Here’s a confession: I have loved Godzilla for even longer than I’ve loved video games. It’s true! I actually cannot recall when I first discovered Godzilla — I literally have no memory of a time when I did not watch and love his movies, and some of my earliest memories of watching any TV at all are of Godzilla. It had to have been pre-Kindergarten that I started watching them — maybe my older sister had watched them because she was into horror movies — but I didn’t discover video games until I was five or six, and I know I was watching Godzilla before then.
Anyway, with Godzilla and video games being two of Japan’s most significant pop culture exports, naturally there have been a bunch of Godzilla video games. Unfortunately, as is the case with many licensed properties, many of them are…not that good. And those that are decent are probably most enjoyable only by hardcore kaiju-eiga no otaku.
The problem with Godzilla games is that he SHOULD translate wonderfully into a video game, but he often just… doesn’t.
Even after all these years of being a gamer, this journey of research and learning about them still fascinates me as it leads me through various paths and I find myself arriving at information, games, people, or items I’ve never encountered before. Such is the case with the book I’m looking at today: a Japanese tome entitled simply Family Computer 1983-1994. Continue reading “Gamers’ Library: Family Computer 1983-1994”→
I’ve read a lot of books on video game history, and I’ve heard a lot of the same stories told several times. Therefore, rare is the story I haven’t heard yet; and here we have a book — the first of three massive volumes, no less — that is absolutely packed cover-to-cover with things I didn’t know, things I didn’t know that I didn’t know, and things I didn’t even know that I wanted to know, but it turns out I’m really glad I know them now.
At the risk of featuring too many PS4 games in recent posts (what can I say, they all have a retro connection or I wouldn’t be talking about them), Sega’s Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise (aka Hokuto no Gotoku) was released in the US this week, to the gleeful delight of combined Fist of the North Star and Yakuza fans everywhere. How wide or slim the overlap of that particular Venn diagram is, I don’t really know. But I’m wedged in there myself, and when this game was first announced, my head almost exploded like one of Kenshiro’s unfortunate opponents.
FotNSLP/HnG (it’s a long title either way, I don’t even know how to abbreviate it for this post) is just the latest in a really long line of video games based on the classic manga/anime property, Hokuto no Ken (lit. “Fist of the North Star”), dating all the way back to the ’80s when the manga was current and the show was actually airing on Japanese TV. Some of the games are good; many are not. And out of the dozens of HnK games released, only a handful were released outside of Japan. Let’s take a look at some of the good ones, shall we? (Perhaps I’ll do another post about all the not-so-good FotNS games someday, and call it “You’re Already Disappointed” or something.) (Don’t steal that, I just came up with it.) Continue reading “You’re Already Having Fun”→
Last week, I picked up a Hyperkin Retron HD to see what it’s all about. I’ve spent the last few days putting it through the wringer and making it do some things it probably shouldn’t oughtta do. How’d it turn out? Read my exhaustive report right now! Continue reading “Retron HD: The RGSH Test”→
Lupin the 3rd: The Castle of Cagliostro is one of my all-time favorite movies. Like, not even just anime movies — it’s one of my favorite films, period, up there on the Star Wars and Indiana Jones level for me. I’ve owned it since the first official English-dubbed VHS of it was released in 1992, and have since bought it twice on DVD and once on Blu-ray. I’m even thinking about picking up an old Laserdisc of it just for completion’s sake.
If you don’t know the film, or the anime/manga character Lupin the 3rd — the short version is that Lupin started off as a manga in the late 1960s by an artist named Monkey Punch; had an anime TV series in the early ’70s; his first theatrical film and a second TV series in ’78; and in 1979, the second Lupin movie, The Castle of Cagliostro — the motion picture directing debut of a guy you may have heard of named Hayao Miyazaki — was released. Lupin went on to more movies, TV shows, TV specials, OAVs, and live action movies in subsequent years and remains a popular character to this day.
With that level of success, naturally, a number of Lupin videogames have been made over the years, and of those, three of them have been specifically based on Cagliostro, with one or two more taking liberal doses of inspiration from it. This is the specific subset of games I’ll be checking out in this post! Continue reading “Videogames from Cagliostro”→
Jesus: Kyoufu no Bio-Monster is one of those games I’d always heard about in “weird Famicom games from Japan” lists — you know, just mentioned because it was called “Jesus,” and then glossed over to talk about the next game in the list, which was probably that impossible-to-finish Takeshi’s Challenge game or whatever. But I never really looked into what the game actually was, until recently. And when I did, I got pretty excited and dove in headfirst. Continue reading “Finding Jesus”→
Guardian Legend is one of those games that I never played much back when it was new, and only got around to checking out maybe in the late 1990s when I was buying cheap used NES games. Its anime-mecha style was certainly appealing to me, but there was a problem: I never really understood how to play it. I’ve always intended to figure it out, and I recently finally did! It’s not that it’s complex, it’s just kind of a jarring mashup of styles without a whole lot of direction. So if you’re another gamer who never quite got how this shmup/Zelda hybrid is supposed to work, maybe this will help. Continue reading “So THAT’s how Guardian Legend works”→