Started off the day by being given a whole page of the GamesTM retro section to myself. I’ve got the Games That Weren’t section (about games which were finished by never made it to market – in this case Gauntlet III on the C64) and the Great Gaming Moment, for which I haven’t decided what to write as a couple of my suggestions were shot down for being too similar to what they’d already done. As long as they haven’t already been covered one of those should be turning up in GamesTM issue 36.
I spent most of the morning doing research and writing the piece on Gauntlet III which, it turns out, has a fairly interesting story behind it. The game got some great reviews and was finished but never made it to market because the programmer was made redundant and without him they couldn’t master it onto tape from the development disk. You’d think they’d have brought him on as freelance or something just for that little job but they didn’t, so the game only saw the light of day on emulators.
Around this time word spread like wildfire that we had the import version of Winning Eleven 9, and throughout the day there was hardly a moment when there wasn’t an impromptu winner-stays-on tournament in progress. I didn’t get to play it but from what I hear it’s another subtle improvement on the last one with most of the kinks ironed out. As I was drafting this I heard someone behind me describe it as “fucking excellent”.
Ubisoft popped in as promised with copies of Darkwatch and Blazing Angels which I saw demonstrations of. Darkwatch is an FPS that essentially combines a western with Blade, as you play an outlaw who releases and gets bitten by a vampire and has to return him to captivity, either by being a hero or by feasting on the living and being evil. It looked great for a PS2 game (Xbox version is on the way, too) but the gameplay looked very similar to Return to Castle Wolfenstein – spooky catacombs and brainless zombie hordes abound – but with speed closer to that of Serious Sam. Blazing Angels is a WW2 dogfight game which looked great graphically but seemed very simple to play with very little enemy or ally AI to speak of. Could be fun with some work, though.
Most of the afternoon was spent going through retro catalogues to find a game to write the great gaming moment on. I wanted to do the swordfighting in Secret of Monkey Island or the vortex in Sam & Max (I’ve been on a ScummVM kick recently) but they were both no-gos, so at the moment I’m batting around the idea of the Hoth level from Shadows of the Empire (specifically when you drop the AT-ATs to their knees) because it really was a great moment at the time, but we’ll see tomorrow if that flies with the editor.
They’re also going to be getting me a press pass for the Tokyo Game Show so that I won’t have to brave the crowds during the public days. 41 days to go!