Posts Tagged ‘Donkey Kong’

Atari 2600

November 4, 2016

Playing the Atari 2600 – be gentle… its my first time…


So, this is an Atari 2600. I’m liking the wood veneer look and large number of switches at the top which I have no idea what they do, even though they’re labelled. Luckily for me it’s already set up and ready to play (over at Game Over) so no need to spend hours working out how to use it.

As this was my first time playing on one I thought I’d pick a small selection of games to play out of the huge selection available, most of the games I picked were ones I recognised, easing myself in gently. Below are a few thoughts on the games I played:

Asteroids (1981)


Asteroids is an awesome game, I spent the most time on this one. It was an epic battle of triangle versus misshapen balls. In which you’re the triangle (ship) firing dots at the misshapen balls (asteroids) to destroy them a piece at a time in order to score as many points as possible. There’s also the occasional flying saucer to take out as well if you’re fast enough.

Loved the colours and sound effects in this, that lovely “pew pew” sound always reminds me of these types of games. The game play kept me interested and the challenge level felt just right and there was that definite urge to carry on and beat my previous score. On that note I didn’t achieve any significant high scores but it’s definitely a new favourite for me and would go back to it any time on this system.

Joust (1983)


Joust is about jousting, on ostriches, collecting eggs from other ostriches who are also jousting… what could be better (or make more sense)! Whoever thought this one up must have been on another planet at the time, but I’m glad they were because it’s loads of fun. Running and flying about the screen you need to attack your enemy from above (seemed to be the safest way) and then collect the egg that appears once you’ve destroyed them.

The game play is superb but I found it a lot more challenging than Asteroids, each level varies in difficulty with the number of platforms and enemies blocking your way, the more there are the harder it is to manoeuvre into a good position. It took awhile to get used to the way your character moved (almost like they’re slipping on ice) and lining them up just right to take out the enemies.

Centipede (1982)


Centipede was the first game I played, loved it, possibly my favourite so far out of the selection I chose to play. The player is at the bottom of the screen firing up into a field of dashes, as the centipede works his way down the screen towards you, kind of like Space Invaders, but faster, and with just a single enemy heading towards you at mental speeds back and forth across the screen.

It had just the right amount of challenge mixed in with great game play and sound. It took me ages to realise you didn’t just have to sit on the bottom of the screen and that you could move up slightly too, saved me a lot of trouble and lives later on. Other enemies also attack you on the bottom of the screen, just to make it that little bit harder, they reminded me of Tektites from The Legend of Zelda.

ET (1982)


ET… I played this out of pure curiosity as I had watched a documentary about it called Atari: Game Over (2014), it was pretty interesting, and after hearing so much about the game and how bad it is I thought I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a quick go.

Now considering this was now the 4th game I’d ever played on the Atari 2600, I might have not realised how this type of game works, but the moving from screen to screen seemed pretty random, as was being chased by something that looked like an old-fashioned type explorer. I was constantly ‘falling down’ off the bottom of the screen into a pit? I seemed to end up in this pit more often than not.

It took me ages to figure out how to get out of the pit, only to fall back in again pretty much straight after. I was so pleased when I reached the blue screen/white house(?) area pictured above, it was so nice I stayed awhile, just hanging out, afraid to move really. Anyway, after a good 25 minutes wandering around I finally did something of note after falling into the pit again, I made a flower grow by extending my neck. It wasn’t a great experience, but it’s really the only thing I’m going to take away from this.


A few other games I played; Laser Blast (1981), not a bad little shooter, even though I was pretty terrible at it, I couldn’t get the hang of firing at angles. Frogger (1982), a classic in its own right but I was actually a little disappointed with this version, it kinda felt sluggish, and given its relative simplicity as a premise the controls didn’t seem to work very well for me. Donkey Kong (1982), great game, you could say it’s a ‘a barrel of laughs’, now, if only I could beat level one.

I very much enjoyed my first experience of playing on the Atari 2600, looking forward to going back and trying out some more games. Let me know what your favourites are in the comments below!

All the best,




Eurogamer Expo 2012: Highlights Part 1

October 6, 2012

That great British tradition, ‘the queue’, and Earls Court.

I arrived at Earls Court on Saturday morning just before 8am and joined the already forming queue of eager gamers. As usual, scared of the inevitable queue banter I hid myself away (banter is fine, just not this early on a Saturday morning). I kept an eagle eye out for the arrival of my gaming companion for the day @8_BitGirl.

We were duly entertained by several queue giveaways of swag, some of which people actually danced for, the hunger for gaming freebies never ends and is often quite funny to watch. Not wanting to miss out people will throw their hands, bodies, friends in the air to catch a free t-shirt or game they probably don’t actually want.

The awesome 8_BitGirl, with quality gaming wear.

At 10am we were let in, after grabbing an Expo guide-book and bag we looked at the array of gaming choice before us, stopping only for a split second to choose between the Wii U and Tomb Raider. We headed for the latter. We had a vague plan about what games we wanted to see but for the most part, and in good Indy tradition, we were making it up as we went along. Below are a few of the games and areas we decided to try out. Two of the games, Tomb Raider and The Cave have been covered in separate posts.

After Tomb Raider, we had a quick go on Borderlands 2, first time I’d played it so it was finally nice to see what the hype was all about. The demo consisted of helping out, and following through the level, the little robot (Claptrap?), who helpfully pointed out how terrible I was at the game.

Fun game, unfortunately I was pretty terrible at it.

8_BitGirl trying out some Borderlands 2

Next up was the Wii U, by this time the doors were opening for another huge rush of eager gamers at 11am, and this would inevitably be when the queues would get longer. Even at this point the queue to try the Wii U was around 40 minutes, there was even a separate queue for ZombiU (something we did not get to try) as this queue was a 2 hour wait. We decided to stick with the Wii U queue.

First off we tried out the Wii U Panorama View, this included making a selection from a menu of places to visit, we opted to take a boat trip and buggy ride through Tokyo, Japan, which included lots of tourists and lots of cherry blossoms. First thing we actually noticed was how light the Wii U GamePad felt, handy if you’re intending to play games for an extended amount of time, and for younger/older users. The Panorama View itself was nice, but more of a novelty and demonstration of the Wii U’s capabilities than anything exciting in terms of long-lasting entertainment.

The massive Wii U gaming area, was worth the 40 minute queue.

Wii U Panorama View, Tokyo’s never looked so good.

We also managed to try out Nintendo Land, which also included a competition to win a Wii U. Up to 5 mini games were playable in this area, by playing the mini games and collecting a stamp for each one, you could enter into the competition to win a Wii U. We managed to get around to playing 3 out of the 5 games available, Donkey Kong’s Crash Course, Animal Crossing: Sweet Day and Luigi’s Ghost Mansion, gathering a stamp for each one.The other 2 games available to play were Takamaru’s Ninja Castle and The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest. Some of the games are pictured below.

Donkey Kong’s Crash Course, people crashed, a lot.

Donkey Kong’s Crash Course is fun, but takes a steady hand, quick thinking and a large amount of concentration. The player uses the GamePad to tilt a trolley through a platform-based obstacle course. The shoulder buttons and analog stick can then be used in order to activate levers, switches, bridges and lifts to see the trolley safely to its goal, one mistake and you’ll crash and have to return to the last check point. The scale of the level was massive and intricately designed, I didn’t see anyone get past the spirally bridge part (bottom left of big screen).

Animal Crossing: Sweet Day. Literally, cute animal head gear, sugar rushes, and vomiting candy.

Animal Crossing: Sweet Day was actually awesome. I’ve never played Animal Crossing before but this was loads of fun, only second to Luigi’s Ghost Mansion. Four players (wearing cute animal hats) have to collect candy as a team before they get caught by one of two guards (one with a fork, one with a knife) the guards are controlled by another player using the GamePad. As players collect more candies, their movement becomes slower, making it easier for them to be caught, to speed up again and escape the player is able to eject the candies from their mouth. Surreal but fun, we played with 3 other people we didn’t know and it was really refreshing game play.

This is actually The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest, I didn’t get a picture of Luigi’s Ghost Mansion, I was having too much fun.

Luigi’s Ghost Mansion takes its cues from the original Luigi’s Mansion on the Gamecube. In this game up to four players must try to find a ghost in a maze, looking from a top down perspective, and weaken it by shining their torch at it before it grabs them. The ghost is controlled by a player using the GamePad and controlled on their own screen (players on the other screen cannot see the ghost until it attacks them or a light is shined on it). Team work is required to take out the ghost, players torch battery life also needs to replenished by picking up battery packs appearing in the maze. This game was extremely fun and distracted me enough that I forgot to take a pic.

Stay tuned for Eurogamer Expo 2012 Highlights Part 2, covered in this part will be; Carmageddon, Far Cry 3, and the Replay Zone, plus other stuff that doesn’t quite fit in anywhere else.

For more information on the Eurogamer Expo please visit their site!

Donkey Kong Country Returns

February 24, 2011

Donkey Kong Country Returns

 Release Date: 2010

Developer: Retro Studios

Publisher: Nintendo

Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii. First off, and I promise it gets better after this, the games biggest down fall is its urge to please everyone, and in this case as usual with current generation Nintendo its ‘shoe-horned in motion controls!’ You see, 2 or 3 of the basic controls in DKCR are performed by shaking your controller. This is totally unnecessary and doesn’t add anything to the game and it immediately feels like the controls are letting the game down. In a world where Nintendo let you use a classic controller in some of their top titles such as Mario Kart Wii and Smash Brothers Brawl (amongst others) it’s so frustrating that this hasn’t been offered here.

This gets even more saddening when after some research on the internet I discovered that if you have a modified Wii, you can effectively use the equivalent of old school action replay codes to force classic controller support into the game. Now being a massive nerd and with no fear and no sense I took this route, so after an hour or so of messing about, I have a modified Wii, game disc copied to a hard disc and some codes entered. My hard work more than paid off.

Playing this way I feel like I am playing the game I played 14 years ago in front of the living room fire. It’s so good! This is one of the best platform games I have ever played. Ever. You honestly wouldn’t know RARE hadn’t made this. Retro Studios have outdone themselves. Donkey Kong has gained a few pounds over the years and is a little heavier than he used to be, he doesn’t run quite so quickly, but the physics are spot on (Ed. Sounds like DK and I have a lot in common). Diddy Kong can no longer be used separately as a character instead he rides on Donkey Kong’s back with a jet booster pack on, which allows for longer jumps. You have 4 hearts. After 2 hearts are lost, you lose Diddy until you find him in a barrel again. After 4 hearts are lost, you either start a level over or from the last check point. Which funnily enough is a pig running a lemonade stand… makes sense right?!

The level design is simply breath-taking (back on the Super Nintendo RARE used Silicon Graphics workstations to render the sprites to make the graphics something else) here Retro Studios have full 3D capabilities and have used them to create something very authentic to the originals feel. 3D is only used to add depth to the game, you always play on just 2 axis, the camera pans in and out and you may be fired into the background by a barrel cannon or you may be coming back towards the screen as the camera tilts on one of the games mine cart levels. Depth is also added by the way the level changes and interacts around the characters. The level that sticks with me most is in the second world on a beach. The weather is stormy and the waves from the ocean are crashing in from the background. When they hit they wash away any bananas or enemies or even yourself if you are not careful! So you have to run along, hide behind walls etc, wait for the next wave to clear and carry on. All this while lightning and rain crashes down. It’s simply wonderful. I cannot state how much this game oozes love in its design.

The music is sensational, it’s a mixture of original tracks from the 1993 game remixed, and some new content, and it’s fabulous, all the classics are in there, especially the underwater music called Aquatic Ambience which is one of my all time favourite pieces of game music. The depth and variety in the music is excellent and each world has an underlying theme to it to which the music follows, the music is also dynamic so it can change during a level. Something new which works really well.

This game for me is representative of what gaming would be like if technology had moved forward but hadn’t become a multibillion dollar industry, the game play is just sublime, it’s all about fun. It’s so colourful and it just had me smiling from ear to ear. My only real gripe is the motion controls, but I am happy with my work around with the classic controller. I could also say this game would look stunning in high-definition! Oh well, maybe next generation eh Nintendo… nudge, nudge… (Ed. I’m almost positive Nintendo do not read my blog – which is a shame).

Nintendo games always seem to be hampered by one big problem; they do not listen to its fans enough. This can be epitomised in Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii.  I am going to say this right now though, and set the record straight, this game IS a classic, it’s so incredibly good and seriously challenging in places, even with my hacked classic controller it’s insanely difficult, but it never feels cheap and you always know you can do it, you just need to calm down and think.

Score with motion controls: 4/5

Score with hacked classic controller: 5/5

If you like platform games. Buy it!

If you don’t like platform games, what’s wrong with you? 😉

Few links for the extra curious! (Ed.)

Donkey Kong Country Returns info and website can be found here, as well as the website for the awesome Official Nintendo Magazine here!

Also, see below for the release trailer at E3 for DKCR.