Trope Boredom, Shmups and more Capsule Reviews!

Yet again I went too long without blogging. Better justify having this thing.

Some people may have noticed I haven’t been on TV Tropes lately. Nothing major happened and I didn’t make some huge decision to leave. In fact, I haven’t “left.” I’m just not interested in the Trope culture right now. Honestly I kinda feel like I don’t fit in–when I went to TV Tropes it was with the impression that these were people who were well versed in all media, but gradually I discovered that I was the oldest person there, so while I wanted to talk about eighties cartoons everyone else wants to talk about Gargoyles or Avatar, when I wanted to talk about Final Fantasy VI everyone else wants to talk about Elder Scrolls V, and so on and so forth.

In addition I feel like the forum doesn’t have much practical use. On Digitpress (which is where I’ve been hanging out the most lately) I can talk about technical matters, get real information and even buy or sell games. On TV Tropes I can pretty much just make jokes and bicker about differences of opinion. Obstensibly one useful function is being able to ask members if they remember a certain show or book, but the mods have nerfed this by forcing all such queries onto a page called “You Know That Show” which nobody ever actually reads and the people who put in an inquiry have no way of knowing if they’ve been answered unless they obsessively check every day, so the one useful function the forum may have had has been rendered useless.

With regards to my gaming hobbies, lately I’ve become a shmupper. Shmups (abbreviation of “shoot-em-up”) are games similar to this. That one was on the NES (though it started as an arcade game) but the genre still exists to this day, though mostly in Japan where they apparently like for their games to crush their souls, destroy their will to live and leave you a broken man. That’s what shmups do, and boy is it fun (if the video I showed made the game look easy, keep in mind that the dude doing the run probably spent months practicing). Lately my favorite is an obscure one called X-Multiply which, well… watch this video, and if you get past the part where the ship with tentacles beats the crap out of a ship made out of H.R. Giger aliens, and you still can’t see what’s so awesome about it, I have nothing more to say to you.

I’ve also lately rediscovered an old favorite console: the PC Engine (or TurboGrafx for you Americans)!

Which means, of course, it’s time for more Capsule Reviews!


Since I’ve been into shmups lately, this is mostly gonna be shmups.

1943: The Battle of Midway (NES version) – an old favorite I rediscovered, and to my surprise its not only still good, its actually better than the arcade version! Mainly because this version adds an RPG element where you can find points to power up your craft’s stats, and also its slowed down a bit–the arcade version sometimes goes too fast for you to make meaningful decisions and with the powerups, that often screws you over. One thing I always found odd about this game is that the Japanese are the bad guys, but Capcom is a Japanese company and the game was intended for the Japanese market (and, in fact, spawned a franchise over there which continues to this day, and many games in it have never been localized). I’m guessing all those things I’ve heard about how Japan likes to whitewash their war history are just more nationalistic B.S.

Galaga ’88 PC Engine (released on the TurboGrafx as Galaga ’90) – It’s funny, but I’ve played hyper-advanced games like R-Type Delta and Thunder Force V and all sorts of other modern games, and yet somehow… Galaga, freaking Galaga, still manages to be one of the most addictive games I’ve ever come across! Admittedly this 1988 version is slightly enhanced, but, it still plays like freaking Galaga. I guess the classics never truly die.

Gate of Thunder PC Engine/TurboGrafx – Side-scrolling shmup that was apparently meant to compete with Thunder Force III. If I’m honest, I like TFIII slightly more. That’s not to say Gate of Thunder is bad though. When I first played it I was underwhelmed and thought it seemed kind of generic, but without realizing it I kept coming back to it, so obviously, it must be good. The plot (yes I care about such things) casts you as a planetary cop stopping an invasion. One bonus is that the American version also comes with Bonk’s Adventure (which is good), Bonk’s Revenge (which is not as good but still decent) and Bomberman (which is… playable) via a secret code (up, right, down, left and button II at the menu).

That’s it for today!