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A real sense of deja vu this week as we look at three games that have all appeared on this channel in other versions. I would like to say that these iterations are all the superior works, but Mom taught me not to be a liar. Now, this version of Dig Dug is far and away the best 8-bit home version ever published, an almost arcade-perfect rendition th…
 
Continuing on from last week, we go from Hang On II to just plain ol' Hang On. But this in no way feels like a downgrade; quite the contrary. With Hang On (and Teddy Boy Blues), Sega brings its home hardware into line with Nintendo's Famicom/NES, boosting the basic SG-1000 architecture with a monstrous upgrade to its graphical capabilities and esse…
 
This week bring us the first of a two-part episode—or should that be "the second"? Sega's imprecise SG-1000 launch date documentation makes it difficult to know if Hang On II did in fact debut before or after Hang On (no Roman numeral) for Mark III in October 1985*. But the number II there is only for show anyway, as Hang On II is literally just a …
 
An 8-bit heavy hitter makes its Famicom debut, right around the same time as they first dipped a toe into the SG-1000 market: Konami, eventual creators of Castlevania and Contra, here still a mere stripling of a home games developer. As on Sega's platform, Konami made its debut in Nintendo-land with two games, though I would say both turned out far…
 
A couple of standout releases in this episode... but first, we have to survive another version of Lode Runner. Look, I like Lode Runner. Great game. But there's been a lot of it here in the mid ’80s! This time, the monk/robot guys win. Beyond that, however, we have the final entry in Activision's brief dalliance on SG-1000 (or maybe Sega's brief da…
 
This week is a bit of an ouroboros: While the primary feature here is Capcom's Legendary Wings, this episode also touches on the NES release of Xevious, the game that very clearly inspired Legendary Wings (not to mention about a thousand other Japanese arcade games of the era). Xevious is by far the purer of the two, not to mention the fairer, but …
 
A bit of an emphasis on day jobs this episode, but fortunately one of these games offers more than mere workmanlike effort. Activision's Rock'n Bolt stands out this week as one of the SG-1000's most appealing puzzlers—certainly a more interesting take on the genre than Soukoban, which gets credit for its primal nature but not for possessing any sor…
 
More arcade ports for SG-1000? Say it ain't so! These titles aren't especially well known in the U.S., since they've never seen a proper console release here (outside of maybe some collection that doesn't come immediately to mind), but both merit a close look. Taito's Chack'n Pop may not impress quite as much on the technical front as the more fami…
 
This week brings us two SG-1000 releases that feel miles removed from the console's earliest days of serious-looking war game: Doki Doki Penguin Land and Drol. Rather than involving the relentless destruction of military vehicles (and, by extension, the squishy humans inside them), these two titles see you doing your best to protect children. While…
 
Beginning with this episode, I'm knuckling down to wrap up as much of the SG-1000 video series as possible by the end of 2021. There are only about half a dozen episodes to go after this! It's a pretty small library, but the best times are ahead of us. This episode looks at, technically, three arcade conversions: Zoom 909, Choplifter, and Pitfall I…
 
Halloween season is upon us, and you know what that means: Where other people decorate their homes with cobwebs and giant skeletons, I decorate mine with a Castlevania-related video. This time around, it's a look at a Castlevania spinoff called Kid Dracula. Well, technically, this video is about Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-Kun! Or just Kid Dracu…
 
I may have gone a little overboard with this episode, but it seemed worth doing. For one thing, the creator of the Golgo 13 series, Takao Saito, recently passed away. And for another, upon revisiting this game in the context of its original release chronology on NES, I came away deeply impressed by how much the developers attempted to do here. Did …
 
We have a follow-up to a 1986 classic here, in deed if not in name: Life Force, the sequel to Konami's Gradius. Well, sort of. It's complicated. But since we never saw the actual Gradius II on NES, this will have to do. Life Force makes use of the same excellent power-up system as Gradius with some refinements, including a new weapon option, new ha…
 
This episode focuses on perception, especially vis-a-vis Bases Loaded. A certain demographic of NES owners LOVES Bases Loaded. However, in my experience, people who discovered the NES later (when better and better-looking baseball sims were available for the console) tend to find it lacking and shallow. And then there is the Japanese Famicom owner'…
 
It feels like Famicom is kind of playing catch-up with SG-1000 this episode, as every game appearing here arrived on shelves in the wake of a Sega-published equivalent—either the exact same game (as in Space Invaders), one exploring the same root concept in different ways (Soccer), or a game with almost suspicious conceptual and mechanical similari…
 
1985 starts the Famicom on some familiar footing with a couple of future Black Box releases (one great, one meh); two shooters previously seen on SG-1000; and a Commodore 64 conversion from Hudson that would show up on NES under the aegis of its original publisher. No big surprises here (including the apparent Nintendo debut of TOSE, and the fact t…
 
Sega's 8-bit family goes on a diet this episode, with the SG-1000 media format suddenly slimming down from chunky cartridges to the svelte MyCard format, a credit card-sized chip that was so well-received that Hudson ripped it off wholesale for their PC Engine/TurboGrafx HuCards. Of course, this is really just a cosmetic change; the SG-1000 wouldn'…
 
Sega winds down the cartridge format for SG-1000 in favor of a new media type, and this corner of the console library unfortunately wheezes to a half-hearted ending. Somehow, Sega even managed to completely squander Konami's brief show of support for the platform by turning in a pair of clumsy arcade conversions in the form of Shinnyuushain Tooru-k…
 
Sega enters 1985 with the hottest game of 1982, and the good news is that Zaxxon looks and plays far more convincingly than its sibling release Congo Bongo did back in 1983. This adaptation of the arcade hit makes some curious tweaks to the game's flow and design, and it adds a bit of background music, which sets it apart from other conversions of …
 
A pair of arcade shooter adaptations leads us into the second half of 1988 for NES Works, both of which deserve attention for entirely different reasons. Defender II sees the publishing debut of HAL Labs (via HAL America), a well-deserved turn of events for a studio that was so essential to the early success of this platform. And this conversion st…
 
Technos (by way of freshman NES publisher Tradewest) follows up on Renegade with a home conversion of a massive arcade hit that plays extremely fast and loose with the meaning of the phrase "home conversion." Double Dragon on NES may as well be a completely different game than the coin-op smash, as it adds several new mechanics, expands the game en…
 
One of the most beloved franchises of all time makes its debut on NES, though not its actual debut; the Metal Gear Nintendo fans knew and enjoyed back in the 8-bit era was in fact a port of a minor hit for MSX/2 home computers that had shipped about a year earlier in Japan. Although Metal Gear gets the broad strokes right on NES, it trips up over a…
 
It has been three decades since Nintendo launched its first next-generation console in the U.S.: The Super Nintendo Entertainment System. On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, Super NES Works returns for a limited-time engagement to wrap up this look at the system's launch window by looking at the system itself. What did the Super NES represent …
 
A curious case here on Game Boy Works: A game that is somehow two games. While Klax on Game Boy plays about the same as the Klax we've already seen on Atari Lynx, it takes two very different approaches to its presentation depending on the region you bought it from. The American release from Mindscape, which actually shipped in 1991, has the same va…
 
Puzzle platformers are in their Game Boy; all's right with the world. Yes, this episode brings us not one but two—two!—puzzle action games for Game Boy. As if we'd have it any other way. As often happens, one of these is far more fun and playable than the other in hindsight, reflecting poorly on the lesser of the two. For once, the better game rece…
 
Game Boy turns its focus to the far east this episode, with an action game based on Chinese martial arts and an RPG centered on battling (and being) Japanese yōkai. Neither one is particularly world-shaking, though Kung' Fu Master does have a direct line to the early days of the NES, and ONI kicks off the Game Boy's most prolific exclusive game fra…
 
By request of Peter LaPrade, this week brings us another look at a Famicom Disk System exclusive that ended up being stranded in Japan until fairly recently: Nintendo's own Nazo no Murasame-jou. A brisk, challenge action title with a structure loosely patterned after The Legend of Zelda, Nazo no Murasame-jou seems like the kind of thing that probab…
 
By request of Joseph Adams, I've attempted this episode to explore the history of (and explain the concept of) devices powered by NES-on-a-chip tech. I'll admit up front that this is by no means a definitive or comprehensive history, as a considerable portion of this topic falls into poorly documented spaces: Unauthorized clone consoles, piracy-foc…
 
By patron request, this week's video shifts up the temporal alignment of the NES Works Gaiden series to leap forward from the end of 1984 for Famicom to the end of 1992?! Yes, that's right, we spring forward in time here to look at the Japanese equivalent of the Aladdin Deck Enhancer, except one reliant on an even bigger gimmick than simply packing…
 
Well, I survived. I made it all the way through the Othello Multivision's library. If you thought the first four games were unimpressive, that's only because you had no idea what Tsukuda Original had up its sleeve for 1984: Yet another mahjong game, a glacial Xevious clone, and Video Works' very first (of many...) horse race-betting sim. But at lea…
 
While Segaiden has covered every SG-1000 release through the end of 1984 at this point, there's technically still a set of games for the system that need to be touched on. Eight (or technically nine) unique releases for SG-1000 appeared in 1983 and ’84, under a non-Sega publisher, branded for release on a different console. Nevertheless, they're a …
 
The other two mid-’88 releases for Atari 7800 consist of yet another computer port and—wow!—the console's first original creation. Although this original creation ended up being ported to several other Atari systems, which rather undermines its exclusive appeal. Still, it's good to see a game on 7800 that hadn't already shown up in arcades and on c…
 
Before we continue with the Sega and Nintendo stuff, Atari deserves a brief stopover to see what the 7800 was up to for the first half of 1988. As it turns out, the answer is "not a whole heck of a lot." Happily, the one game to ship during this period—Lucasfilm Games' Ballblazer—has more than enough history and content behind it to support most of…
 
I haven't forgotten my other child. Metroidvania Works has reached a weird place in its chronology, where it's kind of entangled and overlapping with NES Works—as you can see from the fact that this episode's back-up feature covers the next title that will appear on that series. Of course, the main event here is a game that never reached the U.S., …
 
1984 comes to an end for the Famicom with a trio of releases that American fans will recognize from the Black Box launch era of the NES. Arriving singly in 1984 rather than en masse a year or two later amidst dozens of other games with a similar visual vibe, benighted NES releases Urban Champion and Clu Clu Land stand up a bit better here. (Exciteb…
 
Two Nintendo games and two Namco (Namcot??) titles this week to bring Famicom's 1984 lineup streaking toward its finale. I'm not sure any of these games will set anyone's heart on fire here in 2021, due to (1) the kinda mundane nature of Nintendo's releases and (2) overexposure to Namco's games. But pretend you are a small child in 1984! In that co…
 
Another step along the Road to NES Works this week as we look again at the next round of software releases for Nintendo Famicom. Unlike last time, only one of these games made its way to the U.S. on NES, the other two (Galaxian and Devil World) seemingly being skipped over due to datedness and, uh, satanism? What was this, 2021?…
 
A couple of follow-ups to 1983 releases this week, as well as a couple of games that appear to have been held over from 1983. Yes, SG-1000 begins 1984 with a hangover. Pachinko II is the affordable and expanded follow-up to Pachinko. Golgo 13 is not a sequel, despite the number in the title. It's a tie-in with a long-running manga and anime series,…
 
Now that we've seen both Nintendo and Sega's offerings for 1983, we move along to 1984 and the first wave of Famicom releases. All but one of these titles have already put in an appearance on NES Works proper as entries in the 1985 and ’86 Black Box NES launch rollout catalog, so the first half of this episode is simple a recap and reminder to give…
 
This week we hit on the two most expensive games for the SG-1000. Every console's gotta have at least one of them, right? The ultra-rare collector's chase piece that hits the brakes on any reasonable dream of ever owning a complete set? In this case, those disasterpieces are Space Slalom, a mere slip of an almost-racing game, and Pachinko, the pach…
 
Sega has always been an arcade powerhouse—even now, they run arcades in Japan. They've become fan destinations for more than just playing games; I bought taiyaki in the shape of the Sega logo at their Akihabara location a year ago. And this episode showcases just how heavily Sega plowed the arcade-to-home conversion furrow from the very start, with…
 
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