Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Battle Garegga T3-Kamui VHS Superplay

What is this obsession I have with dead formats? I think it has something to do with the fact that since they are no longer producing massive quantities of VHS tapes or records or cassette tapes, I know that whatever is left in the world is pretty much all there will ever be and sooner or later, more will be lost to the ravages of time.

What ever the reason, I have been on a tear buying up all the VHS stuff I wanted superplay wise and converting them to DVD. So far, I have been lucky in getting great copies of great runs and this tape is no exception.

It's a super nice Doujin release by T3 Kamui, who is the current WR holder with Gain, a score just north of this playthrough (J111,620 -> K,720,100).

It's still a great run and has a good intro playing over the arrange OST. It's also the one that was on and the footage is as grainy as that tape shows as well, leading me to believe that the transfer was just rough or the tape itself was a bit worn before they did the transfer. Bought from rancor over at shmups and my new favorite guy in Japan. And the green tea Kit-Kats he sent along with were so good, I ordered a case of them and a few other flavors from Asian

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dodonpachi Saidai-Oujou 2nd Location test

Wow - this looks amazing and amazingly hard. EOJ has posted some of his thoughts on Cave-STG, specifically that the bullet patterns are reminiscent of Ketsui and that the difficulty is mega hard on Expert. Like Mushihimesama Ultra hard. Which is awesome.

This video shows a Type-C Expert run and you can see just how difficult it is. I'm hooked. I don't think it'll be a day one purchase, but I may pony up for this sooner rather than later.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Superplay lot - DDP Professional Series 1, 2 and 3, DDP Gamest Vol. 39, R-Type GSV, Psyvariar Doujin and Dragon Blaze Doujin

Last year, there was an auction lot of superplay VHS's that sold on Yahoo Japan Auctions for about 75,000 Yen, which at the time was a bit over 800 dollars. The lot contained all of the HDK Factory releases, a number of CKDF Doujin releases and all three DDP Professional tapes, which I had been looking for for about five years.

The DDP Professional series takes up where DDP Gamest Vol. 39 VHS leaves off, with ZBL-NAI recording a better C-S run than that VHS and releasing it himself as "DDP Professional Vol. 1: Dodonpachi Part 2" It came in just a slipcase with a printed manilla folder with an insert that looks to chronicle his passage through that run. There's no fancy title screens or intro, just a capture of him wrecking DDP with slightly wavery footage. I have seen two seperate recordings of this and both tapes had the waveryness - I think it was just some sync issue and hell,it was his first effort. It bettered the C-S score by over 100 million on the Gamest VHS and started the Professional series.

The third volume is of DDP DOJ BL, with first a B-Type ship 2-All and then the A-Type 2-All as well. I have yet to watch the whole run, but it's not a perfect run by any means - there are a few places with a dropped chain and a few deaths, but it make for good watching, even taking into account the later Nakano DVD of HFD's near-perfect runs through the game.

It's the second volume that I really wanted, one I lusted after and searched for damn near everywhere. It's a run through of Dodonpachi Campaign Edition, or DDP Blue Label, a special version of DDP that was playable at an early Cave Matsuri and given to the winner of a DDP scoring contest on the Saturn when that port came out. It's a legendary game, and served as the prototype for DOJ with an early hyper mechanic. There are enemies added in to make it much more hectic and the first loop is much more difficult, with way harder bullet patterns. After the contest, ZBL-NAI was given a copy and the other copy was supposedly said to be held by Cave, but they have already gone on record saying it doesn't exist and that they have lost the code for the game, making NAI's copy the only one known to exist.

This VHS is a 2-All run through of the game by SOF-WTN and is just facinating to watch, moreso that its the most rare Cave pcb of them all. I had watched a rough uploaded copy of two actual runs - one not so good one and then the one here on this tape, but the footage is pretty grainy and pixelated. It does provide a good look at the game, but I needed to find the original - I wasn't satisfied with the low-res footage.

I do tend to get obsessive about things and started looking for this VHS about five years ago, watching YAJ auctions like crazy, trying to find one for sale. Only one came up that I saw, in a massive lot described earlier and I couldn't possibly pay the nearly 1K it would take to have bought the lot and have it shipped from Japan.

Fast forward to last week. I finally decide to put up a WTB post on shmups for this VHS series and in a day's time, sven666 from the forums gets back to me with a short list of VHS's he has for sale and in the lot are all three DDP Professional tapes. Witht their original paperwork. Holy shit.

I flipped and emailed immediately, we worked out a deal for five tapes and just yesterday, they showed up. We had agreed on a price for the three DDP Professional Series, the R-Type VHS and a Psyvariar Doujin and he threw in the DDP Gamest Vol. 39 and a VHS which he didn't know what it was that turned out to be a Dragon Blaze doujin release, a Psykio game I have been meaning to check out.

I hunted around work for a VCR, even tearing apart an old cabint in a dusty corner of a conference room to find one, to no avail. I did find a Super 8mm player, which I may try and snag, just cause its ridiculous. Sven had mentioned that the footage should be fine, but he probably hadn't watched it for at least five years, so he didn't really know what condition they would be in. I was very eager to find out to say the least.

Time went SLOW but when I got home, I started checking out each tape one by one, ending with DDP Professional 2 and lo and behold, the footage and condition of the tape is perfect. It's awesome. The picture is crystal clear and sound is perfect. I am super stoked! It's amazing to have such a great condition tape of such a rare game, offering an uncompromised look at its gameplay.

BIG Thanks to sven666 for letting go of such a rare series for another collector. This was my holy grail of VHS tapes and I got them all, in mint shape in one shot. Unreal.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2012 Chicagoland Winter Carnival - February 17-18th event recap at Logan Hardware

First of all, I have to thanks everyone who helped out, especially Jim Zespy who gave us the backroom at Logan Hardware for the meet, gunbird18 for buying and bringing up an Aero City, caldwert for bring a big stack of pcb's and two monitors, handsomerackshas for donating a modden Saturn stick and a couple other goodies for the score competition and Andi who - as always - helps me out immesurably.

Set up was all day Friday, just finishing up as brentz and johnny5 arrived from their bus ride from Toronto that left at 1 a.m. Thursday night to make it to Chicago Friday afternoon. Damn - that's dedication. People continued to roll in in the late afternoon and started playing immediately, settling in the a long and intense weekend. It seemed like the back room was a sort of shmups crack den that people would only leave to hang out in the main arcade, go eat or sleep.

In the backroom of Logan, we set up two Astro City's, one Aero City, seven TV's including a 20" Sony PVM and my 29" NEC XM29, and seven dedicated old-school woodies - Empire Strikes Back, Scramble, Cloak & Dagger, Lunar Rescue, Moon Patrol, Gyruss and Gravitar. We also had just about every 360 shmup and a ton of other console games and systems. There was almost too much to play.

Things got rolling the first night with about 25 people rolling in and we played way too late. I think I got home with the people staying at my place at about 3 a.m., having left at 2 a.m.

Saturday went smoothly, with people showing up all throughout the day. The carnival title this year was Star Soldier R on the Nintendo Wii, which was hotly contested by a number of players and ended up being won by Zerst, who is making a habit of winning every score competition.

The late night old school title was Taito's Lunar Rescue this year, an awesome game Andi turned me onto a while back. Zerst also won this, with Andi close behind. He tried to mount a late challenge as time was winding down but just couldn't get a good run in.

DDP and Ketsui were mainstays in the cabs and drunkninja 1-All'd Ketsui and Zerst crushed DDP with a great run getting him into the second loop and a killer score, which I failed completely to get a picture of.

Twinkle Star Sprites was also hotly contested and seems to be a huge favorite, but I have yet to try a credit at it - think I will have to do this before next year.

I spent most of the event running around making sure there was soda in the cooler, beer after 9 p.m. and everything was running smoothly. I did get a few runs in on DDP, Ketsui, and the original Mushi, which makes me want to Matsuri pcb even more.

I did get a chance to play Ketsui pachi on my new JP 360 that showed up Friday after noon, just before the event got rolling and I fell in love, though I'm not sure how to maximise the scoring/hyper/10-chip mechanic - not intuitaive - but I will be playing the hell out of this in coming weeks.

Zespy was an instant convert and there may be good things in the works getting some candy cabs in at Logan with some good shmups. He also fell in love with Omega Fighter Special, which got a lot of love late in the weekend. It's a killer game.

Thanks to all who attended and Zespy has already given me the go for next year as well, so start banking those vacation days now!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Disc: DDP DFK BL - Ketsuipachi - Cave 2010

Ah yea! And not a moment too soon as the CWC 2012 starts tomorrow. This game is pretty much the reason I deceided to even look at a JP 360 in the first place. I do have to admit, I was a bit let down by DFK when it came out, even with sometime in on the PCB courtesy of brentsg.

I do, however, love Ketsui and this is a great addition to its storied franchise. It's a combination of DFK BL and Ketsui and features an arranged soundtrack from Ketsui and a max of 10 chips now, which are damn addictive when you start seeing them pop up on the screen like gold in Futari 1.5 or the 10K pork gold in MMP.

I have yet to play my copy as I am still waiting on my JP 360 coming from a seller in NYC, but that may be showing up later today...

Friday, February 10, 2012

New PCB: Omega Fighter Special - UPL 1989

After picking up DDP, I stopped looking for pcb's, but I stumbled across this on the cheap shortly thereafter and I had to get it.

This is the Special version of Omega Fighter, a favorite UPL game of mine. It is a bomb/free lives/suicide fest of a game and I'm not that big a fan of this version. I do plan on getting the Normal version roms for it soon and it also has a broken volume pot I need to get replaced on the board. I got it in time for the meet, which is cool and I'm hoping to get some more time in on the Special version before the Normal roms arrive. Maybe a bit more gameplay will change my mind about it? We'll see...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chicagoland Winter Carnival 2012 - February 17-19th, Logan Hardware, Chicago, IL

The next Chicagoland Winter Carnival is only two weeks away! This year, for the first time, I will be having the event at a new location - at Logan Hardware in Chicago, off Fullerton and Western. We will have a private backroom with a bunch of candy cabs, a bunch of TV's and a ton of games.

Check out the thread at shmups under the Shmupmeet topic header and PM me there if you need more information. This is gonna be the biggest and best one yet!

Best of the Rest 2011

This past year has been tumultous and busy, but awesome. Lots of good gaming, the start of two new blogs and a burgeoning pinball obsession that has seen some great moments, from hanging out at John Dayhuff's house and his 70+ pins to a stop at the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas. This year should be even better with the biggest Chicagoland Winter Carnival turnout expected at a very special venue and more gaming than last - with hopefully a second loop in DDP and a first loop clear in Ketsui being top of my list.

Without further ado, here's my Best of the Rest of 2011

10) West Wing (DVD) TV series

For years, my whole family watched and loved this show and I never checked it out, assuming it was standard primetime garbage. That is, until I saw the first episode of the second season at the cigar shop I frequent and I got sucked in immediately. We bought the first season and plowed through it in like a week and a half and are almost done with the second season. For being a jaded TV watcher, I cannot help but love this show and root for every character. Linda loves it and as she can sometimes get too into Law And Order to the point of loudly verbally assulting the characters on the show, this always seems to chill her out and makes for good late night TV watching.

9) Gorilla Coffee

I love a good dark roast coffee and this is an amazing dark roast coffee. Gorilla is in Brooklyn, NY and is worth a look in if you are in the five buroughs or definietly worth ordering on their dope website. I have tried a number of different blends and keep coming back to the Blendimentosis. Super good stuff and strong.

8) Lemmy (DVD) 2010 Documentary

Motorhead has always been a band I have dug, from being a punk when I was younger, through my scooter boy days to the present day. This documentary show Lemmy in his day to day life and on the road, at the Rainbow and has stories and comments from so many respected people, like Dave Brock from Hawkwind and Scott Ian from Anthrax. The only weird part is the too-long segment with Lemmy and Billy Bob Thornton talking in a bar in LA. If you are at all a fan of the band or the man in even the slightest way, check it out. It's one of those documentarys that can be enjoyed even by people not into the subject matter - its that good. Lemmy is god.

7) Law And Order TV series

It's a very popular TV series and for god damn good reason. Lenny is the shit. Adam is old and acerbic. We have a 'Zinger Factor' rule from watching it so much: the level of funny that Lenny's opening zinger is, is directly proportional to the heaviness of the episode. No zinger = something awful, like baby murder. Really funny or multiple zingers = lighthearted episode. I watch more Law And Order than any other show.

6) Vans Collection

Like past years, I have a sneaker to add to the list, but this year, I have really only worn one brand of shoe, namely Vans. Vans are the shit - super comfy and casual, easy to find and tons of styles, everything from high end special sneaker drops like the John Cardiels I bought 4 pairs of to easy-to-find classics like the black-on-white slip on I rock nearly all the time, pictured here. I took em off at my desk when I wrote this to get the pic. An American classic with no peer.

5) Vampirella/Savage Sword of Conan/2000 AD

About ten years ago I started to collect some older comic magazines, namely Vampirella and Creepy and Eerie, all Warren Magazine imprints, amassing a good collection including a Vampi #1 - then I went back to college and sold everything that wasn't food or a textbook to get through school. Earlier this year, gunbird18 came up for the Chicago ComicCon and convinced me I should go and I did - and bought like $350 in comic books, jump starting my collection again. I have steadily been buying issues off eBay and a few from local shops, trying to amass a full run of all 112 issues of Vampirella. I love the comic art of the fantasy and horror books and the stories in Vampi and Conan. It makes for great reading in between episodes of Law and Order.

4) Zion's Gate/Kreation Records - Seattle, WA

On my last trip to Seattle, WA (my hometown and favorite city in the world) I stumbled across Zion's Gate on my way to breakfast with Linda and almost didn't go in - until I spied a bunch of heavy metal records against one wall and walked into what now may be my favorite record store in the US. It's got a TON of metal on vinyl and a lot of stuff you will probably never see again. I dropped a silly amount of money last time I was in town and I imagine I will do so everytime I go back to Sea-town.

3) The Pinball Archive -

Fathom (Vertical Only) from PAPApinball on Vimeo.

There is probably no website I spend more time on about pinball than this, The Pinball Archive, home to awesome rule sheets for different games, but more inportantly, gameplay and tutorial videos done by PAPA (Professional and Amatuer Pinball Association) personel and other key players. It's a treasure trove of viewing for the pinball obsessed, especially those who are interested in how to score.

2) Seahwaks v Bears, 38-14, in Chicago, Dec. 18th 2011

I very rarely get a chance to see my Seahawks play on TV as I'm now living in the midwest, so when I learned that the Seahawks were going to play the Bears this year, I was stoked I was gonna get to see the game on TV. Then, a good friend of mine called up, said he got tickets to the game through his company and would I like to go with him - 9th row, 50-yard-line? I flipped out! This was not only one of the highlights of the year, but my entire sports life. The Seahawks took apart the Bears and I was there to see it, clothed in my Seahawks hoodie and 2010 Seahawks Division Champions hat, loud as all hell and just out of my mind happy.

1) Linda moves in

I know this is kinda cheesy - you were probably expecting some awesome new cab or game or pinball or car or something, but this really is the best of the best of the rest for me. Linda and I got engaged last November and we moved in together a few months back. We had been dating for six years before we got engaged and I know her and love her entirely. I got a lot of ball-busting from the guys at the cigar shop, mostly stuff like, "man, your life will never be the same" and "are we even gonna see you around here" kinda stuff. I kept saying, "hey, just cause your lives suck living with your wives, doesn't mean mine will." Alot of eye rolling ensues when I say that. But man, I have been so happy living with Linda, its hard to put into words. We are madly in love and she's the true love of my life and we get a long perfectly. I can't imagine being happier.

Ketsui - INH DVD Booklet - World of Ketsui translation - gamengai

For those of you into superplays like myself, this should be an awesome interview to read that GaijinPunch from Shmups/Cave-STG/Gamengai took the time to translate from the INH DVD boooklet.

It's full of good comments from SYO and Futobishi and some humorous stuff. It's also pretty telling in that it took them 7 months and a year and a week respectively to clear the game as a 2-All, but my favorite quote is from Futobishi:

I: Not just with Ketsui, but for other shooters, what part of the screen do you look at?
F: Depending on the situation, the area I look at changes. When there''s bullets I have to be careful of, I look at them, and not the ship. When I have to confirm where the ship is, I look at it, and not the bullets. Sometimes I look at the boss''s life meter, or the multiplier timer, or Mushihime-sama on the next cab, or even Soukyugurentai on the cab behind me. There''s not really one right answer. It would be nice if it displayed where I looked on the DVD, but I don''t think that's possible.

Awesome. Thanks mega to GP for translating this and if you haven't already, head over to gamengai and check out alll the stuff he's got up - flyer scans, translated interviews and just tons of content.

Progear - into this game, but progress is slow...

I can't think of another game I have ever played where I liked it so much but was so awful at it! I have probably credit fed to the last boss of stage 5 about five times in the last week and still suck completely at jeweling and surviving. I really have no strategy and just kida hold on by my finger tips and try and get through the stage.

I love the art, I love the design and sprites, I love the music, but man, the gameplay is just hard to get use to!

I have put up a few 6 million scores, but they are totally from luck, so I decided to put up a post about the game - one of only two that I can think of - where there is no high score, but just an update.

I really, really want to get good at this game, put up a 10 mill score, finish the first loop. Maybe more so than getting to the scond loop in DDP. I'm working on both right now, really hoping for some breakthrough here on Progear.

Progear reminds me of this girl I dated in high school who was the super hot skate betty chick, but when we went out, it was like she couldn't be bothered to be interested in me. Just super chill, laying back, not really trying to connect with you. Progear is like that - its not helping you - you better get your A-game rolling!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Dodonpachi Saidai-Oujou - Hey! location test

Just as I get my DDP pcb, the world is getting ready for the next DDP title, Dodonpachi Saidai-Oujou. Gone is the bullet cancelling mechanic of Daifukkatsu and what it looks like is a return to Dai-Ou-Jou with old-school bullet dodging and hyper mechanics - even the bee pick-ups are the older sound effects. Very cool.

The player here is LEN and according to Kaneda on Cave-STG, he's one of the best players at HEY. He's had world records in Deathsmiles MBL, DFK and DFK BL.

I'm pretty stoked for this. I was mildly dissapointed by DFK and if this is a Cave return to bullet dodging instead of bullet cancelling, I welcome it wholeheartedly! Check out the threads below for more info as it comes in:

Shmups thread:

Cave-STG thread:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New PCB: Dodonpachi - Cave 1997

Aaaaahhhh yea! Finally got a DDP pcb in the house! No more MAME, no more search to find one. For a game that I have spent a lot of time with, it's strange that it has taken me this long to get a pcb.

The only bad here is that I had to give up my Batsugun pcb in trade, but I'm good with that. It's agame I haven't played in over a year and if I get the itch, I can get a great port of it for the Saturn - with autofire in Normal, which drove me nuts that the pcb didn't have it.

I have yet to get a 1CC since getting the port as I am severely out of practice, but I am now shooting (that's a bad pun, sorry) for that second loop. I need that second loop.

This is one of the few games that I have steadily played since I got into the shmups scene about 5-6 years ago. It's a classic, one of the best of the old-school Cave titles - no bullet cancelling here!