Chrontendo FAQ

I occasionally get emails, messages, comments, etc asking specific questions about Chrontendo, so I've created this Chrontendo FAQ to address these. I hope this will be helpful to newcomers, especially those who learned of Chrontendo's existence on Youtube, and thus are not familiar with the blog. So take a gander and learn what Chrontendo is, where it came from, and where it's going. This page is mostly taken from earlier posts and reformatted into a complete repository of Chrontendo lore.

Q: What is Chrontendo?

A: Chrontendo is an attempt to play, and then talk about, every videogame released for the Famicom and NES. This is being done in chronological order, from the three Famicom launch titles in July 1983 to the final NES games in 1994. Unofficial releases, betas, hacks, etc will not be counted, but a number of unauthorized games, such as all the Tengen titles, will be included.

Q: What is the last NES game released, anyway?

A: I wish I knew. The games are being covered in order of their first appearance. Thus Wario's Woods, released in December 1994, will not be the final game, since it came out in Japan in February 1994. The last batch of new games to be released in the US came out in August 1994. There were some new titles released in Europe in 1994, but the release dates are unknown.

Q: What are Chronsega and Chronturbo?

At some point, I realized that only playing NES games would present an incomplete picture of console gaming as it existed at that point. So I began a second series, Chronsega, covering the Sega Master System, and later, Chronturbo, covering the PC Engine/TurboGrafx 16. Episodes come out less frequently since there were fewer games for those systems. In Chronsega Episode 8, we started covering Mega Drive/Genesis games as well.

Q: Why on Earth are you doing this? What is the incredible true origin story of Chrontendo?

A: Back in 2007 I found myself unemployed after the company I worked for -- a long-standing business that I was fanatically devoted to -- declared bankruptcy and was liquidated.  I was unemployed for several months and feeling uprooted and untethered.  Since unemployment provides ample opportunities for wasting time, I started reading a few video game sites on a regular basis.   There were two direct inspirations for Chrontendo: a fellow on the Atari Age forums called Chronogamer, and more directly, an ongoing series by Scott Jacobi in Retrogaming  Times Monthly called Nintendo Realm (see here for the first column.), which contained brief write-ups of every Famicom game, in chronological order.  Jacobi stopped the column in 2007 after reaching September 1986, around the same time Chrontendo debuted.  There was also another, short lived attempt by someone else to do the same thing, from a guy called Xaqar.

The thing that struck me was that old video games had gone from being poorly documented pop-culture relics (until the 2000s, how many people knew anything about the NES' Japanese doppelgänger? Or gave even a second thought to the fact that there might be bunch of videogames that came out in Japan but not the US?) to being a rigorously documented cultural phenomenon.   Think about this: it wasn't that long ago that a game such as Custer's Revenge was virtually an urban legend. Supposedly it existed, but you didn't know anyone who had actually played it or ever seen a copy.  It could have been a hoax, and the very idea of a porno game for the Atari 2600 sounded pretty unlikely.  Now, of course, you can go online and in a matter of seconds turn up screenshots, scans of the box, even the ROM itself.   It was the same with the NES on a much larger scale.  Weird, old Japanese NES games?  Not only did they really exist, but you could easily find a list containing the name and exact release date of every such game.  Suddenly, all those old NES carts sitting in a shoebox in your closet became pieces in a much larger picture.  It occurred to me that a chronological list of Famicom games was not just a random collection of game titles, but a tool for telling a story.  It would be the story of how the Famicom went from simple games like Donkey Kong to epics like StarTropics II.  The story would show not only the development of the Famicom, but also the development of modern video games in general.

Since videogames are an audio/visual medium, I felt a series of videos would be the best format to use.

The first episode was posted in September 2007. The blog post announcing it may be seen here.

Q: Where does the name "Dr. Sparkle" come from?

A: It's rather silly story. It was inspired by a goth club in San Francisco called Dark Sparkle.  For clarification purposes: I myself am not a member of the leather and latex brigade, but I know people who are.  I have attended various Goth-themed events, including a Goth wedding and Goth day at Disneyland. The confused looks on so many tourists' faces made the Disneyland thing worthwhile.  Anyway... I had a theory that many great '70s rock bands had the word "Doctor" in their names. Dr. Hook, Dr. John, Dr. Feelgood, Dr. Strangely Strange, Doctors of Madness, and of course, Dr. Teeth.  Thus, Dr. Sparkle seemed like the best possible name for a really awesome glam-boogie band from the 1970s.  Since I would never be starting up a glam-boogie band, I hijacked the name for this project.

Q: Where are Episodes 1, 2, etc? Why are the episodes in a weird order?

A: Folks who found Chrontendo via Youtube might not be aware that it is also hosted on Archive.org. The full list of all Chrontendo episodes, is available here. When I first started Chrontendo, Youtube had a ten minute limit on video length. Archive had no such limits, so Chrontendo episodes were hosted exclusively on Archive until Youtube allowed longer videos. The first full length episode posted to Youtube was Chronsega 6 in February 2011. Chrontendo 36 followed shortly.

Archive doesn't organize the videos well, so if you are looking for a particular episode, use the ol' control-F. Episode 1 is here. I am uploading all episodes, bit by bit, on Youtube in reverse order. There will be nicely organized playlists eventually.

For the record, if you are looking to download Chrontendo episodes, Archive is the way to go. The later episodes are available in high quality 60 frames/sec h.264 versions, which look much nicer than they do on Youtube.

There is an excellent, but incomplete Chrontendo episode list here. Unfortunately, the author has not updated it in some time.
 
Q: Will there ever be a Chron-Game Boy? Chron-2600? Chron-7800? What about a Chron-C64? etc....

A: I have no plans for any additional Chron- series. However, Chrontendo does have an arcade round-up and computer game round-up for each year. We'll probably see the 1989 round-ups very soon. The first year of Game Boy releases was covered in Episode 44. There will be occasional brief Game Boy updates in future episodes of Chrotendo.

Prior to Chrontendo I covered every CD-i game in a series called Chron-CD-i. Unfortunately, angry fanboys stole my computer and deleted every single episode off my hard drive. The only thing to escape deletion was this fragment of one episode.

Q: What's the music that plays in each episode?

A: The opening is UFO by ESG.

The between game music is Tin Cans (Puerto Rican Remix) by Tortoise

There is a longer version of the between game music I sometimes use.  Technically the track used is 3030 by Deltron 3030, but 90% of the music in that clip is sampled from an old classical/electronic fusion album called Lux Aeterna from William Sheller, who later went on to make a lot questionable pop music.

Occasionally, other music may be used to jokingly allude to a game's title.

Lastly, the end music is a live version of "Vitamin C" by Can.  For the longest time I couldn't remember exactly where this track was taken from, but I have finally found it again - it was from a May 1973 performance in Paris.  This version has a wild guitar part which doesn't have a counterpart on the LP version of Vitamin C, so the clip I used isn't easily identifiable.  Going forward, I'll list the music details in the credits of each episode.

Q: Are you ever going to fix Episode 7?

A: On this blog, I've had a lot of comments asking when I will upload a fixed version of Episode 7, which is missing a game, Ninja Hattori Kun. Somehow, during editing, that section was overlooked. The problem is that its a boring game and I don't have much to say about it. Also, I'm biased against that game since "Ninja Hattori" was one of the top search terms that brought people to this site by accident  It's quite surprising, the sheer number of folks who come in from a screenshot on Google Images. I don't think this site is quite what they were looking for, but who knows?  I'm just baffled at how many folks are looking for info on Ninja Hattori Kun.

Q: How do I contact you?

A: Post a comment on the Chrontendo blog or email me at dizzoctersparkle@gmail.com.

10 comments:

Eugene Judas said...

in regards to the mention of a chrongameboy...

i'm actually in the process of doing exactly that. thought you may be interested.

proudhug said...

You didn't actually answer the question about Episode 7. You just talked about why it's unpleasant to think about replaying the game and editing it in. Is that a "No" or a "Someday, but it's something I'm dreading so it's at the bottom of my priorities"?

Joe Gutierrez said...

Very cool FAQ, I always wanted to know where the name "Dr. Sparkle" came from since the two words seemed randomly matched. Now, how about a photo?

Keep up the great work! Interestingly, I also discovered your video series while being unemployed and took advantage to watch every episode. Now, I look forward to every new episode.

lepakking said...

Why the Chron? Hmm yeah the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis should be covered. Hahaha Sega Master System. Yuck. The Nintendo Entertainment System has better offerings other than better manuals that's a fait accompli.

The reason why video games are not well-archived is because gaming is the least popular activity at least outside the East.

But some of them have been really good and as a gifted and dedicated player now looking for other things to do I may still put them up later on my channel if I could find the time.

Also the girls in so many fighting games I notice have mostly been weak and as a lover more than a fighter I will support them too.

PS Those identified filthy pigs with hooves should stay out of this exquisite hobby and take to mud baths and eating as they are always seen doing. And being slaughtered at the end too hahahaha. Not just getting owned.

Mr. Tose said...

I can sorta guess why Ninja Hattori Kun brought some attention over. It is a fairly common game featured on bootleg Famicom multicarts, and a good portion of retrogaming enthusiasts grew up on these unlicensed Famiclones.

Additionally, those pirates often had a discerning taste in games (at least for the single game carts), so certain games no one would otherwise think of are remembered by some of the above people. Some of the games they brought up include the Kunio Kun Soccer League (not Nintendo World Cup), the Kunio Kun Ice Hockey game, and some TOSE classics like Toxic Crusaders.

Davis Jimbo said...
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Davis Jimbo said...

I hope Doctor Sparkle does Super Chrontendo eventually. The SNES/Super Famicom is my favorite console ever.