ENCYCLOPEDIA OBSCURA: READER MAIL
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Welcome to EO's first reader mail special, the online equivalent of sit-com clip shows. Actually, it would only really be the equivalent if clip shows were about a bunch of wisecrackers sitting around in a sofa having flashbacks to other shows, considering that other people wrote the bulk of what I'm about to embark on, but hey less work for me. Which kinda is the reason I'm doing this. I've got studies, work, a social life (no, really), a cable access series to work on as well as other writer gigs including a giant I-Mockery collaboration piece with -RoG- and Dr. Boogie that will rock your face to pieces. I really wish I could pay more attention to EO, but as of now I've got to keep my priorities in check. Which is why I'm doing this one.

Following is a handful of the e-mails I've received over the last year. I've picked out some of the ones you guys might be interested in reading about and will now comment on them. Hang on, screw that clip show analogy, this is the online equivalent of that commentary track Roger Ebert did on the Citizen Kane DVD. Only I'm no Roger Ebert and you guys arent's Citizen Kane. Well, actually, you kind of are. I've run a couple of sites in my time, and the average feedbacker is so far down in the intelligence charts it makes me think the statistics are skewed by dark figures caused by all those people who wanted to send an e-mail but never figured out how to. This is not the case with EO: just about every e-mail I've received has been a pleasant read. And that makes me a little proud.

But let's not get too emotional, let's look at some of the e-mails I imagine could be of interest to the rest of you.

From: Elizabeth
To: webmaster@encyclopedia-obscura.com
Subject: Les Mondes Engloutis

Greetings from Colorado,

I was researching information (I'm finally getting around to working on my personal website) and I pulled up your Les Mondes Engloutis Pages. I was a huge fan of LME in high school and the only person I ever know who taped some of the episodes! Apparently they're very valuable now to my generation.

I read all your commentary (I really enjoy your writing style, sarcasm and all!) and felt compelled to point you towards something you may have missed. Your lack of a mention suggests such.

In the Pirate Video, there is very brief sequence in which the pirate leader (Nasty Max is his dubbed name) is tossing all sorts of junk out of his "mini-shark." If you slow down this sequence, you can make out (hopefully your video quality is good enough) the objects being thrown--one of which is a lime green "personal massage device". Oh those naughty animators!

Elizabeth

About 20% of the email I get that isn't about viagra is about LME, which kind of makes me think it shouldn't have been featured on a site about obscurity in the first place. Luckily around half of the people who write me about this do so to tell me I pulled some memories out of hibernation, which is really cool.

And Elizabeth is quite right, I did not notice the green dildo (you may sweeten the medicine in Colorado, we Vikings call them like we see them). And I sure would have mentioned it if I had, seeing how I made a big deal about the cigarette butt. That's 'fag butt' to you readers from England.

From: Clare
To: webmaster@encyclopedia-obscura.com
Subject: DONALD DUCK VS THE AXIS OF EVIL

Hey,

I loved your article, Donald Duck vs. the Axis of Evil. I have only seen "The Spirit of '43" but am curious to see the rest.

You mentioned you wanted the cartoons made for the military during WWII. I think this may be of help to you: (link to video at Amazon.com)

Best wishes,

Clare

Seeing how I chose to write a 40-page paper about these animated shorts last year, Clare is damn right I want more of them. The collection she mentioned is pretty interesting, but the real coup is right around the corner: next month Disney will, and I'm as surprised as you are, release all of these on DVD. Among the shorts in question is Education for Death, a pearl I was going to feature in a follow-up article but will cut loose now that it will become so available (I'll focus on the WB and Popeye shorts instead).

I'll give a short summary here as an appetizer: We follow a little German boy called Hans from birth through Nazi school to soldierhood. On one hand you've got your standard Disney animation with a caricatured Hitler in armor shouting "Heil! Heil! Heil!" at a fat Viking woman singing "He-eil Hit-LAH! He-eil hit-LAH!", on the other you've got a Narrator telling us how sick children are taken away by the government and never heard from again. Think you know your Disney? Think again. Unless you've already seen it, in which case... well... don't think again I guess.

From: Louise
To: webmaster@encyclopedia-obscura.com
Subject: Monster Party

Greetings. I stumbled across your website the other day, and i must say, it's the most hilarious site i've seen in a long time. the C3P0 tape dispenser had me on the floor ^_^ anyway, i'm e-mailing you to ask about the game Monster Party. call me strange, but that's one of my favorite games. probably cause of that evil thing called "nostalgia". so i'm wondering: if the Japanese Monster Party was never released, where did you get that bloody picture of the title screen from? and if there's a ROM or something out there, do you know where i can get it? i'm intrigued by this. thanks for your time.

This one has been gnawing on my conscience a bit, I never credited the guy I stole the pic from and the URL led me to a 404 the next week when I was going to track him down. So I honestly don't know where I got it from if the site at all still exists anymore at a different location. All I know is that it was scanned from a Japanese magazine promotion for the game. There probably is a forgotten prototype out there somewhere, maybe even in working condition, but the Japanese version never was released and there is no ROM. I'm sorry, I would love to try it out myself. I mean, look at what they left in when they censored it. You just know there had to be at least three robo-octopus rape demons in there somewhere.

Oh, and I actually found another scanned picture, probably from the same magazine. In it you could see a far more realistic rendering on the pirahna plant boss, and he had an amp or something standing to the right of him. If you build up some speed and jump up where it was supposed to be, you can actually stand on it. They probably just deleted the sprites and forgot all about removing it from the level design.

From: Shih Tzu
To: webmaster@encyclopedia-obscura.com
Subject: N/A

Hello! I ran across your review of Vic Tokai's The Krion Conquest. I thought you might like to know that in case you're curious, there IS in fact a plot to the game; Vic Tokai of America just saw fit to can it for the American release. It's not quite Ninja Gaiden, but it's something, anyway. That and the Japanese version draws a big hexagram over the screen whenever you beat a sublevel, among other changes.

I translated the Japanese version (Magical Doropie) a while back, so you're welcome to check it out at http://www.flammie.net/vse/ and see what's different (I also documented the changes I could find in the readme). Let me know if you can't find the Japanese ROM, too, as it's not exactly as common as Megaman.

Enjoy (if you so choose)!

--Shih Tzu

I chose to enjoy, and it's a pretty interesting read if you're into that sort of thing. I replied and asked him a couple of questions, like whether Campcom had sold the Megaman engine or if Krion was a blatant knockoff. He replied thus:

From: Shih Tzu
To: webmaster@encyclopedia-obscura.com
Subject: Re: N/A

I don't think Capcom was involved at all with this; it's just simply a transparent ripoff, as far as I can tell. I'm glancing at a list of Vic Tokai's games (http://www.sm.rim.or.jp/~sarieri/victokai/) and it looks like they kept making a few up till 1995, although I don't see any that I recognize as being released in English past The Krion Conquest, so maybe they shut down their American operations right after that (that might explain why TKC seems butchered and rushed). Vic Tokai of Japan is still around (http://www.victokai.co.jp/), but it seems that they're just a cable TV provider for Shizuoka prefecture now.

Anyway, it isn't all THAT great of a game, but it's better than it could've been, and I like to think that my translation is an improvement. It'd be kinda interesting to find a Francesca's Wand prototype and see how much they were going to change...

Speaking of which, if you want to see a hilarious example of major alterations between Japanese and English releases, check out "Magic John (J)" and "Totally Rad (U)" (both available at www.planetemu.net). Jaleco USA took dorky ol' Magic John and made it "gnarly" and "bodacious". I'm seriously thinking of doing a step-by-step comparison of the two someday.

--Shih Tzu

A step-by-step comparison he did, and you'll find it if you check his site out (link in former e-mail). When I received his e-mails I considered doing a piece on the butchering of these games, but when I saw his thorough documentations I thought there would be little point in reinventing the wheel and decided to link to his work instead. Which I forgot, but here we are. All worked out, see.

In case you haven't heard of Totally Rad/Magic John, it's a pretty generic platformer that was Bill'n'Teddified before it was released in the US.

From: Daniel
To: webmaster@encyclopedia-obscura.com
Subject: WITCHCRAFT

Dear webmaster,

in your review about the movie "WITCHCRAFT" (with David Hasselhoff and Linda Blair) you are talking about Hildegard Knef and you are asking:who the hell is Hildegard Knef?

She is a well known german movie-star and artist. She was very popular during the 50īs and 60īs.

Her movie career started after the war. she made the first post-war movie. in the 50īs she played in international movies. Her most popular part is in "Snow of Kilimanjaro" with Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. In the United States, she had the name "Hildegarde Neff", because it sounds more international. She was also a Brodwaystar in the 50īs. In the musical "Silk Stockings" she had the main part with Don Ameche. The musical based on the movie "Ninotschka" with Greta Garbo. In the 60īs Hildegard Knef wasnīt anymore so popular and she made some horror movies. But she started in Germany,France and Great Britian her singing career. She wrote also her biography and 3 or 4 other books. For one book she got the "Marc Twain-Price" in the USA or Canada. Ah, she has also her foot- and handprints just before the Graumans Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

So, greetings from Germany

Daniel Massow

Like we say in Norway, those who holler in the woods are answered. I have no clue what the origin of the saying or what the logic behind it is, but damn does it work.

From: Matt
To: webmaster@encyclopedia-obscura.com
Subject: Malko

Any idea which company made this Miles O'Keeffe masterpiece? Is the studio listed in the opening or closing credits? I'd be interested in trying to track down a copy as a joke gift for a friend.

Matt

The production company behind Malko is called Malko Films. Big plans, big belly flop.

From: Mike P
To: webmaster@encyclopedia-obscura.com
Subject: Spiritual Warfare Entry

I was reading the entry on "Spiritual Warfare", and I noticed in the title screenshot that under the flaming Sword of God or whaterver, it said "Ver 6.1". At this point I thought, "Holy crap, that means that someone actually worked on the game to make it better". Just a little thing I felt the need to point out.

Mike P

Wait a minute... Mike P? This guy turned up at the I-Mock forums months after I got this mail. Hey dude, how's it going? Site coming along?

And yeah, Wisdom Tree had a tendency to inform about version codes, and Spiritual Warfare is no exception. In fact, one of the versions of Bible Games had a bug that made it impossible to gather all the animals in the Noah's Ark section, and a couple of other games have been reissued with bugs fixed. So the version numbers are actually pivotal if you're buying one of their games. Isn't that considerate?

And that's what people had to say. When I picked these out, I found of lot of other e-mails I really wanted to feature, but some would have been taken out of context or were so full of praise I would get all blushy or there were other reasons why they weren't cut out for this. Sorry, Corinne :( I hope this didn't bore you all to tears, and if you're still in for some feedback or discussion with other readers, why don't you pop by the new forums. Right here. Unless you're reading this from the future, where the board maybe never caught on and I deleted it because it was becoming embarrassing like a neglected laundry basket.

Well, see you around when I get around to the new piece I've been doing research on, and keep that feedback coming.

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