Friday, November 19, 2010

Recent additions to my blogroll

I added three more sites to my blogroll today (see "other great sites for gay gamers" along the right side of the screen) and thought I should mention them here so they aren't completely overlooked.

The Border House--This blog, headed up by social-game producer Tami Baribeau, "celebrates diversity in gaming from a wide variety of cultural angles." For instance, it aims to be a friendly, welcoming space for LGBT folk, people of color, people with disabilities, women and "any other marginalized group"--as well as their allies.

Radiator Design Band--This blog features the musings of Robert Yang, an MFA student studying design and technology at Parsons, The New School for Design. If Yang's name sounds familiar, it's probably because he made headlines last year for his Half-Life 2 mod series, “Radiator,” which deals with (so-called) gay marriage and divorce.

Vorpal Bunny Ranch--Denis Farr, the guy behind this particular blog, also writes for and, surprise, the above-mentioned Border House. Interestingly, his and Baribeau's blogs have similar raisons d'être, with Vorpal Bunny Ranch focusing on video games as well as "gender, sexuality, race, and all those other parts of intertextuality."

Be sure to check them out when you have a few minutes (or hours, if you're like me). Also, feel free to let me know of your favorite gaming (gay or not) blogs or sites.

You know you want it: i-dong

Why waste your money buying Sony's Wii-esque Move controller or Microsoft's Kinect peripheral when you can have the best of both worlds (or not) for the low price of just $222?

That's all Chinese gamers will have to spend on the recently announced--and demoed, at the China Hi-Tech Fair that's currently taking place in Shenzhen, China--"i-dong" system. (Unfortunately, it doesn't yet have a release date.)

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you--the powers that be at Taishan Online Technology Co Ltd. actually gave their "motion controller system" a name that's more, er, phallic than "Wii." (An added bonus: The system's controller, right, looks like a sex toy if you squint a bit.)

As for how the whole thing works, well, it sounds like the Move-ish controller detects and reflects the infrared light that's sent out by the Kinect-esque sensor unit (which has to be connected to a PC or a set-top box), all of which allows users to play games or otherwise interact with their TVs.

(Via, by way of

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Super Mario Extravaganza!

According to the most recent "Iwata Asks" interviews (part one can be read here, while part two can be read here), that's what the developers responsible for Super Mario All-Stars--Super Mario Collection in Japan--first called their 16-bit Mario anthology.

It's really too bad they didn't stick with Super Mario Extravaganza! (Note: I took it upon myself to add an exclamation point to the end of the title.)

I mean, they could have promoted it with commercials showing Mario and his cohorts doing jazz hands while the athletic theme from Super Mario Bros. 3 played in the background. Can you imagine anything cooler than that? I sure can't.


'Pac-Man Week' continues with ...

... the funniest Pac-Man-related video I've ever seen.

This video was produced by famous French prankster Rémi Gaillard, by the way.

(Thanks to NeoGAFfer cjrocksforever for making me aware of this year-and-a-half-old video.)

Super Mario Bros. 2 is my favorite of the 8-bit Marios. There, I said it...

Most old-school gamers, if asked, name Super Mario Bros. 3 as their favorite of the mustachioed plumber's 8-bit outings. Not me.

Don't get me wrong, I think Super Mario Bros. 3 is a swell game--more than swell, actually--but if I was forced at gunpoint--hey, it could happen--to choose between it and the game that we in the Western world know as Super Mario Bros. 2 (in Japan they call it Super Mario Bros. USA, in case you haven't heard), I would, with just a smidge of hesitation, go with the latter.

Why? Well, I love its graphical style, for starters. Everything just looks, I don't know, softer in this game than it does in its predecessor and successor.

Other things I love about this rather awesome (in my opinion, of course) Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic re-imagining:

* For the first and only time in a mainline Mario game, you can choose to play as Peach and Toad as well as Mario and Luigi. (I almost always go with Peach, by the way. What a shocker, right?)

* Any and all of the aforementioned characters can pluck stuff--turnips and other veggies, mainly--from the ground and throw it at the game's many enemies.

* It introduced a number of inventive and imaginative characters--including Birdo, Bob-omb, Shy Guy and Snifit--into the Mario canon.

There are many additional reasons to love this, er, dreamy platformer, of course, but those mentioned above are the ones that keep me coming back to it time and time again (often at the expense of its predecessor and successor).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hey, Namco: When are you going to make a *Ms.* Pac-Man Championship Edition?

To say I'm chomping at the bit (pun intended) to play the recently released (if you own an Xbox 360--PS3 owners will be able to download the game next week) Pac-Man Championship Edition DX is an understatement of unfathomable proportions.

Unfortunately, I don't yet have an Xbox 360 or a PS3, so all I can do for the time being is watch, over and over again, this (second) trailer the game:

All that said, as much as Pac-Man Championship Edition DX causes me to tingle from head to toe (it does!), I can't help but hope that the folks at Namco eventually get around to making a Ms. Pac-Man Championship Edition.

'Honey, dontcha know, I'm more than Pac-Man with a bow!'

Did you know that Ms. Pac-Man sounds a lot like the late Ethel Merman? Well, she does. Or, she did in the following TV ad for the Atari 2600 version of Namco's arcade classic. (Ms. Pac-Merman doesn't appear until the 20-second mark, by the way.)


I don't get the hate for the Famicom/NES version of Donkey Kong

Late last week, I, along with a number of other gaming bloggers and writers, pointed out a video of the as-of-now-Europe-only Donkey Kong: Original Edition, an updated--to include the cement/pie factory level and a few (also previously MIA) intermission animations--NES version of Nintendo's arcade classic. (Here's my post about the game, in case you missed it.)

That news caused quite a bit of chatter on the Internet, with most of it being negative. The following par-for-the-course comment, for instance, was posted on in response to that site's coverage of the video: "It's bizarre that they bothered adding to the crappy NES port."

I have to say, I completely disagree with the opinion that the NES version of Donkey Kong is "crappy." Sure, it's not "arcade perfect"--it's missing an entire stage and a few intermission animations--but other than that it's remarkably faithful to its forefather, especially given its age.

As such, I think it's kind of cool that the brass at Nintendo decided to add some of the missing elements back into their 8-bit port of the game. I hope they eventually give it a wider release, though; it would be a crying shame if the only folks who get to experience it are those who pony up for a Wii bundle that's currently only available in Europe.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Speaking of Ice Climber ...

... I came across the following flyer while searching for some art that could accompany my previous post.

It's a bit crazy, no?

I'm particularly fond of the "Haf! Haf!" that seems to be coming from the mouth of the Eskimo in the pink parka. I mean, what in the hell is that supposed to mean?


Why I'm not yeti a fan of Ice Climber (har har)

This past weekend I surprised myself by spending a bit of quality time with a game I hadn't played in years: Ice Climber.

I didn't own this Kenji Miki-designed game as a youngster, but I definitely rented it once or twice. Unfortunately, I can't remember whether I liked it or not. If I had to guess, though, I'd say I was a bit torn about it. After all, I obviously liked it enough to rent it a few times but not enough to actually buy it.

Well, that still pretty much sums up how I feel about Ice Climber after playing it again a few days ago.

On the one hand, there's a lot to love about this antique platformer, what with its bright and charming graphics and jazzy soundtrack. On the other, there's plenty to hate about it, too--like its horrendous, Mario Bros.-esque jumping mechanism.

Unfortunately, said mechanism all but kills my ability to enjoy the game. I say "all but" because, despite the fact that the above-mentioned shortcoming causes me to swear like a sailor every time I play the game, I keep going back to it like a moth to a flame.

The question is: Is my undeterred interest in the game due to its redeeming-despite-its-difficulty qualities or is it, quite simply, due to the fact that I'm a masochist?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Consider me a fan of Mr. Terry Fan

You remember this piece of Pac-Man-inspired art, right? Well, I just found out that it's the second in a three-part series, with the following--titled "Midnight Snack"--being the first:

Artist Terry Fan (aka igo2cairo on Flickr and threadless) has yet to say when the third and final piece in the series will appear, but here's hoping it happens sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, check out the prints--including both "Midnight Snack" and "Haunted by the 80's"--he's selling (for $25 each) at