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The Mike Toole Show - The Amazing World of Anime Arcade Games


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Northlander



Joined: 10 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:49 pm Reply with quote
I remember Time Gal from back when I used to read EGM. I think it was slated for a release on the Sega CD at the time.

Anyway, out of curiosity, I went to look up a longplay of that game, and it seems to be basically said gal trying her damnedest to not get relentlessly murdered by absolutely everyone and everything she encounters. Hell, even a gladiator and the black panther he was (presumably) supposed to fight in the arena seems to set aside their differences and join up in their newfound quest to see her dead.

And that minecart part just HAD to be a homage to a certain sequence in a certain Indiana Jones movie.
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Lemonchest



Joined: 18 Mar 2015
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:09 pm Reply with quote
Somewhere out there are pachinko machines with a remake of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai on them. Such knowledge depresses me.
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Zin5ki
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:11 pm Reply with quote
Ah, LaserDisc games! For many of us who came of age during and after the decline of arcades in the West, our introduction to them was via diagnosing the "selected game is missing one or more required ROM or CHD images" error messages on MAME. (Surely I downloaded the correct ROM set! What else does it want?)
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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:20 pm Reply with quote
I wrote about these wacky 80s anime LD games back in 2015, but unlike Mike I actually have a soft spot for games like these. Personally, I love Dragon's Lair, & I think it's a fine game, but that also comes from the fact that I've played it every once in a rare while since the 90s. Another favorite, which Mike didn't mention, is Strahl from Data East, but I don't fault Mike for not mentioning it. It was originally planned for release in arcades back in 1985 as Catching Stone, but the LD game market was essentially dead at that point, so it didn't see any release until the 90s, when it was released on the LaserActive as Triad Stone, and the Saturn & 3DO as Strahl. Still, the animation in Strahl is probably the best of Data East's LD game output (it also used people from Toei), but due to its lack of (planned) arcade release I guess it technically doesn't count here.

One that Mike did miss, though, was an actual LD game based on Space Battleship Yamato. Released in 1985 by Taito (& featuring both the Yamato & Star Blazers name, thought it stayed exclusive to Japan), the game apparently used some footage from Final Yamato, but supposedly relied on exclusive footage made only for the game itself; some reports claimed ~80% of the game was original animation. Sadly, these LD games could easily be modified into other games, so the Yamato game is next to impossible to find, though some footage is available on YouTube.

Sadly, these anime LD games are next to impossible to play in the best quality now. Cobra Command & Road Blaster/Avenger received HD remastered releases a few years ago, but they were only released for the Apple Store, so Android users (like myself) were screwed out of those. Meanwhile, Time Gal & Ninja Hayate were last seen on the Saturn & PS1, but both of those twin-packs are both Japan-exclusive & hyper-expensive (the twin-pack for the Data East games on Saturn/PS1 are much cheaper), and I highly doubt that Square-Enix (which now owns Taito) will ever give them HD remasters.

As for essentially everything else, it's a mix of unknown licensing conditions & a general lack of caring. You know Konami will never bother to remaster Badlands, same with Universal Entertainment & Super Don Quixote (which I'd love to play, as that game looks utterly insane), & who knows who exactly owns the rights to something like Esh's Aurumilla. In fact, I remember reading that Discotek tried to include a remastered port of Cliff Hanger for the BD release of Castle of Cagliostro, since they had the licenses for both that movie & Mystery of Mamo, but they couldn't find out who exactly owned the rights to the game anymore.

I know that I'm in the extreme minority here, but I'd love to see these games given at least one definitive release each, ideally in the style of something like the Pinball Arcade.
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WingKing



Joined: 27 Apr 2015
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:48 pm Reply with quote
My favorite LD game is Us vs. Them, a shmup game where you're a fighter pilot battling against an alien invasion of Earth. It's totally outside the scope of this column, since it was American-made by Gottlieb, the Q*Bert people, and used live action footage (complete with bad acting and cheap sets) rather than animation, but it was one of the few LD titles I actually found fun to play and not too frustrating, and even the cut scenes were entertaining in a "cheap 70's b-movie sci-fi" kind of way.

Out of all those "interactive movie" type of LD games, I've always said that if there was one I'd ever want to learn to play through it would be Badlands. That, not Dragon's Lair, was actually the first one I remember seeing in arcades as a little kid, and some of the visuals in it stuck with me for years afterwards, long after I'd forgotten the name of the game itself. I've had a chance to play Badlands a few times at California Extreme (a yearly classic arcade convention) over the past several years, since it usually makes an appearance there along with several other games mentioned in the column, but I still haven't made much progress on it. And no I'm not going to download it for emulator - I don't care that much.
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mrsatan



Joined: 06 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:03 pm Reply with quote
I don't know anything about the arcade release, but Freedom Fighter/ Galaxy Express 999 was ported to the Philips CDi as Escape from Cyber City. And I remember it as being pretty terrible.
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ParaChomp



Joined: 10 Dec 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:21 pm Reply with quote
Now all animation in arcades is used for is Pachinko.

HIT THE LEVER!
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:49 pm Reply with quote
Northlander wrote:
I remember Time Gal from back when I used to read EGM. I think it was slated for a release on the Sega CD at the time.


I actually HAD a Sega CD at the time, and Time Gal looked like fun. (And yes, a shameless Lovely Angels/Yuri knockoff.)
Unfortunately, it had the same laser-branching problem as Dragon's Lair and Cliff Hanger, in that the movements were so "disguised" within the anime, you only had a split-second to figure out what joystick movement you were supposed to make, before getting gamus interruptus with another death scene.
The most frequently heard interjection from laser-game players was "What, what?? Evil or Very Mad "

Yes, I remember Dragon's Lair, I remember Cliff Hanger, and I even knew that the Astron Belt footage came from "Message From Space", but even I didn't know there was a GE999 game.
(I remember, apart from Dragons's Lair/Space Ace, the best laser game was "Firefox", which used a loop of Arctic aerial footage from the 1982 Clint Eastwood movie as just the background for just a pilot-shooter, a la the old arcade Star Wars game.)
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Cutiebunny



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:50 pm Reply with quote
There's one particular Japanese seller that I know who spent thousands of dollars on an Evangelion pachinko machine just to watch the animation. So, sadly, new animation does get people to come in and spend their hard earned yen just to see new footage. I personally can't stand the sound levels at even the entrance to pachinko parlors, so I stay far, far away.

I've always liked the special animation produced for games and commercials. You can tell who had money to spare by the quality of animation used.
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Zin5ki
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:26 pm Reply with quote
WingKing wrote:
My favorite LD game is Us vs. Them, a shmup game where you're a fighter pilot battling against an alien invasion of Earth. It's totally outside the scope of this column, since it was American-made by Gottlieb, the Q*Bert people, and used live action footage (complete with bad acting and cheap sets) rather than animation, but it was one of the few LD titles I actually found fun to play and not too frustrating, and even the cut scenes were entertaining in a "cheap 70's b-movie sci-fi" kind of way.

I was reminded of that very game when reading the article! Considering the limitations developers had to work within back then, that particular title's distinctively camp self-awareness certainly worked to its favour.
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invalidname
Get off my lawn!Get off my lawn!


Joined: 11 Aug 2004
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Location: Grand Rapids, MI
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 6:03 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
and while there have been occasional photos of cabinets and video of game footage, this game landed so long after the LaserDisc boom had subsided that it was never easy to find, even as a prototype.

I first saw Freedom Fighter at the Malibu Fun Center in Redwood City, CA along 101 in probably like 1986 or so. I didn't know anything about Galaxy Express 999 at that time, but I'd played Cliff Hanger and liked the anime look.
mrsatan wrote:
I don't know anything about the arcade release, but Freedom Fighter/ Galaxy Express 999 was ported to the Philips CDi as Escape from Cyber City. And I remember it as being pretty terrible.

Yeah, had that too. It was OK, for a light gun game controlled with a joystick. The sad thing is that it came out before the MPEG-1 card was available for the CD-i, so it had to depend on very short sequences of not particularly good looking video.
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Beltane70



Joined: 07 May 2007
Posts: 1881
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 6:27 pm Reply with quote
Ah, how fondly I remember Cobra Command! I spent the entire summer of 1984 playing that game. Even though the Cobra Command title was the US release name, I did come across a few arcades that used the Japanese title as well.

I also remember seeing Bega's Battle, Cliff Hanger, and Freedom Fighter in some of my local arcades.
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Paul Soth



Joined: 06 Jul 2010
Posts: 139
Location: Columbus, Oh
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:34 pm Reply with quote
It would be remiss to not bring up Retsupurae's send-ups on some of these games:
Ninja Hayate
Road Avenger
Time Gal
Bandlands
Stral
Super Don Quixote
Esh's Aurunmilla
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TarsTarkas



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Posts: 3279
Location: Virginia, United States
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:07 pm Reply with quote
Cutiebunny wrote:
There's one particular Japanese seller that I know who spent thousands of dollars on an Evangelion pachinko machine just to watch the animation. So, sadly, new animation does get people to come in and spend their hard earned yen just to see new footage. I personally can't stand the sound levels at even the entrance to pachinko parlors, so I stay far, far away.

I've always liked the special animation produced for games and commercials. You can tell who had money to spare by the quality of animation used.


I spent 30 dollars (3000 yen) on those EVA machines last year. After only seeing two cut scenes, said enough of this.

Here in Japan now for the week for work. Went to Akihabara yesterday. Across from the Gamers store is a multistory slot/pachinko parlor that is completely decorated outside and inside with Madoka Magica themes and characters, along with one large floor made up of Madoka Magica machines, completely packed with people playing them. Men and women. A couple of blocks away is the Akiba Island slot/pachinko parlor with some Madoka Magica designs, along with the Akiba Island character. It too has tons of Madoka Magica machines and players. It's a sight to see all by itself.

But as Cutiebunny said they all have special animation playing. If you play your balls right or lever, even Mami may survive her fate.
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BodaciousSpacePirate
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 6:34 am Reply with quote
Paul Soth wrote:
It would be remiss to not bring up Retsupurae's send-ups on some of these games:


It's definitely where I first heard of a lot of these titles.
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