Thursday, October 30, 2014

Four recently-ish revealed pieces of Japanese box art that I think are pretty fabulous

Although I recently devoted three different posts to my favorite pieces of Japanese Dreamcast and PlayStation box art, I've been pretty lax as of late in terms of publishing my thoughts on more current examples of the medium.

So, here's a rather hastily thrown together attempt at making amends.

March Onwards! Captain Kinopio (Wii U)--This is a winner every which way you look at it, if you ask me, although I think the highlight of it is its use of color. The teal case combined with the golden background and cherry-tinged logo font makes the whole she-bang appear almost ... delicious.

Sega 3D Fukkoku Archives (3DS)--As fabulous as this Ken Sugimori-designed effort is, I've got to say I'd find it a whole lot more fabulous if its bottom edge didn't feature that black-and-blue "box of logos."

Sumikko Gurashi (3DS)--I hate cover art like this. You know why? Because it makes me want to buy a copy of the game, despite the fact that I'm pretty sure I wouldn't get much enjoy out of it even if I understood Japanese. (It's supposed to be some sort of "communication" game, whatever that means.)

Stranger of Sword City: Black Palace (Vita)--OK, so the way this Wizardry clone's characters are grouped in the middle of this cover illustration is far from unique (in fact, it's downright cliché), but the overall product is so striking that I'm will to give that misstep a pass.

What do all of you think of the above? Also, what are some of your current favorite pieces of cover art?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

This new SaGa, I mean Legend of Legacy, game continues to look great

Or at least what's shown of it in the video below continues to look great to me.

Of course, I've always been a sucker for games with "unique" aesthetics, and this FuRyu-published RPG, which is set to hit the streets (and the eShop) of Japan early next year, certainly fits that bill.

By the way, in case this is your first encounter with Legend of Legacy, it's being made by many of the same folks who worked on Square Enix's all-but-forgotten SaGa series in years past.

Those games were known for being rather quirky (if not downright crazy), so I'm hoping that will be true of Legend of Legacy in the end as well.

Actually, I'll let you know whether or not that's the case after I sink my teeth into the game, as I recently pre-ordered a copy of it via


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

You had me at 'EarthBound box set,' Fangamer

A couple of days ago, the folks at Fangamer launched a Kickstarter campaign for "a box set of media celebrating EarthBound and the fans who have kept it alive."

Backers who pledge $64 or more will receive the following from the Tucson, Arizona-based site should the campaign reach its $100,000 goal between now and when it concludes on Nov. 21:

* an EarthBound handbook of at least 250 pages in length,

* a documentary about EarthBound fandom in the west,

* an album of music pulled from the entire Mother series and performed by some group calling itself The Bad Dudes (listen to a sampler of it here), and

* an 80-page 'zine filled with fan-made art and stories. (The piece on the right, inspired by the series' "Eight Melodies," is one of the many submissions that have been made so far. See more at

For more information on this particular Kickstarter campaign, check out its official project page at your earliest convenience.

Monday, October 27, 2014

My 3DS XL will soon sport one (or more) of these adorable Animal Crossing menu themes

Word on the street is that the handful of Animal Crossing: New Leaf 3DS menu themes that have been available in Japan for some time now will be brought to the European and North American eShops this week.

That's music to my ears, as I've been clamoring for the Sable Able one (below) since I first became aware of it.

Later, I'll pick up the "Isabelle in Town Hall" (below) and "Timmy and Tommy Nook" ones, too.

To see (and hear) the rest of this batch of 3DS menu themes in action, check out this video (for the "Bulletin Board" one) and this video ("Mabel Able").

Are any of you planning to add one or more of the above themes to your 3DS systems in the coming days? If so, which ones? And if not, have you bought--or are you considering buying--any of the other menu themes that have been made available so far?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

On the one hand, this "Fat Chocobo" plush is completely adorable

On the other, uh, $86.90?

Sure, this "Fat Chocobo" plush is rather large as these things go--it's 11 by 12 by 17 inches, basically--and its design was inspired by a 3DS game I'm very much looking forward to sinking my teeth into soon (that would be Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call), but even then I can't say I think it's worth nearly $90.

Should any of you feel differently on this subject, you may want to go ahead and order one of these (admittedly adorable) toys via

Another option: buy one through, which is selling the very same product for approximately $37 less. (AmiAmi's price is 5,480 yen, or just over $50.)

Friday, October 24, 2014

On the one hand, I'm glad I finally own a copy of one of Nippon Ichi's first PlayStation games, Cooking Fighter Hao

On the other, I wish I actually enjoyed playing this cooking-themed import.

Sadly, I doubt the latter is going to change anytime soon, as Cooking Fighter Hao has proven to be a monumentally tedious experience for me so far. It was fairly evident from the word go that would be the case, actually, as the game opens with may well be the world's most boring--and wordy--introductory cutscene.

After that, players are transported to a drab, gray arena and then tasked with battling a bunch of SNK rejects in an what can only be described as an Iron Chef-esque competition. Here, though, participants produce dishes by bashing the adorable (well, kind of) animals that scurry about each stage and then pressing the PlayStation controller's buttons or control pad in various ways once the cattle, chickens, crabs and such have been stunned into submission.

Although that may sound acceptable enough on paper (or, er, on blog), in reality it's anything but.

Add to this the fact that the aesthetics of Cooking Fighter Hao would have been considered middle of the road even if they'd appeared in an early Super Famicom release--although I personally quite like the sprites found in the battle scenes--and you've got yourself a rather disappointing PlayStation pick-up.

So why did I buy a copy of it? And why am I happy about it? My knee-jerk reaction is to say that the game was made by the folks at Nippon Ichi and, as such, it would be worth hunting down even if it literally were a piece of crap. After a bit of reflection, I'd add that, despite all of the criticism I've leveled at it so far, I still like Cooking Fighter Hao enough to own a copy of it--especially given the price I paid for this particular copy.

Plus, the game's packaging is pretty nice, as a quick glance at any of the photos strewn about this post should prove. I especially like its cover and disc art, by the way, although the manual sports some nice illustrations, too.

Have any of you experienced Cooking Fighter Hao in some form or fashion? If so, do you agree with my rather negative assessment of it, or have you enjoyed what you've played of it thus far?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

FYI: I'm still pretty darn keen on Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley (3DS)

Actually, I'm now more interested in this upcoming 3DS title than I was previously thanks to the trailer that can be viewed below.

Sure, the game still looks like an old Nintendo 64 or PlayStation game, but that's a big part of its appeal, in my humble opinion.

Also, I just think the Minecraft-esque gameplay that's been crammed into this iteration of the long-running series--which was made by the folks at Natsume rather than by creator Yasuhiro Wada and his crew at Marvelous--looks like a lot of fun.

Are any of you also planning to pick up The Lost Valley after it hits the streets (and eShop) of North America on Nov. 4  or after it finally makes its way to Europe?