This is going to be a quick post, but I just wanted to apologize to the Protomen. Apparently most of my arguments about their bad attitudes may have been wrong. Apparently they had a problem with their singer the night I went to see them, and the show that was put on was not their standard show. Also they apparently stayed around and ate cake with some people after the show. So there’s that too.
That said, I’m not just giving in to please them or any other readers of my site. I still stand by my other fundemental problems with the band; they have nothing to do with Mega Man, and I’m still not a huge fan of their music or production (although the music isn’t really terrible, just not my cup of tea). When I’m writing late at night (which is almost all the time) I have a tendency to be a little overzealous with my own arguments. So, I want to stress that I haven’t changed my opinion of the group just because they posted a comment for me; it’s really more related to the fact that my arguments were a bit unfair and inaccurate. To any new readers of this site, I would like to promise that this isn’t the norm, mostly because my site is usually nothing but dick jokes and old video games. So, if you like dick jokes and old video games, stick around, because this party’s just getting started! By which I mean it has started 2 years ago. And also by “party” I mean largely imageless text.
- Good evening! I can’t help but notice you’re quite handsome.
- Thank you, I hear that in every interview.
- I see why! So, this “Facebook.” What the hell is it?
- Well, it’s a social networking site that brutally violates your privacy.
- I see. Well-
- Seriously, it just, like, REAMS your privacy. It sees your privacy at the bar, and it’s like, “Man, I want some of that sweet advertising action.” So it hits on your privacy all night and it keeps turning Facebook down, so it drugs your privacy’s drink, takes it home, rapes it, and steals all of its identifiable information and sells it to its advertiser friends. Then it-
- Right, right. If it’s that bad, though, why are you on it?
- I love money. Like, a lot. And I’d like to have some of it. Plus, I could use the exposure to make myself more popular, thereby building my demagogue up enough to form a militia and… well, you know.
- That’s a great idea! I think everyone should follow your every word and start stockpiling weapons to use in your name! So what kind of content can we expect on this Facebook page?
- Well, you should be able to find most of the content from my Twitter page. Redundancy is key to social media. Also, you’ll see various updates and messages from me from time to time, plus you’ll be able to interact with me directly!
- Like your users already can via email, comments, Twitter, and instant messaging?
- Why am I trying to sabotage myself via this interview?
- Because of your crippling mental disabilities that leave you arguing with yourself on the internet!
- Right! I had forgotten about that already. Go to the new page!
WARNING: This paragraph contains an absurd amount of semicolons.
Whether we admit it or not, gamers love sequels. Even though we so frequently complain about the “sequelitus” that is supposedly destroying our hobby, we all wait with bated breath for the sequels to our favorite games, whether they’re somewhat unlikely, like Crackdown or Just Cause, or inevitable even though the original was shit to begin with, like God of War or Assassins Creed. Sometimes they fix everything that was wrong with the original (that was the case with both Just Cause and Assassins Creed), and other times they just ruin something beautiful (like every Prince of Persia game released since Sands of Time). And, of course, sometimes companies just churn out the same bullshit over and over, which I think is the only real problem with sequels (God of War, I’m looking in your direction). But on the whole, if a game is good, it deserves a sequel; to say a company should always abandon a (commercially or critically) successful concept in favor of trying something “fresh” is ludicrously idealistic. Sequels don’t even have to be uncreative redos of the originals; plenty of sequels have been able to build upon the concepts of their predecessors to the point of practically being new genres without losing the feel of the original. Just look at Half-Life 2, Ocarina of Time, and Sonic Adventure, for Christ’s sake. And even if a sequel is a shitty rehash, there’s no reason the incoming funds from the brain-dead hicks who will buy anything with the God of War name on it (just kidding, I know some intelligent people who love GOW, for some reason) can’t go toward something great; using that example, Sony’s success with GOW and other games led to the creation of LittleBigPlanet and Uncharted, which were completely fresh and innovated the genres of social game creation and fight-two-people-then-jump-from-ledge-to-ledge-for-45-minutes (again, I’m kidding, sort of, although the sheer amount and frequency of ledge jumping in that game took the dramatic tension of hanging on a ledge from “nail-biting” to “this is more mundane than riding the bus” in like 1 level), respectively.
But, as far as I’m concerned, the only thing worse than when a terrible game franchise shits out a completely uninspired sequel is when a deserving game never gets a sequel. In that vein, here’s a trio of games that desperately need a sequel:
Comix Zone (Genesis, 1994, Sega)
When most people think of beat-em-ups, their order of thinking goes like this:
Final Fight-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-Streets of Rage-Final Fight (again)-random arcade beat-em-up-Turtles in Time
But I consider myself somewhat of a beat-em-up connoisseur. Me and my friends will sit around and play various obscure beat-em-ups, discussing the finer points of them just as the pretentious do with wine, except that we’re actually able to determine differences between beat-em-ups. And yet, with all the beat-em-ups I’ve played, I’ve still yet to see one like Comix Zone.
Comix Zone tells the tale of a man named Sketch Turner. If 10-year-olds could vote, Sketch would have been elected president of the 90s. He’s a struggling comic artist/hard rock musician with a bad haircut and weird sunglasses. He’s the epitome of everything kids thought was cool at the time. He even owned a pet rat named Roadkill. To be honest I wouldn’t have been surprised if the twist ending of the game revealed he was actually a 5th grader. Sketch creates a comic book, then gets transported into it during a lightning storm.
This brings me to a mystery I’ve been trying to figure out for a while now. I understand why people though you could get superpowers from nuclear radiation. Obviously it’s just going to give you lymphoma in real life, but in comics and movies it makes sense, because we don’t have any contact with radiation on a day-to-day basis. But lightning? We understand lightning. We see it all the time. I’ve personally never been brought back to life or traveled through time because of lightning. Why would I think it would send a comic book artist into his own creation? They could have at least made it, like, a wizard lightning storm or something.
Regardless of the shaky logic behind the premise, Comix Zone is a fucking classic. It’s probably the best beat-em-up for the Genesis (except Streets of Rage 2), and the visual design perfectly captured the then-current anti-hero-centric comics the mid-90s were so famous for. It’s been getting a lot more attention lately, but it was tragically ignored for the first 10 or so years after it was released. Recently it’s been released on the Virtual Console, XBLA, and Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, and the Game Boy Advance saw a really shitty port that only got released in Europe (for some reason, publisher branches in Europe love to fuck the whole continent over as much as possible with awful retitles, terrible ads, and only the worst exclusive releases that weren’t good enough to see release anywhere else). Hopefully this current… hmm, I hesitate to call it momentum… vague notoriety that Comix Zone has will lead to interest in a sequel. It’s such a simple concept that it could be feasible on just about any system. It could be a 2D platformer, a 3D 3rd-person action game, a throwback retro sequel, a new-generation reimagining, just about anything.
And now that I’ve said that, they’ll probably release a “dark” adaptation of the game where Sketch is a badass anti-hero space marine. The industry loves to fuck me over. Especially when they can do it with space marines.
Sküljagger – Revolt of the Westicans (SNES, 1992, Realtime Associates)
There will never, ever, ever be a sequel for this game.
It’s a damn shame, too, because this is one of the best, and weirdest, platformers the SNES ever saw. Sküljagger finally combined all the elements of great stories you’ve been waiting to see together for so long: skeleton pirates, magic bubblegum, evil bugs… Sküljagger had it all. It was developed by Realtime Associates, which isn’t really involved with the industry in a traditional sense anymore, mostly producing “serious games,” games with purposes like teaching kids not to jump in front of moving vehicles and teaching soldiers not to shoot innocent people (guess which one of those is harder to teach). That’s admirable, but honestly, they were never really involved with the industry all that much to begin with. Sküljagger is pretty much the sole game of note they did. Other than that they were mostly in charge of Game Gear ports and Sega Pico educational games. The weird thing is, even though they never really did anything else, they had at least one luminary among their ranks: Doug fucking TenNapel, who 2 years later shot to superstardom with the creation of Earthworm Jim.
Sküljagger is the story of you, some guy, who somehow steals a sword from a pirate/dictator, possibly named Sküljagger, who is also a skeleton for some reason, to fight for his freedom, or his nation’s independence, or something. The game isn’t entirely clear on most aspects of the story, but it is clear on one thing. That fucking skeleton hates you, and he may or may not be sending giant evil insects to kill you. You have to use magic bubblegum, which for some reason looks exactly like fruit, to kill the evil bugs, and possibly go to find Sküljagger and kill/defeat/usurp him!
Sküljagger is fun as fuck. But for whatever reason, it’s absurdly obscure. The only reason I know about the game is because the name stood out from when I saw codes for it in the Classified Information section of an old Nintendo Power. I’ve never seen an actual copy of the game, and apparently it’s so obscure it doesn’t even get a Wikipedia page. To give you some perspective on that, BlaZeon: The Bio-Cyborg Challenge has a Wikipedia page, and I think I may have just made that title up. The game is a mess of disparate elements, but somehow it all works out in the end. Kind of like a train wreck between a shipment of chocolate and peanut butter, only with less coal and fewer dead bodies.
Captain Skyhawk (NES, 1990, Rare)
If I had to declare my favorite airplane-based shooter, I would probably say U.N. Squadron. But Captain Skyhawk would be really, really fucking close.
Yet again I have no clue what the fuck the game is about, but it seems to be about a man who flies an airplane across space into plain, monochromatic landscapes shooting all of the bizarre, sometimes abstract enemies he saw, including sentient sphinx statues, RC cars, and the All-Seeing Eye. It’s an early work by Rare, who seems to be the master of making great games then forgetting about the for 20 years (see: Battletoads, Killer Instinct, about 10 other games), and features a really underrated soundtrack by David Wise, the greatest non-Japanese game composer of all time.
Ok, I admit, this game is getting a little extra love from me due to the fact that it’s the very first game I ever picked out for myself. Remember when Toys R Us had the big glass case with all the games in it? I do, and I was only 2, so you have no excuse. I absolutely hated it at first because my plane would just fall out of the sky for no reason sometimes. Fortunately my parents somehow figured out that, in the most baffling game design choice ever, you have to hold down on the D-pad the entire time you played it.
Besides the fact that the soundtrack is phenomenal, the story was somewhat intriguing, and the game was fun as all fuck, Captain Skyhawk deserves a remake for this reason alone: someone needs to rectify the choice of making you hold the down button the entire fucking time. Rare has made an absurd amount of great games, but the fact that they made this one completely incomprehensible mistake bugs me.
There are plenty of reasons to make a sequel to this game, but they’re all kind of hard to explain, so here’s the ROM for the game. Don’t say I never gave you anything, even if it is something that is remarkably easy to access all over the internet.
For a lot of people, that word makes absolutely no sense at all. But for some people, my generation, specifically, it’s the only word that has ever made any sense. If you are a part of my generation, you saw that word, jumped up in your chair, and screamed “FUCK YEAH!” And for those of you who don’t understand, there is a reason for that.
You see, Actraiser is one of the most unique games ever made. An early example of genre twisting, Actraiser is a combination platformer/sim game. Now, by themselves, these elements are solid, but not incredible. But that combination of the two managed to make a somewhat obscure game extremely memorable. I haven’t met a single person to whom I can mention the game to who has both played the game and cannot remember nearly every detail of the game. Hell, I even knew a guy with brain damage, and all he could remember Actraiser and the plotline of Serial Mom
One of the weirdest parts about Actraiser was that apparently the acts were being raised to God. The main character of the game was our Lord Jesus Christ. He sits in a floating palace high above the Earth, monitoring humanity’s progress and beaming down Star Trek-style to kick whatever ass needed to be kicked. These platforming sections were played as God as he used to be in the good ol’ days. I’m talking about the Old Testament God, the kind of God who comes down, flaming sword in hand, and just straight up slaughters some motherfuckers, including a minotaur, which I don’t remember God killing in the bible (maybe if he did I would read it). After killing everything in a particular area, the game suddenly switched to a sim game. In these segments, you realized how fucking stupid and whiny your people are, so you just chill in your floating palace while some little bitch-ass angel did all your work for you. Sure, you occasionally sent earthquakes and shit to solve their problems, but for the most part it’s just a tiny angel shooting bats down over Mexico while directing construction traffic.
The most annoying thing about the game was probably the fact that your people begged you to save them, asked for your help every five seconds, required you to go and slay gigantic demons, and even told you to go perform fucking errands, like bringing some bread to one of their kids, and you do every single little thing they ask. Considering you’re God, you would think you’d be calling the shots, but no, apparently you’re the god of being a chump. I bet the attractive women come to talk to you about their problems with men, tell you what a great God you are, then go and date some alpha-dog douche. I mean, fuck, she said you were good looking and really caring! You even killed like 20 flying, earthquake causing skulls for that bitch! Anyway, all of that could be ignored, every bit of it, if it wasn’t for the fact that after you fucking change the face of your creation, literally kill off entire races of creatures and slay all the evil demons, they just fucking forget about you. They don’t even thank you. All you get is a kick in the dick and a commemorative temple. And they don’t even attend services at it!
Now let me say this. I understand atheism in the real world. It makes sense. Why would you believe in something you have no proof of? But in Actraiser, it’s different. You fucking personally came down and killed things. They talked to you on a daily basis. I mean, fuck, you have a palace floating 100 feet above their cities! How are they going to explain that with science? Then the game literally tells you that your personal slaying of all the world’s evil led the people to forget about you. Doesn’t that seem backwards? Shouldn’t that make them even more sure I exist? Maybe that’s why you summon evil back in Actraiser 2.
What follows is a transcript of the remarks and thoughts of the first Americans to play Super Mario Bros., George Brenner and Joseph Redding, in late 1985. Their comments helped justify Nintendo’s decision to bring the NES to America the next year.
Takashi Nozawa, Nintendo VP of Marketing: We are pleased that you have decided to test our product to see if it is correct for the American market. We understand that the market for video game products has crashed in the United States, but we would like to assure you that our Family Computer is perfect for the American consumer.
George Brenner, Investment Manager, Sears: Well, keep in mind we were the ones who chose to sell the Atari 2600 through our department stores. I don’t think anything could top the demonstration they gave us. Between Star Ship and Race, I felt like I was living in a futuristic wonderworld. I couldn’t sleep for 15 whole days after I played it.
Joseph Redding, Investment Manager, Sears: I literally shit my pants when I saw Math. Literally. I was both amazed at the incredible technology in front of me and terrified to think that it could lead to me spending my golden years being hunted down in old age by a squad of impossibly intelligent SuperBabies raised by their Atari 2600 overlords to enslave mankind.
Takashi: Haha, yes, well, hopefully you will not have the same concerns with our products. *puts copy of Donkey Kong Jr. Math in garbage can* Perhaps you would like to try our flagship game, Super Mario Brothers?
George: Sure. What do you play as? Tanks, spaceships, or dots?
Takashi: Actually you play as a little man named Mario.
Joseph: That would be dots, then.
Takashi: Actually, no. He is a plumber with a mustache from Brooklyn.
George: Oh, I know. I saw the instruction manual. I meant what do you play as in the game.
Takashi: As did I.
George: HA! You’re good people, mister. But you and I know I’m not gonna be able to tell a person AND a mustache AND a hat apart on a character in a home video game.
George: Sweet fucking Jesus.
Joseph: Oh my god.
George: Look at all of those colors. There are… there are like 10 colors on the screen right now.
Joseph: That’s… that’s not possible. THAT’S NOT POSSIBLE. HOW ARE YOU DOING THAT?
George: Joseph, CALM THE FUCK DOWN. There’s no way everything can be this impressive. Holy… look at how fluid that movement is. I can’t… how are you doing this?
Takashi: I take it that you are impressed.
Joseph: Takashi, I’m going to ask you a question and I want you to be honest. Are you a witch?
Takashi: Hahaha, of course I am not. The solution is more simple that that. We at Nintendo have worked very hard on the hardware architecture of our Family Computer, or Famicom, as we call it. The efficient design allows the system to have a considerable amount of power while still being easy to program for, which allows us to create a large library of games both through our own research and development teams and through our third party designers.
George: Third party desig- WHOA JUMPING INTO THAT FUCKING BOX JUST MADE IT POP OUT A COIN OR SOMETHING. Third party designers? Atari had problems with them. It’s not fair that someone can just come along and make a piece of software for your hardware. They should make their own hardware if they want to release software.
Takashi: Well, that is where we hope to succeed where Atari failed. We have licensed out the rights to our hardware technology in order to be able to profit from third party software while still enjoying the expanded software library that results from having several developers.
Joseph: That’s retarded. It only takes a week, or two at the most, for a guy to design a game, you should just hire their developers and have them crank a few out every month. Then you get 100% profits.
George: What are these green things?
Takashi: Ah, those are pipes. Mario can travel down them. Try jumping on top of that one, then press down.
George: Ok… I guess I can…
Joseph: NGGHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAA *jumps out window*
George: JESUS CHRIST JOSEPH! OH GOD WE’RE ON THE 85TH FLOOR!
Takashi: I’ll call the emergency services! We’ve got to get down there to help him!
George: Ok, sure, but right now my first priority is making sure we finish this deal.
Takashi: But.. your friend! If we hurry we might be able to help him!
George: If I leave this room for even a second someone else could just waltz right the fuck in here and buy this. No way am I going to take that chance.
Takashi: Fine, fine, what can you offer us?
George: If you allow us to sell this game in our stores I will give you the information for the company bank account. You can take out whatever money you want whenever you want.
Takashi: Are.. are you sure? It seems like you would at least need to contact your home office to authorize a deal of that magnitude.
George: To hell with the home office. I WILL NOT MISS OUT ON THIS OPPORTUNITY.
Takashi: Fine, fine, we accept, now we have to go help your friend!
George: You have to promise me, PROMISE ME, that NO ONE ELSE will sell this product.
Takashi: Mr. Brenner, I must insist we help your friend!
George: PROMISE ME!
Takashi: We will attend to it when we get back! We must go now! *runs out door*
The tape ends here. However, the rest of that day is forever known to history. Joseph Redding died after plummeting 85 stories to his death,having been unable to accept the tremendous increase of technology between the Atari 2600 and the NES. Takashi Nozawa got an enormous bonus for the tremendous amount of income the Sears deal resulted in for Nintendo. He bought his own series of islands and retired at 26. The NES went on to become one of the most successful and beloved video game systems of all time. And George Brenner? Although successful for brokering the deal with Nintendo, Brenner unfortunately became more well-known on December 12th, 1985. On that frosty December morn, 87 men, women, and children were killed when Brenner lost his mind in a K-Mart Department store upon seeing that, despite the contract he thought he signed, the NES was available for sale at stores other than Sears.
And the reason is hilarious.
I know I just posted like an hour ago saying I’m on hiatus, but as usual, by the time I actually post a hiatus message I end up being almost immediately ready to break it. That may not be the case here, but this bit of news is just too funny to pass up.
No Doubt is suing Activision for using their likeness in Band Hero. Of course, No Doubt signed off on that, but what they didn’t sign off on (or maybe they did, the actual details of the contract are totally irrelevant to me) was being allowed to be portrayed playing not just their own songs, but any of the 62 songs in the game. Not a single thing I can imagine would be funnier than seeing Gwen Stefani singing The Impression That I Get or Every Rose Has It’s Thorn. Assuming, of course, that they have the original husky-voiced singers performing the song and not, like, a girl or something. On one hand, I pray every night before I go to bed that something will happen that makes Bobby Kotick lose all his money and spend his last days destitute, sucking AIDS-infected dick for heroin, before a bunch of drunken frat boys finally light him on fire just to watch him burn, so the idea of him losing a lawsuit makes me happy. But on the other hand, No Doubt’s last few albums have really really sucked, and Gwen Stefani deserves something bad happening to her for the sonic abortion she calls a solo career, so I guess regardless of who wins, it’ll be a happy day for me.
Anyway, back to hiatus.
Ok, I have a weird question for you fuckers. Do you remember this?
I’ve always been fascinated with video game related merchandise that doesn’t directly have any kind of artistic merit. That sounds weird, but it’s just the way it’s phrased. I just can’t think of a better way to do so. But you know what I mean, not books or games or movies, but the oddball stuff like food or sticker books or shoes, the crazy shit that new fads inevitably result in. Although these sodas came out in my lifetime, I didn’t remember them at all until I saw that picture above. Now, there’s a lingering taste that I can’t quite remember but which seems so familiar. I think it was the Yoshi Apple flavor. Does anybody else remember these?
Go watch this.
Are you done?
Yeahhhhh… that seems about right to me. These screens aren’t official, apparently, but they were handed down to some French site (don’t bother clicking that link today, the full weight of the gaming press has crushed it), and they look pretty real to me. Not sure about the first chick (apparently named Juri, who, despite what some press outlets think, is a new fighter and not a returning character), because there aren’t any details yet, but that’s damn sure some T. Hawk up there. Finally, just what the game needed: a slow, muscular, grossly overpowered behemoth.
As I have been in the process of announcing for like 8 months, I am working on a podcast. It’s taking forever, mostly due to my tyrannical insistence on working alone when I’m also working alone on like 5 other things. I have solicited the help of several different people recently, however, and as a result, I’m getting much, much closer to what I want done. I hope to have it ready within the next month.
The format for the show will be kinda like the format I have for the site, in that I want it to be a blend of fiction comedy and hard news with a comedic slant. A portion of the show will be for discussion of headlines and news, and a portion will be prerecorded comedy bits and such.
Of course, we’ll open up with a panel discussion on various news headlines, just like every other video game podcast. However, I’m hoping mine will be distinct in that my friends and I don’t tend to share the same opinions as everyone else in video game journalism. I’m sure that’s what everyone else says, though, so who knows.
Mike Haggar, as you all no doubt know, is the main character of the Final Fight series. I’ve asked Haggar to do a report on recent games of interest, and he’s agreed to help me as long as I get him a case of beer each show. He got kicked out of his favorite bar for his constant drunken violence. Not that anyone tells Haggar where he’s allowed to go. It just happens that he did a spinning lariat and wound up demolishing most of the bar, so there isn’t much for him to go back to.
I’ve also been working on a music segment. Pretty much all I listen to anymore is video game music, and there’s a lot about it I find particularly interesting. I also like to heavily analyze music, as does my friend Kady. So, we’re teaming up to analyze the hell out of the beeps and whistles you all ignore while you’re playing games.
Outside of these, the segments will be revolving. They’ll mostly be scripted comedy, though, with perhaps a few improv parts.
So that’s most of it. Does this sound good? Any suggestions?
Oh my Jesus.
Look at these.
I am going to go produce 1 baby and dress it in nothing but these onesies until they will no longer fit.
Unfortunately these don’t seem to be for sale. Tragic. I had almost talked the wife into the whole pregnancy thing.