Sundry Sunday: The “Music” of Crazy Bus

Remember Crazy Taxi? How they got licensed punk music from Bad Religion and The Offspring for it? Remember how awesome that was? I’m not even a music person mostly, but I could still recognize that the soundtrack of those games was special. (I’m talking about the arcade and Dreamcast versions-other versions may or may not have that soundtrack, probably due to licensing issues.)

You want to know what game doesn’t have a great sound track? Crazy Bus.

Crazy Bus is a homebrew Sega Genesis/Mega Drive game that was created as a test for the programmer’s BASIC compiler. It wasn’t meant to be a real game. As a result, its soundtrack is almost a masterpiece in cacaphony. Listen for yourself… but you’re going to want to turn the volume down for this one.

It’s awe-ful-some. I encourage you to play it for for friends, family, co-workers, prospective employers, random strangers and household pets. I’m certain nothing bad will come of it!

News 12/28/22: ASCII Dwarves, eShop Shutdowns, Ecco the Dolphin

“We scour the Earth web for indie, retro, and niche gaming news so you don’t have to, drebnar!” – your faithful reporter

Computer issues kept me from filing last week’s report. That is the reason. It is not true that I got so drunk at a Globmas Party that my chemical composition was 50% alcohol. Don’t listen to those rumors! Let us begin.

Image from PCGamesN

Dwarf Fortress’ Steam Edition is still the toast of the gaming blogoglobe! A recent update lets you use the original version’s ASCII graphics instead of the high-falutin’ new pixel art skin. So proclaimeth Ian Boudreau at PCGamesN!

It’s funny. Corbin Davenport writes an article at How-To Geek titled Atari’s New Gaming Console Isn’t Dead Yet. But it’s URL is: https://www.howtogeek.com/855757/ataris-new-gaming-console-is-dead/ Don’t you love how URL slugs can reveal a piece’s working title? The article itself is more about how it’s mostly dead, so someone call Miracle Max.

Gavin Lane at NintendoLife discusses the upcoming shutdown of the 3DS and WiiU eShops. You haven’t been able to add funds for a while through the stores, although you could still add them using the Switch’s shop then use that money to buy there. The piece mentions that Nintendo has been almost anxious to close the shops, due to poor sales of the WiiU. You’ll still be able to download purchased software… for a while.

Also at NintendoLife, Liam Doolan interviews a couple of people at Wayforward about River City Girls 2! It turns out that planning began almost immediately after RCG1 wrapped up.

Tom Ivan. Video Games Chronicle. Microsoft and Activision have filed responses to the FTC complaint about their merger being anti-competitive. Creatures of my species are capable of merging together into one blobby whole, which is admittedly quite fun on a boring Saturday night, but none of us are corporations that control massive segments of the console gaming market!

Related, Jezz Corden of Windows Central reports that Microsoft is claiming that Sony’s influence will prevent four specific games from ever reaching the Xbox console platform: Final Fantasy VII Remake, Final Fantasy 16 (shouldn’t that be XVI?), Silent Hill 2 Remake, and Bloodborne.

And finally, at The Ringer, M.D. Rodrigues writes a long piece about the legacy of the Sega Genesis Ecco the Dolphin games.

Sonic 2 Boss Hit Box Bug

While we’re on the topic of 16-bit Sonic, revealed last year by Lapper on Twitter, and recently boosted by Classic Sonic Deconstructed, it turns out that, because of a misplaced hitbox, you’re completely immune to the bomb attacks of the boss of Chemical Plant in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 if you’re crouching.

This is the boss’s only attack. If you’re standing on the middle platform and just duck when he’s attacking, you’re completely safe.

Original tweet.

News 7/20/22: Pikmin Cracked Boy

“We scour the Earth web for indie, retro, and niche gaming news so you don’t have to, drebnar!” – your faithful reporter

Aaron Greenbaum at Den of Geek investigates, what was the last NES game released? Covers multiple territories, and both licensed and unlicensed titles, although in that later case recent releases stretch the premise considerably.

This might be our first link to comingsoon.net, reporting that Nintendo has purchased the studio that animated those charming Pikmin shorts from back in the Wii-U era. [Reminders: first, second, third] Maybe we should save those links for Sunday? Maybe we’ll just slip them in again some week.

We have a bit of animosity towards Cracked for how they treated several of their prior writers, although that did eventually result in the creation of both Behind The Bastards and Some More News, which are creator-owned. Still, bad scene Cracked. Currently working for them (for how long?) is Eli Yudin, and they wrote a list of 15 Gloriously Weird Genesis games. It contains ToeJam & Earl, Wiz & Liz, Rocket Knight Adventures, The Ooze, and Mutant League Football, among others.

At Stone Age Gamer they have a series about Game Boy sequels to NES games, and in that Chris Randazzo writes about Blaster Master Boy, which is really a Game Boy port of Robowarrior, which was originally known as Bomber King in Japan, where it was a spinoff of Bomberman! The source for that information: the dusty back corners of my beleaguered brain.

Callum Bains at TechRadar brings us news that a number of Bethesda and id Software games are playable for free, for a limited time, to people in the Xbox Insiders program.

Jody Macgregor at PC Gamer tells us that that fan remake of Ocarina of Time will get new features, including unlocked frame rate and adjustable difficulty.

News 7/14/22: Genesis Zim Breakers BBS

“We scour the Earth web for indie, retro, and niche gaming news so you don’t have to, drebnar!” – your faithful reporter

Matthew Byrd of Den of Geek lists 20 Genesis/Mega Drive games that were ahead of their time. Some interesting choices, like Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday, and they did notice Naughty Dog’s Rings of Power unlike that previous list. They also mention ToeJam & Earl, although they diss it a bit, boo. They also give nods to King’s Bounty, Starflight and Herzog Zwei, which are all fine games. No mention of Might & Magic II though!

Ollie Reynolds at Nintendo Life writes of modders adding color to B&W Gameboy titles.

At first, Sorrel Kerr-Jung’s article at CBR about Invader Zim’s voice being recast, and series creator Jhonan Vasquez being upset about it, doesn’t seem like it fits in with our theme. Even hearing about it being in SMITE, which is one of those MOBAs a particular breed of older kid might be enthused with… well, I’ve never heard of SMITE. But when I found out it was because they wanted to avoid voice actor Richard Horvitz’s union, and yeah, that’s the kind of terrible behavior we can get behind telling people about. The developers responsible are Hi-Rez Studios and Titan Forge Games. Also, whose idea was it to put Invader Zim in a MOBA?

At Nintendo Everything, Brian notes about upcoming asymmetric multiplayer game Dragon Ball: The Breakers, where some players play as DB side characters, and others of villains like Cell, Frieza and Kid Buu. The developers were unsure anyone would want to play weak characters like Oolong and Bulma. Geez, those are some of my favorite characters! Vegeta is cool and all but he’s kind of one-note, and let’s face it, Goku is probably insane.

Sad news that’s been going around: popular niche puzzle makers Zachtronics is closing up shop. They’re making one last game though, Last Call BBS, which Vice’s Renana Price calls “a beautiful vision of the 90s internet.” It’s basically a collection of smaller puzzles with a framing story about maintaining a friend’s website. Like all of Zachtronics’ products, it looks very interesting. It’s available on Steam.

News 6/23/2022: RPG Netcode Newsletter

“We scour the Earth web for indie, retro, and niche gaming news so you don’t have to, drebnar!” – your faithful reporter

Not a lot of news today, drebnar! Let’s see what there is to see with our respective light-based optical sensors.

We usually have tons of things to link, so we’ve started leaning away from listicles, but it’s a short broadcast today, so here’s Chris Freiberg’s list of the best 15 Genesis RPGs on Den of Geek. It’s a provocative list, in order from last to first: Gauntlet IV, Ys III: Wanderers From Ys, Syndicate, Sword of Vermillion, Light Crusader, Crusader of Centy, Landstalker, Pirates! Gold, Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun, Shining Force II, Phantasy Star III, Wonder Boy in Monster World, Beyond Oasis, Shadowrun, and, of course, Phantasy Star IV. Now, Gauntlet IV is an amazing port, and no one can fault Wonder Boy in Monster World, Landstalker or Pirates! Gold on general terms, but they’re hardly traditional RPGs. And then there are the games left out: the original Shining Force didn’t make it even through SF2 did, there’s no Phantasy Star II or Shining in the Darkness, and most egregious of all IMO, nowhere to be seen are New World Computing’s terrific ports of King’s Bounty or Might & Magic II, which are fully the equal of their computer versions drebnar! And if you’re going to include Pirates! Gold, you gotta include Starflight! And while it’s a bit clunky in interface, there’s the oft-overlooked early Naughty Dog production Rings of Power!

Victoria Kennedy at Eurogamer casually drops that a documentary is approaching on the making of Nintendo 64 system seller Goldeneye 007.

Lots of places are raving about the excellence of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, proclaiming it a return to the greatness of the classic Konami arcade games. WCCFtech’s Ule Lopez chimes in, in their review, and uses it to explain about the wonders of rollback netcode. Okay by us!

Thom Dunn at Boing Boing reports that the newsletter 50 Years of Text Games is being published in book form!

Finally, back at Nintendo Life again, Alana Hagues points us to a YouTube video explain a trick allowing you to explore underwater areas in Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

U Can Beat Video Games: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

U Can Beat Video Games (their YouTube channel) has only been around for a bit over a year, but they’ve already covered a lot of challenging games. It serves as a complete video playthrough, often revealing all the game’s secrets, and has remarkably restrained and helpful audio commentary by YouTube standards.

UCBVG videos cover the entire game, and can be long. The most recent, the covering A Link to the Past with a second part, is nearly two hours but it uses YouTube’s timeline annotations to mark any potential trouble spots you may have. Even if you’ve mastered the games he covers, I find it relaxing to watch anyway to refresh my memory on these decades-old amusements.

To date, UCBVG has covered 70 titles across the NES, SNES, Game Boy, and Mega Drive/Genesis. Some highlights include their videos on the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for NES (the first game on the channel), Mega Man I, II, and III, The Legend of Zelda, its second quest, and it’s sequel, Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Legacy of the Wizard (a.k.a. Dragon Slayer IV), Castlevania and Simon’s Quest, Blaster Master, Punch-Out!!, Ninja Gaiden and its first sequel, Clash at Demonhead, Metal Gear, Crystalis, Wizards & Warriors and its sequel Ironsword, Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy (in two parts), Actraiser, The Guardian Legend, Kirby’s Dream Land (including Extra Mode!), the weird and unique The Magic of Scheherazade, Sonic the Hedgehog, and even the notorious Battletoads, among many other games.

They update weekly, so why not take a look!

Video: Chrontendo and related

The third and last of the chronological platform cataloguing efforts is the longest-lived and most complete, Dr. Sparkle’s wonderful Chrontendo, going through the entire library of the Famicom and NES, along with sister projects Chronsega (Mark III/Master System and Mega Drive/Genesis) and Chronturbo (PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16).

Each of the projects I’ve presented have had a different style. Atari Archive does one game at a time, devoting from 8 to 20 minutes to it. Video Works tends to cover two or three times per video. Well, the various Chrons go for the omnibus approach: each entry shows from a dozen to 20 or more games. It also emphasizes gameplay footage, and also sometimes some side bits amidst the many games.

Chrontendo has been going since a while before 2010, and so there is a whole lot of material to catch up on. It also has the slowest rate of updating, with sometimes whole years between episodes. But each episode is its own little wonder, containing a solid mass of retro gaming information, including many games you probably won’t ever hear about anywhere else.