Thursday, July 18, 2013

I visit SEGA of America & After Burner Climax receives an update - stories are unrelated to each other


The SEGA Blog has announced that After Burner Climax for iOS and Google Play will be receiving a free update which will add a new playable plane as well as in-game cinematics. The plane, dubbed the X-47B, is desribed as being "the latest in stealth technology from Northrup Grumman". The in-game cinematics come from the arcade and console versions, which until now were lacking from the mobile versions. All-in-all a great update, which gives app owners a reason to replay the game again. And again.
In non-mobile related news, I FREAKIN' VISITED SEGA! I posted part 1 of a write up of my visit over at SEGAbits. Please check it out, part 2 is due early next week. I was able to check out the super cool lobby, which was packed with SEGA stuff, as well as meet the community managers and dig through a pile of SEGA rarities from their archives. Oh yeah... I also grabbed one of these.
I had to commemorate the trip somehow, didn't I?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sonic Lost World 3DS trailer arrives!

Since the release of Sonic the Hedgehog remastered, the mobile SEGA gaming front has been quiet. no new releases, very few reveals. Oh, aside from Sonic Lost World for the Wii U and 3DS. While much of the focus has been put on the Wii U, the 3DS version has been shown off a bit and SEGA has finally debuted a trailer. Overall, it looks fun. However, after seeing the Wii U version, the 3DS version seems far smeller in terms of exploration.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sonic the Hedgehog remastered - now on iOS, Android releasing soon

Like many iOS SEGA games, Sonic the Hedgehog remastered has suddenly appeared, to little fanfare, on the App Store. What's so great is that this isn't a new app, but rather the game is an update to the existing Sonic the Hedgehog app which sells for $2.99. So those who spent their money on the old version get this one for free. Given I downloaded the original for 99 cents back in December, getting this new version for free is a real treat! Remastered by Sonic CD's Christian "Taxman" Whitehead and Stealth, Sonic the Hedgehog features Time Attack modes, remastered music, spin dash feature, slightly updated boss patterns, smoother motion in the Special Stages, and playable Tails and Knuckles! The menus are also amazing. Stay tuned to SEGAbits for a full review next week.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The House of the Dead: Overkill – The Lost Reels sneaks onto the App Store

As with most SEGA iOS releases, The House of the Dead Overkill: The Lost Reels has stealthily arrived to little fanfare. Thankfully, SEGA was kind enough to reach out to me to offer up a review code, so I was able to download it last night for a bit of pre-release gameplay. While the game does utilize a virtual pad (or tilt controls, depending on your preference), the controls are surprisingly tight! At $4.99, the game offers up two worlds, with a third available via a $1.99 in app purchase. Expect a full review early next week over at SEGAbits. In the meantime, I have zombies- er, I mean mutants to kill.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Presenting the latest SEGA Nomad mod: The SEGA Nomad X

Game console and handheld modding genius Wiggy, at the Rose Colored Gaming blog, lives by the motto "new ideas for old games". As such, he has made some pretty nifty upgrades to classic consoles and handhelds. Most notably, to handheld fans, Wiggy has added improved LCD screens and front and back lit screen mods to systems including the Wonderswan, various Game Boy devices, Neo Geo Pocket, and SEGA's Nomad. Earlier this week, Wiggy revealed his latest project: Nomad X. Nomad X is a souped up, modified, SEGA Nomad with a modern LED illuminated LCD screen, an internal battery, and an upgraded speaker. Really, the only thing he couldn't modify was the Nomad's size, though I have always been a fan of the Nomad's "big and beautiful" shape.

Also changed (at least for the R&D stage) is the Nomad's color, which has changed from black to white (Michael Jackson?). The Cartridge door is now grey and the logo itself features a red X. Wiggy notes in the comments that "This one is my R&D unit. I have R&D units for all the systems that I mod, and honestly they aren’t the ones you want LOL! Lot’s of unnecessary cuts, a bit rough around the edges, etc. I’ll gladly make more though, and in any color you like. Plus they units I produce from now on have all the issues resolved and the installs are as clean as can be". No release date or price has been announced, but Wiggy promises a price as soon as R&D has completed.

For whatever reason, when I hear the name "Nomad X", I think of Speed Racer's brother Racer X. Could it be? Nomad X is the Nomad's long lost brother?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

SEGA announces a slew of mobile titles at GDC 2013


As seen in part 1 and part 2 of my GDC 2013 report over at SEGAbits, SEGA has showcased a number of new titles. Well, not exactly new, as all the titles are pre-existing games. However, each game has been built especially for iOS and Android devices. Could the days of crappy packaged ROMs be over? First up are two SEGA Genesis classics: Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for iOS and Android devices.  Now before you get all bent out of shape over another release of these games, be aware that Christian "Taxman" Whitehead is behind the port, and as such we can expect the same sort of goodness that we got with Sonic CD's rerelease: 60fps, widescreen support, bonuses like time attack mode, and more goodies. SEGA has yet to reveal anything pertaining to Sonic 2, but we'll likely see something soon.


Also on show was a mobile port of The House of the Dead Overkill, dubbed "The Lost Reels". The game is said to be a retooling of the original game for mobile devices, so stages and characters may differ from the console versions. Also, I very much doubt all the F-bombs will remain intact. Oddly enough, tap to shoot will not be a control scheme until you complete the game, so players have to be ready to use either a virtual joystick or the accelerometer for their first playthrough.


Finally, SEGA has also announced that two free-to-play titles, Puzzle Pirates from developer Three Rings and Godsrule: War of Mortals from developer Gogogic, are heading to mobile devices soon. Both games have built up a sizable community on the browser versions of the games, and eventually players will be able to continue their gameplay on-the-go via touch enabled versions of the games.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The handheld SEGA games of February


February is turning out to be a pretty good month for SEGA handheld gaming fans! After a rather dull last few months, the 3DS and iOS have both received SEGA games. On iOS is the surprise release of After Burner Climax. Announced just last Monday and released three days later, After Burner Climax is a faithful port of the XBLA and PSN title that in turn is a modern day arcade classic. Gameplay is just as speedy and intense as the home version, and the price is excellent at a cool $2.99. One thing SEGA hasn't shared on their blog is the developer behind the port, Fishing Cactus. Fishing Cactus had this to say on their blog:
The “secret project”, which our Laurent Grumiaux recently referred to in his tweet laments about crunch time, is now officially revealed. Traveling at mach speed from the danger zone to your iPad, iPhone and iPod touch — After Burner Climax! The elite aerial dogfight game originally developed by Sega AM2 has barrel-rolled its way from the arcades to the AppStore.
We’re very grateful to SEGA for giving us the opportunity to port this frenetic Arcade classic to mobile, and to be completely honest, we’re very proud of what we’ve done with it! After Burner Climax bursts great 3D textures while delivering smooth high-speed animations despite the technical limitations of the platform. The game is playable using either touch or tilt.
Of note to Android owners, a version of the game is coming, though SEGA has yet to give a firm release date.

 

Next up is Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed for the Nintendo 3DS. Releasing three months after the HD versions, and two months after the Vita version, the 3DS version of the game may be late to the party but it is the version of the game that I am most interested to play outside the console versions. Early reviews are mixed, with an inconsistant framerate being the biggest negative. Despite this, the game amazingly retains all the racers and tracks. So unlike the DS version, which greatly scaled back in many areas, those who pick up the 3DS version should experience a game that plays very close to the console versions in terms of content.

Features include the obvious implementation of 3D, as well as Street Pass modes and a overhead map on the second screen that is only found on the Wii U and 3DS versions of the game. Oddly, the character I am most excited to race as is the Mii, which drives a car inspired by the car seen on the OutRun logo. Which in turn is a cutesified super deformed version of the OutRun Ferrari. Just make sure your Mii shirt is red for the full effect.

Stay tuned to the Nomad Junkyard for monthly rundowns of SEGA's portable offerings, as well as the occasional article! It's my resolution for the new year.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Zaxxon Escape for iOS reviewed, Sonic Jump released!


While things have been quiet at the Nomad Junkyard, things have been quite busy over at SEGAbits! I've gotten back into the handheld groove, as I've been enjoying Sonic Rush, Sonic Generations, Crush 3D and Shinobi on my 3DS. I've just reviewed Zaxxon Escape for iOS over at SEGAbits, so please head over there for my review. Also in iOS news, Sonic Jump has released today and I've been really enjoying it. The game is actually a semi-sequel to a 2005 mobile title of the same name, with all new controls, assets and gameplay elements. Expect a review of that in the coming week.

And how is my SEGA Nomad? Very well, thanks for asking. It is sitting in a drawer beneath my Genesis, thinking of a way to smash my iPhone and 3DS as revenge for me neglecting it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Nomad Junkyard enters the 3DS world...


I know! As a SEGA fan I should be ashamed, buying a Nintendo product. In fact, the 3DS XL is the first piece of Nintendo hardware that I bought new. My NES? Garage sale find in 2003. My GBA SP? Gamestop sale item bought a few years ago. My Wii? Same deal. So it was quite a strage experience plopping down money for a brand new Nintendo gaming device. But I don't regret it! I've actually been a closeted handheld Nintendo fin since they debuted the Game Boy Advance SP in 2003. The clam shell design? Lovely! The backlit screen? Awesome. I especially liked that the SP was backwards compatible with every Game Boy game ever made. 

I've sat out on the DS, mainly because I was just getting into the GBA library at the time. But when the 3DS was announced my ears perked up. Like the GBA SP, the 3DS looked to be a great option for those who sat out on the previous generation of Nintendo handhelds. Instead of buying a DS, I could just get a 3DS and cover both bases. Coupled with a GBA SP, a gamer could enjoy the entire Nintendo portable library with only two devices. Unforuntaly, I didn't have the money for a 3DS for quite a while, and once I did, the 3DS XL was announced. So I waited, and finally got a hold of one on the release date this past Sunday. Being a SEGA fan, I had to pick up SEGA titles first. So Crush 3D and Sonic Generations are the first games in my 3DS library, followed by Elite Beat Agents and Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition. 

How do I like the 3DS XL? I love it! I gotta give Nintendo credit, they may not make great home consoles anymore (sorry Wii U fans, I just am not excited for that) but they do a damn fine job with portables. The Street Pass function and the pedometer, complete with coins? Awesome idea that plays up on the portable function of the device. Instead of pretending to be a handheld home console (*cough* PSP*cough*), the 3DS is a handheld that knows its a handheld and is proud to be a handheld. Is it as good as the SEGA Nomad? Not quite, but it's a very cool device and I can't wait to spend more time playing it.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sonic 4 Episode 1 iOS Update Removes Your Save File

Those with iOS devices like the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch know all about the tempting little update notification that appears on the App Store icon. That little red number stating the number of apps with new updates is often a treat. Perhaps some bugs have been fixed, or new stages have been added to your favorite games. Well in the case of Sonic 4 Episode 1, the latest update deletes the players progress! So before you read on, make sure you’re not about to press that “UPDATE” button for the game, at least if you’re playing on iPod Touch and iPhone.

The update itself seems to fix some bugs and improve stability, though I haven’t noticed any difference outside of a Sonic 4 Episode 2 ad that popped up the first time I opened the app. I haven’t seen the ad since, so it may be a one time thing. I did lose my progress, but I knew full well I might and updated anyway for the sake of this article. SEGA has yet to comment on the update, but hopefully an update to the update brings back the save file or a revised update appears that saves those who have yet to download the update. More updates on the update when I'm… updated.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Four years ago, SEGA talked up Dreamcast games on the iOS


When news broke yesterday of Jet Set Radio releasing to iOS, I knew something sounded familiar about Dreamcast games on iOS, so I did some digging. Turns out back on July 16th, 2008, almost four years ago to the date, SEGA of America's then president Simon Jeffery had the following exchange with Kotaku:
Jeffery: Why people play those crappy games on their mobile phones, I'll never understand. I'll never understand it personally... The iPhone changes that completely. You're playing Dreamcast quality games on this tiny little device that you just had. 
Kotaku: That's a funny thing that you said that. I heard someone say something about comparing the iPhone's processing power to the Dreamcast. 
Jeffery: Yea, it's right there. 
Kotaku: It's...so they match? 
Jeffery: Yea, it's pretty impressive.
After this interview, Dreamcast fans speculated that we would perhaps soon be seeing Dreamcast games on the iOS. I mean, Simon Jeffery said it himself: the two are a match in terms of power. After a while, this possibility seemed more and more less likely, as Dreamcast games DID get rereleases via the Dreamcast Collection, however they were contained to HD consoles and the PC. Meanwhile, the closest iOS came to Dreamcast ports were Rayman 2 (not a SEGA title) and Chu Chu Rocket (not a direct port, nor a true showing of the Dreamcast's power).

So I found it very interesting that yesterday, SEGA finally did what Simon Jeffery stated was possible four years ago: Jet Set Radio is releasing to iOS devices this Summer. Now I wonder if we'll be seeing NiGHTS into Dreams... and other SEGA Heritage releases on iOS? It's entirely possible!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

iLove the iCade


Well this was an unexpected surprise! Those who follow my Twitter may have heard me boasting about finding an iCade at a local clothing store for the massively marked down price of $11.99. The iCade is an iPad accessory that allows for near perfect arcade controls to be used with select iPad games. Originally conceived as a Think Geek April Fools joke, the iCade ended up not being as crazy or funny as originally thought. I know when I first saw it I was less laughing and more intrigued by such an accessory. Soon after the prank, a company called Ion approached ThinkGeek and the two worked on making a real life iCade. The final product is pretty close to the original fake version, aside from a few things. The original was said to connect to the iPad's dock, however the final version is actually a bluetooth keyboard that connects wirelessly. The stick movements and putten presses are letter combinations that are read as movements within games that support the device. I tried the iCade in Safari and I ended up reading things like "swefesawgtr".   


While I myself don't have an iPad, I figured best not to pass up on such a deal. Especially when the thing still sells for $99. Never say no to 90% off gaming gear that is this cool. Thankfully for me, my wife has an iPad that her work supplied her with, so I've been able to play games with that. My hope is that she gets so annoyed with me borrowing it, that come Christmas, Santa will bring me an iPad. Perhaps she stumbled upon this page that I inadvertently left up on the computer screen and is seeing this big hint?


Setup is a snap, taking less than ten minutes. The unit is in four main pieces, so you just screw the sides, top and back onto the base and you're all set. The stick and buttons, the most important parts, feel really good. Now I'm not an arcade stick expert, but they feel very legit. No clunky cheap feel. Maybe not up to Hori arcade stick standards, but still very very good. My favorite bit is the power light, which is represented by a glowing 25 cent slot on the front. It doesn't actually take quarters, but its a nice touch.


Thus far I've tried out three games: Frogger Decades, Atari's Greatest Hits and Shogun. Frogger Decades is, flippers down, my favorite of the three. An awesome update to the classic Frogger formula, this thirtieth anniversary game is like the Sonic Generations of the Frogger franchise. It's a lot of fun, and controls amazingly well on the iCade. There is even a power-up that transforms 2011 frogger into 1981 frogger. I've yet to buy Atari's Greatest Hits, but I tried the one free game which is Missile Command. It's not my favorite Atari game, and it was originally meant for a trackball, but it plays well with the stick. I've read that other games in the collection play great with the stick, so come the weekend I'll unlock the 100 games in the app and give them a spin. $9.99 for 100 Atari games isn't a bad deal. Shogun is an indie shmup with the first level being free. It was great fun. Really intense stuff made even better with the stick and buttons. As for games I've yet to try, I've found out that the Midway Arcade app and Pix'n Love Rush are iCade compatible so those are also on the "must try, will probably buy list". 

So while this isn't exactly a review, I can say that the iCade is highly recommended, and that glowing opinion is not due to getting it for such a deal. Even at $99, its a sweet accessory. What I really am loving is that all the games are so dang inexpensive. For $17 you can own over 115 games across five apps, offering up a variety of gameplay. The only real negative is that more devs need to support the iCade. Fingers crossed the upcoming Redux: Dark Matters supports the accessory with their iOS version, and SEGA eventually brings iOS some arcade games with iCade support.




Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sonic 4 Episode II for Mobile Devices Dated and Priced


While the console versions of Sonic 4 Episode II have been priced and dated for quite a while, SEGA has just now given a date and price for the mobile versions. Surprisingly, they're coming a lot sooner than expected and are a bit cheaper than Episode I initially was! SEGA Blog revealed that the game will hit NVidia Tegra 3 powered devices on Android tomorrow and prices will be $6.99/ AUD$7.49/€5.49/ £4.99. As for iOS, the game arrives on Thursday at that same price point. Compared to Episode I, which released in 2010, Episode II is $3 less at release. Episode I, meanwhile, has dropped to $3.99 and this drop appears to be permanent. So for $11, newcomers can own Episodes I and II plus Episode Metal.

Expect an iOS review from myself on SEGAbits sometime next week.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

All-Stars Racing iOS Updates and I Upgrade to the iPhone 4


Yup, I've sold out and joined the cult of the iPhone. For years I've had an iPod Touch, and I enjoyed it, but lately I've felt in the dust thanks to Apple stopping software updates on the first gen model, which I have. Thankfully, the iPhone 4 allows me to play all the apps I could dream of playing. So I've started playing Samurai Bloodshow, which I'll review soon over at SEGAbits, and I've started playing Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing which was playable on the iPod Touch but not at the ideal frame rate.

And just in time for my upgrade comes an update to All-Stars Racing! The update adds: Knuckles and Shadow as playable racers, a new track – Samba de Amigo’s mountainside Sun Fair track, a new home screen icon, Airplay-out mode, HDMI-out mode, iCloud saving, character faces on the minimap (originally racers were shown as anonymous red dots, now you’ll see that Beat is trailing you), Game Center profile pics on the minimap in multiplayer and many other improvements and bug fixes. I’ve explored the game some and found another unmentioned update, the ability to buy SEGA miles via in-app purchases. Very clever way to get a bit of money out of customers, SEGA. It should be noted that Knuckles, Shadow and the new track need to be purchased with SEGA miles. They are not unlocked once you update the app.

My next intended purchase: A Nintendo 3DS. That way I'll have the retro covered (my Nomad, Game Gear and Game Park Caanoo) and the modern covered (iOS and 3DS). Sorry Vita, maybe next year. I'm not made of money.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'm at it again: Make your own Sonic 4 Episode 2 Genesis box, manual and cartridge!

Back in 2010, in anticipation of Sonic 4 Episode 1, I created an shared a Genesis box craft project. The design was well received, with Sonic Retro reporting on it and SEGA's own Ruby Eclipse aka Aaron Webber commenting on it over at the SEGA forums (at least, I remember seeing he did, I can't find the link but whateva).

If you want to make the case, here’s what you’ll need:
  • The files, available to download here 
  • A plastic Genesis or Mega Drive case and game cartridge, I used a like-new copy of NBA Jam 
  • One 8.5″x11″ sheet of printer paper (glossy preferred) 
  • One 11″x17″ sheet of printer paper, or whatever can fit a 7″x11″ image 
  • Tape, plain or double sided
Print the cartridge “stickers” and instruction manual on the 8.5″x11″ piece of paper, cut on the edge. Fold the manual in half and place a piece of tape inside to keep it shut. Use double sided tape or loops of regular tape to stick the sticker to the cartridge. Print the cover on the larger piece of paper, trim and place in the Genesis box, place the cartridge and manual inside the box.

If you'd like to see more images, I posted up a gallery over at SEGAbits. Check them out and enjoy!