This one is good.

*Well, there’s not too much to say today about comics - at least, not 'comics' as in those pamphlets you can read and roll up into your back pocket while hopping onto your bike to head on down to the corner store and buy some peach rings with those spare nickels you got from Mr. Sherman for clearing the branches and dog flop out of his back yard while whistling “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman which has been trapped in my head with hostages for the last three days and it’s not coming out until it gets a helicopter and a helicopter’s never gonna land on my head because it’s not flat enough. No, not those 'comics'.

But we’ll cover some comics-related stuff, oh yes. Because comics are everywhere! Comics have infiltrated each and every intimate nook and privatized cranny of our Internet republic. So it’s little surprise that a whiff of comics can be smelled even here:

At the greatest place ever found.


This site is an archive of videos relating to time trials. Specifically, video game time trials. Gamers competing against one another via emulation to see who can complete a game within the fastest time possible. It’s not all amazing live skill; carefully edited save-states and slow-motion maneuvers (sped up after completion) along with carefully programmed button inputs (sometimes with two onscreen players moved at once, like a conductor heading a symphony), allow for some truly supernatural moments, but everyone here is a master at their chosen game nonetheless, believe me. All runs are recorded, with the very cream of the crop posted for everyone’s edification. There’s Genesis, Super Nintendo, and greatest of them all: dozens and dozens and dozens of vintage 8-bit NES games, played all the way through, sometimes in less than five minutes. And you’ll believe that it’s all possible, that a demigod gamer might one day descend from 8-bit heaven to perform these moves on your precious top-loading home NES counsel, the one you scored down at the firemen’s picnic that summer for $30 at the pawn shop tent.

The creators call this stuff ‘art’. They’re damn right.

Now much of this material will require you to be Torrent-capable to view, but several prime selections are available for direct download in AVI format via links to archive.org (actually, if you have another lifetime to spare you should download the entirety of the Prelinger Archives over there, but that‘s the subject of another post). I’ll just point out a few of these few fine direct downloads by name, since all of us will be able to enjoy them. The “Excitebike” video, for example, is fucking sick. All six levels in under six minutes. Amazing leaps and speed. NES speed suddenly like real speed. “A Boy and His Blob” - I was so unspeakably happy to have finally beaten this carefully designed (and highly underrated) game all by myself when I was a kid. Now, see it done in just over five and one half minutes. The more complex games take longer. “The Adventures of Bayou Billy” was a ridiculously tough game, with (badly mounted) hand-to-hand fighting, zapper interludes, and “Rad Racer”-type driving segments. This one takes close to twenty minutes. Why, there’s even glimpses of foreign material! Like the original Japanese version of the excellent “Bionic Commando”, there called “Resurrection of Hitler - Top Secret”. All Nazi references had to be cut from the US version, but they left in a stunningly gory exploding head sequence, and even tossed in the word (hide the kids’ eyes!) ‘damn’ near the ending, unheard of in the squeaky-clean Nintendo Nation. Fourteen minutes. And note that each and every entry comes with vital stats and informative notes (did the player take damage, or use warps, or exploit glitches?), and some even sport player commentary in text format.

And then, there’s Batman.

Really, I should say “Batman”, the Tim Burton movie tie-in cart from Sunsoft. A pretty well-regarded game. Ten and one third minutes. You really want this video.

Looking at the game, one’s suspicions can’t help but be aroused to the possibility that Sunsoft had a totally unrelated platform action game well into development when they scored the cherry Bat-License, and a few sprites were swapped, some cinema scenes whipped up, and viola! “Batman”! Could there be any other reason as to why Batman is largely fighting machines, and traversing through electric mazes? Why the bosses feature flying robots and glowing computer cores? Why there’s no characters from the movie or comics, save for the Joker at the very end, who by the way can now summon lightning from the heavens (that would probably spice up the comics, though)?

But actually, I like it that way. Especially in the video they’ve got posted. I like to think of it as “Grant Morrison’s Batman”. The Caped Crusader running through a wild sci-fi world, utterly in control. He doesn’t even hit his enemies if he doesn’t have to. He’s hurt once, I think, but only to lure a foe into position. Sometimes, he even fires a weapon into the darkness, knowing an enemy is coming right up at the edge of the screen. It’s because he’s prepared for every eventuality, like in the books. I bet Morrison would be ok with the Joker shooting lightning. Why should the Joker shoot lightning? No. Why shouldn’t the Joker shoot lightning? Try that on.

And then the ending. Oh boy. I forgot to mention that half the fun of these videos is finally seeing the conclusions of all those classics that were too much for you back in the day (hey there, “Milon’s Secret Castle”). Well at the end of “Batman” (eek! SPOILERS I guess!) the Grant Morrison Bats suddenly goes all Bob Kane, picking up the Joker, messily misquoting a famous line from the movie in vintage NES translation style, and then HE CHUCKS THE JOKER RIGHT OFF THE GODDAMNED ROOF! No Arkham, no tricky little tying his foot to a stone gargoyle, Batman just heaves the Joker off a fucking building to his fucking death like it’s nothing. Man, Video Game Batman is so proactive compared to Comics Batman. Just look at all the time and strain saved by Video Game Batman! And the hundreds of innocent lives too. Jason Todd would still be ripping off hubcaps with a smile on his face if only Video Game Batman had been on the scene a few years earlier.

And even then - the rest of the ending! There’s no more dialogue (mercifully). Just a long series of still shots of the Joker’s broken corpse, cutting closer and closer, until we’re staring right into his dead eyes and his soft grin. That’s all. The music cuts out. Fade to black. Credits. Perhaps Sunsoft is urging us to consider who the true madman was in this lucrative tie-in passion play.

Maybe it was us.

Us and our emulation.

More beautiful killings.

Er, anyway, it’s a really awesome site, and you need to spend forever and a day there, unless you’ve already known about it for months because I’m way behind the Internet curve. Who knows?