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Contra and Super Contra - Cane and Rinse 253

Posted: January 29th, 2017, 4:56 pm
by JaySevenZero
Image

“What is this place?”

When the arcades ruled and legal teams didn’t, Konami went a long way to defining the run and gun genre with its Arnie and Sly take on the Aliens game, Contra. As well as a few name changes (Gryzor, Probotector, ‘C’) and plot alterations along the way, Contra also received a Super coin-op sequel. Leon, Michiel and returning guest Dan Clark focus on the first two titles in this mighty franchise, with community correspondence mostly focusing on the highly popular and notoriously challenging NES versions.

Music used in this issue:

Track 1: Battle in the Dense Forest by Kazuki 'Kazuki Jah' Muraoka
Track 2: Sandinista by Kazuki 'Kazuki Jah' Muraoka

Cane and Rinse 253 was edited by Ryan Hamann.

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Re: Contra and Super Contra - Cane and Rinse 253

Posted: January 31st, 2017, 6:11 am
by Craig
Really enjoyed this episode and it spurred me on to watch those amazing speed runs. Do it if you have a spare ounce of time!

I don't think it'll matter too much as it sounds like you are already pretty set on doing a Contra 3 episode sometime in the future, but I just want to add my support and anticipation for this episode as I love that game.

Re: Contra and Super Contra - Cane and Rinse 253

Posted: January 31st, 2017, 9:09 pm
by gallo_pinto
Contra is a little bit before my time, so I didn't realize that the naming controversy was due to the Contras in Nicaragua. On the podcast you guys mentioned not being super familiar with the political events of the time, so I thought I might be able to offer something by chiming in.

I lived in Nicaragua for two years and absolutely loved my time there (gallo pinto is a rice and beans dish that is the staple of most Nicaraguan families). Now I'm not a Nicaraguan, but I learned a lot from the Nicaraguan perspective about that period.

For many years (1936-1979), Nicaragua was ruled by a family of brutal, right-wing dictators named the Somozas. Like many right-wing Latin American dictators during the Cold War, they were supported by the US government who saw them as allies in the war against communism. The last Somoza was particularly terrible. He jailed and tortured all political opponents using his National Guard and in one of the final straws for his regime, he pocketed all of the foreign aid money after an earthquake completely leveled the capital city. A revolution with extremely broad popular support forced him out of office and the communist Sandinistas came to power. This revolution is generally seen as THE watershed moment in Nicaraguan history and the revolutionaries are considered national heroes.

From my time in Nicaragua, it seemed like the Sandinista regime was quite popular, especially among the Nicaraguan poor. They instituted a literacy campaign where they sent volunteers all over rural Nicaragua and reduced illiteracy by almost 40%. They redistributed land among the poor and worked to improve public education and health. Obviously, how you see the Sandinistas will depend on your own ideology. But just about all of the Nicaraguans I knew felt that the Sandinistas were genuinely trying to help the people of Nicaragua after decades of dictators. (To clarify, that's the Sandinistas of the 80's. They're currently back in power and people have less kind things to say about them now).

The United States saw Nicaragua as a second Cuba and Reagan and his team started illegally funding the Contras. The Contras were mostly ex-National Guard members from the Somoza era. They made life hell for people in the north of the country. They massacred villages, burned down farms, raped women. All of this with US funding and CIA training. They were basically terrorists trying to destabilize the Sandinista government. The Sandinistas had to direct so many national resources towards fighting the Contras that economic growth ground to a halt, a military draft was instituted and the people of Nicaragua wanted peace so badly that they voted out the Sandinistas in the next election (1990). The US's illegal, secret war ended up being successful.

I didn't realize that all of that had filtered out of Nicaragua enough for the term "Contra" to be tainted because no one I grew up with knew anything about Nicaragua. But I hope that helps as a brief (sort of), layman's explanation for who the Contras in Nicaragua were.

Re: Contra and Super Contra - Cane and Rinse 253

Posted: January 31st, 2017, 9:25 pm
by ratsoalbion
Awesome stuff; fascinating post.

And they said vidjagames couldn't be educational!

Re: Contra and Super Contra - Cane and Rinse 253

Posted: February 3rd, 2017, 11:53 am
by Michiel K
Very interesting read, thanks Gallo Pinto! Wish I had looked into it a little bit more before the recording.

Re: Contra and Super Contra - Cane and Rinse 253

Posted: February 3rd, 2017, 1:36 pm
by gallo_pinto
Thanks for taking the time read it guys! I don't know how relevant this stuff is to the actual Contra game, but I wanted to provide it in case anyone was interested.

Re: Contra and Super Contra - Cane and Rinse 253

Posted: September 25th, 2017, 5:40 pm
by OneCreditBen
Listened to this, along with many others, on the plane today.
Fantastic episode and really captures the spirit of the series perfectly.
I love this franchise and I've done 4 games in total (Contra, Super Contra, Super Probotector and Contra 3: 3 on my channel and 1 as a guest for another channel) and they're all still so super playable.
Keep up the good work guys, you stop me from killing people at 38,000 feet.





Re: Contra and Super Contra - Cane and Rinse 253

Posted: September 25th, 2017, 7:11 pm
by ratsoalbion
Thanks Ben!

You’re just a teeny tiny bit better at Contra than I am.