Heavy metal murder on steel wings with a rack of laser-heated barrels, a die-cast ship comes screaming from a blackened fiery hue.
Making Muramasa, Dragon's Crown, and plenty about Odin Sphere Leifthrasir too.
I've always wanted a thing called tuna sashimi.
Editor's note: This article was originally published last year under the title Super Bank Breakers. We've since updated the list with more formats and amended some of the details.
John Szczepaniak, a man with the surname equivalent of a Rubik's cube, is a contributor to print publication Retro Gamer and game industry website Gamasutra. As a journalist with a like-minded affinity for gaming's historical pathways, his recently successful Kickstarter bid to unearth the secrets of Japan's game development past is a project after my own heart.
While not a sport to be advocated, if one were handing out scores for gut-punching strangers Double Dragon would be a straight ten.
Like so many Capcom classics, Final Fight is a pop-culture archetype, its opening backstreet belt a nostalgic incendiary for arcade goers of the 90s. That distinct credit jingle, those copper rusted oil drums, that telephone booth, that basement warehouse, that beef sirloin inside a pillar of car tyres... and sun-kissed, blonde-dreadlocked Damnd busting through a wooden door and heckling you with his ferocious smoker's cackle.
Outside my Nonhyeon hostel in a quiet backstreet, I notice a white rose in the cigarette butt bin. Still sheathed in decorative plastic wrap, it's only one night dry, the leaves turning copper at the edges.
With no real desire to work in video games, young Kouichi Yotsui joined Capcom as a means to pay outstanding loans from his college film project - a financial burden made heavier by his use of expensive 16mm film. There, at the recommendation of mentor Shinichi "Yossan" Yoshimoto, co-designer of Ghouls n' Ghosts, he wrote a treatment for a game that caught someone's attention within the creative hierarchy. Although it would never see the light of day, it instilled enough confidence to place Yotsui - credited in-game as "Isuke" - In the driving seat of a new three-tiered collaborative venture.
On the back of a recent betrothal to Sony handhelds, Falcom has already released definitive revisions of the first three Ys titles for PlayStation Portable. Thanks to US publisher XSEED's truffle-sniffing for the best of Japan's overlooked works, the action-RPG series is now party to a growing international fan base.
Book One: A brief history of Falcom
One of Japan's oldest video game developers and sadly lesser known in the west than the Final Fantasy Corporation, Nihon Falcom is a company credited as the architect of the JRPG. Founded by computer buff Masayuki Kato, Falcom cut its teeth on NEC's PC-88 in 1982 and stayed loyal to the PC gaming scene for nearly 25 years.
Hokuto no Ken - or Fist of the North Star as it's known in the West - is Japan's Mad Max 2 derivative; a vision of primal brutality, god-like power, and teeth-rattling violence. Taking on a life of its own since its 1983 genesis, it's outlived its influences by a considerable margin.
The first time I visited Hong Kong was in 1987. The ferry rocked into port, foghorn blaring as the city stirred beneath a greasy morning smog. After setting foot on the dock I was dragged into a ten-dollar arm wrestling match by a seamy congregation wearing wife beaters and sucking on cheap cigarettes. Moments later my bag was stolen, prompting me into an amateur parkour trip down alleyways in a bid to retrieve it. No dice. If only I'd taken up an offer ten minutes earlier to pawn all my stuff.
I know. You've heard it all before.
Korean summers are a torrid affair. The wide, New York-style avenue leading downhill from Yeoksam to Gangnam is fuzzy under a blue haze of swirling water vapour. Streets bake, buildings drip, people are threatened with evaporation.
Times are changing, Dylan used to sing, and nowhere more prominently than in the burgeoning People's Republic of China. Once slave to idealistic convention and crippled by economic famine, Deng Xiaoping's audacious reforms have seen the country achieve the world's second-largest economy in little more than three-decades.
Capcom is a company responsible for much invention in the fighting game field, and of its hit and miss attempts to push the medium forward, X-Men vs. Street Fighter was the defining point in a new era of 'manic' fighting games. With the action cranked to eleven, it redefined the genre in a new, frenzied form. Although Arc System Works' Guilty Gear is no idle rip-off, it has drawn influence from Capcom's crossover series.
At one point it was unthinkable that Street Fighter II would disappear from every greasy spoon on the map - but it happened. On today's arcade cardiograph, there is a slow pulse, a protracted blip in the darkness that represents the last bastion of hope for an ailing UK industry. But enough of the woe stories. Having understood and agreed that the rise of the console has spelled slow death for the most social of videogaming activities, it's time to take a glass-half-full approach to ATEI 2009.
At Holloway Road's Rocket Centre in London, an annex to the Metropolitan University next door, things are fairly quiet at 10am. Cars roll past and a few early birds filter out of the nearby train station clutching roadmaps. By this point the Neo Empire crew, the most avid contributors to the UK fighting game scene, have been setting up for hours. Battle of Destiny is their biggest event ever, and, with full support and sponsorship from Capcom, nerves are on edge.