This week I purchased a rather strange looking device; the Namco neGcon controller. Characterised by the large swivel mechanism in its centre, this PlayStation accessory was originally created to allow for full analogue control in Namco’s console port of the game Ridge Racer. Today it can be used with a wide selection of classic PlayStation racers, and I’ll be taking a look at its functionality, as well as some of these titles, in full detail below.
It’s 1990. Videogames are a $3 billion industry and Nintendo owns 90% of it. The other 10% is made up of wannabes that include SEGA, who in the next three years will transform themselves from obscurity into the market leader. This is the story of Console Wars, and Blake J Harris retells the greatest battle in videogame history in an exciting, detailed, and ever-so-slightly biased way.
Anyone following DC may be vaguely aware of the evolution of my SEGA collection, and in the past I’ve documented both my Mega Drive and Dreamcast buying sprees. Alongside the Saturn my collection was nearing completion, and finally this week I turned my attention to the one console that was notably absent; the Master System.
Nintendo’s GameBoy Advance is a classic console. It has a strong library of both original games and SNES favourites. Mario is great, Zelda is great, and Metroid is great. But you probably already know this. Overall the system has less ‘hidden gems’ than others, largely down to the fact that its lifespan was cut short by the release of the Nintendo DS only three years later. However, there’s still some amazing titles that never got the recognition they deserve, and today I’ve picked out ten of my favourite.
Do you like obscure tactical RPG games from the 1990s that were never released outside of Japan? Probably not, but Langrisser IV’s appeal isn’t as limited as you might think. From start to finish this is an epic and engrossing adventure, and one I’m surprised hasn’t appeared on more ‘hidden gems’ lists. Welcome to the world of Langrisser.
Back in 1999 Sega spent $47 million making Shenmue, and looking back this was arguably money well spent. It’s a shame we don’t currently see that amount of cash being funnelled into games that are equally ambitious and innovative, but Shenmue walks a dangerous line and I can see why others have been unwilling to follow. It’s too advanced for it’s own good, and because of this remains an utterly unique and compelling experience today.
Back in 1993 SEGA released the original Daytona USA, the first title to utilise their new SEGA Model 2 hardware. Whilst the mid 90s are now generally remembered for SEGA’s clumsy add-ons, overpriced peripherals, and the commercial failings of the Saturn, it’s easy to forget that at the same time the company was dominating the arcade market. The Model 2 was incredibly advanced, and at the time Daytona USA was perhaps the most impressive looking game ever made. Two years later and SEGA was porting their arcade hits to the Saturn, a system not exactly famous for its 3D processing power. The home console version of Daytona is a far from perfect port, but it’s still a unique conversion of this classic game.
Hailing from an age of intense arcade racers, Re-Volt is a fast and exciting game. Often hailed as a classic multiplayer title, its substantial selection of cars and tracks makes for a game that’s great fun solo, but even with better with friends. With tight controls, a cool soundtrack, and addictive gameplay, it succeeds in providing a retro racing experience that has stood the test of time incredibly well.