They’re Remaking The Lion King, Because Who Even Gives A Damn Anymore

You ever had one of those moments where you feel so utterly perplexed and frustrated by something that you flat-out go “What’s the point”? As of today, I’ve had one of those moments.

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In a recent turn of events, Disney has announced that not only would they be adding one of their most cherished animated gems, The Lion King, to their growing collection of unnecessary remakes/reboots, but that Jon Favareu would also be at the helm of it in response to the positive reception of his take on The Jungle Book (which to be honest, I actually really liked). There is a myriad of reasons as to why the basic idea behind remaking a film as perfect as The Lion King is such a godawful idea, but no matter what we say or do, Disney is still going to go full-steam ahead with this for one measly, contemptible little reason; brand recognition. It’s the same reason as to why remakes and reboots of established properties such as Transformers, The Powerpuff Girls, and A Nightmare on Elm Street lack the heart and soul of their source material so badly, because the only thing that the people in suits see are the piles of dough they could be rolling in. And while I will say that there could be a chance of this being anything else than a disaster due to Favareu’s involvement, it still won’t change the fact that by the end of the day, trying to top what is already perfection ultimately equates to being entirely unnecessary. But then again, it’s not like anyone at Disney could be reading this. I’m just a guy running a semi-popular blog about obscure, old video games, after all.

What are your thoughts on Simba and the gang potentially getting real? Be sure to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.  

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REVIEW: Rolo to the Rescue (1992, Genesis)

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When it comes to video game publishers with shady reputations, Electronic Arts (or EA for short) tends to lean rather deep into this category. Although the scorn for them has more or less died down, it still cannot be denied that some of their recent business practices have ranged from being at best questionable to at worst downright shady. Today, however, we’ll be taking a look at one of the titles released far before those days, Rolo to the Rescue.

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Developed by Vectordean (who were most known for the James Pond series) and published and licensed by Sega for the Genesis in 1992, the game’s story revolves around a young elephant named Rolo who embarks on a journey with his fellow critters to free his mother from a circus. With that out of the way, how does this game fare years after its’ release? Let’s find out, shall we?

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THE LOOKS

As I’ve stated earlier, Vectordean were the people responsible for the creation of the James Pond games (which interestingly enough is one of the few animal mascot platformers to pre-date the advent of Sonic). And if you really look close enough, you can see that the visual style of those games had somewhat of an influence, especially in the character sprites. The visuals go for an overall “cutesy” aesthetic, which does ultimately end up working in its’ favor. Rolo himself is pretty adorable, the use of colors is pleasing, and there’s even a good amount of variety between the levels. It might not be one of the best-looking Genesis games, but it’s certainly up there.

THE SOUND

In a similar vein to the graphics, the music aims for a generally light-hearted tone to appeal to a younger audience, and to be honest, it really works in it’s favor. The level themes, while not spectacular, are quite pleasant to listen to, and even a bit catchy. Granted, it’s not up there with other Genesis titles or even other 16-bit platformers, but for what it is, it’s decent enough.

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THE GAMEPLAY

From an initial standpoint, the gameplay doesn’t exactly offer much. However, what might seem like a generic, run-of-the-mill platformer is actually one that is surprisingly fun. Starting off with the controls, although they might feel a bit wonky at first, it doesn’t take long to master them. Next, the level design as a whole is fairly intriguing. It’s essentially built around the abilities of Rolo and the other playable animals, in which you have to jump and search your way to find secrets as well as the trapped critters whom you must rescue in order to receive the good ending. Speaking of which, the animals themselves help to spice up the gameplay quite nicely, with each of them having their own unique and fun ability which can enable them to get to places Rolo can’t. Overall, while this isn’t anything truly remarkable, it’s most certainly a nice little diversion.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Rolo to the Rescue may not be one of the best Genesis games out there, but for what it is, it’s a rather charming 2D platformer. While I can’t say that everyone will enjoy this game, I can think of two categories of people who most certainly would: children, and people who are simply looking for a game that doesn’t break new ground but is still fun to play nonetheless.

THE RETR0PIA RANKING

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retr0spective: Sucker Punch Productions (Part One)

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The PlayStation franchise’s iconic longevity can be attributed to a number of things, but one of them is none other than their significantly diverse line-up of developers. Although a handful of them are not owned by Sony, it can’t be denied that these people have lent a tremendous helping hand in constructing one of the most legendary video game consoles of all time, whether it be Naughty Dog (the subject matter of the first retr0spective), Insomniac Games, and of course, the titular Sucker Punch. 

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While they aren’t quite as prominent or as recognized as some of the other teams under Sony’s belt, it can’t be denied that these folks have gained up quite the desirable reputation over the past few decades. But how exactly did they get to this point? That is what you are about to find out…

In 1999, two years after their founding in 1997, they released their debut title, as well as the only game by them to be developed for a non-Sony console and the only game by them not to be published by Sony, Rocket: Robot on Wheels.

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The game’s setting takes place in the future, with its’ story revolving around the titular character, a robot on wheels named Rocket, who must thwart a hostile takeover of an in-construction theme park while engaging in a barrage of platforming, physics-based puzzle solving, mini-games, and vehicle segments along the way. Not much is known about the game’s development, but I managed to dig up some fairly intriguing stuff nonetheless. Originally, the game was supposed to be titled Sprocket, but the game’s final name ended up coming through due to a copyright dispute with a computer-based video game interfacing program called Game Sprockets. According to this notably rare prototype cartridge, it was made up on the spot when the game was nearing completion. The idea for a theme park setting materialized from the fond memories of lead programmer/designer Don Munsil, who described the initial proposal of the game as a hybrid between Super Mario 64 and a relatively obscure series of computer puzzle games by the name of The Incredible Machine. However, it was Bruce Oberg, Brian Fleming, and Chris Zimmerman who created the aforementioned proposal as well as Rocket. When the game was released, it was met with a overall decent, if not good, reception, although it has more or less joined its’ obscure fifth-generation 3D platforming brethren over the past several years. Despite this, it still retains a sizable cult following, with many claiming it as an overlooked diamond in the rough of the N64 library. The game’s inclusion in the “Top 20 Best N64 Games” in the 20th anniversary issue of Nintendo Power can be attributed as a potential factor in this.

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To be continued…

COMING SOON…MAYBE: retr0piaTV

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After analyzing the vast amount of individuals in the gaming community who partake in the act of live-streaming, I’ve been pondering on whether or not I should give it a try myself. Granted, it would probably be an occasional thing due to school, but I still believe that it might be worth it. With that said, would any of you be willing to watch a stream by me, if it ever gets past the conceptual phase? Be sure to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below, and stay retr0 as always!

Incoming Article Drought (?)

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Greetings once again, my fellow retr0pians. I have some rather unfortunate news; due to schoolwork increasingly piling up on me as well as the fact that I’ve had somewhat of a burnout, there’s a good chance that new articles won’t be as frequent as they were before. Granted, in my spare time I’ll be sure to get one out, but for now, don’t be surprised if there are some lengthy gaps between articles. That doesn’t mean that my internet presence as a whole will be facing a lack of activity – I’ll still be leaving comments on various posts throughout WordPress, and you can also find me on Twitter (for those of you who have an account there). With that said, be sure to stay retr0 as always.