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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Random Access Memory Lane Part 2: The fizzy drink diet.

Just before we get going on today’s nonsense I thought I would mention the new banner emblazoned across our blog, it was designed by one of the powerful chaps over at the emperors of design Me and Alan, I think it looks epic so please visit their site to see just how mint they are. Cheers.

If you haven’t read our part 1 you can find it here, if you have then lets crack on.

Its 1992 and shit is going down. For the adult world at least.

It is announced that a third of our coal mines are to be closed, which contributes to a record high in unemployment. A spate of IRA attack occur throughout the year across the nation of which Manchester suffers the worst of it. Windsor Castle is severely damaged after a proper massive fire. The economy is in tatters, so much so that it was decided the Queen is going to have to pay taxes.

For me it was a different kettle of fish, for me 1992 was all about my football team Newcastle United signing Alan Shearer for a record 15 million quid, watching some wicked telly including some particularly epic cartoons like X-Men and Animals of Farthing Wood and experiencing my first beat em up on a console. The glory that was Double Dragon

Now I know that technically Double Dragon had several iterations but I played the one on the Mega Drive which the internet tells me released in this year. This seminal game considered to be the progenitor of the modern beat em up. Taking on the role of either Billy or Jimmy Lee (twin brothers obviously) you are tasked with applying the fictional martial art with some ridiculous name, which incidentally was inspired by Jeet Kune Do and is one of the many references to the great Bruce Lee, to smash the snot out of innumerable enemies as you make your way through each level.

When I think about it, this game’s co-operative was probably the first time I felt that multiplayer buzz which would become the dominating force in my adult life as a gamer. Sure co-op was nothing new in the industry but to be 9 years old and to take on the role of a kick ass, muscle-bound Chuck Norris type with your best mate being every bit as ninja whilst to punch and kick your way through as many hapless bad guys whose skulls are standing in the way of you and justice, well that kind of experience will stick with you.

As a kid you wanted to be a hero, preferably one with granite hands and fly kicks up the wazoo (TMNT was huge at this point) and this game gave you that in buckets. To poach a phrase a friend of mind used to describe Dizzy when he read our last post, Double Dragon was ‘the tits’. End of.

As with my last post that offered up a link to play Dizzy, the generosity continues and this time it’s for you hipsters that have an iPhone. Here is Double Dragon for the iPhone for when you get sick of sketching out the same pictures in Draw Something. You will have to pay for it like I’m not made of money, probably due to the fact I’m always distracted playing or writing about games to achieve any true modicum of success on the career front.

– MS Dosser

Cast your mind back to the previous year. It’s ’91 and none of Dossers depressing issues have come to the fore as of yet. Operation desert storm is over, Mario and Sonic are locking horns in the battle of the consoles, Link has a new quest on his hands and Terminator 2 is out at the cinema surely you’d think there would be no reason for tiny green haired blue smock wearing animals to throw them selves off the nearest edge? Well you’re wrong.

Lemmings
(Atari ST ’91)

Lemmings box art

Blocker, Builder, Basher, Climber, Floater if these words bring to mind seven Dwarves for you then a) you didn’t play Lemmings and b) you don’t know much about Snow White. No these names were not those allocated to the Hi-ho chanting little fellas from the classic German fairy tale, they are in fact some of the skills which made these tykes into the lovable (if somewhat frustrating) stars from one of the most popular video games of all time.

Wiki tells me that Lemmings throughout the years has shipped over 15 million units and honestly I can’t think of a title that deserved more success. The thought and care that went into the level design of this game make modern puzzle game creators cry into their coffee every morning. It was a simple idea taken to monumental levels by DMA design, who it is worth noting are now the amazing Rockstar North, sometimes it would feel as though a level was impossible but once you figured it out it would leave you wondering how on earth you failed to spot the correct path through.

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Diggers will be necessary.

So this bunch of ludicrously cute little sprites drop down from a trap door in the sky, screaming their trade mark “let’s go”, and it’s up to you to guide them past the various pitfalls, traps, spikes, lava, fire and whatever other devious little tricks the developers had hidden along the way. Through various typical video game sets such as desert, dungeon, ice land etc.

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This gif actually shows the original competing designs for the walking animation.

Originally an Amiga title its instant success led to multiple ports and sequels (it has even seen a re-release on PSP) and soon people all over the world were scratching their heads and smashing their mouse’s (mousai? mice?) in frustration as the poor little chaps met their grizzly end time and time again.

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Let’s go!

So enamored with the artwork as a child I actually wanted a pet Lemming and I’m not ashamed to admit I would’ve dressed him in blue and dyed his hair green had I ever had one but alas I didn’t so I made do with an imaginary one that lived in my watch (I know, I know but I already told you I was a weird kid.). I even used to spend hours sketching crude Lemmings having fun little adventures, driving cars, fighting monsters and so on.

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not one of mine

One of the main things I remember about this game was the music. Slightly akin to being stuck in a lift listening to pan pipe versions of classic pop songs the tunes on display here were midi versions of classical music and various random school yard tunes (I may be imaging this but I’m pretty sure one of them is ‘how much is that doggy in the window’) rather than adding to the infuriating nature of this puzzler I find them somewhat calming but that might just be me. Take a listen to one of the more memorable tunes for yourself and you will (hopefully) see what I mean.

So what is essentially an epic puzzle game becomes without a doubt one of the most phenomenal titles of all time. Don’t believe me? Well some clever so and so has ported it into your browser so you can enjoy the original game in all of its glory.(albeit without the fantastic sound effects.) YIPEE!

– Elth

P.S you ever get to the end of Double Dragon in co-op MS-Dosser? I did with my cousin….. it doesn’t end well.

Hope you enjoyed the second part of our trip along nostalgia avenue. Did you love Double Dragon? or were you more of a Streets of Rage kinda guy? Did Lemmings cause you to punch a hole in the nearest wall/person/screen available or were you lulled into a deep calm by the weird ass music? Let us know in the comments and subscribe to keep up with the continuing recap of the games that caused us to be hopelessly addicted today.