The Video Game Critic's Mailbag

Vol 1: August 2004 - January 2005

Updated 3 Jan 2005

Since I get a lot of nice email about the site, I thought I'd share some of it with the rest of you. Don't worry, all names have been withheld to protect the innocent. The feedback I receive is overwhelmingly positive, and it really does keep me motivated! Occasionally I'll receive a note from an irate reader about a negative review, but even these tend to be constructive.

In addition to comments about the site, I get a lot of questions about how to play a particular game, how find a game, or advice on fixing hardware. Some readers write in asking for help in remembering the name of an old video game they played way back when. I can't always help but I always write back. I also get a fair share of emails from people who would like to contribute reviews (sorry) or swap links (maybe).

Here are a few of the email messages I've received over the last few months. It's a fairly representative sample I think. If anyone recognizes their email and would like it removed, just let me know and I will comply.


1/2005: I love your site

We need more sites like yours on the web. I love reading your reviews and the pictures are so cool for the old systems like NES and SNES. You need to add more games to the older selections.

Thanks


12/2004: gripes

I have some submissions for your list of gripes about games.

Editor's Note: The writer's "gripes" are in reference to my "Video Game Rants" page.

Mine is that these days, companies seem to be quite stingy in re-releasing games in that they release just one or two in a series in a single package, and charge full price for it. Examples of this are the Super Mario Advance series, whereas most of those were originally available as one cart for the SNES back in 1993. Also, Final Fantasy 1-6 could easily fit on one GBA cart, but Square only released 1 and 2 for an exorbitant $35. Not to mention the Zelda games--Nintendo could have released 1-4 on one GBA cart, but instead is charging $20+ for untouched ROMs of the first two, and $30 for the third one.

My other gripe is that there seems to now be video game connoisseur snobs. I had a roommate who was one of these, who only liked lofty RPGs and chided me for enjoying games such as Doom. They're kind of like foreign movie buffs and high brow literature snobs, in a way. (Although I do enjoy high brow literature) Have you noticed this?

best wishes

Editor's Note: Yes, I've noticed the snobs, but most are PC gamers.


12/2004: Wonderful site

Hi David,

This is a really cool site you have here. Thank you for doing this. I have been getting back into my old Atari 2600 games and because of your reviews, I have just recently picked up nine games (eight of them new and sealed from Ebay). And that's another thing: I really appreciate that after every game review, you have a tie to Ebay to check for availability. It sure makes things convenient for shopping.

Hope you keep this up. Thanks again.


12/2004: Comment/C64

I've been an off and on game player my whole life. Seeing your reviews for old games brings back a flood of memories. I'm a writer too and I like your honest and blunt reviews. Good job.

Hey but you need some C64 games! C64 baby!


12/2004: THANKS! Great vid game site

Hello

I was supposed to call my woman 2 hours ago, but I was reading your site. It brought back a lot of memories (2600, Genesis, etc). Boy am I in trouble.

Thanks though, If I have to get in trouble, I think looking at your site makes it okay.

Take Care


12/2004: No Subject

Hey,

I just wanted to say I've been looking at your site for about a year now, and I always enjoy reading the reviews, although I don't actually have much time to play games anymore now that I am 32 and have two young daughters. Your reviews often make me laugh aloud. I own a Playstation 2, but I like reminiscing about the good old games from the Atari 2600, NES, Genesis, etc. At one time or another, I played a lot of those games. Despite their inferior graphics, many of those older games packed a lot more fun than some of the ones they come out with nowadays.

Keep up the good work!


12/2004: Vectrex Star Fire review

Hi David,

First off, I want to thank you for your excellent site- I found it through atariage.com, and I'm a regular visitor. Even though I disagree with you every so often, they were few and far between, and your reviews were central to building my collection. I don't know what your policy is regarding game reviews, but I have a few that I'd like to submit.


11/2004: A compliment for the site and a suggestion

Hi

I absolutely adore the site and have read it inside and out and have rarely disagreed with your opinions. I still think you didn't give Conker on N64 a good chance but all in all I agree with every one.

The Arcade supplement is awesome but do you have any advice or information on how to purchase your own arcade game? It would be a big help.

Thanks for providing an awesome site. I can't wait to see more reviews.

Thanks again


11/2004: Feedback on your website

I really like your website and often go there to kill time. The addition of your arcaade review page is wonderful and it brings back fond memories for this child of the 80's that grew up in ice skating rinks.

Some feedback to your postings....

One theory into why Centipede appeals to women may be due to the fact that is was the first game PROGRAMMED by a woman. It was indeed a woman, hence the use of pastel colors. A quick look around the web into the history of ATARI will yield her name.

Also...

I'm sure that you've heard of the emulators out there that allow you to run these old arcade roms in MAME but have you searched into the cabinet designs? Several people have plans posted or available for sale on how to build your own arcade cabinet and interface controls into your computer. That way the game is ALL of the old arcade games instead of just one devoted machine. As a purist, I would want the real thing but I love so many games that it would be impossible to own them all. Theres a controller for the cabinets out there called THE DEVESTATOR that allows almost any combination of controls for these games and interfaces with the computer via USB or you can get the controllers and wire it yourself. It's a great hobby.

In fact, I'm in the process (once our house is done) of building one myself. It'll also have another hardrive on the system with MP3's as a jukebox and an alternate input on the monitor for my PS2. It was how I convinced the wife to let me do it! :)

Anyway, love your site! Love the reviews! I have several sega genesis roms if you ever need any for review (HIGHLY reccomend reviewing RED ZONE. LOVED that game!)

Take care..


11/2004: woohoo! genesis question!

Alright, first let me tell you your site is fantastic. Nevertheless, I have a question on a game that I don't think you cover. Well, the question is actually

what is this game?

Its first person point of view mech game. You control a big mech. There's no battle field. Its just you versus another mech, arena style I suppose. You can target and destroy specific body parts and you have to fix yourself between battles. You also can use the money you earn for new weapons/weapon upgrades. Excellent game, but can't find the name!

Thank you!


11/2004: Re: woohoo! genesis question!

i actually DID figure it out:) deathduel! it was made by that semi-risque company that didn't last too long.

thanks for the help


11/2004: About your review of Demon Sword for NES

I am writing in regard to your review on the NES game Demon Sword. It seems that you haven't played the game well enough to write a review and put a letter grade on it, when the amount of depth you go into is restricted to how high the characters jump. You mentioned nothing about the length of the sword getting longer after each world and getting around 5 times its original length, nor do you talk about the magic spells you can cast, power ups to gain life and strength, mini bosses, end of level bosses, or passive items such as the keys that open doors to other realms. The sword is extremely important for blocking throwing stars, and becomes a formidable weapon when it gains power and range.

The game at first seems to be a shallow platformer where everyone jumps crazy high such as Legend Of Kage, but it is actually an in depth game. Please take some time to actually play the game, or don't write a review on it.

Editor's Note: I re-reviewed this one, but did not change the grade.


10/2004: Checking in

Hello, Dave.

I check out your site nearly every day; it's been quite a reprieve from tedious work!


10/2004: baseball

VGC -

I'm trying to decide which baseball game to ask for for Xmas. It can be either PS2 or GameCube. The only baseball game I've played since the NES days is MLB Slugfest, and I liked that one all right... I'm looking for more action and less realism. Any suggestions?

Sorry for being too lazy to look through all your reviews. :)


10/2004: Critic

I was wondering if you need any help reviewing games. I love games and i can write reviews but one of the main points is that i'm always getting new games and there aren't many new release games on your site. if you would like some help, i can send you a "pilot" review so you can see if i am worthy.


10/2004: How could you say the Godzilla for NES sucked?

Dear VG critic,

1st thing I want to ask: Did you beat it IRL?

How can you say that Godzilla sucked? That game kicked ass. I do agree of the choppy graphics where his face looks like blocks *XD*, but you shouldn't smash it as much as you did. As a hard-core Godzilla fan as a little-er kid *6 - 16* I tried to play and beat that game every other day. I went through troubles w/ my cartitridge such as

1. It Not starting w/o 50 blows
2. It freezing in the middle of the game
3. It stuck on the red screen at the start
4. The ONE time I beat it not on a rom that took about 6 hours.
It was a hard game no doubt, but there was a thing called "smacking the missles and [expletive] away."

And don't be yelling at the music either. That midi had some kick-ass beats. *how could you not love the Mecha-Godzilla Techno? :) *
Now i know i can't stop you from just responding - "it sucks, you suck, bye" but I'd like to know your thoughts if they are serious ones.


10/2004: Love your site

You are a dyed in the wool game nerd just like myself (I am 29). This is one of the coolest sites I've perused in a long time. I passed it on to some friends and have clicked on some links to help the cause.

Your wife sounds like an awesome pro-game spouse!!!

Have you ever gotten your hands on Zelda for CDi - it got panned horribly but I saw some screenshots that looked pretty neat.

Best,


9/2004: intv reviews

Thanks for your website! I am big into Intellivision and have enjoyed reading your reviews. Even though I may not agree with your rating on all of the games, it is neat to see what others think of the games. How do you ever keep up with so many platforms?

Thanks again


9/2004: what happens with f rated games??

Hey just felled on your site searching for some classical reviews ( there pretty rare). Pretty cool. You know keep up the good work, there is not alot of times when a average guy stands up against big coporate video game magazines and makes his voice heard. You know gamerankings.com takes in notice your critics. And also, you are not ashamed to say that a game is crap and you do not overrate it. thumbs up! By the way what do you do whit shameful, aweful, f-rated crap? Let me propose some things:

1. Just plain throw them in the garbage can.
2. Set them on fire
3. Let them slowly melt inside a car during summer in Arizona
4. Sell it to an ignorant guy saying that its the best game in the world.
5. Use the crappy game as paperweight!

Well thats all I had to say. I just wanted to make you notice another guy that appreciate your site


9/2004: Some suggested SNES games

Hello Mr. Rozek,

I'm a moderate fan of your site. I know you don't care for most RPGs, but here are some SNES games you really ought to try:

Secret of Mana -- It's a great Zelda-like game. The main difference is that it's a little more RPG-y than Zelda (you actually build experience levels, learn spells, have magic points, have to arm different types of armor, etc), and that it is up to three players simultaneous. If you play as one player, you toggle between the different members of the party with the select button, and you can set up the artificial intellience of the other members of the party. (Eg, act defensively or offensively, save or use expendible weapons and magic, etc.)

Chrono Trigger -- It's a turn based RPG, but it dispenses with most of the annoyances of other turn based RPGs. You actually see the enemies before you fight them (rather than suddenly getting "sucked" into a fight out of nothingness, like in Final Fantasy), and the "fight" screen doesn't change from the normal exploration screen, and when you attack an enemy, your character actually runs over and hits them You actually have to be quick on your hands during the fight, because if you ponder your moves too long, the enemy's wait time will expire and they will attack again... it gives it a paranoid, quasi-action feel. Also, the spells are some of the most graphically impressive things I've seen on the SNES.

Regards,


9/2004: Sinclair Spectrum reviews?

Hi there

Great great site, been using it for years looking at games and then 'finding' them on the net to try !

Being from the UK I'm a huge fan of Retro gaming, indeed its getting very big, is a monthly magazine now for Retro Gaming.

Anyway i would gladly do some reviews for a Sinclair Spectrum range if you wanted to add that to your site ?

I think you mainly do consoles but if you do change your mind i'll happily churn out lots of reviews

Let me know, all the best, cheers


9/2004: VGC

Dear Videogame Critic,

I just wanted to compliment you on your excellent Web site ... you're a gamer after my own heart. I've been reading your reviews (all of them) with much appreciation and nostaglia. I find your reviews well written, thoughtful and objective. Plus, being a side-scrolling action game fan myself, I can appreciate why you rate games like Thunder Force III so high. I used to write and copy edit for gamecritics.com ... years ago ... and I did some "great games" features on Blaster Master, Tecmo Super Bowl and Snatcher. I was also the resident shooter lover and reviewed those games whenever possible. Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I really enjoy your site, and keep up the good work.

Peace,


9/2004: NES Q-Bert Review

I just read your review on the NES version of Q*Bert and I was surprised. You dropped the game from an A to a C- JUST BECAUSE IT WON'T DISPLAY A FREAKIN' HIGH SCORE?! That's unfair and just plain stupid. It deserves to be at least in the B range; it's one of the best ports I ever played. Who's cares about displaying high scores on the NES games?

Besides, it's not like you can save them or anything. I think you should re-review it and give it the score it deserves.


If you'd like to see more of my mailbag, let me know. And special thanks to everyone who sent me feedback.


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