Saturday, February 20, 2010

Update re: my inability to finish a game these days

I hate to say it, but it's been a week since I've played this game (or any other game, to tell you the truth):

I certainly haven't lost interest in it yet, so I'm not sure why it's been so long since I've fired up the ol' Wii (or PS2 or DS). I guess I'm just not in the mood to play games right now.

Update to the update: I just played the game for a good hour or so. Crisis averted! :)

See also: 'I can't for the life of me finish a game these days'

Easy come, easy go

I came *this close* to picking up a used PSP for a steal yesterday, but the deal fell through at the last minute.

I think that's just the universe's way of telling me I'm supposed to buy a brand new one, don't you? :)

Stand up and cheer: Two more Skip titles are on the way

If you're a fan of fun and quirky games, you're a fan of Skip Ltd.

After all, the Tokyo-based company is responsible for the king of queer Wii releases, Captain Rainbow, all three of the cute-as-can-be Chibi-Robo! titles and the rather cultish (and never-released-outside-of-Japan) GiFTPiA. Oh, and it's responsible for all of those amazing Art Style DSiWare and WiiWare titles, too.

The Skip-developed Captain Rainbow featured both rainbows and
spandex. To say it was a dream come true for me would be
an understatement of unfathomable proportions.

Anyway, it seems the hardworking folks at Skip are getting ready to release a few more games. According to a number of other gaming sites, Australia's OFLC recently rated two of the developer's titles (both of which will be published by Nintendo): Light Trax and Penta Tentacles.

Will they be DS titles or will they be Wii titles? The powers that be at Nintendo and Skip are the only ones who know the answer to that question as of now. It should go without saying, however, that both will be must-buys for the WTF set.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Ōkamiden one step closer to being released in Europe and North America

The folks at Capcom Europe and Capcom USA have been pretty tip-lipped when it comes to the localization of Ōkamiden, the portable sequel to one of the best games of the last generation.

Sometimes, though, actions speak louder than words--such as when both companies, in the last few weeks, trademarked the title in their respective territories.

When will they come out and confirm Ōkamiden's release outside of Japan? Your guess is as good as mine, but if history is any indication it'll happen sooner rather than later.


Speaking of Hayden Scott-Baron ...

... apparently he is (was?) working on an RPG with VVVVVV creator Terry Cavanagh.

Cavanagh mentioned the title--which he called "newrpg" at the time--on his blog last spring, but as far as I can tell he hasn't mentioned it since.

Here's what it looked like last year:

Now that is an RPG I can get behind. It's clearly a bit retro, but it's also clearly "of the moment."

Hopefully Cavanagh or Scott-Baron will pipe up soon and let the world (or at least me) know what's going on with this intriguing title.

Update: According to Cavanagh, the game is/was called Sixty Hours In. "The basic idea is that it's just the final battle in an RPG, with a huge implied backstory that you never see. It was written as sort of a comedy," he shared in an e-mail sent earlier today. "The gameplay was a bit puzzlish; you had to work out the game's internal logic before you were killed by the very overpowered final boss."

Sadly, Cavanagh said he lost interest in the game after Armor Games released the surprisingly similar Turn Based Battle last year. "So," he added, "I can't see us ever finishing it."

I'd totally buy this game (Tumbledrop) if I owned a cell phone

Yep, you read that right: I don't own a cell phone.

Obviously, I'm no Luddite--so what's the deal? Well, it all comes down to the fact that I need a landline in order to bring home the bacon. (Actually, it's probably more accurate to say I bring home the Bac-O-Bits, as I'm hardly rakin' in the dough as a freelance writer.) Oh, and I'm too cheap to own both--so for the time being I'm a landline-only kinda guy.

Anyway, if I had a cell phone, it'd probably be an iPhone. And if I had an iPhone, I'd definitely buy Tumbledop, a cute-as-all-get-out puzzle game that hit the App Store late last week.

Here's a video of the title, which was made by Hayden Scott-Baron, and here's a screenshot of it:

Thankfully, Tumbledrop is playable on a PC, too. (Check it out here if you're cell-less like me.) That said, I'd still rather play it on an iPhone (or iPod touch).

It's show and tell time!

In case any of you care: I recently--as in today and yesterday--posted on my Flickr page a number of gaming-related photos.

Most of the photos are of Japanese games I've imported over the years, though a few are of classic gaming magazines. Oh, and there's a photo of some gaming-related graffiti, too.

Here, for instance, is Rhythm Tengoku, the GameBoy Advance precursor to the DS title known as Rhythm Heaven (in the States) or Rhythm Paradise (in Europe):

More of my gaming-related photos can be found here

Note to Nippon Ichi: You're bringing this title to North America, right? Right?!?

Now that Nippon Ichi's Classic Dungeon has been released in Japan (it hit store shelves yesterday), I can't help but wonder: Will the retro-tastic PSP title be brought to the States?

As of now, the answer is "no." I e-mailed a PR contact at NIS America this morning, and the response I received was far from positive. "At this moment, we don’t have any plans to localize the game," the contact replied. "Sorry!"

Please, NIS America, don't make me hand (more of) my hard-earned cash
over to the folks at!

Hopefully that's just PR speak for "we're working on it, but we're not ready to announce it yet"--because if it's not, and if the folks at NIS American don't change their minds, I'm going to be an unhappy camper.

I guess I could import the game should that come to pass, but I'd rather spend my hard-earned cash on a product I can, you know, understand.

See also: 'First Classic Dungeon (PSP) footage looks ... classic' and 'I'm a sucker for sprites'

OK, this is cute. And kinda hot.

It's Friday, my lovelies! (Don't look at me like that.) You know what that means: It's time to dance like a fool.

No worries if you're not quite in the mood; the following tune--called "Running in Dreams (Chase the Sun)" and created by Anamanaguchi drummer Luke Silas (aka Knife City)--practically forces you to stand up and shake your ass.

Apparently, Silas came up with the track after being challenged to create (in 48 hours) a "4/4 eurobeat-trance theme that would one day replace carmel dansen (however it's spelled). You gotta make this as cute as possible with the thought of anime girls dancing around, you must also teach us how to dance to this song. ALL ON LSDJ MUAHA. Tempo must be 170."

I think he met the challenge, don't you?

Download: "Running in Dreams (Chase the Sun)"


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tetraptych of classic gaming magazines

Yesterday's post about the return of Diehard GameFan got me thinking about all the gaming magazines I bought (or, rather, my parents bought for me) as a kid.

Honestly, I think I (er, they) single-handedly kept a number of magazine publishers afloat back in the day thanks to my (their) unwavering support.

Although most of the magazines--including DieHard GameFan, Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro, Nintendo Power and Video Games and Computer Entertainment--I accumulated over the years are sitting in the basement of my parents' house as we speak, a few--such as the ones in the tetraptych below--can be found in the basement of the home I now share with my husband.

I actually flip through some of them now and then--not just so I can read (again) about the games that used to fill my days (and nights), but so I can marvel at the ads that promoted those games, too.

Do any of you still have a stash of gaming magazines ("classic" or otherwise) sitting in your closet or basement?

I can't for the life of me finish a game these days

Especially, it seems, if the game is part of the Final Fantasy franchise.

Case in point: I bought the original Final Fantasy from the Wii Shop the day it came out and over the next few weeks made my way to the final boss. That was months ago, and the boss is still sitting there, waiting for me to beat him.

Don't get too comfortable, Chaos--I'll come for you eventually. I hope.

I also bought Final Fantasy IV: The After Years the day it came out. I played through the first few chapters and then, despite the fact that I had enjoyed the experience up to that point, I stopped playing it, too.

Interestingly (well, it's interesting to me), I'm trudging my way through another Final Fantasy title--Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon--at this very moment. What do you think: Will it soon fall by the wayside like its aforementioned namesakes?

Also, have any of you developed this "problem" over the years?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Calling all gay geeks

Do any of you spend time in the forums on sites like, or

If so, I'd like to interview you for an article I'm working on for a North American magazine aimed at the LGBT community.

Sorry, I don't know these guys--I stole the image from another site.

Feel free to contact me at me at bryanochalla dot com if you're at all interested.

I used to be a Diehard GameFan

In fact, I was such a die-hard fan of Diehard GameFan magazine that I still have the premiere issue--and it's in pretty great condition considering it's 18 years old.

My rather pristine copy of the premiere issue
Diehard GameFan magazine.

As such, I couldn't help but smile when I read that Dave Halverson, one of the founders of the original Diehard GameFan, is getting ready to re-launch the magazine in mid-March.

This time around, the magazine will be "large format" (whatever that means) and "dual cover," meaning it'll tackle both movies and games.

I haven't bought a gaming magazine in years, so I doubt I'll buy a copy of the new-and-hopefully-improved GameFan when it hits newsstands next month. Still, I'm glad I could pick it up if I chose to do so.


More proof that Birdo began life as a boy (who'd prefer to be a girl)

When Birdo was introduced to North American gamers in the pages of the Super Mario Bros. 2 instruction manual, there was no question as to the character's gender.

"He thinks he is a girl and he spits eggs from his mouth," the description reads. "He'd rather be called 'birdetta.'"

Subsequent printings of the manual expunged that last sentence--and effectively set the tone for how the folks at Nintendo of American would treat Birdo in the future. (Typically, no gender is assigned to the character--though in the U.S. version of Super Smash Bros. Brawl he is said to be "a pink creature of indeterminate gender.")

The brass at Nintendo of Japan have had no such hang-ups. From the start, the character, called Catherine in that territory, has always been a "he who wants to be a she"--as evidenced in the following Super Mario USA commercial:

Also worth watching if you're part of the is-it-a-he-or-a-she set: The "Birdo is Male Proof Video."

One portion in particular blew my mind when I watched it for the first time earlier today--that being the portion that suggests (based on the Japanese website created for Mario Kart Double Dash!!) Birdo/Catherine is Yoshi's boyfriend.

So, not only is Birdo transgender in some way, but Yoshi is gay to boot!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I must have missed the 'Noby Noby Boy is coming to the iPhone' announcement

Another thing I missed: It'll be a completely different beast than its PS3 counterpart. At least, I think that's the case after watching the following WTF-ish teaser trailer.

Two additional videos that show off unique aspects of the iPhone/iPod touch title can be found here and here. I'd describe them to you but, honestly, I have no idea what's happening in any of them.

See also: 'Next up: Saturn!'


Looks like I'll have to add Soul Bubbles to my DS wish list

I've heard only good things about the Mekensleep-developed, Eidos-published title, Soul Bubbles, yet I haven't added it to my DS collection.

That may have to change now that I know the game includes two bonus levels done in the ukiyo-e style. (According to wikipedia, ukiyo-e is is a genre of Japanese woodblock prints and paintings produced between the 17th and the 20th centuries that feature motifs of landscapes, tales from history the theatre and pleasure quarters.)

Yes, I'm a sucker for ukiyo-e. Sadly, few games feature graphics inspired by this style--in fact, the only one I can think of right now (other than Soul Bubbles, of course) is Konami's ancient arcade title, Mr. Goemon. (Goemon's one and only DS outing features the similar sumi-e style, as does Ōkami and its forthcoming sequel, Ōkamiden.)

Speaking of awesome art styles, I'd have to slap myself if I failed to point out the cute-as-hell box art created for the Japanese version of Soul Bubbles, known as Awatama:

In a perfect world, I'd pick up a copy of Awatama instead of Soul Bubbles, but as of now the former costs about three times as much as the latter ($48.90 compared to $13.87).

Buy: Awatama or Soul Bubbles


Ahoy, mateys! Another Etrian Odyssey 3 trailer has surfaced

I'm a big, big fan of the Etrian Odyssey series (aka Yggdrasil Labyrinth in Japan), so it should go without saying that I've been drooling non-stop since Atlus announced Etrian Odyssey III: Visitor From Star Ocean a few months ago.

That drooling intensified after I watched the following trailer, the second to be released for the forthcoming (it'll hit Japanese store shelves on April 1) title:

A bit of background for those of you (like me) who don't understand a lick of Japanese: This time around, the game takes place in (and around, apparently) the ancient seaside city of Amroad. A hundred years ago, a massive earthquake demolished the central part of the city. An elaborate labyrinth appeared in its wake--and has attracted adventurers ever since.

Note to self: Assuming this title is, like its predecessors, released stateside, pick it up ASAP (as opposed to waiting until it's scalped on eBay for two or three times its original MSRP).

Would I like another helping of 7th Dragon? Yes, please!

I know, it seems cruel to mention a 7th Dragon sequel when the original has yet to hit European or North American store shelves. The word on the street suggests that will happen sometime this year, though, so don't get too depressed about the following piece of news.

I don't know what these are, but I want them anyway.

Basically, is reporting that the latest issue of Famitsu magazine mentions that 7th Dragon director Kazuya Niinou "wishes to work on a sequel" to the imageepoch-developed, Sega-published title that has sold 140,000 units since its release last year.

I'd prefer to hear Niinou say the title is in the works and will be released in a matter of months but, as always, I'll take what I can get.

See also: 'Five DS games I hope to see stateside in 2010' and 'Where art thou, 7th Dragon?' and 'Why not just stab me through the heart, Sega?'

I'm always down for another dose of Disgaea

Nippon Ichi revealed in a recent earnings statement that it hopes to turn around its fiscal fortunes by releasing "a new PS3 entry in the Disgaea series."

I'm guessing the new Disgaea game is mentioned in the blue box
at the top of this image (where it says "PlayStation3").

The report doesn't reveal whether the new entry will be Disgaea 4 or some sort of spin-off, but I'd be willing to bet it'll be the former.

In related news, Nippon Ichi plans to release eight games in the coming fiscal year (including the aforementioned Disgaea sequel/spin-off), six of which will be "original titles."