MAME WR Attempt No. 17 – Space Harrier

“Welcome to the Fantasy Zone. Get ready!”

Is it a bird?  Is it a plane?  No, it’s a bloke with luscious flowing locks, armed with a mahoosive hand cannon, allegedly equipped with a jet pack (yet I can’t see it – possibly his gun?). It’s Space Harrier.  Unleashed onto the arcade by Sega in 1985 and developed by Yu Suzuki (who also helped craft Hang On, Out Run, After Burner and Virtua Racing amongst many others), Space Harrier is a third person, on rails shooter.  It’s the story of a man who has realised he’s left the stove on at home and has to quickly rush back to turn it off as he’s concerned not only about the risk of fire to his space galaxy property but also the increase in his space galaxy utility bills.  Namely space gas which has gone through the roof in recent months due to tension in the space middle east zone.  I think that’s the basic premise anyway as you’re not given any back story, so we’ll go with that.

At the time of its release Space Harrier was a huge success and the first to be running on Sega’s Super Scaler series of pseudo-3D arcade hardware and according to the flyer, the first time “a graphic capacity of 1.2M” was used in an amusement game machine.  I can recall being blown away by this upon release and in particular the sit down rolling motion cabinet which felt like you were ACTUALLY nipping home to turn the gas off.  The flyer describes the gameplay as thus;

– Attack the enemy with the SHOOT button.
– Avoid the obstacles by moving the Joystick in the backward/forward, horizontal and diagonal directions.
-When all of the players are lost, the game is over.

So far so simple…  The current world record on the Arcade over at Twin Galaxies is 42,384,290 held by Philip Campbell and the MAME record, our emulation platform of choice, is 32,270,540 by Stu R Rankin.  Are these reachable?  Are these surpassable?  Are these even worth bothering with?  Only the Ten Pence Arcade duo and its merry band of listeners can find out…

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MAME WR Attempt No. 16 – Mega Twins

Mega Twins

Remember back in the 80s and 90s when everything was Mega?  Mega Man, Mega Drive, Mega CD, and Megadeth.  Well cast your mind back to the arcades and you’ll recall there was also Mega Twins.  Back when I was a lad Mega Twins were the two girls on Fun House or the Alessi Twins from Neighbours but these two doppelgangers were stealing 10 pences quicker than you could say “I really do love Capcom and everything they release is the bestest ever. Please take all my money” or something…  Originally released in 1990 by Capcom in Japan as Chiki Chiki Boys, it is a side scrolling platformer.  The back story, if you can read the story on the attract mode quick enough, is that once upon a time a monster came to the paradise land of Alurea and kicked up a fuss.  1000 years of peace gone in a flash leaving the king’s twin infant sons as sole survivors.  Fifteen years later the lads have grown up a bit (although they don’t look fifteen years old to me) and set out on a quest for the legendary stone called “Dragon’s Blue Eyes”.  Legend has it that when the world is in danger, the stone will set all things right.  They’ll believe anything these two lads.

Over on Twin Galaxies there are only three submitted entries which is odd as I remember this being in the local arcade and was quite popular at the time.  First place is currently held by Clay W W Karczewski with a score of 187,880.  I’m coming at this a week into the Ten Pence Arcade challenge, so without further ado, I’m going in…

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MAME WR No. 15 – Dr. Micro

“Doctor Doctor my arcade cab has no PCB.”
“How does it work?”
“MAME!”

This time around over on the excellent Ten Pence Arcade the high score challenge is for Dr Micro.  I think it’s fair to say we’re familiar with all the Drs.  Drs Watson, Mario, Spock, Oetker and the most famous, Alban but not so much the titular Dr Micro of this wondrous retro throwback.   Developed by Sanritsu, who would later go on to create the classic Bank Panic for Sega, and released in 1983, Dr Micro is a three screen platformer clearly drawing inspiration from Donkey Kong.  You control what one assumes to be the hero of the game.  A hero which looks to be a toddler in earmuffs wearing a jump suit in colours not dissimilar to Donkey Kong’s Jumpman.  Hey, if you can’t innovate, imitate right?  The toddler has to progress through the three aforementioned screens towards a climactic showdown with an evil scientist (he’s evil because he has a moustache) who bears a striking resemblance to Dr Eggman before the biscuit and pie addiction took hold.

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MAME WR No. 14 – Fantasy Zone II

Fantasy Zone II

Time to smash those world records again.  The lads over on Ten Pence Arcade this week have chosen Fantasy Zone II by Sega.  All together now, hands in the air.  Let me be your fantasy! (…erm Zone…ahem…)  This is the very game that inspired Baby D to write and release the smash number one hit, only to be knocked off the top spot by East 17 with saccharine Christmas hit stay another day.  True story. Well some of it.

Developed by Sega, Fantasy Zone II is a sequel to, yes you guessed it Fantasy Zone. Whereas the original was an arcade hit ported to the console market, namely the Sega Master System, the sequel was a console original which was ported to the arcades.  Playchoice-10 aside it’s not often the way of things so it must be pretty special right…?

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Flicked The Switch

After much deliberation, I’ve taken the plunge.  Done the deed.  Made the bed.  Climbed the mountain. Ran the marathon.  I’ve finally picked up the Nintendo Switch.   Despite being burnt by the Wii-U somewhat I wasn’t so keen to invest in Nintendo’s next flagship console.  It’s not that the Wii-U had a poor selection of games, there is a handful that justifies a pick up if you get one for the right price and there’s plenty pre-owned out there. Super Mario 3D World, New Super Mario Bros. U, Bayonetta 2, Pikmin 3, Splatoon, Super Smash Brothers 3, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and Wonderful 101 to name but a few. It’s more that the device didn’t really know what it wanted to be. Is it a home console? Yep. Is it a portable? Well if you’re in the house it is and the game supports remote play. Incorporating the Wii name confused consumers. “Is it an add on? Is it new? I already have one.” Continue reading “Flicked The Switch”

MAME WR No. 13 – Juno First

Juno First

The bi-weekly challenge thing over at the Ten Pence Arcade Podcast this time round has been Juno First.  Despite my age (yes old enough to remember fruit based drink Quatro) I can’t ever recall seeing or playing this in the arcades in my yoof so it was nice to have an attempt at something that didn’t steal countless 10 pence off me back in day…

Developed by Konami and released in 1983, Juno First is a vertical scrolling shooter which, Xevious being the notable exception, was something of a novelty back in the day.

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Back At It

LAME

It’s a looooong time since I’ve fired up MAME and had myself a blast at taking some high scores down.  After catching up with my good friend cNp at Glasto, conversation turned, as it often does, to gaming.   Gaming of both new and days of yore and as one conversation turned from Breath of the Wild, to JAMMA boards, to Vectrex and beyond, he put me onto a podcast about retro arcades, 10 Pence Arcade.  Not only do these guys wax lyrical about old cabs and where to find them, upcoming meets and general 1cc goodness they also contain a nice and friendly high score challenge which runs over the two weeks until the next podcast goes up.  If you’ve been following this site over the years (12 years…. crikey) then you’ll remember I went a bit bonkers not so long ago trying to work through MAME attempting to crack the world records on Twin Galaxies.  I wasn’t massively successful (I currently hold a grand total of one and that’ll be be easy to beat if you’re arsed) but it was a laugh.   You can se all the previous messes by checking the world record attempt over there on the sidebar.  It’s not pretty… So with that I’m back at it and you can blame @chrisnparsons for that…  Next I’ll be building a cab in my garage or some shit.

Brexit

It’s a long time since I blogged on here.  We have busy lives don’t we but I’ve popped my head above the parapet today to put forth my two penneth on today’s referendum outcome… (expecting TLDR)

I voted to remain, purely on the admittedly simplistic notion, that by remaining in the EU meant that we we could still influence outcomes in Europe and that being at the table we’re better in that out. In an increasingly interconnected world, to remove ourselves in this way, is, in my opinion, a regressive move. There are counter arguments to this of course which I’m sure someone will present if they can be so bothered. But for me I was remain on this basis.

However, again, my opinion, what has led to the leave vote coming out on top, is the influence that the low paid, lower social class areas has had where people really do see EU immigration changing their communities, where the low paid zero contract employees are fighting for work in an increasingly congested workplace. The people without mortgages due to aforementioned zero hour contracts, without stocks and shares. As far as they’re concerned, what benefits them from staying in? They’re not concerned about their stock portfolio and value of their second property. They’re undoubtedly concerned about the NHS but that’s a bloody mess right now as it is.

To add, this is not racist behaviour. They’re not bigots. These people don’t hate polish/czech/french (insert EU member here) people. Granted some do but there’s bigots and racists throughout all class levels so lets be adult in these discussions. There simply isn’t 51.9% of racists jumping for joy today. You know this so lets not fall back on the racist and bigot card. It’s regressive and reductive to boil down to that. You know someone who has voted leave. Are they racist? More than likely not.

What you’re seeing here is a result of people not being engaged by governments term after term, not having their concerns, whether legitimate or otherwise, being tabled for fear of being racist or simply ignored. The great unheard that exists outside of westminster. Given their chance to vote and speak up they’ve bloodied the noses of those who chose to not listen or represent them in the only way they felt they could have some say.

I don’t agree with today’s outcome and it’s not what I wanted but I can see where it’s come from but that’s democracy.

So on that, we’re on the ride now whether you’re leave or remain and we have to make the best of it so lets pull together on these shores if not in Europe.

That was exhausting and I’d rather be a Glastonbury this time of year as I normally am but hey ho…

Right, who fancies a pint of british real ale? 😛

SullDaBull’s Albums of 2013

2013 is rapidly coming to a close which is good and bad in equal amounts. Good because this is when all the end of year lists start to surface. Bad because we’re all that little bit older…

Any list you can think of, published by any magazine or website you can think of, begin to do the rounds;

  • Best Albums of the Year
  • Best Films of the Year
  • Best Books of the Year
  • Best Games of the Year
  • and I shit you not, Best Wigs of the Year

Which goes to show that there really is a list for everyone out there. So for what it’s worth, I’ve waded into the list maelstrom with my albums of the year below (complete with an added bonus of my BBC essential mix of the year too). It’s based on nothing more scientific than a bunch of albums I’ve played and enjoyed the most this year. Which, let’s be honest, is all it really should be…

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MAME WR No. 12 – 4 En Raya

In preparation for this I couldn’t find any background to the game whatsoever. Even the hallowed KLOV website has no details regarding it. So anything I write here is based purely on playing the game.

4 en Raya was released in 1990 (not that you’d believe it by looking at it) by IDSA. The title translates as 4 in a row and that’s essentially what it is. Connect 4 but with a few twists. You can shoot your opponents tiles before they’re dropped. You can collect spiders and worms which fill the empty columns for bonus point and erm…erm…erm that seems to be it.

So, have you ever yearned to play Connect 4 on old hardware with terrible sound? What? No you say? Yeah, me neither but I’m going to have to…

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