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King of Capcom: Robin Mihara’s Victory in One of Gaming’s Forgotten Tournaments

March 22, 2011 2 comments

Erik Ackerlund – Reblogged from our friend Patrick Scott Patterson regarding Losthammer’s own Robin Mihara.

Classic video gaming accomplishments and records have been all across the mainstream media for the past few years.

From the battle for the top spot in Donkey Kong to new champs on games like Frogger or Pac-Man, films such as The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade, and the upcoming Doctor Kong have helped the champions of the 1980s classics gain much mainstream attention in the modern day media.

Champions from the 1990s, however, are not yet the media darlings that many of the classic 1980s gamers have been.  Outside of the 1990 Nintendo World Championships and a few later Nintendo contests, very little history from the last decade of last century has been passed along to historians of the gaming industry today.

Full article here:

Q&A: Nintendo World Championship Car

March 22, 2011 2 comments

A reader of Lost Hammer, Matt Weber wrote to us with some inquires regarding the Nintendo World Championships.

Matt: Hi!  I’m a big fan of competitive video games, I’ve been spending some time trying to dig up info about the 1990 championships but everything seems to link to a few sources that have conflicting details.  I’m hoping your crew of experts can clear up some things, or point me in the right direction.

Erik: “Will do our best”

Matt : Specifically, I’m confused about this:

“There was no official competition round to crown a single winner. However, after the competition ended there was an informal face-off between the three winners, with Thor Aackerlund taking first place, Jeff Hansen taking second, and Robert Whiteman finishing third.”

Erik: “Confirmed”

Matt: Jeff Hansen went on as America’s representative to Japan to win the World Championship title again in Tokyo, Japan, and again in Las Vegas at a rematch with the Japanese champion, Yuichi Suyama.”

Do you happen to know where I could find information about the Tokyo competition?  Everything I’ve been able to dig up points back to that same passage in Wikipedia, which doesn’t cite a source so I’m not even confident the Japan competition existed.  If it did, do you have any idea why Jeff Hansen (11 at the time from what I can tell) went to represent?

Thor: “No idea on why Nintendo choose Jeff Hansen.”

Erik: “There was very very little in the media when it was happening, I think Nintendo wanted to control it, and keep it close to the belt, we did not even know about it until well after it had taken place, it was not on the scale of the massively publicised 1990 Nintendo World Championships were.”

Matt: Wikipedia also claims the winner won a car and a TV in addition to the savings bond.  The savings bond I’ve found other evidence of, but again no source on the car/tv thing and no mentions of it aside from this wiki article that everything seems to copy.  People are fond of citing the time Carmack gave away his Ferrari as the first instance of a car being won in video games, which makes me wonder if that is true also.

Thor: “The winners also recieved a 1990 Geo Metro Convertible, this would predate Carmack giving away his Ferarri.  They had a GeoMetro convertible in yellow for all of the contestants to ooh and ahh at, just out side the StarTrek Theater at Universal Studios, A bunch of the contestants at one point decided to lift the car off the ground!”

Erik: “If I remember right the savings bond was for $10,000, which had a pretty low cash value,  the TV was a Panasonic 42″ it replaced Thor’s 13″ Color TV of the time.  There were some other things the winners got, A Mario trophy, and a Panasonic Boombox. ”

Matt: I know these are weird and specific questions, and appreciate any insight you can give.  Hope the gaming blog goes well, I love reading about all kinds of game competition and retro gaming.

Thor: “Thanks for your great questions, keep them coming”

Video Games helping Autistic Children Communicate

March 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Erik Ackerlund – The article below comes to us from our friend Patrick Scott Patterson. News organizations have a certain love affair with bad news, and with video games it is no different, often various studies are done trying to link video games with aggressive behavior or other negative traits. But there is a flip side, Scott is out there finding the great untold stores of gamers and their personalities. Here Scott delves into how one particular family has utilized video games to help their autistic child become a better communicator.

Patrick Scott Patterson – writes: John Pompa, a video gaming champion with Twin Galaxies and a resident of DuBois, PA, has been taking on a challenge far greater than any video game for several years now.

“My eleven year old son Donovan is diagnosed with Autism,” said Pompa. “He was about two or three years old when the doctors at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh diagnosed him. It’s the most challenging thing for me to communicate with him, because he is pretty much non-verbal.”

read the rest of the article

Categories: Gaming, Science

Pause Button – Is it me you are looking for

March 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Categories: Humor, Retro

It’s on Ebay – 1994 Nintendo Powerfest Pamphlet

March 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Erik Ackerlund – It’s on Ebay!  1994 Nintendo Powerfest Pamphlet.  Hwagner’s description:Up for sale is a Vintage 1994 POWERFEST brochure, promoting the next video game championship following the 1990 NWC Nintendo World Championships! I am an active game collector, and NWC collector, and have NEVER seen this listed anywhere else!!! Now is your chance to own a very rare part of the 1994 POWERFEST! Inside are coupons, as well as a set of official RULES for the event! It also describes what you can win, aka what the prizes are, among other cool stuff”

Link to Auction



Will Apple’s next major product be a Gaming Console, Ipad 2 could give us some clues.

March 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Erik Ackerlund – Imagine that the next great gaming console will not be a PS4 or a new Xbox 3 or a Wii 2, but a dedicated Apple Gaming console. Imagine how great a Apple game system could be; knowing the detail and effort they put into their products.

Why on earth would Apple build a gaming system? Well the financial numbers seem to point in that direction.I think the numbers may be obvious that this is the direction that Apple will be heading in. Their iTunes business is a force to be reckoned with, at the Ipad2 unveiling; Steve Jobs’ indicated they now have a iTunes user base of 200 million credit cards. That is an amazing number that is almost unfathomable. These users obviously far exceed what Microsoft claims for Xbox Live at 20 million. Apple has shared this iTunes one click purchasing login with their iBooks and App store. It would be easy for Apple to add one more store, the games store.

According to Mobile Metrics Flurry documentation it is estimated that in 2010, Apple apps on had taken a 19% share of the portable games market, this taking away increasingly from Nintendo’s dominate position with the ever popular DS line. This percentage is on an increasing trend that Apple is becoming a larger player. The Ipad2 will only further sustain that trend.

Music sales, one of the leading profit makers for Apple is on the down trend. Video game sales surpassed music sales for the first time in 2010. “Global Entertainment and Media Outlook” data suggests that in 2011 the gaming market will be worth $50 billion, sustaining an almost 6% growth in a time of recession. This is an attractive market that Apple can’t afford to stay out of.
With the latest release products from Apple all supporting faster graphics processing, including the Ipad 2’s new 9x graphics capability, it is shows they are serious about supporting the advanced needs of gaming. Apple has already attracted major game developers such as Electronic Arts and Epic and many others porting great games onto these systems.

With the development of the AppleTV to connect to your television and network, as well as their ability to build excellent portable devices with industry leading battery life, they have the technological ability to build a gaming console literally from off the shelf technology they already possess.

I expect the Ipad2 to help increase the gaming market in the portable arena, but only to a certain point. It will be interesting to compare Ipad2 sales to Nintendo 3DS sales during 2011. Ipad 2 with it’s multiple function capability with Nintendo’s dedicated 3d gaming that is usually picked by a younger market. And of course the price point difference.
Despite the lack of the 3D technology, the nine-times better graphics in the A5 chip along with the dual core processor will be great for games. They also added the HDMI port for connecting to your television and better sound. It’s obvious that Apple is responding to gaming on the Ipad 2.

Yet the Ipad 2 is not a perfect substitute for a dedicated gaming platform. Despite having a touch interface, the gyro sensor and cameras, the iPad and iPhone and iTouch still lack functional buttons with tactile feedback that so many games require.

Apple’s competitors are also looking at getting into the gaming market in a bigger way. The Wall Street Journal reports that HTC spent $40 million to acquire the technology for streaming games from OnLive. This end run around processing games locally picks up your controller movements and sends them to the cloud where they are processed on dedicated servers with the graphics streamed back to the user. This is an interesting move by HTC, but streaming even simple video is not always functional without some waiting, due to the overburdened networks. Also the lag times involved can interfere and simply cannot compete with locally processed graphics. With the HTC model, the only place it will work really well is probably when connected to a wifi network, which then means you may just as easily be close to a dedicated gaming console. Apple is putting the power to process games locally which simply give the user a superior gaming experience that we have all come to expect.

Apple has released what they call post-pc products the iPod, iPhone, AppleTV and recently the iPad. I predict that based on Apple’s increasing experience in gaming from apps on their existing platforms, their increasing ability to produce gaming graphics, the ability to produce hardware that interfaces with televisions, and the increasing market demand, that Apple will most likely produce a gaming console. They would not be the first of their kind to pull this off; Microsoft did it with the ever successful Xbox series.

What would an Apple gaming system look like? I would imagine it would be small and sleek probably similar to the AppleTV. The user interface would probably be made very similar but perhaps tweaked to be a little bit more entertainment oriented to appeal to a younger audience. It would obviously be able to have the functionality of the AppleTV, to stream video , have iTunes and the app store. Now it would have a dedicated gaming store. I doubt there would be any cd or dvd drive. All game purchases would be online as this would match the current Apple sales model. The system would need some sort of gaming pads, wireless of course. I would imagine they would pick up from the trend of Xbox Connect and Wii to have that ability of whole body motion input. Expect that iPhones and iPads could easily be used as controls for the device as well.

When does this all go down? I would expect a release in 1st quarter 2013 would make sense. Keep an eye of any acquisitions by Apple of any gaming companies, such as Electronic Arts or others. Apple needs a core gaming company to build the in-house titles to launch the system.