Retrograding Mailbag 06.12.03

Okay. Right off the bat, no mail before the first of June. And most of it’s just praise and ego boost mails. I think everyone was just glad to have me back. But I miss the long winded emails waxing about everything from how much Cthulhu rules to asking me if I’m a crazy Japanese import obsessed lunatic who doesn’t appreciate American gaming. The answer to that is no. Pokemon is much better in English.

Hey, Alex,
Long time no see. I’m glad you’re back. With Bebito leaving, and so
many of the news guys taking extended breaks, it’s been kinda lonely in
the games area. Hopefully with the promise of free games, it’ll lure
some of the people back so we can start turning the site back around.
Then again, it helps that the King is back (that’s you, not Jerry
Lawler :). Anyway, good informative column as always. You should take
up one of the news spots so we can bask in your glory every week. :)
Anyway, just wanted to write and say hi. Keep up the good work, as always.

Always good to hear I was missed. And Lee’s done a bang up job of his Weds. News report. But I have to point out that even though Captain America is one of my most favorite games of all time, it didn’t do the actual license justice, whereas the X-men game is a perfect copy of the one-shot cartoon. (He missed I put that in the column too! Does he even read my stuff?)

Hello Alex,
It’s been a bit of time since I e-mailed my favourite internet personality, but then again I don’t play Shining Force games. Not that they are bad or anything of the sort, I am weening myself off of Roleplaying Games at the moment in order to save myself hours of level building and woozle hunting.
So why am I e-mailing you anyway? It is good to hear that you are going to increase your output, so ummm, yay on that point. Too bad you are in the States now and away from your surely lovely lady, but I’m sure that’s going to be fixed ASAP. Now for some content…
First of all, do you own a Neo Geo Pocket? I’m about to take the plunge and buy one so I can play Metal Slug at work, at the casino, but I wondered if you had one since you seem to be into handheld gaming. It seems to me that even now handheld gaming is given short shrift by the gaming magazines, yet it is what keeps Nintendo going and has the games I look forward to the most, sidescrollers, puzzle games, 2-d fighters, and SNES reissues. I can almost see the handheld industry getting as cut throat as console gaming is now once Sony enters the fray.
Secondly, I finally put my finger on why video game magazines are so much lamer than they were back in the day. Nearly nonexistant now are import game previews, reviews, advertisements, or even rumours. GameFAN was made up mainly of reviews and import news and previews. Of course I know that 16-bit was a golden age of gaming and especially import gaming but the problem remains that the mainstream gaming press will go so far as to almost actively deny import gaming’s existance. Why else do we see no reference to the coming of Fire Pro Wrestling Z, the greatness of Starfi, or how King of Colesseum is the best wrestling game on the market. A whole wave of gamers are coming up that don’t even know there is a possibility of importing games. End of rant…
Well, I’ll reiterate how glad I am that you’ll be writing more for the site, I hope you have an easy time readjusting to the states, and I lament the lack of decent beer in this country. So you’ll put a good word in for me and my column, “Quarter Circle Back Kick” to the boss man, right? (snicker) Wel, good day, good night, and good god that’s a huge bee behind you,
Charles Platt

Yes, I do own an NGPC. Long time fans will remember my first few columns had subtle Damn you all for not buying the Neo Geo’ comments in them. I bought mine mainly for Sonic. And the two excellent Capcom vs SNK games. But I’m an SNK fan from way back, and own the actual home console Neo geo system, so it’s a safe bet that I still use a love my little NGPC.

And he’s right, video game writers and reviewers in general are lamer than they use to be. Most writers do it for money or free games. The passion is gone. GameFAN was THE magazine and I’m lucky to have made casual email buddies out of Eggo and ECM from way back when. Of course they don’t write very OFTEN, but that’s life.

Back to the rant, in order to write you need passion man. Reviews are short and bland without any emotion of actual feeling. It’s dry crap or like in a certain magazine, they are three paragraphs long, each paragraph by a different reporter. What happened to the days of 2-3 page reviews. GameFAN rocked because they gave a full page to a review, whether or not the game sucked because they wanted you to know EVERYTHING about it! And US magazines have become so Ethnocentric, there is maybe one page of import news.

Yes, straight video game info has gone the way of the dinosaurs, replaced with a lot of filler crap, shots of Asian women, and short little articles about Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy. DEMAND better from the writers you read people! If you don’t like something, tell them or don’t buy it. FORCE the industry to improve. It’s that bloody simple. Rant over

to be honest didn’t even notice you were gone, but it’s good to have another column to read


Hi, I just read your pieces on Shining Force. I absolutely love Shining Force, keep them coming! My first experience was when I was around 11 and really had no clue what were the “big games” at the time, and I happen to have a Sega Channel. They had some Quest section, and I saw “Shining Force” and wondered what that was and loaded it up. At first, being 11, I was confused, but I was somehow just drawn to the game. Its been 8 years, and I STILL play Shining Force.
What makes me mad is what seems to be Sega’s refusal of acknowledging that Shining even exists. They don’t remake the game other than slapping the first one into a bad emulator for the Dreamcast. We ask for a new one, and they quitely release Soul. Yeah right, like who cares about a Diablo rip-off? WE WANT SHINING FORCE. Anyways, I thought I would rant about that to someone who I think would understand me.
Anyways, thanks for someone on my favorite website giving recognition to what I feel is the best RPG series EVER. Keep up the good work.
Richie Jackson

Hey. It’s Sega and Camelot that don’t acknowledge it. It’s an ownership thing and Sega and Camelot soured ala Sega and Working Designs. And at roughly the same time. Email Working Designs and ask what happened with Magic Knight Rayearth and you’ll get a big time story of Drama and geekhood like you wouldn’t believe.

Wow man. I just read your most recent review for 411 and man… let me tell you. It was fantastic. I felt like I was reading my old GameFAN magazine from back in the day. I felt like ECM was heralding the brillance of shooters from yesteryear all over again. Brought a tear to my eye. Brillant.. Knowing that, I’m having a severe inferiority complex. I believe that your writing is so far above quality wise the rest of the staff that it’s just scary. It makes me honestly NOT want to write, because my work feels trite and contrived. Not asking for a pep talk or anything, but hopefully some better writers come along to boost the site’s quality… as I just don’t feel up to the new standard that you and the other 411 hopefulls will probably be setting. Honestly… I have no idea how I got so “popular” in the first place with you around. Again, brillant.


Man, does Bebs know how to ass kiss or WHAT? Seriously, I got a ton of feedback on the Ikaruga review. Glad everyone liked it so much. Now if everyone wrote like that, VG journalism would be back in the Golden Days.

Too goddamn funny.
I was going to sit down and apply for a reviewers spot today, since it’s the deadline, by writting a review of the one recent game I have that no one else had reviewed. Then I checked out the mania and lo and behold TWO reviews for Ikaruga. I am just glad you did the game justice ( and a shout out to Gun/Cannon Spike. You just need to give some love to my boys in the Rival Schools series. Represent Batsu!). After reading your review, I guess that reviewing the best shooter available at Best Buy for $40 is kinda pointless. Thanks for writting a kickass review and setting the bar nice and high.
the Super Giant Ninja

Actually, I’m not a big fan of Rival Schools. Vampire Chronicles forever!

Knowing that Koei has had some success with the Dynasty Warriors franchise
(as well as Romance of the 3 Kingdoms), I was wondering (& hoping) if there
are any plans to rerelease the old Uncharted Waters games that they had for
the SNES, preferrably for the PS?


Not that I know of Katie. But it would be nice to see it. If it did come out, it’d be GBA all the way though. It’s the SNES port paradise. More on that in my Advance article in a few days.

IIGHT. First things first. This week your column was good, and yes the TNMNT its a classic video game. But do u remember a game that came out for Super Nintendo called Wrestlemania. This game was really lame

Actually I do. I remember two. One that was good that had Flair and Jake the Snake and the Road Warriors and one that was the start of Acclaims sucky wrestling games, where you had eight playable characters like Bulldog, HBK, Savage, Hogan, Warrior, Dibiase, and IRS. I know I’m missing one. Shut up and die.

Guess where I was last night?
At the arcade, playing the double-screen X-Men game!
Actually, we went to this other one first, realized they didn’t have X-Men, then bolted to the one we knew had it. Yes, beating X-Men was the basis of our evening – how sad is that? More sad is we do this like once a month.
It sucked because Nightcrawler’s coin slot wasn’t working, and he’s my
usual guy, so I was stuck as wussy Cyclops.
Anyway, thanks for the “one of the best VG journalists” thing – you
weren’t serious, were you? Heh heh. Later.


Wow Bryan…Ummm. You’re a big geek. KIDDING! But that’s very cool. And There’s nothing wrong with going out with some friends to the Arcade. Although it’s not the best place to bring a date. And Nightcrawler and Dazzler are my favorites. Sorry yo had to be crappy Cyclops.

There is now a version of X-Men arcade available for a home system. It’s out now on Gameboy Advance. You can’t match the awesome experience that was 6 player, but at least it’s out there.

Really? I Looked on a ton of web pages but I can find it ANYWHERE! Is this guy legit? If so readers, find it and tell me. My GBA needs this game.

I’m skeptical, because if this does exist, it’d be six player compatible through the BA link system. Still, if it exists, consider a Retrograding: ADVANCE Review coming out for it.

Okay, last email.

Great stuff. Love your articles. I just wanted to agree with you on Mutant League Football. What an awesome game that was! Mutant League Hockey was a lot of fun too. Especially how you had to punch the other guy out to win a faceoff. We need an article on classic sports games. Especially Tecmo Super Bowl. I have Madden 2003 for my PS2 but I still don’t have as much fun on that game as I do playing Tecmo. Take care and keep up the good work.
Jeff Lingard

Consider it on my list of things to do Jeff. Tecmo Bowl, Mutant League and Tommy Lasorda Baseball all ruled!

That’s it for this edition of the Mailbag. Check for this Weekend’s column, unless Stanley starts doing weekends and then I’ll move to Fridays, or he’ll move to Fridays and I’ll stay weekends. Something anyways. Regardless, I’m doing a joint Retrograding: Advance column with the new Alex at 411games, and fellow Ikaruga fan. Although probably not as much a zealot of the game. He’ll be doing Wario Ware and I’ll be speaking on the Game Boy Player for the GameCube.

See you then VG fans!