Opinions: Konami IS READYING COMPS! Let’s Discuss!

In what might be the quickest turnaround from me writing speculation posts to actual confirmation posts, Konami just revealed that they are releasing several digital 8-packs of their back catalog this year for their 50th anniversary. As of today there are three on tap: one full of arcade titles, one of Castlevania, and one of Contra (with a…

Music – Top VGM STKs #20 – 22: Celeste, Super Mario 64, Contra

Lena Raine has been composing for a while now, but I feel Celeste is her moment. This game needed a soundtrack and a composer that could convey Madeline’s inner demons — her doubt, anxiety, panic and depression — and Raine absolutely nailed it. Every infectious piano and chiptune-heavy track drips with emotion and many of…

Music: Five NES Songs I Adore

Another month, another five songs from my Top 100! This time around, it’s all 8-bit Nintendo! Stage 3, Journey to Silius, Naoki Kodaka, NES, Sunsoft, 1990 I’ve seen it elsewhere, and I’ll say it again: Naoki Kodaka is the finest composer on the NES, and this is example C of why I believe so (behind…

Opinion: Power Up! – Spread Gun (Contra series)

Spread Gun (Contra series) Sometimes a powerup comes along that so overshadows everything else within its series that it becomes synonymous with it. Such is the Spread Gun of Contra. Sure, there’s the Machine Gun, or the Flame Gun, or the Laser Gun, or the Homing Missiles or …whatever the rapid fire Missiles are in…

Opinions: If I could design a NES Classic 2…

Nintendo plans to re-release the NES Classic next year, but that’s sort of old hat. If Nintendo came over to me to generate a NES Classic 2 (modeled after the late second model of the console) with the same number of games, this would be what I would supply. Now in this case I’m giving…

Culture Clash! – Contra/Probotector (NES/Famicom)

Study #27 – Contra/Probotector (NES/Famicom, Konami) Contra was originally released as an arcade game in 1987, titled Gryzor in Japan. One of the progenitors of the action subgenre of “run n’ gun”, Contra threw two supersoldiers named Bill Rizer (Mad Dog in America) and Lance Bean (Scorpion) at an alien menace led by the mysterious…

Ruminations: Favorite Games of the 1980s – 1993

Note – I’m reposting this after leaving it in stasis for quite some time. The games I discuss below are still favorites of mine, but the original essays I wrote are off the site for now. Composing little essays on my favorite games is a nice exercise to work on my writing skills, but I…

Opinion: Critical Favorites – The NES

When I launched LVLs. and then P4, I had a series of articles on my favorite or “essential” games that ran until quite recently. I wanted to rethink my approach of analyzing the games that I love, and would like to take three to six games I adore for each system the most and try…