For the sake of time, we had to cut this Listener Mail from the episode 35 we recorded this evening, but I didn't want to lose the information that's contained within. So presented for your information, a lesson on the Gianna Sisters that will flow into something I play in an upcoming New Business. - Donald
I listened to episode 32 today which I had eagerly awaited for some time now. Thanks Austen, for pushing this episode through what seemed like a more painful editing process than usual according to your Twitter feed.
I am happy about the conversation it started, about different gaming preferences in general and an interesting excursion into early 90s PC gaming (yeay, Wing Commander!). And I still find it fascinating how you all were untouched by any home computer experience.
I don't know if you caught the whole inside joke of Gianna Sisters vs. Mario Brothers. So just in case you didn't know about this interesting little story, here it is: in 1987, when Super Mario Brothers was huge on the NES in the US, nobody could really play it in Germany, because nobody had an NES. While everybody did have a C64 it was pretty clear, that Nintendo would not port it to the C64 and there was also a general lack of jump&run on that system anyway. So the German studio Rainbow Arts published the original "The Great Gianna Sisters" which looked very, very similar to "Super Mario Brothers". Check out the full story at
and go here for some game-play footage
While it was a blatant rip-off of Super Mario Bros., it was a very well executed game. Chris Hülsbeck's soundtrack probably beats the NES's Super Mario one. The game was taken off the shelfs pretty quickly, but by that time it was too late, as it had already spread to the school-recess-peer-to-peer network. You brought your friend a box of 10 5,25" disks and next day you got it back with the newest stuff. The whole concept of ever paying for software was completely alien to us back then which is another big Germany (Europe)-US difference worth looking into, because I am sure must it have had implications on the gameplay experience as well. Tons of games to choose from, but try for example to find out what to do in "Impossible Mission" with very little knowledge of the English language AND no manual.
So the Gianna Sisters were literally our Mario. Eventually with the arrival of the Gameboy, which was widely adopted here, we discovered Mario as well. I did see that they put "Gianna Sisters" on the DS and that some German dudes even had a Kickstarter for what turned out to be a pretty decent game, but of course the original C64 game has the interesting background story. Donald, let me know what you think about "Twisted Dreams". I myself didn't even catch the connection between the two games until a few years ago: "Mario", to most generic Italian first name vs. "Gianna", probably after Gianna Nannini an Italian singer which was huge right around that time.
Thanks for your advice on "Chrono Trigger". I was set on playing it on my (3)DS, but maybe I should play it on the SNES emulator for my PSP instead. I played through "Earthbound" on it and it worked great. Also, Earthbound, the only JRPG I ever played. I do not have a Wii, let alone a Wii U and I like the portable options so I guess that limits it.
That's it for my follow-up to my listener mail with a little Mario anecdote you maybe didn't know about. I would have emailed you guys directly, but the NFR address is the only one I have.
Looking forward to the next episode.
Have a great weekend,