Friday, January 29, 2010

Not sure if want, part trois: Disgaea Infinite

I've long been a fan of Nippon Ichi's Disgaea series--thanks in no small part to the games' humorous dialogue and hugely over-the-top special attacks and effects. 

I'm guessing the former will be present in the recently announced Disgaea Infinite, but I'm not so sure about the latter. After all, this PSP game, which will hit store shelves in the States this May, isn't a strategy RPG but a "visual novel."


What does that mean? Well, according the folks at NIS America, in Disgaea Infinite it means that "players will use 'time traveling' and 'possession' to solve mysteries."

The game begins with the player traveling back in time. "You then possess other characters to gather info/clues," explains an NIS America press release. "By possessing the characters, you can read their minds and see through their eyes. Some characters might be thinking something completely different as they talk to others. By possessing different characters, you will gradually find out who the true culprit is."

I'm still not sure if that sounds marvelous or meh--and this teaser trailer, used to promote the Japanese version of the game that was released late last year, doesn't help matters.

What do all of you think--does this sound brilliant or boring? 

Maybe I shouldn't have gotten so excited about Zangeki no Reginleiv

The supplemental earnings report released by Nintendo of Japan yesterday contained a number of interesting surprises--chief among them being the announcement of two new Wii titles (The Last Story and Xenoblade).

Sadly, some of the surprises were more irritating than interesting. The most irritating: Zangeki no Reginleiv isn't included on the 2010 release lists for Europe or the U.S.

Hopefully the powers that be at Nintendo of America and/or Europe will pull a fast one on all of us Reginleiv fans and stealthily announce a release date for the title soon.

See also: 'So, what do you think: Will Nintendo finally release Hoshi no Kirby this year?' and 'The baddies in Zengeki no Reginleiv are *this big*'

Balloon Fighter: 'The Fred Flintstone to the Joust knight’s Ralph Kramden'

If you haven't been paying attention to the game character "profiles" that have been posted to gamespite.net in the past month or so, get your posterior over there right now and start reading through them.

My favorite so far focuses on Balloon Fight's pixelated protagonist.

For starters, writer Bob Mackey lists the following as one of Balloon Fighter's strengths: "Can honestly say he just flew in from L.A. and boy are his arms tired." (I know, I have a horrible sense of humor.)

And then there's the author's explanation as to why the brass at Nintendo haven't given Balloon Fighter a second shot at gaming stardom.

"In the few additions to the Balloon Fight franchise, Balloon Fighter didn’t even make the cut; first he was replaced by a little girl in the overlooked Game Boy sequel, then by pan-sexual man-thing Tingle in a Japanese Club Nintendo exclusive remake," Mackey writes. "What you hear is the sound of karma catching up with a character who entered this world as a shameless ripoff to begin with."

So, what do you think: Will Nintendo finally release Hoshi no Kirby this year?

Considering the game has shown up on Nintendo's release lists since 2004 (yeah, you read that right), I'm going to say "no."

Which is a shame, since the game looked pretty darn sweet in this teaser trailer:



I'd love Nintendo to prove me wrong and finally move the title from "release date TBA" to reality, but I'm not going to get my hopes up.

See also: 'Nintendo Release Calendar Hints at New Games' (at andriasang.com)

This WTF moment is brought to you by the folks at Square-Enix

In an effort to promote its most recent Dragon Quest remake (part six, for the DS), the folks at Square-Enix produced this bizarro live-action advertisement:



I'm a bit torn about it, to tell you the truth. It's either the most impressive thing I've experienced in a long time, or the most insane.

The hairstyles--especially the Flock of Seagulls-esque 'do on the main dude--and costumes certainly suggest it's the latter, as does the fact that the entire thing is in Spanish. (Does that have something to do with the game's story? I honestly have no idea.)

Regardless, it's work a look--as is this "making of" video.

(Via gonintendo.com and tinycartridge.com)

Speaking of Utada ...

I thought I'd get this day off to a beautiful start by posting the PV (promotional video) for "Passion," the shimmering Utada track that can be heard in Kingdom Hearts II.



If "Passion" doesn't ring any bells for you, it's probably because the English versions of Kingdom Hearts II included the similar-but-not-exactly-the-same "Sanctuary"--which can be heard here.

By the way, both "Simple and Clean" (the Utada track that appears in the original Kingdom Hearts) and "Sanctuary" are included on Utada's latest album, "This Is The One," which can be ordered here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I know it's a stretch ...

... to call this a piece of gaming news, but I can't help myself.

Hikaru Utada, the j-pop superstar best known to gamers for the songs she contributed to Kingdom Hearts ("Hikari"/"Simple and Clean") and Kingdom Hearts II ("Passion"/"Sanctuary"), outed her stuffed bear, Kuma-Chang, on Wednesday :)


Utada has posted photos of Kuma-Chang on her blog for years and even wrote a hit song about him ("Boku wa Kuma") in 2006. (You can see the song's video here, if you're so inclined.)

Anyway, during a performance in San Francisco on Tuesday, Utada threw foam baseballs containing images of Kuma-Chang holding up signs saying "Legalize Gay Marriage" into the crowd. The next day, she posted a photo of the autographed balls on her blog.


Along with the photo she wrote:

"Actually, I don't think I've ever really explained it here, but Kuma really is gay (he's a boy but likes men only, no interest in girls...) so these illustrations flowed pretty naturally. Oh, did I just out Kuma?"

Who wants a fancy flat-screen TV when you can have one of *these*?

OK, this is fairly old news by now, but I'm so smitten with LG's "Classic TV" that I'm going to post a picture of it here anyway.



Honestly, I'd buy one right this minute if: 1) it was sold outside of Korea, 2) it cost less than $215 and 3) I needed another TV.

None of those are true at the moment, so I guess I'll save my cash for something else--like a shiny, new PSP :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

ITIGTJTP: Shiren the Wanderer

ITIGTJTP = "I think I'm going to join the party," by the way--just like LTTP = "Late to the party." (Yeah, I don't think that's going to catch on either...)

Anyway, the party I'm thinking of joining is being hosted by Shiren the Wanderer (although Atlus is footing the bill for the food and drinks), the latest--in the U.S., at least--Mystery Dungeon (or Fushigi no Dungeon, if you're a purist) title from the folks at Chunsoft.



I'm a bit of a roguelike noob, to tell you the truth--in fact, I wasn't formally introduced to the genre until earlier this week, when I finally started playing through my two-year-old copy of Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon.

I'm thoroughly enjoying the time I'm spending with that title, so hopefully I'll have a similarly enjoyable time playing Shiren the Wanderer when it's released on Feb. 9.

Metal Gear + Pac-Man = what seems to be a very cool DSiWare title

I say "seems to be" because, sadly, I haven't actually played Gevo Entertainment's recently released Escapee Go!

The word on the street, though, is that the title is well worth its 200-point ($2) price tag.

What do you get for those 200 points? According to the folks at tinycartridge.com, you get "a story mode in which you play a female amnesiac trying to find out about her past while using psychic powers to avoid her pursuers and a four-player local multiplayer mode that plays like Pac-Man Vs."

If that doesn't mean much to you, maybe this trailer will do the trick:



To learn more about Escapee Go!, check out this snazzy mini-site.
 
(Via tinycartridge.com)

The Legend of Zelda's working title was 'Adventure Mario' (and other little-known Nintendo facts that will blow your mind)

Nintendo of Europe recently updated its website with a new "Iwata Asks" interview which focuses on the "handheld history" of one of the company's most famous franchises: The Legend of Zelda. This time around, Satoru Iwata, president/CEO of Nintendo Co., Ltd., chats with Eiji Aonuma, Toshihiko Nakago and Takashi Tezuka.

The trio share a slew of previously unknown facts related to the long-running series, including the one mentioned in the headline above. (Apparently, early documents included the title "Adventure" as well as "Adventure Mario.") A few others:

* According to Nakago, The Legend of Zelda's second quest was the result of a mistake made by Tezuka. “I created the data exactly in line with [the map], but then Tezuka-san made a mistake and only used half of the data. I said, ‘Tezuka-san, there’s only half here. Where did the other half go?’ and he was like, 'What?! Oops, I messed up…’ But Miyamoto-san said it was fine just like that. So, using the half of the memory that was left over, we decided to create the Second Quest."



* The characters in Link’s Awakening were inspired by those in David Lynch's TV series, Twin Peaks, according to Tezuka. "At the time, Twin Peaks was rather popular. The drama was all about a small number of characters in a small town. I wanted to make something that, while it would be small enough in scope to easily understand, it would have deep and distinctive characteristics."

* The Zelda games created by Capcom (Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons) started out as a remake of the title that started it all. "At that time, Yoshiki Okamoto was at Capcom, and he wanted to make a Zelda game," Tezuka says. "The plan was to create a remake of the first The Legend of Zelda. Then, while we were talking about it ... I could sense their enthusiasm for the series, so I thought we could trust them with it. We had them make Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages."

Will Apple's iPad steal gamers away from the DS and PSP?

Considering the gadget's price ($499 for 16GB, 32GB for $599 and $699 for 64GB--plus $130 if you want 3G) and size (9.56 by 7.47 by 0.5 inches, with a 9.7-inch screen), I kind of doubt it.

(Curious to see how the iPad stacks up to the DS and PSP? Check out this GamesRadar.com article. For those of you who don't feel like clicking on the link: It's a beast compared to the DSi, DS Lite, PSP and PSP Go, but it's only slightly larger than the upcoming DSI XL.)

Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter seems to think otherwise, telling IndustryGamers.com: "The one device I think will suffer from the introduction on the games side is the DS. I think ultimately a tablet at the right price is the kind of thing you buy your kid for school, since they could take it to school, bring it home and do their homework. But I think the bigger issue is the proliferation of games on Apple devices, and you're going to see a lot of cross-fertilization of games between the iPod Touch, iPhone and the tablet, so I actually see the iPod Touch benefiting from that."

EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich is a bit more cautious. "The success of any gaming hardware device comes down to its installed base and quality third-party support. If the iPad wants to succeed as a serious gaming platform they will need support from the major players in our industry (i.e. Electronic Arts, Take-Two, Ubisoft, etc), but to receive quality support these publishers need to be reassured that the gamer installed base can surpass 20 million (worldwide). There is no point in making great games if no one is there to purchase them."

If this Bloomberg.com article is any indication, Apple's already on the right track when it comes to attracting the attention of third-party developers and publishers. Case in point: Jon Kromrey, general manager of the Apple games group at Namco Networks America Inc., shares that he is “having fun thinking about all the wonderful things we can do with the device.”

For more on the iPad's potential as a games machine, check out this PCWorld.com article.

See also: 'Not sure if want, part deux: Game 'apps' on the Amazon Kindle'

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What do you get when you mix the so-called console wars with yaoi/BL manga?

You get the scans recently posted on sankakucomplex.com, that's what.

Said scans, despite some censoring, are a little NSFW-ish, so I'll just post a single, cropped image that should give you a pretty good idea as to what you'll see if you click on over to sankakucomplex.com.



I know what you're thinking: What the hell is going on in that image? Well, in typical yaoi/BL (Boys' Love) fashion, it's skewering the so-called console wars--with each of the characters representing one of the current-gen game systems.

The bespectacled stud on the left represents the PS3, for instance, while the spiky blond bottom in the middle represents the Xbox 360 and the ferociously "waggling" voyeur on the right represents the Wii.

Is it wrong that I find it almost poetic--and more than a bit hot?

(Via tinycartridge.com)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Better late than never: 'The best Castlevania ever' is coming to the States

OK, I know Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (aka Akumaj┼Ź Dracula X Chi no Rondo, aka "the best Castlevania ever") made it out of Japan and into Australia, Europe and the States in late 2007 as part of Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles.

That doesn't mean squat to all of us who don't have a PSP, though--or those of use who want to play the original version of Rondo of Blood on a big, as opposed to little, screen.

All of those folks finally have reason to applaud--or at least break into a huge, toothy grin: The Entertainment Software Rating Board has officially rated Rondo of Blood for release in the States.

Now, there's no saying when the game will be added to the U.S. version of the Wii Virtual Console, but hopefully it'll happen sooner rather than later--especially considering it was added to the Wii Virtual Console in Japan all the way back in April 2008.

Reason #844 to be thankful for fan translators

The team over at DQ Translations has released its long-awaited translation patch for the PS2 remake of Dragon Quest V. Here's a video showing the pixelated (or maybe I should say polygonal) fruits of their labor:



Honestly, I shouldn't describe the patch as "long-awaited," as I didn't even know it was in the works until it was released. Don't take that as an indication of my interest (or lack thereof) in the project--I just don't pay attention to such things (e.g. PS2 fan translations) because I'm unable to benefit from them. (My PS2 hasn't been modded and my PC isn't powerful enough to run PCSX2.)

If you are able to benefit from such things, by all means give this patch a try. Dragon Quest V, with its multi-generational plot, is one of the most unique JRPGs around and, as such, is well worth your time.

See also: 'Reason #843 to be thankful for fan translators'