Jedadiah Leland’s Horrific Adventures In The Internet Archive #1: Richard and Alan’s Escape From Hell (1990, Entertainment Arts)


For October, I have decided to return to the Internet Archive and further explore their collection of old MS-DOS games.   I started things off by playing Richard and Alan’s Escape From Hell (1990, Electronic Arts).

Though the Archive only includes the game (no manual, no instructions of any kind), I was able to find Escape From Hell‘s front and back cover art at the Let’s Play Archive.  Almost everything that needs to be known about this game’s tone and sensibility can be deduced simply by looking at these illustrations:

As for the game itself, it is a role-playing game.  You are Richard.  Largely as a result of your own stupidity, you and your best friend and your girlfriend have all accidentally be sent to Hell.

(Good work on including the Guns and Roses poster in the background.)

Because this is a MS-DOS game from 1990, Hell looks like this:

In the screen shot above, you are standing above a river of flame and there is a skeleton blocking your way.  One thing that I quickly learned is that you should not try to talk to the skeletons.  If you do, this will probably happen:

That did not work out.  One of the problems with trying to play Escape From Hell on the Internet Archive is that, especially early on in the game, it is very easy to die and, without the original disk, it is impossible to save your game.   Death means that you literally have to start over again, from the very beginning.

It is worth restarting, though.  Once you figure out how to avoid running into skeletons, you do get a chance to talk to some of the other inhabitants of Hell.  Like this one:

You also come across clues and other messages:

Eventually, I even found the entrance to Hell’s waiting room.

Unfortunately, once I got in the waiting room, I went down the wrong hallway and this happened:

Escape from Hell is not an easy game but it is worth sticking with.  If you can manage to go long enough without  dying, you will eventually meet some condemned people who are willing to help you out.  Most of them are real-life tyrants, like Joseph Stalin and Genghis Khan.  It turns out that Stalin is a really good shot with a nail gun.  Who would have guessed?

I am still playing my way through Escape From Hell but, from what I have seen, I recommend it for anyone who wants to take a retro trip through the underworld, MS-DOS style.

Law & Order In The Internet Archive: Crime Fighter


I have just returned from another exploration of the old MSDOS games stored at the Internet Archive and I think I may have found one of the most addictive games ever programmed.  Without further ado, let’s play Crime Fighter (1993, Peter Steffen)!

(There is an updated version of Crime Fighter that can be downloaded from here.  This review is solely for the version that can be found on the Internet Archive.)

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Crime Fighter is a game where you attempt to become the top boss of a small city’s criminal underworld.  When I started the game, this is the first thing I saw:

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Got it?  This is an educational game!

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You are one of the four gangsters mentioned above.  The other gangsters are your friends and loved ones, assuming you can convince them to play the game with you.  I could not.

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Fear the Citizen Kanes!

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After naming my gang, I was randomly assigned some stats.   I am more brutal than smart and I’m also as weak as a little kitten.  I’ll be running that city in no time.

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Rules?  Who needs rules?  I never read the rules.  I can figure this game out on my own.  What I can’t figure out is which of the two options I’ve selected.  Since I’m using the arrow keys to make my selection, it’s not easy to tell which option I’ve highlighted.  Have I selected no?  The only way to know for sure is to press enter.

crime-fighter-7‘I guess I must have selected yes because there’s the rules.

After all of that, it was finally time to get this game started.  At the start of each turn, you see this:

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I looked at my six choices.  I was not ready to quit the game and, since I was playing a single-player game, there was no next player.   Run through the town sounded like fun but I wasn’t here to have fun.  I was here to become the top ganglord in the city!  The best way to do that?  Get rid of all the other gangs.

I selected gang war.

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That didn’t work.   Apparently, you can only have a gang war if you are actually playing with other people.  That was good news for the Citizen Kanes, though.  With no other gangs around, the city belonged to us.  I guess that made me the winner, right?

Seeing as how I was the city’s new criminal overlord, I decided it was time to run through the city.

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Where should I visit first?  I knew I was only allowed 25 moves before the turn ended so my options were limited.  I decided to pay a visit to the building with the H on the rooftop.

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That explains the H.  I decided to enter the hotel.

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“Give me all your money!”

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What happened next occurred so quickly that I did not get a chance to capture a screenshot.  Four gangsters showed up with baseball bats and beat me down.  It was not the greatest moment in the history of the Citizen Kanes.

Things only got worse.

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Bribing the police was the right thing to do but now I was down 1500 DMs.  I was not sure how much money I had left so, when I was transported back to the city map with 15 moves left in the turn, I decided to visit the bank.

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Coming back at night seemed like a good and simple way to make some money!

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Who needs instructions?  How difficult can it be?

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Again, I pushed the wrong button and I got the instructions anyway.

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What the Hell am I supposed to do with that?  Can I see those instructions again?

Too late.  The alarm went off.  It’s a good thing that I can always just bribe the police.

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Did I push the wrong button again?

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Yes, I did.

This is when I discovered is that, while you can keep backing up from them for as long as you want to, there is no way to escape the police.  You have to fight them.  That’s a problem when they have guns and you do not.

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That did not work out.  I guess I’m dead now.

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No, I’m not dead.  But I am in prison for 1 month, which amounts to four game turns.  If I had been playing with another player, this would have given them time to steal all of my territory while I was in jail.  Luckily, since I was playing a single player game, being in jail did not hurt me one way or the other.

After I was released, I found myself back here:

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This time, I decided not to go to the bank or the hotel.  Instead, I went down to the bottom of the map and visited the subway station.

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I learned my lesson the last time!  I bribed the cops and they let me go.

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Where to now?  It looks like there might be a gun shop above the subway station.

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Eddie, I like the way you think.  Show me your weapons.

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Hand grenades might be helpful but let’s take a look at that pistol first.

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Thanks for nothing, Eddie.

If I can’t afford a gun, maybe I can steal one.  And who has more guns than police?  As I started to make my way to the police station at the top of the map, this suddenly happened:

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Thanks, officer!

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Here’s the police station!  Let’s see if I can trick a flatfoot out of his piece.

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Sorry, stealing a gun is not an option.  If I wanted a weapon, I was going to have to find the money to pay for it.  But how could I steal the money if I didn’t have a gun?

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Is that a casino down at the bottom of the map?  My prayers have been answered!

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Blackjack has always been my game and I am not a bad poker player either.  But I needed money quickly and that meant betting it all one turn of the roulette wheel.

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Great.

To recap: After playing the game for fifteen minutes, I have spent a month in jail, I do not have a gun, and I am now broke.  The Citizen Kanes have seen better days.

Maybe I should just go rob that big shopping mall.

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Money transport in the evening?  That sounds like an easy score!

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How difficult can that be?

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I just have to wait for that one guard to move before I move down.  There he goes!  This is so easy, I can’t believe I did not try it earlier…

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This is probably not going to end well.

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No, it did not end well.  Not only was I captured but I did not have any money to offer the police.  I ended up spending another 4 game turns in jail.  When I was released, I looked back on what I had accomplished after playing the game for 30 minutes and it became clear that I really only had one option.

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I may not have done so well on my first try but Crime Fighter is an addictive game and I look forward to playing it again in the future!  msdos_crime_fighter_1993

The Further Adventures of Jedadiah Leland In The Internet Archive


Tonight, I returned to the Internet Archive.  The last time I was there, I had promised that I would come back and play a game called Sex Olympics.  I was not really being serious when I wrote that but, as I have learned over the past few days, when you promise your editor that you are going to review a game called Sex Olympics, she is not going to let you off the hook until you do it.

However, before playing Sex Olympics, I decided to run another scenario through President Elect (1987, Strategic Simulations, Inc.).  

1 President Elect

The last time I played President Elect, I simulated the current election and the game predicted that Donald Trump would win 535 electoral votes and 56% of the popular vote.  (For the record, Hillary did win the District of Columbia.)  This time, I decided to see what would have happened if, in 1980, the GOP had not selected Ronald Reagan and instead given their nomination to North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms.

According to the simulation, independent candidate John Anderson would have received a lot more votes than the 5 million he won in the actual election:

2 President Elect3 President Elect4 President Elect

(For the record, in the actual election, Ronald Reagan won 50% of the popular vote, Jimmy Carter took 41% and John Anderson received 6.6%.)

But what would the electoral college look like?

7 President Elect

In the simulation, John Anderson won the most electoral votes with 233.  But it takes 270 electoral votes to win the election.

That’s not good.

6 President Elect

There you have it!  Jimmy Carter would have come in third but he still would have been elected President.  Jesse Helms would have returned to the Senate and John Anderson would have been screwed over.

Once that was settled, I was ready to play Sex Olympics (1990, Free Spirit Software, Inc).

8 Sex Olympics

In Sex Olympics, you are legendary porn actor and intergalactic superstud Brad Stallion.  You have been recruited to represent Earth in the Sex Olympics.  Your goal is to go from planet to planet and do it with as many aliens as possible.  But you have to be clever and you have to be quick because your main competition is Dr. Dildo and he appears to be much better at this than you are.

When the game starts, you are here:

9 Sex Olympics

You have a blond assistant named Sandie, who you can either ask questions or screw.  Since Sandie never had much to say whenever I tried to talk to her, I went with screw.

11 sex olympics

Yeah, that’s hot.

Unfortunately, neither talking to nor screwing Sandie helped me with my main problem.  I could not figure out how to get out of the damn room!  I clicked on both doors.  I clicked on the window.  I pushed the “e” key for east and the “n” key for north.  I tried to call someone on the phone.  No matter what I did, the same thing happened:

10 Sex Olympics

Finally, I figured out that you had to click use and then click a very specific place on the door on the west wall if you wanted to go outside.  Clicking on go and then the door won’t work.  Clicking on use and then clicking on door won’t work.  No, you have to click on use and then click exactly on the door knob if you want to go outside.

I bet this crap never happens to Dr. Dildo.

Once I finally managed to get outside, I found the Big Thruster waiting for me.

12 sex olympics

Inside Big Thruster, I discovered all the planets that I could go to in my effort to defeat Dr. Dildo and prove Earth’s carnal superiority:

13 Sex Olympics

Let’s go to the big red one.  Why not?

14 Sex Olympics

The big red planet turned out to be planet of volcanoes.  This did not look promising but at least there was a village in the valley below.

15 Sex Olympics

I was heading into the village when suddenly…

16 Sex Olympics

That dog looks really mean!  Forget this, I’ll just go back to Big Thruster and visit another planet!

17 Sex Olympics

This little white planet looks promising.  Let’s see what it’s like.

18 Sex Olympics

Is that an igloo?  Let’s see if anyone’s down there!

19 Sex Olympics

This is a lot better than that killer dog on the volcano planet!  Let’s heat this igloo up!

20 Sex Olympics

“Inge has nothing to say.”  That line pretty much sums up the entire game.

21 Sex Olympics

Oh, I have to manually tell the game that I want to remove my clothes?  Sorry, I just assumed that it was implied.

22 Sex Olympics

Is it usually this difficult to have sex with a blue-skinned alien on an ice planet!?

Things got a lot more difficult when I was suddenly told that I had been arrested for indecent exposure and sent back to Earth!

23 Sex Olympics

I don’t have time for this!  I’m trying to defend the honor of Earth!

24 Sex Olympics

Good for Dr. Dildo.

Eventually, I was released from jail and I was sent back to where it all started.

25 Sex Olympics

And that’s when I said forget it.  This is too much trouble for a planet that is not even willing to support me.  Dr. Dildo can have the medal.  Brad Stallion is retired!

After being left disappointed by Sex Olympics, I decided to try playing a game called Survival In New York City (Keypunch, 1986).  

27 Survival in New York City

Survival in New York City is a text adventure game from Keypunch, a company that was notorious for stealing other people’s games and releasing them without any designer credits.  That appears to be the case of Survival in New York City.

It’s still not a bad game.  You wake up in an alley in New York City with no memory of who you are or how you got there.

28 survival in new york city

Your goal is to not get killed while exploring New York.  That is easier said than done.

29 Survivla in New York City

A piece of advice: Don’t go near the teenagers until you have figured how to get a gun.

I played Survival In New York a few times.  I got further every time but I still ended up dying.  Sometimes, I was killed by teens.  Sometimes, I was killed by Hell’s Angels.   It is a game that I will be playing again.

After that grim journey through New York, I decided to finish off my visit by playing a classic, Lemonade Stand (1973, Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium).

30 Lemonade 2

30 Lemonade

Lemonade Stand was the very first business simulation game.  You have a lemonade stand.  Every day, you decide how much lemonade to make, how many signs to make, and how much to charge per glass.  If you do a good job, you make money.  If you do a bad job, you go out of business and have to live with the shame of failure for the rest of your life.

For some reason, I decided to open my lemonade stand on a cloudy day.

31 Lemonade

Because of the bad weather, I did not sell any lemonade on that day or the next.  Finally, on the third day, I decided to take a chance and see what would happen if I tried to sell on a cloudy day.  It was time to take a risk.

32 Lemonade

I know that some people would say, “With a 50% chance of rain, why even try?”  I’ll tell you why.  In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.

Besides, what’s the worse that could happen?

33 Lemonade

At this point, I did what any gamer would do when the game was not going his way.  I quit and started over.

34 Lemonade

Sunny!  Now, this is more like it!

35 Lemonado

I took a chance.  I invested all of my money in making lemonade.  Unfortunately, that left me no money for advertising.

36 Lemonade

I ended up throwing out 70 glasses of lemonade but I still made a profit.  That’s the important thing.  Now, my fate and the fate of my lemonade business depended on tomorrow’s weather.

37 Lemonade

Oh yeah, baby!  Hot and dry!

38 Lemonade

I had learned my lesson from yesterday.  I made less glasses but I paid for two signs.  And I charged a little more because it’s hot and dry.  People are suffering out there.  They need my lemonade and I need their money.

39 Lemonade

$4.15 in profit!  I am a business genius!  Get out of my way, Bill Gates!  Look out, Warren Buffett!  There’s a new player on the block!

But then I asked myself, “When did this crazy business become all about money?”  It was supposed to be about the lemonade.  I had made my money and proven my point.  Taking my $4.15 with me, I pressed ESC and retired from the lemonade game.

I never looked back.

After that, I left the Internet Archive.  I was through exploring for the night but I knew that I would come back in the future and simulate another presidential election or attempt to survive in New York City or maybe I would even get back in the lemonade business.

But you can forget about the Sex Olympics.

Dr. Dildo can have that medal.

It’s Great Detective Pikachu!


Apparently, it’s not just Satan who is solving crimes

Look, I’ll just be absolutely honest here.  I know next to little about Pokemon.  I neither speak nor read Japanese.  I don’t have the slightest damn idea what is actually going on in the video below but it sure is cute!

Apparently, Great Detective Pikachu will be released on Nintendo 3DS in Japan on February 3rd, 2016.  There’s no set date for a Western release.

Square-Enix Announces Final Fantasy VII Remake


Need I say more?

Well, there’s not much to say just yet. The announcement was just made at E3 yesterday. The good news is that, while it’s coming out on the Playstation 4 first, Square-Enix imply that it will be available on multiple platforms eventually. Since I only play PC games, that’s pretty sweet news to me. As far as staff goes, the trailer credits Yoshinori Kitase as producer, Tetsuya Nomura as director, and Kazushige Nojima as writer. This maintains a decent bit of continuity. Original producer Hironobu Sakaguchi is long gone, but Nojima it maintaining his role as writer from the original PSX Final Fantasy VII while Kitase is switching seats from director to producer. Nomura will be the wildcard. He was involved in character design in the original, but he didn’t make his directing debut until Kingdom Hearts.

The bad news is, well, Square-Enix have not exactly been batting 1000 lately. They’ve earned a bad reputation over the past decade or so for rushing products, pushing quantity over quality, and releasing sham smartphone games mainly designed to gouge your wallet. It would be nice to think that a remake of the legendary Final Fantasy VII will receive an extra dose of attention. I mean, in all likelihood this game’s going to make more waves than the upcoming Final Fantasy XV. But considering the original release of Final Fantasy XIV was so terrible that the company issued multiple public apologies, it might be wise to wait for early reviews to trickle in before getting your hopes too high. The narration in the trailer feels hopelessly contrived to me, and that’s not a good foot to start on.

I’m still waiting to learn whether or not the most important staff member returns for this one though: Nobuo Uematsu!

NMY vs The World Video Game Hall of Fame Class of 2015


The Strong, an educational institution in Rochester specializing in the study of games, announced the six inaugural inductees of their World Video Game Hall of Fame yesterday. So what? Well, it made its way onto a lot of major news sites, which means it is probably going to resurface again next year and, in time, become the closest we’ve got to an “official” Hall of Fame.

My gut reaction was “my what a pretentious title”, because the “World” VG HoF looks incredibly U.S.-centric. Their game history timeline pretty much completely ignores the fact that the U.S. did not control the international gaming market for the vast majority of the 20th century. I mean, this timeline is crazy. 1982, the year that the bloody Commodore 64 was released, they feature Chicago-based Midway’s Tron instead. 1986, the year that Dragon Quest set the standard for the next two decades of role-playing games, they are at such a loss to find anything novel that they dig up Reader Rabbit by Boston-based developers The Learning Company. In spite of devoting 1992 to Las Vegas-based Westwood Studios’ Dune II, LA-based Blizzard Entertainment steals 1994 with Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. Does the invention of RTS gaming really deserve two years? Well, it’s not like it was competing with the release of the Sony Playstation or anything. Oh that’s alright, we’ll feature it in 1995, since that’s when it came to America. This list also devotes 1993 to the development of the ESRB rating system (which only applies in America), 1996 to Lara Croft’s tits (seriously, does anyone actually give a shit about Tomb Raider?), and 2002 to the U.S. Army, because uh, freedom!

So yeah, World Video Game Hall of Fame my ass. But that doesn’t mean they got the first six wrong:

Pong (1972)

“Ladies and gentlemen, you have been hand selected to choose the five games which will accompany Pong into the Hall of Fame.” It had to go something like that. Pong invented gaming like Al Gore invented the internet. Could you imagine a Hall of Fame without Pong? I mean, it’s Pong! Really though, wasn’t computer gaming kind of inevitable? Was it the first game? Nope. Did it stand the test of time? Not really. Did it usher in the age of arcade gaming? I guess it did, but the game itself had little to do with that. It was a novelty. Replace it with anything else, and that other game would be just as famous, regardless of its content. I don’t like that. There is a reason why Pong is the only game of the six Hall of Famers that I never played as a kid or else upon release, and that has nothing to do with my age. I think we get hung up on its simplicity, its catchy name, this idea that it all began with two paddles and a ball, and the desire to point to something and say “this started it all”. Pong deserves recognition in any gaming hall of fame eventually, but top 6? We can do better.

NMY gives this selection a 5/10

Pac-Man (1980)

What are Pac-Man‘s claims to fame? Well, it was the first video game to be a major social phenomenon, generating a huge market for spin-offs, toys, animated cartoons, and all sorts of other consumer products. It was the first video game with a really memorable theme song. It remains the best-selling arcade game of all time. It generated a chart-topping shitty pop song. It even destroyed the gaming industry. (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial has absolutely nothing on the devastating consequences of Pac-Man‘s abysmal Atari port.) And sure, it’s pretty boring, but it still lasted well into the 90s. I had a pirated DOS copy as a kid. Do you think anyone bothered to pirate Pong? Uh, no.

NMY gives this selection a 10/10

Tetris (1984)

Tetris is a game that we all agree to love because it is Russian, and like Russia, it is really evil and kind of a dick. Four Z blocks in a row? Really? I didn’t double tap that button. Go back! Ugh…. Tetris annoyed the hell out of me as a kid, but I certainly did play it. It also spawned a ton of cheap rip-offs, novel improvements, and largely unrelated block puzzle games that stole its name for publicity, and a lot of these vastly outclassed the original. If I look back on all the fun I had playing Tetris Attack for the Super Nintendo, or hosting TetriNET tournaments online in the late 90s, or the amount of time my wife wastes on Candy Crush Saga, it is hard for me to pretend that Tetris was not significant. It was the mother of all “endless puzzle” games, and it deserves credit for that, even if I hated the original Alexey Pajitnov Tetris, with its never-ending tiers of frustration.

NMY gives this selection a 9/10

Super Mario Bros (1985)

This is the real shoe-in. Nintendo was able to turn Mario into (I am assuming) the most recognizable fictional character in the world because the original Super Mario Bros was so great. A game released in 1985 is not supposed to still be this much fun 30 years later, but from novel settings and mechanics to outstanding control, this game ran the gamut of what a great side-scroller was supposed to be. This, at a time when there was very little in the way of quality competition to take inspiration from. The game’s lasting legacy is so pervasive in our culture that I would feel silly even bothering to summarize it.

NMY gives this selection a 10/10

Doom (1993)

“Why an FPS, World Video Game Hall of Fame?” Because “it also pioneered key aspects of game design and distribution that have become industry standards“, according to the official induction explanation. Design-wise, they laud it for “a game ‘engine’ that separated the game’s basic functions from other aspects such as artwork.” That might be an interesting point. I don’t know much about it, though I have to imagine that anything Doom did, Wolfenstein 3D did first. Distribution-wise, they talk about how id Software marketed downloadable expansions and encouraged multi-player, online gaming. That point fails to impress me. Doom launched in 1993, which means no games before it really had the option to market themselves in this way. “First” only counts for me if the move is innovative, not inevitable. So we are left with some sort of novel modular processing system and the fact that it was the first really successful FPS. Those are fine points. I might not like FPS games, but I can’t deny that they have had a more lasting impact than say, fighting or sports games. Placing so much weight on the play style does, however, open up the doors for a lot of why nots. Why not Diablo? Why not Dragon Quest? Why not Command & Conquer?

NMY gives this selection a 7/10

World of Warcraft (2004)

I am not entirely sure why the World Video Game Hall of Fame chose World of Warcraft, because they aren’t telling. Their write-up goes into detail on what makes MMORPGs so revolutionary, but none of it is really unique to WoW. They throw out some numbers about WoW’s player base and monthly profit, and then bam, inaugural hall of fame induction. I am probably the last person to give an accurate assessment of how World of Warcraft changed gaming, because I still actively play it, but I have to believe that its enormous popularity had a lot to do with its place in time. Coming in to the 21st century, we all knew someone who played EverQuest, and we all (all of us, right guys?) secretly wanted to abandon our real lives and nerd out in 24/7 multiplayer fantasy immersion. I never played EverQuest, however, or Final Fantasy XI for that matter, because I still had dial-up internet. World of Warcraft launched right around the time that the majority of gamers were becoming equipped to play something of its magnitude. That being said, WoW is going on 11 years now, and still going strong. I’ve never seriously considered canceling my subscription. Blizzard landed on a market ripe for the picking, but they have carefully cultivated it ever since.

NMY gives this selection an 8/10

Over all, I think the World Video Game Hall of Fame is off to a good start. Pong is the only inaugural entry I strongly disagree with, but were it missing, would people still take the organization seriously? Doom is a bit sketchy to me, because its only claim seems to be “first popular FPS”. I think GoldenEye 007 was the game to push FPS into the mainstream and really reach beyond the genre, while Blizzard clearly dominated online gaming with Diablo and Starcraft, whatever id Software happened to do “first”. Doom is a good candidate, no doubt, but I feel like it belongs in another class. It would have fit in more nicely in a 2016 school that pushed genre-standardizing games like Dragon Quest, The Legend of Zelda, Street Fighter II, and Space Invaders.

Is that what we have to look forward to in 2016? Well, based on the runners-up from 2015, maybe not. The list did include Space Invaders and The Legend of Zelda, along with worthy contenders Pokémon Red and Blue and The Oregon Trail. Beyond that, it got a bit dicey. It is hard to imagine that Angry Birds, for instance, almost made the top 6. Sonic the Hedgehog would be long forgotten if not marketed as Sega’s response to Mario, yet it was a contender. FIFA International Soccer was the only sports entry–an odd choice, given that I have never heard of it, it only came out in 1993, and Tecmo Super Bowl exists. The other options were Minecraft–a bit young yet, don’t you think?–and oddly, The Sims, which I am sure was quite fun to play and left no lasting impact on gaming whatsoever. Well, they’ve got another year to straighten things out.

Warhammer Gets The Total War Treatment


TotalWarWarhammer

Creative Assembly has made a name for itself creating just type of game and for fans of their titles that’s all well and good. Not every studio has to make every type of games. Some just figured out a way to do one type and just get better and better with each new title. This studio is one such company and even with Sega acquiring them they haven’t missed a beat.

Now, the studio ventures beyond the historical realm that the Total War series has always been based on. With Total War: Warhammer the studio now enters the realm of the epic fantasy. Nothing shouts louder in the epic fantasy genre than the world created by the minds over at Games Workshop with their Warhammer Fantasy gaming series.

While there’s still no release date as to when Total War: Warhammer will come out this title has already made my “buy-list” whenever they do announce the date.