🕹️Thumb Punks 08.05.21: Super Mario Kart, Zool, & 1880s Coin-Ops


Happy Thursday! In this week’s retro gaming newsletter we have a slew of news, but have included a look at a museum with machines from the 1880s onwards. While not strictly video game related, it’s an interesting look at the birth of coin-ops. Would you like more of this stuff in the newsletter?

Thanks for reading!

Benjamin @ Thumb Punks

P.S. Was this forwarded to you? Sign up!

Fixer Upper: Turns out we had the name of Street of Rage 2’s Axel’s signature move wrong. In a post on Twitter, composer Yuzo Koshiro said:

“Ground Upper is a special move that Axel Stone, the Streets of Rage series protagonist, performs. Here I want to tell you something that I have been keeping a secret for a long time. I see many people on the net writing ‘Grand Upper’. That’s incorrect. Ground Upper is correct, you know what I mean? You see, the back of Axel’s hand touches the ground when he hits the uppercut. Therefore I named it Ground Upper.”


Wake up, Mr Freeman: A fan-made remaster of Half-Life 2 is coming to Steam. Titled Half Life 2: Remastered Collection (we see what they did there), it seems to even have the blessing of Valve. It is being developed by some of the team behind the update mod from 2015, and is due out later this year.

Arrrrrrrgartha!: The E3 demo of unreleased Dreamcast survival horror Agartha has been found and dumped online. Travel to the snow-capped mountains of Romania in this must-play for fans of the Resident Evil franchise.

To Be This Good Takes Ages: Playmaji have broken their silence and revealed that anyone who preordered the Polymega before April 2020 will have their order ship on September 12th. If you preordered your console after then, you’re assured that you’ll see it in the first half of 2022.

Work of Kart: A build of Super Mario Kart from late 1991 has been unearthed. It includes an official track editor that was dropped from the retail release. SMK hacker MrL314 spent months restoring the prototype to make it playable, and their hard work has paid off, also including different track layouts, unseen modes, and much more.

In a Spin: Toymaker Jakks Pacific have released a great looking Giant Eggman Robot Battle Set, that even lets you ‘defeat’ it by hitting it three time in the chest. A Target exclusive, it retails for $39.99.

Slap-Dash: In more blue-blur news, Twitter user VGDDensetsu has uncovered evidence of an unused enemy from Sonic The Hedgehog. Check out the photo bottom right!

One for the Ages: Beloved nine-story Japanese arcade Sega Ikebukuro Gigo will close on September 20th. Debuting all the way back in July 1993, it ends a 28 year run.


Cult 1992 platformer Zool is getting the remake treatment. Developed by Sumo Digital, the trailer shows the remaster in all its HD glory. Zool: Redimensioned is out later this month on Steam.

Capcom Fighting Evolution - What Happened? (Matt McMuscles, 19 minutes)

A mash-up of Street Fighter and King of Fighters should have been a slam-dunk. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Matt investigates how it fell apart.

My NINTENDO HANDHELDS Collection! (Game Boy, GBA, DS, 3DS, Switch & More) (MetalJesusRocks, 16 minutes)

MJR shows off his Ninty handheld collection, and as well as the usual suspects there are custom cases, Game & Watches, and some tasty GBA/Raspberry Pi mash-ups.

Ultra Games (Game Sack, 31 minutes)

Nintendo would only allow publishers to put out a certain number of games in the 80s. Konami had a fix: they’d release games under the Ultra alter-ego. They included Metal Gear, TMNT, and many more, as Joe finds.

Creepy and Delightful Vintage Arcade in San Francisco (KQED Arts, 9 minutes)

Arcades have fallen upon hard times. This look behind the scenes of quirky Californian arcade Musée Mécanique is a window into the world of early coin-ops.

20 years on, Max Payne is as stylish as ever (Eurogamer, 8 minutes)

EG chat to the staff behind hardboiled classic Max Payne about the comic book visuals, bullet-time mechanic, and more.

Agony (HG101, 10 minutes)

Agony was a horizontal shooter for the Amiga where you play an owl who needs to retrieve a cosmic power. By renowned developer Psygnosis, it certainly looks the part, but how does it play?

Tintin in Tibet (Sega-16, 7 minutes)

Tintin is a perennially popular franchise, but has fared badly when it comes to video game adaptations. Does 90s Mega Drive title Tintin in Tibet reverse the trend? Sega-16 journey to find out.

Nintendo 64: The Secret Best Puzzle Machine? (Stone Age Gamer, 7 minutes)

“When thinking about the Nintendo 64, there are a handful of games that typically come to mind. But there is one genre of game that the Nintendo 64 excelled at that it doesn’t often get credit for. The Nintendo 64 was actually a killer puzzle game machine.”

Quiz Time: What are the names of all three songs in OutRun?

Answer at the end of this email!

NOVA2001 (Switch/PS4, $7.99)

A new Arcade Archives release, NOVA2001 is a 1984 omni-directional shooter akin to Robotron 2084.

Ninja Carnage (ZX Spectrum 128k, $FREE)

A ‘die and try’ point and click/text adventure, this 29 level port from the Amstrad and C64 game sees you trying to take down a Yakuza boss. A physical edition is also available.

Radical Moves (Amiga 500, $2.99)

“A rerelease of our 1992 Amiga game featuring "Radical Rob". A 99 level platformer where you have to rid the world of evil fluffies, collect drink cans and work your way through each level.”

W.A.R (Atari XL/XE, $FREE)

Ported from a 1986 BBC Micro game of the same name, W.A.R is a vertically-scrolling shoot-em-up.

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: Passing Breeze, Splash Wave, and Magical Sound Shower.

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