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Gaming History You Should Know – The PokePark March 10, 2019

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It’s Sunday, Happy Mario Day everyone! I know I should coincide today’s look at Gaming History You Should Know with something Super Mario related, but this piece of gaming trivia is too good to ignore.

Ever since Nintendo signed a deal with Universal Studios, Theme Park fans have been eagerly anticipating Pokémon coming to a theme park in some way. Very few people remember that Pokémon have previously appeared in a Theme Park of their own, because the Park only existed for a brief time. I’m talking of course about the PokéPark, which operated in Japan in 2005 and in Taiwan in 2006.

But what was the PokéPark? What could you do in it? How much did it cost? The YouTube Channel Expedition Theme Park is one of the definitive YouTube Channels I look at when researching the history of Theme Parks, rides, and attractions all over the world. I don’t know if it was because I requested it or not, but almost a week after I asked him to look into the history of the PokéPark this video was posted! Check it out.

This is a great video. Thanks again to Expedition Theme Park for letting us feature them today! If you wanted to look up information about any theme parks, whether they’re defunct or still operating, I totally recommend checking them out.

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Gaming History You Should Know – Sonic the Hedgehog’s Theme Park Legacy March 3, 2019

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It’s Sunday, and that means the time is right for an all new look at Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced content about gaming history. Today, we will be looking at the work of video creator Badnik Mechanic, and his videos about the blue streak that comes seeking through, Sonic The Hedgehog!

In the early to mid-90s, SEGA dominated the gaming landscape. The SEGA Genesis console was the first commercially successful 16-Bit game console in the United States, and a big reason for the console’s success came from the console’s hit game, Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic quickly became the Genesis console’s official mascot and a slew of new games starring the blue hedgehog would get released on a regular basis. The launch of new Sonic games quickly became major events, and SEGA held special events to celebrate their release featuring the characters they created. Over the years there have been dozens of official Sonic costumes that have been used at press events and theme parks. Badnik Mechanic painstakingly documented each and every one of those costumes, where they were used, and talked about how accurate they are.

Anyone who lived in the mid-90s knows the rest of the story. Following the success of his games, Sonic’s popularity exploded into other mediums. At least two different Sonic The Hedgehog cartoon shows were broadcasted, tons of Sonic comic books hit shelves, and I even remember some young adult Sonic novels were sold in bookstores. However, that’s not where Sonic‘s popularity stopped. A big component of Theme Parks are the attractions and shows and there have been Sonic the Hedgehog themed stage shows at various venues all over the world. This is a rare honor for a video game, as I can only think of two other game properties, Pokémon and Mortal Kombat, which had a live-action stage show. Once again, Badnik did a meticulous history of all the shows he could find, enjoy.

Sonic‘s theme park history is not limited to mere stage shows and character meet and greets. Alton Towers is one of the most popular theme parks in the U.K. and it has been the subject of many in-depth documentaries. What I didn’t know was that at one point it actually had a Sonic The Hedgehog roller coaster based on Sonic Spinball. Where I’m from, we typically name roller coasters after superheroes, so naming a coaster after the Blue Blur seems like a no-brainer. Let’s see how it happened and what it was like!

If you’d like a closer look at the Sonic The Hedgehog themed suite you could book at the Alton Towers hotel, Badnik Mechanic got a closer look at it when he stayed at the hotel a few years ago. Take a look!

Outside of the US, Sonic’s popularity branched out even further. SEGA opened a series of popular arcades in the U.K. called SEGA WORLD. The places were gaming utopias filled with SEGA arcade machines and tons of decorations featuring SEGA’s most popular characters. People from the states who grew up in the 90s would have a better time equating them to the more recent Dave & Busters arcade chain. Sadly, many of these arcades are no longer in operation, or have lost their license with SEGA. With all this hard work and high quality crafting going into creating Sonic the Hedgehog decor for these venues, do any of them still exist? Yes, at least one or two of them have been found. Here’s a video detailing the history of a rare statue found somewhere in the mountain roads of Japan.

So that is our look at the history of Sonic’s Theme Park Legacy! I want to thank Badnik Mechanic for letting me feature his work on this site. You should totally check out his videos, they’re well written, well researched, and well edited. If you ever were a fan of Sonic The Hedgehog his videos are a great trip through memory lane.

Gaming History You Should Know – No More Heroes Retrospective January 20, 2019

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It’s Sunday and welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know, where we feature some of the best fan-created content from across the entire internet. On Friday, the Nintendo Switch saw the release of Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, the third game in the No More Heroes series.

No More Heroes has been a franchise that we’ve covered in the past but haven’t been able to give an in-depth discussion as of late. The games were directed by Suda51 and follow the exploits of Travis Touchdown, a gamer who tries to become the world’s greatest assassin. The game’s themes are deeply rooted in gaming, anime, and Japanese culture and hold a special place in my heart. While the newest game has been considered by most critics and fans to be a spin-off of the original games, it does follow story and plot from the first two games in the NMH franchise.

YouTube creator GhenryPerez is a big fan of game developers like Platinum Games and Grasshopper Manufacture. He’s also a big fan of the work of Suda51, and has created an ongoing analysis series of his games, Deadly Individualism. Up to this point GhenryPerez has featured six of Suda51’s games in that series, starting with Killer7. It’s a great video series which breaks down every single character in the game, talks about their motivations, and offers some behind the scenes histories on their development. If you ever had any questions about NMH, you need to watch these videos!

Hope you enjoyed these videos while you play Travis Strikes Again. Special thanks to GhentryPerez for letting me link these videos on the site. Check him out on YouTube his videos are great! Click here if you want to watch his most recent video on Lollipop Chainsaw.

No More Heroes and No More Heroes 2 are out now exclusively on Nintendo Wii. Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes is out now exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.

The Night Before Metal Gear December 18, 2018

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Famous voice actor Cam Clarke, who provided the voice of Liquid Snake in the Metal Gear Solid games, has given his fans one of the greatest Christmas gifts ever, a dramatic reading of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. Joining him is another special guest you might remember, David Hayter, the voice of Solid Snake. Every fan of Metal Gear, new and old, needs to watch this!

Gaming History You Should Know [dot]HACK// Retrospective December 9, 2018

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Last year I became obsessed with the .HACK franchise. Created in an incredible partnership between Bandai and Cyberconnect 2, .HACK was one of the first franchises I had ever seen that was designed from the start to be transmedia. At the same time the .HACK games were being released on the PlayStation 2, there was also an animated TV series that tied into different events happening at the same time of the game. The entire franchise revolves around the lives of the players of a VR MMORPG named (literally) The World.

I remembered fondly watching the initial crucial reviews for the first games in this franchise back when G4TV was in its heyday, but as a PC-only gamer at the time who didn’t own a PS2, I could never afford to purchase the original games for myself. By the time I could, their prices had exploded in the second hand market, once again bringing them out of reach.

Last year, NamcoBandai did a great thing and re-released the second (and arguably most beloved) series in the .HACK franchise, .HACK//G.U., on the PS4 and PC. The original animated series like .HACK//Sign have been re-released as DVD boxed sets. I bought up as much of it as I could. However, the original four PS2 games from the franchise were not re-released, and I was disheartened to know I would be going into a game franchise with a big gap of information.

Enter YouTuber Model, who began work on an in-depth series of .HACK// retrospectives at around the same time I was getting to learn more about the franchise’s history. His videos were incredibly paced and exceptionally well edited, with great production values all around. They have been perfect at filling in the essential gaps left out by BandiNamco’s refusal to re-release many of these classic games. Today, Model released his fourth video retrospective on .HACK// Vol 4, completing his retrospective of the original PS2 .HACK// quadrilogy. You can watch each of them below, with each video covering one of the four games in their entirety. Be aware, there will be spoilers, but my guess is if you’re watching this it’s because you want this information.

I have to admit I am grateful for one thing, the fact that much of the .HACK// franchise has been re-released over the past few years. I’ve even seen soundtrack albums available for purchase at import stores. However, there are still several original games (and one film) that never was released outside of Japan, and these four older games from the first series fetch astronomical prices on the secondhand market. I would prefer to see NamcoBandai (or BandaiNamco) re-release these four fondly remembered games (as well as everything that was previously Japan-Only) on modern systems. They still own the franchise and Cyberconnect2 clearly still has a soft spot for the franchise they created, so there is literally no reason not to.

At some point I would like to take a closer look at the franchise but this is more than enough for now! Special thanks to Model for letting us feature his videos here on the site. You can also read his Twitter here. Great work buddy! Model promises to continue his retrospective series with a look at the .HACK//G.U. games, but he expects those to take a while.

.HACK// Episodes 1-4 are out now exclusively on the PlayStation 2.

Rest In Peace, Stan Lee November 12, 2018

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It is my unfortunate duty to inform you all that the man known to the world as Stan “The Man” Lee, creator of some of the greatest comic book characters ever, has died at the age of 95. His life’s career is far too long to include in this brief posting, but I felt that something needed to be said about his passing and why he had such a tremendous impact on me as a person.

The Man joined Marvel Comics during its golden age and was inspired by greats such as Joe Simon (creator of Captain America) and Jack “King” Kirby. He would then go on to start what would become the Marvel Universe with the first issue of Fantastic Four. He didn’t stop there, he would go on to create and co-create more great heroes including Spider-Man, The Hulk, and Daredevil. These weren’t Gods, these were men and women with problems like you and me, characters with pathos. The Fantastic Four had to live their super hero and their private lives in the open. If a supervillian decided to attack their home, they would run the risk of getting sued by their neighbors who could have gotten caught up in the unfortunate crossfire. Spider-Man was a gifted scientist and photographer but always had problems making ends meet. The X-Men were constantly harassed and scapegoated due to the fact that they were born Mutants. The fact the X-Men used their mutant abilities to protect humans from the mutants who wished to do harm was always conveniently forgotten by the world press. Daredevil received his powers from the accident which permanently blinded him, making him one of the first disabled super-heroes in history.

Being the creator of some of the most enduring modern fiction over the past fifty years gave him plenty of opportunities to sit and chat with the public. He has made countless appearances at fan conventions and appears in tons of documentaries about the history of the comics industry. Over a decade ago, he sat for an extended interview with Warner Bros Pictures as they prepared a documentary on the history of their Batman films. Stan was actually good friends with the late Bob Kane (co-creator of Batman) and provided some insight on the comics industry at the time. Most people interviewed for the documentary were credited by their name and title or role when appearing on screen. For example Jack Nicholson was credited as The Joker, Tim Burton’s credit was Director/Producer. In that documentary Stan Lee’s credit was simply “The Man”, the most fitting title he has ever been given and that is how I’ve referred to him ever since.

Most people probably remember Stan’s first major film appearance as himself in the Kevin Smith film Mallrats. I think Hollywood considers him good luck, because he has appeared in personal cameos in countless Marvel films since then. Most recently he appeared as Peter Parker’s bus driver in Avengers: Infinity War. Sometimes he has even played himself, like in the film Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, where he tried to attend the wedding of Mr Fantastic and Sue Storm but was rejected for not being on the guest list. I would like to think the issue was rectified and he was allowed to attend before the ceremony began. He made a surprise digital appearance in the recent Spider-Man game for the PS4. He is even in the preshow video for Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout ride at Disney’s California Adventure Park.

Rest In Peace. Long Live The Man.

Gaming History You Should Know – The Flash Animations of Ubergeek.tv November 4, 2018

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Welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced content from all over the web. Back in the annals of Internet history was a now-defunct website called Ubergeek.tv. It featured some unique flash content, ranging from videos to simple games. If there was an all-encompassing theme to his content, it was that it was revolving around Linux and Open Source software. It was some of the most humorous and eye-catching internet content of all time.

If the site is so good why haven’t I included a direct hyperlink to it, you ask? It would be pointless. Sadly, the site is no longer functional, and if you were to visit its url you would find nothing. What did this mean to the site’s content? Thankfully many of the best videos produced for it have been reposted on YouTube and we are going to take a look at some of them here. Let’s take a look at memory lane shall we?

Do many of you still remember the successful Switch to Mac ads of the 2000s? Honestly, I didn’t like them. While the actors who starred in them were decent with great chemistry, Apple would gloss over the information they provided about their computers in a way I felt was borderline unethical. This parody video on the other hand is just great. Here’s Ubergeek’s take on it, which I feel could only have been inspired if not from himself than from the words of a proud Mac owner.

Next up are some of his Linux related videos. Here’s a different parody of the Switch to Mac commercial only this time it’s about switching to Linux. If you were a supervillian wouldn’t you use Linux?

You like Linux? You like toast? Who wouldn’t like Intellitoast? I was seriously considering building a computer like this after seeing this video.

Next up is a short run of an animated flash game he produced called Penguin Blood Ninja Fiasco. In it you play a ninja penguin tasked to save open source software from evil lawyers. It was heavily inspired by the legal challenges to the GPL in the early 00s. The game itself is no longer playable but there is a full walkthrough video of the game online with its intro and outro included.

That’s just a look at some of the site’s content that has made its way back online, but not everything has been reposted. So far, his henchman soundboard and his final animation, Geeks in Love (which I have seen in its entirety and believe to be a masterpiece) has not been reposted but we will post a follow up with this article when it does. Special thanks to the original creator of the site who let me feature these videos on here. He told me he just enjoys making content and he’s happy for all the love he’s gotten for them!

Gaming History You Should Know – Virtua Fighter RPG August 26, 2018

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In the 90s, fighting games utterly dominated the arcade market. Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat II were probably the two biggest games I can remember from my arcade-playing days. They were just great to play, had great graphics, decent realism, and didn’t shy away from showing blood. However, these games kept the fighting to a 2D perspective, which limited a player’s options. Then, out of nowhere, Sega released Virtua Fighter.

Directed by Game God Yu Sazuki, Virtua Fighter revolutionized arcades by being the first ever 3D fighting game. The transition to 3D added a whole new depth (pardon the pun) to the genre. Players could now strafe their opponents in a 3D environment. Character models could now be made in 3D, laying the groundwork for an entirely new updated art style. And of course, players would now run the risk of getting knocked out of their fighting space.

It’s Sunday, welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced documentaries on gaming history. Today, in honor of the release of Shenmue I & II earlier in the week, we are going to highlight the special project that would eventually serve as the basis for that franchise, the Virtua Fighter RPG. This was a project that Yu Sazuki began to work on in the final days of the Sega Saturn. His intention was to tell a story in eleven chapters, provide unlimited environment interactivity and keep the fighting system that defined Virtua Fighter completely intact. Sadly, it was not to be, the game was never released.

So what came of this game, and why do I bring it up on the week of the re-release of Shenmue I & II? I’ll let YouTuber YuriofWind take it from here with an episode of his series, Gaming Mysteries.

Special thanks to YuriofWind for letting me feature his video on the site. If you’d like to check out more of his Gaming Mysteries video, you can visit his YouTube Channel here. For those of you thought this sounded like a great idea and wished this game would have come out, worry no longer. Most of its content will likely find its way into the Shenmue franchise. If you’d like to see more of what this early game footage looked like, you can find early footage here.

Shenmue I & II are out now for the PC, Xbox One and PS4.

Gaming History You Should Know – Sega’s Absolutely Rose Street July 29, 2018

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Its Sunday and that means we’ve got an all-new look into Gaming History You Should Know, where we feature some of the best gaming history documentaries from across the web. Today, we’ll be talking about something so obscure and short-lived, even I hadn’t heard about it until I saw this documentary!

By the mid-90s, Sega was doing everything they could to extend the lifespan of their popular Genesis console until they could release a proper 32-bit game system. While the Genesis was well-received by gamers, it’s expansions, the Sega CD and the Sega 32x, were not as popular. In fact, while many people found several things to like about the Sega CD, there wasn’t much commercial interest in the 32X. Sega needed to do something drastic to change that.

Sega’s marketing department decided to make a 30 minute late-night infomercial to sell the 32x and they called it Absolutely Rose Street. This may sound a bit odd, since modern late-night infomercials typically sell home appliances, but infomercials can be made to sell anything as long as the price is right and this was not the first time Sega made an infomercial to sell something. I mean, who can forget the Sega Channel?

Wrestling with Gaming, who we featured previously on the site, put together another fantastic obscure gaming documentary on this 30-minute Sega produced 32x commercial. Give it a watch!

Gaming History You Should Know – The Gizmondo July 8, 2018

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Welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know, our regular Sunday series where we highlight some of the best content across the web that covers gaming history. One of our favorite channels on YouTube is LGR, short for Lazy Game Reviews. They’re typically the first channel that comes up whenever I look up review for classic PC games from my youth, or closer looks into classic computers like the old IBM PCs.

In 2005, for about a split second, the retailer GameStop devoted a section on their website for a new handheld product called the Gizmondo. I had heard nothing but bad things about it back in the day, and almost as suddenly it appeared, it disappeared. What was it, what could it do that other handhelds of the time couldn’t, and why did it fail? LGR knows, and you should watch his video to get all the answers you need.

For what it was, the Gizmondo was an interesting experiment, but it remains only that. Thanks to LGR for this amazing video and if you want to see more, you can check out all of their great content here!