Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy (belated) birthday, Dreamcast!

Eleven years ago yesterday, Sega's Dreamcast hit the streets in the U.S. In celebration of that fact, I created the following doodle:

Now, please excuse me while I play a few games of ChuChu Rocket! and Space Channel 5.

Buy: Sega Dreamcast

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Oh, Microsoft ...

Earlier this year, Microsoft updated its Xbox Live code of conduct policy to allow gamers to use sexual orientation identifiers like lesbian, gay, bi and transgender in their Gamertags and profiles--an about-face that prompted many LGBT gamers to conclude that the days of being banned for calling themselves "THCxGaymer" (or something similar) were behind them.

Unfortunately, those days are still ahead for LGBT gamers--if recent reports that 26-year-old Josh Moore was booted from the service for mentioning in his profile that he lives in Fort Gay, W.V., are any indication.

The strangest part of this peculiar story: According to the Associated Press, when Fort Gay's mayor, David Thompson, got involved he was told by someone at Microsoft that "the veracity of the city's name didn't matter, and that the word 'gay' was inappropriate regardless."

Although Stephen Toulouse, program manager for policy and enforcement on Xbox Live, acknowledges that the suspension was a mistake, he has yet to say how his team at the Redmond, Wash.-based company will avoid such mistakes in the future.

See also: 'Microsoft still hemming and hawing over gay gamertags on Xbox Live' and 'The Advocate: Microsoft Tries to Mend Rift With Gaymers'

Coming soon to a DS near yours truly: Jam with the Band

I've had my eye on Jam with the Band--the European version of Nintendo's Daigasso! Band Brothers DX--for some time now, but I've held off on buying the DS-based music game because of the high cost of importing it.

That changed yesterday afternoon when I discovered that UK-based retailer thankfully ships to the US--is selling the game for a mere £4.89 (about $7.50). (Even better: Shipping added just $4 to the total.)

Should the game reach my doorstep in a reasonable amount of time and in the promised condition, I'll probably turn to later in the year when I buy Last Window: The Secret of Cape West and Professor Layton and the Lost Future.

Buy: Jam with the Band

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


Artist Maré Odomo recently answered--via his Flickr photostream--the all-important question: What would a Pikachu look like in pixelated form?

Although I'm hardly the world's biggest Pokémon fan, Odomo's drawing makes me wish someone would whip up an 8-bit de-make of one of the series' earlier entries.

See also: 'A little more Maré love'

'Fat Ash'

I came across the following image while perusing the "score designs" section of a few minutes ago. (Yes, I'm sometimes strange like that.)

Unfortunately, scoring for the design--humorously titled "Fat Ash"--ended some time ago. (Even worse: Its final average score was just 2.17 out of 5, which means its unlikely to be printed.)

If you're itching to score a few still-in-the-running designs, check out the Donkey Kong-inspired "Barrel Ride Down the Falls" and the, er, Princess Peach-inspired "Everything is Peachy."

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

A few more thoughts on Ivy the Kiwi? (No, that's not a question)

I spent some additional quality time with the Wii version of Ivy the Kiwi? this past weekend, and as a result of that experience I've decided to expand upon my earlier impressions of this Prope-made platformer.

* For starters, forget what I said earlier about the colorized backdrops that appear in the North American iteration of this game. Not only have they grown on me, but I think I now prefer them to the mostly monochromatic ones found in the Japanese version.

* Although I'm not willing to do a similar 180 on what I said a few days ago about the title's background music--I still think it's too loud compared to the sound effects--I am willing to augment those thoughts by saying the tunes are pretty spectacular. I especially like the moodier tracks, which remind me, in a way, of some of the music found in the Professor Layton series.

* Speaking of Professor Layton, this game's difficulty curve, much like Level-5's popular puzzler, is a bit like an up-and-down roller-coaster ride. Sometimes you'll lose a whole slew of lives trying to finish a level--such as 5-3, if you're like me--and then breeze through the follow-up with nary an issue. It's more of an interesting fact than an annoying one, though, so don't worry about it if you're on the fence about the game.

See also: 'No question about it ...'

Sunday, September 05, 2010

For once, I'm (nearly) speechless

I haven't been shocked speechless by a YouTube video since ... well, since I saw the first trailer for Namco Bandai's queer-on-so-many-levels WiiWare title Muscle March early last year.

I can't be alone in hoping that someone--anyone--eventually creates a game that centers on one of these chicken-headed, thong-wearing muscle studs, can I?

The question, then, is: What kind of game would it be?

A shooter's completely out of the question, as the Cho Aniki series has that market cornered already. A fighter's a possibility--especially since ol' Chicken Head reminds me a bit of King from the original Tekken--but who plays fighters anymore?

No, I think it would have to be a rhythm game--in the vein of Elite Beat Agents/Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan or Space Channel 5, of course.