Hey Ho RetRo!

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Last Saturday we had the pleasure of attending NERG at the Gateshead International Stadium. Representing for Teabag or Die were eremenko, The Quim Ninja and Crinbot and we were thrilled to be joined by Bradley Hall from the excellent North East Media and Gaming site. We thought you all might be interested in seeing what we got up to so here is a selection of pics from some of the shows highlights.

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That’s right there’s a Sopranos pinball machine RIP Mr Gandolfini

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Point blank was one of only two light gun games on the show floor which was a shame but it was more than enough to keep us (trigger) happy.

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eremenko smashed the competition in Super Smash Bros. melee on the good old Gamecube.

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Four player Gauntlet machine was just epic although not as fun as we remembered it.

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Star Wars pinball complete with moving, whistling R2D2.

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It wouldn’t be a retro gaming con without the famous dungaree wearing plumber … Quim could not get enough of this.

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Even more retro Mario to delight all

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Turtles arcade could’ve been amazing but sadly Donatello wouldn’t move down due a joystick malfunction which greatly saddened eremenko…

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Millipede … nuff said.

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Missile commander …. look at those next gen graphics.

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The game board for Sopranos pinball, what’s the boat all about? I don’t know I’ve never seen the show.

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Starship Troopers Pinball, more exciting and action packed than Starship Troopers 2 ….

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South Park pinball. Look there’s Mr Hankey, he popped up out of that toilet a lot.

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You have never seen a grown man more excited than Quim was when this Star Trek the Next Generation Pinball table started playing the theme tune.

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Robotron … fucking Robotron!!!

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This is the face of delight that most of us made all day.

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I can’t remember the name of this one but I can assure you it needed every inch of concentration Quim is showing in this shot.

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Sadly the board for Atlantis the Pinball machine was slightly water damaged (badum cha).

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The original Crazy Taxi arcade machine …. I dare you not to get excited about that.

You think all that is great? Well there was more to see. In addition to various arcade machines and classic games there were a whole host of folk showing off vintage and modified machinery, plus a whole plethora of tinker’s peddling the goods from their packs. Check out some of this stuff and I bet you’ll see something from days gone by that you wish you had been there to try or in some cases buy.

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SNES!

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Oh what I wouldn’t give to own those games … oh wait I have that one … and that one .. still that’s insane.

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This thing! Oh hells yeah!

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Wan’t to buy the original CE and limited edition Halo 2? Tough Quim got there first. No wonder he looks so Boss about it.

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Oh …

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My ….

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Lord.

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Can you imagine owning this many games?

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Actually you probably can …. cause you do.

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The NEC TurboGrafX … the stuff of dreams … well my dreams anyway.

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The GCN and it’s modified sister the Panasonic Q which played both Gamecube discs and DVD’s … revolutionary!

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Either that remote is massive or eremenko is tiny …. maybe it’s both actually.

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What kind of retro show would be complete without retro sweets…. eremenko went on a sugar crazed killing spree shortly after this photo was taken … it’s ok though the only people hurt were goombas and some henchmen.

That would just about round off our day but for a few chance encounters with some famous faces from the world of gaming. See if you can recognize any of these guys and girls.

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Were any of you in attendance at this event of epicness? Maybe you were one of the folk that eremenko picked up on his 3DS street pass?

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Would you like to attend it if you could? Check out the official NERG website or their twitter @NERGofficial and keep your eyes peeled for more opportunities to take part in some past loving retro goodness. I’m off to play some Streets of Rage.

– eremenko

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King of Kong

To celebrate a year since we first started teabagging our words onto your screens I thought that it seemed quite fitting to give my thoughts on a film which shows just how serious some people take their gaming and I think no film illustrates this obsession more than King of Kong.

“This is a war universe. War all the time. There may be other universes but ours seems  to be based on war and games.”  ~ William S. Burroughs

As this quote right at the beginning illustrates, setting records on old school arcade games is taken very very….very seriously. No-one takes it more seriously than the gentlemen at Twin Galaxies International who regulate and verify high scores for a host of classic games and there’s one man who is worshipped above all by this nerd coven. Enter Billy Mitchell.

Billy Mitchell evidently takes Donkey Kong more seriously than his haircut and is initially portrayed as a winner. Fair enough though since the guy is like the Gene Simmons of the arcade having held the world record for this particular game since 1982. Given Billy’s ‘swag’ you can tell he knows his score is untouchable. Until now.

In the blue corner we have our plucky challenger Steve Wiebe, well maybe not plucky more downtrodden. This a guy has tried so hard at numerous things and has been so close to having major success only to come up short and choke when it really counted. He is a truly nice guy despite being totally OCD and from the start you are rooting for him, plus he is like a Donkey Kong rain man and if anyone can beat the mighty Billy’s score its Steve. Which he does on tape whilst his kid is screaming for him to come and wipe his arse,. This man has the skills. Anyway a minor celebrity status ensues and finally for the first time Steve feels a sense of achievement in his life.

The film takes more of a sinister turn at this stage when the group of nerds who Billy is part of take a more mafia style approach and send some minions to Steve’s house to try to find an excuse to invalidate Steve’s score. Watch the film for the specifics but Twin Galaxies says they won’t accept Steve’s tape as they suspect foul play and the new king is quickly dethroned.

Then the day comes where The Guinness Book of World Records comes to town and when Steve hears about it he steps up to prove his worth. Cue the Rocky style montage of Steve fiddling furiously with his joystick, complete with Eye of the Tiger music.

Will Steve succeed and overcome The Illumnerdi? or will The Kongfather Billy Mitchell keep his crown. You will have to watch to find out. You can find it on Netflix and the trailer for this epic battle can be found below.

It’s only a game/show?

Howdy folks.

Once again it has been a while. We have a few ideas for upcoming posts and they are slowly coming together but yesterday I managed to tear myself away from pc gaming to spend the 400 Microsoft pacmen I have been saving for just this occasion and played through part 2 of the sensational Walking Dead game from telltale games.

If you frequent the blog (I know there’s at least one of you out there) you’ll know that I briefly covered part one in an earlier post so you will already be aware that I enjoy this kind of story heavy adventure driven experience. This next installment begins three months after Lee and co escaped the ill fated pharmacy in Macon and set up camp on the edge of town in what they refer to as a “motor inn”, which appears to be some kind of drive thru motel? Supplies are scarce and tempers running thin, it’s interesting to note at this point that the characters appearing here will be the characters that you chose to save in A New Day, (part one) from the very beginning you are reminded of those who didn’t make it this far and it is made immediately obvious that the decisions are not going to get any easier this time out. Remember the moment in the show when Rick has to get that kid’s leg off the fence? You, like me might have been yelling at the screen for him to just rip the damn thing off, well you get to test your mettle in a similar situation here very early on and unless you are a wee bit masochistic it is not a pleasant experience.

I said it last time out but this part proves further that telltale really want to go down the darker more sinister route of the comics rather than the more hopeful path taken by Andrew Lincoln and his TV co stars, that’s not to say there aren’t some horrific moments in the show but some of the things that happen in the comic just could not be done on television, interestingly it seems you can go down this path in a video game. I say video game in the loosest terms here as I allude to in the title its difficult to tell at times if you’re playing a game, watching a show or partaking in an interactive comic/novel, this plays to the creators advantage as the story that Kirkham has created is a strong character driven, emotional experience. Both the comic and the show have come under fire for spending too much time focusing on the talking and too little on the Zombie smashing, those nay sayers may feel the same way about the beginning of this episode as the action takes a little time to get rolling and once again the focus is on the evils of those humans still alive rather than the bitey dead heads roaming around.

I wont delve into the plot at all because that’s not my style if you want to play it you will and I don’t want to be the one ruining that experience for you but there are some great nods to both the show and the comic in terms of locations, characters and set pieces. Typically TV show video game tie ins tend to be a little drab and uninventive, what we have here however is a visceral, original experience that doesn’t get too bogged down in trying to replicate the story or style of the show, yes it helps that it has the comic to fall back on as well but ultimately it has come about due to the success of the show. Rather than allowing this to hinder them telltale have run with it and created a tense, paranoia fueled story that runs as a nice parallel to the main arc whilst never feeling like it is repeating the ideas of its counterparts.

At times during this thrill ride you really start to wonder what you would be capable of in such extreme circumstances leaving you questioning just what you would do to survive. Most of us gamers like to think we would be useful in the event of a Zombie apocalypse due to our “past experience” but until it actually happens who truly knows what they would do and whether their perceived good choices would actually work out for the best. This game really pushes that idea, make the wrong choice and things can really go to hell, hesitate over choosing and things can really go to hell, try to play the hero and things can really go to hell. In short it’s hell out there so make sure you pick the right companions or you might be dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight.

If you’ve played the game let me know what you think, even if you haven’t all comments are appreciated. If you love the show play the game even if you hate Carl like everyone else.

Elth out.