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Gaming History You Should Know – Virtua Fighter RPG August 26, 2018

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In the 90s, fighting games utterly dominated the arcade market. Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat II were probably the two biggest games I can remember from my arcade-playing days. They were just great to play, had great graphics, decent realism, and didn’t shy away from showing blood. However, these games kept the fighting to a 2D perspective, which limited a player’s options. Then, out of nowhere, Sega released Virtua Fighter.

Directed by Game God Yu Sazuki, Virtua Fighter revolutionized arcades by being the first ever 3D fighting game. The transition to 3D added a whole new depth (pardon the pun) to the genre. Players could now strafe their opponents in a 3D environment. Character models could now be made in 3D, laying the groundwork for an entirely new updated art style. And of course, players would now run the risk of getting knocked out of their fighting space.

It’s Sunday, welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced documentaries on gaming history. Today, in honor of the release of Shenmue I & II earlier in the week, we are going to highlight the special project that would eventually serve as the basis for that franchise, the Virtua Fighter RPG. This was a project that Yu Sazuki began to work on in the final days of the Sega Saturn. His intention was to tell a story in eleven chapters, provide unlimited environment interactivity and keep the fighting system that defined Virtua Fighter completely intact. Sadly, it was not to be, the game was never released.

So what came of this game, and why do I bring it up on the week of the re-release of Shenmue I & II? I’ll let YouTuber YuriofWind take it from here with an episode of his series, Gaming Mysteries.

Special thanks to YuriofWind for letting me feature his video on the site. If you’d like to check out more of his Gaming Mysteries video, you can visit his YouTube Channel here. For those of you thought this sounded like a great idea and wished this game would have come out, worry no longer. Most of its content will likely find its way into the Shenmue franchise. If you’d like to see more of what this early game footage looked like, you can find early footage here.

Shenmue I & II are out now for the PC, Xbox One and PS4.

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Gaming History You Should Know – Sega’s Absolutely Rose Street July 29, 2018

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Its Sunday and that means we’ve got an all-new look into Gaming History You Should Know, where we feature some of the best gaming history documentaries from across the web. Today, we’ll be talking about something so obscure and short-lived, even I hadn’t heard about it until I saw this documentary!

By the mid-90s, Sega was doing everything they could to extend the lifespan of their popular Genesis console until they could release a proper 32-bit game system. While the Genesis was well-received by gamers, it’s expansions, the Sega CD and the Sega 32x, were not as popular. In fact, while many people found several things to like about the Sega CD, there wasn’t much commercial interest in the 32X. Sega needed to do something drastic to change that.

Sega’s marketing department decided to make a 30 minute late-night infomercial to sell the 32x and they called it Absolutely Rose Street. This may sound a bit odd, since modern late-night infomercials typically sell home appliances, but infomercials can be made to sell anything as long as the price is right and this was not the first time Sega made an infomercial to sell something. I mean, who can forget the Sega Channel?

Wrestling with Gaming, who we featured previously on the site, put together another fantastic obscure gaming documentary on this 30-minute Sega produced 32x commercial. Give it a watch!

Gaming History You Should Know – The Gizmondo July 8, 2018

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Welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know, our regular Sunday series where we highlight some of the best content across the web that covers gaming history. One of our favorite channels on YouTube is LGR, short for Lazy Game Reviews. They’re typically the first channel that comes up whenever I look up review for classic PC games from my youth, or closer looks into classic computers like the old IBM PCs.

In 2005, for about a split second, the retailer GameStop devoted a section on their website for a new handheld product called the Gizmondo. I had heard nothing but bad things about it back in the day, and almost as suddenly it appeared, it disappeared. What was it, what could it do that other handhelds of the time couldn’t, and why did it fail? LGR knows, and you should watch his video to get all the answers you need.

For what it was, the Gizmondo was an interesting experiment, but it remains only that. Thanks to LGR for this amazing video and if you want to see more, you can check out all of their great content here!

Gears of War 5 Announced June 10, 2018

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Rod Ferguson took the stage at Microsoft’s E3 2018 Press Event to announce three Gears is War games are in development. The first is a mobile title inspired by the POP Figures made by Funko, the second is a tactical game that looks like it is coming to PC and Xbox One…and the last, well, take a look for yourselves.

Gears of War 5 is coming 2019 to Xbox One and Windows 10.

Gaming History You Should Know – Pokemon Event Cartridges May 14, 2018

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Welcome back to another episode of Gaming History You Should Know, where we feature some of the best fan created content focused on the history of gaming.

Since the first Pokémon games were released, The Pokémon Company has always included exclusive mythical Pokémon that players wouldn’t be able to capture through normal means.  In the first Pokémon games, Mew became the most sought after trade, and the only place to get one was at a Toys ‘R Us Store during a limited-time event. It was a huge success. In fact, Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajeri would say Mew was probably the reason the Pokémon franchise took off.

In the years before the wider adoption of internet access, keeping up with when and if your local store would host such an event came down to pure luck. When the second generation of Pokémon games were released on the Game Boy Color, the mythical Pokémon Celebi players who weren’t lucky enough to live in Japan with a cell phone sought out Celebi by going to a similar limited distribution event, but it has been difficult for me to recover information about its US distribution.

Over the years, there have been plenty more ways for The Pokémon Company to release special Mythical Pokémon. As technology improved, new methods were developed to get them in the hand of players. YouTube Channel Pikasprey Yellow produced a fantastic video where he showed how these Pokémon were distributed over the years. Give it a watch!

I want to give another shout out to Pikasprey Yellow, his series Lost Content was an incredible resource in my research into Pokémon’s past.

God of War – Designing an Effective Companion March 23, 2018

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Every PS4 owner on the planet has been paying close attention to the upcoming exclusive God of War. Series icon Kratos is alive and has been paired up with his son as they explore a whole new mythology.

If you’re an old-school PC gamer like I am, you still have nightmares about any game when you’d need to keep an AI controlled assistant alive. God of War will keep Kratos’s son with him throughout the entire game. How do the developers plan keep the player from getting frustrated? Watch this behind the scenes video to find out.

God of War is coming April 20th, 2018 exclusively on the PS4.

Gaming History You Should Know – The Pokewalker March 4, 2018

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Welcome to Gaming History You Should Know, where we typically highlight some of the best gaming history videos from across the internet. Nintendo has frequently been known as the ultimate gaming innovator. They take risks on gaming technology with the hopes of bringing in new players. A lot of times, this is a huge success for them.

Before going all-in on a new risk, Nintendo has been known to experiment with new kinds of gaming peripherals, particularly with their handheld platforms. Pokémon were the highest selling games on each Game Boy platform, so Nintendo experimented with wireless multiplayer by including a wireless multiplayer adapter with the Generation 1 remakes, enabling players to battle and trade with each other without a wired link cable. This must have been a successful test because when the Nintendo DS was released, local wireless multiplayer was a built-in feature.

One of the highest-risk Nintendo experiments Pokémon fans will remember would be the exclusive peripheral Nintendo included with every new copy of the Generation 2 remakes Pokémon HeartGold and Pokémon SoulSilver, the Pokewalker. Here’s the trailer:

On paper, the Pokewalker was a great idea. It used similar technology to what was found in the Tamogachi toy which was popular in the mid-90s, but it did more with the technology that made the Tamogachi great. They were small and featured technology that wasn’t as fast or graphically capable as larger systems, but that made them cheap to mass produce and super portable.

The YouTube Channel YellowSuperNintendo focuses on game consoles and anime style games. Recently, they produced what I consider to be the best video currently on the entire internet about the Pokewalker. If you’ve ever wondered what the Pokewalker was and what it could do, I’ll let his video explain it to you.

However, while the Pokewalker had a lot of good, there were a few issues with it. On top of the issues YellowSuperNintendo mentioned, it wasn’t water resistant. Absent minded trainers could easily forget they had it in their pocket or clipped to their shirt. It certainly wouldn’t survive a run through a washing machine.

Sadly, the Pokewalker appears to have been just an experiment, as Nintendo would go on to release future generations of Pokémon games with no further support of the Pokewalker. Slowly, Pokémon Trainers stopped taking them everywhere they went, choosing instead to take their full-sized Nintendo DS out on the go. By the time Pokémon Black and Pokémon White were released, the Pokewalker became obsolete.

While newer Pokémon games do not support the Pokewalker, its legacy continues to live on. The Nintendo 3DS has the ability to wirelessly communicate with other 3DS units while in standby mode. This enables players to exchange Mii data for use in StreetPass games. The 3DS also has an internal step counter, and also like the Pokewalker, owners can play minigames on their 3DS system using the steps they took each day as in-game currency.

While the Pokewalker is now only a memory, there’s an all-new accessory designed for a new generation of Pokémon Trainers. Pokémon Go Plus is a Bluetooth accessory designed to interact with Smartphones playing Pokémon Go. While it lacks a screen and the ability to communicate with other owners of the accessory, it enhances the functionality of Pokémon Go and adds a new level of fun to the game.

What do you all think of the Pokewalker? Do you think it was an unnecessary gimmick, an essential stepping stone in gaming history, or just a fun bonus? If you have one, do you still use yours? Post a comment below with your thoughts! Special thanks to YellowSuperNintendo for making such great content and for giving us permission to feature him on the site. You can check out his videos here.

Pokémon HeartGold and Pokémon SoulSilver are exclusive to the Nintendo DS. Pokémon Go is out now for Android and iOS Smartphones.

Reboot: The Guardian Code Release Date February 26, 2018

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Back when television networks weren’t run by complete idiots, my generation grew up watching cartoon shows that aired every Saturday morning. Because each television station had to compete against each other for our attention, some of the finest shows ever produced aired during the 90s and early 2000s. This included shows like Batman: The Animated Series, Max Steel (the good version), Bump in the Night, Men in Black: The Animated Series, Freakazoid, and of course, Reboot.

Netflix has picked up the Reboot license and they are close to releasing an all-new series. Based on the trailer alone I can’t tell if it’s a sequel or a reboot (ha ha -Ed), but you can take a look at it and decide for yourself. Here’s the official trailer:

My feelings are a bit mixed about this trailer. On the one hand, the concept of cyberspace superheroes is appealing to me, on the other, that concept had nothing to do with the original premise behind Reboot. Reboot was about computer programs living their daily lives, and this new series seems to focus more on the users on our side of the screen. If you’ve never seen an episode of the emotional series you’d like to get a better understanding of it, Shout Factory TV has the first episode of the series watchable for free online.

Netflix says every episode of Reboot: The Guardian Code will be available to watch on their service starting March 30th, 2018.

I’m holding off my final opinion on this series until after I watch it. Perhaps I may give a review of it if the demand is there. I just would like to make one thing clear, these are not the first humans to ever defend cyberspace on television. That honor belongs to guitarist Sam Collins.

Gaming History You Should Know – Pokemon Live February 18, 2018

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It’s Sunday, and that heralds the return of Gaming History You Should Know, where we look at some of the best content from across the web about gaming industry. Even in today’s world of video games, HDTVs and IMAX movies, there’s always room for the live stage. Heck, many of the greatest stories ever told started as stage productions made for a live audience. With high end stage productions so expensive, Broadway is now taking safe bets. Today’s Broadway lineup is filled with adaptations of recognizable properties from film, television and comic books.

Did you know that back in the early 2000s, there was one live stage production so ahead of its time, no company has dared do something similar to it since? It was an adaptation of the most successful gaming franchise in history, Pokémon Live.

Whether you’re a Pokémon fan or just a fan of theatrical productions, doesn’t this look awesome? Pokémon Live was a live-action musical stage show which launched during the peak of Pokémon’s popularity. The show was written by the same team members responsible for the English dub of Pokémon: The Animated Series, and featured an entirely original non-canon story based on the characters from the animated show.

I actually remember hearing about Pokémon Live, back when it first launched. I was watching Pokémon: The Animated Series daily at the time, and I would have loved to check out the show back in the day. Unfortunately, like with everything popular and important, no production of the show ever came anywhere close to where I lived, and I could never afford to go and see it. To make things worse, Pokémon Live didn’t last very long on stage. Pokémon Fever died down shortly before the release of Pokémon Crystal, and interest in the show must not have been able to sustain its production costs, closing the opportunity for me to ever witness it.

So while the show was no longer in production, was any footage of the show recorded on video? Enter the incredible YouTube video producer, Chadtronic. His channel describes him as “a pillow throwing manchild stuck in the ’90s [who] makes a variety of comedic videos.” I first heard about him when I was doing some research on Pokémon toy collecting, because he did a great video about Burger King’s original Pokémon Kid’s Meal toys. If you’re unfamiliar with them, they were a huge promotion during the height of Pokémon‘s popularity and you can watch it right here.

It’s clear to me that Chadtronic is a Pokémon fan, as he’s done plenty of more original videos about the franchise over the years. However, one video he did that should be considered his crowning jewel is his video about Pokémon Live, particularly his search for high-quality video footage of the live show.

After Chadtronic published his video about Pokémon Live, the internet set to action. One of those people from the internet, known as The Gamer From Mars, has been a great resource when it comes to finding lost material. While he hasn’t found that Disney Channel movie I talked about a few years ago, he first came under my radar when he made a video about the Nickelodeon made for TV movie, Cry Baby Lane. a film that most people believed was actually a myth… until it turned out it was real. The Gamer From Mars did a video of his own about the lost Pokémon Live production tapes. Some of his video covers the same information Chadtronic found, but some new information about the production surfaced since Chadtronic published his video, and it was included. I highly recommend giving it a watch.

So after all that anticipation, you want to see Pokémon Live for yourself, don’t you? Well here it is courtesy of its production stage manager, Chris Mitchell.

Unfortunately, this low-quality video is the best complete footage that currently exists of Pokémon Live. While I appreciate Chris uploaded what he recorded online, the public has never been able to get their hands on a higher quality video recording of the show. What a shame.

Some day we may see an official professionally recorded release of the original Pokémon Live stage show. Until then, you can read the actual script for the stage show right here (hosted with permission of the writer). The musical notes for the live show’s original songs are not included in the script but you might be able to listen to the show’s soundtrack with a simple Google search.

Here’s my question, with the entire script and a high quality recorded soundtrack now available to the world, is there a chance someone might try to resurrect Pokémon Live for a new generation? I guess we will just have to wait and see. I hope you all enjoyed this look into Gaming History You Should Know, post a comment below with your thoughts on the future of Pokémon Live!

Gaming History You Should Know – The GameCube/Game Boy Advance Link Cable February 11, 2018

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Welcome back to a new edition of Gaming History You Should Know, an ongoing series where we take a look back at some of the best stories in gaming history, as chronicled by some of the best people across the Internet. Today, we will be taking a closer look at the Nintendo GameCube, the first gaming console I owned since the original NES. Nintendo’s GameCube may have come in last place when stacked up against the PS2 and Xbox console generation but Nintendo took some risks with it and it had some great games. One of the risks it took was in the form of a custom cable. While the GameCube may have been in last place, at the same time Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance was running nearly unopposed in the handheld market.

The Game Boy handhelds, with the help of a custom cable could allow for data transfer between two units. Eventually, someone at Nintendo realized they could use the Game Boy Advance’s data port to send data to and from a Nintendo GameCube, and they released a new cable to take advantage of that capability. Eventually, Nintendo released some incredible games to take advantage of GameCube to Game Boy Advance connectivity. Games like Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, Metroid Prime, and The Legend of Zelda: Four Sword Adventures are still discussed to this day. But how exactly did this technology work, and what were its limitations?

Enter Derek Alexander, formerly known as The Happy Video Game Nerd and now known as the host of Stop Skeletons from Fighting, produced this incredible documentary on the cable. If you ever wanted to know how the cable worked, what it could do, and how various GameCube games supported it, give this a watch.