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App of the Month: Galaga 30th Collection (Review)

Game: Galaga 30th Collection
Developer: Namco
Rating: 3 out 5 stars
Price: $7.99 for the collection, $2.99 per game

1981. Prince Charles marries Lady Diana…the first Space Shuttle (Columbia) takes flight…and Cabbage Patch Kids dolls are all the rage in toy stores. On July 23 of that same year, Namco shakes up the game world by introducing Galaga in arcades. The game goes on to become one of most beloved shooters of all time.

To mark the game’s 30-year anniversary, Namco has released Galaga 30th Collection for iOS. The game collection brings together Galaxian, Galaga, Gaplus (aka Galaga 3) and of course, the first updated version of the classic shooter, Galaga ’88.

Playable on both the iPhone and iPad the Galaga 30th Collection features reworked graphics that lean more toward a modern remixed feel than their retro cousins – the games also feature (oddly) an optional scan-line filter and score-tracking HUD.


Four servings of Galaga await you in the 30th anniversary collection.

As far as gameplay goes, not much has changed in 30 years. Players still blast away at insect-like aliens that attack from the top of the screen, while trying to make it to the challenging bonus stages and collect extra ships. The game still delivers solid shooter thrills with two modes of controls that are similar to the arcade version. The “virtual joystick” mode moves your ship left and right across the screen at a speed similar to the arcade originals, while a “slider” mode moves your ship as fast as you can swipe your finger back and forth across the screen.

The History of a Classic
Galaga (pronounced as “gyaraga” in Japanese) was released in Japan by Namco and released to arcades in the U.S. by Midway. The game was part of the shooter craze that tried to capitalize on the success of Space Invaders, which was released in 1978.

Galaga was actually a sequel. It was based on Galaxian which was released in 1979. Galaxian took the invader concept and expanded on it, with insect-like aliens breaking off from the main formation and attacking the player independently. Galaga also spawned sequels of its own, like Gaplus (1984) and Galaga ’88 (released at the end of 1987).


The original flyer that was sent to arcade owners to convince them to buy the game. Note the cocktail table in the lower left corner; recently Galaga cocktail tables have sold on eBay for $4,000. 

Since its release in 1981, the game has been remade countless times. In 1995, Namco’s PlayStation version of the arcade game Tekken featured a side game consisting entirely of challenging stages. The game developed such a following that it has been paid homage to frequently in pop culture: on the ABC TV series Lost (in which a submarine is named “Galaga”), the show’s writers were such fans of the game that they played it between writing sessions; and in the 1982 film WarGames, the game machine makes an appearance alongside star Matthew Broderick. The greeting-card company Hallmark even released a Christmas tree ornament shaped like a Galaga arcade machine – complete with sound clips from the game.

The original arcade game was available in two versions, a standing upright cabinet and a sit-down cocktail table. Original Galaga cocktail tables are highly collectible now and command prices of up to $4,000.

Making Your Own Video Game
Today, a simple shooter like Galaga can be developed easily. Learning to make video games isn’t as hard as you think, provided you receive the right training. Plus, in the casual games age we live in, simple addictive games like Galaga have regained popularity. Who knows? Thirty years from now, we could be celebrating your videogame creation.

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posted by Vince Matthews in App Development,iPhone News & Tips,News Blog and have No Comments

Five Best Videogames of Comic-Con 2011

As the movie, videogame and comic book industries invaded the San Diego Convention Center last week, Comic-Con 2011 dominated media coverage. Fans mobbed the Convention Center, too, looking for the  latest in cutting-edge entertainment. This year’s show is now history and for our gamers out there, we’ve rounded up for you the best five videogames of the show:

MASS EFFECT 3 (BioWare/Electronic Arts)
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Release Date: March 6, 2012


BioWare’s Mass Effect 3 is easily one of the most anticipated games of 2012.

The long-awaited sequel to the make-your-own adventure, Mass Effect 3 was playable for gamers at Comic-Con. We saw this game at E3 but Comic-Con gave us a chance to spend more time with it. What did we like best about it? BioWare enhanced the third-person shooter aspect and RPG elements of the game and gave gamers the option to play as a female Shepard.

For the uninitiated, Mass Effect mixes sci-fi themes with elements of action RPG gaming. As the new game begins, Commander Shepard is being put on trial for what happened in ME 2. However during the trial, Earth is besieged by Reapers. Shepard uses the opportunity to make a quick exit and goes off to summon help from other alien civilizations. While Shepard is recruiting help, he encounters resistance from former allies, the Cerberus, and the space opera plays out from there. For players that worked hard on those previous game saves, you’ll be happy to know your progress will pick up where you left off with ME 3.

Expect multiple versions of ME 3 to be available — such as a collector’s edition and a digital deluxe edition. And get this: The special editions are set to include exclusive weapons found in the N7 Arsenal Pack. We’re totally buying that.

SPIDER-MAN: EDGE OF TIME (Beenox/Activision)
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Nintendo Wii, DS & 3DS
Release Date: October 4, 2011


“Excuse me, do you have the time?”  Spider-Man: Edge of Time floats between two time zones — the year 2099 and 2011. 

Spider-Man is everywhere these days — including a new movie and even a Broadway musical. Not to be left out, he makes his latest videogame appearance in Spider-Man: Edge of Time. In a videogame that can be best described as Spider-Man meets Inception, there are actually two Spider-Men – one from the present (whose alter ego is Peter Parker) and one from the future (alias Miguel O’Hara) who rose to fame in the comic series Spider-Man 2099. Gamers play in either time period, but the game’s “Quantum Causality” feature, causes the actions you make in one era to have an effect in the other (like the cause-and-effect logic in Inception). If that isn’t enough to make your head spin, toss in the villainous antics of The Black Cat and Anti-Venom – and it’s really “game on.”

The present and the future link up in Edge of Time, with the 2099 version of Spider-Man working overtime to protect the original web-slinger from harm…and save the future from being devoured by an ultra-greedy corporation called Alchemax.

STREET FIGHTER x TEKKEN (Capcom/Capcom)
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita
Release Date: March 2, 2012


Two of the greatest fighting games franchises in videogame history come together for the ultimate smack-down in Street Fighter x Tekken.

In a grudge match that could only be described as videogame nirvana, Namco and Capcom are pitting their toughest fighters against each other for the first time in the HD era. Fighters from the Tekken and Street Fighter series  face off together for what gamers are hoping will be the fighting game to end all fighting games. Street Fighter x Tekken (which Capcom translates as “Street Fighter cross Tekken”) pulls in all your favorite characters from Street Fighter (Ryu, Guile, Abel, Chun-Li, Poison, Dhalsim and more) and throws them in Tekken greats (such as Kazuya Mishima, King, Steve Fox and Yoshimitsu). And although this isn’t exactly the first time these two powerhouse rival companies have united to do battle (that honor goes to 2005’s Namco vs. Capcom), it’s the first time that gamers outside of Japan will be able to enjoy the mayhem.

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: SKYWARD SWORD (Nintendo EAD/Nintendo)
Platforms: Nintendo Wii
Release Date: Fall 2011


Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is actually a prequel to Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

In the latest installment of Nintendo’s legendary Legend of Zelda action/adventure series, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the game FINALLY gets the high-definition treatment and a pick-me-up from the addition of Wii Motion Control Plus technology – which gives Link’s movements (such as shooting an arrow) new precision and power. Swordplay, in particular, is also given special attention, with this game paying attention to details such as how Link’s sword is angled before it cuts something (or somebody).

Nintendo gave additional depth to the environments between dungeons, too. And while the locations may be familiar, Nintendo has slipped in new gameplay surprises. Plus, as we mentioned, this will be the first time Link will be in HD glory.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: SUPER SOLDIER (Next Level Games/Sega)
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS
Release Date: July 19, 2011

Cap’s come a long way — originally debuting in Timely Comics (which evolved into Marvel Comics); Captain America is now starring in his own hit movie.

Captain America is an original superhero; he first appeared in comic books in 1941. But don’t count him out because of his age; his recent live-action feature (Captain America: The First Avenger) had enough muscle to knock the latest “Harry Potter” flick out of the top slot at the Box Office.

Captain America: Super Soldier is almost a companion piece to the movie, and follows the film’s general plot and action. As the Star-Spangled Avenger, Captain America sets out to explore a huge castle that’s been turned into a rogue military installation. Aside from using his own spectacular acrobatics and trusty fists to make his way through this third-person action game, Cap is equipped with his trusty shield, which he can hurl at enemies, protect himself from gunfire, and even scale walls when the need arises. It’s an action game through and through but captures the feeling of the film pretty well.

Get Into Games
Are video games your favorite form of entertainment? Have you ever imagined making your own game? Make your own game ideas come to life by learning video game design or 3D animation. Or explore your passion creating comics. Who knows? In a few years, they could be showcasing your creations at Comic-Con 2020!

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posted by Phill Powell in News Blog,Video Game Design and have No Comments