In the early 90s, times were simpler. The internet was a baby. Phones were only used for phone calls. “Cutting edge graphics” meant “256 colors”. And at the time, a small company called Silicon & Synapse came together around the simple idea of creating the types of games people at the company liked to play.
With that as a mantra, this small group of developers, in the span of just a few years, created a series of games that ended up being very popular with gamers and critics alike. These games were The Lost Vikings, Rock N Roll Racing, and Blackthorne.
Today we call ourselves Blizzard Entertainment and, to celebrate our 30th anniversarye anniversary, we are re-releasing these three original games on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 through backward compatibility – updated with the kind of modern conveniences, like rewinding and recording, that weren’t available back then.
We call this epic little set the Blizzard Arcade Collection, and if you pick it up on PlayStation Store as a standalone pack or as part of the Blizzard 30-Year Celebration Collection (which features a set of in-game goodies for Overwatch and Diablo III), you’ll be treated to a very entertaining preview of the colorful design, satisfying gameplay and wry humor that would soon evolve into our signature development style and come to life in games from the Warcraft, Diablo and StarCraft universes and more!
What are these classic games you are talking about?
In The Lost Vikings, you (and a friend or two, if you wish) take on the roles of Erik the Quick, Olaf the Stout, and Baelog the Fierce, three fearless Vikings who must use their various abilities in co-op (ring a bell , Overwatch players?) To solve hundreds of puzzles, escape their captor – the vile Tomator, defeat their enemies, and take a treacherous journey home.
Originally released in 1993, The Lost Vikings highlights the creative ability-based teamwork that would resonate not only in Overwatch, but also in Blizzard’s overall approach to co-op multiplayer game design – seen today in all things Heroes of the Storm (of course, given that it features the Lost Vikings as a playable hero), World of Warcraft, Diablo III and more.
Also originally released in 1993, Rock N Roll Racing puts you (and a friend or two or three, if you like) behind the wheel in an over the top demolition racing experience. Each player chooses from a selection of drivers with different talents and chooses from a set of customizable cars, each equipped with an evolving arsenal designed to help them outsmart and literally destroy the competition as they navigate a series of Crazy trapped race tracks while swinging to an epic rock and metal soundtrack.
With its loud host (the only one of its kind Larry “Supermouth” Huffman, who provided additional voiceovers for this release) and gladiator-style racing action, Rock N Roll Racing is a seamless throwback to an earlier era of the game that feels as relevant and compelling today as it did almost 30 years ago – if for no other reason than that, this is Blizzard’s very first game to feature an orc, which would become one of the races powerhouses of the Warcraft universe (+5 trivia points!).
Blackthorne focuses on the story of Kyle “Blackthorne” Vlaros, a deadly commando equipped with brute force, animal cunning, a glorious mane, a mysterious past, and an increasingly powerful shotgun. As the eponymous main character, you must fight to claim your destiny, dodging and making your way through a futuristic 2D alien world overrun by mutant monsters and hordes of goblins, in a fierce effort to free its people. .
When released in September 1994, Blackthorne was praised for its somber tone, detailed graphics, smooth action, and sophisticated gameplay, including the hero’s ability to “look out” shooting at enemies behind him. Blackthorne will be ported to PC a few months later, technically making it the first PC game release developed by Blizzard (Blizzard has established itself separately as an official publishing label with Warcraft: Orcs & Humans.® in November 1994).
Original editions AND final editions? Keep on going . . .
All three games in the Blizzard Arcade collection come in their original editions and have upgraded the definitive editions as well. Custom button mapping and the ability to rewind for up to 10 seconds are available in both original and final editions of each game. Each version of the games, except the Definitive Edition of Rock N Roll Racing, includes also the ability to save progress anywhere.
One of the most notable features of the original editions of The Lost Vikings and Blackthorne is the “watch mode”, which allows you to watch part of the game and take control at any time.
Beyond that, the definitive editions of each game take the experience even further. The Definitive Edition of the Lost Vikings brings together the best aspects of the various original console versions of the game, combining the superior audio and visual experience of the first version with the additional scenes and cutscenes, and support for up to three local co-op players, which have been added in a later version.
The Definitive Edition of Rock N Roll Racing adds environmental effects, such as snow and rain, and allows up to four players, up from two in the original edition, to compete in local multiplayer. It also increases the number of circuits to 384 variations, supports 16: 9 resolution and adds actual recordings of songs from the game’s soundtrack, as well as new songs and new “Loudmouth Larry” voiceover clips for that players can tear up the tracks.
Taking inspiration from Blizzard’s real-time strategy games, the Blackthorne Definitive Edition Features a “fog of war” map that uncovers as players explore each level, adding an even greater sense of suspense and achievement to the Blackthorne adventure.
To top things off, the Blizzard Arcade Collection has a digital museum packed with a bunch of great bonus materials, including in-game artwork, development resources, unused content, knowledge, developer interviews, and more. .
Whether you’re a Blizzard game veteran or just looking for a quick and compelling explosion of fun, the Blizzard Arcade Collection features three distinct and tasty ’90s console classics that have long been expected for another look.
Pick it up today on PlayStation Store – or if you are an Overwatch or Diablo III player on PlayStation, The Blizzard 30-Year Celebration Collection might just be the best fit, as it will net you the Blizzard Arcade Collection with an in-game bonus for both. games, including a pet, transmog set, and wings for Diablo III, as well as a legendary Reinhardt skin, commemorative spray and icon, and classic and gold loot boxes for Overwatch.
Whichever path to the past you choose, we think you’ll love what you find there!