In this final Video Wizards Podcast episode of 2020, we travel back 31 years, to the month of December 1989. With the last holiday season of the 1980s upon us, we are visited by Santa Haggar, backed up by Cody and Guy, for Capcom’s genre redefining Final Fight. Konami, meanwhile, set out their own brawling path with their first arcade beat ’em up carrying an animated series license, while simultaneously unleashing the terrors of Gradius III on unsuspecting arcade goers and Mitchell and SNK keep things varied with Pang and Beast Busters respectively
At home, European NES owners might just receive the first Mega Man in their stockings, as Master System owning kids are hopeful to receive a copy of Psycho Fox. And while Hip Hop’s golden era is winding down to the sounds of Biz Markie, the Geto Boys’ Willie D and 3rd Bass, the UK and Dutch charts are bombarded with tacky Christmas pop songs, blaring out the speakers of Chris Rea’s car radio. In cinemas, the police brutality of Tango & Cash shares the spotlight with the holiday brutality of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and in global politics, Bush senior and Gorbachev keep things extra festive by jointly announcing the end of the Cold War.
We hope you enjoy this mammoth podcast about the past and wish you a happy future in 2021!
In the 10th numbered episode of the Video Wizards Podcast, the stage for November 1992 is set by U.S. president George H.W. Bush smoothly transfering power to the political face of the ’90s, Bill Clinton, as SEGA brings about a revolution with their introduction of Virtua Racer to the arcade market. Toaplan enlist “mangaka” Joker JUN to make an impression with their unapologetic vertically scrolling shooter Dogyuun, whereas Irem spin off from their premiere horizontally scrolling shoot ’em up series with R-Type Leo and Konami license another odd anthropomorphic-centric cartoon property, for the Sunset Riders-like C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa. But what exactly are Increbible Technologies playing at with the completely horrifically botched attempt at a fighting game called Time Killers? Meanwhile, movie goers are spoilt for choice for the upcoming holiday season, with blockbusters like Home Alone 2, Disney’s Aladdin and Bram Stoker’s Dracula hitting the theaters.
In the European home gaming market, Nintendo’s SNES is gaining momentum with a slew of instantly classic titles in the face of SEGA releasing the mighty sequel to their smash hit Sonic the Hedgehog on Sonic 2sday. And you might not think of 1992 as being an especially prolific year for Hip-Hop, until you realise that Dr. Dre made clear that it was Nuthin’ But A G Thang, Redman dropped his explosive solo album and Rage Agains the Machine crossed over to fans of the genre, straight from the world of Metal, all around this moment in time. Here’s more than 4 and a half hours of fresh new Video Wizards content for you, filled with a plethora of more fun topics too varied to detail here. Would we lie to you?
Episode number 9 of the Video Wizards Podcast sees us travel back to October 1988, where things are about to get all sorts of horrifying! In the arcades, werewolves are fighting zombies, vile monsters and a dark sorcerer in SEGA’s legendarily oddball autoscrolling beat ’em up Altered Beast. Also, Ryu Hayabusa ends up in his buzzsaw filled personal hell when the player runs out of lives in Ninja Gaiden/Shadow Warriors and the maniacal blue and red clad mercenaries of Cabal find themselves facing the horrors of war once again. Meanwhile, cinema goers are exposed to the now cult creepfest of Pumpkinhead and the most terrifying movie Stanley Kubrick has ever seen: local Dutch film production The Vanishing.
Apart from that, we cover the usual broad variety of topics related to the time, extending to the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the Western version of Super Mario Bros. 2, the cute-but-deranged antics of Tiki the Kiwi in The New Zealand Story, the Ultramagnetic MCs’ debut album and other boundary pushing going on in the world of Hip-Hop, Milli friggin’ Vanilli, Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker (the movie, this time around), nunchuks, a pitbull terrier called Dutch, flip glasses and taco nazis. It’s business as usual then, in the month of October and there’s absolutely no further spookiness going on, we promise!
The 8th episode of the Video Wizards Podcast is a huge one: we travel to a little bit over the middle of the mid 90s, namely the month of September in the year 1995. This is a real moment of transition, where 3D polygons start eclipsing 2D graphics in popularity, both in the arcades and in home gaming. Tekken 2 makes people take closer notice of painful looking grapples captured via different camera angles and the European launch of Sony’s PlayStation broadens the audience for video games considerably around these parts. But 2D games are still impressing arcade goers, as The King of Fighters ’95 by SNK and Guardians – perhaps the greatest scrolling beat ’em up of its decade – by the legendary Winkysoft, pull no punches and are very much alive and kicking. Meanwhile, Puzzle Bobble 2 is poppin’ like Orville Redenbacher and ex-employees of the by then defunct Toaplan find their way to Taito, Cave and Gazelle, for Gekirindan, Donpachi and Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon respectively.
With the early beginnings of internet at home as the backdrop, Oasis drop their insanely succesful sophomore album, while in the Hip-Hop world a chain of events is set in motion that would eventually result in the violent deaths of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G.. We find more grim violence in crime cinema highlights like Seven, The Usual Suspects and Clockers, whereas Showgirls is better described as a crime AGAINST cinema. How about them apples?
In episode number 7 of the Video Wizards Podcast we travel to August in the first year of the 90s. It’s a new decade, filled with the hope to wrestle itself from under the looming nuclear threat of the 1980s, but a war that’s far from cold is about to kick off in the Gulf and Atari Games gets gritty with the hyper violent and (for the time) hyper realistic looking underground prize fighting simulator Pit-Fighter. Also, brand new solo rapper Ice Cube defies the idealistic view of America as Hip-Hop as a whole looks for more boundaries to break, Metal music resists both lawsuits and the attack of acoustics and the power ballad groups… and somewhat disturbing pictures like Roald Dahl’s The Witches and Sam Raimi’s Darkman hit movie theaters.
But don’t despair! Michael Jackson’s megalomaniac Moonwalker arcade game aside, there is much lighter material as well. Marvel at water balloon chucking platypii in Liquid Kids, engage in shooty sci-fi fun in Out Zone and storm a massive tower in Magic Sword, next to the home gaming fun of the day. We say this every time, but this might be our best podcast yet!
In the 6th episode of the Video Wizards Podcast we travel all the way back to July in the year 1985. In this month, Yu Suzuki and SEGA go “full body” and unleash the Super Scaler revolution on arcade goers with the legendary superbike racer Hang-On. Namco show their quirkier side with the autorunner inspiring Metro-Cross and the cutesy-yet-slightly-disturbing alien shooter Baraduke, while Konami are all about stabbing Soviet saps in Green Beret. And then there is Atari’s Peter Pack Rat.
As Queen and Freddy Mercury rock Live Aid in Wembley, Madonna and a host of 1980s R&B artists get party people into the groove. Marty McFly aims to travel through time in a direction opposite to ours in what might be the quintessential 1980s Hollywood flick, while Roger Moore delivers his final role as James Stock, er, James Bond. Join us on this wild ride through the mid-point of the mid-eighties!
In this fifth episode of the Video Wizards Podcast we travel back to June 1993, where Midway releases the final revision of the digitised live actor driven fighting fantasy Mortal Kombat II. There is summertime amusement aplenty as well, with the thrill ride-like cabs of Lucky & Wild and Alien 3: The Gun, by Namco and SEGA respectively. And Technos and Data East were bringing some new and exciting twists to the beat ’em up genre.
Meanwhile, the Unabomber is still on the loose and Hulk Hogan gets defeated by a James Bond gadget-like photo camera. Also, Jurassic Park’s roaringly successful release is the mark of a new era in blockbuster cinema, Star Fox (or Starwing) pushes polygons on PAL SNESes and Hip-Hop music by credible artists invades mainstream-inclined homes everywhere. And will Michiel’s winning streak in the Video Wizards Quiz finally be broken?
In the fourth episode of the Video Wizards Podcast we find ourselves in May 1994, where Capcom made a powerful statement in that they were still not done with making “belt scrolling” beat ’em ups, with both Alien vs. Predator and Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom making their mark. In this time period, their fellow Osakan rivals SNK were showing their quirkier side with the goofy Top Hunter, while also – antagonistically – publishing Data East’s Karnov’s Revenge, the follow up to a fighter that Capcom fought a court case over, both on their Neo-Geo platform. And SEGA’s Daytona USA had made a rolling start in becoming one of their most popular and enduring arcade games of all time.
We also are confronted with the deaths of F1 phenomenon Ayrton Senna and actor Brandon Lee, as the latter’s movie The Crow sees a theatrical release. And after the death of Kurt Cobain, bands like Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and the Stone Temple Pilots keep Grunge quaking. Do you possess the Mental Stamina to listen to almost 5 more hours of Video Wizards podcasting goodness?
In the third episode of the Video Wizards Podcast we’re traveling a bit further back again, to April 1986, and enter the Fantasy Zone for some unique shoot ’em up stylings by SEGA. Japanese developers continue making their mark as we also look at a string of Capcom hitters like Trojan, Gun.Smoke and Section Z and Konami’s oddly similar looking Double Dribble and Jail Break. And SEGA doesn’t just leave it at releasing a cute shooter, but also publishes the delightful and ubiquitous Wonder Boy.
Under the shadow of the Chernobyl disaster and the ever present 1980s threat of a nuclear apocalypse, two shape shifting alien bounty hunters use the Power of the Night to lay waste to a small rural town in the U.S.A., when on the lookout for sharp toothed extraterrestrial vermin, and Rakim, with help of Eric B, changes the face of rap music with a single song.
This second episode of the Video Wizards Podcast is huge! We’re traveling back to March 1991 and look at how Street Fighter II: The World Warrior changed the (arcade) gaming landscape… and we get to reminisce about colourful cartoony games like The Simpsons, Caveman Ninja and Bells & Whistles a.k.a. Detana!! TwinBee.
We also marvel at Jeff Speakman’s Kenpo skills and his laissez-faire approach to deadly combat, avoid the Ninja Turtles populated dance floor at a Vanilla Ice show and brace ourselves for the Grunge quake. And will Michiel break his impressive streak of giving the exact wrong answer during any given 50/50 toss up quiz situation?