Life Force - Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Life Force (1986)

Christopher Tupa has certainly chosen a classic title for this Retro Arcade Art offering. Although in this case Life Force was not a game I played in the arcade. Indeed I hadn’t even heard of it until it was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987. While that may be so, Life Force is a shining example of the multi-scrolling shooter genre!

Right off the bat we have an interesting fact for you. When the game was originally released it was known as Salamander. In fact it was considered to be a spin-off of the popular arcade game Gradius. When released in the United States it gained the Life Force moniker. Later the re-release in the arcades of Japan took the new name as well as in Europe, where the game was known as Life Force: Salamander!

Image courtesy of the Arcade Flyer Archive.

In the game, Players take control of the Vic Viper. A legendary series of ‘space ships’ that Konami has used in numerous games. Everything from Super Bomberman R to Yu-Gi-Oh! as a matter of fact. In Life Force a second player is able to take control of a ship known as Lord British.

Of course you might be asking yourself where the action takes place? In the North American version, Konami added a bit of text at the beginning of the game. Explaining that the Player was entering a giant bio-mechanical being, known as the Sentinel XR1. Radiation has caused a tumor to grow and activate the XR1’s antibiotics, which will see you as an enemy. With the added mandate that you must you must save the life force of the being at all costs!
Life Force - Sentinel XR1 Text

So basically the Player is thrust into an incredibly hostile version of 1966’s Fantastic Voyage. Not only must you contend with flying enemies, exploding obstacles, and enemy fire. But the landscape itself will attempt to thwart you, expanding or altering it’s shape. If a Player isn’t on their toes they might find themselves slamming into a wall that wasn’t there before.
Life Force - Body Defenses

Did I also mention that Life Force is both a horizontal as well as vertical shooter? Every other stage, of which there are six, changes to a vertical view. The gameplay then of course becomes something similar to Capcom’s 1942!
Life Force - Vertical

Now there is a lot against you in the game and you will certainly be hard pressed to keep up. Thankfully the Vic Viper has some pretty impressive weaponry to say the least. Much like Gradius, Players are able to pick up a variety of weapons and upgrades.
Life Force - Vic Viper - Weapon Selection

Now that you know the basics of Life Force, why not watch a full longplay?

[Via] World of Longplays

As always with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s Official Site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

I hope you won’t forget to check out CTupa’s previous entries in his Retro Arcade Art project as well!

Did you know there was also an OVA for Life Force/Salamander?


There certainly was and it was released on VHS and Laserdisc between 1988 and 1989. Three episodes in fact, although these aren’t considered canon. It’s still fun however and has many elements from the arcade game in the series.

[Via] Alex Hoch

Retro New Year's Eve

Vic Sage’s Retro New Year’s Eve 2016!

When you work at an arcade in this day and age, a retro New Year’s Eve is to be expected, right? Over the last couple of years I have been glad to share with you the Holiday event at the Arkadia Retrocade. What better way to celebrate a retro New Year’s Eve than being surrounded by vintage games.
Retro New Year's Eve - 2016

For the many fans of the Golden Age of arcade games, this is most certainly the place to be. Especially on a New Year’s Eve. From my previous posts for the Holiday you might recall that I try to bring something special as well. I am referring of course to the vintage Kool-Aid, nay, that sweet nectar of the Gods. The Great Bluedini!

While I do in fact still possess a precious few of those Great Bluedini packs I bought 26 years ago. Like the previous year I had to turn to e*Bay for help to make sure I had enough. And let me expain that I insist on using only the vintage Kool-Aid packets to make the delicious beverage. Although having said that…it’s getting harder and more expensive to do so every year. But it is all worth it for the Players to be able to enjoy five gallons of the greatest Kool-Aid flavor ever created!

Friends, I don’t believe I’ve ever shared this bit of info before. But back in my youth I had another name for the Great Bluedini. I called it the Pure Source – in reference to 1982’s TRON of course.

Anyway, there was a bit of a hiccup in this retro New Year’s Eve plan…I had to work at the hotel. I was not happy about this to say the least. But that is part of being an ‘adult’ I suppose. So I made sure that the Great Bluedini was dropped off at the arcade before work.

In addition I enjoyed some of the tasty beverage with some very special people at the arcade. The Retroist’s own Gary Burton with our good friend, Alex.

One of my fellow concession employees at the arcade, Jonah Bright aka The Iron Monkey. Who I think you’ll agree has the greatest glasses ever made!

As well of course – sharing a cup of the Blue with Shea Mathis. Who you might remember is the owner and manager of the Arkadia Retrocade – besides being one of my best friends.

There is one other thing I had to do differently this year, while dropping off the Great Bluedini. In the previous years I’ve made a point of always pulling off the Minus World glitch in Super Mario Bros. After the clock has struck midnight and the New Year has officialy begun. Why? Well – quite simply, the first year we had the retro New Year’s Eve party, there were Players present who had never heard of this glitch.

So in this case, I had to perform the trick to visit the Negative World a little earlier than normal.

With a bit of a heavy heart but a belly full of the Blue I had to go to work. I’m not sure how many of you work the night audit shift at a hotel. But as you can imagine – New Year’s Eve can be a handful. Thankfully the fact I was missing the fun at the arcade was lessened by the photos that were being sent to me throughout the night.

Hannah, Lisa, and Shea supervising the disbursement of the Blue!

So how did I celebrate my own retro New Year’s Eve this year?

By reading Guillermo del Toro’s At Home With Monsters and sipping my own mug of Great Bluedini!

So here is to 2017, my friends. May it be a brighter and filled with even more retro fun!

The Fun Was Back

Happy Atari Day! In 1988 The Fun Was Back!

As this is the 26th of the month, you all know too well what that means. It’s of course Atari Day once again. That time every month when we fans of all things Atari do our best to spread not only our memories of that legendary company, but in fact attempt to point out it’s legacy is still quite strong. Or in other words share why back in 1988 the fun was back!

With today being Boxing Day in the UK and Canada among other countries. It only seemed natural that with the Holiday that we take a look at 1987’s RealSports Boxing.
The Fun Was Back - Atari 2600

On the other hand I feel I should add that I do know that Boxing Day has nothing to do with the Sweet Science. In fact the Oxford English Dictionary gives an explanation for the naming of the Holiday.

A present or gratuity given at Christmas: in Great Britain, usually confined to gratuities given to those who are supposed to have a vague claim upon the donor for services rendered to him as one of the general public by whom they are employed and paid, or as a customer of their legal employer; the undefined theory being that as they have done offices for this person, for which he has not directly paid them, some direct acknowledgement is becoming at Christmas.

Check it out, you learned something today while we are sharing memories of the past here on The Retroist! In addition back in 1988 after the Nintendo Entertainment System had made its mark on popular culture. The Atari 2600 took a stab at Players who of course still had a large collection of 2600 titles. Or were tempted by the less than 50 dollar price tag for the system.

Moreover the company felt that by showing off some of their newer game cartridges. Like Midnight Magic, Solaris, and of course RealSports Boxing. They rightfully could prove that there was still plenty of fun left in the Atari 2600 – or that the fun was back!

Retro Commercials Forever

Now that you understand why The Fun Was Back in 1988, why not check out RealSports Boxing in action?

Awkuhtay

Remember that every 26th of the month is Atari Day!

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!

Legend of Zelda

3D Printing of 1988’s The Legend Of Zelda Map!

When The Legend of Zelda was released to the Nintendo Entertainment System, it was a game changer. At least in terms of console gaming. With its addicting gameplay, numerous secrets, and to say nothing of the then sprawling map. It was in fact a really big deal. As well as being an absolute success for Nintendo of America – The Legend of Zelda sold two million copies that year alone!

Designers Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka really knocked it out of the park. I know I have in fact shared this story on The Retroist before. When I first rented the game at my local video store. There were no instructions, so I didn’t know about the Second Quest. Which happened to present the Player with tougher enemies and different locations of items and dungeons.

So I did in fact beat the harder quest first before I purchased the game for myself. Try to imagine my confusion when the dungeon maps I had made weren’t matching up. Thankfully for many of us it was Nintendo Power that really helped out when they published a map!

Image courtesy of Gamasutra.

It looks like a fan of the game went above and beyond the call using a 3D printer to create The Legend of Zelda map. Furthermore the creator spent 6 months designing it in the popular Minecraft game. After that they ported the work to a file for the 3D printer. Which just happened to take 24 hours to create, in addition to the six hours of painting the model.

Map images courtesy of Mike Matei.

It was collector Willard McFarland who purchased the 3D map and shared images with Mike Matei. Who in turn shared high resolution images on his Twitter account.

Zelda

If Mike’s name rings a bell then you probably saw that incredible video he created a few weeks back. The animated opening to The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by way of Mario Paint!
Mario Paint

Now that you are drooling over The Legend of Zelda 3D map – why not check out the original commercial?


I should point out that this ad features John Kassir as the man searching for Zelda. You might know John’s voice work on Tiny Toons Adventures, the Crypt Keeper from Tales from the Crypt, and Avatar: The Last Airbender to name a few.

[Via] Zelda Dungeon

A very big thank you to Ethan Gach of Kotaku for the heads up on the map. As well as to Gamasutra for the Nintendo Power map image used in this post.