VHS Preservation Project #2: Donkey Kong Country Exposed (UK version)

The Video Game VHS Preservation Project is an attempt to digitise as many video game VHS tapes as possible for the purposes of preservation. Click here for more information.

The second of my VHS Preservation Project videos is one that will be a little more familiar to US readers than the Super Mario All-Stars Video was.

This Donkey Kong Country VHS was also made available to American subscribers to Nintendo Power magazine, and was called Donkey Kong Country: Exposed.

This UK version is more or less the same, except for a couple of changes. It doesn’t feature the US tape’s hidden ending, which gives a sneak peek at Killer Instinct.

It does, however, include four or five minutes of UK Nintendo TV commercials. Continue reading “VHS Preservation Project #2: Donkey Kong Country Exposed (UK version)”

VHS Preservation Project #1: The Super Mario All-Stars Video

The Video Game VHS Preservation Project is an attempt to digitise as many video game VHS tapes as possible for the purposes of preservation. Click here for more information.

It’s time to finally kick off my VHS Preservation Project, and what better way to start it off than with the Super Mario All-Stars Video?

This was a promotional tape given away by Nintendo UK in 1993, to promote the release of Super Mario All-Stars.

Despite this, it doesn’t really feature much in the video. Instead, most of the time is spent reviewing other games, showing you how the Nintendo Hotline worked and taking you through the making of Nigel Mansell’s World Championship with Gremlin Graphics.

Best of all though, it’s presented by Craig Charles, better known as Lister in legendary British sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf. Continue reading “VHS Preservation Project #1: The Super Mario All-Stars Video”

Introducing the Video Game VHS Preservation Project

Over the past 30+ years as a gamer, I’ve gathered a load of gaming memorabilia. A lot of this has been sold or traded over the years but some of it has stayed with me all this time.

One thing that has remained is a large part of my video game VHS collection.

During the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, gamers like myself would regularly get VHS tapes related to gaming.

Some of these were promotional tapes put together by hardware or software manufacturers, in the hope that seeing their games or consoles in action would inspire you to buy them more than mere words and screenshots in a magazine could.

Others were game-related videos made by magazine publishers or other companies: tips videos, player guides or even (always failed) attempts at a regular video magazine.

For 20th century gamers, these VHS tapes were the YouTube of their time. But there’s a problem: video tapes don’t last forever, and the picture quality degrades with every view.

Many of these tapes are already becoming scarce: there’s only really a niche market for them, and so most are just thrown out as people get rid of their VHS collections and move exclusively to DVD or Blu-ray.

Others are being sold for crazy money on eBay as traders realise their increasing value and try to make a daft profit off them.

There will eventually be a time when none of these tapes exist any more, either due to them being thrown away or simply deteriorating over time.

I want to preserve as many of them as possible before that happens, to ensure they remain available online as a way of documenting how games coverage and promotion has evolved over time. Continue reading “Introducing the Video Game VHS Preservation Project”

Review round-up: F1 2017, The Pillars Of The Earth and more

It’s time for another review round-up, so join me once again for a look at the games I’ve been playing over the last couple of weeks, along with commentary-free video montages showing them in action. In today’s round up:

• is F1 2017 a speed demon or a big puncture?
• is The Pillars Of The Earth a 12th century masterpiece, or a 20th century pox?
• does Strikers1945 offer shooting heaven, or prove that war is hell?
• is Piczle Lines DX a Picross challenger, or a square meal of shite?
• will Gunbarich scratch your retro arcade itch, or give you a nasty rash?
• is Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition sehr gut, or völlig scheiße? Continue reading “Review round-up: F1 2017, The Pillars Of The Earth and more”

Pokken Tournament DX (Switch) review

Nintendo / Bandai Namco Studios
Nintendo Switch

Pokken Tournament was a game that deserved better.

Originally released in Japanese arcades, this odd fighting game eventually made it to the Wii U in March 2016, by which time Nintendo’s system was already hanging onto a cliff edge by its pinky.

Despite this it still managed to shift around 1.3 million copies, which is bloody good going when you consider only 13 million Wii U consoles were sold.

With Pokken Tournament DX, the hope is surely that – as with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – by porting the game over to Switch it’ll get another chance at reaching a wider audience.

It really does deserve to, mind you, because it’s actually a fun little fighter that makes good use of the Pokemon licence. Continue reading “Pokken Tournament DX (Switch) review”

The complete history of Nintendo arcade games

A couple of days ago Nintendo streamed its latest Nintendo Direct presentation.

For many the most notable announcement was that Doom and Wolfenstein II are coming to the Switch, while the five minutes of new Super Mario Odyssey footage was a great way to wrap things up and get people talking after the Direct had ended.

For massively nerdy Nintendo historians (like me), though, the biggest news of the Direct was that Hamster Corporation – the studio currently responsible for the regular Neo-Geo games appearing on Switch and other consoles – will be bringing some of Nintendo’s old arcade games to the Switch as part of its Arcade Archives series. Continue reading “The complete history of Nintendo arcade games”