Tag Archives: Arcade

Super Saiyan!


The 2 Guys Gaming got together for the first time in months. With the business of the holidays, the start of the new semester, and just general overall old man Mr. Winter, we just weren’t able to connect and make plans. Whenever we do, we both say that we need to do it more often and then life gets in the way. Well, I’ve made last year and this year about telling life to go to hell when it decides to get in the way of my grand plans. We’ve got games to play and podcasts to record!

During this visit, we tried out his new arcade stick emulator, Padora’s Boxx by beating the old classic puncher X-Men. It seemed much shorter and easier than when I was a teenager. it’s a game where you walk sideways and punch things. It’s not like we were playing 3 dimensional chess back then. Why did the game seem so difficult? Well, Chris and I didn’t have to plug quarters into the machine. When you aren’t paying a quarter every 5 minutes to revive your character, you aren’t as aware of your limitations when playing the game.

The difficulty is ratcheted up, though when you are hitting the enemy with skateboards and vacuum cleaners instead of lasers and Adamantium claws.

We also did a Winchester draft (more on that in a couple of days) and played some of the new fighting game Dragonball Fighterz. Chris has raved about the game to me and he even wrote a review of the game last week. He was so excited about the game that I couldn’t wait to play it. We waited until the end of the night to play. Without giving too much away, it was worth the wait.

The Good

The best part of the game is that they have made it very noob friendly. I had never played the game. I hadn’t even watched any gameplay videos like I told Chris I might after seeing some screenshots and thinking that the game looked absolutely gorgeous. I was going in completely blind, so to speak. That made no difference.

The move scheme is, as Chris explained it, “If you can do a fireball motion, you are all set”. Because of that, I was pulling off crazy combos right out of the gate. Well, based on my previous experience in fighting games, they were crazy combos. I imagine in this day and age, they are just a basic combo that any preschooler could pull off with his eyes closed and both hands ties behind his back. I even beat Chris in the first game. Beginner’s luck?

And you had to walk through the snow, uphill both ways, in order to pull off a combo.

Then I beat him again, and a third time. I can’t remember how many times I actually beat him in a row before he finally got a win, but it was at least three. More on that in a bit. It sounds weird and it might just have been because I was new to the game, but it felt like something different happened every match.

One time, one of the characters flew up into the air, seemed to collect a bunch of energy, and then threw it down onto the other guy. Another time, Chris finished my guy off by throwing him threw 3 mountains, bringing the third one down on top of me. Several times, it looked like an atom bomb went off to end the fight.

One time, I somehow pulled off some sort of “finishing” move. It was called an ultimate devastation or something like that. It wasn’t quite a fatality like from Mortal Kombat. The camera panned back, the animation was a huge explosion, and then the words came across the screen. I can’t remember exactly what the words were and I can’t find any evidence of it online, but both Chris and I sat in stunned silence for a few seconds. He finally said, “I’ve never seen that happen before.” Mind you, he’s been playing the game about 2 hours a day for a week to this point.

Animations like this are commonplace. Needless to say, this isn’t a game for those with epilepsy. Heck, they may find that it’s bad for people who have functioning eyes.

The Bad

Naturally, having grown up during the hey day of Street Fighter 2, I’m a Capcom baby. Since this game utilizes a lot of the same functionality in moves and super combos, it made me think of the Capcom games. In fact, during our games, Chris said something like “Capcom should take notes.” While I agree, that’s not quite my main disagreement. Because I grew up with the Capcom characters, I know which characters I like and which I don’t. Having never watched any DragonballZ, I had no idea about anything about any of the characters. I knew some of the names from various memes and everyone knows the “over 9000!” line. Other than that, though, I knew nothing.

In addition, there aren’t that many characters to begin with. I mean, the character selection screen is full, but many of those characters are just alternate versions of the other characters. I think I counted 3 or 4 different Gokus and that might be low. Again, as a new entry into the Dragonball Z universe, maybe there just aren’t that many characters in the series. However, as someone who likes a variety of characters to choose and try out in a new game, that was a bit disappointing.

Finally, with all of the interaction and animations, they do get stale. Most notably, the entry animation when one of your characters gets knocked out gets old real fast because it never changes. The new character just flies in along with the opposing character and they punch each other’s fists. This is quite disappointing as I was at least expecting each pair of characters to have their own animations similar to the beginning fight sequences.

Yep, that’s it. I kid you not.

The Ugly

I know that I often struggle to find “The Ugly” for many of these articles, but this game is as close to a perfect fighter as I’ve played in a long time. Other than the few minor nit picks I had for “The Bad” section, I have no complaints about this game. Certainly not anything that could possibly be elevated to “Ugly” status.

So, I will just take this space to gloat a little bit more. It took Chris a few matches to finally beat me and I probably won about 70-75% of the matches that we played. I suppose we could just call it all beginners luck, but I’m going to go with L2P Noob. I’m just too good for you.

Shots fired, Bro.

The Verdict

As we were playing, I said to Chris, I definitely have to get an XBox One. I actually said that I wanted to get an XBox One and a PS4 because I didn’t think that Dragonball was a cross platform title. I have no idea why I thought that. I think I’m just looking for a reason to spend money that I don’t have on things I don’t need. I’m a complicated individual.

So, now more than ever, I want to buy an XBox One. We can get Minecraft that allows for cross platform support. We can get Dragonball Fighterz and Chris made the point that the boys would really get a kick out of the game. He’s right. Dragonball Fighterz is selling consoles (at least to me) and I don’t know when the last time a fighting game made me want to own a console.

I’m sure anyone who wants to play the game already has done so. However, if you are like me and have somehow avoided both purchasing either and XBox One or PS4 and the game, then you need to go out and buy it right now. You will not be disappointed. Heck, the game has even made it to EVO already as Chris predicted that it probably would. At least for me, that is must see viewing.

Opening Pandora’s Box

Every Christmas Eve my parents and older sister come over to our place to have a family Christmas party. Every year it’s a lot of fun, and every year my sister ends up surprising me with a gaming related gift. One year it was a Nintendo 3DS, another a Sony PSP,..etc. This year she dragged in a fairly large box that had me perplexed. When it came time to exchange gifts I noticed that she had stopped opening her gifts from me and my soon-to-be wife and was just watching me open the massive box. At that point, I knew that she had one-upped me again. Inside the box was a massive arcade board called Pandora’s Box. At this point I’m sure some of you are asking, ?What the heck is that??. While some of you might already know but are apprehensive about buying one. Regardless, I’ve been playing it for almost a month at this point so I thought a review might be helpful. Let’s get into it:

What is it?:

Pandora’s Box is an arcade emulator. It’s a fairly large board with two sets of controls consisting of 8 way joysticks and 6 buttons for each player as well as a pause button and 2 insert coin buttons (don’t worry it’s set on Free Play right out of the box). It measures a little over 2 A? feet long and a foot wide. Inside is a JAMMA motherboard pre-loaded with 800+ arcade games. Note: I have the Pandora’s Box 4S, other versions come with more or less games depending on which one you pick. It has its own power supply, HDMI cable, USB lightning cable, VGA monitor cable, internal speakers, a neon light that illuminates the board when powered on and depending on your taste, you can order one with a SFV, KOF, Tekken, MVC, background. Mine came with a King of Fighters background and while the board looks like a glass top it’s really a sturdy plastic.

The Review:

So how does it work? Well, you power it on and after the title screen, a list of the games appears. Highlight a title and a neat trailer for each game plays on the right hand side of the screen. Choose a game and a catchy vintage tune plays while the game loads. The loading time is fairly quick, I think the longest I’ve experienced to date is maybe 15 seconds with the majority of the games loading under 10 seconds. The games look fantastic on a 1080p TV with nothing looking overly pixelated, expect for the Atari games, because, well, they’re Atari. The controls are really responsive with no noticeable lag time and a majority of the games that I’ve played didn’t suffer from slow down. I’ll say it again: the majority of the games *I played* had no slow down at all. So let’s get down to business; what games does thing come with? Well, I don’t have the time or energy to list all of 815 games that are preloaded on the console but I will name some of my personal favorites. Note: some of the games pre-loaded are duplicates in a way, i.e you get the Japanese and English versions of the game. This isn’t the case for all of the games however, I would say out of the 815 probably 700 of them are not duplicated. Ok! Onto the list!

King of Fighter 97, 98, 99, 00, 01, 02, 03 (all versions of each)
Snk vs Capcom Plus
Samurai Shodown 5
Rage of Dragons
Metal Slug (All versions of all Metal Slug games)
The Last Blade
Shock Troopers 1 & 2
Knights of the Round 1 & 2
The Punisher
Golden Axe
The Simpsons
Alien vs Predator
Sunset Riders
Rambo 3
Sengoku 1 – 3
Ninja Commando
Mutation Nation
Street Fighter 3 (all versions)
Street Fighter 2 (all versions)
Waku Waku 7
Mortal Kombat
Art of Fighting 1-3
Prehistoric Isle
Super Contra
Super Sidekicks 1-3
Neo Bomberman
Bomberman World
WWF Wrestlefest
Puzzle Fighter 2 (all versions)
Mega Man 2
Dungeons and Dragons 1 & 2
Captain America and the Avengers
Marvel Super Heroes
X-Men vs Street Fighter
World Heroes (all versions of all games)
Super Pacman
Burning Fight
Vampire Hunter
Vampire Hunter 2
Street Fighter Alpha 1-3
Street Fighter Zero 1-3
Ninja Combat
Ghouls and Ghosts
Red Earth
Double Dragon
Double Dragon Plus
AeroFighters 1 & 2
R Type 1 & 2

Whew! That’s really just the tip of the iceberg with this machine. There are a ton of good games that I couldn’t name off the top of my head (there’s a really, really cool Mega Man fighter that I can’t remember the name of right now), and even more games that I just haven’t had the time to actually try. Ok, so what’s my verdict? Well, it’s tricky because there are so many positive qualities of Pandora’s Box but one glaring ugly one. I think the best way to sum this up is the same way Shawn structures his review articles; the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Good:
-You get 815 of some of the best arcade games ever released with the ability to add others via the USB lightning cable.
-The internal speaker sounds pretty good and creates a feeling of being in an arcade as does the board lighting up.
-The games look really good and look exactly like they did in the arcade.
-Controls work well. I had seen a couple of reviews before I owned this where some people claimed that the 2nd player controls didn’t work and it kind of kept me away from this machine. Thankfully my console arrived without any bugs and functioning perfectly and I’m seeing other reviews saying the same thing.

The Bad:
-The buttons feel a little on the cheap side. They do supply you with some backup buttons as well as the option to upgrade the buttons to higher quality when you order.
-No Marvel vs Capcom 2?! No Mortal Kombat 2?! No Killer Instinct?! Okay, okay, I can just go download the ROMs and add them in but still, you have 8 versions of Street Fighter Frickin’ 2 but no Splatterhouse?! C’mon!

The Ugly:
-The price tag. Depending on the version it will cost between $220-$399. Yikes. Looks like I owe my sister a TV.

The Good Old Days


My obsession with retro video games started with mine and Liam’s trip to The Quarters a few weeks ago. That’s no entirely true. While not often one to fall victim to nostalgia, I have always been a fan of the video games of my youth. Let’s say that my most recent obsession with retro video games started with our trip to The Quarters. It was just such a fun walk down memory lane.

XBox 360 (Skyrim/Fallout)

My second step on the nostalgia tour took me to my XBox 360, where I planned (yet again) to play and attempt to finally beat Skyrim or Fallout 3 or both. I already wrote an article about my latest experiences in Skyrim, so I don’t have to repeat myself here. In addition, due to the drive tray issues on my XBox 360, I haven’t even loaded Fallout 3. Oh well, best laid plans and all of that.

That’s not entirely true. I did test both games to make sure that they loaded.

While Skyrim didn’t (spoiler alert if you haven’t read the other article) quite sate my appetite for recaptured youth, that’s not unexpected. I only ever played Morrowind from the Elder Scrolls series and that was well after I had become (at least in the eyes of the law) an adult. I never liked Morrowind much. I did like Skyrim very much, but it also came into my life during quite a difficult time, so maybe I just need to recalibrate the game in my brain space to a happier time.

Nintendo GameCube/Sega Dreamcast (Pokemon Colosseum)

Those of you who follow and read the page regularly know that the Nintendo GameCube was a big storyline through the holidays around here. The short, short story is that Liam wanted one for Christmas, we didn’t buy one because I was confident that we still own ours, and he ultimately felt jipped by Christmas. That led to our trip to The Quarters. It also caused a wild search around the house for our old GameCube.


Liam also found my old Dreamcast, which further supported my theory that the GameCube must be somewhere around the house. I have my PS1, PS2, DreamCast, and Game Boy Advance. I know that I sold my N64 to a local YMCA youth program, and we gave our Wii away to a gift exchange for needy families. That is all consoles (not including the more current ones) that I have owned at one time or another. All except for that dang GameCube.

I don’t know what happened to you little buddy, but know that you are missed.

As one of our ideas to sooth Liam’s broken heart over Christmas, I decided to load up the Dreamcast. I discovered that it has a loose drive door and that it won’t load games consistently. I did get House of the Dead to the loading screen. Other than that, it keeps kicking me back to the main menu. Oh well, best laid plans and all that.

Liam did finally collect enough money by selling some gift cards he got for Christmas to buy the system and the game that he wanted for it, Pokemon Colosseum. I’m glad that we could help him come up with the money to buy it. I’ve never seen him so happy about a game. I suspect that when he’s my age, Pokemon will be one of his go to games for warm and fuzzy feelings from his youth.

Nintendo 64 (Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

I loaded this one on a whim a couple of weeks ago. It is probably my second favorite Legend of Zelda game that I’ve played behind A Link to the Past. Quinn got kicked out of the living room one night while Christine was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the older boys, so he took a seat next to me and watched me play. It has become an almost nightly date for me to sit down and play Zelda while Quinn watches and they watch Buffy or Stranger Things if it is just Christine and Aiden.

Most people hate the water temple level, but I’ve never had much of an issue with it. I am, however, currently stuck on the Jabu Jabu level.

Game Boy Advance (Pokemon Pinball)

I can’t fully explain my interest in these types of games. I do know that I played the heck out of Sonic Spinball on my Genesis when I was younger. I also grew up with a father who couldn’t really get into video games, but loved a good pinball machine. I remember going to the boardwalk and he would go up and down the line of pinball machines with his handful of quarters until he found one that he liked. Okay, maybe I can fully explain it.

The thing that I can’t explain is with all of the games that I have available to me on this system, why is this the first one that I play? I have a history with Pokemon all the way back to the first games and I played and enjoyed Pokemon Sun a couple of years ago. But, I’m not crazy about Pokemon like Liam. I don’t know. There’s just something about this game that calls to me. Maybe it just is the connection to my dad, pinball, and those memories.

Atari 2600 (Various, but mostly Frostbite right now)

And so, we return all the way back to my beginning with video games, the Atari 2600. This is the first console I ever owned, bought by my parents for Christmas one year? Maybe? I honestly don’t remember how we ended up with one in the house, but it was so cool to be able to “play the games from the arcade” in my living room. Sure, Pac-Man wasn’t even close to an accurate port, E.T. is routinely blamed for killing the console, but Mario Bros and Jungle Hunt both looked and played as close to their arcade brethren as the limited 2600 hardware allowed.

I know I ask this every time the subject comes up, but what was so bad about E.T.? I loved the game and it is one of the first games I beat.

Jungle Hunt, especially, holds a place close to my heart. I played the game in the arcade one time, plugging quarters into the machine until I finished all of the levels. I don’t remember how much money it took, but it must have been at least 5 and maybe even 10 dollars. Well, I split my head open being a dumb kid. My parents said that because I was so good when I got the stitches in my head, I could get a prize. I chose Jungle Hunt for the Atari 2600 so that I could play it at home and not have to keep dumping quarters into it.

Frostbite, Pitfall, and the other Activision titles are just very good games. I especially played Frostbite and Pitfall so much as a kid. One of my most vivid memories is playing Pitfall all the way to the end at my grandmother’s house. I don’t remember if she also bought a system or if I brought my system with me. I just remember playing it until the timer reached all zeroes.

Post Script

I’m not going to go full “back in my day” mode and argue that games were better then than they are now. That is simply not true. Graphics on modern systems are better. More memory and storage allows for better and deeper stories to be told by games. Sure the games were fun then, but they are fun now, too. The fun of games from my childhood are the fun of children. It’s the repetitive and familiar fun that will get old after a couple of weeks or months. But, I will enjoy it while it lasts.

Just Like Old Times?


This year was a tough Christmas for Liam. He discovered the big reveal about the big man. When he talked with Christine, he said that he already knew a few years ago, but this year it became official when Christine said that he wasn’t going to get Santa presents anymore. I never grew up with Santa, so I can’t fully sympathize with what he’s going through, so Christine has just continued to deal with the fallout. In my defense, I did have a couple of ideas to help him. One, I offered to purchase the gift cards that he didn’t want to give him the cash for his desired “Santa” present, a Gamecube for Pokemon Colosseum. Also, I suggested that he and I go to the Quarters in Hadley (also, he wanted to buy some books at Barnes and Noble with one of his gift cards) just the two of us to get out of the house and have some guy time together.


We’ve been to the Quarters at least once before. I’m pretty sure we were there twice, but I definitely remember one other visit for my birthday a few years ago. Christine got a Groupon deal and we used it on one of their Super Cereal Saturdays. They sell it as a way to recapture the magic of cereal and Saturday morning cartoons. I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m not usually much of a nostalgia guy, but there are some aspects of my youth that I treasure and want to relive. This is one of the ones that got me big time.

After all, our generation (I know, generations are an idiotic way to define a group of diverse individuals, but bear with me on this one) are the absolute masters of nostalgia, both real and imagined. Generation X, if you believe in such a for some reason, constantly looks to the past to define their present and future. Heck, we were the ones who tried to relive Woodstock without ever actually having been there, except through the copies of the record in our parent’s collections. That might be one of the reasons that I generally push back on nostalgia. Well, that and the fact that things really weren’t better “back then” by and large.

Make America Great Again, amirite?

I’ve already discussed comic books as one of my nostalgia triggers. I’m also planning an end of the year extravaganza for the weekend. So, I suppose something about the end of the year and my looming 42 (the answer to life, the universe, and everything) birthday have me looking back. Like comic books, arcades and arcade games hold a special place in my past. Unlike comic books, which gave me a quiet escape in a fantasy setting from people, the arcade was a social experience for me.

My friend Kevin, who you may know from our lost episode 2 of the now far too long dormant podcast, and I used to spend almost all of our free time and money at the arcade. I say almost all because the remainder of it was spent at McDonalds or the movie theater. It started for the two of us with stupidly epic battles on the first Mortal Kombat machine where neither of us knew a damn thing other than the graphics were killer and so was the violence.

We graduated to MKII, then unfortunately, MK3. All the while, we dabbled with other games like Primal Rage, Virtua Fighter, and Street Fighter. When one or the other was on a winning streak against other competition, we moved on to single player games like Super Mario Bros and Tetris. As our sphere of influence grew because mutual friends became more interested in sports than nerdy pursuits, we got together a 4 man group to tackle Gauntlet, X-Men, The Simpsons, and TMNT.

Arcades were big enough to place honorable mention old schoolers in the corner to give us youngsters a history lesson.

When I went off to college, Kevin and I lived together in a tiny apartment above a store that my extended family owned. When Kevin had to return home, I found myself taking the bus out to the mall to hit up the arcade because I missed having him around. Even today, the love affair with video games continues. We sent each other Steam games for Christmas this year. I chose an old school style D&D dungeon crawler to remind him of the days that we wasted on his old PC playing those games after school.

So, the pull that I felt towards the Quarters every time we drove or rode by on our bikes was real. Almost every game in there has some memory or another attached to it. If it doesn’t, then I wanted to try the game and see if I could make it memorable. Once again, what got me back into the arcade was a promotion. They offer unlimited tokens on Tuesdays from 5 until closing for 5 dollars. It isn’t a bad deal either. As a barcade, they are open until 1 am. I didn’t think that either of us could make it that far, but we were both still ready to play at 9:00 when I finally decided to play Dad and start the drive home.

When this is one of the faces you see from your teenager and he speaks exclusively in YouTube videos and memes, you just have no idea.


It’s often difficult for parents to know if they are doing right by their kids. As I’ve discussed with Kevin on more than occasion, you don’t know if you’ve screwed them up until it is too late. But, I’m positive that this was the right decision. Liam seemed to have a great time, I had a great time, and he thanked me for taking him out. That almost never happens voluntarily anymore.

Things get busy (“And the cat’s in the cradle”) and, as our terrible podcast schedule (what podcast schedule?!) shows, we lost track of time. But, I really have to start making a conscious effort to do these things. I joke about Liam becoming a teenager, mostly because it is a defense mechanism against facing the reality that he isn’t a “kid” anymore. He’s growing into the adult that he will someday be. While I love watching it happen, I also find myself doing what I never thought I would.

I never thought I’d miss the days when…fill in the blank. But, when I look at Liam now, I don’t see that crazy little boy who changed my life 13 years ago. I see a young man who is still changing my life, but in vastly different ways. Every now and then, I have to take a breath, push that pause button, and revel in the silliness of youth. There will be a time, sooner than I I’d like to admit, that it won’t be there for a few years.