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Gaming History You Should Know – Video Game Animatronics September 18, 2022

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Hope you all are enjoying your Sunday. Welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently created history videos across the web on a variety of gaming sources. As a lover of theme parks, I know there can be nothing more immersive to see in a theme park ride than a great animatronic. If you’re unaware of the concept, an anamorphic is essentially a preprogrammed robot designed to resemble a real-life character. Due to the cost and difficulty required to create them, animatronics typically appear in theme park rides and attractions. The first known example was Walt Disney’s recreation of President Lincoln for the 1964 World’s Fair. Currently, the best animatronic I can think of in operation is the one of Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout at Disney’s California Adventure. That said, the to-scale King Kong Universal Studios Florida made for the defunct Kongfrontation ride holds a special place in my heart.

The guys over at Fastpass Facts, which is a great reference for theme park animatronic history, did a great video on the known history of animatronics of characters made famous in video games. Let’s take a look!

Week of Neo-Geo – What Games Should Come to the Next MVSX? September 16, 2022

Posted by Maniac in Editorials, Uncategorized, Week of Neo-Geo.
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I hope you all don’t feel the Neo-Geo died after the release of the Hyper Neo-Geo 64. While SNK has had its restructurings, bankruptcies and buyouts, the original games for the platform live on through various means. In fact, two years ago the company UNICO released the MVSX, a bartop arcade machine that comes packed with fifty classic Neo-Geo games. Let’s take a closer look at it in glorious 4K HDR.

The MVSX comes preloaded with slightly over one third of the total catalog of Neo-Geo games including Fatal Fury, King of Fighters and Metal Slug. However, if Wikipedia is to be believed, one hundred and forty-three total games were released for the platform (although that list does include games released on the AES and Neo-Geo CD). UNICO did ship the MVSX with a rear USB port, but that is only for system updates and bug fixes. Sadly, they won’t be offering new games for sale online, at least not to add to the current MVSX platform.

With nearly one hundred games from the Neo-Geo catalog missing in action, what are home arcade enthusiasts to expect for the future? It’s my opinion that UNICO may have decided to hold off offering digital downloads of new games on the MVSX so they can instead rerelease newer revisions of the MVSX with an alternate selection of games. If you remember anything about the Neo-Geo that I’ve taught you this week, it’s that the strength of the platform laid in the fact that the onboard games could be swapped out. With that in mind, there’s nothing holding back the opportunity for UNICO to release a second generation MVSX with an entirely different selection of games.

The best part of this is a potential new release could still be compatible with the existing stool and shelf, allowing players who already own them the opportunity to reuse their existing ones if they wish.

So with that all out of the way, let’s get to the big question then. What games do I think should be included in a next Neo-Geo home arcade release?

Just want to put a disclaimer here that this article is just being written for fun. At this time a successor to the MVSX has not been announced. This is also by no means a complete list and you’re welcome to post your own opinions in the comment section below.

Puzzle Bobble – The MVSX launched with a great amount of fighting titles, but for the life of me I couldn’t think of a single puzzle game that was installed on it. I know it sounds weird to play a puzzle game on an arcade since they are so common on smartphones and tablets these days, but I can assure you back in the day it was common and this is considered the best game on the platform. The game had several sequels, ALL of which could be bundled together in the next machine’s menu.

Shock Troopers (2nd Squad) – The first Shock Troopers has been my absolute favorite game to play on the MVSX, and it’s a shame that the sequel wasn’t included alongside it. You and a second player play as a select member of a squad of commandos in a run and gun side scroller.

Neo Turf Masters – Only one golf game released with the MVSX and unfortunately it wasn’t the specific golf game everyone remembers. Neo Turf Masters is considered the best golf game released for the platform and there’s a heavy demand online to rerelease or I will not question.

Cyber-Lip – I grew up loving cyberpunk shooting games and this classic run and gun game is a perfect example of that. Most people have compared its gameplay to Contra 3 but describe its plot as an adaptation of The Terminator. Sign me up!

Last Resort – A classic side scrolling space shooter on par with several Konami classics in the 16-Bit generation. Would be a perfect addition to a second release.

Riding Hero – The MVSX has no racing games on it, despite the fact several were developed for the original Neo-Geo. Riding Hero was SNK’s answer to SEGA’s HANG ON. The rules are simple, keep your motorcycle on the track and don’t let other players overtake you.

League Bowling – It’s bowling. My wife would not allow me to leave this off the list. It isn’t a perfect bowling simulation (Neo-Geo has no trackball, just joysticks and buttons) but it has a great art style with expressive characters. It also was the only game that took advantage of the Neo-Geo’s ability to link up other cabinets to allow 8-player games, making it a fantastic contender if UNICO intends to ship a machine that allows online play.

Week of Neo-Geo – The Hyper Neo-Geo 64 September 15, 2022

Posted by Maniac in Uncategorized, Week of Neo-Geo.
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We’ve spent the week so far talking about the history of the Neo-Geo, but as the week hits the halfway point out I thought it would be important to talk about the dark times for the platform.

By the time the era of the PS1, Nintendo 64 and SEGA Saturn hit retail, sales on 2D arcade platforms began to suffer regardless of how good the art style or performance of the games on it were. As the 90s went on the Neo-Geo’s 24-Bit platform slowly began creeping into obsolescence, and offering new games for the platform no longer seemed practical. What was needed was a new hardware revision in the form of a 3D-capable hardware platform. Enter the Hyper Neo-Geo 64.

If you aren’t familiar with the Hyper Neo-Geo 64, you’re in good company, I hadn’t heard of it either. It never appeared in any of the arcades I frequented back in the day. Thankfully, YouTube channel NeoGeoNow, which we’ve highlighted earlier this week, did the definitive look at the platform.

Next up I wanted to highlight the work of Top Hat Gaming Man, who also has produced a lot of Neo-Geo content over the years. He too produced a video on the Hyper 64, and I would be remiss to not post it here. Enjoy!

Such a disappointment when an arcade platform fails. To be honest, after watching it, the reason the platform never really took off becomes very clear. There should have been a unified core capable of handling all the games like the original Neo-Geo platform could.

We’re going to follow up this week with some original content talking about the current status of Neo-Geo hardware you can get right now. Stay tuned!

Week of Neo-Geo – Bennett the Sage’s Fatal Fury Movie Reviews September 14, 2022

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Welcome back to our look at Neo-Geo. In the past we’ve highlighted the work of the legendary Bennett White, better known to the internet as Bennett the Sage and his series Anime Abandon. As a former member of Channel Awesome, Sage has produced incredible reviews of obscure and infamous anime. Well, did you know that Japan has produced several animated features based on the Fatal Fury franchise? Well, I do, because Sage has done reviews of them.

First off, we’re going to highlight his review of Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture. Extreme fans may need to swallow a chill pill before watching this. He’s crass, even at times juvenile, but it’s also absolutely hilarious.

Next, we’re going to show his second Fatal Fury review, of Fatal Fury Double Impact. This one covers the two OVA films meant for television and is actually really complementary. I know a lot of people enjoyed these OVA’s, so if you weren’t pleased with his jokes about the Motion Picture, you may find more enjoyment with this one.

If you’re interested in checking out the Fatal Fury films, they’re available on Blu-Ray Disc and currently streaming on the RetroCrush service.

Week of Neo-Geo – Highlighting Sega Lord X September 13, 2022

Posted by Maniac in Uncategorized, Week of Neo-Geo.
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Some of you are reading this title and asking yourself the same question, “Why is he highlighting a self-proclaimed Sega fan on a week he’s dedicating to the Neo-Geo?” Well, first off, it’s pronounced SEGA (you have to scream it when you say it), and secondly it’s because the Sega Lord X YouTube channel has produced some of the best Neo-Geo videos on YouTube. Rather than sprinkle his videos throughout some of the articles we are planning to post throughout the week, we decided it was easier to just highlight his entire channel! Let’s get started shall we?

First off, we’d like to offer this documentary on the early days of the Neo-Geo. It’s a great way, I feel, to set the scene.

But let’s be honest. That’s not what you came here to see. You know that the Neo-Geo was an expensive platform which had expensive games. You’re curious how platform like the SEGA Genesis was able to handle a game originally developed for the Neo-Geo. Well, then you want to give this video a watch. His content is very detailed, and he breaks down differences in music quality, backgrounds and even missing features.

And finally, we want to highlight his look at the top ten games for the Neo-Geo. Obviously this video is just his opinion, but he included several of my favorite games on this list so it is worthy of including here.

Hope you’re enjoying your week of the Neo-Geo! More articles are on the way!

Gaming History You Should Know – History of Fatal Fury September 12, 2022

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized, Week of Neo-Geo.
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I know what you’re thinking. It’s not Sunday and we already talked about the Neo-Geo. So what gives? Well, we revealed we’ll be celebrating the history of the NEO-GEO platform on the site throughout the week. Today, we’ll be talking about one of the most recognized game franchises on the NEO-GEO platform, Fatal Fury.

Across the web I found three different documentary series I believe could be considered the definitive history lessons on the franchise. Rather than decide which one you should watch, I decided to highlight every one of them and let you decided for yourselves which you think is the best.

First off, we‘re going to highlight the work of Matt McMuscles, the YouTube Channel most known for the What Happened? series. He’s also an enormous fan of the Fatal Fury franchise and did a great documentary on the series that everyone should watch.

Next we’re going to be highlighting another great YouTube channel, Thorgi’s Arcade. In the second episode of his series on Fighting Games, he was asked by his fans to cover Fatal Fury. Give it a watch!

Last up, we want to highlight the work of the NeoGeoNow, an incredible YouTube channel focused on the beloved platform. He produced a three-episode documentary on the franchise, focusing on a new era with each episode. I’m sure we’ll be featuring more of this channel’s work later on this week.

Hope you’re enjoying our week on the Neo-Geo! More content will be coming throughout the week!

Gaming History You Should Know – History of the NEO-GEO September 11, 2022

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized, Week of Neo-Geo.
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Last month, the team over at SNK announced they will be reviving one of the most beloved dormant 2D fighting franchises in gaming history, Fatal Fury. For those of you who don’t know very much about the Fatal Fury franchise, be aware that you are in good company. The games were originally developed for a platform meant exclusively for the arcade market.

Please remember that during the early to mid 90s arcades were back in a big way. While home consoles were available with platforms like the NES, SNES and Sega Genesis, arcade machines were still able to produce superior graphics and sound. Many gaming companies of the day including SEGA, Midway and Atari, strived to make the best looking games they could using custom arcade hardware. Only later, if the game was an arcade success, would a port be considered for home console release. Sadly, due to the fact the gaming experience developed on custom arcade hardware could not be completely replicated on the consoles of the day, these ports could not be completely accurate to the arcade experience, and gamers knew it. Because of that, the business of an arcade was booming once again!

However, while arcades were making good profits at the time, new arcade machines were expensive, and many venues would settle for converting the existing cabinets of unpopular titles to free up space and save on cost for newer titles. While this was a great practice for arcades, it had many downsides. It was difficult to revert existing machines back to their earlier state if the newer game they replaced wasn’t as popular as the older game. Then, a company called SNK decided to do something about that.

SNK developed a top of the line arcade cabinet which was capable of playing a wide range of arcade games. How did it work? It wasn’t that dissimilar an experience to changing out the game cartridges on a Genesis or NES console. This gave arcade owners the chance to easily rotate the game offerings on their game floors, as well as saved them countless dollars in not having to repurchase new hardware every time a new title would be released by SNK. This platform would become known as the NEO-GEO.

How fondly remembered is the NEO-GEO these days? Here’s an incredible music video made a decade ago by Nathan Barnett as his character Keith Apicary.

First up, I want to re-highlight the work of YouTube Channel, Wrestling with Gaming, which has always been able to produce incredible documentaries about gaming history other people may not even remember. If you wanted to see a NEO-GEO documentary on the platform that is so good it might as well have been broadcasted on tv, start here.

Next up, I’d like to highlight the retrospectives of the legendary PatMan QC. His work has always been to create reference quality retrospectives on arcade games and game platforms. He goes really into depth on showcasing the games released for the platform, and just how many platforms are currently out there on the wild. Give it a watch!

Also, for those of you who may fondly remember the best days of G4, you probably remember the show Icons. It detailed the history of a wide range of gaming franchises and platforms. They dedicated an entire episode to the rise and fall of the NEO-GEO and it would be a shame for me to not include it here.

If you’re interested in more about the NEO-GEO, I have great news. We are planning to dedicate multiple articles this week to the venerable platform. Hope you all enjoy!

If you would like to see Nathan’s NEO-GEO cabinet for yourself, last I checked it was still operating at the Funspot in New Hampshire.

Japan Travel Tips – A Closer Look at Love Hotels August 16, 2022

Posted by Maniac in Japan Travel Tips, Uncategorized.
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It’s Tuesday and we haven’t done one of these in a while, but with international travel continuing to open back up, let’s bring back Japan Travel Tips, where we highlight some of the best independently produced documentaries about visiting Japan.

When traveling, knowledge of local hotels and places to stay is essential. Japan itself is known for its VERY unique hotels, and has offerings you can’t find anywhere else in the world. In fact, we highlighted many of the different kinds of Japanese hotels in a previous article. Today we’re going to be expanding our discussion on hotels and talk specifically about Japan’s Love Hotels.

Love Hotels are exactly that, described by the locals as a private place adults can go to to do *ahem* adult things. If you’re unfamiliar with Love Hotels, I want to highlight some themed rooms that impressed me so much I had to show my wife.

First off, we’d like to highlight the work of YouTube Channel Tokidoki Traveller. She’s an Australian who’s been doing videos in Japan for a while. In this video she and a friend visit a hotel room with its own built-in water slide. Let’s dive in!

Next, we’re going to be re-highlighting the legendary akidearest, who found one of the coolest hotel rooms I’ve ever seen, one with its own private pool. You may need to be 18 to watch this one, but for the life of me I can’t comprehend why.

Are you a fan of animatronic dinosaurs? Maybe this hotel would work better for you.

One last thing. Love hotels can be for more than just adult fun. Girls can even have private parties in their themed rooms! The team over at Tokyo Creative produced this video of them visiting a Love Hotel just to hang out.

If you’re planning on staying at a Love Hotel here’s some important things to remember:

  • This is a great option for couples (married or not married) who need a place to stay for a night. Single travelers are also fine, but this is not a good option for families.
  • This is also NOT a good idea for people who plan to leave their room during their stay.
  • Most check in and room amenities are automated.
  • Love hotels do not require reservation and because of that room availability cannot be guaranteed.
  • Price could be cheaper than traditional business hotels.
  • Hotel doors will lock and you may need to call for assistance at the main desk to exit your room.

Gaming History You Should Know – The History of Rogers: The Musical April 1, 2022

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Happy April Fool’s Day! No one could ever forget where they were during the events of the Battle of New York, where the Earth survived its first-ever alien invasion due to the heroic intervention of a Billionaire, a Norse God, The World’s Greatest Archer, The World’s Greatest Assassin, a gamma-irradiated supergenius, and a WWII-era super soldier. We’ve come to know them as The Avengers and for the past decade they’ve been Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, capable of fighting the battles we never could. Personally, I’ve lost track of the amount of times they’ve saved the world, either individually or as a group, so you’ll forgive me for glossing over their reputation. I for one am just grateful for their service.

Following the events of The Blip and The Battle of Earth, which saw the tragic deaths of Iron Man, Black Widow and Captain America, The Avengers have all but dissolved. In the time since the Battle of Earth, video game adaptations of The Avengers’ exploits continue to live on with the phenomenal Ultimate Alliance series, and the upcoming Spider-Man and Wolverine games by Insomniac. But recently, there has been a different kind of adaptation over the past year, the Tony-Award Winning Megablockbuster, Rogers: The Musical. Based on the life of the late Steve Rogers, who we know as Captain America, the musical has been a tremendous success setting ticket records Broadway hadn’t seen in years.

YouTube Channel Wait in the Wings, which we’ve featured before on this website, did a phenomenal history video on one of the greatest musicals ever made. How do you create such a masterpiece when half your production staff disappear for five years? To say it was an Avengers-Level challenge would be an understatement.

Gaming History You Should Know – History of Computer Smartwatches March 27, 2022

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It’s Sunday and what better day to kick off the restart of GameXcess.net than to celebrate with another look back at the history of gaming! This is Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight and share some of the best independently produced content on the history of gaming.

Nowadays, everyone is rocking some type of computer watch, be it an Apple Watch or Gear device. Most of these have full color displays, are capable of wireless data transmission, and keep track of time, alarms, appointments, and even health biometrics. Some of them are even able to play games! (Apple Watch gamers, I recommend Lifeline, Lifeline: Silent Night, and Cosmos Rings as must-play games!)

However, before the Apple Watch found its way on nearly everyone’s wrist, there were many other attempts, some by major companies, to sell computer watches to consumers’. So where did all of this begin, at least as far as consumers are concerned? Fear not, YouTube Legend Techmoan has us covered with a look at what I’m pretty sure is the first consumer level computer watch. It was not cheap, and it was likely meant to be used by wealthy pilots, lawyers and other businessmen, but it had incredible features and the ability to do time-based calculations that I haven’t even seen modern smartphones capable of doing! I present…the HP-01!

Unfortunately the HP-01 was way before my time. When I was growing up, I fondly remembered the classic CASIO wrist calculator watches my father would never go anywhere without. In the days before I got my first Game Boy, the fact my dad could do calculations on his wrist was something incredible. While I did eventually get a CASIO of my own, I had no idea CASIO and other companies like them released several revisions of LCD watches with a bit more of a gaming focus. Seriously.

YouTube channel Nostalgia Nerd, who I remember fondly for his knowledge of British Microcomputers, produced this great look at some of the more obscure calculator watches. Some of these just blew my mind with how they were able to innovate with the tech of the time. Heck, some of these used infrared transmitters to not just swap information, but to play multiplayer games against each other. Check it out!

Finally, I wanted to talk about one of the most obscure designs for a watch that harkened back to the days of Palm. Now that Palm figured out the most basic functions a tech enthusiast needed on the go (calendar, address book, clock, alarms), the watch maker TIMEX made the evolutionary step to put a PDA in a high-end watch. To sync, you merely needed some software that could transmit your settings and features through your CRT’s blanking signal (or a separate transmitter if you used a laptop). Sound insane? YouTube channel LGR has that part covered.