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  • This is the MAME Random Of the Week #107

    The three random numbers for this week are: 23 1659 843

    Click here to vote! Which game do you choose for MAME ROW #107?

    The result of the poll is posted on Wednesday, so we have Monday and Tuesday for experimentation.

    Game Name: 88 Games
    Company: Konami
    Year: 1988
    ROM file name:

    Game Name: Shinobi (set 1)
    Company: Sega
    Year: 1987
    ROM file name:

    Game Name: Kageki (US)
    Company: Taito America Corporation (Romstar license)
    Year: 1988
    ROM file name:

    What is the MAME ROW?

    MAME ROW stands for MAME Random Of the Week. We randomly select an arcade game from the 0.78 MAME Reference Set to play on the week. The idea is to play games we've never played before, interact with other forum members, post hi-scores, share game strategies, fun facts, and (the most important) HAVE FUN!


    1. We usually post hi-scores screenshots after playing with only one credit. If you used more than one credit, please mention it on your post.

    2. There's no need to use RetroPie to join the MAME ROW! You can play it on any platform you want.

    3. Feel free to post your hi-score (or any content about the game) anytime you want on the previous rounds topics (link below).

    Every Monday we create a topic at the "General Discussion and Gaming > MAME Random Of the Week" forum section with the 3 random games to be voted. And on Wednesday we check the result.

    These "rules" are constantly being improved!

    Previous Rounds

  • Looks like our random selection process is going through a phase of choosing famous games at the moment, two of this weeks candidates I already had installed on my cab!

    I got time to try them out last night, although currently I'm getting distracted playing about with @UDb23 's overlays - resizing the ones for vertical games to fit on my 4:3 screen - I got inspired by last weeks Donkey Kong one, and have been surprised at just how many games I have installed that are vertical screen orientation.

    Anyway, on to my thoughts on this weeks games:

    88 Games
    I like this one, it's a late-comer to the Track and Field (1983), Hypersports (1984) genre of sports games that appeared for a while, and then vanished off the face of the earth. I'm not entirely sure why these sort of button-mashing game were so popular, but only for a relatively short time, perhaps it was something to do with the limits of the technology at the time, but I like to think the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics also had an influence, I seem to remember it was promoted as a high-tech event. Appearing in 1988, this game benefits from nice large cartoon characters, and certainly looks nicer than a lot of it's predecessors. Unfortunately the gameplay hasn't moved on at all, it's the same old button mashing mechanic, and the events are pretty generic too. I managed to qualify in the 100m, the long jump, the relay race, but got stuck at the clay pigeon shooting.
    While this last event looks like the Hypersports equivalent, the control mechanism is trickier, with buttons rotating the view. I'm not sure this improves the gameplay, as it's quite frustrating.
    It's a decent game, had it come out four years earlier, it would have been a great game, sadly by 1988, this is an also-ran. Also not particularly good for a high score competition, unless we had a score for each event.

    This was something of a classic at the time of release, I think the whole Ninja thing was kind of fashionable. I remember a Shinobi machine still in active use in an arcade in 1990. Playing it now, it's not aged particularly well. The controls feel a bit clunky, and you don't get much chance to react to what's happening on screen. It quickly just becomes a memory-test of what's coming next. I remembered the end of level bosses being rock hard, and playing it again now confirms this. The instant death is quite annoying, I think they fixed this in some of the home versions, using a health gauge instead. Rolling Thunder is a similar game, and they allowed a couple of hits before your character dies.
    I remember the Bonus level being something of a revelation at the time, I don't think I'd seen anything quite like that before.
    The other odd association I have with this game is the children you have to rescue always remind me of Michael Jackson. I thought maybe they looked like the kids in Moonwalker, but I checked, and they're nothing like them, so I dunno where that particular confused memory came from!

    This is the one I hadn't heard of before. I gave it a try and it seems to have it's fair share of Japanese-arcade oddness! It seems to consist entirely of moving your vertically-challenged character round in circles while occasionally getting closer to your opponent to smack him in the face. Kind of entertaining, but the control mechanism is odd. It seems to be a sort of isometric control, where I can only travel in diagonal directions. Nevertheless I managed to smack my opponent down a few times, and he ran off into the crowd, to be replaced by another opponent who made short work of me. I like the look of this one, but it seems to fall halfway between two different types of game, it's got the fun cuteness of an adventure platformer, but not the gameplay, and the gameplay of a fighting game, but none of the special moves, and too small characters.
    It's an interesting one, and I'll not delete it from my cab, but it's not a classic.

    So this week, despite having a brutal level boss difficulty level, my vote goes to....


  • My first Joystick killer game ;) - 1985!!!

  • This week's winner is Shinobi

    0_1539174083442_Screen Shot 2018-10-10 at 8.19.16 AM.png


  • @obsidianspider I didn't vote, but Shinobi is one of my personal arcade treasures, because I could play it as a kid in a family video rental store – one of the few opportunities to play arcade games as a minor here in Germany, since almost all of the few arcades here were (and still are) adult-only.

  • @clyde I feel you, since I am in Germany too. It sucked here. Luckily, I had some opportunities here, who didn't care the age at all (Street Fighter, Samurai Shodown, King of Fighters, Bubble Bobble, Outrun, I was lucky ;-) ). Strangely in a wedding hall was some boards, Shinobi one of them. You can imagine what happened. :D

  • @thelostsoul We kids also had our special places where we could play: department stores, video stores, record shops, restaurants, corner pubs and the like. I remember playing Bagman, Dig Dug, Galaga, Lady Bug, Pengo, Phoenix, Scramble, F1 Dream, and … ta-da … Tron! The latter stood next to another cab that I don't remember in a remote corner of our local "Hertie", if you know that name. ;) There, we also could play at Vectrex consoles on display almost indefinately without anyone of the staff giving a damn.

    edit: Oh, and I once crossed the English Channel on a ferry with my mother. The ship had a small arcade hall with 10-15 games in it – and no people in it at all times. Only limited by my slightly higher allowance than normal, it was kids' heaven. :D

  • Why are arcades in Germany only for adults?

  • @obsidianspider I don't know what the reason was in Germany, but in England you had to be 15 or over to be allowed in an arcade unaccompanied by an adult. I think it was because there were also Fruit Machines where you could gamble real money and it was something to do with minors not being permitted to gamble.

    There was no such law in Scotland where I lived, where anyone could go in an arcade (and gamble I think, I don't ever remember anyone stopping us). But on Saturdays we would go to England (my family lived near the border and they would go shopping in the large town over the border) and I remember on one occasion being thrown out of an arcade in the middle of a game of Spy Hunter. We were surprised as we didn't know the law was different up until then. I was particularly annoyed because they wouldn't even let me finish my game.

  • I'm fairly sure that in Portugal you need to be either 16 or 18 to play in arcades/amusement centers.

    Shinobi is a great choice, I'll gladly send over my scores! I personally find it runs great on AdvMame, is that what you're using for it?

  • @gtbfilms Yes, I think this has something to do with gambling machines too. Those arcade games was always together with those Fruit Machines. And Germany in general was always careful at this and maybe they just classified them as gambling, because of real money and the probability to get addicted. At least children should be protected. I mean, I can understand this subject and why it is done. But look t the games today, they are even worse with those ingame item purchases and loot boxes and what not and every kid can do that. With real money you could see how much you spend in.

    This is one of the reason I love the emulation community and MAME developers. I can play those games I never had the opportunity to and understand what everyone else in the world is talking and loving about.

  • I have not found a way to damage the first level boss, but here's a score to get things started: 25440


  • @obsidianspider That first level boss is hard!

    You have to jump up and throw a shuriken just after you start to fall from the highest part of the jump. Then it hits him in the face.

    However, you only get one chance between his double fireballs, which seem to have an almost random motion.

    Apparently you are supposed to be able to dodge them, then move in and hit him again before he can launch new fireballs.

    I have never managed to kill him on a single credit.

    However I did notice if I add more credits to continue, his health isn't as high the next time. It replenishes, but only to about halfway. Its still difficult to kill him, but not impossible.

    The cynic in me says that this was a pretty transparent strategy to extract another credit from the player at the end of level 1!

    I'm still trying to work out the movement of these fireballs, to see if I can avoid them more reliably. Sometimes they seem to home in on you!

  • Global Moderator

    @obsidianspider, @gtbfilms

    It's easier said than done, but the secret is to start the fight by jumping, throwing a shuriken and moving forward. That first shot should register as the boss comes into frame and if you're quick, you can also get two and sometimes three more off before he throws his first fireball. With those three or four freebie shots, you'll be almost half way to beating him. Once the fireballs are in play, it's easiest to deal with them one at a time. When the first one is released, you can remain somewhat close and get another shot off once you're clear to do so. When the second fireball is released, the best thing to do is treat the pair like the Medusa heads from Castlevania. Drawing them backwards, as far as you need to, will allow a lot of time to carefully pick your moment to avoid them high or low.

    Assuming the boss is now off screen again, do as you did when you started the fight by jumping, throwing a shuriken and moving forward. This should allow for the same freebie shots as before and if you happen to land them all and you got all your possible shots in previously, he may even fall right there. If not, just repeat the pattern until you've got your final shots in. I used to love this game and hope to compete this week myself, but with work ramping up for the holidays, I've barely had enough time to boot up my Pi recently. At any rate, I wish you all well and as always, good luck on the ROW.

  • That first level boss always gets one life out of me at least. I try to reduce its health to about 4, then get close to him and use the special power which usually takes 4 hits off the boss. But it's tricky.

    I don't think there's any real pattern to the fireballs unfortunately :( If you hit him before he shoots he'll restart the shooting pattern. Also, I once say a YouTube video of someone who just kicked the guy to death.

    I was never able to do it so effectively, but it might help others. Kicking is very time-sensitive, so it's hard to pull off. But it seems it's easier to jump over the fireballs at close range with the right timing.

    My score for today was around 33130, but I seem to have a high score of 55160 with a single coin from previous attempts (always lost in some stage on level 2), so I'll go with that.


  • Huh. Just noted that Shinobi doesn't have BGM for me at the moment, at least on AdvMame. On lr-mame2003 it works as intended.

    What are you guys using to run it?

    Have a good weekend.

    EDIT: a nice Google search helped me. Go to Audio settings in AdvMame and lower the absurd amplifier setting to zero.

  • @pjft Now I can't get out of my head that AdvMame may have a setting called "absurd amplifier". :D

  • @clyde That't probably the first technical step towards the invention of the Infinite Improbability Drive :)

  • @clyde Now I can't either! :) It sounds like a setting straight from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, though.

  • Sorry for missing voting this week everyone. I had some urgent personal matters to attend to the past few days. Would you like to have MAME ROW late this week, or just skip this week and start up again on Monday?

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