Friday, October 01, 2010

This game's still coming to the States, right Nintendo?

It's been more than a year since Tetsuya Takahashi's Xenoblade was revealed and just over three months since it was released in Japan, yet this free-roaming RPG remains without a North American (or European) release date.

Sure, the game has appeared--as Monado: Beginning of the World--on all of Nintendo of America's release schedules since the aforementioned reveal, but the only date that has, thus far, appeared alongside the game's name on said schedules is "TBA."

Not sure why that's a travesty? Feast your eyes on the following "field map exploration" trailer:

Sure, the game's graphics are a bit on the blocky side (especially compared to similar efforts on the PS3 and Xbox 360), but everything else about it is so grand that I have no problem looking beyond that particular pitfall--or looking forward to its still-to-be-solidified Western release.

Calling all otome fans

The folks at Aksys Games recently posted a survey to their site in the hopes of gauging North American interest in otome games. (Take the survey here.)

For those of you who haven't the slightest clue as to what an otome game is, here's what Wikipedia has to say about the genre: "[They are] targeted towards a female market, where one of the main goals, besides the plot goal, is to develop a romantic relationship between the female player character and one of several male characters."

Although otome games tend to be dating sims or visual novels, they're not exclusively so--as evidenced by Cave's rhythm-based effort from 2008, Princess Debut (above).

Bonus: Those who complete the abovementioned survey receive the following communiqué. "Thank you for taking this survey! You have helped make our world a better, happier place. Tomorrow's children shall sing your praises."

'Pixel Cake'

Anyone who played and enjoyed--or should I say endured--Capcom's Mickey Mousecapade as a tot should recognize the subject of the following painting, produced by Atlanta-based artist Ashley Anderson.

"This image is from a videogame I owned as a kid," Anderson says on (where the 12-inch-by-12-inch piece is being sold for $80). "I feel a special, almost visceral bond with this health power up, partly from playing the game it was in and part(ly) from my affinity for cake."

See also: 'Dark Cake'

Second chances

Games rarely get a second chance with me. If one rubs me the wrong way, it's quickly relegated to the back of my entertainment center.

That's not to say I never have a change of heart. Take the PC Engine version of New Zealand Story: I've never cared for the game, despite the fact that it's a cute-as-all-get-out platformer (one of my favorite genres).

Why? Well, for starters, I've always thought it looked a bit rough--especially when compared with Taito's other arcade classics of the same era, Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands. Second, its music and sound effects are, in my humble opinion, akin to an assault on the ears.

I don't have anything negative to say about New Zealand Story's gameplay--other than it can, at times, be a tad too difficult--but it doesn't really matter because the aforementioned niggles have been, until recently, more than enough to turn me off of the game.

So, what prompted me to give it another try a few weeks ago? I'm not entirely sure, although I think this review had something to do with it.

Now, I wouldn't go so far as to say that my second and subsequent experiences with the game have pushed me to start a New Zealand Story fan club or anything like that, but they have helped me see it for what it is--a quality, if not exactly high-caliber, PC Engine platformer.

Have any of you changed your opinion (in a positive way) of a game after giving it a second chance?

Note: This post originally appeared on my PC Engine-focused blog,

Thursday, September 30, 2010

It took two years and four months ...

... but I finally passed the 40-hour mark on Wii Fit Plus. My reward? A golden pig!

Sadly, I was pretty excited when the little sucker (squealer?) popped up on the screen.

Are any of you still using Wii Fit/Wii Fit Plus or am I, as I'm often led to believe, one of the few remaining Wii Fit aficionados?

Cee Lo's 'F**k You' (in the key of NES)

How do you improve upon Cee Lo's hit single, "F**k You"? Why, by giving it a chiptune makeover and rewriting its lyrics to make them game-centric, that's how.


So, not only does Kirby become enraged when he leaves Japan ...

... but he becomes, er, "engorged," too.

At least, that's the impression the following Kirby's Epic Yarn ad left on the guys over at

Speaking of Kirby's Epic Yarn, two new trailers for the game made their way onto the Web yesterday. This one is a rather extensive "overview" trailer, while this one includes a series of shorter (and less spoiler-filled) TV spots that focus on the Wii title's single-player mode.

Oh, and last but not least: The folks at Nintendo of Japan are prepping another Kirby adventure for the regular old DS. According to this NeoGAF thread, it'll be released sometime in 2011.

See also: 'Kirby the Yarn' and 'October 17'

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Be still my heart

I've wanted a PC Engine LT ever since I saw the sexy little laptop-esque system in the pages of an early issue of Diehard GameFan magazine.

So why haven't I bought one? Well, they're expensive. Really expensive. A recent eBay search, for instance, brought up auctions for three used, boxless systems, with the cheapest priced at $550 and the most expensive priced at $799.

A guy who calls himself dcmaster on Flickr recently acquired the PC Engine LT above for a bit less than that. In fact, said system--bought at a "car boot sale," whatever that is--set him back just £5 (approximately $6.75).

Assuming the thing works, I'm not sure whether I should pat this dcmaster fellow on the back (virtually, of course) or put a hex on him.

Note: This post originally appeared on my other (rarely udpated) gaming blog,

Forget about the 3DS ...

... I'm more interested in Rhythm Tengoku Wii, which was announced alongside the aforementioned, forthcoming system (and a slew of 3DS games) during the Nintendo Conference 2010 held in Japan earlier today.

Unfortunately, all that is known about this latest Rhythm Tengoku (aka Rhythm Paradise in Europe and Rhythm Heaven in the States) title is that it will hit the streets in Japan sometime in 2011.

Three screenshots--including the one below--of this sure-fire hit (in Japan, at least) can be viewed here, while a smidge of gameplay footage can be seen at the tail end of this video.

Those of you who are more interested in the 3DS, which will be released in Japan on Feb. 26 with a ¥25,000 (about $300--ouch!) price tag, should check out this post and this post on as well as this "introduction trailer" and this software trailer.

Buy: Rhythm Heaven or Rhythm Paradise

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fabulous flash game alert: Treadmillasaurus Rex

I know I've said this before, but I'm going to say it again: I rarely play PC games.

In fact, the only PC games I seem to play (and enjoy) these days are free-of-charge Flash games, like the previously blogged about (see below) Robot Unicorn Attack and Winterbells.

Well, I added another title to that (admittedly short) list a few minutes ago: Treadmillasaurus Rex.

Like the games mentioned above, this one, developed by 23-year-old John Cooney (aka jmtb02), is deceptively and deliciously simple. In fact, all you do is move the titular T-Rex back and forth--using the arrow or WASD keys on your keyboard--on a treadmill while avoiding--by jumping, again using the arrow/WASD keys--lasers, spikes and other such obstacles.

Sounds easy enough, right? It is--or, well, it would be if it weren't for the damn "Wheel of Awesome" that sits behind the treadmill, spins every few seconds and effects the gameplay in various ways (by moving the lasers closer together, for example, or by reversing or speeding up the treadmill).

I think it's a blast to play, but don't take my word for it; go give it a try the next time you have a few minutes (or hours) to spare. Just be ready to see the following screen with some frequency.

See also: 'Fabulous flash game alert: Robot Unicorn Attack' and 'Fabulous flash game alert: Winterbells'

Monday, September 27, 2010

Another day, another head-scratcher of an ad

Yesterday, I made fun of Microsoft's marketing folks for producing a trio of Kinect-focused TV spots that inelegantly and unimaginatively aped Nintendo's first Wii ads.

Today, being the equal-opportunity offender that I am, I'm going to make fun of Nintendo of America's marketing folks for producing the following Wii Party promo:

I don't know about you, but I have doubts that the ad above is going to prompt sexually frustrated teens across North America to run out and buy a copy of Nintendo's latest casual-friendly console title.

That said, I applaud the company's marketers for including an ample amount of gameplay footage in their ad--something that can't be said about the aforementioned Kinect ads.

No Kinect for you!

Well, the powers that be at Microsoft have pulled from YouTube the Kinect ads that were discussed in my last post. (Don't despair if you missed them; just imagine the following photo "enhanced" by lots of jittery, seizure-inducing effects.)

I'm not sure if they did it because they're hoping to surprise the masses with their amazing ads or because they decided the ads stunk. I'm guessing it's the former.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

It's déjà vu all over again

How are the marketing folks at Microsoft going to sell their company's soon-to-be-released Kinect peripheral to the masses? Based on the ads below, the answer to that question seems to be "by aping Nintendo's Wii commercials." (Oh, and "by barely showing any gameplay footage.")

Here, for instance, is an ad for Kinect Joy Ride:

And here is an ad for Kinect Sports:

After watching both of the above, I can't help but wonder how many so-called casual gamers are going to walk into their local Best Buy stores on Nov. 4 and ask for "that new, hands-free Wii controller."