring a creepy mansion and trying to put together the pieces of a magical urn (as well as solve the mystery of Samuel's disappearance). Much of the gameplay takes place in the dark, and players have to find light sources like matches, candlesticks and flashlights to help light their way and (in the case of the flashlight), fend off the ghostly enemies that populate the mansion. There are several floors to explore, with many rooms in the mansion requiring keys that must be found in the various chests, desks, dressers and other containers that are in different rooms. Along the way you face ghosts, bats and other supernatural creatures that can literally paralyze you with fear, as well as drain your health.

The controls in "Haunted House" are pretty simple, as you use the nunchuk to navigate, and tasks like opening containers, scrolling through belongings and using light sources are assigned to various buttons. When a ghost or other enemy freezes you, shaking the Wiimote will get your character to snap out of it and get moving again. Everything works well together, and even younger kids should be able to pick up the controls in a relatively short amount of time. The game also offers checkpoints in the form of fireplaces that, once lit, will serve as a save point should you die. Those looking for additional challenge can ramp up the difficulty, where enemies are more deadly and

What I liked most about the game is the sense of creepiness that you immediately feel by being plunged into darkness. Even the cartoonish graphics don't dull the sense of panic you feel when you run low on light sources and can hear ghostly moans or approaching footsteps in the vicinity. It's fun and scary at the same time, a perfect combination for younger players, and still really enjoyable for adults. You can also play two-player local co-op, so if it's a little too creepy for your little ones playing alone, you can always jump in and help.

I am really happy with the new "Haunted House," as the game keeps the spirit of the original and builds on the simple gameplay without changing too much. You can grab the Wii version on disc for $20 (like I did), or get the PC and XBox 360 downloadable version for $10. Either way, it's well worth the money if you enjoyed the original, or are looking for a fun and spooky family game.

4 out of 5 Don't Be Afraid Of The Darks

You should also check out the game's official website,, as you can play the original Atari 2600 version of the game there for free!

Monday, October 18, 2010

8-Bit Music and a Jonesing for Mario 2

One big draw to almost any 8 bit game is the fantastic music the composers were able to come up with the limited pallet of sounds and virtual instruments. I've had the intro music for Super Mario Brothers 2 in my head all day. This made me want to youtube it up and watch some game play. As I write this blog I can here the under ground congo drums in the background and now the boss music as the eggs fly towards out hero Mario. Anyone who's played the game and hear the music in there head now. What are some of your favorite 8-bit anthems? Sound effects? Maybe we need to discuss this on the show, much like our early conversations about power ups. I will trail out this article listening to some more under ground music which also reminds me of desert level. Enjoy the clip.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

X-Men Arcade Coming To PSN, XBLA!!

Most retro gamers will probably remember the excellent 1992 X-Men arcade game.  Up to six players could team up and battle against the likes of Nimrod, Wendigo, Juggernaut and a slew of other enemies.  The co-op brawler featured Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Dazzler (yes, Dazzler) as playable characters. Konami will be brining the classic game to PSN and XBLA this fall, and it will feature 4-player offline and 6-player online co-op.

For those that need a little memory jog, check out the trailer below that was shown at NYCC lat week.

Monday, October 4, 2010

EPIC MICKEY or World of Illusion

Back in my days of SEGA Genisis I owned a game called World of Illusion. An awesome game to play with a friend or family member. As Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, you worked your way through the world of illusion fighting enemies and helping your friend reach higher places by jumping off of them or lowering a rope. The graphics were pretty good for that time period and the platforming was spot on.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Retro Review--Haunted House (Atari 2600)

Last week I mentioned that Atari is releasing a remake of their 2600 classic "Haunted House" in October. This week I dug out my Atari Anthology for the PS2 and played through the original. It holds up surprisingly well.

In "Haunted House" you are searching through the haunted Graves Mansion for three pieces of a magical urn, while trying to avoid tarantulas, bats and the ghost of old man Graves himself. On screen you're represented by a pair of eyes that look in whatever direction you're heading. The house is completely dark, and you'll only find the urn pieces by using matches to light up a small area around you and reveal anything that's close. The goal is to collect all three pieces of the urn and escape the house before losing the nine lives you are given to start with. Anytime one of the monsters touches you, you are scared to death and lose a life. You can pick up a magic scepter that protects you from enemies, but since you can only carry one item at a time, you'll have to put down the urn to carry the scepter.

What's great about "Haunted House" is that the base game is simple, and you add incremental levels of difficulty in the nine game modes that are offered. The basic game shows you the layout of each of the four floors of the house, and each floor is a different color. The doors are unlocked, and the main threat you have to worry about is avoiding enemies while looking for the urn. Once you feel comfortable with that, you can turn off the lights completely, which means you can only see walls, doorways and enemies when you have matches lit, or when the odd lightning flash illuminates the screen. If that's not enough, you can add the option of locked doors, that require you to find a key to open. These increased levels of difficulty ramp up the tension (particularly when everything is dark), and the game can get pretty atmospheric, which is saying a lot given the simple graphics and presentation.

For a game that's almost 30 years old, "Haunted House" is a still a fun, creepy game that kids and adults can pick up and play instantly. You can find it in the Atari Anthology for the PS2, or grab it in Microsoft's Game Room for the XBox 360. The new "Haunted House" will be coming out for Wii this Halloween.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Atari's Haunted House Update Launches Sept. 28th For Wii

Holy cow! Everyone who grew up on Atari 2600 remembers the classic "Haunted House" and the iconic pair of glowing eyes that represented the player as they tried to navigate the haunted Graves Mansion. Well, at the end of this month, Atari is releasing a brand new "Haunted House," and it looks awesome. In this new game, you'll play the grandchild of the person who disappeared in the mansion years ago. Looks like fun for the whole family. Now I need to go play the original again--maybe I'll get a review up here on that one soon.

Check out the trailer for the new "Haunted House," which is also supposed to be coming to XBox Live, PSN and PC.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Super Mario Brothers Turns 25 years Today!

How did the folks at Cartridgecade miss this one. I seem to find a lot of links on Facebook through Mike Swaby. And here is one of them now! Enjoy the article.

Had I known earlier I would have thrown a party tonight!

AURCADE: Arcade Locations

I should remind everyone that visits this site, that you should visit and register your local arcade. They are becoming rare and hard to find. Help your fellow retro gaming geeks and lead them to quality arcades. There are too many ticket gambling arcades out there and we need to know where the sweet spots are.

So go to the site today and tell use where the retro gaming goodness is!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Retro Review--Shining Force (Sega Genesis)

I started playing the Sega Genesis classic “Shining Force” on the recommendation of a friend this week, and I'm really glad he turned me on to it. I actually owned its dungeon-crawling predecessor “Shining in the Darkness,” but I had never tried the sequel.

The story involves your character assembling a group of adventurers and trying to stop the forces of darkness from resurrecting a powerful evil being. The opening hour is pretty cool, as you are sent out of town on an adventure, and the kingdom is invaded in your absence. You actually fight your way back in time to see the bad guy make his escape.

What stood out to me immediately about “Shining Force” is that you have a huge party. You can control up to 12 characters, and recruit even more. That's substantially more than most JRPGs (at least that I've played), and it gives a lot of depth to the turn-based combat. Because each class has it's own movement speed, and different attacks have different ranges, there are lots of ways you can approach a battle. I almost felt like I was playing chess when facing off against larger groups of enemies, and much like chess, you can make a few ill-advised moves and find yourself quickly outmatched. When your main character dies, you resurrect in the town church, having lost half of your money. You do keep all earned experience though, so even in losing battles you are grinding levels.

I'm only a few hours in, but I am already hooked on the battle system and the old-school storyline. I'd highly recommend checking this one out. I'm playing “Shinging Force” as part of “Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection” for the PS3, but you can get it on the GameBoy Advance, the Wii Virtual Console, and even the iPhone or iPad (for a ridiculously cheap $3).

Unused Video Games

A link to the big fat blog comic about unused video games:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cartridgecade Rides Again!

Yeah, so we took the summer off from posting on the Cartridgecade blog--so what?! We were playing retro games all summer, or maybe you didn't hear about the amazing Summer NEStacular Challenge--Super Mario Bros., Metroid and Zelda. All classics, and we played them all summer long.

But you want blog posts, and you want podcast segments. We hear you. We're are re-dedicating ourselves to Cartridgecade over the next few months, so you can expect to get your fix more regularly. So stop crying in your Donkey Kong cereal and go play some retro games.

You know, you could post once in a while, too. Send us a review for cryin' out loud, and save us some work for once.

Mario Dances Swedish Ugly Dance

Brian pointed out to me that we've been seriously neglecting out blog. I'm not going to make any promises, but I'm going to do my best to post here more often. The funny thing is, I've been browsing retro-gaming goodness and completely forgetting about tell you folks about it. So to kick off the more frequent blog posts I'm going to leave you with Mario dancing to the Swedish Ugly Dance. I'll post soon about the film Scott Pilgrim. A film that EVERY retrogaming fan should see!!

Now go watch Mario! dance.

NEStacular Summer Challenge Print

Well the print is done and sent out to the winners of our NEStacular summer challenge. Congrats on the folks who beat Super Mario Brothers, Metroid and Zelda this summer! IMPRESSIVE! Here is a sneak peak at what they won. I'm not sure what else Brian has intended for this print. But enjoy!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Google Pacman

Happy birthday pacman. Today you can visit and play the google logo as if it were a function arcade game. Decked out with "insert coin" button, it is a good time to

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New King of Kong!

Wow. This guy smashed the old Donkey Kong record by 10,000 points! If you haven't watched King of Kong a Fistful of Quarters, I suggest you do as soon as possible. I'm interested to see the next steps in this saga.

Here's the article

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


There are tutorials all over the internet to change the color of your LED in your old NES. I think I will be trying this out soon and will talk about it on the show when it finally happens. Maybe I will put together a tutorial as well. Until then, you can watch this long winded version. Personally, I would have used theme music from Castelvania in the background or something 8-bit, but I suppose this will have to do. Enjoy!

Nintendo NES LED Modification Tutorial - Funny bloopers R us

Friday, February 5, 2010

Legend of Zelda Cartoon streaming on

Every retro gamer was a fan of retro game cartoons at one time or another. If you are still a big fan of retro gaming cartoons, stop by the Legend of Zelda page on Hulu. They are currently streaming season one. I will try and post links to streaming retro gaming shows whenever possible. You can search through netflix and hulu to find a few right now.

Retro Gaming Donations

Brian and I are always seeking new games, game consoles and accessories. If you think you have something kicking around your parents attic or in your basement and would like to donate the item, please contact us. We do our best to provide our audience with a wide variety of content ranging from the early days of gaming up to ten years ago. We promise, your piece of antique technology will get the love and care it deserves.
That's right! Brian and I are back in action with NEW Cartridgecade segments. We'll be announcing the new episode soon. You'll be able to go check out the podcast by going to Secret Identity and downloading the latest episode, going to to download or by streaming it via the link on the right column of this site. We'd like you to stop by our message board (RIGHT NOW) and tell us what games you want to hear us talk about.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

XBox Live Game Room Announced for Spring 2010

Last night at CES, Microsoft announced that this Spring, XBox Live users will be getting old-school arcades they can customize with a bunch of game cabinets. It will look and sound like an arcade, and there will be over 30 game available at launch, for an average of $5 apiece. Check out the video below:

Which system do you like best!?