FALL 2001

Posts from October, November, and December 2001.

December 31, 2001...  Psycho Santa, Ho Ho Ho!

Merry Christmas, guys.  I know this is late but I think you'll like what I got 'ya.

Well, I'm off to spend the new year with Dick Clark!

(Yes, this is my update.  You'd make it short too if you spent the last few weeks writing reviews...)

December 14, 2001...  Mr. Do! Does Pachinko

Since my opinion of Mega Man X6 apparently isn't valid until I've beaten it three times with each of the characters, I decided to at least be open minded enough to play Mega Man X2 for the Super NES, just to see if the series has merit that I somehow overlooked (for the near decade it's existed).  My opinion of X6 for the Playstation did improve after this, but only because X2 demonstrated that it could have been a whole lot more sadistic.  It's like the difference between being tied up and whipped by a bondage babe and having your limbs chopped off by an executioner who reeks of blood, sweat, and ale... they're both painful, but some people might actually enjoy the company of the dominatrix.  If you get turned on by the executioner, however, you're sick and beyond help.

In "just thought you'd like to know" news, I found what could be the coolest gambling device ever made shortly after I left work today.  Remember Aruze, the pachinko company that bought SNK?  Wait, wait, put down the torches!  They actually created a terrific product, rather than pulling existing ones off store shelves.  It's a slot machine named Duel Dragon, and it's got a lot of great extras, including a joystick-like arm and an LCD screen that looks suspiciously like the one in the Neo-Geo Pocket.  The best part, however, is that the slot machine stars Mr. Do!, who runs around both playfields from his old game and brand new vibrant backgrounds in the attract mode.  You can even play two kinds of slots simultaneously, one with the windows near the top of the machine and another, with EXTRA letters and other Mr. Do! prizes, on the display.  I wish I could have afforded this... it was obviously a quality product, but even with the pawn shop owner insisting that it was worth much more, three hundred dollars is just too rich for my blood.  If there are other collectors in the mid-Michigan area that DO have the money for this, you'd better get to Greenville fast... the guy who's got it now is thinking of giving it to someone for Christmas!

Anyways... just so you know, here's what I've got planned for The Gameroom Blitz:



December 10, 2001...  SNK Boss Syndrome in a Capcom Game?

Let's see... while I was gone visiting a friend a couple days ago, I forgot to feed my cat*, and something else that was more important.  Oh yeah!  The web site.  Sorry I forgot to publish my last post and the submissions I received from Carl Schafer and John Roche.  I've got things taken care of now, though.

The stay at Jeremy's was really cool, though.  We spent the day screaming at the freshly released US version of Mega Man X6... and the next day screaming at Capcom vs. SNK 2.  The difference, however, is that Capcom vs. SNK 2 was worth risking the laryngitis.  I was very happy with the Playstation 2 conversion of this game.  It's just like the Dreamcast version, which is to say, the best fighting game you can buy on the system.  Playing Capcom vs. SNK 2 on a Dual Shock controller is a little uncomfortable, and it does make performing super moves more difficult than I would have liked, but you'll adapt eventually... heck, I was able to reach Ultimate Rugal after a couple of games.

Ultimate Rugal, of course, is Capcom vs. SNK 2's absurdly overpowered boss, that annoying fighting game staple that was first brought to us by Midway in the Mortal Kombat series, then found its way into SNK's fighters and eventually, Capcom's.  I'm convinced that EVERY company is doing this now because it's doubled their revenue in the last few years.  Bastards like Rugal, Gill, and Onslaught keep players dumping quarters into arcade games because their foolish male ego can't handle losing, even though their more rational side knows that these jerks are impossible to beat.  Ultimate Rugal isn't quite as brutal as his counterparts in other fighters... but he WILL keep you busy for a while.  I used three of my best characters against Ultimate Rugal, but Ken, Cammy, and Eagle fell over a dozen times to his powerful Genocide Cutters.  Each time I fought him, however, Jeremy noticed that Rugal's life bar got shorter and shorter at the end of the match.  Sensing a trend, he urged me to continue, and eventually, I was able to drive a stake (or more accurately, Eagle's twin staffs) into the fiend's heart.  You can bet that this will be a moment that I'll take pride in, and brag about, for many years to come... or at least until Pat hands me my heiny in the next Game Hits tournament. :D

Now Mega Man X6, on the other hand, is something that I hope Capcom will consider an embarassment.  I never cared for the X series, but this one piles on even more flaws, including an illogical, badly translated plot and frustrating levels that each take a single, almost clever idea and beat it to death.  The graphics, sound, and gameplay are (just barely) good enough, but they certainly don't demonstrate everything Capcom learned about the Playstation after they realized gamers demanded better from them than the weak PSX conversions of Darkstalkers and the original Street Fighter Alpha.  There are a lot of dithered, badly rendered backgrounds in many of the stages, and the bosses have so little color you'd swear you saw them before in Mega Man Xtreme for the Game Boy Color.  The music is generic, Japanese flavored heavy metal, just like in the other X games... but Filmation fans will be happy to hear the boss theme, which sounds just like it came from a Fat Albert cartoon.  Oops, there goes the consistent design, right out the window!  Finally, although the control is fairly responsive, you'll die dozens of times anyway thanks to the obnoxiously powerful bosses (High-Max sounds like a redundant name, but trust me, there's a reason for it) and those sadistic, repetitive levels.  Is it fun to be squashed dozens of times by a compactor the size of Kentucky?  No.  Should you spend your money on this abortion of a game?  No.  Should you save it and buy a ton of clearance priced Dreamcast games at Electronics Boutique instead?  Yep, that's a big 10-4, good buddy.  Capcom, your first few Mega Man games were classics, but these new ones under the X banner just feel so forced.  It's time to reveal all the secrets in this spin-off (if anyone even cares) and just move on, to good Mega Man games like Legends and Battle Network.

* No overweight kitties were harmed in the making of this post. 

December 7, 2001...  The Winback Non-Controversy

Well, here we go again.  Another video game has killed an innocent child, or so says the media, who's apparently gotten tired of kicking around Osama bin Ladin and have returned to their favorite target.  At least they've made a feeble attempt to make their latest attack on this hobby sound original... this time, they're not pointing fingers at Doom or Mortal Kombat but rather a stealth action game that, until now, hid itself a little TOO well.  Really, those kids must have been the only ones who bought Winback: Covert Ops instead of Metal Gear Solid 2... I can't even remember what system this was designed for or who released it!

It's going to get a lot more recognition now, that's for sure.  It's not going to outsell Metal Gear Solid 2, or even the original game on the NES, but I imagine that everyone who did buy it are ready to capitalize on the purchase faster than you can say, "Do not pass Ebay... DO collect two hundred dollars."  Sometimes I wonder if the companies who produce these games are just trying to prod their sales along with a little negative publicity.  I can still remember when Midway was picketed by a religious organization who complained, as always, about Mortal Kombat.  What makes me suspicious is that this was a couple of years ago, after the slapped together Mortal Kombat Gold and Mortal Kombat: Special Forces, which I'm convinced hit the bargain bins BEFORE it was put on store shelves.  After those two games, Midway was probably willing to do anything to get this once profitable series noticed.

You don't need to come here to read about this scandal, but here's one that you probably won't read anywhere else.  Several months ago, in the nearby town of Lakeview, a humble arcade opened against the wishes of the rather starchy town committee.  They hated the place from day one and did their absolute best to run it out of business, putting pressure on the owners and sending police cars downtown constantly in an attempt to make the clientel nervous.  Sure enough, the arcade eventually shut down, but not without dire consequences to several members of the committee and the chief of police.  Their bullying went TOO far when one of the officers had pulled over and searched the car of an important Lakeview family.  It didn't take nearly as long for the family to remove everyone responsible for office as it did for this newly created unemployment line to purge Lakeview of the "evils" of public gaming.  Better yet, the arcade owners and suppliers are suing the town for loss of revenue, so they WILL make money from it one way or another.

I just have to wonder... was this the kind of harassment that led to the closing of Lakeview's previous arcade, the dearly missed Castle Pizzaria?  More importantly, does this happen often in other small cities, and if so, what's got the people of these towns so worried?  If you've got stories similar to this, please either E-mail me or post them on the forum.  It's time to find out if this country's already threatening videophobia is getting even worse.

(Special thanks to Brian Deuel for the news, who personally faught the bigots in Lakeview's town council, and, on a side note, wrote a killer Sinistar driver for MAME several years back)

December 1, 2001...  RIP George Harrison

I heard the news today... oh boy.

I wasn't a rabid Beatles fan, but I did enjoy the music they produced after they outgrew their boy band phase, and George Harrison's I Got My Mind Set On You was pretty catchy.  I guess the best way to pay tribute to this late but great artist is to listen to his last single, released earlier this year.  If it's as good as his work from the 80's, I'll be satisfied with it.

However, out of the four Beatles, Ringo Starr is still my favorite.  I know, I know, he was basically the band's paperweight, but he's just so likable, unlike the reclusive George or the painfully whiny John.  He appreciates his fans more than the other Beatles (maybe because he has a lot fewer of them?), and like William Shatner, he's got a kitsch factor that he's not afraid to exploit.  Ringo was happy to star on The Simpsons, and even be drawn with an enormous nose, well before the other Beatles considered it.  He was even the host of a popular children's show and had a Beanie Baby (the toys that look like plush roadkill) named after him... the man's got charisma that even kids can't resist!

Anyway, that Game Boy Advance section that I've been promising for so long is almost complete... I just need to write a few more reviews, create a "wanted" table (for games that should be translated to the system), and shake an opinion of Advance Wars out of one of my new contributors.  It's also worth mentioning that the review of Rockman and Forte for the Wonderswan is half finished.  I just need to hand it over to Mandi Paugh so she can add her opinions.  I've split an article before, when I interviewed Chris Bieniek in my old print fanzine, and that went pretty well... it read like a real conversation even though I've never actually met Mr. Bieniek.  I'm hoping that this review will have that same feel.

Speaking of reviews, I've got to get around to writing a synopsis of the Harry Potter film.  Yes, I saw it, and no, I'm not ashamed of myself for doing it.  The movie was great, I've heard the books are great, and amazingly, even the GAMES are well done.  Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone on the Game Boy Color has been getting perfect ratings on video game  sites like GameFAQs and the Euro-Asian GameBoy page.  If you're taking notes, that's PERFECT ratings, on the Game Boy COLOR.  It's pretty obvious that J.K. Rowling demands top quality products from the Harry Potter franchise, and there's no reason to be embarassed by that.

November 19, 2001...  Thank 'Ya, Thank 'Ya Very Much

Well, it's almost Thanksgiving, so allow me to talk a little about the things I'm thankful for this year...

*  I'm thankful that, while almost anyone can get a sitcom, it takes a talented comedian and good writers to keep it.  See you on the Food Network, Emeril!

*  I'm thankful that, in this conflict with Afghanistan, we've got the bigger bombs. ^^;;;

*  On a serious note, I'm thankful that the Afghani people have rights now.  I watched footage of a man in Kabul having his Taliban enforced beard shaved off and I almost cried...  it wouldn't have been more dramatic and uplifting if he had ripped iron shackles from his wrists and ankles.

*  I'm thankful that Ellen is funny again.

*  I'm thankful for my cute Manx cat Squeak, who... hey!  What the heck are you doing?!  Stop shredding the recliner!  OK, well, I'm not as thankful for him right now.

*  I'm thankful for that great Thanksgiving dinner I'll have at my parents' house.  My mom's a fine cook and she always makes everything I like.

*  I'm not just thankful... I'm ecstatic about the games coming soon for the Game Boy Advance.  Guilty Gear X?  King of Fighters Neo-Blood?  Spyro the Dragon?  An enhanced version of Street Fighter Alpha 3?  And the first Sonic game that's worth playing since the original Sonic Adventure for Dreamcast?  It's overwhelming.  The Taco Bell can keep its X-Boxes... with my trusty Game Boy Advance handy, I don't need one.

*  Speaking of the X-Box, I'm thankful that people aren't as excited about this system as the media seems to be.  Game magazines have been pushing this system down their customers' throats... and they're coughing it right back up.  If we're lucky, the X-Box will bomb so miserably that Bill Gates won't even CONSIDER another hostile takeover of the video game industry.  Take your rehashed PC hardware and your oversized controllers and go home.

*  I'm downright surprised that GameNow! turned out pretty well.  As the editors intended, it's light reading, but the reviews seem more real and honest than the stuff in GamePro.  I'm also thankful that Chris Bieniek still sends me Tips & Tricks every now and then.  The new picture puzzle section is pretty clever, too... I get the feeling that it's a sly way to introduce kids to the concept of video game graphics design.

*  I'm thankful that people are using my forums, even when they're doing it to call me a hypocrite.

*  I'm thankful that Dreamcast games are on clearance now... there's a rumor that Wal-Marts are selling most of them for five dollars a piece!  That's cheaper than buying burns from, ahem, less reputable dealers.

*  Finally, I'm thankful that I have a job again now.  Boy, did I need one... my budget was getting uncomfortably tight and I hated to ask my parents to bail me out of every one of my financial crunches.

November 10, 2001...  Kabul!: An Adventure in 2600 Game Hacking

Remember that parody on the 2600 page about a rerelease of Kaboom! called Kabul?  Well, it's more than just a parody now!  I've finished hacking the game, changing the bomber into Osama bin Laden and the Activision logo at the bottom of the screen into the new title.  I didn't think I was going to be able to do it, since the programs I'd downloaded from Atari Age allow you to easily find game graphics but not colors.  However, I improvised a little... since I knew that the bomber's shirt was striped, I started looking for that pattern in the ROM and changed it a little when I thought I found it.  Lucky for me, the bit of code I'd changed turned out to be exactly what I was looking for, and with about an hour of tweaking I made the Osama character look BETTER than the mock picture on The 26 Hunter.  A cool added bonus was that I was able to take this code and transfer it directly to the 5200 version... even though that game was much larger and for a different system, the graphics and colors were exactly the same.

I just need to hunt down the text code in the 5200 version and change that, and presto!  It'll be finished and ready for distribution as well.  In the meantime, you can settle for the 2600 version of Kabul!, which should be on Atari Age along with a dozen other hacks by other designers.  Man, this is great... I love hacking these ancient games.  I'd enjoy DESIGNING them even more, but I'll wait until I've taken a C++ class at the local college and better understand Daniel Bienvenu's ColecoVision programming tools before I try to make them.  I can't wait... the ColecoVision could really use a translation of Bust-A-Move and I'd love to be the person who creates it.

So, who's up for some new articles?  I've finished the ColecoVision Collector's List, responded to some ballots in Fighter's Misery, and added a review of Fighting Street that was originally printed in my old fanzine.  In a few weeks, I'll fix that pesky archives page (I have no clue what's going on with that...), review the Wonderswan version of Rockman and Forte with Mandi Paugh, and maybe even talk about the King of Fighters '99 tournament I hosted a few months ago.  I guess I can look back at it and laugh now. :P

October 29, 2001...  Club Mario, Where Art Thou?

I want to apologize for taking so long to update the site.  I just haven't been feeling well lately... shortly after the whole K-Mart fiasco, I came down with a kidney infection, and I'm just starting to get over it.

I've got to tell you, though, things would have been a lot more miserable for me if it hadn't been for the support of my friends and family.  My mother deserves a lot of credit for giving me both emotional and financial support over the past month, and I really appreciated Pat Reynolds and his wife letting me drop by last weekend.  I've got to give a hand to Jeremy Parish and Russ Perry, Jr. for sending me their respective fanzines... and speaking of Russ, I'd like to thank him and everyone else who sent in comments about my mod of the 2600 version of Galaxian.  Finally, I'm grateful to Atari Age for posting the ROM on their site, and for telling me about the editing tools I used to (re)make it.

The only people I don't feel indebted to right now are the yutzes running, and ruining, Nintendo.  Remember Club Mario, the quality assurance team assembled to defend the Game Boy Advance from T*HQ's onslaught of crummy license-based games?  Well, they're history now, and so is any chance of the system's software library staying at its once consistently high quality.  Now, the store shelves are filling with Rugrats and Men in Black titles, and the company who claimed to have our best interests in mind has broken their promise to gamers for the sake of a fleeting, short-term profit.  What Nintendo doesn't realize is that compromising the reputation of the Game Boy Advance so soon after its release could be a financially devastating mistake in a few years.  After all, it's possible that the Game Boy Advance could become Nintendo's flagship system if the Game Cube fails... and let's not kid ourselves, this is a definite possibility if the X-Box is a success.  Right now, the Game Boy Advance is Nintendo's only sure thing, and they simply can't afford to risk its reputation on rotten software people will buy but won't actually play.  Atari learned this the hard way in 1984... no matter how deep they buried those copies of E.T., there was nothing they could do to keep them from coming back to haunt them.

I guess Nintendo will just have to find this out for themselves.  So hey, here's what I've written for this update... a couple of N64 reviews, and half of a ColecoVision resource that should be useful to those of you out there who collect or just play games for that system.  Back to the N64 for a minute, though... I bought a beat up unit a while ago for about $15.  All that's really wrong with it is that it looks like someone tried to chew through the reset button, so it was a honey of a deal. 

You know, as much as I like to bash the N64, I have to admit that I don't regret buying one.  I'm having a great time with Paper Mario, and I can't wait to get my hands on a few of the other games for the system when I can afford 'em.  It'll be nice to actually see the replays in Mario Tennis for a change, because my friends always skip them as quickly as possible to get to the next serve.  I even want to try Superman, just to see if it's really as awful as everyone says... I guess I'm a glutton for punishment. ^^;

October 16, 2001...  Not a Webcomic, Jess!  Turn Back While You Still Can!

I'm pretty depressed right now, but I guess I should probably post something, huh?  Well, I'll let you know about a couple of projects I'm working on that are more or less unrelated to The Gameroom Blitz.  The first is Zoo Logic, a furry gaming comic that's a joint venture between myself and an old friend, Josh Lesnick of Cutewendy fame.  Despite the association with Josh (whose own comic is one of the hottest properties on Keenspot), Zoo Logic isn't really as good as I'd like it to be, but I'm working on making it better.  I need to learn some better scanning and editing techniques first... if you publish full color artwork on the Internet, drop me a line and explain to me how you do the voodoo that you do so well, because I could really use the help.

Past that, there's the edit of Galaxian for the 2600 that I just finished.  There was a guy on the web site AtariAge who inspired me to do this... Phillip Frey, or Rhindle the Red, as he calls himself on the AtariAge message boards, redesigned the graphics in Mario Bros. with a software toolkit, making them less stiff and blocky than they were in the original game.  I downloaded the toolkit myself and tested it out with Galaxian, and it didn't take long for me to improve the game's graphics.  Before, the aliens looked vaguely like teddy bears, but in my mod they're much closer to the interstellar insects in the arcade game.  Due to the terms of use at Emulation World, I can't post the modded ROM here, but you should be able to find it at AtariAge in a few days.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll even hook up with the guy who runs Hozer Video and start selling cartridge versions.

So, why the long face?  Well, I was "let go" (aka shitcanned) from K-Mart less than a month after I started.  I was starting to get the hang of the job, but the store manager, a sawed off tyrant who the rest of the employees secretly referred to as a "living Ken doll", apparently had a bad day and decided to take it out on me.  He seemed intent on starting a war of words with me, and even though I held my temper as best I could, I guess it wasn't enough.  Naturally, the manager didn't have the balls to tell me I was "dismissed" (aka fired like a satellite into orbit)... I found out a week later from the personnel department, who first told me that I wasn't getting any hours due to budget cuts.  Well, thanks, guys.  That was one week I could have spent looking for new employment.

It's a shame... I had no problem with the other employees, and the store was definitely better than your average K-Mart.  Unfortunately, this Big K was supervised by a Big A, and I became the victim of his nasty temper and easily bruised ego.

So, if you're a fan of this site, I'd like you to do me a favor.  Stay away from K-Mart for a week.  There are thousands of great stores in the United States, and I'd bet that half of them don't treat their employees like a disposable resource, branding them with numbers and whipping them in the ass like a herd of cattle being led to the nearest slaughterhouse.

October 13, 2001...  Ten Thousand Maniacs

Ok... I'm no longer as worried about Shigeru Miyamoto's sanity as I am yours, Chris.

Anyhoo, here's an honest to goodness, brand new update for The Gameroom Blitz. Not only have I changed the banner to reflect a new milestone for the site (10,000 hits! Keep 'em comin', guys!), but I've written another review for Fighter's Misery and, gasp and swoon, added new content including a cartoon and an introduction to The 26 Hunter. You should also be able to download the Pac-Mon games now, although I'll probably have them together in the same ZIP file. What the heck, if you want to play one of those games you're probably gonna to be interested in both of them.

I'm thinking of finally starting that Game Boy Advance page so I can add it to the site in about a month... but I'm not sure what I should include. For instance, should I add pictures to every review or just leave the page text-based? Either way, the content will be the same... the Advance page will be filled with short reviews of games for the Game Boy Advance, similar to my other system dedicated pages but with a unique (perhaps even controversial) new approach to rating each title.

Still haven't read The First Quarter yet? You should. Later on in the book the author details just how petty and cruel (and jealous of Hercules... no, wait, scratch that last part) the major game companies can be... there were allegations that Nintendo, upset about the success of the original Mortal Kombat on the Genesis, ignited the congressional hearings that threatened the entire industry's rights of free expression. Worse still, Sega had a debut party for the 32X with obnoxious rap music and plenty of 32X kiosks... and the press members that were invited there were essentially held hostage ("Oh, the buses? They won't be back until 11PM. In the meantime, why don't you play a few rounds of Kolibri?"). Trapped in a building with thunderously loud rap music and nothing to play but the 32X? Man, that's my definition of hell right there.

October 9, 2001...  Extreme Annoyance

I don't think Jeremy's ever going to let me live down the fact that the next Grandia game is going to have the word "Xtreme" in the title.  Man, you'd think they'd finally just put that catchphrase to rest, but seven years after Micronet/Bignet changed its name to Extreme Entertainment, it's still popular... and overused.  I've seen it on a third of the toys in my store, including a WWF playset which proclaims, "Xtreme isn't a mood... it's a LIFESTYLE!"  I doubt Vince McChucklehead even knows what extreme means, and I don't think any of the other corporations who've beat it into the ground have any idea either.  They just like that the word convinces trendy morons to purchase their mediocre products.  I'd like to see how far companies can take this... maybe we'll see Xtreme Charmin, complete with flecks of broken glass embedded in the fibers of the toilet paper.  Then they can get rid of the British chick from Dear John and make Dan Cortese the voice of the rolling buttwipe in their ads.  "Look, d00dz!  You can either wipe the boring old fashioned way, or take your ass to new limits with Xtreme Charmin!"

But oh yeah.  About Grandia Xtreme... as ignominious as the name change is, I'll just have to accept the ignominy and ignominiously part with the fourty dollars it'll cost.  Then I can play it and decide if it's the name or the game itself that's full of ignominiousness.  Or better yet, I can avoid the ignominiosity of buying a Playstation 2 and just buy a copy of Grandia 2 for the Dreamcast.  I played that before and I know I wouldn't feel too ignominomininny-whatever about purchasing it.

By the way, I just bought Super Mario Kart Super Circuit the other day.  Not only is it the best game in the series, it's got a great stab at Hiroshi Yamauchi at the end... he's represented as Bowser, the angry turtle king who seems to get more and more beast-like every time he pops up in a Mario game.  In this one, he doesn't even talk, opting instead to roar and growl like some kind of shellbacked Godzilla.  He seemed so much brighter and more personable in the cartoons...

October 1, 2001...  The Mr. Burns of Nintendo (so is Miyamoto Smithers?)

Damn, it's October already.  Gotta think of a costume for Halloween... I've got it!  I'll dress up as Hiroshi Yamauchi, the most frightening man in the video game industry!

I've been reading The First Quarter by Steven Kent, and it seems like there's a surprise on nearly every page... there was a lot of information about the industry that I'd somehow missed, especially during the crash of 1984 and the awkward transfer of power from Atari to Nintendo.  I was very young around that time, and my mother had remarried the year the industry had collapsed, so I guess I was either too distracted or uninformed to realize that the hobby I loved so dearly had nearly been destroyed by corporate greed and consumer neglect.  I also didn't understand that Nintendo had to sweat blood to revive the video game market in the United States... I just assumed that people would buy the NES because it was the best, most strongly supported game system available at the time.  It turns out that many of them- especially retail store owners- didn't even WANT to associate themselves with video games, and Nintendo had to come up with a sneaky business strategy to sell their products and eventually revive the market.  I always thought of ROB the video robot as one of Nintendo's biggest mistakes, but Steven Kent describes it as a possible key to the success of the NES, because it led people to believe that the console was something other than a (gasp!) video game system.  Essentially, it was more of a shield to defend Nintendo from the anti-gaming climate of the time than a useful peripheral for NES owners.  Once it served its purpose and people started coming to their senses about video games, Nintendo just chucked it in the garbage.  I suspect that people who'd purchased the NES for ROB felt a little burned by this, but I'm sure they got over it once they started playing the system for its games rather than to "interact" with some useless toy.

Anyway, about Yamauchi.  You remember that episode of The Simpsons where FOX CEO Rupert Murdoch refers to himself as a "billionaire tyrant"?  Well, I doubt Yamauchi would ever make the same admission, but he definitely fits that description.  In The First Quarter, Steven Kent details a "meeting" (more like a shouting match) between the presidents of Nintendo and Coleco.  Coleco made the mistake of designing an ADAM version of Donkey Kong while Nintendo and Atari discussed releasing the game for Atari's own line of computers.  From what I read, it didn't seem as though Coleco even realized it was infringing on Nintendo's copyrights, but Yamauchi didn't care if it was an honest mistake... the moment he saw the prototype version of Donkey Kong for the ADAM, he started muttering angry comments under his breath, then lept to his feet, stuck a finger in the Coleco CEO's face, and screamed... well, Kent never really describes what he'd said, but I'm guessing I couldn't print it here even if it were in Japanese.

I have to wonder how Yamauchi even became president of Nintendo in the first place, because this isn't the kind of behavior you'd expect from a leader of an international corporation, or for that matter, a native of Japan.  I guess one outburst would be understandable, especially in the early 80's when video games were such a high profit, high stress business, but according to Kent Yamauchi acts like this ALL THE TIME.  It kind of makes you wish that Nintendo would have followed Namco's lead and hired its best employees to run the company.  I'm sure Shigeru Miyamoto and Gumpei Yokoi (dead?  Well, yes, but that may not have happened if he'd taken Yamauchi's place after the success of the GameBoy) would be a little more sympathetic to their hardware and software designers than a firebreathing thug like Hiroshi Yamauchi.

If any Nintendo fans, historians, or better yet, employees, would like to debate or further discuss my opinion of the company's Japanese management, please either E-mail me or post your own opinions on the message board.  I know not everybody's going to agree with me about this, and I'd like to see some other viewpoints.