Friday, May 25, 2007

Back from the grave...

My god, it's been a long time since I've posted to this blog. Anyone who was a regular visitor (were there any?) probably is long gone. Oh, well. Hopefully they'll come back some day and say "Hi" or something.

Anyway, where have I been and what brought me back? Well, the horribly simple answer to the first query is that I've been busy. Just too many assignments coming in these days, and when I'm done with that work at the end of the day I'm generally completely sick of the computer and posting news to this site is the last thing on my mind.

To answer the second question, I'm back because I just finished the latest round of assignments and feel like I can relax a bit--or at least take a momentary breather. Also, I just read the funniest interview with Perrin Kaplan, Nintendo of America’s vice president of corporate affairs at

I've interviewed a lot of people--some important and some not--and I can honestly say this woman would make me more nervous than almost anyone else I can think of. She's just so good at what she does--she doesn't let anything slip and she comes up with the most perfectly witty retorts.

Here's a snippet from the interview, in case you aren't interested in clicking over to read the entire enjoyable affair:

GI: Speaking of hardware, there’s a lot of companies that are making light-gun shooters that we’ve been seeing. At E3 last year, you had that gun peripheral. Is that ever going to be released?

Kaplan: Could be.

GI: Could be. There’s a lot of games coming that would take advantage of it. Resident Evil, Sega’s got an arcade title coming over.

Kaplan: I couldn’t agree with you more.

GI: Reggie said last year that there would be regular releases through out the calendar year…

Kaplan: Do you feel like there haven’t been?

GI: No, I don’t.

Kaplan: There have been 52 games!

GI: From first party, I’m talking.

Kaplan: I think we’ve had quite a few. You don’t think so? Are they ones that you just don’t like?

GI: No. Paper was great. WarioWare’s good, but…

Kaplan: So you’re already done with Paper and you’re ready for something next. The average consumer spends a little bit of time with it. You have to remember as a core gamer you have an insatiable appetite. You, at all costs, probably don’t shower or eat until a game is done. You’re a freak. And then you want the next one. I think we’ve launched a lot.

GI: To put everything into perspective, for the first party releases, you’ve released two games that have had some meat to them – Zelda and Paper. The rest are shorter experiences…

Kaplan: Have you not enjoyed any third-party experiences.

GI: Rayman, SSX was fun.

Kaplan: Have you tried many?

GI: A lot!

Kaplan: You’ve already said the big guns are this year. You’re going to be busy. Don’t you think so?

GI: Starting in August.

Kaplan: You don’t like Big Brain?

GI: Big Brain is cool, but it’s following the same mini-game formula. The party game.

Kaplan: Those products are for me. Those products are for you to enjoy, but for me to really spend time on. Me, meaning an alpha mom. That’s all part of what we’re offering.

GI: It seems like the core gamer is being left in the dust for this new gamer.

Kaplan: Reggie would tell you that we’re fully committed to the core gamer. You know it’s interesting, we have these arguments internally. Do we have too much expanded audience and not enough core? Do we have too much core and not enough expanded? Everybody on any given day has one opinion, and they can change their minds the next day. We’re figuring out what that balance is. By December I’d love to know if you still feel this way.

GI: By December I’d expect to have Smash Bros., Mario and Metroid out the door.

Kaplan: Tell me by November then.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The portable Resident Evils that weren't to be

I remember reading about this back in the day: A remake of the original Resident Evil developed for the GameBoy Color.

Unfortunately the game never saw the light of day--though I guess I can understand why Capcom (or whoever produced the game) would be a bit wary of trying to sell a highly pixelated version of a game known for graphics that scare the hell out of people.

A few videos of the game--along with a brief video of Resident Evil for the GameBoy Advance--have popped up on YouTube and are quite interesting. I know I should be more impressed with the polygons appearing in the RE2 video, but to be perfectly honest it's the RE1 video that interested me the most. That's probably because instead of seeing a pixelated mess, I see an almost impressionist take on the game that started the entire survival horror genre of games.

Now where's the ROM of this thing so we can try it out for ourselves?

On the dissecting table: Animal Crossing

I may not look it when I'm out in public, but in the privacy of my own home (er, the apartment I share with my husband and calico) I'm a complete nerd--at least as far as video games are concerned.

Where my nerdiness really comes out, though, isn't in front of my TV (while playing Super Paper Mario, for instance)--it's in front of my computer screen, reading articles about the process of making games on sites like

A perfect example of the kind of article I like to read (when I have the time) was posted recently on article by Eric-Jon Rössel Waugh titled, "Ambition and Compulsory Design in Animal Crossing."

In the article, Rössel Waugh dissects Nintendo's Animal Crossing: Wild World--mainly from a designer's point of view, but partially from a player's point of view as well. It's quite an enjoyable read by a writer with whit to spare.

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Advocate discusses Queer Power (the video game)

The latest issue of The Advocate (with the lovely Rebecca Romijn on the cover) features not one but two short articles on gay gaming--and they're both on the same page!

For starters, Atlanta's "Fruit Brute," proprietor of, does the Q&A thing for writer Morgan Kroll. Just below that is an article I wrote about the Internet-based game, Queer Power, a hilariously nasty little fighter in the vein of Street Fighter II.

Here's a link to my article, if you don't happen to subscribe to or regularly purchase The Advocate.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dragon Quest goes back to its roots

When Square-Enix announced Dragon Quest IX late last year, RPG fans (especially in Japan) were all atwitter for two reasons: 1) a numbered entry of the vaunted series was going to appear on a portable system (the DS) instead of a console for the first time ever, and 2) the game was moving from turn-based to real-time battles.

Although Japanese gamers didn't seem to mind that first point too much (not surprising, considering the DS is by far the most popular game system in the Land of the Rising Sun these days), they were pretty darn vocal about sharing their disappointment with the second point.

It seems all the caterwauling worked, as Square-Enix officials have let it slip that gameplay has been altered to make it much more like its PS2 predecessor. Sounds like a smart move to me, especially considering how popular the numbered DQ games have fared in their country of origin over the years.

To see how the game is shaping up, check out tres magnifique

Sony hopes to score an ace in the U.S. with Hot Shots Tennis

Now here's a game I had completely forgotten about. I remember when Hot Shots Tennis (er, Everybody's Tennis) was first announced for the PS2 in Japan, but it fell off my gaming radar shortly after that.

Well, it popped back up on that radar earlier this week when Sony announced it will be bringing the Clap Hanz-produced title to the U.S. in July. The real kicker? It will retail for just $29.99! I'll definitely be picking this one up (of course, I'm a tennis fan from way back).

Will Wii get a keyboard?

According to the folks at (who site another game site, which sites a supposed entry in the May issue of Game Informer), Nintendo may be prepping a keyboard for use with the Wii.

As someone who has experienced the pain of trying to input letters and numbers into the Wii's web browser, I can guarantee such a peripheral would be warmly welcomed by the gaming masses.

Oh, and Nintendo, if you're listening, why not follow it up with some sort of stylus or mouse, so you can finally release that update to Mario Paint that so many of us have been looking for!

Super Beta Mario Bros.

Thanks to a tip from one of the many gaming sites I visit every day, I recently stumbled upon a blog that features screen shots of beta versions of various Mario games--including Super Mario World, Yoshi's Island, Super Mario 64 and Paper Mario.

If you're a Mario fan (and who isn't?), head on over to Coin Heaven and check out the images and interesting commentary for yourself. Then report back here and tell me which aspects of the beta versions you wish had been included in the cartridges that were shipped to retailers. (Here's my two cents: I'd love to have seen how the additional "transformations" would have worked in Yoshi's Island!)

Monday, April 23, 2007

NeoGAF readers share import impressions of FFXII: Revenant Wings

Most English-speaking Final Fantasy fans are waiting patiently (or, more likely, not so patiently) for Square to localize its DS entry into the world of Final Fantasy XII (you know, the one that ends with "Revenant Wings").

Thankfully, a few gamers who are either bilingual or are just too antsy to wait for the localization to be completed have picked up copies of the just-released (in Japan) game and have shared their initial impressions on the title over at the NeoGAF forums.

What's the lowdown? Well, it seems the game is quite impressive visually (duh), less serious than other games in the series and much easier as well. One out of three ain't bad, is it? Oh, who am I kidding--I'm buying it anyway...

Puyo Puyo coming to the Wii

I've always liked Sega's Puyo Puyo series. Simple, addictive puzzlers with tight controls and slick graphics--what more can you ask for?

Well, Wii owners who feel the same way should be happy to hear Sega's bringing the series to Nintendo's newest system sometime in the near future. Not much more is known about the game as of yet, though the always wonderful Famitsu has updated its website with a few shimmering shots of the title.

A few more peeks at Crystal Chronicles DS

Whenever I see screenshots of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles on the DS I tear up a bit (well, not really) thinking about how great Square games could have been on the N64. Sigh.

Anyway, the N64 is long since dead, so there's no use in thinking about that too much. And, now we have the nifty lil' machine known as the DS that not only has better graphics than the N64, but throws many other interesting things into the mix as well.

Some of those "things" are sure to come into play in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Updates have been few and far between for this title as of late, but with the short gameplay clip that Square posted to its site last week and now these scans that have appeared on Famitsu's website, maybe we're finally seeing the floodgates fly open? Let's hope so.

And let's hope Square figures out some way to make this game WiFi-enabled in a way that doesn't completely suck...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Hudson gets chatty about the Virtual Console

Sorry, I didn't mean for today to become "Virtual Console Day." I actually meant to post this earlier in the week, but I've been busy and couldn't get to it until today. recently scored an interview with Hudson's John Lee and came away from the experience with some very pleasant information. Not only did Lee spill the beans about some of the company's upcoming VC releases (Neutopia, Blazing Lazers and Ninja Spirit among them), he also suggested the cuddly TurboGrafx-16 mascot may be making an all-new appearance on the Wii at some point.

Is Red (the company that originally developed the Bonk games) even around anymore? If so, I hope Hudson puts them in charge of whatever idea comes out of such discussions.

Beautiful Katamari is living up to its name

Pretty much every gaming site under the sun has picked up on this news today, but I'm choosing to credit for first putting me on to it. The news in question? Brand new shots of Namco's Beautiful Katamari have made it onto the wonderful World Wide Web!

The game doesn't appear all that different from the PS2 original or its sequel, but that's fine with me. This isn't a game that needs all of the photo-realistic, high-definition bells and whistles the PS3 and Xbox 360 have to offer, if you ask me. Plus, the seemingly rudimentary graphics should make it all the easier for Namco to bring the game to the Wii where it belongs. Yay!

Speaking of which, hopefully news of the Wii version will drop soon. If not, I guess I'll just have to get of my butt and get a PS3 or Xbox, as much as it would pain me (and my wallet) to do so.

Wired assesses the current state of the Virtual Console

Wired's Chris Kohler knows how lazy we gamers can be (well, not me, of course, but the gaming masses). As such, he recently decided to take one for the team and spent what was sure to be a busy hour or two (I kid) surfing the Web to come up with an exhaustive list of all the games that have been announced in some form or other for the Wii Virtual Console.

The only real surprise is Kohler's discovery that certain previously announced games--such as the NES light gun games and a few SNES stunners like Super Metroid and Super Mario RPG--have been removed from the ESRB site. Does this mean they have been "cancelled" or were simply removed from the site until their release dates can be finalized? I'm betting (hoping) it's the former.

Not that you asked, but here are the releases (that have been announced) I'm particularly looking forward to:

NES - Metroid, Super Mario Bros. 2, Zelda II
TurboGrax-16 - Air Zonk, Battle Load Runner, Blazing Lazers
Genesis - Shining in the Darkness
Super NES and N64 - none :(

Tingle takes on Balloon Fight

Now here's a game that I've been keeping my beady little eyes on for some time: Tingle's Balloon Fight. Not because it's an amazingly crafted title, but because it's pretty darn rare and oh, so Japanese.

Well, it seems the editors at have gotten their hands on the game (only available to members of the Japanese Club Nintendo) and recently shared their impressions of it. Writer Anoop Gantayat's verdict? "I enjoyed playing a few rounds of this latest Club Nintendo bonus item," he says. "However, I'm not sure if it offers enough gameplay to warrant a purchase through an auction site, unless you're a collector."

Want to see the game in action? Check out this wacky YouTube video from Japan.

Too bad Nintendo doesn't seem interested in bringing the game to the U.S. in any form or fashion. Personally, I think it would be cool to either offer this alongside Tingle RPG (if it's ever released on this side of the pond) or offer it as some sort of premium download for those who pick up the sure-to-be-niche game.

Dewy makes a splash with IGN editors

I have to admit, when Konami first unveiled its second Wii offering, Dewy's Adventure, I yawned. It looked nice enough, and the control scheme piqued my interest (you hold the Wiimote sideways and tilt the world a la Super Monkey Ball to move little Dewy around), but at the end of the day it left me feeling more than a little bored.

I'm still not sure it's a title I'll be picking up for my Wii, but as more and more information is released about the game, my interest increases as well. The editors over at recently got to spend some time with the still-in-development game and seem suitably impressed with it. The images and videos they've posted of the game back up their praise, too.

A release date hasn't yet been mentioned for the title, so it could be a long time in coming. In the meantime, check out IGN's impressions here and get your own feel for the Wii-exclusive offering.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

SNK prez spills the beans on Neo Geo's VC offerings (sort of...)

In the not too distant past, Nintendo let it slip that games from SNK's Neo Geo system will soon join the rest of the retro-tastic line up on the Wii Virtual Console. No date was given, nor were any details on specific titles or prices.

To be honest, nothing much has changed since that initial announcement. However, the higher ups at SNK Playmore USA are beginning to talk to the gaming press about their plans for the Wii VC (as well as Xbox Live Arcade and whatever Sony is calling its PS3 download-and-play system), which suggests to me that the system's games are coming sooner rather than later.

Head on over to to hear what SNK president Ben Herman has to say about the situation. Be warned: The juiciest details you'll get out of the interview are that the company hopes to release two or three titles a month and that they'll be priced "just a little above" the VC's SNES offerings. If that means gamers will be left with the choice of spending $10 on a N64 game or $10 on a Neo Geo game, I think SNK may have a problem on its hands.

The only titles I can see myself buying from SNK are Twinkle Star Sprites and the relatively unknown action-puzzler, Zupapa. And maybe Samurai Showdown RPG, if they translate it (and I doubt they will).

Zombies ate my DS

Sorry, I'm not referring an update of the underappreciated 16-bit Konami game here. I just couldn't think of a better headline to write about the upcoming DS game, Touch of the Dead. (By the way, the aforementioned game, Zombies At My Neighbors, will be coming to the Wii Virtual Console soon enough, so those of you who have fond memories of it will be able to run around and slaughter the undead on your Wii anytime now...)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand: Touch of the Dead. I'm sure this game, being developed by Dream On Studio and published by Eidos Interactive, is far from unknown or underappreciated, but I personally just heard about it yesterday. I had seen the title here and there and wondered what it was all about--is it another of Sega's great House of the Dead games?--but that was about as far as my curiosity took me.

A preview posted yesterday to clued me in to what this upcoming game (release date: May 15) has to offer. And while it isn't technically a part of Sega's series of lightgun-based shooters, it's certainly inspired by it. To learn more, check out IGN's preview here.

Want to learn more about Zombies Ate My Neighbors before it's unleashed on the Wii? Here's a nice rundown of the title (which was released on the SNES and Genesis back in the day) on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Square shows off a bit of FFCC for the DS

My god, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates has to be one of the longest video game titles ever.

Nearly as long has been the wait to see this promising looking DS game in action. Sure, Square-Enix showed a bit of footage when the game was first announced, but since then all we've gotten are still images.

Today (or yesterday, or sometime this past weekend) Square updated the FFCC website to include a short but sweet video depicting one of the game's battles. It's not much, but definitely shows the game to be clean and smooth, both in terms of graphics and gameplay.

For the life of me, I can't remember when this game is set to be released in Japan, though I'm pretty sure I remember that a U.S. date hasn't been mentioned yet. C'mon, Square, let us know when this game and FFXII: Revenant Wings will be following Heroes of Mana to our shores!

Will Escape from Bug Island be worth our time (and money)?

The publisher bringing the much maligned game to the U.S. seems to think so.

According to a recent interview posted to, the folks at Eidos Interactive have tweaked some of the graphics and tightened up the gameplay, making the Escape from Bug Island a better experience than the Japanese original, Necro-Nesia. Whether or not that means it's an overall worthwhile experience has yet to be determined, though the hands-on account from IGN's writers provides at least a glimmer of hope.

I've had my eye on this one since it was first announced, mainly because I love the idea of running around and slaughtering disgustingly huge insects (and shining a flashlight on them using my trusty Wiimote!), but I'll await some actual reviews of the U.S. build before handing over my hard-earned dollars, thank you very much.

For those who really want to play the original Final Fantasy again...

Not sure how many people out there are interested in buying and playing through the original Final Fantasy one more time, but word has hit the street that the PSP remakes of Final Fantasy I and II will be released in the U.S. on June 26 and July 24, respectively.

Personally, the original Final Fantasy is one of my favorite games ever, so I may have to give it a whirl if I ever pick up a PSP. I've played nearly every incarnation of the game that's been released and re-released over the years--on the NES, the PSone and the GBA--so why not do it all again, especially considering the graphics have been overhauled?

Final Fantasy II, however, I've never been so keen on. I tried playing through it on the PSone, but found it boring and never made it too far. I'd be more willing to give it another go if it and the original game were packaged together for the PSP, but as of now the games will be sold separately for $29.99 each.

Super Paper Mario: The minds behind the lines

Thank goodness for MTV's Stephen Totilo. It's rare to find someone in the mainstream press who not only can write about video games, but write about them with accuracy and authority.

Totilo proves his worth again in an article just posted to that gives gamers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Super Paper Mario--in particular, the writing of Nintendo's latest platforming RPG.

Sounds like the two Nintendo of America writers who tackled the translation--Erik Peterson and Nate Bihldorff--had a blast and love the resulting wackiness as much as everyone else does (critics included).

Monday, April 16, 2007

Another reason (the first?) to buy a PS3

Everyone's favorite sport these days is to dog on the PS3. Considering the price of the system, the problems folks have had playing it, the overall lack of decent software and the idiotic phrases that come out of the mouths of Sony executives, it's completely understandable.

That said, it is the PS3, and Sony more than proved its gaming prowess with its first two systems, so it would seem dangerous to count Japan's big boy out.

Take Folk Souls, for instance. A single glance at the screen shot to the right is all it takes not only to make my mouth water but long for a PS3.

I don't know much about it at this point, other than it's being prepped by Kouji Okada, the father of the legendary Shin Megami Tensei series, and that it's due out in Japan in June (with a possible U.S. release coming in the fall).

If Sony can work out some of its system's kinks and bring the price down to an appropriate level, I think this may just be my first PS3 purchase.

Want to learn more about the game? Check out the discussion going on at

The Wii gets another "obscure" game

Ever heard of the survivor horror game, Obscure, produced by Dreamcatcher Interactive? Don't worry if you're shaking your head or furrowing your brow--you're not in the minority. The fact is, most people haven't heard of the game, mainly because it was overshadowed by the release of Resident Evil 4.

Dreamcatcher will be giving gamers a second look at the game later this year when the sequel is released on the PC, PS2 and the Wii (in Europe, at least). Hopefully for the developer's sake, Obscure II will come out before or after Escape from Bug Island, which looks to be a campier take on the same premise.

Snatcher announcement imminent?

This past weekend, an event took place in Japan that featured a keynote between Suda 51 (director of No More Heroes) Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid) and Shinji Mikami (Resident Evi).

At one point, while Kojima and Mikami were sharing stories of their first encounters with each others' works, Mikami mentioned that he preferred Snatcher to Metal Gear Solid. Both Kojima and Suda 51 reacted, "Ah yes, Snatcher."

"Oh, should we announce it here?" one of them continued. "Maybe later," the other replied, "during Hidechan Radio?" (The show later lead to the live recording of Hidechan Radio by Kojima Productions).

Does this imply a Snatcher remake/update/sequel may be in the works, and an announcement can be expected soon, or were Kojima and Suda 51 simply playing with the audience? Having played--and loved--the Sega CD version of Snatcher back in the day, I can only hope it's the former.

Read's great recap of this event here.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bonk makes a comeback on Monday

According to Hudson's handy dandy Virtual Console page, the best of Bonk's three outings on the TurboGrafx-16 (Bonk's Revenge) will be available for purchase and download on Monday.

Bonk's Revenge was one of my favorite titles on the TG-16 back in the day. It was better than the original in practically every way--it bests Bonk's Adventure in graphics, audio and gameplay.

Rumor has it Bonk will be joined this week by Punch-Out!! (sans Mike Tyson) and the horrendous Genesis version of Virtua Fighter 2. Two out of three isn't bad, I guess...

Now Hudson just needs to release the previously unavailable (in the U.S.) Battle Lode Runner. Maybe next week?

1up discusses Mario's many makeovers (and more)

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last decade--or simply didn't grow up playing games on the NES--you've already heard how Nintendo took an obscure Famicom Disc System game called Doki Doki Panic! and transformed it into the game known and loved (in the U.S. at least) as Super Mario Bros. 2.

Well, that wasn't the first time a company swapped out a few graphics before bringing a Japanese game to the U.S., nor was it the last. One of the latest examples can be found in Nintendo's quirky rhythm-based DS game, Elite Beat Agents. The game began life in Japan as Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan and was massively overhauled--new characters, new storylines and new music--before being offered up to American gamers.

For more on that story, as well as many other games that were given a face lift (or more) before making the trip across the pond, make a visit

MTV jumps on the gay gaming bandwagon

I was happily surprised when I went to yesterday and saw that some of the guys who run that great site have been featured in an article posted to about "gay gamers taking a stand."

It's an interesting read, though the information has been tackled many times before. Still, this is one of the more mainstream iterations of the story, so hopefully it will leave more of an impression on the masses than the previous versions could muster.

If you'd like to read another take on this subject, take a look at the article I wrote for late last year.

Everlasting Love embraces the DS

I have to admit I know next to nothing about the homebrew community on the DS. I knew it existed, but considering the current state of emulation on and for Nintendo's portable system, I haven't paid it much attention.

Apparently I've missed out on a few gems--including a cute little game called Everlasting Love. Based on descriptions I've read elsewhere, the game seems to be an odd but compelling mix of platforming and rhythm-based action.

Players are tasked with moving a jittery, jumping monkey from the start of each level to its end. That's not as easy as it sounds, however, as the closer your monkey's jumps are to the beat of the music, the higher her jumps are. That can be a problem when spikes aren't far from her furry little head.

Two levels currently are available on line. I'm not exactly sure how you're supposed to get them to work, though I'm sure a little Google action will help if you're interested.

Capcom goes all out for Gamer's Day

Gamers have been hyped for some time about Capcom's Gamer's Day event that took place this past Thursday. Would new games be announced for the Wii or any other of the next-gen systems? Would we see more of the recently announced Resident Evil games? What about the portables--will they see some Capcom love?

The answer to all of those questions was "yes," of course. Especially interesting to me were the new looks we got at some games that were announced some time ago, such as Treasure Island Z. The game has reminded many a critic of PC point-and-click games of old (in a good way), with up-to-date graphics to boot. I really wasn't interested in this game when I first saw it a few weeks ago (or was it longer than that), but now it is creeping up my Wii wish list.

Other Wii releases showed promise, too. We got a more in-depth look at Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles as well as Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition. RE: UC especially intrigues me, with its destructible environments and amazing graphics. It'll be interesting to see if Wii owners embrace this one or give it a pass.

If you're interested in seeing all of these games and more in action--and reading hands-on impressions of them as well--go over to, where they have compiled a long list of links that will take you where you want to go.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Japan gets a date with Phantom Hourglass

According to the latest issue of Famitsu, Japan's wonderful multi-system gaming publication, Nintendo's oft-delayed The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass will be released in the Land of the Rising Sun on June 23.

No word on whether U.S. Zelda fans (especially of the DS variety) also can expect the game soon or if we'll have to wait until later in the year. If I was a betting man (and I'm not), I'd say we'll be waiting until at least fall, if not winter. Drat!

Nintendo takes a new look (or two) at Pokemon

Nintendo certainly has been quiet about upcoming Wii and DS projects lately, haven't they? Well, they broke that silence a bit today during some sort of investor meeting.

A few games in particular should have Pokemon fans jumping for joy.

The first one isn't really a Pokemon game, though it sure looks like one and seems to play a bit like one, too. It's called Kurikin Nano Island Story and it puts players in control of a student who has to collect and raise bacteria and use them in battle. So far, so Pokemon. Where this DS title differs from the competition, though, is that battles feature swarms of of your pet bacteria (seen from an overhead perspective), which you control using your trusty stylus.

For more on Kurikin Nano Island Story, which is set for Japanese release on May 24, go to (for more on the back story and how it controls) and (for pretty pictures).

The other game actually is from the Pokemon universe, though it's not for the Wii or the DS and doesn't appear to share many similarities to past entries into the series, either.

Called Pokemon Battrid, the game is an arcade-only release that seems to throw players and their favorite pocket monsters into virtual battle fields controlled by some sort of plastic chips. It looks interesting enough, I guess, though I think I'll await more details before passing judgement.

More pics of Pokemon Battrid can be found here.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Phoenix Wright 3 getting ready for trial?

I feel funny writing about this one, considering I've yet to play any of the Phoenix Wright games (U.S. or Japanese versions). The game's got quite a fan base, though, and the critics seem to like it too, so who am I ignore news about a game I've never played?

Anyhoo, the word on the street (well, the street that cuts through the Internet) is that Capcom's humorous courtroom game is coming to the U.S. later this year with the title Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations. Sounds nice to me. Now let's see some screens, and maybe a bit of video showing how the darn thing plays...

Super Mario 64 goes back to its roots

Some people have too much time on their hands. Scrounge around on YouTube for a bit and you'll see what I mean.

That said, some people make the most of their time-wasting and produce some truly awesome YouTube content (Kelly, darlin', I'm talking about you. And you too, Miss Alanis). Among them is the guy or gal who somehow created today's hot YouTube find featuring a revamped Super Mario 64 that sports textures from old school Super Mario Bros games.

Sometimes the shtick works and sometimes it doesn't, but overall this video is a peach (pun intended) and more than worth a few minutes of your time.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The day of trailers continues with Biohazard Umbrella Chronicles

I'm not sure how I feel about the recent news from Capcom that the Wii-only Biohazard/Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles is going to be an on-rails shooter a la Sega's House of the Dead series.

I'm not a hardcore fan of the series, so the new controls don't bother me (in fact, I've always had a hard time with the game because I find it awkward). I think what bugs me is that most people will see it as a side story of the Biohazard/Resident Evil series and not deem it worthy to be purchased.

Anyway, if you're interested, here's a short clip of the game that shows a lot of cut scenes and a bit of actual shooting action. Looks pretty good to these eyes.

Regardless of how you feel about this release in particular, there are plenty of Wii games to be excited about these days--with Super Paper Mario being at the top of my list.

Watch a bit of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates

Square's obviously working its fans into frenzy in the run-up to next week's Square Party 2007. Earlier in the week we got a load of screenshots for the company's upcoming DS games Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 and It's a Wonderful World, and now we get a new trailer for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates.

Not a whole lot going on it, but at least it's in motion, right? Besides, I'm sure we'll be seeing more and more trailers of this game sooner rather than later, especially since FFXII: Revenant Wings is about to ship.

Is there anything wrong with the PSP?

That's the question of the day over at Writer Howard Wen posed the wide-open question to a handful of industry insiders and pundits and came back with some interest responses.

The piece is fairly positive overall, which may shock some considering the overwhelming amount of moaning going on about Sony in the gaming press and on the discussion boards.

If you look at the numbers, though, it shouldn't be all that surprising that the machine isn't considered a failure by many in the industry. Simply put: The PSP is getting its butt kicked by the DS, but consumers continue to pick them up and put money in Sony's coffers, which is all that really matters in the end.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Say hello to Nintendo's latest chick game

No, I'm not talking about Super Princess Peach 2--though I wouldn't be upset if that game were to be announced (as long as it's a bit deeper than the first go-round).

The game I'm talking about is Chick Chick Boom, a new online Flash game "powered by Nintendo." I blew about 25 minutes on this nice little time-waster this morning when I should have been writing or interviewing or doing whatever else us writer folks are supposed to do during the day.

What's the point of the game? Well, you're responsible for protecting five little chicks who flit along aimlessly on the left side of your computer screen. You see, a cute little baddie who goes by the name Poster Bunny wants to kill your chicks for some unknown reason--using bombs, lightning, poison mushrooms and more. You counter his attacks by using the mouse to direct your chicks to one side of the screen or another, hoist a lightning rod above them, give them medicine, etc.

The game isn't just about protecting your chicks, no sirree. To win, you have to kill Poster Bunny's little minions (also chicks) using some attacks of your own.

All moves--defensive or offensive--are performed using the mouse. Drawing an arrow to the left pushes your chicks out of the way of a bomb, for instance, while drawing an s-curve of sorts puts up a lightning rod to protect them from electrocution. While on the attack, drawing a bombs sends one careening at your foes, while a zigzag pattern calls a storm of lightning bolts.

I've heard some online complaining that the game's hard to control with a mouse. Personally, I thought it was easy as pie, and quite enjoyable. If you fall into the anti-mouse camp, though, there is another option: Play the game on your TV using the Wii! Yup, Nintendo thankfully made the game fully compatible with the Wiimote, giving us all a reason to boot up the otherwise pointless (in my opinion) Wii Web Browser.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Take a look inside Nintendo

For some wonderful reason, Nintendo's Japanese and U.S. websites have been running interviews with various Wii development teams over the past few months. The Japanese interviews have been translated (though not always well) and are quite fascinating, as are the interviews that appear on the U.S. site.

For links and a lengthy discussion of each interview, go to the NeoGAF forums. (These forums are a great site for overall news, too!)

One bit of information that really made my mouth water: One of the guys who has worked on the Wii Shop Channel commented that he would like to see an arcade channel, where people can download and play arcade versions of games like Donkey Kong.

I've been hoping Nintendo would implement such a feature since the Shop Channel was first announced, as the NES versions of many of the company's arcade games just don't compare to the arcade originals. Hopefully someone will make this happen sooner rather than later!

Kotaku gets up close and personal with Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima

I'm so jealous of all these writers who get to put the screws to folks like Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime, Hudson's John Greiner and many others.

Kotaku's Luke Plunkett is the most recent recipient of my journalistic envy, due to the fact that he got to sit down with Hideo Kojima (best known for creating the Metal Gear series) at the GO3 conference.

Plunkett and Kojima discussed a wide range of topics, with the most thrilling bits of info being that Metal Gear Solid 4 will be exclusive to the PS3 (sorry, 360 fans), that it may or may not include a rumble feature and that it may or may not be the last entry into the series.

A thrilling read regardless of what information you're hoping he spilled.

IGN goes back to school

No offense, but no one goes to for quality journalism. The gaming monolith's many sites are popular because they post lots of news and update often.

You could have called me pleasantly surprised, then, when I came upon one of yesterday's featured articles, Videogame U. Writer Jonathan Miller displays some great reporting and writing in this article about Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Cogswell College, one of the growing number of schools offering courses game design.

Full disclosure: I seriously considered applying at DigiPen when it first opened its doors many years ago. I probably could have gotten in too, but I just couldn't bear to leave my family and friends at the time. I don't really regret that decision, but I sure do envy those who get to make a living in the gaming industry.

Nights sequel to connect to Forecast Channel

As if some of us weren't already excited enough about Sega's upcoming Nights: Journey of Dreams. Now we hear that not only will the game's wily jester have access to masks that give him shape-shifting abilities, but we also hear that the game will pull information from the player's Forecast Channel to alter in-game scenery.

Sounds nice to me, though I have one question for the folks at Sega (or Nintendo, who supposedly are planning a similar feature for the Wii version of Animal Crossing): What if the player lives somewhere like Seattle, where the weather can be awfully consistent? Am I going to have to put up with cloudy skies every time I play the game, or be forced to alter by location? That would be a bit of a drag, if you ask me.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Mother 3 madness continues

Mother 3 fanatics must have had an interest morning--that is, if they woke up and heard the news that two soundtracks to the Japan-only GBA classic have been released on U.S. iTunes. Yes, you read that correctly: The soundtrack(s) to a game that has yet to be announced, let alone released, on this side of the pond are now available to the American masses.

Not sure if this is some cruel, post-April Fool's Day prank from the folks at Nintendo or if this is a sign that the game eventually will see the light of day in the U.S., but I guess we'll find out eventually. (I hate to add, however, that another possibility exists: That Nintendo simply wanted to make the soundtracks available to fans of the series and nothing else. Please let this not be the case!)

Gamasutra gets into Bonk's head

Anyone who considers themselves a retro-gaming geek--and has a special place in his or her heart for NEC's Turbo-Grax-16--should head over to pronto. Brandon Sheffield, features editor at Game Developer Magazine, recently interviewed a few higher-ups at Hudson Entertainment (including President John Greiner and Director of Marketing John Lee) and in the process asked quite a few questions about the TurboGrafx-16, NEC's ill-fated PC-FX system and the company's plans for the Wii Virtual Console.

I wish we had learned more about the PC-FX precursor to Saturn Bomberman (was it ever completed and why wasn't it released?), the PC-FX version of Tengai Makyou and some of the company's incomplete PC-Engine/TurboGrafx-16 offerings (especially the promising looking Bonk RPG). Oh, well, maybe we'll get that in the next interview...

Nights sequel officially confirmed

How nice to receive some real news after all the April Fool's shenanigans over the past weekend. There's not much to say here, really, as so much has been said about this game already. If you'd like to read the official Sega press release on the game, go to Besides confirming the game is, in fact, in the works, the release mentions a fall 2007 release date. Sounds good to me! Now let's hope Sega doesn't screw it up...

Saturday, March 31, 2007

See the trailer for the PSP Final Fantasy remakes

I've been a bit skeptical about the FF remakes Square has been prepping for the PSP, but after seeing the games in action (in an official trailer that just made its way onto the web) I have to admit I've changed my mind.

The graphics and effects look great, and considering these versions contain not only all of the extra stuff packed into the GBA update from a few years back (released as Final Fantasy 1&2: Dawn of Souls) but some new dungeons to boot, I think it's safe to say I may finally pick up a PSP when these games come to the U.S. later this year.

Apparently, near the end of the clip it's implied there's more to come for PSP owners. No one's sure if that means more FF updates (such as a 2D rehash of FF3, or maybe sprite-enhanced versions of FF4, 5 and 6) or something else entirely. If any of the aforementioned FF revamps are announced at the upcoming Square Party 2007 I may just keel over in excitement.

Friday, March 30, 2007

What it feels like for a gay game developer

As the little header at the top of this page says, I'm gay and I'm a gamer. I'm not sure which one I knew about first, but both aspects of my life are pretty important to me. Hopefully that comes across not only in what I write here, but in the articles I write for other media outlets as well.

My latest feature for (my third!) once again blends gay issues and gaming--this time taking a look at what it's like to be among the small minority of LGBT people in the gaming industry. I had a great time talking to people for this article and am very happy with how it turned out.

Hopefully a few developers will read it and think about the environment they help create every day--whether it's a welcoming or non-welcoming environment. If you'd like to read it, too, here's a direct link for you.

I think the U.S. will be getting its grubby hands on Grim Grimoire pretty soon

Funny that I just mentioned this game in my post last night about Odin Sphere.

Although it hasn't been announced yet, I'm fairly sure Nippon Ichi's Grim Grimoire is on its way to the U.S. sooner rather than later.

A slew of translated videos (including an official-looking trailer) and screen shots were added to today.

Go here to check them out--and stay tuned for what I'm sure will be official word from NIS America!

Hopefully this isn't an early April Fool's prank

Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle--the first screen shots of Sega's Nights sequel (apparently an exclusive for the Wii) have popped up on line, as has an interview with the game's designer.

I can't help but take these with a grain of salt until official word comes from someone at Sega or Nintendo or at least a more reliable source than some random foreign gaming mag, but call me excited nonetheless.

For more drool-worthy images, pay a visit to Also, someone has kindly translated the interview that accompanies the pics and posted the text on the NeoGAF forums.

Disgaea PSP coming to the States in August?

For me, the best reason to own a PS2 is that it allows you to partake in all of NIS America's lovely RPGs. La Pucelle Tactics, Disgaea, Phantom Brave, Makai Kingdom, Disgaea 2--all are extremely satisfying if you're an RPG freak like me.

Well, when news broke that NIS was updating the original Disgaea for PSP, I nearly lost my lunch. I don't own a PSP and I never planned on owning one either (the DS lite pretty much fills all my portable gaming desires, thank you very much), but the thought of playing a re-vamped version of NIS' wicked SRPG while commuting around town was just too much for me to take (OK, I'm being dramatic, but hopefully you know what I mean).

Although the game was released in Japan late last year, and the PS2 original was a bit of an underground hit here in the U.S., I really didn't expect it to make its way over here anytime soon (if at all). I guess I should start working my foot out of my mouth, though, as the folks at are now saying Disgaea will be coming Stateside in August. They even wrote up some early impressions of the game, presumably to whet our appetites until more information can be spilled. Thanks, IGN!

Turbo geeks get some Virtual Console love

Don't worry, I count myself among the TurboGrafx geeks out there. Heck, I not only owned the basic Turbo system back in the day, I also owned the CD-ROM attachment and purchased a TurboDuo when it came out, too. I loved the TG-16 then, and I still love it today.

Thankfully, Hudson is going to be releasing a slew of TurboGrafx-16 games onto the Wii Virtual Console in April. Making the cut this time around: Battle Lode Runner, Bonk's Revenge, Bravoman and Shockman.

I may be wrong, but I'm fairly certain Battle Lode Runner wasn't released in the U.S. If that's true, this will be the first time the addictive multi-player game will hit our shores. Nice going, Hudson!

The other "must buy" on this list, of course, is Bonk's Revenge. Personally, I think this is the best of Bonk's three adventures and it's well worth a measly 600 Wii points.