Two brief stories about male anatomy

One day, when my daughter was around two she caught a glimpse of my penis. Her face absolutely lit up. “OH MY GOODNESS,” she breathlessly intoned. “YOU HAVE A TAIL!!”

More recently, during a trip into a public men’s room I explained urinals to her, and for a while whenever I was going to the bathroom we’d do the following routine:

*Knock knock*
“Hey Isaac! Are you going to the bathroom?”
“Yes, honey. I’m going to the bathroom.”
“Are you… STANDING UP?! Hahahahahaha!”

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

111. Gargoyles

Gargoyles
Sega Genesis
Buena Vista Interactive
1995

This game is noteworthy for one thing, and that thing is certainly not the gameplay. The gameplay is, well, bad. However, if you are a fan of the show, this game rates a footnote in the Gargoyles lore for introducing the Eye of Odin as a Gargoylian macguffin.

Although, to be entirely clear, the actual eye of Odin already existed as a mythological macguffin.  The folks at Buena Vista Interactive didn’t say to themselves “Hey, there should be this goddy guy named Odin who can be an eyeball shy of a set.”  That idea totally already existed.  It was made up by a dude probably named Erik Erikson, or possibly Olaf McViking. I’m not sure on the specifics. The point is the guys making this game had the idea that this ocular stray could be a thing that got mentioned in their video game.

In what was a pretty silly act of cross-promotion, this macguffin not only got incorporated to Gargoyles cannon proper, but was eventually revealed to be one of the Three Supermacguffins of the Archmage. This is a franchise with a lot of macguffins.


The best part of all this macguffinry is that the Gargoyle clan had a big storage closet in which they kept all their inactive plot devices.  Mixed in with the flashlights and the vacuum cleaner, not only did they dump some of the most powerful magical artifacts in the world, they also stashed a comatose cyborg frankenstein gargoyle. I really appreciate that sort of verisimilitude.

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

110. Altered Beast

Altered Beast
Sega Genesis
Sega
1989

This is an almost unplayably shitty beat ‘em up. That’s pretty impressive, because “beat ‘em up” is one of the very easiest game genres with which to make a passably mediocre game. Punch, kick, jump, jumpkick, throw, a bunch of enemies, colorful bosses… you’ve got yourself a beat ‘em up.

The fundamental divide in classic beat ‘em ups is between the games with an isometric “3d” playing field and those with a single plane with platforming elements. The former becomes about crowd control, keeping yourself from being flanked, while the latter is more about carefully timing your jumps.

The makers of Altered Beast boldly rejected both choices, instead making the stunning choice of not creating any platforming elements, while also giving the player only one plane to fight upon, thus taking all of the depth out of an already shallow genre. This rough game structure is rounded out with terribly stilted fighting, muddy garbage graphics, an a vague cloud of shame.

This game was a pack-in game with the Genesis. Everyone who bought a Genesis got a copy. The NES came with Super Mario Bros., the greatest video game of all time. The SNES came with Super Mario World, a masterpiece showcase of what can be done with 16 bit hardware. The Genesis came with a kick to the teeth. It is pretty shocking that anyone ever bought a Genesis under these circumstances.

When I was a kid, due to a mishear on my part, there was a period of time where I thought that this game was called “Ultra Beast.” Frankly, that sounds like a much cooler game. Sometimes I like to pretend that somewhere there IS an Ultra Beast game, one where you turn into monsters and that is totally rad to play.

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

2600-360: Does What Nintendoesn’t

Whew, finally made it to the Genesis. I’ve been waiting a long time to get here. Back in the day, there were two types of kids: Nintendo kids and Sega kids. The Sega kids alleged that the SNES was a namby pamby baby system, lacking in attitude. The Nintendo kids argued that attitude is all well and good, but at the end of the day the SNES had better games. I was a Nintendo kid.

I grew up pretty ignorant of the Genesis. I’ve played a little bit of Sonic and once I borrowed a friend’s Genesis for a month and played through Shadowrun. That’s about it. There are tons of games on this system that complete unknowns to me.  One of the main reasons I started this stupid little project was do delve into the mystery of the Genesis.  I’ve got a Genesis and a stack of games I snagged at a yard sale for cheap.  Time to fire up the Blast Processor.

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