Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sounds about right to me

I can't tell if the guys at created the following image or if it was created by someone else (you can't always tell with tumblelogs), but it doesn't really matter.

What matters is that, for the most part, I agree with it. (I'd agree with it more if it were titled, "How straight male video-game makers design characters.")

(Via by way of

'Amazeing Sunset'

Another great Pac-Man-inspired t-shirt design is up for a vote on, thanks to Minneapolis-based artist and graphic designer Phil Jones (aka murraymullet).

The (rather apropos, if you ask me) name of Jones' design: "Amazeing Sunset."

I really like the design's decidedly retro, 1970s-ish feel. If you feel the same way (or even if you don't), vote on it here.


What I'm looking forward to in 2011

Well, 2011 is nearly upon us. With that in mind, I've decided to jot down (digitally, of course) the gaming-related things I'm most looking forward to--or hoping for, in some cases--in the new year.


* The worldwide release of the 3DS system.
* An announcement that Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI remakes are being developed for the system.
* Information (via screenshots, video, etc.) that suggests the folks at Nintendo have (wisely) decided against making the characters in Animal Crossing 3DS more realistically proportioned.


* A European and North American release of Professor Layton and the Specter's Flute (aka Professor Layton and the Flute of Malevolent Destiny).
* The European release of Inazuma Eleven.


* A North American release of Final Fantasy IV Complete Collection.
* A North American UMD release of ClaDun 2--with the first ClaDun, previously a PSN-only title in the States, included as a bonus (à la What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord!? 2).
* The release of the PSP Minis version of Pac-Man: Championship Edition.


* A price drop of the basic PS3 system to $199.

Xbox 360:

* A price drop of the Xbox 360 "Arcade" system to $149.


* The release of the first screenshots of Dragon Quest X. 
* The Japanese release of Rhythm Heaven Wii.
* A North American release of Xenoblade. (Hey, a guy can dream.)

What games, systems, etc., are you looking forward to in 2011?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Let's Play: 'Which Box Art is Better?' (Scribblenauts edition)

North American gamers with a penchant for puzzlers should be well aware of the following piece of art, which graced the cover of 5th Cell's Scribblenauts when it arrived on store shelves late last year.

When the game finally hits the streets in Japan early next year, it'll feature not just a revamped title--Hirameki Puzzle Maxwell no Fushigi na Note--but revamped cover art (below) as well.

As nice as the North American art is, I much prefer its Japanese counterpart--which, in my opinion, is both cuter and more creative than the original.

What do you guys and gals think?

(Japanese box art via

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Let's Play: 'Which Box Art is Better?' (Inazuma Eleven edition)

It's been a long time since we've played this little game, hasn't it? To tell you the truth, we probably wouldn't be playing it now if my last post hadn't prompted me to look up Inazuma Eleven's European and Japanese box art.

Speaking of which, the art that will grace the cover of this soccer RPG's European box (when it's released on Jan. 28) is below:

And this is the box art that accompanied the game's Japanese release in late 2008:

Which one do you prefer?

Honestly, I'm a bit torn. I'd go with the Euro art if I were forced at gunpoint to choose one over the other, mainly because I think it's more successful at getting the point across that the game is a soccer-focused RPG, but I have to admit that I also like how dynamic the Japanese art is.

See also: All previous entries in the 'Let's Play: Which Box Art is Better?' series

I completely forgot about this game

Apparently the brass at Nintendo of America have forgotten about Inazuma Eleven as well. After all, although this SRPG--which in this case is short for "soccer role-playing game", not "strategy role-playing game"--was released in Japan in late 2008 and will be released in Europe on Jan. 28, it has yet to appear on Nintendo of America's release schedule.

As much as I'd like to buy a proper North American version of this game, I'm more than prepared to import it from Europe (via, for instance) should the need arise--especially after watching the (French) trailer above.

A pixelated present

My sister-in-law, Jan Schowengerdt, made me and my husband (her brother, duh) the following painting--which she calls "Digital Cherries," appropriately enough--for Christmas:

At first I thought she had pulled a sprite from Mickey Mousecapade, à la Ashley Anderson, but it seems that's not the case. Rather, she found an image of two cherries on line, altered it, pixelated it and then used it as a reference while she recreated it (using acrylic paint) on a pencil-drawn grid.

Anyway, isn't it cool? We're going to hang it in our kitchen as soon as my husband can get around to it. (He's handy like that.)

Go here (and here) for a clearer and closer look at these "Digital Cherries."

Monday, December 27, 2010

You can handle one more holiday-themed post, right?

Thanks to reader Starfighter for pointing out the following Christmas tree, which apparently resides (or resided) in a home owned by a PC Engine or TurboGrafx-16 fan.

Now that we have a Famicom-inspired tree (see this post) and a PC-Engine-inspired tree, all we need is some sort of Sega-inspired tree to complete the trifecta.

Is that a banana in your pocket, Elza, or are you just happy to see me?

Mistwalker's Hironobu Sakaguchi showed off his soon-to-be-released Wii RPG, The Last Story, during a special presentation (in Japan) earlier today.

The best part of said presentation: Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy series, showed how players will be able to strip their on-screen counterparts down to their skivvies.

Below, for instance, is the game's buff protagonist, Elza, sporting nothing but a pair of square-cut briefs:

Should I pick up The Last Story (assuming it's released in the States, of course), I'll probably force Elza to traipse around Ruli City, the game's only town, in his tighty whities--or, in this case, tighty olivies--for at least a little while.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boomerang or sword?

You know that Zelda prototype mentioned in my last post? Well, unfortunately it isn't the version that gives players the option of beginning the game with either the boomerang or the sword.

Does such a build exist? Probably--or at least it did at some point. After all, it was mentioned in the instruction manual (see first screenshot below) that accompanied the North American version of the game.

With any luck, that build of The Legend of Zelda will be the next to leak.

See also: 'It's a secret to everyone'

It's a secret to everyone

Attention Zelda fans: The folks over at The Cutting Room Floor and Lost Levels have unearthed an early build of Link's very first adventure.

How does this prototype differ from the version of The Legend of Zelda that hit store shelves in 1986 (in Japan) and 1987 (everywhere else)? Well, it features altered sprites, different room layouts, new music and a few bugs and glitches.

Oh, and it's easier, too. The dungeons in this build tend to include an easier selection of enemies than in the final one, for instance, and rupies are easier to obtain.

Go here to learn more about--and download the FDS image of--this most fabulous of Christmas gifts. (It was revealed in the Lost Levels forums yesterday.)


Saturday, December 25, 2010

One last time: Happy holidays!

The message above isn't from me, by the way; It's from Santa Mario (below).

Sorry, I've had too much spiked egg nog. Anyway, I hope you're all having a wonderful Christmas day/weekend!

Early impressions: Donkey Kong Country Returns

So, I just played through (most of) Donkey Kong Country Returns' first world. My initial impressions: It's GORGEOUS! Oh, and it controls like a dream.

The latter is important because I can tell, even at this early stage, that the game is going to be tough. I've already died quite a few times and I've also had more than a few sweaty-palm moments.

Is it going to elbow Kirby's Epic Yarn out of the way and become my favorite Wii game of 2010? It's too early to say, although I'm pretty sure it's going to give it a run for its money.

Well, there goes the holiday weekend ...

The husband and I opened half of our Christmas gifts last night--and two of mine were games! Here's one of them:

Don't worry, I didn't have my parents buy me the Japanese version of Donkey Kong Country Returns; I just used the Japanese cover art here because I like its green accents.

Unfortunately, I already own the second game I received as a gift: Art Academy. I think I'm going to exchange it for Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light--or maybe Mario vs. Donkey Kong Mini-Land Mayhem!

Was Santa good to all of you? I sure hope so! Let me know if you got any game-related gifts, OK?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Seaman

Get your mind out of the gutter; I'm talking about the limited edition Dreamcast game, which was released (alongside a red, Seaman-branded Dreamcast system) just before Christmas in 1999.

Although I have never before played Sega's strange "virtual pet" game, the holiday-themed box art below (and the alternate box art that can be seen here) is making me wish I had.

Maybe I'll pick up a copy of the North American version of the title after my Famicom and PC Engine obsessions have subsided.


The 12 Days of Famicom

Are you sitting around twiddling your thumbs today? If so, here's a suggestion: Head over to and check out the site's "12 Days of Famicom" posts.

These posts cover a wide range of Famicom-related (obviously) releases and topics, from the Family BASIC add-on to promotional Famicom Disk System titles (All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros. specifically) to Punch-Out!! Special (swoon).

I've read each entry about five times already, so I'll be spending my day doing something else--like scanning the catalog at

Thursday, December 23, 2010

'A Very Busy Christmas'

Deviantartist luce-in-the-sky recently produced the following Final Fantasy Tactics Advance-inspired illustration in order to wish her followers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I'd like to do the same thing by linking to her wonderfully charming image, even though we're still a few days away from the former and over a week away from the latter.

I may have to borrow (steal) this idea next year

One of my favorite gaming bloggers, Sean over at Famicomblog, recently wrote a post titled "Merry F'ing Christmas"--with the "F" standing not for everyone's favorite four-letter word but for "Famicom."

The focus of Sean's holiday-themed post: His Famicom-decorated Christmas tree (below).

The inclusion of Konami's Antarctic Adventure seems especially appropriate, don't you think?

Go here to see more of Sean's Christmas-y craziness.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Oh Christmas NiGHTS, Oh Christmas NiGHTS

A week or so ago I lamented the complete lack of good Christmas-based games. Well, I just thought of one: Sega's Christmas NiGHTS.

Sure, the title wasn't available in stores--it was included as part of a Christmas Saturn bundle in Japan, while it was given away with copies of Game Players, Next Generation and Sega Saturn magazines in the U.S. and in Europe--and it contained just two stages, but it's still a Christmas-themed game (and a mighty fun one, at that).

Sadly, I no longer own a copy of the game. I obtained one a long time ago--after buying an issue of Next Generation magazine, in fact--but I (regrettably) sold it a few years ago when I (also regrettably) got rid of my gray Saturn system.

Oh, well, at least I can relive the festive experience while watching YouTube videos like the one above.

'Hot Bubbles'

I've seen a lot of awesome Piranha Plant fan art over the years, but the following image--produced by mirror-reflex--may be the best of the bunch:

The design above is in the running to become a t-shirt, by the way. Vote for it here (within the next six days) if you like it enough to buy it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I think I'm in love (again)

How many times have I used the headline above on a blog post? I'll bet the number is pretty high. Sorry about that. Sometimes I just can't help myself, you know?

Anyway, that's beside the point. What is the point? Well, I'm in love (in a platonic kind of way) with the plushies produced by deviantartist misscoffee.

I mean, just look at this eight-inch-tall "Mega Game Boy" plushie:

And then there's this so-cute-I-could-puke Link plushie:

Her "Toast Mario" plushies are pretty damn nauseating (in a good way), too.

It looks like this 25-year-old textile artist takes on commissions from time to time, so maybe I'll hire her to make me a Rydia plushie at some point.

Yet another reason to be envious of iPhone owners

iPad (I think), iPhone and iPod Touch owners the world over gained access to what seems to be a great new app yesterday: Hudson's PC Engine Game Box (aka TurboGrafx Game Box in the States).

This free app, which comes with a copy of World Sports Competition, serves as a portal for PC Engine games, a number of which--Bonk's Adventure, Bomberman '94, Dungeon Explorer, Military Madness and Ninja Spirit among them--could/should be considered classics.

Each title costs $2.99, although a daily "featured game" can be sampled, free of charge, for three minutes.

(Via and

Don't you hate it when a sequel is announced before you've had a chance to buy the original?

I sure do.

As such, I was a bit bummed when I read (here) that the dedicated staff at Nippon Ichi Software are busy prepping a sequel to Classic Dungeon: Fuyoku no Masoujin (ClaDun: This is an RPG in the States).

Apparently, Classic Dungeon 2 will feature more job classes, more magic and, most importantly, more loot. (I love loot, don't you?)

I guess this means I should buy the original sooner rather than later--especially if I want the sequel to show up on our shores.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Eh, who turns to Entertainment Weekly for game reviews anyway?

In case you haven't heard already, the fine folks at Entertainment Weekly recently turned a critical eye toward the games that were released in 2010--and ended up calling Kirby's Epic Yarn the year's biggest clunker.

Specifically, the magazine's Jeff Jensen complained that "there's a fine line between cute and grating, delightfully busy and irritatingly overwhelming--and for me, this hyperactively adorable side-scrolling puzzler crosses it."

     How can a game that has players unravel an octopus' knit cap be called the worst of the year?

Interestingly, EW gave the game a B+ shortly after its release and wrote that it is "likely the most adorable game ever. Yes, it's kinda easy, but you'll never stop smiling."


I have just one issue with this trailer ...

... and it appears around the 1:26 mark.

I don't know about you, but that CG Palom scares the crap out of me.

Other than that, though, I give this trailer--for the upcoming PSP compilation, Final Fantasy IV Complete Collection--a big ol' thumbs up.

Now I just need the folks at Square-Enix to announce its North American release.


See also: 'Looks like I'll be buying Final Fantasy IV once again'

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Drinks all around!

I just got back from the Apple Store, and although the Genius Bar employee who met with me didn't know what was wrong with my MacBook (he said it looked pristine inside even though I dumped a glass of water on it a few days ago) he said Apple would take care of it--without charging me a dime.

It's possible the hard drive will have to be replaced (which would mean I would lose some data) but the Apple guy said that was unlikely. Oh, and after the laptop is fixed it'll be shipped directly to our home--early next week. Is that awesome news or what?

(By the way, the Snow White-branded MacBook in the photo above isn't mine--although I do think it's kind of sweet.)

See also: 'Computer says no'

Have a Merry Mario Christmas!

Well, it's almost that time--and what better way to celebrate the "big day" than with this Santa-fied Mario (and a Rudolph-ized Yoshi) created by beyx/demiurgic?

(Via by way of

Friday, December 17, 2010

Miyamoto's cave story

If you've been a gamer, especially a Nintendo gamer, for any length of time, you've likely heard what some like to call Shigeru Miyamoto's "cave story"--the one in which the legendary designer details how he, as a youngster, spent time scouring a small cave near his childhood home in Sonobe, Japan.

You've also likely played the Nintendo-published video games that resulted from Miyamoto's summertime spelunking--namely Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda.

Miyamoto's cave story--along with the above-mentioned games--serves as the heart and soul of Nick Paumgarten's recent profile (in The New Yorker) of Nintendo's "playful public face."

If you have any interest in the man--or, honestly, in the history of video games in general--I highly recommend reading it (here) when you have a few minutes to spare.

Also, check out this short follow-up piece, in which Paumgarten searches for the caves that inspired the man who has become, in my mind, the world's greatest game designer.

'Collage of found game imagery'

The words above are used by artist Ashley Anderson to describe his latest creation (below), which appears to be a concert poster of some sort.

The Clap 2010 12-22 Color

Although I generally consider myself to be an über retro-gaming geek, I feel more like a retro-gaming noob when I look at Anderson's poster. I mean, I know the images of Scrooge McDuck near the center of the poster were pulled from Capcom's Duck Tales title for the NES, but that's about the only one I can ID.

Do any of you know the origins of the rest of the poster's images?


Thursday, December 16, 2010

'The Hyrule Fantasy'

The Legend of Zelda is one of my all-time favorite games. That's true for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most telling is that, even 23 years after it was first released, it never fails to pull me into its world of Keese and Octorocs and Stalfos.

Would that still be the case if the North American version of the game had been named Hyrule Fantasy: The Legend of Zelda, as it was when it hit the streets in Japan? I should think so, especially since I've always had a soft spot for the "Hyrule Fantasy" part of the Japanese title.

If any of you consider yourselves to be in the same boat, head on over to and download the full-sized version of the promo poster above. (While you're at it, grab the Metroid one, too--assuming you're a fan of Yoshio Sakamoto's classic.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

OK, so I caved

Remember how I mentioned (in this post) that I had pre-ordered and then canceled my pre-order for Super Mario All-Stars: Limited Edition?

Well, I pre-ordered it again a few days later, despite the fact that I've never been much of a fan of Nintendo's 16-bit re-workings of its NES Super Mario Bros. titles.

I changed my mind for three reasons: 1) I wanted the CD soundtrack, 2) I wanted the 32-page "Super Mario History" booklet and 3) I thought the entire package seemed well worth the $29.99 price tag--especially since it's supposed to be a limited release.

Was it worth it? I think so. Hell, I'd have paid $29.99 for just the booklet, CD and embossed exterior packaging (above).

See also: 'Super Mario Extravaganza!'

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Computer says no

I hate to say this, but I likely won't be posting as much as I usually do for the remainder of the week.

Why? Reason #1: I'm really busy with work, and everything on my plate right now has to be completed and turned in before my parents arrive on Monday.

Reason #2: I'm pretty sure I killed my nearly new MacBook yesterday by spilling water on it. (I'll know for sure in a few days--when I try to turn it on again.) Until I know for sure if it is, in fact, fried, I have to use my old laptop--which surely is among the slowest computers on earth.

Don't worry, I'll still compose at least one post a day and I'll be back to normal (whatever that means) early next week.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Looks like I'll be buying Final Fantasy IV once again

I'm a sucker for the first six Final Fantasy games.

Over the years, for instance, I've bought the original Final Fantasy for the NES, the PSone (Final Fantasy Origins) and the Wii (via the Virtual Console). Likewise, I've bought Final Fantasy III for the DS and Final Fantasy IV for the SNES, PSone, GBA and Wii. (I've also bought Final Fantasy V and VI for the SNES, PSone and GBA.)

As such, it shouldn't be too shocking to hear that I'm going to be buying Final Fantasy IV once again--assuming the recently announced Final Fantasy IV Complete Collection makes its way to North America sometime next year. (It'll be released in Japan this spring.)

What will make this collection a complete one? Well, it'll combine updated (graphically, at least--see scan above) versions of Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy IV: The After Years onto a single UMD, for starters. Also, it'll include a new scenario that will connect the two titles.

Maybe I'll buy the PSP remakes of Final Fantasy I and II in the meantime, since both can be picked up for less than $10 these days.


A Link's Awakening remake would be 'sew' awesome, too

Especially if Link looked something like this:

The plush above was created by Brazil-based animator and illustrator, Xurume, by the way.

Would the brass at Nintendo really give the green light to a Kirby's Epic Yarn-esque remake of the fourth installment in The Legend of Zelda series? I kind of doubt it, but who knows?


Sunday, December 12, 2010

In my dreams: Nintendo would remake Balloon Kid

I'm not usually one to beg for remakes, but that doesn't mean I'm completely opposed to them. For instance, I'd really like to see the able folks at Nintendo release an updated version--for, say, the Wii--of the GameBoy classic, Balloon Kid.

For those of you who have, sadly, never experienced this Balloon Fight sequel, here's the lowdown: It's a flying platformer that was developed by Pax Softnica (yeah, I've never heard of the company before either) and published and released, in Europe and North America, by Nintendo in 1990 and 1991, respectively.

What in the heck is a "flying platformer," you ask? Well, it's a platformer--think Super Mario Bros.--that calls on players to navigate the game's many stages using balloons à la Balloon Fight. Balloon Kid turns the genre on its ear in few other ways, too, such as by forcing gamers to move from right to left rather than left to right and by making the protagonist a girl (Alice) who is out to save a boy (her little brother, Jim).

As for how I'd like Nintendo's developers to remake this gem of a game: In my dreams, they'd make it look like it was drawn with colored pencils--the game kicks off in Pencilvania, after all--à la the masterful Yoshi's Island.

I know the likelihood of either of the above happening is somewhere between slim and none, but I'll hold out hope anyway.

See also: 'Balloon fightin' kid to the rescue!' (at

Friday, December 10, 2010

Famicom Friday

The folks from UPS have dropped a number of packages at my doorstep over the last few days. The contents of those packages: Six Famicom games I purchased (via eBay) shortly after my birthday.

Five of those games--BurgerTime, Mappy, Pac-Man, Sky Kid and The Tower of Druaga (below)--were produced by the fine folks at Namcot.

As for the sixth game, well, I'm pretty sure most of you have heard of it.

(It's the original Super Mario Bros., in case you can't make that out in the photo above.)

Isn't that banana-yellow cartridge grand?

Check out my Flickr photostream (here) if you want to see more Glamour Shot-esque pics of my latest gaming haul.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Donkey Kong: Original Edition ain't all that

Did you hear that? It was me breathing a sigh of relief for not buying one of those European red Wii systems--you know, the ones preloaded with Donkey Kong: Original Edition.

I don't know if I actually would have gone through with it, but I certainly thought about it once or twice after it was announced that Donkey Kong: Original Edition included the "pie factory" level (right) previously limited to the arcade version of the game.

After playing the game for a few hours last night, I can say with complete certainty that blowing £200 (about $315) on a European red Wii just so I could gain access to the above-mentioned level would have been an awful waste of my hard-earned money.

Why? For starters, the pie factory is the game's weakest level. Sure, the stage's conveyor belts and cement pans (sorry, they're not really pies) can be a bit of a challenge, but after you've played it a few times it can be cleared in seconds.

Even if said level were the game's strongest, though, it wouldn't make it worth $315. Subtract about $300 from that total and you'll see what I think a digital version of Donkey Kong: Original Edition is worth (although I have to admit I'd personally pay up to $10 for it).

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

So, you mean I can stop cursing Nintendo of America now?

The brass at Nintendo have made some strange decisions in recent years regarding the worldwide (or not) release of their games.

One example: Their decision to release games like Another Code: R, Disaster: Day of Crisis and Fatal Frame IV: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse in Japan--and Europe, in the case of the first two titles--but not in North America. (Maybe they think Americans are anti-colon when it comes to game titles?)

Another example: Their decision to preload their "special edition" red Wii systems with a 25th anniversary edition of Super Mario Bros. in Japan and Donkey Kong: Original Edition in Europe--and a big, fat nothing in North America.

Honestly, I'd run out and buy one of the red Wiis that are currently available in North America right now if it included a copy of Donkey Kong: Original Edition--despite the fact that I already own a Wii and I'd rather save that money to buy a few Famicom or PC Engine games (or maybe a PS3 or an Xbox 360).

As that isn't the case, I've spent way too much of my time cursing Nintendo of America since the red Wii was released--sans Donkey Kong: Original Edition--on Nov. 7.

Well, all of that cursing ended last night (for the most part) when I discovered that someone recently ripped the game from his/her European Wii and posted it on line. (The version I found seems to be playable on any Famicom/NES emulator.)

Don't worry, I'll hand over whatever the folks at Nintendo of America decide to charge for the game should they ever get the go-ahead to put it on their Virtual Console service.

Until that time, though, I'll enjoy playing it--using FCE Ultra GX--on my homebrew-enabled Wii.

See also: 'Cement pie'

Is that a Mega Buster in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Hey you, don't be silly ... put a condom on your willy! (Or should that last part be "put a condom on your Wily"?)

That's the basic message behind the following Mega Man-inspired video, produced by the folks at the Leicestershire Teenage Pregnancy Partnership in Leicestershire, England.

I can't be the only person who would proudly play the game above, can I?


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

I'm dreaming of an 8-bit Christmas

I don't know about you, but I've always wanted someone to release a (good) Christmas-themed game. This was especially true when I was a youngster. In fact, my desire was so strong for such a game that I tried to make my own.

Back when Nintendo Power magazine was still in its infancy, it held a contest that called on readers to create a game. The idea I came up with consisted of a platformer that took players through a whole host of holidays. I know, it wasn't the most creative of ideas, but I was pretty happy with it at the time.

Anyway, I only designed a few of the game's enemies and stages, but all of them had to do with that merriest of holidays, Christmas.

Why am I bringing this up? I'm not entirely sure (sorry), but I think it's to show that I'm still waiting for a good Christmas-themed game to come along.

Is RetroZone's 8-BIT XMAS 2010 that game? Definitely not. I just played it for a few minutes (you can download the ROM for free from and, frankly, it stunk.

That said, I don't think the game is supposed to be the star atop this pixelated tree. What is? The game's see-through cart--which is filled with colorful, blinking lights. (Here's a video of five such carts in action.) Are those lights alone worth RetroZone's $39 asking price? Not in my opinion, but don't let that stop you from buying one.

A seemingly better option: Super Mario Bros. 2: Christmas Edition. I can't vouch for this ROM hack since I've yet to play it, but the video above makes it seem worth a look--especially since (I'm guessing) it's free.

Fabulous flash game alert: Mission in Snowdriftland

In the run up to Christmas in 2006, a Nintendo-backed platformer called Mission in Snowdriftland appeared on the Internet.

Part game and part advent calendar, the Flash-based Mission in Snowdriftland featured 24 levels--a new one opened up each day from Dec. 1 through Dec. 24--of wondrously wintry action.

Although this Extra Toxic-developed game was removed from the Web on Jan. 16, 2007, it reappeared a few days ago (on Dec. 1, to be specific)--seemingly to promote a bunch of DSiWare and WiiWare titles.

If you're any kind of platformer fan, I suggest you get your butt over to pronto--before it disappears for another four years.

Ashley Anderson + Crystal Castles = This

Aaron Keuter--an Atlanta-based motion graphics designer, animator, editor, compositer and director--recently created the following music video, set to Crystal Castles' "Xxzxcuzx Me," using some of artist Ashely Anderson's symmetrical drawings.

Xxcuzx Me Video from Crabfood on Vimeo.

It sure is trippy, isn't it? Hopefully it didn't cause any of you to have an epileptic seizure. Anyway, to see more of Anderson's work, check out his Flickr photostream. Conversely, go here to see more of Keuter's work.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Well, this has to be a first ...

Once I "beat" a game, it's usually banished to the back of my collection until I can muster up enough interest to tackle it again. (A rare occurrence, to be completely honest.)

As such, it's kind of blowing my mind that I'm still spending time with Kirby's Epic Yarn--a game I conquered a couple of weeks ago.

I'd like to say that the challenge of getting a gold ranking on every stage--along with the challenge of finding the three treasures hidden in each level--is responsible for my seemingly never-ending love affair with this game, but I think the reason is simpler than that.

Basically, I think the game's charm is what keeps me coming back for more. Also, it's a blast to play. Yes, most stages are a breeze, but that hasn't kept me from returning to some over and over again--even after I've "perfected" them.

I'm sure I'll leave Kirby behind sooner or later--like when I finally pick up Donkey Kong Country Returns--but for now I'm thoroughly enjoying this wonderfully plush and playable platformer.

("Epic Yarn Kirby Plush," above, by TuthFairy)

The Great Gaymeathon

It sometimes feels like I spend more time thinking (and writing) about games--especially ones I don't yet own--than I do playing them these days.

Well, I've decided to (try to) do something about that--by playing, over the next few months, every single game in my collection and then commenting on them here.

I'm not promising to play each game from start to finish, mind you, but I will spend some quality time with them. I'm also not promising to review them in full; rather, I'm planning to keep my commentary short and sweet--kind of like the impressions I've enjoyed at sites like and video

Oh, and the best part of this plan? I'm going to call it "The Great Gaymeathon." (Or maybe I should call it "The Great Gay Gameathon"? Nah, that's too long.)

As for when the first Great Gaymeathon review will be posted, well, I'm not entirely sure. I'll post it as soon as possible, though--I promise!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Square Enix gets into the holiday spirit

Unfortunately, the Square Enix Sound Team's take on "Joy to the Word"--which will appear in the PSP Parasite Eve sequel, The 3rd Birthday--sounds like it's being sung by Kermit the Frog.

Don't believe me? Check out the latest post on the game's official blog (click the "play" button beneath "Joy to the World.")


Will either of these box covers leave Japan?

My guess: I doubt it.

I mean, when was the last time you saw a North American game box that featured a man crawling out of a woman's cleavage, or a man clawing his way into a woman's pants?

The former will be front-and-center on the Japanese PS3 cover (below) of Atlus' adult-ish action-adventure game, Catherine, while the latter will grace the cover (see it here) of the Xbox 360 version of the game. (Both will be released in Japan on Feb. 17.)

All that said, both of the images mentioned above are more likely to be attached to the American and European versions of the game than this promotional illustration.


I love that curvy 'Famicom' logo on the left side of the system

I took this photo (of my new-to-me Twin Famicom) yesterday but didn't like it at the time. I've since changed my mind, so I thought I'd share it here.

I love that curvy little 'Famicom' logo on the left side of the system

The system is larger than I thought it would be, by the way. At 10.5 inches wide by about 10 inches deep (and three inches high), it looks kind of like a squat NES.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

It has arrived!

What is "it," you ask? Why, it's the red Twin Famicom I bought myself for my birthday!

Here it is, in all its cherry-red glory.

Donkey Kong + Red Twin Famicom

Although it's not as pristine as I was hoping it would be (there are a few dings and scratches here and there), it seems to be in good working order--and that's all that really matters, isn't it?

I'll take a few more Glamour Shots-esque photos of it after my latest game purchases arrive.

See also: 'I've been called a lot of things ...'

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Just Dance 2 it is

I know all of you have been waiting with bated breath to hear which game I bought my mom for Christmas. To tell you the truth, I wasn't sure until I visited this morning--and saw that Just Dance 2 was on sale for $25.99.

I'm totally choosing the sailor when I play Just Dance 2.

I'm not entirely sure she'll like it, but I have a feeling she will. If she doesn't, I'll tell her to give it to me--and then I'll send her one of the other games I was considering (likely Boom Blox, Tetris Deluxe Party or Wii Sports Resort) in return.

Buy: Just Dance 2

Herp derp

You know how I've been whining about how my DS, PSP and Wii have been offline since we bought a new wireless router a few months ago? (Just nod and agree with me if you don't remember any of this.) Well, it seems all three systems could have been on line all along. Doh!

I figured that out today after reading that Pac-Man Championship Edition (above) has hit the European PlayStation Store. Unfortunately, no one seems to know when the game will show up on our shores, but you can bet your butt that as soon as it does I'll pick it up--along with ClaDun: This is an RPG.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

All my mom wants for Christmas is a Wii game

So, my mom just told me that she wants a Wii game for Christmas.

All she has at the moment are Wii Sports and Wii Fit. As far as I can tell, she likes both games, so she'd probably enjoy Wii Sports Resort--or one of the Wii Fit clones. Have any of you had any experience with The Biggest Loser, EA Sports Active or Your Shape and, if so, would you recommend them to an aging lady who enjoys a bit of exercise?

Note: The people in the photo above aren't my dad or my mom.

Two other possibilities, in my mind, are Just Dance or Just Dance 2, since my mom loves to shake her tail feather. Have any of you played and enjoyed either of those titles?

Finally, she likes puzzle games. She loved Tetris DS more than life itself, so Tetris Party Deluxe is a definite option--if it's any good.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! (Also, if you haven't experienced any of the above-mentioned games, feel free to name others that you think a 60-year-old woman might enjoy.)

Morrigan Aensland by Andrew "Drew" Green

I may suck at most fighting games, but that doesn't keep me from liking many of them. One such game that has long attracted my attention and interest: Capcom's Darkstalkers.

Atlanta-based artist Andrew "Drew" Green must be a fan of the game, too, as he recently updated his blog with rather delicious drawing of Darkstalkers' sexy succubus, Morrigan Aensland.

As for why he chose Morrigan over the game's other characters, Green says (on his blog), "I've always felt her design is really very solid. Great color choices, good balance of elements, a lot of personality, and frankly I happen to love sexy characters."

To see more of Green's great work, check out his blog or his Flickr photostream. (Oh, and don't miss this post if you're any kind of Mario fan.)