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What's a great retro game that you only recently discovered?

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I felt like this was an interesting topic, and that creating a thread for Atari I/O users to share their newly-discovered gems with everyone may help others find some great new games to play.

So, what is a retro game that you've only recently fallen in love with? I'll start.

I was never an RPG fan. Sure, back in like fifth and sixth grade I was into Pokemon like everyone else, and I even saved up for Moon and got it on launch day, but since those days I could never get back into them. There were a few that I found interesting and fun since then, like Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga and Earthbound, but I always got stuck in them and never found them that engaging. I would play for a session or two, and then just go back to playing my usual platformers and arcade-style games, forgetting about those RPGs that I thought were "fun enough" for months, sometimes even years, at a time. Even those old Pokemon games that I liked so much when I was eleven and twelve I have found hard to go back to. I always have a tough time balancing out my party in RPGs, always worrying about how much EXP everyone's getting and stuff like that.

However, the impossible happened the other day. I was cleaning up the basement, and with my new wireless headphones (thanks, grandma and papa) I was binge "watching" (more like listening) to Jeremy Parish's Game Boy Works series. If you haven't watched it yet, basically it's a chronological look at the Game Boy's library, one or two games at a time in order of release. Like Atari Archive, but for Game Boy. So far, he's nearing the end of 1990. He also does similar series on the NES, SNES, N64, and a plethora of other systems. If you haven't checked it out yet, I highly recommend it. But I digress.

I was listening to the Game Boy Works 1989 playlist while cleaning, and one of the games that was released on the Game Boy in that year (in Japan at least) was Makai Toushi Sa-Ga, released here in the States as The Final Fantasy Legend. I had heard this episode before this point, but not for a while, so this was sort of a refresher. In the video, Mr. Parish explains the mechanics of the game, as well as its history and other things like that. A retrospective. At the time, I thought that it might be interesting, but didn't really think much of it. However, later in the week I was browsing through my Game Boy ROMs directory on my DSi when I noticed that one of the few original Game Boy ROMs that my friend @Zerobeat2004 gave me back in 2019 was The Final Fantasy Legend (I haven't added many Game Boy ROMs since because the emulator I'm using won't accept ZIP files and it ends up being a pretty tedious process to unzip every file from the GB ROMs pack I downloaded). I thought that just for fun I'd check the game out.

When I started playing it, I knew that I was immediately hooked. This game was actually very well-suited to my tastes. No experience points? That alone helped me really get into it. All I had to worry about is money, which you get after every fight. I used that money to buy more weapons, better stat upgrades, healing items, and more. I didn't have to worry about leveling up, at least not in the strictest sense, and I especially was pleased that I didn't have to go to any stupid training grounds like in Might and Magic. There were only a couple different kinds of shops, so I didn't have that to worry about. There were also only three different classes. I couldn't tell the difference between elves and half-orcs in other games, but here there wasn't much to keep mental note of. Humans were pretty static and predictable (that's what you use the stat upgrades on), Mutants (I can't help but think of Kuato and Total Recall) have stats that change randomly and can cast spells, and monsters can only attack with their own attacks and can't hold any weapons, but can change shape completely if they eat another creature's meat. Because of cart limitations, NPC dialog is limited and gets right to the point. No crypticism. It's also kind of funny when they speak in such broken English. And the game doesn't take itself too seriously, either. You can shoot sentient eyeballs with submachine guns!

I've only gotten to the second floor of the tower so far, but I'm really enjoying the game. What games did you recently discover that are really fun? Please let us all know!

 

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I'm not sure how "retro" it is, but I'm really enjoying the Phoenix Wright series on the Nintendo DS.  I'm on game #2 (I think there are three in the original series).  I like it a lot because it's not terribly taxing (I'm pretty fried after working all day), and you can play in 15 minute segments pretty easily.  Also, the game is seriously humorous.  I end up laughing a lot.  And finally, my kids have already played, so I can talk and laugh with them during dinner as I slowly make my way through the games. 

 

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My discoveries have mostly come from participating in high score challenges, and they're all 2600 games. Outside of Galaxian, I had never even heard of these games (all released by CommaVid). These are simple games and yet challenging to master -- the best kind of games.

  • Galaxian
  • Room of Doom
  • Cosmic Creeps
  • Mines of Minos

There is one more game that I want to highlight, and it's the 2600 Pac-Man. I mentioned this before in other threads that I resented the game for nearly forty years, but some discussions that were had in the I/O about the effect of the color of the game completely changed my perception of the game. Now, I love it and appreciate it as a unique game in its own right and feel like I've re-discovered it.

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I just played Arcana for the SNES for the first time yesterday.  Not sure how great it is just yet, but I played for around 30 min and really liked it.  It's a first person dungeon crawler type game, like AD&D Eye of the Beholder but a little less complicated.  But the real draw for me is that it has an automap feature for the dungeons!  No graph paper needed!

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Wrecking Crew on NES is a game I've known of for decades. I didn't own one until I began collecting in the 1990s, but I never had the manual. I've spoken of this recently in High Score Squad. What's the deal with Wrecking Crew? Is that supposed to be Mario? /seinfeldvoice I never understood what I was supposed to be doing, or why he couldn't jump. It wasn't until I forced myself to do a High Score Squad Challenge on it that I realized it's not a Mario platformer so much as it's a puzzle game, and then I grew to really love Wrecking Crew. Very much.

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7 minutes ago, Justin said:

Wrecking Crew on NES is a game I've known of for decades. I didn't own one until I began collecting in the 1990s, but I never had the manual. I've spoken of this recently in High Score Squad. What's the deal with Wrecking Crew? Is that supposed to be Mario? /seinfeldvoice I never understood what I was supposed to be doing, or why he couldn't jump. It wasn't until I forced myself to do a High Score Squad Challenge on it that I realized it's not a Mario platformer so much as it's a puzzle game, and then I grew to really love Wrecking Crew. Very much.

We in the Wrecking Crew fan club are always happy to welcome new recruits. Welcome to the club, man.

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