Friday, December 10, 2010

Famicom Friday

The folks from UPS have dropped a number of packages at my doorstep over the last few days. The contents of those packages: Six Famicom games I purchased (via eBay) shortly after my birthday.

Five of those games--BurgerTime, Mappy, Pac-Man, Sky Kid and The Tower of Druaga (below)--were produced by the fine folks at Namcot.

As for the sixth game, well, I'm pretty sure most of you have heard of it.

(It's the original Super Mario Bros., in case you can't make that out in the photo above.)

Isn't that banana-yellow cartridge grand?

Check out my Flickr photostream (here) if you want to see more Glamour Shot-esque pics of my latest gaming haul.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Donkey Kong: Original Edition ain't all that

Did you hear that? It was me breathing a sigh of relief for not buying one of those European red Wii systems--you know, the ones preloaded with Donkey Kong: Original Edition.

I don't know if I actually would have gone through with it, but I certainly thought about it once or twice after it was announced that Donkey Kong: Original Edition included the "pie factory" level (right) previously limited to the arcade version of the game.

After playing the game for a few hours last night, I can say with complete certainty that blowing £200 (about $315) on a European red Wii just so I could gain access to the above-mentioned level would have been an awful waste of my hard-earned money.

Why? For starters, the pie factory is the game's weakest level. Sure, the stage's conveyor belts and cement pans (sorry, they're not really pies) can be a bit of a challenge, but after you've played it a few times it can be cleared in seconds.

Even if said level were the game's strongest, though, it wouldn't make it worth $315. Subtract about $300 from that total and you'll see what I think a digital version of Donkey Kong: Original Edition is worth (although I have to admit I'd personally pay up to $10 for it).

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

So, you mean I can stop cursing Nintendo of America now?

The brass at Nintendo have made some strange decisions in recent years regarding the worldwide (or not) release of their games.

One example: Their decision to release games like Another Code: R, Disaster: Day of Crisis and Fatal Frame IV: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse in Japan--and Europe, in the case of the first two titles--but not in North America. (Maybe they think Americans are anti-colon when it comes to game titles?)

Another example: Their decision to preload their "special edition" red Wii systems with a 25th anniversary edition of Super Mario Bros. in Japan and Donkey Kong: Original Edition in Europe--and a big, fat nothing in North America.

Honestly, I'd run out and buy one of the red Wiis that are currently available in North America right now if it included a copy of Donkey Kong: Original Edition--despite the fact that I already own a Wii and I'd rather save that money to buy a few Famicom or PC Engine games (or maybe a PS3 or an Xbox 360).

As that isn't the case, I've spent way too much of my time cursing Nintendo of America since the red Wii was released--sans Donkey Kong: Original Edition--on Nov. 7.

Well, all of that cursing ended last night (for the most part) when I discovered that someone recently ripped the game from his/her European Wii and posted it on line. (The version I found seems to be playable on any Famicom/NES emulator.)

Don't worry, I'll hand over whatever the folks at Nintendo of America decide to charge for the game should they ever get the go-ahead to put it on their Virtual Console service.

Until that time, though, I'll enjoy playing it--using FCE Ultra GX--on my homebrew-enabled Wii.

See also: 'Cement pie'

Is that a Mega Buster in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Hey you, don't be silly ... put a condom on your willy! (Or should that last part be "put a condom on your Wily"?)

That's the basic message behind the following Mega Man-inspired video, produced by the folks at the Leicestershire Teenage Pregnancy Partnership in Leicestershire, England.

I can't be the only person who would proudly play the game above, can I?


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

I'm dreaming of an 8-bit Christmas

I don't know about you, but I've always wanted someone to release a (good) Christmas-themed game. This was especially true when I was a youngster. In fact, my desire was so strong for such a game that I tried to make my own.

Back when Nintendo Power magazine was still in its infancy, it held a contest that called on readers to create a game. The idea I came up with consisted of a platformer that took players through a whole host of holidays. I know, it wasn't the most creative of ideas, but I was pretty happy with it at the time.

Anyway, I only designed a few of the game's enemies and stages, but all of them had to do with that merriest of holidays, Christmas.

Why am I bringing this up? I'm not entirely sure (sorry), but I think it's to show that I'm still waiting for a good Christmas-themed game to come along.

Is RetroZone's 8-BIT XMAS 2010 that game? Definitely not. I just played it for a few minutes (you can download the ROM for free from and, frankly, it stunk.

That said, I don't think the game is supposed to be the star atop this pixelated tree. What is? The game's see-through cart--which is filled with colorful, blinking lights. (Here's a video of five such carts in action.) Are those lights alone worth RetroZone's $39 asking price? Not in my opinion, but don't let that stop you from buying one.

A seemingly better option: Super Mario Bros. 2: Christmas Edition. I can't vouch for this ROM hack since I've yet to play it, but the video above makes it seem worth a look--especially since (I'm guessing) it's free.

Fabulous flash game alert: Mission in Snowdriftland

In the run up to Christmas in 2006, a Nintendo-backed platformer called Mission in Snowdriftland appeared on the Internet.

Part game and part advent calendar, the Flash-based Mission in Snowdriftland featured 24 levels--a new one opened up each day from Dec. 1 through Dec. 24--of wondrously wintry action.

Although this Extra Toxic-developed game was removed from the Web on Jan. 16, 2007, it reappeared a few days ago (on Dec. 1, to be specific)--seemingly to promote a bunch of DSiWare and WiiWare titles.

If you're any kind of platformer fan, I suggest you get your butt over to pronto--before it disappears for another four years.

Ashley Anderson + Crystal Castles = This

Aaron Keuter--an Atlanta-based motion graphics designer, animator, editor, compositer and director--recently created the following music video, set to Crystal Castles' "Xxzxcuzx Me," using some of artist Ashely Anderson's symmetrical drawings.

Xxcuzx Me Video from Crabfood on Vimeo.

It sure is trippy, isn't it? Hopefully it didn't cause any of you to have an epileptic seizure. Anyway, to see more of Anderson's work, check out his Flickr photostream. Conversely, go here to see more of Keuter's work.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Well, this has to be a first ...

Once I "beat" a game, it's usually banished to the back of my collection until I can muster up enough interest to tackle it again. (A rare occurrence, to be completely honest.)

As such, it's kind of blowing my mind that I'm still spending time with Kirby's Epic Yarn--a game I conquered a couple of weeks ago.

I'd like to say that the challenge of getting a gold ranking on every stage--along with the challenge of finding the three treasures hidden in each level--is responsible for my seemingly never-ending love affair with this game, but I think the reason is simpler than that.

Basically, I think the game's charm is what keeps me coming back for more. Also, it's a blast to play. Yes, most stages are a breeze, but that hasn't kept me from returning to some over and over again--even after I've "perfected" them.

I'm sure I'll leave Kirby behind sooner or later--like when I finally pick up Donkey Kong Country Returns--but for now I'm thoroughly enjoying this wonderfully plush and playable platformer.

("Epic Yarn Kirby Plush," above, by TuthFairy)

The Great Gaymeathon

It sometimes feels like I spend more time thinking (and writing) about games--especially ones I don't yet own--than I do playing them these days.

Well, I've decided to (try to) do something about that--by playing, over the next few months, every single game in my collection and then commenting on them here.

I'm not promising to play each game from start to finish, mind you, but I will spend some quality time with them. I'm also not promising to review them in full; rather, I'm planning to keep my commentary short and sweet--kind of like the impressions I've enjoyed at sites like and video

Oh, and the best part of this plan? I'm going to call it "The Great Gaymeathon." (Or maybe I should call it "The Great Gay Gameathon"? Nah, that's too long.)

As for when the first Great Gaymeathon review will be posted, well, I'm not entirely sure. I'll post it as soon as possible, though--I promise!