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$5 Gamer: Let’s Play Venture

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Venture is a classic arcade game released in 1981. This is a game I have never heard of or seen until I started exploring the emulation scene. I find that strange because I think this game has much more compelling gameplay than most seminal games we remember like Asteroids, Pacman and Galaga. Not to say those games aren’t good or don’t deserve credit, but Venture brings many new things to the table which are obviously under appreciated.

Gameplay

Venture has the player controlling the protagonist “Winky” as he tries to raise dungeons and steal the treasures while avoiding monsters. Windy wields a bow and arrow with unlimited arrows, although only a single arrow can be on screen at a time, and it travels pretty slowly so you need to pick your shots.

The game begins in a zoomed-out overworld and Winky is just a tiny red pixel (actually I think it’s 2×2 pixels). Each level contains five rooms which have doors Winky can enter. Also populating the overworld are the hall walkers, which looks like jellyfish and are completely immune to Winky’s weapons. They just kill you, so obviously you need to just avoid them by dipping into one of the rooms.

When you enter a room the game performs a pretty cool zoom-in transition and until Winky is normal sized and the room takes up the entire play area. Each room has a single treasure and monsters or other obstacles. The goal is to grab the treasure without dying and escape the room. If you mess around too long one of the killer jellyfish will break in and attack you, so time is of the essence. Shooting enemies will kill them, but their bodies will remain and decompose for what seems like forever. Often it seems better to just dodge them rather than kill them.

Once you collect a treasure from all five rooms the level is beaten and you move on to the next, with a fresh batch of rooms! I have personally been unable to get passed the second level although I often get close. From watching some plays on youtube I discovered that there are three unique levels and then the game loops back to a more difficult version of level two.

Graphics/Sounds

It is hard for a 1981 game to have bad graphics. They have a very stereotypical retro look and everything looks pretty charming and timeless. I would compare the graphics to Pacman the most. The background is black and all the gameplay elements are bright and colorful. The sound design in this game is absolutely hilarious. You get these small snippets of famous songs you can ALMOST put your finger on and music changes when you grab the treasure and attempt to escape the rooms which is nice. Considering most old games (Pacman, Mario Bros, Galaga) have no gameplay music at all, this is pretty awesome.

X-Factor

I find Venture very compelling because it taps into my sense of wonder. I really want to see what the next level or next room looks like. I am curious what monsters and music are waiting for me. Pacman and Galaga do not tap into that. The next level in those games are just the same thing but slightly harder. Venture keeps on bringing something new and interesting to the table. Getting good at venture is fun.

I also think it’s pretty great that this game has a narrative that makes sense. It’s basically the plot of Tomb Raider but in 1981. I can feel for Winky, I can be in the dungeon with him. The level and gameplay transitions are also very unique and give the game an extra layer of charm.

$5 Gamer: ESP Ra De

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I have fallen in love with these SHMUPS lately. Look out for more of them in this series. I feel like there is something so zen and relaxing about just dodge bullets. It’s nothing but me, the bullets and my finger movements. But can I handle this hardball game with only 20 credits!?

This game actually has more of a story than most shooters. Something about telekinetic children that have to fend off some kind of military invasion by an equally powerful telekinetic overlord. It takes place in a futuristic version of Japan I think… The setting and concept are all very much like the anime classic Akira.

There is a selection of three child prodigies and they all have slightly different firing patterns. One of the buttons fires some sort of special spray which recharge relatively quickly and the three characters aim this in different ways as well. Like many of these bullet hell games, you have a special attack which makes you invulnerable and fires a massive beam for a limited time.

If you hold down the primary fire button for a little over a second your character slows down, which might sound like it’s bad, but it’s actually great. Moving very slowly and precisely is exactly what you need much of the time. If you simply let up off the fire button you regain your max speed. It’s actually a very awesome mechanic and surprisingly easy to get used to compared to something like an actually speed change button.

I will admit I had lots of practice playing this game, although usually when I play these I only put in 1 credit because all of the top score are always called 1-Credit-Clear. Although I am not EVEN CLOSE to a 1CC, it seems like the way to play it, so I am good at the first couple of levels and then I sort of lose it. That being said, I had a pretty easy time beating this game on 20 credits.

Enjoy my run and let me know what you think about this game! If you want to see me try another game, leave me a comment.

NES AtoZ 53: Flight of the Intruder

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Flight of the Intruder - 0/1

Another garbage flight simulator… The world really wasn’t ready for these in the 8-bit era. I found the game incredibly dull, but maybe a die hard air combat fan might … still find it incredibly dull.

how-to-download-roms

Does something look like fun? You want to check it out for yourself? There is nothing stopping you! Emulating these games is easier than ever. If you are a Mac user, go download OpenEmu right now. If you are a Windows user just go get FCEUX NES emulator. All you need now is the games.

 

NES AtoZ 51: Fisher Price Perfect Fit

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Perfect Fit - 1/1

The final installment in the Fisher Price series. This is a simplistic shape-matching game. The game has the player matching objects with with silhouettes. Sometimes the objects need to be flipped horizontally or vertically (sometimes both!) Very simply, but it functions for a small child. Good work.

how-to-download-roms

Does something look like fun? You want to check it out for yourself? There is nothing stopping you! Emulating these games is easier than ever. If you are a Mac user, go download OpenEmu right now. If you are a Windows user just go get FCEUX NES emulator. All you need now is the games.

 

NES AtoZ 49: Fisher Price Firehouse Rescue

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Firehouse Rescue - 1/1

I’ll come right out and say it, I wanted to give this a 0. However looking at this game from the perspective of a 3-5 year old child, there isn’t much that is terrible about it. Could it be better? Of course! But as a preliminary effort of a toy company to make an NES game for kids. Remember that making an NES game wasn’t a cash grab back in the 80s. NES developers weren’t just sitting around waiting for work like iOS developers are now. It was a serious and risky undertaking to create a video game in this totally untested environment. Fisher Price did a good job here.

how-to-download-roms

Does something look like fun? You want to check it out for yourself? There is nothing stopping you! Emulating these games is easier than ever. If you are a Mac user, go download OpenEmu right now. If you are a Windows user just go get FCEUX NES emulator. All you need now is the games.

 

$5 Gamer: Smash TV

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Smash TV is one of my absolute childhood classics. I challenged this game many times on arcade, SNES and later on Midway arcade treasures on Xbox. All of the times I have given this game my all I have never beaten it, ever. Has anyone? I got my $5 and I am feeling motivated to win some big money and big prizes. This time I find out once and for all, if I have what it takes.

Well unfortunately some things never change, I got about halfway into the third round before I was forced to succumb to the endless streams of snakes and tanks. All things considered, it isn’t a bad run. The third round is the last round and I was probably only a few rooms from the boss.

Although it will probably be a LONG TIME until I play this again, I love this game. I challenge you to beat me 1-credit score!

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NES AtoZ 48: Firehawk

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Firehawk - 1/1

What a sweet game! The controls take a second to get used to but once you got it it feels just like flying a real helicopter … probably. In this game you need to go various cities in your badass helicopter equipped with bombs and machine guns. Your job is to rescue a green dude, maybe in later levels you need to get multiple dudes. When you find the dude the game changes modes from a top-down shooter to a sort of early-era quicktime event. You need to press A or B at correct times to shoot down enemies before they take you down. I need to give it props for pioneering quicktime events right? Little details like the typewriter keys moving when the letter is typed really sell this game. Resounding 1/1 check this one out.

how-to-download-roms

Does something look like fun? You want to check it out for yourself? There is nothing stopping you! Emulating these games is easier than ever. If you are a Mac user, go download OpenEmu right now. If you are a Windows user just go get FCEUX NES emulator. All you need now is the games.

 

NES AtoZ 45: Fester’s Quest

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Special announcement! I have moved all of my gaming videos to this new channel called AVD Gaming. If you enjoy this series please subscribe to that channel, I would love to have you join me. The quest continues!

  • Fester’s Quest - 1/1

    Even though this game was eviscerated by the AVGN I didn’t find anything to offensive about it. Sure the way the upgraded gun shoots in a sign-wave making it impossible to hit anything in a runnel is annoying. You know what else is annoying? Getting hit by birds in Ninja Gaiden and Castlevania and falling into a pit, but those games are still good. They even got the actual theme song which is more than I can say for most licensed garbage. We didn’t play too much but the inventory looks pretty deep and I am curious what all the items are used for. Wouldn’t mind playing more.

    festers-quest-gameplay

Play Along!

Does something look like fun? You want to check it out for yourself? There is nothing stopping you! Emulating these games is easier than ever. If you are a Mac user, go download OpenEmu right now. If you are a Windows user just go get FCEUX NES emulator. All you need now is the games.

how-to-download-roms

NES AtoZ 41

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  • Duck Tales - 1/1

    Everyone who has played this knows that it is awesome. Capcom truly delivers in this masterpiece. The controls are crisp, the music is outstanding. You get to choose your starting level, which is awesome at keeping you from getting frustrated. Nothing bad I can say about it.

    ducktales-nes-gameplay

  • Duck Tales 2 - 1/1

    It played exactly like Duck Tales, and there is nothing wrong with that! It’s a classic Mega Man formula, same game every minor modifications, most of witch we didn’t even discover during gameplay. I actually never knew there was a sequel to Duck Tales! Does that make this a hidden gem?

    duktales2-nes-gameplay

  • Dudes with Attitude - 1/1

    Not much to say about graphics or sound, but the game play reminds me of an old Mac game I used to have called Diamonds. You control one “dude” and he automatically bounces from left to right like a ping pong ball, you must input the up and down commends to effect what he bounces off of. The game is pretty lackluster all around but the 2-player co-op actually puts it over the edge.

    dudes-with-attitude-nes-gameplay

  • Dungeon Magic - 0/1

    As we know it’s impossible to properly review a dungeon crawler like this in 5 minutes. There probably isn’t anything horribly wrong with this game except for the “draw distance.” But I don’t imagine anyone getting to much pleasure for playing it. If you want to play a good modern dungeon crawler go get yourself Legend of Grimrock.

    dunegon-magic-nes-gameplay

  • Dusty Diamonds Softball - 1/1

    This is an off-beat baseball game that has a demon as one of the possible players! Despite constantly bitching about how much I hate sports titles, I actually don’t seem to hate them that much. They are much better than modern sports games because there is almost no “team building” you just hit start and play!

    dusty-diamonds-nes-gameplay

Play Along!

Does something look like fun? You want to check it out for yourself? There is nothing stopping you! Emulating these games is easier than ever. If you are a Mac user, go download OpenEmu right now. If you are a Windows user just go get FCEUX NES emulator. All you need now is the games.

how-to-download-roms