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  1. There's an interesting interview with the developers of Gokujou Parodius here. One thing that has been slightly forgotten about the games is that they were released at a turning point in the arcades, as shooting games became less popular and fighting games’ reign began. This interview is of particular interest because Gokujou Parodius was released after SFII. You can imagine that the team felt pressured to deliver an even bigger and better Parodius, but more than that, there's a bittersweet sadness in the words of the director, who could probably see that the golden age of shooters was coming to an end. Anyway, I finished the arcade version of Parodius Da! On the PSP yesterday. I must have got too used to the SNES and GB versions, plus I'm getting old, because it was quite tough. Sure, it's a parody game, but it can be unforgivingly tough at times. I'm not sure how you can get out of the ball maze in Level 3 with no power-ups. After 5 tries or so, I gave up and restarted from the beginning. I get the feeling that the home ports were balanced more fairly. On to the MSX prequel!
  2. @spatular Not really. Otomedius is a separate game series. True, you could argue that it’s a spiritual successor in many ways, but, just from the long plays I’ve been watching, it doesn’t seem to have the lunacy of Parodius. The original Parodius game (Parodius Da!) really isn’t that difficult to get hold of, though. @MattyP even provided links to Flash ports online. Still, the mention of Otomedius made me look into the legacy of Parodius, and it’s interesting to see just what an influence it had on the genre. Otomedius is one, but you have the likes of Gunbird, Harmful Park, Keio Flying Squadron, Cotton, Air Zonk, Cho Aniki, etc. Sure, Parodius wasn’t the first shooter to feature designs that didn’t have much to do with ships or science-fiction, but I feel like the first game that tried to break the rules of content, to make the game feel more like a parade of crazy things to see for the player. Parodius is proving to be trickier than I’d remembered, but once I’m done, I think I’m going to look into Star Parodier, Hudson Soft’s answer to Parodius. (Which, for whatever reason, is also difficult to get hold of.)
  3. @Soulstar The same thought crossed my mind when I saw that thread under this one. I think last month's Tobal is evidence that we do not necessarily need to pick well-known games. However, it might be better for discussion if we pick games that are more accessible via emulation, or have ports. @Ninja Doctor It was an amazing conversion, considering the hardware. Like @bum notes, it's missing some levels (7, 8, 9) but it has an original level between levels 2 and 3. The version in the Konami GB Collection is also worth looking out for. As the article might suggest, I'm very familiar with all of the games in the series, except for the original MSX version. I loved the SFC ports, and played them constantly via emulation when I was young. The first two games I picked up along with my Saturn were Sexy Parodius and Sega Rally. Doing research for the article, I was reminded just how bawdy the games are. For good or bad, they reinforced a lot of stereotypes about Japan and Japanese games, and especially after #MeToo, a lot of the designs seem like relics from another era. In some ways, I'm amazed by how irreverently Jikkyo Oshaberi subverts censorship. While Parodius was never really shy about its bawdiness (Sexy Parodius being the obvious example), Jikkyo Oshaberi works much harder with its suggestive imagery. The school level in particular is of note. Despite the soundtrack changes, I think I'll be revisiting the series via the PSP compilation. It shouldn't be so expensive, right? Right?
  4. As @Soulstar mentioned, I wrote a short-ish essay as an overview of the series. Spoilered for length:
  5. Yeah, a lot of people assume the arcade version was the original game, but including them both (and the various ports) could be interesting. And we sort of did the same thing with Castle of Illusion already.
  6. It’s looking like Parodius is going to win, so I have to ask: when people mean Parodius, we’re talking about the sequel, right? Not the original MSX game.
  7. Yeah, although I think that Tobal No 1 was a good choice as a game for people to revisit or to play for the first time, but discussion was hampered by lack of availability and emulation problems. As for myself, I tried playing it through emulation on my PSP, but it was quite the challenge. From what I could gather, the game files on the disc are separated into tracks, so I was able to play the game, but without sound. That dampened the experience considerably. One other thing that also failed to rouse my enthusiasm was the fact that Tobal is a 3D fighting game. I was at the arcades when Virtua Fighter debuted, but starting with VF, and all the others that followed, I've never clicked with any. I'm not good at them, but I enjoy playing 2D fighters and free-roaming fighters such as Smash Bros. or Power Stone. Games such as Soul Calibur, Dead or Alive, etc... not very much. I didn't enjoy playing Tobal very much either, to be honest, but at least it crystallized the reasons why I don't enjoy these games. The concept is clear, but the controls have always seemed too abstract. One more aspect that is always alien to me is that you're always anchored to your opponent. It worked really well in Zelda, but it feels so unnatural in a fighting game. To Tobal's credit, though, I think the developers were aware of these hurdles. The attacks are mapped not to punch, kick, etc, but rather high-, mid-, and low attacks, with blocking /throws and jumping on the shoulder buttons. Maybe it makes combat less deep, but it made it much easier to understand for me. I still didn't get on with the usual rhythms and spatial complexities of 3D fighting, but it was an interesting experience. I think I have a better appreciation of the genre. Twenty years later, it looks really good (and Tobal No 2 even better), and it has a great soundtrack. (Which I listened to afterwards.)
  8. OK. I’ve played this game for a few hours, played through all of the courses, tried all the characters... But I don’t get why people are saying this is the best golf game ever, to be honest. It’s a very good golf game, I’ll admit (although I think the NGPC version is better), but I don’t understand why people love it so much.
  9. DeDeDe

    PC Engine Mini

    Konami being Konami as usual, I suppose, but I think this is inexcusable.
  10. DeDeDe

    Gaming Luddism

    I've been thinking recently about how your tastes ossify as you age. I never imagined it would happen to me. In my childhood, I felt I didn't have a favorite genre; I could play and enjoy any great game that was put in front of me. This was in the early '90s mind, and a quarter of a century later, things have changed. Unthinkable as it would seem to me, video games have become only a tiny part of my life. The biggest reason is that I have many more things going on in my life, but I have also noticed that the games I choose to play now appeal, overtly or not, to a retro sensibility. And so I wonder if I have become a video game Luddite--in a passive, subconscious way. I don't care about online play or trophies. Analog sticks are nice, but I prefer d-pads. I hate double shoulder buttons. I find double analog controls annoying. I think game soundtracks peaked in the PSX era. I can't play FPS games, so many influential games have passed me by. In many ways, I dislike the way modern games have turned out. To be fair, the reality isn't as black-and-white in my head as I have written. (I love using touch screens to play games, for example.) But I worry that I have become close-minded when it comes to gaming--I find myself thinking "This is good, but it's not as good as [something in the past]." It's a strange feeling for me because it doesn't happen with music, movies, books, etc. I mean, comparisons to the past can't be avoided, but in the case of video games, it feels like my brain is rejecting the new. Is it just me? Anyone else feel the same?
  11. I get the negativity towards the business model, but I’m sincerely looking forward quite a bit to this game. Can’t wait.
  12. When I write meant gimmick, I meant gimmicks that were products, not products built around a gimmick. A gimmick is not necessarily a bad thing: it's a clever and/or fun idea that entertains you for some time, but not for very long. Nintendo has been really successful in building products around gimmicks, but I wouldn't call either the DS or the Switch a gimmick, personally. (I'd argue that the best games on the systems play to the strengths of the central gimmick behind them, but that's a debate for another time.) I was thinking more along the lines of a Tamagotchi.
  13. I like this a lot. I feel like gimmicks, especially in hardware, have fallen out of favor in the modern video game landscape, and something important was lost in that transition. Looking back at the Game Boy launch 30 years ago, it was sold as a distraction, and the fact that the basic premise was "playing games on the go," that there was a little something inherently gimmicky about it. Accordingly, it was sold at a lower price (half of what a Switch costs, adjusting for inflation). Other handhelds like the WonderSwan, or peripherals such as Samba de Amigo's maracas built on that gimmicky aspect, but it's not where the industry was heading, so this is a welcome surprise. On the other hand, I can't help but feel that the Playdate will end up becoming a one-shot collector's item--a tidy success for Panic and the game developers, beloved by everyone who bought it, but with only two seasons' worth of content. I'll admit that I'm equally as interested in seeing what games will be on the platform as the possibility of using it as a new Game Boy. The lack of a backlight is puzzling as well.
  14. When I decided to post my thoughts on the Mastsr System version, I wasn’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition!... Anyway, horses for courses and all that. of course. I've also posted my thoughts on the Mega Drive version above. I don't consider either game to be a masterpiece. Maybe I should've chosen my words more carefully, but in the end I felt that the SMS game was simply more interesting. Addressing the points you've raised: - Yes, I feel Mickey's movement is more slippery in the SMS version, but you get used to it--which is more than I can say for Mickey's movement in the MD version, which always feels too slow. - As Sprite Machine put it, the Mega Drive levels are lush. The SMS levels have more variety and better structure, though. - I should've really said "graphically impressive." Although neither game has great bosses, the SMS game's bosses are more interesting. - There are some cheap design decisions in the SMS game, but the MD game is not free of frustrating moments. - I do think that the two-button-press object grabbing mechanism is the game's worst design decision. But it's not too bad in the grand scheme of things. - You get used to it, but grabbing and throwing items can be frustrating, especially in the last two boss battles. Despite all these deficiencies, I still prefer the SMS version. The MD game is relatively pedestrian less substantive in comparison.
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