Thursday, February 11, 2016

I don't know about you, but I'm surprisingly on the fence about Grand Kingdom for Vita

When I first laid eyes on Grand Kingdom's Japanese cover art, I was intrigued.

Later, when I came across a handful of screenshots of this PS4 and Vita tactical RPG, I transitioned from intrigue to full-on excitement.

Which makes sense, I guess, as it looks an awful lot like Vanillaware's surprisingly similar PSP title, Grand Knights History. (That makes sense, too, it seems. Tomohiko Deguchi is listed as director of both efforts.)

So, why am I now on the fence about buying the Vita version of this game, set to hit North American store shelves this June?

I watched this trailer, and the gameplay snippets showcased in it tarnished my view a bit.

Combine that with the fact that I have a stack of unplayed--hell, unopened in most cases--Vita games currently giving me the stink eye, and my hesitation should be easier to understand.

That doesn't mean I'll never pick up a copy of Grand Kingdom, mind you. I just doubt it'll be on or around its launch day.

How about you? Do any of you think you'll add either the PS4 or Vita iteration of this MonoChro concoction to your collection? If so, what's got you feeling that way?

Buy: Grand Kingdom Limited Edition or Grand Kingdom Grand Edition

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Shiren wanders back to North America this July with The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate

Are you a fan of roguelikes? Listen up.

Actually, even if you don't much care for these traditionally unwelcoming dungeon-crawlers, you still should listen up if you own a Vita (or PSTV) and you're looking for something to play on your Sony-made console.

Why? A couple of days ago, the folks at Aksys Games revealed they'll be releasing ChunSoft's Fushigi no Dungeon: Fuurai no Shiren 5 Plus--Fortune Tower to Unmei no Dice in North America on July 26.

In this part of the world, the game will go by the far more understandable Shiren The Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate.

The best part of this out-of-nowhere announcement: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate will be available in both digital and physical (boxed) forms upon release.

If the game's Japanese name sounds familiar, by the way, that's likely because it's an expanded port of a Japan-only DS game known as, you guessed it, Fushigi no Dungeon: Fuurai no Shiren 5--Fortune Tower to Unmei no Dice. (Note: the DS game, from 2010, lacked the "Plus" part of the 2015 Vita follow-up.)

Sadly, no one seems to be taking pre-orders for this Shiren The Wanderer title--the first to see the light of day in North America since 2008's Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer, also for DS--at the moment, but I'm sure that will change shortly.

In the meantime, are any of you going to buy some version of The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate? If so, which one? (I'm going to go for the retail version, naturally.)

Monday, February 08, 2016

Nice Package! (KiKi KaiKai, PC Engine)

Those of you who use Twitter and who follow me may have caught this tweet I sent out a few days ago: "After a bit of a dry spell, I recently bought a ton of Famicom, PC Engine and PlayStation games."

The focus of today's post, Taito's KiKi KaiKai, is one of those games.

To be honest, I've been on the fence about picking up a copy of this title for a while now. Although it's a top-shelf port of the arcade game of the same name--also made by Taito and released in 1986--the simple truth is I absolutely suck at it.

Normally, that wouldn't be a problem. I buy plenty of games that seemingly enjoy pointing out to me that my reflexes aren't as sharp as they were when I was a kid.

The problem with this game, though, was that copies of KiKi KaiKai's PC Engine port tend to be pricey.

As a result, I've hemmed and hawed for a good year or so as to whether I should bite the bullet and buy the damn thing despite my issues or use my hard-earned cash on a couple of other PC Engine classics--ones that would have a less negative impact on my ego--instead.

Obviously I decided to go with the former in the end. And I can't say I regret that decision one bit. After all, just look at this title's beautiful packaging. From the cover of its instruction manual to the labels on the back of its case, it's pretty much perfect, wouldn't you agree?

I especially like the interior of KiKi KaiKai's instruction manual. The illustrations it offers up are the definition of lovely, in my humble opinion.

Of course, that shouldn't surprise me. Pretty much every Taito manual I've come across over the years makes me swoon. Two noteworthy examples from the PC Engine era: Don Doko Don and Mizubaku Daibouken. (Sadly, I'm not sure I'd say Parasol Star's booklet is quite up to snuff.)

If you'd like to sneak a peek at more of KiKi KaiKai's manual, you're in luck. I'm going to publish another installment of my long-running "Manual Stimulation" series devoted to this game's pamphlet later this week.

In the meantime, have any of you played any iteration of this top-down, push-scrolling shmup?

I'm especially curious to hear opinions of the arcade original or the PC Engine port discussed here, but feel free to sound off on the curious reimagining released for the Famicom Disk System or the follow-ups that hit the Super Famicom in 1992 and 1994, respectively.

See also: previous 'Nice Package!' and 'Manual Stimulation' posts

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Nippon Ichi Software's teasing a new game, and I think it may be related to the Cladun series

Raise your hand if you had a blast playing Nippon Ichi's Cladun: This is an RPG at some point after the quirky dungeon-crawler earned a worldwide release (for the PSP) back in 2010.

Now raise your other hand if you also enjoyed that game's sequel, Cladun x2, which first saw the light of day in 2011.

To those of you who now have both arms raised: I'm not quite sure how you're going to read the rest of this post (or start the video below), but I'm sure you'll concoct some sort of solution.

To the rest of you: watch and listen to the snippet above--yes, even those of you who have yet to even think of raising a hand--which the folks at NIS helpfully and straightforwardly named, "Title Teaser BGM."

In other words, the musical numbers featured in this teaser probably are from an upcoming Nippon Ichi game.

Given the chiptune-y sound of the tracks and the character sprite revealed at the video's tail end, I have a feeling the title's related to the company's Cladun series in some way. What do you think?

Friday, February 05, 2016

Manual Stimulation (City Connection, Famicom)

A week ago, I published a post about City Connection's packaging--in particular, its outer box and cartridge. (Check it out here, if you missed it the first time around.)

Although I usually include a photo or two of a game's instruction manual in my "Nice Package!" write-ups, I didn't do so in my City Connection post because, well, to be honest, I forgot to snap one.

In the end, that's OK, as you can see the entirety of this Jaleco-made title's manual right here, starting with its front and back covers:

Before you scroll any further, I have to warn you: City Connection was a fairly early Famicom release. For some context, it came out in the same year as Namco's Dig Dug port, Enix's debut title, Door Door and Nintendo's Mach Rider.

In other words, don't expect its instruction manual to be all flashy like the ones created for later releases like Yume Penguin MonogatariMother, or Hoshi no Kirby (aka Kirby's Adventure).

Actually, that's not completely fair, as the manual that accompanied copies of Taito's Chack'n Pop port featured some surprisingly snazzy illustrations, if you ask me.

Still, that was an exception to the rule of the time. Most Famicom games were sold with instruction manuals that were the definition of "bare bones," and City Connection is pretty par for the course in that regard.

That's to suggest City Connection's isn't worth flipping through once or twice. As you can see in the scans found above and below, it showcases some interesting pieces of pixel art.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Attention 3DS-owning JRPG fans: Sega's bringing 7th Dragon III Code VFD to NA this summer

Boy, there are a lot of acronyms in the headline above, aren't there?

That's pretty fitting, if you ask me. After all, 7th Dragon III's subtitle (or whatever) features an acronym--not that I have any idea what it means. 

Still, I'm stoked that Sega's decided to bring this 3DS-based, dungeon-crawling RPG--check out the trailer below for an oh-so-brief look at its contents--to North America sometime this coming summer.

Although I wasn't so intrigued by Code: VFD when it hit the streets of Japan a few months ago that I went ahead and imported a copy, I'm feeling a tad more interested in this localized iteration.

It helps, of course, that Sega's promising a retail (boxed) version for our neck of the woods. Also, its "summer" release is sure to fall smack-dab in the middle of a dry period for me in terms of new games to buy and play.

How about all of you fine folks? Are any of you contemplating picking up 7th Dragon III Code: VFD once it's widely available in this part of the world? (On a related note, the game appears to be up for pre-orders on

Monday, February 01, 2016

Yay me! (aka this is the beginning of The Gay Gamer's 10th year as a blog)

Just in case you haven't been keeping track (and, really, why would you?), I published my very first post here all the way back on Feb. 1, 2007.

In other words, this is the start of my 10th year as a blogger.

OK, so that's not entirely accurate. What do I mean? Well, I took a bit of a break from The Gay Gamer after putting about six months into it, and I didn't come back to it again until the beginning of 2009.

Regardless, I'm pretty proud of reaching this milestone, so I'm going to celebrate it. Uh, yay me!

I'm also going to thank everyone who has visited at one point or another--especially those of you who have felt comfortable enough to leave the occasional comment.

If you've yet to leave a comment, why not start now? I've had some really wonderful conversations with folks in that section of the blog between 2007 and now, and I'm a firm believer in the old idiom, "the more the merrier."

Whether you come here to chat or lurk, though, I appreciate the attention all the same. Thanks again for helping make the last nine years of my life wonderful.