28/07/2020

๐Ÿ•น️๐Ÿ‘พ Britt's AntStream Arcade Adventure ๐Ÿ•น️๐Ÿ‘พ @AntstreamArcade #Arcade

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Antstream arcade has been around for almost a year now and it was something I was keen to get involved with. 

For those who aren’t aware of the service, it’s a subscription-based site that allows you to stream games ranging from the 8-bit home micro-computers of the 80’s such as Amstrad, Spectrum and Commodore 64 through a selection of 16-bit titles from systems such as the Amiga and Mega Drive up to an impressive amount of arcade ports that span decades. 

The presentation of the site as well as the technical support provided is quite snappy, although the search function can be slightly finicky and a more defined way of searching for certain years, systems and the like would be ideal. 

That said, one of the biggest joys I had was discovering new titles and in that sense, the slightly more scattershot approach worked for me, personally.

As the site streams the games there are no downloads to speak of and you can create regular save states that are held on a cloud. 

Whilst a huge range of controllers are supported, you can’t re-map controls which wasn’t a problem for me over the hundred or so games I played but maybe a piffling trifle for some that yearn for the start and select buttons to be up and down, you crazy guys. 

I found the controls responsive and by design very easy to pick up. Whilst there were one or two moments whereby it felt like I was let down by the controls, I’m fairly certain it’s down to the pixel-perfect platforming required in the original game design as opposed to the service itself. I have experience in this aspect, as my grey hairs will attest.
With all this accessibility, simplicity and sheer amount of solid retro gold, what true faults are there? 

Well, one of the two issues I had was the pixelation on the fading in/out on most games. I assume that this is due to the streamed nature of them. Whilst it wasn’t too much of a concern on a lot of scrolling and single-screen games when playing flip-screen and the like, it’s a really unattractive and oddly irritating feature that I never quite got used to.

Secondly - and this had far more of an impact for me - whilst it can be played via Mac, PC, Android, Nvidia Shield and Amazon Fire Stick, the systems on which I do the majority of my gaming are not currently supported, for various reasons:

Nintendo Switch - There is no mention of the Nintendo Switch support.
PlayStation 4 - Due to a successful Kickstarter campaign the PS4 will be supported in the future but there is no current ETA for this
XBOX – Microsoft have removed the app from their store and Antstream are currently trying to get it reinstated, it appears to have been offline for over a month with no sign of it re-appearing.

This final point in regards to the XBOX was a problem for me as I would get far more use out of Antstream, were it more readily available on consoles. 

Yes, as a collector I happen to have a great deal of the games available on various systems but the ease of access and quality of emulation on Antstream is a real breath of fresh air and it has afforded me to try out the Spectrum version of my beloved Gunfighter as well as given me some amazing hours on hitherto-unseen titles such as Boogie Wings (if this was re-mastered and the slowdown removed… I WOULDN’T CARE. What a game!) and Elevator Action Returns amongst others. 

Antstream also features quite thriving leader boards and it’s great fun to have a sort of universal high-score board to pit your skills at, this feature alone really makes it stand out against other ways of playing these games, especially as there is a focus on arcade titles as opposed to RPGs and strategy games which mean that quite often a high-score is the focus…as well as having fun, of course.

You can try Antstream out for a free week to see if it caresses your mantelpiece the right way and I’ve also  included a code for 50% off the monthly subscription below, should you wish to get hips deep into the retro gold.  

Looking back at some reviews that came out during the initial 2019 launch, a lot of these have been solved now with an improved search facility and the range of games and systems supported raising from 200 to well over a thousand. 

I may be on the fence mainly due to how little I game on PC these days but rest assured, when that console support hits (whether XBOX or PS4) I’ll be straight back in there…dancing around at the bottom of the scoreboards. Unfortunately.
Right, I’m off to play Gunfighter again…because it’s the best game on the Commodore 64.

If this article has piqued your interest, you can get 50% off a subscription at present by using the code – TRISTABYTES

Tristabytes is a streamer that we here at GF Towers are big fans of, you should check her out at www.linktr.ee/Tristabytes
BRITT

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