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Saturday, 16 June 2007
Topic: Video Games
Though not nearly as obsessed as Kei, I, too, have been playing Animal Crossing for DS almost daily since the winter. The main reason is my close friendship with my moody squirrel neighbor, Static. 

Posted by thenovakids at 11:55 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, 31 July 2008 8:49 PM CDT
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Monday, 3 October 2005
Lethally Enforcing Chicago
Topic: Video Games

The Takotron street team recently reinvestigated Lethal Enforcers, the classic arcade shooter, after coming across it in the dungeons of Castle Broadview.

It's still pretty fun, after 13 years, but the graphics aren't any better than those for Pit-fighter, which came out 2 years prior (1990). And remember those pesky innocent bystanders, who pop up and yell "NO!" in the middle of your intense gun battle, and then duck back behind their cubicle? But that's all just getting reacquainted with it. The new discovery, infinitely more relevant personally now than in 1992, is that it takes place in Chicago, sort of.

In the shot of the overhead banner you can see the Chicago skyline beyond the plain-clothes "lethal enforcers." Interestingly, it's a shot from the lake, so maybe they're on a barge or water pumping station or in Gary or something. Also of note: the well-groomed hand clutching the pistol; is the female officer an attempt at gender equality, or a marketing strategy--i.e., this is a potentially good date game, family fun, etc.

Posted by thenovakids at 9:11 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 12:18 AM CDT
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Thursday, 28 April 2005
Topic: Video Games
Ongoing through Sept. 5, 2005 (I think) at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry is the travelling exhibit, Game On, a historical retrospective of video games.

It's a huge project with examples ranging from Space War and Pong, to X-Box or whatever the kids have today. The first room is basically a free video arcade of the past, with Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, Dig Dug, etc. Then it continues with home consoles, mini-systems, and some side attractions, like video game music, one of those nerdy all text-based role playing games, an interactive game for the blind, a section on Japan including Samurai Warriors where you can be Ieyasu Tokugawa and slaughter scores of lesser samurai, etc etc. Expect manic, unruly school groups, but if you get there early (they open at 9:30) and have a little patience (these brats are basically being rushed through there and have minimal attention spans) you can spend all day playing video games for $5. Plus the kids don't appreciate the time-killing endorphin-releasing magic of the first Beatmania (Master Joe knows), or Parappa the Rapper.

A couple complaints: the graphic design around the exhibit is pretty annoying, but I guess it's supposed to be for the kids (who probably don't really care). A lot of the exhibits at the Science and Industry have these overblown spectaclist installations that obscure the content. Lame. Also, I read that in Europe they had some more violent games like Mortal Kombat that they dropped for the Chicago presentation. In fact, no "M"-rated games. LAME!. Can't I just bust out the MK BLOOD CODE for Genesis: A-B-A-C-A-B-B? My right thumb will remember forever. I will take the BLOOD CODE to the grave.


Sunday, 13 March 2005
Topic: Video Games
Greetings from Takotron HQ. First off, you may be wondering about the fascinating neologism you may periodically encounter in the various realms dominated by Takotron. The word, NUDESEXFATBUTT, is not in fact one of our many great products, but rather a spontaneous AI entity traversing our shared beloved lysozomatic cyberworld. While searching for studio apartments, I 'Googled,' as they say, the name of an apartment complex I was interested in, and one of the first search results contained a number of references to the afformentioned neologism (completely unrelated to the apartment I was searching for). You may see see the component terms of the word used in various contexts that are crass, vulgar, inappropriate, and unrelated to the slick professional image we maintain here at Takotron. The word NUDESEXFATBUTT, or rather, the entity denoted by that term, should conjure images of strength and nobility, as well as plumpness and allure.

Moving on to the evenings next subject, we have been experimenting with a number of classic arcade video games through PC emulation. The results range from simply amusing to world-view altering. But probably not. What is most prevelant, and always interesting, is the familiar cultural exchange in Japanese and American video game creation.

Today Japan is the obvious empire of video game technology. In fact, they have game centers aka arcades all over. Why is America's arcade culture dead? Please allow a digression: Nathans Hot Dogs of Commack, the Coney Island chain, had a great arcade but it gradually declined through the 90s and is now completely gone. Actually, before becoming Nathan's, it was Chuck E. Cheeses or however you're supposed to spell that shit, and then it was simply "The Emporium", with broken vestigal remnants of animatronic Chucky Cheeze characters. I had my birthday party there in 4th grade, ca 1990. Perhaps the game Pit-Fighter rocked your 9 year old world, as well. This was the shit, pre-Mortal Kombat blood and photo-based graphics: BRUTALITY BONUS

Malls rarely have arcades anymore, and movie theatres maybe just a few games. But go to Japan and you will find arcades all over with 4 floors of games. You can place real bets on videogame horseraces. But then again, I think I like earlier games more than ones coming out. I like having a temporary but thorough distraction, but I'd rather not have to be involved in an enveloping plot, or, honestly, have to think. To me the side-scrolling fighter represents the pinnacle of video game entertainment. I'm talking Ninja Turtles, Alien v. Predator, Double Dragon, Shinobi, Streets of Rage, etc. Commack Multiplex was where we all saw movies growing up, before the age of nice theatres with good sound and stadium seating. Did you know that there was a stabbing or maybe a shooting after a showing of Boyz n the Hood? Or that someone found a fetus in a toilet in the ladies room? These are the legends of Commack Multiplex. They had a bunch of games, and I remember pumping quarters into Combatribes, which was sort of a lousy cartoony Streets of Rage predecessor:

Now it is time to address the topic of this entry, Nichibei Video-Cultural Exchange, aka the Japan-American Game-Culture Exchange, or the Nichibei Arcade Simulation Transfer and Exchange (N.A.S.T.E., pron. "nasty"). During the early years of the videogame boom, in the 70s and early 80s, there were a lot of rip-off versions of arcade games circulating. This is an amusing Japanese version of Pac-Man, "Hangly Man" (Hungry Man). The game is pretty much the same, though the maze-levels are badly mapped out. The ghosts' names, however, are perhaps an improvement.

Another interesting example is Renegade, a version of Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun (Kunio of Hot-blooded High). In the original you are a High School student fighting bullies and eventually Bosouzoku and Yakuza who beat up your little brother. I think in Renegade you are rescuing some chick that got kidnapped or something. You can see how they took a character (the bald kid with a club) and changed nothing but his skin color:

It seems that we have exhausted ourselves with screen-shots and nostalgic digressions about Commack's arcades in 1990 and neglected to elaborate on the N.A.S.T.E., the primary purpose of this post. Takotron refuses to take responsibility for your disappointment, but please accept our luke-warm apologies.

Posted by thenovakids at 1:12 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 1:02 AM CDT
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