Sundry Sunday is our weekly feature of fun gaming culture finds and videos, from across the years and even decades.
It’s been a while since we checked in with Eggpo, from “Two More Eggs,” that series the Brothers Chaps (creators of Homestar Runner) made for Disney XD or sommin like that. In case you forgot, Eggpo is the species of these eggplant people, whose job it is to attack the “good guy,” a.k.a. Dooble, who features in other TME videos.
Here, two Eggpos engage in the basic repetitive patterns entailed by their employment, without much success.
This is quite a collection to look through! While it was originally posted in 2021, it was updated with some new reviews just this past Sunday. They’re sorted alphabetically by game. They go at least as far back as NES Dragon Warrior, but some of them are really recent, especially with the addition of games reviewed by WalMart’s free pass-out magazine GameCenter. Their definition of JRPG kind of goes far afield, with some metroidvania-style Castlevanias, two Advance Wars games and a good number of half-related things.
Here are a small selection of included magazine scans….
GamePro’s review of the TurboGrafx port of Cadash, which unlike the Genesis/MegaDrive’s version has all four characters from the arcade game. The review’s written by “The Pizza Boys,” and has slangy writing and goofy little cartoon faces over the review scores, because it’s in a magazine written for teenage boys from 1991. Notice, the whole review is seven paragraphs, with four section headings, and four “PROTIP” inserts that don’t offer useful advice:
The review of Dragon Warrior from Game Player’s. I love it when magazines from this era publish the address of Nintendo of America. This review doesn’t really tell you much about the game though:
I had forgotten about this phase in Nintendo Power’s history. Check out their dissing the inventory of Earthbound, Nintendo’s own product! (I disagree, BTW, Earthbound is designed around its inventory limits, and they’re an essential part of the game!)
VideoGames & Computer Entertainment has always had a place in my heart, and Clayton Walnum is one of my favorite reviewers. In its heyday it had a no-nonsense approach to their reviews that appealed to me. It was the exact opposite of Electronic Gaming Monthly, a magazine that, honestly, I never much liked because of their loud editorial style and tendency to bloat their magazine up with advertisements:
Who doesn’t love Grandia? This review reminds us that we almost didn’t get an English version of it!
Little King Story is, no lie, one of the most overlooked Wii games of all time:
“VideoGames: The Ultimate Video Game Magazine” had a redundant title, but some fun layouts. Here’s their two page review of SNES Ogre Battle:
Sega Visions’ review of Phantasy Star II, a very grindy game without much story really, but with some really great twists:
EGM’s review of the remake of Shining Force for GBA:
GamePro’s review of Suikoden II didn’t age real well:
Vay, here mostly to show off the anime character portraits:
Zelda II in a late review from The Nintendo Official Magazine, with Dr. Mario riding along:
Ah, it crept up on me, so let me remind everyone that Roguelike Celebration begins today, although until tomorrow it just means they’re opening their social space for awhile. Nicole Carpenter at Polygon wrote a short piece about this year’s conference.
There is an admittance fee, but if you can’t afford it you can also get a free pass! Please consider paying them if you are able though, they do a lot of work every year in putting it together.
Here is the official schedule (linked), below is it presented just as a list of talks, with ✨sparkle emojis✨ around the things that personally enthuse me. ✨Just because!✨
Times given are US Pacific/Eastern. If you think the short times between starts are indicative of short talks, most of them aren’t that short, they have two tracks going on beside each other:
9:30 AM/12:30 PM: Arron A. Reed, Klingons, Hobbits, and the Oregon Trail: Procedural Generation in ✨the First Decade of Text Games✨
10:00 AM/ 1 PM: Nic Tringali, ✨Abstract Space Exploration✨ in The Banished Vault
10:30 AM/ 1:30 PM: Linas Gabrielaitis, Fictions of Infinity in ✨Geological Finitudes✨
11:30 AM/2:30 PM: Florence Smith Nicholls, Another Stupid Date: ✨Love Island as a Roguelike✨
11:45 AM/2:45 PM Kes, Hunting the Asphynx: Roguelikes, ✨Provenance✨, and You
Noon/3 PM: Mike Cook, Generating Procedures: ✨Rule and System Generation✨ for Roguelikes
1:30 PM/4:30 PM: Scott Burger, The ✨Data Science✨ of Roguelikes
2 PM/5 PM: Nat Alison, In Defense of ✨Hand-Crafted Sudoku✨
3 PM/6 PM: Eric Billingsley, Scoped-down design: ✨Making a Tiny Roguelike✨
3:30 PM/6:30 PM: Elliot Trinidad, Touching Grass & Taking Names: Tuning the ✨Blaseball✨ Name Generator
4:30 PM/7:30 PM: Paul Hembree, Audible Geometry: Coordinate Systems as a Resource for ✨Music Generation✨
5 PM/8 PM: Jurie Horneman, Why ✨Dynamic Content Selection✨ Is Hard
9:30 AM/12:30 PM: Mark Johnson, ✨Generating Riddles✨ for a Generated World
10 AM/1 PM: Jesse Collet & Keni, Fireside Chat About the Development of ✨NetHack✨
10:30 AM/1:30 PM: ✨Leigh Alexander✨, ✨McMansions of Hell✨: Roguelikes and Reality TV
1 PM/4 PM: Ray, Remixing the Layer Cake: Facilitating ✨Fan Reinterpretation✨ Through ✨Caves of Qud✨’s Modular Data Files
1:15 PM/4:15 PM: Crashtroid, Preventing Ear Fatigue with ✨Roguelike Music✨
1:30 PM/4:30 PM: Everest Pipkin, The Fortunate Isles: Fragment Worlds, Walled Gardens, and ✨the Games That Are Played There✨
2 PM/5 PM: ✨Jeff Olson✨, ✨Alphaman✨: Developing and Releasing a Post-Apocalyptic Roguelike Game in the ✨DOS Days✨ When Computers Were Slow, Memory Was Scarce, and No One Had Ever Heard of Object-Oriented Code
On Romhack Thursdays, we bring you interesting finds from the world of game modifications.
The critical consensus on Ultima Underworld is that it was a high point of the Ultima franchise, a then-unique (and still fairly distinctive) kind of game, a 3D fantasy adventure released nine months before Doom, with a detailed dungeon and a high degree of player agency.
Ultima Underworld got a Playstation release, but only in Japan. It is not a straight upgrade from the DOS version, it’s got different cutscenes and anime character portraits, as well as interface differences. Still, it could well be worth playing for its own sake.
Often for these romhack posts I’ll try to apply the patch myself and take my own screenshots, but in this case the patch is over 120 megabytes, and itself to be applied to a CD game ISO, and a substantial game to learn and navigate in itself, so I’m going to pass this time and just use screenshots from the game’s romhacking.net entry.
Another JRPG post! That’s two in a row, and it’s about some quite interesting games, including a lost Shining Force game. The website JRPG Junkie tells us about some Sega arcade games that fit the mold that sound like they would have been interesting to have tried.
Quest of D was a dungeon crawler where the player’s inventory was collected as physical trading cards, that were scanned into the game in order to use them. Shining Force Cross was similar in concept but without the cards; it lasted until 2016. And finally there was Soul Reverse, introduced in 2018.
The world of Japanese arcade games from around this time is largely a big dark area to me, and right around the time when the US arcade industry started its death spiral. It was also a time when server connectivity and online updates came into vogue, meaning when the servers went down, many of them ceased to be playable. It’s really sad that this has become essentially a lost age of gaming, at least to people outside of Japan. We probably couldn’t play them then, and we certainly can’t now.
There was apparently a leak of the upcoming Super Mario Bros Wonder game (the first hour of gameplay is here), and it has a terrific little sequence that makes me think it’s going to become highly memeable. The part that really makes it for me is the flowers’ comments. Here it is, edited down to just that sequence. Note that this is a spoiler, but it’s for only the second level of the a whole long game.
Because of the danger it’ll be taken down, I’m not uploading this to Youtube. Please enjoy, it’s about a minute long.
Much much later, in a secret world, there is a reprise of this idea, and it’s much harder. Warning you now, It’s a more significant spoiler, not for story reasons, but just for existing. It’s fun, but looks pretty hard! I got the video out of a much longer video, at 4 1/2 hours and showing off all of that secret world, here. This is just that level, at two minutes long: