Try Hard...

JPN PSN games I wanna get my hands on.
  So I found a couple of interesting JPN PSone games to check out: UMIHARA KAWASE SHUN and GUNNER'S HEAVEN. The former is a follow up to a Super Famicon title where you control this little girl with a Bionic Commando-style grappling hook in order to maneuver around levels- this one is more of a puzzle game than then "kill the futuristic Nazis" as it's inspiration was. I only played the SFC game briefly but this always struck me as one of those weird little cool games with a nice level of polish. Gunner's is pretty much an unapologetic rip-off of the old Sega Genesis favorite Gunstar Heroes, minus the 2-Player Co-op mode as well as the novelty. It looks like a pretty direct rip-off but honestly, is Gunstar a game that SHOULDN'T be ripped off? It's a little surprising that the Run 'n Gun genre is among the simplest as they come, yet it's never been terribly exploited. Here and there, but not so much as your typical platformer fare has. Anyway this game looks fun, with appropriate 2D love (both games are 2D actually) and I think it's a safe bet for both.

  At this stage, I am not gonna ever pick up a videogame out of duty or brand loyalty or any of that - if it is necessary reference for a project I am working on, then that is obvious, but otherwise I am not really into gaming for leisure anymore. So if I do pick up a game, it's gonna be pretty much for the other value it could give me; that is, what I can glean from it. There's so many knock-offs and sequels and all sorts of yawny bullshit littering the landscape nowadays, but there's also still a fairly healthy back-catalogue of just.. weird, interestingly designed games. Maybe the majority of those won't have the polish and finesse that more market-driven games would have received, but there are often enough cool little elements to make them worth one's time "oh, why didn't I think of making a game like that!" I have a whole rant about the Forgotten and Ignored Conventions of Gaming, but that's going to be more of an undertaking than I wish to sandwich in over here..


  I consider myself to be somewhat savvy of Game-History related matters. I am not a whiz, but I have my share of knowledge. Yet every so often I will come across some morsel of info that will even have me scratching my head. The latest case - while cruising around on wikipedia, I stumbled onto the colorful history of a little company known as America Online (AOL). A minute of reading and I learned that the mega-corporation which helped shape the face of the Internet, began life as a humble obscure videogame download service?! No lie, apparently it was a special service for the Atari 2600 called "Gameline" - a special cartidge you'd plug into the console, which linked up to your phone jack. You could download games on a pay-to-play basis, something like a nickel per play - or something like that. Very bizarre. Anyway the thing debuted too close to the video game crash, and so it never really got too far - but the company which developed it (service and tech) went on to slowly morph into a pre-Internet Service (think of a low-level Prodigy or GEnie or whatever). Then time passed and some weird shady operations occured (don't they always) and it eventually reached mammoth status.. pretty strange.

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