Thursday, April 24, 2014

Say hello to my new Twitter header image

Those of you who frequent Twitter likely are aware that the site recently overhauled the design of its profile pages to make them look a bit more like the ones found on social-media rival Facebook.

I've avoided updating my Twitter profile page until now out of sheer laziness, but all of that changed last night because ... actually, I have no idea why it changed last night. Regardless, something prompted me to get off my butt and update my Twitter profile.

Sadly, my first attempts were kind of hideous (mostly due to my inability to find high-res images of certain Kuso Miso Technique illustrations). So, this morning I decided to make my own profile image. Not a Kuso Miso Technique-inspired one, mind you--I wish I were talented enough to do that, but I'm not.



No, the thing I came up with (above) is more of a doodle. Still, I think it's pretty cute--even if the rainbow flag being carried by the PC Engine on the left is a bit wonky. (The other systems are a Nintendo DS and a Sega Dreamcast, in case it isn't obvious.)

Anyway, head on over to my Twitter profile page if you'd like to see a much larger version of it. Or just go there so you and I can interact with each other in 140 characters or less.

See also: other gaming-related doodles I've whipped up over the years

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I'd prefer this on a t-shirt, but I'll take it as a poster

The "this" mentioned in the header above is the PaRappa the Rapper-inspired illustration found below, by the way.

Oh, and the illustration in question was produced by artist Ashley Davis for the "Fangamer X Attract Mode Art Show" that took place during last year's PAX Prime.



If you're as big a PaRappa fan as I am (and, really, who isn't?) and you'd like to nab an 11-inch-by-17-inch giclee print like the one showcased in the photo above, head over to fangamer.net with 25 of your hard-earned bucks in tow at your earliest convenience.

See also: previous write-ups about Ashley Davis' work

Square Enix's curious Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call commercial

If I told you Square Enix just released a minute-long TV commercial for Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call that features only 14 seconds of gameplay footage, would you be shocked?

Oh, and those 14 seconds of gameplay footage don't show up until the end of said ad, with the first 46 seconds consisting of famous scenes and music pulled from every Final Fantasy title that's seen the light of day so far, including a few spin-offs.



Not that I'm complaining. I actually really like the spot--although I can't help but wonder how effective it'll be at prompting sales of the 3DS game it's supposed to promote.

See also: my 'Great Gaymathon' review of the first Theatrhythm Final Fantasy title

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I'm in serious trouble if the special edition Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call 3DS XL system also comes to North America

That sound you heard earlier this morning was me crowing in reaction to Square Enix's announcement that it will be releasing Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call in North America (and Europe, too, it seems) sometime later this year.

The first Theatrhythm Final Fantasy title is one of my most-played 3DS games and was one of my favorite titles, period, of 2012, so I'm a tad excited that I'll soon be able to spend some quality time with this expanded follow-up as well.

Unfortunately, the folks at Square Enix didn't include a specific release date in this morning's announcement, although they did share the game's price ($39.99).



They also didn't reveal whether or not the spiffy special edition Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call 3DS XL system that will find its way onto Japanese store shelves in a couple of days will make its way to the West.

I'm kind of guessing it won't, to be honest, but if it does it's be a pretty safe bet that I'll buy one--unless Nintendo of America decides to, say, bring over the hot pink XL that's been available in Europe for ages now before then.

Anyway, are any of you similarly itching to pick up a copy of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call whenever it finally hits our shores?

Pre-order: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call (Amazon)

My favorite GameBoy photos (so far)

While prepping yesterday's post about the GameBoy's 25th anniversary, I spent some time wading through all of the photos I've taken of my GameBoy "acquisitions" over the last few years.

Although I think the shots I've snapped of, say, my DS, Game Gear and even WonderSwan games are more appealing (in general) than the ones I've snapped of my GameBoy titles, I like enough of the latter to share a smattering of them here--you know, so we can keep the GameBoy anniversary train rolling for at least a few more hours.

Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry's Wonderland

Kitchen Panic

Japanese Tetris box, cartridge and manual

Wario Land II + GameBoy Pocket

Balloon Kid cartridge and case

BurgerTime Deluxe's Japanese packaging

Top flap of Painter Momopie's box

Pokémon Red

If you'd like to see a couple (OK, a lot) more photos of GameBoy and other handheld carts and systems, head over to this Flickr album of mine at your earliest convenience.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy 25th anniversary, GameBoy!

Twenty-five years ago today, Nintendo unleashed its first portable gaming system--I'm talking about the GameBoy, of course--on a not-so-unsuspecting Japanese populace. (North Americans gained access to it a few months later, on July 31 of the same year, while Europeans had to wait until late September, 1990, to get their hands on it.)

In the ensuing years, it and its related revisions--GameBoy Pocket, GameBoy Light and GameBoy Color--sold more than 118 million units worldwide.

I'm personally responsible for four of those sales ... I think. I say "I think" because I honestly can't remember if I've owned three or four GameBoys over the years (one of which is a blue GameBoy Pocket, while the others are/were of the original "brick" variety).

Regardless, I've been the proud owner of at least a couple of GameBoys between 1989 and the present and I have some really fond memories of both the system and its impressive games catalog.

I distinctly remember, for instance, voraciously reading every article I could about the now-iconic handheld in the run up to its release and, as a result, desperately wanting one. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get one until either my birthday (late November) or Christmas that year, so I had to make do with (enviously, jealously) playing the one my best friend nabbed on day one for a good number of months.

At the time, Super Mario Land was my favorite of the GameBoy's initial handful of titles, although I also got a kick out of Alleyway, Tennis and the ubiquitous Tetris. (This friend of mine got the system and all five of its launch games as soon as they were available--pretty nice, eh?)

Later, my affections would transfer to the Final Fantasy Legend titles--all three of which remained treasured favorites until I stupidly sold my first GameBoy and all of my GameBoy carts in order to buy ... something I can't even remember.

Oh, well. Thanks to the Internet--eBay, especially--I've been able to re-acquire pretty much all of my most cherished (as a kid) GameBoy titles along with a good number of new ones over the last couple of years.

Quite a few of the latter can be found in the "Year of the GameBoy"-tagged posts I've published between late February and now, by the way. Check them out by clicking on the link above, if you're at all interested, and keep an eye out for many more such posts in the coming weeks and months.

In the meantime, do any of you have any particular memories of the GameBoy's launch? Or maybe you have a few general thoughts you'd like to get off your chests on the system or its extensive and diverse games catalog? If so, please feel free to share any and all of them in the comments section below.

Friday, April 18, 2014

I don't get mad, I get Madou Monogatari

I have a feeling the headline above is among the worst--or at least the cheesiest--I've ever written. Sorry about that.

It's hard for me not to get a bit goofy when Compile's Madou Monogatari (Story of Sorcery in English, basically) series is involved, though. For me, these dungeon-crawling titles are like the "perfect storm" of gaming; on the one hand, they're cute as can be, yet on the other, they're tough as nails (or are from time to time, at least).

Given the above, along with the fact that I've been playing the game's fan translation via a patched ROM on and off for some time now, I recently decided to pick up an actual copy of the first Madou Monogatari title that was released for Sega's Game Gear back in 1993.


For whatever reason, I've long been a big fan of this game's flowery logo, which can be seen in the photo above (especially if you zoom in on it--just click on the image to do that).


Madou Monogatari I's cartridge label is pretty nice, too, although it's probably hard to tell that given the rather over-exposed nature of the photo above. (Sorry about that, too; I'm still coming to terms with using a new piece of software to clean up my snapshots.)



Thankfully, the photo above of the first page of this pint-sized dungeon-crawler's instruction manual is clear as day. By the way, the group of kids and other beings in this illustration constitute the bulk (if not the entirety) of the game's cast and crew--in case any of you were wondering. Oh, and if any of them look kind of familiar, well, that's because Compile later put them to use in its Puyo Puyo series of puzzlers.


Those same characters can be found on the back of Madou Monogatari I's box, which I suppose could be considered a bit underwhelming. You've got to love, though, that the box in question features such little text.

I mean, I'm guessing the Madou Monogatari series was pretty well known by Japanese gamers at the time and so most potential buyers didn't need to be told that this game was a dungeon-crawling RPG, but even then you'd think its packaging would include more than five lines of text.

See also: 'It was worth every penny (or, I heart my copy of Lunar: Samposuru Gakuen for the Game Gear)' and 'Manual Stimulation: Lunar Samposuru Gakuen (Game Gear)'