🕹️Thumb Punks 06.17.21 - Metroid, Advance Wars, Zelda, & WTF, Donkey Kong?


Happy Thursday! There’s a lot of stuff in this week’s newsletter about different setups for playing retro games. What’s yours?

Thanks for reading!

Benjamin @ Thumb Punks

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Conference Call: This year’s E3 is in the books, and it was loaded with new games for retro gamers!

Metroid Dread is the 5th 2D game in the series, and a direct sequel to the GBA’s Metroid Fusion. New enemies include E.M.M.I, robots who try to hunt you down, and the game will be the conclusion of the Samus/Metroid story. It’s all very exciting, but Amiibo support that grants you extra health and ammo is more divisive. Check out the trailer!

Nintendo’s next Game & Watch mini-console is Zelda-themed! It features the original NES game, its sequel, Link’s Awakening, and retro Game & Watch title Vermin, with Link swapped in as the player character. Take a look!

Advance Wars 1 + 2 are being remastered for the Nintendo Switch. Dubbed ‘Re-Boot Camp’ (we see what they did there), the compilation is going to be developed by WayForward, and will feature 4 player online play, as well as couch co-op. We’re less convinced by the new 3D graphics, however. What do you think?

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania is an upcoming compilation containing remastered versions of Super Monkey Ball, its sequel, and Super Monkey Ball Deluxe. Even sweeter, Sonic and Tails will be playable characters. The game will be released for all major consoles (and PC!) in September. Have a peek at the trailer!

WarioWare: Get It Together is a brand new game in the series that adds character specific abilities and two-player fun wrapped in the quirky art style that defines the titles.


Help Me Rondo: PC Engine CD-ROM Japanese-exclusive Castlevania: Rondo of Blood is finally getting a physical Western release via Limited Run games, 30 years after release. No details on price or how to preorder, but we’re assured more information is on its way!

The Pop song that Nintendo copied (Thomas Game Docs, 10 minutes)

Almost unknown to modern audiences, Green Green was a pop song whose first notes hue very close to Super Mario World’s theme. Did Nintendo composer Koji Kondo rip it off? Thomas examines the evidence.

Top 10 Best Retro Handhelds Of 2021 (So Far) (RetroDodo, 14 minutes)

The number of handheld consoles created specifically for retro video games is on fire at the moment. But which one to buy? RetroDodo rank the best 10 of 2021. Although it’s not #1, the Retroid Pocket 2 has won our hearts.

20 Best ATARI 2600 Games Still Fun to Play Today (JohnRiggs, 21 minutes)

One of the unfortunate downsides of retro gaming is finding that fondly remembered titles don’t quite hold up in the present. John Riggs has tracked down 20 Atari 2600 games that have defied time.

Rise of the Dragon on Sega CD is an Awesome Cyberpunk Adventure (Friday Night Arcade, 9 minutes)

A first-person point-and-click initially released for PC, Rise of the Dragon for the Sega CD was in some ways better than its forebearer. While not matching the original graphically, it includes sampled speech and some other niceties, as Friday Night Arcade discover.

In search of the perfect display (Kimmi The Game-Eating She-Monster, 10 minutes)

The display you use for retro gaming can make a huge difference to your experience. Kimmi explores everything from CRT TVs to iPads in a bid to find the setup that blends authenticity with ease of use.

Biker Mice from Mars (HG101, 9 minutes)

The 90s featured Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle ripoffs aplenty, but Biker Mice was one of the more fondly remembered. Even better was the SNES game, an isometric racer that outshines its source material. Very much a hidden gem, join HG101 as they talk about what makes it special.

Comparing Resident Evil: Saturn vs PlayStation (RacketBoy, 16 minutes)

Resident Evil is almost synonymous with the original PlayStation, with only some knowing it came out for the Sega Saturn a year later. How does it hold up? RacketBoy takes a deep dive into the pluses and minuses of the port.

Donkey Kong 3 On PC Was On Some Shit (Kotaku, 3 minutes)

Ports can differ wildly between consoles, but Hudson’s version of Donkey Kong 3 for the NEC PC-8801, NEC PC-6601, and Sharp X1 takes the biscuit. More akin to Space Invaders than a platformer, you fire projectiles up Kong’s butt to progress. Kotaku spill the beans on this mystifyingly bizarre port.

Dee Dee Planet (Dreamcast, $FREE)

A lost beta of unreleased Dreamcast game Dee Dee Planet has been unearthed! It’s similar to the Worms franchise, and you can check out a gameplay vid here.

Pirate Pete (Switch, PS4, $7.99)

The latest Arcade Archives release is Pirate Pete, a 1982 arcade reskin of Taito’s earlier Jungle King. The latter veered too close to Tarzan, and was swiftly rereleased with a pirate theme. Battle across 4 stages to rescue a fair maiden in this nautical shanty-em-up.

Dark Angel (Amiga, $FREE)

Dark Angel was a Public Domain game from 1995 written in AMOS. The full version was thought lost, but has recently been unearthed, and if you’re a fan of Flashback or Another World, you’re in for a treat. You can find a longplay here!

VZ200 Ghosts 'N Goblins (VTech Laser 300, Dick Smith VZ200, Seltron 200, Texet TX8000, Salora Fellow, $FREE)

From the developer: “The kingdom has been overrun by nasty, evil monsters! Can you fight all of the baddies in the land and save the princess? GIVE IT A GO!” Indeed.

Quiz Time: In Ecco the Dolphin, how many years in the past is Ecco sent by Asterite?

Answer at the end of this email!

  • Hardware modder Shank has created a handheld Virtual Boy. It looks fantastic

  • June 11th marked the 20th birthday of the Game Boy Advance. Where are the years going?

  • A hand-written walkthrough has been found in a old game box. It’s beautiful

  • If you’re quick, there’s an SNK sale on Steam

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

Quiz Answer: 55 million.

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

(Gamers participating in the 1980 Space Invaders Championship, which was the first major video game tournament in history, posted by Tronx)