One of the most infamously bad NES licensed games ever released, Friday the 13th is known for its obtuseness and difficulty. Still, there's many who see an interesting design buried beneath Pack-In Software's incompetence, even inspiring an action figure based on its odd Jason Voorhees sprite, and it's for those people that YouTube filmmakers TripleZeroFilms created a 50-page, full-color, illustrated strategy guide (with its own trailer video!) for this unpolished gem in the extremely rough. [more inside]
The Forgotten Politics Behind Contra's Name by Matt Morey [Kill Screen]
Do a quick Google search of “contra.” Browsing the first few pages, you should see a saturation of links about the videogame—the now-primary version of the word—sprinkled with other definitions. Next in the deck is contra as preposition: “against, contrary, or opposed to,” suitingly enough. Then, a “contemporary New York cuisine” restaurant; contra-dancing, a folksy flirty form adaptable to many musical styles; the second album by Vampire Weekend; and eventually, peeking through before being closed out again, you’ll stumble upon the elephant in the room.
PUP - DVP (Official Video) (SLVimeo)
The always-excellent Shmuplations has translated a 2011 interview about the creation of classic NES game Rockman, known in the US as Mega Man, and its sequel. It's a great depiction of the creative process relating to game development.
Have you played Mega Man 11? Yoshi's Island 2? The SNES Earthbound sequel? No? Well, while you wait to get your hands on them, you can listen to the soundtracks online. [more inside]
Cinemassacre brings us the trailer to the long-awaited film adaptation of the infamously terrible and bizarre Dr Jekyll and Mister Hyde for NES.
...why bother? That seems to be a prevailing sentiment when the topic of any sort of big-ticket retro investment is broached online. After all, all of these games can be played through emulation for free; matters of legality aside, why not just load up MAME or RetroArch and call it a day?The Quest for the Perfect Retro Game Experience
John Stossel on 20/20 in 1988: Nuts For Nintendo
Douglas E. Smith, creator of the classic 8-bit computer game Lode Runner, which got a second life as one of HudsonSoft's most iconic Famicom titles in Japan, has died at the age of 57. [more inside]
Chronicler of the gross and creepy Bogleech presents a look at the bosses of classic NES weirdfest Monster Party and the sprites recently discovered in a ROM dump from a Japanese prototype cart.
NESMania is one man's quest to conquer every NES title, or at least all 709 officially seal-of-quality-licensed ones released in the West. [more inside]
Hyperkin's Retron 5 hardware plays real cartridges using original controllers from a variety of 8-bit and 16-bit consoles (including the NES, SNES, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, and Game Boy Advance), converts the output to HDMI for moderns TVs, and includes all the advanced options you usually only find in software emulators. It's winning over even the most skeptical retro gamers.
"Well, I did it. This is THE lowest possible score you can finish [Super Mario Bros.] with (without continuing)." via
8 Bit Renditions: hear the classics as if they were composed for the NES! While My Guitar Gently Weeps Fly Like An Eagle We Built This City [more inside]
RetroCollect reports: "...in 2005 ShenZhen Nanjing Technology released a run-down port of Final Fantasy VII for Nintendo's 8-bit system in China. Despite lacking a lot of story elements, gameplay aspects and finesse, ROM hacker Lugia2009 saw potential within the game's code and began using it as a basis to recreate the PlayStation 1 adventure in its entirety...
In 1975, the blockbuster movie Jaws was released. The series culminated in 1987 with a fourth movie, Jaws: The Revenge. The NES game Jaws (online) was released that same year, incorporating elements of both the original and fourth movie. But you probably don't know about the game that Mirrorsoft commissioned in 1984 from the husband-and-wife coding team, Dave & Sara Crud. They made a ZX Spectrum movie tie-in for the original film, only for rights holders to back out and leave it unreleased for nearly three decades ... UNTIL NOW! Or at least that's the backstory MeFite malevolent wrote. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
In April, we covered an AI that learns to play NES games. Youtube user suckerpinch has returned with a new video that provides a bit more info about LearnFun and PlayFun, and much more footage of it doing okay at video games.
Nintendo's Famicom (the Japanese counterpart to the NES) launched in Japan three decades ago this week. Ars Technica and NintendoLife have posted tributes and history lessons of this console.
After the huge success of the NES, a whole host of bootleg consoles came out around the world. The Dendy console brought a new age of video gaming to the newly born Russian Federation. Kinaman presents a retrospective of the numerous pirate Mario games on the Dendy system in three parts: 1, 2, 3. (Russian with English subtitles)
"These two Nintendo store binders provide an interesting look into the retail side of the gaming industry." [more inside]
The blog of video game journalist Jeremy Parish,
ToastyFrog GameSpite TeleBunny.net, has four in-depth, stage-by-stage, exhaustive examinations of classic 8-bit game design: Castlevania, Castlevania II, The Legend of Zelda, and Castlevania III. They are required reading for prospective game designers. (Complete links inside. Mega Man fans, look here.) [more inside]
Did Blowing into Nintendo Cartridges Really Help? Mental_Floss takes a look at what a daily blow does to an NES cartridge.
Stephen Totilo of Kotaku tries to determine the correct chronology for all the games in the Super Mario canon.
Gamemaster Howard Philips (previously) found a ca. 1984 brochure for the Nintendo Advanced Video System, a pre-NES marketing prototype, and shared it on Facebook: The cover. Pages 2-3. Pages 3-4. Medium-res photo of the whole brochure. And a bit of oddity from the past. (Non-FB link)
Over at the AtariAge forums, user Sprybug has been coding an Atari 2600 Super Mario Bros. clone to run on the Harmony Cartridge. Some screenshots. The game running on the cartridge. The game running in an emulator. And some previous discussion on the difficulty of programming for the Atari 2600.
Legends of Localization: The Legend of Zelda is a comparison of the Japanese and American versions of The Legend of Zelda. It highlights differences in music and SFX, why the intro story is in English in both versions and why Pols Voice supposedly hated loud noises, what some of those cryptic hints originally said and how Testitart became Manhandla. [more inside]
What is Spelunky? Well, it's a game that's "as generous as it is bloodthirsty," with "astonishing creativity and spectacular depth." First appearing as a freeware PC game in 2008, Spelunky (previously) is a hilariously brutal and oddly addicting marriage of roguelike, platformer, and puzzler. A new version was released for Xbox Live Arcade on July 4th, with updated visuals and a warbly soundtrack that recall the days of SNES gaming, as well as a deathmatch mode that's been compared to the mayhem of Bomberman. If you're anything like me, you'll get hopelessly consumed. (Trailer. Original freeware version for PC and Mac.)
From 1990: A 12 year old, armed with an NES, video camera and VHS recorder, films a walk through on how to beat Mega Man. (SLYT)
This Charming Man by The Smiths, covered in the best way possible.
Tevis Thompson writes about Nintendo's video game series The Legend of Zelda. Specifically about how it's gone downhill since Ocarina of Time. (via Kotaku) [more inside]
Super Mario Bros. Crossover 2.0 is out! An expansion on the original game, which let you play as various NES characters transplanted into Super Mario Bros., but using the rules and abilities of those characters from their original games, version 2 offers more special abilities, more characters, and your choice of audiovisual "skins" based on four Mario games from the NES, SNES, and Gameboy, along with one based on Demon Returns. There's even instructions for playing with a gamepad! For more information, see the Super Mario Bros. Crossover Wiki or watch the exciting Super Mario Bros. Crossover trailer! [Previously]
THE HISTORY (AND MYSTERY!) behind Action 52 and Cheetahmen, FINALLY REVEALED! And, if you have five hundred bucks to spare, NES cartridges of the newly unearthed(?) CHEETAHMEN: THE CREATION is available for sale! VINCE PERRI AT HIS DESIGN BEST, the web site proclaims, though it's unclear what this is expected to mean to us!
Abobo's Big Adventure : apparently the Nintendo Entertainment System DOES blend.
Here are fan-translated Game Center CX (previously) Episodes on YouTube: #1: Atlantis No Nazo, #2: Challenger, #3: Ghosts 'N Goblins, #4: Konami Wai Wai World, #5: Metroid, #6: Solomon's Key, #7 & #8: Prince of Persia: Part 1 - Part 2, #9: Mega Man II, #10: Super Mario 3. Much more after the break.... [more inside]
Here is a video playthrough of The Legend of Zelda without a sword. It is possible to get right up to the last boss without one, although it requires knowing a lot of tricks. That is exactly what mev1978 does in his playthrough, without dying. And then he does it again in the second quest. First quest (1:61:31) - Second quest (1:13:18) [more inside]
Nerdcore rock band I Fight Dragons presents I Fight Ganon, a live performance of the Legend Of Zelda Theme song
Here is Game Club 19XX, a new monthly podcast from Hardcore Gaming 101 (previously) in which knowledgeable gamers discuss playing through old video games without FAQs or walkthroughs. Episode 1 is on Snake's Revenge, the forgotten NES sequel to Metal Gear. (MP3 download from MediaFire, 1:27:32)
Chris Covell translated a Japanese social studies book about the making of Super Mario Bros. 3.
NES Maps - for when you have to see exactly how that level of Zelda looks in an overworld view. Complete with full maps, background only maps, or sprites for your perusal. Complete with character names and title cards for most maps. You can even get one to hang on your wall to map out your conquests in Hyrule. Even more maps from VG Maps from a previous posting.
These days, any old fool can beat Super Mario Bros with a record-breaking number of points, or in the shortest amount of time. This guy managed beat the game with the lowest number of points possible. He ran the clock down to zero on each level, always landed at the bottom of the flagpole, collected no coins, killed just one goomba, and somehow managed not to die once during the entire process.
Vs. Airman is kind of mind-blowing the first time you see it. It is not a PC or flash game, but a romhack that can run on a real NES. But which game is it a hack of? [more inside]
Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, 3, and Famicon Super Mario Bros. being beaten at the same time, using one controller for all four games simultaneously. Mega Man 3, 4, 5, and 6 being beaten at the same time, using one controller. Mega Man X and X2 at the same time. Final Fantasy V and VI (warning: 4 hours long). [more inside]
Today is the 25th anniversary of the release of The Legend of Zelda. Celebrate by learning about some of its oddities or watching some commercials!
Violinist plays the music and sound effects of NES games. Donkey Kong. Dragon Quest III. Super Mario Bros 3. [more inside]