Monday, March 3, 2014


Let me point out that, first of all, the new episode of Chrontendo is ready. You can download it in glorious 60 FPS in its purest version here on Archive.  Or you can stream an inferior, yet HD version on Youtube. Take your pick. I'll warn you that the Youtube version might screw up various flicker effects however.

Before I go into the specifics of the new episode, I'd like the discuss the obvious question that many of you might have, "Why was there such a huge delay with Episode 47? What exactly have you been doing for the last several months?" Should I even attempt to answer these kinds of questions? On one hand, Chrontendo is something I do on my own time, absolutely free of charge. I can stop doing it anytime I want, no questions asked. On the other hand, Chrontendo isn't really free. I've asked something very precious of you: your time. I've created these videos, and you've invested your time watching them. Since so many of you have graciously invested many hours of your own lives on Chrontendo, I feel I owe you a great deal.

An idea of how much editing goes into a long complicated segment like "Mother."

The simplest answer I can give you is that I've been busy with life in general. Dr. Sparkle is a guy with a wife, two dogs, a full time job,  a daily commute through traffic, a sink that is always full of dirty dishes, a mother who's not in the best of health, a mother-in-law and father-in-law who aren't in good health, a lawn where the weeds never stop growing, floors that always need the to have dog hair vacuumed off of them, laundry that always needs to be goes on and on.  Every day I get up, rush off to work, arrive home in the afternoon, have a bit of time to relax, then start making dinner, eat dinner, do dishes, and then... the day is over.

Don't get me wrong; I do have free time to do things I enjoy. I often haunt the beer stores, looking for the latest beers to arrive. If you love beer, you need this kind of persistence, and sometimes it pays off. I was able to score a few bottles of The Abyss recently, as well six-packs of Bourbon County Stout, the Firestone Walker limited release beers; all kinds of great stuff. I also enjoy shopping for records. My town has about 5 good record stores, and good records are like good beers: they go fast. You need to spend a lot of time shopping. I also bought a fancy record cleaning machine recently, and let me tell you, scrubbing records takes time. I spend a lot of time listening to music, reading though music sites, listening to music on Youtube, checking sites for pre-orders of limited edition LPs, and so on. Music is a time consuming hobby.
This is what a fancy record cleaning machine looks like. And it's the first LP of All Things Must Pass, German pressing, in case you're wondering.

Another time-consuming hobby: playing videogames. Sometimes I like to like to play non-NES games. Also, watching movies. I'm paying for Netflix, so I might as well try to use it. I'm so far behind on my movies, I haven't even seen that last Batman movie yet. And don't even talk to about the stuff I've bought during Steam sales or on Humble Bundle. (Suuurre, I'll get around to playing Spelunky one of these days.)

It looks bad, then I remember all the Humble Bundle game codes I haven't redeemed yet...
Here's the scariest thing of all: as you get older, time seems to contract. For you younger folks out there: this phenomenon is real and it will take you by surprise. The older you get, the faster time moves. Weeks feel like days, months feel like weeks. I'm not joking. It will happen to you, and when it does it will be terrifying. At some point, you will realize you're used up about 50% of your life, and then the panic sets in. There's no way you can prepare for this, so consider yourself warned.

On top of all this, I think I got out of the habit of working on Chrontendo when I tore apart my office. The computer I use to create Chrontendo on was unplugged for a while, and once I got everything set back up, it wasn't easy to get back into the flow.  Not that I'm trying to blame outside circumstances. There's only one reason for the delay, and that's me.  Procrastination, laziness, bad work habits -- these things are what caused the recent slowdown.

I've made a commitment to get episodes out more frequently, and also to release more content on the Youtube channel. For the sake of the viewers I will do my best to fulfill that commitment.

I'll keep the rest of this brief. Three big games this episode:


Nintendo's first RPG. While Mother is clearly inspired by Dragon Quest, Nintendo attempted to make it stand out from the many other DQ clones by giving it a 20th century American setting and a storyline involving alien abductions. Mother was created by the Japanese writer/media personalty Shigesato Itoi, which gave the game a bit more prestige in the public's eye. The crazy thing about Itoi was that he became famous as a copy writer. That is, a guy who writes the text for advertisements. The idea of a famous copy writer sounds pretty absurd to us here in the West, but somehow in Japan it was a real possibility. Hardcore Gaming 101 did a pretty good look at Itoi recently. It's essential reading if you want understand who this guy is and why his involvement with Nintendo was a big deal.


Just like Bionic Commando, Capcom created two separate games called Strider: one for the arcade and one for the NES. The arcade Strider is non-stop action, while the home version focuses more on story and exploration. Unlike Bionic Commando, the NES Strider is clearly inferior to the arcade version. It's mostly a well made game, but lacks that little bit of magic that made the console Bionic Commando so great.

Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Grafitti

A bit of an oddity, SWG is one of those "parody" games, in which a serious game is given a goofy, super-deformed makeover. But this isn't a quickie knockoff of the original Splatterhouse; it's a completely new action platformer which borrows a number of elements from the original, but still manages to feel very different than the arcade game.


Cobra Triangle

Yet another NOA game developed by Rare. Once again we are treated to Rare's beloved isometric perspective. Also, the title seems to be two random words thrown together, in the classic Rare tradition.

Cosmic Wars

A rather obtuse military strategy game in the Famicom Wars/Military Madness tradition.  Cosmic Wars is mostly remembered for being a Gradius spinoff, though it seems pretty well constructed.

Takeda Shingen 2/Shingen the Ruler

The second game in Hot-B's short lived series of Nobunaga's Ambition knock-offs. In fact, this is the last game in the series. Unlike the first one, Takeda Shingen 2 received a US release. You might recall something very similar happened with the Black Bass series.

Moeru! Oniisan/Circus Caper

The weirdest game this episode, in terms of its release history. Moeru! Oniisan was an awful looking platformer based on an anime series. For reasons unknown, publisher Toho decided to have the game completely reworked and released in the US as Circus Caper. The extent to which everything in the game has been altered is surprising. Yet the resulting product is so unappealing and terrible, I don't understand why they bothered.

Captain Ed

Another extremely strange game, Captain Ed is one of the least visually interesting shoot-em-ups I've seen in a while. The mechanics are also quite strange, as the background poses a greater threat to you than the actual enemies do. Even odder, all these bizarre mini games are thrown in, which have nothing to do with the shoot-em-up sections.


Classic kusoge-style port of a Taito arcade game, courtesy of our good buddies at Micronics.

Kyuukyoku Tiger/Twin Cobra

Exact same thing as above, only the game is not as bad. We already saw a better port of this game in Chronturbo 3.

Defender of the Crown

Published on Konami's second label Ultra Games, this is a port of the 1985 Amiga hit. It sort of reminds me of a landlocked dumbed down version of Sid Meier's Pirates.

Magma Project - Hacker

Rather improbably, this is a port of Hacker, the old Activision C64 game, reconfigured into the form of an RPG. The lone FDS game this episode.

Melville's Flame

An unpleasant looking RPG/Strategy game hybrid that resembles Square's Hanjuku Hero (covered in Episode 38.

 Famista '89: Kaimaku Han!!

Namco's Family Stadium series has now officially been rebranded as Famista.

Meimon! Daisan Yakyuubu

A nicer looking anime tie-in baseball game from Bandai, developed by Human.

There we go. Another 15 games. Next time, we finish up August and move into September 1989.