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.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii kicks ass, takes names is reporting that Nintendo's New Super Mario Bros. Wii sold 936,734 copies in Japan in its first week of availability.

What does that mean in the scheme of things? Well, according to NeoGAF's "sales-age genius" Chris1964, that's 71,710 more than the original New Super Mario Bros. (for the DS) sold its first week--and 680,393 more than Super Mario Galaxy sold its first week.

(Speaking of Super Mario Galaxy: New Super Mario Bros. Wii should, quite easily, surpass that title's LTD of 964,414 next week. It's doubtful it'll ever surpass, or even approach, the LTD of the original New Super Mario Bros., which currently sits at 5,575,000.)

I usually don't care how well a game sells, but New Super Mario Bros. Wii is the game I anticipated most this year and I love seeing that so many other gamers feel/felt the same way.

(BTW, I finally "beat" the game yesterday. Now I just have to go back and find all of the star coins I missed along the way...)