VIDEO WIZARDS PODCAST – Episode 19: Winter 1990 / 1991

In the 19th episode of Video Wizards, we again travel back to 3 months in one single episode: December 1990 and January and February in 1991. And we find ourselves in a tumultuous time, with a lot of political twists and turns on the world stage and the arcade industry being on the brink of changing forever, with the impending release of Street Fighter II, in March.

As if they sense the big shift coming, Japanese STG (or shoot ’em up) developers push out a slew of releases: Taito releases the crazy passion project Gun Frontier and Technosoft bring their Mega Drive hit Thunder Force III to the arcades in the guise of Thunder Force AC, all following the likes of U.N. Squadron follow-up Carrier Air Wing by Capcom and Raiden by Seibu Kaihatsu.

But there is more than just shooting games in the arcades in this winter as we also get 8 player linked up sit down cab racing with Namco’s Final Lap 2, monster brawling action with Mutant Fighter by Data East, ecological activist fire fights and fisticuffs mayhem with Taito’s Growl and an oddball trackball affair called Rampart by our old friends at Atari… that actually kind of works!

Gaming in European homes, meanwhile, is undergoing a transition as well, as consoles such as the Master System, Mega Drive and even NES are gaining more of a foothold over the home computers, which are of course still very much around, making for a varied palette indeed.

In the world of music we see that the cold winter months off 1990/1991 are getting heated up by sexually explicit material from the likes of H.W.A., Madonna and Candyman and there is your usual quality selection of Hip Hop and Metal to go over as well. And in cinemas we can enjoy yet another varied palette in the form of Kindergarten Cop, Lionheart and Silence of the Lambs… with a nice glass of Chianti, of course!

We say this every time, but get comfortable and savour yet another record breaking Video Wizards episode, in terms of length, density and variety!

Thunder Force AC

Gun Frontier

By The Arcade Flyer Archive [1], Fair use,

Final Lap 2

By The poster art can or could be obtained from Namco., Fair use,

Mutant Fighter / Death Brade


By, Fair use,


By The Arcade Flyer Archive, Fair use,
The top billing arcade games of the era we discuss on Episode 19, L-R-T-B: Thunder Force AC, Gun Frontier, Final Lap 2, Mutant Fighter/Death Brade, Rampart, Growl

Show theme tune: NEON CITY, composed by Ed 「イートレム」 Tremblay for Mudprints Music and licensed exclusively to The Video Wizards Podcast, ©2019 Mudprints Music, all rights reserved.

Baller of the Month Jingle composed by Yuli Anna and licensed exclusively to The Video Wizards Podcast, ©2022 Yuli Anna, all rights reserved.

Other music used in this episode:

  • TV Theme Style (The Winner) – by Colin Thomson, 2018
  • Mission 3 – by Manami Matsumae for Carrier Airwing, 1990
  • Back to the Fire – by Toshiharu Yamanishi & Tomomi Ōtani for Thunder Force AC, 1990
  • Desert Mountain Storm – by Yasuhisa Watanabe & Hisayoshi Ogura for Gun Frontier, 1990
  • Paean of Body – by Hiroaki Yoshida & Akira Takemoto for Mutant Fighter, 1991
  • Select – by Brad Fuller & Don Diekneite for Rampart, 1991
  • RuNArk – by Yasuhisa Watanabe & Zuntata for Growl, 1991
  • World Tree 1 – by Jun Chikuma for Faxanadu, 1987
  • Justify My Love (Hip Hop Mix) (Instrumental) – by Andre Betts, 1990
  • Eat This – by H.W.A., 1990
  • Freaky Daze – by H.W.A., 1990
  • Funk Me – by H.W.A., 1990
  • 1-900-BITCHES – by H.W.A., 1990
  • All For One – by Brand Nubian, 1990
  • Hardcore – by EPMD (featuring Redman), 1990
  • Brothers on my Jock – by EPMD (featuring Redman), 1990
  • Step in the Arena – by Gang Starr, 1991
  • Come Do Me – by The Genius, 1990
  • You Could Be Mine – by Guns N’ Roses, 1991
  • Man in the Box – by Alice In Chains, 1991
  • These Are the Days of Our Lives – by Queen, 1991
  • Unbelievable – by EMF, 1990
  • Bring Your Daughter… to the Slaughter – by Iron Maiden, 1990
  • Crazy for You – by Madonna, 1985
  • Justify My Love – by Madonna, 1990
  • Knockin’ Boots – by Candyman, 1990
  • Can I Kick It? – by A Tribe Called Quest, 1990
  • Yo Home to Bel-Air – by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air televised series, 1990

And finally: our special thanks to Andy Hofle.

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Published by videowizardspod

Video Wizards is a podcast about the arcade games of the 1980’s and 1990’s and their cultural context, by Ben Cartlidge and Michiel Kroder.

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