Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Inter-Holiday Greetings!

We are poised in the tiny space between Christmas and New Years, so I thought I'd quickly dash off a brief post.  I hope everyone had a cheerful Christmas, despite the severe weather much of the country has been experiencing.  Here in the blessed realm of Northern California we've been (for the most part) lucky.  Despite heavy rains and howling winds, I haven't seen much locally in the way of flooding or overturned trees, compared to the last big storm five years ago.  December 25th was one of those eerily dark winter days.  Even at noon, with the curtains open and the Christmas lights lit up, a weird gloominess had settled in; it looked more dusk than daylight.

For anyone out there in Japan, I hope you were able to get your hands on the traditional KFC dinner.

My own Christmas celebration didn't turn out quite as planned.  My father-in-law suffered a minor heart attack on Christmas Eve, and we were told he would be undergoing "heart surgery" on Christmas.  This turned out to be not quite true.  When I spoke to his nurse on Christmas night, I learned he only had a couple stents inserted.  Anyway, Christmas dinner was scheduled to take place at my house. My wife's family wanted to delay it until later on Christmas evening, and then, on the afternoon of the 25th, asked if they could come by on the 26th instead.  As a result we ended up doing Christmas dinner twice.  Not what I was planning, but, hey, it happens.

Bubble Bobble?  On the Master System? No way, dude!

Those of you who listened to Chrontendo 35 know that our next episode will be Chronsega 6, covering summer/fall 1988.  It's going to be sort of an odd episode: heavy on ports of arcade and computer games, including a surprising number of non-Sega titles.   Yep, just as Sega is getting ready to pull the plug on the Master System in Japan, they start getting third party support.  Of course, Sega would continue to promote the console in the US, Europe, Brazil and other parts of the world.

So -- have a nice New Years. Please keep in mind the dangers of drinking and driving.  I'll post something more substantial in a few days from now.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Grateful Turtles and Peacock Kings (Updated!)

(12/23/2010: Apparently some dudes want to watch this on their iPads or whatever, so I've re-encoded the H.264 version with AAC audio, which is actually the standard for MP4 AVC.  Let me know if there are any problems.  Also: Merry Christmas and happy holidays!)

Let's get the important news out of the way first.  Chrontendo 35 is ready to download or stream on

Pardon me for engaging in some personal chatter for a moment, but a few posts back Kevin Moon/K8track made a comment about the Ad Hoc fried chicken recipe.  Ad Hoc has become quite famous for their fried chicken nights, and the recipe is supposed to be one of the best.  I've finally decided to try making it, despite not really being much into deep frying.  The "secret weapon" in the recipe is the elaborate brine the chicken soaks in, which makes the chicken almost too juicy.  Still, it turned out exceptionally delicious.  As my wife said while eating it, "I don't want it to end!"

And something else new: a commenter on Youtube suggested I upload Chrontendo episodes in 60 frames per second H.264 format. That's certainly not a bad idea.  I'm all one for newer technologies, and H.264 is pretty promising.  So, if you want the high quality 60 fps video, just download the H.264 MP4 file instead of the AVI.  Thus you will be able to see the fast flickering effects sometimes employed, such as the shadows in Bayou Billy.  And despite being slightly smaller than the AVI file, the quality is just about perfect.  I suppose most video players can handle MP4, but if you need one I recommend VLC.

Previously I had noted the end of Konami's "Exciting" sports series by pointing out it was no huge loss.  Well, perhaps I spoke to soon.  Konami didn't so much stop making the Exciting sports games as they just changed the name of the series.  I noticed that this episode's Konami tennis game bore the title of Konamic Tennis.  Konamic is a rather goofy portmanteau of "Konami" and "dynamic."   But other than the name, Konamic Tennis is really no different than any of Konami's previous FDS sports games, and even has an "Exciting Mode" among the game play options.  Then it turned out that the Japanese title for Track and Field II was Konamic Sports in Seoul, and that of Blades of Steel was Konamic Hockey.  So the Exciting sports games still live, under a new name.

As you know, every episode we single out one particular game as the best, most interesting, or historically important game.  So moving right along, this week's MVP game is...


That's right.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.  No game really sticks out this episode of being worthy of taking the top prize.  It's not that there aren't some decent games this time around. It's just that nothing here really qualifies as a great game.

We do have some reasonably good games, however, so let's take a look at those.

Mad City/The Adventures of Bayou Billy


What kind of idiot would go mano-a-diente with a fucking crocodile!?

They can't all be winners, and Konami's first beat-em-up is a bit of a misstep compared to its last few big action games.  Bayou Billy is one of Konami's least loved 8-bit games.  In fact, it's hated far and wide, mostly for its "lack of balance," tediousness, and patchwork-like quality.

Bayou Billy's ending.  It really exists!

However, the original Japanese game, Mad City, is fun and breezy by comparison.  Enemies go down in 3 or 4 hits, the driving levels are much shorter, and at no point are you required to fight alligators*.  For reasons unknown, Konami substantially ramped up the difficulty for the US version of Mad City.   Perhaps it was an effort the lengthen the game and give it more "value."   As a result, even the weakest minions in Bayou Billy now take around ten hits to kill, and the vehicular segments have become grueling endurance tests.   In this episode we actually play through a translated version of Mad City, and even get the see the alternate endings!

Ancient Ys Vanished


Thrilling RPG action.

The beloved Falcom action RPG gets its first console port.   Unfortunately, the job was handed to Advance Communication, the same guys who made the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde game.  The results are pretty disappointing, at least to anyone who's played a better version of Ys, such at the TurboGrafx 16 disc or Ys Eternal.  Since Ys exists in so many different forms, we include a whirlwind tour of the many different releases of this game.

Konamic Sports in Seoul/Track and Field II

This console only sequel to Hyper Olympic/Track and Field relies on the same button mashing formula as its predecessor. Some of the same events return, some new events are added, and the character sprites are bigger.  No surprises here, but a decent amount of fun can still be had.

Super Pinball

Giant robots everywhere. Even in pinball games.

Now here is a surprise!  A nice little pinball game from Coconuts Japan.  It's no Devil's Crush, but it's better than Moon Ball Magic.  With a total of 6 different screens, including 4 "hidden" ones, and various little mini games thrown in, Super Pinball is actually quite enjoyable.

While there may not have been any great games this episode, we have no paucity of terrible games.

Matou no Houkai: The Hero of Babel

 He even jumps like Simon Belmont.

The one game this episode that rubs me the wrong way,  Matou no Hokai is from the good folks at Carry Lab, who had previously brought us Mystery Quest, a clever little game which owed a huge debt to Super Mario Bros.  Matou no Hokai, on the other hand is a terrible little trifle that shamelessly rips off the Castlevania games.  And when I say "rips off..." I don't mean "inspired by...."   So blatant is its debt to Castlevania that not only do you get powerups by destroying wall-mounted torches and smashing blocks in walls, but the first boss is the goddamned Grim Reaper!   He even throws sickles at you!

To get an idea of what Matou no Hokai is like, just imagine Castlevania with all the good parts taken out (atmospheric graphics, great music, fun boss battles) and all the bad parts left in and magnified (stiff controls, annoying and hard to hit enemies), and then throw in some brand new problems (clunky menus, the fact that one minute into the game you have to grind for XP.)   Needless to say, I don't like this game.

Super Dyna'mix Badminton

From VAP and sometimes Nintendo collaborator Pax Softnica, we have this incompetently made badminton game.  Just how lazy were the game's developers?  There is an option to choose the sex of your player, but apparently no female player sprite was ever created:  All players are represented with the same masculine looking sprite.  Considering that the box art used the image of a pretty young blond woman, this omission is a little odd.

Kujaku Ou


Killer Mermaids.

Based on a manga, animated film, and live action Kung Fu film (!), Kujaku Ou is another poorly executed attempt to combine a Portopia style adventure game with an RPG (see also, Square's Cleopatra no Mahou.)  SMS aficionados might think Kujaku Ou looks a little familiar -- it was reworked as an action game and released by Sega as Spellcaster.

And the rest:

Reigen Doushi/Phantom Fighter

When I started Chrontendo I had no idea that I would encounter multiple games based on jiang-shi AKA Chinese hopping vampires.  Yet, back in Chrontendo 22 we had Kyonshiizu II, adapted from the Japanese version of Hello Dracula.  Now we have Reigen Doushi, the official licensed game of Mr. Vampire, which is pretty much the greatest movie ever made.  Improbably released in the US under the name Phantom Fighter, the game itself is nothing special.  But it is kind of cool to play as a Lam Ching Ying.

Kame no Ongaeshi: Urashima Densetsu/Xexyz

You ride into battle on your flying lobstermobile.

Another obscure game that received a US release despite its heavy Asian subject matter.  The Japanese game is based on the legendary turtle-saving fisherman Urashima Tarō.  Much like Toei's Mr Gold from Episode 33, the plot of this Hudson game essentially just "Urashima in space."  Hudson was apparently at a loss on how to market this in the US, so they changed the title to some random gibberish and renamed the hero as "Apollo."

Xexyz is a pretty slick looking game that alternates between platforming and shootemup stages.  Developed by Atlus, it resembles 1987's Bio Senshi Dan; both titles are near-misses.  Some weird jumping mechanics,  a few bugs,and general lameness in the shmump levels prevent Xexyz from achieving greatness.

Maniac Mansion

A port of the classic LucasArts adventure game -- but not the version you are used to seeing.  Two years before LucasArts and Realtime developed their own version for the NES, Jaleco took a stab at it themselves.  The 1988 Maniac Mansion was only released in Japan, and didn't experience the same censorship issues as the later US release.  However, Jaleco's game suffers from a general lack of personality in the graphics, and the fact that multi-screen rooms are compressed down to a single screen in size.   While hardly an ideal port, it is kind of cool to see an alternate version of one of the NES' most popular games.

Kick and Run

A harmless little port of a virtually forgotten Taito arcade soccer game.  After having played this, I wonder if this formed the template for Soccer League: Winner's Cup from last episode.  The two games look and handle very much alike.

Eggerland - Souzouhe no Tabidachi

Remember how we had a new Eggerland game last episode?  Well, here's another, this time for the Famicom Disk Writer.  This shorter, easier game is the budget release in the Eggerland series.


Our requisite Sengoku-era strategy game.   This one's from Irem and looks pretty well made.  If you want to see way more Hototogisu than I can offer, this guy has a 30+ part Let's Play on Youtube; though it lacks any commentary.

Famicom Meijinsen

 Pretty good graphics for a shōgi game.

shōgi game from SNK.  I don't know how well it plays shōgi, but it has lots of options and charming graphics.

Konamic Tennis

The aforementioned tennis game from Konami.

Another episode down!  Next up is Chronsega episode 6.  Then its back to Chrontendo for what's going to be one whiz-bang episode.  Until then, don't forgot to check out episode 35 over at Archive.

*There seems to be some confusion whether they are alligators or crocodiles.  The manual calls them crocs, an animal not found in the Louisiana Bayou.  On the other hand, they seem to aggressive to be alligators.  Maybe Gordon, the "Gangster King of Bourbon Street," had crocodiles specially flown in to put in the swamps surrounding his mansion.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

So Blogger Ate My Post

Well, I had a very detailed and insightful post almost ready to go up, comparing the US and Japanese versions of The Adventures of Bayou Billy/Mad City.  It also talked about the weird Jiang-shi game Reigen Doushi/Phantom Fighter.  But, as I was editing in some screenshots, an unfortunate series of keystrokes erased the post, the auto-save kicked in, and now it appears to be permanently lost.

So for the moment, you'll have to be satisfied with this link to the latest Youtube "preview" which looks at the first level of Bayou Billy and its Japanese equivalent, Mad City.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Back to Our Regular Schedule

Chrontendo Episode 34 is now out!  Head on over to and download or stream it!

This post is going to be short.  Why?  Well, I sliced off a bit of my thumb, making it difficult to type.  Let's get right down to brass tacks, shall we?

Besides 15 games, there is a mini-history of Atari/Tengen.  Or rather, sort of a corporate history of Atari, Atari Corp, Atari Games, Tengen and so on. Since we have our first Tengen game this episode, I felt it best to clarify the backstory behind the two companies calling themselves "Atari" in 1988.

This episodes MVP:

Famicom Wars

Nintendo's entry into the military simulation genre easily outclasses similar games from Bandai, Irem, Soft Pro and rest.  I've already mentioned how great Famicom Wars is; the franchise would only get better in later games, such as Advance Wars.

Also, now that we've covered Famicom Wars, it means the next game scheduled from Nintendo is none other than the Greatest NES Game Of All Time!  I can hardly wait!

Other good games this episode:

Legendary Wings

Notable as the game Mega Man's staff was forced to work on in exchange for Capcom green-lighting Mega Man 2.  It's a pretty decent shoot-em-up in its own right - it features a bit more variety than 1943, but is not nearly as creative as R-Type or Salamander/Life Force.  It also suffers from an incredibly anti-climatic final boss.

Eggerland: Meikyuu no Fukkatsu

The third game in HAL's Sokoban-like puzzle game, and the first to be release in cartridge format.  While some sources conflate this release with The Adventures of Lolo, they are actually two separate games.

Moero!! Pro Yakyuu '88/Bases Loaded II

OK, this is not really a fantastic game, but compared to all the horrible baseball games I've been wading through recently, it's a breath of fresh air.  At the least the CPU's batters will not get a great hit out of every single pitch you throw at them.

The bad games:

Soccer League: Winners Cup

So instead of a lame baseball game this episode, we have a lame soccer game. This Data East release doesn't even assign a function to the B button, that's how no-frills it is.

Bakutoushi Patton-Kun

Sort of a pointless tank combat game, notable for only one thing: its rather surprising profanity laced loading screen.  Other than that it's a not-very-good take on Namco's Battle City.

Big Challenge! Judo Senshuken

Alright, I couldn't exactly figure out how to play Judo Senshuken.  It's a one-on-one Judo game, and looks like it might behave similarly to a Sumo wrestling game.  Yet after several failed attempts to produce any sort of noticeable onscreen action by pressing the buttons and dpad, I gave up on this one.  Still, just looking at it, I can't believe this game is any good at all.

The Rest:

The majority of games in episode 34, aren't quite "bad" yet aren't quite special enough to be considered "good."   Still, there are some interesting games here.


One of the three debut games from Tengen - the other two being US releases of existing Namco games - Gauntlet is a port of Atari's 1985 arcade mega-hit.  Missing, however, is the 4-player co-op and the many, many speech samples.  The resultant game is ugly and not very exciting, though it served its purpose of giving kids a taste of the Gauntlet experience at home.

Dragon Ball: Daimaou Fukkatsu

After the horrible first Dragon Ball game, Bandai and Tose attempt to redeem themselves with this sequel: a card-based, board game/RPG thingy. It certainly has more aesthetic appeal than the first one, but is still likely to be pretty boring to anyone who's not a huge Dragon Ball fan.  (I'll let you in on secret: I am not a huge Dragon Ball fan.)

Mitokoumon II: Sekai Manyuuki

From Sunsoft, this wacky sequel to the 1987 action-adventure game sends the TV show's characters on an around-the-world trip to fight crimes in the wild west, Hawaii, Italy, and so on.  Just like the first Mitokoumon game, there's lots of horrible sounding (but technically impressive!), garbled synthesized speech.

Tatake!! Ramenman

Yet another TV show tie-in game, this one features a Kinnikuman character who received his own spinoff anime series and movie.  This Human-developed title looks like a Japanese take on King's Quest with a bit of one-on-one fighting thrown in. Tatake!! Ramenman is not the typical Famicom action-adventure game, but is too slow and boring to be of too much interest.

Asteka II: Taiyou No Shinden/Tombs and Treasures

Seeing the names Nihon Falcom and Compile in the credits might get you excited for a moment, but this port of a 1987 Japanese computer game just isn't that hot.  HG101 has already gone into sufficient detail about its shortcomings.

The Money Game

The second wealth accumulation/stock market simulator game for the Famicom!  It looks a little rough around the edges, but its sequel was considered good enough to get a US release under the name Wall Street Kid.


A super-simple action RPG from Pack-in-Video.  It's not bad - it simply lacks anything special to distinguish it from the many other Famicom RPGs of the era. An English fan translation exists.

Final Lap

A unremarkable port of Namco's arcade F1 racing game.  The original was noted for its impressive (by 1987 standards) 3D graphics.  The Famicom port obviously takes a huge hit in this area, and doesn't bother to add anything interesting in its place.

There we have it. Enjoy!  Incidentally, I was trying to pratice a certain amount of discipline in recording this episode and make it a little shorter than average.  The final product is around 60 minutes, so this didn't quite pan out.

As always, check it out on

Saturday, November 27, 2010


It turned out to be an interesting Thanksgiving.  The meal was pretty darned complicated, and at one point, involved slicing about a million shallots.  Me being an impetuous, hasty sort of guy, I ended up cleanly slicing off a sliver of my thumb.  This was done with a mandoline, a device that seems do be explicitly designed to cause kitchen injuries, as it involves repeatedly passing your fingers over a very sharp blade.*  It was a small piece, but still large enough that I very quickly realized it was going to require an emergency room visit. 

Since I had guests coming over in a few hours, and a partially cooked turkey in the oven, I knew there was no way I could just dash off to the hospital, so using some heavy cotton pads and medical tape, I bound it the best I could and wore a latex glove to keep blood from dripping.  With my wife's help, I was able to complete dinner without major incident.  After everyone had left that evening, I rushed over the ER where they were able to stop the bleeding. 

My thumb is currently all bandaged up, making it difficult to do things like button a shirt or move a mouse, and completely impossible to press buttons on a controller.   So this means I'll be trying to play Adventures of Bayou Billy with my index finger.  Great.

In the meantime, Episode 34 is pretty close to completion, so you should see it in a few days.

*The doctor even described it as a "pretty typical mandoline injury."  Its nice to know I'm not the only one.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Begun, the Famicom Wars Have.

First of all, let me categorically state that Chrontendo Episode 34 isn't going to - in any way, shape, or form - be ready before Thanksgiving.  It's getting there, but yesterday was my birthday, today = shopping, tomorrow = cooking and cleaning, and Thursday = Thanksgiving.  For all you foreign types out there, Thanksgiving is a made up holiday that Americans celebrate because Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of State, William Seward, thought it would help cheer up the populace during the Civil War.  It involves eating a lot of food and it officially kicks off the Christmas Season.  Though it's not uncommon for retailers to get a head start and kick off Christmas in mid-November, prompting many people to complain that "They start Christmas earlier and earlier each year."

For some reason, yesterday I found myself watching a few moments of a TV hosted by that mildly autistic-looking nonentity Jimmy Kimmel*, who felt the need to build a monologue around the "Christmas in November" phenomenon.  Astonishingly, he found this an amusing and original enough observation to make on national TV, despite the fact that people have bitching about it nonstop since at least the 1940s.  I suppose that if this fellow is still around in 30 years we can look forward to him wondering "Why do they call it 'Final' Fantasy?" and "Why does Starbucks call it a 'tall' when it's their smallest size?"  It's amazing who they let on TV nowadays.

Anyway, when you finally do get to see the new Chrontendo, you will be excited and thrilled to learn that Nintendo has finally decided to give the military tactics game genre a whirl! Yep, after some not quite spectacular entries in the genre: Neunzehn, Tank Commander, SD Gundam, etc, Nintendo steps in and kicks ass!  Famicom Wars is interesting for a few reasons.  Just like Famicom Mukashi Banashi, it shows Nintendo trying their hand at something other than the Mario/Zelda/Sports games that they specialized in.  Also, it was released on a regular old cartridge, whereas virtually every new Japanese Nintendo game since 1986 has been on the Famicom Disk System (Punch-Out!! being a rare exception).   Additionally,  Famicom Wars launched a new and fruitful Nintendo franchise, as sequels appeared on the GameBoy, Super Famicom, GBA, and DS.

Famicom Wars is recognizably superior to its predecessors; it's the first perfectly formed military simulation for a console.  Maps are plentiful (15 in all), and each offers unique challenges.   There are tons of different types of units: infantry, tanks, artillery, transports, supply trucks, bombers, helicopters, jet fighters, anti-aircraft guns, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.   The interface is pretty easy to use, there are two different music options, three difficulty options, individual battles are quick and to the point, battle animations can be turned off, and the opening title sequence is extremely cool.  It's like Nintendo listened to all my complaints about earlier Famicom military games and fixed all the problems. There's even an unofficial English translation!


Even more amazing: this is the first military type that I haven't compared negatively to Military Madness!  So check it out!  Or even better, try the superior sequel for the GBA, Advance Wars.  My lord, what genre will Nintendo try next?  An RPG?

Keep an eye out for Episode 34 in a few days.  My apologies if this post is a little bit incoherent.  Tonight's beverage was Stone's Double Bastard Ale, which, after consuming, I realized has an ABV of 11.2%.

In case anyone is curious, here is the Thanksgiving menu.  It was adapted from Thomas Keller.  Yes, I'm a geek and I print up a little menu each year and place copies on the table.

*Or possibly Down's Syndrome. I can't decide.  The guy definitely looks a little weird.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Oh Hai. There's a New Video on Youtoobes!

The first official "between episodes" video.  It's just a quick little peek at Legendary Wings that I whipped up in about 10 minutes.  It focuses on the painfully disappointing final boss, so... spoiler alert!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Moment of Reflection

It's been a busy week.  Aren't they all?  What can I say? It's pumpkin season.  I've noticed that the standard, low-end grocery stores (around here, that would be the ubiquitous Safeway) tend to dispose of their stock of pumpkins a couple days after Halloween.  Whereas your more hippie-fied, healthy grocery stores -- you know, the kind that carry hemp ice cream and an unusual amount of gluten-free products -- will keep a good supply of pumpkins on hand until Thanksgiving or later.

Having just made a pumpkin pie and finding myself with a bit of leftover pulp, my thoughts naturally turned to that annual revenue generator for Starbucks, the Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Now, I don't really need to frequent Starbucks.  There are already a sufficient number of coffee shops in my town that can actually produce good coffee.  But the thought of a steady supply of $4.50 beverages made on the cheap was too irresistible to, uh... resist.  It turns out to not be that difficult: equal parts sugar and water, mixed with a bit of pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg produces a nice pumpkin syrup.  The result: throw in some espresso and steamed milk and it's quite drinkable and cheap as heck.

Throw it all together and simmer for a few minutes. Don't forget to strain it through a cheesecloth.

I also tried my hand at making some lox. Or to be precise, gravlax -- Finnish cured salmon.  But I don't plan on turning Chrontendo into a cooking blog, so suffice to say it's pretty simple to make if you have the patience.

And yet, Thanksgiving is just around the corner. What this means for me is endless rounds of shopping, food preparation, cursing because I can't find some particular ingredient, and finally, cooking.  I hope to have Chrontendo Episode 34 done before then, but can promise nothing.  I really would like to step up the production a little bit, maybe by making episodes a little bit shorter.  I also will be posting previews of upcoming episodes on Youtube from time to time, as well as possibly some miscellaneous videos.  I suspect a little something about Capcom's shoot-em-up Legendary Wings will appear before too long.  If you are interested in such things, I guess either subscribe to Chrontendo Youtube channel or just check back occasionally.

On a completely unrelated note, a chat with Pre-Sonic Genesis blogger CJ Lowery the other day made me wonder what the most manly types of alcohol are.  A definitive ranking would be difficult to compile, but after a bit of reflection I assume it looks something like this, in order from "manliest" to "least manly."

Irish Whisky/Scotch
"Real" Rum
Tequilla (straight)
Red Wine
White Wine
Flavored/White Rum
Tequilla cocktails
Red Bull or Jaegermeister based cocktails
Flavored Vodka
Rosé/Blush Wine
"Hard" Lemonades and such
Wine Coolers, spritzers and other travesties.

Theoretically, the most and least manly forms of alcohol.

Obviously, some things have been left out.  Where does Grappa fit in this list?  What about Schnapps?  Absinthe?*  Surely I've forgotten some important drinks in this?

Also, while checking traffic sources, I notices this thread at NeoGaf.  Someone was looking for a complete chronological list of Famicom/NES titles.  I've never seen such a thing online myself, but Chrontendo is partly based on the "Chronological List of Famicom Games" originally found on Wikipedia.  That particular entry has since been deleted, in favor of a non-chronological list.  Also, Nintendo has some PDF files available of US releases, but they do not provide an release exact date, just month and year.  My own list sort of merges the two together, removes the duplicate entries, and adds in some Europe only releases and a few unlicensed titles.

In case anyone needs this information or plans to play along, I've included a link to the official Chrontendo game list in spreadsheet format under "Chrontendo Links."   You should be able to save it an Excel file or some similar format.  Be aware that whoever compiled the Wikipedia list transcribed Japanese game titles in a way that doesn't always match up to other sources such as Gamefaqs, or the names on ROM dumps.  The notes in the rightmost column are from the original Wikipedia editor and I can't guarantee their accuracy.

*This is a difficult call. I read an interview with Marilyn Manson once in which it was noted Mr. Manson was sipping some absinthe.  This indicates it's probably not very manly.  On the other hand, absinthe is used in the Sazerac cocktail, which is tough as hell.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Now Some Real Content

So it's finally happened. Dr. Sparkle has got a video on the darned Youtube.  And its not even a video of my cat falling off a window ledge or anything; it's an official Chrontendo video.  To make matters even stranger, the video is one of those video game list thingies that are clogging up the internet.  It was too long for one video, so it was into two parts, the second being here.

For the moment, the Ten Worst NES/Famicom Games of 1983-1987 is a Youtube exclusive.   What's the reasoning behind making a video based around such a tired, overused concept?  There are tons of such lists, perhaps this one is the most famous, but the thing is they're all by people who have not played every single game for the NES.  Therefore, the authors of these lists cannot be sure that they've really played the worst the system has to offer (they haven't, based on the lists I've seen.)  With Chrontendo, no such uncertainty exists. 


The worst NES game ever? HA!

So why did 18 minutes of video take so long to produce?  Sorry, but the last few weeks have been a bit busy, with a wedding, a funeral, a couple emergency room visits (father-in-law related), taking my mother-in-law to numerous doctor appointments, getting a leak in the roof fixed, and a whole lot of other things I've already forgotten.

A few other things I'll mention while I'm at it.  I've added another chronogaming blog to the links: CRPG Addict.  This guy makes me look unfocused and lazy by comparison.  His project is to play every Western PC RPG ever released, which sounds bad enough as it is.  But he's actually attempting to finish (or at least make a sincere effort to finish) each game, without using cheats or walkthroughs!   I admire his dedication, even though I could never attempt to replicate his methodology -- me being a walkthrough/cheat code/save state hacking sort of guy when it comes to RPGs on Chrontendo.  Anyway, his very throrough and thoughtfully written posts are definitely worth reading through.

Also quite interesting:  A Japanese literature and culture themed blog called No-Sword provided some clarification on a few things mentioned in Chrotendo Episode 2.  Namely the fact that in Devil World the giant-eyeball based monsters become fried eggs after being roasted by your fiery breath.  It seems that in Japanese, fried eggs are called medama-yaki, or "fried eyeballs," so it's a cute little pun.  This makes perfect sense, and the similarity of eyes to eggs has been noted in Western culture as well.  Georges Batailles' Story of the Eye springs to mind.*

Please tell me this is not fried eggs sold in a bag.

 No-Sword's author also states that, Wikipedia to the contrary, there is no Japanese folk hero called Paku, thus ruling out one theory on the origin of Pac-Man's name.   He even gives mention to my facetious remark to Clu Clu Land possibly being tied to Kuru, the neurological disease spread through human brains.  My suggestion shoudn't be taken seriously, however.  It's just that I'm fascinated by horrible brain diseases and cannibalism.

So enjoy the Youtube videos.  Preferably, I'll think of addtional things to put up on Youtube in the future.  Any ideas?

*I hope that a reference to this book doesn't lead anyone to believe that I'm: a) some sort of leather chaps-wearing pervert, or b) a clove smoking, Deleuze-quoting, pretentious douchebag.  Seriously.  Some disturbing news for Georges Bataille fans, however: I once read an interview with Dave Matthews, and he claims to be a big fan of Story of the Eye.  I guess it doesn't seem so outré now, does it?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Another Quick Update!

First of all, congrats to the SF Giants!  Score one for the old guys.  If I'm up for it, I might be doing a bit of rioting in the streets tonight.

Also, I'm really, really, ready for the 2010 elections to be over.  I'm at the point where I'm ready to unplug my landline due to the never ending onslaught of political robocalls.  Political races often get nasty, but I'm getting really disheartened by the sheer unpleasantness of this year's campaigns.  Here in Cali we've got a pretty weird gubernatorial election going on between a billionaire who talks like a 16 year old and a "hippie-fascist."  It looks like Jerry Brown will be elected, so we'll finally get to see those "suede denim secret police" we've been waiting so many years for.


What?!?  That car is still around?

Finally, hello out there to all the folks from Metafilter.  Thanks to JHarris for posting a very nice link to each Chrontendo episode.  I see you guys have been pouring in in droves.  Welcome to Chrontendo and I hope you like the videos.  Also,  I've seen some traffic coming in from a post on the excellent retrogaming site Racketboy.   I don't know why I've never linked to Racketboy, but their profiles on classic consoles and genres are invaluable, so check it out if you're not familar with them.  Man, with all this attention from the internet at large, hopefully ED won't discover me next.

Which reminds me of  JHarris' chron-comics project, Roasted Peanuts, which takes a chronological look at the "most interesting" strips from the greatest comic strip of the last 60 years.  The guy also likes MST3K, so you know he's cool.

Well, the Stone Imperial IPA is kicking in, so I'm out of here.  Once again: a real update in a day or two.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Nothing special to say here.  Another Halloween has come and gone. The best costume I saw this year - Christine O'Donnell.*  Hopefully everyone out there had a safe holiday, did not party too hard, and was not poisoned by candy or killed by Satanists.  A "real" Chrontendo update should be up in a day or so.

*Basically, just a chick in a business suit with an anti-evolution button.  But somehow she managed to look just like O'Donnell.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another Blast from the Past

An ongoing Chrontendo mini-project is to re-record the first few episodes, which all suffer from terrible sound - among other problems.  So today I present a fresh, new version of Chrontendo Episode Two, available to download at the usual spot.

I have absolutely no idea why, but Episode Two is the most downloaded episode of Chrontendo, with almost twice as many hits as Episode One, and over three times as many as Five, the SMB episode.  It must be the scintillating selection of games featured.  C'mon, Pac-ManLode RunnerExcitebike?  Who could resist?

In all seriousness, the second episode does cover an interesting time period: the second half of 1984.  The Famicom reached its first year anniversary in mid 1984.  At that point Nintendo had exhausted their supply of arcade titles to port, barring the brand-new Punch-Out!! or really ancient games like Space Fever.  A steady supply of games would be essential to the console's survival, which meant Nintendo could either subcontract other developers to design games, or allow third party publishers to release Famicom carts.  Nintendo ended up doing both.

Hudson Soft has always had a special relationship with Nintendo.  Early on, Hudson ported some Nintendo games to MSX, heavily altering them in the process.   Despite Nintendo's well documented hostility to licensees releasing games for other consoles, Nintendo didn't seem particularly vindictive when Hudson teamed up with NEC to create the PC-Engine.  Hudson continued to release games for both consoles simultaneously.  In fact, the Will Virtual Console debuted with PC-Engine games in its library.  So, it's not surprising that Hudson was also the first third party publisher, releasing two titles in late July 1984. Shortly thereafter, it reworked one of its own computer games, Jyankyo for the Famicom.  This was published by Nintendo themselves, under the name 4-nin Uchi Mahjong.

Immediately afterwards, Namco became the second outside company to produce Famicom games, starting with Galaxian, and following that with three more arcade hits: Pac-Man, Mappy and Xevious.  Both Xevious and Hudson's Lode Runner were hugely successful, selling over a million copies each.  In 1985, more software companies joined the party, initiating a strange period when the Famicom existed primarily as a means for delivering high quality console versions of arcade and PC games.

About this time, Nintendo also began looking at using outside developers to ease the strain on their own development teams.  Balloon Fight was the first Nintendo game from Hal Laboratory, and was programmed by the young Satoru Iwata.  Eventually, of course, Nintendo would rely heavily on 2nd party developers such as Game Freak, Intelligent Systems, and Rare, but Hal  has been with them consistently for 26 years.

At this time both Nintendo and other publisher followed sort of a house style when it came to box art and packaging.  Famicom boxes were shaped like the carts: longer than they were tall.  Almost all Nintendo releases used a gray background with a cartoonish illustration in the center.   The game's title would be written in katakana on the left side, and the Nintendo logo would be on the right.  Hudson followed a very similar design blueprint for their own boxes.  There were a few exceptions: some boxes used different colors, and Excitebike features a more realistic painting of a motocross race as its centerpiece.

Namco's boxes were generally a bit more stylish, featuring cool arcade cabinet style artwork and diagonal stripes in two corners.  Also, Namco numbered its boxes sequentially, presumably in an effort to engage the Japanese collector mentality.   The next wave of publishers used similar box art templates.  Konami's early Famicom boxes look almost exactly like Nintendo's, and Taito, Irem and others numbered their boxes just like Namco.

For those who need a refresher on late 1984, here are the games covered this episode:

Donkey Kong 3

Nintendo's first failed sequel, and the game that killed off  Donkey Kong for 10 years.

Nuts & Milk/Lode Runner

Hudson's first two console games. Nuts is based on their own computer game; Lode Runner is a Nintendo-fied port of the popular Apple II game. 


Namco's first console game, a port of their 1979 arcade game.  Galaxian was an fancy variation on Space Invaders, and proved to be Namco's first major arcade success.

Devil World

The most "interesting" game this episode, Devil World is the first product from the team of Shigeru Miyamoto, Koji Kondo and Takashi Tezuka.  The next two games these three worked on were Super Mario Bros and Legend of Zelda, so Devil World certainly has impressive credentials.  It's a rather bizarre Pac-Man clone featuring a cute dragon and an inappropriately dressed devil.  The high level of religious imagery prevented a US release.

F1 Race

The first racing game for the Famicom, but certainly not the best.  It's also notable for being the first Famicom game to attempt any sort of sprite based 3D.


The game needs no introduction, but it should be pointed out that the Famicom release was the first nearly perfect port of Pac-Man after 3 years of botched attempts.  Also, this may be the game with the longest delay between the Japanese and US release: 9 years.  (Unless you count the Tengen release, which Nintendo seems to deny the existence of.)

4-nin Uchi Mahjong

I originally pegged this as an original title, but it turns out to be a console version of a Hudson MSX game.  Either way it's still just a mahjong game.


While not the first vertical shoot-em-up, Namco's 1982 arcade game popularized and defined the genre.  The Famicom version is pretty darned accurate reproduction.

Urban Champion

Again, not the first one-on-one fighting game, but still a very early entry in the genre.  Naturally, it takes place in NYC, since that's all people do in New York: engage in street brawls.


The last Namco game this episode; once again, it's an arcade port.  Perhaps sending a mouse police officer to apprehend a gang of cats was not a wise choice on the part of the Mappy Land PD.

Clu Clu Land

Another virtually forgotten original from Nintendo.  It sits halfway between being a Pac-Man clone and a pole dancing simulator.


Unlike Clu Clu Land and Urban Champion, this one still elicits some excitement and nostalgia.  It's a fun game, but is also noteworthy for being the first Nintendo developed game to feature full on horizontal scrolling.

Balloon Fight

The first Famicom game to feature the talents of Hal Laboratory - at least as far as I know.  An unassuming yet playable Joust clone.  Hal's programming trick for smoother character movement was picked up by Nintendo and later utilized in Super Mario Bros.

Ice Climber

Eskimos clubbing seals?  Polar bears in red Speedo briefs?  A condor that steals eggplants?  It's all found in Ice Climber.   Too bad weird jumping controls hamper the fun a bit.

Wow, a lot of "firsts" this episode.  Up next is another quickie project, and then, before too long... Chrontendo 34.  Until then, check out Episode 2 Version 2.0 at

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Yes, Many of Us Hate Gamestop, but...

In a bizarre and shocking occurrence in my hometown, a man walked into Gamestop and started a fire.  Unfortunately, said Gamestop was inside a rather large mall; due to malls being large, unconfined areas with lots of flammable material, the fire is now burning wildly out of control.  And the last thing any store owner in this ecomony wants is for their shop to be burned down right at the start of the holiday season!  The moral is: while Gamestop is sort of a despicable place, you really shouldn't set them on fire.  Surprisingly, "Roseville Galleria" has become a trending topic on Twitter due to this.

Also: as hinted at a couple posts ago, I am currently working on a new version of Chrontendo Episode 2.  This shouldn't take too long, as I'm simply playing games I've already played before and recording improved voiceovers.  I'm also working on another special project.

In the meantime, I'll be trying to stay sane over the mother-in-law situation.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Godammed Birthday!

I feel almost contractually obligated to deliver some words about today, the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System.  Considering that Chrontendo owes its entire existence to this this occurence, I suppose I should write something about the birth of Nintendo's 8-bit juggernaut.

To mark the special occasion, I decided to not use the standard Wikipedia NES photo.

The thing is, I don' know exactly what occurred on October 18th, the "official" date of the launch of the NES.  Nowadays, a console launch is a carefully coordinated event, with retailers placing orders and receiving product well before the street date.  The release date itself is generally announced well in advance, and fan boys start lining up outside of Best Buys a day or so before the thing actually goes on sale.   None of this was true back in 1985, however.

When Nintendo finally decided to make a concerted effort to sell the Famicom the US, they selected New York City as the test market.  Between 30 to 40 NOA executives and employees relocated from Redmond, Washington to a warehouse in Hackensack, NJ in the summer of 1985.  Armed with a $5 million dollar advertising budget, Nintendo's "SWAT Team," as they called themselves, began setting up promotional events in shopping malls and pestering retailers about carrying their new product. According to David Sheff:

"In October the push began in earnest. In pairs, the SWAT team hit the pavements, visiting department stores and large and small toy and electronics retailers.  They worked to convince companies such as Toys "R" Us, Sears, Circuit City, and Macy's  Although Charles Lazarus, founding chairman of  Toys "R" Us, and a very few others were receptive, most people could not pronounce Nintendo and were not interested in learning how."

The SWAT team themselves built and set up the in-store displays for the NES, and retailers were given the promise that Nintendo would buy back any unsold merchandise after Christmas.  Most stores were still resistant, but through sheer persistence, Nintendo got the console in about 500 locations by Christmas.  The final sales for 1985 were around 50,000.  Here's the first NES commercial aired in the NY area, courtesy of 1UP.

So what happened on October 18th?  Certainly, Nintendo, desperate for sales, didn't deliver consoles, games and displays to stores, and then tell them not to sell anything until that date?  Was 10/18 the date of the first console sold?  According to Gail Tilden, the first unit sold was at FAO Schwarz in Manhattan, though the article linked doesn't specifically date the sale as occurring on 10/18.   Interestingly, Scheff describes an impressive display being set up at FAO Schwarz later in the holiday season, but doesn't mention them as an early adapter of the NES.  Certainly, getting your new product to launch at the oldest and most famous toy store in the US would be a pretty big deal!  It strikes me as odd that if FAO Schwarz was one of the first retailers to commit to the NES, smaller toy stores would be so uninterested in carrying it was well.  And 10/18 was apparently not even always the canonical date for the system's launch.  The old Nintendo website claimed that the NES was "was released in the US in August, 1985." 

Well, regardless of what did or didn't happen 25 years ago today as bunch of overworked Nintendo employees were gradually discovering the horrors of New York winters,  we all fell in love with that ugly gray box.  And 25th years later we still have a weird little fetish for the thing.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Greetings, Citizens of the Internet

I was perusing earlier today, checking on updates for the Least Favorite Character contest (I'm on "Team Percy"), when my attention was drawn to the 101 Favorite Video Game Sites article on the homepage.  Needless to say, I was quite surprised to find Chrontendo listed under the Game History category, alongside legitimately useful sites such as Sega 16, HG 101, KLOV, and so on.  Allow me to give a heartfelt (though confused) "Thank You" to Parish or Cifaldi or whichever staffer suggested this humble little blog for the list.

For those of you following the link from 1UP to Chrontendo: welcome to my little blog.  Here's the lowdown.  Chrontendo is in the process of examining every game released for the Famicom, Famicom Disk System and NES, in chronological order.  This is being done through a series of overly detailed "videocasts," which normally cover 15 games per episode.  All of these may be found to stream on download on the incredibly wonderful

We are currently up to Episode 33, which is covers July, 1988, and unlike some episodes, actually features some pretty damned good games (like Bionic Fucking Commando)  See our last blog entry for all the details.

I've been told that the tone of Chrontendo is serious, reserved, and scholarly.*  When originally planning Chrontendo, I wanted to go with concept that was very different from most of the popular video game themed series found online.  So the videos do not contain any yelling or screaming or jumping around in front of the camera (in fact, I never appear on-camera at all, due to my being "hideously deformed," as my wife says.)

Should you decide to check out any of the Chrontendo videos, my only request is that you try to avoid Episode 2 (the one with the most downloads.  I have absolutely no idea why.)  The first few videos have terrible sound and voiceover work; I've already re-recorded the first episode, and am part way through recording an improved version of the second.  It's far wiser to wait a week or so for the revised Episode 2.

Once again, thank you to the good folks at 1UP and all the loyal viewers of Chrontendo. Feel free to leave comments, as the regular commentors are all quite nice.

*Apparently looking stuff up on the Internet makes one a scholar nowadays.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

At Length Did Cross an "Albatros"

Well, for once, the new episode is more or less, sorta, on time.  Indeed, you can now go to and download or stream Chrontendo Episode 33.

Considering that Episode 32 was such a monster, length-wise, I tried to keep things concise this time around - at least for games that weren't Bionic Commando.  And we are back up to a full 15 games.  That will get us all the way to the end of July, 1988, at least in Japan.  As mentioned earlier, there are four pretty cool games that came out in July, which is definitely better than average.  There is one that stands heads and tails above the rest, however, and that game is Capcom's Bionic Commando.

We see tons or virtually identical games on the Famicom - just look at all the boring sidescrolling walk-forward-and-kill-stuff games.  We even have one this episode!  But Capcom decided to come up with a pretty darned weird idea for BC - you control a heavily armed, cybernetically enhanced super soldier, who is unable to jump, at all.  You can't even clear a gap a foot wide.  This is never explained in the game itself, but the player will quickly learn to rely on the extensible grappling-hook/robot arm that Ladd Spencer comes equipped with. Thus you move from platform to platform by swinging through the air, Spiderman style.

Of course there's a fire level!

It should be mentioned, that Ladd (possibly a mistransliteration for Radd? "Radd" sounds so '80s!) is probably the most punk video game character we've seen so far, with his spiky red hair, shades, and Devo-esque green jumpsuit.  Strangely, during cutscenes he transforms into a slightly more clean cut youth with natural brown hair.

 I think Der Führer might be overselling the "Albatros" a bit.

The plot, which gets doled out in bits of dialog with NPCs and Metal Gear-inspired radio conversations, goes like this:  a neo-fascist military commander is planning to build a long-lost Nazi superweapon with the assistance of a revived Adolph Hitler.  The superweapon, called "Albatros" (or, even better, "Abatros" in the manual), turns out to not be so amazing, as a rather large, exposed weak spot features prominently in its design.  The most notorious moment in the game occurs when you kill Hitler: his face explodes into lovingly detailed chunks of gory meat.  How this ever got past NOA is a bit of a mystery.  All the references to Nazis and Hitler were removed for the US relesae, but the version seen in Episode 33 has hacked them back in.

The Rest:

Nekketsu Koukou Dodge Ball Bu/Super Dodge Ball

Putting your mascot into a sports game was hardly new when Technos released Super Dodge Ball to arcades in 1987.  Nintendo had been doing it since day one, and even Sega quickly banged out an Alex Kid BMX game.  But unlike those games, Super Dodge Ball has real character -- it's not simply another generic sports game.  The gang violence of Renegade has simply been transported to the dodge ball court.  Kunio now beats people to death using a rubber ball in place of his fists, which only the adds to his victims' indignity.

Konami Ice Hockey/Blades of Steel

Konami has certainly been shoveling a lot of sports titles onto the FDS and NES, but Blades of Steel is one of the few to truly stand out.  Perhaps even more fun that Double Dribble, BOS has Konami showing off its full technical prowess in the service of a sports game.  Speech synthesis, tons of onscreen sprites, and dead-on controls make this one of the best 8-bits sports games ever.

Rainbow Islands


Rainbows in space?  I'm not sure that's even possible.

Bubble Bobble was pretty darned good, but this purported sequel is even better.  The simple black backgrounds of BB have been replaced with crazy make-believe worlds full of castles, clouds, and ultra sharp, deadly spikes. A very cute, but very dangerous place, so naturally you fight back with the most wondrous of weapons: killer rainbows.

The bad:

Mr. Gold: Kinsan in the Space

There is just something inherently hilarious about the name.  Too bad the game isn't as entertaining, except for the opening musical number.  Mr. Gold is a sci-fi detective adventure game utterly lacking in interesting sci-fi elements.  Being from Toei, it is naturally based on one of their anime movies, which was given some sort of release in the US as "Samurai Gold."

As a point of comparsion, we have another, much better adventure game this episode, Jarinko Chie: Bakudan Musume no Shiawase Sagashi from Konami.  You probably don't need a lesson from me in distinguishing the works of Toei from those of Konami, but just for fun, let's compare two screenshots.

Note the amount of detail put into Jarinko Chie: the attendant's wrinkly uniform, the deep shadows on the door inside the little room, the reflection of the sun on the red light above the door.  In the background we see some sort of alley with a brick wall, birds sitting on telephone wires.  Every inch of the illustration is used to convey you into the world of the game. Konami even went through the trouble of adding a beveled frame around each box.   Mr. Gold, on the other hand, gets by with the minimum amount of effort required to depict Mr. Gold standing in a spaceport.  A few quick vertical and horizontal lines delineate a window and a walkway. Gold appears to be staring at a monitor showing a not-too-futuristic cityscape.  No attempt is made to give Gold himself any sort of personality.  And the fact that the illustration itself is so darned tiny doesn't help, either.  Obviously, Konami didn't have to put that much work into a single background, but they did because... they're Konami.

 Hiryu no Ken II

This is the boring sidescrolling game I mentioned a few paragraphs ago.

A Japan only sequel to Flying Dragon: The Secret Scroll.  Sadly, despite Culture Brain's last game, The Magic of Scheherazade being so ahead of its time, Hiryu II is a beat-em-up on par with Hokuto no Ken plus RPG elements.   Someone must have been buying these, since Culture Brain continued to release sequels into the Nintendo 64 era. 

Super Real Baseball '88

From the infamous Vap and Nintendo developer Pax Softnica, this realistic style baseball game fails on several levels.  You'll probably be most frustrated by the terrible controls - even picking a ball up off of the ground is a chore.  But the ear-piercing soundtrack will eventually wear you down as well.  Why do so many Japanese baseball games feature an horrendous whistle sound in their background music?  Is that something done at real baseball games in Japan?  Do they have a squad of drum majors marching around the diamond or something?

The Quest of Ki

Today's theme is games with weird jumping mechanics.

Tower of Druaga isn't exactly Namco's most beloved game in the West.  But this console-only prequel manages to be nothing like the other Druaga games, and a really terrible monotonous game in its own right. You control Ki, the princess that Gilgamesh had to rescue in the first game, and you enter Druaga's tower completely unarmed.  In place of any sort of weapon, you have a ridiculous jumping mechanic that allows you to jump as high as you want, until you hit the ceiling and go plummeting back to the ground.  The tower comprises 100 floors.  The object is simply to pick up and key and exit each floor before the timer runs out.

And finally, we have a varied collection of flawed, non-distinguished, or uninteresting games.

Kakefu Kun no Jump Tengoku/Kid Kool

 Kid Kool suffers from difficult jumping and easy bosses.

Vic Tokai tries to make a Mario clone; ends up cloning the Japanese Super Mario Bros 2 instead.  Aside from generally insidious level design that includes way too many blind jumps, Kid Kool suffers from some seriously weird physics.   The developers didn't see fit to give Kool a "run" button.  Instead, as Kool begins moving, he transforms from a sluggard who moves like he's waist-deep in mud into Usain Bolt driving a McLaren with a rocket jet mounted on the trunk.  The fact that he has the momentum of a runaway locomotive doesn't help much either.  His jumps can range from about two body lengths to "all the way accross the screen," and he is just a wee bit difficult to land precisely.  Amazingly, he was based on  real person: Kakefu Kun was a young TV actor during the mid '80s.  I was not able to glean any information on his real life jumping abilities.

Radical Bomber!! Jirai Kun

It doesn't look that radical to me!

A nutty looking and impenetrable strategy/puzzle/board game thing from Jaleco. So named because you can set off little bombs to blow up the rails on which you and your opponents travel. I was not able to appraise the radical-ness of the protagonist, however.

Great Tank/Iron Tank

Nice looking game, but despite the name, it isn't that great.

 SNK reaches into its vaults for this one: a port of the 1985, pre-Ikari Warrriors game TNK III.  I's sort of resembles a cross between the tank sections of Ikari Warriors and Konami's Jackal.  Except that its not nearly as good as Jackal.

Best Play Pro Yakyuu

No one bought Best Play Pro Yakyuu for the fancy graphics.

A highly thought of baseball simulation game from ASCII.  It focuses heavily on stats and team management, rather than Family Stadium style action.  So it's basically a baseball game for geeks.  This appeared on the 2005 Famitsu readers' poll we mentioned a while ago, beating about fellow Famicom titles such as Gradius and SMB III.

Maison Ikkoku

A port of Microcabin's computer adventure game, briefly glimpsed in the adventure game segment of Episode 31.  We'll come back to it in more detail when we cover the PC Engine version in a future episode of Chronturbo.

Sangokushi: Nakahara No Hasha

Another military strategy game from Namco and Tose, much like Nobunaga's Ambition.  Except that instead of taking place during Japan's Sengoku era, it takes placing during China's Three Kingdom's period - which is just like Japan's warring states only it happened in 3rd century China.  It appears that Japan not only ripped off their writing system and religion from China, they even copied parts of China's history.  Anyway, this game should not be confused with Koei's much more popular Sangokushi series.


I can't cover every aspect of every game in Chrontendo, but, in retrospect, I should have gone into more detail about the following:

The top-down run-and-gun parts of Bionic Commando that occur when you run into a truck on the main map.  These sections are not very interesting, but do allow you to pick up additional continues.

The deathmatch sytle Bean Ball option in Super Dodge Ball.  Here, you run around in a free-for-all with no court and no rules, which actually more resembles the dodge ball I played as a kid.

For those of you with a chronological list of Japanese Famicom releases, there are two games not appearing in this episode, since they were released in the US first:   Jaleco's Densetsu no Kishi Elrond is simply Wizards and Warriors.  And for some reason Data East released Karate Champ for the FDS.   Also Nintendo re-released Donkey Kong Jr for the FDS.  I haven't really been mentioning this, but Nintendo has slowly been putting out FDS versions of their older titles over the last two years.

Very well!  See you next time, and don't forget to check out Episode 33 over at Archive!