Reviews Video Games

Review: NEOGEO Arcade Stick Pro

A day before our three-week total lockdown I got a delivery from Amazon, the NEOGEO Arcade Stick Pro. It’s an arcade stick pre-installed with 20 old-school NEOGEO games. I’m a huge fan of NEOGEO ever since I was a kid since it was an unattainable gaming console back then due to the costs involved which was extremely high. Back in the 90s a single game could easily cost over 100KD for example, so paying 40KD for a NEOGEO arcade stick with 20 games included seems like a steal.

But, I really wasn’t interested in the games that were included, instead, the reason I wanted to get the Arcade Stick Pro is that someone found a way to install even more old-school games onto it.

Like all the classic mini-consoles that have gotten released over the past few years, the Arcade Stick Pro runs off USB power and connects to your TV via an HDMI cable. I spent hours and hours the first week of lockdown going through nearly 2,000 classic games from the 80s and 90s one by one. Whichever game I liked or reminded me of my childhood, I put aside to create my ultimate old school gaming playlist. The Arcade Stick Pro was obviously best at emulating NEOGEO games but it also did a great job of emulating other home consoles and arcade systems like CPS1, CPS2, and more. I wasn’t interested in emulating home consoles though since I could do that with my SNES mini and my Odroid Go Advance. Instead, what I really wanted to do was emulate games I used to play in the arcades when I was a kid and shooting scrollers (both horizontal and vertical) like Blazing Star and Mars Matrix which the Arcade Stick Pro did a phenomenal job with.

If you don’t want to copy your own games onto the Arcade Stick Pro, the system comes with 20 fighting games built-in and an additional 14 bonus games which includes a bunch of Metal Slug games and Super Sidekicks. The Metal Slug series alone would be worth the $120 price tag.

There aren’t really any negatives, except for one major inconvenience. With my SNES Classic mini system, I have it set up next to my TV and I bought a wireless controller for it. This means I can sit back on my couch and play games comfortably without having to worry about running power and HDMI cables. With the Arcade Stick Pro, the actual controller is the console so you need to have power and HDMI running to wherever you’re sitting. So if your couch is 3 meters away from your TV, you need a 3 meter long HDMI cable running to your couch and a USB cable to power up the system. It’s a hassle and anytime I think about wanting to play on it I have to think about setting it up. A second issue that might be a problem to some people but isn’t for me is 2-player games, if you want to play 2-player games you need to purchase an extra controller for it which is another $25.

I really do love this arcade stick and it made the lockdown a lot more bearable for me. If you’re looking for an affordable arcade stick that can run some of your old favorite NEOGEO and arcade games, this is a pretty great option. The stick costs $120 on Amazon and I think I paid KD14 for shipping and customs. I wasn’t able to find it here but Rihab Complex was also closed back then so they might have it now.

Coronavirus Video Games

Hot Quarantine Commodity: Game Consoles

Video game consoles have become a lot harder to find, some like the Nintendo Switch are pretty much sold out everywhere while base models of other consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One quickly disappeared off the shelves with only their more expensive special edition or game bundle versions left to buy. And the fact that Rihab Complex is closed really limited your options to finding a console at a reasonable price.

But, it’s now become easier to get a hold of consoles as more shipments have started arriving into the market. If you’re looking to pick up a video game console to kill some time during curfew, here are a bunch of places you might find them at:

Game Store
Level Up

Crash Center
Hussain (forgot the name of the shop)
Kuwait Toys Center
X4 Games

If you know of other gaming stores, let me know in the comments.

50s to 90s Video Games

Retro City Arcades

I guess arcades are making a come back in Kuwait, first with Joystixx and now Retro City. Retro City is a new arcade place that recently opened up inside Boulevard Mall. They have one new machine which is Tekken 7 while the rest are retro looking arcade cabinets with old school games installed. The idea is cool but when I was there I didn’t think there was much variation between all the games to keep me entertained, and some games I wasn’t even sure why they were there to begin with. Here are some of the games they had:

Marvel vs Capcom
Tekken 7
The King of Fighters 98
Super Street Fighter II Third Strike
The Simpsons
Metal Slug 3
Metal Slug X
Double Dragon
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Space Invaders
Dig Dug
Gun Smoke

The last five games, in my opinion, shouldn’t be there especially since every round costs 250fils. I would have liked to have seen some sports games or some vertical scrollers like Mars Matrix (but at 100fils per game since I tend to die a lot). Retro City does have a small memorabilia/action figures store which is cool. But really though I need an arcade with NBA Jam or with the original Sega Rally (1 not 2) or Daytona USA units.

If you want to check the place out they’re inside Boulevard Mall but hidden. The easiest way to find them is look for the Crash Power store on the ground floor. They’re located in the area behind them. You can also find them on instagram @retrocitykw

Video Games

LDK Game – Retro Gaming Console

If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time you probably already know how nostalgic I am which is why I also love old video games. Over the years I’ve posted about a variety of game consoles including ones that allow you to play old video games like the Pandora and Dingoo. LDK Game is a console I recently picked up and I’m so in love with it!

Firstly just a bit of background. My first game console ever with the Coleco which my parents got in me in the early 80s. Since then I’ve gone through everything from the Sakhr MSX2 and Commodore, up to the current consoles like the PS4 and Switch. My favorite console ever would have to be the Super Nintendo followed closely in second by the Sega Dreamcast.

The LDK Game is a pretty tiny portable unit that plays nearly every console from the 80s and 90s including a lot of games from the original PlayStation. For such a small (and cheap) game system it just blows my mind how well it does playing some of my favorite games. Out of the box, all you need to do is plug the unit into your computer via a regular USB cable and it will then show up as an external hard drive. You can then just drag and drop the games (roms) onto the unit in the proper folders, so SNES games in the SNES folder and PlayStation games in the PlayStation folder and that’s pretty much it. You then just launch the games using one of the many built-in emulators. If there is a missing emulator (like the MSX or Coleco one) you can then just download them and install them easily. Currently, I have games from the following consoles running on my LDK:

Gameboy Advance
Nintendo Entertainment System
Sega Game Gear
Sega Genesis
Sega Master System
Sony PlayStation
Super Nintendo

In addition to the above, I also have Doom, Quake, Wolf 3D and Duke Nukem 3D installed. I really have 90% of my favorite games ever running on this tiny console.

All the games I have installed run flawlessly. Older consoles like the NES and Gameboy obviously run flawlessly on many other systems but I used to run into issues running some SNES games on my previous game consoles. I don’t have that issue here, and not only that, somehow this unit can run PlayStation games. Not all of them mind you, 3D intensive games like Tekken run but aren’t playable on this but 2D games like Castlevania, NBA Jam and Mortal Kombat Trilogy run perfectly, and games like Ridge Racer, Tony Hawk 2 and GranTurismo seem to also run really well. Another surprise was the fact that it also ran DOS games. I managed to install some really old games like Prince of Persia, Test Drive 3, Captain Comic and even the original Need for Speed and they all ran flawlessly. Oh and even sprite intense NeoGeo games like Metal Slug and Mars Matrix run without a hint of slowdown.

The screen has a 4:3 ratio which means you can play old games without having awkward black bars on the sides like you do when playing old games on your new TV. The sound is also fairly loud because there are two speakers on the back but you can also plug in your headphones if you prefer. The LDK has 6 buttons, four on the front and two shoulder buttons which means you won’t have issues controlling SNES or PlayStation games.

The coolest thing about the LDK Game though is that it sells for just $56! That’s not a lot to pay for a game console that can basically run ALL the cool old games. In fact, if it only ran Castlevania Symphony of the Night I would have paid $56 to get it and not only does it run it and really well, but I can also play Super Metroid, NHL ’94, Neo Drift and a ton of other games all on the same device. I still can’t believe I can play Symphony of the Night on this! Even the battery life is great running at over 4 hours and because it uses a standard USB port, you can charge it on the go with any battery pack.

I ordered the console from the LDK website and shipped it to my US forwarding mailbox. But, the device ended up shipping from China so if I was to order it again I’d ship it straight to Kuwait or at least my Shop&Ship Chinese mailbox. If you want to get one, here is a link to their website.

Video Games

What did you do over Eid?

I was originally planning to spend the Eid working on my Datsun but ended up sitting on the couch playing No Man’s Sky on my PS4. Didn’t think I’d enjoy it so much but it’s basically a super chill exploration game like Minecraft which I love, so it was super easy to lose track of time with. What did you end up doing?

Video Games

Joystixx Barcade Now Open

The Joystixx Barcade located in the basement of Symphony Mall in Salmiya is now finally open. They have a bunch of old school arcade machines as well as a pinball machine and a section with video game consoles.

They have arcade games like Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, Mortal Kombat 4 (so disappointed they didn’t get MK1 or MK2), Metal Slug, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, The King of Fighters ’97 and more. The arcade machines take regular 100fils coins while the consoles you rent out for 1.5KD an hour.

If you want to check the place out they’re open daily except for Sundays from 1PM to 11PM. They’re also on instagram @joystixxbar

Thanks Wahab!

Video Games

We’re getting a barcade!

A barcade called Joystixx is currently under construction in the basement of Symphony Mall in Salmiya. A barcade is basically and arcade with a bar. I’ve been to a few outside Kuwait, and the ones that I’ve been to usually have old classic arcade games and are really fun places because you can just get drunk and play fun old video games with friends.

The one opening in Kuwait obviously won’t have alcohol, but from what I understood it’s going to be a similar concept, except more of a cafe instead of a bar, so I guess a cafecade? Not sure that’s a real word. They’re hoping to open it sometime during Ramadan. Fun.

Shopping Video Games

Level-Up Online Video Game Store

When it comes to purchasing video games online locally, my two go-to places are usually GamesQ8 and Alfuhod. They tend to offer prices similar to what you’d find at Rihab Complex, and so are a good alternative to me going there. But, recently another online store popped up called Level-Up that’s run by gamers and has pretty competitive prices. I checked out a few different games and I found that they were usually always cheaper than Alfuhod and sometimes cheaper than GamesQ8. Here are some random examples:

Anthem (PS4 R2)
Level-Up: KD17.5
GamesQ8: KD18
Alfuhod: KD18.5

Resident Evil 2 (Xbox One R2)
Level-Up: KD15.5
GamesQ8: KD15
Alfuhod: KD18.5

Jump Force (PS4 R2)
Level-Up: KD13.9
GamesQ8: KD15
Alfuhod: KD15.9

Super Mario Bros.u Deluxe (Switch)
Level-Up: KD18.5
GamesQ8: KD16.5
Alfuhod: KD19.5

The one thing to keep in mind though is if you want same day delivery, Level-Up charge KD2.5, but offer free next day delivery. Alfuhod, on the other hand, offers free same day delivery while GamesQ8 charge KD1.

So although Level-Up aren’t always the cheapest, they could be which is why they’re worth checking the next time you want to buy a game online. Here is the link to their [Website]

Video Games

Pre-Order the PlayStation Classic in Kuwait

Sony is launching the PlayStation Classic in Kuwait on December 3rd. If you haven’t heard about this, Sony is releasing a mini version of the original PlayStation with 20 built-in games that include:

Battle Arena Toshinden
Cool Boarders 2
Destruction Derby
Final Fantasy VII
Grand Theft Auto
Intelligent Qube
Jumping Flash!
Metal Gear Solid
Mr. Driller
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
R4: Ridge Racer Type 4
Resident Evil: Director’s Cut
Revelations: Persona
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
Syphon Filter
Tekken 3
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six
Twisted Metal
Wild Arms

The console will plug into your TV using HDMI and will run over USB power. I’m a bit disappointed Castlevania: Symphony of the Night isn’t included in the Classic since it was my favorite game on the PlayStation, so I haven’t’ decided yet if I am going to pick one up. But, if you’re interested in a bit of nostalgia, the official price for the PlayStation Classic is going to be KD35 in Kuwait and you can secure a copy by pre-ordering one from the GamesQ8 website [Here]

Update: It’s now available on the Xcite website [Here]

Information Interesting Video Games

Antera Gaming Truck

The other day I was on the 4th Ring Road when I got stuck in traffic behind a huge trailer with Antera written on the back and PlayStation logos on the side. So I decided to check them out on Instagram and turns out they’re a gaming truck.

Inside the trailer are reclining chairs and large 65″ flatscreen TVs. They have PS4’s with the most recent games as well as online play capability. They also offer non-gaming activities like watching movies or live sporting events with beIN.

According to Antera the truck can hold 10 adults or 12 children and they provide snacks and beverages. The cost of the service is KD60 on weekdays and KD75 on weekends (2 hours minimum). I think it’s a cool idea and could be a lot of fun to park outside a kids birthday party. If you want to find out more you can check them out on instagram

50s to 90s Video Games

Retro Dungeon – Retro Gaming Specialist

Yesterday I was in Rihab Complex looking for Red Dead Redemption 2 (FYI: Might be out today in Kuwait depending on customs but most likely tomorrow) when I decided to go to the retro gaming store upstairs to check out what they had. I’d posted about that store on the blog a few years ago, it was called Global Game and was just filled with old retro video game consoles. But, a couple of months back the store got a facelift, a name change and I’m assuming, a new owner.

The Global Game store is now called Retro Dungeon and looks a lot nicer and more organized than it did before. The store still specializes in vintage gaming consoles and while there I spotted a whole bunch of them including:

NeoGeo AES
NeoGeo CD
Nintendo 64
Nintendo Entertainment System
Nintendo GameBoys
Super Nintendo
Panasonic 3DO
Sakhr MSX
Sakhr MSX2
Sega Dreamcast
Sega GameGear
Sega Genesis
Sega CD
Sega Saturn
Sony PlayStation 1
Sony PlayStation 1 Dev Kit
Sony PlayStation 2
Sony PlayStation 2 Dev Kit
And more…

They also had a whole bunch of games, all nicely organized and all wrapped in plastic. The whole place looks way better than it did before but the prices are also on the high side. Somethings made sense, like KD120 for a NeoGeo AES or KD150 for the NeoGeo CD, but KD35 for Donkey Kong Country on the Super Nintendo and KD45 for Donkey Kong Country 2 just seemed over the top.

I used to have a pretty large collection of gaming consoles before I sold them all off (so much regret). But now I just have my Game & Watches and my SNES left which I pop out every so often to play on.

If you’re looking for vintage games or consoles, check Retro Dungeon out. They’re in an alleyway on the top floor of Rihab Complex, and their instagram account is @retro_dungeon

Interesting Video Games

A Kuwait Based Game Developer is Suing CBS and Netflix Over Star Trek Discovery

Not sure how I didn’t hear about this earlier but Anas Abdin, an expat living in Kuwait is currently suing CBS and Netflix in the US for copyright infringement. Anas is an indie game developer and the new Star Trek seems to have copied a lot of ideas from his game Tardigrades.

I just watched the video on top that explains the lawsuit and I can’t believe how much Star Trek ripped off from his game so I hope he wins.

He has a bit more information about the lawsuit on his website so check it out [Link]

Geek Video Games Videos

Local Video Game Vloggers

Last week there was a slightly controversial post in the Kuwait sub on Reddit. Basically, a user wanted another user to stop sharing his gaming vlogs because he didn’t think anyone was interested in them. I personally wasn’t a fan of the videos, but I thought that request was pretty shitty. Just because I didn’t like the videos or the majority of people didn’t like the videos, I don’t think its fair to muzzle someone who is actually taking the time and making the effort to create content. Good or bad, at least they’re active and doing something.

So I decided I’d share the two local video game vloggers I’m aware of in this post. I’m not a fan of either of them but I do appreciate the fact they’re doing what they love to do and that deserves some recognition. So if you’re into video games, check out the two vloggers below:

I find DarkWolf80s super cheesy and his video titles are 100% clickbait, but I have to give the guy credit, he does love his video games. DarkWolf80s has released 11 videos this year alone covering various topics, mostly super geeky ones which I like, it’s just the videos themselves I don’t like. So if you want to check out his channel, click [Here]

If you’re into Pokemon then you’ll have to check DarkraiQ8’s YouTube channel so you’ll realize you’re really not into Pokemon. The guy is like Pokemon fan level 40 which is why I don’t watch any of his videos. I think they’re really boring but the guy is super dedicated publishing a new video every few days. It’s definitely for Arabic speaking die-hard Pokemon fans. So if you’re a Pokemon geek, check out his channel [Here]

Know of any other local video game vloggers? Let me know in the comments below.

Video Games

Nintendo Labo is Out in Kuwait!

I just left Rihab Complex with the Nintendo Labo variety kit. There is only one store at the moment in Rihab selling the Labo and its Kuwait Toys Center. They’ve got both the Variety Kit and the Robot Kit and they’re selling each for KD40. That might sound expensive compared to the US price, but it really isn’t that bad of a deal.

The Variety Kit sells for KD22 on Amazon while the Robot Kit sells for KD25 not including tax. The Variety Kit weighs nearly 3KG so if you shipped it using Shop&Ship they’ll charge KD17 for shipping without the customs fees. With PostaPlus they’ll charge you KD12 without the customs fees. So if my calculations are correct:

Variety Kit KD23 with tax
+ KD17 shipping (Aramex Shop&Ship)
+ KD1 clearance fee
Total = KD41

If you ship to your PostaPlus mailbox the total would still be around KD36. So paying KD4 more to have it first isn’t that bad of a deal. If you’re interested in picking up a Nintendo Labo, Kuwait Toys Center only had a handful in stock when I passed by so you’ve got to hurry. Check them out on instagram @kuwait_toys_center

Video Games

Far Cry 5 Out in Kuwait

I’m a huge fan of the Far Cry series and the 5th installment which is scheduled to be released worldwide on March 27 is already available in Kuwait to purchase since yesterday. In Far Cry 5 you play the role of a sheriff’s deputy who is part of a task force sent to Montana to arrest a leader of an armed religious cult. I’ve been playing the game all morning and I’m loving it so far.

If you’re interested in the game it was being sold at Rihab for KD20 yesterday. It’s also available to order online from Alfuhod and GamesQ8.