WELCO-METOT-HENEX-TLEVEL – Novastorm

Novastorm_MCD_US_Box_FrontPublisher: Psygnosis
Developer: Psygnosis
Released: 1994

There’s not a whole lot to say about Novastorm. It feels very similar to Psygnosis’ previous full-motion video shooter, Microcosm. Here, however, you are piloting a fighter across four different planets, fighting for humanity’s survival against the Scarab-X forces.

As you can tell from the shots, and the comparison to Microcosm, this game consists of flying your ship over some pre-rendered, full-motion video backdrops, firing away at a load of enemies that don’t quite fit the environment they’re in. They don’t fit because, especially on a system with the limited color palette of the Sega CD, sprite-based graphics are too clean looking and stand out like a sore thumb against the low-res video behind them.

Bosses are handled a bit differently, though, being mostly made up of FMV as well. Sure, this leads to moments where you realize that your ship really isn’t part of what’s going on, that everything you’re doing is just plastered on a movie. But at least it helps keep you in the moment, immersed in the world as much as possible. It’s far more effective than a bunch of sprites floating over a disconnected background.
NOVASTORM001
Far more limiting, too.

Of course, when the boss creatures are part of the full-motion video background, they move the exact same way each and every time you encounter them. That means what magic there is starts to dissipate immediately the second you begin a repeat play. Novastorm mitigates this problem somewhat by mixing up some of the enemy attacks – lava splashes that begin off-screen or homing-projectiles that keep you moving even though you’ve otherwise memorized the enemy’s patterns.
NOVASTORM002
Novastorm came out on loads of different platforms. Heck, I think there’s even a PlayStation version. The Sega CD, though, was really not up to the task with these games. Well….except for Silpheed.

Posted in Sega, Sega CD, WELCO METOT HENEX TLEVEL | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

502: The Triple E ’16

Play

This week! We talk about E3 for over 2 and a half hours! The press conferences and the announcements. We go hardware manufacturers first, then publishers, and then give out some grades at the end. Thanks to Kevin Larrabee of Back In My Play and the FitCast Network for coming on and talking E3 with us. Join us, won’t you?

Linkles of interest:

Check out Greg’s web series Generation 16 (Episode 17 now available) – click here. And take a trip over to Phil’s YouTube Channel to see some awesome retro game vids. Ethan’s video game memories blog can be found here.

Own an iPhone/iPod touch? We’ve got an app for that–the Player One Podcast player app is available now. Play shows new and old, read show notes, access the show Twitter, website, email, and more! Click here to download.

Got an Android device? You can now download our app on the Amazon Android Appstore. Find out all about it here.

Follow us on twitter at twitter.com/p1podcast.

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to visit our new web site at www.playeronepodcast.com. Don’t forget to join our forums if you haven’t already!

Running time: 2:36:08

 
Check out this episode!

Posted in E3, Episodes, Video Games | Leave a comment

501: Pre-3

Play

This week! CJ and Phil are on assignment, so Sewart holds down the ford with Ethan and Kevin Larrabee! Topics include: E3, LEGO Dimensions, Xbox One S, Titanfall 2, Battlefield 1, Mass Effect Andromeda, Nintendo NX, Shenmue III, Dreamcast, Kirby, Ethan’s VR experience, and much more!

Check out Greg’s web series Generation 16 (Episode 17 now available) ? click here. And take a trip over to Phil’s YouTube Channel to see some awesome retro game vids.

Own an iPhone/iPod touch? We’ve got an app for that?the Player One Podcast player app is available now. Play shows new and old, read show notes, access the show Twitter, website, email, and more!Click here to download.

Got an Android device? You can now download our app on the Amazon Android Appstore. Find out all about it here.

Follow us on twitter at twitter.com/p1podcast.

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to visit our new web site at www.playeronepodcast.com. Don’t forget to join our forums if you haven’t already!

Check out this episode!

Posted in Episodes, No CJ, No Phil, Uncategorized | 1 Response

500: It’s the 500th Episode Special

Play

This week! Rich Grisham hosts the 500th episode special – delving into some podcast history, past vs. present, changes in the podcast and in gaming, origin stories and so much more. Thank you so much for joining us for the previous 500 episodes. Let’s make it at least 100 more, eh? At least.

Links of interest:

Check out Greg’s web series Generation 16 (Episode 16 now available) – click here. And take a trip over to Phil’s YouTube Channel to see some awesome retro game vids.

Own an iPhone/iPod touch? We’ve got an app for that–the Player One Podcast player app is available now. Play shows new and old, read show notes, access the show Twitter, website, email, and more! Click here to download.

Got an Android device? You can now download our app on the Amazon Android Appstore. Find out all about it here.

Follow us on twitter at twitter.com/p1podcast.

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to visit our new web site at www.playeronepodcast.com. Don’t forget to join our forums if you haven’t already!

Running time: 1:33:23

 
Check out this episode!

Posted in Episodes, Video Games | 1 Response

499: Don Man’s Sky

Play

This week! Iterated Xbox One hardware, game streaming, bad trailers, No Man’s Sky delay, Mega Man cartoons, virtual reality, Overwatch, Uncharted 4 (no spoilers) and much more. Join us, won’t you?

Links of interest:

Check out Greg’s web series Generation 16 (Episode 16 now available) – click here. And take a trip over to Phil’s YouTube Channel to see some awesome retro game vids.

Own an iPhone/iPod touch? We’ve got an app for that–the Player One Podcast player app is available now. Play shows new and old, read show notes, access the show Twitter, website, email, and more! Click here to download.

Got an Android device? You can now download our app on the Amazon Android Appstore. Find out all about it here.

Follow us on twitter at twitter.com/p1podcast.

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to visit our new web site at www.playeronepodcast.com. Don’t forget to join our forums if you haven’t already!

Running time: 1:49:43
Check out this episode!

Posted in Episodes, Video Games | Leave a comment

498: Just the Cowl

Play

This week! More Doom, some more Uncahrted (light spoiler talk through Chapter 16 from 38:01 – 51:18), the Angry Birds movie, dead gamertag revivals, Gran Turismo Sport, Ratchet & Clank, Forza 6 NASCAR DLC and much, much more. Join us, won’t you?

Links of interest:

Check out Greg’s web series Generation 16 (Episode 17 now available) – click here. And take a trip over to Phil’s YouTube Channel to see some awesome retro game vids.

Own an iPhone/iPod touch? We’ve got an app for that–the Player One Podcast player app is available now. Play shows new and old, read show notes, access the show Twitter, website, email, and more! Click here to download.

Got an Android device? You can now download our app on the Amazon Android Appstore. Find out all about it here.

Follow us on twitter at twitter.com/p1podcast.

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to visit our new web site at www.playeronepodcast.com. Don’t forget to join our forums if you haven’t already!

Running time: 1:23:35

 
Check out this episode!

Posted in Episodes, Guest, Video Games | Leave a comment

497: Much A-Doom About Nothing

Play

This week! Ethan joins us to talk Uncharted 4 (spoilers through Ch.5 from 1:00:10 – 1:26:37), Doom, Severed, Pocket Card Jockey, Disney shutting down Infinity, Eurogamer’s piece on Lionhead, that video of someone not very good at shooters playing Doom, and a whole bunch more. Join us, won’€™t you?

Links of interest:

Check out Greg’s web series Generation 16 (Episode 16 now available) – click here. And take a trip over to Phil’s YouTube Channel to see some awesome retro game vids.

 

Follow us on twitter at twitter.com/p1podcast.

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to visit our new web site at www.playeronepodcast.com. Don’t forget to join our forums if you haven’t already!

Running time: 1:55:38
Check out this episode!

Posted in Episodes, Guest, Video Games | Leave a comment

496: Unfit-cast

Play

This week! Ethan and Kevin join us to talk PAX East, Uncharted, Nintendo, mobile stuff, E3, NX, Call of Duty, Battlefield 1, Overwatch, Pocket Card Jockey, Star Fox Zero, Taiko Drum Master 5, Axiom Verge, Mega Man 5, pizza, Amiibo and so much more. Won’t you join us?

Links of Interest:

Check out Greg’s web series Generation 16 (Episode 17 now available) – click here. And take a trip over to Phil’s YouTube Channel to see some awesome retro game vids.

Own an iPhone/iPod touch? We’ve got an app for that–the Player One Podcast player app is available now. Play shows new and old, read show notes, access the show Twitter, website, email, and more! Click here to download.

Got an Android device? You can now download our app on the Amazon Android Appstore. Find out all about it here.

Follow us on twitter at twitter.com/p1podcast.

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to visit our new web site at www.playeronepodcast.com. Don’t forget to join our forums if you haven’t already!

Running time: 1:46:02
Check out this episode!

Posted in Episodes, Guest, Video Games | Leave a comment

495: ARPPU

Play

This week CJ’s away yet again, so Greg and Phil invited Ethan back to gab about games. Listen to them talk about the NX, Nintendo mobile games, E3, Ratchet & Clank: The Game of the Movie of the Game, Hitman, Star Fox Zero, Sega 3D Classics and so much more. Join us,won’t you?

 

Check out Greg’s web series Generation 16 (Episode 17 nowavailable) – click here. And take a trip over to Phil’s YouTubeChannel to see some awesome retro game vids.

Own an iPhone/iPod touch? We’ve got an app for that–the PlayerOne Podcast player app is available now. Play shows new and old,read show notes, access the show Twitter, website, email, and more!Click here to download.

Got an Android device? You can now download our app on theAmazon Android Appstore. Find out all about it here.

Follow us on twitter at twitter.com/p1podcast.

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to visit our new web site atwww.playeronepodcast.com. Don’t forget to join our forums if youhaven’t already!

Running time: 1:29:48
Check out this episode!

Posted in Episodes, Video Games | Leave a comment

WELCO METOT HENEX TLEVEL – Night Trap

NightTrap_MCD_US_Box_FrontPublisher: Sega
Developer: Digital Pictures
Released: 1992

On May 8, 1981, John Krizanc’s new play, Tamara, debuted in Trinity-Bellwoods Park, Toronto. The play is based on an historic meeting between Polish painter Tamara de Lempicka and Italian writer Gabriele D’Annunzio.

But Tamara wasn’t your run-of-the-mill production, where the audience sat in their seats while the story played itself out on stage. Tamara took place in a multi-room building, featuring as many as 11 different scenes happening simultaneously at some points. The audience mingles in with the actors, deciding which storyline they want to follow and moving from room to room with their selected character. Or maybe they would decide to stay in a single room to see what might happen next. This meant that it was impossible to see the entirety of the play in one viewing, but also meant that each audience member came away with a relatively unique experience and perspective on the story.

It was highly innovative to say the least. And in May, 1984, Tamara began a nine-year run at the American Legion Hall in Hollywood. Over a single weekend in 1985, Rob Fulop and Jim Riley attended the play three times, trying to piece together the entire story.

But Fulop and Riley weren’t just theatre buffs. They both worked for Axlon, one of a series of companies founded by Nolan Bushnell after leaving Atari. Axlon created, among other things, electronic toys such as AG Bear, which was a talking teddy bear that reacted to hearing people speak.
NIGHT TRAP001
Axlon (and Hasbro, thanks to its $7 million investment) had created a new type of video game system, codenamed NEMO, which overlaid live video with more traditional video game graphics through a modified ColecoVision console with footage being fed by a VCR. But these were no ordinary video tapes – they contained computer data and multiple tracks of video that could be switched on the fly.

Tamara’s premise was perfect, and the idea morphed into one of the early demos for the new console – Scene of the Crime. One of three short demos that were completed and presented to Hasbro in 1986. From these, full development of what would become Night Trap and Sewer Shark was greenlit, and the crew got to work.
NIGHT TRAP002
Diff’rent Strokes star Dana Plato would be the main character. Hollywood and Silicon Valley would collide to create one of the most groundbreaking video games in history. A three week shoot and what had to be one of the largest budgets in video game history up to that point was all it took.

With Night Trap and Sewer Shark in the can and the launch of the newly-named Control-Vision a mere three months from its late 1989 debut, Hasbro cancelled it all. The projected cost of the system would be $299, which was considered far too expensive to compete with the ridiculously successful Nintendo Entertainment System. Key members of the NEMO team, notably Tom Zito, purchased the rights to the software and put everything in storage.
NIGHT TRAP003
Enter Sega. And Sony.

In 1990, Sony acquired the rights to the NEMO games, with intent to publish them on the planned Nintendo PlayStation. However, Nintendo famously flipped Sony the bird on that one and Sony was left with rights to a bunch of games they couldn’t publish. It just so happened that Tom Kalinske and Sega were also of the opinion that full-motion video games were the future, and with the US launch of the Sega CD set for late 1992, Sega and Sony entered into a publishing partnership, splitting the $5 million cost of updating Night Trap and Sewer Shark for release on modern consoles. The two publisher divvied up the games, with Sega publishing Night Trap as a first party launch title, while Sony would publish Sewer Shark as a launch title under its Imagesoft banner.
NIGHT TRAP004
Playing Night Trap, it’s not hard to see its roots in Tamara. You are a member of the Sega Control Attack Team, investigating a mysterious house where a lot of young girls have recently gone missing. Your team has found a series of cameras and traps in the house, and has given you full control of them. SCAT’s undercover operative, Kelli (Plato) is joining a group of young women having a sleepover. It’s up to you to protect them and figure out exactly what the heck is going on here.

What follows is the best kind of B-movie trash, featuring vampires, terrible acting, and hilarious dialogue. Like in Tamara, you are in control of what parts of the game you watch. While you’re trying to follow the story, the house is being overrun by Augers – people who have been mostly drained by vampires but are still alive. You need to keep an eye on a series of rooms and try to capture as many of these shuffling terrors as possible. Trap enough of them and you get to the end game, where the Martin family is revealed to be vampires, and you must save Kelli and the remaining girls from their fates. Let too many “augs” go and you’ll get reamed out by the leader of SCAT, taken off the case and disconnected when he rips the cord out of a Genesis controller.
NIGHT TRAP005
It’s a difficult game that really comes down to memorization (or taking pages of notes). As the Augers are not known to the girls or the Martin family, you almost never see them in any of the story scenes. So playing the game properly actually means ignoring most of the story. On top of that, at various points in the game the access color for the trap control will be changed. If you miss this scene, you might be completely out of luck, as these switches are the only random bit of the game. You never know which color control will switch to for sure.

Check out this video for an idea of just how much is going on in Night Trap. It shows all feeds running simultaneously for the entirety of the game.

All that said, Night Trap kind of felt like the future back in 1992. Those of us who played it could not believe what we were seeing. And while this isn’t how Hollywood and Silicon Valley ultimately came together, it definitely represented the first steps.

Sega’s decision to publish Night Trap rather than Sewer Shark would put it right in the center of a huge controversy. Concerns about violence in video games were rising, and 1993 brought Congressional hearings on video game violence. One particular scene in Night Trap, where one of the girls is attacked by three augers while wearing a tiny night gown was played over and over again. Night Trap, Lethal Enforcers and Mortal Kombat were all held up as examples of how the game industry had simply gone too far. The industry was warned to start policing itself, or the government would step in and do it.

Sega had already implemented a rating system on Genesis, Game Gear and Sega CD games by this point. This, along with the directive from Congress, directly led to the formation of the ESRB and the rating system we still have today.

Nonetheless, the whole thing ultimately resulted in Sega pulling Night Trap from shelves altogether. It was at that point that Digital Pictures, formed by Tom Zito and other key NEMO team members back in 1991, stepped in and self-published the game on the Sega CD, Sega CD 32X as well as the 3DO, Mac and PC. The updated versions featured bigger video windows, a slightly better map interface and a new intro that erased all mention of Sega or appearance of Genesis hardware.
Nighttrap_mcd_us_rerelease_frontcover
Much like the play on which it is based, Night Trap was groundbreaking. It’s easy to laugh at the folly of FMV games today, but back in the late 80s and early 90s, many thought this would be the future. Sega was just one of the few companies actually in a position to pursue it. And every time you buy a video game and see that ESRB rating on the package, remember you have Night Trap to thank for it.

Posted in Sega, Sega CD, WELCO METOT HENEX TLEVEL | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment