🕹️Thumb Punks 04.29.21 - Lara Croft, Castlevania, Wonder Boy, & The Queen's Golden Wii


Happy Thursday! I haven’t had a chance to catch that new Mortal Kombat movie, but am hoping to tonight – what did you folks think of it?

A book I contributed to, Wrestling With Pixels, is available as part of the new Storybundle. Contribute $5 or more, help charity, and read about retro grapplin’ action.

Thanks for reading!

Benjamin @ Thumb Punks

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CastleMania Remember the video of lost Dreamcast game Castlevania Resurrection from a couple of weeks back? The game itself has now leaked, and is playable now. It features five levels (and a slew of bugs), with a sixth obtainable using a certain combination of emulator hacks discovered by VideoGameEstorica. Fangs a lot (sorry)!

Lizzy Wiizy A 24-karat gold-plated Wii intended for Queen Elizabeth II is up for auction. Although she likely never received the console, it fell into the hands of collector Donny Fillerup, who has listed it for an eye-watering $300,000 (plus shipping). Give us a minute to check for change down the back of the couch.

Blazin’ The excellent Evercade handheld is coming home as a console. It’s compatible with most of the handheld carts (the Namco compilations have run into licensing issues, annoyingly) features four player, two cartridge slots, with saves carrying over to the handheld version (and vice versa). Titled the Evercade VS, preorders open May 28th at $99.99, and there are some rumors of games being included when it’s released in November 2021, too.

My PC Game Collection (Part 2) (MetalJesusRocks, 25 minutes)

Part one of MJR’s look at his big box PC collection didn’t quite hit the spot, owing to a lack of gameplay footage. That’s all fixed in part two, highlighting some weird and wonderful packaging and some obscure hidden gems. Spycraft: The Great Game has somehow passed us by, and looks incredible.

Unreleased Games 5 (Game Sack, 29 minutes)

Thanks to the internet, media thought lost to history has been rediscovered and shared. That’s no more true than with video games, and the fifth edition of Joe’s look at unreleased games covers Dinosaur Planet for the N64, Superman for the PS1, and many more.

How Tomb Raider and Lara Croft Changed the World (Kim Justice, 78 minutes)

Lara Croft is a 90s icon, and many people’s first taste of 3D gaming. Kim Justice looks at the origins of the character, the way she was marketed, and the highs and lows of the first three games in this feature-length documentary that is well worth your time.

How Streets of Rage brought EDM to Video Games (Game Score Fanfare, 10 minutes)

Electronic dance music was a thing before Skrillex, and this video takes you through its early days in Detroit and Europe, and its influence on the soundtrack of Streets of Rage. Thankfully, the video explains the concepts behind the music in an accessible way, so you quickly find out the difference between subtractive and FM synthesis, and your electro and house music. Still confused? Watch on.

Wonder Boy Creator Ryuichi Nishizawa Explains Why He’s Returned After 27 Years (VideoGamesChronicle, 11 minutes)

With Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World on the horizon, VGC sits down with director Ryuichi Nishizawa to talk shop. Asha is a remake of Part IV, and it’s the first time Ryuichi has helmed a Wonder Boy since the latter.

Izuho 'IPPO' Numata On Working At Early-'90s Sega And Composing Phantasy Star IV (Kotaku, 19 minutes)

Another titan of retro game development, Izuho Numata composed tunes for everything from the Phantasy Star series to Ghouls n’ Ghosts. Here she talks about finding inspiration, her influences, and her career at Sega.

The Best 4:3 / Square LCD Monitors for Retro Gaming/Classic PC Use (RacketBoy, 15 minutes)

With CRTs becoming scarcer and rising in price, a 4:3 monitor can make a good substitute for retro gaming. But which one to choose? RacketBoy reviews a bunch of them so you can find the screen that suits you.

Nekketsu Oyako Review (Hardcore Gaming 101, 6 minutes)

Translating as ‘Hot Blooded Family’, Nekketsu Oyako is a side-scrolling beat ‘em up by Technosoft that was released for the PS1 in Japan only. It has some interesting mechanics despite not being a classic, and it’s a shame it never made it to the West.

Galactic WarsEX (PC/Mac/Linux, €2)

While not a retro game per se, Galactic Wars certainly has that old school shoot ‘em up feel. From the website: “A whole fleet of alien's ships are arriving all over from Multiverse to destroy the human race. You are the chosen pilot to face them, aboard the last ship, a little hope for the human kind! Your mission is to destroy all alien waves before they reach Earth. You will enter enemy territory piloting your ship, avoiding to be destroyed by the ships and enemy arms, trying to save the humanity in the definitive battle!”

Harrier Attack (Atari 400/800, FREE)

Thought lost, the 8-bit Atari version of Harrier Attack has been archived by those kind folks at Atari Age. Read more here.

AIR WAR (ZX Spectrum, FREE)

Following on from the above, here comes a homebrew clone of Harrier Attack for the Speccy. AIR WAR looks good and sounds the part.

Para Lander DX (C64, FREE)

From the website: “This is a fun hi score attack challenge. A helicopter appears at the top of the screen. Your task is to launch your paratrooper by pressing the fire button. Then you must safely land your paratrooper onto all six of the landing pads at the bottom of the screen. If you successfully do this, you will be awarded bonus points. Avoid falling into the ocean or hitting the passing Zeppelins otherwise you will lose a life. If you lose all 4 lives or the time runs out. The game is over. Although there are 16 levels to play but the game will keep on going until you lose your last life or time runs out. Try to get a very high score if you can! Good luck!”

Quiz Time: The Konami Code turns 35 this week, but in which game did it first feature?

Answer at the end of this email!

  • An enterprising modder has created a GBA/Wii hybrid

  • And another has made a ‘man-sized’ Game Boy, dubbed the… erm… ‘Game Man’

  • Capcom Arcade Stadium has invincibility cheats – as paid DLC. Groan

  • Ghosts ‘N Goblins Resurrection hits PlayStation, Xbox, and PC on June 1st

  • Someone has coded a fully-functioning C64 in virtual reality

  • And someone’s updated classic Star Wars: Dark Forces in Unreal Engine. It looks amazing

  • Unreleased SNES game Nightmare Busters is being updated and will arrive on PC and consoles soon, courtesy of Aurora Games Studios

  • Vertically scrolling shoot ‘em up A-JAX is this week’s Arcade Archives release for the Switch

  • Sega is releasing NFTs of some of its classic games. Expect the bidding to be fierce

  • Tetris world records are being set using a new technique called ‘Rolling’

Could you share this email? Forwarding it to just one retro gaming friend helps us keep this newsletter free. And if you send it to 10, we’ll love you forever.

Quiz Answer: Gradius.

Thanks to Stu for the question! Have a better one? Send it over and I’ll put it in a future edition!

(Image Credit: Stephen Maurice Graham)