Mysterious Prototype Neo Geo Game Discovered

26 years ago the Neo Geo was the original home of a number of fighting games that would go on to be long running series, such as the King of Fighters games. Another potential Neo Geo masterpiece may have been discovered by Neo Geo enthusiast Brian Hargrove, who purchased an unlabelled ROM board a year ago for the sum of around $750, in the hopes of discovering any chunks of leftover data he could play with.

Upon first inspection of the data dumped from the board, it appeared to be an early protoype of  Voltage Fighter Gowkaizer, a superhero fighting game developed by Technos. Dumps of the flash cards that came with the board seemed to contain nothing to do with Voltage Fighter, however. Eventually, Hargrove was able to get the game to boot up, despite two of the flash cards being dead. This revealed a character select menu for a perhaps never-before-seen Neo Geo fighting game.

While the data containing things that may have been able to identify the game, such as a title screen, is inaccessible, what is available is interesting. The game looks like it may have been related to a franchise such as Dungeons and Dragons. Many of the character sprites are rough at best, but all of the characters contain one of 3 alignments that often appear in D&D – Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic. Choosing different alignments appears to change the character’s sprites too, which could have provided interesting depth and choice to the game. Overall, the game appears to have been rather ambitious, and it has been noted that it appears more complex than many of Technos’ other games, which raises the question of who developed it.

There is always the chance that this game is just a hoax, created and uploaded to an old Neo Geo board by a joker. The amount of effort that must have been used to create the advanced sprites featured in the prototype seem to contest this though. A number of the characters in the game even seem almost entirely complete. It may never have been finished, but from what you can see of this game, it really makes you wonder what it could have been had it been finished.

Manchester to Host Retro Games Festival

Manchester’s wonderful Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) is hosting a celebration of video games, starting Saturday, featuring a collection of 120 playable consoles and computers, dating back to the 1980s up to present day. The PLAY it! Manchester festival is the biggest retro gaming event in the UK, and is expected to attract thousands of visitors over the next fortnight.

The games available to play include Pac-Man, Pong, Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong Country, Pokemon Stadium, Tomb Raider, Crash Bandicoot, GoldenEye 007, Guitar Hero, Minecraft, and Halo, on consoles and computers such as the Commodore 64, Atari, Sony Playstation, Amiga, NES, SNES, Spectrum ZX81, Xbox 360, Sega Mega Drive, Amstrad, BBC, Vectrex, Gamecube, to a high-end PC.

The event is being run by Replay Events, in conjunction with MOSI, and will run until 9th August in the Great Western Warehouse portion of the main MOSI building’s first floor on Liverpool Road. The floor is divided into six gaming zones, each with a unique theme. 90 minute sessions cost £4, £10 for a full day pass, while family tickets are priced £12. Advance booking is recommended.

For those who want to avoid a potential deluge of kids, PLAY it! Manchester is also hosting a series of night-time, adult-only sessions on 30th-31st July and 6th-7th August, from 19:00 to 21:00.

Thank you Manchester Evening News for providing us with this information.

5 Classic Cell Phone Games You Almost Forgot About

With smartphones able to play games that are roughly on par with console games, you may have forgotten how the original cell phones games looked and played. Here are 5 classic games that pioneered cell phone gaming.

Image via Flickr by arvidr

1. Complete Rows of Blocks in Tetris

Tetris was originally a computer game made in Russia. Players needed to create rows of blocks made of different shapes. Completing a row causes the entire row to disappear from the screen, which subsequently makes space for the blocks above it. If the blocks stack up to the top, the player loses. It’s not just a stacking game, you need to strategize and plan where to place the blocks so that you can score the maximum amount of points.

2. Chase Down Food in Snake

Another old game that made its appearance on cell phones is Snake. In this game, the player guides the snake to dots of food inside a box and consumes them, causing the length of the snake to increase.

As you consume more and more food, the length of the snake becomes a disadvantage because it becomes harder to maneuver around the box. In later versions, different foods appear in the box, including rats. The point value for this was much higher than the regular food. But you had to react quickly to these tempting rats, because they would disappear quickly from the screen.

3. Blast Aliens Before They Get You In Space Invaders

Space Invaders is another classic cell phone game that originated as a popular arcade game. Players needed to shoot down aliens as they approach them. Move your trigger across the bottom of the screen to aim at the targets and blast them before they reach the bottom of the screen. Some versions have additional features including bunkers protecting your position and special enemy aircrafts that become targets.

4. Avoid Getting Caught While Eating Pellets in Pac-Man

Pac-Man is an arcade game originally made in Japan that quickly gained popularity among video game fans. Even now, almost four decades later, the cell phone version is still wildly popular. The game essentially consists of guiding Pac-Man through a maze filled with pellets.

Eat all the pellets to get to the next stage, while avoiding ghosts, which roam the maze chasing after anyone in it. If the ghosts touch Pac-Man, one turn is lost. If all your turns are lost, the game ends. Pac-Man is available on virtually every device such as smartphones, notebooks and tablets. So if you can’t find an arcade cabinet, you can still enjoy this classic.

5. Blast Asteroids Before They Crash Into You in Asteroids V1.04

Asteroids was originally an Atari game. The main objective of the game is to shoot down asteroids to earn points. The game features a triangular-shaped spaceship placed in the center of the screen. You can rotate the spaceship 360 degrees to face any direction. As asteroids approach your spaceship, the objective is to fire on them to destroy them. While it’s similar to space invaders, the game play is considerably different in terms of the graphics and gameplay.

The next time you get bored; download one of these classic cell phone games. They’re so fun and addictive, you’ll wonder where the time has gone after getting sucked into them.