Gaming History 101

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Posts Tagged ‘parodius

Retro Game Night (NES Favorites): California Raisins, Robocop, Parodius, Castlevania

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This week Fred focuses on NES titles:
0:00 – 19:15: California Raisins (Unreleased)
19:16 – 42:20: Robocop
42:21 – 1:11:19: Parodius Da! From Myth to Laughter
1:11:20 – 03:01:44: Castlevania (FDS version) and two ROM hacks of Castlevania (Stairs of Doom and The Holy Relics)

The sound appears to lose sync by about half a second after starting Castlevania, but it’s not that noticeable. You’d think by now I’d learn to turn off the stream when switching games, which I will do moving forward.

Written by Fred Rojas

February 17, 2018 at 11:00 am

Podcast: What the Shmup

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One of the oldest and most popular genres in gaming is the “shoot-em-up” or “shmup” for short.  Whether you’re a space ship, a young girl, or even a winged pod the basic goal is to navigate the screen, rack up points, and don’t die.  Fred and Jam dive into the origins of the shmup, the sub-genres that exist, and some of their personal favorites.


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Podcast: Extra Credit – MicroSoft eXtended (MSX)

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For this extra credit Fred goes solo to discuss Japan’s only semi-exclusive microcomputer, the MSX.  Created by Microsoft as a computing platform, the MSX is responsible for many cart-based titles that found mass success on the NES and even today.  It’s an impressive library on one of the most niche worldwide consoles/computers of all time.

Opening Song: Main Theme – Nightmare on the MSX
Sequence 1 break: Intro/Main Theme – Metal Gear on the MSX
Closing Song: Main Theme – Salamander on the MSX


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Written by Fred Rojas

April 25, 2014 at 11:00 am

Retro Game Night: Patriotic Edition

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This week we post a little early and celebrate America’s Independence Day with four patriotic video games:

First up is actually a Japanese game, Parodius Da! but it has quite the patriotic boss so it’s here because I love this game and found a connection:

Next up is a rare unlicensed NES game by Color Dreams entitled Operation Secret Storm:

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Parodius Series (Konami)

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There’s been a lot of build-up for the Parodius series, especially because I mentioned it was my favorite series and not one iteration (except maybe technically Otomedius, but I consider it a different series) came out in the United States.  Unfortunately there really isn’t much to say because the game completely parodies the Gradius series and thus it follows the exact same formula.  There is also the fact that I cover the series quite well in the Cute ‘Em Up article on this very web site.  Furthermore, since it has been such a scattered series there are only a handful of titles but they span almost every console in both Europe and Japan.  Why the series never released in the United States is really anyone’s guess.  Some say it’s because so many of the bosses are either mildly sexual or blatantly mock American culture.  Others say that the regionalization team for Konami wasn’t that great and didn’t want to worry about what to trim and what not to trim to get through our audience.  Whatever the reason, and mind you the Japanese don’t have the best track record with US localization, we haven’t ever received a single one.

Parodius

As most would guess, the first title in the series is called Parodius, but it began life on the MSX microcomputer system only in Japan.  At this point it was more cartoon-like and lacked any of the risqué sexual innuendo that the series has always been known for.  Mind you, this sexual undertone is rather innocent and in other countries doesn’t even make a gamer blush.  In the innocent United States, our parents would have probably gone nuts.  Regardless of the content or the controversy, one thing remains constant: Parodius titles are fun and challenging versions of Gradius.  Contrary to popular belief, this game was released solely on the MSX with no ports save for the various collections that had it as an option on Playstation, Saturn and PSP.

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Anatomy of a Cute ‘Em Up

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By now you hopefully have the overall concept of a shmup down, if not then you probably missed our article on that very subject, so now it’s time to talk about the different facets (or genres, if you will) that shmups can take.  Enter probably the most popular contemporary concept: the cute ’em up.  No, they don’t have any clever nicknames like the shmup, but that’s mostly because shmup is a perfect definition of these games.  Cute ’em ups are for gamers that like a little aesthetic to accompany their hardcore shooter, even perhaps a little sexuality or titillation.  Bright colors, anthropomorphic animals and big bouncy breasts are just par for the course in a cute ’em up.  Don’t stray from these titles simply because you feel their gameplay or difficulty will adjust according to their look, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.  In fact, for the most part, cute ’em ups are some of the most challenging shmups one can find.

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 5, 2012 at 9:52 am

Gradius Series (Konami)

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Responsible for plenty of attributes to the shmup genre, notably the space aesthetic, but the most significant thing I remember about the title “Gradius” is how often people mispronounced it.  Okay people, I’ve confirmed this with Konami, the pronunciation is “grah-dee-us”, not “gray-dee-us”, “grah/grey-die-oos” or any other awkward pronunciation.  It’s pronounced simply how it is spelled.

The Gradius series has withstood the test of time with the first technical iteration in 1981 and the most recent actual game released in 2008 (Gradius ReBirth on Wii).  In that time the series has graced almost every console and portable that has come out, although recent iterations have been predominantly collections.  Not only that, the series is responsible for a few offshoots including my favorite shmup of all time, Salamander (Life Force in US), and the Parodius series.  Despite critics rightfully complaining that each new title in the series seems to harken back to the original, I feel it is the series staples that keep dedicated fans and strong sales.  I grew up knowing this series on the NES, although I am told that in Japan and Europe it has a more significant presence on the MSX.  Like all shmups, it does bury its roots in the early days of the arcade and to me is still on that short list of video games you must play before you die.  Nowadays the list of titles is quite long, but after recently playing the series over last week, I still find the original title (not necessarily first in the series) to be the most significant.

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 2, 2012 at 3:11 pm