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

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
I don't have much to add to this batch of oddball games, except that City Connection is one of those not-especially-notable NES games which has grown on me. Part of it is because I love the Honda City Turbo, but part of it is just because I love the banana-yellow FC cart and the adorable artwork which is on both the FC and the NES versions.

I ended up getting this cart myself as part of a bundle. It's definitely yellow. :D

One of the cool things is that it also looks like it has a mini-manual on the back of the cart. I'm not sure how common that was with Famicom carts, but it's really neat here.

 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
City Connection's pretty important in the women's history sense of being a video game as early as 1985 and featuring a female lead just doing her thing, confounding the police and painting the globe green in search of the perfect date. It's great. Clarice happened to debut the same month as another stealth icon of the era, Kissy from Baraduke. Both predate Metroid, and even Mach Rider, which is only very vaguely themed in that direction to begin with.
 

WildcatJF

Red After Image
(he / his / him)
It's a shame the NES version just strips out Clarice altogether for a generic blond dude. :(
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
It was a distressing practice. Gun-Nac suffered the same fate in localization, for example.
 

WildcatJF

Red After Image
(he / his / him)
Mmm good to know. I'll have to research that one for a future book. I'm working on a series of books looking at women and female characters for the NES/Famicom, so I appreciate the heads up Peklo.
 

Dracula

Plastic Vampire
(He/His)
One of the cool things is that it also looks like it has a mini-manual on the back of the cart. I'm not sure how common that was with Famicom carts, but it's really neat here.

This is one of the things I really like about collecting Famicom carts. There's an impressive variety in hardware design and graphic design. Having a manual sticker on the back is a Jaleco thing, but a few other companies did it regularly as well (I think some Irem carts also have it). It's super cute and a nice concession to kids who tended to lose the instructions.
 

Beowulf

Let the Mystery Be
(He/Him)
Again, this project feels more educational for me than anyone else!



243. CIRCUS VEMTURE

It’s Circus Charlie again. I think this is the fourth instance, if you include Circus Mario.



244. GYRODINE

A vertical-scrolling shooter with a forward shot and a downward shot, like many similar games. You’re in a helicopter for this one. (I'm sure this might be somebody's favorite, but nothing about it stood out and Xevious clones are all running together for me at this point.)



245. GYRUSS

A rotating, semi-3D version of Galaga which I think puts an interesting twist on it. I feel like I want to hunt down the arcade version of this to try.



246. HAMMER AND NAIL

You’re a giant floating hammer, and nails dance around the screen. Before time runs out, you need to wait for each one to dance over an X, and pound them into it. (Note that you’re “floating”, so you need to be a square higher than you think to actually hit the nails.) Filling in all the Xs takes you to the next level. Nice Code also released this one as Eidolon's Revenge and Irrigate.



247. HAPPY MATCH

Flip the cards to match them. Each level has more cards (6, then 8, etc.) and it’s timed. It’s by Nice Code, and it’s also called Match Cards.



248. HARRY POTTER

A shoot-em-up starring Harry on his broomstick. This is another hack of Magic Carpet 1001 (see also #140), which explains all of the “Arabian Nights” trappings. I don’t know how much I mentioned this the earlier time, but this is some serious bullet hell, and the bullets are very small and very hard to see.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Gyruss is really great. I remember playing the arcade game back in the day. The NES version actually expands on the arcade game a bit - instead of an infinite play, you're working through the planets to get to the sun, and there are actual bosses along the way. For your part, you're given a limited power-shot supply as well that comes in handy against said bosses. It's pretty darn tough, however - definitely not one you'll breeze through on the first go.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
The NES Gyruss is another one of those games that I’ve always wanted to play but never had the opportunity to.

I don’t think it’s the first game with the Ultra label, but it’s got to be among the first at the very least

I’m equally unsure if it’s supposed to be pronounced “Guy Russ” or “Geye Russ”
 

Dracula

Plastic Vampire
(He/His)
The NES Gyruss is another one of those games that I’ve always wanted to play but never had the opportunity to.

I don’t think it’s the first game with the Ultra label, but it’s got to be among the first at the very least

I’m equally unsure if it’s supposed to be pronounced “Guy Russ” or “Geye Russ”

The kana spells it out as ジャイラス, which means you'd actually pronounce it like you would the G in "Gyromite." Anyway I love this game. It's been quite a while since I played it - I think I purged my NES copy with the intention of replacing it with the FDS version, but I don't have that one either. So I may be Gyruss-less at the moment.
 

Beowulf

Let the Mystery Be
(He/Him)
The kana spells it out as ジャイラス, which means you'd actually pronounce it like you would the G in "Gyromite." Anyway I love this game. It's been quite a while since I played it - I think I purged my NES copy with the intention of replacing it with the FDS version, but I don't have that one either. So I may be Gyruss-less at the moment.
I think I assumed it was "jy-russ", like the first part of gyroscope.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I always say the latter as well, but it's supposed to be the former, as it's supposed to be "Gladius" like the sword.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
The NES version actually expands on the arcade game a bit - instead of an infinite play, you're working through the planets to get to the sun, and there are actual bosses along the way. For your part, you're given a limited power-shot supply as well that comes in handy against said bosses. It's pretty darn tough, however - definitely not one you'll breeze through on the first go.
I thought the NES version had a cheat code for extra lives or continuing or something like that. I mean I remembering playing the NES version as a rental (or I borrowed it from a friend) but I can't really remember much else about it.

(Also, I consider Gyruss to be more like Tempest but less angular and ray traced.)

The kana spells it out as ジャイラス, which means you'd actually pronounce it like you would the G in "Gyromite."
Uh, so how should that be pronounced? Because I was thinking the same as Beowulf and Sarge.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
I always say the latter as well, but it's supposed to be the former, as it's supposed to be "Gladius" like the sword.
Yeah, I was just doing some reading, it is apparently supposed to be similar to gladius, although apparently that was just by chance according to this interview: http://shmuplations.com/gpg-gradius/

Although the word Gladius means short sword, we didn’t intend that meaning at all, and its just a coincidence. Several years later someone said to me, “doesn’t the title refer to a Gladius?”, and that was the first time I realized it. Even though it was just a coincidence, I remember being really surprised. (laughs)
 

Dracula

Plastic Vampire
(He/His)
Same here.

Also, is it "Grad-ee-us" or "Gray-dee-us"? I always said the latter.

I always say "Gray-dee-us," but the kana (グラディウス) suggests it should be "grah-dee-us."

(Along similar lines, I was very surprised to see the kana for the Darius games spelled ダライアス, which would mean we should be pronouncing it "dah-RYE-us," which I've never heard any English speaker do. I have no idea if this is the same way they'd spell the Persian king's name.)

Uh, so how should that be pronounced? Because I was thinking the same as Beowulf and Sarge.

Soft G. Rhymes with Cyrus.

👆
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)

Hanshin Tigers are a venerable Japanese baseball team from Nishinomiya, near Osaka. I guess the hack is vaguely themed after them. I'm guessing "Giabbits" probably has something to do with their long-term rivalry with Tokyo's Yomiuri Giants.

I always say the latter as well, but it's supposed to be the former, as it's supposed to be "Gladius" like the sword.

Joke's on me, I always used to pronounce the sword like glay-dee-us.... possibly because I also pronounced the game gray-dee-us... despite the fact that in hindsight it's clearly the same root as gladiator, which I always pronounced correctly. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Joke's on me, I always used to pronounce the sword like glay-dee-us.... possibly because I also pronounced the game gray-dee-us... despite the fact that in hindsight it's clearly the same root as gladiator, which I always pronounced correctly. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I know that feeling - I used to do the same thing.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
I know that feeling - I used to do the same thing.
Me too, I approached it like "gradient". Makes as much sense as Gladius.

Zebes will always annoy me. If you want it pronounced right in English, do not spell it like that.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
In the case where it's extremely unclear what the correct pronunciation is, I like to insist its what it clearly isn't.

The planet is named "Zoobus"
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
I'm in the camp that always said "zeebs", but going by the kana it's actually "zeh-bess" or "zeh-beth".
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
I'm in the camp that always said "zeebs", but going by the kana it's actually "zeh-bess" or "zeh-beth".
I'm in that camp too, Zebes looks like a candidate for a split digraph. They should have spelled it Zebbes or Zebess if they wanted to give us a fighting chance.
 

Dracula

Plastic Vampire
(He/His)
I've always said "zee-beez," and I always will, even though I know I'm wrong.

I feel like I remember reading some old Metroid material (one of the instruction manuals maybe?) that spelled it "Zebeth."
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
I've probably changed my pronunciation over the years, if I even said the word at all. Right now it's "zeh-bess".
 
Nice Code also released this one as Eidolon's Revenge and Irrigate.

I love this title so goddamn much.

Hanshin Tigers are a venerable Japanese baseball team from Nishinomiya, near Osaka. I guess the hack is vaguely themed after them. I'm guessing "Giabbits" probably has something to do with their long-term rivalry with Tokyo's Yomiuri Giants.
Yep, the mascot for the Giants is a rabbit which is probably why all the enemies are rabbits.

I also like that there's a Ball Strike Out meter for no good reason and the replacement of all fireballs with baseballs. This is fun!
 
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