We are the goon squad and we are coming to town

Kris KrossWhat goes around comes around. In the late 90s we were subjected to a plague of ‘fashionistas’ (flash or what?) telling us that the 70s were like, so in man, and that we should resurrect loon pants and Huggy Bear style platform shoes, with goldfish in the soles.

But no, the sensible people listened, and continued to dress in t-shirts and jeans. Women almost escaped, but insist now on wearing those god-forsaken gypsy skirt thingies, especially when they’re out on the town. Go back to jeans, please, so we don’t have to imagine how fat your arse is. With jeans you just know.

You know what’s next though. A 90s revival. So picture the scene… Wayne’s World style ‘dream sequence’ fade out…

Middlesbrough. 2010. Satda Night. Two 27 year olds, for the sake of argument, called, ooh, I don’t know, Mike and Keith, stand at the bar of a club called ‘Button Down Adidas Tracksuit Bottoms’ formerly Flares.

“What’ya drinking chief?” asks Mike.

“Dunno chief, summat a bit decent, some top totty in here tonight.”

“How’s about a Carlsberg? That’s quite 90s innit? The splitarses love 90s ya know.”

“Go on then chief, but not Export, you know what a kids belly I am after I had my liver swapped for a parmo.”

They are clad in the latest fashions from Psyche and Triads.

Mike wears jeans ripped at the knee and back-to-front, a-la Kris Kross, a Bart Simpson “Don’t have a cow man” t-shirt and some shiny kickers shoes.

KG, I mean Keith, is clad from head to toe in Kappa.

“Fuck about chief, check her out!” shouts Keith over the sounds of Culture Beat.

“Yeah, I know, she’s proper Cowabunga her man.”

The bird they are eyeing up is wearing a Union Jack dress, about 3 sizes too small, and over the top spice girl platform shoes. She has the same hair do as Rachel off of Friends.

“KG, wait here chief, drank too much Castaway in the Riverside (Formerly Hush, formerly the Ayresome Park.), gonna spew.”

“Alright chief.”

And with that, Keith goes to the pizza shop and buys a parmo, with the Ninja Turtles on the box. He goes home in an N reg Ford Escort. not because of the fashion, they just haven’t bought any new taxis yet..

(Dream sequence… and we’re back!)

There we are chiefs. A horrifying vision of the future, I’m sure you’ll agree. Let’s stick to jeans and t-shirts eh?

And no more Castaway. Even though it is very nice.

Pirated Childhood

Very few people here in the States experienced the wonderful yet intriguing world of piracy and that’s due to the fact that companies were on top of each other for copyrights of certain games and what not. Well, where I’m from (Peru) there was no such thing and piracy was as abundant as there could be anywhere in the world. I found myself introduced to the Famicom which over there had various names such as Max Play or Micro Genius. These consoles would come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most of the mimicking the toaster NES console or the Famicom. I personally loved the Famiclones which would bring lots of mysterious games built in or even with a board inside of them. Sadly, I never bought any of them until recent years, I was one of the lucky ones that had the original NES console while everyone else had their awesome looking Famiclones and NESclones.

Why me?? It wasn’t that bad I guess since there were a lot of kick ass games for the original console like the Mario Brothers and Ninja Turtles (Yes, I like the first ones as well and beat that game when I was six years old!). Furthermore, I was one of the lucky ones to be introduced to the most obscure titles during the NES era.

See, there were these game lobbies where you would pay around $0.30 cents to play video games on any console you wanted for an hour. How great was that huh? But wait, it gets better! The games themselves were mostly pirated and the popular originals. Some pirate titles I came across that were engraved in my brain for years to come. One of these wonderful titles was the pirated version of TMNT 2: The Arcade Game. This game’s label art was so wacky I couldn’t ignore it. Below is a photo of what I’m talking about!

tmnt 2 pirated game
tmnt 2 pirated game

Now isn’t this something? I will never forget these turtles, that’s for sure! Not only do they all wear shades but one of them has a shield! It’s funny though, once I found them on eBay to purchase I would keep getting flashbacks of all the memories I had with this game. I bought not one nor two nor three but four copies of this game! The good thing about pirates is that they release this game with different colored pirates (gotta collect them all!). Playing the game with my Famicom sure brings back a lot of memories and joyful occasions. I even remember one time I was playing this game at the lobby and my mom came to pick me up, she wouldn’t let me finish the game and dragged me away from it and all I could hear was Donatello getting the beating of his circuit life while the ice level soundtrack was playing in the background… That memory still comes back to me every time I play that ice level (This “new” level sure made the game longer unlike the original arcade version).

There is another game that marked my childhood with cherished memories. Many of you never heard of it until the rom was available online and hopefully it’ll get well known for being one of the most strangest but correctly made Mario hacks ever! Behold, Mario 8!

Super Bros 8 for famicom
Super Bros 8 for famicom

This game was the entire reason why I went to the lobby every time I could. This game took me out my seat and brought me to a gaming world I have never experienced, and back. The so called Super Bros 8 is actually a hack of Don Doko Don 2 released by Taito. The whole game fits well for it to be a potential Mario title (if you ignore the storyline that is). You play as Mario holding a hammer and stomping evil looking mushrooms (sounds Mario-like?), as well as other creatures along your way including pigs! I think with some hacking by Nintendo, this could have been the better Mario 2 option rather than stealing Doki Doki Panic. I had to find this game when I had the chance and I did. I currently own two copies of it as well as a copy that’s unhacked for some reason. Once I got my hands on this game two years ago, I couldn’t stop playing it. I even had a Mario 8 marathon once where I beat the game five times in a row. I believe I have beaten this game over fifty times now and it never bores me.

I hope this was an enjoyable article for many of you interested in the obscureness of retro gaming… really you can’t get any more obscure than this! As a matter of fact, there are still many titles I can mention but it’ll have to be some other time. Until next time!