Posts tagged ‘pubic bunson burner’

A Plea from Us to You

Yesterday, I ran across a copy of Cobra Triangle for the NES at a Goodwill for a dollar. At first, I was elated, until I got home and glanced at the back of the cartridge…

Turns out this particular copy of Cobra Triangle has been misplaced by one Jake Buchanan! Now, I could theorize for hours over how this happened. Perhaps some crack-addled crackhead broke in to Mr. Buchanan’s house and stole his copy of Cobra Triangle, hoping it would fetch hundreds of dollars at Goodwill while being oblivious to the fact that Goodwill doesn’t offer money for anything. Maybe the inflow of donations to Goodwill has slowed to a trickle, causing the company to hire professional thieves to break into people’s houses and steal their wares, I dunno. The point is this:

Jake Buchanan is missing his copy of Cobra Triangle!

This is where you come in, Dear Reader. tele-games 2600 is all about being altruistic and honest, and I would assume that our readers are similarly selfless. So, if you happen to know a Jake Buchanan that recently had his copy of Cobra Triangle nicked, please contact us by leaving a comment below. With your help, Mr. Buchanan will once again be able to fire bullets from a motorized boat in a game designed for a nearly thirty year old system. Thank you.

Blizzard’s Big Announcement!!

D’abo III is being released on May 15th!!!

Zelda Comix

Videogame Christmas Commercials (Warm and Fuzzies Sold Separately)

Seasons Greetings, Dear Readers! With the advent of Advent, my schedule has been freed up somewhat and I’m able to spent more time on the literary black-hole that is tele-games 2600. The Christmas season is in full swing — evident by the green and red knickknacks that stores have had out since fucking July. I mean, really, why go through the trouble of putting out that shit early when people are only going to scoff, make the same tired joke that I just did, and not buy it until they absolutely have to i.e. December?

Furthermore, what’s the deal with egg nog? I don’t taste any egg, and what is a nog, anyway?

Irregardless, I love the accoutrement that the holidays always bring. Slushing my way to the 2nd floor of Macy’s just to prance around in nutcrackers and rainbow starbursts they have strung about, drooling over things I could only afford on a Zuckerberg salary; it’s all part of the magic of capitalism Christmas! Even though I’ve somehow managed to become more cynical with age, I still love to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade just to see a marathon of holiday cheer on my television screen.

Lately though, ad agencies have sort of dropped the ball on delivering the yuletide goods. It seems like Christmas commercials nowadays are completely committed to selling to the 1%; I can’t afford to buy a new car for my “loved one” (for that is what I call myself), nor can I plunk down several grand for a diamond simply because it’s that time of the year.

And even in the rare instances where, say, Hershey’s are playing their classic, score old commercial in which green and red kisses chime to “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, the damn thing is too old and blurry to watch on my high definition television set.

But that’s not really their fault. The fact is, their heart’s are in the right place. On today’s episode of “Stupid Videogame Shit No One Cares About” we are revisiting videogame Christmas commercials that deliver the warm and the fuzzies, and because they’re displayed at YouTube’s standard resolution, the blurriness will only add to the nostalgia.

Most of these commercials have what I feel are crucial ingredients to a great Christmas commercial:

– Lots of snow

– Set at night

– The most heartwarming rendition of every Christmas tune

– Families hugging

– Inquisitive dog

– Faceless corporation wishing viewers “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings”

First up is a Pepsi/Nintendo crossover event supposedly from 1989. I’m kind of ambivalent about the date. If this commercial did indeed air in ’89, Nintendo would be trying to hype Super Mario Bros. 3 and not its salad tossing predecessor. But then again, the commercial plays up the Game Boy, which was released in ’89. Hmm…

The commercial begins with Mario marching into a grocery store during a particularly chilly night. I’m not sure if this was intentional on the animation team’s part, but Mario clearly jumps over and avoids a fruits and vegetables stand in favor of a giant Pepsi display, where upon he is granted Santa-like powers. It seems like some sort of tongue-in-cheek joke that the idol of many an 80’s kid would prefer sugar water over food with nutritional value. But I digress.

Our mighty Mario, now endowed with Kris Kringle’s powers and forever endowed with his weight, starts whipping NES Action Sets and copies of Super Mario Bros. 2 into shopper’s carts. Best of all (according to the commercial), the sensational new Game Boy is up for grabs. In retrospect, it’s funny that anyone (myself included) would’ve gotten excited over a portable NES that was barely functional and ran on way too many batteries. Tetris was the pack-in game for a reason; it was slow enough for anyone to follow on that horrible blurry screen.

On a scale from Hannukah to Christmas, I give this commercial a solid 9. Solid gold.

This next commercial (and I’m only including it in the number 2 slot so I don’t immediately turn readers away) stars morbidly obese soul singer Aretha Franklin dressed up as (what else?) Santa Claus. She’s taking a taxi home in a picturesque Christmas environment and though it’s not directly implied, the commercial seems to say that she’s gonna bust a $99 NES Action Set on her relatives for Christmas, thanks to Target’s low low prices.

These commercials always seem to play up the moment when someone opens a gift or someone finally meets their relatives for the holiday, but never the awkward aftermath.

INT. FRANKLIN HOUSEHOLD – NIGHT

A blizzard rages on outside as Aretha Franklin and her parents awkwardly sit in the living room. A grandfather clock TICKS and TOCKS with every passing second.

MOTHER FRANKLIN: So how’s your career going?

ARETHA: Pretty good.

MOTHER FRANKLIN: (smiling) That’s good to hear.

FATHER FRANKLIN: So what is this you brought us?

ARETHA: It’s a Nintendo Action Set.

FATHER FRANKLIN: …

ARETHA: It was only $99 at Target. Comes with Super Mario and Duck Hunt.

FATHER FRANKLIN: Did you just say what I thought you said?

ARETHA: No, I said “Duck — Hunt

FATHER FRANKLIN: (ambivalent murmur) I don’t know why you wasted money on that, we got a perfectly good Colcowvision in the den.

NIECE FRANKLIN: I like it! Thanks, Auntie Urethra!

FATHER FRANKLIN: Sweetie, I don’t know how to bring this up gingerly, so I’ll be blunt: You’re putting on weight, lay off the Twinkies.

ARETHA: Dad!

FATHER FRANKLIN: Listen, I’m not clairvoyer or nuthin’ but if you don’t stop eatin’ them Little Debbies, you’re gonna look like that fat slug from the Stars War!

NIECE FRANKLIN: Return of the Jedi, Unkie Franklin!

FATHER FRANKLIN: What-everrr!

See? Totally awkward. I give this commercial a 7. Solid meat.

Next up on the docket for duckets, TWO Toys R’ Us commercials! It’s a shame these died out with Reaganomics, but Toys R’ Us commercials are the most pervertedly picturesque children’s ads ever. They typically involve a preamble that serves as an excuse to get a child to mince around with an actor (presumably desperate for his SAG card) in a giraffe costume in the most celestial Toys R’ Us store.

The first one is pretty amusing for its absurdity. An old man starts telling his grandson a horrible story in which he falls asleep in a Toys R’ Us store, and instead of having the police called on him by the toothless cleaning crew, the child awakens to a magical realm where a man in a dirty costume escorts him around the store.

Cut to: The warmest, most idyllic representation of Super Mario Bros. screen EVER. Against a pink and blue starry background, Mario hops and bops his away round World 1-1. This is what makes Christmas commercials great. They take something so permeated into the social consciousness (Coca-Cola, Old Navy, John Tesh) and somehow turn it into the most heart-warming, life-assuring thing ever. Makes me want to grab a grog of hot chocolate, a very thick blanket, and a narcoleptic dog and play that Mario shit all night long.

In the second commercial, another nameless boy falls asleep and dreams of owning a Toys R’ Us store. The store featured is the same we saw in the last one. Forgive me, but it is my nature to apply reality to old commercials. Can you imagine if this dream came true? A seven year old kid is suddenly thrust into the position of store manager, and instead of traipsing around the store, ripping open toys at his whim, he has to discipline his unruly teenage employees, call the authorities on the latest homeless man to claim residence in the store’s foyer, and groan at the latest poop-trastrophy in the lavatory.

We cut to the same Vaseline smeared footage of Super Mario Bros., then back to reality where the kid’s old brother nonchalantly informs him that he just woke up from a dream where he won the Super Bowl. The younger brother says (in regards to his Toys R’ Us dream), “I had a better dream.” Who dreams of this shit? I won’t bother chastising the Super Bowl dream because the NFL is not my forté, but I know toys and videogames and have never had such a stupid dream in my life! The closest I ever got involved the Nickelodeon Super Toy Run contest where kids would go on a five minute shopping spree and grab whatever they wanted in the time allotted. Even in my youth, I couldn’t fathom why anyone wouldn’t just b-line to the videogame section and clothesline the shelves for every Nintendo and Sega product available at the time. Those were the sweetest plums, but the winning kid always managed to waste precious time with filler like “Barbies” and “LEGOs”. Give me a fucking break!

Sorry, I’ve had too much to drink. I give these two an 8.

Even less tangentially related to videogames than the Aretha Franklin ad is this 7up Christmas commercial. It has all the hallmarks of a classic 7up ad; shades-sporting spots, antics, live-action seamlessly spliced with 2D animation. It’s all there. This ad goes back to the days when snipping “points” from soda labels in massive quantities would yield prizes. The prize here being the Spot game for Game Boy. I never played it, but I did play the Cool Spot game for Genesis, so I’m predisposed to like any 7up licensed videogame. Thanks Dave Perry.

Man, that final image this commercial has. Dark ambiance, bright Christmas lights, jazzy Christmas music. Can’t get any better. I give this one a 9.

Our next commercial is for the critically-acclaimed game E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Now, I firmly believe this game isn’t the worst game ever made — that unfair label seemed to come about due to lazy spurious “journalism” that quickly fed into itself — but the dichotomy between commercial and game couldn’t be much greater.

Keep in mind this could very well be the first commercial ever made for the E.T. videogame. This commercial was hyping people up for a game they didn’t already know was shit. How’s that for poignant?

It’s a blustery winter night, and unannounced and dressed in Santa regalia, E.T. waddles inside the house of his earthbound chum, Elliott. Being the impatient, inarticulate puppet that he is, E.T. uses his celestial powers to toss Elliott’s present aside and rip open his own before Christmas official starts. And voila! The present turns out to be none-other than the very videogame which bears his name. Christ, didn’t anyone at Atari bother to throw him a free copy for allowing him the use of his life story? Do E.T.s even have the concept of litigation?

This is the most Christmassy commercial of the lot, so I’m going to preemptively award it a perfect 10 out of 10. But there is one issue I have and its with the logic of the commercial. As evidenced by the movie, this is a one parent household, and said parent seems to be asleep as a roaring fire rages on in the house’s hearth. Clearly, the fact that their mother seems to be disconnected from reality serves to augment the film’s storyline. Ah well.

Our penultimate commercial has jacked me up on da warm und fuzzies, and while our last one isn’t as great, it’s still pretty stupid.

It’s another Atari commercial, this time taking place in the future where a family resides in a space station. The patriarch hears a horrible crash and dashes to the command center, where he runs across the most gregarious Santa Claus ever seen on television ever.

I think I’ve mentioned this concept in my last entry, but I’m always baffled when commercials introduce an already insane premise and somehow find a way to amp it up to absurd degrees. Okay, this family lives in space, that’s a pill I can swallow. Big crash, alright? Don’t tell me, I know where this is going. Dad’s gonna save the day using his skills at Asteroids, right?

Nope, turns out the noise came from the most ecstatic Santa ever, who managed to freak out the rest of the family by playing Centipede way too loud. This must be a common occurrence for the Space Johnson 500 family, because instead of trying to beat the living shit out of the intruder like normal human beings would, they sit placated and watched as he plays Pole Position for a bit.

Santy Claus drops off a bunch of ancient videogames and beams off, Star Trek-style. It’s a nice commercial but nothing special. Just mostly insane.

I give this one an 8… outta 5.

Welp, that does it for this entry. Tune in the following weeks for more articles about those Christmas races from Diddy Kong Racing and other Christmassy stuff.

…Christmas!

Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving! Don’t overdose on tryptophan!

Yo! Noid – A! Review

Dear Readers, I have to apologize. About… n’yeeeeee six months ago I promised to wax excessive on the merits of the Zelda Oracle games. Actually, you know what? I take that apology back. Looking at the site statistics, it’s become clear to me that the only reason anyone ever visits this site is because they typed Oregon Ducks or Stephen Hawking into a search bar, and instead of actually learning about those subjects, they’re treated to some beanpole blathering about crappy Atari games.

I have to admit, while I’m writing this, I have a window open on a live stream of the Occupy Wall St. “movement” (a misnomer if I ever saw one) in New York City. This thing has been going on for a while, but I still can’t wrap my mind around the idea that a bunch of smelly layabouts are going to change the basic principles of democracy in our country. It’s like trying to cure cancer by watching reruns of Doogie Howser: M.D.; you can kind of see the connection, but it’s still entirely specious.

In the end, the antics of these odorous and onerous dopes may have the impact of a whiffle bat to a pillow, but if they think camping out in the cold for weeks on end and inhaling tear gas makes them feel better, who are we to judge?

Which brings us lovingly to tele-Games 2600‘s review of the NES “classic” (another misnomer) Yo! Noid.

You may remember the Noid; a relic of times past, this creature’s sole purpose in life was to destroy each and every Domino’s Pizza.

What was it with companies that had mascots bent on destroying their products? I mean, I get the idea that their pizzas are so impenetrable that a lunatic in pajamas couldn’t destroy them but it just sounds nutty.

Here’s a commercial for those who don’t quite remember the character:

 

Fucking insane, right? The Noid became so popular, reserved Japanese developer Capcom set out to secure the license from Domino’s and slapped the bunny-eared maniac over some old Japanese game that no one cared about until said bunny-eared maniac was applied.

The story is as follows; Mr. Green (who is basically the Noid wearing green pajamas) is running amok in New York City. Before Mayor Koch has the chance to declare martial law, the Noid steps up to stop his green counterpart.

You know, it’s one thing to center a game around a completely insane premise (a man in red pajamas destroys pizzas); it’s another to reject that completely insane premise and replace it with one just as insane (a man in red pajamas must stop a man in green pajamas from bothering New York). The Noid drops his quest to squish-a da pies in order to stop the Green Scare.

If there was one word that could accurately sum this game up, it would be “average.” It’s a pretty humdrum platformer. You run around, fling yo-yos at scrunchy looking Will Vinton creations, and in between each level, you suffer an excruciatingly boring pizza eating contest with the local gang leader. There’s a bit of strategy involved with these contests, but they become much easier if you know where to find the relevant power-ups within the preceding levels.

The levels are varied enough to keep it somewhat interesting. If it wasn’t for the horrible hit detection on the skateboarding level, and the aforementioned pizza battles, this game would be a lot easier to stomach. But since I’m lactose intolerant, I find Yo! Noid to be twice as painful!

Yo! Noid has one thing going for it. The game perpetuates the fine tradition of “Music to Find Your Wife’s Bloated Corpse to” that NES games did so well. I don’t know what it is, but that crappy sound chip can really bring out the terror in people. Just listen to this:

 

Past entries include the Dragon Warrior overworld music, and that music that plays when you run into a Nintendo employee in Game Boy Camera.

 

 

The game ends with the Noid taking down Mr. Green, and being rewarded with pizzas, which he goes absolutely apeshit over. I don’t get it. This game royally fucks with his baser instincts. Noids destroy pizzas. That’s what they do. That’s all they do.

Oh well, the game only cost me 4 bucks at a used game store.

So, that leaves us with the aforementioned question; If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound? Would anyone care if Yo! Noid never existed? Would anyone care if I never wrote another word on this blog GO DUCKS? Probably not, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is what Capcom felt; they loved the Noid so much they wanted to honor him, by golly. And I love being stupid on a WordPress blog, and by gum I’m a-gonna keep a-doin’ it.

Though you may be schizophrenic, Noid, you will not be forgotten.


In researching this post, I couldn’t help but laugh at the story of Kenneth Lamar Noid. He was just a simple man who wanted $100,000 for all the “anguish” he’s had to endure all his life.

I’m sure if he were alive today, Kenneth would be on Wall Street…

…having his teeth knocked out with a police baton.

An Ode to Nintendo Power

Don’t get your hopes up, Dear Reader. The Zelda nonsense will be back in full force once I finish the crimson half of the Oracle series.

During the halcyon days of print media, the newsstand was lousy with videogaming publications. From Bill Kunkel’s Electronic Games (God rest his soul), to the studied, in-depth Next Generation; from the mainstream’s Electronic Gaming Monthly to the dual paste eaters that were GamePro and GameInformer, we’ve had magazines catered to every videogamer’s taste.

But none quite had the sizable cult that Nintendo Power has endured throughout the years.

The origins of Nintendo Power can be traced back to two sources; the Nintendo Fun Club and The Official Nintendo Player’s Guide. The former was a free newsletter sent out to new owners of the NES that mostly erred on the side of advertisements for new games than tips and tricks proper. Strangely enough, that was reciprocated in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, where Doc told gamers to subscribe to the Nintendo Fun Club.

The latter, however, was a behemoth of exhaustive guides and walkthroughs for about twenty of Nintendo’s better early games. Games like Metroid and The Goonies II were given the white glove treatment with full colored maps (scrawled in what looked like art pens and markers). I find it difficult to relate just how essential this black tome was to a videogamer of that era, but hopefully anyone who’s lost their head in Kid Icarus’ obnoxious last dungeon can sympathize. The writing was a bit poor (pot to kettle, pot to kettle…), clarified by the fact that the masthead contained nothing but Japanese names.

The back of the Player’s Guide featured a quick writeup of every game released on the NES up to that point with a preview of things to come. It’s interesting to note (at least for losers like us) that the guide was being written while Nintendo was preparing to bring Zelda II stateside, as the box art was just doodled in. Also, in the preview section, an unreleased sequel called Return of Donkey Kong was mentioned.

I can’t leave the Player’s Guide alone without featuring this awesome photo in the back of the book. I want to live in that photo.

So, born of these efforts to inform players of games to buy and how to beat them so you can buy more came the inaugural edition of Nintendo Power, sent out to any child smart enough to send in for the newsletter, and on the front, splayed in clay was Super Mario Bros. 2. Ho-lee-shee-it. No longer were children content to read 3-2-1 Contact and Highlights if they wanted something to flip through at the newsstand. Nintendo Power was actually interesting!

The magazine was lousy with everything Nintendo. Within the first few pages was a letters section, where children and sad grown men with mustaches could send in photos of themselves, posing next to a Zenith strobing a faint image of Mario. There was a section where equally sad grown men and women (called “Counselors” to save face) gave tips to little Jimmy on how to defeat Medusa in Castlevania. And of course, the standard high score tables, brief walkthroughs and previews of upcoming games.

In hindsight, it’s easy to see the huge bias Nintendo had slanted in its favor; Nintendo Power was a 30+ page advertisement for its wares, and everything got the red carpet treatment. Even the worst game got some sort of attention, and though they never slammed them directly, you could always tell in reading the reviews that they at least wanted to you purchase ten copies of it. But like a puppy with a bladder control problem, or your octogenarian father with the same affliction, it’s easy to overlook this relentless gushing.

In honor of this great/”great” magazine, I’d like to present some of the more memorable moments of its history.

Now, I wouldn’t say that in the early days of NP, the whole thing was thrown together, but the art direction was a little blinding at times. Bright neon colors and creatures with phallic probosces teemed the pages. And although this sounds pedantic, as a kid I distinctly remembered charting the colors of Mario’s clothing throughout the magazine to make sure I wasn’t crazy and that he did have a blue hat at some point.

I’d say Mega Man bore the brunt the largest of Nintendo’s wonky artists. I got the clear impression that both Nintendo and Capcom were leery in revealing the Blue Bomber’s Astro Boy influenced origins, judging by their Americanized* efforts. So as a result, we got this:


And this:

And oh dear God, this:

Thank God the games were fantastic otherwise, cause I can’t imagine anyone buying this in the hopes of controlling a blue cybernetic dwarf with pretty boy lips and Down’s.

To be honest, that first cover I still think looks pretty boss, regardless of Mega Man’s Elephant Man appearance.

Hey, there’s a Robot Master for you, Capcom!

…oh wait, it’s been done.

A lot of the covers were really imaginative. Take the Ducktales cover for example. Can you imagine any magazine in this day and age using their time and resources to come up with anything half as clever as this? A seamless integration of clay models, traditional cel-art and gorgeous lighting.

I think I chubbed up there for a second.

In the early years (at least up through the SNES days), NP would included a folded two-age poster in the centerfold. Yes RBI Baseball fans, you can now impress your friends by plastering this goofy poster in your 80s cool guy room. Still, it could be worse. You could’ve had a poster of Jar Jar Binks reading RollingStone on your wall for months, until you saw the movie and had to shamefully remove it, denying that it ever existed to your friends.

Thanks a fucking lot, RollingStone.

This one is just hilarious. For Nintendo Power’s second issue, the cover story was Castlevania II. Just check out how they decided to advertise it on the cover.

Yessir, that’s Simon Belmont holding Dracula’s possessed severed head in his hand behind the creepiest backdrop this side of western Nevada. Unsurprisingly, Nintendo Power received a load of calls from angry parents about it. Hey, this is what happens when you forget your target audience is children from ages 4 to 30. Remember that.

Incidentally, there was a website that used to sell a t-shirt of this famed cover printed on the front, but the last time I visited, the sizes were – ironically – limited to XXL. As soon as they start selling this shirt in sizes I can wear, I’ll link them, but until then, nada. This is the power I wield with an expendable WordPress blog…

Steve Wozniak, he of glorious Apple ][ fame was a HUGE Tetris player, and would send in his high scores every month. The editors eventually grew tired of this, and stopped printing his scores. Steve did what any engineering genius would do and reverse engineered his name. I can’t find the issue it happens, but they did print a high score for a Mr. Evets Kainzow. Woz, you genius.

Speaking of C-list celebrities, Nintendo Power would routinely feature celebrity videogamer profiles every month. In hindsight, it’s sort of funny to see the winners they picked at the time.

Kirk Cameron

Once the star of the flaccid sitcom “Growing Pains”, later went insane when he found God and started using bananas to contest Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Favorite games: Rygar, Super Mario Bros., Legend of Zelda, Gradius, Pinball


Jay Leno

At the time a successful comedian before he screwed over not one but TWO inheritors to the “Tonight Show” throne, earning him a rightful place in Hollywood Hell. Counts millionaire headcase Jerry Seinfeld as one of his allies.

Favorite games: Legend of Zelda, Contra


New Kids on the Block

Euugh.

Favorite games: EUUGH


Wil Wheaton

This former child actor broke free of the shackles of playing a much-maligned know-it-all on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” to become King of the Nerds! He seems like a pretty nice guy by all accounts.

Favorite Games Favorite Game: Ice Hockey


“Howard and Nester” is probably the most remembered feature of Nintendo Power. Every issue would feature a comic adventure with the two taking part in games Nintendo really wanted to push at the time. The eponymous Howard was one of Nintendo Power‘s editors and chief gamemaster and would serve as a comic foil to the brash radish-headed Nester. A typical comic would involve the two embroiled in some game fantasy, where Nester would ignore Howard’s advice and bash his skull into a brick ceiling and things of that sort. The artwork was really fantastic, with well done watercolors and a clean style. Unfortunately, at some point they dropped the original artist and replaced them with some hack who apparently had a background in illustrating school books.

Ooh, Annie, where’d you go, baby? I’m guessing the reason Annie never appeared in any of the strips proper was that having two people take the wind out of Nester’s sail in every issue was a bit much.

Around the late 1980’s, RPGs had become a HUGE success in Japan, thanks to its progenitor, Dragon Quest. Nintendo was very keen on repeating that success and creating future business in that genre with a much larger American audience. So for what seemed like ages, Nintendo Power prominently displayed their newly translated version of Dragon Quest, now called Dragon Warrior in their magazine. There were features that explained, in the most simplest of terms what an RPG was, and how you were supposed to play, with maps and detailed enemy charts.

The art was thankfully westernized from Akira Torionlydrawsangryeyesbigforeheadsandusestoomanylines’s God awful designs. Just look at the Dragon Lord in OUR copy of Dragon Warrior. You’re telling me Akira’s version is better? Fuck you! Everything he draws ends up looking like Goku, anyway…

Unfortunately, sales for Dragon Warrior were a smidge underwhelming. I surmise the reasons being that, again Nintendo was short sighted in realizing its audience were primarily grade school tots who couldn’t read, let alone read ye olde English and the steep learning curve in what amounted to a graphic version of a pen-and-paper RPG. I give them credit though. They did introduce the RPG to western audiences pretty well. When they realized how much backstock of Dragon Warrior they had, Nintendo promised new subscribers to their magazine ONE FREE COPY! Presumably, they ran through their stock and gained new readers in the process.

Incidentally, this is how I managed to finagle a copy of Dragon Warrior. I was about five at the time, barely able to read, and absolutely mystified by a videogame that would deny me my God given right to play it. This and Faxanadu were games that I was more-or-less not allowed to play because I didn’t know what the hell was going on. Mario and Zelda were more my bag. But being somewhat discouraged from these games at an early age really rekindled my interest, and twenty years later, I finally finished Dragon Warrior on an actual NES… clone.

Jesus what a slog…

I’ve polled friends and they all seem to agree that this was probably the freakiest advertisement they ever used in the magazine. Remember, I had trouble separating a Tetris 2 commercial from reality, how do you think I reacted to this?

The magazine went through many transmutations, and starting with the SNES era, just didn’t seem the same. Once all the game publishers saw the crappy artwork Nintendo was using to promote their games, they started hiring their own art staff to sell their games. Gone was Howard and Nester. Well, first Howard when he left for LucasArts, then Nester when readers realized how lame he was without his bowtie counterpoint. That certain kitschy (I use that word too much on this site) 80’s kid’s magazine style left as the magazine became more contemporary.

For whatever reason, the magazine got a second wind during the N64 era, possibly thanks to the advent of the Internet at the time. I can’t really explain it, but the N64 issues seemed as sweet at those first ones.

They also started issuing out some sweet swag at the time. Nintendo would routinely send out promo tapes for its biggest releases. By now, I’m sure you’ve seen them all through viral videos on the YouTube. By far the best one is the Banjo-Kazooie promo tape. Nintendo hired actor/comedian/film critiiiIIIIC! Jon Lovitz to narrate, and it’s pure bliss.

Now, I actually have a piece of art that I sent in to Nintendo Power that was published. I was reading the latest issue at the time, saw the artwork and for the next five minutes, couldn’t shake the strange sense of Deja Vu I was feeling, until it hit me. Really speaks volumes about how dense I can be. I won’t say what issue or even what era. I’ll invite you, Dear Reader to find it and report back, for a prize!**

In recent years, Nintendo Power nearly gave up the ghost, but thankfully, it was rescued by Future US publishing. The writing and layout is more contemporary, influenced by the Internet’s unrelenting diction. There’s still the classic Nintendo bias, but it’s toned down significantly and reads more like EGM-lite I suppose. I’d recommend it, not just because magazines – let alone gaming magazines – are having trouble keeping footing in this world, but because Nintendo Power just needs to be around. It’s one of those constants that, without, would throw the world’s chi out of whack.

God bless you Nintendo Power!

*”Americanized” means “shitty”

**Prize will not be good

A Complete Unnerving Breakdown of the Nintendo 3DS Conference 2011

Look at us, Dear Reader! tele-Games 2600 has entered the 21st century by talking about new games! I just watched the Nintendo 3DS Conference streamed online, and am here to report back (drunkenly I might add).

* The conference starts with a Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword trailer. Link’s hair looks like Jell-O and suddenly I am hungry for Cosby’s favorite confectionery. Link tries to kill himself by diving off a mountaintop but is saved by a bird.

* Shigeru Miyamoto takes the stage wielding a Master Sword and Hyrulian Shield. Enough with the Zelda schtick Miyamoto.

* A goofy Zelda flipnote cartoon is played. A Wind Waker-esque Link and Twilight Princess-styled Link switch heads, terrifying Zelda.

* Is this Four Swords on DSi? I’m sorry, I can’t understand the Spanish everyone is speaking. I understand the word “DSi” and “motototototo.” We see four Links flailing around a bunch of places, including worlds with graphics directly ripped from The Legend of Zelda, Link to the Past and Link’s Awakening. Sweet action!

* At this point, I’m wondering where Miyamoto got his shirt. Old Navy?

* More Skyward Sword goodness! Link swings on a vine ala Donkey Kong 64, and slashes a chubby Moblin in the ass. We see him doodling on a board for a puzzle, using a hookshot, a gust jar and a mine cart. I don’t know if I can take a Zelda game where Link is always holding his sword like a kid with a sparkler on July 4th…

The art style is something I’m not entirely on board with. The character designs are a funky combination of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess.

Link flies around a malevolent looking Wind Fish, runs under a firey Tektite and does battle with a Cousin Itt looking colossus.

* Miyamoto sheathes his remote, while yelling “Jaggit!” I guess that translates to “I stabbed my back.”

* Satoru Iwata comes out and promptly apologizes for everything in the last 6th months.

* After briefly touching on the Dragon Quest remake, Iwata talks about Just Dance Wii. Was anyone really looking forward to this? He also brings up Go Vacation, which he says will outsell Zelda 10 to 1.

* Iwata shows the impressive lineup, of which I already have 20%. Nice try.

* Ah, and now to the meat of the show. Iwata shows a graph that I don’t understand, I guess to explain how useless the 3D function is.

* Hey, there’s an Oxford Dictionary word I can translate: Mii!

* We see some gameplay of what Iwata calls Super Mario 3D Lando. No Billy Dee to be found, I’m afraid. It looks like a neat title. The spiked columns from Super Mario World are back, jutting towards the screen.

* Now we’re on to Mario Kart 7. Jesus, this series was already perfected on the regular DS. No amount of underwater ATV hang-glider bullshit will make this series any more fresh.

* Mario Tennis? Screw this, where’s Mario Golf? Toadstool Tour was the money. And really, did we need an update to this? The game hasn’t changed since the Virtual Boy!

* Paper Mario. Looks like Paper Mario.

* A Luigi’s Mansion 2 trailer! Gee, has it been ten years since I stopped giving a shit about the first one?!

* Another Mario & Sonic game. You know, when I was a tyke in the 90s and dreamed of the crossovers these two would have, games involving sumowrestling and POWER WALKING weren’t at the top of my list.

* Alright, I don’t understand this next part, but we’re treated to a montage of a married couple in Mii form, running along the beach and doing other stuff. They keep showing photos of their Mii heads pasted on normal people’s bodies and it’s just creeping me out.

 

 

…I’ll take ten.

* Girls Mode!? I was waiting so long for this! Now I can dress my girly avatars in kimonos and shirts from the GAP.

* Next up is a 16-bit looking soccer game. This looks all kinds of sweet. I don’t know the name, because I had to refresh my browser and because I can’t read Japanese.

* A card game video game. Can anyone tell me the appeal of these games without accidentally using the words “dateless” and “loser?”

* A new Fire Emblem game: Well, I’m glad THIS is thriving in our market while the Mother series remains relegated to Japan. This is the lamest magic bean you’ve bought yet, NOA…

* I THINK this is Dynasty Warriors, but again I can’t read Japanese. Music was pretty boss through.

* Iwata, after being shamed by the 3DS lineup, walks offstage while a Square-Enix trailer plays. It’s called Bravely Default: Flying Fairy. I dare them to release that game with that name over here.

* Next game looks like a Gundam game. *shrug*

* Project Mirai. Sort of like DDR with a circular button pressing thing and a cutesy dwarf. Watching Iwata talk about this is embarrassing for both of us.

* Sweet, Resident Evil! This is a series I can jive with. Underwater swimming, cool looking zombies.

* Ace Combat 3D Cross Rumble. Again, I don’t understand Japanese, but I do hear him say “StarFox,” possibly in comparison to how bad Ace Combat is.

* Tekken 3D Prime Edition. Sweet, the 90s are back!

* Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. We don’t get to see any gameplay from this, but once again, I dare them to release this game with that name over here.

* Did Iwata memorize all this shit to say? Even if he’s reading from a teleprompter he’s doing an excellent job. Then again, I don’t understand a word he’s saying so for all I know, he’s making it up.

* Konami’s opening salvo is the hotly anticipated New LovePlus! SOLD!

* Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater. I played the original but not long enough to eat any snakes, so I dunno…

* Kid Icarus. This one’s been in development since the Bush Jr. era, I swear. It’s odd seeing Icarus in a Panzer Dragoon/StarFox kind of game, after playing the hell out of the original in my heyday.

* I think Iwata is nearly finished talking about his giant 3D boner. He gives a wave and walks off-screen.

Nope, spoke too soon.

* Next up is Monster Hunter 3 Tri G (I think). It looks kinda neat. Big swords, scimitars, guns, giant bows, big baddies.

* Some guy in a white shirt comes out and shakes Iwata’s hand. Forgive me if I don’t recognize the creator of your favorite 3rd party shovelware series…

***IMPORTANT INFO***

At this point, I went to take a piss and get more beer. Don’t judge me, you were doing it too.

***END IMPORTANT INFO***

* Looks like White Shirt is involved in Monster Hunter Tri Quarter 3G Network.

* Iwata shooes him off-stage to our relief. Another Capcom trailer appears. Is it the glorious return of Megaman Legends 3? Nope, it’s just Monster Hunter 4. Jesus, you just got done talking about the 3rd one…

* The audience is getting restless. One person throws his shoe, which Iwata ducks to avoid. He’s been practicing…

* Iwata insults the audience by bowing twice. We see some legalese on the screen and we’re out.

Welp, that turned out to be a complete disappointment. I’m never doing this again. Where’s that stupid stick add-on we’d been hearing about?