Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

And Now, Probably The Most Pathetic Boss Fight In All Of Videogames.

It’s interesting to note that, despite the pathetic (and hilarious) nature of the Bob the Goldfish fights in both Earthworm Jim 1 and 2, I actually consider both of those games to be quite difficult overall.

It’s like they decided to give you a reprieve from the oppressive difficulty, and make a joke all at the same time.

Also worth noting is the fact that this clip was captured from the Genesis version of the game, as is clearly evident from the ratty sound quality.

Maybe it’s just because I grew up with an NES and Super NES in the house, but for whatever reason I seem to have a stigma against most Sega products…

Filed under: Games, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

Small Victory On Black Friday

Pictured: A big pile of crap, for half the price!

Today marked only the second occasion in which I decided to set forth into the wild and brave the insanity that is Black Friday.

Oddly enough, both times my intention in doing so was not to capitalize on the various sales events, but rather to simply take in the spectacle of watching others step over each other in hopes of acquiring a precious Tickle Me Elmo-like gift, or in the case of this year, an incredibly cheap 40″ TV.

It’s funny, whenever I think of Black Friday and other Christmas/holiday related shopping insanity, there’s one image that comes to my mind.

Said image was from one of my brother’s old Mad magazines, and to date, it serves as the definitive vision of Christmas carnage in my mind:

Pictured: "The Last Parking Space At The Mall."

It might be kind of hard to tell, as the image is kind of small, but basically “The Last Parking Space At The Mall” is a brilliantly rendered Norman Rockwell-esque painting depicting a man shooting another man in a snowy parking lot while his wife attempts to pull him back into the car.

Mad Magazine is usually good for a snicker or 2, but this painting was easily one of the most brilliant fuckin’ comedic images I can recall from my youth.

Sadly though, I didn’t see holiday mayhem of any kind this time around.

I did however get to laugh at the people standing in line surrounding the Best Buy.

Seriously man, I spent close to 3 hours in the general area, and I never once saw that line shrink an inch.

Needless to say, I never even got to set foot in Best Buy this morning.

Oh well, thanks to holiday “tent culture,” virtually all of the really good deals in there are literally impossible to acquire without spending the night outside the building.

Or at least without bringing one of these...

Which brings me to the deals that I actually did get a chance to capitalize on.

I initially set out to “do” Black Friday with a friend of mine around midnight.

Said friend ultimately ended up walking away with 2 boxes of half price golf balls, while I bought absolutely nothing.

Fortunately, there were some other sales going on in the U-district at a reasonable hour that I ended up checking out after catching a few much needed hours of sleep.

First, I went to Zanadu comics, where a 50% off everything sale was going on from 8AM to 12PM.

In case you couldn’t tell from the image above, I ended up getting a softcover copy of the absolutely massive X-Men/Dark Avengers: Utopia, as well as the first volume of Ed Brubaker’s The Immortal Iron Fist.

Truth be told, I’m not exactly salivating over the prospect of reading either of these books, however Utopia will serve to complete my Dark Avengers trade collection, and Iron Fist is a book that, given my status as a rabid kung fu movie fan, should’ve been in my collection years ago.

All together now: "WAATAAAAAHHHH!!!!"

I’m a little wary of Utopia, as X-Men books haven’t been kind to me in the past, I don’t know, 15 goddamn years; but I’m hoping the Dark Avengers stuff will help to round things out a little.

Yes. I am in fact still made about this.

As for Iron Fist, I’ve read nothing but good about it, and I’ve been putting off reading it for a really long time; so I’m pretty sure it’s gonna’ be awesome.

Anyway, 2 good to great books for 50% off = Definitely worth it in my book.

Next I went to Pink Gorilla to check out their highly variable collection of used/retro videogames.

While I haven’t found anything too special there in a few years now, I was surprised to find a perfectly good copy of Super Castlevania IV.

Outside of that though, I didn’t find anything else exciting, or failing that; worth the asking price.

Despite this, I was surprised to be given a randomized coupon at the register, with the one I drew being a buy1 get 1 free!

Upon scanning the wall, I decided to pick up Donkey Kong Country 3, a game that, while inferior to the sequel (which I already own) is somewhat rare, and often prohibitively overpriced.

Lucky me, I got it for free.

Oh yeah, and I got a free poster too.

Anyway, while I’d like to say I made it through the day without spending a decent amount of money, I’m proud to say that I at least managed to save more than I spent this Black Friday.

How did you do?

Filed under: Comics, Games, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, #1


Alrighty folks, today we finally reach the big #1 on our list of The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights.

On our journey up through the Top 10, we’ve covered bosses featured in games of numerous genres, ranging from action platformers to 2D fighters.

Yesterday we took a closer look at Tageri and Ubusunagami Okinokai, a pair of end-game bosses from the acclaimed Treasure shoot ’em up, Ikaruga.

While some bosses earned their places on this list through being deceptive or unpredictable, the 2 bosses mentioned above did so through possessing entirely predictable, but immensely complex and oppressively persistent attack patterns.

There are innumerable traits and profiles to choose from, but when it comes to describing that which makes for the most difficult of boss fights, in my mind the combination of the 2 listed above makes for the perfect unbeatable monster of the videogame realm.

To be “unpredictable in one’s predictability.”

That’s what makes for the greatest challenges, not just in gaming, but in all things of a competitive or adversarial nature.

Today’s boss, the #1 ranked entry on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, possesses the aforementioned elusiveness, while at once making use of crushing attack power and inhuman speed.

That being said, The Hardest Boss Fight is:

“Iron” Mike Tyson – Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

Pictured: Little Mac mere nano-seconds away from eating a right uppercut from Tyson.

Mike Tyson is of those rare bosses that is so hard that there’s a certain elegance to be found in the brutally of his design.

The original Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! (that’s right, we’re not talkin’ that Mr. Dream bullshit) came out in 1987, smack dab in the era in which few would argue “Iron” Mike’s claim to the title of “Baddest Man on the Planet.”

To put things in perspective, at the time of the game’s release Tyson was 31-0, with only 4 of his wins going to decision.

The rest, went pretty much like this:

While time has gone on to prove things otherwise, in 1987 Mike Tyson was, for lack of a better term; invincible.

What better than to honor the man’s reputation than by creating an 8-bit digital version of him that was every bit as powerful, quick, elusive and intimidating than the real thing?

In case you couldn’t tell by now, that’s pretty much what the folks over at Nintendo did.

That’s right, they took the terrifying essence of Mike Tyson, and crammed it into an NES cartridge for mass consumption.

Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!: The game that eats your children.

In real life, Tyson’s aura of invincibility was shattered in 1990 through a complex combination of a lax training camp, possible fatigue generated by traveling to Japan and fighting at an off-time, and the relentless, pressuring attack of one James “Buster” Douglas, a B-level fighter emboldened by the recent passing of his mother.

While that’s how things went down in real life, the sad fact of the matter is that, in order to even last 2 seconds with the “Iron” Mike featured in Punch-Out!!, one’s best bet is to play defensive and look to land blows immediately after slipping one of his.

Which, if you've never seen it before; results in THIS delightful face.

Of course, if it were that simple Mike Tyson wouldn’t be the Hardest Boss on this list, now would he?

The core mechanics of Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! are extraordinarily simple on paper, though in practice their complexity is not to be denied.

Much like real boxing, in every fight in the game the basic strategy, without fail; is to dodge or block your opponent’s blows while landing your own in response.

In the game, when you miss or block punches you lose “hearts,” which are representative of one’s stamina and must be exchanged at a rate of 1:1 in order throw punches.

Countering an opponent “clean,” that is; at the exact frame of animation in which they would’ve hit you with a blow of their own, awards you with “stars” that can be used to execute a devastating (but slow) super punch.

Every fight in the game goes a maximum of 3 rounds, with decision wins being a possibility, though more often than not fights end with one of the boxers being TKO’d due to the 3 knockdown rule being in effect.

Which will result Tyson doing his nifty "win" pose.

At it’s core, Punch-Out!! is a game that is based around timing and memorization.

Every fighter in the game has “tell” of some sort that signals you of their actions, though it’s up to the player to identify the meaning of these signals while surviving under the strength of their reflexes in the meantime.

All of the fighters in the game have a complex pattern to their actions, though many of them expand on their repertoire of moves should they be allowed to advance to the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the fight.

Mike Tyson takes all of the above complexities and turns them up to 11.

His power is unworldly.

His timing is deceptive and uncertain.

To put it in his own words:

Seriously man, words cannot describe the beastly-ness of Mike Tyson.

Like our #2 entrant(s) on this list, Mike Tyson is a rare example of a final challenge that demands absolute precision and excellence in all of the skills you’ve acquired throughout the game.

While I’d argue that such a gesture on the part of the game’s developers is actually quite admirable, especially in this modern age of gaming where “hand-holding” is in many ways the norm; there’s no denying that Mike Tyson is a videogame challenge was designed to be conquered by only the best of the best.

AKA The Koreans.

His absurd power and speed alone would likely make him worthy of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, however at the end of the day it’s his indecipherable timing that make him it’s king.

Like all of the fighters in Punch-Out!!, “Iron” Mike signals his attacks with a gesture or facial tic, however the reaction time necessary to avoid the resulting attacks,; let alone capitalize on the openings presented by them, is downright superhuman.

Not only that, the timing of his attacks, and his pattern on the whole, is somewhat variable; resulting in instances of familiarity on repeat plays, but never complete consistency.

Even if you somehow manage to avoid his attacks and land a follow up shot, if the timing of your offense is off by a fraction of a second, or worse yet, you overextend yourself and throw one too many punches; his recovery time is usually quick enough to punish you.

Pictured: What it looks like to be "punished" by Tyson.

Another tricky aspect of “Iron” Mike’s game, is the fact that his blows suck stamina like a fuckin’ Dyson, resulting the inevitable instance or 2 in which you’ll have to hang on for dear life and dodge a few of his shots in sequence in order to get your wind back.

Given the imperceptible nature of most of his attacks, this is usually the point in the fight when Mike Tyson picks you apart and puts you to sleep.

Dodging his attacks every now and again isn’t terribly difficult, but doing so several times consecutively is a whole ‘nother story.

Such is the indescribably nerve-wracking experience that is fighting Mike Tyson.

I’ve never beaten him, and to date I’ve only gotten to Mike Tyson maybe 1 or 2 times in my life.

While he’s quite a bit more “fight-able” than some of the lesser bosses of this list, (*cough!* Duriel *cough!*) in that it’s possible for an above-average player to hit, and even knock him down once, Mike Tyson remains to me the Hardest Boss Fight in videogames.

In fact, in many ways “Iron” Mike’s faux vulnerability is what makes him the #1 entrant on this list.

While as the final boss of the game he was appropriately given the tools to run over you at the outset of the fight, his AI was cleverly designed to fight in unpredictable fits and spurts, resulting in a perpetually tense situation wherein you don’t know what kind of Tyson you’re going to be dealing with.

You could spend 2 thirds of the fight straight-up handling a relatively lax and predictable Tyson, only to have him suddenly shift gears and unexpectedly put you to sleep in the closing moments of the final round kind of like this:

There’s no such thing as catching your rhythm or finding your “comfort zone” with Mike Tyson.

Much of Tyson’s aura of invincibility in real-life was perpetuated by psychological means, through the fear each of his opponents failed to conquer, before and after stepping into the ring with him.

If Mike Tyson was unbeatable in his prime for this reason (among others) in real-life, then personally I find it’s only befitting that his videogame counterpart should share this reputation.

Thanks For Reading!

Filed under: Boxing, Games, The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, #9


Yesterday we kicked off our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights with an alum from the pantheon of Dr. Wily’s robotic warriors, the original Yellow Devil.

The Devil earned his spot on the list through the frustrating nature of his borderline random attack pattern that made battling him a test of reflexes and coordination rather than memorization.

Appropriately enough, battling the #9 entry on the list requires a similar range of skills, however coming out on top is measurably more difficult given their more aggressive stance.

That being said, the next entry on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights is:

#9. Shredder – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game

Pictured: The Turtles take on the Shred-Head and his shadow clones.

If there’s any one, constant truth about arcade beat ’em ups, it’s that you can always expect to face a cheap-ass boss or 2 at some point within them.

Wind blows, water flows, Mr. Shadow dies by the power of Leeloo and Corbin Dallas’ love, and arcade beat ’em ups have cheap-ass bosses.

In the age of the beat ’em up, no other company stuffed their games full of quarter munching bastards quite like Konami.

Don’t get me wrong, Konami was also one of the best when it came to cranking out beat ’em ups, but whether it be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Turtles in Time, The Simpsons, X-Men, or Metamorphic Force; virtually all of Konami’s beat ’em up bosses made use of an infuriating attack pattern that was entirely beatable, but rarely without the use of a continue or 2.

As you may have guessed, Shredder makes use of said attack pattern, both in the Ninja Turtles arcade game, and the NES port of, well, basically the same name.

While I highlighted the arcade version of the Shredder in the pic above, make no mistake, he’s equally tough on either platform, though arguably more so on the NES.

Unlike the Yellow Devil from yesterday’s entry on the list, I’ve beaten Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game numerous times, mostly in my early childhood; however on every occasion I’ve had considerable difficulty in challenging not only the Shredder, but virtually all of the end level bosses.

Especially Granitor. NOBODY, fucks with Granitor...

As mentioned earlier, fighting the Ninja Turtles arcade game bosses is mostly a reflex oriented experience, much like fighting the Yellow Devil; however the difference in difficulty lies in the aggressiveness of their attack pattern.

The Yellow Devil has only one attack sequence, that if you can endure for long enough; (which in my youth, I couldn’t) will lead to your eventual victory.

Shredder, along with virtually all of the Konami arcade game bosses of the day; doesn’t have a distinguishable pattern in his attacks, but instead forces you to enter into a war of attrition with him.

The bosses in all of these games have superior reach and damage dealing ability to your player character, and attack in such a way that there really is no good way to ensure dealing damage to them without taking some yourself due to their split-second reaction times.

Did I mention virtually all of the Shredder and his buddies’ attacks have priority over your own, and have the nasty tendency to fling you across the room or knock you out of the air every time they hit you?

As with yesterday, check out this video to get a feel for what’s it’s like to tangle with the Shred-Head:

It looks dumb, but the player in the video above’s incessant use of the JUMP KICK is basically one’s only viable option in Ninja Turtles 2, especially against the Shredder.

Think of it like a nightmare scenario where you’re fighting a counter-puncher who’s not only got your number, but also has 20 lbs on you.

You’re only real option is to try and remain elusive (read: JUMP KICK) and take potshots at distance, however inevitably; no matter how fast or accurate you are with your attacks, Shred-Head is gonna’ find you and put the hurt on you.

See that spear? That's his beatin' stick, and it's about to go up your ass...

Such is the frustration of doing battle with Konami’s quarter munching stable of assholes.

While one could argue that virtually all of these bosses deserve a spot on this list, I’ve always felt that Shredder’s multiplying ability and one-hit kill anti-mutagen beam put him over the top.

That’s right, Shredder can indeed multiply in this game!

AND kill you in one hit at any given moment!

You see!? THIS is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps!

So imagine every nasty detail I mentioned above, coupled with the fact that during the course of the battle you have to contend with 2 Shredder’s on the NES, and up to 5 in the arcade; any one of which can take a life away with one blast of the blue laser from their hands!

Imagine being like 5 years old and having to deal with that bullshit!

While the arcade version may put you up against 5 Shredders, I honestly think the NES version is more difficult.

When you face 5 Shredders, you do so with the help of 3 other players; not to mention the arcade Shredder has a less overbearing style of attack that rarely knocks you across the room, making it easy to simply swarm him and trade blows until he folds.

Given the lack of an option to pump more quarters into the machine for extra lives, as well as the Shredder’s slightly more annoying style of attack; I’d say the official #9 entry on this list would have to be the NES iteration.

Filed under: Games, Movies, The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, #10


Alrighty folks, I’ve been a lazy motherfucker over the past, uh, month; so I figured it was about time I buckled down and committed to cranking out some real posts for the blog.

That being said, I can think of no better source of motivation, than to start up another epic Top 10 list!

As you’ve probably guessed from the AWESOME banner at the top of this post, this time around our list is focused on a subject that is very near and dear to my heart: videogame boss fights.

For better or for worse, boss fights have been a staple of game design for nearly as long as the medium has existed.

Perhaps a product of the “quarter munching” aspect of arcade games, boss fights were at initially characterized as a clash with a unique character, who’s attack pattern and/or attributes often caused them to represent a significant spike in the games’ difficulty level.

Nowadays, what with the advances in technology and a fairly consistent trend towards favoring narrative based gameplay, boss fights have become increasingly irrelevant.

Hell, I remember reading an article on Kotaku awhile back positing the possibility that boss fights may be an unnecessary artifact carried on from a bygone era of gaming.

Despite being a fascinating read, the viewpoint of said article largely applied exclusively to story driven games, games that boss fights would feel “tagged on” or extraneous in.

Pictured: A good example of a boss fight that meant well, but ultimately didn't need to happen.

For whatever reason, I can’t find the article in question, but oh well; you get the gist of it.

Personally, my background in 8 and 16-bit gaming has left me with nothing but fond memories of battling big baddies at the end of every level.

Maybe it’s just the old school gamer in me, but I play most games expecting there to be big ugly dude with a bloated life bar at the end of every stage, level, chapter, episode, or what have you.

For me, boss fights are both the final obstacle prior to advancement, as well as, on occasion; a reward in and of themselves.

Good boss fights represent some of the finest moments in gaming history.

Bad boss fights can be anywhere from disappointingly shallow, to controller smashing-ly hard.

The latter, largely represents the contents of this list; though not entirely.

Tough boss fights are just another part of gaming, as natural pressing the “A” button to jump, and the “B” button to kill.

That being said, let’s get this party started as we delve in to the 10th hardest boss fight:

#10. Yellow Devil – Mega Man

Pictured: The Blue Bomber chucking a Thunder Beam into the cyclopic eye of The Yellow Devil.

I don’t know what it was about him, but for whatever reason the Yellow Devil from the original Mega Man game always stuck out to me as one of the hardest bosses I ever fought on my NES.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve played plenty of harder games, especially on my NES, however in terms of hard boss fights; few put fear in my heart the way the Devil did.

Ninja Gaiden’s Jaquio and Jashin were tough, as was the sequel’s Ashtar; but I managed to beat both of them in my youth.

That's right bitch! I got yo' numbah'!

When I was a kid, I never beat the Yellow Devil.

I rolled over his cousin, the Yellow Devil Mk. II from Mega Man 3; but I never beat the original.

Encountered in the first stage of Dr. Wily’s fortess, the Yellow Devil was a wretched beast that kept me from beating the original Mega Man until well into adulthood.

Fighting the Devil was a fairly straightforward experience, but one made difficult by the tedious nature of the bosses’ pattern, as well as his fearsome attack power.

Basically, the original Yellow Devil only had 1 attack in his pattern, but it was a real pain in the pass.

Check it out here:

Disassembling his mustard-y yellow form into a series of cubes, the Devil launches his body, piece by piece; from one end of the room to the other.

While in flight, all of these pieces serve as dangerous projectiles that must be avoided by the player through careful jumps of varying heights and timing.

The actual pattern of the pieces’ dispersal isn’t quite random, however it’s complicated enough to the point of being easier to dodge through reflex than memorization.

The real problem with this pattern, is the fact that damage can only be dealt to the Devil one shot at a time, for only a brief moment following the completion of his reassembling phase.

Many bosses throughout gaming history have employed the annoying as fuck pattern characteristic of, “You Can Only Hit Me After I’ve Slapped You With My Dick For 5 Minutes” but few have done so with the audacity of the Yellow Devil.

With a rather potent weakness to Elec Man’s Thunder Beam, the Yellow Devil doesn’t take all that many hits to kill, however the time one has to devote to frantically hopping about in order to get into position to deliver said hits; more than compensate for any weaknesses he may have.

I was usually good enough to get close to taking out the Devil in Mega Man, but it wasn’t until I was much older, wiser, and entirely less interested in achieving victory that I would actually conquer the beast known in the states as the Rock Monster.

That being said, I feel the Yellow Devil’s #10 slot on this list is entirely warranted, however imagine my disappointment when I stumbled across the glitch/exploit featured in the video below:

Filed under: Comics, Games, The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Used Game Store Grand Opening Today!

Pictured: My buddy posing with a Halo dude. No, I don't ACTUALLY know Wes Studi. One can dream though...

Today I was fortunate to have attended the grand opening of a new used game store in my neighborhood.

Technically it was actually re-opening of a currently existing store, but in all fairness the changes made to the building were extensive to the point of being a brand new facility.

The store was called Game Gurus, and to my surprise; they went out of their way to throw a little party for their grand opening.

There were free hot dogs and popcorn, 50 cent games for sale in the parking lot, (mostly crap, but even so, 50 cents for a 360 game is pretty good regardless) and a raffle giveaway every 10 minutes.

For what essentially amounts to a mom and pop videogame store, I was amazed by the great lengths that the owners went to in making a good first impression.

While I was mulling about in front of the store, rooting through the cheap games my friend and I, who shall henceforth be referred to as Wes Studi; happened to notice an enthusiastic fellow customer perusing the wares while wearing what appeared to be a ODST getup.

Wes Studi insisted I take a photo of the 2 of them together, and as you can see at the top of this post; I did just that.

For a guy that’s not really up on cosplay, I have to say; they guy had some pretty snazzy digs.

Seriously man, the guy had some sort of microphone system built into the helmet that made him sound all loud and bell diver-ish.

Anyway, as impressive as the outdoor festivities were, the actual store itself was something to behold.

Though the shelves and inventory were arranged much like a typical Gamestop, there were a lot of little bells and whistles in Game Gurus that will no doubt lead to the risk of theft; but were nevertheless enticing to potential customers like myself.

For instance, throughout the store there were several monitors hung from the ceilings, each with a playable game console and single controller hanging from the ceiling like a mobile.

I saw lots of people messing around with these demo rigs, and it put a smile on my face to see little kids stand on their tippy-toes to try and get a grip on the dangling controllers.

In addition to this, there was also free to play, 2 player MAME arcade rig with Street Fighter Alpha 2 loaded on it.

I played Wes Studi a few times, and though my joysticks’ kick buttons weren’t functioning, I had a lot of fun.

By the way, I won every round.

*ANYWAY* On our way out, Wes Studi and I also took a minute to check out the “back room” of the store, where they store not porn; but rather a cache of about 6 Xbox 360’s running Black Ops, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and a few other shooters.

From what I understood, all of these rigs are free to play on the weekends, which in my opinion; is a great gesture to make the store out to be a neighborhood hang out for the kids.

Despite all the fun toys scattered about, the one thing that made me think to myself, “I might have to come back here sometime;” was the fact that the inventory was pretty solid.

While obscure consoles like the Turbografx 16 and Wonderswan weren’t on display, pretty much every major American console from the 8-bit era up was for sale, along with countless games to go with them.

Best of all, they had seemed to have a fairly robust selection of Super NES titles, with many of the rarer titles coming with their original packaging.

While I saw some extraordinarily rare stuff there, Wes Studi and I both ended up walking away with pretty basic stuff.

Having no job will do that to yah’…

Wes picked himself up a copy of Eternal Darkness, Mega Man X: Command Mission, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, while I got Pitfall: The_Mayan_Adventure, Gradius III, and X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse at a special 2-for-1 price.

Nothing special, but I saved a few bucks and walked away happy regardless.

All in all, I was wholeheartedly impressed with all the love and hard work that obviously went into the new Game Gurus store.

I sincerely thank the owners for their efforts, not just to make a good neighborhood store; but to reach out to the kids in the area and provide a fun place for them to hang out.

Back in my day, if I wanted to go to an arcade my only option was a laundromat with Primal Rage and Area 51.

Given that it’s within walking distance of my house, and the fact that Pink Gorilla’s inventory has been kind of iffy in the Super NES area as of late; I could see myself doing a lot of my retro game shopping at Game Gurus from now on.

That’s not a knock on Pink Gorilla, ’cause don’t get me wrong, I love them; but I’m jus’ sayin’ is all…

Filed under: Comics, Games, Movies, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Another Japanese Fighter Bites The Dust…

Pictured: Akifumi Shimoda smacks super-underdog champion Ryol Li Lee.

Before anyone jumps to any conclusions based on the heading of this post, let it be known; nobody actually died.

I merely used the phrase “bites the dust” because, well; frankly it sounds cool.

That being said, this past Saturday night, I was blessed with a rare opportunity to see a Japanese boxer fight on American soil in the form of Jr. featherweight champion Akifumi Shimoda’s title defense against amateur stand-out, Rico Ramos.

Said fight was staged on HBO, which in the boxing business basically translates to “the big leagues.”

That being said, I came into the fight hopeful, but fully aware of what to expect.

As detailed in some of my previous posts here, and here; Japanese boxer’s are not exactly a dominant force in the sport.

Well, except for maybe Piston Honda...

In most cases I have to go very much out of my way to dig up videos and records of Japanese fighters, largely because even the very best of them rarely get to a stage in their career where fighting outside of Japan is an option, let alone economically viable.

The fact of the matter is, Japan is a small island nation that isn’t exactly crazy about boxing; making it difficult for their fighters to grow beyond the competitive confines of their nation’s borders.

The last couple of fights that I can recall involving a Japanese fighter fighting in a high-profile match on foreign soil; had very mixed results.

On the one hand, long-standing (or should “sitting”) middleweight champ Felix Sturm tattooed the face of, and utterly annihilated the unproven Koji Sato.

Pictured: What happens when protected champions are fed unproven competition.

On the other, underdog Nobuhiro Ishida managed to beat the odds and inexplicably force a first round stoppage of up-and-coming Jr. middleweight beast, James Kirkland.

Pictured: What happens when a young fighter doesn't know how to react to a knockdown.

Oddly enough, both of these contests involved Japanese fighters from 154-160 lbs., the highest weights the national Japanese boxing commission stages fights at, and consequently some of the weaker divisions in terms of talent.

While Ishida’s win seemed like a fluke, given that Kirkland seemed very much clear-headed despite the multiple knockdowns; Sato’s loss was a forgone conclusion.

Both guys were low-rated, and obviously brought in as fodder for their opponents.

The only difference was, one pulled the upset, and the other may have had years taken off his life.

Now that I think of it, I think that’s why the fight from last Saturday night meant a little more to me than the others I mentioned:

Akifumi Shimoda went into the fight last Saturday night a legitimate, defending world champion.

While hardly a big deal to anyone outside the hardcore, it meant something to me to know that Shimoda was held in high enough regard that the people of Teiken Boxing Gym felt it wise to send him to America to defend his title.

Not only that, in winning the fight he would’ve made history as being the first Japanese champion to successfully defend his title.

In case you couldn’t tell from the way I phrased that last sentence, and indeed the heading of this post; Shimoda did not make history.

A Southpaw, Shimoda came into the fight sporting excellent footwork and a straight to the body with mean intentions.

To my surprise, Shimoda proceeded at a measured pace out the gate, cutting-off the ring and pressing the action.

He didn’t look great by any means, but he did more than enough to stymie Ramos and shut down his anemic offense.

All through the fight, I couldn’t help but smile at the sight of a small group of Japanese fans positioned behind Shimoda’s corner, shouting his name and waving a big white banner in support of their champion.

Like me, they were rallying behind the Japanese guy despite virtually everyone else in the New Jersey arena not giving 2-shits about who he was or where he came from.

Indeed, I felt myself wince at the sound of the ring announcer pronouncing the bout as a production of “Tai-Ken” Boxing Gym.

It’s “Teh-ee-ken,” asshole.  Get it right.

Despite my better instincts telling me Shimoda was going to get knocked the fuck out like seemingly all of his countrymen do when fighting away from home; I found myself feeling in the later rounds that Shimoda might actually get the win.

Then came the 7th round.

Early in the fight, Shimoda slammed Ramos with a nasty headbutt that opened a gash over the challenger’s eye.

The cut was pretty bad, and as such; Ramos’ trainer urged him to step up his efforts and throw more punches.

It took a few rounds of nagging from his corner, but for whatever reason; Ramos came out to fight in the 7th.

All through the round, you could tell something was different.

Mostly defensive and counter-oriented, Ramos lost the majority of the rounds in the fight purely based on his sinfully low punch output.

In the 7th, Ramos poured it on and went on the attack.

From the opening few seconds of the round, Shimoda went from being an indefatigable and confident young champion; to a fighter on the run.

Ramos backed Shimoda up for much of the round, something he hadn’t done for 1 second in any of the earlier portions of the fight; and indeed, seemingly couldn’t miss with his right hand.

Gassed or hurt, or maybe both; Shimoda spent his last moments in the fight stumbling backwards, seemingly without any answers to his opponent’s assault.

Stepping back and around the left side of Ramos amid a torrent of punches, Shimoda walked right into a cracking left hook that sent his jaw from one corner of the ring to the other.

BOOSH.

Oh yeah, and he went down too.

Splayed out on the mat, utterly devoid of consciousness, Shimoda’s last act before the referee’s stoppage was to clumsily, and pathetically rise to his knees and face first onto the mat.

In watching that 7th round, you got the sense that, had Ramos asserted himself earlier in the fight, there’s a good chance he would’ve walked right over Shimoda.

While there was no clear disparity between the 2 fighters in terms of technical ability, the difference in guts and raw athletic power seemed fairly evident during the final round.

It saddened me to see Shimoda lose his title, knowing full well that he; nor likely any other Teiken fighter would likely be making their way over to the states any time soon.

At this point it seems Toshiaki Nishioka and Koki Kameda may be the only 2 Japanese boxers that stand any chance of competing on the world stage.

Personally, I fail to see the beauty of Kameda and his brother Daiki’s collective souls, so here’s hoping Nishioka makes his way over here someday.

Hopefully he’ll fair better than most Japanese fighters seem to.

 

 

Filed under: Boxing, Games, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summon Cardboard Box!

Man, it’s been awhile since I’ve made a Magic card!

This one took a lot longer than it probably looks, mostly because I went to great lengths to actually make it as opposed to just snagging something off Google Images and slapping a filter on it.

If you want an example of how easy this card could’ve been to make, here’s an image that probably could’ve done the job just fine that I found in about 5 seconds of searching:

Pictured: The easy route.

Anyway, the card above is of course an homage to the famed cardboard box device from the Metal Gear series.

In all honesty, though I’ve played through every entry in the Metal Gear Solid series multiple times; I’ve rarely found a use for the cardboard box in any of them.

I know they’re useful for quickly jumping around the map via trucks and conveyors, but outside of punching Meryl to make the wolf pup pee on my box; I never really made use of them.

What?  You didn’t know about the wolf piss?

*ANYWAY* much like the old N64 Turok games, it’s hard to deny that Metal Gear games are big on loading you up with cool gadgets and abilities; only to end up giving you very little reason to use them.

Turok gave you awesome guns, but nothing to shoot at.

Metal Gear gave you an amazing range of abilities, but no real practical reason to employ them outside of for shits and giggles.

As fun as that looked in the trailers, for the life of me I never found a reason to do a barrel roll in Metal Gear Solid 4.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by, let me know if the text on the card needs to be changed or anything.

Filed under: Games, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bo Jackson CANNOT BE STOPPED.

BEAST.

Anybody who’s anybody remembers Tecmo Bowl on the NES.

Still played competitively among videogame dorks and football fans alike, Tecmo Bowl serves as perhaps the most enduring sports game of all time.

While the gameplay was rock solid, in a cartoony NFL Blitz sort of way; the one thing I remember best about Tecmo Bowl (besides the awesome music) has always been the highly detailed “cinema sequences” that would play out every time something big happened in the game.

Unfortunately, during any sort of 2 player competitive play, this was just about the only one of those “cinemas” that would ever play:

BEEEAAAASSSSTTT!!!!

Sadly, the absolute coolest feature of Tecmo Bowl, that of being able to take control of legendary L.A. Raiders running back Bo Jackson; was exactly what made the game utterly impossible to play with a friend.

Believe me when I tell you, much blood was spilled, and many friendships shattered over deciding who would get to pick the Raiders, and thusly win the game.

I know what you’re thinking:

“How could one guy ruin the competitive nature of an entire game?”

Well, apparently you haven’t seen “Tecmo Bo” in action before, as had you any prior experience in seeing the man-BEAST do his thing; you wouldn’t have asked such a mind-bogglingly stupid question.

Simply put, Bo Jackson is the Uber Beast of all Uber Beasts in Tecmo Bowl.

I don’t know if “Tecmo Bo” was supposed to be some sort of Terminator clone of Bo Jackson, but regardless; the man moves faster than Satan driving a turbo Lotus, and on the off chance he does get tackled, the man simply CANNOT. BE. STOPPED.

I’m convinced Tecmo Bowl should’ve shipped with a subtitle.

Namely that of:


Hell, even that seems to subtle if you ask me…

Anyway, given that there are a lot of us out there who are fearful of how to derive meaning from their daily lives without pro-football to provide escapism/reasons to drink and be rowdy this September, I figured I’d take a moment to remind everyone of the fine art of video-football in the 8-bit era.

That being, behold the majesty that is “Tecmo Bo”:

Filed under: Games, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,

Remember When Kevin Nash Got Old And Started Sucking More Than Ever?

It’s funny, I’ve never been terribly attached to Kevin Nash as a wrestler.

Oddly enough, despite his presence in mainstream pop culture being almost entirely derived from his time spent as a wrestler, most of the reasons I’ve found to like the man have come from his acting career.

I liked him as The Russian in The Punisher:

Pictured: The best scene in the movie.

I found him and Eric Robert’s over-the-top performances in Dead Or Alive to be just about the only enjoyable portions of the movie, even though Nash’s character was clearly intended to be played by Hulk Hogan:

CLEARLY Bass was based off of Kevin Nash...

Hell, even though he barely did anything, I felt he did a decent job as Super Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2:

Pictured: One of the worst/dumbest moments in the movie.

Outside of these performances though, Nash was never the best wrestler, nor was he all that good on the mic.

Back in his Diesel days, it was kind of cool that they let him use the “illegal” Jacknife Powerbomb as his finisher, but outside of his stature and natural charisma, the man just never seemed to push himself as much some of the bigger names in the business.

Truth be told, I think my best memory of Kevin Nash was playing as him in the WCW vs. NWO game for the Nintendo 64:

Jesus fuck I miss that game…

Blunt force trauma inflicted KO’s were featured in that game, and using any (slow as fuck) power attack from Nash would result in an almost guaranteed instant KO.

I have many great memories of playing that game, mostly derived from playing as AKI and THQ Man; however playing as Nash ranks pretty high on my list of awesomeness.

Anyway, as the clip above indicates, Nash has clearly lost some of the (non-existent) spring in his step over the years.

Oh well, at least now his wrestling is funny to watch as opposed to boring.

Filed under: Comics, Games, Movies, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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