NOCs of the Roundtable: Super Mario Memories

This week, a classic Nintendo video game celebrated a landmark anniversary. In September 1985, the first iteration of Super Mario Bros. was released for the Famicom system in Japan. Three decades later, the Italian plumber with the 40″ vertical and suspect accent has become a cultural phenomenon the world over.

To mark Nintendo’s crowning achievement in making all of us feel super old, the Nerds convened around the old Roundtable to share some of their Super Mario memories.

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NOCs of the Roundtable: Best Fight Scenes Ever

As our friend Angry Asian Man broke the nerdtastic news this week that some fine fighters from The Raid would be joining the cast of Star Wars, it seemed as good a time as any to convene a roundtable of some of us martial arts film enthusiasts here at the NOC to talk about our favorite martial arts fight scenes.

Before we shared our favorite scenes with one another, we guessed there would be significant overlap, especially concerning the great Bruce Lee. Sure enough, each of us had picked at least one Bruce Lee scene on our individual lists. To avoid repetition, we decided not to double up, so as you can see some folks wrote about legendary Bruce scenes and the rest of us wrote about alternates — but please trust, we keep Bruce at the front of our fighting hearts.

Who’s not on the list, though? Uma Thurman. Just… no.

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VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Meets Anime Booze-Em-Up

As a person who writes and likes to people-watch, bars fascinate me. People from all sorts of different backgrounds gather in one area to have a drink or five. As a fellow customer, I would only overhear bits and pieces of other people’s lives and it all sounded really interesting. I always wondered what it would be like to be a bartender, the gateway to our alcoholic pleasure. It’s common knowledge that bartenders have the most interesting stories since they get to see and hear about everyone’s lives (whether you wanted to or not). I always wanted to see how that would be like.

VA-11 HALL-A gives me that opportunity.

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Diggin’ In the Carts: A Sound Test for Your Childhood

I love video game music. Ever since I started playing them back in the NES/Famicom days, I have always appreciated the catchy tunes from various games. This never went away as games evolved; if anything, my love for them only expanded. I would say at least 50% of my iPod library contains music from video games ranging from the 80s to the present day.

Nowadays, accessing the music you wanted to hear is pretty easy; usually a search on YouTube will do it. But back in the day, you had to either go to that specific part of the game or record it yourself. Props to my dad who had the fantastic idea of using an audio recorder to record Magic Sword through the SNES by going through each song in the sound test for a couple of minutes and recording it onto a cassette for me to jam to while on the move.

But now? I can just type that on YouTube and voila!

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GameCenter CX: Kachou On!

Video games have been part of my life ever since I was a little kid. Ever since I was five, I have had a console in my room or living room, waiting to be played every day. I have a lot of memories of playing the NES. While I had some games, I played the majority of them either by borrowing some from friends or renting them at the local video store. You basically had to judge what kind of game you were going to get by the cover and the back of the box. It really was a crapshoot, but that was half the fun of it. After that you would gather your friends and/or siblings to enjoy it for the weekend until you had to return it.

The majority of the games were very difficult to beat and required endless trial and error. You had to have a ton of patience if you wanted to get anywhere. However, once you cleared a level you weren’t able to or finished a game you had sunk hours in gave you the greatest feeling in the world. Or, you would run out of time and say “Screw it, I can’t do it for now,” and return the game. And then it was on to the next one. That was my childhood in a nutshell when it came to games. I miss those days. I miss those old retro games and just the feeling of trying to conquer the random titles I was given for the weekend. I wish more people could experience the feelings I had as a game-loving kid. But how?

Enter GameCenter CX.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Maximum Spider?

One thing Japan gets screwed out of are movie release dates. Half the time we won’t get a movie until a good four to six months from the original date from the States. There are a few exceptions though, with The Amazing Spider-Man series being one of them. Having watched it about a week ago, I’ve had some time to reflect on the sequel to the 2012 superhero reboot.

Entertaining? Yes. Amazing? Not quite.

Needless to say, minor spoilers will follow.

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The Terror of the Game Over Screen

Originally posted at The Space Between Two Worlds

I had a lot of fears back when I was a kid.  Most of them were typical for my age like being scared of the dark, the dentist, or getting lost somewhere. However, I think game overs had to be one of the weirder fears. Or was it? As a kid who loved playing video games, it was only natural that I’d be seeing tons of game over screens. Back in the day, most were pretty simple; a black screen with the words “Game Over” with sad music playing. No biggie.

However, there were some that scared the shit out of me.

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