Game Pro TV

I’m finalizing my latest book, TV In My Time. It is about all the TV I watched in the 80s. As I was finalizing it, I remembered a show that times into my video game books: Game Pro TV.

Actually a show from the early 90s, Game Pro TV featured J.D. Roth (who would appear in a host of other youth-oriented shows) and Bren-nan (a Bill and Ted clone) talking about video games. The only clear memories of this show is a preview of Act Raiser for SNES and a clip that ran that was submitted by a viewer. This viewed explained that if you left one creature alive on any board of The Legend Of Zelda, the creatures would not be respawned. So if you left one creature on each board, you would easily be able to navigate Hyrule. I thought it was a lame tip, especially considering that The Legend of Zelda was an old game by that time. Still, I liked the show and am glad I remembered it.

Video Game Box Scans

A friend recently led me to this site.  It’s called The Cover Project and it has scans of video game box art.  Apparently, there were folks who use these scans to recreate boxes for their games or create fake boxes for display, but  I just like looking at them.

When I did, I discovered something interesting.  The PAL box art is often different from the NTSC (re: US) version.   I guess I already knew that. I had seen it before.  But on this occasion, I was really struck by some of the differences.  Super Mario Bros. is one.  While I love the pop art, almost minimalist style of the NTSC boxes which just feature a frame from the game (in Super Mario Bros.‘s case, a rather dismal frame from the game, which shows Mario in what is obviously a no-win scenario and which speaks to me of the arduous nature of his quest), the PAL version has a beautiful piece of art that features Mario and all the game villains.

I also noticed a difference in Metroid.  Again, the NTSC version had a still from the game, but the PAL version had a beautiful portrait of Samus.

These scans are all high rez and free.  There are also scans not just of NES games but  games from just about every system including the 2600, SNES, and TB16.

What Nintendo Means

I realized just the other day that I didn’t know what the word Nintendo means.  Nintendo has had a huge impact on my childhood and my life.  I’ve said the word hundreds of thousands of times.  But I don’t know what it means.  Realizing that, I intended to look it up, then promptly forgot to.  Fortunately, I started reading Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America by Jeff Ryan, and I came across this paragraph:



“Leave Luck to Heaven” or “We Do What We Can”.  There are probably complicated nuances to those concepts that we English speakers miss.  Nonetheless, I get a little bit of the idea in those two translations, and I think it’s an incredibly appropriate idea for a little gray box that gave me and still gives me so much joy.

Quickshot NES Controllers

In ANESthetized, I talked about the additional NES controllers Nintendo put out (the Advantage, Turbo Max, etc), as well as one third-party controller (the Epyx Speedking).  But those weren’t the only NES controllers out there.  Spectravision made a family of controllers for the NES as well.  Some very weird controllers, most of which went by the name Quickshot.  Here are a few of them:

The NES Quickshot.  Notice the suction cups at the bottom. This allowed it to stick to a table.


A handlebar controller.  For Excitebike??


A scope for the Zapper.  Pretty cool.


The Quickshot Joyball.  It wasn’t a trackball (though I think they made one of those as well).


The Quickshot Joypad.  I have no idea how to use this.

The Quickshot Aviator 2.  All I can say is, “Wow.”  Or is it, “Whaaa?”  I’m not sure.

And this isn’t even close to all.  Spectravision made a whole lot of other, somewhat wacky looking controllers for NES and other platforms.  Maybe I’m no fun, but I think I’ll stick with the original gamepad.

Ninja Gaiden on Sega Master System and Arcade

I logged enough hours on the NES version of Ninja Gaiden that I thought I knew everything there was to know about the game.  Turns out I thought wrong.  Did you know there was a Sega Master System version?  There was, and it looks pretty cool.  The game is different but plays similar to the NES version, and the graphics are excellent.

Not only so, but there was an arcade version that I never knew existed, either (or, if I knew, I never experienced).  It is significantly different from the NES version, making it one of those weird games (like Strider) whose port is something different and better from the arcade original.

I still think the NES version is the best.  I have to; I’m too invested in it.  But these others are at least interesting.


More NES Class Act Binders

A couple weeks ago, I told you about the Nintendo Get With It Kit, a Nintendo-ized Class Act Binder.   I still haven’t scored one of my own, but I did recently come across a few variations of this kit on Ebay.

This one is a darker color than the one I showed you in the first post.  I at first thought this was a variation, and it might be, but on second thought, I wondered if it wasn’t age or dirt or dark photography conditions.  If not, the darker color is cool.

This one is the same as the one from the previous post (I think), but it shows us what is actually inside.  You can see the “Pak Source”, which I’d really love to have.  There is also a Nintendo Power index, a Mapping and Data Book (which I think is just a fancy name for notebook) and, perhaps coolest of all, gamepad skins.

Here’s a better angle on the Mapping and Data Book and the gamepad skins.  I think the Angry Video Game Nerd has some of these skins on his controllers.

These things are still a little more expensive than I’d like them to be, but I’m still hoping to score one someday.  I wouldn’t mind having the books and skins, either.