• 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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    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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Advertising From Yesteryear…Game Genie

Long before there was an Internet to search for clues and codes to hack your way through a stubbornly difficult game, Codemasters brought a product into the game market which permitted access to your video game’s code, thereby letting you add unearned lives, power-ups, and so forth. The Game Genie was an accessory that you could insert into your game console, and then the game would attach to the Game Genie, allowing the Game Genie to act as an intermediary between the console and the game.

Many gamers found this helpful, and different Game Genies were produced for a variety of game consoles, including the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), the Nintendo GameBoy, the Super Nintendo, the Sega Genesis, and the Sega Game Gear. Two different companies distributed the Game Genie over the years it was being manufactured: Galoob and Camerica, one of which (Galoob) was actually sued by Nintendo in an effort to prevent the Game Genie from being sold. Fortunately for many gamers, Nintendo lost their legal battle and had to pay Galoob for damages.

Time marches steadily on, however, and the Game Genie is now in the dustbin of gaming history, while Nintendo continues to be a gaming powerhouse.  All we have left of the Game Genie are the few units that can be found here and there in the retrogaming marketplace, and our memories. Speaking of which, see if the following ad brings back memories of how you salivated over the thought of finally mastering that one irksome game, if only you got a Game Genie. Click on the image below to see an enlarged version, and enjoy the trip into yesteryear!

Full page advertisement for Game Genie

ReBlog: NES Cartridge Hard Drive and Console Dock

Recently I was asked for permission to use some pictures I made and used in my guide for replacing a Nintendo Entertainment System 72-pin connector to help show some steps in creating a hard drive and docking station out of an old NES cartridge and console.  How could I say “NO” to that?  The guide is now uploaded into the instructables website, and you can read the guide and watch the video to see some fine retro-themed hacking. Check it out here: http://www.instructables.com/id/NES-Cartridge-Hard-Drive-and-Console-Dock/?ALLSTEPS


Indie Game Review: Martian Marine Lander

Here’s a little indie gaming treat for cheapass gamers like myself: Martian Marine Lander. The premise is simple: guide your Martian spacecraft full of Martian Marines down to Earth so that the invasion can begin. Of course, Earth has defense forces, and they’re keenly interested in turning your craft into space dust, so the lander needs to be protected by dexterously angling your force fields to absorb damage while floating down to the surface. It’s harder than it sounds, as inertia tends to keep your craft rolling in the wrong direction just when you need the shields to be facing elsewhere! And don’t think you can just plummet down at a breakneck pace to avoid all the weaponry altogether: making a run for it causes the Lander to explode into so many little pieces from the stress.

My meager Martian Marine Lander skills in action.

This game reminds me of classic retro games you could find on your Atari 2600 in that the game difficulty adjusts to your level, giving you new challenges to overcome, yet with modern music and graphics. In fact, I found myself sucked into the game for a considerable length of time before realizing that food and water were also an important part of my regular routine.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, check out http://www.martianmarinelander.com/ and shell out the mere $4.95 it costs to download the full game, and enjoy!

Bundle in a Box – DEEP SPACE Has Launched!

While sitting here coughing up a foreign substance and generally feeling miserable, the thought crossed my mind that I needed some cheering up, and what better way to do so than by checking out Kyttaro Games’ latest limited time offering, Bundle in a Box – Deep Space.

For an absolutely absurdly minimal investment you receive five space-themed games: Armalyte (the classic Commodore 64 game redone for today’s technology), Dark Scavenger (a black-humored adventure game with turn-based combat), Death Ray Manta (a psychedelic and fully customizable arena shooter designed exclusively for Bundle in a Box), Space Giraffe (a mesmerizing shooter in the Tempest-style), and The Wreckless (a space combat simulator in the spirit of TIE Fighter). Pay a little more (beat the average price!) and you receive three more games: Miner Wars Arena, RobotRiot, and Sol: Exodus! Sounds like a great deal to me!

Just like the previous Bundle in a Box release, part of the proceeds are paid into the Indie Dev Grant, a fund created by Kyttaro Games to help Indie game developers by providing them with a little extra cash. For every 100 bundles sold, $10 will be added to the grant, and the cumulative total will be handed with no strings attached to a lucky developer. That’s awesome enough, but it gets even more awesome (awesomer?) with a portion of the proceeds also going to charity. Kyttaro Games is donating a portion of the proceeds to The Hellenic Centre for Mental Health and Treatment of Child and Family, also known as To Perivolaki (The Little Garden), a non-profit and non-governmental organisation established in order to diagnose and treat children and adolescents with autism or psychosis, while simultaneously supporting their families.

Between the charity, dev grant, and just plain selfish desire to play some nifty games, how can you go wrong? Get thee hence to the Bundle in a Box website, located HERE, and bask in the glory of supporting indie game development while playing some great games, all for a ridiculously low price tag! But you better hurry…the Bundle in a Box – Space Bundle offer will expire soon!

Posting pictures of retrogaming memories…

If you haven’t been following the magisterrex.com Facebook account, you’re missing out on some great pics of classic games being posted every day. Rare board games, classic video games, even old PC games that you may dimly recall…after a decade of selling retrogames, many of the pictures of those oldschool beauties are being posted for all to enjoy. Check out the Facebook page HERE, give it a LIKE, and join the conversation!

Is PayPal Changing For The Better?

I’ve written a few blog entries about some of the past injustices that PayPal has perpetrated upon people who deserved better. I’ve always seen them as a potential danger, not a trusted partner, due to their shoot-first-ask-questions-later method of dealing with problems. I was pleasantly surprised to see a story on CNET this morning that indicated that those days may be over, and that PayPal may be returning to its roots of strong seller support. It appears that David Marcus, the new President of PayPal is looking to drive reform, and restore the payment giant’s online reputation among sellers, starting with the onerous and well-disliked payment freeze policy.  Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come!  Read the full article from CNET here: PayPal exec gets personally involved in account dispute

Advertising From Yesteryear…Milton Bradley’s Gamemaster Series

Just about everyone who loves board games or war games knows about Axis & Allies, Milton Bradley’s strategy board game that came in a large box and was filled with tiny plastic playing pieces.  The game was part of a special line-up of similar products that the giant board game company released throughout the 1980s, some of which are certainly much more obscure than others!  The Gamemaster series included the aforementioned Axis & Allies (the WWII game released in 1981), Broadsides & Boarding Parties (the Age of Sail strategy game released in 1982), Conquest of Empire (a Roman Empire wargame released in 1984),  Fortress America (an alternate universe wargame released in 1986, where America fights off an invasion from the rest of the world), and Shogun (a 1986 game set in feudal Japan, later renamed Samurai Swords).

To remind you of those fine games, here is a full-color, full-page ad from Milton Bradley found in the September, 1986 issue of the classic Dragon Magazine.  Incidentally, it is the first time I’ve ever seen Conquest of the Empire advertised in any format. Click on the image below to see an enlarged version, and enjoy the trip into yesteryear!

1986 Ad for Milton Bradley’s Gamemaster series.