Video Works by Jeremy Parish

A pleasant surprise this week, as one of the most charming game boxes to have appeared in some time contains… a thoroughly pleasant and enjoyable little game. Astro Rabby turns out to be a little-known Japan-only release that isn't a puzzler, isn't shoddily made, and isn't painful to play. It's a good-natured top-down platformer for flexible controls and a decent difficulty curve that steadily ramps up from breezy to brutal. Not a classic, but in a way it's better than a masterpiece: It's just a fun little diversion with no frills and no expectations attached.

Direct download: Astro_Rabby_retrospective_Lapin_it_up___Game_Boy_Works_099.mp4
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Nintendo's lone first-party straggler for Super NES's 1991 post-launch period lands in the form of a game by TOSE and Tonkin House that hews so closely to Tennis for NES and Game Boy that it really does deserve the name "Super Tennis." A fast-paced if visually unexciting take on the sport, Super Tennis finally rectifies the shortcomings of its predecessors by incorporating a full array of single- and multiplayer options, as well as a complete, long-term, bracket-based tournament mode. You might say it's… smashing. Special thanks to Steve Lin of the Video Game History Foundation for providing the game and packaging for this video retrospective.

An in-depth look at one of the most unique games ever to appear on Super NES: The god-sim/RPG/platformer ActRaiser. With its incredible soundtrack, challenging action, and low-calorie simulation mode, ActRaiser manages to be far more than the sum of its decent individual components. It stands as a classic for the ages, and this retrospective attempts to explain why. Special thanks to Steve Lin of the Video Game History Foundation for providing access to the packaged copy of the game for this video.

A look at Nintendo's very own console conversion of Peter Molyneux's god-sim, Populous. Wedged in between the superlative SimCity and the excellent ActRaiser, Populous admittedly struggles a bit to hold its own among its peers. But all credit goes to developer Infinity, who did a bang-up job with the conversion and used this as the cornerstone of a brief but well-intended career transforming Western PC games into forms suitable for Japanese gamers.

Direct download: Populous_retrospective_Foster_the_Papal___Super_NES_Works_013.mp4
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 10:05am EDT

Strategy and simulation powerhouse Koei makes its debut on Game Boy with… a strategic simulation game. Nobunaga's Ambition does a pretty respectable job of bringing a huge PC war simulation into a tiny, monochrome format. As the world's first proper handheld simulation game, it's pretty respectable, if not precisely something you'd want to spent a lot of time with today.

Our second Game Boy Gundam game, and can you believe it? It's also not very good. This one is bad in a boring, predictable way: It's a game adaptation of a video series designed in the mold of Dragon Quest. You'd think an obvious formula for success as a video game would present itself based on that pretext, but…