Wednesday, March 18, 2009

So, A Couple Things...

Chrontendo 19 should be ready soon. Be prepared for another cool Japan-only Konami game.

Also, I'll say thanks to the various folks who have linked to Chrontendo lately, such as the too-kind Alicia Ashby at OMGNintendo, and game creator Auntie Pixelante (one of the minds behind the Mighty Bomb Jack inspired Mighty Jill Off), who perceptively detects notes of bitterness in some episodes. Not to mention, GoNintendo, and any other fine folk I may have overlooked.

Also, a shout out to the folks at Mode7Games, who quote some Winston Churchill while discussing Chrontendo in their Visiting the Village podcast and are puzzled by my use of a SNES-era Mario as the "mascot" for Chrontendo. Though I now fear that will soon be considered the Jandek of video game bloggers or something.

Perhaps I should get around to putting some links on this page myself. Let's start with the main influence on Chrontendo: Chronogamer at Atari Age. It was his quixotic notion of playing every console game ever released that inspired me to do something similar with the Nintendo. After contemplating the project, I decided I should do something in the public sphere rather than a private playthrough of the system. Eventually, I decided to gaze straight into the abyss and document everything via a video blog.

If you are not familar with Chronogamer's blog I strongly suggest you check it out. His comprehensive, wry and insightful entries will give you a new level of appreciation for 30 year old games.

Also, thanks to the commenter who pointed out my habit of referring to Tecmo as "Temco." Unfortunately, I've had a long standing habit of mixing up the names Tecmo and Technos. But when I learned of the existence of schlock-mongers Kemco, my ability to distinguish between those three company's names went out the window. Obviously I will need to be more careful in the future. At least no one has pointed out that I referred to Taito as Namco in one episode.


KouAIdou said...

Hi, I came here from omgnintendo and watched your back catalog over the course of a week or so. Thanks for putting out such a quality project. Your approach is really refreshing.

Here's something I've been thinking about over the last few episodes. Despite the huge wave of platformers that came out in the wake of Super Mario Bros, isn't it interesting that seemingly none of them steal Mario's "Hop 'n' Bop" style of gameplay? Even more blatant stylistic ripoffs such as Hao-kun give you a projectile to fire or a sword to swing.

I'm wondering if hop 'n' bop was actually a lot harder to program properly. It seems to make sense. It would be much easier to just give a "damage" value to sword or projectile sprites than to try to map "top" and "side" to each enemy's hitbox, right?

And if that is true, it makes the initial effort of Super Mario Bros even more impressive. Putting in more time and work to make the final product seem even more simple seems to be the heart of Nintendo's design policy when they're working well.

Doctor Sparkle said...

Very perceptive comment, KouAldou. After I reached SMB in the Famicom chronology, I was expecting to come across a wave of titles with a similar jump-on-enemies mechanic. But these sorts of SMB clones never really materialized.

You are almost certainly right about the programming of the hit detection being trickier with hop 'n' bop style game play. Also, precise jumping controls seem very difficult to implement, based on the many games I've played with really awful jumping. I can only assume that to programming something like Mario's ability to jump, control the jump in midair, land perfectly on an enemy, bounce off and land on second enemy (and so on), was simply beyond the capabilities of many game developers.

Likewise, there doesn't seem to be much "advanced" platforming action on most of these games, probably because it would take too much time and effort to make a playable game. One exception is Adventure Island, which features moving platforms, running jumps, platforms that drop upon landing on them. But the controls are good enough to make it work.