Just weeks away from the much-anticipated Stranger Things Season 2 release date, Netflix has a mobile treat for nostalgia fans! Few shows nail the 1980’s vibe like Stranger Things. If you aren’t aware, Stranger Things is a combination of Speilberg, Stephen King and a dash of John Hughes’ style in a sci-fi/horror drama set in a small Indiana town in 1984. To me, the series recalls E.T. and the Goonies and accurately recreates what it was like being a kid in an average Midwest neighborhood in the 80’s, riding bikes, playing tabletop RPGs and forging unbreakable bonds of friendship…except that they also stumble into a supernatural government conspiracy.
Netflix has just released an amazing SNES styled retro adventure/RPG demake based on Stranger Things. Given that the show is so heavily steeped in nostalgia, a 16-bit retro game makes perfect sense. The game feels like Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past game engine but in the Stranger Things world of Hawkins, Indiana.
Beyond here are spoilers of the show, you’ve been warned.
It’s hard to remember there was a time before you could just google anything and find factual information and opinions on things. Before there was was Wikipedia and forum stories, there were urban legends. And a few of them were about video games. Back then, games and game companies would come and go with very little notice. Even today, there are games that the internet has basically forgotten. A local company might manage to get their home brew game sold in a local store and never get any further than that. This environment lead to lots of urban legends about games. Here’s three video game urban legends that persist until today as well as some facts about them.
Back in the days when mascots were firmly attached to certain systems, we often wondered, what would Sonic look like on the NES, or Mario on a Sega Console? Such questions “sort of” get answered by these ROM hacks. The amount of work that went into these is surprising really, considering there was little or no profit to be made. That said, it sure is interesting to see familiar nostalgic game elements mixed and matched into something new.
In fact, the recent amazing hack Metroid: Rogue Dawn even has a little homage section (I won’t spoil it here) to one of the classics. Here’s a few more to get your nostalgic mash-up fix.
Somari is not actually a ROM hack, but a unlicensed NES game that puts Mario into the world of Sonic the Hedgehog. Apparently it was sold illegally in asian countries as it clearly has stolen art from both Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog. Somari is a bit buggy and glitchy, so recently a hacker created the Sonic the Hedgehog for NES Rom Hack based on Somari. It puts our favorite blue Hedgehog back in the mix and corrects lots of sound and physics glitches in the original Somari ROM. It also does a better job of creating those iconic Sonic songs on the NES. It was often argued in the 90’s that Sonic was impossible on the NES, and while the speed does’t quite measure up, the gameplay actually does.
Megaman is the subject of many, manyRom Hacks. And with good reason! Capcom’s 8-bit platformers are some of the best music, controls and gameplay ever seen on the NES. Megaman in the Mushroom Kingdom sends the blue bomber through a variety of stages from Super Mario Bros. 1, 2 and 3. It’s a very high quality ROM and tons of fun. The music is mostly yanked from other NES Megaman games and graphics from all the Mario games. Each Robot’s stage represents a different area from one of the three originals. This is one of the most enjoyable cross-over games I’ve ever played.
There are some more whacky crossovers out there, stay tuned for more.
Shooters have been a staple of home consoles and arcades since the beginning of gaming. The Genesis has its share of good shooters, and there are a few especially excellent ones that didn’t come out in North America. While shooters usually aren’t heavy on dialogue or plot, these two deserved a translation as they have more plot than the standard shooter. They also really show off some of the graphical capabilities of the Sega Genesis. Check them out!
Battle Mania Daiginjou is the sequel to Battle Mania – released in North America as Trouble Shooter. Both games are run-and-gun shooters that have heavier story elements than most shooter games. Trouble Shooter was a great game but Battle Mania Daiginjou benefits from continuing the oringal’s plot and balancing out the speed and difficulty compared to the first. The game has both horizontal and vertical shooter levels and really pushes the limits of what the Sega Genesis can do with graphics and music. The soundtrack is one of the heaviest chugging rock soudntracks on the Genesis. Its impressive how they coaxed metal guitar sounds out of simple FM synthesis.
Although this later game out o Wii virtual console in English, you can enjoy the original Sega Genesis ROM and the excellent Manga style cutscenes and story. The game is pretty standard side-scrolling shooter like Gradius but with the ability to shoot in all directions and with its own power-ups and unique environments. It may be a standard style of side-scrolling shooter, but it is a quality game. The music is decent and keeps you engaged in the action.
The backgrounds are gorgeous too. The story deals with the Earth repelling an attack from an unknown alien race. When a high-ranking general is captured, his 16-year old daughter hijacks the prototype “Gley Lancer” starship to rescue him. Both games have nuanced innovations for their genres and are great to play on an emulator.