Saturday, February 06, 2010

Pitfall + Rez = Bit.Trip Runner?

That certainly seems to be an apt description (equation?) after watching the following trailer--one of the first to show Gaijin Games' latest chiptune-backed, rhythm-based creation in action:

OK, so the trailer above is more Pitfall than Rez, but other recently released gameplay vids suggest the opposite. (Here's one, and here's another. Oh, and here's a "boss battle"!)

In a recent interview with, Gaijin Games' Alex Neuse suggested the game was nearing completion and should appear on the Wii Shop Channel "this Spring."

See also: 'When it comes to WiiWare, (second and) third parties do what Nintendon't'

Sonic, Sonic, Sonic!!!

I just realized that all three of today's posts are Sonic-related. Sorry about that.

For the next few days (if not weeks), this site will be a ...

... Sonic-free zone :)

(Fake) rumor of the week: Sonic will be playable in Super Mario Galaxy 2

British gaming mag (or is it rag?) NGamer shared a few WTF-ish rumors related to Super Mario Galaxy 2 via Twitter yesterday.

The first: "We've just had some shocking news from an inside source at Nintendo: Sonic will be a playable character in Mario Galaxy 2! Wha?"

The second: "More teasing from our insider: Sonic levels will be in 'Green Hill Galaxy'. Matthew's nearly in tears (of despair)."

My reaction to said rumors:

(Image stolen from this NeoGAF thread.)

Screw Sonic, I'll take Ivy the Kiwi instead

Full disclosure: I'm not the biggest fan of Sonic the Hedgehog. I spent a bit of time with the series' first two titles back in the day, but neither one left much of an impression on me.

So, when the folks at Sega announced a few days ago the forthcoming release of Sonic the Hedgehog 4, my reaction was "meh."

I had a much more energetic and excited reaction to the announcement that Yuji Naka, lead programmer of the original Sonic the Hedgehog, and his team at Prope Ltd. will soon release (in Japan--sigh) a cutie-patootie platformer called Ivy the Kiwi? (Yes, the question mark is part of the game's name.)

Based on the trailer below, the title seems to be a sepia-toned combo of the DS classic Kirby: Canvas Curse and the upcoming WiiWare release Max and the Magic Marker.

DS and Wii versions of Ivy the Kiwi? will hit Japanese store shelves on April 22, although DSiWare and WiiWare versions supposedly will be released soon, too.

Should the titles be brought to the States, I'll probably pick up one of the Wii versions--even though I imagine it'll be easier to play on the DS.

Surprise, surprise: Sega's Project Needlemouse = Sonic the Hedgehog 4

Last September, Sega of America's Associate Brand Manager Ken Ballough let it slip that the company was working on a game with the rather cheeky codename of Project Needlemouse.

Honestly, he should have just admitted his colleagues were working on a new Sonic the Hedgehog game, as any Sega fan worth his or her salt knows that designer Naoto Ōshima's original name for Sonic was Mr. Needlemouse.

Anyway, a few days ago the folks at Sega finally told the world what it already knew: That Project Needlemouse is in fact Sonic the Hedgehog 4.

That's not to say the announcement was free of surprises. One of them: The game will be released as a digital download (for the 360, PS3 and Wii). Another: It will be episodic--with the first episode expected to hit the PlayStation Store, WiiWare and XBLA this summer. (Rumor has it the title will hit the iPhone as well.)

A teaser trailer for the title can be found here, while more info can be found here and here.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I hope someone other than Sega brings this game to the States

"This game" being Chunsoft's Furai no Siren 4--aka Shiren the Wanderer 4--which will hit store shelves in Japan in just a few weeks.

Should someone pick it up for release in the U.S., I hope they also pick up the rights to these adorable ads (if such a thing is possible), which have been promoting the title in Japan:

(Side note to Chunsoft's CEO: Make a Shiren sequel with character models that look like the figures featured in this trailer and I'll not only buy copies of said game for everyone I know, but I'll bear at least one of your children--even though that isn't scientifically possible at the moment.)

Sega brought the DS remake of the original Furai no Siren to the States as Mystery Dungoen: Shiren the Wanderer in early 2008, but it bombed spectacularly. I have to imagine this rather hideous box art had something to do with it:

As you've surely read on this site, Atlus is bringing Furai no Siren 3 to the States--as Shiren the Wanderer--in just a few days (Feb. 9, to be exact). (Order a copy here.)

The box art for this iteration of the series is about 100 times better than what was produced for its predecessor, so hopefully its sales will see a similar boost--and hopefully those stellar sales will spur someone to announce the localization of Furai no Siren 4 soon.

See also: 'Who you callin' a roguelike rookie?' and 'ITIGTJTP: Shiren the Wanderer'

The folks at Namco Bandai really know how to hurt a guy's feelings

So, I was randomly surfing the Interwebs a short while ago when I came across this image:

The bright blue Muscle March-branded Speedo (right) was delivered to the MTV Multiplayer offices packed inside the similarly branded jug of protein powder (left), by the way.

Maybe if I give the Namco Bandai's PR folks a ring and promise to model said Speedo on this site they'll send me one, too? :)


Another one of those 'I'd buy this game if I had a DSi/PSP/PS3/360' posts

Chime, the first game from non-profit publisher OneBigGame, has hit Xbox LIVE Arcade, and it looks pretty darn hot.

I like the minimalist look of this musical puzzler, developed by Zoe Mode, and I downright love the way the music (from artists like Moby and Orbital's Paul Hartnoll) builds upon itself. I'm not so sure about the actual gameplay, though--it seems like the whole "fill up the screen with Tetris-like blocks" could get a bit boring.

Still, if I owned an Xbox 360 I'd more than likely drop 400 Microsoft Points ($5) for the title, especially since net proceeds will be donated to Save the Children and Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Japan gets a NieR RepliCant (aka 'that game with the hermaphrodite') release date

The seemingly random capitalizations in the game's name drive the editor in me batty, by the way.

Anyway, enough about me and my analities. You clicked on this post to read about the release date for NieR RepliCant, right?

Actually, the folks at Square-Enix announced a Japanese release date for both NieR RepliCant and NieR Gestalt yesterday: April 22.

Kaine prepares to kick the crap out of a rather curious- and freaky-looking foe.

In case the only thing you know about either of these games is that one (or maybe both) of them features an intersex character (Kaine's her name, in case you're wondering): Both are action-adventure titles that were developed by Cavia and will be published by Square-Enix.

NieR RepliCant
, a PS3 exclusive in Japan, focuses on the titular Nier and his quest to find a cure for the "Black Scrawl virus" that has infected his little sister, Yonah. NieR Gestalt, on the other hand, is an Xbox 360 exclusive in Japan and focuses on Yonah's father--who also appears to be named Nier.

To make things more confusing: Only NieR Gestalt will be brought to North America (no word yet on whether it'll hit Europe, too), though it's title will be shortened to NIER and it'll be released for both the PS3 and the Xbox 360.

See also: 'Square-Enix releases NieR RepliCant trailer'

Knowing me, knowing you

You know you're reading a "gay blog" when you see a headline that references an ABBA song :)

Anyway, that's not the point of this post. The point is that I want to tell you a bit about myself--and hopefully learn a bit about all of you as well. So, without further ado ...

What I do when I'm not playing or writing about games: Well, to put it bluntly: I write about other stuff. (I've been an editor and writer for the past decade or so.) Actually, once in a blue moon I'm paid to write articles about games (or the games industry), but more often than not I'm paid to write about business-y stuff. I'm sure that sounds more than a bit boring, but it pays the bills :)

What I do when I'm not writing about other stuff: I like to do all sorts of mundane things, really. I enjoy baking and cooking, reading, watching movies and working out. I also like spending time with my husband of nearly six years--especially when it means going on a walk and then treating ourselves to a beer and/or something sweet (which usually means doughnuts).

My all-time favorite games: If my life (or the life of someone I loved) depended on me coming up with a list of my favorite games, here are the ones I'd probably spew out: Animal Crossing, Balloon Fight ("Balloon Trip" mode FTW), Bubble Bobble, Donkey Kong, Earthbound, Final Fantasy IV/V/VI, Final Fantasy Tactics, Katamari Damacy, Kid IcarusThe Legend of Zelda and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Ms. Pac-Man, Paper Mario, Rainbow Islands, SaGa Frontier, Shining Force, Super Mario Bros. 2 and 3, Yoshi's Island.

My all-time favorite systems: I have to say, it's a bit easier for me to come up with this list than the last one. That said, I still can't choose just one--as the NES, the SNES, the original PlayStation and the PS2 all have a special place in my heart. I also have a soft spot for the TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine and the Saturn.

Now that I've blathered on about myself, why don't you tell me a bit about you? You don't have to talk about your non-gaming hobbies or what you do for a living if you're not so fond of sharing intimate details about yourself with complete strangers, but at least tell me a few of your favorite games and systems, OK?

And the (second) survey says ...

... a lot of you have owned Nintendo systems over the years.

(Click on the graph to get a better look at it.)

I was a bit shocked to see the Genesis/Mega Drive get so much love (12 "votes") and saddened (but not surprised) to see the Sega Saturn and especially the TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine be all but ignored.

Anyway, a new poll/survey will be up in a jiffy. Thanks as always for sharing your thoughts!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Random art of the day: Sheep Man papercraft

I know, most of the art mentioned or included in my posts is a bit random--but this one is especially random.

How so? Well, some crazy fool created a Sheep Man papercraft for a Mega Man 10 art contest set up by the folks at Capcom.

I just love the pixelatedness (yeah, I know that's not a real word) of the papery Sheep Man, don't you?

See also: 'Introducing what is sure to be the best Mega Man boss ever: Sheep Man!' and 'Mega Man, Rock Man or ... Rainbow Man?!?'

Another reason to add WarioWare: D.I.Y. to your DS wish list

It has a Mario Paint-esque music creator/editor! How did I not know that until yesterday, when I read this post over at

Oh, and it's not just any music creator/editor--it's a Balloon Fight-themed music creator/editor, as evidenced in this YouTube clip:

WarioWare: D.I.Y. will hit store shelves in North America on either March 29 or May 31, by the way. (Although most sources say it'll be released on the former date, says it'll be released on the latter.)

See also: 'More evidence that WarioWare D.I.Y. is going to be awesomely magnificent'

Who you callin' a roguelike rookie?

Not me, I hope. I know I only broke my roguelike cherry a short while ago, but in the last few weeks I've gone from roguelike virgin to roguelike whore--or at least from rogulike virgin to roguelike non-whore-who-still-likes-to-do-it.

What's funny (well, it's funny to me at least) is that I could have popped that proverbial cherry a few years ago--after I bought Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon. I actually played through the game's first chapter shortly after I bought it, but then I promptly put it away--and didn't pick it up again until a few weeks ago.

Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon isn't the only roguelike I'm trudging through--I'm also working my way through two roguelikes from the Super Famicom era, thanks to the wonders of fan translation: Fushigi no Dungeon 1 and 2 (aka Torneko's Great Adventure and Shiren the Wanderer, respectively).

The awesome box covers of Torneko's Great Adventure
Shiren the Wanderer. 

(By the way, anyone who wants to know more about roguelikes should check out John Harris' wonderful GameSetWatch @Play column about Torneko's Great Adventure.)

Once I'm done with the three roguelikes mentioned above, I'll probably track down two more: Chocobo's Dungeon 2 and Torneko: The Last Hope, both of which were released for the original PlayStation back in 1999 and 2000, respectively.

Mario as you've never seen him before

Did you know that Mario (full name: Mario Michelangelo Antonioni) didn't begin life as a Mushroom Kingdom-and-princess-saving plumber?

Apparently he was born in a small town in Northern Italy and his parents worked for Olivetti and Fiat. As a young adult, he moved to Rome to pursue his dream of becoming an actor--which resulted in Mario and his brother Luigi hitting the stage together in a rather homoerotic cabaret act.

It wasn't until sometime later that Mario became a plumber, moved to the Mushroom Kingdom and dedicated his life to defeating the dastardly Bowser and saving the perennially imperiled Princess Peach/Toadstool.

OK, so that isn't Mario's official backstory--it's the backstory created (some time ago) by Ishihara Gojin, aka "Japan's (gay) Norman Rockwell."

Go here to view more of Gojin's gay-ish (and slightly NSFW-ish) images of Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and a strangely anthropomorphic Bowser.

(Via tinycartridge and watashi to tokyo)