Chrontendo plus
November 1, 2010 2:39 AM   Subscribe

Chrontendo is a video podcast in which a guy systematically described and discusses every Famicom/NES game released. Currently up to 33 episodes and counting, and covering hundreds of games.

Chrontendo was posted to Metafilter back in June. (Thanks, griphus!) Chrontendo has updated since then. Another post about similar projects was made in September. This FPP adds a handy index of episodes by month, well-known games covered, and special features. This post made by permission of jessamyn.

I know a lot about video games, but Doctor Sparkle knows a lot more than I do. Hearing him talk, I rage at the screen far less than I do many other video game articles and podcasts. I mean, he knows enough to like Deadly Towers! So far he's up to 33 episodes, with only blatteen kabillion left to go. Here is that index:

Episode 1, July 1983-June 1984: Donkey Kong, Mario Bros.
Episode 2, July-December 1984: Xevious, Lode Runner, Excitebike
Episode 3, January-May 1985: Galaga, Kung Fu
Episode 4, June-August 1985: Star Force, Tower of Druaga
Episode 5, August-November 1985: Super Mario Bros., Battle City, Pac-Land
Episode 6, November-December 1985: Lunar Pool, Karateka, Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken, Bokosuka Wars
Episode 7, December 1985-March 1986: The Legend of Zelda, The Goonies, Twinbee, Bomberman
Episode 8, April-June 1986: Super Mario Bros. 2 ("Lost Levels"), Dragon Quest, Spy vs. Spy, Gradius, Mighty Bomb Jack
Episode 9, June-August 1986: Metroid, Solomon's Key, Star Soldier
Episode 10, August-September 1986: Sky Kid, Takahashi Meijin no Bouken Jima (Hudson's Adventure Island)
Episode 11, September-November 1986: Castlevania, Pro Wrestling, Super Star Force
Episode 12, November-December 1986: Zanac, Moero Twinbee
Episode 13, December 1986: RBI Baseball, King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch, Deadly Towers, Takeshi no Chousenjou
Episode 14, December 1986-January 1987: Kid Icarus, Zelda 2
Episode 15, January-March 1987: Dragon Quest II, Eggerland
Episode 16, March-April 1987: Rush'n Attack, Otocky, Goonies II. Bonus: Summary of video gaming years 1984-1987
Episode 17, April-May 1987: Rygar, Ai Senshi Nicol, Renegade. Bonus: History of beat-em-ups
Episode 18, May-June 1987 : Section Z, Pro Golfer Saru - Kage no Tournament, Meikyuu Jiin Dababa, Athena
Episode 19, June-July 1987: Getsufuu Maden, Woody Poco. Bonus: Early history of Nintendo Power
Episode 20, July-August 1987: Doki Doki Panic (Super Mario Bros 2), Double Dribble, Legacy of the Wizard. Bonus: History of Rare
Episode 21, August 1987: Castlevania II, Maze of Galious, Robowarrior, Air Fortress
Episode 22, August-September 1987: Magic of Scheherazade, Life Force, Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei. Bonus: Computer games of 1987
Episode 23, October 1987: Ultima III, Falsion, Kid Niki. Bonus: History of Irem
Episode 24, November 1987: Punch-Out!!, Faxanadu, Bubble Bobble, Romancia
Episode 25, December 1987: Dragon Scroll: Yomigaerishi Maryuu, Star Wars (Namco version), Top Gun
Episode 26, December 1987, continued: Mega Man, Final Fantasy, Karnov, Wizardry I
Episide 27, January 1988: Metal Gear, Ice Hockey, Konami Wai Wai World, Ripple Island, Wizards & Warriors
Episode 28, January-Feburary 1988: Dragon Quest III, Contra, The Guardian Legend, Gun.Smoke, Donald Land (as in, Ronald McDonald)
Episode 29, March 1988: Nobunaga's Ambition, R.C. Pro-Am, Golgo 13. Bonus: History of Taito
Episode 30, March-April 1988: Double Dragon, Battle of Olympus, Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa
Episode 31, April-May 1988: Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom, Jackal. Bonus: History of adventure games, part 1
Episode 32, May-July 1988: Blaster Master, Cosmo Police Galivan. Bonus: History of adventure games, part 2
Episode 33, July 1988: Bionic Commando, Blades of Steel, Rainbow Islands, Quest of Ki
posted by JHarris (23 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
In front text, "describe" should be "describes," since the series is ongoing.
posted by JHarris at 2:45 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Finally! I've been waiting for you to post this all day after you got the go ahead to re-post this (after it failed as a post on Metatalk), just so I could favorite it. In short;

posted by Effigy2000 at 3:14 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sir, you have my favourite too - this looks like a goldmine. It's saying something about this guy's commitment that I'm not sure I can spare the time to watch but a few of the episodic distillations of his mammoth endeavour.

And, thus inspired, I must away to AskMe.
posted by thoughtless at 3:41 AM on November 1, 2010

This is awesome. Simply reading that list of games brings back many fond memories.
posted by joedan at 4:49 AM on November 1, 2010

Why do you hate America my free time?
posted by ersatz at 4:51 AM on November 1, 2010

I know, the thing is amazing. I find it hard sometimes to get the motivation for my text and pictures only version. The guy does his research, and doesn't yell at me. I think the not yelling is my favorite part. And the minimal cussing. Other ones are a good watch, but I've literally spent my entire awake part of a day watching Dr. Sparkle before.

Just for reference, the Famicom has 1,055 games for it according to the Wikipedia page that lists them. I'm not sure if that list has unlicensed games or not on it. Plus there are games that were released for the US market and not in Japan. Not sure how many of those there are.

But just looking at that 1,055 Famicom games and dividing by 15 since that's usually how many games end up in an episode, we're looking at 70 or 71 episodes. Alright, technically 70.33333 but with a fraction like that I can easily see him just adjusting numbers so that the last episode isn't really short. Especially considering that it would have Wario's Woods and Sunday Funday on it. 3 guesses as to which of those is actually fun.
posted by theichibun at 5:12 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

This post destroys my long-held belief that I was the only person (developers of the game aside) who had ever played Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom.
posted by 256 at 7:08 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Wow. I was expecting him to maybe cover 3 games in a cursory fashion. I open up one stream and it's 80 minutes long. This will provide handy, bored late-night viewing for weeks. Thanks!
posted by Room 101 at 9:13 AM on November 1, 2010

Man, I systematically played every US release NES game and some number of Japanese games for anywhere from five minutes to a few days (to ever since 1990) and it took me months, but this is... scholarship.
posted by cmoj at 9:24 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Watching the episode with Mighty Bomb Jack and Gradius is a little painful since he doesn't seem to know how to play those very well (MBJ he doesn't seem to know about the "hover" ability, and Gradius he continually picks sub-optimal powerups). But those are minor quibbles. They do make me shout at the screen though. FOOL! If you don't save up for the force field you will DIE!
posted by JHarris at 12:40 PM on November 1, 2010

Honestly, that's the problem I'm having in my quest with things. I don't want to look stuff up even to see the manual because I'm bound to see someone say that they hate the game or give away some secret that I shouldn't be able to find out until I play the game religiously.

And now you ruined it, because later "this month" I'll know that MBJ can hover. Thankfully with shooters I suck anyway and no amount of power ups can change that unless I can pull out a Wrath of God or something like that.
posted by theichibun at 1:01 PM on November 1, 2010

JHarris- a real Gradius player just gets by on speed.
posted by a snickering nuthatch at 1:20 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

not that I'm a real Gradius player or anything
posted by a snickering nuthatch at 1:23 PM on November 1, 2010

Jpfed, at one time I was competitive on the internet score lists for Gradius Rebirth, and I really couldn't rely on speed alone. Especially against the Revolving Wheel of Moai Heads on Hard or later, god that's hard.
posted by JHarris at 2:10 PM on November 1, 2010

Something else I want to say, that I didn't know about before starting to watch these, is that there is a villain in the story of the early days of the Famicom, and the name of that villain is not Sega. It's Micronics.


If it's an early Famicom game and it sucks horribly beyond what you could ever have thought possible, it's probably the fault of Micronics. Why does 1942 have a sound track that sounds like it was arranged for snare drum and referee whistle? MICRONICS. Why is NES Ghosts & Goblins harder than the arcade version? MICRONICS.

Perhaps their worst legacy? Rare appears to have gotten their idea to foster their split personality, in the NES days, of ultracrap game developer for random third parties directly from Micronics.
posted by JHarris at 4:14 PM on November 1, 2010

Oh this is going to take up a whole lot of the time I don't have :(
posted by at 9:58 PM on November 1, 2010

I did notice some errors in his report on Sky Kid. Apparently he doesn't know that you can pull out of dives by whaling away on the buttons. That one little fact makes the game a fair bit easier, and is just about the only way to survive sometimes. (The arcade version makes it a lot more obvious you can do this.)
posted by JHarris at 1:00 AM on November 2, 2010

I love that he even reviews the FDS Knitting games!

I have watched the first 10 episodes. When working on other projects, I'll just put them on in the background. They are remarkably soothing.

And I found it interesting as to how many early Japanese-only Famicon games made appearances in my bootleg 52-in-1 pirate cartridge. (or was that 100-in-1?)

And I hadn't known that Strong Bad was originally a character in the Japanese-only wrestling game from 1985...
posted by Theta States at 7:17 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Dr. Sparkle on his blog: "Finally, hello out there to all the folks from Metafilter. Thanks to JHarris for posting a very nice link to each Chrontendo episode. I see you guys have been pouring in in droves. Welcome to Chrontendo and I hope you like the videos. "

I'm happy to see the love reciprocated.
posted by theichibun at 7:23 AM on November 2, 2010

We love Chrontendo! *heart*
posted by Theta States at 10:11 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Is that really how you're meant to pronounce Galaga?
posted by thoughtless at 2:49 PM on November 2, 2010

I don't. I don't know anybody who does. But he's in San Fransisco. When I was over there they wouldn't let me use my debit card in the yogurt shops.

Nothing surprises me anymore.
posted by theichibun at 2:56 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Heads up, Doctor Sparkle posted on the Chrontendo blog today notice of a new video, the top ten best/worst Nintendo games of 1983-87.
posted by JHarris at 9:40 PM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

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