Something interesting and weird to start 2018

Something I just learned today: in 1990, a video game company called Color Dreams went to some pretty significant lengths to create a game for the NES based on the movie Hellraiser. It’s a short, but interesting read, even if you’re not particularly into video game history. Someone must have really enjoyed seeing Hellraiser to go to the lengths described here to attempt to adapt it into a video game, not the least of which being developing new (and expensive) hardware and programming tricks to enable Nintendo’s old workhouse to be able to run the kind of game they envisioned.

But there’s no need for me to rehash the same information here. The aspect of this story that I’m focusing on is how after this project failed, Color Dreams went on to rebrand as Wisdom Tree, releasing a slew of Bible-themed games for the NES and Super NES that, from what I gather, featured almost universally awful gameplay. I actually owned and played through one of these games as a kid: a blatant Zelda clone called Spiritual Warfare. It actually wasn’t too terrible, and the gameplay was fairly solid. But that’s not too surprising considering that it’s no exaggeration to describe it as essentially a reskin of the original Legend of Zelda.

While I was already familiar with Wisdom Tree, I didn’t know about their earlier start as Color Dreams. I’ve written some about how the moral panic surrounding D&D (not to mention heavy metal and other aspects of pop culture) impacted me as a kid. It would have been really interesting to see how the panickers of the time would have reacted if they had learned that the religious-themed video games being sold in Christian bookstores were made by a company that had been previously working on a Hellraiser video game before its rebranding (or maybe “conversion” would be more apropos?).

Also, since I mentioned Zelda and have been on a Breath of the Wild kick with my family lately, if you’re a Zelda fan as well, look up “Ancient Stone Tablets” if you don’t already know what this is.

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So THAT’s why Pols Voice hates loud noise.

If the title of this entry comes across to you as some AI’s feeble attempt to parse language, feel free to skip the rest. However, if you understand the reference and, like me, have had this cryptic clue from the original Legend of Zelda lingering for years in the recesses of your mind as an unsolved mystery from childhood, you might be interested in this, Link*. Hint: The second player controller on the Famicom had a built-in microphone.

I quite unexpectedly stumbled upon the answer not that long ago. It’s a strange feeling, randomly coming across the answer to a question that had caused me no small amount of confusion and frustration as a kid, only to be forgotten as time went on, then suddenly, years later, experiencing surprise, delight, and even a little relief, as old feelings come rushing back and are finally resolved.

Pols voice

The bow would one-shot these guys, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. But I still wanted to know what the hell that clue meant!

 

*Pun unintended. But that just makes it better.

 

Mario-thon 2016

My daughter and I have been dabbling with Mario games on the Wii U for the past few weeks. We started with New Super Mario Bros. but recently switched over to New Super Mario 3D World, which she says is her favorite. I suspect that her preference is not so much due to the gameplay, but because of the cat suit powerup and the ability to play as Princess Peach.

We had our first ever Mario-thon today, consisting of playing “Kitty Mario” (her name for Super Mario 3D World, which I now regret correcting her on) all day. In reality, it was really four game sessions of about 30-45 minutes each, interspersed with meals, yardwork, and other activities. What made this event even more special is that although I picked  this game up the day it was released back in 2013 with the intent of playing it with my wife’s family over Thanksgiving, I’ve barely touched it since then. This means that almost all of the game is still new to me, so we’re playing through it together for the first time.

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