6. Gettin’ Mini With It

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6. Gettin’ Mini With It – Mini Systems and Desert Island Video Games

 

If you were stuck on a deserted island, which video game would you want to have with you? Erik asks "The Dogfathers" this question on the Special Reserve Games Discord.

Plus, as we wait for the eventual North American release of the TurboGrafx-16 Mini, we ask the question: are these mini systems still worth buying?

Games You Deserve is a weekly podcast from Special Reserve Games that celebrates the digital art of video games. Join us for gaming industry interviews, insider perspectives, and interactive content. Production by Dan Vadeboncoeur. Music by Jesse Hamel. New episodes drop Sundays at 9:00 a.m. CST.

Listen below (or on your favorite podcast provider) and don’t forget to subscribe! Links and transcript follow beneath the player.

 

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Transcript

Erik: Games You Deserve. I'm Erik and this week on Games You Deserve, I'm stuck on a deserted island. Plus –

Dan: I’m Dan, another mini system is on its way to the North American market, are these nostalgia boxes worth the investment? Plus –

Smitty: I'm Smitty and the Game of the Week has us doing our best Hadouken.

Erik: GameStop's never really been great about your used stuff. They give you less than you really want, they charge more than you really want, it's always been kind of the last resort. It's like, "I guess I'll turn these in for a few bucks."

Smitty: Well, is there any way... I –

Erik: It's a pawn shop.

Smitty: ... this is going to be a strange question, but I mean, can they really set the valuation of every single game? Is there no third party resource that actually deems what's valuable and grade it A, B, C, for scratches or something like... Is there no third party verification? So GameStop just gets to say, "Oh, Animal Crossing, huh? Well, it's 14 days old, that means it's worth 30 cents."

Erik: They set the prices.

Smitty: That's what I'm saying, they’re... it's –

Dan: They set it for their trade-in value, right?

Smitty: Correct.

Dan: So you trade it in for other stuff, that's how they –

Erik: Yeah, and then they turn around and charge again.

Smitty: But there should be a third party that actually kind of helps do that. Like a collective of gamers almost that would be able to say, okay, yeah, we can take some data about how many units were sold, how many units are in circulation. You can maybe get some statistics on playability. If there's online –

Erik: Okay, wait a minute here. Do you remember –

Smitty: But I'm saying –

Erik: ... Beckett? Do you remember back in the day, the Beckett magazine for baseball cards?

Smitty: Yeah, I wasn't... I know what you're talking about, but I wasn't a baseball card guy.

Erik: That's essentially what that was. Or how about Wizard for comics?

Smitty: Oh, yeah, well, there you go, of course. Yeah, Wizard.

Dan: Yeah, yeah.

Smitty: The Wizard's of the coast, you know? But I know what you're –

Erik: Yeah, it had a price guide in it. Same with Beckett, it was a price guide.

Dan: Mm-hmm yeah, yeah.

Erik: It set the market value for all those things. How come we don't have that anymore? Have that for video games?

Smitty: Well, and especially with the value of collectible things that are being produced. I mean, heck the stuff that I make, the stuff that we make for Special Reserve Games is, I mean, it's called preserving art in everything we do, because that's what our... preserving digital art, and then we are absolutely using high quality materials, and we're actually wrapping things to protect them and stuff, so we're absolutely... stuff like that that eBay is become the secondary market for that. It's just eBay. And... Which is usually everyone just tries to double what they paid for it, is what it looks like on eBay. So at least for our stuff, I can't speak for anybody else is like a limited run or something like that. Maybe you would know more about that Erik, but I think there... maybe we're on to something. Hey, by the time this episode airs, don't worry, we've already trademarked everything, and you guys are already way, way behind. Don't even try.

Erik: That's right. That's right.

Dan: We're getting ready for the first edition.

Smitty: Yeah.

Erik: That's right.

Smitty: Games guide.

Erik: We're coming to print tomorrow.

Smitty: Whoever's listening on this private conversation, you didn't sign a non-disclosure, you're in violation of something that I just made up. But yeah, but –

Erik: I do like the idea though, creating a guide. That would be –

Smitty: Well, and I think it should be a community... not voted on, that would be kind of weird, but Metacritic or something. Like the... there's a collective of multiple things that establish the value.

Erik: Well, I think in today's world you could almost automate some of that by looking at various places where these things are sold, and say, "Okay, how much did it sell here? How much did it sell there?" And start charting it and have it automatically kind of fill all in those numbers –

Smitty: But you got kind of a Kelley Blue Book for automobiles, you know –

Erik: Yeah.

Smitty: Kind of thing where you say, "Well, your car's worth this, if you're trying to trade it in for another car, that's your trade-in value. But if you're trying to sell it first party, here's what it's..." And so that first party sale was always a few thousand dollars more than that trade in value. And –

Erik: So does that mean when my Xbox crashes, I don't get as much out of it when I –

Smitty: Well, yeah, if it's got any colors of rings of death, yeah, those are bad. But, no, maybe if... but that would mean... So kind of hedging, not hedging, but kind of going back to an earlier conversation here about changing with this COVID BS is what about selling things direct to each other. So I've got a game, so I don't need GameStop anymore, we go through a portal, and that portal... either we could do a pick up from home or some kind of drop off, or whatever, and that way I'm selling direct to you. You'd pay me through PayPal or Venmo or Zelle or whatever it is, and so you've got the option of selling direct to me or... and there's a valuation for doing that, and let's just say it's $10 or if you buy it at a store, the valuation on that game is going to be $15. There's an incentive for us to cut out the middle man and get rid of the 30% markup, you know?

Erik: Yeah.

Smitty: Typically, at big... I mean, no surprise here guys, people like GameStop and Best Buy and Walmart they mark –

Erik: They want money?

Smitty: Well, they mark things up and they take a chunk out of our sales. I mean, it's usually that's 30%. Retail usually takes 30%.

Erik: That's food out of your daughter's mouth.

Smitty: Well... Well, my whole thing is it is kind of interesting to say, your store would be a big empty shell without 10,000 pieces of inventory in it, and those inventory were made by 9,000 different companies all around the world. And so, yeah, to me, I think the idea of big box retail being the only way that you could buy movies, music, I mean, and then, oh, let me see, books. Someone changed that game a long time ago for books, right? And so I think that idea of big box retail has changed in such a way, and then the world of gaming is already so real time digital download, the DLC downloaded while we're talking. That's how things happen now, and the idea of the physical, tangible good going to a store to buy it new it's not as important anymore, because it's not the only way you can get that tangible, physical good put in your hands. So that's... Yeah, I think there probably is going to be an evolution of maybe how physical games are distributed and I'm not voting for or against GameStop here. I'm not condemning their model in any way, I'm just saying, that model of big box retail to get all that stuff. That's been long dead with the invent of Amazon and delivery, everything. So I just... I think maybe a more peer to peer selling and trading of physical games would be to our advantage as collectors, you know?

Erik: Yeah.

Smitty: If we could develop that. So any way, that was a long way of getting to that point, wasn't it?

Dan: Oh, it's a good point –

Erik: I want to say though that that guy’s name is also Jeff.

Smitty: Some people call them Jefe.

Dan: Wow, that's awesome.

 

[BREAK]

 

Erik: All right, so this week I asked the Discord a question, specifically, the Dogfathers. By the way, if you guys want to be a Dogfather and get in the know super-secret information from Smitty himself, he'll whisper it... he'll whisper the sweet nothing's directly into your ear.

Smitty: Oh, now that's just weird.

Erik:  It is weird, but that's... Some people are into that. All you've got to do is nitro boost our Discord server and you too can be a Dogfather. But I asked them this question, I said, "If you were stuck on a deserted island and could have only one video game for the rest of your life, what would you choose?"

Smitty: Lauren Bacall.

Erik: No, video game –

Smitty: No, never mind. Oh, shucks.

Erik: Sorry. Video game, and...

Dan: Now, I want to know if anybody came back with the... well, I guess you have power on this deserted island. You have electricity –

Erik: We're going to assume –

Dan: ... and all the luxury.

Erik: Yeah, we're going to assume that it's the best deserted island you've ever been on, and there's internet and power and you don't have to worry about that.

Dan: You're not like Tom Hanks in Cast Away here.

Smitty: Yeah, what if it only had a Wii on it.

Dan: Oh, no.

Erik: That would be terrible. Wii bowling forever.

Smitty: And it didn't have Wii Sports, because it had been erased in the crash.

Dan: Maybe, maybe that's my choice.

Smitty: Yeah.

Erik: You get Red Steel and that's it. There's no other game. No, I'm curious, what would you guys choose? What would be the only video, if you had to be stranded on a deserted island?

Smitty: Probably the one that would kill me and take me away from my suffering.

Erik: So Wii Sports. We're right back to it.

Smitty: I'm going to go with Scanners the game. That's right, that's a 1980s movie reference, whatever. Most of my references –

Erik: Your head's going to explode? Is –

Smitty: ... are 1980s references. I was always... could get lost in Joust forever. And I always loved Joust, and I considered it the hardest game... that I could never truly master it. So I always felt like I had to keep playing it to stay good at it. So I don't know. Joust to me would be fun, because it was never ending... there was a never-ending challenge. I could never really beat the game, if you will.

Dan: Okay. That was common for a lot of those games in that time, just kept ramping it... It was all about the points, just get as many points as you can –

Smitty: Yeah, yeah.

Dan: ... and try to beat your score, that was it.

Smitty: And then get more points.

Dan: So those games, yeah, they... you could play them infinitely and not have to worry about getting bored.

Erik: Yeah, can you really beat Joust? I don't think you can.

Smitty: That's what I was saying. That's what I was saying.

Dan: No.

Smitty: There was no point. You could continually just –

Erik: Okay.

Smitty: You're beating yourself. You're beating your high score.

Erik: If I'm on a deserted island, I sure as hell am.

Smitty: You'd be beating yourself all day.

Dan: Oh.

Smitty: You... It was right there. It was wide open.

Erik: That was the idea.

Smitty: I see. Yeah, we're all dudes. We're all dudes.

Erik: All dudes here, right?

Dan: See, for me, I don't know... I thought about just having a mindless puzzle game, like Tetris would be good, but at the same time I do like a lot of the story telling aspects of gaming. So for me I think something like Grand Theft Auto 5 would probably be something I could just keep playing over and over again. There's endless playability in that game. Even if you finish everything, you could still screw around in the world and do different things. So yeah, I would go with Grand Theft Auto 5, I think.

Smitty: And you'd feel like you weren't on a desert island, you were in the big city, baby.

Dan: That's right.

Erik: You're not going to play Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas?

Dan: Well, I do like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I feel like the world of 5 is bigger.

Erik: Sure, but Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is like a really good –

Smitty: I mean, come on, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. What's wrong with OG?

Erik: Nothing's wrong with that. Well, the OG is the top down –

Dan: They're a little different.

Smitty: Well, that was a director's cut... well, there was one and two, and then director's cut two London, we actually published that in North America –

Erik: Right.

Smitty: ... under Gathering of Developers for Take-Two, because Take-Two was our –

Erik: I remember.

Smitty: ... partner in Europe, and so... Yeah, Grand Theft Auto Director's Cut 2 London.

Erik: Yeah, I remember that game. I remember playing that game, and... yeah I really liked it.

Smitty: That was the last of the top down driver though. The next one was Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Erik: I think you can still get it on Steam when they bundle it with other GTA... like in a giant pack. I think they still make it available so.

Smitty: Yeah.

Erik: Well, I –

Dan: What's your game Erik?

Erik: I, you stole a little bit of my thunder there. I'm going to tell you –

Dan: Sorry.

Erik: ... right away, because my... I had two choices in my head. I... Now I feel like I have to go the other direction. Originally, I was going to say Tetris, because literally –

Dan: Okay, oh, I'm sorry.

Erik: ... took forever to master. But, no, that's okay, because my other choice is Super Mario Maker. Basically –

Smitty: Oh, yeah. You're a Mario... That's you. You're right.

Erik: Yeah.

Smitty: That is yours. You shouldn't have even contemplated Tetris. What are you talking about?

Erik: Well, I mean... Yeah, no, you're right. I mean, you could sit there and just create infinite courses. I debated on whether I should go with one or two. There are definitely improvements on two, but I think the fact that with the Wii U tablet, you can use the stylus and place the pieces on the touch screen. That made the first version, in many ways, superior. Maybe not in game play or whatever, but just the ability to sit there with the tablet. I mean, you can pull the Switch out of the dock and do that, but then I always feel like I want to play with the pro controller on a larger screen, so going to handheld for the play portion kind of... But either way, Super Mario Maker, it's infinite Mario. What's better than that?

Smitty: It's me infinite Mario.

Erik: I think that needs like a sound effect to repeat. Like a repeating sound effect, so it's just infinite, infinite, infinite, infinite.

 

[BREAK]

 

Erik: I polled the Dogfathers on this, like I said, and so I want to give you guys some of the answers from some of these guys. So we're going to call out some of these guys by name because they're great –

Smitty: Ooo, by tag.

Erik: They're great supporters of Special Reserve. They love us. We love them. So kind of going down... And if you guys want to comment on any of these games, interrupt me. NinjaGuyX said, Final Fantasy XIV.

Dan: 14?

Erik: 14?

Smitty: That's my dog sound for the Dogfathers.

Dan: That was...

Erik: For the Dogfathers, that's a terrible bark –

Smitty: Yeah, every time you say Dogfathers I'm going to go... I'm stepping on my dog's tail.

Erik: So –

Smitty: Final Fantasy –

Erik: So, Final Fantasy XIV. I love the idea of a Final Fantasy game being one of the selections, because they can be terribly in-depth. You can spend a lot of time on them.

Smitty: Well, then you can just stop right here and just say, between four answers there, you got four drastically, really, different games. Those are four completely different games in all ways. Like Dan goes the story driven. I go to infinite play, never ending kind of thing, whatever, so.

Dan: When I think Final Fantasy... I thought about that, and I thought for me it would be Final Fantasy 7, just because that's the one that really I was obsessed with when it was out. But 14 I hear... I've actually never played 14, so I don't know that one specifically, but I hear it's very good. It's a good franchise, for sure.

Erik: Yeah. Absolutely. Pachuku says, Binding of Isaac.

Smitty: Jeez. Okay.

Erik: Binding of Isaac. That's pretty much a infinitely re-playable game. Edmund McMillen was the guy that developed that, and yeah, that's –

Smitty: Good old, Eddie Mac.

Erik: It's a tough game. BorisSpider says, Hollow Knight.

Dan: That is a great game. My son is playing that right now, and he's obsessed. It's a very, very good game.

Smitty: Way to go Boris.

Erik: It's pretty in-depth. EatSnackySmores and Zimzallabim, two different guys, they both chose Bloodborne.

Smitty: Oh, there you go. Bloodborne.

Erik: Get that soul’s born difficulty going on there.

Smitty: I was kind of hoping you were going to say they chose BloodRayne, which was made by my former company –

Erik: Oh, gosh, no.

Smitty: ... Terminal Reality. But I'm saying, yeah, never mind.

Erik: Hey, I didn't –

Smitty: Hey, I wasn't there when that game came out.

Erik: That might come up in the next category that I'm going to tell you in a minute, but let's see here, Locke said, DJMax Respect V, which that's a totally different genre than everything else we're talking about. That's a rhythm game.

Smitty: Yeah, is he playing that in... with the Oculus?

Erik: That's a good idea. Yeah, with all the music and everything?

Smitty: Yeah.

Erik: Yeah, you keep yourself active. That would be good.

Smitty: Mm-hmm yeah.

Erik: Smangerang says, EarthBound. So if you're into kind of a classic RPG on SNES –

Smitty: Absolutely. Or as everybody... What we agreed earlier, all the old people in our life, what did they call that? The Nintendo.

Erik: Oh, yeah.

Smitty: "Go play your Nintendo."

Erik: That's right. Any parent, it doesn't matter what console it was, it was a Nintendo. "Just go play the Nintendo." "But mom, it's a Genesis."

Smitty: Yeah, "Go play." It's like down in Texas man, everyone says, "Can I get a Coke?" And they're like, "Yeah." And they say, "Well, I brought you a Coke." "Well, I wanted Dr. Pepper." "Yeah, Coke."

Erik: Well, then why didn't you say that?

Smitty: Everything's a Coke. I mean, "No, did you want Pepsi?" "Yes, I wanted Pepsi." "Well, why'd you order a Coke?" "It's a Coke." It's not a soda pop. They think everything's a Coke, but any way, sorry. Yes, back to the action, back to the Discord.

Erik: Yes. You are old. What is that in the background?

Smitty: I know. And my mind is fading. It's not me, it's Dan.

Erik: KingsleyCake says, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, so that's –

Smitty: Wow.

Erik: ... a big RPG.

Smitty: Go KingsleyCake.

Dan: Yeah, that's a good one too.

Smitty: KingsleyCake was popping on the voice channel earlier.

Dan: Speaking of retail stores, I made the mistake of buying a version of that game, but I didn't realize they were... it was the European version that didn't work with my Wii, so I was very upset about that when I got it home. I was like... And they were like, "Hey, we didn't..." I mean, if I look at the cover, you can tell it's got the different symbol –

Smitty: Oh, yeah, the PEGI or whatever or something.

Erik: Yeah, it's the PEGI rating.

Dan: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Smitty: But is it a PAL format? Is that what it is? It's formatted for PAL not NTSE?

Dan: Yeah, exactly. So it's... And all the voices are British. I did end up getting it to work, but all the voices in it are British, which is weird.

Erik: And then the last person that commented on their favorite was WhatsAMod, and Smitty you'll appreciate this one, he chose Prince of Persia.

Smitty: Oh, yeah.

Dan: That's a good game.

Erik: Yeah.

Smitty: Good for him.

Erik: That's definitely a PC classic back in the day, back in the day.

Smitty: Yeah. Well, and he's a hacker.

Erik: Oh, yeah.

Smitty: WhatsAMod, he's a hacker PC dude man.

Erik: That's right.

Dan: What if you had to watch the movie version of the video game that you've chose as well?

Smitty: Yeah.

Erik: Oh, we're going to get to that.

Dan: So you have to watch...

Erik: We're going to get to that later. That's –

Smitty: Yep.

Dan: Prince of Persia was not a good movie.

Smitty: I'm going... I'm going to tell you mine right now, Max Payne.

Erik: Probably a better movie. All right, so just for fun, I also asked them, what would be the worse game to get stuck? And some people took it in an interesting direction, so NinjaGuyX said, Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time.

Smitty: Oh, I was going to say Prince of Persia.

Erik: Ouch, ouch.

Dan: Jeff.

Erik: Smangerang brought some, I think this is a SNES game, and it's called Captain Novolin.

Smitty: Do you know that one? I don't even know –

Dan: Nope, never heard of it.

Erik: Yeah, talk about obscure. Locke said, Astral Chain, which just came out for the Switch this last year. But their reasoning was is that the game got really frustrating to them, and so it would be hell to be stuck with that. KingsleyCake went for my... went for one of my least favorites, Troll and I. I think that was pandering.

Smitty: You think?

Erik: Yeah. Zimzallabim went for Dragon Age 2, they said that that just straight up stunk, it was garbage.

Smitty: Yeah, yeah.

Erik: And then Snare,  also was pandering to me, and said Chicken Range, which I will say is my least favorite Switch game.

 

[BREAK]

 

Erik: Welcome back to Fire Flower, from paper to pixels. My micro documentary looking at the history of Nintendo. If you've missed part one, be sure to listen to episode five of the Games you Deserve podcast, where I covered the humble beginnings of Nintendo in 1889 through the founder Fusajiro Yamauchi’s retirement in 1929 leaving the future of the company in the hands of Sekiryo Yamauchi. Tucked away on an unassuming street near the Kamo River in the Shimogyo Ward of Kyoto Prefecture, Nintendo's new headquarters was under construction. The building, completed in 1930, is styled in the art deco design of the era, and to this day retains a pair of signs, one in Japanese and one in English, that mark the building with the name of the famous tenant. Nintendo would remain headquartered at this location until 1959. The building is currently owned by an asset management company controlled by the Yamauchi family. In 2021, the facility is set to become a 20-room hotel with restaurant, bar, gym, and spa. And the asset management company has assured Nintendo that the building's historic roots will be maintained for future generations. In 1933, Sekiryo lead the company to a slight name change, establishing the unlimited partnership, Yamauchi Nintendo and Company. This signified the growth that Nintendo had experienced becoming largely the most successful playing card company in Japan. This growth would continue through Sekiryo's tenure as the president of Nintendo. Eventually, leading to the establishment of the Marufuku Company Limited in 1947, which was now its own separate entity for the manufacture and distribution of the playing cards produced by Nintendo. Although most of the 1940s were filled with solid growth for Nintendo, the decade was book ended by unfortunate events. On January 1 of 1940, at the age of 80, Nintendo's founding father Fusajiro Yamauchi suffered a stroke and passed away. In 1948, a second tragedy struck, when Sekiryo Yamauchi also suffered a stroke and was forced to retire the following year, due to his poor health conditions. Although largely a quiet tenure, Sekiryo lead Nintendo during a time of early maturation. Nearing his death, Sekiryo handed control of Nintendo over to his grandson, Hiroshi Yamauchi, a mere 21-year-old college student at the time. Sekiryo passed away in 1951 and yet another new chapter of Nintendo was beginning. Under Hiroshi's leadership in 1951 the company was renamed yet again, this time to Nintendo Karuta Company Limited. The word karuta in Japanese is derived from the Portuguese word carta, or card. Two years later, in 1953, Nintendo became the first company in Japan to begin mass producing playing cards from plastic. Plastic cards generally have greater durability. The company's ability to produce a high quality product as an industry leader lead to an unlikely partnership with Disney. Over 600,000 sets of Disney playing cards were sold by Nintendo in a single year. A tremendous success by any definition and an early sign of entry into a market for children's toys and games, where Nintendo would continue to find success. But before the eventual turn towards youth entertainment, Hiroshi began to diversify and branch out into other areas of business. The first experiment was the founding of Daiya, or diamond, in 1960. Daiya was a taxi service, which although successful, had cost control issues stemming from continuous negotiation with taxi driver unions, whose high salary and benefits demands, eventually drove Hiroshi to sell the company, which still operates to this day. The 1960s were about to be a strange decade for Nintendo, and it only gets weirder from here.

 

[BREAK]

 

Erik: We were talking about Coronavirus earlier, and although the little TurboGrafx-16 mini has been delayed due to that, they did release the PC engine mini in Japan. So they've got their own little mini console version of that that's out and available. It's got... It's chocked full of games. It's kind of neat, because that was not a system... at least when I think of the United States version of the TurboGrafx-16, that was very popular. Not as many people got to that. Hell, there's a lot of people that haven't even seen it.

Dan: I felt... I remember wanting to. I remember seeing the ads for it and going, "Man, I really want to try that system." When I was a kid and watching like the Bonk's Adventure and Splatterhouse and those games, I really did want to try those out. But I did play it at some friends, but I never actually had it myself.

Erik: Gates of Thunder or Gate of Thunder. I think it was Gates of Thunder, I think, was one of the other games on there.

Dan: Okay.

Erik: Like a shooter.

Dan: Lords of Thunder. I'm looking at the list right here.

Erik: Is it Lords of Thunder?

Dan: Lords of Thunder, yeah. Just like in Thor, The Lord of Thunder.

Erik: I thought we called him, Sparkles.

Dan: Yeah, so that's –

Erik: Sparkles.

Dan: So yeah, that is one of the games here on... I'm looking at the list of the games on the –

Erik: It was like a shooter, like a space shooter that I... That came on a disc, I think, that had... or it came built into the system or something with a demo of that and then it had Bonk's Adventure and Bonk's Adventure 2 all in one thing, like a menu where you could pick from those. I always thought that was fascinating. It was like, "Oh, man you get three of these games all at one shot like that."

Dan: Well, what's interesting about this mini system is that it's got games from the original system and the CD system.

Erik: Yeah.

Dan: And this stuff put all together. It's got all these games from all these different systems all in one platform, which is kind of cool.

Erik: Yeah, definitely cool. What do you think about all these mini consoles that are coming out?

Smitty: I mean, it's... There's two things. Like the Play-Asia... I mean, just depending... From a collectability standpoint, it's kind of one of those things that you say, "Well, I want the actual hardware as the collection." And then I think a lot of them are going to be just the games, like... Don't you remember the things that they used to sell like I got a lot of them where they were teeny, tiny little miniature versions of an arcade game?

Erik: Oh, yeah.

Smitty: And they would come with like Pac-Man and Galaga

Erik: Oh, yeah.

Smitty: ... and stuff, and you just plugged it right into the R or the –

Erik: They still sell those.

Smitty: Yeah, right. And the games onboard, and it's just kind... and it's a control... it is the controller. It all comes down to the games, really. It's like... Because I would buy 15 of those teeny, tiny little plug and plays, just because I like each one of the games. But if they did have one that had a 100 games on it, I would buy that too. So I mean, I don't know, it's just you've got to like the games you'd be able to play on it, and then I guess it's worth it, and it's very portable. I guess, that's the other part. You don't... You can literally throw it in your backpack, take it with you, take it with you everywhere. And that also makes it kind of cool. It's not a Switch like that... I don't know, maybe I'm wrong. Those are the only things I see value in them. I'm not a real collector of that kind of stuff.

Dan: Well the only way to get the experience is to have either the real system and have the real games, like a collector, or if you don't have the resources to buy that kind of stuff, you can get one of these things. And get, for example, the Genesis mini has 40 games, and you get 40 Genesis games on this thing to play, right? And it's a bit of nostalgia. You can play all these cool games you played as a kid.

Erik: Well, and the really good ones, like the Genesis one or the one's Nintendo has put out, they get in with the details and so the case... Yeah, it's just a tiny version of that. It really does look a lot like what you originally had, but I got to tell you the best thing about it for me, when I bought these as each one's come out, is the controller. Because they've, pretty much in each instance, recreated the original controller, pretty much, down to everything. It's the same feel, the same weight, the same buttons. They're so darn close to the original, and that's what to me makes a big difference in playing a game is how that controller feels.

Dan: Yeah, because you can download an older Nintendo game on the Switch through their store, you can download the old Mario games, but you're playing it on a Switch controller, and that's not the same as playing it on a Super Nintendo controller, if you're playing Super Mario World, right? You want to play that on the original Super Nintendo controller.

Erik: Yeah, it feels more authentic, when you do that. It's just got a different look to it. Plus they've got the menu options, where you can do things like turning on scan lines, to make it look a little bit more like an old school CRT kind of thing.

Smitty: Oh, my lord. That's the best –

Erik: Oh, yeah, they go all out man. They go all out. You can really do it. And then there's this subculture of these things or modifying them. I got really heavy into that when the NES one first came out. Got... Kind of wanted to figure out what this thing was, and when you took it apart, it turns out that the chips on it them are pretty much the same as like a cell phone, I'll say. It's not exact, but it's close. A little ARM processor with some basic stuff on the board. And so at that point, once people figured that out, and they're like, "Oh, if you just do these things, you solder this here, we can dig in and figure out how this thing works, and we can figure out how to debug it and all that." And they did. Every single one of these little mini consoles has been completely deconstructed and now you can find these apps to download and add games. It's kind of nuts. But at their core, I still think it's this nostalgia, like you said. You get something that looks just like the original, feels just like the original, and then you just hope that it plays like the original.

Dan: Well, you hope you're as good as you remember you being when you played that game when you were younger –

Erik: And I'm not.

Smitty: And you never are.

Erik: And I'm not, no. I'm not that young anymore.

Dan: Now the only downside to this is that it is... I mean, I guess, what you're talking about there when they crack it and jailbreak it or whatever, they can add games to it. Is that what they're doing with that?

Erik: That is what they're doing with that.

Dan: Yeah.

Erik: Some of them have some room.

Dan: So that's –

Erik: Some storage on them –

Dan: Yeah.

Erik: ... you know?

Dan: So it's too bad that's the way you have to do it, because I would love to be able to add more games to this without having to go through all that.

Erik: Right, legally.

Dan: I wish there was legitimate... Yeah, a legitimate way to actually buy a download or something, I don't know, and then actually just add more games to the system down the... So I think that's an opportunity they're missing, because they could be selling these games individually as DLC, as add-on content. But then you have to put a modem in it or something.

Erik: Even if it was like bulk... These things because they look just like the originals, even if you had a way to stick like a little cartridge that had a memory card on it, where you could... This one comes with another 10 games, buy that for 20 bucks, and plug that in. I think they did definitely miss the boat on that one.

Dan: So like what do they expect, people to buy a whole new one when they come out with another version with new games? People aren't going to do that.

Erik: It really hasn't happened. They've pretty much... Each one has just come out with... With one exception, I think Neo Geo has come out with multiple versions of that in Japan, and sometimes the game has changed. But pretty much across the board it's been, here's the NES one, here's the Super Nintendo one, here's the Genesis one, here's the PlayStation one, which by the way, missed the mark. The PlayStation one –

Dan: Now, you say that... I was just going to say. I'm looking at the games here, it actually has Grand Theft Auto, speaking of that, it has the original Grand Theft Auto. And it has Metal Gear Solid, which was one of my favorite games for the PlayStation. It's got some good games here.

Erik: It's got some good games there, but there's still some other games that are maybe missing I'll say.

Dan: Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, that's weird. That's a weird one.

Erik: Right, there's some choices that you kind of go, "Really?" And with –

Dan: I.Q.: Intelligent Qube.

Erik: Which is an interesting and unique game, but I don't know, I never found that one to be fun.

Dan: No.

Erik: But there's only like 20 games on that one.

Dan: Yeah, that's not enough. Maybe they felt because the PlayStation was higher up the tier than a Super Nintendo, they didn't have to put as many games in it, but that's not the case at all.

Erik: No, I don't think that's the case. I think the only company that can get away with that and win is Nintendo, just because –

Dan: Yeah.

Erik: ... they've got the entire brand behind it so.

Dan: Mr. Driller, this is one of the PlayStation games. Mr. Driller.

Erik: Mr. Driller's not bad. Mr. Driller is not bad.

Dan: Okay.

Erik: You should try that one.

Dan: Okay, I will try that one.

Erik: You should try that one.

Dan: I'll go get myself a PlayStation mini and try that one.

Erik: Yeah, they did –

Dan: Because I don't know how else I'm going to play that.

Erik: They did not put the analog... the dual shock as the controller though. They gave you the original.

Dan: Yeah, well that was the original PlayStation controller. That's right.

Smitty: That seems –

Erik: I didn't like that though, because I always thought that the thumb sticks felt really good. It's just a personal preference though, everybody... I'm sure there's others that are like, "No, if I want to play PlayStation One, I have to have it without those." I think there's probably going to e some more of these that eventually come out. There's some other systems out there that somebody's going to want to do.

Erik: Hell, Nintendo will probably release little Nintendo 64 at some point. Or a Game Boy version of it, or something. So –

Smitty: Now, Capcom's going to put out Street Fighter. Arcade, every version of Street Fighter ever made.

Erik: They've already done something like that. They... Capcom put out a... it's basically a two player arcade controller with the word Capcom as the base, and when you plug it in, you get things like Street Fighter 2 and a few of their other games on there. Supposedly, it's not too bad, but I'm not dropping the kind of money that they want for that one.

Smitty: Ken would be very disappointed in you. But, yeah, no it is fun to see the... I think what we're kind of zeroing in a little bit on here too is still just... you know why I enjoy what I'm doing and what we're all still doing and the magic of video games is, it's video games, by definition, it's on a screen, it's not in your hands, it's not football, baseball. Video games, I mean, it's a digital platform. But for as far as I can remember, I have a physical association with so many of the different games. Just what we're talking about. The controller, excuse me, for PlayStation One versus maybe when we were out at the arcade talking about Track and Field, and the pencils and stuff. Like I have a physical association to the digital experience of video games as far as I can remember. So I just think that's kind of interesting. There's not many other forms like that. Like I could say the first time I saw Star Wars, like... Yeah, I remember I stood in line with my mother to go see Empire Strikes Back, but I can't tell you what the seat felt like in the theater, or if I ate popcorn or what kind of soda I drank, right?

Erik: Right.

Smitty: There's not an... It's not that immediate physical association. And so... I think that is kind of interesting how video games have... they bridge both worlds, the fantasy and reality, all the time.

Erik: Yeah. I think that the... That's why I zero in so much on the idea of the controller. Holding the controller in my hand and it feels so identical to the original, because that you can't replicate. I could go online and I could find a ROM of whatever game I want to play and load up an emulator and do that, right? And I could probably do that for free and find it and whatever, and yeah, I get to play the game, and I might even enjoy playing the game. It's not the same as the original experience. That's why the collecting thing is so great, because you can grab a cartridge, grab a controller, plug it in, and have the same experience when you have the physical item in your hand. I really... That... It's such a deep feeling, right? The texture of the controller, the texture of the cartridge –

Smitty: Well, it's part of being human, you know what I mean?

Erik: That's right.

Smitty: I'm just going to say, because we're tricking everybody with visual that are absolutely not real in a physical form by any stretch, but... And so yeah, you... it's trickery. It's fantasy. So I just think it's so interesting how we... I have always had such a physical connection to digital video games. 

 

[BREAK]

 

Erik: I thought it would be great to choose something that is pretty dear to my heart as a gamer. I think back about arcades, the time that I spent in arcades growing up. And I think that arcades kind of had two major periods. You had the late 70s, early, mid-80s, then it kind of fell off for a while, and then the early 90s happened, and there was another resurgence of that. And there's one game in particular that has a whole franchise surrounding it, and primarily Street Fighter 2. Street Fighter 2 and the entire Street Fighter line to be honest.

Dan: What was Street Fighter 1? First of all, let's get that out of the way.

Erik: Street Fighter 1, by Capcom, came out in 1987, okay. And there were actually two different versions of it. Kind of the more interesting one, I think, was the first one, where each player had a joystick and two buttons and the buttons were these giant pressure sensitive buttons, one for kick and one for punch. So you would move your character, whether it was Ryu or Ken, back and forth, up and down, and you would slam your hand on the punch or the kick button. And depending upon how hard you hit it, is whether it was light, medium, or hard in the end result. It's just this really wacky thing. It was really hard to play like that, but when they put it into the six button format, which is what everybody knows, the standard became, then it kind of gained some serious popularity. And they sequel-ed it in '91, and –

Dan: And that gave you so many more characters to play with.

Erik: Yeah, Street Fighter 2 became a true, true phenomenon. If you look at all of the various incarnations of Street Fighter 2, over time, it has grossed, and most of this was in arcades, over $10 billion. Think about that for a minute. One franchise –

Smitty: I love thinking about that.

Dan: Yeah.

Erik: Now, when that first one came out, you could play as each other... When Street Fighter 2, that first Street Fighter 2 came out, you could play as each other, but you couldn't pick the same character. So if I picked Ryu, you couldn't pick Ryu, you had to pick somebody else. If you wanted to play the same kind of character, you had to pick Ken.

Smitty: That's right.

Erik: Right?

Smitty: Yeah, that is right.

Erik: And you couldn't play the enemies. You couldn't play Vega or M. Bison or any of those guys. So they revised it, and they came out with what we know here of Street Fighter 2 Championship Edition.

Smitty: But Street Fighter 1 was... They did it on the Commodore 64, right?

Erik: They did it... They had literally every gaming platform ever and ever computer type ever has had some sort of Street Fighter game.

Smitty: No, but Street Fighter 1, Street Fighter 1.

Erik: Yeah.

Smitty: Yeah. That's where –

Erik: It was crude on that one, but, yeah, you could totally do it. But Street Fighter 2 was really where it grabbed hold, and it started creating a mass frenzy and arcades became popular again. Pretty much, literally, just because of Street Fighter 2.

Dan: Yeah, I remember playing it actually at a local 7-Eleven, when they used to still have arcade games at our 7-Eleven, and I would go... I was in high school and I would go there on break and go across the street to the 7. We'd just play each other and it was just like the old arcades, where you'd put our quarter down and, "Okay, I got next dibs, I'll take him on." And to be fair, I don't remember that first version of Street Fighter. I only remember the version in which you could choose the enemies. So I was always... I'm sorry, was it Balrog? What's his name? Why am I saying Balrog? Why can't I remember that guy’s name? The green guy.

Erik: Mm... Yeah, Blanka is what you're thinking.

Dan: Blanka. Blanka, Balrog? It's like that's the Lord of the Rings monster.

Erik: Yeah. Well, Balrog is also –

Smitty: Blanka's from Brazil.

Erik: ... from Street Fighter. Yes, Blanka was from –

Dan: Oh, he is a Street Fighter, okay.

Erik: Yeah.

Dan: Yeah, that's right. So I always picked him, because I liked the little spin move he could do. That little kind of cannonball, shoot across the screen, and I thought it was really easy, because you just kind of twirled the joystick really quickly and you could get it.

Erik: Yep.

Dan: I basically chose my players based on the ease of their special moves, so that's all I did.

Erik: Well, I remember that the game... I was in middle... I'm really dating myself on this. I was in middle school when all the Street Fighter hype was happening, and we had at least three stores in this corner mall by the middle school that had it. There was a baseball card shop that had one. There was a video rental store, a family owned, not a Blockbuster, a family owned video rental store that had one, and then right next to that was a little pizzeria. So what would happen is that all the kids would run over into this area and you'd go into one of these places and just play Street Fighter all afternoon, when you were supposed to be doing homework.

Smitty: Yeah, but here's... I did do one little bit of research on this. I wanted to ask you about this señor Erik. Did you or have you ever played the... You were right with that Balrog, but there was a Japanese version of Street Fighter 2 that had Mike Tyson in it, but he was named M. Bison.

Erik: Yes, that's the original Japanese name. But when they were marketing that and wanted to bring that over to the United States, they were worried about signing that to the fighter's name, and having Mike Tyson potentially sue them –

Smitty: Or beat them up.

Erik: ... so they shifted... yeah. They shifted three of the characters names, so that he became Balrog in the United States. And his name went to, who we all know in the red suit, the main enemy of the game, the final boss, and then that character’s name was Vega, and they moved that to the Spanish character that wore a claw and a mask. The hype and phenomenon around Street Fighter 2... I mean, Street Fighter 2, it's spawned multi... there's like 17 different versions of Street Fighter 2. There are... A whole series of Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter 2I, which has multiple versions, Street Fighter 4, which has multiple versions, Street Fighter 5, which by the way, in February they just came out with Street Fighter 5 Championship Edition on consoles, so that's just... It continues to this day. There was a 3D fighting version, called Street Fighter EX, which had a few different versions. Here's another one for you, this was even more interesting to me, just because it's going back in the day, Capcom brought characters in from Final Fight. Do you remember Final Fight?

Smitty: Yeah.

Dan: Yes.

Erik: So Final Fight you could pick Guy, Cody, or Haggar, and you just got –

Dan: I always chose Haggar.

Erik: Yeah, and you go down through all the different streets and just beat the crap out of people, eventually. Good stuff.

Dan: He was the big guy. He was the really big guy.

Erik: Yes. Yeah, the one that wore just pants.

Dan: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Because that's all I did was, I just wore pants. I identified with the character.

Smitty: Oh, my God.

Erik: There was also a whole spin-off of versus series, so Marvel got involved with this and created, with Capcom, the Marvel vs Capcom series. There are other ones though that came before that, like X-Men vs Street Fighter. And even before that, the X-Men had their own fighting game before that, was X-Men Children of the Atom, if I remember correctly. And Akuma, from Street Fighter, Akuma was a hidden character in that. Then there's the other series they spun off, like Super Puzzle Fighter, which I think you mentioned, there was a Puzzle Fighter on the PlayStation mini.

Dan: That's right, yep.

Erik: Super Gem Fighter. Rival Schools has a character by the name of Sakura, who is a character also in the Street Fighter series. Now, we talk about that, that's all the video game stuff, but Street Fighter was like a massive phenomenon outside of that, and I'm sure you guys remember, probably, one of the best worst movies of all time, the Street Fighter movie.

Smitty: Yeah.

Dan: Saw that in the theater man.

Smitty: Now, what did the seats feel like?

Dan: The seats were hard and uncomfortable, and the popcorn was stale.

Smitty: So you do remember.

Erik: And still better than the movie.

Dan: That's right, still better than the movie. Yeah, no, I was... That was a weird one. I tell you, I was excited to see it, and... Because not only did I like Street Fighter, but I liked Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Erik: Of course.

Dan: I was excited that they cast him in that. I was like, "Wow, this is going to be a great action movie." And it just did not turn out to be that at all.

Erik: You didn't buy Jean-Claude Van Damme as Guile the American Army guy?

Dan: No. You mean, the American Army, blond, surfer guy? He's like –

Erik: With the strange accent?

Smitty: With the beret, that just didn't fit. It's like that beret doesn't fit.

Dan: No, that was a stretch.

Smitty: All right, but don't forget Raul Julia was in that bad boy and I mean, you know? I mean, he's –

Dan: Yes.

Erik: As M. Bison.

Smitty: He's the one... He'll save anything.

Erik: Unfortunately, Raul Julia was extremely sick during the filming of this movie. It was one of his last, it might have even been his last movie.

Dan: It was his last movie, yeah.

Erik: He was... He had terminal cancer, and the only reason he took the role was because his kids loved Street Fighter so much that he wanted to make them happy, which everybody that was on the set with him, said that he put every ounce of energy that he had left into performing for that movie. And he's absolutely one of the best parts of the movie, absolutely.

Dan: He's done some great lines, "For me, it was just Tuesday," that was a good one.

Erik: Yes.

 

[BREAK]

 

Erik: Get this, this is 1994 when this movie came out and even back then worldwide, the movie grossed almost, it's so close, almost $100 million.

Smitty: Yeah, and it... Hold on, it was a Christmas release. It was a –

Erik: Yes, 22nd or something or 23rd something like that.

Smitty: Yeah, it was a Christmas release of that year. So yeah, and that was probably... I don't know, I wonder if that... how much of a success that was considered in '94. I don't even quite know.

Dan: Well, that's not bad. A 100 million is – 

Erik: It's something like the 60th highest domestic movie that year.

Smitty: Oh, wow. No, I don't know. Well, I didn't see it.

Erik: What do you mean you didn't see it?

Smitty: No, I didn't see it at the theater. I didn't see it at the theater.

Erik: Oh, I was going to say.

Smitty: Yeah, I didn't see it –

Erik: I do have one other thing to work in about the movie.

Smitty: Oh.

Erik: So the movie also... So the movie's based on a game, obviously. But they also released a game for the movie. There's Street Fighter: The Movie, the game that came out in the arcades and on some consoles.

Smitty: That is a licensing triple lindy.

Erik: Yes, exactly. To be able to wrap that around and then come right back full circle. So what they did for this is, unlike the other Street Fighter games where it was artwork that they used for the sprites, this one they, much along the lines of its rival Mortal Kombat, they digitized the actors and actresses, and used them, their digital images, in the fighting moves for the game, and those were the sprites. With a couple of interesting exceptions, like Raul, he was not able to do all the fight stuff for the digitization at the time. So what they did was they used a head for him in portions of the game, but then the character moves were a totally different actor. But, yeah, they digitized people and released a fighting game. It's definitely not the best Street Fighter game in the series, I'll say that. It's not terrible, it's playable. It's just not the best.

Dan: I'm trying to see if it's available anywhere to watch. I kind of wanted to watch this movie now.

Smitty: Yeah, so sure... It's pretty low rating, so it's probably not carried a lot of places.

Erik: It's a cult classic now, I mean – 

Smitty: It is a cult classic, for sure. I'm pretty sure I bought it on DVD.

Erik: Oh, so you can borrow it Dan. You can –

Smitty: Mm-hmm yeah.

Dan: Oh, there we go, okay.

Smitty: But what I was going to say going back to one of the things you mentioned about Street Fighter 2, and the configuration of the arcade with six buttons and the different colors too. It was blue, red, yellow, or something, right, they had, and then I remember going and... I don't know the early 2000s, everybody had those boards... I forget the manufacturer of the most popular one, that would be playing competitive. They'd be going and taking their own... what is it? Who's the manufacturer of that actual controller board that competitive Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat players were taking around to different competitions? You know what I mean? It was just like... The name of that thing.

Erik: The Hori Fight Stick type – k

Smitty: Is that what it... Is that what it... Is it –

Erik: Well, I mean, there's a number of them.

Smitty: I wanted you to say whorey, not –

Erik: Yeah, I bet you did.

Smitty: I thought I was trapping you. But yeah, those... I didn't want to call it something incorrect. I remember how those were customizable, and the kids and the adults that would configure those buttons differently as well, just based on the way your hand laid on that thing or whatever. And I thought, "Wow, how amazing is it now, that you could pull that board off..." Because remember standing up at the arcade, man, there was only one angle you had on that, and I'm pretty sure part of the problems I had with it, at least, one vertebrae in my back had to have come from the way I stood in front of arcade games to get the right angles on those buttons. But any way, just once again the other... just being strange with my physical ties to all these games. It once again goes back to just having the –

Erik: No, but you hit on the fact that there's an incredibly competitive C note there where people are... huge tournaments and... they call it... I guess, they call it eSports or whatever, right? That's the kind of stuff that's happening out there as far as people competing. They still play the original Street Fighter game, like they don't... Well, they're playing the new stuff as well, but a lot of them still like that original Street Fighter too.

Smitty: Oh, yeah. I remember going to Halo tournaments in, God dang, was it like 2004 or something. I was trying to remember when Halo went competitive, but they were playing on 24 inch CRT monitors, because they're just watching pixels, man. They're... And they... And if you didn't have 24 inch CRT that's... there was no other thing to play on, that was it, you're not playing. And then they'd just sit there very uncomfortable leaning forward on their chair. But yeah, that's when I realized there was a difference... Man, I'll tell you the old CRT monitors and then the beautiful 8K stuff that you can play with now, there was an advantage to some of the older less, let's call them, beautiful resolution type monitors. But there was an advantage to gaming in some ways just because of the monitor. The monitor gave away secrets of the game, if you knew what to look for, and... So anyway, that's... Everybody was always telling me, "I'm not aiming for a character, I'm just looking at pixels."

Erik: Well, I mean, when you're playing FPS games, I mean, you're not... You're doing the same thing, you're just clicking heads, right? You're just trying to click on heads, click this head, click that head as it goes by.

Smitty: And I was never a good... That's what we used to call Twitch gamers. That's what everybody called first person shooters, were Twitch gamers. And I was like, "Yeah, I'm not much of a Twitch gamer." I realized I was, not too old, I mean, I was making games, I was in my 20s, but I just preferred strategy games. I was playing Sim City, Age of Empires that kind of stuff. That I love that... Monster Truck Madness, loved driving games. But I was never good at Twitch gaming. And of course, everybody now knows Twitch as one of the greatest streaming channel or streaming platforms, and by the way, that's where the name came from. If you want to look it up. I guarantee you Jeff Bezos did not invent that name.

Erik: No, no he did not. I think that we are out of quarters for the day, so I think that's about all we can play today. I want to tell you that I am Erik.

Smitty: And I'm Smitty.

Dan: I'm Dan.

Erik: And until next time this: Game over.