I've been devoting a lot of my spare time to the playing of
arcade roms. You see, I've recently come into possession of
a substantial collection of them, and I have endless hours
of amusement just randomly loading one up and giving it a
whirl. Where did I get all these games, you ask? Well, let's
just say that I 'found' two DVD-Rs filled with romly goodness.
playing through all these roms has made me come to realize
that there is a lot of knowledge to be found within them.
In the last seven days I've learned a week's worth of wisdom,
and this is all stuff they don't teach you in your fancy classrooms
and post-secondary places of education. No, no, this is undiluted
of course, having an outlet such as this website I would be
remiss if I did not pass these gems of truth on to all of
you. So it is with great pleasure I bring you part one of
12 Little Lessons, wherein are contained the first six.
a hard life being a short man with a gun on your head.
Shown Here: Pistol Daimyo no Bouken
Daimyo no Bouken tells the story of a short Japanese man who
flies, has paper fans on his feet, and apparently has a cannon
stuck to his head. His life is filled with hardship as he
travels from level to level, shooting down evil birds and
frogs as he avoids ninja stars that are even larger than he
is. Every so often he comes across a 'boss' type character,
which can consist of anything from a Samurai with a tree growing
out of his skull (seen above) or an odd flying whale with
evil little men that hurl spears.
really helps to put things in perspective when you experience
the adventures of a man with a life as difficult as this.
It's well and good to tell yourself that things could be worse,
but it doesn't really hit home until you've seen what this
poor Asian midget goes through. Unfortunately, all perspective
you gain is tossed out the window when the little dude takes
a hit, and for no reason does a naked dance.
The less said about this, the better.
Japanese, though largely polite, are perfectly willing to
pursue extremely harsh legal action if necessary.
Shown Here: DoDonPachi
is a good looking vertical shooter with utter loads of stuff
happening on the screen at any given time, but that's not
what impressed me. As you see here, this is a fairly standard
warning that is displayed as the game finishes the boot sequence.
Many games have something similar to this. But if you actually
bother to read it, you will notice that it takes a pretty
surreal twist about halfway through. "Violator and subject
to severe penalties," it says, "and will be prosecutedt[sic]
to the full extent of the Jam."
extent of the Jam? Obviously, the Japanese answer
to some sort of system that is higher than the thing we commonly
refer to as Law. This is a pretty scary thing, if you think
about it. Being prosecuted to the full extent of the Law is
already a costly and damaging procedure. I can only imagine
what being prosecutedt to the full extent of the Jam is like.
So remember: don't mess around with the Japanese legal system.
phrase WILL HELP YOU! is perhaps the greatest battle
Shown Here: Kid Niki - Radical Ninja
game describes the backstory thusly: "You are a totally
rad Ninja swordsman. Princess Margo is being held by the Stone
Wizard. Save Her! Good Luck Dude!" It then shows a short
cutscene in which the Ninja witnesses a bird get struck by
an arrow. Shortly thereafter he screams WILL HELP YOU!
and leaps through the wall to go kill somebody.
step back a second and take a longer look at his cry. I mean,
he's a Totally Rad Ninja Swordsman. As far as I'm concerned,
that means that he could kill anyone, anytime. This
also means that he wouldn't ever need to bother to rescue
anyone because he's so cool he can't be bothered to do that
kind of crap. So when he flies into a rage, shouts WILL HELP
YOU! and throws himself through a window, I for one
cannot help but feel inspired and emboldened. He obviously
means it, you know?
any battle cry good enough for a Totally Rad Ninja Swordsman
is good enough for me.
used to have awesome advertisements.
Shown Here: Vigilante
is the riveting tale of one man's quest to save Madonna, who
has been kidnapped by Skinheads. For no apparent reason he
must take the law into his own hands, and fight to save this
international recording star.
well known that most 80's fighting games of this sort were
based on true events wherever possible, and that game designers
often used photorealistic scenery to heighten the sense of
realism and tension within the game. The banners and advertisements
that the character walked past quickly became of considerable
interest to me, because being photo-realistic they were obviously
taken directly from the streets of some major urban center
signs, though battered and worn with age even in the context
of the game, point to a simpler time, and a golden age in
the advertising industry. How can you not be motivated by
A few examples from the game.
these ads have all but disappeared nowadays, and people no
longer seem to remember the true meaning of them. But with
games like this to remind us, we may yet experience a second
renaissance, and return to this bygone era of brilliant advertising.
the manliest warrior can become too attached to his weapon.
Shown Here: Nastar
is the saga of "...a courageous young man who has risen
up against the evil group!" Yes, it takes a true man
to take up sword and shield and head out to the killing fields
to fight evil. It takes an even manlier man to do all that
while wearing only a pair of boots and a speedo.
all that prancing about slaying the undead and such can take
its toll on even the manliest of manly men. For the main character
in Nastar, the mental fatigue shows up fairly early in the
game, and he becomes...eerily attached, shall we say, with
Again, the less said about this, the better.
taught me that one can become far too reliant and comfortable
with one's posessions. It also taught me that fighting evil
while 95% naked is totally uncool.
got vertical, yo! Damn!
Shown Here: Robocop 2
game has surprisingly little in the way of a plot, but we
all know what's going on anyway. He's a Cop, who's a Robot.
He shots a lot of people and stomps around all menacing-like.
However, in the movies we rarely (if ever) see Robocop leap
around the way he can in this game.
the point this drives home is that, like you've heard so many
times, you should never judge a book by its cover. Or in this
case, a resurrected police officer by his biomechanical exoskeleton.
He may act like a slow, lumbering walking battletank - but
when he gets it into his head to bust out with some acrobatics,
you better look out.
it is here that I will draw this article to a close. Look
out for Part Two in the next while, where I will discuss the
remaining six truths. And as a special bonus for enjoying
the article thus far, here is a Super
Bonus Download Pack (12.8mb) containing all six of the
roms mentioned today! Enjoy, but only if you already own the
actual games! Of course, you will need MAME to play them!