5MA – Ikaruga (2002, Dreamcast/X360)

This 5MA is a touch over a month overdue, but still bears articulating. Here’s a gameplay video (not mine!) Playing Dreamcast Ikaruga for the first time on a 90-degree rotated telly, slightly drunk in a highly-competitive setting and BAM! BAM! BAM! getting it (mostly) right was a great experience. Vertical shooters are an arcade/oldschool staple…

What Is Best In Life #22: WrestleMania III

Whilst a thousand other posts percolate, here’s a topic you probably hadn’t expected from me. I saw an excellent reconstructed “oral history” article on ESPN about (apparently) one of the greatest WWE/F[/G?] fights ever. Intrigued, I dug up a few links and found myself cast into that familiar, fannish need-to-know-more rabbit-hole. My wrestling pedigree is…

Pac-Merch

Happened across a couple of ’80s Pac-Man related ads which I didn’t remember. First, a red Pac-Man flogs 7-UP to the tune of a cruelly-repurposed version of Bette Davis Eyes. Second, here’s an ad for the classic boardgame which some kid always brought in to school on the last day of term. I didn’t realise…

St. Dragon SCREEN$

I’d forgotten how good the St. Dragon loading screen looked on the Speccy. For the uninitiated, St. Dragon was a side-scrolling space shooter which pitted your invulnerable-tailed robot dragon against various giant mechanical animals such as pumas, bulls and, er, whatever comes after the first level. Here’s the loading screen (click if it looks weirdly…

Ecologica Gardenia Spuriosa

In the beginning there was darkness. Then God said let there be mushrooms. And there were mushrooms (badgers came much later) At the suggestion of my mate François-Marie I’ve been spending some time in the garden recently. Here is some deep wisdom accrued from personal experience and careful study of key works on English flora…

Pac-Land gameplay video (not me!)

I was trawling YouTube for some gameplay tips for Pac-Land to see what I could be doing better and it turns out just about everything. Check the video above. I didn’t even know there were secret items hidden in hydrants and cactii. Digging that fine chapeau, Pac-Man! While I mention it, this in-game tune is…

What Is Best In Life #18: Dig Dug Theme

Thinking about game music in relation to Pac & Pal reminded me of this under-appreciated audio gem. That’s the arcade version of Dig Dug. There are several short pieces played, but focus on the in-game “walking” theme. Musically it’s all about the melody. What you can hear of it when the sound effects aren’t playing….

Pac & Pal

This 1983 evolution of the original Pac-Man game was a Japanese-only arcade release. Subsequently it’s been released on various Pac-Man and Namco compilations. It’s also playable with MAME. I’ve been playing the 2014 Pac-Man Museum version for Xbox 360. In common with the other games on that collection and a lot of the retro ports…

Super Xevious (12″ mix)

Just googled up this 1984 Japanese single constructed from the sound effects of Xevious sequel Super Xevious by Haruomi Hosono. The original sfx are oddly musical in their plinking way so this sparse treatment of them works well.

Double Dragon

In a city ravaged by war and corruption, law and order have taken a backseat to terror and violence. Ruthless gangs rule the streets. Crime and bloodshed are commonplace. The city lives in fear. Your name is Billy Lee. Your twin brother is Jimmy Lee. On the streets they call you the Spike, and your brother, the Hammer….