8-Bit Christmas by Kevin Jakubowski

By Kevin Jakubowski

It’s 1980-something and all nine-year-old Jake Doyle wishes for Christmas is a Nintendo leisure procedure. No Jose Canseco rookie card, no GI Joe hovercraft, no Teddy friggin’ Ruxpin—just Nintendo. but if a hyperactive Shih Tzu is unintentionally beaten to demise through a forty-two- inch tv set and each guardian on the town blames Nintendo, it’s as much as Jake to take issues into his personal fingers. the result's a Christmas quest of large Mario Bros. proportions, packed with flaming wreaths, rushing minivans, misplaced retainers, faux Santas, sizzling lecturers, snotty sisters, “Super Bowl Shuffles” and one very bare Cabbage Patch child. instructed from a nostalgic grownup point of view, 8-Bit Christmas is a hilarious and heartfelt glance again on the child popular culture of the Nineteen Eighties.

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The Game Gear version (available on the 3DS Virtual Console) goes off in a completely different direction. You’re given a choice between several missions, with the usual goals of blowing up a certain number of planes or Left: The R360 rotating cabinet Below: [SMS] One of the strange bosses exclusive to this version Game Title Original Release: Platforms: sinking a certain number of tankers. Depending on how well you do, you’ll get points which can be used to upgrade your plane. You actually control a cursor with only limited control over your plane, making it feel like a static shooting gallery.

The other versions, on 8-bit computers, are wretched – they’re slow, choppy and ugly. The Commodore 64 port was so bad that British magazine Zzap! 64 surmised that G-LOC actually stood for “Great Load Of Crap”. Screenshot Comparisons Arcade Game Gear Amstrad CPC Genesis Amiga Sega Master System Commodore 64 ZX Spectrum 32 Strike Fighter is essentially a variation on G-LOC, except it’s more faithful to the original After Burner. The pace is much faster, there’s no time limit to worry about, and the level-based structure has returned.

Thankfully, power-up boxes are strewn throughout each stage, granting weapon power-ups and shuriken refills. Many of them are filled with bombs though, so it’s wise to be careful. One particularly cool move is a midair spinning somersault, which allows you to double-jump higher and throw a powerful barrage of shurikens at once. You also have a selection of four different ninja spells which you can use at any time, including a screen-clearing fire attack (Karyu), a lightning barrier (Ikazuchi), a high jump spell (Fushin), and a ninjitsu that will cause Joe to explode (Mijin), taking away one of his lives, but doing massive damage to everything on the screen.

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