The Best of GemuBaka in 2021

Another year, another GemuBaka “best of” wrap-up! What makes 2021 a more interesting year was the fact I let up on the Twitter posting a little more and put more focus into content creation between this website and more full-featured videos.

Looking at the Twitter figures, 2021’s top content lacked the diversity seen in previous years – only one of the top 10 impression getters was not based on a fighting game in some capacity. The list is also very arcade-centric, which is definitely not a bad thing.

The year 2021 was definitely lighter on social media content compared to the previous couple of years. But that is largely because I spent a great portion of 2021 traveling to events and doing videos and site updates. I would say every single weekend between May and September, I was traveling somewhere interesting and making content based on those trips.

(The Best of GemuBaka in 2019)

(The Best of GemuBaka in 2020)

As such, there is a lot to get into, and we’ll start by briefly rounding up the Twitter content as usual.

THE TWITTER TOP 10

#10 – ClayFighter promotional art – June
Along with traveling, 2021 afforded me many opportunities to shop for retro games, and along with that, gaming magazines. I predominately try to collect issues of Tips & Tricks, but I also grab limited issues of 8-bit/16-bit era Nintendo Power and Electronic Gaming Monthly when I have the chance.

One of these issues of Nintendo Power featured the Super Nintendo release of ClayFighter 2, and this feature had a couple pieces of artwork of the clay characters for promotional purposes. These would be the full-quality images taken of characters before they get compressed into the game cartridge graphics files.

cf2art

I wished we would be able to see more of the art like this from all of the games in the series. Games writer Chris Bieniek chimed in and shared a poster that was included in an issue of VideoGames and Computer Entertainment from the first game, that shows Tiny stretching out Taffy (Taffyman).

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Although ClayFighter over time has unfortunately become a series that has fallen flat ever since no one took the Nintendo 64 games seriously (on top of the repeated cancellations of the Playstation/Extreme versions), I truly believe there are a ton of interesting stories that can be had from its development if anyone was ever willing to share them.

#9 – Rival Schools’ Gan Isurugi – May
I’ve greatly enjoyed playing Rival Schools since its Playstation release, but it has definitely been a forgotten Capcom franchise for a number of years outside of Batsu appearing in a couple of games. Perhaps the inclusion of Akira in Street Fighter V has stoked the flames of the series a little, but Rival Schools has suddenly returned to people’s minds over the past year or so.

For me, a lot of this comes from the very easy and fun infinite combo Gan Isurugi is able to do. There are a few variations, but Gan can do light kick, light kick, down+back heavy punch, forward+heavy punch and then quarter circle back+light punch for a combo ender that stuns and allows Gan to repeat the combo infinitely.

This notably makes Gan a solid character choice, and the Japanese Game Center Mikado has even run streaming events that pit teams of two Gans against each other. To maximize scoring, Gan can trigger Sakura’s tag team move after the clap attack to spike the combo counter for bonus points and having double Gans also allows him to combo into the team grab. Not all of the tag team moves combo off the clap, which includes those of his teammates.

Thus, you’ll have to hope the machine has been on long enough to have the free select option open, or you’ll have to deal with not being able to combo into tag moves. For those who don’t know, truly clearing the game includes finishing a sub-boss with a tag move so players can enter a true final stage against Hyo.

The infinite carries over into the arcade-perfect Playstation One version of the game. However, Rival Schools for PS1 comes on two discs – the second being an “Evolution” disc that rebalances the game and DRAMATICALLY reduces the stun on Gan’s moves. As you can probably guess, this combo no longer works on that version of the game.

While we used 2021 to style with Gan, my social media content included segments where player AHotLocalMILF did the infinite combo on a Rival Schools machine while being blindfolded. It’s really that simple!

#8 – The Capcom Vs. SNK2 anniversary – November
This is one of those moments that don’t have a lot of explanation to them – Nov. 6, 2021, marked the 20th release date anniversary of the U.S. Playstation 2 version of Capcom Vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium.

I did make reference to the promotion on the cover of the game, which allowed people to enter to win an arcade machine of Capcom Vs. SNK 2. This included the “old-school” contest methodology of sending a postcard to an address for a drawing. Entries needed to be in by Jan. 31, 2002.

cvs2cover

Given how much I enjoy playing the game, that would have been a really sweet prize!

#7 – Fatal Fury Special glitch – June
I’ve owned my Japanese-region Playstation 2 for about five years now, and, for some reason, it took until 2021 for it to dawn on me that I could use the system to play NTSC-J region DVDs. One of the DVDs I had in waiting included a disc that came with issue #120 of Arcadia – a Japanese magazine that was dedicated exclusively to the arcade industry.

This particular DVD heavily featured SNK/Neo-Geo content as, at that time, the Neo-Geo MVS was celebrating its 20th anniversary. Part of this content included a roll of game clips where players showed off a multitude of glitches, weird happenings and crazy combos that were possible in games throughout the format’s history.

One of the first of these I shared on Twitter included a clip of Fatal Fury Special where interrupting Geese Howard’s super move results into him very briefly changing into a sprite of Jubei. Nothing practical game-wise, but it is an interesting glitch that most people would probably never see, let alone catch for the split-second it is on the screen.

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#6 – The Art of Fighting glitch – July
From that very same Arcadia DVD, we have yet another glitch!

Through a unique circumstance, Lee is able to do a special move through Mr. Big, and this results in Mr. Big’s graphics to change into a mess of the game’s character portraits.

AoFGlitch

Not useful, but it’s bizarre and hilarious nonetheless!

#5 – Oli Bu Chu, a.k.a. “Nightmare Fuel” – May
The obscure arcade game Oli Bu Chu is featured at Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfield, Illinois, and this cabinet features its original artwork.

Positioned directly beside the arcade’s main bathrooms, attendees can soak in this game’s surreal side art as they pass by. Posting segments of this side art without context led to some interesting responses on Twitter.

There’s … just a lot to look at here.

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#4 – Street Fighter III Tips & Tricks cover – December
This simple cover to the June 1997 issue of Tips & Tricks garnered a lot of attention. Capcom finally arrived to Street Fighter III, and “The New Generation” was here. Not much is going on this cover, but the large portrait of Ryu demands your attention.

t_tcover

This first installment of Street Fighter III might have tanked, but it definitely got a lot of looks at this time. People chose to flock to Tekken 3 instead of Street Fighter III in the arcades, but magazines gave readers a lot to look at considering Street Fighter III’s amazing art.

#3 – WrestleMania glitch – April
Attendees were finally able to return to WWE’s WrestleMania in April, and, to celebrate I naturally pulled out some WWF WrestleMania (arcade) content.

If you follow my content, you’re no stranger to the insane ways Yokozuna can use his salt throw to break the arcade version of Midway’s WWF WrestleMania. I won’t dive into too many details here, because, coincidentally, we’ve just posted a GIANT WWF WrestleMania writeup over at the fantastic gaming site Gaming Hell! This content not only spells these exploits and glitches out in text, but there is also a full video I recorded for Gaming Hell that shows you these hot strategies in detail!

#2 – Street Fighter The Movie The Game and Blanka – January
Another frequently discussed game for GemuBaka is the arcade version of Street Fighter The Movie The Game. The game was one of the stars of my Twitch channel, so I’ve put a good chunk of time into this game over the past handful of years. To my surprise, I saw something for the very first time at the beginning of 2021.

Blanka was filmed for the game that tied into the U.S. theatrical release, but time prevented the developers from actually including him in the game. He was able to be worked into the home version, along with Dee Jay, but Blanka only exists as a background character in the arcade version.

Data in the game’s internal menu mentions Blanka, so this led to many people speculating he was hidden in the game as a character you fight or eventually unlock. However, the only thing that ever panned out was, if you reach 50 wins, Blanka quickly jumps onto the screen, activates his electricity a couple of times and leaps off the screen.

However, I somehow triggered this multiple times during a single-player playthrough of the game. I thought it was just me, but in posting this to Twitter, it turns out no one has seen him appear in this fashion.

This topic received its own feature here on GemuBaka, so head over that way if you want to learn more. Blanka also makes an appearance in the GemuBaka YouTube section that is included below!

#1 – X-Men vs. Street Fighter – August
Yet another number one that doesn’t really have much of a story to it!

On Twitter, I regularly participate in two hashtags: #CIBSunday to share games that are complete in their boxes, and #WedNESday to share NES games from my collection.

On a random #CIBSunday, I decided to share my SEGA Saturn copy of X-Men vs. Street Fighter and a lot of people seemed to enjoy seeing the game!

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I have a lot of memories with this particular copy, as I bought it from a local store that is no longer selling out of a physical location. I visited this store for many years after finding out about it when I started going to college, and I’d say about half of my import games come from this store.

I also started out being very ill-equipped to play imported Saturn games, so my brother-in-law developed a crazy swap method between the cartridges necessary to play this game on a U.S. system. It was pretty impressive that he got the game to work, and I loved being able to play a fantastic version of this game at home.

MY FAVORITE GEMUBAKA POSTS FROM 2021

As I said, a lot more of a focus was put into the site for 2021, and I wanted to highlight a chunk of the content that I really enjoyed putting together.

The Exergaming Journals
In March I began efforts to shape up and be healthier. This included getting into exercise games, and I launched the Exergaming Journal in April. This series has included a variety of games and is now in its seventh installment! If you want to learn more about games such as Ring Fit Adventure, Pump It Up XX and Fitness Boxing, these features have a wealth of information!

Neco Drop
I wasn’t in a position to do much for April Fool’s Day content-wise, but I was very pleased to see Capcom bring back its Neco Drop web game. The game features the cast of Street Fighter reimagined as cats and players take on puzzles to progress and befriend all of the game’s characters. I had to feature the game on the site this time around, and the feature breaks down a ton of the things players could discover in the game.

AntStream Arcade
Through press releases, I was clued into the AntStream Arcade service, which allows users to legally stream and play a large catalog of retro games ranging from arcade titles to those found on the Commodore 64, Amiga, Spectrum, SEGA Genesis and more. I recorded my initial thoughts back in April, and perhaps it is time to follow up and do another updated feature on the service’s content.

Remembering Bill Kunkel
Bill Kunkel passed away Sept. 4, 2011, and in memorium, I put together three full features based on memories I had with him. I think the key feature is his account of being an expert witness for Data East in its lawsuit from Capcom regarding Fighters History. Still, the full run of the features includes a discussion on Mario and a story involving professional wrestler Cactus Jack.

The 1997 release of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
One thing I started doing in 2021 was using Archive.org’s Wayback Machine to visit archived versions of video game publishers’ websites from the 1990s and early 2000s. One of the first I started combing through was Konami, and this provided a treasure trove of one of their biggest releases from the late ’90s – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. This feature includes press release material, a website Q&A and more that shows elements of the game’s release from materials that were available back in 1997.

The Enduring Aesthetic of SVC Chaos
I’m so glad people responded well to this piece, as I’ve long been torn on whether or not I enjoy SVC Chaos. After more recent time spent with the game, I think I do. But, through all of these years, the presentation of the game has always seemed to have been embedded in my subconsciousness. I go over what makes the game so memorable, even if it might miss the mark in the gameplay department.

Arriving Late to #VitaIsland
I’ve largely ignored the Playstation Vita, but in 2021, my wife and I came across a Playstation TV at a solid price. This piece goes over my history with portable systems and then explores what it’s like to try to get into collecting for system when you’re very, very, very late to the party!

POPULAR YOUTUBE UPLOADS

Arm Champs II has surged to more than 20,000 views and is now the fifth-most-viewed video on my channel! This video also has a companion piece that was written on GemuBaka.

In a follow-up video, my rematch with Arm Champs II has reached 1,700 views.

I updated my walkthrough video of Galloping Ghost Arcade in May 2021, and the initial video has reached 4,000 views!

“The Mystery of Blanka” also recently gained more traction at 2,800 views!

I did a full playthrough of Elevator Action Invasion at the arcade and this has now accumulated 1,200 views. GemuBaka also has a companion article for this video that includes a much shorter “quick thoughts” video.

As always, thanks to everyone who has supported GemuBaka, especially over the past couple of years! I’m hoping I can continue the momentum I have built recently, and I look forward to being able to bring readers more content and a variety of odd, classic gaming features.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: GemuBaka Feature

Author:djtatsujin

Arcade enthusiast and game collector. Affiliate Twitch retro streamer and games archive writer at Gemubaka (http://gemubaka.com). For business only: gemubaka at gmail

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