Ostern

The Ostern (Eastern) or Red Western was the Soviet Union and Iron Curtain countries' take on the Western movie.

It generally took two forms:

  1. Proper Red Westerns, set in America's 'Wild West', such as Czechoslovakia's Lemonade Joe (Limonadovy Joe, 1964), or the East-German The Sons of the Great Mother Bear (Die Söhne der großen Bärin, 1966) or The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians (Pruncul, Petrolul Si Ardelenii, Romania, 1981) involving radically different themes and genres. These were much more common in Eastern Europe, rather than the USSR itself.
  2. Easterns (Osterns), which took place usually on the steppes or Asian parts of the USSR, especially during the Russian Revolution or following Civil War. Examples of these include The Burning Miles (Ognennie Versti/Огненные вёрсты, 1957), The Bodyguard (Telokhranitel/Телохранитель, 1979), At Home among Strangers (1971), and famous Soviet film White Sun of the Desert (Beloye Solntse Pustynt/Белое солнце пустыни', 1970). While some of these are obviously influenced by Westerns, in some cases, the material can be seen as a parallel formation.

Naturally many of these contained political messages, but they can still be watched impartially as action films, comedies etc, and it is certainly true to say that American director John Ford imbued his films with controversial political messages too.

'Red Westerns' in an international context

'Red Westerns' of the first type are often compared to 'Spaghetti Westerns' (although technically these are 'Paella Westerns' being shot in Spain, rather than Italy), in that they use local scenery to double up for the American West. In particular, Yugoslavia, Mongolia and the Southern USSR were used.

'Red Westerns' provide a counterpoint to familiar mythologies and conventions of the original genre, particularly as the makers were on the other side of a propaganda war without parallel, the Cold War, and this is partially why many have never been shown in the west, at least not until after the Cold War ended. In a war in which many fabrications were made on both sides, there was often a lingering fascination with the cultural developments in enemy countries.

Westerns have proven particularly transferrable in the way that they create a mythology out of relatively recent history, a malleable idea that translates well to different cultures. In Russia, the Ostern uses the generic calling cards of the American Western to dramatise the civil war in Central Asia in the 1920s and 30s, in which the Red Army fought to maintain their country against Islamic Turkic 'Basmachi' rebels. By substituting, 'red' for 'blue' and 'Turk' for Mexican, there are the same opportunities for a sweeping drama played out against a backdrop of wide-open spaces. The Ural Mountains can be equivalent to Monument Valley, the Volga river for the Rio Grande. Add the gun slinging ethos, horse riding, working the land, pioneers of a sort (ideological often in this case!), the bounty hunter traversing difficult terrain with outlaw in tow, railroading and taming the wild frontier and you have a generic mirror image of the American genre.

Red Westerns which use the actual American west as a setting include, the Romanian The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians (Pruncul, Petrolul Si Ardelenii, 1981) which dramatises the struggles of Romanian and Hungarian settlers in a new land. The Czech Lemonade Joe and the Soviet A Man from the Boulevard des Capuchines plump for pastiche or satire, making fun of the hard worn conventions of the American films. The German The Sons of the Great Mother Bear (Die Söhne der großen Bärin, 1966) turned the traditional American "Cowboy and Indian" conventions on their head, casting the Native Americans as the heroes and the American Army as the villains, with some obvious Cold War overtones... it started a series of "Indian films" by the East German DEFA studios which were quite successful.

Interestingly, many of the non-Soviet examples of the genre were international co-productions akin to the Spaghetti Westerns. The Sons of the Great Mother Bear for example was a co-production between East Germany and Czechoslovakia, starring a Yugoslav, scripted in German, and shot in a number of different Eastern Bloc countries and used a variety of locations including Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Mongolia and Czechoslovakia. The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians was a Romanian film, but featured emigrant Hungarians heavily in the storyline.


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The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians was a Romanian film, but featured emigrant Hungarians heavily in the storyline. There is also a version called Mappy Arrangement which was released in 1995 as part of Namco Classic Collection vol.1 for the arcade. The Sons of the Great Mother Bear for example was a co-production between East Germany and Czechoslovakia, starring a Yugoslav, scripted in German, and shot in a number of different Eastern Bloc countries and used a variety of locations including Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Mongolia and Czechoslovakia. Also, Mappy had several Japan-only sequels, including Hopping Mappy in 1986 for the arcades and Mappy Kids for the Famicom in the late 1980s. Interestingly, many of the non-Soviet examples of the genre were international co-productions akin to the Spaghetti Westerns. In the late 90s, it was released as part of Microsoft's Revenge of the Arcade PC collection. it started a series of "Indian films" by the East German DEFA studios which were quite successful. by Taxan).

The German The Sons of the Great Mother Bear (Die Söhne der großen Bärin, 1966) turned the traditional American "Cowboy and Indian" conventions on their head, casting the Native Americans as the heroes and the American Army as the villains, with some obvious Cold War overtones.. This was followed by a console-only sequel called Mappy Land in 1986 (released in the U.S. The Czech Lemonade Joe and the Soviet A Man from the Boulevard des Capuchines plump for pastiche or satire, making fun of the hard worn conventions of the American films. A Japan-only port of the game was released for the Famicom (Japanese version of the NES) in 1984. Red Westerns which use the actual American west as a setting include, the Romanian The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians (Pruncul, Petrolul Si Ardelenii, 1981) which dramatises the struggles of Romanian and Hungarian settlers in a new land. The player uses a left-right joystick to move Mappy and a single button to operate the doors. Add the gun slinging ethos, horse riding, working the land, pioneers of a sort (ideological often in this case!), the bounty hunter traversing difficult terrain with outlaw in tow, railroading and taming the wild frontier and you have a generic mirror image of the American genre. A bonus is awarded if all the balloons are popped before the music ends.

The Ural Mountains can be equivalent to Monument Valley, the Volga river for the Rio Grande. Mappy, unbothered by the cats, must bounce across a series of trampolines, popping suspended balloons along the way. By substituting, 'red' for 'blue' and 'Turk' for Mexican, there are the same opportunities for a sweeping drama played out against a backdrop of wide-open spaces. The third level and every fourth level after that is a bonus round. In Russia, the Ostern uses the generic calling cards of the American Western to dramatise the civil war in Central Asia in the 1920s and 30s, in which the Red Army fought to maintain their country against Islamic Turkic 'Basmachi' rebels. If Mappy bounces on a trampoline four consecutive times without landing on a floor, it breaks, and he dies unless there is another trampoline underneath. Westerns have proven particularly transferrable in the way that they create a mythology out of relatively recent history, a malleable idea that translates well to different cultures. However, he can safely pass them in the air while jumping on the trampolines.

In a war in which many fabrications were made on both sides, there was often a lingering fascination with the cultural developments in enemy countries. If Mappy gets caught by the Mewkies or Nyamco in the hallways he dies. 'Red Westerns' provide a counterpoint to familiar mythologies and conventions of the original genre, particularly as the makers were on the other side of a propaganda war without parallel, the Cold War, and this is partially why many have never been shown in the west, at least not until after the Cold War ended. Some of these are special "microwave doors" which release a wave which sweeps away any cat in its path (even off the edge of the screen). In particular, Yugoslavia, Mongolia and the Southern USSR were used. Many of the hallways have doors which Mappy can slam open or shut to temporarily knock out the Mewkies or Nyamco. 'Red Westerns' of the first type are often compared to 'Spaghetti Westerns' (although technically these are 'Paella Westerns' being shot in Spain, rather than Italy), in that they use local scenery to double up for the American West. A level is completed when all the loot is retrieved.

Naturally many of these contained political messages, but they can still be watched impartially as action films, comedies etc, and it is certainly true to say that American director John Ford imbued his films with controversial political messages too. If Mappy tarries too long, the fearsome ancestral cat coin (Gosenzo) shows up. It generally took two forms:. version) on every level. The Ostern (Eastern) or Red Western was the Soviet Union and Iron Curtain countries' take on the Western movie. In addition to the Mewkies, there is also the boss cat Nyamco (Goro in the U.S. Examples of these include The Burning Miles (Ognennie Versti/Огненные вёрсты, 1957), The Bodyguard (Telokhranitel/Телохранитель, 1979), At Home among Strangers (1971), and famous Soviet film White Sun of the Desert (Beloye Solntse Pustynt/Белое солнце пустыни', 1970). While some of these are obviously influenced by Westerns, in some cases, the material can be seen as a parallel formation. Mappy and the Mewkies can move between the floors by jumping on trampolines at the ends and middle of the hallways, and landing on a floor on the way up (but not on the way down).

Easterns (Osterns), which took place usually on the steppes or Asian parts of the USSR, especially during the Russian Revolution or following Civil War. The mansion has six floors of long hallways in which the items are stashed. These were much more common in Eastern Europe, rather than the USSR itself. version) to retrieve stolen goods. Proper Red Westerns, set in America's 'Wild West', such as Czechoslovakia's Lemonade Joe (Limonadovy Joe, 1964), or the East-German The Sons of the Great Mother Bear (Die Söhne der großen Bärin, 1966) or The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians (Pruncul, Petrolul Si Ardelenii, Romania, 1981) involving radically different themes and genres. The player guides Mappy the police mouse through the mansion of the cats called Mewkies (Meowky in the U.S. This incident was selected as #2 "MGM Goes Cop" in GameSpy's The 25 Dumbest Moments in Gaming.

Ironically, it was MGM/UA that previously won a lawsuit declaring Tom and Jerry was in the public domain. Namco's lawyer, Howard Lincoln, who would go on to become a Senior Vice President of the company, discovered that MGM didn't own the copyright to Tom and Jerry either, and was able to not only win the lawsuit, but got MGM to pay the legal costs. If victorious, this lawsuit would have crushed Namco of America, and the history of videogames would have been drastically altered. However, MGM/UA sued Namco over copyright violations, claiming that Mappy was a copy of Tom and Jerry.

. Mappy runs on Namco Super Pac-Man hardware. It was re-released as part of the Famicom Mini Series in 2004, only in Japan. Mappy is a side-scrolling platformer that features cute cartoony characters.

it was manufactured and distributed by Bally/Midway. In the U.S. Mappy is a 1983 arcade game by Namco. In R4: Ridge Racer Type 4, "Micro Mouse Mappy" is a racing team that can be selected from the get-go, but Ridge Racer 64 requires that you win Stage 4 (the novice "EXTRA" courses) and beat the car in a Car Attack on Ridge Racer Novice EXTRA.

In R4: Ridge Racer Type 4, there is a racing team that uses this game's name, and in Ridge Racer 64 there is a car that shares this game sponsor used in R4: Ridge Racer Type 4. They were used in Ridge Racer, Ridge Racer 2, Rave Racer, Ridge Racer Revolution, and Ridge Racer 64. The blue car is named "RT Blue Mappy" while the pink car is named "RT Pink Mappy". In Ridge Racer, there are two cars that share the racing team name of this game.

Mappy's hat is an equippable item in Namco x Capcom. release. Nyamco was renamed "Goro" in the U.S. "Nyamco", besides being a play on "Namco", comes from nyanko, the Japanese equivalent of "kitty cat".

"Mappy" is likely derived from mappo, a Japanese slang term (slightly insulting) for a policeman.

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