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What the heck is on this $10 Retro Game handheld? Let’s find out!

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
"Dejectile", starring Bomberman now with Real People Personality, from Siruis Cybernetics COrporation.
 
There are a few different words in Japanese that can be used to mean "transform." The one that, I think, gets translated to "deformation" is usually 変形 (henkei). The symbols literally mean "change shape." The jisho definitions for this word have both "deformation" and "deformity" as possible usages. The first kanji, 変, can also mean "strange/unusual," which is probably why it can be used in those different ways. (It's the same kanji used in words like 大変, taihen, "great/unusual/terrible", and, yes, 変態, hentai, which can mean "pervert" but it can ALSO mean "transform".)

Another common word, 変身, henshin, means something closer to "change body," and it's what heroes like Kamen Rider shout out when they dramatically put on their costume. A machine turning into another machine, therefore, would use the word that could also be treated as "deform."

I'm not literate in any form of Chinese at all, but I'd guess since some of the kanji carry over between languages, it's probably a similar deal.
Neat! Thank you for walking through this. Also neat to see how it's used for costume changes.
 

Beowulf

Let the Mystery Be
(He/Him)


206. DORAE BOMB

A hack of Bomberman featuring Doraemon characters. You can download it yourself if it’s your cup of tea.



207. DOUGH BOY

This is apparently a trench warfare game, which I’ll admit, I didn’t see coming when I read the title. It was a Famicom port of a Commodore 64 game.



208. DRAGON

Hunh. This has a 2000 copyright date, and it’s a “snakes” game featuring a Chinese dragon, where you collect orbs on a 2D plane and try not to run into the walls or yourself as you slowly grow longer. There’s a set number of orbs to collect in each level and then an exit appears, and there’s a timer too. Really simple, but well done for simple. I can’t find anything about it online. (At least partially because the title is a common word in NES game titles.)



209. BUG S WAR

A Battleship knockoff in which you’re trying to find centipede segments instead of parts of ships. (And you don’t have your own board; you’re always attacking.) This is a Nice Code game, apparently also released as Undersea Arena.



210. DUCK

Momma Duck is trying to roll her egg down to the bottom of the tower using Lode Runner-style gameplay. According to the Bootleg wiki, this is an unlicensed clone of Doki Doki Penguin Land. And apparently this is the second unlicensed game known to have been made for the Famicom, ever!



211. DYNAMITE BOWL

A definitively different bowling game from the last one I saw, with a different angle/power mechanic and everything. It’s decent, but Championship Bowling is better.
 
I first learned that the term Doughboy referred to infantrymen because a breakfast place near my high school was called that. A bunch of us went once and the back of the menu was an incredibly depressing story about how a bunch of the chef's great uncles had died horribly in the trenches in WWI. Apparently no one can pin down why they were nicknamed that.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I had always presumed it was named after guys who were running between trenches to deliver baked goods to soldiers.

But there’s an excellent chance I made that up and never bothered to fact check it
 

Destil

Red Mage
(he/him)
Staff member
I thought it was because our late entry into the war had the other allied foeces consider Americans “doughy” and soft from not having been fighting the entire time.
 

Beowulf

Let the Mystery Be
(He/Him)


212. EGG CONTEST

Okay, so the pink bird at the top is dropping eggs down the conveyor belts (which you can swap the direction of with the switch on the left). You need to catch them, and though the white eggs are worth “10”, they don’t seem to really count. The larger brown eggs are counted for the number in the upper left, and dropping one seems to cost you hearts on the upper right. This is a Nice Code game, and apparently some of the graphics are lifted from Alfred Chicken.



213. BURBLES

I have no idea what the title has to do with anything: You’ve got the tank and need to shoot down the paratroopers. Your HP decreases if one lands, but increases if you shoot a medical box. Again, it’s by Nice Code, and also known as Bubble, Danger Zone, Falling, Surface to Air, and Undersea Base.



214. ELEVATOR ACTION

The elevator in definitely in the thick of the action, here. You can shoot the guys in black, you can ride the elevator, and you can jump the elevator shaft. I’m not sure if I can handle this much action.




215. ESCAPEWAY

A runner game with an interesting gimmick: Of your stack of heads there, only the sunglasses one can jump. You can flip around their order, though, so you can jump the whole stack over some obstacles or have part go over and part go under. I don’t think this is particularly fun, but it’s definitely clever. This is part of a sub-series of Nice Code games called the Nature Clan series; that’s what the little heads are called.



216. EXCITE MARIO

This is a fairly sophisticated hack of SMB that clearly hates the player: Enemies are replaced with characters from other NES games (most notably the Excitebike guy replaces koopas), but the physics are different from classic and the mushrooms are all designed to bounce creatively into pits unless you time catching them perfectly. (And there’s a fire flower that is unreachable once you drop down to hit the block.) It’s just jerk-move city all up in here. Footage on Youtube.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
216. EXCITE MARIO

This is a fairly sophisticated hack of SMB that clearly hates the player: Enemies are replaced with characters from other NES games (most notably the Excitebike guy replaces koopas), but the physics are different from classic and the mushrooms are all designed to bounce creatively into pits unless you time catching them perfectly. (And there’s a fire flower that is unreachable once you drop down to hit the block.) It’s just jerk-move city all up in here. Footage on Youtube.

Some interesting weird stuff in there, like the non-interactable floppy things that look like enemies but I guess are just a distraction.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Some interesting weird stuff in there, like the non-interactable floppy things that look like enemies but I guess are just a distraction.
They are Pikachus. I needed some time to realize that, too. But yeah, what was up with them? Really confusing and distracting.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)


214. ELEVATOR ACTION

The elevator in definitely in the thick of the action, here. You can shoot the guys in black, you can ride the elevator, and you can jump the elevator shaft. I’m not sure if I can handle this much action.

For an early arcade game, I honestly really like Elevator Action, but I just need to take this opportunity to say that Elevator Action Returns is extremely fuckin' legit, and should be played by anyone who likes mid-'90s action games. (I mean, it has a character named "Jad the Taff," how can you go wrong?)
 

Ghost from Spelunker

BAG
(They/Him)
I remember reading that the Game Boy version of Elevator Action had special weapons. How were those?
When I rented the NES version I was hoping for extra weapons, but that never happened.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
I remember reading that the Game Boy version of Elevator Action had special weapons. How were those?
When I rented the NES version I was hoping for extra weapons, but that never happened.

They're kinda neat! But really, if you want a really good version of OG Elevator Action, Elevator Action Old + New for the GBA is the way to go, I'd say.
 

Beowulf

Let the Mystery Be
(He/Him)
217. OCCULT ISLAND

Adventure Island 2, back with a vengeance.



218. EXED EXES

This is a vertical-scrolling shoot-em-up that I thought felt very familiar. I don’t think we’ve seen it before or any hacks of it? It’s very similar to the legion of Xevious clones.



219. FAIRY S TREASURE

There’s a barely-visible slider under the fairy that moves back and forth; you need to point her at the valuable gems (shiny) and not the heavy ones (black). She’ll fly in on the trajectory you set and grab the first thing she sees. Nice Code, unsurprisingly.



220. FALLING BLOCKS

Knockoff Tetris with a twist: Most of the blocks aren’t Tetrads. In fact, I don’t think lines ever drop, but corner-connected U-shapes do. Which means you can only get three-line combos and that this can be particularly cruel with drops. This may be a Tetris hack, and it might be by Nice Code, but sources seem uncertain.



221. FAMILY JOCKEY

Horse racing! (There seemed to be a lot of options and setup here, but it’s all in a language I can’t read, so I just clicked through. The actual game is fairly simple.)




222. FATED PIRATE

Okay, as best I ca figure from the lack of manual: You’re the orange boat and need to sink the other ships. They only move when you do, and each turn you can move (by pressing start) or fire up and down (by pressing A). So you need to maneuver to get them above or below you without them touching and sinking you. The background music of this is a tinny remix of Edelweiss, and that gets old very quickly. (I can’t find any info on where this came from beyond it appearing on a bunch of Famiclone multicarts.)



223. FLAPPY 3

This is the same glitchy version of Flappy that was #204.
 

Dracula

Plastic Vampire
(He/His)
Family Jockey is one of a surprising quantity of horse racing games on the Famicom. Probably of all the countless sports games on Famicom, fully half of them are either baseball or horse racing.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I did not know there was a Famicom port of Exed Exes.

Ive also never been sure how you pronounced it; Like “Exceeds” with an extra syllable? Like you crossed out multiple Xs?
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Agree that Elevator Action Returns rocks, and I've always liked the original as well.

Also, looked up the GBA version and holy hand grenades, the price! Sheeeeeeesh. Emulation it is.
 

WildcatJF

Red After Image
(he / his / him)
Exed Eyes is an early Capcom shoot-em-up that didn't quite catch on like 1942/1943 did. It was one of their first Famicom ports, but I believe Micronics handled it, so mileage may vary a lot on how well it turned out (probably not great).
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
Exed Eyes is an early Capcom shoot-em-up that didn't quite catch on like 1942/1943 did. It was one of their first Famicom ports, but I believe Micronics handled it, so mileage may vary a lot on how well it turned out (probably not great).

That's correct, it was before Capcom started handling their own home ports, it's a Micronics joint.
 

MetManMas

Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
It was most likely that strict five games limit Nintendo of America imposed for "quality control" that kept Exed Exes from coming over.

I mean, companies found ways around that (Ultra Games says hi), but Capcom had bigger original games and early Micronics ports to bring over.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
But weren't GnG and 1942 way more popular in the arcades?

Also, apparently Exed Exes was released in US arcades as Savage Bees (by a company called Memetron).
 
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