Retro Re-release Roundup, week of May 16, 2024

No One Lives Forever can wait.

Lemme squeeze a little extra juice out of this week’s roundup, dear readers: this week marks the 10th anniversary of Hamster’s Arcade Archives line of emulated arcade game reissues, which has seen them release over 400 arcade games across contemporary consoles, PC and smartphones, and may or may not be gearing up to enter the realm of console game reissues… but that’s a story for another time. Like, maybe this weekend, even.


F/A (Fighter & Attacker)

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
  • Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
  • Publisher: Hamster / Namco

What’s this?  A military-themed vertically-scrolling shooting game, originally developed and distributed in arcades by Namco in 1992 and never ported or reissued until now; F/A borrows the very familiar 2-button, air-shot/ground-bomb system established by Xevious and augments it by offering a whopping 16 playable aircraft, each of which have slightly different shot and bomb patterns.

Why should I care? F/A‘s a perfectly servicable but dry shooting game, but what sets it apart, and what made it such a requested title for reissue, and one Hamster deemed worthy of punctuating the 10th anniversary of Arcade Archives, is the soundtrack — Shinji Hosoe and Takayuki Aihara’s hardcore techno tunes were early examples of contemporary club music cross-pollenating with video game music, and served as a notable precursor to the work they’d produce for the likes of Ridge Racer and Tekken, as well as their independent work as Super Sweep.

Helpful tip: For whatever reason, the name entry screen only gives a scant few seconds to enter a name when the game is set to disable continues (the intended default setting), so if you’re one of the many people who hate being rushed out of entering their name, consider flipping that particular dip.


May ’24 update: Alleyway, Baseball Super Mario Land (Game Boy), plus Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru

What’s this? The first portable Super Mario game, as well as Nintendo’s perfunctory handheld takes on baseball and the tried-and-true brick  breaker. (Japan’s NSO update also includes Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru (The Frog for Whom The Bell Tolls), a comedic quasi-RPG by many of the same folk behind Kid Icarus and Metroid, and one that has never been officially translated or otherwise released outside of Japan… it’s a fun one, and a game one would think would be a layup for an official, contemporary localization, but alas.)

Why should I care? You’ve been waiting for a long time for Nintendo to finally get to the launch titles that should’ve been available from the moment they started offering up Game Boy games.

Helpful tip: Jeremy’s recently-rebooted Game Boy Works video series just covered all three of these games, as it happen.


Braid: Anniversary Edition

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox, PC via Steam , iOS/Android via Netflix subscription (worldwide)
  • Price: $19.99 or equivalent
  • Publisher: Thekla Inc.

What’s this? It’s about this little guy in this suit and he walk around. It ain’t got no point to the game. He just walk around jumping and shit. It look like Mario in the future, and it’s Mario in a business suit with his hair dyed orange and a tie on. And he just walk around jumping on shit but the funny part about it—you can do this right here, watch this. Yee-up!

Why should I care? Like, if you drink beer and you get drunk, or if you smoke weed and you get high, or anything—if you just be getting fucked up. They got this game right, oh no, this shit called Braid. 

Helpful tip: There ain’t no point to the game. He just go around. This shit is stupid as hell, man.

PO’ed: Definitive Edition

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox, PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $19.99 or equivalent
  • Publisher: Night Dive Studios

What’s this? A modern port of Any Channel’s crude odball first-person shooter PO’ed, which was originally developed and published for the Panasonic 3DO in 1995 and ported to the PlayStation the following year; now running on Night Dive’s KEX Engine, this version boasts support for ultra-high resolutons and up to 144FPS, as well as widescreen support (with redrawn visuals/UI where necessary), a new hardcore difficulty mode, EFIGS localization and a suite of as-yet-unspecified gameplay tweaks and bug fixes that can be disabled at will.

Why should I care? PO’ed is primarily remembered for its crass, adolescent-Dehacked-patch-gone-commercial aesthetic and unwieldy controls, but there is a peculiar ambiance to the colossal, cavernous stage design that is unlike other 3D FPS games of its vintage, and it’s not inconceivable that Night Dive’s nips and tucks have brought the game to a point where the fun goes beyond the academic.

Useless fact: This game is often said to have been inspired by Quake, and I suppose that’s true in the broad sense that any team working on a fully-3D game or first-person shooter in the mid-’90s was undoubtedly aware of id Software, but PO’ed actually beat Quake to market by some eight months, so they couldn’t have cribbed any design ideas from Romero and co. even if they’d wanted to.

rRootage Reloaded

  • Platform: PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
  • Price: $5.00
  • Publisher: PERZIUR

What’s this? A remaster of the multi-mode boss-rush shooting game developed and released for PC by acclaimed open-source developer ABA (aka Kenta Cho), originally released in 2003 and subsequently ported to a multitude of other platforms by various fans, as well as being included as a hidden unlockable in the Wii game Blast Works: Build, Trade, Destroy, itself a licensed remake of another Kenta Cho shooter. This ersion is essentially identical to the Nintendo Switch version released a few years back and offers optional analogue or touch controls over the standard digital controls, new menus and the option to disable slowdown. 

Why should I care? You’re someone who was made aware of Kenta Cho via the recent viral success of his free game Paku Paku and wants to experience one of his earliest and most acclaimed works, or you just want to acknowledge the fact that ABA’s been in the trenches for decades — dude came up with the likes of Pixel, and he deserves his due.

Helpful? tip: The individual behind this port has expressed interest in also porting Noiz2sa… now, this was a few years ago, so if they were going to do it, you’d figure it would have happened by now, but I mean, nobody saw this PS4 port coming, either, so here’s hoping.

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Tiny Arcade Atari 2600 Console Game

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