Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy birthday to me :)

So, as I just gave away in this post's header (above), it's my birthday.

What wild and crazy things have I done since I got out of bed about seven hours ago? Well, playing the "special" mode of the PC Engine port of Parodius Da! counts as wild and crazy, right?

I've also played a good bit of a few other PC Engine games, namely Detana!! TwinBee, Pro Tennis World Court (RPG mode, of course) and Valkyrie no Densetsu.

That's all well and good, I'm sure some of you are thinking, but what about newer games? Have you spent any time with games that were made and released in the last, say, 20 years?

Not really. I'll be playing some of those kinds of games soon, though. Or at least I hope I'll be playing them soon.

That's because between my parents and myself, I received three thoroughly modern games as birthday gifts this year.

OK, so I personally bought two of the three games in question. Also, one of them technically is 20 years old--although the version I snagged is just seven years old.

That particular game would be Chrono Trigger DS, by the way.

Yes, Justin Difazzio, I'm finally going to play this classic Squaresoft RPG. (In case some of you haven't followed every single word I've said on this blog or on Google+, Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr over the years, although I watched my older brother play through most of Chrono Trigger when both of us were much, much younger, I've never played through it myself.)

As for why I bought it now, that would be because Square Enix's online store hosted a bit of a sale yesterday, and one of the best bargains to be had (for a short period of time, it seems) revolved around brand-new copies of Chrono Trigger DS for $6.

Another, far more modern game I bought for myself yesterday: the Vita port of Hatoful Boyfriend.

I've been meaning to buy this pigeon-centric dating sim for ages, but failed to do so until now for all sorts of stupid reasons.

When I heard (via Twitter) that it could be picked up via the PlayStation Store for just $5, though, I hightailed it over there and nabbed a copy as quickly as I was able.

Sadly, I'm not going to be able to play the damn thing until at least Christmas, as the game is 1.9 gigs in size--which is way more than my poor Vita can handle.

As such, until I buy (or receive for Christmas) a Vita memory card, Hatoful Boyfriend is going to have to become intimately acquainted with the other games on my PSN download list.

That leaves just the game my parents so kindly bought and sent me for my birthday: Yo-Kai Watch for 3DS.

I really enjoyed this game's demo, so I'm very much looking forward to playing through the full offering.

Have you played any of these three titles? If so, share your thoughts on them in the comments section below.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

One more reason to buy Sega 3D Fukkoku Archives 2 if you own a Japanese 3DS (hint: it involves Fantasy Zone)

OK, so you'll need more than a Japanese 3DS system and a copy of Sega 3D Fukkoku Archives 2 to take advantage of the "reason" mentioned in the header above.

Specifically, you'll need to own a copy of the first Sega 3D Fukkoku Archives, too.

Why? Because people who own--and have played, for at least a second or two--both Sega 3D Fukkoku Archives 3DS games will gain access to the Sega Mark III (aka Master System) version of Fantasy Zone that's been updated with FM sound.

If that last bit means nothing to you, read this post on Also, watch the video above to see (and hear) this iteration of the original Fantasy Zone in action.

So, with that, now features 10 old Sega games, including Altered Beast, Fantasy Zone (Sega Mark III port), Fantasy Zone 2 (Sega Mark III), Fantasy Zone 2 DX, Galaxy Force II, Maze Walker (Sega Mark III), Power Drift, Puyo Puyo Tsu, Sonic the Hedgehog and Thunder Blade.

You've got a few options if you want to play this version of Sega's pastel-tinged shmup, by the way. If you already own the first Sega 3D Fukkoku Archives, you can simply buy the second compilation, which is due out on Dec. 23. And if you don't own either title, you can pick up the "double pack" that will be released on the same day.

(Via and

Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy (ever-so-slightly belated) 25th anniversary, Super Famicom!

Twenty-five years ago, Nintendo made its second cartridge-based games console, the Super Famicom, available to the Japanese masses.

I breathlessly followed its development in the pages of magazines like Electronic Gaming MonthlyNintendo Power and Video Games and Computer Entertainment. (Note: I remember reading this article--over and over again--like it was yesterday.) I was especially obsessed with coverage of Super Mario World, of course, although I was nearly as keen on "launch window" titles Pilotwings and F-Zero.

Despite my overwhelming interest in the Super Famicom and its initial releases, though, I didn't buy one on or around its Nov. 21 debut. Granted, I was just about to turn 14 at the time, and buying Japanese consoles (or even games) wasn't really an option--especially since doing so likely would have cost me somewhere in the vicinity of $400.

Instead, I had to wait until shortly after the Super Famicom's North American counterpart, the SNES, launched in my own neck of the woods a year later before I was able to experience Nintendo's brand of 16-bit gaming for myself. 

A couple of years later, I finally got to play my first Super Famicom (as opposed to SNES) game when I imported a used copy of Final Fantasy V--which I still have today, mind you--via one of those companies that advertised in the back of DieHard GameFan and the aforementioned EGM.

Actually, I may have picked up Parodius Da! first, but who really cares this many years later, right?

Strangely--given my current love of imported games--those two Japanese titles, along with Final Fantasy VI, may have been the only ones I ever bought to play on my trusty SNES. (Don't worry, I've bought a few more Super Famicom in the last couple of years, although only a few--so far.) 

Also, I've never owned an actual Super Famicom system. Which is a crying shame, as I've always considered its design to be among the most attractive and appealing of the consoles that have seen the light of day since the early 1980s.

What else did I--and do I--love about the Super Famicom? I've always loved its graphics capabilities, which for me represent the peak of two-dimensional, sprite-based game visuals. I've also always loved its audio components, which allowed the best musicians and composers of the day to produce some absolutely stellar soundtracks. 

And then, of course, there was the system's controller, with its four face and two shoulder buttons, which I've long considered to be as eye-catching as it is comfortable.

How about you? Do you have any particularly fond memories of this superb entry in the fourth generation of game systems? If so, feel free to share them in the comments section below. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Square Enix's beautiful throwback of an RPG, Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna, will be mine (and yours, too?) sometime on or around Feb. 18

If you're anything like me, you slobbered all over Project Setsuna's first trailer, which made its debut during a Sony Japan event held in September.

What's happened in the two months since? Not a whole lot--again, if you're like me. Although maker Square Enix promised this breathtaking PS4 and Vita RPG would hit the streets of Japan "early next year," that was too far away for my puny little brain so I pushed its released onto the proverbial back burner until the date was a bit closer.

Admittedly, it's still three months away as I type this post, but at least now those of us who are interested in the game have a solid release date--Feb. 18--to focus on moving forward.

We also have a final name--Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna, which I've been told translates to something like The Sorrow of Sacrifice and Snow--a retail price (4,800 yen, or about $39) and a cover illustration.

The only thing we're missing at the moment: a handy pre-order link. OK, so Play-Asia has a pair up on its site--here's the one for the PS4 version and here's the one for the Vita version--but I prefer to buy upcoming and current Japanese games via AmiAmi, so I'm waiting for it to allow pre-orders before finally biting the bullet (on the Vita iteration, naturally).

Are any of you planning to buy one or more copies of Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna? Or are any of you hoping it'll cross the pond and find its way onto the store shelves in your neck of the woods?

If so, please let me and others who visit this blog know all about it in the comments section below when you have a free second or two.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

If I didn't already own a Vita, I'd totally buy one of the Dragon Quest Metal Slime Editions hitting Japanese store shelves on Jan. 28

Don't take the comment above to mean I'm at all unhappy with the precious pink-and-white Japanese Vita I picked up earlier this year, by the way.

In fact, if I had to choose between that version of Sony's latest handheld and one of the Dragon Quest Metal Slime Edition models showcased throughout this blog post, I'd still probably go with old pinky.

If the pink-and-white one didn't exist, though, there's no question in my mind that I'd blow the needed amount of money on a Metal Slime system.

Speaking of the latter, these slick special editions are set to hit the streets--and store shelves--of Japan on Jan. 28 alongside Square Enix's intriguing Dragon Quest Builders game.

A copy of that Minecraft-esque title will be included with each Metal Slime Edition package, as will an adorable Metal Slime headphone jack figure, an AC adapter, a power cord and a USB cable.

I don't suppose any of you fine folks have pre-ordered one of these suckers--or have designs on purchasing one down the road?

If so, please let me know in the comments section below so I can become your new best friend.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Random musings on the other games that were and weren't mentioned during last week's Nintendo Direct broadcasts

The trio of Nintendo Direct broadcasts that aired a couple of days ago featured a bunch of wonderful looking games.

Two of them: localized versions of the 3DS iterations of Dragon Quest VII and VIII, which amazingly are being brought to both Europe and North America by Nintendo at some point in 2016.

Of course, Nintendo also ignored a bunch of 3DS and Wii U games during these latest Directs.

Speaking of which, here are a few thoughts on some of the ones that actually earned a mention as well as some of the ones I wish had been mentioned.

First, the chatter about the ones that were given a nod:

Bravely Second (3DS)

Bravely Second: End Layer--Unfortunately for North Americans like myself who are chomping at the bit to play the English version of this Bravely Default sequel, the only attention Second received in the Nintendo Direct aimed at our neck of the woods was a sentence or two. Still, among those few words was a promise that the game would hit store shelves here this coming spring, so I won't complain too loudly about that oversight. (If you call Europe home, you'll be able to get your hands on Bravely Second within the first three months of 2016.) Anyway, although I would've loved a specific release date or glimpse of the title's Western box art, I'm happy we at least were given confirmation it'll be out soon.

Final Fantasy Explorers--I've had the North American version of this 3DS-based MonHun wannabe pre-ordered for some time now, so it would've really sucked if I thought the footage included in this Direct was subpar to the point of turning me off of the game entirely. Delightfully, that wasn't the case. In fact, the gameplay showcased here made me even more interested in this title than I was earlier. Sure, it's more than a little rough around the edges, with low-poly character models and a shockingly iffy frame rate, but even then it looks like good fun to me. The question is, do I keep my pre-order in place for the standard edition, or do I cancel it so I can go for the pricey collector's edition instead?

Fire Emblem Fates (3DS)

Fire Emblem Fates--This is another 3DS title I pre-ordered a while back. Did the snazzy special edition, which features all three versions of the game (Birthright, Conquest and the digital-only Revelation) as well as an art book and a carrying pouch, prompt me to ditch that "standard" copy in favor of this $80 counterpart? Nope. Don't get me wrong, the Fire Emblem Fates SE sounds awesome, but I've only played about seven hours of Fire Emblem Awakening thus far, so I don't think I need to own three different iterations of its follow-up. Or at least I don't need to own all three right from the get-go.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD--Ah, a Wii U game. Finally! Sadly, unlike a lot of people, I don't find this one all that appealing--and I would say that even if I actually owned a Wii U system. That's not a rip on Twilight Princess, mind you; rather, it's more of a comment on how I feel about the Zelda series as a whole these days. In other words, if we're not talking about throwback games like A Link Between Worlds (which I adored), I just can't muster up much interest.

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (3DS)

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam--If you'd like, you can take some of what I just said about Twilight Princess HD (the part about not being able to muster up much interest, mainly) and use it here, too. Why? For starters, the Mario & Luigi series has never really done it for me, especially from an aesthetics standpoint. I'm feeling similarly apathetic about the Paper Mario series these days--which is a shame, as I loved its first two entries for the Nintendo 64 and GameCube. Both Super Paper Mario for Wii and Sticker Star for 3DS ended up boring me to tears, though, and none of what I've seen of Paper Jam makes me think it'll provoke a more positive reaction, so until and unless that changes, this game is getting a "hell no" from yours truly.

Pokémon Blue, Red and Yellow--It's about time, Nintendo. It's about time. Why the company decided to wait until the end of the 3DS' life to add this trio of classic RPGs to the system's Virtual Console is beyond me. Did it have something to do with Nintendo's crack team of engineers figuring out how to make it so gamers could swap monsters, which most folks surely consider to be a staple of this decades-old series? Maybe. Whatever the case may be, I'm glad I'll finally be able to try my hand at Yellow. I finished Red way back when, and later picked up a copy of Blue, too, but Yellow's always been a mystery to me. Hopefully the wait will have been worth it.

Friday, November 13, 2015

European and North American 3DS owners: you've already pre-ordered copies of Dragon Quest VII and Dragon Quest VIII, right?

Well, folks, the day so many of us have waited for has arrived.

No, not the day that Nintendo releases a Birdo-themed 3DS system. (Note: I'd even take an original 3DS featuring a Birdo design. Hell, I might prefer it to a Birdo-ized 3DS XL or New 3DS.)

Rather, it's the day that the company finally admits it's bringing the 3DS remakes-ports-whatever-you-want-to-call-them of Dragon Quest VII and Dragon Quest VIII to the West.

Don't believe me? Fast-forward to the 39-minute mark of yesterday's European Nintendo Direct (below) and see for yourself.

Or, if you prefer watching Nintendo Directs from my side of the pond, as the saying goes, jump right to the 39-minute-mark of the North American broadcast.

With that out of the way, you're all set to pre-order both of these games via Amazon like I did yesterday afternoon, right? (Here's a link to Dragon Quest VII's Amazon entry, and here's a link to Dragon Quest VIII's.)

I'd share links to similar pre-order listings on Amazon's UK site or other European Amazon sites, but unfortunately I've yet to come across them.

Anyway, how many of you also are looking forward to getting your grubby mitts on one or both of these portable adventures at some point in 2016?