Tag Archives: sports

By way of introduction

So the short version of this is pretty simple:  Hi!  My name is Kim Justice, and I’m now writing for Retronauts!  Some of you may be familiar with my work on YouTube, or in Retro Gamer – if you are, keep schtum, no sniggering at the back.  If you’re not, pleased to meet you!  I’m mostly here to cover things of interest from the UK/European side of things, including computers like the ZX Spectrum!  The Amiga!  And the Mega Drive! (insert cheers and boos where necessary) Here’s hoping that you enjoy all, or at least some of the articles that I’m going to be putting on the site.  Bye for now!

That is indeed pretty simple, but it also kind of reads like the cover letter I sent in for my first serious job application.  I didn’t get that – probably because I also started that letter with a modifier like “so” – but I did get this, and therefore I should probably try to make my introduction stand out a little bit more while also trying to avoid being judged too much by you, the reader.  It’s not easy!  But I guess I should start with who I actually am.  For convenience’s sake, I’ve split this into a couple of easy to digest bullet points:

  • I’m from England.  This is undeniably a fact, and that’s obviously played a factor in how I got interested in playing games.  I started with the ZX Spectrum at a very young age, playing computer games that often weren’t much more complex than the sort of thing you’d have seen on a 2600 nearly a decade previously, but often had a unique touch and style of their own.  Until Sonic and the Mega Drive (the Sega Genesis to most of you) came around, computers pretty much ruled the UK, and I’m still a passionate user of the “Speccy” and other computers like the C64 and the Amiga today – that’s something I hope to communicate to you, as there’s still a lot going on in those scenes, not to mention hundreds of interesting games and stories from the past…why, there’s 24,000 games on the ZX Spectrum alone!  I’m not saying that I’m going to cover them all, but a big chunk of them are quite unlike the games that people in America were enjoying at the same time.
  • I’m from YouTube.  Or rather, YouTube’s where I’ve made my name.  Bringing this up could be somewhat troublesome these days, when YouTubers often get in the news for things like being racist, or exploiting their children – truthfully, it’s not an honourable profession.  But I’ve been carving out a half acre there for a few years now – mostly with documentary-type videos covering the subjects previously mentioned above, as well as other interests such as the Sony PlayStation, or licensed video games…anything that can be put into a cool historical context.  And I do it pretty calmly:  I’m not the kind of person who loves to shout at games by LJN and invent compound swearwords to describe them and the like – although I actually do swear a lot, and I’m sure that’ll probably bleed out into my work here before too long.
  • I love strange licensed games, generic tie-ins and old sports games, and place as much importance in them as classic games like Final Fantasy VII.  Not a joke – as fun as it is to play nothing but the greats, to me it’s often more interesting to look at, say, a game based on an advert starring now-retired footballers beating up a team of Ninjas in order to sell sportswear and contemplate how such a thing came into existence.  To use a high-faluting wine tasting analogy, you can’t truly appreciate what the high 90’s taste like unless you’re intimately familiar with the low 70’s.  Y’know, the one that got you drunk when you were 16 and made you ruin the rug that tied the room together.

The Mission. The Blotto Bros. jug wine of video games.

  • Speaking of Final Fantasy VII, that’s my favourite game of all-time.  Always has been, most likely always will be.  I may not end up adding to the millions of words written about the game here on Retronauts, although I have already done my fair share elsewhere.
  • I’m a big hip-hop fan.  Seriously, it’s all I listen to.  It motivates me to do my best when doing anything, whether it’s editing videos, working my perpetually stiff body out in the morning, or writing this introductory article right now.
  • Fish is my favourite dish*.  But without no money, it’s still a wish.
  • I don’t think I’ll be using this bullet point style for an article again.  I’m growing ever more aware of this piece sounding like a rambling manifesto, and the lil’ black dots aren’t helping with that.  So I’ll stop now and just try and write conservationally.

Anyway, you now know more about me than you would have if I’d written something more like that shorter sample at the top.  I would like to conclude however by saying that it’s an honour to be invited to write for a site like Retronauts, and I’d like to thank Bob and Jeremy for putting their trust in me and offering me the opportunity – even if there’s a fairly decent chance that they’re going to deeply regret it before too long.  You’ll be seeing me here most every day, commenting on the latest Euro-centric retro news, hammering out some old reviews and the odd retrospective or two.  Hopefully we can have some fun here!  Or at the very least, I can – and in the eyes of an egocentric self-employed YouTube-head like me, that’s much the same thing.  See you sometime in the next 24!

* Fish is not actually Kim’s favourite dish, although it would probably be somewhere in the top 10.  This bullet-point purely exists for the purpose of a belaboured Eric B. & Rakim reference, which is only going to make people think that she is kind of a smart-arse. If you wish to shout at the author, then Kim can be found on her YouTube channel, or on her Twitter @KimXXXJustice.


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The Game Boys of summer

No, don’t worry, no Don Henley here. Just a video about a portable baseball title for this week’s Game Boy Works:

This is yet another one of those “little chubby dudes take the field” baseball titles. In fact, this is the “little chubby dudes take the field” title: Famista, as in Family Stadium, also known as R.B.I. Baseball. While pretty heavily based on the design of Nintendo’s NES Baseball, the Famista series quickly eclipsed its source material in terms of both sequels and endurance. All those sequels rarely made their way west, though; for example, this was the first of three (I think) Famista games for Game Boy, but it was the only one to reach the U.S. As it turns out, Americans don’t seem to gravitate to short, waddling blobs when it comes to sports games.

Something I didn’t mention in the episode is that this release was published in the U.S. by Bandai, who would of course eventually merge with developer Namco. By no means was this unusual, though. In the early days of the Game Boy, Namco and Nintendo were still somewhat on the outs after their conflict over Famicom licensing, and Namco didn’t have much of a home publishing presence in the U.S. Tengen picked up a lot of Namco NES releases to publish unofficially in the States, thanks to the two companies’ mutual connection to Atari, but Bandai snagged quite a few for official licensed production as well. However, this is the first time we’ve seen the Namco/Bandai partnership in action on Game Boy. And the last, so far as I can find! So please enjoy this tiny taste of our corporate future in the form of a so-so baseball game.

Episode description: The Game Boy gets its third baseball title, unsurprisingly making the so-called “thinking man’s sport” also the most prolific “gaming boy’s sport” as well. You may know this franchise better as R.B.I. Baseball, but since that particular bit of branding had become associated with unlicensed provocateurs attempting to undermine Nintendo’s lock on the U.S. market, publisher Bandai unsurprisingly went with a different title.

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Ping pong, like love, is a battlefield

One really great thing about Game Boy World: Finding strange obscurities that intersect with things I love. Example for today: Battle Ping Pong.

Have you ever heard of Battle Ping Pong before today? I’m going to go ahead and say, “No, you haven’t.” This one was pretty tough to track down (not quite as hard as Hong Kong, since a search on eBay for “Game Boy” “Hong Kong” nets you a lot of Asia-region releases and bootlegs, but still tough), because evidently most people haven’t heard of it — even in Japan. It was worth it, though! It’s one of the very first games created by developer Quest, one of my absolute favorite game studios of yore. Quest created Ogre Battle, Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics, and their key personnel has had a hand in the likes of Final Fantasy XII and Crimson Shroud. Quest is awesome. Well, was awesome. R.I.P., Quest.

Battle Ping Pong isn’t really all that awesome, though. This was clearly put together in the “walk before you can run” phase for the studio, and it’s pretty interesting as a curio. But it’s actually kind of crummy as a table tennis sim. It feels weird to use the words “Quest” and “crummy” together in the same mental breath, but, well, sometimes that’s how it goes.

Fortunately the next Game Boy World episode covers a game that, I hope, will bring us out of the doldrums of import obscurity. Please look forward to it in a few weeks.

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