I finally moved my xbox over to the Streamer Pit I have setup next to my computer, which means I can take actual screencaps now instead of taking photos with my phone and also narrate my thoughts on the game to an audience of 1 or 2 people on twitch. The American Dream, baby.
I decided to dip into the Sega Genesis US library. Fun fact: I was a Genesis household and so I grew up on Sega games. Despite that, there are a lot of games for the system that I wasn’t even aware of. With the glut of content, I decided to dive into the first game that struck my fancy
Excuse me but what the fuck
This thread is a testamant to the fact that I am not the most media literate person out there. Lawnmower Man remains an unwatched Popcorn Classic for me. So naturally I have to play the game first with no context for anything.
It dumps you into this white void with super-scaler walls. The controls are very very loose and you end up running into walls because the controls are so loose. Also if you hit any of the walls the entire screen flashes, which is a common thing with a lot of these games. I’m sure glad developers are much more aware of flashing in games because epilepsy is no fucking joke
Eventually you get to the end of whatever that was and end up in a sidescrolling shooter. You blow up trash cans to collect bouncing CDs and other powerups. Again, I have no context for what is happening on screen, so I can’t really evaluate how well the game is adapting the source material. The Lawnmower Man itself being a very loose adaptation of a Stephen King short story, a story which is actually even more fucked up somehow. Anyway, yeah, you shoot things. I lost interest after the second 3D runner sequence led to another sidescrolling shooter level.
Speaking of Media blind spots, you know I never played Ristar before? lets play Ristar. lets talk about Ristar
This game fucking rules the school. It has incredible art, incredible music, incredible level design and movement mechanics. All the sprite work is great. Everything looks fantastic. The enemies and bosses are really great too. The game is a little weird and cumbersome at first but once you get used to grabbing enemies to headbutt them to death, it gets easier and easier.
I played two whole levels with two boss battles and had a good time. The first level introduces the unorthodox mechanics really gradually. The second level is an underwater level that actually doesn’t suck. This game has to be incredibly fun to speedrun.
I am just agog at this graphic design and typography. Perfection.
Because the library of games is so vast sometimes I just kind of pick whatever game at random and that was the case of Socket. Which is kind of in the same genre of Ristar, a platforming game with a very vibrant art style and a protagonist with “attitude”
Was really impressed by the art and the spritework here. The game mechanics not so much. It’s kind of wanting to be like Sonic where you hit bumpers and do spinjumps and go fast. It also has an energy mechanic and you have to constantly pick up lightning bolts littered across the level because moving and jumping will use energy and if you run out you’ll die. This is a game design that seems good on paper but in execution is actually instantly terrible. you can experience an energy drought or take too much damage (which also uses energy) and then just get plain stuck somewhere and be unable to progress. I couldn’t make it past the second level, is what I’m saying
After this I found the “Most Fun Game Ever”. The Busy world of Richard Scarry: Busytown. It’s a collection of minigames for children. In my haste I didn’t get a capture of the one minigame I played: Delivery. You basically take stuff from a warehouse, in a truck, to various locations. If you hit a trash can, you have to start over. The thing is, these obstacles are really hard to see relative to the rest of the level’s graphics and so you just hit trash cans over and over, and when you do some dog comes on a motorcycle and tells you to “slow down”, over and over again. It was not the most fun game ever. If I were a child I would probably be amused for about 5 seconds before getting the True Lies cartridge.
Next is Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude.
The eponymous protagonist of the story is Greendog, the player character, a laid-back, cool surfer and skater with a mop of bleached blonde hair. He has surfed most of the biggest waves around, including off the coast of Australia, California and in the Mediterranean, and is always in search of the biggest waves which will give him the biggest thrill and he cares for little else in life. He has numerous contraptions and toys, such as a gyrocopter, inline skates, a skateboard and an antique frisbee which could be very dangerous in the wrong hands. He doesn’t say much except “dude” and “cool”.
I am not sure what any of that means or why someone decided this was a good idea. It’s a sidescrolling platform game with bad controls. You have a frisbee you can hurl at fish and birds, who are constantly attacking you, and you heal up by finding junk food scattered around the levels.
The art is this long lost 90’s era comic book style which is simultaneously dated and unappealing.
One of the major mechanics is avoiding the water, which contains fish that bite you. There’s vines you can swing from but, crucially, these videogame vines don’t carry your momentum, you have to jump and hold right while jumping because otherwise you’ll just fall. Really an indication of the rest of the game being a fairly frustrating experience. I reached an Aztek ruins mission and got stuck because I didn’t have enough jump height and was caught between a wall and a locked door. I was happy to leave greendog behind.
Thanks to the earlier thread on Caveman based games, the following caveman games got on my radar. HOO BOY. Lets dive into the Chuck Rock series.
Damn everything about this game is just ugly. it’s whole aesthetic is ugly. Chuck looks terrible, his main attack is a gut thrust. Everything on the screen grunts or screams at you. all the dinosaur and human designs are terrible. The jumping and attack controls feel terrible. I agree with Brandon, what the fuck was up with the Caveman theme???? Who thought this was appealing in any way? I played about one and a half levels of this before moving onto the sequel.
So how do you take an already unappealing caveman setting and make it worse? By making the protagonist a fucking baby that’s how.
God I hated this. I mean. Who on earth is like “you know what’s funny? caveman babies, lets make a game with a baby caveman, it’ll be fun”. Not just that but it’s a sequel to an already bad and ugly game. I’m facinated and repulsed at the same time.
The levels are so grotesque, much more than Chuck Rock 1, there’s caveman trashcans and caveman power lines and caveman fire-hydrants, which implies the existence of caveman public services like fire and sanitation departments. and electricity. I’m not sure why it pisses me off but it does. It’s just kind of ignoring the entire premise of setting it in caveman times. It’s also incredibly ugly.
I’m not sure why but I was the last person on earth to hear about Brutal: Paws of Fury. A…furry fighting game? Like, there’s a difference between just having talking animals and being furry , and this is on that side of the spectrum, much to my amazement.
This was also in that sort of weird pre-internet era when talking animals, of this style, was an incredibly niche thing. Maybe I’m reading way too much into these characters designs, but I’m just kind of agog that this exists.
The game is, however, incredibly hard even at the lowest difficulty stting and plays awful. I couldn’t get past the first stage. I’m not a good fighting game player but I was at least able to buttonmash my way past the first stage in Asuka 120%. I don’t know enough about fighting games to say how it’s bad, but it wasn’t very good.
Well that’s it for tonight. I’m probably going to keep doing streams and game sampling for the forseeable future. It’s kind of fun. Having this perspective on videogame’s history has been interesting, especially considering the huge libraries that are just for these consoles. It’s like diving into an ocean.