Thrilling Tales of Old Video Games

Thrilling Tales of Old Video Games: Sci-fi Stripteases in Barbarella, Metroid and Mach Rider

2023-10-17T08:51:36-08:00October 15th, 2023|

"The 1968 movie Barbarella opens on an astronaut floating inside a mod spaceship that boasts floor-to-ceiling shag carpet. After about thirty seconds of zero gravity twirling, the astronaut removes one of the suit’s gloves, revealing a distinctly feminine hand. The boots come off next, and the audience gets [...]

Thrilling Tales of Old Video Games: Is Super Mario Wonder’s Prince Florian a Nod to the Mario Anime?

2023-09-08T18:22:39-08:00September 5th, 2023|

One of the big questions I had about Nintendo’s offerings before and after the Super Mario Bros. movie was why there wasn’t an obvious tie-in video game — if not an adaptation of the movie specifically, then a release Nintendo could point fans to, essentially saying, “If you like [...]

Thrilling Tales of Old Video Games: Secrets of the Super Mario RPG Shaman

2023-09-08T18:14:52-08:00August 29th, 2023|

Count me among the people feeling both excited and surprised that Nintendo is remaking Super Mario RPG, because doing so means the return of many elements introduced in this title that have never appeared in subsequent Mario games. That said, there’s one specific, easy-to-overlook way that Super Mario RPG [...]

Thrilling Tales of Old Video Games: Nintendo’s First Playable Female Protagonist Isn’t Female in Japan

2023-09-08T18:10:31-08:00August 21st, 2023|

Technically speaking, the first Nintendo game to feature a female protagonist is Clu Clu Land, but she’s only specified as being female in localizations outside Japan. Released for the Famicom on November 28, 1984, Clu Clu Land can be broadly described as a response to Pac-Man, though a good [...]

Thrilling Tales of Old Video Games: Why Did Nintendo Change Foreman Spike’s Name?

2023-05-10T13:01:13-08:00May 1st, 2023|

Consider this an ever-so-brief follow-up to the previous post on Foreman Spike. And yes, I’m as surprised as anyone that he’s getting more than one post — on here or anywhere, really. But on April 19, Nintendo’s official Japanese Twitter announced that henceforth, the character would be known [...]

Thrilling Tales of Old Video Games: Foreman Spike Was the Original Wario

2023-04-17T14:33:04-08:00April 12th, 2023|

Heads up: Minor spoilers for movie! This past week, the new Super Mario Bros. movie hit theaters. I saw it the Wednesday it opened in Los Angeles, and among the people rushing out to see it, I was probably unique in that I was curious to see how it handled [...]

Thrilling Tales of Old Video Games: A History of Toad’s Gender… One Way or Another

2023-04-17T14:23:29-08:00April 6th, 2023|

I collect obscure Mario characters. I rarely get to do all that much with them, aside from keep a running list of forgotten weirdos unlikely to ever be playable in a Mario Kart game, but there’s one whose accidental existence makes for a handy lead-in to the story of how [...]

Thrilling Tales of Old Video Games: Did Super Mario Bros. 3 Change Our Understanding of the Tanuki?

2023-03-27T09:21:15-08:00March 12th, 2023|

This is a story about Super Mario Bros. 3, about Mario’s raccoon tail, and about how the tanuki traveled through culture, ending up something slightly different than it was when it started. Read the rest here: Did Super Mario Bros. 3 Change Our Understanding of the Tanuki?

Thrilling Tales of Old Video Games: The Indie Pop Legacy of Super Mario Land 2

2023-02-15T17:59:00-08:00February 11th, 2023|

This week’s Nintendo Direct featured news that a lot of gamers had been waiting for: that the company was putting to use its vast library of handheld games by making them available for the Nintendo Switch Online library. As of the end of the presentation on Wednesday, you could hop onto [...]

Thrilling Tales of Old Video Games: How Final Fantasy Taught Me the Word ‘Jihad’

2023-01-31T02:33:45-08:00January 19th, 2023|

Here’s a funny story about how video games can make for some very weird cross-cultural connections. Specifically, going deep on Final Fantasy VI taught me the word jihad back before many non-Muslims living in America would have a reason to learn it. But that doesn’t mean I encountered it in a [...]


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