Arm Champs II: Electronic Boogaloo

This past week, Joystick Tuggers talked about two fighting games that were on opposite ends of the popularity spectrum. We had Killer Instinct, the hottie that literally everyone wants to bone and we had Dual Heroes, that girl that eats the scabs from her scalp. While fighting games are probably the most widely known form of person-on-person action found in the virtual realm (unless you count games made by Mystique), there are others out there that demonstrate just how majestic humans can be. Enter Arm Champs II!

"Why Arm Champs II, Jared? Why not Arm Champs I?" I'll tell you why. First off, I've only played Arm Champs II. Second of all, I'm writing the article, that's why (Boom, Roasted). Arm Champs II came out in 1992 and was released by Jaleco. This game pits you, the muscle-bound, sexy ladiesman who just happens to frequent the local arcades, against the world's greatest Arm Wrestling champions in a tournament that, if won, will bring you fame, fortune, and carpel tunnel.

The gameplay is pretty simple. There's a big plastic arm that sticks out of the front of the machine that looks like it wants to shake hands. Don't be fooled by this seemingly kind gesture. This game wants to make you cry and it wants to break your alone-time arm (Trust me...). There's also an elbow pad for your right arm, so if you lift your arm from the table, you are disqualified. This forces you to cheat by using both arms to pull down on the robo-arm.

There are nine wrist-masters to battle in Arm Champs II. As in any ladder-based game, you start out with the easy opponents and the become progressively more difficult. Your first challenger is Trixie, a Russian bodybuilder (also the only female in the game, because the women watching you play this would not be happy with you holding hands with another girl). You then move up to Chang, a Chinese stereotype, then to Atlas, a Flash-inspired superhero-type. Then to my favorite character in the game, Turk. Turk is described by the reading material from Arm champs II as a "Retired soldier from Egypt". I don't know what it is about Turk,  but he looks really familiar...

After defeating the Iron Sheik, you move onto Duke, an American boxer. Next is a wrestler from England called The Rock, who is in no way Dwayne Johnson. However, the next opponent, Goliath, is a bodybuilder from France and looks a lot like a white Dwayne Johnson. The second to last wrassler is Shibayama, an extremely fat Sumo wrestler hailing from Detroit, Japan (just making sure you were still with me).

Then, the final obstacle standing between you and glory appears. A cyborg from the U.S. named Specks. Specks looks like the guys from Daft Punk mated with Robocop and is twice as powerful (as Robocop, not the mating). He is easily the most difficult (paradox?) to take down, hince the reason he's last. When you do defeat him (usually by having a friend hold the elbow pad down and using both hands to smash him into the ground), you are treated to him exploding, which reveals his mangled human parts underneath, meaning you kill him.

At the very end, you can participate in a strength test, similar to the Street Fighter II car-punchfest stage. this requires you to just push the mechanized arm down as hard as you can without pooping yourself. Points are deducted if you do accidentally soil yourself.

 

Well dudes and dudettes, that about wraps it up for this week's Bonus Get!!! I hope you enjoyed this article and don't forget to check to check back in a few days for a new episode of Joystick Tuggers. BOOM!

-Jared

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Eye Of The Tiger-ites: A Descent Into The R-Zone

This week, we talked about a handheld system that is near and dear to our hearts: the Gameboy. Sure, the graphics were simple and the screen was even simpler, but it has still withstood the test of time. A lot of people owned the original Gameboy and people are still buying DS's to this day. Some kids, at least at the elementary school I went to, were unimpressed with Nintendo's clunky ascetics and high price tag. They were what we called "Tiger-ites".

They played the Tiger Electronics games that were found hanging by the checkout at your neighborhood grocery store. Games like The Lion King, Sonic 2, Batman Returns, and countless others were found in these standalone handhelds. Even more primitive than the beast known technically the DMG-01, these games were almost always stripped-down versions of existing games. I have to admit as a child, I straddled the line between GameBOY and Tiger-ite.

I even remember being excited when I first saw the commercial for Tiger's answer to the Gameboy and upcoming Virtual Boy (a legend in its own right). A portable system that packed all of your favorite Tiger handhelds into one system. VIRTUAL REALITY (kinda...). Oh, and it also doubled as a terrible eye patch. The R-Zone!

The R-Zone used space age technology to project crappy LCD videogames onto a clear piece of plastic that was dangled in front of the user's face, like their dignity, ever-so-slightly out of reach. The images would actually be displayed first on a screen that was built into the game cartridge (a first, I'm sure),then using magic mirrors, they would make their way to the "screen", or plastic in front of the eye. There was a controller that was also connected to said headset that would allow the user to interact with the pictures on the screen. I wouldn't call it controlling the game as much as it was moving digital cardboard cutouts in a very awkward manner, hoping to accumulate a high score or beat a level or whatever goals these games try to set for the poor player.

Much like the Virtual boy it was competing with, the average person became nauseous after playing the system for only a few minutes. Not to mention that there was only one eyepiece, so you either had to play with one eye closed (which is also a lyric from an unreleased Metallica song entitled "Into the R-Zone"), or you had to train your brain to ignore the outside world and slip into a Tiger-induced dreamstate to become One with the poopy.

The games were actually just exact copies of the standalone Handhelds, only in cartridge form. What's better than buying a copy of a subpar game? Buying two copies. Though, I will admit, the version of Panzer Dragoon on the R-Zone, while choppy and unplayable, is MUCH more affordable than the FAR superior version for the Sega Saturn.

As for the mulitplayer on the system, there was... none...

Now on the to the volume control. Well, funny you should ask, because there was... none... either...

Well, at least you could save your high scores, by writing... them... down... Ugh.

On a positive note, this system did fail miserably. Tiger released a few more version of the system, both were actually handhelds, and by handhelds, I mean one was handheld and one was Baseball Glove-held. But they did even worse.

Tiger went on to make a truly remarkable handheld game(.com) system, but THAT... is a tale for another time.

Welp, that does it for this week. Be sure to check out this week's episode about the Gameboy. And NEXT week, were dusting off our Gateways, booting up our megabytes,  jumping into cyberspace and doing other cliche' computer jargony-things as we check out some retro PC games. Until next time, BOOM!

~Jared
 
If you like this article, you'll LOOOOOVE our podcast, Joystick Tuggers. Check it out!
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Star Voyager: Bored Game

This week, we talked very briefly about a game-within-an-unreleased-game-that-may-also-garner-its-own-episode for the Sega CD called Desert Bus, that can be found on Penn and Teller's Smoke and Mirrors. This mini-game teaches valuable life lessons by allowing the player to take control of a bus and drives it from Tucson to Las Vegas. This game, while boring, is a valuable tool for children wanting to learn the value of points (one point is given for completing the trip). As a child, I encountered plenty of games that taught me nothing but the value of hate and death. Let's check out one of 'em, shall we?

 

 

As a wee child, I was a Nintendo beast. I played it so much that, in hindsight,  I'm surprised that it didn't attach itself to me like a leech to a host. I played Treasure Master (boring) and loved it at the time. I even played Anticipation and somehow kept myself from swallowing a bullet. But this game, Star Voyager, almost pushed me to a breaking point.

I was always down with Sci-Fi and loved spaceship shooters (still do) so this game seemed like a perfect fit for me. I got the game at the Hawk Shop (pre-Pawn Stars, so before pawning was mainstream *trollface*), took it home and popped that sucka in.

The first image past the title screen is a pilot running to a spaceship, climbing a ladder, and mounting the cockpit (just trying to sexify this). Then, the ship launches into space. Time to start blowing up some aliens and scrolling sideways or something... But, nooooooooooo, this game is in first person. In space. So you are instead greeted with the infinite blackness that is the universe.

At this point, the game looks more like a screensaver. You have stars white dots floating by your HUD, which is a red outline with meters on both sides, and two circles at the bottom. One of the circles acts as a sextant or something (more sex) with letters arranged horizontally and numbers going vertically. That's it. The game says nothing. At this point, you can decide to end it by letting yourself float into the far reaches of the galaxy, praying for the air to run out of the ship, or you press on. I (regretfully) chose the latter.

After getting so bored, I began to beat the controller against my face, I stumbled upon a map of sorts. This map showed me the locations of many different things such as pixels, specks, green dots, and red X's. I gave up on that crap and instead found out that there's a way to leave "sub space" by using a hyperspeed type thingy (if I want to use the technical term). I found the best part of this game to be using this burst of speed until you run out of fuel and lose. Then to promptly remove this taint from my NES.

 

Fun.

As an adult with access to things such as the internet, I've now learned that there is a lot to this game: like destroying fleets of different types of spacecrafts, liberating solar systems and planets, and even boss fights. But, as a child, this game was literally Boredom Incarnate. I honestly thought that this game was meant to be a practical joke. I had played bad games and I didn't even think of this as a bad game. I thought someone had made it in hopes that they would become famous for creating a game that led a child to open his father's gun cabinet and murder twenty-seven innocent people. Kids...

Welp, that does it for me this week. As always, be sure to listen to this week's episode. Until next time, BOOM!

-Jared
 
If you liked this, I, along with my partner-in-mime Christian host a podcast called Joystick Tuggers that comes out every Tuesday, as well as write articles like these once a week. Check it out!!

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BONUS GET!!! Segata Sanshiro: Destroyer of Nations

This past week, we talked about a criminally underrated console, the Game.com Sega Saturn. It suffered an ill fate, mostly due to Sega's Herp Derp marketing tactics. It fared much better in Japan than in the States, but it still needed something to make it stand out. Something or someone that could grab the entire world by the balls, swing them around, put them through a meat grinder while spitting in their face, and make them want, no, NEED to play the Saturn. Only one man could rip the still-beating hearts from the chests of the N64 and PSX: Segata Sanshiro!

Segata Sanshiro (not to be confused with Segata Sandshrew) was a character introduced by Sega in 1997 to help market their fading Sega Saturn console. At this point in the endless struggle that is the Great Console War of All-Centuries, Playstation and Nintendo had a death grip on the console market. So Sega, at least in Japan, did what they knew best: DO EXTREMELY BIZARRE THINGS IN HOPES THAT PEOPLE WILL UNDERSTAND!

They decided to launch a marketing campaign around Segata Sanshiro. Segata was, in essence, the equivalent of Chuck Norris today. A monster. A man able to pulverize ANYTHING put in front of him. He is best explained as a Japanese Elvis wearing a Judo robe.

He was featured in many commercials, played by a well-known Japanese actor named Hiroshi Fujioka, doing things mere mortals could only dream about. For example, in one commercial, Segata is shown fighting another "karate dude." Segata then proceeds to pick the other fighter up and throw him. As the opponent hits the ground (head first, mind you), HE EXPLODES. EXPLODES!!! Next, we see Sanshiro holding a Bomberman plushie before it shows a few shots from the then-new Bomberman game.

In other commercials, you see Segata Sanshiro bend nature to his will by doing things such as: carrying a 12-foot-wide Saturn up a mountain and using it to train, beating up 3 kids to convince them that Sega Saturn Baseball is better than regular baseball, KICK a Home Run (yep), throw a soccer player from the bench into a game to headbutt a winning goal, picking up and moving a soccer goal to prevent the other team from scoring, as well as countless other cosmic anomalies.

 

 

But, as time has shown us as recently as Randy Savage, heroes can't live forever. With the dawn of the Sixth Console Generation, Sega knew there was only one way to save Sega. In a final commercial, Sega is shown in a skyscraper talking about a new console. Just then, the executives see a missile heading straight for the building. Luckily, Segata Sanshiro (who I assume ALWAYS stands at the top of the Sega building in case of such an emergency) leaps off of the roof and grabs the missile, stopping it inches from impact. He then turns the missile away and rides it into space.

The Sega employees watch in amazement and one girl even cries out his name. Next, we see Segata in space, still atop the missile. He keeps repeating "Sega Satān, shiro!" which, even though it sounds almost EXACTLY like his name, actually translates to "You must play Sega Saturn" (not Sega Satan). Then, the missile detonates in the eerie silence of space. We are shown a picture of the newest Sega Saturn game, that just happens to STAR Segata Sanshiro (I smell fodder for a future episode!!). The final seconds of the commercial show a city with Segata smiling and nodding in the sky.

Well now that you know that it was, in fact, Segata Sanshiro who died for your sins, I think we can called this Bonus Get!!! Bonus GOT!!! Until next time, BOOM!

-Jared
 
If you liked this article, be sure to check our my website www.joystick-tuggers.com for more like this and our weekly Podcast!!
(originally posted here.)
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