Who will shed a tear for Blue Randar?
March 29, 2006 9:22 PM   Subscribe

Hardcore Gaming 101 has a e-newsletter, but the best things there are the loving introductions to dozens of classic games and game series, all either sadly forgotten or practically unknown to the Western World. Thrill to the serious action of Compile shooters! Avoid the mocking gazes of friends, roomies and significant others while reading about venerable Konami cute-em-ups Twinbee and Parodius! Figure out why the hell so many Namco games have Valkyrie in them! Try to keep a straight face when confronted with the likes of Ganbare Goemon, Phoenix Wright, The Neverhood, No One Can Stop Mr. Domino!!!, Panic!, Urban Yeti and Segagaga, the Sega Simulator! Do, uh, something along with the T&A delights of Keio Flying Squadron, Popful Mail and Valis! All this and much, much, much much more.
posted by JHarris (26 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Lots of emulator/eBay fodder on this list.
  • Zanac, in the Compile set, is likely the greatest spaceship shooter of all time -- pretty sweet for an NES game!
  • Parodius is Konami's parody of its own Gradius games, and is probably the first space shooter to feature a gigantic, screen-filling Vegas showgirl as a boss.
  • Some of the Ganbare Goemon and Phoenix Wright games have beaten the odds and gotten US releases. They're weird, but cool.
  • I'd like to go on record as saying that the music to Legend of Valkyrie takes a close third to the Mario and Zelda themes as far as having the most catchy game music of all time.
posted by JHarris at 9:36 PM on March 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

The Neverhood was an AWESOME game. I remember it quite fondly, actually -- it was one of those games that sounded lame, but was actually quite brilliant due to the high production values, difficulty level of the puzzles (not too hard, not too easy, and all made -sense-) and the soundtrack, which was by and large perfect.

Aw, man. Now I need to go get a copy for when my kids get older...
posted by davejay at 10:08 PM on March 29, 2006

I've wanted to play The Neverhood since I saw it on store shelves, but I couldn't afford to get it at the time and now I have no idea where to look.

Same goes for Grim Fandango. Ah well.
posted by JHarris at 10:15 PM on March 29, 2006

segagaga looks demented.
posted by juv3nal at 10:23 PM on March 29, 2006


Guardian Legend was one of the games I owned for NES when I was a kid!

I have no idea why I bought it, maybe it was one of my 'borrow and never return' games. I think most of mine were like that, actually. I think I bought it though

Anyway, it totally rocked.
posted by delmoi at 10:33 PM on March 29, 2006

I've wanted to play The Neverhood since I saw it on store shelves, but I couldn't afford to get it at the time and now I have no idea where to look.

Same goes for Grim Fandango. Ah well.

both are available from amazon. [Grim Fandango] [Neverhood]
(or bittorrent)

That price for Neverhood is ridiculous ($83!?).
Be warned it might be a big hassle to get them to run on an xp machine.
posted by juv3nal at 10:39 PM on March 29, 2006

I lurve Grim Fandango (still haven't played Psychonauts). I re-played it a few years ago with Windows XP, but I might have had to tweak some stuff.
posted by bardic at 11:03 PM on March 29, 2006

I lurve Grim Fandango (still haven't played Psychonauts). I re-played it a few years ago with Windows XP, but I might have had to tweak some stuff.

Yeah, that was just a general warning in case JHarris felt up to shelling out the $83 for neverhood. I never played neverhood, but I didn't have any problems with fandango on win2k.
posted by juv3nal at 11:15 PM on March 29, 2006

Grim isn't cheap itself juv3nal, at over thirty smackers for a game that's approaching a decade old.

Guardian Legend is, indeed, awesome. It's like they took Zelda, but instead of a sword, your weapons are ultraflash shooter guns. It's amazing how well the adventure and shooter sections combine in that game. Note that Guardian Legend was called Guardic Gaiden in Japan, where it was a sequel to an MSX game called Guardic.

Anyway, if you like GL then I can't recommend the NES version of Zanac highly enough. You'll definitely recognize the extra life music at the very least....

More on the other games:
The only installment of the suprisingly-little-to-do-with-Sam-Coleridge Xanadu that made it to the states turns out to be a little game you may have heard of called Faxanadu. I always wondered how it got that name, the writeup on the Xanadu games makes it all clear....

If you can find the N64 Ganbare Goemon games (Legend of the Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon and Goemon's Great Adventure), they're worth getting. Although the play is a little primative (especially on the first of the two), each of them is like a pure blast of Japanese silliness. And the giant robot fighting scenes in those games rock.

Phoenix Wright I bought (BEFORE it became really rare), and is ultimately interactive fiction. Rather linear IF mind you, but still swell.

One of the T&A games, Valis, is especially notable because A. it's approaching 20 years old, and B. it's creators are finally about to put two and two together, and create a lesbian porno sequel....
posted by JHarris at 11:30 PM on March 29, 2006

I've always wanted to play Parodius, but they never get released here.

I have at least heard of a good many of these. I wonder if that makes me a "hardcore gamer".

I assume "Valis" has nothing to do with the PKD novel.
posted by Target Practice at 11:34 PM on March 29, 2006

Target Practice, unless Dick was writing about a metal-bikini'd Japanese high school girl slaying monsters with a sword in a fantasy dream world, then probably not.
posted by JHarris at 11:52 PM on March 29, 2006

Er, no, he wasn't. But he should have been.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:55 AM on March 30, 2006

The creator of Neverhood, incidentally, was previously mentioned on the blue here and here. His other accomplishments include Earthworm Jim, Sockbaby, Push, Nevada, Catscratch, a million album covers, and being completely god damn crazy.
posted by Simon! at 6:13 AM on March 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

PuyoPuyo is crazy awesome. Hours lost on the shinkansen playing that one!
posted by Dantien at 7:07 AM on March 30, 2006

JHarris, I take it you must be a Hardcore Gamer™. Same here. I managed to pick up Phoenix Wright before it went nutzo in price, and I really quite like it.
posted by vanadium at 7:53 AM on March 30, 2006

this is amazing. thanks for this.
posted by shmegegge at 9:24 AM on March 30, 2006

posted by dreamsign at 9:40 AM on March 30, 2006

JHarris, I take it you must be a Hardcore Gamerâ„¢.

I don't know. I didn't know about many of these before I found the site, but some of them I did have a bit of info on. My taste in games tends to be more geared towards classic Atari arcade stuff and Nintendo, but there's lots of cool things here if you take a while to look around. There are so many things on this site, depressingly many, that are not well-known outside Japan for the sole reason that some suit decided not to take the production cost and/or cultural risk of having them translated. We missed out of Legend of Valkyrie which, had it been released in US arcades in 1989, would have been a sensation, I'm sure of it. And the Twinbee games are all rocking in their own special way, but of course, in the United States, if it's pastel, it won't sell.

If you ever need proof of just how risk-averse gaming moneymen can be, consider this: for a long while, any game that had anime-styled art in it was mercilessly scrubbed of all traces before it could be released in the U.S. Because of that, we got versions of Valis without the cutscenes (missing the entire point of the game), fantasy strategy wargame Langrisser with altered character art, and a sorry history of awful box covers. That's why Blaster Master has that goofy "save the frog" opening, completely out of tone with the rest of the game. Even the people who "got it," such as Working Designs, felt compelled to monkey around with other things in the game, like difficulty, apparently for no reason other than to justify their own existence. It's enough to turn you almost Marxist if you think about it long enough.

The Turbografx-16 tended to have more "Japaneseish" games than the other systems, perhaps because of diminished localization resources. The PC Engine (the Japanese version of the Turbografx) had so many games for it, it's saddening that the system ultimately failed in the US because of a lack of titles. It'll be interesting to see how many of those we'll get through Nintendo Revolution's virtual console feature.
posted by JHarris at 10:12 AM on March 30, 2006

Phoenix Wright is rare now? Shit. I've been putting off buying a DS until the lite came out, at least.

Great site, I'm gonna probably spend hours looking through all this stuff!
posted by graventy at 10:15 AM on March 30, 2006

No One Can Stop Mr. Domino!! is one of the great lost classics of the ps1. the learning curve was steep (but brief) and the level layouts were punishing... but also so absurd that you were compelled by sheer force of curiosity : "what the hell am i going to be asked to knock over next? and what the hell is going to pop out of it when i do?!"

it's fast, thrilling, and the feeling of satisfaction when you finally nail a nice solid "i beat the whole level in one pass" lifts your butt off the couch to cheer.

and you choose your pips!
posted by radiosilents at 10:43 AM on March 30, 2006

oh, right : and the cover/title screen has an interestingly placed comma, potentially informing us all of the true title.

"No One Can Stop, Mr. Domino!!"
posted by radiosilents at 10:45 AM on March 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

and oh god, Panic! Mike and i used to play that and just marvel. it's almost not a game.
posted by radiosilents at 10:46 AM on March 30, 2006

Word on the street has it that Capcom plans a re-release of Phoenix Wright, due to it becoming extremely popular after stores sold out.

Yes, it is absolutely completely awesome.
posted by Durhey at 2:26 PM on March 30, 2006

Phoenix Wright has been re-released. They have just released in Europe and along with that they have distributed some copies back to the US.

It was up on Amazon for a couple of days (through J&R) and I picked it up at my local Fry's (in Downers Grove, IL) about two weeks ago. Love the game so far.

The DS has to be my most played video game system I've ever owned. There are so many great games for this handheld.
posted by cherryghost at 2:47 PM on March 30, 2006

Wow, I had forgotten....

The Segagaga article has a picture of a Japanese cityscape with the two hammer guys from Golden Axe looming over buildings! It's -- it's beautiful....
posted by JHarris at 3:56 PM on March 30, 2006

Phoenix Wright is rare now?

In the US. Limited print run. Japanese version has an english option though, and that's still in print. European version launched recently too, and there's rumours of a reprint.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:08 PM on March 30, 2006

« Older Mr Berlusconi!   |   Mavis Beacon teaches how to efficiently kill... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments