Sometimes you have to assume that there are entire teams at Google whose sole job is to think up fodder for nostalgic technology bloggers. Case in point: for the 37th anniversary of the classic arcade game Breakout, Google has thrown together another one of its elaborate Easter eggs. Do a Google Image Search for "atari breakout", and the results will turn into the smashable blocks, with your mouse working as a control for the paddle. It even works on Android, assuming you use a compatible browser in desktop mode.
Interestingly, the prototype version for the original 1976 Breakout hardware was designed with help from Apple's future dynamic duo, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
While we eagerly await the arrival of Google Games (and the potential revenue that could bring), Android still remains a great home for classic games from days gone by. To wit, Boulder Dash, an 8-bit puzzler originally released for the Atari in 1984, has landed on Android. This rounds out at least an even dozen platforms the title has been ported to.
The new version brings updated graphics and touch screen controls. You can also flip into retro mode if you prefer the nostalgic view of giant pixels. The game touts at least 100 levels to play, each with its own set of traps, enemies and puzzles to get to the exit.
It wouldn't be another month without our usual short-lists. We've already discussed our six favorite apps from March 2013, so it's time to take a look at the six best games we saw last month. As usual, the Play Store had plenty of new games to offer, from fast-paced shooters to classic remakes to chaotic puzzlers. If you like playing games on Android, chances are there was something for you last month. Since most readers don't have enough time to check out every worthy competitor in the store, we'll take a peek at the six games we think stood out most last month.
Breathing new energy into Mike Singleton's 1984 classic the Lords of Midnight, Chris Wild has brought the game to Android. The game, for those unaware, is an epic adventure game – first enjoyed on the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 – that takes players (along with three other characters) on an adventure to destroy the Ice Crown and defeat Doomdark, with the option to recruit lords and troops to defeat Doomdark's minions. In the process, players will venture through enchantingly retro environments.
Besides being one of the first games of its kind, Lords featured a graphic technique called "landscaping" to create more convincing perspectives within the game's vivid 2D universe, a technique that's been updated for Android.
Don Bluth... What happened? You had such a good run. You made film history by actually giving Disney a run for it's money with Secret of NIMH, An American Tail, and The Land Before Time. They were classics! But then Rock-A-Doodle happened. Then Thumbelina. Then...lord forgive me for speaking it's name...A Troll in Central Park. The decline was quick and painful. Before the movies started getting weird, though, Dragon's Lair came out and revolutionized the laser disc gaming industry (no seriously). While that title actually saw some initial success due to the unique tech (and notably high price point at $0.50 per play), the follow-up game, Space Ace, did not do nearly as well.
If there's one thing that our phones and tablets do really well, it's play games from the 90s. And if there's one thing that games from the 90s do really well, it's make crap explode. Expendable: Rearmed (which has nothing to do with Sylvester Stallone) is a third-person shooter set in the distant future where your clone army is being marched in, one at a time, to kill everyone and blow up everything. Things used to be so much simpler, didn't they?
The game actually looks pretty dang similar to the N64 niche classic Jet Force Gemini. Expendable: Rearmed (a remake Millenium Solider: Expendable) promises a complete lack of loading times, a host of new achievements, global leaderboards, and every action hero's two favorite words: "weapons galore."
Expendable is available on the Play Store for $2.99.
Now you're talking, Square Enix. After releasing Final Fantasy after Final Fantasy to Android, the RPG legend has gotten around to releasing everyone's favorite non-terminal adventure: Chrono Trigger! For the uninitiated, what's taking you so long? This game has been out since the Super NES and has been emulated to death! Heck, it's even available on the DS. You're out of excuses now, it's time to play.
Now Androis users can also experience the entire, time-spanning adventure. From 65 million B.C. to after the end of the world, the journey of Chrono, Lucca, Marle, and the entire cast of magical heroes is available for $10.
Fans of old-school classics, gather round and feast your eyes! Atari has announced that two of its high-value properties will be coming to Android in 2013. First on the list is the retro hit Roller Coaster Tycoon. If you were around in the late 90s (and we assume most of our readers are over the age of 12), you might remember that there were two kinds of simulation games back then: Sim games from Maxis, and everyone else. At the top of that gleaming mountain of "everything else" was Roller Coaster Tycoon.
This game centered around creating your own theme park.
No, it's not the Bard of Avon, but this smarmy rogue should still be able to keep you plenty entertained. The Bard's Tale is a Diablo-ish RPG starring Cary Elwes (best known for ruining your perception of the Dread Pirate Roberts and Mel Brooks' Robin Hood by doing this). Complete with absurd humor, catchy drinking songs, and adventure galore, this game promises to keep you engaged for up to 3.5GB worth of your time (for Tegra device owners, 1.7GB otherwise). Yes, it's friggin' huge.
We'll be doing a review of this game before too long, so I won't spoil everything.
It seems that mobile gaming is a haven for all the old classics to reappear. Rising even further from the ashes of the past than most other recent arrivals comes Z Origins, a remake of the RTS from the DOS days simply called "Z" by The Bitmap Brothers. It predates notable fan favorite Command and Conquer from Westwood Studios. Though it did come out roughly four years after Dune II (also from Westwood) which served as the archetype for most RTS games to follow, Z departs from traditional RTS gameplay in that collection of resources and structure construction as a requisite for certain units were not part of the game.