Sunday, January 10, 2010

Welcome to 2010

You have to admit... 2010 certainly sounds futuristic. I've just now noticed the last blog post is dated January 1st, but since I wrote it a couple days prior to posting it, this post is the real first post of 2010.

And course, in Chrontendo time, we're ringing in the new year of 1988. Ronald Reagan is in his last year of office and the Iran-Contra scandal winds down. The Iran-Iraq war finally ends, Russia pulls out of Afganinstan, a bomb planted on Pan-Am 103 explodes over Scotland, New Yorkers riot in Tompkins Square, and major milestone in trash TV occurs when skinheads, white supremicists and Jewish activists brawl on Geraldo Rivera's talk show. In the US, countless young people were listening to INXS, George Michael and a hot new band called Guns N' Roses. I'm not quite sure what we were thinking.*

A message from the youth of the 80s to the youth of today: Please learn from our mistakes.

And, in the video game world, 1988 was the first year US sales from Nintendo exceeded $1 billion. The video game crash of 1983-84 was now definitively, irrevocably, over.

Chrontendo, however, has one last major game from 1987 to cover: a port of an MSX game from Konami called Metal Gear. Perhaps you've heard of it?

Metal Gear is in sort of a unique position. It's a widely-known title that sold well in its NES incarnation. But unlike most ports of Japanese computer games, the console version is demonstrably inferior to the more obscure original. While series creator Hideo Kojima exerted considerable control over the MSX release, Konami altered several important elements for the Famicom port. Additionally, for the US release, Konami inserted some bizarre back story into the manual, including thinly veiled references to Muammar Gaddafi, completely altering Kojima's original narrative.

So, in an unprecedented fashion, Chrontendo 27 will present dual coverage of Metal Gear, looking at both the MSX and NES releases. I myself had previously played the fan-translated version of the original Metal Gear, and just happen to still have a bunch of save states on my hard drive, so why not take advantage of this?

Next up is the long-promised first episode of Chronturbo, and then, further along the horizon, looms the dark, ominous cloud of Chrontendo 28. Aside from containing one of the biggest Japanese releases EVER, Episode 28 has three games from Konami, a classic from Compile, and some interesting stuff from Capcom and Data East. I'm sort of dreading this episode, it's so huge. There are also a few additional, less interesting things in the works.

On a positive note, I see that someone removed the references to Color Dreams on the American Dream Wikipedia page. I have no idea if that was inspired by my plea or merely a coincidence, but I'll shout out a "Thanks" for making the internet a slightly less erroneous place. Now if only someone could remove all references to that Birther nonsense, the vaccine/Autism link, and the Gosselins and the Kadashians from the internet, I'd be eternally grateful. Seriously, someone on TV getting their hair cut does not constitute "news."

*It could have been worse. Folks in other parts of world were reportedly listening to music by Kylie Minogue. Yes, really.


Anonymous said...

you may be dreading it, but i for one am looking forward to it!

Cornervizion said...

Absolutely right about Kylie Minogue there Dr.S, we Brits also had to put up with Jason Donovan, Rick Astley and Bros and for our musical "Entrtainment" in 1988. A awful year for UK music if there ever was one, at least Guns and Roses became big in the UK.

qaylIS aka Nicolas Deu├čer said...

Metal Gear...I heard so much about that games, especially the Metal Gear Solid games...I gave it 2 chances, I played the first and the second MGS for nearly an hour, and decided then that these are no games for me...but maybe your comments on the 8-Bit Adventure of Solid Snake will convince me to give it another try.
BTW, my problem isn't with Kojima, I played Zone of the Enders 1 with much appreciation, and was astouned by the first hour of ZotE 2, which I will play extensively, when I am down from my MMO addiction on Runes of Magic, again...
Oh yeah, and don't get me startet about pop-music

Doctor Sparkle said...

Cornervizion - now don't forget about Wet Wet Wet.... Though I shouldn't tease the UK about their taste in music, as baffling as it sometimes is to Americans. I would assume folks in the UK are currently scratching their heads over the likes of Lady Gaga and T-Pain.

qayllS - so your are one of the MGS non-belivers? I don't know that the first MG game will change your mind, since even fans find the first game irritating in spots. But, on 1987 terms, the game is pretty pioneering.

Garrett said...

The American Metal Gear manual is probably the single greatest sign that the staff at the US branch of Konami/Ultra had no respect whatsoever for the mother ship in Japan. Many of the American Konami manuals of the time have lame attempts at humor (the first TMNT game's manual has a reference to Dave Letterman's demolition skits, for instance), but none are quite as bad as Metal Gear's.