9 / 23 / 2016
Arcade fightin' today with Samurai Shodown Anthology (PSP, 3/5) and the original Mortal Kombat (Arcade, 3/5)
9 / 18 / 2016
No particular theme today, just some arbitrary Old Skool. Rise Of The Triad: Dark War (PC, 4/5) started life as the sequel to Wolfenstein 3D, but the split between iD and Apogee during development forced them to repurpose it into something even more strange, but perhaps better because of it. Toilet Kids (Turbografx 16, 2/5) is just some scatological craziness from the team that would go on to make the cult Cho Aniki games. It's probably better known for inspiring the Hardcore Gaming 101 "Weekly Kusoge" feature than it is as an actual game.
9 / 14 / 2016
Back in the '90s and early '00s, it was much more common for independent amateur developers to just make and release PC games for free, many of them very high-quality. Since the digital distro platforms and the mobile app scene got big the dominant trend now is to run straight to them to turn a buck, even if your game is a turd.
Locomalito is a refreshing anomalous throwback, still cranking high-quality polished freebies based on tried-and-tested old-school arcade concepts. We've looked at several of his games before, and today we've got two more. Gaurodan (4/5) is the best take on Choplifter I've seen yet, putting you in the role of a pterodactyl-like monster trashing up a chain of islands en route to a showdown with his giant monster rival. And They Came From Verminest (3/5) basically takes Galaga's core gameplay and then free-jazz jams with it.
9 / 11 / 2016
On this day of reflection on patriotism and heroism here in the U.S., it occurs to me that the only G.I. Joe game we've done is the arcade one by Konami. So let's go back to the beginning with G.I. Joe: Cobra Strike (Atari 2600, 2/5), G.I. Joe (NES, 3/5) and G.I. Joe: The Atlantis Factor (NES, 2/5).
9 / 6 / 2016
What, another update already? Yep, today's gruesome beat-em-ups were just too extreeeeme to be contained.
Franko: The Crazy Revenge (PC, 1/5) is from an amateur Polish team and certainly delivers on the "crazy" end, if not so much the gameplay. Wild Fang (Arcade, 2/5), aka Tecmo Knight in some territories, isn't so much crazy as it is just pulpy -- it's like the Time Killers of beat-em-ups.
9 / 4 / 2016
Hey, another season of South Park is almost upon us. Amazing longevity on that show. An amusing sentiment I've been stumbling across more and more on the interbutts is that South Park is now an "alt-right" show thanks to needling PC culture last season. Welp. Welcome to the world that social media algorithms and cultural bubbles has wrought. Anything that doesn't 100% utterly flatter people's preconceptions is automatically associated with the most extreme possible group it shares even the most tangential amount of overlap with now. Thanks Obama.
Anyway, today we're catching up on the rest of Acclaim's old 64-bit era South Park titles for N64: South Park Rally (2/5) and Chef's Luv Shack (2/5). It's not like these games were awful, but apparently their mediocrity was enough to keep the show from being licensed for any more games for over a decade.
8 / 29 / 2016
There were very few successful and prolific third-party publishers for the N64; Rare was about the biggest name of the bunch. We've got two of their fan favorites today with Diddy Kong Racing (3/5) and Conker's Bad Fur Day (3/5). Diddy Kong is actually a re-review; it loses a point but gains a bunch of screenshots and videos.
8 / 22 / 2016
Anything you say can be used ... to get you ready for some footbaaaaall! It's almost time for the NFL regular season again, and we're getting ready with two old-school titles. I've been curious about the Front Page Sports Football series for PC since the early '90s as it supposedly offers unparalleled depth, but for some reason I never got around to checking it out until now with Front Page Sports Football Pro '95 (PC, 3/5). Chose this entry in the middle of the series as it was the first with both the NFL player and team licenses. And we've also got the new official worst football game ever made, NFL Football (NES, 0/5) by LJN. Yes, it's worse than 10 Yard Fight.
8 / 18 / 2016
Today, futuristic strategy, but not too futuristic. Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (Nintendo DS, 3/5) was the final entry in the Advance Wars series, while Power Dolls (PC, 2/5) was Megatech's only non-porny release on Western shores.
8 / 11 / 2016
♫ Sisters are doin' it for themselves! ♫ Today we feature strong women in supportive undergarments, headlined by the recently-released Another Metroid 2 Remake: Return of Samus (PC, 4/5). Also, Flashgal (Arcade, 2/5), Sega's weird paean to Elektra and Wonder Woman, and Elvira: The Arcade Game (PC, 1/5). This was the only licensed Elvira game that was not by HorrorSoft, not an adventure game and actually had the title character in the lead role rather than as a damsel in distress. Unfortunately, it's also by far the worst of the bunch.
8 / 8 / 2016
Back to the oldies today with some arcade titles that are obscure but pretty fun. Crystal Castles (3/5) was Atari's attempted "BOOM, BITCH" to the maze-chase genre ... unfortunately the genre became irrelevant almost immediately afterward. Hotdog Storm (3/5) has an inexplicable name but turns out to be a pretty decent vertical shooter, albeit it wanting in hot dogs.
7 / 31 / 2016
Alright, gotta horn in on that Pokemon craze before all the casuals get bored and wander off. I can't actually play Pokemon Go though, because my phone is shit and also I live in a place where it's 110 degrees every day this time of year.
Instead we're continuing the chronological Pokemon expedition with Pokemon Gold / Silver / Crystal (GBC, 4/5). The engine is almost totally recycled from Red / Blue / Yellow, but just a little added power from the GBC enabled a bunch of tweaks that I thought really improved the game. And I figure it's OK to take on side games out of order, and I'm a big Mystery Dungeon series fan, so we've also got Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team (GBA, 3/5).
7 / 24 / 2016
Man ... a Clinton is about to get elected, Pokiemans is the national obsession and an Independence Day movie was a summer blockbuster. whatyearisit.jpg.
If you were a Western roundeyes into the pan-Asian culture (and by that I mean Japan with a small dose of Chinese movies) in the 90s, Pokemon was almost assuredly something you were into at some point, as were Jackie Chan and Dragon Ball. These two haven't made a revival yet, but it's probably only a matter of time. In the meantime we've got some of their crappier games on feature. Dragon Power (NES, 2/5) was actually the first Western Dragon Ball game, but had almost all of the actual Dragon Ball scrubbed out of it since it was 1986 and that wasn't a thing yet here. Jackie Chan in Fists of Fire (Arcade, 2/5) is a weird Mortal Kombat knockoff made even weirder by the inclusion of blood and fatalities ... you're just not allowed to do them to Jackie.
7 / 18 / 2016
For fans of the beisbol, we're just past the All-Star Break now and the season is at the point where it is flirting with becoming interesting enough to actually watch. Today we've got some old-school ball games in the form of Crushed Baseball (GBA, 2/5), which follows in the lineage of unrealistic steroid-freak games with superpowers like Baseball Stars, and Tecmo Super Baseball (SNES, 3/5), which is more grounded in reality but only features a license for MLB players (not teams).
7 / 14 / 2016
So apparently the Collected Nerdery of the Interweb got all in a tizzy recently about the announcement of a black woman being Iron Man for a while. I'm so utterly uninterested in this that I don't care to weigh in on the debate, but it did seem like a good opportunity to play some Iron Man games, of which we had a robust 0 in the archives up until now.
Ironman and X-O Manowar (Gameboy, 2/5) is a publisher crossover only made possible because Acclaim owned the rights to Valiant Comics at the same time they had the Iron Man license. And The Invincible Iron Man (Gameboy Advance, 2/5) is a standard run-and-gun based on the comic series of the same name. Both are disappointing, but in different ways.
7 / 8 / 2016
Oddball arcade fighting games today with Battle K-Road (2/5), a half-hearted attempt to inject "realism" into the standard 2D fighter, and Time Killers (2/5), notorious gorefest that was best known for its "mush all the buttons at once for decapitation" move.
Also, a small but long overdue update to the Gaming For A Living mega-article today with our Ceasar's Social Rewards Guide.
7 / 3 / 2016
Well, one month of downtime is a lot better than I was expecting ... I was thinking maybe three or four a month ago.
Getting back in the saddle with good ol' dependable Pac-Man today. Pac-Man +Tournaments (Android, 3/5) gives you the original game plus a bunch of new mazes for free ... but if you want the "+Tournaments" part get ready to shell out some microquarters. And why not the O.G. Pac-Man (Arcade, 3/5) just for completion's sake.
5 / 30 / 2016
Just a "we're not dead yet!" update today. Real life been a real bear and I've had little time to even play games let alone write about them, but I've been chipping away at Ace Attorney Investigations 2: Prosecutor's Path (Nintendo DS, 3/5) since the beginning of the month and at least have that to offer.
Expect updates to be real thin around here for a while ... so much for all my grand plans for this year. See ya when I'm able to see ya :(
5 / 7 / 2016
Munsters from beyond the grave and beyond time/space today with Infectonator (Android, 4/5) and Call of Cthulu: Shadow of the Comet (PC, 2/5).
4 / 30 / 2016
"Feeling brave tonight? How brave? Are you brave enough to do battle with hideous munsters?" We enter fantasy realms of yore today with Nimble Quest (Android, 3/5), a pretty neat RPG-flavored take on oldie Snake, and Spellcasting 101 (PC, 3/5), which is effectively Horny Potter, except years before any of the Harry books came out!
4 / 24 / 2016
Who doesn't love collision-filled sports? Well, besides the dudes that get chronic degenerative brain disease from them, I guess.
Today we have two top '90s arcade representatives that can't possibly cause anyone any harm, unless you tip the machine over on yourself or something. Blazing Tornado (3/5) is a member of the Fire Pro Wrestling series, which has been huge in Japan for decades but somehow never found much of a foothold elsewhere. Tecmo Bowl (2/5) is the very first game of this name, and also still the best-looking one ever made, but also has no NFL licensure and is much more limited in options and gameplay than the rest of the series.
4 / 16 / 2016
These probably should have come right after Aladdin, but oh well, too late for regrets. We have two Arabia-themed arcade brawlers today with Sega's Arabian Fight (2/5) and Taito's conceptual clone Arabian Magic (3/5). Magic is actually fairly good if you like Taito's early '90s stuff, but Fight just traded on a visual gimmick and hasn't aged well at all.
4 / 10 / 2016
Strap on your metal bikini, it's Valis time again. This time we've got Valis III (Genesis, 2/5) and Super Valis IV (SNES, 2/5).
4 / 4 / 2016
♫ Mancub! I wanna walk like you! Talk like youuuu♫ ... wait, is that the right movie? I never watched much Disney as a kid.
Anyway, it's Aladdin (Genesis, 4/5), Aladdin (SNES, 4/5) and Aladdin (GBA, 3/5) today.
3 / 31 / 2016
It's another N really SFW day today with some "adult" titles for the PC. Adult Film Cameraman (0/5) is an archaic example of what passed for pr0n back in the pre-Internet dark ages, and Demon Master Chris (2/5) is a dungeon-crawling RPG that has decent production values but gets tripped up by not spending enough time on the actual meat-and-potatoes game aspect. Also takes place in an all-girl world if you're into that whole Ultimate Surrender type vibe.
3 / 27 / 2016
THIS SUNDAY AT THE PLATO'S CAVERN ARENA!! SEE BIGFOOT! THE PUNISHER! BARBARIAN! A.B. COP (Sega, 3/5)! AND *GRAAAAAVE DIGGER*. METAL SMASHING MONSTER TRUCK MADNESS (N64, 1/5) FROM NOON TO ONE WITH A DEMOLITION DERBY, FIVE STORY TALL FLAMING ROBOTS AND BBQ DEEP FRIED GORDITAS FOR THE KIDS!! HAPPENING WHEN??!? *SUNDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY*!!!!!
3 / 22 / 2016
I don't think there's a new Spiderman movie coming out any time soon, but whatevs. That's the deal today with Spider-Man (N64, 2/5) and Spider-Man and X-Men in Arcade's Revenge (SNES, 2/5).
3 / 19 / 2016
We've got some board game conversions today with Monopoly for N64 (3/5) and Dr. Ruth's Game of Good Sex (PC, 1/5), a conversion of an obscure 1980s board game for couples. Despite the name, there's no smut really, it's all text.
3 / 15 / 2016
So here's the story as of late. February into March was basically just an unprecedented, unbroken string of misfortune and tragedy around here. Long story short, I gotta do pretty much nothing but Twerk For The Man for awhile to get out of a financial hole. What does that mean for Plato's Cavern? All the big plans are on indefinite hold. The one small bit of good news is that I do have a whole lot of reviews queueueueueueued up, so at least the place won't be totally desolate. But it's basically just going to be back to Bidness As Usual for an as-yet undetermined period of time :(
Today we have, uh ... I guess a tribute to Cecil the Lion? We've got two somewhat obscure platformers for computahs-- Lionheart (Amiga, 3/5), and Poacher (PC, 2/5).
3 / 10 / 2016
We've covered a lot of Batman games over the years, but it just occurred to me we've got no Superman coverage whatsoever! Fixing that today with Superman (NES, 1/5), Superman (Arcade, 2/5) and Superman (Genesis, 2/5).
2 / 26 / 2016
i don't even know what today's theme is -- chunky 90s comedy games, I guess. Relentless: Twinsen's Adventure (PC, 2/5) is a neat concept but just too cumbersome to actually play. South Park (N64, 2/5) was the first of the cartoon's licensed games and is actually a decent FPS but way better for multiplayer than as a single-player experience.
2 / 21 / 2016
Super NES RPGing and strategy today with Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (SNES, 3/5), the first of the Fire Emblem games for the SNES, and Final Fantasy VI: Brave New World (SNES, 2/5), a ROM hack (technically of the western Final Fantasy III) that is sometimes tooted about the Internets as being "superior" to the original. As you may infer from the 2/5 I really don't agree.
2 / 16 / 2016
More alleged adult "fun" from the DOS / Amiga days today with Teresa the House Guest (1/5, Amiga), an odd quasi-visual-novel that gets straight down to business, and Mad Paradox (2/5, PC), a hentai-RPG in the vein of Knights of Xentar, Rance and Cobra Mission.
2 / 13 / 2016
The next installment of our "Gaming For A Living" series is up -- MMOs: Selling Virtual Goods, Accounts and Services.
Also got some new reviews -- Geometry Dash (Android, 2/5), Shantae (Gameboy Color, 3/5) and Magic Touch: Wizard for Hire (Android, 3/5).
2 / 6 / 2016
DANGER !!!!!! TERROR HORROR. Five Nights at Freddy's (Android, 2/5) and Zombie Virus (PS2, 2/5) are today's reviews. The latter was better known as "The Zombie vs. Ambulance" when it was first announced in Japan.
2 / 3 / 2016
Alright, the first of our Great Works of the year are underway today. First off, you might have noticed the new Facebook icon up in the upper-right corner ... our social media effort is officially off the ground with the Facebook page and you'll also see site updates (and more frequent activity) on the Twitterbutt account as well. We would certainly appreciate and can use your Likes, Follows, gentle thumbings, etc.
We've also got the first of our mega-articles. These are ongoing "living articles" that will be updated and added to continually, and the first one out is all about Making A Living Gaming. We're documenting all the ways people make money sitting on ass playing the vidya and even giving helpful tips on following in their footsteps. The first section of the article, Grinding For Cash And Prizes, is live and ready. Why only one section? Well, when you see how friggin' huge these are, hopefully you'll understand. Of course, any future updates to these articles will be noted here and on the social media channels.
Oh, we got fresh reviews too. The mobile favorite Crossy Road (Android, 4/5), which I believe is our first mobile game to crack the 3/5 barrier. And that made me realize we have no coverage of its predecessor Frogger (Arcade, 3/5) whatsoever! So now there's that and there's the SNES remake (2/5), which was actually the last officially licensed release for the system.
1 / 29 / 2016
Hide yo wife, hide yo kids ... don't click on these from a work computer either. Today's theme is erotic platformers ... yes this is an actual thing. Caprice Doll (PC, 2/5) is a pervy Mario clone, where you can probably guess what the monsters do to the main character. Holdover (PC, 2/5) actually debatably has no real sexual content at all; it's more interested in being an atmospheric, balls-hard sci-fi platformer, but the designer also happens to have a big fetish for girls in ripped swimwear drowning that he managed to work in there. And Nightmare Sphere (PC, 3/5) is easily the best fan-made Castlevania: Symphony of the Night clone I've seen, and I actually think it outdoes a few of Konami's own attempts to recapture the SotN magic.
1 / 25 / 2016
"HOO FOOEY!" Sumo is something you rarely see game developers attempt, but we've got two of the very few cracks at it today -- Sumotori Dreams (Android, 1/5), which is another "intentional broken physics" gimmick game like Goat Simulator, and Tsuppari Oozumou (NES, 3/5), a cutesy and simplified take on the sport where you can throw a guy through the roof, then he falls back down on your head and you lose the match :(
1 / 21 / 2016
Alright, gotta level with you, I bit off a little more than I can chew right now with all these ambitious site plans. All this stuff is still in the works, but is moving way more slowly than anticipated -- just too much Real Life Work and various chores taking up all my time.
At least for the moment, I do have a bunch of new reviews qeued up, so there will at least be some kind of regular updates with new content. Today's theme is old-school motocross with Bike Race Pro (Android, 1/5), a predatory freemium game whose popularity I don't understand, and Motocross Maniacs (Game Boy, 3/5), a forgotten early release for the Game Boy that is the epitome of simple fun.
1 / 16 / 2016
Just a quickie update today to clear out some odds-and-ends reviews that have been rattling around for awhile. Toca Life: City (Android, 2/5) is intended for kids and adult gamers won't get anything out of it ... but it might be worth a look if you have a rambunctious tater tot in your life to pacify. And Ys Strategy (DS, 2/5) is ... wait, Ys strategy? Yep, it's that Ys, and it's a real-time strategy game. It works about as poorly as you'd expect, but I strongly suspect Falcom didn't care and just was in a rush to have the first RTS on the DS.
1 / 12 / 2016
We've got a big feature article and the social media effort ready to roll out here shortly ... but in the meantime please enjoy Sonic Dash (3/5) and Sonic Jump Fever (3/5), Sega's two primary Sonic mobile efforts thus far. One freemium, the other almost-freemium, but both surprisingly well-done (adjusting your expectations for Android limitations, that is).
1 / 9 / 2016
So the big, new, exciting stuff is in the works ... but not ready to roll out for a bit yet. In the meantime, I'm going to at least keep up a snappy review pace.
Today, we're down in the dungeons beating off monsters with our bare hands with Tap Titans (Android, 1/5), which may have finally succeeded in actually excising gameplay out of what is technically still a "game", and Fushigi no Dungeon: Taloon's Quest (SNES, 3/5), the very first entry in what would go on to become both the Shiren the Wanderer and the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series.
1 / 6 / 2016
State of the New Years Address!
New Years Resolutions are generally a load of nonsense, but it just so happens that this is the time of year I've decided to take this site out of "back burner" status and make it an active project that I actually put a lot of time into. The last eight years have been fun, but what started as a focus on reviews of new releases of older titles for digital download sort of spiraled into "reviews of whatever I happen to be interested in or stumbled across a cheap copy of at the moment just to keep the site alive with updates" as I focused on any number of other things in life. It's effectively been a glorified blog, except if I actually hosted it on Wordpress or Blogger and labeled it as such I'd probably get way higher page views.
It's not like I'm less busy now or have more resources, but the place has just been in creative limbo for too long, and it's time to actually implement all the things I've been planning and scribbling down for some time now. So here's a partial list of what you can expect to see here, all beginning in 2016:
* Increased social media presence: Look, I come from the Old West Internet. I first got online with AOL in the early 90s and transitioned to dial-up connections out of the back of someone's computer shop, before companies like Comcast and Verizon were even in the game. Back in those days, there were much higher technical barriers of entry, everyone used handles, and the idea of posting your full real name (let alone 500 pictures of yourself) was laughable and only for the chumpiest of chumps. While I am not entirely abandoning these OG values (I'm still not posting my real name or personal picture), I do understand that relative to prevailing trends I am completely obsolete at this point, and that if you don't exist on social media these days you simply don't exist no matter what kind of content you turn out. So we'll be ramping up a few efforts here that have practical value -- more Twitter updates and the creation of a Facebook page to serve as a sort of hangout for starters, and I'm looking into a few other things too. Plus site updates posted across all of these services for greater Millenial mobile phone convenience :/.
* I can't afford / don't have the hardware to review the newest games at release date, but there's going to be more of a focus on getting newer and more relevant titles mixed in with the older and more obscure stuff (you can already see this going on with the increased emphasis on Android reviews as of late).
* More op-ed stuff and feature articles, possibly posted in higher-traffic venues. This includes informative article series ("how to" series for things like tricking out older consoles, exactly what level of PC you need for your gaming tastes, etc.)
* Potential syndication of reviews.
* I absolutely refuse to do Youtube "PIP talking head" videos and I'm not even really interested in doing narration (though I am well aware that's where the money and followers are), but I have a few comedy video series ideas.
* Giveaways and contests! I have a bunch of digital download codes piling up that I don't want for starters, and if site income actually picks up I'll buy stuff to give away too.
* We'll see how all this goes throughout 2016, and if there's a good enough response I might look into starting a Patreon to move onto even bigger and better things (like actually reviewing new games).
More frequent updates are also a big target, especially at the outset here. Speaking of which, I haven't even got to our two reviews for the day -- WWE 2K (Android, 2/5), a game attempt to carry over the mainline WWE series to mobile that gets tripped up by controls and physical space limitations, and MUSCLE Wrestling (NES, 1/5), which is based on the little pink toys that came in trash cans that late 80s / early 90s kids might remember.