Have you heard of Chrontendo? I hadn’t either until a couple weeks ago, when 1UP’s Bob Mackey did exactly what I’m doing right now and wrote a blog entry celebrating its many splendors. Feel free to stop reading this and just go over to his blog instead, if you want. I’m probably about to say all the same stuff about it anyway, and he’s a professional video game writer, so…
Anyway, Chrontendo is an expansive video series in which one very knowledgable dude called “Dr. Sparkle” sits down, plays, and talks about every single Famicom/NES game ever in the order of their release. Yep, all of them. He also gets into the development of the system, its place within video game history, its competitors, localization quirks and the individual stories of the various developers and publishers behind the titles we know and love (and the zillion that we don’t). He’s managed to find a perfect ratio of breadth to depth here, covering about 15 games per hour-long episode, and he’s currently 42 episodes deep.
I’m only on episode 12 at this point, but I’ve been really, really enjoying it so far. As you may know, I was a kid of the 16-bit generation, and I was juuuuust too young to have been able to enjoy the salad days of the NES’ dominance. Watching these videos is like an awesome, entertaining history lesson–a fully narrated encyclopedia of the industry’s resurgence and biggest creative boom. It’s a lot of fun to see the stories of these developers and franchises that we still celebrate today; to watch them take their first tentative steps out of the primordial ooze of arcade and computer development, and into the new frontier of home consoles.
Dr. Sparkle himself seems like a pretty cool guy, too. He’s exactly the sort of super-nerd I would want hosting something like this–studious, respectful, unpretentious, but with a dry humor that only peeks through when called for. Not to mention he really, really knows his shit.
So, if you’re interested at all, you need to check it out. Go here (thanks again to Bob Mackey) for the older entries if you want to start from the beginning, and also check out Dr. Sparkle’s current blog, which I linked to at the beginning of the post. Also, please note that he has started similar series covering the Sega Master System and the TurboGrafx. Those are sure to be awesome as well.
P.S.: Another big reason this series appeals to me: I kinda wanted to do something like this myself at one point. Being that the NES is such a big hole in my vidya knowledge base, I felt like eventually I should make an effort to just play every game and journal it in some form here. I was thinking it would be mostly for laughs, with me being amusingly baffled by weird old bad games, etc., etc., har har har. Obviously, Chrontendo is infinitely more useful and entertaining than me being all LOOK HOW SILLY THESE GRAPHICS ARE, LOL GUYS for 800 straight posts or whatever. Maybe someday I’ll find something to do here that isn’t completely redundant.