July 15, 1983 - June 24, 1994
June 21, 2010 7:46 AM   Subscribe

Doctor Sparkle is in the midst of a noble endeavor: he's playing every single Nintendo Entertainment System, Famicom and Famicom Disk System game in chronological order. Not only that, he's recording himself doing it for hour-long episodes of gameplay and genuinely enlightened and erudite commentary. You can start with his recent re-recording of Episode 1 (Donkey Kong through Hogan's Alley) or the latest, Episode 30 (Battle of Olympus through Fuuun Shaolin Kyo - Ankoku no Maou). Want to find his review of your (least) favorite game? Here's a convenient episode guide (WIP). Doctor Sparkle isn't done yet, though. He's also chronicling the Sega Master System and PC Engine/TurboGrafx 16 as well in his parallel projects Chronsega and Chronturbo, respectively.
posted by griphus (27 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is it just me, or does he sound distractingly like Jesse Thorn?
posted by Bromius at 8:03 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


a noble endeavor

I don't think that word means what you think it means.
posted by rocket88 at 8:06 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Looks good to me, rocket88: noble, endeavor
posted by griphus at 8:13 AM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Lordy, I wish I had this kind of spare time.
posted by Pants McCracky at 8:15 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


is it just me, or is there something horribly depressing about this?
posted by gonna get a dog at 8:16 AM on June 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's just you. I think this is pretty cool, although I'm not going to watch more than the few minutes I saw already.
posted by grouse at 8:20 AM on June 21, 2010


I'm disrespectful to dirt! Can you see I am serious! Get out of my way, all of you! This is no place for loafers. Join me or die.
posted by Babblesort at 8:47 AM on June 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


a noble endeavor

I don't think that word means what you think it means.


As long as he cleans up all the oil in the gulf, or reverses global warming, or brings about world peace while he's doing it, I don't care what you call it.
posted by crunchland at 8:47 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's exactly what I thought of, Babblesort. Then I thought, what kind of medical school would take ol' fishbulb?
posted by Mister_A at 9:25 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


One would assume Hollywood Upstairs Medical College.
posted by Babblesort at 9:37 AM on June 21, 2010


I get anxious thinking about spending all day in front of a console, but I'm glad someone's out there adding to the record. Plus, he's not a bad writer.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 9:41 AM on June 21, 2010


related.
posted by boo_radley at 9:43 AM on June 21, 2010


Oh man, Battle of Olympus. I sure did spend hours and hours of my childhood mastering that one. Listening to his review, it's sort of interesting to see what a frustrating game it is; as he points out, a lot of the enemy-killing depends on really amazing, obsessive precision, jumping and landing and striking at exactly the right pixel. As a child, I guess I really valued the repetitive practice that it took to become good at the game. Huh. It's a shame DDR wasn't around back then.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:59 AM on June 21, 2010


This seems like something of a doomed quest. The thing is, there were a lot of games released for the NES in the United States, but that was nothing compared to the games released in Japan. In the U.S. Nintendo exercised strict control over release schedules and limited how many games each company could produce. Some went so far as to create shell companies to get around the limits, which is why Konami had the "Ultra" label. Rare, which published nearly fifty games for the system, managed to do so only because they did contract work with a variety of different publishers. (It is often forgotten these days that Rare, while producing some of the best games for the system, also produced some of the very worst. They were go-to guys for whatever crappy game show or TV adaptation you had the license for.)

But anyway, while hundreds of games, easy, were made for the NES, thousands were made for the Famicom, which didn't have a gatekeeper set up between the publisher and the consumer. Famicom publishers manufactured their own cartridges and (I believe) didn't have to pay licensing fees. As a result there were loads and loads more games made for the Famicom than our system, many of them crappy. If he's really going to play them all then I don't see how his project won't be overwhelmed by the huge Japanese library.
posted by JHarris at 11:15 AM on June 21, 2010


Well, he doesn't say how long he plays each one, but I get the sense that he didn't get super-far into Battle of Olympus, for example; I would imagine that for a lot of the games, he's probably only going to be spending an hour or so getting the basic gist.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:38 AM on June 21, 2010


Does he take Blue Shield?
posted by Brocktoon at 12:32 PM on June 21, 2010


He's disrespectful to insurance middlemen, Brocktoon!
posted by Mister_A at 12:38 PM on June 21, 2010


I'm pretty sure he's using a standardized set. Probably GoodNES which lists just over 16,000 games.

Okay, now that I've gone and typed that out I actually sort of agree with you. Maybe he's just sticking to official releases?
posted by griphus at 12:42 PM on June 21, 2010


Lordy, I wish I had this kind of spare time.

I'm pretty sure he doesn't have any spare time. I think almost all of his time is being consumed by playing these games.

I understand that there are ways to spend time that truly further humanity. I also greatly love the amazingly rich culture humans have created. This is, in my subjective opinion, a particularly wonderful, eccentric corner of that culture.
posted by poe at 12:55 PM on June 21, 2010


God, this guy is wasting his time. Doesn't he know that he could be visiting all 50 US states in a week??
posted by crunchland at 1:42 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I cannot even imagine having the free time to play all of the games I've bought for my Wii in the same day (and I only own, like, six.)
posted by davejay at 1:54 PM on June 21, 2010


I think there might be a bit of confusion here. He's not beating all of them, just giving them enough of a run-through to comment. Hell, a number of the Japanese games are incomprehensible to the extent that he's not sure if he's playing them right.
posted by griphus at 2:32 PM on June 21, 2010


Poor guy, I hope the LJN games don't destroy his spirit.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:27 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just to reiterate, he's not just playing the games, he's providing erudite and thoughtful commentary on the history of NES gaming as a whole. I only wish there was a better way to skip to specific games in the videos.
posted by lyam at 6:24 PM on June 21, 2010


Oh yes, I plan to watch all of these.
posted by meadowlark lime at 8:06 PM on June 21, 2010


Seriously, I am glad this person is doing whatever he or she is doing. It sounds like fun.

Fun. I remember that word. For me, it meant not paying attention to the fact that my attention and focus was much needed elsewhere. So while I was out hooting and hollering and lollygagging and just having the time of my life people elsewhere were dying or starving or getting killed or abused exploited or taking advantage of or just in need of some quality attention or assistance.

And you know what it was I did with an exorbitant amount of my time to have fun? I read comics about superheroes. I dreamed about being a superhero.

Then, I discovered that most actual evil wrong-doers are not anything special or for that matter were even all that smart. In order to defeat defuse or deflect them, all that was needed was someone to apply consistent focus along with some dedicated energy and attention.

To be honest, it is no where near as glamorous as comics make it out to be. (For one, the clothes. I swear I look like someone's dad. Still, I'm working on the wardrobe.) But in fact the flashy stuff got in way of the do-gooding. And the whole point is the do-gooding.

People walk around and talk with you like you are a superhero. They say really swell things like, "You really are a good guy," and "You have a heart of gold." Yeah! In fact, as nice as that is—and of course it's nice—all I'm doing is practicing doing the best I can.

You know where I learned about that?

Comic books.

The way I look at it, there is probably a lot of important lessons to learn in video games. Especially those ones, especially played back to back like that. I for one would not be surprised to learn that. Happy, yes, but surprised? No.

Now I have got to get back to what I was doing. We have a demonstration this weekend against off-shore drilling and there a couple of kids who made all A's & B's on their reports cards and listened to their parents all year, and I promised the kids all computers which I am working on having together by Wednesday. The demonstration is Saturday. Oh yeah, one last thing. Do what you love and love what you do, and have fun doing it.

That's it. Keep up the good work.
Signed,
Mike Mongo
aka
humannaire
posted by humannaire at 9:06 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


The videos are surprisingly informative with lots of history and relevant knowledge. I watched up to episode 5 where Super Mario Brothers is finally introduced. Good stuff!
posted by samsara at 5:15 AM on June 22, 2010


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