how did all this get started?
The year is 1994.
I'm a college student at Mankato State University in
Mankato, Minnesota. At the bottom of the
Student Union is a bowling alley, billiards room,
and an arcade. Placed between X-Men and a series
of pinball machines is Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death
Adder. It's a game I've never heard of before.
I mean, I had heard about Golden Axe, who hadn't
but never the sequel. There were other games
in that arcade,
sure, but none that really called to me like RODA.
There was something about the bright graphics, the
simplicity of game play, and the kick-butt nature of
what you're doing that called to me. Compare
that to the other big games at the time (which all
had crowds around them) like Killer Instinct, Mortal Kombat, and the like. I'm not the best at
combo memorization, and I'd rather work with
somebody rather than against them in games, so RODA
was the only real choice.
So I start to play a little RODA, then I start to
play a lot of it. It's not too long before I
figure out that Trix is the king of the game.
His ability to spawn apple trees to regain health is
a lifesaver. With one quarter I could march
all the way to the Death Adder by myself, which took
about 30 or so minutes. When I hit the Adder,
then things went bad. He was a cheap-hit
master, so then it would take maybe 4-5 more
quarters to beat the game. Forty-five minutes
of entertainment for $1.50 wasn't too bad.
But then I graduated, moved away, got married,
and bought a house. But I never forgot.
Then one year at the Minnesota State Fair, they had
a RODA machine in the arcade. Though my skills
were really lacking, I played it enough to realize
at that point I needed to own one. But where?
This was a little over a year before RODA was
so I started by calling actual arcade machine
dealers, who could get copies, but I was being
quoted prices like $1250.00 or more. It was a
price that I was willing to pay, but I couldn't pay
that much AND keep my wife, so I passed. Then
I turned to eBay and before too long found one being
auctioned out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. With
about ten minutes left in the auction I was outbid beyond
my upper limit of what I wanted to spend, but with
some gentle persuasion from my wife, I was allowed
to spend a bit more and won. I think I paid
right around $400 for it. Shipping cost about
the same. And within a few weeks, the machine
Needless to say I played it a lot. Then a
little less, then a little less. Then once i
got the emulated version, even less. It's
still a great game, but really how many times can
you storm the same castle? Maybe I started to
feel sorry for the Death Adder, who knows.
But for fun, I put up a web page celebrating my
ownership of the upright cabinet. I also
collected a few screenshots from the game and posted
them as well. Then I started collecting little
bits and pieces about Golden Axe and adding new
pages. After about year or so, with next to no
hits at all (it didn't matter, it was more about the
fun for me) I was approached by
www.classicgaming.com and was offered to have
the site hosted
by their servers. I jumped at the chance
because it gave me a lot more server space and a much
wider audience. From there it's just been a
madhouse of new stuff people send in, new features
I've created, and just keeping the whole thing
organized and running. But keeping it it
organized and running is the hard part. There are
many a times when I took long, long layoffs, because there was nothing new to report.
Sega never invested in a new Golden Axe, just the
same old same old. But with the
new version on the
horizon, hopefully something new and exciting
And for those of you interested in this
sort of thing, here is the progression of the
website through the years:
This was the original Death Adder's Castle, started just after I bought
Golden Axe: Revenge of Death Adder. One page, one photo, oh, how
This was from when Death Adder's Castle was in its "pastel" phase.
This was a dark time for the Death Adder.
This is from the Black-Background-Gold-Text phase that probably hung
around the longest until it was phased out by the current form. It
hurts me to look at it now.
Page 4. This
was the look before this one. I liked it a
lot, but it was time for a change. It took
forever to download, and it will always be known to me
as the "hot dog stand" because that's what the the
first person who saw it said it looked like.