🕹️Thumb Punks 05.06.21 - Black Video Game Pioneers, RoboCop, Flashback, & Weird Sonic Games


Happy Thursday! This week’s RoboCop retrospective got me thinking – what’s your favorite licensed video game?

I felt the new Mortal Kombat movie was about as good as the 90s classic, but in a different way. It didn’t have the same charm, but the fight scenes were very impressive and the highlight of the film.

Thanks for reading!

Benjamin @ Thumb Punks

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Back to the Future: A sequel to 90s action-adventure Flashback is in the works. French publisher Microids is developing the follow-up to Delphine’s 1992 classic named (wait for it…) Flashback 2. It’s not yet known how this ties in with Fade to Black, the previous sequel to the original. Here’s hoping for more rotoscoped visuals!

Ag Ag Ag Ag: The elusive silver and teal Game Boy Advance from Space World 2000 has been found! It will be demonstrated in a video by Hard4Games soon, but in the meantime you can feast your eyes on it here.

Crash, Bang, Wallop: Hidden Palace has uncovered a slew of prototypes for the Crash Bandicoot PS1 games, including Crash Team Racing. You can download and play them now.

Clone Consoles Ranked BEST & WORST (MetalJesusRocks, 22 minutes)

Jason ranks the growing number of clone consoles, including the Analogue Mega SG, PolyMega, Analogue Super NT, Atari 2600 Walkman, Hyperkin RetroN 5, Analogue NT Mini, Hyperkin RetroN 77, and Hyperkin RetroN Sq. Number 6 is a controversial pick! Want more info on consoles? DidYouKnowGaming covers rare systems in this video.

Three Weird Sonic Games on Three Weird Devices (Stop Skeletons From Fighting, 14 minutes)

Derek looks at some very odd Sonic games on the iPod, Neo-Geo Pocket Color, and much maligned N-Gage. Did you play any of these?

RoboCop: The Video Games - Retrospective / Review (Oliver Harper, 29 minutes)

The memory of pulling out your gun in the first level of the RoboCop arcade game will never leave our minds, but there’s a surprising amount of other games out there. Oliver Harper takes us through the highs and lows of the series.

New Sega Megadrive and Genesis Games Out Now (Retro Gamer Boy, 11 minutes)

RGB has compiled reviews of some new games for the ol’ Genesis, including The Curse of Illmoore Bay, Fight for Vengeance, and Demons of Asteborg. The latter looks particularly tasty!

Dendy - The Russian NES feat John Riggs (Russian Video Game Comrade, 25 minutes)

Five videos this week, as we couldn’t leave this one out – John Riggs assisting the RVGC in breaking down the Dendy, Russia’s bootleg answer to the NES. It’s always fascinating to learn about video game culture outside of the West and Japan, and this doesn’t disappoint.

Gaming in colour: uncovering video games’ black pioneers (The Guardian, 9 minutes)

If the names Jerry Lawson, Ed Smith, and Muriel Tramis are unfamiliar to you, you’re not alone: they’re all black people who made significant contributions to gaming but are rarely talked about. This article aims to plug the knowledge gap in history.

Why are game-makers creating new Game Boy games in 2021? (Arstechnica, 9 minutes)

With new tools coming out all the time, it has never been a better time to code your own game for a retro system. But why are people still making games for older consoles? This article details the motivations of some of the scene’s heavyweights, and the community using GB Studio.

The Matrix Online Died 12 Years Ago, But Fans Are Still Keeping It Alive (Kotaku, 11 minutes)

The PC will always beat consoles on one point: long after developers move on from a project, enthusiastic modders and coders keep a game alive for years to come. Such is the case of the Matrix Online MMO, with Kotaku sitting down with the people keeping it going in 2021.

Elemental Gimmick Gear (Hardcore Gaming 101, 12 minutes)

The very definition of a hidden gem, developer Birthday’s 1999 action-adventure filled a Zelda-shaped hole in Dreamcast owner’s hearts. It’s got some neat tricks of its own, though, and despite being an early title deserves a play-through to this day.

Final Fantasy IV – Ultima (RomHacking, $FREE)

An update to an earlier hack for Final Fantasy II for the SNES, now including a bunch of characters to unlock, a boss rush, a New Game +, and much, much more.

Thunder Cross II (Switch, PS4, $7.99)

When it comes to side-scrolling shoot ‘em ups, there’s an embarrassment of retro riches for modern systems. Here’s one more: Thunder Cross II is a 1991 Konami blaster that takes inspiration from Gradius. The more, the merrier!

Space Panic (C64, $FREE)

This port of the arcade game looks and sounds great. Similar to Lode Runner, it’s an entry into CSDB’s C64 Fun Compo 2021.

Untitled Platform Game (NES, $FREE)

This is impressive, a platform game, sans title, coded in assembly language. It has very nice visuals and sound, and a distinctly European flavor. Download link in the description!

Quiz Time: What was the original name/animal for Crash Bandicoot?

Answer at the end of this email!

  • Ashif Hakik has passed away. He was responsible for the soundtracks to Crash Nitro Racing and Sly Cooper, amongst many other titles

  • Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World is coming out May 28th on PS4 and Switch in physical and digital editions. The Steam release is on June 28th

  • Rob Forward had a whale of a time working on the Legend of Zelda TV series

  • Prinny Presents NIS Classics Vol. 1 hits PC and Switch on August 31st in North America, and Europe on September 3rd

  • You can now link your Game Boy to the internet and play Tetris online

  • They’ve only gone and done it: Super Mario 64 on the PC, with Ray Tracing. The mind boggles

  • Boost your Amiga 500 with a Raspberry Pi

  • The Bitmap Brothers are releasing a compilation cartridge for the Evercade consoles. It includes The Chaos Engine, Speedball, Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe, Speedball 2100, and Xenon 2: Megablast

  • The Memcard Pro now allows you to transfer files from your internet browser

  • There’s a great thread on Reddit collecting people’s unpopular views on retro gaming. What are some of yours?

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: Willie The Wombat.

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

‘Pac-Man Explained’ (Image Credit: K_51)