Celebrating The Early Days of SNK

I got some new movies and video games to share with you all. I don’t have a whole lot of either on my wish list these days. It’s been a combination of having most of what I’ve wanted since I started collecting in 2004 and a lack of time to play what I already have. Regardless, I do get interested in some newer things these days.

One of those new things in a genre I quite enjoy is the compilation of older games. The SNK 40th Anniversary Collection that was originally released on the Nintendo Switch has now arrived on the PlayStation 4. What I like about this collection is that it forgoes the notion that it has to feature popular or well sold titles. While that’s all well and good, Digital Eclipse decided to spotlight the overlooked or forgotten games in SNK’s archives. Sure they don’t always play wonderfully, but these games are worth experiencing as more of a history lesson of SNK’s early days. I love that concept and bought it for that reason alone.

I also decided to get Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. It’s a rare used copy that I don’t bother with much as of recent. I bought it because I enjoyed Uncharted 4 well enough that I wouldn’t mind a little bit more of the same thing from two other characters.

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Now for the movies. I usually watch these ahead of time and only buy the ones I absolutely know I’ll watch again. This is the case with all four.

First up is the Blu-rays. The Founder is about exactly what you think it’s about by the look of the cover. Michael Keaton is amazing in this film and I completely recommend it. My Cousin Vinny features Joe Pesci in this comedy from 1992. I remembered it from back then, but didn’t think much of it. I finally watched it again a few weeks ago and I found it much more entertaining than I did as a 13-year old.

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Lastly are the DVDs. The WWE likes to mainly put content on this dated format over Blu-ray. It’s most likely because they just want you to subscribe to their network for today’s picture quality standards. The discs focus solely on NXT Takeover matches and doesn’t include any of the fantastic bouts from their weekly TV. This means it doesn’t have the amazing match between Ricochet and Pete Dunne for the North American and UK titles.

Gotti is a HBO film about mobster John Gotti from 1996. Excellent performances from Armand Assante and William Forsythe along with other actors from similar mafia movies round out the cast.

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Check back soon for a new episode of Space Suplex!

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Now Playing: August-October 2018

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So I’ve been playing these things called “video games” and I figured I’d tell you about some of them. :D

The Bourne Conspiracy follows the events of The Bourne Identity and adds a bit more to it to lengthen the game. You play just about every major and minor scene from the movie including the big car chase scene. That specific moment, however, is done poorly and is not all that fun. Luckily most of the game is beat-’em-up and shooting style of gameplay. There are opportunities for stealthy takedowns, but it’s not required and is the other part of the game that’s also not done all that well.

Speaking of stealthy gameplay, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Battle Nexus on the Game Boy Advance is much better at it than the above game. It’s also much more enjoyable than TMNT 2 on the main consoles of its time like the PlayStation 2. You have to find crystals throughout the levels, but you have to use each turtle because each have different abilities allowing you to access places the others can’t reach. The difficulty of combat is fairly easy, but it’s welcome in this way since the traversal is what keeps you wanting to play some more.

I finally got around to playing *the* Spider-Man game that gets all the praise since it’s 2004 release and that’s, obviously, Spider-Man 2. The praise is pretty much universally for the swinging abilities and it’s well deserved. But, that’s where it ends, in my opinion. The points needs to progress the story from menial rescues are very repetitive. I also didn’t enjoy most, if any, of the boss battles. I don’t dislike the game. I just wish it was as good as its reputation leads you to believe.

Of the four games I played in these last few months, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was the most fun. I liked the first two games quite a bit, and I still like them the most, but this game was a step up from the disappointment of Uncharted 3. Sam is a great companion and Sully’s dry wit is as welcome as always. The overall gameplay isn’t much different and that’s okay. It was good to begin with.

Releasing the Unreleased

Over the last few months the number purchases in the movie/TV and gaming realms I’ve made have been piling up. Here they are.

Back in April I reported on getting a digital copy of Double Dragon II: The Revenge via Hamster’s Arcade Archives. Well, this time I also added the original arcade version of Double Dragon. This was one that Usagi704 also picked up and said I’d probably like how it turned out.

Lately I’ve been afraid that the Yakuza games, despite getting a wide release in the West, would dry up sooner than you’d think. It seems to already have happened to Yakuza 0. I didn’t want to miss out on Yakuza Kiwami so I got it and I will be looking to get 0 soon enough.

A used copy of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End ran me around $20. I was on my wish list long enough and got it along with a unreleased game set to me sent to me in about eight days.

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Onto the movies/TV side, speaking of “unreleased” WWE released a 3 disc set of matches spanning from 1986 to 1995 called Unreleased. It has some decent matches with the two featuring Ric Flair against Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan being quite fun to watch. I also popped huge for seeing Sean Mooney (who?) in the hosting segments.

I bought and watched Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and it was fantastic. Yeah, it was another lackluster villain who posed no real threat despite being told otherwise. However, we’ve come to expect the main characters to be fun and relatable and that’s what we got.

A staple of ’80s television was Miami Vice and on a whim I picked up the whole series on Blu-ray despite never really watching it at the time. I mean, I wasn’t even a teenager during its five season run. It’s a huge 20-disc set and was half the original price.

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Other films I bought were Pleasantville, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Bridge of Spies, and a special edition of Death Wish II with a theatrical and unrated cut of the film.

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On a final topic, I can happily say that the SNES Classic was much easier to obtain than I expected, but it definitely was still on the low end of the quantity of the shipments. The store I work at received only 14 units which was more than the 2-3 they got last year with the NES Classic system. I helped sell an initial 6-7 at midnight, I immediately went on my break and bought mine. A first shift employee asked me if any were left and at 4:30am I sold the last one to him. It might not sound like much, but with just over four hours that supply lasted longer than I expected.

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As far as my experience with the system itself, I’ve only played Street Fighter II Turbo and even did so with Usagi704. It was as fun as a real system and I can’t really complain about the selection of games. Even if some of the games aren’t my speed, it’s understandable why they’re on there. Plus, the quality of the games chosen are of much higher quality than the NES Classic had. Truly less is more in this case.

Thanks for reading and game on!

Now Playing: April 2016

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Since I never did a Now Playing article for either February or March thanks to my PC being out of commission, I figured I’d do one for April.

Why a week sooner than I’d usually aim to do it? This is because I don’t see myself having much time or interest in gaming in the coming weeks. My free time is more spent these days watching movies or TV. I feel it doesn’t do me any good to tell myself I’m going to play a game later on knowing I’m probably not going to bother. It’s a pointless expectation to have if my interest isn’t there when the time comes.

Now don’t take me as one of those “I’m done with gaming” types. That’s preposterous. It’s much more along the lines of “absence makes the heart grow fonder” things. Time away from playing games will ultimately help me get more excited to play them.

In these last two months I did play and beat Jak 3 (PS2) and Uncharted 3 via the Uncharted Collection on PS4. The former was fun until the final boss. Trying to shoot specific spots without any sort of auto aim in a vehicle that only shoots straight ahead is not what I call fun. The latter was fun and Drake was a wonderfully voiced character as always, but the constant big set piece escapes from crumbling structures got old very, very fast.

I also played some of the RPG Star Ocean: First Departure on PSP. It was fun for about 5 hours and, as usual, I lost interest. Rarely does an RPG keep me entertained these days.

I do want to eventually finish The Legend of Kage 2 (DS) and Bully (PS2), but those will have to wait until my gaming mojo returns.

In the meantime, I’ve watched A Clockwork Orange and was surprised how much I enjoyed it. The scenes you usually see about the movie are from the beginning section and that never convinced me to watch it. However, a breakdown of the movie via Renegade Cut showed me other parts of the film making it much more intriguing. This is something you simply cannot accomplish for me by avoiding spoilers as the Internet community would have you believe.

A Clockwork Orange was an excellent piece on society’s view on criminal punishment and rehabilitation. In that regardless of debt paid while incarcerated the victims still want a piece of payback for themselves. It’s actually quite sad and makes Alex, the main character, sympathetic by the end. At the end, though, it seems as if Alex reverts back to his old ways. Is this the case or am I reading more into it than is there?

Finally, I’ll leave you with my new acquisition of Painkiller: Hell & Damnation. Thanks for reading!

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Now Playing: January 2016

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I decided to queue up most of the games I have that were featured at this year’s Awesome Games Done Quick which took place at the beginning of the month. These are games I have that were played at the event, but that I haven’t played as of yet.

First up was Donkey Kong Country. The unplayed aspect is actually untrue here as I had it back when it had been released in 1994. In fact, my copy is still the same one and it works great. I’m not particularly a fan of the DKC series or of Rare in general, but my overall experience this time around was less frustrating than in the past.

I’m currently on Jak 3. I played and beat the first game, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, many years ago and avoided Jak II on reasons of unfair difficulty. This problem does seem to be addressed here though there can still be factors that are annoying from time to time. It’s less platforming than the first game and more shooting and driving.

I also finished Hotline Miami again (as I first did in 2014) only this time on the PS3. I bought the PS4 version recently for $2.00 and it came with the PS3 and Vita versions as well. It’s still quite a fun game as I remember.

THIS MONTH’S GAMING STATS:
* Donkey Kong Country – 4h19m; 42%
* Jak 3 – 5h1m; 44%
* Hotline Miami – Finished on PS3; 9 trophies

Hart & Usagi Podcast #65: Bombshells

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On this episode of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we chat mainly about the game announcements from E3 2015 among a few other things. Join us.

Enjoy and remember to subscribe via RSS or iTunes and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast on Twitter!

NEWS/TOPICS:
* GameStop to acquire ThinkGeek parent company Geeknet
* The First Class of the World Video Game Hall of Fame
* Uncharted PS4 Collection Removes Multiplayer for Uncharted 2 and 3
* USgamer Community Question: What’s Your All-Time Favorite Arcade Game?
* The Jimquisition: Steam Refunds
* Arc System Works buys out Double Dragon, River City Ransom rights
* Bethesda E3 2015 Press Conference News Roundup
* Microsoft E3 2015 Press Conference News Roundup
* Electronic Arts E3 2015 Press Conference News Roundup
* Ubisoft E3 2015 Press Conference News Roundup
* Sony E3 2015 Press Conference News Roundup
* All of the Nintendo E3 2015 Release Dates
* Sony will support development of ‘Shenmue 3’
* Season Passes are Not Good for Gamers, says Hitman Dev
* How Far Can Drawn to Death’s Intriguing Aesthetic Take It?
* Shenmue 3 Creator Also Wants to do Shenmue 4

Listen or Download (1:59:01)

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Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704

@HartandUsagi

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E3 2015: Times-a-Wastin’

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The following are my comments on the blog post “The Year Ahead in Gaming” as written by @ebbderelict.

I’m interested in the newest Batman Arkham game as well. I haven’t yet played City, but I’m sure to get to it since I do own it. The main reason I had not cared for Origins was mainly because of the buggy mess I heard it was.

Star Wars: Battlefront is, well, Star Wars. That alone makes it uninteresting to me. But then again I don’t completely lack Star Wars games in my current collection. I own Episode III on GBA. I want to say WayForward developed it, but all I can find is information that Ubisoft did it.

Deus Ex on PS2 was fun, but since I’m not the biggest fan of those types of games, I don’t hope it up highly even though it was an enjoyable time. With that said I’ve had my fill of the series.

I’m still trying to get up to speed on all the E3 news and I didn’t realize Platinum was doing a Transformers game. I’m interested because they have a good pedigree. I’m less excited because Activision may rush them like they did with The Legend of Korra game. It’s a wait and see for sure.

I quite liked Mirror’s Edge. I was happy when it became known awhile back that a sequel was in the works. I have high hopes for Catalyst improving on what didn’t work so well last time.

Doom 4, as I’ll be calling it unofficially to avoid confusion with the PC classic, has the Doom 3 aesthetics with what looks like faster gameplay similar to the original two games. It really looks like this could be what fans of Doom have been waiting for since 2004.

I own the majority of the Ratchet & Clank series and I always have fun with them, but since they all feel about the same to me (says the guy who loves God of War games), I don’t see the need to get to them when picking an unplayed game to tackle next. Regardless I know I’ll pick up the first R&C outing on the PS4 to see how it turns out.

We’re simply old men who feel “times-a-wastin'” so the bird-dog needs to pick up the slack and get moving. The Last Guardian will probably be another title, along with this studio’s previous efforts, that I’ll buy with little interest in actually playing. You know, as in “I’ll get to it when I get to it.”

I’m in the opposite camp. I’m excited about Uncharted 4. I also liked the first game, but I was stoked for the second game and enjoyed it too. The third game, however, not so much though I do plan to get to it whenever that will be.

I’m always amused by the fact that Square Enix themselves said years ago that a remake of Final Fantasy VII would not happen, but despite this fans of the game just wouldn’t shut up about it. They went so far as in to actually expect the remake announcement at PSX last year. No doubt the remake actually happening is a shocker, but I still do not care in the slightest other than finally they can all collectively be quiet on this since they finally got what they wanted.

Shenmue III: see Final Fantasy VII remake from above.