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#NES

Dr. Mario Review Rewind

I hear he’s got the cure.

To describe Dr. Mario as a falling block puzzle game would be slightly misleading. In lieu of descending blocks, you’ll have to guide vitamin capsules raining down from that dubiously credentialed pill-popping Mario. I mean c’mon— he’s a plumber practicing medicine in the “Mushroom Kingdom”. It’s a Dateline investigation waiting to happen. Mark my words.

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Final Fantasy Review Rewind

Not so final after all.

Final Fantasy is the stuff of legend. No, seriously-- it is. Just ask any enthusiast about the origins of the series. Watch as their eyes gleam while recounting the story of how it all began. Legend has it that a long time ago (1987) in the land of Japan, a fledgling company known as Square (now Square Enix) wasn’t doing so well financially. Despite earlier releases like Rad Racer and 3-D World Runner, their games weren’t selling well enough to pull them out of the slump. It seemed as if all was lost. Wanting to go out with a bang, Square chose to develop a role-playing game. They called it Final Fantasy (*cue epic music*).

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Nerds Without Pants Special: Wherein We Vamp For About 45 Minutes Before the Show

Or: Waiting for Kijek

Welcome to a shadow drop! Yes, friends, this is a special edition of Nerds Without Pants hitting a few days before episode 154 releases. Because we love you. And Julian is an editing masochist. Anyway, enjoy this meandering talk between Julian and Justin before the show as they wait for Patrick to show up.

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Qix Review Rewind

The original Geometry Wars

My earliest memory of Qix began sometime in the mid-90s when I saw it listed in a Funcoland price sheet (remember those?) and thought it was pronounced “quicks”. As a kid, I thought it was a rule that all words spelled with a “Q” had to be pronounced with the qu inflection. But years of expanded vocabulary eventually proved me wrong. In short, the game’s title is pronounced “kicks”- because I suppose the developer Taito wanted you to get your kicks playing Qix. See what they did there?

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Xevious Review Rewind

A Game Changer

Every time I play Xevious on one of Namco’s "museum" compilations, I can’t help but reminisce about the time when I first discovered the game in 1992 on the Atari 7800 (a system which also familiarized me with other Namco classics outside of Pac-Man). Back then, our family couldn’t afford the Super NES or Sega Genesis. So, in a move of what I think was out of pity, a friend of ours gave us her 7800 with a huge bag full of games. While rummaging through the cartridges, I came across the little oddity known as Xevious. It was probably the first game I had heard of that started with an “X”, and the name intrigued me. I quickly fell in love with the unique enemy designs and mysterious land structures peppered throughout the game.

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Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride Review Rewind

Family Matters

August of this year will mark the 20th anniversary since Dragon Quest was introduced in the US. With 10 core sequels and many spin-offs since then, you’d think an RPG fan such as myself would be well-versed in the series by now. But in reality, my Dragon Quest knowledge over the years has only been cursory at best. I got started about eight years ago when I completed Dragon Warrior (the series’ name in the US until 2005), and I’m currently nearly halfway through the massive adventure that is Dragon Quest XI. My depth of familiarity with the series pretty much ends there. Or at least it did until I recently finished Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride- a Nintendo DS remake of the beloved Super Famicom original.

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Dragon Warrior Review Rewind

This RPG is a real grind. No dragon your feet here.

If there’s one thing I absolutely adore about Dragon Warrior (aka Dragon Quest), it’s how much its subtle charms have influenced each sequel to come after it. There’s just something special about playing the latest game in the series (currently Dragon Quest XI) and still hearing the familiar sound cues of attacking an enemy, taking a hit, or the brief but satisfying victory chime and level-up fanfare. Additionally, the character designs by Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball creator and illustrator) give a visual continuity throughout each game. Without question, the Dragon Quest series has laid down some deep roots that all started here. But although it's a beloved first entry for nostalgic fans of the series, newcomers might not warm up to certain gameplay elements that weren't refined until much later.

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Sega Genesis Classics Review

It's a tubular collection, dude.

Sega has done a lot of great things with emulation as of late. On the 3DS, they released 3D remasters of a handful of games, which boasted a handful of improvements to the source material. Their Sega Ages line marks another batch of games that are seeing improvements to the original games as they release on the Switch. However, Sega Genesis Classics is more of a compilation of classic Genesis games with some additional features that make it a great collection to have on your Switch if you grew up with these old games.

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Marble It Up! Review

You'll have a Marble Blast... once the rest of the content is available.

Back when the GameCube released, I developed a real love for rolling monkeys in balls along complex tracks while hoping to reach the finish line without falling off. Yes, Super Monkey Ball was truly something special. Later, during the Wii’s lifespan, a couple titles based around rolling marbles appeared under a new series, Kororinpa, scratching that same itch. These were incredible games that used the Wii’s motion control to great effect and since then I’ve been pining for more ball rolling goodness in whatever form I can get it. Enter Marble It Up, a spiritual successor to the Marble Blast series that had its final release on the PC and Xbox 360. While I missed these titles, if Marble It Up indicates their quality, I’m sure I’d have loved them.

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Nerds Without Pants Episode 138: Check Out Our Huge Sacks

Our bag of holding is full to bursting!

Welcome back to a regular episode of Nerds Without Pants! That’s right, we’re here with Stage Select, Consumption Junction, AND special guest Joey, AKA Superstep. Oh, you lucky people!

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