Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pocket Zaurus: Juu Ouken no Nazo (Nintendo Famicom)

Pocket Zaurus: Juu Ouken no Nazo
Bandai, 1987

One of the things that I enjoy about the Famicom is the sheer amount of games that are available for the console. Many of these games can be purchased for just a few dollars and even if you're buying them from an overseas seller the shipping usually isn't too bad since the carts are small and light.

From time to time I'll take a chance on a game, especially if I'm already buying something else as another game doesn't usally effect shipping too much. Enter Bandai's Pocket Zaurus: Juu Ouken no Nazo.

Going into this game I knew nothing about it, only that it was a side scrolling action game. I grabbed this quite awhile ago and it was shelved immediately, only to recently be played for the first time. Judging from the art on the cart's front label I was looking forward to playing the game. Seeing the little dude holding a large boomerang I thought may this could be Power Blade-esque? 

Nope. The game plays nothing like Power Blade, one of my favs on the NES. You control what appears to be some type of green dinosaur boy. You walk left to right and can attack with a short range projectile attack. You'll notice at the bottom of the screen is a large black area that lists your lives, health and score. Throughout the game other words will appear here, but since I can't read Japanese I have no idea what it half the text is saying. 

After doing a little research it appears that the words that pop up are a type of quiz. I think it may effect the story (which I still can't figure out) and you can earn power up items with correct answers.

I played for about a half hour and while it wasn't boring, I couldn't quite get in a groove. It just seemed like your mediocre NES era action game. Nothing special to stand out in a crowed library for the system.

The 2nd level started off as a side scrolling shmup and instantly I thought maybe the game had potential. This part of the game felt a little like Fantasy Zone, however the shooting part was short lived as it wasn't long before I was flying over the ground and my character jumped out of his round little ship. I tried to keep playing the game and figure it out, but after continuing a few times I just lost interest. I'll revisit the game again at a later date to see if I can get any further, but for my first playthrough let's just say the grade I give the game is "I" for Incomplete.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

8 Bit Art - Yea or Nay?

Many Target stores have started carrying video game related items in the electronics department such as retro clone consoles, wallets, keychains and sticky note art. You may have seen these packs of 8 Bit Art at your local store.

Several weeks ago I found these packs of "art" had been moved to the toy aisle. I was hoping they had been clearanced from their original $4.99 price point, but they hadn't. I was with my wife and she thought it was pretty cool, so I grabbed the different packs they had available to determine which one to get. All three available were from the original Super Mario Bros. series. There was a larger Fire Mario, a small jumping Mario and the one I purchased.

This product is just what it says it is...sticky note art. However the sticky notes aren't very sticky and just like a Post-It note, the adhesive is only on the top part of the paper. So you guessed it, they don't adhere to the wall at that well. While putting them up on the wall, I was constantly fighting pieces falling off and I become quite annoyed. The package comes with 3 stacks of sticky notes, red, brown and peach. There is also a paper measuring strip that helps you line up the art on your wall. The process of putting the image together wasn't that bad, but make sure you have a level handy so you make sure you get everything straight from the beginning.

Once I was able to get the image complete and I stepped back, it didn't look that bad. I didn't get some of the squares perfectly straight so my OCD started to kick in and annoy me. I thought the finished product looked good, but how long would it last on the wall? I'm sure you are wondering the same.

Other than a few pieces falling off, the image stayed up on the wall for several weeks, I recently decided to remove it as I wanted to get some customer framed canvas squares with game logos hung on the wall where Mario was. By the time I removed the small sticky notes, many of them were curling up. I don't think Mario could have lasted much longer. 

Overall I believe Mario stayed on the wall for about a month. Honestly this is longer than I thought. It's a great idea, but the execution just seemed to fall a little short. Now had each sticky note square had better or more adhesive, then perhaps I'd have a different final opinion. Have you worked with one of these kits? What was your experience with it?