Tiny Toon Adventures
Nintendo Entertainment System
I grew up with the Looney Tunes among other cartoons and television. It might be more apt to say that my parents grew up with the Looney Tunes since most of the shorts I watched with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the rest of the crew were created well before my time. There were still cartoons being produced starring those ink and pen anthropomorphic comedians but while they were teaching me the fundamentals of well-timed jokes, they were clearly having a bit of an issue reaching a younger generation.
Cut to 1990 when Warner Brothers, the company that produced Looney Tunes and the Merrie Melodies cartoons, decided that they wanted to “inject new life” into their animation department by creating a show that featured younger versions of the characters the public had come to know and love. Alongside plenty of other shows that turned classic characters into children and babies at the time, Tiny Toon Adventures, a cartoon about the next generation of Warner Brothers’ stars in training, came to life.
As was the way at the time, once the show had proven to be remotely successful, the market was flooded with merchandise. Stuffed dolls, lunchboxes, coloring books and, of course, video games. The first of these to hit the shelves was for the Nintendo Entertainment System a year after the cartoon had its first episodes on the air. Given the mild phenomenon, the game arrived to mostly great reviews across the board. I had some fond memories of playing this game with my babysitter as a kid, but I know some of my other favorite games growing up have let me down as I’ve gone back to them now.
As usual, I had to figure out if Tiny Toon Adventures was one of those games that would fold under the weight of time.
Nintendo Entertainment System
T&E Soft Incorporated/FCI
Genre: Action RPG
Tracing any genre back to its roots is difficult, though you can usually find a batch of games that are clear frontrunners in innovation. Mechanically speaking, there are a lot of games that owe their predecessors for concepts that were not quite perfect when they appeared but have since been worked to impressive precision. For better or worse, Hydlide was one of those frontrunners.
Originally released in 1984 for computers in Japan, the game worked to present a fantasy role-playing game like no other, though it was joined by Falcom’s Dragon Slayer series at about the same time. Both are action RPGs and while Dragon Slayer still comes up pretty frequently in my studies on video games and history, I’d only heard of Hydlide in passing once or twice before I found a complete-in-box version at my local gaming store.
There had to be some reason that I had heard so much about one series and not the other, I figured. Looking into FCI, the publisher, I noticed that they had some hand in helping the Ultima and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons games make it over this way, and I’ve enjoyed what I played of those.
Let me recount my journey for you, then, of how I felt about Hydlide on its own merits, historically and playing through it in the year 2018.
Taboo: The Sixth Sense
Nintendo Entertainment System
Do you believe in the spiritual and the supernatural? What if there is some kind of force that guides your fate? The nature of the mystical and magical has permeated the history of the world for as long as the written record has existed and then some. Whether you believe in it or not, it’s difficult to avoid those that feel there is something “more”- and that there are those who can sense those elements through some kind of attunement to them.
Taboo: The Sixth Sense isn’t a game in the classical sense, though it is meant strictly for entertainment purposes. Much like arcade novelties like love testers and penny presses, the game is more of an experience than anything else, and it takes about five minutes or so to make a run through.
Unfortunately, there isn’t really much else to write about Taboo without taking away from the rest of what I have to write as a result- so on with the show!
Let’s talk trivia.
I love trivia nights at bars and restaurants. When a friend recently showed me HQ Trivia, a free twice-a-day game show app on iOS and Android, I immediately became hooked. Heck, I was even jealous of showed like Nick Arcade and Video Power because I would have loved (and still would love) to host some kind of video game trivia show. For a chunk of my life, game shows were a big deal.
When I was growing up, I started enjoying game shows through being babysat by my grandmother. Family Feud, Jeopardy, and Wheel of Fortune were big on her television, as well as with most of my family that I spent extended amounts of time with. I blame most of these for my love of esoteric trivia and pop culture know-how. Game shows have been a pretty large staple of television culture and that was apparent even back in the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System. If there was a chance to capitalize on the popularity of a piece of broadcast media, some company usually found some way to jump on the chance to seize the opportunity.
Two companies seemed strongly involved in translating game shows to the small pixelated screen: GameTek, who made their start from making adaptations in the late 1980’s and closed in the 1997 after making a number of licensed games, and High-Tech Expressions, who had a reputation for making children oriented games after their founding in 1988 and also closed their doors in 1997. While neither of them are around anymore (though some of GameTek’s assets have been brought over to Take Two Interactive Europe), they left a potpourri of game show related works across not only the NES, but also on a few other systems.
Given that these game show related games don’t particularly have the substance to warrant a full review each, I’ve decided to dive into some of these- a whole bunch of which I remember- and throw together some mini-reviews to see how these game stand up as entertainment. I’ve broken them down into categories to help limit the guidelines of what they are being judged on, since there’s obviously no plot, leveling systems, or anything else of the sort to dissect.
In this first entry, I’ve checked into four game show adaptations, two from GameTek and two from High-Tech Expressions: MTV’s Remote Control, Double Dare, Win Lose or Draw, and the classic Jeopardy. If you’re interested in seeing how some licensed games are torturing me or fulfilling my old-school gaming habit, come on down!
Everyone loves talking about their favorite games. That is, after all, part of what being a ‘favorite’ is all about. Recently on Twitter, some folks came up with an idea: “what are your favorite games from each year you’ve been alive?”
Sure. I can talk about 30+ games. I love games. I know what my favorite things are. I thought to myself how simple this could be.
I was also terribly wrong.
Filtering through the lists of games that came out from each year, I was a little stumped in the early years, and by the time I got to the Super Nintendo days, I had to slough off a lot of games to narrow them down to my favorite for that year.
Special thanks to The Well-Red Mage (whose awesome site is here and well worth a visit once you’re done here) for doing his own list that inspired me on to do mine!
Now, without rambling on any further, my list of favorites games from each year I’ve been on this Earth-