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Have you ever wanted to work in video games? Well that's what the guys at GameBizCo Inc. do. Literally.

Join the cast of Another Videogame Webcomic as we peek behind the curtain to see what exactly goes into bringing your favorite video games to the small screen. It may be a job in video games, but it's still a job.

Super Stardust Portable

Platform: PSP
Price: $9.99 plus $4.99 for the expansion

Super Stardust Portable is the PSP version of Super Stardust HD for the PS3, which is an update to the Amiga classic, Super Stardust, which is a sequel to Stardust (also for the Amiga) which is a clone of the arcade classic Asteroids. Which, I guess, is a really complicated way of saying Super Stardust Portable plays a lot like Asteroids with better graphics (but also inferior graphics to its HD predecessor).

If you're looking for a plot, you're playing the wrong game. Super Stardust Portable is pure old-fashioned arcade action. You pilot a ship and use your weapons to break down and eventually destroy the asteroids that surround you as well as the various enemies and bosses that stand in your way. It's not terribly complex gameplay, but then again, Donkey Kong was just climbing up platforms and avoiding obstacles to rescue a damsel in distress.

The game initially offers three modes of play, Arcade, Planet and Impact. In Arcade, you navigate your ship through five phases of the initial planet (or stages), unlocking more planets as you progress. In Planet, you can choose any of the planets you've unlocked and play for a high score. In Impact, which is exclusive to the PSP version, your weapons are disabled and you use the ship's boost capability to cause as much destruction as possible.

I say "initially" because there are three additional modes, Survival, Endless and Bomber, which are offered as an downloadable content for $4.99. I'm all for downloadable content, but in this case it feels like Sony's trying to nickel and dime us. In many cases, downloadable content is used to extend the gameplay experience, to offer additional content that couldn't be included because of development schedules. This doesn't seem to be the case here because the game keeps statistics of the various modes played and all three additional modes show up on those screens. So it feels like these extra modes were originally planned for the game but left out to squeeze another five bucks out of willing gamers.

But that doesn't take away from the gameplay of the modes that are included. Each of the phases are fast-paced and frenetic which only get more hectic the further you progress. The console version makes use of the PS3 controller's dual analog sticks to both navigate and fire your weapon, but since the PSP only has one analog stick, the weapons are mapped to the face buttons. It's not a perfect solution to the control scheme, but it gets the job done.

The graphics are another thing that's changed from the PS3 version. Since the PSP is obviously less powerful than it's console cousin, the graphics aren't as crisp or as spectacular. That's not to say the portable version is bad by any stretch of the imagination. They're just not as good. But you'll most likely be preoccupied with trying not to die to notice.

Rating

Although I was disappointed that ten bucks doesn't get you the entire game, I found the amount of game that was included to be a lot of fun. I found myself picking up and playing Super Stardust Portable when I had a few minutes here and there. It's a perfect game to play without having to worry about where you left off or playing for big chunks of time. In that regard, it's a great portable game. That combined with the fact that the PSP is sorely lacking in great games (or really, any games), I'm giving this one a "buy".

Recommendations

For the second week in a row, I've got no other recommendations for you fine readers. I mean, I guess you could always try to find an Asteroids arcade cabinet... but the chances of you finding an arcade, let alone an arcade with an Asteroids cabinet is pretty slim.

Player Two

After the resurgence of multiplayer co-op, GameBizCo Inc. hired Player Two to be the Goose to someone else's Maverick. His workload isn't quite as heavy as most of the other people working at GameBizCo Inc. and as a result, he spends a lot of time in the break room or playing computer solitaire.
First Appearance: Another Videogame Webcomic?!? An Introduction

Player One

Player One is top dog at GameBizCo Inc. Nearly every game, from Pong to Mario Bros to Grand Theft Auto, requires Player One's expertise. His cocksure and sometimes inappropriate attitude is an annoyance to his coworkers but seeing as every game needs a first player, they make due.
First Appearance: Bonus Stage! Here comes Player One!

Damsel I. Distress

Whether it be a castle, a dungeon or mystical island, Damsel always needs to be saved... and she hates it. Damsel longs for the day when she's given the role of a strong female lead character who doesn't have huge breasts with hyper accurate physics.
First Appearance: LittleBIGPlanet

Final Boss

Underneath the huge brute that is Final Boss lies a timid creature who wouldn't hurt a fly. He puts on his "angry face" when throwing barrels down ramps or breathing fire but deep down he feels sorry for doing so. He's been known to throw a game or two in the player's favor.
First Appearance: World Record

John Minion

John Minion, or Min for short, is the hardest working employee at GameBizCo Inc. Playing everything from Goombas to no name thugs, Min gets beat up on a daily basis but loves every minute of it. He always wanted to work in the gaming industry and was originally hired as an intern. After years of getting coffee, his big break came when someone called in sick... and the rest is history.
First Appearance: Watchmen: The End is Nigh

Middle Manager

Middle Manager works in the Human Resources department. He runs staff meetings and interviews prospective employees. The other 90% of his time is spent playing Freecell on his computer.
First Appearance: Another Videogame Webcomic?!? An Introduction

pimptour
@pimptour
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Joe Dunn
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@DougBenson Good Times, Full House, Mr. Belvedere and Family Matters? Thought Belvedere was Growing Pains at first. :/
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Irv Fabor
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Fuck around and find out is literally the best thing that has happened in this day and age!
03 Feb 2023