Battle FlipShot and Bang Bead

Like Atari’s Pong? Play Battle Flip Shot and Bang Bead!

Getting people interested in a video game can be really hard. Sometimes the concept just doesn’t jump out at the reader in a summary of hype and exclamation marks. Pong-alike Neo Geo titles Battle Flipshot and its rare sequel Bang Bead are two such games.

Pong, upgraded.

The best way to learn about these games would be to play them, or watch them. Anyone familiar with Atari’s Pong, or an Air Hockey table, will instantly grasp the concept.

Both games have you select a character and go head-to-head in a pong-esque battle, defending your “goals” whilst trying to score against your opponent.

Battle Flipshot

In developer Visco’s first pong-alike, Battle Flipshot, you play as fun characters like Mr. Justice and Bloody Wolf. Between rounds you’ll get to see some wonderful “Engrish” as you progress, such as this nugget:

“There are marshall arts fighting freaks!”

Check out this Battle Flipshot arcade play-through and tell me this doesn’t look fun!

I usually include lots of promotional posters and box art covers in these Neo Geo posts. Unfortunately, it seems like someone forgot to market both games! It’s as if nobody could work out how to promote the concept! Here is their best effort for Battle Flipshot:

Battle Flip Shot
Sequel Bang Bead doesn’t fare any better in getting people hyped up. The tag line is fun though:

Turn the tables with a Miracle Ball!

And they have a stab at making the game sound exciting:

Seven wiley humans (and one robot) face off against each other in the frantic, smash hit sequel to Battle Flipshot! Put your reflexes to the ultimate test – Dash, dive and time the perfect shot to claim your fame as Bang Bead champ!

The box-art too is pretty cool, though gives you no clue about what the game might be about:

Bang Bead

Thankfully, Youtube makes it easy to see just how good Bang Bead is:

Without doubt, my favourite thing about Bang Bead is the Allagash Brewing Company “Best at Bang Bead Tournament”. Whilst researching the game, I discovered this really is an actual arcade tournament with Band Bead as its promoted star attraction!

Allagash Bang Bead

Better yet, Allagash know how to promote!

This time we are challenging your skill at an underrated classic that was never officially released in the US: Bang Bead! Sequel to the game Battle Flip Shot, this underground hit is known for its eccentric anime-trope characters and dubious English translations, but also for its extremely fast placed exciting game play.

Best described as a cross between pong and dodgeball, this is definitely one of those “minutes to learn, lifetime to master” type games. Chose your character, each with different speed and skills, and smash the ball back and forth trying to destroy all the stars behind your opponent, power sliding and blocking, all while building up energy to fire your “miracle shot”.

As you might have gathered, the only way to play Battle Flipshot and Bang Bead is on a Neo Geo. In this instance, I’d recommend firing up an emulator.

This post continues my series:
An irreverent and artistic A-Z of Neo Geo Gaming.

Atari Flashback Portable

A retro review of the Atari Flashback Portable

Nintendo has deservedly received accolades for their Classic Edition console – but there’s another new system for those who like their gaming even more retro. The Portable is Atari’s latest entry in their Flashback line, and in my opinion, it is their best so far. The Atari Flashback Portable is a lightweight handheld system, measuring roughly 2.5 by 6 inches.

It features 60 built-in games, playable using a direction pad and a small color screen. The system is inexpensive but that shows in places. There’s a USB cord to charge the battery – but not an AC adapter. The screen is low resolution – but that’s more of a factor when the game boxes are displayed rather than the games themselves. And finally, the system feels very light – not packing the same heft as some other handheld gaming systems.

atari flashback portable

Those flaws are easy to forgive, though, thanks to one saving grace. The Atari Flashback Portable comes with an SD card slot – allowing you to add more games to the system. So, while Atari’s 60 built-in games are not bad – it’s no longer a concern that their lineup doesn’t feature your favorites. Simply add an SD card with the games you love, and the Flashback Portable lets you relive the memories.

Thanks to its mobility, the Atari Flashback Portable is currently my game system of choice. It’s the perfect addition for road trips and vacations. And, it’s proved an easy way to introduce my young daughter to the joys of retro gaming. If you’re an Atari 2600 fan, you might want to check it out.

Journey Escape

Celebrate Atari Day With Journey Escape And MTV!

The 26th of the month is here once again, friends! Which of course means it is Atari Day. What better way to celebrate than by checking out Data Age’s Journey Escape?

Journey Escape

Image courtesy of Atarmania

While in fact Journey Escape was marketed as a tie-in to the band’s 1981 album of the same name. The game actually uses an original theme with the exception of a rather nice chip version of Don’t Stop Believin’.

[Via] A Personalised Insane Asylum

When Journey Escape for the 2600 was released back in 1982, it flew under my radar. However at the very least by the time I picked up the cartridge at a garage sale in 1983, I was quite familiar with the band’s arcade game. I’m not sure how in 1982 I managed to miss this rather excellent television commercial. Not only is it imaginative, capturing elements of the game itself. But moreover it has the bonus of Casey Kasem’s voice work as well!

[Via] MYSATURDAYM0RNINGS

In the light of having missed the TV ad for the game. It’s probably not too hard to imagine that I also failed to catch the MTV interview with members of Journey itself talking about the game.

[Via] ScottithGames

What was the goal of Journey Escape you ask? It would seem you are traveling with Journey and they have just finished a performance that has netted them $50,000. It is up to the Player to escort all five members of Journey with their money to the safety of their escape vehicle – the Scarab naturally!

The obstacles in your path to accomplish this are many. For one thing you have to guide the band members past “Love-Crazed Groupies”. If a Player comes in contact with one of these they lose time and $300 bucks.
Journey Escape - Love Crazed Groupies

In Journey Escape a Player must also be wary of the paparazzi. The likes of the “Sneaky Photographers” will cost you $600 dollars upon contact. Why so much you might ask? To pay for the film negatives of course!

Also while playing the game you have to beware the “Shifty-Eyed Promoters”. These slightly gangster looking hucksters will cost you a whopping $2,000 dollars on contact.

Now the Player must also do their best to avoid the Stage Barriers. While at the very least it won’t cost you money if you collide with it – it does slow you down.

Having said that though, not everything in Journey Escape is designed to hinder your game. Case in point the “Loyal Roadie”, who looks in fact like a robot. If you manage to make contact you will be granted a temporary invulnerability.

Last but certainly not least is none other than the “Mighty Manager”. This jovial character allows a Player to run all the way to the Scarab without being stopped. In addition to adding $9,900 to the band’s purse.

I certainly hope you enjoyed learning a bit about Journey Escape for Atari Day. I hope you will also remember Atari Day is celebrated every 26th of the month.


Image courtesy of Atari I/O’s Facebook page.

To learn even more about the fun of Atari Day be sure to hop on over and check out fellow Retroist writer Atari I/O’s site by following the link here!

SNK's Art of Fighting on Neo Geo

The Art of Fighting

…or The Art of ‘Art of Fighting’

There are so many places I could start when writing about SNK’s Art of Fighting, I feel giddy just thinking about it. What could I add that hasn’t already been written about exhaustively by more authoritative sources?

Fortunately, this continuation of my Neo Geo series has a focus on the art and hype of games, and Art of Fighting knew how to handle itself in both regards!

Lightning

Before we get to the art, let’s look at the hype. This game, according to blurb at the time, surpassed all predecessors. No one knew of the awesome experience ahead of them! Art of Fighting would usher in a new wave of fighting games, with full-screen action and zoom-in sequences for close action and wide-screen effects during its all-out battles.

Playing Art of Fighting would let you see 8 Dealers of Destruction fight The Greatest Match Ever!

The Greatest Match Ever

For me, the best part of Art of Fighting is the character design. Take a look around the internet and few people will agree with me on this, but I’m not talking about the in-game characters. No, I’m looking at the art released at the time of the games’ release which varies a lot!

The image at the head of this post is from an advert released by SNK to boast about their No. 1 status in the arcades. But who are these fighters? Few seem to bare resemblance to the characters in the story poster above?

The two lead characters, Ryo (the invincible dragon) and Robert (the raging tiger) don’t suffer too badly. Except for the mullet… Ryo would probably prefer we didn’t notice that!

8 characters

The guy with the blue face and long nose is a bit of a mystery? He’s in the picture at the start of this article but he’s nowhere to be seen in most of the other artwork. Unless you’re looking at the box art (below) which definitely has someone with a long nose. Turns out this is Mr. Karate, the final boss! When you reach him, I recommend hitting him in his face!

Art of Fighting Box

Learn more about the Art of Fighting

I began this post by stating that others on the web have already covered this great game. If you like what you see here and would like to learn more, I recommend starting with the following:

The Arcade Flyer Archive – a truly fantastic resource for anyone interested in the history of games. You’ll find things like the image below!

Art of Fighting Guide

SNK Wiki – everything you could ever hope to learn about the Art of Fighting series can be found here.

Hardcore Gaming 101 – one of the best retro gaming sites on the internet, and a wealth of information about the Art of Fighting series.

If you’d like to play Art of Fighting, you have a lot of options. The original Neo Geo versions are my favoured choice, but you can find an Anthology release on the Playstation 2 and a Virtual Console release on the Nintendo Wii, both are arcade perfect.

You’ll also find less faithful ports on the 16-bit consoles of the day including the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis.

This post continues my series:
An irreverent and artistic A-Z of Neo Geo Gaming.

Original Atari Combat Two Oil Painting

Who wouldn’t want this Original Atari Combat Two Oil Painting?

Browsing online this morning I came across this stunning auction on eBay for an original Atari Combat Two Oil Painting by commercial freelance illustrator Michel Allaire. I had followed some of Allaire’s other auctions lately, this Star Wars one is pretty great, and was slowly turning into a fan. But this 16.5 x 21 oil painting catapulted his work into my regular online watch list. While I might not be able to afford his worked, they are well into the 5 digit range. Just looking at them fires my imagination and inspires me.

This is what a good illustrator should do, and while it is easy for things like Star Wars, Atari could make it challenging. Their simple graphics needed to be represented as something more. An illustration of what you should see in your imagination. This is exactly what Allaire did for the unreleased Combat Two. A game that, as an original Combat fan, I would have loved. Sadly the game, never saw the light of day back in the 1980s (video game crash of 1983), although it would get all manners of releases in the new millennium.

So if you have some discretionary cash lying around and would like to own and original Atari Combat Two Oil Painting, or perhaps just gift it to me, check out the auction. It is filled with history on the piece and the artist and is still running for 19 more days.

It is on the pricey side at $42,000, but that is not bad when you consider this is a piece of history. Also, shipping is only $11.15, and that is very reasonable. You might want to make sure they add some insurance when they mail it.

Here are some close-ups of the painting. Admire the details