Posts Tagged ‘dTox’

Atari: Game Over

Genre: Video Game, Documentary
Publisher: Microsoft X-Box
Release Date: November 20th 2014

Starting off with an epic feel, visions of mountains and canyons, its clear that Atari: Game Over is gearing up to tell this legendary “urban legend.” The movie quickly transitions into its main concept of finding the rumored legions of Atari 2600 E.T. games buried deep in the Alamogordo Landfill in New Mexico. Not to mention speculating between whether or not the event even happened in the first place. The crew spends the beginning of the film going after where exactly the games may have been dumped, and why they were buried there to begin with.

The team spent over 3 years researching as to where the games were dumped, if they even were. One of the largest concerns of the crew was the possibility of the games being at the very bottom, and had been covered in concrete, requiring large equipment to unearth them. They had to cut through a lot of thick red tape to get permission to do the dig. Originally the crew was met with hostility, but eventually the city found it to be a good idea and allowed them to do the dig.

Atari was the original system that everyone loved. It was a staple in millions of homes across america and was the gateway to the computer revolution. Most people forget that Atari not only made home gaming consoles but also home computer systems as well. So when I think of Atari to me its a computer company, because when it comes down to it, even game consoles are computers. They focus a fair amount on Atari as a company and how it began. From its original launch item, Pong, to the birth of the 2600 (1977) debuting with only 9 carts. An instant hit across the board, this was the first time people were able to bring the arcade into their living rooms and the 2600 grew widely in popularity. The movie eventually leads up to the point where Atari acquires the licensing for E.T. at 22 million dollars. Atari took some time to do this, so when they eventually were able to get permission to make the game, they only had 5 weeks to program it, in order to make it in time for the holiday season. Typical games at this time took 5 to 6 months to create, and with only 5 weeks before the holiday dead line they needed their best programmer, Howard Warshaw.


Howard Warshaw was the developer and programmer for the E.T. game. He also was responsible for several of Atari’s first big hits like Yars Revenge and Indiana Jones, each selling millions of copies. So its not like he was the worst programmer at Atari, to the contrary he was their best. E.T. for the 2600 itself was a really hard game. Hard to understand, and very unforgiving, most people didn’t give it the chance that it deserved. Even today, most people speak badly about a game that they truly never have played.

The movie eventually tells the story of how Atari saw a 500,000,000 dollar loss the same fiscal year as E.T.’s release for the 2600 in 1983. This caused over 8000 jobs to be dissolved and essentially the end of Atari. The E.T. game is largely credited for its demise… But remember what I said earlier about how when I think of Atari I think of computers? At the time, Atari had flooded the market with a line of home computers that had failed terribly. Yes of course a 22 million dollar investment in a game that sold horribly doesn’t help any, but when you take into account everything else Atari was dealing in, this as well effected the overall success of the company.

“You never go to a dump unless you’re throwing something away, we’re here looking for buried treasure.” – Dig Attendant

Atari: Game Over also documents several peoples “pilgrimage” to the dig site in Alamogordo, New Mexico. These people have not only an overall devotion to gaming but to the urban legend itself. When watching the movie I was surprised to see the large turnout at the dig, several thousand people surrounded the site waiting for the first glimpse at what may or may not be there. Most notable was the wind during the dig, kicking up the loose white sands of the desert, apparently record setting. The first thing found was an Atari 2600 joystick top by one of the many onlookers. Eventually they find a boxed copy of E.T. and then subsequently several copies after that. When it really comes down to it though, E.T. only made up 10% of the games found, most were popular games of the time like Adventure, Pac-Man and Asteroid.

In the end, it comes down to a “myth” that was actually already documented in the some cases. I guess since it was 30 years ago its hard to tell if its true or not is up for question. Because of its severity, dumping 100’s of thousands of video game merchandise seems drastic so therefore how could it be true? The movie even ends in some ominous way leaving you wondering what was to happen with all these games that were found. Were they to be boxed up in some hangar in the desert for another 30 years? No, nothing that epic, shady or conspiracy theory like. Other than the ones given out and donated to various different people involved with the dig and video game history, they were later sold by the town of Alamogordo via EBay for $1500 a pop.


Watch Atari: Game Over



Genre: Casual, Indie, RPG, Turn Based
Developer: David Williamson
 David Williamson
Release Date:
 April 5, 2012

Another instantly addicting game, Hack, Slash, Loot by developer David Williamson is a work of turn based martial art. Roguelike, you have to take every chance, try every door and kill every creature in your path. Incredibly fun to play, you don’t know who or what is in the next room, leaving you on the edge of your seat making Hack, Slash, Loot a go to game.

First starting the game you are given the option of a Human, Wizard or Archer, with continued gameplay you are able to unlock another 29 over time. Throughout the game you will encounter hordes of monsters, demons, zombies, and a manifold of other creatures to battle. Being turn based, you have to wait your turn, so be prepared to click frantically until your turn comes only to miss and do it again. With that being said its not all clicking, there is a deeper level of gameplay involved in Hack, Slash, Loot. This game involves a tactical insight and understanding beyond pointing and clicking. Each different quests embodies another set of skills and approach at the game. The possibilities are endless, mixing and matching of accessories and armor make every run different and add a new level of excitement and draw to the game.

There are dark places in the world inhabited by evil denizens. Places filled with danger and foreboding where no ordinary man would dare to journey. However, there are a few who are willing to risk death in the name of good, in the name of justice, in the name of… valuable loot! Depending on what quest you choose you are given a backstory to give you a sense of what your goal is in your adventure. Within each of the different quests you encounter various creatures and characters that have roles in the story, or provide dialog pertaining to whats at hand. While some quests are easier than others, each are sure to keep you on your toes.

Play for a few minutes or get more serious and sit down for a few hours, the more you play Hack, Slash, Loot the deeper you become involved. The retro appeal of this game really sells it the most, imagine Realm of the Mad God meets MS-DOS Dungeons and Dragons, imagine Final Fantasy Tactics meets Hammerwatch, imagine playing while watching the animated Lord Of The Rings, because thats what I did and now I love this game. You have a control panel in front of you while navigating your hero throughout each quest. To the left you have the status of your character displaying armor and stats. In the middle, a mini map that lights up as you explore each room, this also serves as a quick point and click to get you across the level faster. On the right, the description and status of each tile, chest, monster or whatever you hover the mouse over.

With only the life you are given to start you must find chests or overturn dead bodies in order to find scrolls or potions to boost your health as well as other stats at the same time. These scrolls and potions are critical to gameplay and make Hack, Slash, Loot almost impossible to play without them. With 32 different classes to choose from, 6 unique quests, and an endless mixture of armor, weaponry and gear makes Hack, Slash, Loot an instant classic and a must have for any indie gamer.

Graphics: 6/10
Playability: 7/10
Story: 9/10
Challenge: 8/10
Replay Value: 7/10 (6.5mb)

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Genre: Action, Indie, Platformer
Publisher: Ian Campbell
Release Date: July 3, 2013

Bleed is an action packed shoot em up indie platformer sacrificed in hell and resurrected in heaven by Jesus himself. This game by developer Ian Campbell brings incredible gameplay with illustrious graphics to another level where it kicks you off the edge whispering into your ear “don’t die.” With these words of wisdom ringing in your mind you pick up the controller and begin one of the toughest fights of your life.

Its games like Bleed that from the moment you watch the trailer you know that it isn’t too far from your hard drive. Unlike many of those games on that hard drive, Bleed sets itself aside from others of its genre with several different elements such as the ability to slow time at the touch of a button. Bleed also leaves a lot of the main characters abilities and stats up to you, this is done through the shop that you are able to visit prior to each level. During each level, you are graded depending on how creative you are with your gameplay, and awarded coins conducive to the grade achieved at the end. These coins are what are used to purchase each upgrade and are vital to this game’s progression.

The heroine of this game is Wryn, a girl with a big dreams and an even bigger arsenal. Your goal as Wryn is to become the ultimate video game hero, and in an action packed bid to claim the title for herself, she must take down the greatest heroes of all time. Bleed is focused on stylish, acrobatic dodging and fluid, challenging gameplay, where Wryn will have to use those abilities to kill hordes of enemies, endure backbreaking obstacles and overpower inventive bosses. Her bitter sarcasm after every tragic death leaves you with a personal vendetta against each level, not to mention a bruised ego.

I give this game 5 broken controllers, because even on the easiest difficulty setting Bleed is more challenging than prying the crack pipe out of Whitney Houstons cold dead lips. The weaponry in Bleed focuses around heavy artillery, starting you off with twin guns and a rocket launcher. By gaining coins throughout each level you can buy new weapons such as a flamethrower or even remote mines. No need to worry about bullets, Wryn seems to have an extended clip with more rounds than the hero of your favorite 80’s cop film. Bleed is fast paced, combined with an intuitive sense of time along with an attention to aiming making gameplay one of a kind.

Offering an EXTRAS option in the main menu extends gameplay making Bleed’s replay value higher than most. With two different modes, Arcade & Challenge, Arcade Mode can be unlocked by beating the story mode, and Challenge Mode consists of fighting bosses complete with your choice of arena. Bleed has a multiplayer option that is available anytime during the Story Mode of the single player campaign as well. Two times the power can sometimes be a burden if you can’t keep up, but also provides the effectiveness needed to complete your objective. Also, each different level is replayable in whatever difficulty may suit you. This way you are able to purchase each of the upgrades and fully experience the game, taking down anything that may come in your path.

After playing the demo and then buying the game during the Steam summer sale, in true Bleed fashion I give it a B+. Bleed catches the eye, paired with addictive gameplay and intuitive dynamics it is destined for success. Although a tough one, this game is a joy to play and even better with friends. Endless creativity at your thumbs, there isn’t a bad thing I can think of when it comes to Bleed. Needless to say, the game is beautifully designed and creativity “bleeds” out of every scene, making this game well worth the buy.

Graphics: 7/10
Playability: 7/10
Story: 5/10
Challenge: 9/10
Replay Value: 7/10