Thursday, September 13, 2007

Episode 1 Released!

Chrontendo Episode 1 is now available for download! Please allow me to drop the arch, "royal we" tone of the previous post in order to make a few personal observations.

I can't really say what possessed me to take up such a lengthy and taxing project as Chrontendo. But once I had decided to play every Famicom/NES game, I felt I should somehow document my progress. For the sake of, you know, future generations. I had been inspired by some of the other video game internet shows out there, such as Consolevania and Retrocore, but really had no idea how to make a video such as those. I was aware that some sort of magic pixies lived inside my PC, and that they could use their special powers to transform images and sound into a video format that could be shared on the internet. After being quickly initiated in the dark arts of video and audio formats and compression, frame rates, aspect ratios, Flash animation and video editing software, I felt I was ready to try to throw something together.

The resulting video is a little rough around the edges. The voiceover work could certainly be better. I had no previous experience in recording my own voice, and I'm not much of a pubic speaker, so this aspect of the project was probably the most frustrating. Still, the results are listenable and the quality of the voiceovers should improve in later episodes.

Here is a short sample of Chrontendo Episode 1. I've included the introduction and the footage for Donkey Kong. The entire video may be downloaded, in much better quality, on The list of games covered in this episode may be found in my previous post.

Download full version of Chrontendo Episode 1.


Chris Sobieniak said...

Since nobody has ever really made much of an attempt to comment on this blog at all, I find it to myself I better say something to get the ball rolling on a already 2 1/2 year video (I don't have the interest to go give my review over at either, didn't join 'em anyway)!

When the Famicom did came out, it must've been quite an interesting time in Japan given the early game systems that were springing up, let alone the beginnings of the crash that were taking place in the US. Aside from Hanafuda cards and other projects that Nintendo was into for a century, there was a period when they were licensing American games for the Japanese market as well (mostly in the 70's I think). One such game that didn't sell too well due to the shyness of the public to play it was Milton Bradley's "Twister".

There was also the famous Duck Hunt game that later inspired the Famicom/NES classic.

Now on to the games!

Donkey Kong:
While the ColecoVision edition certainly was quite good for it's time in replicating much of the gameplay as possible, it also led to a big court case where Coleco defended Donkey Kong on the basis of parody over Universal's insistence the character was copying King Kong. Thankfully it was settled in Coleco's favor and the game went on brighten our lives one platform at a time!

To this day, I don't really favor the Famicom/NES edition only for not replicating everything of the arcade original I loved, and usually would never play it if it was offered by Nintendo in later console editions since they tend to use the NES version over the arcade original (unless it hasn't changed with the Virtual Console).

Still quite interesting thinking ColecoVision's DK came out a year before Nintendo's own came out in '83, the look of the sprites alone give it away how far better a port the Famicom was over CV's, but since America would not see this game until '86, we had to be contend with the CV DK for the time being.

Donkey Kong Jr.:
One of those I have fond memories of playing on the ColecoVision myself!


Also of note, when the game was released in the US, Bluto was actually called "Brutus" in the game instructions, as at the time, King Features had the thought they didn't own the right to "Bluto" due to thought that Paramount owned the rights to that character in the cartoons made by both the Fleischer and Famous studios in the 1930's to the 50's. In the early 60's, a character name "Brutus" was created and placed in new Popeye cartoons that were developed for TV syndication. The arcade cabinet design also reflects this.

Although "Game B" isn't selected, that added the addition of the Sea Hag who frequently appears on the top right of the screen and throws skulls that bounce down the platforms. Brutus is also a bit more aggressive here too so it's best to get going than to stand in one spot close by.

Unlike the arcade original, the middle ladder seen in the first level originally only went down. The Famicom/NES edition lengthens the ladder a bit so it allows Popeye to go down and up.

Chris Sobieniak said...

Interesting they would put out games like "Mahjong" despite not having been released over here. I guess if it did, they'd have to re-translate the game into English anyway (let alone using a 72-pin cartridge rom in the process). Many of those early games when the NES was launched in the US are said to be essentially the Japanese 60-pin carts with adapters on them to work with the NES's 72-pin connectors. Games like Gyromite, Popeye and others would've been this way since those games did not have any changes between their original and American releases.

Mario Bros.:
Always loved playing this on the NES. Prior to that, some versions of the game found their way to other consoles in the US such as the Atari 5200, and later the 7800 despite that system being released very late in the game when the NES was king.

Popeye Eigo no Asobi:
Not a bad game if you were 6.

Seems typical, but I'm not big into sport games personally.

Donkey Kong Jr. Math:
Same as I said about "Popeye Eigo no Asobi". In some way, I'm reminded of one I played on the ColecoVision back in the day called "Monkey Academy" by Konami. It was a fun game when you were 6, but I can see how you can get tired of that..

It is interesting when you mention the "house style" of those intros during the "Tennis" review. It seemed like between 1983-84, it was simply this way (let alone a "Made in Japan" on a few of those early titles), especially the "A" and "B" options on playing a game the way these early titles did. A few third party companies seem to copy that look into '85, but it began to get more colorful and detailed by the time we get to '86 it seems.

Doctor Sparkle said...

Man, so someone finally decided to pop the cherry on this virgin post! Well, glad to have you aboard, Chris.

Its funny, I never had a Colecovision myself, but this one department store had a display, with DK Jr being the playable game. A free video game attracts kids, so there was always a little crowd hanging around playing DK Jr. The graphics seemed so impressive at the time.

Chris Sobieniak said...

Man, so someone finally decided to pop the cherry on this virgin post! Well, glad to have you aboard, Chris.


Its funny, I never had a Colecovision myself, but this one department store had a display, with DK Jr being the playable game. A free video game attracts kids, so there was always a little crowd hanging around playing DK Jr. The graphics seemed so impressive at the time.

I was that kid too at places that would have those consoles out as well (at that time, department stores still bothered to sell different things than simply clothes and small appliances). The CV rocked and was glad to have played it a lot back then.

Steve said...

A bit of trivia on Donkey Kong. I had the Atari 2000 (early ver of 2600) and a cartridge of DK. The graphics were horrible and the movement was sticky, as you mentioned.

A couple of years ago, I read the journal of the programmer for Atari's version. All they did was send him an actual arcade unit! So he had to program the entire game and do so in a rush for Atari (obviously worried about Coleco). He even did the math to try to approximate the arc of Mario as he jumps. Not very easy, but programmers still apparently use his formula for other "gravity arcs" in their games.

If only I could remember the guy's name...

A quiet NES geek,


Johnny7 said...

congratulations for his work, I need a complete guide where there are Jap, Usa, Eur games with their dates, for example: Donkey Kong (JP) July 15, 1983; 10-Yard Fight (USA) October 18, 1985; Excitebike (Eur) September 1, 1986 etc.
Please write me at
I also started making a list that I can show you if you want.
Thank you.