Happy Holidays 2022!
The PixelatedArcade 2022 End of Year Roundup
And here we are...the end of 2022! Time flies, and before you know it it's time for the now tradditional end-of-year roundup. It's been a while since I've done any game reviews, so a few really quick ones are below too. I spent a lot of time this year ranting about color, color clashes, and other similar topics. More of that to come in 2023, along with additions to the ever expanding database of screenshots, scans, game information, and so on...
And now the database stats for the year...
- Game listings: 2757
- Screenshots: 48919 (3347 screenshot groups)
- Cover scans and photos: 12100 (2084 cover groups)
- Other photographs: 14065 (1840 picture groups)
- Technical specs: 6116
- Game credits: 2442
- Releases: 8667
- Game logos: 1457
- Company logos: 130
- Related game groups: 190
- Instruction Manuals / Documents: 1050 (768 games)
- Game Overviews: 854 (434 games)
- Advertisement scans: 1935 (1312 groups for 1055 games/tech specs/game groups)
This project is continuously updating the database, and a lot was added this year! Again a number of new platforms were added to the database in order to make some of the game entries more complete along with several code updates to add features, resolve bugs, and improve performance. In order to add games, screenshots, scans, and more to the site digging out games is, of course, necessary; often it's fun to replay games I haven't in a long time, but there's some aweful ones as well and I suddenly remember why I regretted a purchase (or was glad I avoided a purchase) back in the day. For fun, here's a few ultra-quick reviews of a few games to check out (or stay clear of!).
James Bond 007Parker Brothers games division was short lived, and they'll probably be best remembered for some decent arcade conversions (especially Q*bert), but they also went down the licensing IP route with mixed results. James Bond 007 is one of the worst from their catalog! While ostensibly inspired by various James Bond movies, it's really more of a frustrating Moon Patrol clone. You drive what looks like the moon buggy from the Atari 2600 version of Moon Patrol and each level has different goals to complete (such as destroying an oil rig, etc.); not bad conceptually, but the gameplay is actually quite annoying. It's all too easy for your vehicle to get destroyed while jumping or diving and there's little you can do about it. All of the versions are pretty similar and on the more technically advanced platfroms don't take advantage of the graphics and sound capabilities.
Flip 'N' MatchAnother dud, this time from Sierra On-Line. Before their famous King's Quest and other 3D animated adventured games, their business model and approach to games was quite different. Flip 'N' Match came about at the end of that era for a computer that was on it's way out (the Commodore VIC-20), was poorly advertised, and was little more than a computerized version of the Memory board game. This makes it quite rare today, but it's of little interest other than to collectors. It works well enough and the graphics and sound are decent enough by VIC-20 standards, there are one and two player options, plus there is a simpler version on side B of the cassette to make the game easier for children. But in this case the concept just isn't exciting for a computer game. It was probably an attempt to create something for what would eventually become the casual games market, but with the cost of even low end computers plus their lack of portability that market hadn't really materialized yet. So overall this ends up being an interesting program historically but isn't one you would spend much time playing and certainly isn't one that aged well.
Impossible MissionAnother visitor. Stay a while...stay forever!
How about something fun now...this time from Epyx! Impossible Mission debuted on the Commodore 64 with clear, fluid graphics, great sounds, and, amazing for the time, speech! But it wasn't just technically great; A mixture of action, adventure, and puzzle solving, the game created an atmospheric, challenging environment that was fun to play. And, oh boy, it was challenging! I'm sure some players completed the game, but that's a feat I wasn't able to achieve myself. But I think that overall the unique gameplay and excellent execution make this one deserving of the high praise it received. While versions were released for numerous platforms eventually, and most are just as playable and enjoyable, the C64 version really is the reference version for this game. If you haven't played it, it's one that must be tried; even after all these years, it still holds up extremely well. The one drawback is you'll probably want to browse through the manual first; without that it's not quite clear what your goal is, and the game is tough enough when you don't need to figure out the objectives as well!
ZaxxonZaxxon from SEGA was incredibly successful with the original arcade version being one of the highest grossing coin-op games of the time and the home ports nearing the top of many sales lists. Despite this, I've always been rather luke warm on the game. It's not bad; indeed the graphics and sound for the time were spectacular. But the gameplay doesn't work particularly great for me; I always had trouble with the psuedo 3D view for some reason. I often found myself crashing into enemies, walls, or something when I thought I was in the clear. This added an element of frustration to what otherwise is a fun scrolling shooter (a genre I'm particularly fond of). This one is worth taking a look at and playing from time to time, but isn't one that kept my attention as much as other games from the era. The arcade version here is definitely the best; the home ports can vary wildly in their quality. The 3D view was difficult on the home computer and console hardware to the point some ports didn't even bother getting the perspective right (the Atari 2600 and Intellivision versions are notably bad). Some of the ports are pretty decent, though.
The HeistAh, The Heist from Micro Fun! Here we have an ok platform game with the goal of collecting valuable art from a museum. As the thief, you'll need to avoid a wide variety of security systems found in the museum and pick up all the paintings before time runs out. Walls, elevators, gaps in the floor, and more make this museum somewhat of a maze. You'll need to explore carefully to reach some paintings without becoming trapped. The concept works well and gameplay is pretty decent; there's one main source of frustration, though, and that is timing jumps over what look like flower pots with something popping out of them. You really need to be exact to get past them, and they're all over the place. It's too bad, as it makes annoying what is otherwise a fun game. This one is worth checking out, but I really, really wish those things on the floor were even just a little bit easier to jump over without dying as that simple change could have made this game much better than it is!
That's all the mini-reviews for today, and this is also probably the last news update for 2022. We'll be back in 2023 with plenty more; thanks for stopping by and until next time enjoy the holidays, and take care!