C'mon, really? Are we that desperate for article ideas?

Oh, Ed, stop being so... Crabby.

oh my god did you really just say that you are the worst human alive

Proof my sense of humour is broken: I found Squid Girl pretty funny.

I'm a sucker for fish puns, what can I say?

Anyway, I'm not here to talk to you about how the dialogue in this show is stuffed to the gills with fish jokes [AUGH - Ed]. Instead, the reason Squid Girl (or Shinryaku! Ika Musume if you can't bear the thought of calling it anything else) is on this site is because of Mega Drive love. While the original manga, created by Masahiro Anbe (who, by the way, has drawn Arle Nadja fanart and it is the best) has a fair number of game references, they're usually more abstract and generally include a Famicom-alike (thanks to dilligent reader Al for going through the manga meticulously to find these references!). However, the staff of the anime adaptation clearly had an undying love for the Mega Drive. Several times throughout the show, Squid Girl and her friends are shown playing video games, and not only is it almost always a famous Mega Drive title, the game console they're playing it on is a Mega Drive. As the Mega Drive is my favourite console of all time and I'm certain you all know by now that I'm a card-carrying Sega die-hard, this pleased me. They're nice little nods to Sega, and they don't get cloying or obnoxious because they're usually in the background rather than stretched out to a whole joke.

So, we gathered all the game references from Season 1 & 2 & the OVA for your viewing pleasure.

Some notes before we begin, though. The Season 1 screencaps have been snapped straight from the UK DVD Season 1 release by Manga, which has two sets of titles for the various 'sections' in each episode- the one used in the show itself is used first, then the title used in the DVD inlay. Because the US Media Blasters release of Season 2 was cancelled, it was never dubbed into English or released on UK DVD (and probably never will be) so the screencaps for Season 2 are from Crunchyroll's videos. As the OVA hasn't been made available anywhere in my country, though, it had to be located elsewhere, hence the lower-quality shots.

Just remember, though...

Let's get kraken, then! [NO - Ed]

Season 1 Opening

It's a generic Japanese RPG. Probably Dragon Quest.
Note that instead of Magic Points (MP), Squid Girl has Ika Points (IP). 'Cause Ika is Japanese for squid, etc.

Naturally, the chests are full of shrimp.

Also, we get a good look at the console played throughout the series.
It's definitely a Mark I Mega Drive, no doubt about it.

Season 1 Episode 4: Wait a Squid, Aren't You On My Side?
Section 2: Care to Come Aboard? / Aren't You Intruding?

I was um-ing and ah-ing over whether this was Puyo Puyo (1992) or Coumns (1989).
Twitter reader @inobscurity points out that it's Columns because it has a mode with this layout and the checkerboard border background.

Season 1 Episode 9: Squidzooks! Aren't You a New Recruit?
Section 1: Want to Ring and Jet? / Won't You Doorbell Ditch?

Kiyomi and Squid Girl play Stockings Fighter IV. The dialogue calls it 'SF4' before you see the cover. How clever

The game also has a thinly-veiled Dhalsim knock-off, called Mr. Yoga.

Eiko also says she's brought Squid Girl a copy of Hedgehog Kart, although you can only barely see the cover.
(Season 2 Episode 5 Section 1 refers to Hedgehog Kart 2 in dialogue, but the subtitles spell it wrong. It's not 'Cart', silly Crunchyroll.)

Finally, Kiyomi says 'You're ten years too early to beat me' in the English dub. It's Akira Yuki's catchphrase from Virtua Fighter.

Season 1 Episode 10: How Much is That Squiddy in the Window?
Section 1: Maybe She Inks You're Annoying? / Won't You Be Loved?

Come on, if you owned a Mega Drive, you know what this is! It's Streets of Rage II (1992).
If you squint, you can just about make out Axel, Blaze, Adam (as an enemy?) and the purple Galsia palette-swap.

Season 1 Episode 12: You're Phonier than an 11-Tentacled Squid!
Section 2: We're in Squid Trouble? / Isn't This A Crisis?

A bit of a change, this time they're playing Advanced Daisenryaku (1991).
Kind-of fitting, seeing as Squid Girl wants to take over the world.

Season 2 Episode 4
Section 2: Ink You Can Stop It?!

Eiko and Squid Girl have a brief round of Virtua Fighter on the 32X (1995) as clones of Akira ('Akio') and Kage ('Onin').

See? They're playing it on a proper 32X and everything!

Season 2 Episode 7
Section 2: Ink That Amnesia?!

Rather obviously, this is Golden Axe (1989). No attempt to hide it.
Although... I'm sure they tried to replace the blue dragon with an alpaca.
(Also, Tyris Flare's magic levels are wrong and they're using the Gilius sprite for an enemy but shush)

Season 2 Episode 8
Section 1: Watch My Shell While I'm Out?!

Not only does Squid Girl play Bonanza Bros. (1991), showing the animators have superiour taste in video games...

... But she also plays it co-op with a burglar who's invaded her house. See, it's fitting!
(Here's a screencap of her co-op buddy's sprite- he enters the house in a similar get-up. Art imitating life, obv.)

Also, we get a better look at the Mega Drive pad.

Season 2 Episode 8
Section 2: Didn't We Have a Squidrrangement?!

OK, this one's tough, but I'm reasonably sure it's Nobunaga no Yabou: Bushou Fuuunsoku (1991).
This is mostly due to the mention of Motonari Mori, and the borders on the game window.

Season 2 Episode 12
Section 2: Ink That A Festival?!

Before you say this is a Final Fantasy game... Look at those unusual weapon icons.
Weapon icons like this appear in Shining Force (1992) and Shining Force II (1993)...
But this screen has got to be from Shining in the Darkness (1991).

Squid Girl OVA 1
Section 1: Won't It Break?

The 2012 OVA is a little different. The first section is entirely about video games...
And none of them are Mega Drive games! It's all Nintendo! No!

It starts with the three stooges (graduates from MIT) playing a Super Mario Kart (1992) rip-off...
... Where one of them wins by using a rocket launcher just before the finish line. Ohoho.

They're playing on Nintendo DS-alikes... Apparently made by Mintendo.
However, one of them drops their DS, smashing it to bits.
(If they were playing on Game Boys, no problem- I dropped mine down a flight of stairs. Still works.)

So, the three stooges make their own, completely indestructible portable console, called a Game Men.
However, it's so sturdy that Eiko and Squid Girl end up wrecking their hands playing it.

This is the first game they play, Super Eiko. Hmm.

Obviously, it's Super Mario Bros. (1985), but with impossible obstacles and enemies.

Oh, and here's a Moai from Easter Island. Or Gradius, whichever.

The other games on the Game Men reference other famous video games:
The Mystery of @tlantis is a nod to The Mystery of Atlantis/Atlantis no Nazo (1986), an infamously-difficult Sunsoft game.
The Game is Life is probably referring to the Japanese adaptation of The Game of Life, Jinsei Game (1988), ported to many game systems.
Takeru's Challenge is a play on Takeshi's Challenge/Takeshi no Chousenjou (1986), the most famous 'kusoge' (shit game) in the world!

They end up playing an RPG very much in the style of Dragon Quest. It's what you expect.

After throwing the Game Men away, Eiko and Squid Girl try to play F-Zero (1990) on their Super Famicom
(Or, as it is in this world, E-Zero on their Super Mintendo)...

... But their time playing with the Game Men means they're a little too rough with it.

I guess the Mega Drive really is the strongest games console in the world.

... OK, that's that over with, then. I'm not squiddin' around, this article's gilly over!

[No more fish puns. Please no more fish puns. I'm begging you, in the name of humanity.
- Ed]

Don't worry, Ed. I know you'd krill me if I made any more.

[... If that's not a typo, I'm going to scream.]

Incidentally, if you find another anime with overt game refs like this... Don't tell us. We won't bother.