Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Old Logos

Just a quick one. I love the nostalgia of old logos. Let's look at some now!

Might do another one of these later. So deliciously easy!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Dairanto Smash Bros.!

Excuse the very weeaboo title.

Super Smash Bros. came out at the turn of the millennium but quite literally captures some of the most famous gaming worlds of the past few decades. The classic beat-em'-up fighter features combatants from eight distinct universes, including Mother, Pokemon, F-Zero, Mario, Zelda, Star Fox, Metroid, and Kirby. The quirky, campy, and certainly over-the-top style pays homage to the decade's most controversial series, the Mortal Kombat, with its mixture of character taunts, special moves, and zealous announcer. The plot - undeniably silly - involves an evil hand bringing to life dolls of our heroes, and their subsequent rebellion against the master hand and his faithful servants. 

Smash Bros. actually was supposed to have a lot more than it did, a lot of which got put into Melee then Brawl. Notable things included a playable Dedede, Mewtwo, and Bowser, plus the famous Final Smashes which made their way to the current chapter of the series. You can actually find Ness's voice records of PK STARSTOOOOOOOOOOOORM in the sound test.

I have a couple of childhood memories of the series. The first time I ever played it was at a block party two doors down. While all the adults were busying barbequing, drinking, and swimming, us kids were enamoured by the allure of fighting as our superstars. I only played a few rounds but I remember them fondly. The next was having the game and the N64 to play it rented to us for the weekend. Back in the day Blockbuster used to let you borrow consoles along with games. I don't know how that would fly in the era of gamertags and achievements though. Maybe that's why they went bankrupt (WRONG: it's because Netflix and Redbox driving them out of business. $$$$$). The last memory is the most lingering, and that's of going to a buddy's house for a night of mischief and shenanigans. At the time we weren't allowed being up late and only got to play the game for a few hours, with his kid sister interrupting constantly wanting to play as "dat monkey". But once he fell asleep, two of my other friends and I fired up the N64 and did a 99-stock match on Sector Z. We finished it.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Bash Crandicoot

Crash Bandicoot man.

There is so much I want to say about these games that I could dedicate a whole blog to how they shaped my childhood and how I view the world. Yes a video game about a goddamn orange rat thing made me what I am today. Explains everything.

I've decided I am going down a different road with this though and trying to see how little I can say. I could spend hours discussing the intricate coding, or the music, or characters, but each of those are just bricks building what I consider the breadth of the series - the EXPERIENCE.

The entire trilogy is a mishmash of style, atmosphere, comedy, and sound. Some kids were changed when the saw Star Wars, I was changed when I played Crash Bandicoot.

Why do I like this so much? It's so god damned memorable. There are so many themes, places, and people in the games that build up to this wonderful Warner Brothers-esque world down under. The music, done by my good friend Josh Mancell in his earlier years, is catchy and befitting - there is a surfboarder rock theme reminiscent of Dick Dale in the upstream boarding level, there is a sweeping space odyssey theme for the jet pack world, it's all just so good.

The designed world of Crash Bandicoot too had a very powerful influence on me; most kids my age got their idea of Arabia from Aladdin, I got mine from the Hang 'em High levels. My romanticised ideas of the medieval era pays much homage to the Double Header levels. Even the sewer stages in the second game made me want to explore the shit-infested gutters under my streets (no I didn't do this I am not disgusting). My friends and I used to come up with ideas for what the Wumpa Fruit were, and I was even convinced they existed in the real world as something called Pockercherry Peaches.

The designers really paid attention to the little things. In the first one if you didn't get all the boxes, they'd crash on Crash's head and it was hilarious. The third one had like a million different death animations, to the point where it was almost rewarding to die. The racing game had nigh on every minor character taking up the karting challenge, because there was always SOMEONE who wanted to play as Ripper Roo (or in my case N. Tropy, best character).

It's really hard to put into words how these games shaped me. I'm leaving this week off on a high note with talking about them I think. They're what made me want to get into game design.

Maybe one day I'll come back and talk about them more. Happy weekend!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Sailor Moon

The girly girl's Dragon Ball Z.

This show was actually the first anime I had ever seen. Out of the three it's the one I refer back to the least, but maybe that has something to do with the subject matter and target demographic. It was a cool show though. Let's remember things about it!

There was a creepy phantom bad guy who was like an evil China doll face or something. Two of the superhero girls were supposedly sisters I think in the dub but lesbians in the original. The latter didn't hold well with US parent councils or some dumb shit like that so it was changed. There was that mini-pinky Sailor Moon introduced later on played by Sugar from YTV in the dub. Everyone called Moon "Meatball Head" at school if I recall correct. A neat  aura of a mystical space/night magic surrounded everything that went on in the show.

Oh, and Tuxedo Mask. In this very pro-feminine powers show, he was like a macho man or something. Seriously this guy has a hot blonde superhero girlfriend he does unspeakable things with by day and is the goddamn Batman by night. I mean they both win. Equality, man.

And finally, a kickin' rad theme song:

All those cartoons had awesome guitar solos in their intros. Must've been the thing.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


Our blog today is on the world of Reboot, and I ain't talking about restarting beloved franchises.

Reboot was a fantastic Canadian CGI television series that stretched across a whopping six years of the decade, carrying over into the early 21st century. It might look dated now with it's ultra shiny characters, seldom use of texturing, and SUPER FLASHY CHROME, but back in the day it was the shit. It followed the adventures of Bob, who played games derived from cubes input by a "user". If he lost, shit went down for the good guys in our wacky computer world and they died or something. If he won, they were spared another day. A lot of times these games were parodies of famous phenomena from the period. I remember there being an Austin Powers one as well as a Pokemon one. Cool stuff.

As the series went on it became darker and more intricate. Enzo, ally to Bob, became an adult who took over his role as the main protagonist. He was rougher and more Han Solo-like, which was cool because he was an innocent kid or something who just liked baseball earlier on in the series. That development was neat.

Other characters I remember include the red and blue henchmen of the bad guys, the bad guy looked like a Bionicle, the evil wench female bad guy, the old guy who looked like a cross between an anti-Japanese WW2 propaganda poster and the pit droids from the newly released Phantom Menace, Enzo's sister Dot, the dog who looks like Rush from Megaman, and Enzo's sidekick who was orange and had neatly rendered hair. It all sounds like a mess when I describe it, but trust me it was cool.

The show also had a kickin' rad opening theme. I wonder how it ended. Maybe someday I'll go back and rewatch it.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


Tonka owns.

If you don't know what Tonka is, it's a series of play vehicles from a long ass time ago. In the 1990s there was a revival of the die-cast metal construction vehicles, and I am proud to say I have some of these toys and used them on a very regular basis in schoolyard folly. I had the crane, two plows, and big metal dump truck.They were so cool because you could move the parts and and load them up with shit and haul it around. Very useful at the beach or sand pit to build your dream castle. Only peasants used the bucket and shovel!

Tonka also had a series of computer games aimed at young children that I was completely enamoured with. Kids used to call me Tonka Joe (name of the main character) because of my obsession with the games and the metal toys they were based on. Fitting!

My favourites were Tonka Construction, Tonka Search and Rescue, Tonka Garage, and Tonka Raceway. In Raceway you could spin around in the car you made in Garage, and Search and Rescue had an epic adventure feel to it. Tonka Construction was always my favourite though. It was the first time I ever saw a black person (warning: childhood race relations ahead!), so naturally I thought he was made of chocolate.Speaking of chocolate, I used to also believe the boulders on the cover of the box were Nesquik cereal bits and that you'd get to mine those in the game. It wasn't till later that my dream of chocolate was crushed by how doesn't take on the form of humans and precious minerals in the real world. 

Those were better days.