It’s way too friggin’ humid in New England, but despite the condensation, we’ve prepared only the best news for you to enjoy today! Here are some of the stories about classic games and series we’ve culled from around the Interwebs:
– In last week’s “Four of a Kind” feature on Purple Revolver by James Brookfield, they cover bad celebrity endorsed games. The finalists? Shaq Fu, Chuck Norris Superkicks, Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City, and William Shatner’s TekWar, which apparently exists!
– Looking for some classic game recommendations? Nicholas Bitonti of The Detroit Metro Times has some good recommendations. While I don’t agree with all of them, they’re more obscure and interesting than the usual ones you see floating around the web, and cover a variety of systems.
– For the upcoming release of Pixels, Chauncey Alcorn of The New York Daily News has a ranking of his favorite 10 arcade games of all-time. Spoiler alert: Tekken 4 is way too friggin’ high, and while it’s nice to see Virtua Cop get some love, there is no Time Crisis on the list, which is just silly.
– Continuing with controversial #hottakes: Lizzy Finnegan of The Escapist has an article, “When the sequel is worse than the original.” Unfortunately, her examples are The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. and Castlevania, and I’d say that only the latter is actually bad.
– IGN.com’s Cam Shea has a good, longer read on the downfall of the SEGA Rally Championship game series. Warning though, a video autoplays from that link!
– On the Gradius episode, we mentioned that it was seen as Konami’s response to Namco’s classic Xevious. It’s probably for the best that an Atari 2600 port of Xevious never saw the light of day, because the recently unearthed prototype copy is pretty horrible. (Via Kotaku Australia’s Mike Fahey.)
– Again, it’s a fairly crappy day for video game releases, because it’s the summer. The Game Boy Color version of Dragon Warrior III came out 14 years ago. The original was an incredible RPG that featured multiple classes for the first time in a Dragon Quest / Dragon Warrior game, and even better, you could change at-will once you reached a certain point in the game. However, it originally came out in Japan in 1988, and in June 1991 in North America, and didn’t have much of an impact in the states. On Amazon, GBC prices range from $19.99 (used) to $149.98 (new). Want a boxed copy of the NES edition? It’s only $1,499.95, with used copies starting at $47.95.
– One major studio game released in the summer back in the day: NCAA Football 2004, which came out in 2003 on July 16 for the Playstation 2, Xbox and Gamecube. The cover athlete was Carson Palmer, who is now 35, and the game sells for $1 or less pretty much everywhere in the god damn world.
This week in Your Parents Basement, we pew pew pew with our space shootin’ Vic Viper-line ship past flying enemy fighters, sand dragons and giant, pulsating alien hearts. We’re playing the classic side scrolling shooter series Gradius, focusing on its first and third installments, for the NES and SNES respectively.
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- 0:00 – The intro, which is a Japanese commercial for Gradius 3.
- 35:00 – The return of the Toddbitskit!
- 39:15 – Emails. The return of Scooterbutt! Ole Scooty.
- 54:15 – Snifferoo.
– The 30th anniversary of the Gradius series was this year, and Kurt Kalata had a great article on its development for Gamasutra. You can read it here. He gets into how it developed from an earlier game, Scramble, and served as the Konami answer to Namco’s Xevious.
– The lore and backstory for the Gradius series is really quite superfluously wonderful, considering it’s a game about shootin’ down space alien ships. The Wikipedia article on the series gets into it, and it’s also a good source for the tangled naming web Steve mentions on the show.
– There are many, many, many people who can play Gradius way better than us three schlubs on this show. YouTube has many of their speed run videos, which I recommend checking out because they’re ridiculous.
– Wanna buy Gradius for the NES? Loose carts run from $8 to $13. If you want the box and manual as well, it runs from $17 to $30. For Gradius 3, carts run from $8 to $15. Despite being younger, boxes and manuals are rarer for Gradius 3, and prices run from $37 to $53. Various forms of Gradius are available on current generation systems in their online shops, again in the $8 to $15 range.
Your Parents Basement is meant to be a fun podcast project, where some folks talk about their favorite classic games. Click here for our first episode on Super Mario Bros., as well as its way-too-hard counterpart, The Lost Levels.
Want to follow along to future episodes? Add this feed to your podcastin’ device: https://yourparentsbasementpodcast.wordpress.com/category/podcasts/feed/ We are absolutely looking for guests and game ideas for future shows! For both, please email them to us – firstname.lastname@example.org – as opposed to leaving them as comments. (Mystery is good for the rest of the listening audience!) You can also follow us on Twitter. Supplemental material for today’s show:
- The opening theme comes from this helpful YouTube video.
- The Super Mario Bros. Super Show with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.
- Console Wars by Blake Harris, which was the first book I read that really focused on the rise and fall of Sega during the Genesis era from that company’s perspective.
- “The Secret History of Super Mario Bros. 2” from Wired, which talks about that game’s true origin.
- A deep dive on the failures of the Super Mario Bros. movie on Grantland. The movie rights changed hands in December 2014, suggesting that a second attempt might be coming soon.