Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Flower Crown (1991, Famicom)

Flower Crown, developed in 1991 by Ribbon Black.

A more horror themed semi-sequel to I’m Afraid of the Sun. Psychological graphic adventure in the spirit of Uninvited, Ripple Island, Shadowgate etc. The player takes the role of a young woman who gradually withdraws from the real world until she becomes trapped in a dream world she cannot awaken from.

Monday, October 28, 2013

New Leaf inspired Famicom cart: Suniekos Scramble

Hot on the heels of SWEATPANTS FOR EVERYONE is my second "Your Mayor Here" Animal Crossing: New Leaf inspired Famicom cartridge! This one was a giveaway prize for someone on Tumblr. Her favorite animal is Punchy and she asked that I work her town's name "Suniekos" into it somewhere, so I came up with a track-and-field style racing game where you have to beat the other villagers to the town's new snack bar.

 I made some New Leaf inspired stationery that I unfortunately didn't take any good photos of...maybe another time. I'd have liked to have shown the mayor's face on the cartridge, but I asked for a screenshot of her favorite outfit so scary jester mask it is!

Bonus Famicom action shot. Let's see what's being played on the TV shall we?

I guess Punchy ran out of Stamina or something? I'm testing the waters on Tumblr to see if anyone would be interested in commissioning me for one of these--wish me luck.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I found a version of Frogger I've never seen at the flea market

I often go to the local flea market in search of retro videogames, as many of you probably do. Of course, living in the swamps of south Texas you'd be surprised to know that I rarely find anything interesting!

However, this weekend I dropped by and not only found an NES racing game I'd been looking for (Al Unser Jr's Turbo Racing) and a $2 copy of El Viento for Genesis (of all things), I picked up the one of the stranger gaming related things I've seen there.

 And it was only 50 cents! Judging by that $1.98 Kmart sticker I got a hell of a deal.

And it's complete too! Wasn't even expecting that--I figured 50 cents was worth it just for the box.

Speaking of the box, it raises the question: What exactly are the guidelines for official Frogger art? I mean, that's a fairly realistic frog currently pissing itself up there. Here's the original arcade art:

AKA my favorite arcade art ever
But to be fair, there are more renditions (and releases) of Frogger than there are stars in the sky. At least the puzzle doesn't feature the character design they eventually settled on.

Looks like a Garanimal.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sweatpants For Everyone (Famicom)

Sorry about the crappy photos on this one, I've had nothing but bad luck with photography today.

First off, the title of the game is an Animal Crossing joke--sometimes your villagers will give you petitions to get signatures for, and the "jock" villagers sometimes want you to lobby for "Sweatpants For Everyone".

This was an example cartridge I made for a giveaway raffle I'm holding on my Tumblr--one random winner will get an imaginary famicom (or NES) game featuring their mayor and favorite villager! I'd like to test the waters with commissions for these, and I figure this is a good way to both show appreciation to Tumblr for the (relative for me) success of my "This Week In Town" comics, and to drum up awareness of my custom fake game service!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Games For October - Deep Fear

Deep Fear, developed by ISCO in 1998 (a contemporary of Resident Evil 2) and released onto Sega Saturn in Japan and Europe only. Deep Fear has the distinction of being Europe's last Saturn release, and they chose quite a note to go out on.

Gameplay wise? It's Resident Evil. Story wise? It's bananas. To briefly sum it up, ex-SEAL John Mayor is part of a rescue team called the ERS and must survive the horror of mutant creatures with murder on their mind--UNDER THE OCEAN. Gameplay takes place in an underwater research station called the Big Table.

The game's many cutscenes are well done for the time, but the voice acting must be heard to be believed.  The sound effects are sadly subpar, which hurts the immersion factor; still, I think the monster's moans can be downright haunting. This however is coming from a person who once paid his brother to walk through a scary room in Resident Evil, so take it as you will.

 For the record, this was the most fun "photoshoot" I've done yet--choosing which ones to post was tough. Of all things to have a passion for, themed video game package design photography is mine.

"Hereafter We Will Have Desperate Days With Nowhere To Escape..."
Hell yeah. Deep Fear's tagline certainly ranks up there with RE's "Enter The Survival Horror." And just in case that, the box art and the title didn't transmit the message clearly, blood red words at the bottom lay it on the line for you: DEEP-SEA HORROR AND SUSPENSE. I love this game's packaging more than the game itself.

While we're discussing promotional materials, here's the Japanese commercial for Deep Fear, featuring nothing but prerendered cutscenes and national treasure Segata Sanshiro butchering a fish.

If you can't get hold of the European version, the Japanese one is more affordable and very playable without knowing the language!

Ever played Deep Fear? Got any other suggestions for Survival Horror style games (any system)? I'm looking for more things to play this October!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Games For October: Musya

Emerging from the unhallowed ground comes a spooky Super NES game to chill and infuriate you

Musya: The Classic Japanese Tale of Horror, developed in 1992 by Jorudan.

This game, as the title suggests, is very Japanese! So much so that even the localized version retains a lot of kanji in the user interface. Interestingly, the titles of each stage use Japanese words even if they weren't in the original--for example, stage one is titled Kihōshōnyūdō (鬼宝鍾乳洞 "Oni Cave") in Japanese, whereas the US version is titled "Tengumara Cavern", a whole different Japanese phrase with a different meaning.

In a time when companies like Jaleco were doing THIS shit:

They did turn Magic John into Totally Rad though, so I guess Jaleco is okay

a localized game staying so true to it's roots was worthy of note.

 The legitimately creepy enemies are taken straight out of Japanese folklore.


The graphics are highly detailed, bordering on muddy. However, they do a great job of setting a bleak and muted atmosphere that avoids the cartoony look you'd expect. Your character, the spearman Imoto, has a few options for attack--including a Zelda 2 style downward stab, a too-weak-to-be-useful spear spinning attack (though I believe it's for stopping projectiles), and a handful of spells earned after defeating each demon.

screenshot borrowed from Plain Game Reviews.

NOW it's starting to feel like Halloween around here. Not my screenshot though--I kept getting stuck on stage 3.

 Try Musya if you can get your hands on a copy, it seems to be a platformer people rarely talk about.

Friday, October 11, 2013

This Week In Town - Megaphone

Jay, my best Animal Crossing friend from the beginning, recently decided to move out of my town. I decided it was time for some new villagers so I let him go...and of course I miss him now. Here's one last Jay comic for the road! My village is full of new faces now--stay tuned for more.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Games For October: Haunted House

Haunted House, developed by Atari for the 2600 in 1982--a year before I was even born, making it the first game on this blog that was truly before my time. While you can probably guess that the NES was the console I grew up with, my parents did have an old Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer, which gave me an early insight into this sort of thing with games like Dragon Fire. Haunted House, as I learned, is even more primitive looking than that.

So...how about that box art? I do love the ghost coming in for a high-five though.  One bit of praise you can give Haunted House, however, is that things look like they're supposed to. That's more than you can say for many Atari 2600 games at least.

Here is the hero lighting a match. I thought the match would allow you to see his body too, but maybe the house is just that dark. The premise of the game involves your eyes going to the haunted mansion to collect the pieces of a missing magic urn that belonged to the first inhabitants of the town of Spirit Bay. All you need to know is that items don't show up unless you light a match and turn into Meatwad up there Also watch out for bats, spiders and the ghost of Mr. Graves, the former resident of the mansion.

I know I said everything looks like it should, but in the screenshot above I think the character is trying to decide if that's a spider or if a ghostly crab crawled out of Spirit Bay. Whatever they are, just avoid em if they chase you. Amazingly, Atari remade Haunted House in 2010.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Games For October: Holy Diver

The first thing you'll say is Dio. The second thing would probably be Castlevania. The third thing would be "I give up." Holy Diver is one of the hardest games I've ever played that isn't difficult due to bad game design.

Watch out title screen! Castlevania comparisons are hard to avoid, but this game adds a bit to the formula, with various spells to learn and switch between at will throughout the game. Health pickups are much more common, with the ability to increase your maximum health.

 I like how the stage titles are romanized--I believe the first level would be "Cursed Outskirt" or "Cursed Boundary".

The game's plot is unbelievable and influenced by classic metal bands such as Dio (obviously), Slayer and Black Sabbath. Biggest disappointment for me? Nowhere in the game is there an 8-bit rendition of the Dio song that lends the game its name.

Holy Diver's difficulty will flatten your balls. Give it a try this Halloween!

Games For October: Dr. Chaos

I'd like to show a few games this month that might not get as much exposure as the standard Halloween games.

Dr. Chaos, developed in 1987 (post Super Mario, when everyone should have known better) by Marionette and published the following year by FCI in North America. I won't say it's a good game, but I was always enchanted by the cover art as a child.

Upon startup you are greeted by the spooky mansion of DR. GINN CHAOS, a madman who has apparently unleashed a hell of some sort through "warp zone" experimentation. The black screen and monochrome house is striking, though a few seconds later it's joined by the game's logo in all its drippy Halloween font splendor.

This game made no sense to me when I first played it. Predominantly a clunky and frustrating sidescroller, entering a doorway in the mansion would take you to a Goonies 2/Macventure style screen where you search for items and the entrances to the main point of the game, the Warp Zones.

Biggest disappointment for 7 year old me? The guy in the game looks nothing like the baller label art.

Can you help MICHAEL CHAOS find his brother and solve the mystery of the warp zones??

Thursday, October 3, 2013

This Week In Town - Shirt

This ever happen to anyone else? It's funny to me how you can give an animal a sweater and it will always morph into a tank top when they put it on. Here's hoping Nintendo patches New Leaf one day to give long sleeve shirts to villagers.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mighty No. 9 (Comcept, Famicom)

If you're into video games and you use the internet (both requirements for viewing this blog) then I probably don't need to tell you about the success story that is the Mighty No. 9 Kickstarter campaign. Keiji Inafune (best known for CREATING  MEGA MAN) and his company Comcept managed to crowdsource over four million dollars to fund a spritual successor to his beloved franchise, blowing past the original goal and pretty much every stretch goal after that.

I can't wait for the game to come out so in honor of Mighty No. 9...!

Oh nuts

The precise line art was fun to make here, though you don't really get the benefit on a 2 inch label.

Click for big. Inspiration for the lighting effects came from both the Mighty No. 9 concept art and the badass intro from Capcom's PS1 games.

Been a while since I posted! NES version of the game (with an appropriately different label art) to come soon, hopefully.