Tag Archives: SNES

Podcast 15: Best Ever Console Semi Finals

The Semi Finals of any competition are always stressful. So close to the final yet so far. The Semi Final of The Best Ever Console Competition is of course no different.

If anything, it’s worse. If you think the pressure from the tabloids is bad on the England football team, you should try picking up one of the Video Game mags. ‘The Official Playstation Magazine’ has photographed the Playstation in a nightclub drinking before a big match, Edge has had feature after feature on consoles’ WAGs (with lots of pictures of course!) and just look at Official Nintendo’s front page:

It’s not easy for our judges either. You try to think of new things to say about a console after already discussing it three times.

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Podcast 15 – Best Ever Console Semi Finals

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Here’s the way things look at the Semi Final stage:

Ian and Lewis

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Podcast 12: Best Ever Console Round 1

It begins. The already legendary 101 Video Games Best Ever Console Contest! Or Competition! Or Thing! To be honest we’ve not properly agreed on a title.

Anyway, listen as Lewis and Ian discuss, debate, argue, call each other names and play rock paper scissors stone through 12 rounds of red-hot console on console action. And if you think that sounds dirty and disgusting you should have been at the recording.

 

Lewis and Ian's debate over whether the Amstrad 6128k is better than the PS2 becomes heated.

 

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Podcast 12 Best Ever Console Round 1

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WARNING – We do swear a bit in this podcast. The debates we had became very passionate and strident and we sadly couldn’t stop our language occasionally reflecting that. Plus we drunk quite a bit of beer and got a bit silly. Sorry.

We want to hear your thoughts (please let us know you listen and you like us, pleeeeease). Do you violently disagree with any of our judgements? If so, really? Violently? Just calm down, it’s only video games. But do tell us, we’d love to hear from you! As always the best comment wins a 101 Video Games pencil.*

* N.B. Still no pencils available.

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Podcast 11: Best Ever Console Prologue

Ah childhood. Scrumping for apples. Jumpers for goalposts. Pooh sticks. Quarter pound of penny sweets. Scraped knees and muddy faces. And of course, a time call your friend a d*ckhead because they happen to have a different console to you, to draw a picture of Sonic stabbing Mario through the heart and send it to Mean Machines and spend hours arguing that the Mega drive is definitely better than the SNES as in the Mega Drive Aladdin you get to use the sword but on SNES you can only throw apples I mean how rubbish is that?

 

Sonic and Mario exchange words. We spent ages looking for a proper old school picture of Sonic beheading Mario, but couldn't find one.

 

It’s the 101 Video Games That Made My Life Slightly Better Podcast! Lewis and Ian relive their school days by remembering all those pointless arguments about which is the better console. And what better way to do that than in an extremely pointless podcast?

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Podcast 11 Best Ever Console Prologue

This Podcast also serves a prelude or prologue to a mini ‘season’ of podcast where we decide once and for all which is the Best Ever Console. Despite what we said earlier about those discussions being pointless. Yes.

So join us next week for Round 1 of the Best Ever Console Contest!

While you’re waiting, why not send us a picture you have drawn of the mascot of your favourite console weeing of the dead and bloodied body of a mascot from a rival video game system? The best will be printed on the website and receive a ‘101 Video Games’ Pencil!*

*Pencil not available.

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#18: U.N. Squadron

Format: Super NES Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up Released: 1991 Developer: Capcom

Back in the day, I used to be a massive fan of shoot ’em ups (or ‘shmups’ as people are trendily abbreviating them nowadays). I don’t play them so much anymore, but there’s still something satisfying about a good shooter – the frantic button hammering, the screen-filling bosses, the feeling of constantly being no more than a gnat’s hair away from explodey death… yeah, there really is nothing like a good old shoot ’em up.

un squadron box

Having said that, I think you do need a special kind of gaming autism to really enjoy them: the hallmark of the genre is a level of difficulty that cultivates armchair-gnawing, joypad-snapping frustration in most gamers, but shmup players have developed the Zen-like patience/sheer bloody-mindedness to not only persevere with but enjoy these most unforgiving of games. In this respect, U.N. Squadron was a little more lenient than its peers, featuring – horror of horrors – an energy bar. Energy bars are like kryptonite to hardcore shoot ’em up players, who believe that they detract from the intensity of the shoot ’em up experience. For sane people though, they offer the opportunity to get past the end of the first level without retrying several hundred times.

un squadron first boss

Despite the energy bar, U.N. Squadron was by no means easy, although it was a lot more forgiving than some of its contemporaries, such as Gradius III. It also had the added bonus of featuring various paths through the game, something that we take for granted now but which at the time was fairly rare. This meant that it was rare to get stuck on one level, and the sheer variety of planes and weapon upgrades was a compelling reason to keep playing (and replaying).

un squadron chopper

Surprisingly, U.N. Squadron had a plot. I say ‘surprisingly’, because I’ve just found out that it’s based on an old manga called ‘Area 88’ – you can read all about it here. I’m always surprised when games like this have a plot – it seems so utterly unnecessary and ridiculous, like the ongoing plot of Tekken. I mean, in what possible situation would a single plane go up against an entire air force? I’m not sure where the U.N. come into it either – I presume that in this scenario the G8 have withdrawn funding, so the U.N. can only afford to send one plane at a time on peacekeeping missions.

un squadron stealth

Looking back at this game, it’s clear just how much gaming has moved on in the last twenty years, and I even remember thinking at the time that shoot ’em ups were ‘a bit old-fashioned’. The entire genre is based around repetitiveness, and any attempt at complexity rarely extends beyond choosing which special weapons to equip. Having said that, it’s hard to beat shmups for a pure adrenaline rush, and now that I have less and less time to play games, a quick five-minute blast on a traditional side scroller like this has more and more appeal. U.N. Squadron was certainly one of the better genre efforts, and it’s surely overdue for a revival.

UN Squadron clouds

Shoot ’em ups are a sort of prehistoric gaming genre that has somehow survived into the 21st century – like the Coelacanth, they keep being declared extinct, and then a thriving colony of them pops up somewhere unexpected. After all, a healthy clutch of shooters was recently spotted on PS2, and reports of new shmups being released on Dreamcast persisted long after the console’s ‘demise’. Here’s hoping that  U.N. Squadron will throw off its extinct status and resurface on Xbox Live Arcade sometime soon.

Lewis

(Screenshots from http://www.mobygames.com)

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Filed under 1991, Capcom, Shoot 'Em Up, Super NES