Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Journey to the West

As followers (thats both of you) of the Genki Blog will well know, it doesn't take much to send Genki off the deep end about the fabulous NHK Monkey series which aired in the 80's in the UK. And Saiyuki World 2 captures the raw essence of our beloved cheeky chimp to a T. I mean who could be failed to be charmed by a simian god who gets caught taking a pee on the Buddha's fingers (if that isn't sacrilege...) And has to constantly battle the demons within to resist the urge to bosh everyone in close proximity over the head with an extendible staff stashed behind his ear...? Luckily Trippitaka knows a Koan or two to put paid to his irrepressible nature... The game is firmly based on the Monkey legend or Journey to the West as famed by the classical book or the afore mentioned NHK series. The representation of Monkey is spot on and the cloud is present to help with tricky platform sections. The Buddhist hell bosses make for intriguing battles, especially for gamers more accustomed to the Occidental end of game bad guys. Natsukashii...

Thursday, 19 July 2012


Perhaps use of the word deeper might be going a bit far, but none the less an exploration into the Panzer Dragoon series in a slick anime style and explaining more of the magical, mystery series. Not too cerebral, but interesting and a good curio for the fans of the fine series. Got Genki thinking (always a concern) of the early days of the Manga label here in the UK when the Daily Mail shrieked in delight at the Overfiend and Fist of the North Star. Yet such publicity (regardless of being good or bad) generated the necessary publicity  a thousand projector images on Kenshiro on Big Ben would. And with those early sales allowed Manga to broaden its catalogue. There can't be many import gamers here who have never seen the Akira anime... Happy Days.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


When gaming funds were always being squeezed by the need to buy magazines for good info on new releases in the pre-internet era, Channel 4's Teletext programme Digitiser provided a wealth of gaming knowledge spliced with some bizarre rants from the likes of Fat Sow and Zombie Dave along with good use of snakes and ninja's as we seem to recall. The 'Reveal' button was used to show up answers to questions but sometimes just a picture of a rat. Off the wall, certainly. But very enjoyable and quite hard to recall in a way, such was the madness on tap on times. It was with some pride Genki got a snap of when our tip was published and we didn't have our eyes out by Biffo and co. Digitiser: we salute you!

Famicom Memories

Having laid our Master System credentials bare, it'd be rude form not to acknowledge the mighty Famicom. Such a following on home territory ensured plenty of Japonica flavoured titles blossomed in its warm climes. I mean Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom certainly took the horticultural link to extremes. Rescue the Tomato Princess and receive the praise of the Broccoli King to become a fine, upstanding cucumber. Possibly the strangest way to encourage salad consumption, but a wonderfully crafted adventure and in friendly Hiragana for those budding students of Japanese: be in language or culture. The Famicom also boasts a fine version of Genki's TV love: Monkey. I mean what more could you ask for than being born or rock, god of the Monkeys and very nimble in martial arts. the game just happens to be a fine shooter in it's own right raises Cloud Master to Mount Fuji like heights in the Genki office. Buddhist related hi-jinx with our beloved, cotton wool cloud riding monkey god. The Famicom has a fine version of Gradius, Dragon Spirit and Tiger Heli besides being the home of the RPG in Final Fantasy and the original Metal Gear Solid to boot. And few who have encountered Gargoyle's Quest 2 will be able to forget Capcom's class. Happy days indeed as the small gargoyle takes out on his quest using his little wings to negotiate tricky platforms with fire spewing forth or to get past seemingly inaccessible towers. The non platforming sections involve more pleasant jollies around the town before getting down to the dirty work on behalf of the big boss. Some seat jiggingly splendid midi tunes.
Famicom - many thanks. Good on you!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Genki's first love was a Sega Master System. It could easily have been a Famicom, but that bizarre ROB robot looked a bit too out there. Whilst probably with a weakened skull and with poorer eyes from those 3D specs, it was hard not to love Sega's fine efforts for the system in the face of the Famicom onslaught. Alex Kidd was certainly an annoyingly little oik in the days before every mascot needed a PR agency. But the gameplay was lapped up by cool gaming cats. Shinobi was a faultless edition that recreated the arcade experience at home (rather than releasing the home console in the arcades like with Nintendo's multi-select 'Duck Hunt' unit...) Afterburner did nothing to slow down Top Gun impressions in the playground with Rocky coming thankfully before salmonella such was the increase in raw egg consumption this boxing tie in caused. And the flowing hair in OutRun certainly got Genki's pulse racing. Anmitsu Hime demonstrated Sega's flair for action and Nasca '88 showed it knew the importance of the home market too. 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

One Brutal Beretta Guncon

Genki got quite a shock to come across this solid cast brute (although possibly not as much as the gent at customs...) A serious piece of kit with a weighty replica of the Beretta done to scale with the producers blessing. The foot pedal works a treat too on Time Crisis. A real treat then for the budding Clint Eastwoods (assuming he too could be persuaded to endorse a rival pistol.) Just be sure to draw the curtains first before any serious bobbing and weaving around or risk an embarrassing appearance in the local newspaper....