Tagged "Pokemon"

Apr 25
By Matt Gander In Features, Retro No Comments

The creators of the vastly popular PlayerUnknown’s Battle Grounds made gaming news headlines last week, taking legal action against a handful of games mimicking PUBG a little too closely.

One clone features a frying pan as a melee weapon, while another uses the term ‘Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner’ in their marketing. Both are under heavy scrutiny and may end up being yanked.

While PUBG Corporation/Bluehole have every right to protect their brand, some allegations push the boundaries somewhat. It’s almost as if they’re taking credit for creating the whole Battle Royale genre, despite a few examples – including DayZ and H1Z1 – existing before PUBG’s release.

Can you imagine if Nintendo claimed ownership of the side-scrolling 2D platform genre following the success of the original Super Mario Bros? The NES would have missed out on several key titles, most of which became long-running franchises.

Indeed, it’s impossible to stop rival developers from copying currently popular trends. Once a studio finds themselves with an unexpected hit, a dozen imitators will surely follow. This is how new genres are formed, inducing some friendly competition.

In fact, blatant plagiarism in the video game market can be traced back all the way to gaming’s inception, as we dare to delve into below.

Breakout – 1976

Clones of Atari’s Breakout were so rife that you may not even know it by its original name. Even the genre it belongs to has different monikers. In France, the genre is known as ‘casse-briques’ (brick breaker), while Japanese gamers refer to it as ‘block kuzushi’ (block destruction). Generally, though, Breakout clones are known as either ‘paddle’ or ‘bat and ball’ games.

Arkanoid was Taito’s rendition – released ten years after Atari’s original – and it became a huge arcade hit, gaining numerous sequels. The Game Boy also had its own brick breaker in the form of Alleyway. Although a popular release, being one of four GB launch games, it wasn’t rated highly by critics due to failing to add anything new to the genre.

The Watara Supervision (known as the QuickShot Supervision in the UK) even came packaged with a bat and ball game, known as Crystball. It wasn’t the best choice to bundle with the system, highlighting how blurry the screen became when handling fast moving objects.

Sticking with handhelds, SEGA had their own take too. Woody Pop for the Game Gear was a popular release during the system’s early days, so called due to the bat being a wooden log known as Woody. A tree spirit, no less. It was a darn sight more imaginative than dull old Alleyway.

Space Invaders – 1978

We don’t need to tell you that Space Invaders was a colossal hit. It was a pop culture phenomenon, leading Taito’s classic to become a household name. Even now, 40 years on, it’s still possible to purchase Space Invaders merchandise. T-shirts, keyrings, baseball caps, mugs and more are readily available in high street stores and supermarkets.

It has to be one of the most imitated games of all-time. Why didn’t Taito clamp down on clones? Quite simply, the copyright of the original game hadn’t been properly protected – only the name ‘Space Invaders’ had been trademarked. In short: it was a free market.

Pretty much every system ever released has a Space Invaders style game, with early examples including the Intellivision’s Space Armada – the first Intellivision game to animate more than eight sprites – and the Fairchild Channel F’s Alien Invasion.

We can’t forget Galaxian either, which was Namco’s attempt at creating a bonafide rival rather than a mere clone, boasting full-colour graphics, a scrolling starfield, and background music. In many ways, it set the standard for all arcade games that followed.

Pac-Man – 1980

The moment Atari felt somebody treading on their toes, they beckoned their lawyers. After the biggest name in gaming bagged the prestigious Pac-Man license from Namco, Atari’s rivals tread very carefully when it came to developing their own Pac-Man style maze games.

This pussyfooting resulted in K.C. Munchkin, published by Philips for the Magnavox Odyssey. The creators went great lengths to add several key differences to Pac-Man, so that should they end up in court they’d have a leg to stand on. Instead of four ghosts, there were just three. Mazes – which featured optional random generation – had just 12 pills (known as munchies) to collect, and K.C himself was blue rather than yellow. Sadly for Philips, these changes weren’t enough – Atari managed to convince the courts that Phillips had copied Pac-Man, and so K.C. Munchkin ended up being pulled from shelves. It had a good run, however, making it to store shelves a whole year before the notorious Atari 2600 rendition of Pac-Man.

Lock ‘n’ Chase – published by Data East in Japan and Taito in the US – managed to elude Atari’s grasp by taking the cops ‘n robbers route, adding the ability to erect walls. Other clones tasked players with filling a maze with indefinable pills and pellets, rather than emptying it.

Atari’s reach extended to the European microcomputer market, forcing Commodore to yank the Vic 20’s Jelly Monsters – one of the system’s most impressive looking games. Luckily for Sinclair, Hungry Horace for the ZX Spectrum got off scot-free.

For those unable to afford a microcomputer or console, Grandstand’s Munchman tabletop electronic game was the only way to bring the Pac-Man experience home. It wouldn’t be fair to call this a knockoff as it was, in fact, a rebranded officially licensed Pac-Man game from Tomy.

Later Pac-Man clones were far more creative and unique than those that preceded them, including Shigeru Miyamoto’s Devil World, an innovative maze game that was denied Nintendo of America’s approval due to religious imagery.

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Oct 18
By Matt Gander In Cache in the Attic No Comments

We were planning to pen a Skylanders eBay round-up to tie-in with today’s release of Swap Force, but aside a store display case and various variants selling for £100+ there isn’t much to report on.


So with Pokemon fans currently trying to catch’em all in Pokemon X/Y, we’re instead going to look at various Pokemon goods that have shifted for significant sums.

At a resounding £1,255, a first edition Skarmory Pokemon card signed by Ken Sugimori is the most expensive Pokemon item to have sold on eBay recently. A well as Suimori’s signature, it also contained a small doodle of Pikachu. We guess Skarmory isn’t quite as easy to draw.

Pokemon cards remain incredibly popular with collectors – many full sets and individual rare cards can sell for eyebrow raising amounts. Sealed boxes of cards are surprisingly frequent on eBay too, and understandably sought after. A seller based in Greece has sold 3 boxes of sealed booster packs for £499 each. If only the Greek government had kept hold of a few boxes then maybe they wouldn’t be in quite the mess.

A couple of items released to celebrate Pokemon’s 10th anniversary in 2006 have proven popular lately also, including not one but two porcelain Ash and Pikachu statues. 1500 of these were made, available only to purchase in the Pokemon Centre store. A new and unopened statue ended at £615 while an opened statue – which the seller reports has been kept in a glass case – ended for a lot less at £111.


The 10th anniversary Fossil watches were likewise limited 1500 units, one of which sold for £130. The black and silver timepiece features a decal of Pikachu and comes packaged in a Pokeball-shaped case. The seller reports that it was purchased from the Pokemon Centre in New York before it closed back in 2005.

Factory sealed games are always popular with collectors, and Pokemon games seemingly more so. An unopened copy of Pokemon Crystal for Game Boy Color sold for £560, while an original Pokemon Red went for £230. A copy of the Fire Red GBA re-release meanwhile ended at £190.

How about a limited edition handheld to match? An unused Japanese 3DS LL Charizard limited collector’s edition ended at £399 while an auction for a UK Pikachu 3DS XL ended at £360. Even on Amazon these can sell for £380, despite being less than a year old.

Then we’ve got a Pikachu GBA SP from 2005, which bears a pleasingly minimalistic design. It ended at £307.


Contrary to popular belief, not all Pikachu edition consoles are bright yellow – this GBA Micro features an silver etching of Pikachu while the handheld itself is black and red. After 5 bids it sold for £205.

Although fairly easy to find when first released, Pikachu N64 consoles can cost a fair bit now. A boxed model in very good condition sold for £132, while a rarer Japanese orange model actually sold for less – £131. Proving just how unpredictable eBay can be at times, an opened pack recently went for just £117.

Lastly, here are two ‘not for resale’ DS cartridges intended for retailers. One allowed Pokemon Black/White owners to grab Victini, and sold for £300, while this other one let players collect Keldeo and sold for £100. Let’s just ignore the fact that Keldeo looks like a My Little Pony in disguise, shall we?

Aug 16
By Jake In The Week In Pictures No Comments

North America is still waiting for the boxed release of New Super Luigi U – we in Europe got it last month. Still, at least they’ve got this Luigi branded train to make up for it.

Luigi on board

It celebrates the curiously late launch of the game later this month, and the wider Year of Luigi. That marks the character’s 30th anniversary, which is confusing given that Nintendo celebrated Super Mario’s 25th anniversary only three years ago.

Anyway, the train is on the Chicago ‘L’ – short for ‘elevated’, North American public transport fans – and having been unveiled on Monday, it’s going to run until 8th September.

Fingers crossed the actor in the Luigi costume won’t have to remain on board the entire time.

Gotta beat ’em all

Pokemon World Championships 2013

That’s what competitive Pokemon looks like – a cross between Blockbusters (with all the mascots) and a particularly poor staring contest.

It was the 10th Pokemon World Championships last weekend, covering both trading card and video game interpretations of the catch ’em all juggernaut. Smartly, winners get not only a lovely Pikachu trophy, but also scholarships – presumably for university, rather than further Pokemon training.

There are three age groups, and the shock news this year was that the top video game masters division was won for the first time by a European – Arash Ommati from Italy.

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Apr 17
By Matt Gander In Features No Comments

We could start this article by sharing our views on the morality of luring children into fast food resultants via free toys, but then we remembered our tagline: “finding the fun”. That subject would be precisely no fun at all to discuss.

One, believe it or not, allowed you to mould a moustache out of clay

Fun can be had though by looking back at the various videogame franchises that have been turned into McDonald’s Happy Meal and Burger King Kid’s Club toys over the years, especially after discovering that there are plenty of amusing adverts available on YouTube.

With Skylanders Happy Meal toys currently available in the US, and due worldwide soon, has there been a better time to take a lookback? No.

Super Mario Bros. 3 – 1990

Considering gamers flocked to cinemas in 1989 to watch The Wizard so they could catch a glimpse of Super Mario Bros. 3, it’s not hard to imagine that McDonald’s Super Mario Bros. 3 Happy Meal toys caused a similar commotion. After all, nothing can make a child happier than opening a cardboard box to find Mario’s face starring back at them.

That’s unless that cardboard box was home to a tramp, and located round the back of McDonald’s, of course.

We recall owning two of these – a Koopa Paratrooper that could hop by squeezing a red pad filled with air, and a Goomba that was supposed to back-flip via a suction cup. Mario meanwhile could leap in the air via a large spring shoved up his behind, while Luigi could whizz around by harnessing the power of a pull-back motor.

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Oct 15
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

When the late Michael Jackson sung “It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white,” he may as well have been talking about Pokemon Black and White 2.

Pokemon Black 2 entered the UK chart at #3 while Pokemon White 2 arrived at #5, but even if their sales were combined they wouldn’t have beaten fellow newcomer Dishonored which makes its appearance at #2. That’s superb going for a new IP.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown has also done well, landing at #7.

FIFA 13 is still at #1, unsurprisingly. Resident Evil 6 drops from #2 to #4, while Just Dance 4 falls from #5 to #6.

Blackbean’s WRC 3: World Rally Championship skids in at #27, beating Fable: The Journey which gets off to a very rough start at #37. No wonder it’s already down to £24.99 at Zavvi.

It has still done better than fantasy RPG Of Orcs and Men though, which is nowhere to be seen. Considering GAME are asking a whopping £44.99 for it this doesn’t surprise us in the slightest.

Jul 26
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games 6 Comments

This week can only be described as being like a ‘special dream’ for Nintendo fans – not only is there a new piece of hardware out, but also half a dozen or so new releases to go alongside it.

Oddly, the 3DS XL launches this Saturday rather than on Friday as you may expect. The price war kicked off earlier this week – Asda are currently the cheapest, selling it for £169 compared to Tesco’s £175. GAME have a nifty deal though – if you trade in a 3DS (which must be boxed) then you get the handheld and a free charger for £79.99. They even give you 24 hours to take your new toy home and transfer your data. Don’t go leaving the country now, will you?

If you trust the postal service to deliver your system in time for launch, online retailers The Hut and Zavvi are both offering it for £167.95. Beating this deal are Sainsbury’s – if you sign up to their site as a new customer and use code SETENJ12 or SECOSMO you can get one for £161.

We’ve spent a little bit of time with a 3DS XL and although the screens have reduced glare the overall build quality feels a little cheap. It doesn’t come with a charger either, which is something that makes GAME’s deal even more appealing for those looking to trade-in.

There are four new 3DS releases to consider if you’re thinking of picking one up. New Art Academy is the sequel to the surprise DS million seller and offers 3D tutorial videos and the chance to swap pictures via StreetPass and Nintendo Letter Box. It has been spotted online for £20, as has the retail release of Freakyforms: Your Creations, Alive! The eShop version was well received, netting a 7/10 from Pocket Gamer and a curiously high 89% from the Official Nintendo Magazine.

We’re somewhat less confident in recommending One Piece: Unlimited Cruise SP2 and Mensa Academy. The first One Piece for 3DS was critically mauled. Square-Enix’s Mensa Academy meanwhile has a whiff of shovelware about it. The Wii version is also out this week while Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions are due later in the year.

Nintendo aren’t forgetting about their older formats this week either. Pokemon Conquest for DS is well worth a look, especially seeing as IGN dished out a 9.0, while Quiz Party for Wii is in fact being published by Nintendo themselves and features the vocal talents of Roy Walker. We’re sure they must have seen some potential in it to pick it up. Either that or they thought they’d better release something between now and the release of the Wii U.

Not a fan of the purveyor of the portly plumber? Bad news for you, son – the only other game out this week is Brave: The Video Game. American gamers received it last month to tie-in with their release of the movie. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions reviewed favourably – EGM even gave the 360 iteration an 8.0 – but the Wii and DS versions were panned for feeling lazily made. The film didn’t go down too well with the critics either – Time Out New York said it was “Pixar on preachy autopilot.” Erk!

Next week: Risen 2: Dark Waters for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and that could very well be it.

Dec 05
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Mario Kart 7’s arrival means that there are two 3DS games in the top 10 this week – Mario Kart 7 at #8 and Super Mario 3D Land at #10.

After the photo above was taken, Reggie was told to stop messing around and go back to work.

Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call – which Asda have been amusingly advertising as Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Flute – remains at #7 while there has been a slight shuffle at the top of the chart. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 remains at #1, followed by FIFA 12, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Just Dance 3 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

There isn’t a great deal going on in the rest of the top 40. WWE ’12 has had bad week, down from #6 to #14 while Abba: You Can Dance makes an appearance on its second week of release in at #30.

Super Pokemon Rumble hasn’t made the top 40 but it makes the 3DS chart at #4.

Just to show how messed up this industry is regarding games dropping in price, RAGE this week sits on top of the Xbox 360 budget chart.

May 03
By Jake In UK Charts 1 Comment

Shenanigans! I declare SHENANIGANS!

A couple of weeks ago, our new release round-up carried the headline Portal Kombat – because Portal 2 and Mortal Kombat were released. Very clever, you’ll agree. Today, Chart-Track have used the same headline for this week’s chart news. Blatant thievery!

Either that, or it’s quite an obvious play on words that’s probably been used in loads of places. It has: look.

Sorry, you didn’t come here for South Park-referencing pun-based tomfoolery. You came here for unadulterated CHART ACTION.

Well that’s going to be tricky, friend. You see, the reason Chart-Track resorted to a pun, rather than their more usual informative headline, is that there is NOTHING HAPPENING in this week’s chart.

Portal 2 and Mortal Kombat retain their respective positions at the top of the chart. The only one of last week’s new releases to bother the top 40 is Virtua Tennis 4, at #23. There’s no sign of Thor: God of Thunder, even in the single-format charts; early reviews suggest that the public isn’t missing much.

It has been a good week for games involving flapping about though: Just Dance 2 up five to #10, Michael Jackson: The Experience up five to #13, Kinect Sports up 14 to #17, Carnival Games: In Action up seven to #22.

With the recent DS versions of Pokemon at #12 and #14, Michael Jackson is between Black and White.

Loser of the week: Bulletstorm, down 14 to #38. Clearly it was not deemed an appropriate way to celebrate the royal wedding.

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