Friday, August 31, 2012

Top 5 NES Story Premises: #1: Bad Dudes

Every storytelling medium has its watershed creations. The works of art that made quantum leaps forward in sophistication. Influential achievements that informed everything that followed. For books, there was Homer's Iliad. For movies, Citizen Kane. For comics, Watchmen.

And for video games, there is Bad Dudes.

When this swollen-faced presidential handler appeared on television screens in 1989, he ripped the lid off of video game storytelling. His message was terse, even blunt. When the president is in danger, there's no time to dick around. And when things get so dire that your only hope to defeat president-stealing ninjas is to turn to random street toughs and their undeniable fighting ability, you know the stakes are through the roof.

Bad Dudes made men out of boys and men out of girls. It was a game about confronting the hard truths of grown-up life. Sometimes life doesn't go your way. Sometimes the odds are stacked against you. And sometimes the president gets kidnapped by ninjas.

There comes a time when every young NES gamer has to look in the mirror and ask that one crucial question:

"Am I a bad enough dude to rescue the president?"

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Badass Box Art of the Week: Action 52

Sometimes video game box art is so completely badass that it demands you purchase the game even though you may have never heard of the title or even play video games at all! Only these boxes have earned the right to be honored with the title of Badass Box Art of the Week!

Are you ready for the ULTIMATE CHALLENGE? Can you play through 52 undoubtedly terrible games without murdering your family?!? Yes? Then let the non-stop action mayhem commence!  This week's installment of Badass Box Art of Week brings you Action 52! The only game on the planet to receive the Action Seal of Quality Assurance!

There is no doubt in my mind that the mullet-sporting kid on the box was completely unaware of what he was getting himself into when he jammed this cart into his NES. No one could have predicted that an onslaught of ninjas, dragons, and eyeballs with robot arms would come screaming out of his microwave shaped TV box. Judging by the sheer terror on his face, he had no clue that a tentacle and creepy monster hand would attempt to snatch him from his cozy living room.

But there are a couple more things that really make this box badass.
  1. The patriotic claim that this game was made in AMERICA! This is not something commonly seen on NES games. But neither are jeans that are neatly rolled up above your sweet kicks. America!  
  2. The extremely bold suggested retail price printed right on the box. $199.00 is a lot of cash to shell out for a game that doesn't play on the NEO GEO. I enjoy the choice to place (U.S. $) under the suggested price as if to say, "Yes, that's right, my friend, it's U.S. dollars listed up there. Not no Japan dollars!"  America!!  

Friday, August 17, 2012

Top 5 NES Story Premises: #2: Blaster Master

For all its jumping tanks, pause-powered grenades and mutated abominations, Blaster Master boils down to one thing: the love between a boy and his frog. It goes a little something like this:

Boy meets frog.
Boy taps on glass.
Boy loves frog.
Frog escapes.
Boy gives chase.
Frog gets first taste of freedom
Frog heads straight for radioactive waste left in boy's yard.
Frog irradiated.
Frog grows to grotesque size.
Frog jumps down massive hole in deathtrap yard.
Boy follows.
Boy finds super tank at pit's bottom.
Boy suits up.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Murder She Wrote Recaps: S1E3: Birds of a Feather

Jessica Fletcher travels to San Francisco and is surprised to discover that her niece's fiance is a crossdresser (but only professionally). Jess solves the murder he gets framed for, and she, the police chief, and the other exonerated murder suspects are the only attendees of the subsequent wedding.