Random retro thoughts…

Random gaming thoughts from the brain of Alex:

  • I’ve been having a lot of fun with Pac-Man CE on Xbox Live, but it took me some time to work out exactly why. I’m only a moderate fan of the original, whose charms were somewhat lost on me when the whole business with predictable patterns was revealed. Yes, I know expecting sophisticated AI out of an early 80’s arcade game is perhaps stretching it, but the whole Pac-Man experience is basically one of paranoia. There are ghosts, and they’re out to get you. Reduce that to patterns, and the paranoia is gone. I’ve played lots of Pac-Man clones over the years — including a really good Amiga PD game that had lots of quirky changes — but Pac-Man CE only makes the lightest changes, including no patterns (or no discernible patterns, anyway). It’s tight, tense gaming the way it’s meant to be, and if Namco have any business sense at all, they’ll port it to every other platform known to man. It’s not as though they’ve ever been shy at using the Pac-Man brand everywhere else…
  • Likewise, I’ve been enjoying Pinball FX quite a lot, although something was bugging me about its presentation. It finally dawned on me what it was the other night; the tables — which are otherwise immaculately presented — are too “clean” and “fast” for real pinball. Where’s the grubby pub fingerprints, scratched backglass and slightly sticky left bumper, eh?
  • This is a great idea, and I wish I had the time to do it. Short form; someone playing through the Twin Galaxies score guide, one game at a time, in order to see how many arcade records could be racked up. He’s only playing on MAME, but with an eye towards future real arcade records. It also reminds me of what happened just prior to my wedding — I sat down with two friends and tried to play through one game each of every game I owned at the time. Three days later, with very little sleep, we managed it — although in retrospect, spending two hours playing Combat (Atari 2600) at the start probably wasn’t the greatest idea.

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