Saturday, December 25, 2010

One last time: Happy holidays!

The message above isn't from me, by the way; It's from Santa Mario (below).

Sorry, I've had too much spiked egg nog. Anyway, I hope you're all having a wonderful Christmas day/weekend!

Early impressions: Donkey Kong Country Returns

So, I just played through (most of) Donkey Kong Country Returns' first world. My initial impressions: It's GORGEOUS! Oh, and it controls like a dream.

The latter is important because I can tell, even at this early stage, that the game is going to be tough. I've already died quite a few times and I've also had more than a few sweaty-palm moments.

Is it going to elbow Kirby's Epic Yarn out of the way and become my favorite Wii game of 2010? It's too early to say, although I'm pretty sure it's going to give it a run for its money.

Well, there goes the holiday weekend ...

The husband and I opened half of our Christmas gifts last night--and two of mine were games! Here's one of them:

Don't worry, I didn't have my parents buy me the Japanese version of Donkey Kong Country Returns; I just used the Japanese cover art here because I like its green accents.

Unfortunately, I already own the second game I received as a gift: Art Academy. I think I'm going to exchange it for Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light--or maybe Mario vs. Donkey Kong Mini-Land Mayhem!

Was Santa good to all of you? I sure hope so! Let me know if you got any game-related gifts, OK?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Seaman

Get your mind out of the gutter; I'm talking about the limited edition Dreamcast game, which was released (alongside a red, Seaman-branded Dreamcast system) just before Christmas in 1999.

Although I have never before played Sega's strange "virtual pet" game, the holiday-themed box art below (and the alternate box art that can be seen here) is making me wish I had.

Maybe I'll pick up a copy of the North American version of the title after my Famicom and PC Engine obsessions have subsided.


The 12 Days of Famicom

Are you sitting around twiddling your thumbs today? If so, here's a suggestion: Head over to and check out the site's "12 Days of Famicom" posts.

These posts cover a wide range of Famicom-related (obviously) releases and topics, from the Family BASIC add-on to promotional Famicom Disk System titles (All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros. specifically) to Punch-Out!! Special (swoon).

I've read each entry about five times already, so I'll be spending my day doing something else--like scanning the catalog at

Thursday, December 23, 2010

'A Very Busy Christmas'

Deviantartist luce-in-the-sky recently produced the following Final Fantasy Tactics Advance-inspired illustration in order to wish her followers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I'd like to do the same thing by linking to her wonderfully charming image, even though we're still a few days away from the former and over a week away from the latter.

I may have to borrow (steal) this idea next year

One of my favorite gaming bloggers, Sean over at Famicomblog, recently wrote a post titled "Merry F'ing Christmas"--with the "F" standing not for everyone's favorite four-letter word but for "Famicom."

The focus of Sean's holiday-themed post: His Famicom-decorated Christmas tree (below).

The inclusion of Konami's Antarctic Adventure seems especially appropriate, don't you think?

Go here to see more of Sean's Christmas-y craziness.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Oh Christmas NiGHTS, Oh Christmas NiGHTS

A week or so ago I lamented the complete lack of good Christmas-based games. Well, I just thought of one: Sega's Christmas NiGHTS.

Sure, the title wasn't available in stores--it was included as part of a Christmas Saturn bundle in Japan, while it was given away with copies of Game Players, Next Generation and Sega Saturn magazines in the U.S. and in Europe--and it contained just two stages, but it's still a Christmas-themed game (and a mighty fun one, at that).

Sadly, I no longer own a copy of the game. I obtained one a long time ago--after buying an issue of Next Generation magazine, in fact--but I (regrettably) sold it a few years ago when I (also regrettably) got rid of my gray Saturn system.

Oh, well, at least I can relive the festive experience while watching YouTube videos like the one above.

'Hot Bubbles'

I've seen a lot of awesome Piranha Plant fan art over the years, but the following image--produced by mirror-reflex--may be the best of the bunch:

The design above is in the running to become a t-shirt, by the way. Vote for it here (within the next six days) if you like it enough to buy it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I think I'm in love (again)

How many times have I used the headline above on a blog post? I'll bet the number is pretty high. Sorry about that. Sometimes I just can't help myself, you know?

Anyway, that's beside the point. What is the point? Well, I'm in love (in a platonic kind of way) with the plushies produced by deviantartist misscoffee.

I mean, just look at this eight-inch-tall "Mega Game Boy" plushie:

And then there's this so-cute-I-could-puke Link plushie:

Her "Toast Mario" plushies are pretty damn nauseating (in a good way), too.

It looks like this 25-year-old textile artist takes on commissions from time to time, so maybe I'll hire her to make me a Rydia plushie at some point.

Yet another reason to be envious of iPhone owners

iPad (I think), iPhone and iPod Touch owners the world over gained access to what seems to be a great new app yesterday: Hudson's PC Engine Game Box (aka TurboGrafx Game Box in the States).

This free app, which comes with a copy of World Sports Competition, serves as a portal for PC Engine games, a number of which--Bonk's Adventure, Bomberman '94, Dungeon Explorer, Military Madness and Ninja Spirit among them--could/should be considered classics.

Each title costs $2.99, although a daily "featured game" can be sampled, free of charge, for three minutes.

(Via and

Don't you hate it when a sequel is announced before you've had a chance to buy the original?

I sure do.

As such, I was a bit bummed when I read (here) that the dedicated staff at Nippon Ichi Software are busy prepping a sequel to Classic Dungeon: Fuyoku no Masoujin (ClaDun: This is an RPG in the States).

Apparently, Classic Dungeon 2 will feature more job classes, more magic and, most importantly, more loot. (I love loot, don't you?)

I guess this means I should buy the original sooner rather than later--especially if I want the sequel to show up on our shores.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Eh, who turns to Entertainment Weekly for game reviews anyway?

In case you haven't heard already, the fine folks at Entertainment Weekly recently turned a critical eye toward the games that were released in 2010--and ended up calling Kirby's Epic Yarn the year's biggest clunker.

Specifically, the magazine's Jeff Jensen complained that "there's a fine line between cute and grating, delightfully busy and irritatingly overwhelming--and for me, this hyperactively adorable side-scrolling puzzler crosses it."

     How can a game that has players unravel an octopus' knit cap be called the worst of the year?

Interestingly, EW gave the game a B+ shortly after its release and wrote that it is "likely the most adorable game ever. Yes, it's kinda easy, but you'll never stop smiling."


I have just one issue with this trailer ...

... and it appears around the 1:26 mark.

I don't know about you, but that CG Palom scares the crap out of me.

Other than that, though, I give this trailer--for the upcoming PSP compilation, Final Fantasy IV Complete Collection--a big ol' thumbs up.

Now I just need the folks at Square-Enix to announce its North American release.


See also: 'Looks like I'll be buying Final Fantasy IV once again'