Saturday, April 24, 2010

This game isn't going to be released outside of Japan, is it?

If you're anything like me, you've always wanted to own a game that lets you create songs and then have them performed--with digitized/synthesized singing--by a band of Rodney Greenblat-esque monkeys.

Well, you're finally going to get your chance to own such a game next week, when Nintendo publishes--in Japan, harumph--a DSiWare title called Tsukatte Utau Saru Band (aka Make and Sing: Monkey Band).

The 800-point game was made in partnership with Muu Muu, the developer behind the similarly strange PS2 title from 2003, Kuma Uta (aka Bear Song), which starred a polar bear who, you guessed it, performed user-created songs using digitized/synthesized speech.


Manly Mario

Well, whattaya know? It's Mario the bear and his cubbish--or maybe I should say otterish--bro, Luigi!

Actual title: "Enter the Mushroom Kingdom"

This piece was created by Australian artist Jeffrey "CHAMBA" Cruz (aka lastscionz), who shares on his deviantart page that it was "drawn on A4 size paper using 4H and HB lead [and] coloured in PSCS3 using an Intuos2."

I have no idea what that means, but I'm happy it allowed him to produce such awesomely imaginative imagery.

See also: 'Mario as you've never seen him before'


Friday, April 23, 2010

'Good gravy!'

That's what the announcer says at the end of the latest Super Mario Galaxy 2 trailer. (Watch it here.)

As much as I agree with that statement, I think it should have been placed at the end of this trailer instead. Or, it could have been inserted into this gameplay video, which shows off the title's "Tall Trunk Galaxy."

Sorry, I couldn't find any safe-for-work images of the game's "Tall Trunk Galaxy."

Actually, now that I think about it, maybe Nintendo should give the game a subtitle? Super Mario Galaxy 2: Good Gravy! Yeah, that has a nice ring to it...

Those lucky bastards

Here's what Japanese Club Nintendo members will be receiving for achieving Platinum status this year:

Actually, the photo above was posted on NeoGAF this morning, so obviously some Platinum members have gotten their grubby little mitts on this prize already.

Anyway, as much as I'd love for Nintendo to offer Game & Watch re-issues to North American Club Nintendo members, I'd prefer it if they localized and released Exclamation Warriors (aka Zekkyō Senshi Sakeburein) or Tingle's Balloon Fight.

(Via NeoGAF)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The waiting game

I'm generally a pretty patient guy. When am I not patient? When it's Friday and the weekend is more than a few minutes away, when an upcoming vacation is less than a month (or two) away--and when a game (or game system) is working its way through the postal system to my welcome mat.

When it comes to that last situation, I'm usually able to keep my antsiness in check--but not this week. That's because I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of a game I've been pining for since, well, I became aware of it a few years ago.

The game: Guru Logi Champ (aka Guru Logic Champ), a Compile-crafted title that Japanmanship's JC Barnett has called "by far The Best Puzzle Game Ever Created." (Capitalization courtesy of Barnett.)

Sadly, I haven't actually played Guru Logi Champ--I've just read reviews extolling its awesomeness--so I can't tell you much about it. The person who penned the game's Wikipedia entry swears it's a crazy combination of Picross, Puyo Puyo (kind of) and Magical Drop, though, and that's enough for me.

Anyway, I'll let you know if that description is at all accurate once the darn game is safely secured in my trusty GameBoy Advance.

Watch: A wacky (of course) Japanese Guru Logi Champ advert

This is going to be another Chocobo's Dungeon game, right?

The word on the Interwebs is that the folks at Square Enix recently filed a European trademark for something called Chocobo's Crystal Tower.

This incredible Chocobo origami was designed by
Satoshi Kamiya and folded by Brian Chan

It's unlikely the name will be attached to a localization of the sure-to-remain-a-Japanese-exclusive DS port of Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon or the similarly-stuck-in-Japan Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales sequel (aka Chocobo and the Magic Picture Book: The Witch, the Girl, and the Five Heroes), so that leaves some sort of unannounced title. The question is: Which system will be the proud recipient of said title?

Honestly, as long as it's a sequel to the fabulous Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon, I don't care which system gets the game.

See also: 'Did hell freeze over last night?' and 'I can't for the life of me finish a game these days'

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What are your five favorite non-Mario Famicom/NES games?

That's the question someone posed yesterday on NeoGAF. After a healthy amount of hemming and hawing, I came up with the following answer:

Duck Tales--One of the best licensed games ever--and one of the best 2D platformers ever, too. Oh, and even after all these years I can still hum the Amazon level's theme song on cue. 'Nuff said.

Final Fantasy--The first RPG I played, and still one of my favorites. For some strange reason, I remember being obsessed with the coral sword--and being disappointed when I had to move on to a more powerful one. Yeah, I'm not sure what that has to do with this being one of my favorite Famicom/NES games either...

Kid Icarus--Do you ever wish you could go back in time? I do, especially when I think about this game.Why, you ask? Well, back then Medusa and her minions didn't kick my ass like they do now, that's why.

The Legend of Zelda--It's said that designer Shigeru Miyamoto drew inspiration for this game from his childhood experiences in and around Kyoto, where he explored caves, fields and woods. That's clearly evident the first time you play it. Thankfully, the sense of exploration and wonderment felt during that "virgin voyage" doesn't seem to fade with time.

Little Nemo: The Dream Master--If I was forced at gunpoint to name the Famicom/NES game with the best graphics, I'm pretty sure I'd shout, "Little Nemo!" This Capcom creation isn't just a looker, though--it also features catchy tunes and fiendishly challenging levels.

So, those are my favorite non-Mario Famicom/NES games. What are yours?

Now, why'd he have to go and say that (again)?

A few years ago, film critic Roger Ebert sent gamers the world over into a tizzy by saying that games aren't art.

Although the remark inspired countless articles and blog posts on the subject (heck, I wrote one of the former for in 2007), Ebert refused further comment--until late last week, when a post titled, "Video Games Can Never Be Art," appeared on his Chicago Sun-Times blog.

Unfortunately, Ebert spends the bulk of his post trying to dismantle a developer's argument in favor of games being art rather than trying to back up statements like this: "No video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form."

The few times he tries to defend his position, he falls short. For example, early on he writes, "One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game." Sadly, he doesn't expand upon that comment and explain how or why the existence of rules, points and/or objectives disqualifies games from being art; all he says is that "real" art forms "are things you cannot win; you can only experience them."

Near the end of his post, Ebert asks, "Why are gamers so intensely concerned, anyway, that games be defined as art?" Given his inability to explain his position--and his admitted inexperience with the medium he's so keen to criticize--my question to infuriated gamers (myself included) is: Why are we so intensely concerned with what such a person has to say about our hobby of choice?

See also: 'Games are not and never will be art. Oh, really?'

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The game-inspired music video that got away

What do you get when you mix game-inspired imagery with the melancholy title track of Moby's "Wait for Me" album? If you're Maik Hempel, you get the following:

"Its different to anything I've animated in the past, because essentially the whole clip is made of two-frame cycles," Hempel says of his creation. "I played a lot of Super Mario World to get the right look for it."

The video was concocted for a recent competition held by the artist formally known as Richard Melville Hall  and Hempel didn't take home the top prize, but he was a finalist--an impressive feat considering the contest attracted nearly 500 submissions.


A tale of two trailers

During its recent Captivate 2010 event, Capcom unveiled new, English-enabled trailers for two of its upcoming DS releases: Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective and Ōkamiden..

Here's the one for Ōkamiden:

(The one for Ghost Trick can be seen here.)

According to those in the know, Ghost Trick will see a Western release later this year, while Ōkamiden won't be heading stateside until sometime in 2011 (though it'll hit the streets in Japan by the end of 2010).

See also: 'Ghost Trick's box art is kind of kinky (and a little bit gay)' and 'Ōkamiden one step closer to being released in Europe and North America'

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bat Attack!

That's the name of my very first WarioWare D.I.Y. microgame, by the way.

I guess you could call it a riff on--or rip off of--one of Nintendo's first "weekly games," ABBE's Fright Light, as players are tasked with ridding a spotlit scene of shrieking bats.

Yes, my company is called "RainBlow Software." 

I'm pretty proud of it, to tell you the truth--mainly because I made all of the game's graphics myself. The background music was stolen--er, "imported"--from one of WarioWare D.I.Y.'s pre-fab microgames (Cake Defense), but I'm thinking of making my own tune for the already-in-the-works sequel--which will sport an awesomely creative name like Super Bat Attack!

Anyway, send along your friend code if you want to give it a go. (I shared mine here.)

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should

In this instance, I'm talking about playing Super Mario Bros. on an Amazon Kindle.

According to, some uber geek is working on a NES emulator for the popular ereader. Here's how it looks running on a Kindle emulator:

So, basically, it looks worse than Super Mario Land running on a beaten-up, 20-year-old GameBoy.