• 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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Happy 17th Anniversary to the Sega 32X

It’s been 17 years since Sega released their 32X enhancement device for the Sega Genesis and Sega CD  in North America on November 21,1994, and it remains on my list of most intriguing and yet most disappointing game systems of all time.  Essentially Sega created an attachment for their popular Genesis game system that used two 32-bit RISC processors to improve the graphics quality of their 16-bit video game console.  The 32X was inserted into the Genesis into the game cartridge slot, and used a separate power supply, which made it a tad cumbersome.  (If you had a Sega CD accessory, you could have three power supplies and a mess of cables.)

The short-lived Sega 32X

A small variety of games were released for the 32X on both cartridge and CD formats (36 in total), including Doom, Virtua Racing, NBA Jam TE, Virtua Fighter, Star Wars, Mortal Kombat II, and the brilliant Kolibri (the only game I know of where you play a hummingbird).  However, the game library never achieved the status of other game systems simply because the 32X was discontinued within one year after its release (in October, 1995), as  Sega’s management team decided to move forward with the CD-based Sega Saturn game system, and the 32X soon became a mere memory, selling only 400,000 or so units.  Regardless, the 32X is still enjoyed by some Sega enthusiasts in the retrogaming community, remembered for the promise of its potential rather than the disappointment of its execution.  Though we hardly knew ye, Happy 17th Anniversary to the 32X!


Happy Belated 10th Birthday to the Microsoft Xbox

I cannot believe that 10 years has passed by already since that fateful day of November 15, 2001, when Microsoft launched the first Xbox system in North America.  The Xbox was a sweet gaming system with a custom 733 Mhz Pentium III processor powering up 64 MB of RAM and a 233 MHz nVidia NV2A graphics card, and it was the first gaming system to use a built-in hard drive and to use  Dolby Interactive Content Encoding Technology.  Best of all, you could play Halo: Combat Evolved and (eventually) its sequel, Halo 2.   Gamers loved the Xbox, too, as it sold out on its launch date, and would go on to sell over 24 million units before going out of production, replaced by the Xbox 360.

The Original Xbox by Microsoft

Of course, no mention of the original Xbox would be complete without mentioning the “Fatty” controller (also sometimes called “The Duke”) that was included with the North American release.  This was a big controller, both in girth and width.  Some people loved it, but many people did not, and eventually Microsoft swapped out the “Fatty” for the “S” model that was included with the Japanese release.  10 years later, with the Xbox now a retrogaming machine, there are still requests for the giant-sized original controller.

Xbox Fatty Controller Origin by Penny Arcade

To celebrate the classic Xbox’s 10th Anniversary, Microsoft has released a free Anniversary Prop for users’ Avatars.  You can check it out HERE.  Also, magisterrex.com is celebrating the Xbox’s birthday with a coupon for a combined discount of 30% off original Xbox in-stock games and strategy guides.  The coupon code is 10YEARXBOX and is valid up to November 30, 2011. (Just enter it during the checkout process.  You can see what’s available using this link: http://magisterrex.com/products.asp?cat=43) Happy 10th Birthday, Xbox – here’s to another 10 years of gaming goodness!

The 150 Best Games of All Time – CGW Redux

Computer Gaming World, Nov 1996 cover

Back in November of 1996, Computer Gaming World published their Anniversary issue which contained the then-definitive list of the 150 Best Games of All Time.  Any retro gamer looking for a quality retrogaming experience should play these games!  Any list this good is worth repeating, and so, without further ado, here is the list:

  1. Sid Meier’s Civilization, MicroProse Software, 1991
  2. Ultima IV by Richard Garriott and Origin Systems, 1985
  3. M.U.L.E. by Dan Bunten and Ozark Softscape, 1983
  4. Red Baron by Damon Slye and Dynamix, Inc. (part of Sierra On-Line) 1990
  5. Doom by John Carmack, John Romero and id Software, 1993
  6. SimCity by Will Wright and Maxis Software, 1989
  7. Wing Commander by Chris Roberts and Origin Systems, 1990
  8. Empire by Walter Bright and Mark Baldwin, 1977
  9. Wasteland by Interplay Entertainment Productions, 1988
  10. Falcon 3.0 by Spectrum HoloByte, 1991
  11. Front Page Sports Football by Sierra On-Line, 1994
  12. Lemmings by DMA Design, 1991
  13. Zork I by Marc Blank et al, 1980
  14. Tetris by Alexey Pajitnov (PC version published by Spectrum HoloByte), 1985
  15. Panzer General by Strategic Simulations, Inc., 1994
  16. Wizardry by Sir-Tech, 1981
  17. Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within by Sierra Entertainment, 1995
  18. Sid Meier’s Pirates! by Microprose Software, Inc., 1987
  19. Secret of Monkey Island by LucasArts, 1990
  20. Archon by Electronic Arts, 1983
  21. Their Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain by LucasArts, 1990
  22. X-COM by Microprose Software, Inc., 1994
  23. Might & Magic by New World Computing, Inc., 1986
  24. Raid on Bungeling Bay by Brøderbund Software, 1984
  25. Earl Weaver Baseball by Electronic Arts, 1987
  26. Links 386 by Access Software, 1992
  27. MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat by Activision, Inc., 1995
  28. Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness by Blizzard Entertainment, 1995
  29. Star Control II by Accolade, 1992
  30. Populous by Bullfrog Productions, 1989
  31. NASCAR Racing by Papyrus Design Group, Inc., 1994
  32. M1 Tank Platoon by Microprose Software, Inc., 1989
  33. Master of Orion by Simtex and Microprose Software, Inc., 1993
  34. Day of the Tentacle by LucasArts, 1993
  35. Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat by Electronic Arts, 1991
  36. Quake by id Software, 1996
  37. Duke Nukem 3D by Apogee Software, 1996
  38. Crusader: No Remorse by Origin Systems, 1995
  39. Red Storm Rising by Microprose Software, Inc., 1988
  40. Harpoon by 360 Pacific, 1989
  41. Sid Meier’s Railroad Tycoon by Microprose Software, Inc., 1990
  42. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Infocom, 1984
  43. Betrayal at Krondor by Dynamix, 1993
  44. Ultima VI by Origin Systems, 1990
  45. Rocket Ranger by Cinemaware, 1988
  46. Chessmaster by Software Toolworks, 1986
  47. Aces of the Pacific by Dynamix, 1992
  48. Command & Conquer by Westwood, 1995
  49. Dungeon Master by FTL, 1987
  50. Pinball Construction Set by Electronic Arts, 1983
  51. Reach for the Stars by Strategic Studies Group, 1988
  52. F-19 Stealth Fighter by Microprose Software, Inc., 1988
  53. Steel Panthers by Strategic Simulations, Inc., 1995
  54. Wing Commander III by Origin Systems, 1994
  55. Starflight by Electronic Arts, 1986
  56. Star Wars: TIE Fighter by LucasArts, 1994
  57. NBA Live by EA Sports, 1994
  58. Suspended by Infocom, 1983
  59. Gettysburg by Strategic Simulations, Inc., 1986
  60. EF2000 by Digital Integration, 1995
  61. The Seven Cities of Gold by Electronic Arts, 1984
  62. The Incredible Machine by Sierra Entertainment, 1993
  63. The Faery Tale Adventure by Micro Illusions, 1986
  64. Marathon by Bungie Software, 1994
  65. Wings by Cinemaware, 1990
  66. World Circuit by Microprose Software, Inc., 1992
  67. Syndicate by Bullfrog Productions, 1993
  68. Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss by Origin Systems, 1992
  69. Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards by Sierra Entertainment, 1987
  70. Dune II by Westwood, 1992
  71. Aces of the Deep by Dynamix, 1994
  72. Solitaire’s Journey by QQP, 1992
  73. Quest for Glory I: So You Want To Be A Hero by Sierra Entertainment, 1989
  74. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge by LucasArts, 1991
  75. You Don’t Know Jack by Berkeley Systems, 1995
  76. Shadow of the Beast by Psygnosis, 1989
  77. Solitaire’s Journey by Strategic Studies Group, 1993
  78. Balance of Power by Mindscape, 1983
  79. Flight Simulator II by SubLogic, 1984
  80. Lode Runner by Brøderbund Software, 1983
  81. Loom by LucasArts, 1992
  82. Rescue on Fractalus by LucasArts (published by Epyx for the C64/Atari 400), 1985
  83. Rise of the Dragon by Dynamix, 1990
  84. Prince of Persia by Brøderbund Software, 1990
  85. RobotWar by Muse Software, 1981
  86. Silent Service by Microprose Software, Inc., 1985
  87. F/A-18 Interceptor by Electronic Arts, 1987
  88. Alone in the Dark by I-Motion, 1992
  89. Bard’s Tale by Electronic Arts, 1985
  90. Carriers at War by Strategic Studies Group, 1992
  91. Battles of Napoleon by Strategic Simulations, Inc., 1985
  92. Defender of the Crown by Cinemaware, 1986
  93. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis by LucasArts, 1993
  94. King’s Quest V by Sierra Entertainment, 1990
  95. Sam & Max Hit the Road by LucasArts, 1993
  96. Star Trek: Judgment Rites by Interplay Entertainment, 1994
  97. Wolfenstein 3-D by Apogee, 1992
  98. System Shock by Origin Systems, 1994
  99. Under a Killing Moon by Access Software, 1993
  100. AH-64D Longbow by Jane’s Combat Simulations (Electronic Arts), 1996
  101. Kampfgruppe by Strategic Simulations, Inc., 1985
  102. Gunship by Microprose Software, Inc., 1989
  103. Eric the Unready by Interplay Entertainment, 1992
  104. Deadline by Infocom, 1982
  105. Wizardry VII: Crusaders of the Dark Savant by Sir-Tech, 1987
  106. Battle Chess by Interplay Entertainment, 1988
  107. Perfect General by QQP, 1989
  108. Neuromancer by Interplay Entertainment, 1988
  109. Pacific War by Strategic Simulations, Inc., 1992
  110. Operation Crusader by Avalon Hill and Atomic Games, 1994
  111. Wayne Gretzky Hockey by Bethesda Softworks, 1989
  112. TV Sports: Football by Cinemaware, 1987
  113. Monopoly by Virgin and Hasbro, 1995
  114. Jagged Alliance by Sir-Tech, 1995
  115. Battleground 3: Waterloo by Talonsoft, 1996
  116. Castle Wolfenstein by Muse Software, 1981
  117. Beach Head by Access Software, 1983
  118. Fighter Duel Pro 2 by Jaeger Software, 1993
  119. Pinball Dreams by 21st Century Entertainment, 1990
  120. Trinity by Infocom, 1986
  121. Virtua Fighter by Sega, 1996
  122. Indianapolis 500: The Simulation by Electronic Arts, 1989
  123. Descent II by Interplay Entertainment, 1996
  124. Deathtrack by Activision, Inc., 1989
  125. Warcraft: Orcs & Humans by Blizzard Entertainment, 1994
  126. Gary Grigsby’s War in Russia by Strategic Simulations, Inc., 1984
  127. Star Control by Accolade, 1992
  128. Tony LaRussa 3 by Stormfront, 1995
  129. MiG Alley Ace by Microprose Software, Inc., 1984
  130. Ogre by Origin Systems, 1986
  131. President Elect by Strategic Simulations, Inc., 1981
  132. Lexi-Cross by Interplay Entertainment, 1991
  133. Heroes of Might & Magic I by New World Computing, 1995
  134. I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream by Cyberdreams, 1995
  135. NukeWar by Avalon Hill, 1983
  136. Dark Castle by Silicon Beach, 1986
  137. Magic Carpet by Bullfrog Productions and Electronic Arts, 1994
  138. Arcticfox by Electronic Arts, 1986
  139. Mean Streets by Access Software, 1989
  140. Crystal Caliburn by Starplay, 1993
  141. Master of Magic by Microprose Software, Inc., 1994
  142. Blue Max by Synapse, 1983
  143. Typhoon of Steel by Strategic Simulations, Inc., 1987
  144. Ultima III by Origin Systems, 1983
  145. Kasparov’s Gambit by Electronic Arts, 1993
  146. Shangai by Activision, Inc., 1986
  147. Sword of Fargoal by Epyx, 1992
  148. Tigers on the Prowl by HPS Simulations, 1994
  149. Courtside College Basketball by Haffner, 1984
  150. Star Fleet I: The War Begins by Interstel, 1985

Whew!  Now that’s a retrogaming homework assignment I want to take on!

Computer Gaming World #1 cover