If you were a kid in the 90s playing CD-ROM games, you probably played at least one Disney Interactive game. For kids learning how to use the computer, Disney games were the best of the best, the cream of the crop. 101 Dalmatians: Escape from Devil Manor, Disney’s Animated Storybook: Mulan, Disney’s The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, you name it. All your favorite Disney franchises, right on your desktop!
Oh, and Nightmare Ned. You remember him, right? That great beloved Disney franchise? … No?
Nightmare Ned was a platformer game released sometime in late 1997 (it’s difficult to get an exact date, due to vague distribution of PC games at the time). It was, as far as I know, the only Disney Interactive game to not be based directly on an established IP – it only had a single season of a cartoon that was made after the game began development, and by the time the game released, the show was no longer airing even in reruns. It was Disney’s one voyage into making ‘original’ video games, and it disappeared as quickly as it came.
So what even was it?(more…)
Why do some cartoon franchises fail? There are a lot of vectors a potential new marketable property can take before it inevitably dies. Most of them never get off the ground, dying an ignoble death well before they see the first light. Some franchises find their feet and get off a shaky season of television or two before being killed off. The lucky few that last may become mega-franchises and, eventually, cultural touchstones.
Fluppy Dogs is a franchise that seemed like it could make it. It had a toyline already in stores, a promising pilot, and the studio producing it was already riding off a fantastic success with Adventures of the Gummi Bears. What went wrong? Why did Fluppy Dogs flop?
Well, it failed because it wasn’t any good.(more…)
On November 15, 2015, Microsoft made the decision to finally retire all Zune-related services. This announcement comes long after the decision to retire the Zune hardware itself in October 2011, with the urging for users to transition to Windows Phones.
Maybe our readers might have a more pressing question, though: what the heck is the Zune? You might have heard of it, but it’s just as likely that it flew directly under your radar, being that its popularity peaked nearly a decade ago and it existed solely as an obscure Microsoft-branded counterpart in an already niche market. Like Icarus, Microsoft tried to fly on wings of feathers and wax; unlike Icarus, they simply crashed into the sea.
After the jump, we’ll get into a brief history of the Zune and exactly why it failed as it did.
Super Mario 64 did more than just bring Mario to the third dimension: it literally defined a new genre and revolutionized video gaming for the rest of eternity. It’s impossible to overstate just how important Super Mario 64 was to the world of video gaming. Almost every single 3D video game produced after Super Mario 64 has drawn from its groundbreaking new mechanics.
But it’s not all fancy industry-changing technology in the world of Super Mario 64. This game changed something else about the world of video games… it introduced a world of fear. With the new 3D world came new 3D horrors, and these scarred the minds of a whole generation of gamers.
Where would modern horror gaming be without Big Boo’s Haunt, the Mad Piano, and Unagi? Although these kinds of scares may now seem simplistic, the world of horror would not be where it is today if they did not give us a glimpse of the potential that 3D games could provide.
After the jump, we’ll see these revolutionary frights first hand, and learn about what it meant to see 3D fear for the first time.
Tomba! is a 1997 side-scrolling platformer released for the Sony Playstation by Whoopee Camp. Designed by Tokuro Fujiwara, creator of the Ghosts ‘n Goblins series, Tomba is an interesting platformer-RPG blend involving solving quests in an open 2D world.
In Tomba!, the world has been magically corrupted by seven magic Evil Pigs and turned into a surreal land. The events of the game are sparked into motion when one of the Evil Pig’s minions steals a bracelet that belonged to Tomba’s grandfather, prompting him to go on an adventure to recover it. Along the way he meets the inhabitants of his world and helps them solve the problems that the Evil Pigs have caused with their dark magic.
The game itself is eccentrically humorous, and doesn’t let go of its grip on that, to the point where it might be hard to see what’s scary about a game with sidequests like helping a monkey find his pants. But this is October, and you know what that means: being designed by the same person who made Ghosts ‘n Goblins, this game is filled with unexpected creepy frights.
Join us after the jump and we’ll see ourselves just what kind of madness these Evil Pigs have caused.
Banjo-Kazooie is a 1998 3D platformer game for the Nintendo 64 by Rareware, and is considered by many to be one of the best games for the N64 altogether. It involves a bear (Banjo) and his best friend (Kazooie) on a quest to save Banjo’s sister Tooty from the evil witch Grunty, who is planning on stealing Tooty’s vestal beauty for herself.
Although Banjo-Kazooie is widely considered to be one of the greatest hits of the 90s, that just means it’s filled with what a lot of those great 90s had in common: pure, pure fear. Although Banjo-Kazooie is a light romp at heart, certain areas of the game are filled with unabashed fright. And no, we’re not just talking about Mad Monster Mansion here – Mad Monster Mansion is child’s play compared to how terrifying some of these levels can get.
After the jump, we’ll journey with the bear and bird to the deepest, spookiest recesses of Grunty’s castle.
Ecco the Dolphin is an action-adventure game developed by Novotrade International and published by Sega in 1992. Starring the titular Ecco, a bottlenosed dolphin with a strange constellation-shaped birthmark on his forehead, the game was unique at the time for exploring the vast depths of the ocean.
“It’s dolphins, right?” was the common refrain of most parents purchasing Ecco games for their children. Nothing could be bad about some nice, adorable, friendly dolphins! Even discarding the fact that real life dolphins are brutal and carnivorous, it was still a flawed premise from the start to assume that every animal protagonist would be as friendly as Sonic the Hedgehog… which was still a game with its own problems, but that’s for another article.
Needless to say, this didn’t pan out well for the children who received these gracious gifts. Just like Ecco himself, we’ll learn to experience true fear after the jump.
Donkey Kong Country was released in 1994 for the Super Nintendo. It was developed by Rare, and was the first entry to make Donkey Kong his own standalone hero instead of a Mario villain. It was hailed as a gameplay and graphical masterpiece, utilizing pre-rendered CGI models to give a faux-3D look to the 2D game. However, for as impressive these CGI models were, they pushed the limits of realness closer to the border of uncanny.
Many of the things that made Donkey Kong Country so great were also things that made it down right spooky. Join us on a trip through the jungle as we reminisce on the things that made us wonder if 3D gaming was all it was hyped to be.
Some fears are more primal than others. All things spooky tap into the darker parts of our mind, where our basic survival instincts lie, and exploit them to simulate experiencing a level of fear that people in modern society rarely feel. But perhaps one of the most primal fears is that of being hunted by something stronger and unstoppable than you.
3D Monster Maze was released for the Sinclair ZX81 in 1982, written by Malcom Evans for J.K. Greye Software. It relies on a deep, primal fear of being hunted. Hit the jump, and enter the monster’s lair for yourself.