Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Posts Tagged ‘twinbee

Podcast: What the Shmup

with 3 comments


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.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Subscribe: RSS iTunes Google Podbean

Retro Game Challenge: Stinger (NES)

leave a comment »

stinger_boxConsole: NES
Released: 1987
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Instruction Manual: Not necessary – Link
Difficulty: Moderate
Played it as a child? No
Value: $3.65 (used), ???? (new) (
Other Releases: Yes – as Muero! TwinBee in Japan on the Famicom Disc System and Famicom (cart version)
Digital Release? Yes – Virtual Console for Wii (Japan only)

Below is the completion of the hybrid horizontal/vertical shmup Stinger, better known in Japan as Muero! TwinBee due to the fact that it is a sequel to the original TwinBee set 100 years after the events of the original.  Since we did not get TwinBee in this country, the title was changed to Stinger and a different back story was given, the title belonging to the given name of the ship you pilot.  It’s clearly a TwinBee title, though, with the distinctive bells that you juggle to gather power-ups and point bonuses.  Other interesting differences between the American and Japanese version were multiple difficulty settings, selectable as medium or hard in Japan and eventually an easy option was added for the Famicom cart release.  In America we only received one default difficulty (medium) but the game immediately starts over upon completion on the hard difficulty, easy does not exist in the US version.  This title was intended to support up to three players and in Japan the cartridge had an extra controller port for the third player.  Since carts loaded out of the top on the Famicom this was possible, however at this point there was only a side load for NES carts and thus the game was forced into a two player only mode.  If you had the optional accessory, the four score, which added four more port to the console, Stinger would still only support two players.  In the video below I complete the entire game although I do not replay the harder difficulty as it does not give more content or a different ending.

Written by Fred Rojas

March 29, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Parodius Series (Konami)

leave a comment »

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.


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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

March 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm