Thursday, December 31, 2009

Should auld acquaintance be forgot? (I think not)

What a difference a year makes, eh?

If you had visited this blog on Dec. 31, 2008, you would have found yourself staring at a post from May 25, 2007. (Yikes!)

Something (I can't remember what, to tell you the truth) prompted me to start posting again in early 2009--on Jan. 26, to be exact--though I didn't hit my stride, so to speak, until early September (after someone pointed out that this blog had been included on the Lesbian & Gay Foundation's list of "The Best LGBT Blogs.")

Here's to hoping I can keep it up in 2010 and beyond.

And the 'Best Box Art of the Year' award goes to...

I'm used to gamers arguing over which title has the best graphics, but which title has the best box art? Not so much.

As such, I was intrigued when I came across this discussion on NeoGAF the other day. I can't say I agree with all of the box covers that have been "nominated" in that thread but, hey, to each his (or her) own, right?

What do I consider the best box art of 2009? I thought you'd never ask:

That's the Japanese cover of Namco's Fragile: Farewell Ruins of the Moon, by the way. Xseed is bringing the game to the States in early 2010 (March 16, to be exact--pre-order it here), and thankfully they're leaving the cover image intact (though they are changing the name ever so slightly, to Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon).

Other box covers that impressed me in the past year: 7th Dragon (DS), Dissidia Final Fantasy (PSP), Dragon Age: Origins (PC/PS3/360), Dragon Quest IX (DS), Katamari Forever/Katamari Damacy Tribute (PS3), Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii), Persona 3 Portable (PSP) and Sin & Punishment 2 (Wii).

Anyway, enough about me. Which box covers caught your attention in 2009?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

You don't look a day over 18, Ryo Hazuki

I know it sounds crazy, but Shenmue protagonist Ryu Hazuki turned 28 yesterday.

I'm not sure which is more disheartening--that Ryu doesn't look a day over 18 or that the Dreamcast's pièce de résistance (that would be Shemue) is a decade old. (It was released in Japan on Dec. 29, 1999.).

I know it's one of those love-it-or-hate-it kind of games, but I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Shenmue. It was my first experience with an "open world" game, and although it didn't quite live up to the hype that preceded its release it's still a stellar example of designer/producer Yu Suzuki's abilities.

For those of you who've never been to Yokosuka (the Japanese city that serves as Shenmue's setting), here's a brief overview (courtesy of YouTube, of course):

Sadly, although I have a Dreamcast, I no longer have a copy of Shenmue. (I stupidly sold it, along with a slew of other games and my original Dreamcast, a few years ago.) Thankfully, there are plenty of copies for sale on eBay these days.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I <3 Wii Sports Resort's 'Showdown'

Of course, how could you not love this:

I actually think this game (or mode or whatever you want to call it) is the most hilariously fun--and funny--creation to come out of Nintendo's R&D labs in a long time.

(OK, so the argument could be made that New Super Mario Bros. Wii is just as fun--and funny--if not more so, but 'showdown' certainly comes out on top when originality is taken into consideration.)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Five DS games I hope to see stateside in 2010

It's hard to believe how many "must buy" games were released for the DS last year--its fifth on the market. Even harder to believe: The number of such titles that should be released stateside in its sixth.

Here are the ones I'm anticipating most:

1. 7th Dragon--As of now, this retro-styled RPG is a Japan-only affair. Thankfully, the word on the street is that someone will be bringing this imageepoch-developed and Sega-published (in Japan) title to the States in the new year. Hopefully that happens sooner rather than later, but I'll take it whenever I can get it.

2. Dragon Quest IX--Truth be told, I haven't played a Dragon Quest game since the series' very first entry. I'm intrigued by the art and the online aspects of this latest entry, though, so I expect to pick it up when it's released sometime this year. It'll be interesting to see how many other Americans pick it up along with me, as it has sold more than four million copies in Japan so far.

3. Four Warriors of Light: Final Fantasy Gaiden--Ah, another retrorrific RPG. This one is a Final Fantasy spin-off that supposedly takes the series back to its roots. Square-Enix has yet to let the cat out of the bag regarding the game's release outside of Japan, but it's a good bet it'll happen at some point in 2010. I mean, when's the last time a Final Fantasy game wasn't brought to the States?

4. Friend Collection--Throw Animal Crossing and The Sims into a blender (don't forget to add a few Miis) and blitz until creamy and you'll end up with a game that's a close approximation of this one. The title has sold nearly two million copies since its Japanese release, so it's likely Nintendo will localize it in 2010--just like it localized the similarly leggy Rhythm Heaven and Style Savvy last year.

5. Okamiden--If you're anything like me--and you've played Okami--you squealed with joy when Capcom announced this chibi-fied sequel. The folks responsible for the original (especially Hideki Kamiya) aren't involved this time around, but that won't keep me from ordering a copy as soon as its available on

So, those are some of the games I hope will jump the pond in the new year. Which games do you hope will do the same?

Hey, there's a reason (or four) to visit the Wii Shop Channel again!

The Monday after Christmas usually is a bit of a downer for me, but not this year. That's because Nintendo of America offered up the best "Nintendo Download Monday" in some time by making available Pilotwings (via Wii Virtual Console), Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth (WiiWare) and The Oregon Trail (DSiWare).

Actually, those aren't the only downloadable titles that piqued my interest this morning. The Magic Obelisk, a WiiWare title, also intrigued me. Why? Well, it was developed by the folks at Game Arts--the Tokyo-based company responsible for the Grandia, Lunar and Silpheed series.

According to the press release sent out by Nintendo of America's PR department, The Magic Obelisk "is an action-adventure game in which you become Popo, a light spirit. Your mission is to guide Lukus, a tree spirit, to each stage's goal while moving only within the shadow. You can help him do this by shining your light near the mysterious magic obelisks, allowing you to create and connect shadows to solve tricks and gimmicks along the way."

Honestly, that description doesn't do much for me. This trailer, on the other hand, makes the title seem a lot more appealing:

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to all!

I hope all of you who celebrate Christmas are having a wonderful day!

I certainly am, thanks to my parents--who bought me both Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort. I've spent most of the day playing the latter, with my favorite activities being swordplay (showdown!) and table tennis.

I've also been listening to lots of holiday music, including this chiptune mix of "Ave Maria":

How are you guys and gals spending this day? Are you playing any particular games with family and friends?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The year without a Cave Story

Sigh. I guess I knew deep down that Cave Story wouldn't hit WiiWare this coming Monday, but that didn't stop me from hoping it would--along with Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth, of course.

According to Cave Story's developer, Nicalis, the highly acclaimed (and anticipated) title won't be appearing on Wii's Shop Channel until "after the new year."

That doesn't mean it has to be a completely Cave Story-free Christmas, though--a few holiday-themed Cave Story songs were just posted to the Nicalis blog for all to enjoy.

Rocket Knight returns to the roost

The roost being my heart, of course :)

So, when Rocket Knight was announced for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 earlier this year, I was ecstatic. I have fond memories of the Sparkster games that appeared on the Genesis and SNES, after all, so the thought of returning to the Rocket Knight world was an appealing one.

When I saw the first screenshots and videos of the game, though, I was eviscerated. I didn't expect Konami's (or, rather, Climax Group's) latest Sparkster title to be a sprite-filled affair like its predecessors, but I didn't expect it to be a hot polygonal mess, either.

That no longer seems to be the case, thankfully, as I just watched a new video of the game (over at and came away ecstatic once again. Here it is, in case you haven't seen it:

More videos of Rocket Knight in action--and a rather lengthy preview of the highly anticipated title--can be found here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The 'amazing awfulness' of Sukeban Shachou Rena

Once again, I can't claim credit for one of headlines that appears on this blog--at least not the "amazing awfulness" part, which was included in a recent Wall Street Journal article about this bizarre Wii release.

Anyway, I'm sure you're wondering, "What makes Sukeban Shachou Rena (loosely translated as Delinquent CEO Rena) such an amazingly awful game?" Well, for starters, there's the premise--which tasks players with working in an office under a demanding feline boss.

And then there are the mini-games that revolve around that premise--such as this one, which involves getting out of the way of angry cats as they launch themselves at your avatar:

Surprisingly, Sukeban Shachou Rena isn't known for its strange mini-games. Instead, it's known for selling just 100 copies when it was released earlier this year. Honestly, I'd pick up a copy myself if brought the price down a bit (they're currently selling it for $44.90). 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh, I'm totally going to rock this at our Christmas party

An apron made with Mario and Zelda fabric--oh, and with red lace trim. What more could a girl want? :)

Unfortunately, somebody already bought it. Oh, well, maybe next year...

Mega Man, Rock Man or ... Rainbow Man?!?

OK, so I have Mega Man on the brain these days--thanks to the recent announcement of Mega Man 10.

Anyway, in today's Mega Man-related news: Your Weekly Famicom has unearthed a rather interesting article from the Oct. 2, 1987 issue of Famitsu magazine. The article seemingly offered the Japanese populace the first glimpse of the original Mega Man (known as Rockman in Japan) game. The game wasn't called Mega Man/Rockman at the time, though--according to Your Daily Famicom, at that stage the title was called The Battle Rainbow Rockman.

That wasn't the first time the word rainbow was associated with the little blue bombshell--a post over at Protodude's Rockman Corner (say that three times fast) suggests the folks at Capcom considered calling the character Rainbow Man before copyright conflicts (with Toho Co.'s television superhero Rainbowman) convinced them to go with the less colorful Rockman.

I wonder what Zangeki no Reginleiv will be called when/if it comes to the States?

Nintendo of Japan will be releasing its second MotionPlus-compatible game--the only other first-party title that utilizes the device is Wii Sports Resort--on February 11, and its name is a mouthful: Zangeki no Reginleiv.

I'd like to tell you that the marketing folks at Nintendo are doing their darndest to promote the title, but that seems to be the opposite of the truth. They did put a short trailer on the Nintendo Channel (again, in Japan) in the last few days, though.

Nintendo of America has yet to acknowledge the existence of Zangeki no Reginleiv, so who knows if it will show up on our shores. I hope that it does, despite the fact that it's not really my kind of game. It just looks like one of those games I'd like to watch someone else play--you know what I mean?

The lost art of game manuals

The folks over at Destructoid posted an interesting article about "the seven best video game manuals of all time" yesterday, and it got me thinking about the lack of effort that is put into the manuals that accompany today's titles.

Oh, sure, a select few modern manuals (such as the one created for We Love Katamari) display the kind of spunk we saw all the time back in the day, but the majority are little more than anemic, emaciated leaflets. I mean, when was the last time you encountered a game manual with this kind of character? 

That's a scan of a few pages of the Kid Icarus manual, by the way. I must have read that manual a hundred times (at least) when I was a kid. It wasn''t the only one--I spent just as much time with the manuals for Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy, The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. 2 and 3, just to name a few.

Actually, the Final Fantasy manual--and the fold-out map that was stuffed inside of it--is just a few feet from me right now, despite the fact that I no longer have the cartridge. I also have the Nintendo Power strategy guide that accompanied the title's release. Maybe I'll snap a few photos of both this weekend...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Maybe Capcom should call this Monster Hunter Crossing?'s Anoop Gantayat made me a happy, happy guy today. Why, you ask? Well, he posted on his site a few details related to the upcoming PSP release, Monster Hunter Diary (aka Monhan Nikki Poka Poka Airu Mura).

Apparently, the game is a bit of a cross between Animal Crossing and Monster Hunter. Basically, players control one of the latter game's Airu characters and do what they can to attract other Airus to their village.

Players aren't restricted to their Airu village, however--quests appear to be a big part of the Monster Hunter Diary experience, with at least some (if not all) of those quests involving group hunts.

Hopefully this title will make it to the States at some point despite the dearth of Monster Hunter (and PSP) supporters on our shores.

NIS America: Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! 2 will be a twofer

PSP owners who passed on the original Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! because it was a download-only title can stop pouting: According to, Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! and its sequel will share space on a UMD that will hit store shelves on March 2 for the lower-than-low price of $29.99.

Here's a
Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! 2 trailer, for anyone who hasn't seen it:

Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth remix (aka Christopher Belmont is a dancing queen)

If you haven't yet checked out the official U.S. trailer for Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth, do yourself a favor and check it out now:

The choice of music is interesting, don't you think? Maybe the folks at Konami are trying to give us a hint as to how (and where) Christoper Belmont likes to spend his time when he's not hunting Dracula...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A peek into Mario's closet sells "gear for geeks and gamers"--wants to know what you think about the following t-shirt design (created by Glen Brogan and called "Mario's Closet"):

I'd certainly buy a t-shirt bearing this design--assuming I like the cut of the shirt. How about you?

(BTW, you can share your thoughts on the design here.) considers 'the gayest video games'

Out magazine rarely, if ever, covers video games, so I was a bit surprised when I saw an article about "the gayest video games" pop up on recently.

The article (if it can be called that) starts out well enough, with the following, flirty text: "From the enduring love affair of the Contra boys to the sexplosion of Street Fighter, here are our favorite, gayest video games."

It kind of goes downhill from there, though. For instance, here's the text that accompanies Super Mario Bros., the first entry on Out's list: "Cleaning pipes and taking names." Duke Nukem's is even worse: "Chasing pussy was just a front for the muscled Chelsea queen."

Oh, well, at least they're talking about video games. Right?

Is it strange that I want a 360 just so I can play XBLA games?

I know I've mentioned the above before, but it's true--I want an Xbox 360, but only so I can play an increasing number of XBLA games.

Case in point: The upcoming Arkedo Series: 03 Pixel!

According to's Eric Caoili, this lovely little game is the product of a collaboration between two well-regarded French developers: Pastagames (makers of Maestro! Jump in Music) and Arkedo Studio (Big Bang Mini).

Should I ever get a 360, I'll have to pick up another of Arkedo's XBLA releases, too--Arkedo Series: 01 Jump!, which boasts a similarly.retro-rific appearance.

Friday, December 18, 2009

What is it with Nintendo's inability to animate skirts?

In the run up to the release of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Shigeru Miyamoto mentioned that Princess Peach wasn't playable in the game because it would have been too difficult to animate her dress.

The programmers behind New Super Mario Bros. Wii aren't the only ones who find skirts problematic, it seems. In a recent interview with Famitsu magazine, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks producer Eiji Aonuma said the following when asked about Zelda's appearance in the game:

"People on the staff have wanted to have Zelda in the game for ages, but if we did that, then her skirt becomes an issue. Having girls in dresses in an action game is kind of hard to deal with. That's how we got the idea of having her body stolen and her soul going inside Phantom Guardians."

Looks like Fragile Dreams: Farewell, Ruins of the Moon will make its March release date

I kind of feel like I'm the only person looking forward to this Wii game, but just in case I'm wrong I'm going to post this trailer--which is the first to display the title's English voice acting:

According to, the game
will be released on March 16. I plan on picking it up day one--how about you?

Get yer (Go)Nintendo wallpapers here!

Someone named Cory, who seems to be both a Nintendo and a fan, has created the coolest wallpapers I've seen in some time.

I think this one is my favorite, though they're all awesome:

Cory also created wallpapers inspired by such classics as Kirby's Adventure, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Pokemon and Super Mario Bros. 1, 2 and 3. You can find (and download) all of them here.

You also may want to check out GoNintendo's original post about the wallpapers, which includes a few comments from Cory himself.

Of beefcake and bubble butts just posted a brief gameplay video of what is sure to be next year's gayest (if not greatest) WiiWare release, Muscle March:

Don't you just love how the bodybuilders' beefy little butts swing to and fro?

Fighting game characters fart in each other's faces, in slow motion

I can't claim credit for the headline above. I stole it from a tweet sent by auntiepixelante a few minutes ago.

Anyway, the video attached to that tweet made my morning. Hopefully it'll make yours, too.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ms. Pac-Man used to be a guy ...

... and an ugly one at that.

According to, the game we now know (and love) as Ms. Pac-Man began life as Crazy Otto.

Basically, Crazy Otto was a hack of the original Pac-Man--and was created by MIT students Kevin Curran and Doug Macrae.

Otto looked a bit like Pac-Man, but with legs. And he didn't chase Blinky, Pinky, Inky or Clyde--he chased monsters named Darwin, Freud, Newton and Plato.

Anyway, the story goes that Midway, Pac-Man’s North American distributor, somehow found out about the "expansion," bought it from Curran and Macrae and transformed it into Ms. Pac-Man.

Does this mean we can consider Ms. Pac-Man the first transgender character in video games?

(BTW, a  few videos of the Crazy Otto prototype in action can be viewed here.)

Like a fal'Cie: Japanese gamers touch Final Fantasy XIII for the very first time

Final Fantasy XIII was unleashed upon the citizens of Japan earlier today, and you know what that means: Thousands, maybe millions, of impressions, photos (of people standing in line to purchase the game--and the "limited" Lightening Edition PS3 system) and videos (of people playing the game) are popping up all over the Interwebs.

My favorite photo so far:

Yes, some fool picked up five of the "limited" Lightening Edition PS3 systems. Apparently he didn't see the rumor that suggested Sony shipped 200,000 of those suckers. (Typically, somewhere between 10,000 and 50,000 such bundles are shipped to retailers--though Sony bucked that trend when it shipped 77,777 Final Fantasy VII Advent Children bundles earlier this year.)

Anyway, as far as videos of the title are concerned: I've spent a bit of time watching the videos posted on
this gamer's YouTube channel (mainly because he translates as much of the Japanese text as he can) and I have to say I'm impressed with the game's production values. The question is: What, if anything, is beneath that sexy surface? 

More evidence that WarioWare D.I.Y. is going to be awesomely magnificent

Some Japanese guy (you just know it's a guy...) recently (well, earlier this year) posted one of his Made in Ore (that's what WarioWare D.I.Y. is called in the Land of the Rising Sun) creations to YouTube, and in my humble opinion it knocks the proverbial socks off the Street Fighter II microgame I posted a few days ago:

Of course, how could a WarioWare microgame based on the original Metal Gear *not* be all kinds of awesome?

I have a feeling my creations will completely suck in comparison, but hopefully there will be a way for WarioWare D.I.Y. duds like me to download and play cool concoctions like the one above.

Hot and sweaty Mega Man action

I know--I'm a jerk for using the words "hot" and "sweaty" to get you to click on this post. I refuse to apologize, though, because everyone needs to know about the upcoming PSN/XBLA/WiiWare game, Mega Man 10.

Anyway, the fabulous folks at Capcom just released a teaser trailer for the title, so I thought I'd force it down your throats share it with all of you:

I know this says something about me, but I'm ecstatic that the game will include an "Easy Mode." My gaming chops aren't what they used to be--as evidenced by my embarrassing inability to beat Mega Man 9. I'll get you this time, Dr. Wily!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I know next to nothing about this game, but I want it anyway

I know two things about the game I'm referring to in the headline above: 1) It's called MonHun Nikki: Poka Poka Airu Mura (it's a spin-off of Monster Hunter, for those of you who haven't heard/seen the "MonHun" moniker before) and 2) It's cute as hell.

(OK, I also know that it's being developed by Capcom for the PSP--but that's almost a given right?)

What I don't know is sure to drive me crazy for months--or at least a few weeks days: Is it coming to the States? The folks over at sure seem to think so--thanks in no small part to the URL for this teaser page (notice how it says "Felyne Village" instead of "Airu Mura").

Until we find out whether they're right or wrong, you'll find me scouring the Web for more info on this title. (You'll also find me staring at the recent Famitsu scans of the game that have been posted to the Wii@Everyday blog.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What's on your Christmas list?

A few months ago, I posted my Christmas list for all to see--or at least the games and gadgets that appeared on that list.

Well, today I'd like to see what gaming-related stuff appears on your Christmas lists. Do you want a DSi or a PS3? Or are you a bit more reserved--maybe a copy of New Super Mario Bros. Wii will suffice?

Don't worry if there's little or no chance of you receiving the things you've jotted down (or typed up)--I can assure you I won't be receiving any of the things on my list either. (Thankfully I got New Super Mario Bros. Wii for my birthday.)

Where art thou, 7th Dragon?

Speaking of ignored and overlooked games, where the hell is Sega's retro-rific (I've trademarked that word, by the way) RPG, 7th Dragon?

That's what I was thinking the other day as I read
Jeremy Parish's wonderful write-up of the game. (It was his ninth favorite title of 2009.)

Sadly, Jeremy seems to think the DS title may not make it to our shores. "
Sega doesn't want anything to do with it," he mentions at one point, "and I've talked to PR and business development folks at several likely third-party publisher candidates who have all told me the same thing: 'It's too hard.'"

Sigh with me, will you?

The most ignored games of 2009

I don't know about you, but I'm already sick of reading "Best of 2009" lists. That said, a select few have been able to pique my interest.

Two in particular deal with the year's most ignored titles.'s list looks at the most overlooked games in general, while's list looks at the best Wii games (that died at retail).

One title ties the two lists together: Little King's Story. I can't say I'm surprised Marvelous Entertainment's cute-and-cuddly RTS failed to light up sales charts in the States, but it still makes me sad.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Please forgive this foray into filthiness

The crew over at posted an article about the top ten "game titles that sound like porn titles" yesterday, and I couldn't help but chuckle at a few of them.

Case in point: Hudson Soft's platformer-slash-puzzler, Nuts & Milk.

I also got a kick out of this choice: Golf Magazine Presents 36 Great Holes Starring Fred Couples.

I know, I know--I have the sense of humor of a six-year-old.

Woo hoo! WarioWare D.I.Y. has a release date!

I've been waiting for this DS game to be released in the States since the Japanese version (Made in Ore) was announced on Oct. 2, 2008.

During this year's E3, Nintendo announced it would be bringing the title to Wario-starved Americans but failed to reveal an actual release date.

That finally happened this morning when Nintendo of America's PR folks sent out a press release detailing the company's lineup for the early part of 2010. Included on said release: A March 28 release date for WarioWare D.I.Y.

Also included on said release: A vague "Q1" release date for WarioWare D.I.Y. Showcase, which most assume is the WiiWare title that allows people to upload the microgames they created in the DS version of D.I.Y. to the Wii so they can play them on a TV.

Anyway, here's an example of the crazy microgames one can create in WarioWare D.I.Y.:

(Here's an explanation of the video above, in case it left you a bit confused.)

Nintendo of America also revealed release dates for a number of cool-sounding DSiWare titles (including Link 'n' Launch, Number Battle, Starship Defense and Trajectile) and for the blue and pink Wii remotes that were released in Japan a week or so ago. (Put me down for one of each, will you?)

I'm interested in any game that involves an 'origami killer'

Which is why I'm interested in Quantic Dream's upcoming PS3 game, Heavy Rain.

Although the title has been shrouded in mystery since it was announced in 2006, most of that shroud was yanked away earlier today when a slew of previews hit the Internet. has posted one, for instance, as has Other previews can be found in the last few pages of this NeoGAF thread.

Heavy Rain is due to hit store shelves in Japan on Feb. 18 and in North American and Europe on Feb. 28. I doubt I'll own a PS3 by then, but when I do get one I'll probably pick up a copy of this game along with it.

Insert 'sad face' emoticon here ...

The company that employs my husband had its holiday party this past weekend. It's a small company, but it seems to be doing well despite the economy--as evidenced by the party's venue, menu, open bar and "gift exchange."

The latter was the most impressive part of the evening, in my opinion. Every employee (there are about 30) picked a name out of a hat and then chose a (wrapped) gift in order. If said employee didn't like his/her gift--or, more likely, liked someone else's gift better than the one he/she just opened--he/she could trade for something else. So, it was like one of those white elephant gift exchanges we've all experienced--only in this case the employer bought all of the gifts.

Anyway, the reason it was so impressive: Every damn gift was worth $150 or more. And there were a lot of gaming systems. There was a DSi, a PSP, a PS3, an Xbox 360 and a Wii. I pleaded with my husband to do whatever he could to get the PS3, but it was just too popular and someone else ended up with it (and the DSi, and the PSP and the 360).


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Which systems do you own?

I've been meaning to ask this for a while, but for one reason or another I haven't done so until now. Which systems do all of you own?

I'll get things started. On the console side, I own a Dreamcast, a GameCube, a PS2 (along with quite a few PS1 games) and a Wii, while on the handheld side I own a DS and a GameBoy Advance.

I imagine my next purchase will be a PS3. After that, I'll probably get a DSi or a PSP. I'd love to get an Xbox 360, too, but I don't think that's going to happen for some time.

Anyway, enough about me--which systems do you own and play?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I love this commercial

I smile like a fool every time I see it :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

'An Audience with Hirokazu Hip Tanaka'

The folks over at recently posted an interview with Hirokazu "Hip" Tanaka, the man behind the music heard in such Famicom/NES classics as Balloon Fight, Kid Icarus, Metroid, Mother and Wrecking Crew.

My favorite comment of the incredibly interesting interview comes after Tanaka, who currently serves as the president of Creatures Inc., mentions that the use of rhythm in Balloon Fight and Wrecking Crew was an homage to Sly and Robbie.

"To be honest with you, back then I had a lot of reservations about the use of music in games," Tanaka says. "I was sort of embarrassed by it. The background music would just keep on playing over and over. I thought it was annoying. My feeling was that the audio should be more in line with the sound effects that you had control over as the player, so that there was a more unified sound to the game. I was kind of in love with the idea of a game whose audio was totally composed of sound effects.

"This concept was on my mind while making Metroid," he adds. "The idea was for there not to be a strong melody line until the game was completed, and that gave you as the player a sense of accomplishment. You were playing this game with its dark-sounding music, battling for weeks on end. Hearing this melody at the end of the game would then feel so rewarding."

Read the rest of the interview here.

Have a DSi? Get ready to 'Fight With Photos'

Folks with a Japanese DSi (and at least 200 Nintendo points) are in for a treat come Jan. 16.

That's when Nintendo is going to release Fight With Photos: Photo Fighter X--a DSiWare title that lets people create their own fighting game using photos they've taken with the DSi camera and sounds they've recorded with the system's microphone.

Here's a bit of gameplay footage:

For more information, go to and

I'd definitely do this if I were a girl

A blog called The Daily Nail posted this image yesterday morning, and I couldn't help but post it here.

Apparently the blogger is attempting to go through 365 different nail designs in 365 days.

Anyway, here's the post that accompanied the photo:

"Today's nails are dedicated to the first video game I ever played. EVER. SPACE INVADERS!!!! It was a pain in the ass to paint the little squares, and I had to start over on a few nails, but I'm super excited with how they turned out! Plus, thanks to Wikipedia, I just found out that the company I work for used to hold the license for the game! Crazy!!"

Hey, what do you know--another blogger who loves exclamation points :) She seems to love video games too, though, so I'll cut her some slack.

Shigeru Miyamoto is gay

OK, so that's not really true. Or, I don't think it's true. Obviously, it would be great if it were true, but I don't think it is...

Anyway, I jokingly came up with the headline after reading
the latest "Iwata Asks" interview on Nintendo's website. While talking about how he, Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka came together to work on the original Super Mario Bros., Toshihiko Nakago mentions the following:

As Excitebike was being developed in Tokyo, I went on a lot of business trips there together with Miyamoto-san and we'd often stay over in a hotel. That was right at the start of the bubble economy and there were times when it would be really hard to secure a hotel room. There were even times when we slept in the same bed."

Other interesting tidbits are revealed during the interview, too--including the fact that Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda were developed by the same team, at the same time.

"Those two titles were both developed at the same time," Satoru Iwata says at one point. "It's surprising how many game fans aren't aware of this, but the first Super Mario and Zelda titles were made simultaneously, with the same staff. It's something that seems completely unthinkable now!"

If this kind of nerdy stuff trips your trigger like it does mine, go here to read the interview in its entirety.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Butter Star Galactica, eh?

Scottish DJ and electronic music producer Hudson Mohawke is using a devilishly simple (and stylish) Flash game called Butter Star Galactica to promote his latest album.

I have to say, I just spent a good 15 minutes playing it--and even though I wasn't sure what I was doing (or what I was supposed to do), I had a hell of a time doing it.

Check it out here if you have a few minutes on your hands.

Kimono-wearing woman + Samurai Warriors 3 = LOL

What do you do when your "hardcore" Wii game (Samurai Warriors 3) sells "just" 121,000 copies in its first week (in Japan)?

If you're Koei, you put out an ad that shows an aging woman (wearing a kimono, no less) enjoying the title:

Can someone tell me why I sold my copy of Christmas Nights?

Extra points are awarded if you can tell me why I sold my Saturn system, too.

I'm guessing I sold both (and a bevy of other games like Astal, Clockwork Knight, Panzer Dragoon, Saturn Bomberman and Shining Force 3) so I could buy some other, more current and more expensive system but, honestly, I can't remember the reason right now.

Anyway, I brought it up because I've been thinking of Christmas Nights. If you've never heard of this game, here's the dilio, courtesy of the title's Wikipedia page:

"Christmas Nights is a Christmas-themed two-level game of Nights into Dreams that was released in December 1996. In Japan, it was part of a Christmas Saturn bundle. Elsewhere it was given away with the purchase of select Saturn games such as Daytona USA Championship Circuit Edition, and was bundled in with issues of Sega Saturn Magazine, Game Players and Next Generation Magazine. The game was also available for rent at Blockbuster Video locations in America."

I got my copy by buying an issue of Next Generation Magazine, and I remember playing it quite a bit that particular holiday season. I played it quite a bit the following years, too, but my interest must have dropped off at some point, since I sold it (and my Saturn system) on ebay a few years ago. Sigh.

Oh, well, at least I can turn to YouTube when I'm in this kind of mood.

Truly outrageous: Sony to call its PS3 motion controller 'Gem'?

That's what Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello is implying, at least.

According to, Riccitiello disclosed the following during the UBS 37th Annual Global Media Conference this morning:

“In the coming year, both Sony and Microsoft have announced new controllers. Motion sensor controls. Natal and Gem--these are likely to bring new consumers into the marketplace."

EA is refusing to verify Riccitiello’s comment and Sony's response is that “no official name for the PlayStation motion controller has been announced,” so I'm guessing it's true :)

If so, my official response is, "Whoa."

My not-so-official response:

(If the image above put you in a "Jem" kind of mood, check out this video.)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I think Nintendo has a hit on its hands ...

Feel free to file this under "duh news of the day": People seem to be picking up New Super Mario Bros. Wii in droves.

The title, which has been a big seller since its North American release on Nov. 15, is sold out at various online retailers (including, and and is selling for a premium (i.e. above MSRP) on auction sites like eBay.

Does that mean the big N has another phenomenon (à la Wii Sports and Wii Fit) on its hands? I bet it does, but we won't know for sure until early next year.

Arriving in my mailbox on or around Feb.22: Endless Ocean 2

Actually, according to and other in-the-know sources, the follow-up to one of my favorite Wii games of 2008 has a new name--Endless Ocean: Blue World.

I'm not so keen on the subtitle, to tell you the truth, but it doesn't really matter, does it? What matters is how the game looks, sounds and, especially, plays.

If you're an Endless Ocean virgin, I heartily suggest you get with the program and pick up a copy of the original title tout de suite, as the French say. Considering copies seem to be scarce--and expensive, with new copies going for $89.95 and up and used copies going for $49.96 and up at'll let it slide if you decide to dive right into the sequel.

Still need to be convinced? Check out this video tour of the Japanese version of the game, courtesy of Josh Thomas over at

Introducing what is sure to be the best Mega Man boss ever: Sheep Man!

The January 2010 issue of Nintendo Power includes quite the world exclusive: Mega Man 10 is being prepped for WiiWare (as well as other download services, I'd imagine).

Even better than that little tidbit: One of the bosses in the game is named Sheep Man!

He certainly looks like a sheep, doesn't he? I'm not sure he fights like one, though. (Of course, I'm not exactly sure how a robotic sheep should fight.) According to the article, Sheep Man turns himself into  four clouds that hover over our intrepid hero (I've always wanted to use that phrase in an article) and attack him from above.

The player's prize for sending Sheep Man back to his pen where he belongs? The oh-so-awesome-sounding "Thunder Wool" weapon which, according to Nintendo Power, "floats up at an angle before releasing an electrical burst."

Many more morsels of information can be found in the first two pages of the feature, which can be found here.

Special of the day: (News of) a follow-up to Order Up!

Last week, I mentioned that I bought myself a copy of Order Up! for my birthday. I've really enjoyed what little I've played of the game so far, so it should go without saying that I was excited to see the following comment pop up on developer Supervillain Studios' blog the other day:

"...that (Wii RPG) is indeed a project that we were working on at one point, but it doesn’t mean there will be no more Order Up! games... We’re actively looking for a publishing partner, and have already done a good amount of work on Order Up! 2. :-)"

Hopefully we'll hear more about the title in the new year. In the meantime, I've got to put some more time into the original Order Up! (and Chulip, the other game I bought myself for my birthday)--especially now that I've finished New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Pac-Man Championship Edition is coming to town

Please accept my apologies for the recent string of holiday-inspired headlines. I can't help myself! I think it's because of all of the chiptune Christmas songs I've been listening to this week. (My latest obsessions: Doctor Octoroc's "Bubble We Have Heard On Bobble" and "Have Yourself a Final Little Fantasy.")

Anyway, the catalyst for the headline above: Namco Bandai is bringing the critically acclaimed Pac-Man Championship Edition to the iPhone and iPod Touch this Thursday!

I'm not sure why I'm so excited--I don't have an iPhone or an iPod Touch. Hell, I don't even have an Xbox 360. (Pac-Man Championship Edition began life as an Xbox Live Arcade title, in case you didn't know that already.)

Actually, strike that--I am sure why I'm excited--I'm hopeful that this means the game will be released on other consoles in the near (or not-so-near) future. The rumor mill suggests it might show up on the PS3/PSP PSN service at some point in 2010, which would be fine with me--though you know I wouldn't mind if it showed up on the Wii as well.

For more information on the iPhone/iPod Touch iteration of Pac-Man Championship Edition, check out this article over at You may want to check out this YouTube video, too.

Of course, I can't talk about Pac-Man Championship Edition without mentioning the following video--which shows a (supposedly) fan-made NES version of the game. Sadly, it seems to be a fake (no ROM is available for download, at the very least).

Still, I'm pretty sure you'll find it as impressive (if not more so) than the iPhone version:

'The Art of Video Games' coming to the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2012

Chris Melissinos, founder of, announced earlier today that he'll be creating, and curating, an exhibit called "The Art of Video Games" at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., in early 2012.

The Smithsonian's website already has posted a bit of information about the exhibit, which will run from March 16 to September 9:

"Video games have grown to become a significant part of our culture since the introduction of the first home video games in the early 1970s. More than seventy percent of American households play video games on a regular basis, and many families now have two generations of computer users, and gamers, at home.

"Video games use images, actions, and player participation to tell stories and engage their audiences. In the same way as film, animation, and performance, they can be considered a compelling and influential form of narrative art.

"Many museums have explored art inspired by video games, but this exhibition will be the first to examine comprehensively the evolution of video games themselves as an artistic medium. From the Atari VCS to the Playstation 3, 'The Art of Video Games' will show the development of visual effects and aesthetics during four decades, the emergence of games as a means for storytelling, the influence of world events and popular culture on game development, and the impact that the games can have on society.

"It will include multimedia presentations of game footage, video interviews with developers and artists, large prints of in-game screen shots, historic game consoles, and a selection of working game systems for visitors to play. In addition, the public will be asked to assist with the selection of materials for the show by choosing the games that they feel best represent particular moments in the overall timeline."

Keep an eye on and this NeoGAF thread for more information on this intriguing exhibit.

The perfect gift for the stinky gamer in your life

I mean, what stinky gamer wouldn't want to unwrap a four-pack of soap that's shaped like an old NES controller and smells like Mountain Dew?

Jokes aside, I think the product is pretty cool and I'd love to be on the receiving end of such a cool gift--if any were available. (They sold out earlier today, apparently.)

No worries. The same company (DigitalSoaps) has other gaming-related soaps for sale, including some that are shaped like SNES controllers and some that are shaped like Tetris pieces.

'Tis the season for 'top titles of the year' lists

Get ready for it, folks. And by "it," I don't mean Christmas, cold weather or snow--I mean the blizzard of "best games of the year" lists.

Two such lists were published earlier today. The first comes courtesy of Lev Grossman and Peter Ha at Time magazine, while the second comes courtesy of Lou Kesten of the Associated Press.

I don't want to post both lists in their entirety, so I'll just post the top three picks from each list. The Time writers chose Modern Warfare 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum and DJ Hero as their top titles of the year, while Kesten chose Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Assassin's Creed II and Dragon Age: Origins.

I can't really say I agree or disagree with either list, as I don't own all of the current systems and I certainly didn't play every major game released this year, but I will say that Kesten's list in particular seems more than a bit iffy to me. (Any list that lacks New Super Mario Bros. Wii will seem iffy to me, honestly, but Kesten's list is even iffier because it includes just one DS game and no Wii games. HD bias much?)

Anyway, enough of my thoughts. What do you guys and gals think of these lists?

Monday, December 07, 2009

Raise your hands if you're looking forward to the 3D remake of Link's Awakening

Hmmm ... I don't see many hands.

Well, read this article and watch this teaser trailer and then tell me you aren't looking forward to the fan-made remake of this GameBoy/GameBoy Color classic.

In the meantime, shake your ass (or at least laugh your ass off) to this classic commercial--used (in Japan) to promote the 1991 release of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past:

I know, I should have posted an ad for Link's Awakening instead. Here's a rather hilarious one for anyone interested.

Happy Scribblenauts Holidays!

Edison Yan, an artist at 5th Cell, makers of one of the year's best DS games, Scribblenauts, has created a holiday-inspired wallpaper for fans of the portable puzzler.

I discovered this little gem while perusing, so please go there to download the full-size version.