Retrospective- What was Shareware?

I remember, back in the late 80’s and early 90’s we had  Shareware and Freeware that allowed people to have one episode of a full games allowing you to get a feel for the game and the content. One could say that us kids without much money and no system had but 1 hope…SHAREWARE. Some games were only obtainable through CDs included in PC Gamer Magazine or the CDs included in the “Strategy Guides” but many publishers would release the licenses to their first “Episode” of a game or first few dozen levels.

These were popularized by games like:

Doom
Duke Nukem
Jill of the Jungle
Word Rescue
Math Rescue
Commander Keen
Haunted House 3D
Wolfenstine 3D
One Must Fall 20XX
And many other Titles from Sunsoft, Apogee, id, and the like..

These games killed the time we had when there was nothing to do. When one says “You have the demo?” I think the days of Shareware. Where games were only a few megs and you didn’t need the internet just to play demos (As a matter of fact, the internet was not even common back then). In contrast in the later years Shareware faded. Custom expansions and fan-made content would be more popular through the distribution of PC Gamer and the “Planets” websites (or various fan hubs hosting files).

Now adays mods are common and some publishers, like Blizzard, include tools to make custom versions, mods, and even arcade games built on their platform for various franchises ala Starcraft 2 Map/Game Editor or the newest incarnation of DooM with the level editor. Robust content and AAA titles have demos readily downloadable through Hubs like Steam, Origin, and their own sites. There were a LOT of games out there to pick up…

Retro Game Review Sonic and Knuckles on the Sega

System: Sega Genesis
Overall: **** 4/5
Game Summary:Though pushing the processing of sprites on a screen at once Sonic lacked much of the display gloss of later games on the Genisis. The first game itself was a launch title. The rest were sequels that added something new with each update. Sonic has become a large part of both Anime and “Fur” culture. Though the story was simple and the gameplay lacking little more then “Jump on the enemies or run into them with your spikes” it kept us entertained. Sonic has moved into the new age with console games. The fusion of Nintendo and Sega has brought to us Sonic on the NES of today.

Graphics: Sonic wasn’t realistic but we were given much expression with the cartoon sprites that was him and his companions. The game lacked polish in the first 2 but the third and forth installments made up for in both background and foreground effects. You were moving so fast most of the time you didn’t have the seconds to critique most of the area anyways. It was Sega’s “BLAST PROCESSING”, right?

Music: The highlight of the sonic games was the composition of in game songs and the ever so classic ring gain and ring loss sound. We enjoyed it. And sometimes when you close your eyes after playing, you can hear the Green Hill Zone theme.

Replay: Sonic was a set of time trials. You’ve always got to get the best time. Points and time and rings. That’s all you really worried about until you got to the boss, ahh Beating Robotnik was always fun.

In the End: Go and play this game. Even if you have to buy an old used Genesis and the games to do it. Its worth it. These are the games that kept Nintendo grinding away at production for stronger systems. Mario was slow and hopping while Sonic was spin Dashing his way through robots. The worst thing Mario took on was a freaking fire breathing lizard! C’mon guys (well, Sonic and his pals did fight the “True Perfect Being” which was a fire-bubble Lizard but we’re not talking about that, today).

Retro Game Review- Jill of the Jungle

System: PC (DOS)
Overall: *** (3/5)
Game Summary: When you think “Laura Croft” or “The Night Elves” from WoW did you ever wonder where it all came from? Well for those who remember the contender: Jill! To keep pace with Keen and Duke, Jill was produced to offer another romp through a DOS Coded wonderland. Jill never engaged any bosses in combat. And for a game like this the puzzles were enough…

Graphics: DOS is DOS. Colors were standard. Jill had a nitch though- one of the few females you could adventure as in the early 90s. This was done by Epic Megagames (One Must Fall…UNREAL) so this was one of their little steps on the way to stardom. Not too flashy but didn’t ever give me a headache. So it worked for what it was- at the time.

Music: Jill had little to nothing. Sounds were stock. And little was “new” for its production. Appogee used quite a bit of this in their other games- nominal amount of sounds- but structure to give it a solid feeling.

Replay:There was none. No skill level, no different maps after the main ones. If you wanted to see how fast you could o through it you could!

In the End: Jill was fun for its time. Back then all three games were like 15 bucks. Roughly a month of saved chore money. Now a days it lurks in various torrents and floats around nearly forgotten.

-From No Deal Forum, Circa 2007
-Robert R.

Retrospective- How to watch Tenchi Muyo

Time to get down to business, TENCHI STYLE!

First you must understand “Tenchi Muyo!” is an adaption from a serial Manga. You will NEVER get the whole story from the anime. That being said we must also consider that in their Storyline Universe “Lady Tokimi” resets the timeline with various alternating factors, thus, making each story different shows/possibilities from the SAME universe. They do NOT all intersect but SOME do! To make it easier I’ve categorized the following with relevance to the CORE Continuity and Numbered as per their significance. *Demarks importance of the anime on contrast to the others “Spinnoffs”:

  1. *Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki– The Core storyline/Continuity and closest adaptation from the original Manga. We are introduced to Tenchi and the main cast along with the main conflict and story of the show.
  2. *Tenchi Muyo! GXP– The Core Storyline/continuity takes a break for a “Pseudo-Second Generation” as the Main Character, Tenchi’s cousin is abducted and is drafted into the Space police and embarks on adventures through the TM Universe.
  3. *Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki OVA–  This is the COMPLETION of the Original manga adaption with Tenchi and the gang. Characters introduced from GXP make a return appearance and their “Secondary Roles” become “Significant Primary Roles”
  4. Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar– Taking place years AFTER the events of the OVA with Tenchi’s half-brother. Though the it does leave a few allusions to the ORIGINAL Storyline/Continuity it acts as a “Stand Alone” in a Spinoff-like manner.
  5. *Tenchi Universe– This is a “Core Retelling” of the Manga. Antagonists have been changed and added to give the story a “Broader Universal Depth”. The quality is different while the direction was along similar lines (but not the same). This series is a MUST WATCH due to the Cartoon Network Popularization of this anime.
  6. Tenchi in Tokyo– This is a Spinnoff with the same characters from the OVA and TU. The story resumes at the point of Tenchi moving to Tokyo and handling school while the girls handle his moving and a NEW enemy.
  7. Magical Girl Pretty Sammy/Pretty Sammy Magical Girl Club- Another Spinnoff with a focus on the “Magical Girl Pretty Sammy” idea. Though it has NOTHING to do with the original show the popularization of it gave it stand-alone status in Japan.
  8. Tenchi Muyo! Movies– Often Spinn-Offs set in either “Tenchi Muyo!” or “Tenchi Universe” that don’t have much effect on the main storylines (or made after they were finished).
  9. Various other Cross-Over shows– Not named here but there are a few. Check them out at your own PERIL!

-Robert R.

Retrospective- The Rise and Fall of Anime and Manga into the Niche

GO SPEED! GO!

In the 1980s America got it’s first taste of “Anime”. Mainstream titles like:
Astro Boy
Gigantor
Transformers
Speed Racer
Urusei Yatsura
Space Battleship Yamato/ Harlock/Galaxy Express
Gundam: Mobile Suit
Macross/Robotech

And those at the time were what we consider today “Anime in the 80s”. The medium was unexplored territory. With works like Gem, MLP G1, Garfield, Space Ranger, He-Man/She-Ra, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Silverhawks, Thundercats, GI Joe and dozens of other american titles they were swept up in the mix. What we didn’t get were the huge works till years later from Japan and much of the content we DID get was Rush-Dubbed. We also SLOWLY saw the advent of Manga in the 80s but it wasn’t till the next decade did translators (and a few non-translators implanting their own stories into the speech bubbles) honestly begin the flood.

The 90’s Kayo Ken

I doubt they’d ever all pose together like this.
So much Gundam….


The big push came with the rush of cross culture media. MTV, VH1, and various other news sources started to expose the world to more strange content. Musicians were using Anime in the background of their videos or even FOR their videos. Manga became a new exotic medium for comic book stores to sell fresh translations of. The “Mainstream” anime we got were:
Sailor Moon
Lupin the III

Ranma 1/2
Dragonball Z (Dragonball was translated later)
Pokemon
Digimon
Project Lyoko (Computer Animated)
Gundam Wing/Gundam G Fighter
Inyu Yasha
Yu Yu Hakasho
Bubblegum Crisis
Cutey Honey
Blood the Last Vampire
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Sorcerer Hunters
City HunterRonin Warriors
My Neighbor Totoro
Ghost in the Shell
Slayers
Escaflowne

Armatige
Palbot Mobile Tank Police
Dirty PairTenchi Muyo
Outlaw Star
Cowboy Bebop
Yu-Gi-Oh

We also got Manga corresponding with MOST of this anime and the advent of adult content (but that would be a multipage list on it’s own so we’ll just leave it at that).  The Cable Cartoon Network spearheaded the Anime Movement with their “Toonami” programming list while the Sci-Fi (now SyFy) Channel had their “Saturday Morning Anime Hour” and the Warner Brothers network had the popular “Pokemon” and “Yu-Gi-Oh” and Fox News Network had their hands on properties like “Digimon”. These were what established the “Mainstream” titles and exposure while there were more obscure things happening around the same time.
Another medium appeared called “American Manga” (also called Pseudo-Manga by the critics at the time). These were works by Ben DunnFred Perry and Adam Warren.
Ben Dunn- Ninja High School/Marvel Mangaverse/Gigantor Revised

SO ANIMU! (Don’t kill me, Benn-San, please)

Fred Perry- Gold Digger/Legacy

Plunger Gun. Mmmhmm.

Adam Warren- Dirty Pair Comic Book Adaptation/Star Wars Manga

Selling point= T&A

Ben and Fred have worked together on the smaller publishing venue known as “Antarctic Press” while Adam was “Hailed as the godfather of Pseudomanga” despite actually being the LAST of the first three to start authoring comics in a Manga-esque look and style but because he had the HUGE Property holder/Publisher “Dark Horse Comics” behind him both Ben and Fred, sadly, never got the recognition for being pioneers in “American Manga” besides the claims in their comics. Meanwhile, Viz comics were cranking out translations of EVERYTHING and the Manga/Anime Fever Bug began to spread with the increase of “Anime Clubs” and “Anime Conventions” like Anime Expo and various other named conventions.
There were still more specific, rare titles for Anime and Manga that were the following:

There were 3 Devil Hunters… 3.

Devil Hunter Yoko (Same producer/art director as Sailor Moon)Devil Man
Jo Jo’s Bizarre Adventures
Fatal Fury (Game Original)
Gokizer: Voltage Fighter (Game Original)
Street Fighter (Game Original)
Prince of Tennis
Slam Dunk
High Kicker Aya
Virus Buster Surge
Fushi Ugi
Gal Wars
Macross +/ Southern Cross

Though these were less seen titles they would set a standard slowly pushing their way into the NEXT decade of Anime/Manga culture. Time to lock down the inner Otaku folks. The next one’s a whopper of a statement…

So yea… he remade it.


The early 2000’s DESU DESU NIPPON!
Oh how cruel the times have become. Anime and manga didn’t change. The style was refined, cleaned up, given to both mature audiences and younger audiences. The lines between cultural satire, original content, social commentary, and exploitation began to merge. The advent of Streaming Media, E-Comic Pirating, and loss of content management and liability for exposure became the agonizing and slow decline for Anime and Manga. Adult content was made readily available by people who “don’t care for copyright laws or protecting the youth” that would cause worried parents to rail AGAINST the medium and at the same time cause a loss of revenue for publishers, artists, and content providers. Streaming Media also took from the TV due to lack of advertising and commercializing content and the only way to turn a profit would be to offer your content on a high quality “Download or stream” basis direct and merchandise. Some companies have began but they forget the content that MADE them what they are. If we as fans of this content don’t start speaking OUT against theft and if content providers don’t give an acknowledgement to the changes in the industry they will go broke and WE won’t have anything to watch.

My Opinion
Before I was married and had a child I would buy comics and anime EVERY MONTH. I’d say almost religiously because back then it was taking 10% of my earnings! I currently have much less than what I had bought but back in the day I was proud to buy DVDs and Comics and Merchandise but my life has changed where there are priorities to take care of first. I still pick up a Gold Digger comic when I can but when I look at the newest Manga on the shelf… or the newest incarnation of Magical Girl Cute Vixen 900 I die a little bit on the inside.

-Robert Rankin
All characters Copyright their creators.

Mai from Fatal Fury. Oh My.