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Rambo: The Video Game: Torque bow sold separately.

The Rambo series of films are an interesting timepiece. The first film, aptly titled First Blood, features Sylvester Stallone as Vietnam war veteran John Rambo being chased from some irate cops in a small Washington town, and is more of an action-driven thriller. However, Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rambo III are definitely action movies in the simplest sense, something that could really only be made in the Reagan-dominated 1980s.

They’re cheesy as all hell, and a little bit unsettling these days – especially the more recent entries, John Rambo and Rambo: Last Blood – but I can appreciate their relevance in pop culture all the same.

Over the years there’s been a handful of Rambo video games, mostly of average quality. One of the more well-known ones was Pack-in-Video’s Rambo game on the NES that was a knockoff of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, and many of Sega’s games throughout the ’80s. After Rambo III, there weren’t any games featuring that M60-wielding muscle man, unlike similar action films like Robocop that got games years after the films were relevant. Cut to 2014, several years after the fourth film, and at a time when the franchise couldn’t be any less relevant, and somehow we got… this.

“I’m sorry they sent you to such a hellhole, John.”
“I’ve seen worse.”

Rambo: The Video Game is the most recent attempt to make the action movie series into a video game. With so many years between the last major Rambo game, you’d think we get a really solid adaptation of the film series, right? Wrong. Developer Teyon and publisher Reef Entertainment brought this out to critically negative reviews, from gamers and fans of the films alike.

So, what’s the genre they opted to go for? First-person shooter, right? Perhaps a third-person cover shooter? The answer to that is neither: It’s a light gun game. Considering Teyon’s pedigree – they made a majority of the Heavy Fire series of light gun games – it seems fitting, but also very limiting.

“Let’s commemorate this man by being glad the bastard’s gone, that’ll show him.”

So how does the game piece the story together? Well, our game begins with a cutscene of a military colonel talking about John Rambo at his funeral, retelling his stories of war, while satisfied the man’s dead.

This is amazingly inaccurate it hurts. Not only does Rambo live after the events of these films, it just comes off as incredibly comical and not at all powerful or emotional. I honestly thought this was a reference to a small scene in one of the films, but nope, this was made specifically for the game. I don’t know why they opted to tell the story this way, but it’s really really dumb.

For a game released in 2014, this looks… pretty bad.

After that, we’re thrown into a cutscene that takes place before the events of First Blood, featuring Rambo (with digital Stallone sporting a mustache just as ugly as he did in that movie) escaping from a camp. Then the game begins, in all its light gun glory.

Now’s not a time to reload, Rambo!

The game’s mechanics are fairly straightforward. Rambo automatically moves from place to place until he’s killed enough bad guys. You have three weapons, split between light type (pistols, AK47s, stuff like that), heavy type (machine guns and grenade launchers), and special weapons like the iconic torque bow. Left mouse button fires, right mouse button (or R) reloads. It has the active reload system from Gears of War, meaning a perfect reload gives you double the ammunition in the mag. Middle mouse button throws grenades, and using the WASD controls are used to take cover when given the opportunity, something incredibly helpful when enemy machine gun emplacements start firing at you. Get enough kills to activate a Wrath ability where enemies are highlighted and every kill gets back health.

Completing some challenges unlock weapons to use in any mission, which is why Rambo suddenly has a Russian machine gun in the middle of the Pacific Northwest.

In First Blood, Rambo wasn’t really a stone-cold killer. There was only a handful of kills under his watch, one of them by accident. So for these levels the game encourages the player to opt for disarming the cops by shooting them in the arms or legs, as killing them normally causes you to lose points. By the time you move to the levels depicting First Blood Part II, this rule no long applies, so Rambo can kill to his heart’s content since they’re not red-blooded Americans.

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I Bought Stuff! 11/22/2019: Portland Retro Gaming Expo 2019 Edition (and more!)

Another year, another Portland Retro Gaming Expo. The con’s been getting bigger year after year, with it starting to significantly fill up the space given at the Oregon Convention Center. The consequence is there being a few things I didn’t see, a couple typos I saw on a few signs, and a bit of confusion of where everything was. At least them introducing a quiet room to recharge and relax was a godsend on one of the days.

I tagged along most of it with friend of the site and playing card aficionado Weasel, who now tweets about his daily decks of cards on Twitter. Hell, even in a goodwill gesture I had given him a deck of cards that had the wheel from Wheel of Fortune on the back that I had gotten from a game show convention many years back.

At this stage, I have most of what I want, and anything else available is a bit too much out of my price range. However, PRGE is more than just a bunch of vendors selling their wares. I saw some cool people, got to check out a panel or two, even played some classic video games.

I’m still proud I was able to crash Sonic the Hedgehog in a public place, the loud piercing note blaring through the convention hall.

This is probably the least I’ve spent at PRGE to date. Nothing over $5. Most of my purchases were on Sunday, which I always figured is the “fire sale” days since some of the booths are based outside of Portland and the less they have to take back with them, the better. It helped I also checked many stores in their bargain sections where the most forgotten games are there for a buck.

But there was also a general goal I was going for this year, which I’ll explain momentarily. So let’s get into it.


$2:

      • Call of Duty 2: Big Red One (Xbox)

      • SWAT: Global Strike Team (Xbox)

One thing I’ve been slowly doing is trying to get what is considered the “best” version of a certain game. When it comes to stuff from the early to mid 2000s, 9 times out of 10 that’s on the original Xbox. The Xbox versions of multiplatform games often looked nicer, ran smoother, and came with features not available on any other platform. So these cheapo purchases were the start of this game plan.

Big Red One is a game I got way way back on the PS2 around 2005-06, and it was a decent little title in the Call of Duty series. They basically tried to be more like Band of Brothers, though with it coming out the same year as Gearbox’s Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30, it came off as a mediocre copycat.

Big Red One is Treyarch’s debut to the Call of Duty franchise. Technically, it’s also Grey Matter’s last, as the studio would be dissolved and have members shifted over to Treyarch after both companies had games canceled on them by Activision in 2005 – Treyarch’s Dead Rush and Grey Matter’s Trinity: The Shatter Effect. Since the actual Call of Duty 2 was a PC and Xbox 360 exclusive, plus there still being lots of people with PS2s and Xboxes, Activision pushed development of this game out in less than a year. Treyarch would do that again with Call of Duty 3 the following year. While both of those are not god-tier games in the series, they’re not as awful as other installments.

SWAT: Global Strike Team was Sierra trying to make some of their dormant franchises relevant in the then-new console space. The game is a mix between a tactical shooter and a more traditional action game. It was made by Argonaut Software, the company best known for using Nintendo’s Super FX chip to bring us Starfox and Stunt Race FX. And a lot of licensed junk afterwards, which this came out around that time. It’s been mostly forgotten by everyone, but it’s probably a decent little time-waster.

Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions (Gamecube, $5)

This game is the most expensive game I’d paid for at the whole con. Which is saying something, really.

While my car combat game experience begins and ends at Twisted Metal, I had heard about this lesser-known gem from various websites and gamers, saying it was a fun, yet oddball kind of game. It’s the kind of game that doesn’t exist much these days except maybe as a Steam Early Access title.

It came to all three platforms – the Xbox got it first, followed by Gamecube and PS2 a year later – but I had heard that the GC version was the “best” version of the three, so I opted to grab that as opposed to the original Xbox version. This happens sometimes: Dead to Rights ended up getting a “balance” update when it got ported to the Gamecube and PS2 after the Xbox original was considered too tough by some.

Since the “best version” of a game is rarely on the Gamecube, this means my collection on that system will consist mostly of Nintendo first-party games and whatever exclusive games there are, barring some exceptions. Unless they were utilizing the hardware to its fullest, like Capcom’s Killer7 and Resident Evil 4, it was barely better than the PS2 version in some cases. It’s a shame, but Nintendo was basically the oft-forgotten middle child during the GC/PS2/Xbox era.

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Game Show Themes vs. Their NES Counterparts Volume 2: GameTek’s leftovers.

Several years ago, I did a post where I compared game show themes to their NES counterparts. It was one of the more unique posts I’ve done, and I teased about making another part sometime. Well, that time is now.

Like part one, we’re sticking with GameTek’s output. This was originally gonna cover the rest of the NES games, but it would’ve been a bit unwieldy compared to the last one, so I trimmed it down considerably.

The earliest game show games published by GameTek were developed by Rare, as it was likely cheaper to get a contract developer to make your adaptation compared to doing it in-house. By 1990, Rare had moved on to other projects with other publishers, most notably Milton Bradley and Tradewest. But GameTek was the leader of making game show video games, and naturally they needed to keep publishing games based on hit game shows, thus they soldiered on with a bunch of different game studios tackling the other game show licenses.

This time around, we’ll cover the last few game show games published by GameTek. Two of them are shows we’ve seen on here before, but the remaining three are all new, and have their own unique little tales to each. Let’s get started.

Wheel of Fortune featuring Vanna White (1992, NES)

The NES version (composed by Barry Leitch):

COMPARED TO:

“Changing Keys,” Wheel of Fortune’s theme from 1989-1992 (composed by Merv Griffin):

Our first game is naturally the biggest. Wheel of Fortune really needs no introduction, though this is the fourth Wheel game on the NES. Though I can understand why they did this, which I’ll explain in our next entry.

This is a bit complicated. For one, the game is credited on most places (including MobyGames) to be developed by Imagitec Design, a small development studio who did occasional contract work. However, the game shares the graphical style with Talking Super Jeopardy!, which was done by people at Imagineering. If I had to guess, Imagineering is the actual developer, with music contracted out by Imagitec. Or in this case, Imagitec’s sole employee: founder Barry Leitch.

Leitch composed the music for this game, and it’s somewhat unusual for an NES game. While the theme is pretty close to the show’s theme – albeit a bit too fast – it eventually segues into this breakdown with a distinct arpeggio sound that reminds me very much of MOD tracker music, or something I’d hear on a Commodore 64.

Even the other incidental cues, one of which is a rendition of the four chimes to introduce a new puzzle, has that distinct arpeggio sound. It sounds a bit unusual for a game based on an American game show.

Though, in reality, this isn’t that weird. This is fairly common for European composers who did music for the NES. Listen to anything from Neil Baldwin, Jeroen Tel or even Tim Follin, and this music would fall right in line. Since Barry Leitch was based in Scotland, it all makes sense.

Leitch would also do the music for the SNES and Genesis adaptations of Wheel of Fortune released in the same year, so imagine this guy having to adapt Merv Griffin’s iconic theme song to three different sound chips. Quite impressive, really.

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The most ridiculous light gun I own: The Silent Scope Light Rifle.

It’s been a rough month for me, folks. Admittedly the drive to write wasn’t quite there for most of the month until fairly recently, and I do have some actual posts prepared to be published in October.

But for now, I’m gonna write a fairly short post. This is about something I found unexpectedly at a Goodwill. A rare relic of a bygone era. Probably one of the goofiest video game controllers I own. In a sense, this is part “here’s something interesting I own,” part “I Bought Stuff!”

I know light guns aren’t supposed to resemble real firearms anymore, but this looks so goofy.

No, this isn’t a super soaker or Nerf gun, though I can’t blame you for thinking that. This is the Silent Scope Light Rifle, a light gun made for the original Xbox. I bought this for $7, and in hindsight it probably was one of the more impulse purchases I made that I have a small bit of regret. I’ll explain why in a bit.

I won’t go into a long history about the genre as there’s much better places for such things, but here goes. Light gun games were all the rage during the 8 and 16-bit eras. Duck Hunt, Wild Gunman, Lethal Enforcers, those American Laser Games that practically show up on every system like Doom or Resident Evil 4 does these days… They were fairly popular.

Then, oddly, it slowed down. At least, on home consoles. They still got light gun games, but at a much reduced rate. Some cases like Area 51 on the PlayStation didn’t even support a light gun, opting for PS Mouse support instead, which completely ruins the fun.

It was still thriving in arcades thanks to Time Crisis and later stuff by Raw Thrills like the infamous Target: Terror. But short of Namco bringing out the GunCon 2 for a Time Crisis II port and support for games like Capcom’s Resident Evil: Dead Aim, it was practically a ghost town for light gun games during the PS2/Xbox era. Until the Wii briefly brought the genre back into the spotlight for a brief moment.

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Alpha Prime: Plunging back to the world of eurojank.

As I’ve been writing about random games for years at this point, I’ve started to look back at the various cheapo bargain bin games I’ve written about. Most of them were made here in the United States and published by ValuSoft, the most infamous of bargain bin game publishers. Other times I’ve written about stuff a little lesser known, like City Interactive’s Enemy Front. But sometimes, despite owning many different bargain bin games over the years, there’s a few that made me wonder “Why the hell did I buy this?” Alpha Prime fits that bill perfectly.

A shame I have no idea who Ondrej Neff is. They should’ve done what they did with Metro 2033 and make a novelization of the game that’s somewhat difficult to read in English.

I honestly can’t remember why I bought Alpha Prime. Maybe it was $1 in a Steam sale. Maybe I saw someone show me a dumb video about it, and it looked so bad I couldn’t resist giving it a try. Regardless, I had the game in my backlog, and I felt like I needed something drastically different from BioShock 2, which I had just finished and written about recently.

Alpha Prime is made by Black Element, a development studio based in the Czech Republic. They were part of a collective called the Independent Developers Association (IDEA), founded by Bohemia Interactive. Suddenly it makes sense why the makers of ARMA and DayZ published this mid-2000s budget FPS. At least, according to the Steam store page.

Since I have a penchant for rough, janky games made in Europe, I decided to give this a try just out of morbid curiosity. Let’s just say the experience was rather… unpolished.

It looks like Arnold isn’t even interested in Livia’s advances. Wonder if that’s a side effect of the Hubbardium.

The plot goes like this: Arnold Weiss (or Arnie as some call him) is a former soldier who was stationed at Alpha Prime, an asteroid full of Hubbardium, a fictitious space rock that is said to give people special powers. After being egged on at a bar by an old fling named Livia, he goes back to Alpha Prime to help his buddy Warren, and stop his group from mining more Hubbardium. But then disaster strikes.

Those are words that *can* be used to make a sentence, but I can’t make heads or tails of it.

At least, I think that’s how the story goes. Naturally, since this was made by Czech people, English is not their first language. There is lots of stilted, awkward dialogue in this game, combined with a bunch of spelling and grammar mistakes that made it very hard to comprehend the game’s story, and I ended up ignoring it after a while.

Leaning? shooting behind cover? Yeah, this is definitely a 2000s era FPS.

Alpha Prime is a by-the-numbers FPS. Shoot dudes, try not to get shot too much, that sort of thing. The weapons are standard FPS fare for the time: pistol, shotgun, assault rifle, grenades, the works. There’s some interesting ideas, like the assault rifle being a mini gatling gun, but it acts no different than your standard FPS assault rifle.

These uses of the ReCon could’ve been useful, but most of the time it’s used to look into cameras, which isn’t really as useful.

The game does throw a couple interesting ideas, however. At one point you acquire a ReCon, a device that lets you hack into cameras and activate platforms and traps. It’s kinda neat in spots, but in most cases seeing into the next area won’t help you that much unless there’s a trap inside to make combat easier.

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A little Weekend Writing about BioShock 2.

I’m starting a new idea for the blog called Weekend Writing.

Weekend Writing is an experiment for me to try to write more often. Some posts may be about things that I don’t think merit a full article, or may be me talking about games I’ve recently played in an attempt to play more games than I usually do.

There’s no guarantee every weekend will have a Weekend Writing post, but I hope I can stick with this idea for a while.

This still looks pretty good years later.

As of this writing, I finished BioShock 2 Remastered. Part of BioShock: The Collection, it’s one of those fancy HD Remasters that was released for the current generation of platforms and PC. I had finished BioShock Remastered back in 2016, not long after beating BioShock 2 for the first time. Since it had been a few years, I figured it was time to go back to it, just to have something to play in the meantime, and to see if my opinion has changed on the first two games.

Something I didn’t know until looking through my screenshots for this and the original: This credits sequence is different in the remaster. Looks nicer than the original.

I say first two because despite buying it way back in 2014, I still haven’t played BioShock Infinite. Maybe some day.

BioShock is a pretty cool series. A stylistic art deco first-person shooter with skills, hacking and magical abilities; the game came out in 2007 to universal acclaim, some putting it on their “best of all time” list. I’m not one of those people, though I do consider it to be a solid game.

Shout out to the artists at Irrational and 2K Marin for making a cool world to look at *and* roam around in.

BioShock shares several elements with System Shock 2, considered a spiritual predecessor to BioShock. Fitting considering both were developed by Irrational Games. Stripping away the futuristic space motif for Rapture’s 1950s look was a wide decision as it gave them a fresh, unique environment to work with. BioShock’s look and feel is something I haven’t seen in a big budget game before or since, the closest is maybe Fallout. I’m surprised this style didn’t get ripped off more.

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The Crate Chronicles Return: Let’s look at a three-year-old Loot Crate.

About three years ago, I had won a free year of Loot Crate through reasons I don’t really remember these days. For the first couple of months, I started writing about them as part of “The Crate Chronicles,” documenting these goofy little things. They stopped in early 2016 because I lost interest. Among other things.

The biggest problem I had – and this is not the fault of Loot Crate – is that these were often for things I had no interest in. The Avengers. Star Wars. The Walking Dead. All those TV shows and movies that are “the in-thing” at the moment. I’m so out of touch when it comes to that stuff that I can’t even feign interest. When it had something video game related, however, I was a bit more hyped.

I ended up getting the full year and let it lapse, because the monthly costs for junk I don’t really need wasn’t worth it, for the reasons mentioned above. By then, I think they expanded to other crate types, including one that was specifically about video games. But again, cost. On the bright side, I didn’t get a loot crate with an inflatable crown in it.

(Kanye West’s “POWER” starts blaring in the background)

All the Loot Crates eventually got stored away, along with a bunch of other things. But one thing made the rounds on social media lately that made me think “Hey, wait, didn’t I get that item in a Loot Crate once?” And sure enough, I did. We’re gonna talk about it, as well as the other things in there. Strap in, as I cover May 2016’s Loot Crate. Three years (and a month) to the day.

(I should’ve posted this in May, but I’ve always had trouble getting the motivation to write it until it gnaws at my brain.)

Hulk SMASH… this thing, whatever it is

The Incredible Hulk Qfig

Oh hey, a figurine based on that big green dude who punches things. Made to advertiseAvengers: Age of Ultron, it’s a nice, stylized figurine of The Incredible Hulk doing his patented Hulk Smash on some poor building. The style is a bit more cartoonish than the film it’s based on, which is a good choice.

I don’t have much else to say about this one. It’s a neat figurine, but I have no space in my house for something like this. At least it’s not a Funko Pop.

I wonder why hes wrapped around that thing…

Dragon Ball Z Shenron plush keychain

Add Dragon Ball Z to the list of “things I haven’t watched.” Well, maybe I watched it when I was a teenager on Toonami or something, my memory’s foggy on that front. Was that the version that had the “Rock the Dragon” theme song? I forget.

Anyway, it’s Shenron, that dragon dude wrapped around a dragon ball. Like in the intro and a handful of episodes. It’s nice and squishy. It even has a hook to place on your bag or on an actual keychain. It looks pretty neat, and I’m not even a fan of the series.

Now that I think about it, maybe I should’ve listened to All Systems Goku. That could’ve gotten me interested in this silly Dragon Ball stuff. It’s certainly better than what I watch these days.

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Mom and ToeJam & Earl.

(CONTENT WARNING: This post will go briefly into serious subjects, such as cancer and death.)

My mom was into video games for a really long time. Played the Atari 2600 before I was born, played stuff like Super Mario Bros. 3, Monopoly, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 when I was young; we were both also hardcore You Don’t Know Jack fans, owning practically every edition that came out. She was really into fairly casual games, such as when DirecTV had a channel specifically for playing casual puzzle games. FarmVille 2 was something she was really into in the past few years.

By the time the Nintendo 64 came around in the mid ‘90s, the complexity of Super Mario 64 alongside the bizarre three-prong controller pushed her away from most console video games until we got a Wii in 2009. She still played Jack and the aforementioned casual games, but nothing particularly complex.

This was a pretty dope cover for a Genesis game like this.

Yet out of the many games she played, there was one game, a 16-bit classic, that she was really into, one that you wouldn’t expect considering the other games I mentioned. That game was the wonderfully Jammin’ ToeJam and Earl.

An exploration-based game where the titular ToeJam and Earl travel through various areas on planet earth to recover the pieces of their destroyed ship, ultimately to get back to Planet Funkotron. This was developed by Johnson-Voorsanger Productions, a couple of guys who had previously worked at Toys for Bob on the Star Control series of games.

A typical journey through the game.

ToeJam and Earl on the surface is a fairly simple game: Find ship pieces in specific levels without running out of lives from various hazards. Yet there’s also a bit of complexity: one could play with a fixed world of 25 stages, or a random set of levels that could be a cakewalk or a punishing challenge. Along the way, our heroes must avoid the aforementioned hazards such as bees, crazy dentists and hula girls while finding the elevator to the next floor. The two also have presents they can open to give items that could help or hinder progress, from defensive weapons like tomatoes and rose bushes to hazards like school books, rain clouds, and present randomizers.

Since the elements of presents and ship pieces could change from game to game, ToeJam and Earl is practically a rogue-like, where not every game plays the same. Pretty damn impressive for 1991.

 

This battle-worn copy we have came from a Blockbuster Video. They even imprinted the store name on the back of the cartridge. It’s a nice memento considering the fading relevance of Blockbuster Video.

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Gun Game: My favorite multiplayer game mode.

I’m probably gonna show my age with this one. While I don’t think I’m one of those “30 year old boomer” types that people meme about these days, I certainly have been playing multiplayer games for a long, long time. I’ve been playing them for literally decades at this point. I’ve played most of the notable ones, like Quake, Unreal Tournament, Counter-Strike, Call of Duty 4, you name it, I’ve probably dabbled in it at some point.

But sometimes I wanted more than Just Deathmatch. Stuff like Capture the Flag or Domination helped, but it just wasn’t enough. There was one mode popularized in a game that really caught my interest and was a fun mode that I wished more games did: Unreal Tournament’s Assault mode. Seriously, why isn’t this in every game???

Kidding aside, the other game mode that I’ve learned to love over the years is Gun Game. A simple deathmatch variant, the goal is mainly to kill enemies with a specific weapon, leveling up to the next weapon, and repeating this process until a player got a kill with every weapon. It’s been around for a while, and any game that features it will certainly pique my interest.

My earliest experience with the gun game concept is Soldier of Fortune. While mostly known for its excess gore and goofy Hollywood story, SOF did have its own version of Gun Game. The mode was simply called “Arsenal.” This was before the “gun game” parlance became commonplace.

Getting a kill in Soldier of Fortune was satisfying. Not because of the gore, but because of a really goofy fanfare that played each and every time. That needs to come back.

Despite the different name, it’s similar to the gun game most of us know now: A set of weapons are given to every player, with the goal of getting one kill with each weapon to win. The big differences that there was no fixed pattern of weapons, and when someone got the final kill with their last remaining weapon, instead of ending the game, they got a “big winner bonus” score and the game started anew with new weapons until the score or time limit was reached. Good for those who end up with a bad layout of weapons and can hope to rebound on the next set.

Though while I remember playing Arsenal in the mid-2000s, when the original Soldier of Fortune was mostly a skeleton crew of hardcore players by that point, the one I remembered more fondly was Counter-Strike: Source’s gun game mod.

Man, cs_deagle is a map I’ve seen constantly used in these kind of modes. Surprised no one’s copied it.

In the gun game mod for CS:S, the goal is to take out enemies of the opposing team with one of each weapon, with the famous knife often being the final level. Regardless of whatever side you were on – Counter-Terrorists or Terrorists – you needed to get a kill with every weapon. So in addition to the weapons that are available to a specific faction in the regular game, CTs still had to get kills with Terrorist-exclusive weapons like the Galil, MAC-10 and AK-47, and Ts needed to get kills with the CT’s USP, M4A1 and the AUG, just to name a few.

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High Rollers: A DOS game of CGA high stakes.

When it comes to video games based on existing TV shows, game show video games rarely ever get talked about. If they do, they’re often relegated to brief blurbs with ridiculous arguments like “why play this when I could watch the show?”, missing the whole point.

There’s been several dozen versions of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune – most recently for the Switch, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 – with Family Feud not too far behind. There’s been a handful of games based on The Price is Right, Deal or No Deal and Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Speaking of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, I’ve actually written about some Jeopardy! games, such as the Game Boy/Game Gear installments, as well as Talking Super Jeopardy! on the NES. Surprisingly, when it comes to Wheel, so far I’ve covered only a knockoff: Tommy’s Wheel of Misfortune. Give those a read if you wanna see more game show-related stuff.

But then there’s shows that somehow got 1-2 games, despite not being that well-known. Now You See It, Win Lose or Draw, Fun House… Even 1 vs. 100 got a few games, which as time went on has been remembered more for being an interactive Xbox Live experience more than being an Actual Game Show.

One of these lesser-known game shows that got the video game treatment is High Rollers.

I’m more a fan of Hair Rollers, myself…

High Rollers had a few runs over the years: Fairly popular runs from 1974-76 and 1978-80 with a pre-Jeopardy! Alex Trebek, and a short-lived revival from 1987-88 with Wink Martindale. Created by Merrill Heatter and Bob Quigley, who had done similar gambling-like game shows such as Gambit. Oh, and a little-known show called Hollywood Squares.

While there are more comprehensive places on the internet that’ll cover all the rules, the game basically goes like this: Two players compete to answer questions to roll a pair of dice, and knock numbers off – one each of 1 through 9 – to win prizes while avoid getting a bad roll. Winner of the match plays the Big Numbers – where there’s no questions, only dice rolls – for a chance at $10,000 big ones. It’s basically the classic board game Shut the Box but with gambling and quiz show elements.

For being called “Box Office,” they weren’t a big success.

Box Office, a budget publisher of computer games, developed and released this game. They didn’t do very many computer games, the only other standout games are A Personal Nightmare, a horror game featuring Elvira; and games based on ALF, The $100,000 Pyramid and, surprisingly, Psycho. Lord knows how making one of Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic films into a video game even works, but that’s not the weirdest “movie into a video game” I’ve ever seen.

Wink looks a bit… concerned here.

There are multiple versions of the game, but for the sake of this article I’m covering the DOS version. You’ll see why in a moment.

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