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' 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!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hatsune Miku makes her Western debut via iOS

Who would have thought that a franchise like Hatsune Miku would make a Western debut on the iOS? Given that the series is primarily a Playstation franchise, I would have thought we'd eventually see a PSP or PS3 title in the West. The iOS game is entitled Miku Flick and appears to be a stripped down version of the game, featuring tapping and flicking to popular Hatsune Miku songs. At $13.99, the game is rather pricey for an iOS game. Still, given the fanbase that exists for the series in the West, I'm sure they'll snap up this title with the hope that more titles receive a Western release. [Source: SEGAbits]

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

All-Stars Racing iOS Update to add A New Racer and New Track!

Well this is a surprise! According to Maclife, an update is coming to the iOS version of Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing that will add Knuckles and a new track. The update will also allow the game to support AirPlay, allowing players to stream the game from their iPad or iPod to an HDTV. Of course, by that point you might as well be playing the HD version of the game. More news on the new track as it comes!

Friday, March 16, 2012

The NEOGEO X Handheld is Real!?

While this is not SEGA related, SEGA did develop games for the Neo Geo Pocket Color. This new handheld, slated for a Q2 2012 release, sounds more like a NEOGEO AES emulator. No word yet if it will also emulate other Neo Geo consoles. I'd love to see NGP and NGPC support, even if it means hacking the device.

Here's the press release:
The "NEOGEO X" will be released in Q2 2012 following the 20th anniversary of the ground breaking NEOGEO AES console. This Limited Edition handheld console will feature 20 officially licensed NEOGEO games including retro classics such METALSLUG, THE KING OF FIGHTERS and FATAL FURY. 
Along with these 20 built in NEOGEO classic titles, the NEOGEO X will also feature, SD card expansion, a 3.5" LCD screen, A/V output, internal stereo speakers and a headphone socket. 
The full game list is as follows:
13. NAM 1975

Jonathan Wan of Tommo commented "I am very proud to be working with SNK PLAYMORE, as NEOGEO is a strong brand with an excellent gaming pedigree" 
Jason Cooper of BLAZE commented "The NEOGEO console has always been a personal favorite of mine and I am delighted to be involved with the development of this new handheld console. We hope to re-ignite the excitement many of us felt twenty one years ago, in a more affordable manner, to a much wider audience."

The Limited Edition NEOGEO X will be distributed by Tommo Inc in the United States and retro gaming specialists BLAZE throughout Europe, Middle East and Australia. A distributor for Japan and the Far East will be confirmed shortly.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sonic Triple Trouble Coming the the 3DS in March

While I don't get the hoopla over Game Gear games coming to the 3DS, Sonic Triple Trouble fans should be happy to hear that the game will be coming to the Nintendo 3DS in March.  Shinobi and Dragon Crystal are two other Game Gear games set to release alongside Triple Trouble on March 14th in Japan. The games are said to also release in Europe and America in mid-March.

It's great to see Game Gear games rereleased to modern day consoles, but given the file size and game length of these oldies (but goodies!) I wonder why SEGA doesn't just release a Game Gear Collection or release a load of games at once to buy. Staggering the release of a few titles isn't as epic as, say, releasing fifty games in one go. Price them individually or as a massive bundle.

[Source: ONM]

In other news, yes I know MegaUpload is down and with its death went my custom Genesis cart designs of Sonic 4 and Sonic Generations. I have the original files and will fix the links as soon as I can.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Say "I Love You" With the Gift of a SEGA App

From 2/11 through to 2/14, SEGA will be having a Valentine's Day sale on a ton of iOS and Android apps. Given how often they hold sales, a majority of fans already have these apps. Still, the prices are great, especially for games like Super Monkey Ball 2 and Sonic CD. Check out the full list over at SEGA's blog!

In other news, things have been pretty busy over at SEGAbits. Aside from the usual articles and features, the podcast has returned and I was up last night recording another episode with SEGAbits heads George and Sharky. The show should be up later today and is worth a listen, despite it being a rather try news week. We still found stuff to talk about. Perhaps the oddest bit is when we create a new superhero.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

News from the Future: Sonic 4 Episode 3 Logo Revealed

Sonic 4 Episode 2's logo reveal is old news. Via a time hole, I was able to jump ahead to 2013 when SEGA revealed the Sonic 4 Episode 3 logo. It looks alright, pretty much what I expected. Looks like Knuckles will be playable, which isn't too big a surprise. In other news, this time taking place in the present, I finally have the ability to make videos in HD! So to test out our new camera (yes, it is the family camera, as it was bought with wedding money) I made a short tour of my Sonic shelves. I do have more Sonic stuff, but it's either boxed or in book form, which isn't as fun to show off. I do plan to show off my Sonic kid's books in the near future, as well as some Japanese SEGA books. In the meantime, enjoy the video:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Introducing the SEGA Fusion!

It's 2012, and SEGA is BACK in the hardware race! Okay, not really. But this is still pretty awesome. A crazy SEGA fan has crammed a SEGA CD, 32X and Genesis into a Saturn shell and dubbed it the "SEGA Fusion". Check out the video above in which he shows off the innards, and plays some games on it. At the moment, he is not accepting requests to build more of them, but never say never.