Iconic. Recognition factor.

Iconic. Recognition factor.

“… mediocre.”
– from the full review, which you can read here.

Is this my attempt at, for once, being topical?! Gee whiz, I might try this again!

[ Well, at least, it would have been rather topical a couple weeks ago, but I digress… ]

Before I say anything else about this game that is better (but not hugely) than its reputation, let’s give credit where it is due, for one of the few highlights of this title, a clever little visual trick:


Look at these two guys, carrying a pane of glass. They are in the game as a deadly obstacle to avoid. If you run into them, the “glass” does indeed break. But in the meantime, whole, the glass is completely invisible — so, really, the artist behind this just didn’t put anything there, only the hitbox for collision detection. That’s kinda fun. On the NES, especially, you hardly ever ever see truly transparent glass. Here it is. It is a fun little sight.

Beyond that, you’re getting your usual cheap-seats NES experience: Sliding a slippery avatar all over the screen, avoiding stuff, realizing that the levels are not so much designed as much as they were shrugged out of the minds of half-caring devs. One of those games where the later stages don’t feel like later stages. There is no gravity here, no huge difference in difficulty level, no sort of feeling of building accomplishment like that.

Block those hearts! ... ?

Block those hearts! … ?

Read The Full Review For: More in-depth commentary on the game, several more gameplay screenshots.

NES Gameplay Tips for Back to the Future: Think of the skateboard as not a power-up, but an accelerator button. Maybe it’s a good thing, maybe it’s not. Don’t try to jump over big stuff (benches), only little stuff (garbage), and even then, the best way to jump is to wait as long as possible until the last moment, and only then press B to have a chance at survival. Otherwise, practice makes perfect, and be sure to throw those bowling balls liberally.

It’s simply a new retro gaming destination for you with this motto:

Let’s celebrate old video games together!

I am excited to launch it, and hope you enjoy, so go check out SkirmishFrogs.com and follow @SkirmishFrogs on Twitter and read my introduction post there and let’s all have a blast okay great thanks!

Handsome visage.

Handsome visage.

I am fond of Alex. He is a friend. I have actually hung out with him before. He is nice. He makes videos and likes old video games. You can follow him on Twitter, @Chronoslinger.

I asked him some questions. He answered them. I have put our exchange here. I am “Eric” in this conversation.


Eric: What would make you your most nervous?

Alex: Talking to attractive ladies, or maybe talking about personal stuff…it’s a toss up.

Eric: How smart are you?

Alex: Intelligent genug, um meine Antworten google.

Eric: What kinds of video games do you enjoy?

Alex: Super Nintendo ones… oh genres? I really like arcade games, RPGS, Platformers, and any game that encourages exploration.

Eric: What are your most common typos?

Alex: My phone is small enough and my thumbs large enough that when I intend to type a period I instead type an m so my sentence come out something like “I’ll be there soonm”

Eric: What interest do you have in furthering your education?

Alex: Officially none. I am ok with my B.A. I would not mind getting Adobe certified and continue to learn things on my own though.

Eric: Fork or spoon?

Alex: Fpoon

Eric: What is your favorite sports video game?

Alex: Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey or Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4.

Eric: Do you think Mario is actually any good as a plumber?

Alex: Nope. I think he is actually a broke plumber. He spends most of his time stealing coins from the mushroom kingdom. And what does he do with them? He uses them to get ‘more life’ for himself. If he were actually a good plumber (and thus pulled a paycheck) he could probably negotiate a ransom price with Bowser.

Eric: What secrets do the stars hold?

Alex: Invincibility.

Eric: Do you sing in the car? How about the shower?

Alex: Yes, and no.

Eric: Are you a lucky guy?

Alex: I don’t believe in luck.

Eric: What sounds like fun at this very moment?

Alex: Sitting down and having a good discussion with an old friend over a cup of coffee.

Eric: How can someone tell if they’re doing something well?

Alex: I am going to take that “something” as something creative. I think someone is doing well creatively when they pour their heart and soul into a project, while maintaining their integrity no matter the audience size. Is that vaguely specific enough?

Eric: Does it matter?

Alex: Depends on what the antecedent of that pronoun is.

Eric: What is matter?

Alex: Something under mind.

Eric: Are you matter?

Alex: As a matter of fact I am.

Eric: What creative projects are you up to nowadays?

Alex: I am currently developing a new video series…you know in addition to being on the Rocket Pants Podcast. The new series (which I have entitled Wait, What Was That?) is something of a combination of review, game pickup video, let’s play and What the Eff is on this disc?. I am hoping to have the first episode out in November. The goal really is to give bite sized impressions of games you may see lying in the thrift store, or have buried in the closet and upon seeing them think “Wait, What Was That?”. It should be a fun show to produce.

Eric: Are we cool?

Alex: Cooler than ice.


Thank you for your time, friend.

I am a little nervous to put that out in the open — but excited, more so. The figurative cat is going to jump out of the metaphorical bag pretty soon anyway.

Yes, it’s a collaborative retro gaming website.

Some eyebrow-raising would be warranted. “But Eric, didn’t 1MoreCastle close less than three months ago? And didn’t you say you and The Team had good reasons for doing so?”

Well, yeah. But this is different — although I hate how cliche that sounds. Let me share a metaphor.

I see 1MoreCastle.com as a museum of retro gaming. The content was crafted skillfully, curated carefully, and presented beautifully. The work, as a whole, is still preserved for fans and hobbyist newcomers alike. I am deeply fond of it, and its community.

This New Thing is more like deciding to open a barcade. Come hang out, let’s have a blast, let’s talk about old video games and play a bunch of them. It’ll be big, it’ll be crazy, and I make no claims as to its quality or expectations or where the heck we’ll be in a few years, but it’ll be fun and it’ll be a grand experiment.

Sure, a lot of the functionality is similar (it’s still basically a multi-member blog at its core, let’s be honest), but there will not be any editors, nor deadlines. There will be more social media support from the starting line.

And I will be the sole administrator.

Which is kinda crazy, for me, and represents an area of growth; building this thing from the ground up has been eye-opening, enjoyable, and thoroughly rewarding.

I think my history has shown that, to put it simply, the idea of one big, cool collaborative retro gaming website is something that I really want to see happen; so much so, that I will do it myself, apparently.

“Okay Eric, whatever, I’m not a doubter, I’m a fan/friend/follower, you’ve sold me, no worries, so just tell me: What’s it called?”

Well, heh, it’s still a secret. It’s been tough to keep the secret, but I can’t tell you yet. I’m going to keep my insanity level nice and high, and not reveal the brand until launch. Just kinda unveil it all at once, for better or for worse. Really though, I have my reasons.

The big reveal happens Wednesday, October 28th, 2015.

I hope you like it. See ya there!

[ I understand that some may have questions, even post-reveal. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter or email me privately. Thanks! ]

This is an image of Chris.

This is an image of Chris.



So your name is Chris?

Goose: (checking out the plaque with names of the best of the best) No, boys. There’s two “O”s in Goose.


You have kids or somethin’?

Viper: Damn, this kid is good!


What is the purpose of marriage?

Iceman: You can be my wingman any time.

 Maverick: Bullshit! You can be mine.


Hi Chris, how are ya?

Goose: No. No, Mav, this is not a good idea.

Maverick: Sorry, Goose, but it’s time to buzz the tower.


What were some of the first video games you played?

Maverick: I feel the need…

Maverick, Goose: …the need for speed!


What’s the dumbest thing you did this week that you can still remember?

Maverick: I think I’ll go embarrass myself with Goose.


How comfortable are you with your own self-image?

Viper: In case some of you are wondering who the best is, they are up here on this plaque.

[turns to Maverick]

Viper: Do you think your name will be on that plaque?

Maverick: Yes, sir.

Viper: That’s pretty arrogant, considering the company you’re in.

Maverick: Yes, sir.

Viper: I like that in a pilot.


Do you consider yourself to have an active imagination?

Flight Captain: Good morning, Scott.


What is the most impressive thing on your resume?

Maverick: I can see it’s dangerous for you, but if the government trusts me, maybe you could.

Charlie: It takes a lot more than just fancy flying.


Do you have any weird physical/body talents/tricks?

Slider: Goose, whose butt did you kiss to get in here anyway?

Goose: The list is long, but distinguished.

Slider: Yeah, well so is my Johnson.


Would you rather punch a horse in the face or kick a cow in the knee?

Maverick: Too close for missles, I’m switching to guns.


What is your favorite kitchen appliance?

Goose: Great balls of fire!


Do you have any thoughts on astronomy?

Maverick: You don’t have time to think up there. If you think, you’re dead.


Movies you like: What are the first three you think of?

Air Boss Johnson: Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.


When is the last time you saw a doctor or went to the hospital?

Flight Captain: Good morning, Scott.


Do you have any great ideas?

Maverick: Uh, that’s classified.

Charlie: It’s what?

Maverick: It’s classified. I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.


What are you currently working on, or want to let people know about?

Maverick: Sorry, Goose, but it’s time to buzz the tower.

Oh…and uh…@Rocketpantscast


You can follow Chris on Twitter, @ChrisASwartz.

He is also a part of @Rocketpantscast, which is a gaming podcast you may want to check out.

Jonathan kitty.

Jonathan kitty.

He is one of the sharpest minds I know. He is fun. He is great.

He is Jonathan Hallée, and you can follow him on Twitter @BigJonathan91.

I interviewed him.


EricWhat do you like to do for fun?

Jonathan: Tons of stuff. Hang out with friends, food, play with/ observe my cats, push some people’s buttons, occasional sportsball (mostly softball/tennis these days), generate awkwardness unnecessarily in conversations, but mostly video games. I can enjoy a nice movie/tv show/comedy show/theater play, but not alone. I tried getting into a couple movies, tv shows, anime and books, but I always go back to video games.

EricWhat do you like to do for pain?

Jonathan: I wouldn’t necessarily go as far as calling it painful, but I often find myself in over-enthusiast conversations with strangers and “acquaintances”. It’s one thing when 1-2 coworkers determine I was the best person to vent their problems to or when an aunt praises my job to emphasize how disappointed she is with her one son, but when a clerk at a gas station starts explaining her marital problems to me, I can’t help but wonder why I didn’t just act rude in the first place.

EricDo you like video games?

Jonathan: That’s always a great questions considering the circle of people in my social media and in real life. Sure. I love video games. They’ve been there all my life. Started playing when I was two and they’ve been at the center of all my youth’s social interaction. They were pretty much the center of my college social interactions too. I’m renowned to friends/coworkers/family as the guy who loves video games. Then I check out Twitter and I really don’t feel as passionate as some people. I guess that’s a good thing. Anyway, video games are pretty cool.


EricWhat is your favorite mode of transportation?

Jonathan: I really like the subway/bus. I like public transportation, but it’s probably because I rarely use them. I’m gonna sound like the biggest stalker, but I just like watching people. Not staring at people, but observing silent interactions, body language, etc. I sometimes eavesdrop too. But, not just on public transportation, I just have a gift for listening to conversations without losing my concentration on something.

EricWhy a cat?

Jonathan: Can you imagine if there was a story behind my avatar? That would make for a pretty entertaining answer to this question…

Anyway… Used a picture of my cat sitting at a desk for my avatar because I wasn’t too fond of having a picture for myself (self-esteem issues, anonymity, whatever the excuse was at the time). People started directly referring to me as an actual cat because… internet I guess? I think it’s become my “brand” now. To think I always considered myself a dog person.

EricHow do you like your coffee/tea?

Jonathan: Iced. I did grow accustomed to drinking coffee (little milk, little sugar) for work purposes, or waking up purposes… but I don’t really love hot beverages, coffee, tea and even hot cocoa. I’m also particularly fond of cold pizza, cold lasagna, even frozen fries and slightly thawed frozen mozzarella sticks.


EricIf you were in charge of a nation’s government, what sorts of principles would guide your leadership style?

Jonathan: Oh, wow… I am NOT a leader. The one thing I find weird about most forms of governments is how much power our imagination is putting in the leader’s hands. Of course, they have the final say, but so many people are doing analysis, reports, searching for the best course of action in a give situation, what do they really decide in the end? I guess that’d be my main principle, surrounding myself well. There’s no way I’m the best person to take a decision in all matters related to society anyway. Nobody has that kind of knowledge and judgement.

Oh and I’d mess with journalists. I’d feed them utter bullshit until they stop believing in anything I say.

EricCan you make a pleasant dessert?

Jonathan: Yes and no. I can cook, but I can’t follow a recipe, so, basically, I can’t bake. I couldn’t make a cake, a cupcake, a donut or a pie if I tried to. I would probably be able to make a crumble of some sort, but if all else fails, I can glaze some peaches with maple syrup, throw them on the grill and serve them with a scoop of ice cream and some cookie crumble.

EricHow satisfied are you with the amount of close friends that you have?

Jonathan: I can’t complain. Could use to see some of them more often though, but I’m pretty sure we’d still feel close no matter how far apart our meetings are.

EricWhen is the last time that you cried?

Jonathan: I’m a huge crybaby in movies, so probably the last time I saw some kind of animal die in the arms of a kid… or something.

EricWhat’s the worst thing about humans?

Jonathan: They give themselves too much importance in the grand scheme of things. Get over yourselves people.

EricThe best?

Jonathan: Sometimes they manage to get together and do something amazing. Sometimes that amazing thing is bettering mankind even against mankind’s will, sometimes it’s a completely irrational fictional lore surrounding Twitch Plays Pokémon.

EricIs there any bonus feature that you really feel like sofas are missing? Like, if you could design and manufacture a personal couch, what would it be like?

Jonathan: I do enjoy sofas. I’m a real slouch in most situations, so I love my couch. My main problem is that there’s always some kind of furry, feline creature taking up all the room preventing me from taking all the room. I don’t want to chase the cat since it adds fluffiness to the general “cuddliness” factor of a sofa, so I guess I would like the cushions to act as a conveyor belt.

In the “I can’t believe nobody thought of this before” category, though, I’d have controllable temperature cushions. I mean, they do it for mattresses, why wouldn’t they do it for sofas?

EricDo you think your quality of life will be better or worse 35 years from now?

Jonathan: Mine will be worse. There’s no way I’ll be in better physical/mental shape in 35 years than I am now. However, I do believe people’s quality of life will be better. If we’re talking general happiness, well, I’ll probably have kids and maybe grandkids by then, so… probably?

I do believe society will be a better place in 35 years. As much as people disappoint me, I’m a humanist at heart. I do think, in general,  that society is gradually improving, though not fast enough for my tastes.

EricDo you have a place where you accumulate spare change?

Jonathan: I cannot be trusted with money in my pockets, therefore I rarely pay anything without using my credit/debit card. So, no. I don’t have spare change. In the rare cases I do, it ends up in some kind of candy machine or into the “family” wallet for groceries.

EricWhat do you like about where you live?

Jonathan: In my neighborhood, I’m close to everything. It’s calm, most of the time. It looks pretty nice. Both of our families are fairly close to us. As for Canada, can’t complain.


Jonathan: I don’t live in a house, yet. No room for my consoles and video games. No room for a proper desk where I could install game footage recording, proper podcast equipment, etc. And the cats don’t have enough room, if I’m being honest.

EricWhat are some of your favorite video games?

Jonathan: I… uh… You want a list? Because I can’t make lists. I am utterly unable to make lists. My tastes change every time. I feel like a game is my favorite the same way I feel like eating sushi or poutine one night (I couldn’t tell you my favorite food either). They usually gravitate around platformers, RPGs, puzzle games, the SNES, the PS1 and the PS2. You wanna have more detail, follow the Rocket Pants podcast (https://rocketpantspodcast.wordpress.com/). I’ll probably talk about them in there.


Thanks for your time, sir cat.

I like Higgins. He is what is sometimes referred to as “good people.” He is sharp in his knowledge, while gentle in his camaraderie. You can follow him on Twitter, @radicaldefect. I asked him some questions.


Eric Bailey: What’s your favorite board game?

Jonathan Higgins: I’d say it’s a two way tie between Sorry! and The Allowance Game. The latter is a bit of a niche choice, but it was my nana’s favorite. Goodness knows, I was taught how to save money real early. I blame everyone calling me a miser on that game (and my mother).

EB: Do fish dream?

JH: Absolutely. In one such dream, an egg appeared and was surrounded by an island–with people, animals, an entire world! But verily, it be the nature of dreams to end.

EB: What is the best thing about living biologically?

JH: …the part where I get to eat a filet mignon…or a chocolate brownie topped with whipped cream…or when I drink more than my share of whiskey. Sleep is also nice, but it continues to elude me. Really, the best part about living is loving other people. But I couldn’t resist the opportunity to make you/readers recall food and drink.

EB: What name would you give your nemesis?

JH: Kaepora Gaebora.

EB: Which is worse: Loneliness or regret?

JH: Regret. Regret keeps you up at night. Loneliness is easily solved for me, especially with technology. So lucky to have folks that like me all across the globe!

EB: Have you ever stolen anything intentionally?

JH: Maybe when I was a kid, before I knew better. I doubt it though, because Mom worked with cops. If my life were an ATLUS game, I’d follow the “Lawful Good” path every single time.

EB: What was your favorite book series as a child?

JH: My first obsession was Goosebumps and Wishbone. By seventh grade, I took a detour into fantasy and read every single Tolkien book. Whether we consider “child” to be my preteen years or way younger depends on whether I answer this question with Goosebumps or The Lord of the Rings, really. Honorable mention to the Sonic the Hedgehog books published by Troll Associates, though.

EB: Why video games?

JH: I started playing them for fun. But I kept playing them because they stretched my brain like a rubber-band and stomped on my heart. Books are fine for that, but little compares to being told, “There’s nothing in the world as ruthless or impartial as death. All living matter ages over time and eventually dies…” while this song plays in the background. Developers, designers, and composers have so much potential to influence someone. They can set things up like a film or novel, but make you actually control someone as you do things you would (hopefully) never have to do in real life. Kill hundreds. Save an entire world. All that said though, fun is fun. And now I turn my hobby into something productive by reviewing games and occasionally going places to play unreleased games. …Good times.

EB: What is something you really really hope you get to do someday? Like, not something useful or admirable — purely frivolous and fun and absurd and grand and stuff.

JH: I am extremely grateful to say I’ve done a lot of the things I wanted to. I’ve been to E3 a handful of times. I’ve met a handful of developers who mean the world to me, whose games helped save my life or change it. I found love, and I’m still in love ten years later. I met this cool girl from Australia and actually went there to see her this year…just because I could. I hope to eventually save up enough to take my lady to London or go to Japan. I think my “purely frivolous and fun” list probably consists of destinations and people, not concepts or actions.

EB: What’s with electricity? I don’t get it. How do keyboards work?

JH: A long time ago, a Pikachu used Thunderbolt on a kite. Some drunk guy took the hit. The rest is history. …My keyboard is powered by over sixty tiny elves. I don’t know about yours.

EB: Have we tricked ourselves into thinking clouds are visually interesting? Are they actually pretty, for real?

JH: Clouds (and stars, really) are only as interesting as the imaginations of those who look at them.

EB: What do you hate about people?

JH: I’m a fairly positive person, and I really do come to cherish individuals as I meet/interact with them. But after more than seven years of working at a grocery store, I wish I could flip a switch and trigger a trap door that sends anyone who brings more than 10 items down the Express Lane to face the Balrog. I don’t hate people though; just guns.

EB: Do you like jigsaw puzzles?

JH: People in my family love them, but I was never a fan. Not even the puzzle sections of Banjo-Kazooie or the Ruins of Alph in Pokémon Gold keep my interest.

EB: What material do you wish your skin was made out of?

JH: Something that feels soft, something that shimmers.

EB: Don’t you wish teleportation was a thing?

JH: I’ve been in eight car wrecks, and I’ve spent thousands of dollars of my own money to travel places. I absolutely wish teleportation was a thing, provided it was proven safe and free.

EB: Who is your least favorite family member?

JH: You’re gonna get me in trouble, man. I love everyone in my family equally, but I have stories about almost all of them that will make you laugh or want to take a shot of Crown Royal–or both.

EB: How many ounces of food do you think you could eat in one sitting?

JH: I ate an entire 20oz steak by myself once.

EB: What advice would you give someone who is frustrated with a chronic struggle?

JH: Don’t be too prideful or ashamed to ask folks who love you to shoulder some of your burdens, every once in awhile. The struggle may never go away, or it could take way longer than you imagined to conquer. But all of life’s messes are easier to handle if you have someone to rely on. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about people: You’re more important than you think, and you’re never really alone in the world.


Thank you for your time, friend.

I want to note: In his reply email, he had the interview nicely formatted already, and I am fond of his sign-off, “Make it a great week.”

Investing in a new gaming device? Trying to decide between PS4 and Xbox One, which is right for you? If you like multiplayer gaming, and like to connect with others online, this is something you are going to have to compare prior to deciding on which unit is right for you.

Also, you may be wondering where exactly you buy your new console from, once you’ve chosen the one you want. Techcred.co.uk can help with this, especially if you plan on buying the console on finance.

So, here is a basic break down of each, and how multiplayer gaming works with both consoles, so you can choose which system best meets the requirements you have set forth when choosing a new gaming console for online gaming.

PS4 –

With PS4, you need a PSN account; and, unlike with the PS3, you do have to pay a subscription fee to play. You will have to pay £5.49 per month, £11.99 for three months, or £39.99 per year. Of course a year’s subscription is your best bet if you plan on playing with others online regularly. With this subscription you get first access to new games and can download new games to play before they are released to the general public for sale. You can also download games while the console is in standby, so you don’t need to wait for the entire game to download, prior to getting into the action. 1 GB of cloud storage is included as well, so you can save your games.

Share Play is another new feature for PS 4 users to enjoy. It is a system allowing individuals who own games, to share online with friends who don’t own the game. With this feature, you are limited to one hour of play at a time, but it does allow you to stream gaming if your friends don’t own a particular title, and you wish to compete with them. One subscription of PSN will cover all systems and accounts.

Xbox One –

With Xbox One, you have the option to share multiplayer games for free, which isn’t the case with PS4. The Xbox Live community runs on Microsoft 10, and can be accessed by any, and everyone who wishes to create an account. You can play with friends and connect with communities online, to share new goals and new challenges you have completed in gaming. You can follow your favorite games, compete with friends, and play on the go, anywhere, as long as you are logged onto your account.

The Xbox Gold account is a paid for service. With this you receive over £550 free games annually and can enjoy the most advanced multiplayer gaming with friends. You also receive access to 50 to 75% off on games and add ons as a member of the Gold Community. You get free games each month and exclusive trailers you can try before games are released. You receive access to discounts on a weekly basis as a Gold member.

Which is right for you? –

For those who don’t want to pay, Xbox One does have “limited” access to multiplayer gaming. If you are simply comparing prices, PS4 offers more game options and more ability to share, with the new share play.

However, with free deals, exclusive trailers, and several free games annually, Xbox One also has the Gold membership which is quite comparable.

The main difference between both units is with Xbox One you can use multiplayer gaming for free, although it is extremely limited. Whereas, with PS4 there is no longer free access to multiplayer games online.

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