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20 Forgotten Retro Video Games II (NES Era)

Well since my previous post visiting the Atari era of games was so popular, I figured I’d jump right into a part 2 with the NES era.  As with my prior installment I want this to focus on the more forgotten games.  Sure, Super Mario Bros and Tetris will always be remembered, but they will stand the test of time.  Some of these others were decent games that weren’t of a huge franchise, but have all been somewhat forgotten.

If you have any you think should be added, feel free to comment or start a discussion below on which brought the best or worst memories for you.

NARC20 – NARC (1988) – I first played this in the arcade and remember losing plenty of quarters to it, but something about a more realistic (in the sense of blood) game at the time, it was appealing.  You were a cop on a mission.  That mission?  Well, you weren’t really undercover like a real NARC would be, so you just wiped out waves of bad guys to get to the drug dealer boss at the end.  It was a run and gun style game, but you could team up with a friend for some great co-op action.  Just don’t run out of lives.

xen19 – Xenophobe (1987) – To say this isn’t a rip off of the Alien movie franchise would be a lie, because the aliens are very similar in many ways, but the story is quite different.  It’s not locked solely in space, so whether in a base, in a city or elsewhere, you could grab two of your closest friends and eradicate the “Xenos”.  My issue was the timed aspect.  Each level had to be done before the timer ran out.  I’m not a fan of being pressured to complete video game objectives in a certain amount of time.

lemm18- Lemmings (1991) – These pesky little guys/girls who keep walking, until they reach their goal or perish, quickly became a fascination of mine.  Using ladders, ramps, bombs and other tools I could make them reach their goal safely.  In return I’d get to advance another level with them as the difficulty increased each time.  The two player angle wasn’t as good as playing alone because the split screen just took attention away from the solo player’s task.  This game spawned two spinoffs as well as the sequels: “Lemmings 2: The Tribes,” “All New World Of Lemmings,” “3D Lemmings,” and “Lemmings Revolution.”

jackalNesScreen17 – Jackal (1988) – The concept was simple.  You (and a friend if you want) are dropped off in the middle of enemy territory with a jeep.  You must drive, shoot, and avoid deadly enemy fire in order to rescue the POWs and save the day.  Okay maybe the concept was pretty unrealistic as no one (not even Rambo) could do all that, but it made for a very entertaining albeit challenging game.



54709-Adventures_of_Bayou_Billy,_The_(USA)-516 – The Adventures of Bayou Billy (1989) – It may look like Crocodile Dundee, but instead it’s Billy West (no, not the same Billy West involved with Futurama).  Billy West is a vigilante bent on taking down the crime lord in the swamps of the south.  What was great about this game wasn’t just the impossible side scrolling brawler that it was, but there were two levels where the light gun came into play.  If you didn’t have the light gun you could always use the controller to control the crosshairs, but it was much more fun with the pinging of the light gun’s trigger.  There were also levels where you drove a vehicle giving it a wide variety in type of play.  This game easily got shadowed by it’s more popular competition like Double Dragon, but it’s still a fond memory and actually had more to it.

Bubblebobble15 – Bubble Bobble (1986) – Bub and Bob have been turned into bubble dragons and must traverse 100 levels of cave monsters in order to reach their girlfriends who have been kidnapped.  Who caused all of this?  Baron Von Blubba.  All you had to do was use your bubble blowing skills to entrap an enemy and pop the bubble to eliminate them.  It also featured multiple endings, but the true good ending you could only get if you played co-op.  I’d list the 20 sequels that were made plus the spinoff, but that’d take up half this page.  Just know it was good enough to have some sort of ongoing legacy all thanks to the original that we may have all forgotten.

operation-wolf-114 – Operation Wolf (1987) – A shooting game using the light gun.  It was one of the first arcade like shooters that put you in a first person view as you run through a concentration camp to rescue hostages.  It was a scroller, so while you didn’t physically move your character, the screen did that part for you.  All you had to do was point and shoot.  If I recall correctly there is more than one ending depending on how many hostages you successfully rescue.  It had three sequels: “Operation Thunderbolt,” “Operation Wolf 3”, and “Operation Tiger.”

dwar13 – Dragon Warrior (1986) – This was really the first great RPG style game.  Known as Dragon Quest around the world, it has had several spinoffs, sequels, cartoons and other media interpretations under the Quest name.  But Dragon Warrior is a forgotten title by many.  It gave a close up view of the enemy you were fighting, making you feel as if you were in the game.  That first person fighting perspective combined with an overhead map to traverse and strategy of leveling up and equipping your characters is what made this game so well rounded and a series which is relevant in gaming today.

Marblemadnessscreenshot12 – Marble Madness (1984) – Okay, so technically I first played this game on Atari, but it was the NES version that had more levels, better controls and graphics, and was all around just better.  It was very nerve wracking however, and your patience would be tested as you guided your marble ball through the obstacle courses within a certain amount of time.  It not only looked 3 dimensional for the time, but actually used physics that were very close to how a ball would roll on such a course.  A sequel was planned but eventually scrapped because other similar games were inspired by this stand alone game.

battletoads-retrospective-2009011303471918411. Battletoads (1991) – These guys were basically the Ninja Turtles but toads and with different villains.  It might have been a rip off in a way, but it was still lots of fun.  Its sequels continued to be pretty decent too (except for Battletoads/Double Dragon, which was really a selling gimmick because the game was terrible).  I vaguely remember an animated series that had to be as bad as Captain N the Gamemaster, because the existence of it is very faint in my mind.  Still, despite them not being as cool or well received as the TMNT, the first game was a great coop beat-em-up.

hqdefault10 – Arkanoid (1986) – I really don’t know what it was about this game that I loved so much.  I do still enjoy it today, don’t get me wrong, but the concept is so simple there’s not much to it.  You take the game Pong, turn it vertical and bounce a ball into blocks until there are no blocks remaining.  Occasionally a powerup dropped and you could multiply how many balls were on screen or even shoot bullets to help you out.  Just don’t pick up the power down that will shrink your paddle.  The sequels “Arkanoid Revenge of Doh,” “Arkanoid Doh it Again,” and “Arkanoid Returns” were the main sequels with many breakout like knock offs trying to replicate the awesomeness of this one.  There was even an Arkanoid Space Invaders crossover game made.

Commando9 – Commando (1985) – Not to be confused with the film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, its concept was similar.  You’re a lone soldier facing ridiculous odds to rescue POWs and defeat the evil army forces.  Now here’s the interesting thing that I didn’t realize until now…  It had its sequels “Mercs” and “Commando 3: Wolf Of the Battlefield,” but “Bionic Commando” and its two sequels are also part of the franchise.  They get a bit more sci-fi as the main hero has been injured and gains bionic parts, but the fact that they are all intertwined makes me like this game even more.  Commando is one of my favorites from that era.

nes-classic-edition-kung-fu8 – Kung Fu (1984) – The main character is directly based on a character Jackie Chan played, but has no relation to that continuity.  It was a side scrolling punch and kick game with no fore or background movement.  You just had to fight to survive and make it past a ridiculous amount of enemies who didn’t fight very well at all. “Kung Fu Master,” “Kung Fu Master 2” and “Vigilante” are all follow ups to this original game (which in Japan was called Kung Fu Master).  I was determined to beat the bosses in each level, but I’m not sure I made it past level 4.  Still, it provided hours of entertainment.

kid-icarus7 – Kid Icarus (1987) – Greek Mythology tales were some of my early favorite stories, so Kid Icarus hit the spot for me.  I remember flying up and up as my bow and arrow eliminated other mythological beasts and traversed the underworld, Earth, and Olympus to face off against Medusa and others.  “Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters,” and “Kid Icarus Uprising” were its sequels, but neither look to be as great as this one was memorable for me.

19426 – 1942 (1986) – Being a pilot during 1942 over the Pacific would not be something I imagine an easy task, but the game made it lots of fun.  The powerups were great as you fought waves of enemies to reach the end of each level and eventually win the war.  It was followed by “1943: The Battle Of Midway,” “1944: The Loop Master,” “19XX: The War Against Destiny,” and a prequel “1941: Counter Attack.”  They are timeless games that we’ve seen tons of similar styles pay homage to over the years.  I’ll never get tired of these an playing it with a friend was even stimulating.

Spy_Hunter5 – Spy Hunter (1983) – I realize this was out in arcades and for the Atari for a few years before NES came along, but it was the NES version that was the big hit for me.  I always loved racing games, but something about this being the top down view made it unique.  That uniqueness was amplified obviously by the face that your car could shoot and gain other weapons, then go into boat mode and so on.  Spy Hunter was difficult.  I never made it past the 3rd section without cheating, but the repetition of playing it over and over never bothered me.  I just wanted to play it.  Its sequels were just as fun and increasingly got better (give or take) with each installment: “Spy Hunter 2,” “Super Spy Hunter,” Spyhunter,” “Spyhunter 2,” “Spy Hunter,” and “Spyhunter: Nowhere to Run.”  Notice that the later sequels reused the title as a way to reboot the franchise, but still serve as a follow on to the original plot, and even included actor Dwayne Johnson as the title character.

Gauntlet_-_1985_-_Tengen_Ltd4 – Gauntlet (1985) – Oh my poor allowance.  Since I didn’t actually own a NES, my brother and I would play the arcade version of this game constantly.  How many quarters we spent could have probably bought us a Nintendo over the course of the two summers we spent playing this and the next game I’ll mention.  I always chose the warrior and he chose the elf.  Then I’d shove him aside when he’d shoot my food as my life ticked away in the game.  There was so much about this game that was annoying, yet somehow became so much fun.  It’s another that I never beat but thankfully the NES version gave you passwords when you made it to certain checkpoints.  I can see death chasing me down the corridors as the machine said in a muffled voice, “Warrior is about to die.”  It haunts me.  There were some great sequels too: “Gauntlet II,” “Gauntlet: The Third Encounter,” “Gauntlet III: The Final Quest,” “Gauntlet IV,” “Gauntlet Legends,” “Gauntlet Dark Legacy,” and “Gauntlet The Seven Sorrows.”

r43 Rampage (1986) – What do you get when you cross a King Kong wannabe, a Godzilla wannabe and a Giant Werewolf with human DNA?  Well you get this game of course.  Rampage was great because you destroyed buildings, ate people, caused mayhem, and even though you were the badguy of the game it was just so much fun being evil.  Sometimes just to piss my brother off, I’d turn on him in coop mode and punch him off a building.  It wasn’t nice, but heck I was playing as a bad guy character, so it was justified.  The sequels were even more fun and gave new characters the spotlight as well as returning ones: “Rampage World Tour,” “Rampage Universal Tour,” “Rampage Through Time,” and “Rampage Total Destruction.”  There was also a spinoff and a movie made starring yet again The Rock.

excite2 Excitebike (1985) – Whether racing against the clock or against computer opponents, this game took trick dirt biking and brought it into your living room.  The highlight of this game for me though was that you could build your own tracks and race them.  I recall making some impossible scenarios and then proving I could beat my own tracks without falling off the bike.  It was a simpler game, yet satisfying.  It also had a few quasi-sequels: “Excitebike 64,” “Excite Truck,” “Excitebots: Trick Racing,” and “Excitebike World Rally.”

rcproam-1R.C. Pro Am (1988) – Radio controlled cars were huge in the 80s, but if it was raining outside this was the next best thing.  Driving a track with your friends or alone, upgrading your RC cars and winning the races.  The games may not have lasted that long, but the memories always will.  This, alongside its sequels “Super RC Pro Am” and “RC Pro Am II” paved way for many generations of combative style racing games such as Mario Kart and more.

baddudesarcade_004I realize there are plenty of sports games I could put on this list, but I feel they fall into their own category for a later post.  There are other great games for NES that a list of 50 wouldn’t suffice.  I can’t mention them all, but for my 20 forgotten games there is an honorable mention.  Bad Dudes was released in 1988 and while this street brawler wasn’t nearly as good as some of its competition, it was better than others and still ridiculously entertaining.


20 Forgotten Retro Video Games (Atari Era)

I had a sudden flashback the other night to a game I played in the early 80s, and they kept on coming to me. These were video games that had minimal story in today’s standards, but a plot that seemed above all else for their time. They helped shape my passion for telling stories in books today. I figured I’d list just a few of them and would love to hear if you remember these or any others that stand out to you pre-NES era.

If you’re younger (because let’s face it I’m showing my age with this post), then you might want to check these out and let me know what you think (even if the controls are quite unnerving.)  My brother Dan helped throw a few of these together, making the list complete.

Here’s my top 20:

ninja20 – Ninja (Atari 8-Bit 1986) – I may have broken a controller playing this at one point because of the sometimes unresponsive controls, but it was still a cool game.  As the ninja you could use your combat skills, throwing stars, knives, and sword to battle other skilled enemies in a fortress.  I always died when having to battle more than three at a time, but it was still fun and different than any other game of its kind because each screen up down left or right brought you a different challenger(s) and layout.

pitfall19 – Pitfall! (Atari 2600 1982) – Pitfall was an easy way to satisfy someone wanting to play the role of Indiana Jones.  The thing was you were Pitfall Harry and it was a totally different story.  Regardless the feel was there and it was frustrating and fun at the same time.  I remember always wondering if there was an end to the game.  Apparently there is but I was never able to beat it in under the time required, so I lost out finding that final treasure.  Its sequels were even better.  “Pittfall II: The Lost Caverns,” Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure,” Pitfall: Beyond The Jungle,” and “Pitfall: The Lost Expedition” were all better evolutions of their predecessors and maintained that same theme that made the original so good.

riddle18 – The Riddle of The Sphinx ( Atari 2600 1982) – As the Prince of Egypt armed with a sling shot, it was your goal in this vertically scrolling game to solve the Riddle of the Sphinx.  It combined arcade style action and artifacts.  While you fought off enemies, you had to collect the artifacts and take them to the right places to solve the riddle and gain access to the Temple of Ra.

rr17 – River Raid (Atari 2600 1982) – Dan reminded me of River Raid and I’m not sure how I forgot about this one.  You flew a plane over a base and down a river to take out enemy forces.  Simple I know, but it’s sequel “River Raid II” was even better and felt as a true continuation to its predecessor.  Either way if you owned or played one of these, then you had to play the other to get the full experience.

01-enduro-Activision_1983-atari-game-jogo-decada8016 – Enduro (Atari 2600 1983) – Dan chose this one as well and I can’t disagree.  Enduro was way better than pole position or any other racing game of the time because it had changing times of day and visibility.  It seemed like an endless racer at first, but there was a trophy you’d earn if you got so far.  If I recall correctly you could even be entered into a drawing if your score was high enough for an actual real car for a limited time upon release (though no 5 or 6 year old was going to do that.)  It was a great marketing ploy for parents to buy copies for their kids or even better yet themselves.

necro15 – Necromancer (Atari 8-bit 1982) – Necromancer is one of those mindless gems. You take control of a wizard and grow an army of trees to combat the evil necromancer and his minions. It’s a fast paced game that puts you center screen to rotate and destroy orc like creatures and more. There’s also a side scrolling level similar to Donkey Kong’s approach where you have to go up and down ladders. The trees you successfully grow in the first level join you in the second level. Make it through the next few levels and you face the Necromancer in a graveyard. (fitting I know). It was frustrating and yet somehow fun.

aztec14. Aztec Challenge (Commodore 64 1983) – There isn’t much control-wise to this game.  You basically have 3 heights of jumps (or movements left and right on some levels) which you can perform as the screen scrolls by and you have to make it past obstacles to reach the final challenge and qualify to be the Aztec people’s champion.  I never made it halfway through this game I don’t think, but it was lots of fun and the music was catchy. Perhaps this garners a replay sometime soon.

13. Archon-TheLightandtheDark3Archon: The Light & The Dark (Atari 8-bit 1983) – Think chess, but with so much more.  This utilizes goblins, wizards, a shapeshifter, a phoenix and more characters on a square chess board.  Each movement you make is strategic, but when two opposing characters meet on a single square, it goes into a combat screen.  There you move around and battle out who will be the victor of the area and who will be captured.  It was done so well that it got a sequel called “Archon 2: Adept”.  Even today and despite the graphics this game can be a lot of fun.

forest12. Forbidden Forest (Commodore 64 1983) – There seems to be a year and a fantasy theme running here, but stay with me.  This by far has the worst graphics of any of the games I’m mentioning, but something about it mesmerized me and had me playing for hours even though it is sort of endless in a way.  There are four levels that alternate between day and night as your lone archer fights through waves of giant spiders, bees and skeletons until you reach the Demogorgon boss, who you can only see in flashes of lightning, making it a challenge.  There were two sequels, which I haven’t ever played, “Beyond the Forbidden Forest,” and “Forbidden Forest 3.”

wingwar-0511. Wing War (Colecovision 1983) – This game was extremely difficult because it required finesse when flying your dragon character.  You had to compensate for your momentum and be careful where you landed or flew.  Your extra lives came in the form of eggs hatching into dragons in your cave.  The objective was to gather a crystal of each element and return in to your cave without countering the elements you already had (for example no water if you have fire in there first).  Then you’d face off against a dark creature shown in the pic to get the final crystal and return it to win the game.  There was a slightly different version for Atari, but the Coleco version was much better graphic wise.



10. Xevious (Atari 8-Bit 1983) – Plot?  Fairly simple.  You fly a craft from an above view and take out waves of Xevious forces threatening to destroy the Earth.  This game was annoying when trying to avoid bullets, but the variety of enemies and replayability was great.  It ended up having a few sequels, “Super Xevious,” “Xevious 3D,” and “Xevious Ressurection” as well as spinoff games.

9. Beach_Head_-_1987_-_EaglesoftBeachhead (Atari 8-Bit 1983) – I also include it’s sequel “Beachhead 2: The Dictator Strikes Back” in this because the four levels in each game can pretty much be combined into an ongoing story.  Whether you are a boat navigating a mine field or shooting down enemy battleships, a tank driving with bad controls over and around obstacles and taking down a boss that looks like a dirt pile, or a ninja type guy throwing knives until the enemy dictator falls, this series was unique in the varieties of gameplay controls it had.  There was a remake, but nothing is as nostalgiac as the first and second one.

solaris8. Solaris (Atari 2600 1986) – Solaris was probably the best game graphically for the Atari 2600.  In it you were a space ship with limited fuel in search of the planet of the title’s namesake.  Along the way you’d warp to various sectors of space and planets where there would be alien threats, civilians to rescue, or corridors to traverse.  My brother and I played this a lot in search of the planet and despite how many times we tackled it, we only ever beat it once.

mail_order_monsters_47. Mail Order Monsters (Commodore 64 1985) – This game wasn’t that great as far as playing it went, but there was a certain degree of satisfaction in building your own monster and its traits, then taking it into combat against your sibling or friend.  You could fight against the computer too, but it was much more fun as a multiplayer than anything else.  It was also the closest thing you could get to Godzilla scale monster fights.

ka6. Karateka (Apple II 1984) – This game was very difficult because of the slow combat mechanics and pace of it, but the graphics were groundbreaking at the time and the animation was very smooth.  It was fun and frustrating to spend the time to fight your way through the dojo and battle Akuma (the game’s boss).  Worse than the fact that you could easily get your butt kicked by his henchmen, the villain also had a hawk that would occasionally fly into the screen and wipe you out.  Sure, it had all that negativity and the stereotypical girl in distress, but there was something about it that stuck.  I’m pretty sure the girl you are trying to save would have been better off and probably more capable of fighting the boss and his minions herself then just sitting there waiting.

pepp5. Pepper II (Colecovision 1982) – You’re an angel who can change into a devil in a quest to zip up the grid blocks on each maze.  It’s an endless game as far as I can tell, with increasing speed ala pac-man levels.  To me it’s more fun than other games like it with a unique story that kind of makes sense.  Just beware the zipper ripper and floating eyeballs that will be a thorn in your side, especially as you progress.  Toss in the funeral theme from Alfred Hitchcock Presents and a brief Zip-a-dee-do-da, and you can’t forget this one.

space4. Space Fury (Colecovision 1981) – The lead alien in this game frightened me a little when I was just a young kid, but that’s what made this game so fun for me.  I wanted to win to make it go away.  The play itself was the fun part though.  It took what Asteroids was and turned it into a colorful battlefield where you could upgrade your ship after each level to have different armor and weapon fire.  The music was superb and added to the alien’s eeriness.  Little did I know until writing this, that they made a sequel called “Ms. Space Fury,” which had the same music but was a platform style with a female alien.

zax3. Zaxxon (Colecovision 1982) – With a diagonal area to traverse and tons of colors, there was nothing unattractive about this game.  Each area was a new base you’d invade until you got to the robot Zaxxon, who was difficult but not impossible to beat.  No matter how many times I played through this I was always entertained and could play more.  It had 3 sequels: “Super Zaxxon,” “Zaxxon’s Motherbase 2000,” and
“Zaxxon’s Escape,” but none will top the original.

mr-do-022. Mr. Do (Colecovision 1982) – I had the original version where the character looked like a snowman, but the main port’s main character was a clown.  It didn’t really make a difference because the game was the same either way.  It was a digging game with each map resembling the shape of a number.  The goal was to collect the cherries so you can get your extra pass to the next level.  Apples hung from above that you could use to crush the enemies, but you were also equipped with a bouncy power ball that you could throw and have reappear in your hand.  If I were to pick my favorite childhood game of this era, Mr. Do might be at the top of the list for the amount of levels and variety of play.  There were also 3 sequels: “Mr. Do’s Castle,” “Mr. Do’s Wild Ride,” and “Do! Run Run,” none of which I ever had the pleasure of playing.

timepilot1. Time Pilot (Colecovision 1982) – The version in the arcades actually had an extra level which would have just added to this game, but the four level version I had is still a game I keep hoping they will remake with a modern twist. I didn’t even realize it had a sequel without the time travel element called “Time Pilot ’84.”  The original put you in the role of a pilot who traveled to different time periods (obviously), and battled with planes from each era.  At the end of each level was a boss ship ranging from a zeppelin to bomber to a UFO in the version with the extra level. If you beat the boss flyer, then you’d be transported through time via a very cool looking (for the time) portal effect that stretched across the screen.

There is one final game worth mentioning, but it’s not in my top 20 because it was in my The-Last-V8mind impossible to go anywhere.  The difficulty level made it so unplayable that I never made it halfway through the first level.  That didn’t stop me from trying.  So, for my honorable mention I give to you The Last V8.  It was released in 1985 for the Commodore 64 and had great graphics and sound.  It was the control for the car and the fact that you had to do extremely fast navigation so that you didn’t run out of fuel that made this impossible.  It turns out there were only two levels anyway, so apparently I wasn’t missing much.  One version had a third level, but who cares because no one could really do it at least in some reasonable time frame.

A Whole new experience

IMG_7659[1]Whether you are into video games or not, this is something you must try.  Before I get into how amazing Zero Latency’s VR Arena is, I want to take a moment to mention where I played it.

Kalahari Resorts in the Poconos of PA was probably my second favorite vacation of all time (Second only to Disney).  The décor, food, water park, arcade, shops, and comfort of the rooms are only part of the experience.  We stayed from Friday through Sunday, and it served as a perfect little get away.

Now onto the gaming experience.  I was privileged to try the Arena and given a selection of which scenario I’d like to try.  As of right now there are only a handful, but this is just the beginning of an era in VR technology.  I’ve tried the headsets you can buy in the store, but they don’t even compare.  The arena is in a full sized warehouse.  It is an empty dark room with some circles on the floor and walls.  You wear a vest, headset and VR helmet, which puts you into the game using a series of motion capture sensors.

I had the honor of meeting Andre, who works with the company responsible for the games.  We spoke a bit about the two available games (they run about 20 minutes each), and what is on the horizon for the company.  Hint: They are opening more locations around the country and the world.

You must be 13 to play these games and that is for a safety aspect.  The one game I didn’t try was called “Engineerium.”  It is a cartoony world where you solve puzzles to progress. There is no shooting or action, but the bit that I saw was out of this world… literally.  It works in an M.C. Esher manner where you can walk on walls and upside down.  In real life you are standing and walking in a room, but your mind sees and tells your body something else.

Since I just did the Escape the Room experience a few weeks ago, I wanted to get into the genre where I first began writing books.  Since FLESH AND LEFTOVERS was my debut novel years ago, I felt it’d be good to revisit zombies.  So, I played “Survival.”

I was warned before hand that this can be an overwhelming and downright intense experience.  I’ve tried military simulators in the past, so I wasn’t worried.  I now retract that line of thought.  This is something way beyond that.  Picture yourself inside a video game, able to walk around in a place that responds to your body movements.

The survivalist in me didn’t need the four weapons supplied.  (You are given a shotgun, sniper rifle, assault rifle, and heavy assault rifle.)  You only actually carry one weapon in your hand, but a button on the side allows you to switch back and forth.  I’m a person who likes to make every shot count, and conserve my ammunition.  I stayed mostly with the light assault rifle for short controlled bursts.  It paid off.

IMG_7661[1]Myself, and 4 others were put into the scenario together.  I was the only person who hadn’t played it before, but was able to figure out a plan immediately.  In this game you must defend your position from a horde of zombies.  Not only is it important to make your shots count (headshots are the best), but to utilize the explosive barrels, and keep your defense barriers erected to prevent an onrush.

Andre played with us, and he took a sniper position on an elevated platform.  (In reality he was really on the level we were, but to us and him in game, he was up high.)  We worked well together for the first ten minutes.  Our base was heavily fortified.  But then it became frantic.  More zombies came, and this is when the stress began to kick in.  Andre called down to tell us that he was coming down to help out.  The zombies started finding a way up to him, and it was becoming harder to maintain our borders.

Then someone shouted, “We’ve got a breach!”  and as I turned around I saw a zombie within a few feet of me.  I ran.  Yes, literally ran away as I fired into its face.  My flaw was not thinking about what was behind me, and the surround sound told me I needed to turn fast.  A massive beast of an undead man towered over me by a few inches and I managed to dodge in the nick of time.

At this point in the game, I actually felt anxiety.  I kept telling myself this wasn’t real, but when I say I could feel fear build within me, I’m not lying.  I breathed slowly and tried to act calm to concentrate on the task, and not the flurry of emotion.  One of my squad mates was then “eaten.”  When you die, you stay in place in a neutral state until you are respawned ten seconds later.  I did not die, but when your team mate does, it becomes even harder.

Movement is the key.  This is not a shoot em up game.  This is survival… and shooting is only part of that.  Communication and agility help as key factors.  Once the helicopter arrived to lift our platform, we ran to the extraction zone.  This was very difficult because you need to remain relatively confined at this point.  The good news is that you are all back to back, so you can cover each other and all sides.

Once our platform was lifted, I switched to my sniper rifle and began picking off the horde from a distance.  This was more calming and was a good wind down to the whole thing.  There are people who have run out on the scenario and have asked to be removed from the game for its intensity.  It is only a game, but your mind does a great job of taking you into that virtual world.

If horror isn’t a thing for you, then you need to try the Engineerium.  It won’t scare you, or get your anxiety up, but will force your perception of reality into another world.

They also rank you in the game.  I scored the highest kills in my squad, and among the thousands of people who have played, I placed #115 in rank.  Apparently I’m a way better survivalist (though not the best) than a gamer, because if this were on a TV, I wouldn’t have the benefit of being able to see all my surroundings.

I can see this as a more improved training device, not just for fun, but for running special training for police and military at some point.  (Of course nothing will prepare you for the real thing, but this is an amazing step toward that)

I’ve attached a pic of my score, and if you head over to my Instagram page @rickpipito, you’ll see a little video clip of me being calibrated into the game.  I’ve also embedded a trailer of the game I played (below).  Picture what you see there, but up close and personal, and all around you.  The visuals and audio provided really take you to another place.  Also, head over to to learn more about it and all their games/locations.

Have you ever tried Virtual reality like this?  let me know what you think.  Comment with your thoughts on where gaming is going or anything else you want to say.





Think, Sip, Write: ep26 – Video Games

We get in touch with our inner geek in this episode, as we chat about our favorite video games.  What games do you think are the best?  Check out the episode and feel free to comment and share.

You can follow Roberta @homemadedelish and myself @rickpipito on social media if you already aren’t.

Day 29: Top 5 for Halloween

For today’s installment of my 31 days of Halloween I made a top 5 list of my personal choices for film, book, etc.  These are stories that not only have entertained me, but inspired me to continuously try exceeding what I did and topping each previous book I write.  I tried to keep them as Halloween related as possible, and even though some aren’t horror, they fall into the thriller category and have spooky elements.  What are your personal choices?  Feel free to comment below.

TOP 5 NOVELS:  The “Area 51” series by Bob Mayer (writing as Robert Doherty), Dan Brown’s “Robert Langdon” series, Thomas Harris’ “Hannibal Lecter” series, The “Atlantis” series by Bob Mayer (writing as Greg Donegan), Dean Koontz’ “Frankenstein” series (please don’t watch the movie because it’s terrible the books are great though. *Bonus All novels in the FLESH AND LEFTOVERS SAGA by Rick Pipito (had to add them, sorry.) 😛


TOP 5 TV SHOWS: Once Upon a Time, Arrow & The Flash (I put these as one because they crossover and exist in the same universe), 24, Law And Order SVU, Hannibal


TOP 5 GAMES: The “Tomb Raider” series, The “Resident Evil” Series, “Silent Hill”, “HeroQuest” (This is a board game I had growing up, and I just remember how awesome it was.  I recently found it in my parents’ attic), The “Doom” series.


TOP 5 SONGS: Dragula by Rob Zombie, Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett, Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr, Don’t Fear The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult (because everyone needs more cowbell), Mz. Hyde by Halestorm


TOP 5 MOVIES: Ghostbusters 1 & 2, The Goonies, Monster Squad, Van Helsing (Kate Beckinsale, Huge Jack Man, and monsters?  I don’t care if its cheesy.  It’s awesome), The Brendan Frasier Mummy Movies.


BONUS—-TOP 10 COMIC BOOK Movie List (in numbered order):

1) Captain America: The Winter Soldier

2) X-Men Days Of Future Past

3) Avengers

4) Ironman

5) Captain America: The First Avenger

6) Guardians Of The Galaxy

7) Man Of Steel

8) Spiderman 2

9) Thor The Dark World

10) Batman 1989

*This list is current as of 10/29/14 of course.  It will most likely change, but it is the order I believe works.  I wanted to put both Punisher movies in there as well just for pure fun, but they didn’t make the cut.

Review: Injustice Gods Among Us

injusticegodsamongus-1The moment has arrived.  I had reviewed the prequel comic previously, and now that the game is here, I am following up.  In the words of the Mortal Kombat announcer, “Excellent!”  Okay, it isn’t Mortal Kombat, but this is a damn good replacement for this year.  Netherrealm took the same engine as Mortal Kombat 9 and made it better.  This time, each character has their own unique set of abilities that make playing with each character different.  You literally need to learn individual characters, as button mashing won’t really help you here (much).

It is fun, the story is perfect, and the STAR LABS missions are a blast.  Let’s start with the bad….

The story, as I mentioned, was amazing.  It takes place in an alternate universe, where the main universe of DC is brought into it.  This works really well, BUUUT I feel it was anti-climatic.  The final boss fight with the Evil Superman seemed just like the others.  Doomsday was more of a threat, and I was hoping for some surprise boss  (ala Dark Kahn from MK vs DC).  I’m not saying that Dark Kahn would have been good, because he would never have fit.  What I’m saying is that the final battle should have been a tag battle or something.  Fighting Superman alone was easy.  They could have had Superman and Doomsday as a tag match or something.

The only other bad thing I can say is that in the STAR LABS missions, there are some near impossible levels that you have to hit the button combinations in a certain order really quickly.  I found my blood pressure getting up on more than one occasion with these.  I love a challenge, but when a game has me angry that I can’t do it, I get discouraged slightly.

…On with the good.   There is nothing else bad I can say about this game.  It has taken me away from playing Halo 4 online with my friends, and Bioshock Infinite.  I can’t get enough Injustice.  Other than the few impossible levels, STAR Labs is perhaps the highlight of this game.  In addition to the overall story mode, each character gets ten levels of their own separate story.  There are minigames gallore, and a replayability that seems to have no end.  It is well worth the money.

Even if you defeat story mode and ALL the Star Labs missions, you still have the battle matches.  Under the classic ladder, each character will be rewarded with their own story ending.  But there is more.  There are different types of ladder matches.  Also, like the classic Krypt from mortal Kombat, there is a reward system that allows you to gain character art, alternate costumes etc.

Design of the main and alternate costumes is fantastic, and while I hope they bring in the classic skins, it is more than enough for me the way it is.  Cameos gallore in the backgrounds, as well as some great DLC coming our way, you cannot miss out on this one.  If you are a DC comics fan, if you are a Mortal Kombat fan, or if you just like fighting games, this is the game for you.  Did I mention that the first coming DLC character is Lobo?  🙂  Can’t wait.

I give this game a 9 out of 10.  It was a near flawless victory.  Kudos to Netherrealm!

Review: Marvel Avengers Alliance Game

Review by Rick Pipito

Marvel Avengers Alliance is a turn based social networking game, and while I frown upon the replayability and redundancy of most social network games, this one has caught me by surprise.  Here is the idea:  You take control of a SHIELD agent who carries out orders from Nick Fury, Tony Stark, and Maria Hill.  While trying to stop the many supervillains running around the world, you are joined by superheroes that you have to recruit along the way.

When you begin, you customize the look of your agent.  I wish this was a little more in depth, as you can’t really make a character look like yourself in detail, but you can kind of fake it.  Then you pick a class.  There are five of them that have strengths and weaknesses depending on the opponent being face, and then a sixth one called “Generalist”.  This sixth one is the one I prefer, as it is a neutral class.  You don’t have any advantages over certain opponents, but you also don’t get disadvantages either.

Each chapter contains six stories for you to complete.  If you continue to beat them and get experience in each one you will earn gold stars.  The more gold stars you earn, the better items you unlock.  Here is where it can be frustrating.  For a social network game, I really don’t want to spend a lot of time playing it.  To get these stars it could take a while, but the rewards are worth it.  There are only a certain amount of moves to do per day anyway.

If you have friends you can recruit them to help as well, and there is a player vs player option that allows you to take on others near your skill set.  The more you play, the more recruitment points you get, which will allow you to bring some of your favorite characters into the battle.  The storylines are fun, and expansions are released to keep the game going.

The best part about this game is that it is FREE.  You can’t really complain about a game’s content if you don’t pay for it.  Of course you CAN buy things with credit card purchases, but it is entirely unnecessary.  Expansions so far have included an extra chapter with a new one on the way, and 3 new recruitable heroes.  I also like the fact that there are a good bit of B list villains in the game, so you aren’t doing the same thing as any other game.

My rating….  I give it a 5 out of 10.  This isn’t an IGN 5 out of 10.  My 5 is a positive 5.  I can’t give it more than that because the game is like I said, a social networking game with limited content.  BUT what I can give it is that it is the only one that stands out from the others as far as options, moves, characters, stories, and addictability.  Yes I said it.  This game is highly addictive, so if you don’t want to get sucked in, don’t try it.  It’s fun, and will keep Marvel fanboys and girls happy.