Saturday, October 23, 2010

Looking to pick up a few imports?

If so, you should head over to tout de suite (right away), as the French like to say.

This Internet-based import shop is attempting to clear its shelves--likely for good, sadly--and as such everything is currently 30-50 percent off, depending on how many games you buy.

Anyway, a complete, up-to-date list of the store's stock of games (for pretty much every system under the sun) can be found here.

Happy shopping!

Friday, October 22, 2010

10 video games that made my life gayer (#5): Gunstar Heroes

I've never been much of a fan of run-and-gun games. You know, games like Contra, Ikari Warriors and Metal Slug.

In fact, the only run-and-gun game I've ever enjoyed is Treasure's Gunstar Heroes. I've enjoyed it a lot, though, so I guess that kind of makes up for my lack of love for the genre as a whole.

I can't imagine I'm alone in my admiration of this Genesis/Mega Drive classic, released in both Japan and North America in the autumn of 1993. After all, it's pretty darn accessible as far as side-scrolling shoot 'em ups are concerned, and it's also less realistic and violent than most of its genre cohorts.

That's not why Gunstar Heroes put a big, stupid grin on my face back in the day, though--and why it still does so today. No, for that I can thank the game's beautiful sprite work, creative level design, mind-boggling boss encounters and unique weapon system. Oh, and it has a wicked (in the good sense) soundtrack.

Was Gunstar Heroes my one chance at finding true love with the run-and-gun genre? I'm starting to think so. That's OK--as Alfred Lord Tennyson once said, "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."

See also: all of the previous '10 video games that made my life gayer' posts

No game has ever had, or will ever have, a better subtitle than ...

... Atlus' upcoming PSP side-scrolling action game, Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you. The subtitle of the second Prinny game, which will hit store shelves and PSN this January, actually includes the words "Dawn of Operation Panties."

Why? Well, as the titular Prinny, "your mission ... is to find the precious panties of Demon Lord Etna," according to the wackadoos at Atlus. "Yes, you have to search for Etna’s panties, or Etna ... will skin all Prinnies and make them into panties!"

I don't know about you, but this game just got added to my (ever-growing) "to buy" list.


Well, I'll be ...

I've been a fan of the Konami cute 'em up Parodius Da! for many years, but until a few minutes ago I didn't know that the game's omake (bonus) stage features a trio of secret bosses--all of which can be seen in the following video:

Of course, my lack of knowledge in this area likely stems from the fact that I absolutely suck at said omake stage.

See also: '10 video games that made my life gayer (#4): Parodius'

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Let's try this again ...

Remember how, about a month ago, I posted a pair of Kinect ads--which were promptly pulled from YouTube by the brass at Microsoft?

Well, new-and-supposedly-improved versions of those much-maligned ads have found their way back onto the Interwebs--and to my eyes they're just as uninspired as the previous batch.

Here, for instance, is the "new" Kinect Adventures! ad. And here's the "new" Kinect Sports (where's the exclamation point, Microsoft?) ad.

A third ad, which shows off the pricey peripheral's Minority Report-esque, gesture-and-voice controlled "dashboard," is more impressive, although I'm not sure that's saying much. (Watch it here.)

See also: 'It's déjà vu all over again' and 'No Kinect for you!' and 'This *almost* makes me want a Kinect'

Nintendo of America finally lets the (red) cat out of the bag

Although we've known for some time now that Nintendo's European and Japanese arms are going to release red DSi XLs and Wiis in their respective regions the next few weeks, we haven't heard a peep from the company's North American arm.

Until today, that is.

Yes, the red DSi XL and Wii systems you've been salivating over--don't try to deny it--since you saw this post will hit store shelves in the States on Nov. 7.

Strangely, the bundles that will be offered to North American gamers are going differ from those being offered to their European and Japanese brothers and sisters. The DSi XL bundle, for instance, will include a red DSi XL, a copy of Mario Kart DS and a trio of DSiWare titles (Brain Age Express: Math, Brain Age Express: Arts & Letters and a Photo Clock app) for $179.99. The Wii bundle, on the other hand, will include a red Wii (along with a red Wii Remote Plus and nunchuck attachment) and copies of New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Wii Sports for $199.

Unfortunately, it seems the North American Wii bundle won't include the special anniversary edition of Super Mario Bros. that will be pre-installed onto the systems that will hit the streets in Japan on Nov. 11. Nor will it include Donkey Kong: Original Edition (whatever that means), which will be preloaded onto the systems sold in Europe starting on Oct. 29.

Also, at this point it seems that the awesome Super Mario Bros. 25th Anniversary DSi system mentioned in this post will remain a Japan-only release, as neither Nintendo of America nor Nintendo of Europe mentioned it in their respective announcements.


10 video games that made my life gayer (#4): Parodius

I know what you're thinking: Wait, I thought he wasn't writing about games that literally made him gayer?

Although I can understand why you might feel that way, the truth of the matter is that I'm still writing about games that, at one point or another, made my life happier and merrier. (Yes, merrier.)

In the case of Parodius (aka Parodius Da!), well, it made my young life gayer (happier) in a few ways. For starters, it was the first game I imported from Japan (back when you had to do it the hard way--by calling someone on the phone and then giving the person on the other end of the line your dad's credit card number). Second, and more importantly, it was the first shoot 'em up I really savored.

Sure, I'd played--and rather enjoyed--Gradius and R-Type and other well-regarded representatives of the genre, but they always felt a bit too serious and sterile. Parodius, on the other hand, slathered itself in silliness and absurdity.

Anyway, the game had me hook, line and sinker from the second I hit the power button on my trusty TurboGrafx-16 thanks to its silliness as well as its strange intro (see screenshot at right), insane(ly sweet) graphics and incredible tunes. Oh, and it didn't hurt that it was addictive and enjoyable and offered just the right amount challenge, too.

All that said, I wouldn't suggest picking this one up if you're a Parodius virgin, as each of its successors--especially Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius (available for the Super Famicom, Saturn, PlayStation and PSP) and Sexy Parodius (available for the Saturn, PlayStation and PSP)--best it in practically every area.

See also: all of the previous '10 video games that made my life gayer' posts

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Up, down, up, down, chu, chu, chu!

According to the crew at, PS3 and Xbox 360 owners can expect a "re-mastered" version of Sega's Space Channel 5 Part 2 to show up on PSN and XBLA sometime new year.

Why isn't the company starting with Ulala's first face-off with the Morolians? Well, unlike the ones that were featured in its fully polygonal sequel, the backgrounds in the original Space Channel 5 were made up of (poorly compressed) pre-rendered videos--which would have to be re-rendered if the game is to be properly displayed in 720p.

That said, Space Channel 5 Part 2 (watch the game's first "battle" here) is considered by many fans to be the better of the two Tetsuya Mizuguchi-developed games, so maybe it's best that the folks at Sega are concentrating on the sequel at the moment.

Buy: Space Channel 5 (Special Edition)

Is this an awesome cover or what?

While writing up today's "10 video games that made my life gayer" post, I came across the following box art, which graced the cover of the Japanese Mega Drive version of Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair.

I'm sure some of you will say it's scary, but I think it's awesome. Of course, I've always had a soft spot for the PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 version of the game, so I'm hardly unbiased on this subject.

10 video games that made my life gayer (#3): Ys Book I & II

Would it surprise you if I said that Monster Lair, and not the great Ys Book I & II, was the game that sold me on the TurboGrafx-16 CD-ROM attachment back in the day?

Well, it's the truth, shocking as it may sound.

That's not to say Ys Book I & II didn't jump to the top of my "to buy" list as soon as I laid eyes on it. Honestly, how could it not--what with its amazing (at the time) animated cutscenes and Red Book audio, both of which were unheard of in the (console) gaming world until the PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 CD-ROM attachment was introduced?

Although I find the game unplayable today--those bump-into-your-enemies battles were acceptable back in the day, but today they're the definition of boring--I was pretty fond of it in 1990. Granted, I think I was a bit blinded by the game's superficial sheen (i.e., the above-mentioned animations and audio), but it's not like it was behind the RPG curve in terms of gameplay when it came out. (For comparison's sake, the seminal Final Fantasy II/IV wasn't released until the following year.)

Anyway, none of that is important at the moment. What is important is that Ys Book I & II, like Final Fantasy before it, solidified my interest in the RPG genre--something for which I'll always be grateful.

Note: In this post, and in all subsequent '10 video games that made my life gayer' posts, gayer is used in the old-fashioned sense, as in happier or merrier.

See also: '10 video games that made my life gayer (#1: Bubble Bobble) and (#2: Final Fantasy)'

'Battle horrible monsters and their menacing minions'

When I first watched the following trailer--the latest for Double Fine's Costume Quest, which is now available on PSN and XBLA--I thought the narrator said "mincing," rather than "menacing," minions.

As such, I was a bit disappointed when the game's baddies appeared neither dainty nor delicate.

Oh, well, I'm still interested in this Halloween-focused RPG--despite the fact that I don't (yet) own a PS3 or an Xbox 360.

See also: 'After this, I hope the folks at Double Fine develop a game about Christmas'

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

RE: 10 video games that made my life gayer

Well, it seems I've stumped a few of you with the "10 video games that made my life gayer" series that I started yesterday. (Here's the first one and here's the second.) Specifically, my use of the word gayer seems to have stumped a few of you. Sorry about that.

I probably should have started the first post in the series with this disclaimer: "In this post, and in all subsequent '10 video games that made my life gayer' posts, gayer will be used in the old-fashioned sense, as in happier or merrier."

Actually, I considered doing just that early on, but it seemed so awkward; I'd much rather get right to the meat of the post. That said, I think I'll put the above-mentioned disclaimer at the end of each of these posts from now on.

(By the way, as I mentioned in a recent comment, I'd definitely be up for writing a few posts about video games that literally made me gayer--i.e., more homosexual--but I'm not entirely sure at this point which games would be included in such a series.)

Oprah pushes Kinect, audience explodes

Unfortunately, they didn't literally explode.

Will this tactic prompt soccer moms across the country to run out and pick up a Kinect (and, presumably, an Xbox 360) when the peripheral hits store shelves on Nov. 4? I highly doubt it, but you never know--the Power of OprahTM has helped sell stinkier turds in the past.

(By the way, a better version of the video above can be viewed here.)

Pre-order: Kinect Sensor with Kinect Adventures!

10 video games that made my life gayer (#2): Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy wasn't the first RPG I ever played, but it was the first RPG I enjoyed.

Although I played through Dragon Warrior shortly after it was released in the States--all the way back in 1989--I didn't fall head over heels in love with the RPG genre until I worked my way through the formidable Final Fantasy about a year later.

I can't remember exactly what it was about the latter game that prompted that change of heart, but I have a feeling its visible party members--not to mention visible spells and weapons--had something to do with it. (I've always been a sucker for such superficialities.) The title's deeper, more engaging story--compared to Dragon Quest and other RPGs of the time, at least--and eternally memorable tunes (such as this nasty little earworm) likely played a role, too.

All of those features and then some bring me back to the original NES version of Final Fantasy--I'm not a big fan of the GBA, PSone or PSP remakes--on an annual basis, despite the fact that the game is, as many critics and gamers proclaim (and complain), archaically clunky.

Even if I didn't regularly respond to Final Fantasy's siren call, though, it would have earned a place on this list--and in my heart--simply because it's the game that turned me into a lifelong RPG fan(atic).

See also: '10 video games that made my life gayer (#1): Bubble Bobble'

16 + 63 = 1,000?

The equation above makes sense when you realize the 16 stands for the good ol' TurboGrafx-16 system, the 63 stands for the number of TurboChip (aka HuCard) games being sold in this craigslist ad and the 1,000 stands for the amount of money you'll have to fork over for the whole shebang--a TurboGrafx-16 system plus the 63 aforementioned games--to be yours.

By the way, a number of those 63 games are absolute winners, including (but not limited to) Air Zonk, Alien Crush, Blazing Lazers, the first two Bonk titles, Legendary Axe, Military Madness and Splatterhouse. A few of them aren't complete (i.e., they're missing a manual and/or a case), but it's still a pretty good deal--if you have 1,000 bucks to blow.


Monday, October 18, 2010

'A totally terrific tribute to Taito'

While scouring the web for Bubble Bobble screenshots yesterday (that's when I wrote my inaugural '10 video games that made my life gayer' post), I came across "a totally terrific tribute to Taito."

The site caught my attention because, as its name suggests, it doesn't just cover Bubble Bobble but (almost) all of Taito's arcade hits (and a few misses, too) from the '70s, '80s and '90s--including Liquid Kids (aka Mizubaku Daibouken), The New Zealand Story and Rainbow Islands.

Another reason the site stopped me in my tracks: It introduced me to a Taito-developed game--The Fairyland Story--that, until yesterday, I'd never heard of. (I just played it via MAME--yes, I'm a dirty pirate--and found it pretty enjoyable, even if it doesn't exactly hold a candle to similar games that followed it, like Bubble Bobble and Don Doko Don.)

Anyway, I recommend checking out the site if you're at all interested in classic arcade games.

10 video games that made my life gayer (#1): Bubble Bobble

I have a distinct--and rather fond--childhood memory of regularly running down to my hometown bowling alley to play a few rounds (or more) of Bubble Bobble.

Sure, said bowling alley sported a number of newer, more graphically impressive arcade games that I could have blown my allowance on, but for various reasons I almost always fed my handful of quarters to the establishment's beat-up Bubble Bobble machine instead.

Why? Well, it starred a so-cute-it-was-sick green dinosaur, for starters. Also, that dinosaur blew bubbles--and then used those bubbles to encapsulate the game's similarly cute-as-buttons enemies. Sealing the deal was that, when defeated, those formerly encapsulated enemies would transform into anything and everything edible--including bananas, cakes, martinis and sushi. (I've been a bit obsessed with such things ever since my first experience with Tōru Iwatani's fruit-gobbling Pac-Man.)

Bubble Bobble had more going for it than charming visuals, of course. It also had catchy tunes and tight controls. (The latter being a necessity given the game's challenging nature.)

For me, though, all of the above-mentioned "features" pale in comparison to the warm-and-fuzzy feeling of nostalgia that washes over me as soon as the game's start-up jingle begins to play.

See also: 'Bookmark this site, too (101videogames.'

Sunday, October 17, 2010

This is what I thought I was getting when I bought an NES

Actually, that's not true. By the time I bought an NES, I knew I was getting that iconic gray box (and a copy of Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt). For some time before that, though, I thought I was getting this:

By the way, the "M82 Demo Kiosk" in the video above is being sold via eBay. (Here's a link to the auction.) The current bid, with about two days to go, is $2,000.

Yeah, I think I'll stick to playing NES games on my Wii.