The Co-op Tales: My Older Brother (Part 2) – Genesis Doesn’t What Nintendid

In part 1 of this series, I talked about the good times CJ and I had with the Super Nintendo (SNES). I wouldn’t stop gushing over the great games we had for the console and how it influenced both of us over the years. With how popular the console was to us, there was another that mysteriously found its way into our home. Hidden away in a back room in our house sat a Sega Genesis. The Genesis never left the room and was connected to a small television that was in there. It was in the back corner of the room, and at the time we were using it as a storage room; so we had to make a path and sit on bins in order to play the console. We had no interest in moving the console since we didn’t know how to set it up at the time.

Despite the obstacles, we got some millage off of the console. We had a handful of games that we would constantly play. Just like with the SNES games, we have no idea where these games came from, but I guess our dad just saw them and thought they were fun.

The game that we played the most was Sonic the Hedgehog 2. This was our first introduction to Sonic, and it left a lasting impression. Besides the kickass stages and music, Sonic 2 came with a feature that we were all about, “co-op.” While one person controlled Sonic, player 2 could join the fun by playing as Tails. This was the ultimate “hand an unplugged controller to your younger sibling” as player 2 was just….there. The game did not care about player 2 since the game was called Sonic the Hedgehog and not Sonic and Tails. To make matters worse, Tails could not carry Sonic like he could in the following game. This did not ruin the fun for me since I was a dumb kid and I was just happy to be playing a game with my brother. He would try to slow down to let me catch up, but not even he could control the wild speeds. I was, however, a great resource when it came to boss fights.

Brushing off from Sonic 2, we also had Sonic and Knuckles. This was the weird cartridge that had a slot on top to insert another Genesis cartridge in. It was basically an DLC expansion pack for Sonic 3 if you had it. You could also play as Knuckles if you connected it with Sonic 2. I remember playing this but not as much as we did with the second game. It wasn’t until the Gamecube era that we were able to play the full game of Sonic 3 and Knuckles.

The last game that we were fascinated over was the creation tool game called Wacky Worlds Creativity Studio. I am convinced that no one has ever heard of this game, or it was so bad that no one wanted to talk about it. This was Sega’s answer to Mario Paint and it has a lot going for it. There were applications for creating music, animations, and artwork. It even came with a mouse that we never used (this is a console, not a computer!). Sadly, the contents of the game have faded from my memory. Even when I was looking up images from the game, the user interface (UI) doesn’t look familiar. I’m sure if I asked CJ he might remember more than I do.

There were a few other games that we had, but they were hard, like Aladdin, or forgettable like Disney’s Bonkers (anyone remember Bonkers?). There were games that we would rent from the local video store to play, but nothing really kept us coming back to the console. We had more enjoyment out of it when we would visit a cousin of ours who had a large collection of games. To this day, CJ still has the Sega Genesis, although he can’t really use it as is.

I forget what year it was, but one day we decided to resurrect the old console from the storage room. The console was connected to the TV via a one-pin cable cord (the same one still use for cable). What was suppose to be a simple “unscrew the cord” turned into me yanking the cord and breaking the pin. This was before the going online and ordering a replacement, or going to the store and finding a new cord. In a small town where we grew up, it felt like we had screwed up big time and we would never use the console again. I bet we could find a replacement cord today, but there is no real point now. When the GameCube came out, we got the Sonic games back; and honestly those were the only games that we enjoyed on the system. Plus most Genesis games are available on current gen consoles and PC.

This is where today’s story ends. Continuing the stories revolving around each console generation, we are heading to the fifth generation of consoles with the Nintendo 64! If you felt that this post felt bland at most, that perfectly describes my feelings towards it.

Thank you for reading,

DanamesX

The Co-op Tales: My Older Brother (Part 1) – The Beginning

My brother and I circa 1998

When I initially decided to write stories about my past gaming experiences, I had one person in mind that I always wanted to talk about. My older brother, (Super) CJ, is the reason I am the gamer I am today. He is not just my older brother, he is my best friend in the world and he always knows how to cheer me up. We are both almost 30, and we still act like complete goofballs around each other. But enough of the sappy backstory, today I wanted to share some of my best gaming memories with him; starting from the beginning.

My brother and I have been gaming for almost our entire lives. He is forever player 1 and I enjoy being player 2. It started with our dad buying a Nintendo Entertainment System and the first game that we ever played, Super Mario Bros 3. It think it was this game. It could have either been this, Duck Hunt (with the actual zapper!), or the original Super Mario Bros. My memory is fuzzy around that detail, but we definitely played SMB3! Around the time, a Super Nintendo randomly showed up at our house, and our grandparent’s house. I have no idea when we acquired those, but I attribute the SNES as the beginning of our gaming careers. Our dad would take us to the local rental store to rent games, an experience that I miss and kinda sad that my kids won’t get the chance to experience. There were a handful of games that we own that I want to talk about now that highlight how pathetic good we were good at games at the time. CJ is the current keeper of our games and console.

Championship Pool

Best game on SNES 10/10!

We don’t know why we have this either. Our dad probably got thinking that he would play it, but he never did. You would think this would have taught us how to play pool, but nope. To this day I still do not know how to play pool the “correct” way.

Disney’s Goof Troop

Nope. This is the 10/10!

Do you want to talk about chaos? Look no further than Goof Troop for the SNES. Back when Capcom made top tier license games, Goof Troop was the best fun that two five-year old boys who could not get past the first stage could have! To this day, I don’t think either one of us have gotten past the first stage (he might have by himself). I think the puzzles were too hard for us at the time or there was a part that we could not get past. I just remember that we would throw pots and crates at each other to stun the other person and fight over the grappling hook. We would also purposely mess up the puzzles where you had to kick the blocks because our coordination just sucked. One day we will sit down and redeem our childhood selves by beating it.

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong’s Quest

The true 10/10 SNES Game

I have no idea how we ended up with this game, but I want to say thank you. As kids, we did not know how valuable this game was. We didn’t play the first game until much later, but DKC2 was were we had some of the best fun. Since the entire game can be played in Co-op, we could both enjoy the game at the same time. Unlike Goof Troop, we got pretty far in this game. We never finished it since the later levels started to get harder, and we were also plagued with our data being erased occasionally. I would say that this game was the second game that we owned for the system that we could blast our way through, but never got to the end.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

F***. 20/10!

This was CJ’s bread and butter at the time. I would watch him play this game constantly and be amazed at how good he was at it. One of my favorite memories was when he was fighting Bowyer in the Forest Maze. He was the roadblock at the time that CJ had trouble getting past. He would put in his commands and we would run out of the bedroom. We were nervous about the outcome of the turn. We would wait a few seconds before returning to the room to see if we survived or fail.

Super Mario RPG amazed us with the different areas that you visit and the excitement we felt when we got somewhere new. Though we never got to the end (I think he has beaten it at this point), we had fun replaying it no matter what. It wouldn’t be until I was a bit older that I would finally play it for myself. I have yet to beat it.

Our favorite part was the cake boss. We will still to this day quote the chiefs’ lines from time to time. The boss was not super hard, but it did take us a while to figure out the mechanics behind it. We also enjoyed doing the Yoshi minigame even though we were not good at it. Our roadblock at the time was the dungeon at Seaside Town. For some reason we never got past that part until much later in life. I think that due to all the roadblocks that we encountered, plus us phasing out of the Super Nintendo. The thought of finishing this game once would feel like closing the book on our entire lives with the console.

Mega Man X

Ahh! They are all good 100/10!

Here is a game that we had no business being proficient in at the time. For how hard some of the stages and bosses can be, my brother and I can sail through this game in an hour. A quick note about my young self; action games intimidated me as a child. For the longest time, I was afraid to play games like Ocarina of Time because it looked too daunting for me to keep up with. Mega Man X however? No problem! Let’s do this! Maybe it was the style of the game, being 2D instead of 3D or the number of times we replayed stages, I never saw this game as difficult. To this day, I can only play this game with a Super Nintendo controller. Ever other controller feels weird and makes me unable to pull off moves that I know I can do. The first Sigma stage was a nightmare when I tried to play this on the Mega Man X Collection for Switch until I bought the 8Bitdo Super Nintendo controller.

Despite how good we were beating all the robot masters, we could never get past the spider boss in the first Sigma stage. Don’t ask us why, it moved fast and we didn’t know its weakness at the time. We also never knew about the Hadoken until much later in life. It wouldn’t be until 2018 that I finally beat the game for the very first time. CJ, however, has not seen the final scene at the end of the game. Now it is time to figure out how to play X2 and X3.

Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World

*Rating scale explodes*

Another gem in our possession was Super Mario All-Stars. Our cartridge included Super Mario World as well, and this was CJ’s playground. One of the few games that he actually beat was Super Mario World. He was good at it and I would sometimes purposely die just so he would complete the next stage. The other games on the cartridge were never finished despite our attempts. The updated version of Super Mario 3 was our second most played since the NES stopped working. But once again, we had bad luck with our cartridge lossing our save data at random times.

Super Mario Kart

It was okay… 6/10

Even as a kid I could tell that this felt unpolished. That did not stop us from playing from time to time. This might have been one of our least played Super Nintendo games just because we would get bored of it fast. Shout out to Koopa Troopa who became my main and has been since whenever he is playable.

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

My copy literally unplayable. 1/10

This is kind of a joke entry. Our cartridge of this game never worked and was full of glitches. Yoshi was always in a glitchy state including during his transformations. We only saw one, because the game would always crash when we got to the first castle. I have no idea why we would play this over and over when we knew we could not get past the first castle. We had to borrow a copy from a friend in high school to finally play this game correctly and we screamed with joy when we finally got past the first castle. After that it was all new territory that we were not prepared for.

And that was the Super Nintendo era. In part 2 of this walk down memory lane, I will talk about our time with the Sega Genesis that also randomly showed up at our house and the games we used to rent from the video store.

Thanks for reading!

DanamesX

The Co-op Tales: ONION!

Last weekend, I had the fortune of hanging out with one of my best friend from high school. Laha (his nickname) and I have been friends for over 13 years. There were times where we were out of each others lives, but over the years we have reconnected. This year, I am trying to host more hang outs at my house, since I now have the space and resources. It amazes me that after all these years (and now that we are all almost close to our thirties *rip*) we can just hang out and be goofy without our parents trying to get us to do something else instead of playing video games.

The original plan that day was for him and my brothers to come and hang out for the day. My brothers could not come unfortunately, so it was just Laha, my wife, and myself. This did not stop us from having a good time since we had all the entertainment we needed. I was in the middle of playing Dark Souls 3, so I got to show off my sick cool moves on how to die in different ways. After that, we decided to increase the chaos by playing New Super Mario Bros Wii U Deluxe Special Edition Gaiden Arcade Edition 2: Electric Boogaloo Featuring Dante from Devil May Cry with Funky Mode & Knuckles. I still believe a game like classic Mario was not meant to be played with four people, but it does make for a chaotic time.

But do you know what is more chaotic than that? Mario Maker.

After getting past the first world in NSMBWUDSEGAE2EBFDDMCFMK, we switched over to Super Mario Maker 2 and played each other’s levels. Once again, adding multiplayer to classic Mario is a chaotic time. We told each other that we would have to create new levels in order to top the craziness that we have already unleashed to the world.

Give Laha’s level a shot!

The real MVP of the evening however went to a little game called Overcooked. If you have not played Overcooked before, it is a cooperative game where you have to work together to fulfill customer request. Each stage has you preparing something different or adds new items to the menu as you progress. It is everyone’s job to work as a “team” in order to get a high score in order to advance. The first two stages are simple enough and allows players to get the hang of things and to assign roles. After that, good luck trying not to kill each other.

By stage 1-3, we had gotten the hang of working together and working at optimal pace. When it came time to splitting the room apart and us going back and forth, that was when the real fun began.

I will now provide a transcript of how we communicated to each other:

Cat: We need an onion!

Laha: Onion!

Me: Onion!

Cat: Onion!

Me: Onion on the floor!

Cat & Laha: ONION! ONION!

Cat: What is this mushroom in here!? I need ONION!

Me & Laha: ONION! ONION!

Cat: No! We need tomatoes for tomato soup!

Laha: ONION!

Cat: NO! TOMATO!

Laha: #$&#%^@&

Me: $*&#%#*&$

Cat: STOP CUSSING IN THE KITCHEN!

Laha: *send soup out* Here you go $^#%#&

Cat: WHERE IS THAT TOMATO!?

Laha: KITCHEN ON FIRE!!!

Cat: I NEED A BURGER WITH THE WORKS!

Me: *chopping meat* I’M BEATING THE MEAT IN HERE!

Laha: PLAIN JANE COMING UP! VEGGIE BURGER! $*#(^%@$(*#^@

Cat: I NEED AN ONION!

Me & Laha: ONION!

Cat: ONION

All: ONION! ONION!

This continued for the rest of the night. I love these people ❤

The Co-Op Tales: A Party of BS

When you think of games like Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, or Dokapon Kingdom (for those who know what this game is), you think of party games that can get competitive, but at the end you have a good time with who you are playing with. You may play one game of Fortune Street and get mad at your friend for making you play Fortune Street, but in the end, your friendship is still intact but questionable for a while. However, there exist on franchise that no matter who you play with friendships end, controllers get destroyed, and lives end.

I am talking about Mario Party. Maybe Monopoly on a bad night, but for this story I am talking about Mario Party! We all have our own horror stories of how someone screwed you over or the game decided that it was your turn to experience Hell on Earth. This post alone may trigger some repressed memories that you may have. I guarantee that most people do not walk away from a game of Mario Party without some hatred toward the people they played against.

This story takes place back when I was in college. I had a friend that I would hang out with regularly and we would play games on her Gamecube often. For the purpose of this story, let’s call her Buttons (because of all the ones she pushed for this one). The Mario Party of choice that evening was the fourth installment, a personal favorite of mine. I represented ya boi Luigi like I tend to do and Buttons was fond of Peach. The setting was with computers set to hard and the board was Shy Guy’s Jungle Jam I believe. We played for twenty turns with no handicaps. From there the game played out normally with races to the next star and one upping each other in mini games.

The turning point of the game came at the end of the game. With two turns left, we were tied for first place. Last turn she had managed to obtain a magic lamp, which takes you automatically to the star. When her turn came, she used the lamp to teleport to the star space and was able to collect one.

Then came the real scummy part.

After collecting a star, a scene is played showing where the next star location is.

The star spawned three spaces away from her. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It is at this point that I wanted to start calling hacks. What are the chances of something like that happening!? And of course Buttons was sitting over there with the biggest **** eating grin on her face and saying the game knows who the queen of Mario Party is. But, the game was not over yet. The star was three spaces away and there was a chance that the die could roll a 1 or a 2. I had seen crazier things happen in Mario Party, but something like this was what I needed to not throw my controller across the room. Buttons goes to roll her die…..

She rolls a 10.

WWWWWHHHHHHHYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!

Photo taken at the time

At this point I am out of my seat and calling all of the hacks. Buttons is dying of laughter in her seat. It was as the game just knew it had to piss me off somehow and rub the salt into my wound. Buttons goes to collect her star and I was left to watch as Peach pranced around the board like she owned it. In the matter of one turn, I went from being tied for first to second in the blink of an eye. The star respawned to the other side of the map far away from the harpie queen that and took my life and turned it upside down. Surely, the worst had to be over by then right? Right?

It got even worse.

Peach took her last seven moves on the board and landed on a blue space. Then, a hidden box appeared……….

There was a star inside the box.

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

I believe I walked out of my apartment when I saw that. As the door closed behind me, I could hear the shrieking laughter from Buttons. The game stared at me and asked itself how it could ruin my day further. It handed Buttons a golden gamecube controller that had the power to make others bend to her will, and gave me a gigantic middle finger. Never had a game targeted me specifically and decided that it would do everything in its power to humiliate me. I returned to the room with Buttons sitting high on her throne; laughing at the insect who would try to dare take her status as ruler of Mario Party.

The game ended with Buttons winning two extra stars during the Bonus Star section. She won 9 to it doesn’t matter.

We have not played Mario Party together since.

The Co-op Tales: The Ice Pigeon

With the release of Pokémon Sword and Shield approaching, I felt like telling a story that happened to my wife while we were playing Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee!  I will warn you in advance that in order to keep the authenticity of the story, strong language will be used later in the story. If the thought of someone cursing out an imaginary creature will upset you, then I suggest censoring out the words with your own creative ones; like “Frick” or some shit like that.

Toward the end of our playthrough after beating all of the gym leaders, we decided to take the time to finish up some side things and catch any Pokémon that we were missing. This included the trial of catching the three legendary birds; Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres. We decided to go after Articuno first because it was the most difficult to get to and it literally has “uno” in its name. I got to the Seafoam Island first, meaning I had to set the bar on who was better at catching all the legendries (spoiler alert, it was me!).

I solve the bolder puzzle and reach the platform where Articuno laid waiting (or flapped waiting). I was able to weaken it quickly with my partner Pikachu, who I named Raichu during my playthrough. Then came the time to capture it. I threw my first ball, failed. Second ball, failed. Third ball, success! After three attempts, I was able to the icy bird as my own; now it was my wife’s turn to try and do better for bragging rights.

She makes her way to the island, solves the bolder puzzle, and faces off against her foe. She weakens the bird down and proceeds with her first catching attempt; failed. She throws another ball and it fails; then another and then multiple ones after that. You can see where this is going. My wife started the battle off with around 100 ultra balls and burned through those like cheap batteries. Around this point she starts to get mad and starts to lose it a bit. She started to beg and plea with the fowl deity to please submit to her and its force imprisonment. But like any good mystical creature, it told her to fuck off. This, like anything stupid I do, pissed her off.

The following are some of the phrases that she muttered to herself while desperately fighting a battle she was losing hard:

”Get in the damn ball you stupid bird!”

“Why won’t you be a good bird and go in your cage?!”

“Guess what you fucking bird? I like Moltres better than you! THAT’S RIGHT! I SAID IT!

“*Sob* why won’t you just stay in the ball….”

“get…in….THE FUCKING BALL!!!

At this point she had no idea that I was recording her hardships.  She vowed that once she caught it she would give it a suiting name; a high honor since she never nicknames her Pokémon. After a long hard fought battle, with many groans and F bombs dropped, she ran out of balls. Instead of restarting the game to right before the battle began, she left the cave to go buy more balls and restart the battle out of pure spite. Many balls were thrown again and each were meet with the same results. Then finally when she was down to her normal pokeballs, the ice in the cave defrosted (which cause the islands to submerge underwater due to the increased water level) and she caught the Pokémon.

Upon catching the mighty beast, she kept her promise and gave it an appropriate nickname, Stupid Fucking Ice Pigeon.

She demanded proof or it didn’t happen.

And thus concludes the tale of my wife and the ice pigeon. She hoped this was the last time she would ever see that monster again.

Later during the endgame, I was flying around looking for Pokémon in the sky when I happened to see a familiar face. A second ice pigeon decided to appear in front of me (apparently after you finish the game you can sometimes find legendary Pokémon just chilling anywhere) and I decided why the hell not. My wife, still suffering from her past trauma, glared at me and dared me to try catching it as easily as I did before. So I weakened it, throw out my first ball, and caught it on my first try.

To this day she has not replayed the game.

Thank for reading!