79. Strider

Strider
1989
Nintendo Entertainment System

240

 There was really awesome arcade game called Strider.  It is a slick-as-grease sidescroller where you played a badass ninja-esque guy with a sword.  With great graphics and solid gameplay, it stands as a minor classic and is well worth dumping some quarters into because it is a cut above.  This game is not that game. 

Strider NES is a weird half-linear sidescroller with some neat ideas that remind me of Bionic Commando a little bit.  You play the same character as in the arcade Strider, but the two games each seem to be doing their own thing.  And that’s cool   The game’s got some neat exploratory elements, and it is clearly trying to do solid, worthwhile game stuff, but it ends up being crippled by annoying game physics.  Jumping is difficult, collision detection is weird, everything is just a little off.  I think this game could have been awesome, but it  really needed a little more time in development.

232


This game is similar to Bionic Commando in multiple ways.  Both are made by Capcom.  Both are completely different games than the arcade games they share names with.  Both seek to be more complex and involved than their source material.  However, while Bionic Commando is a landmark game worth revisiting, Strider just really isn’t.  It’s a shame. 


 

Originally published at The Triangle. You can comment here or there.

79. Strider

Strider
1989
Nintendo Entertainment System

240

 There was really awesome arcade game called Strider.  It is a slick-as-grease sidescroller where you played a badass ninja-esque guy with a sword.  With great graphics and solid gameplay, it stands as a minor classic and is well worth dumping some quarters into because it is a cut above.  This game is not that game. 

Strider NES is a weird half-linear sidescroller with some neat ideas that remind me of Bionic Commando a little bit.  You play the same character as in the arcade Strider, but the two games each seem to be doing their own thing.  And that’s cool   The game’s got some neat exploratory elements, and it is clearly trying to do solid, worthwhile game stuff, but it ends up being crippled by annoying game physics.  Jumping is difficult, collision detection is weird, everything is just a little off.  I think this game could have been awesome, but it  really needed a little more time in development.

232


This game is similar to Bionic Commando in multiple ways.  Both are made by Capcom.  Both are completely different games than the arcade games they share names with.  Both seek to be more complex and involved than their source material.  However, while Bionic Commando is a landmark game worth revisiting, Strider just really isn’t.  It’s a shame. 


 

78. Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder
1989
Nintendo Entertainment System

This game plays like much like a piss-poor remake of Elevator Action, only they decided to take out the elevators. Brilliant move, gusy! That’s like making a Sonic the Hedgehog ripoff without having the character running.  Basically, this is a Bubsy-caliber game.

I hate this game. Not because it is a crappy sidescroller, that’s a pretty uninteresting sin. The game’s  real crime is that it one of those weird unlicensed third party cartridges.  You know, the ones that are usually labeled “Bible Buddies” or some such?  So, not only does this game lack the Nintendo Seal of Approval, but it isn’t cased in the standard grey NES cartridge.  Those grey ones are designed to be gripped for removal from the NES. Rolling Thunder is not.

This all means that once I got sick of this lame wannabe game, I couldn’t pull it out of my NES’s tight cartridge slot. It was stuck in there good, without giving me any grip on the cart.  This is not the ideal game to have stuck in your system. 

 In the end, I had to hold my Nintendo in one hand, while I yanked with my other in an awkward, graceless procedure, eventually providing the release I was working so hard towards.  Then I removed the cartridge. 

 

Originally published at The Triangle. You can comment here or there.

78. Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder
1989
Nintendo Entertainment System

This game plays like much like a piss-poor remake of Elevator Action, only they decided to take out the elevators. Brilliant move, gusy! That’s like making a Sonic the Hedgehog ripoff without having the character running.  Basically, this is a Bubsy-caliber game.

I hate this game. Not because it is a crappy sidescroller, that’s a pretty uninteresting sin. The game’s  real crime is that it one of those weird unlicensed third party cartridges.  You know, the ones that are usually labeled “Bible Buddies” or some such?  So, not only does this game lack the Nintendo Seal of Approval, but it isn’t cased in the standard grey NES cartridge.  Those grey ones are designed to be gripped for removal from the NES. Rolling Thunder is not.

This all means that once I got sick of this lame wannabe game, I couldn’t pull it out of my NES’s tight cartridge slot. It was stuck in there good, without giving me any grip on the cart.  This is not the ideal game to have stuck in your system. 

 In the end, I had to hold my Nintendo in one hand, while I yanked with my other in an awkward, graceless procedure, eventually providing the release I was working so hard towards.  Then I removed the cartridge. 

 

77. Rescue: The Embassy Mission

Rescue:  The Embassy Mission
1989
Nintendo Entertainment System

 

 Ok, first of all, this game goes by five different nom de plumes:  It is Rescue: The Embassy Mission, a.k.a., Hostage: Rescue Mission, a.k.a. Hostage: The Embassy Mission, a.k.a. Hostage: No Subtitle, a.k. fucking a. Operation Jupiter. Seriously, dudes, dubble yoo tee eff?   What in the name of the six hells of Q’o NoS is that all about? 

 At any rate, in Mission: Hostage Rescue,  there is an embassy.  And terrorists are in it, with hostages.  You must rescue them.  That’s your mission. 


It is one of those you-can-do-four-different-things-so-none-of-those-things-are-fun kind of games.  You sneak your men into position.  You have your snipers take out some of the terrorists.  And then voom, you’re repelling down the building into a window where you shoot the hell out of some terrorists and rescue the shit out of some hostages.  Embassy: Mission Rescue is like a game of Rainbow Six a decade or so before making a game like Rainbow Six would a good idea.    

If you boil it down to the essence, there are three major elements to games: Gameplay, simulation, and narrative.  Different games focus on different bits.  This game is very heavy on the simulationism, which is a fine philosophy.  Trouble is, simulationist games are always always always aiming for greater sophistication and complexity.  They don’t age well at all.

Pac-Man is still a masterpiece even with the advent of more complex maze games like Pac-Man C.E..  Metal Gear still has an enjoyable, goofy-ass story even when goofier ass stories like that of Metal Gear Solid 2 came along.  Hostage: Jupiter was obsolete even before Tom Clancy started signing his name on video game boxes. 

 

Originally published at The Triangle. You can comment here or there.

77. Rescue: The Embassy Mission

Rescue:  The Embassy Mission
1989
Nintendo Entertainment System

 

 Ok, first of all, this game goes by five different nom de plumes:  It is Rescue: The Embassy Mission, a.k.a., Hostage: Rescue Mission, a.k.a. Hostage: The Embassy Mission, a.k.a. Hostage: No Subtitle, a.k. fucking a. Operation Jupiter. Seriously, dudes, dubble yoo tee eff?   What in the name of the six hells of Q’o NoS is that all about? 

 At any rate, in Mission: Hostage Rescue,  there is an embassy.  And terrorists are in it, with hostages.  You must rescue them.  That’s your mission. 


It is one of those you-can-do-four-different-things-so-none-of-those-things-are-fun kind of games.  You sneak your men into position.  You have your snipers take out some of the terrorists.  And then voom, you’re repelling down the building into a window where you shoot the hell out of some terrorists and rescue the shit out of some hostages.  Embassy: Mission Rescue is like a game of Rainbow Six a decade or so before making a game like Rainbow Six would a good idea.    

If you boil it down to the essence, there are three major elements to games: Gameplay, simulation, and narrative.  Different games focus on different bits.  This game is very heavy on the simulationism, which is a fine philosophy.  Trouble is, simulationist games are always always always aiming for greater sophistication and complexity.  They don’t age well at all.

Pac-Man is still a masterpiece even with the advent of more complex maze games like Pac-Man C.E..  Metal Gear still has an enjoyable, goofy-ass story even when goofier ass stories like that of Metal Gear Solid 2 came along.  Hostage: Jupiter was obsolete even before Tom Clancy started signing his name on video game boxes. 

 

76. Ninja Gaiden II

Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos
1990
Nintendo Entertainment System


 
Ninjers!!

Ninjas are great.  They’re flexible, fitting your fight scene needs whatever they may be.  A single ninja will be an expert, superhuman stealth-killing master, and yet a pack of ninjas will provide endless, non-threatening kill fodder.  Ninjas are the Stormtrooper Effect writ large.

Not only are ninjas the socket wrenches of badassery, but they’re just so darn neat.  They seamlessly combine triple-dog seriousness with total goofiness.  Take Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos.  That’s an awesomely grimly silly name.  But it gets even better.  In Japan, home of the ninja,  the game had the jaw-droppingly great title of Legend of the Ninja Dragon Sword II: The Demonic Sword of Darkness.  I dare you to show me a better game title than that one.  And you know what?  Everything about ninjas is like that!


 However, ninjas are in a bit of decline lately.  The internet has a tendency to take ironic things and just napalm the fuck out of them with overplay until you are so sick of the topic that you want to kick your computer in the anthropomorphized face until it is spitting out bloody teeth, forcing it for the love of Joe Shlabotnik to fucking shut up about Chuck Norris in UR base belonging to us while eating my balls.  Ninjas have been hit hard by this phenomenon.  It can be hard to dig on ninjas in this ugly world of postirony. 

Don’t give a crap.  Still love them.  In Ninja Gaiden II you can throw ninja stars and run through people with your sword and cling to walls and cast magic potions and make friggin magic ninja clones of your bad self.  Also, you get to ride a train, which should be in every side-scroller.  Who could ask for anything more? 

This game also has cutscenes that are far slicker than the NES is supposed to have, and it also has a tendency to freeze up on me partway through Act II.  Stupid cheap old NES cartridge.  Oh, well.  Kick Master is better anyways. 

 

Originally published at The Triangle. You can comment here or there.

76. Ninja Gaiden II

Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos
1990
Nintendo Entertainment System


 
Ninjers!!

Ninjas are great.  They’re flexible, fitting your fight scene needs whatever they may be.  A single ninja will be an expert, superhuman stealth-killing master, and yet a pack of ninjas will provide endless, non-threatening kill fodder.  Ninjas are the Stormtrooper Effect writ large.

Not only are ninjas the socket wrenches of badassery, but they’re just so darn neat.  They seamlessly combine triple-dog seriousness with total goofiness.  Take Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos.  That’s an awesomely grimly silly name.  But it gets even better.  In Japan, home of the ninja,  the game had the jaw-droppingly great title of Legend of the Ninja Dragon Sword II: The Demonic Sword of Darkness.  I dare you to show me a better game title than that one.  And you know what?  Everything about ninjas is like that!


 However, ninjas are in a bit of decline lately.  The internet has a tendency to take ironic things and just napalm the fuck out of them with overplay until you are so sick of the topic that you want to kick your computer in the anthropomorphized face until it is spitting out bloody teeth, forcing it for the love of Joe Shlabotnik to fucking shut up about Chuck Norris in UR base belonging to us while eating my balls.  Ninjas have been hit hard by this phenomenon.  It can be hard to dig on ninjas in this ugly world of postirony. 

Don’t give a crap.  Still love them.  In Ninja Gaiden II you can throw ninja stars and run through people with your sword and cling to walls and cast magic potions and make friggin magic ninja clones of your bad self.  Also, you get to ride a train, which should be in every side-scroller.  Who could ask for anything more? 

This game also has cutscenes that are far slicker than the NES is supposed to have, and it also has a tendency to freeze up on me partway through Act II.  Stupid cheap old NES cartridge.  Oh, well.  Kick Master is better anyways. 

 

Pop

Hey folks,

I’ve been co-editing the comics section of PopMatters for a little while now, and we’re looking to expand the staff.  Since my flist is fulla smart people, many of them giant nerds, I thought mebbe some of y’all would like to apply.   Here’s the call for new writers that my co-editor, Alex Muller whipped up: 
PopMatters is seeking contributions for its Comics staff. We’re looking for writers who will examine the graphic storytelling as a medium, not just an industry. Like any other medium, comics are a reflection of the societies and cultures we inhabit. Writings should reflect this ideal and analyze the implications the authors and illustrators are trying to convey with their artwork. In the same vein, the medium of comics is a unique and perennially unappreciated art. We at PopMatters are interested in a thorough examination of the form, to better highlight what makes it such a vibrant and flexible medium. Does this mean writer’s aren’t allowed to review the latest Marvel of DC crossover storyline?  Of course not.  However, we are looking to cover a range of graphic storytelling, and we will prioritize writing that thoughtfully explores manga, independent titles, or any other form of comics that exists beyond the American direct market.  We like to think that great comic books should be read, and we should strive to alert readers to titles hidden at the back of the racks.

Interested writers should survey past reviews and articles on PopMatters’ Comics section to get a feel for the type of writing we’re looking for.  Please e-mail two review submissions 600-700 words in length and some information about your writing background to comics@popmatters.com. We are attempting to expand and grow Comics at PopMatters into something special beyond the high-quality reviews we currently publish.  Changes are coming, as we look to expand our comics coverage.  If you would be interested in writing news items about comics, or if you have an idea for an ongoing column, please make that known in your submission. Also, please let us know what types of comics you’re personally interested in when you apply.

This ain’t no paying gig, and I’m not the only editor, so knowing me isn’t an automatic in, but if this is something you’d be interested from, I’d love to hear from you.

75. Metroid

…And I’m back.

Metroid
1987
Nintendo Entertainment System
Adventure Series

I love Super Mario Bros., and I love –although, apparently do not own– The Legend of Zelda.      Shigeru Miyamoto made some classic game on this system.  But when push comes to shove (and my friends are people totally not afraid to shove a person over video games), my very favorite NES game is Gunpei Yokoi’s Metroid.
 
Metroid:  The Empire Strikes Back of NES games.  From the menu screen, it is clear that this game is something special.  Video game menu screens are rooted in the arcade’s tradition of the attract mode.  They tend to be flashy and noisy to get you excited to play the game. Not so with MetroidMetroid starts with tense, moody music over a cool night sky.  It immediately stands out as something different than its peers, something more subtle.  Twenty years of advancement later, it is this subtle atmosphere that makes this game still worth revisiting. 

Graphically, the game is very successful at creating an rough-hewn alien landscape.  The environment is filled with cracked stones and ancient-looking statues.  The monsters that you must fight look truly alien: They look weird without looking silly.  It is a world worth exploring. 

I love the art of the game’s visuals, but the single most impressive thing about this game is the music, scored by Hirokazu Tanaka.  Game music of this era almost always sounds bouncy, catchy, and simple, but not Metroid’s music.  Here, the  composition is ambient and layered, creating the mood of being all alone on a hostile alien world with no map.  I love a lot of old-school game music, but this is the only truly mature soundtrack I’ve found on the NES. 

The gameplay for Metroid is solid, but doesn’t quite live up to the high bar of the game’s atmosphere.  Although pioneering in its non-linearity, by today’s standards the game is a little too repetitive and a little too backtracky.  Also, there is entirely too much camping at a enemy-generator as you slowly kill enemies over and over again, slowly replenishing your health.  I hate that shit so damn much.  Also, would it have killed them to include a battery so we didn’t have to enter in a stupid password?  

So, the game has some real flaws.  And other games have done pretty much all of the neat things Metroid has done, and some of them have done it better.  Including the Metroid series itself.  still, I fucking love this game.  It is a fun, moody masterpiece.  

Also, *SPOILER* the main character, Samus, is a lady.  That’s pretty cool. 

Download the Metroid theme.  Log into Gmail as wet.floor@gmail.com.  the password is “cautionwetfloor”. 

Originally published at The Triangle. You can comment here or there.

75. Metroid

…And I’m back.

Metroid
1987
Nintendo Entertainment System
Adventure Series

I love Super Mario Bros., and I love –although, apparently do not own– The Legend of Zelda.      Shigeru Miyamoto made some classic game on this system.  But when push comes to shove (and my friends are people totally not afraid to shove a person over video games), my very favorite NES game is Gunpei Yokoi’s Metroid.
 
Metroid:  The Empire Strikes Back of NES games.  From the menu screen, it is clear that this game is something special.  Video game menu screens are rooted in the arcade’s tradition of the attract mode.  They tend to be flashy and noisy to get you excited to play the game. Not so with MetroidMetroid starts with tense, moody music over a cool night sky.  It immediately stands out as something different than its peers, something more subtle.  Twenty years of advancement later, it is this subtle atmosphere that makes this game still worth revisiting. 

Graphically, the game is very successful at creating an rough-hewn alien landscape.  The environment is filled with cracked stones and ancient-looking statues.  The monsters that you must fight look truly alien: They look weird without looking silly.  It is a world worth exploring. 

I love the art of the game’s visuals, but the single most impressive thing about this game is the music, scored by Hirokazu Tanaka.  Game music of this era almost always sounds bouncy, catchy, and simple, but not Metroid‘s music.  Here, the  composition is ambient and layered, creating the mood of being all alone on a hostile alien world with no map.  I love a lot of old-school game music, but this is the only truly mature soundtrack I’ve found on the NES. 

The gameplay for Metroid is solid, but doesn’t quite live up to the high bar of the game’s atmosphere.  Although pioneering in its non-linearity, by today’s standards the game is a little too repetitive and a little too backtracky.  Also, there is entirely too much camping at a enemy-generator as you slowly kill enemies over and over again, slowly replenishing your health.  I hate that shit so damn much.  Also, would it have killed them to include a battery so we didn’t have to enter in a stupid password?  

So, the game has some real flaws.  And other games have done pretty much all of the neat things Metroid has done, and some of them have done it better.  Including the Metroid series itself.  still, I fucking love this game.  It is a fun, moody masterpiece.  

Also, *SPOILER* the main character, Samus, is a lady.  That’s pretty cool. 

Download the Metroid theme.  Log into Gmail as wet.floor@gmail.com.  the password is “cautionwetfloor”. 

Actually, my mom is totally awesome

You ever come up with joke that keep telling because you love it even though
no one ever laughs at it?

When someone is talking about a person, and they refer to that person as a
“cunt”, I like to react all upset. “Hey! Watch your tongue! My MOTHER is
a cunt, I’ll have you know!” People get uncomfortable when I do that. I
STILL THINK IT IS FUNNY.