Tagged: Sega Genesis

Mom and ToeJam & Earl.

(CONTENT WARNING: This post will go briefly into serious subjects, such as cancer and death.)

My mom was into video games for a really long time. Played the Atari 2600 before I was born, played stuff like Super Mario Bros. 3, Monopoly, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 when I was young; we were both also hardcore You Don’t Know Jack fans, owning practically every edition that came out. She was really into fairly casual games, such as when DirecTV had a channel specifically for playing casual puzzle games. FarmVille 2 was something she was really into in the past few years.

By the time the Nintendo 64 came around in the mid ‘90s, the complexity of Super Mario 64 alongside the bizarre three-prong controller pushed her away from most console video games until we got a Wii in 2009. She still played Jack and the aforementioned casual games, but nothing particularly complex.

This was a pretty dope cover for a Genesis game like this.

Yet out of the many games she played, there was one game, a 16-bit classic, that she was really into, one that you wouldn’t expect considering the other games I mentioned. That game was the wonderfully Jammin’ ToeJam and Earl.

An exploration-based game where the titular ToeJam and Earl travel through various areas on planet earth to recover the pieces of their destroyed ship, ultimately to get back to Planet Funkotron. This was developed by Johnson-Voorsanger Productions, a couple of guys who had previously worked at Toys for Bob on the Star Control series of games.

A typical journey through the game.

ToeJam and Earl on the surface is a fairly simple game: Find ship pieces in specific levels without running out of lives from various hazards. Yet there’s also a bit of complexity: one could play with a fixed world of 25 stages, or a random set of levels that could be a cakewalk or a punishing challenge. Along the way, our heroes must avoid the aforementioned hazards such as bees, crazy dentists and hula girls while finding the elevator to the next floor. The two also have presents they can open to give items that could help or hinder progress, from defensive weapons like tomatoes and rose bushes to hazards like school books, rain clouds, and present randomizers.

Since the elements of presents and ship pieces could change from game to game, ToeJam and Earl is practically a rogue-like, where not every game plays the same. Pretty damn impressive for 1991.

 

This battle-worn copy we have came from a Blockbuster Video. They even imprinted the store name on the back of the cartridge. It’s a nice memento considering the fading relevance of Blockbuster Video.

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James Bond 007 The Duel: The lesser-known Bond video game.

It feels weird these days that there’s no James Bond video games being released. The last major James Bond game was 007: Legends in late 2012, made to advertise the then-new Skyfall film. Activision revoked the James Bond licence the following year, and unfortunately killed off the wonderful Eurocom in the process. Since then, nobody has come up to the plate to bring the titular spy back in a big-budget licensed game. A shame, really.

While most people probably remember the heyday when Nightfire was the in-thing, or even tried to give stuff like 007 Blood Stone a try, James Bond games have been around much, much longer. There’s so many of them, more than you’d expect. Most of these are fairly quick to talk about, except for one that came out in the early ‘90s.

But before Activision, before EA, even before Goldeneye 007 was having people go Slappers Only in The Basement, there was those really awkward years throughout the 80s and 90s.

 

Some of the many less-fondly-remembered Bond games, from left to right: James Bond 007 (Atari 2600), A View to a Kill (Apple II) and James Bond: The Stealth Affair/Operation Stealth (Amiga).

Before Nintendo published James Bond 007 and the famous Goldeneye, there wasn’t really a definitive publisher of James Bond games. Parker Brothers put out a passable action game on the Atari 2600 where you play as one of Bond’s fancy cars rather than the character. Mindscape published a few Angelsoft text adventures – written by James Bond historian and later Bond book author Raymond Benson – at one point even Interplay got in on the Bond thing, taking Delphine Software’s Operation Stealth and slapping the James Bond license on it, changing only a few names here and there. But the primary publisher for a lot of Bond games during this period was British publisher Domark.

Domark’s challenging, yet creative takes on The Spy Who Loved Me, Live and Let Die and The Living Daylights.

When Domark had the license throughout the late 80s to early 90s, they released many different kinds of games. Often times these were action games inspired by existing games, like the game based on The Spy Who Loved Me being a passable Spy Hunter clone. There were also games based on Licence to Kill, Live and Let Die, and The Living Daylights.

I do not recommend actively seeking out these games. If you’re morbidly curious, find a cracked copy where you can turn on cheats. A lot of these games are stupidly hard, probably to cover up how little there was in overall game content. For example, Licence to Kill can be beaten in less than 15 minutes if you’re skilled enough. Probably wasn’t worth the $50 price tag with that little gameplay value.

While most of these games were on home computers, there was a James Bond game on home console and it was quite an interesting little piece.

Early ’90s action cartoon, personified all on this box art.

Oh god, no, not that one.

James Bond Jr. is technically a James Bond game, based on the “how did this get made” cartoon series where you play as James Bond’s nephew, rendering the show’s title completely inaccurate. No matter if you’re playing it on the NES or SNES, they’re frustrating, unfun games. Unsurprisingly these are published by THQ, which were infamously known for terrible licensed games throughout the 90s, some rivaling LJN/Acclaim in sheer badness.

No, I’m talking about what ended up being Domark’s final James Bond game: James Bond 007: The Duel.

Domark really loved using this publicity photo from Licence to Kill, didn’t they?

Released in 1993 for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and Game Gear, this is an action-based platformer. Developed by “The Kremlin” – in reality Domark’s in-house development team – this is the only James Bond game to appear on Sega platforms. Surprisingly this is not based on an existing film, but rather an amalgamation of various elements of Bond films up to that point.

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NOT FOR RESALE: The mystery of this weird message.

A few days ago, I had snagged this wonderful gem:

Streets of Rage 2, a Sega Genesis classic, for $5. Initially I passed on this, but then I realized it’s Streets of Rage 2, a freakin’ Genesis classic. That Yuzo Koshiro soundtrack! Who could pass that up? The dummy writing this. Thankfully, I was able to correct my mistake and grab it as a wonderful addition to my Genesis collection, along with a Sonic cartridge compilation called Sonic Classics.

Granted, it’s just a cartridge copy and it isn’t in the best of shape, but it’s nice to have. There’s something special about this cartridge: The giant “NOT FOR RESALE” label on it. Anyone who’s into collecting Sega Genesis stuff may have also seen the big “NOT FOR RESALE” stickers on copies of Sonic the Hedgehog. My Sonic the Hedgehog 2 came with my Sega Genesis long ago also with a “Not for Resale” sticker on it. Many pack-in games on the Genesis also came with the “not for resale” sticker on them. It made me wonder: Why is this ugly text on there, and what was its purpose?

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Game finds 02-07/2013: So much stuff, so little space and time.

Man, when’s the last time I did a game finds video? Back in January, to be exact. Well, after several months in the making, I finally got around to making the damn video a few days ago.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHFniAUSbSo]

Boy oh boy, there’s a lot of stuff in there. A bunch of PlayStation games, cheap magazines, games from across the ocean, and undeniably my biggest game find yet. Give it a look and see what you guys think. Expect something more substantial later this week, maybe about that soundtrack I mentioned in the video.

One more thing: I will be at PAX Prime again this year. I might do a blog entry or two after the event, since I won’t be able to bring a computer with me to liveblog anything. It’ll be more fun this year since it’ll be four days long.

(If you’re viewing this from a place where you can’t watch videos, or you like handy dandy lists instead, there’s a list of everything I got under the “Read More” link below.)
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I Bought Stuff! 12/6/2012: A hodgepodge of cheap stuff.

My god, it’s been over two months since I’ve written one of these. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t feeling up to doing my usual thrift store trips. Then the bug, the urge to go thrifting hit me a few days ago, and thankfully I lucked out. It’s gonna be a bit short, but I snagged the following items over the course of yesterday and today:

Look at that cute tiny Genesis. :3

  • ABC Sports Presents: The Palm Springs Open (CD-i, $1.99)

  • Parasite Eve (PS1, $2)

  • El Matador (PC, 75¢)

  • Play TV Legends: Sega Genesis Volume 1 (Plug and play console, $4.99)

First, I never thought I would ever find a CD-i game in the wild. At a Goodwill, no less!

The CD-i was Philips’ attempt to make a CD-based game system. It didn’t do so well, even with amazing infomercials like “A Day with Sid, Ed and the CD-i.” Seriously, watch that infomercial if you get a chance, it’s incredibly corny.

The most notable things it’s known for are the weird interactive CDs, game show adaptions like Jeopardy! and Name That Tune, and of course, those Nintendo-licensed games that have been talked about to death like Hotel Mario and Link: The Faces of Evil.

For a long while the system wasn’t much of a big seller, but increased exposure to the FMVs in the Nintendo CD-i games alongside certain Angry Gaming YouTubers caused the prices of the system to jump exponentially, from sub-$100 to nearly $500 in some cases. It’s ridiculous.

The Palm Springs Open has never been opened. Which doesn’t mean much, really, but you don’t see find unopened games often. I should probably give this to someone who’s more into golf games than me, but with the ridiculous prices of the CD-i, I’d probably be better off keeping it.

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