Maze Craze: A Game of Cops and Robbers Retro Review

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A-Maze-ing Gameplay!

Maze Craze was released for the Atari 2600 in 1978. It was released only one year after Pong for the 2600. So while it’s a simple game by today’s standards, that was par for the course at the time. That being said, the fact this game is nearly 40 years old, doesn’t mean it isn’t fun.

The gameplay consists of players controlling a red or blue little person and navigating a maze. You start on the left and make your way to the exit that is always on the right. Like many Atari games, it has many gameplay variations. Some modes make parts, or all, of the maze invisible or give you the ability to make fake walls to confuse the other player. Others modes introduce different squares that wander around the maze. You must avoid touching them or face getting slowed down or outright losing.

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A mode where part of the maze is invisible.

If you read the manuals in Atari games you’ll find the background story. The story in Maze Craze is that your red and blue squares are cops navigating a maze of city streets. The other squares are armed robbers trying to get you. None of that really matters though. All you really need to know is: You need to get your little square butt to the exit before the other guy.

There really isn’t much that’s bad about the game so I have to knit-pick a little here. First, the screen that comes up when the maze resets is awful. Every time you finish a maze, it resets and briefly flashes a bunch of random colors. It’s bad enough that I could see myself getting a headache if I played it for too long, especially if its being played in the dark. Second, like I mentioned earlier, it’s a simple game. You play as a poor representation of a person, and pretty much everything else is a square. There’s no music and very little in the way of sound effects. I mean, there’s literally four different sounds in the game.  A sound when you bump into a wall, one when you touch a robber, one when you exit a maze and the sound of the Officer’s footsteps. That’s it. When you’re actually playing the game it’s not that noticeable though. The lack of sounds never bothered me very much and I actually think the footsteps are a nice touch.

My brother came over recently and I decided to break out the old Atari. We ended up playing Maze Craze for half an hour. Even though the game’s pretty simple and probably in need of an epilepsy warning, we had a blast. To me this game is a great example that if the core of a game is strong, it doesn’t need Xbox graphics to be fun.

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We sat down with JE Russel and Paul Mundheim to learn more about their upcoming Kickstarter campaign for their Western Themed toyline, called Dime Novel Legends. These guys partnered together, got help some from other big namess in the community and have made something we are excited about!

Listen via itunes or stitcher, (Links can be found in the drop down menu) or you can just click the embedded player below!   Make sure to keep scrolling after the player to see the press release. (additional images and links will be added too)

http://www.podcastgarden.com/episode/022-dime-novel-legends_87572

Announcing a LEGENDARY Western-Themed 1:18th Scale Toy Line Kickstarter Campaign!

Dallas/Forth Worth — When searching for highly articulated action figures in 1:18th scale, aisle 3C is looking like a modern ghost town these days. Therefore it’s no surprise that a number of small companies are striving to fill the gap for collectors of this action figure scale.

To this end, Chicken Fried Toys (CFT) is proud to introduce their Dime Novel Legends (DNL), their first-ever lineup of 3.75-inch, fully articulated, collectible action figures that bring back the essence of the American Frontier West. These 15 realistic reproductions of iconic Western archetypes feature authentic styling and looks, and include numerous accessories and gear that historically reflect the period between 1835 and 1895. This line will be introduced via Kickstarter campaign on October 1, 2016 and will run for six (6) weeks.

The Dime Novel Legends lineup will encompass characters drawn from the rich history of Frontier America during its expansion westward. While easily identifiable, these characters do not represent any single person from history, film or literature. Rather, they are an amalgamation taken from the collective imaginations of enthusiasts who have long dreamed of accumulating an entire Western community of cowboys, townsfolk, lawmen, bandits, and Native Americans from an often ignored and nigh-forgotten part of America’s unique and rich history.

Chicken Fried Toys will introduce these iconic action figures intended for the adult collector featuring 16 points of articulation as part of a Kickstarter campaign beginning October 2016.
Wave 1 will include:

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PODCAST: Star Wars Episode VII look back!

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Episode 21 is finally out. In time for the  latest blu ray release, or to kick off the count down for Rogue 1, take a look back with us at Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

Featuring Sam, Tom the Silent Assassin, Steven Mente, and Jonathan “Baby face Breaker” Robinson.

You can listen via the embedded audio player below, or catch the show on Itunes or Stitcher.

Tom and  Steven talked about the movie right after seeing in a previous episode

and we have one more coming focusing on the toys and merch in the pile to be edited!

Friday the 13th: Retro Review

Friday13thTitleKilling your nostalgia

For those who have lived under a rock for the last 30 years or so, Friday the 13th is a series of slasher films in which teenagers at a summer camp get murdered in various ways by a serial killer in a hockey mask named Jason. That being said, one would think that this would be a horror game, but what it mostly succeeded in being was a generic, repetitive, frustrating side-scroller.

The game has you taking control of one of six camp counselors each with their own attributes, such as running or swimming, that they are better or worse at. Your job is to keep the teens at the summer camp alive for three days or to kill Jason three times before he kills the people you’re protecting.

The game starts you along a side-scrolling path that goes around the lake. At some point Jason will attack one of the cabins and you have to make your way along the path to the cabin and fend him off. When you enter a cabin it goes into a bizarre 3D-ish environment. The only reason I can see for this is to add a small amount of suspense because you don’t know if Jason is around the corner. When in the cabin you may or may not fight Jason. You then go back to the path and wait for Jason to attack again. Rinse and repeat.

The graphics aren’t terrible, what makes me not like them is that everything is so repetitive. There are only a handful of backgrounds and they are repeated over and over. There is also a forest in the game that you can go into and fight Jason’s mother and get the best weapon in the game. I wouldn’t recommend it however, because the forest backgrounds are all so similar that it’s near impossible to find your way out.

Even worse than the graphics is the music. The music mostly consists of a few 6 second loops that repeat constantly throughout the game. You know it’s bad when you play a game for all of thirty seconds to hear the entire soundtrack.

Some of these things could be forgiven if the game was fun to play, but it’s not. The side scrolling parts, while running from cabin to cabin around the lake, feel clunky and poorly made. The battles with Jason, which should be a highlight of the game, end up being battles of annoyance as Jason dances back and forth taking cheap shots at you.

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Seriously, it looks like he’s dancing.

There are bats and zombies that spawn continuously along the path and the only weapon you have at start is a rock that’s both hard to hit enemies with and very weak. The best way to get a better weapon is, I kid you not, to jump around aimlessly. After jumping around a bunch a floating knife will appear and you can grab it. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad. It’s just that the few good ideas in this game such as choosing between counselors, get drowned in a wave of bad execution and monotony.

 

In video games, as with movies, there are two types of bad. A few games like E.T. are so bad that they’re entertaining and then there are games that are just plain bad. Friday the 13th is the latter.

latest Podcast interviews Jason and his kickstarter for THE KINGDOM action figures

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Sam, Silent Tom, and Drew interview Jason from Spero. He gives us the lowdown on the property, from comic book, and now action figures via kickstarter.  You can listen via the embedded player below, or use the drop down menu above to subscribe to us on Itunes or Stitcher for easy mobile listening. Be sure to check out his KICKSTARTER HERE and the SPERO FB PAGE HERE.

the images that we talk about can be seen HERE.

You can see some prototypes at Alyosha’s both at Joe con this upcoming week. You can also see me and Drew there! (Say Hi!)   We will be doing some live youtubing, and recording some short podcasts and videos from con, so be sure to subscribe to our youtube, like our fb, follow on twitter etc, if you want the latest, all through the main menu above.

WOTK lineup

New Kickstarter from The Drawn Word featuring the Incredible Change-Bots

Incredible Change BotsA new Kickstarter is underway for a card set featuring Jeffery Brown’s The Incredible Change-BotsThe campaign, started last week by The Drawn Word , runs until July 7th. Featuring the Awesomebots led by Big-Rig versus the Fantasticons led by Shootertron, rival groups of robots who can change in to vehicles from the planet Electrocybercircuitron . While in premise it sounds a lot like another certain transforming brand these are the characters featured in the Top Shelf Productions graphic novels, described as part parody, part nostalgic tribute, part moral fable.

Up for grabs in the Kickstarter are a series of cards, 24 regular cardstock cards in a tuck box featuring new artwork and then a subset of 5 Heavy Metal cards and further down the line 2 oversized cards lasercut onto hardwood and metal featuring Big-Rig and Shootertron, and some signed versions thrown in for good measure. And there are promises to “keep throwing things” should stretch goals are met. For more info drop by Kickstarter and check out the campaign!

New Kickstarter to bring Animals of The Kingdom to life

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Spero Studio’s Jason Bienvenu and Brandon Gray are looking to bring a new line of action figures based on the graphic novel The Kingdom.

“Spero Studios was founded by Jason Bienvenu and Brandon Gary, inspired by the 3 3/4 inch toy lines of the mid 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, Spero focuses on bringing back the fun and joy from these eras with high quality products featuring modern articulation and accessories!
Our first offering is inspired by The Kingdom Comic book featuring the animal warriors from the first story arc.
Series one features the main Protagonist “Pale” and his Clear “Spectral” variant as well as 4 army builder characters to fill out the ranks of your ape armies! Each figure stands a little over 4 inches tall; features 18 points of articulation as well as weapons and accessories.”

The figure line is in the 4 inch scale and presented in a “cartoon style of the comic book source material” and don’t look too out of place next to some of the TMNT offerings in stores today. The Articulation is on par with what today’s collectors and kids are used to with 18 points of articulation for great play and possibility.

Looking for more info? Check out Kickstarter or their Facebook page for graphics, prototypes, all the great details and of course to pledge for your own cool Warriors of The Kingdom figures!

WOTK lineup