Well folks, Summer is ending, and while it may have roared in like a lion with Diablo IV, it goes out like a lamb with Goodbye Volcano High. Initially teased in Sony’s PS5 announcement show, Goodbye Volcano High is only just now coming to consoles, to hopefully delight fans of visual novels and rhythm games. If you only play one game this year about a bunch of teenage dinosaurs having an existential crisis about both high school ending AND the impending extinction of their species, make it Goodbye Volcano High.
The rest of this week’s offerings aren’t too much better, I’m afraid. There’s a more traditional rhythm game coming out with Samba de Amigo: Party Central on Switch. As you might imagine, players will use their joy-con controllers like maracas and shake them to the rhythm of their favorite Sega songs and, of course, Pitbull. Sea of Stars looks gorgeous, and if the team puts as much love and care into this game as they did The Messenger, than we might have a possible GOTY contender on our hands (well, at least for me). Hey, remember the Trine series? That’s okay, just know that Trine 5 is here, you’ll be reminded of its existence when you get the game as part of a Humble Bundle in 2025 that you spend thirty five cents on.
Rounding out our top releases are a pair of DLC entries. The first is for Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, with Rayman in the Phantom Show. This is the final piece of content for Sparks of Hope, so I hope it’s a good one. The trailer doesn’t seem to have Rayman interacting with Mario, which I think would be a huge selling point, but alas. The other DLC this week is for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, with Dimension Shellshock. Aside from the requisite new game modes and costumes, Dimension Shellshock also features two new playable characters, Usagi Yojimbo, Stan Sakai’s brilliant creation, and a long time TMNT comic book character, Karai, possible daughter of Shredder.
Goodbye Volcano High (PC/PS4/PS5) – Releases Aug. 29th
Developed by: KO_OP
Published by: KO_OP
Samba de Amigo: Party Central (Switch) – Releases Aug. 29th
Developed by: Sega
Published by: Sega
Sea of Stars (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch) – Releases Aug. 29th
Developed by: Sabotage Studio
Published by: Sabotage Studio
Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Aug. 31st
Developed by: Frozenbyte
Published by: THQ Nordic
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope: Rayman in the Phantom Show (Switch) – Releases Aug. 30th
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Shredder’s Revenge: Dimension Shellshock (PC) – Releases Aug. 31st
Ports and Re-releases:
Retro game fans are in for a treat this week as the previously Japan-only titles Rhapsody II & III are finally making their way west, finishing the trilogy started on the PSX back in 2000 (or 1998 if you’re Japanese). We’ve also got a big collection of Taito games coming to Switch, with hot titles like Darius II, The Legend of Kage, and NewZealand Story.
Rhapsody II & III (PC/PS5/Switch) – Releases Aug. 29th
Taito Milestones 2 (Switch) – Releases Aug. 31st
Notable Releases from 10, 20, and 30 (and sometimes 40) years ago:
This week’s notable titles finally feature a game from 40 years ago, woah! We’re getting ahead of ourselves though, let’s start with our game from 2013, the MMO Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. After disastrous launch in 2010, Final Fantasy XIV was officially shut down in 2012 in order for the team, now led by producer Naoki Yoshida, AKA Yoshi-P, to rebuild the game from the ground up. It might be hard to imagine now, but the initial release of Final Fantasy XIV was almost enough to completely bury the franchise and possibly end Square Enix, it seriously damaged their reputation. With A Realm Reborn, the developers took to heart the feelings of the players, and openly accepted ideas and criticisms. Yoshi-P would put out frequent letters to the player base, detailing the work the team was doing and apologizing for the way the original game turned out.
After a successful beta in the Spring and Summer of 2013, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was released to the public who were more than happy to jump in. Critical and commercial reception to the game was through the roof, so much so that digital sales of the game had to be halted for a period of time as Square Enix added more servers to meet demand. I was able to join the game in February of 2014 after it came to Steam and have been an avid player since then. If you’re ever in the Lamia server look me up, I’m L’eclisse Algiers, named after two of the Criterion Collection DVDs that were on the shelf next to my desk.
Continuing with Final Fantasy, we have the 2003 GBA game Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Although the game shares many themes and traits with the PSX game Final Fantasy Tactics, it is not a direct sequel, instead telling its own story. In the game, players meet four children, Marche, Mewt, Ritz, and Marche’s brother Doned. Bullied in their everyday lives, the four children are suddenly transported to a magical world called Ivalice. While in Ivalice, the children begin to realize that this world fulfills all of their fantasies, and that it resembles Mewt’s favorite video game, Final Fantasy. The game was developed by the team from the defunct Quest Corporation, which were well known for the Ogre Battle franchise.
Our thirty year old title is Zombies ate my Neighbors, a co-op shooter where players must save innocent townsfolk from being killed by zombies, vampires, chainsaw maniacs, werewolves, killer dolls, mushroom people, and other ghoulish creatures. Developed by LucasArts, Zombies at my Neighbors was a smash with critics who praised the game’s graphics, humor, and deep replayability. It didn’t really score with consumers, though, who pretty much ignored the game. However, the few of us that did play the game remember it well, and were enough to get a sequel developed, Ghoul Patrol. Both games are now available on modern consoles and I highly recommend checking them out.
Our last notable title is the 1983 arcade game Tapper, in which players must fill mugs with beer and slide them to thirsty patrons. While the game starts out deceptively simple in the beginning (like most arcade games) it quickly ramps up in difficulty and becomes incredibly addicting (like most arcade games). Developed by toy company Marvin Glass and Associates, who were well known for inventing the Lite Brite and those novelty chattering teeth (you know the exact thing I’m talking about), Tapper was originally sponsored by Anhuser-Busch, with players filling mugs with cold, refreshing Budweiser. Mmmmm, taste the sudsy goodness of a cold Bud. While this version of the game was marketed to adults and sold exclusively to bars & restaurants, when it came time to move Tapper into arcades, WITH CHILDREN IN THEM, the beer sponsorship had to go and the game’s name was changed to Root Beer Tapper.
That was a lot cover, but we’re not done, let’s talk about the notable films! 2013 gave us The Butler, oh, sorry, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, lest anyone confuse it with the obscure 1916 silent short film also called The Butler. I mean, I know I almost did! That was sarcasm. Moving on, 2003’s Party Monster was a kind of return to acting for child actor Macaulay Culkin, who had gone mostly unseen since 1994’s Richie Rich, and saw him playing against type, as a drug addicted, murderous “club kid”. The movie was shot entirely on digital video, part of a blossoming movement in the early 2000’s as HD cameras began to become cheaper and offer higher quality resolution.
Doing 40 years of notable titles is rough, anyway, 1993’s film is Mel Gibson’s directorial debut The Man Without a Face starring Gibson and another child actor who would go on to have a kinda/sorta troubled adult life, Nick Stahl. Finally, in keeping with the beer theme, 1983’s notable film is the Canadian comedy Strange Brew, starring Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas (not the Wendy’s guy). Originally created for the sketch comedy show SCTV, Strange Brew featured the McKenzie brothers, Bob & Doug, as they worm their way into jobs at a brewery, only to be caught up in a conspiracy that involves murder and world domination, of course.
Do we even have time to talk about the notable albums from the last 40 years? Let’s be quick, okay? Ten years ago we got Hesitation Marks from the legendary industrial band Nine Inch Nails. While Trent Reznor had begun to make a name for himself in Hollywood for his film scores, his music and stage shows still retained that raw energy that NIN had always had. 2003’s album was Metric’s Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?, which I’ve never listened to, aside from “Combat Baby” which was a track in Rock Band 3. 1993’s album is Chaos A.D. by Sepultura, who had moved into a more progressive style on this album, to the delight of critics, and may have been one of the earliest instances of nu-metal, for better or worse.
Our last notable album is 1983’s Sports by Huey Lewis and the News, one of my all-time favorite albums. I grew up with Sports, as my mom and all of my aunts blasted it from their bedrooms when I was a toddler. Featuring stone cold classics like “The Heart of Rock & Roll”, “If This is It”, the masterful “I Want a New Drug”, and my favorite track, “Heart and Soul”. Sports was a massive financial and critical success, turning Huey Lewis into a household name, spring boarding him into stardom. With his movie star good looks and dopey charm, Lewis became emblematic of the 1980’s, which might have been to his detriment, because by the 1990’s the band had kind of devolved into a joke and a sad reminder of 1980’s excess, savagely skewered in the film American Psycho.
Listening to Sports this past week made a rush of memories from my childhood come rushing back to me, particularly of the house I lived in with my grandparents and all of my aunts, and evoked a bunch of emotions in me that had me crying like, well, a toddler. I think Huey left a certain impression on me, forming my sensibilities as I grew older. In many of his music videos, Lewis would pine for a pretty girl, but was kind of a dork about it. He constantly felt like the only sane person in an insane world, constantly trying to get away from it and just spend time with a woman he loves (or thinks he loves). Looking back on my life as I talk about these old games reminds me of just how much influence media and the like has over me, and possibly you. As fans of pop culture we can’t help but reference movies, albums, tv show, games, in our every day lives, because in order to make sense of the things around us, we retreat to the familiar. Once again, I want to thank everyone for stopping by and reading this column every week. I’ll be back again next Tuesday to talk about how Grand Theft Auto influenced the breakfast I have every morning, or some other nonsense.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC/PS3) – Released Aug. 27th, 2013: Wiki Link
Notable Film Release: The Butler – Starring Forest Whitaker and a massive, all-star cast
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks
*Click here to listen to the album*
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (GBA) – Released Sep. 8th, 2003: Wiki Link
Notable Film Release: Party Monster – Starring Macaulay Culkin, Seth Green, Chloë Sevigny, Natasha Lyonne, Wilmer Valderrama, and Wilson Cruz
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Metric – Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?
*Click here to listen to the album*
Zombies Ate My Neighbors (SNES) – Released Sep. 1993: Wiki Link
Notable Film Release: The Man Without a Face – Starring Mel Gibson and Nick Stahl
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Sepultura – Chaos A.D.
*Click here to listen to album*
Tapper (Arcade) – Released Sep. 2nd, 1983: Wiki Link