Video Works by Jeremy Parish

A pair of arcade shooter adaptations leads us into the second half of 1988 for NES Works, both of which deserve attention for entirely different reasons.

Defender II sees the publishing debut of HAL Labs (via HAL America), a well-deserved turn of events for a studio that was so essential to the early success of this platform. And this conversion stretches all the way back to those early days, speaking once again to the close relationship HAL and Nintendo shared as the latter made its way into the world of selling game consoles—including a bit of borrowed audio that raises the question of who pilfered from whom? Come for the footage, stay for the educated speculation.

Meanwhile, Iron Tank transforms T.N.K. III into a fairly ambitious (if not entirely refined) combat adventure with branching paths, a progressive power-up system, and even some narrative. Finally, we begin to see a glimpse of the quality that fans have come to associate with the name SNK.

Video Works is funded via Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/gamespite) — support the show and get access to every episode up to two weeks in advance of its YouTube debut! Plus, exclusive podcasts, eBooks, and more!


Technos (by way of freshman NES publisher Tradewest) follows up on Renegade with a home conversion of a massive arcade hit that plays extremely fast and loose with the meaning of the phrase "home conversion." Double Dragon on NES may as well be a completely different game than the coin-op smash, as it adds several new mechanics, expands the game environments, introduces platforming sequences, helps invent the one-on-one fighting genre, and—whoops—loses the cooperative gameplay feature that gave the game its name in the first place. The end result is a game that doesn't sit well with those who demand absolute fidelity in their arcade ports, but that nevertheless stands out as one of the most ambitious, polished, and attractive games yet seen on the platform.

From this point on, arcade-to-NES adaptations will lean heavily on the "adaptations" angle, and (along with Rygar and Punch-Out!!), Double Dragon is one of the first works to truly define what NES coin-on conversion would look like in the coming years.

Video Works is funded via Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/gamespite) — support the show and get access to every episode up to two weeks in advance of its YouTube debut! Plus, exclusive podcasts, eBooks, and more!

Direct download: Double_Dragon_retrospective__Bimmy_Lees_solo_debut__NES_Works_081.mp4
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

One of the most beloved franchises of all time makes its debut on NES, though not its actual debut; the Metal Gear Nintendo fans knew and enjoyed back in the 8-bit era was in fact a port of a minor hit for MSX/2 home computers that had shipped about a year earlier in Japan. Although Metal Gear gets the broad strokes right on NES, it trips up over a lot of minor details. And some major ones, too. Still, if a compromised take on a classic is the one that a million former NES owners knew and enjoyed back in the ’80s, there's something to be said even for that clumsier rendition of the game.

Also worth noting this episode: The debut of a brand new publisher! Well, sort of.

Video Works is funded via Patreon — support the show and get access to every episode up to two weeks in advance of its YouTube debut! Plus, exclusive podcasts, eBooks, and more!


It has been three decades since Nintendo launched its first next-generation console in the U.S.: The Super Nintendo Entertainment System. On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, Super NES Works returns for a limited-time engagement to wrap up this look at the system's launch window by looking at the system itself. What did the Super NES represent to fans, parents, developers, and Nintendo itself when it arrived in the midst of a burgeoning games market whose revival had been precipitated by the Super NES's own predecessor and opened the door to some ferocious competition?


A curious case here on Game Boy Works: A game that is somehow two games. While Klax on Game Boy plays about the same as the Klax we've already seen on Atari Lynx, it takes two very different approaches to its presentation depending on the region you bought it from. The American release from Mindscape, which actually shipped in 1991, has the same vanishing perspective seen in other versions of the game. The Japanese cart from Hudson, on the other hand, looks like no other rendition of Klax to be found on competing platforms. It's two separate takes on the same property by two different studios. Ah, but which fares better on Game Boy?

As for Ginga, the game's full title is Card & Puzzle Collection: Ginga, and that's exactly what it is. It's a video version of all the disused traditional games your grandparents kept in a storage bin in their basement. But you can call it Tornado Appetizer, if you're nasty.

Direct download: 125_Klax_JP_GB.mp4
Category:Video Games -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

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