The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

an arcade unto itself
Blog, and ye shall receive. Only a couple of days after writing that I was thinking of getting one of those JAKKS retro game controllers, what should I get as an early Christmas gift but the Namco version from my officemate, Jamie!

(Actually, I doubt she got the notion from reading this blog. I believe I mentioned toy during office chitchat, and she picked up on it. Of course, if you are reading this, Jamie, let me know by commenting!)

Take note: Combined with her gifting of the House Party (greatest movie ever made, ahem) DVD last year, Jamie is officially 2-for-2 on holiday presents. What a gal!

The thing has five games loaded on it: Bosconian, Dig-Dug, Galaxian, Pac-Man, and Rally-X. I remember all the games except for Bosconian (what a name!). I've already hooked it up and taken it for a spin; I'm happy to say they're all maddeningly addictive, right off the bat.

The games all seem authentic... "seem" being the operative word. The video portion for the games appear to be the same as the originals from twenty years ago. The audio, to me, seems to be a little more low-tech than I remember it. I may be influenced on that by other, latter-day ports of classic games for the Xbox and PlayStation2; no doubt, those versions had subtle upgrades applied to them (I always suspected that the Xbox version of Pac-Man had ghosts that were waaaaaaaaay too smart).

UPDATE: I'm loving this thing. But I can detect a major design flaw with it (beyond the obvious wear-and-tear on the joystick and firebutton, for which there's no real preventative): It's powered only by 4 AA alkaline batteries. Why? That's great for portability, but why didn't they include an AC power cord as well? I can see burning through batteries on this real quick, and I hate replacing those. What would make that especially onerous is that the battery hatch has to be opened and closed using a screwdriver. Seems dumb. It's still a cool-rad gift, though.