• magisterrex Retro Games


    I've been gaming since the days of Pong and still own a working Atari 2600. I tend to ramble on about retro games, whether they be board games, video games or PC games. Sometimes I digress. Decades after earning it, I'm finally putting the skills I learned while completing my history degree from the University of Victoria to good use. Or so I think. If you're into classic old school gaming, this blog is for you!

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    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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    Got a game or product you want reviewed? Send me an email! Will review board games, PC games, video games and accessories (Xbox 360 or Wii, but also new releases for classic systems - you know who you are!)
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New Obsolete Comic Review at OGR Featuring Captain America

A new Obsolete Comic Review is up at oldgamereviewer.com, this time focusing on the 1991 Marvel Comics four-issue miniseries, The Adventures of Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty.  Learn my take on Kevin Maguire’s art, the need for better etymology in historical period comic book writing, and what it takes to make a good Captain America comic work.  All this and more at: CLICK ON THIS LINK RIGHT HERE – YES, THIS ONE!

Advertising From Yesteryear…The 1981 NBC Saturday Morning Lineup

I admit it’s been a few years since I partook in the joy of Saturday morning cartoons, so I don’t actually know if anything offered today matches that of the past television glory years.  What I do know is that once upon a time NBC had a Super Star Saturday lineup of cartoons.  POW!  Spider-Man!  The Smurfs! Captain Marvel (Shazam!)! Space Ghost! Rocky and Bullwinkle! The Flintstones! How could any kid switch off the TV when all that commercial-laden cartoon goodness was on?  And to remind us of that magic time, here’s a full-page ad from a 1981 comic book that told everyone that “there’s exciting new fun in ’81!”  Enjoy!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Retrogame Deals

A variety of Black Friday sales have started.
Some links to some deals mentioned on Twitter thus far:

 

From @Spider_Inferno a list of downloadable items at NerdRaging.com

From @BestBuy_Deals a link to the Best Buy Black Friday sales

From magisterrex.com PC Games and Strategy Guides are on 40% off for a Black Friday specials

From @DREADSPACE a list of RPG Black Friday specials

From @rpgfancom another list of RPG-related Black Friday sales

From @populargaming a list of the top 20 iPhone games with Black Friday deals

From @GailSimone a list of comic book stores in the USA with Black Friday sales

Will update if more online deals manifest!

What’s In That Game Box? – The New Easy To Master Dungeons and Dragons Game (1991)

Ever scoured the Internet looking for what exactly you were missing from the old board game you pulled from your closet, only to find no one who could give you the answer?  Well, stop that fruitless searching through endless google results, as this featured this week on What’s In That Game Box? is TSR, Inc.’s classic roleplaying game brought to board game life, The New Easy To Master Dungeons & Dragons Game.

The NEW Easy to Master Dungeons & Dragons Game

The contents of The New Easy To Master Dungeons & Dragons Game are as follows:

The game box (featuring the iconic image of  Jeff Easley’s Red Dragon painting- a red dragon doing battle with a man armed with a battle axe)

The game board (a fold-up 21″ x 31 1/2″ map with 34 “room” entries)

The D&D Game Instruction Sheet: Read This Sheet First!

The DM screen (with several tables and charts on a red background)

The Dragon Card Learning Pack (stored within the DM Screen, which contains 48 double-sided pages of information on play Dungeons & Dragons, as well as four 4-page pullout adventure module chapters to help new DMs run the Escape from Zanzer’s Dungeon adventure)

6 colored game dice (white 4-sided, blue 6-sided, white 8-sided, yellow 10-sided, white 12-sided, and red 20-sided)

2 sheets of fold-up counters, which comprise of the following:

  • Adelle
  • Axel
  • Blind Man
  • Bug Bear [x4]
  • Dwarf / Goblin [x4]
  • Dwarf / Guard
  • Dwarf / Kobold
  • Green Slime
  • Gnomes
  • Goblin / Guard
  • Jerj
  • Kamro
  • Minotaur
  • Ogre [x2]
  • Orc [x4]
  • Prisoner
  • Rock Python
  • Slave / Gnoll [x3]
  • Slave / Hobgoblin [x4]
  • Sprites
  • Wolf
  • Zanzer Tem
  • Zombie [x4]
  • Plus 7 un-named counters, each with a different portrait on both sides

A TSR, Inc. Spring/Summer 1991 product catalog.

A TRS, Inc. product brochure on the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia

A full-sized fold-out poster of Jeff Easley’s Red Dragon painting

A special offer card for a subscription to Amazing Stories

The Customer Response Card

The 64-page Rule Book

Aside from a very well-laid out inner cardboard separator piece  which keeps the box intact, that’s it!  Hopefully this helps you find your way into enjoying “hours of high adventure in the world of cunning wizards, mighty warriors, and ferocious dragons!”

Game board for the New Dungeons & Dragons Game

Counter sheets for the New Dungeons & Dragons Game

DM Screen and Dragon Card Learning Pack for the New Dungeons & Dragons Game

Rule book and sheet for the New Dungeons & Dragons Game

Dice and miscellaneous papers for the New Dungeons & Dragons Game

Giant fold-out poster for the New Dungeons & Dragons Game

Forgotten Classics: Wolf (1994)

“Forgotten Classics” is a celebration of obscure PC games that weren’t released to widespread fanfare – or simply fell of the radar of gamers at the time of their release – and deserve a second look. In this instalment: Wolf, a unique 1994 simulation game by Sanctuary Woods that placed gamers in the role of canis lupus seeking to survive in a sometimes hostile environment.

Perhaps a game about learning how to be a wolf, the dangers they face, and what challenges they overcome does not sound like it would be fun, but it was. Wolf was a unique simulation, and a completely different subject matter than what gamers had ever seen before. The 40-some scenarios were fascinating, and included diverse goals: hunting down caribou to avoid starvation, challenging the alpha male pack leader for control of the pack, and even just surviving a single day in their stark environment. For the comprehensive wolf experience a player could choose to play the campaign mode, which ran them through the full gambit of the wolf life cycle.

Settings screen for the PC game, Wolf

The game mechanics really sold the “be-a-wolf” concept. Sound effects of birds and other noises of nature provided ambience, while the graphics were crisp and the scenic vistas marvellous to look at. As your wolf travelled it became either hungry or thirsty, and needed to be satiated. The game simulated a wolf’s incredible sense of smell by showing various scents that your wolf discovered, some close, some far, and all trackable. Humans were a severe danger and were to be avoided at all costs, and could be detected by both sound and scent. You could even howl!

Whoops, wrong howling; wrong wolf.

Fortunately, the game designers didn’t just read a Jack London book and whip up a game based on it. Wolf Haven, a wolf reserve near Olympia, Washington, was tapped to provide the expert knowledge on what challenges wolves face and what behaviors they exhibit. Wolf Haven is a nonprofit organization devoted to the study and conservation of wolves, and has around 80 acres of land used for the purpose. They have been in existence since 1982, and continue to provide sanctuary for wolves today…and they even offer group tours! (The game designers even based five of the wolves portrayed in the game on actual wolves that lived within Wolf Haven.) With this level of expertise behind them, it’s not surprising that Sanctuary Woods was able to offer a world-class simulation that both educated and entertained.

Winter hunting in the PC game, Wolf

Critics agreed on the quality gameplay of Wolf, winning the “Best Game of the Show” Award from Electronic Games at its debut at the Winter, 1994 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), as well as earning praise from such heavy-hitters as PC Gamer Magazine, receiving a score of 88% and a PC Gamer Editor’s Choice award.  It performed well enough to merit a sequel, Lion, which followed the life of the King of Beasts on the Savannah. All in all, Wolf was a great game, and well worth locating a copy and playing, even today!

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