Saturday, January 01, 2011

The best 16-bit RPG you've never played, eh?

That's what one person over on is calling Pier Solar, a Genesis/Mega Drive RPG (recently) created by a team of coders that go by the name of WaterMelon Development.

According to the game's official website, it began life (in 2004) as a homebrew mini-game. Eventually, its developers decided to turn it into a full-fledged RPG in the vein of Chrono TriggerFinal Fantasy VI and Phantasy Star IV.

Another likely source of inspiration: Game Arts' Lunar series, as evidenced in the following video (especially the battle scene, which begins around the 4:45 mark):

Copies of Pier Solar can be pre-ordered here for $45. (Check out this discussion thread at for more information on this intriguing game.)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sounds about right to me

I can't tell if the guys at created the following image or if it was created by someone else (you can't always tell with tumblelogs), but it doesn't really matter.

What matters is that, for the most part, I agree with it. (I'd agree with it more if it were titled, "How straight male video-game makers design characters.")

(Via by way of

'Amazeing Sunset'

Another great Pac-Man-inspired t-shirt design is up for a vote on, thanks to Minneapolis-based artist and graphic designer Phil Jones (aka murraymullet).

The (rather apropos, if you ask me) name of Jones' design: "Amazeing Sunset."

I really like the design's decidedly retro, 1970s-ish feel. If you feel the same way (or even if you don't), vote on it here.


What I'm looking forward to in 2011

Well, 2011 is nearly upon us. With that in mind, I've decided to jot down (digitally, of course) the gaming-related things I'm most looking forward to--or hoping for, in some cases--in the new year.


* The worldwide release of the 3DS system.
* An announcement that Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI remakes are being developed for the system.
* Information (via screenshots, video, etc.) that suggests the folks at Nintendo have (wisely) decided against making the characters in Animal Crossing 3DS more realistically proportioned.


* A European and North American release of Professor Layton and the Specter's Flute (aka Professor Layton and the Flute of Malevolent Destiny).
* The European release of Inazuma Eleven.


* A North American release of Final Fantasy IV Complete Collection.
* A North American UMD release of ClaDun 2--with the first ClaDun, previously a PSN-only title in the States, included as a bonus (à la What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord!? 2).
* The release of the PSP Minis version of Pac-Man: Championship Edition.


* A price drop of the basic PS3 system to $199.

Xbox 360:

* A price drop of the Xbox 360 "Arcade" system to $149.


* The release of the first screenshots of Dragon Quest X. 
* The Japanese release of Rhythm Heaven Wii.
* A North American release of Xenoblade. (Hey, a guy can dream.)

What games, systems, etc., are you looking forward to in 2011?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Let's Play: 'Which Box Art is Better?' (Scribblenauts edition)

North American gamers with a penchant for puzzlers should be well aware of the following piece of art, which graced the cover of 5th Cell's Scribblenauts when it arrived on store shelves late last year.

When the game finally hits the streets in Japan early next year, it'll feature not just a revamped title--Hirameki Puzzle Maxwell no Fushigi na Note--but revamped cover art (below) as well.

As nice as the North American art is, I much prefer its Japanese counterpart--which, in my opinion, is both cuter and more creative than the original.

What do you guys and gals think?

(Japanese box art via

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Let's Play: 'Which Box Art is Better?' (Inazuma Eleven edition)

It's been a long time since we've played this little game, hasn't it? To tell you the truth, we probably wouldn't be playing it now if my last post hadn't prompted me to look up Inazuma Eleven's European and Japanese box art.

Speaking of which, the art that will grace the cover of this soccer RPG's European box (when it's released on Jan. 28) is below:

And this is the box art that accompanied the game's Japanese release in late 2008:

Which one do you prefer?

Honestly, I'm a bit torn. I'd go with the Euro art if I were forced at gunpoint to choose one over the other, mainly because I think it's more successful at getting the point across that the game is a soccer-focused RPG, but I have to admit that I also like how dynamic the Japanese art is.

See also: All previous entries in the 'Let's Play: Which Box Art is Better?' series

I completely forgot about this game

Apparently the brass at Nintendo of America have forgotten about Inazuma Eleven as well. After all, although this SRPG--which in this case is short for "soccer role-playing game", not "strategy role-playing game"--was released in Japan in late 2008 and will be released in Europe on Jan. 28, it has yet to appear on Nintendo of America's release schedule.

As much as I'd like to buy a proper North American version of this game, I'm more than prepared to import it from Europe (via, for instance) should the need arise--especially after watching the (French) trailer above.

A pixelated present

My sister-in-law, Jan Schowengerdt, made me and my husband (her brother, duh) the following painting--which she calls "Digital Cherries," appropriately enough--for Christmas:

At first I thought she had pulled a sprite from Mickey Mousecapade, à la Ashley Anderson, but it seems that's not the case. Rather, she found an image of two cherries on line, altered it, pixelated it and then used it as a reference while she recreated it (using acrylic paint) on a pencil-drawn grid.

Anyway, isn't it cool? We're going to hang it in our kitchen as soon as my husband can get around to it. (He's handy like that.)

Go here (and here) for a clearer and closer look at these "Digital Cherries."

Monday, December 27, 2010

You can handle one more holiday-themed post, right?

Thanks to reader Starfighter for pointing out the following Christmas tree, which apparently resides (or resided) in a home owned by a PC Engine or TurboGrafx-16 fan.

Now that we have a Famicom-inspired tree (see this post) and a PC-Engine-inspired tree, all we need is some sort of Sega-inspired tree to complete the trifecta.

Is that a banana in your pocket, Elza, or are you just happy to see me?

Mistwalker's Hironobu Sakaguchi showed off his soon-to-be-released Wii RPG, The Last Story, during a special presentation (in Japan) earlier today.

The best part of said presentation: Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy series, showed how players will be able to strip their on-screen counterparts down to their skivvies.

Below, for instance, is the game's buff protagonist, Elza, sporting nothing but a pair of square-cut briefs:

Should I pick up The Last Story (assuming it's released in the States, of course), I'll probably force Elza to traipse around Ruli City, the game's only town, in his tighty whities--or, in this case, tighty olivies--for at least a little while.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boomerang or sword?

You know that Zelda prototype mentioned in my last post? Well, unfortunately it isn't the version that gives players the option of beginning the game with either the boomerang or the sword.

Does such a build exist? Probably--or at least it did at some point. After all, it was mentioned in the instruction manual (see first screenshot below) that accompanied the North American version of the game.

With any luck, that build of The Legend of Zelda will be the next to leak.

See also: 'It's a secret to everyone'

It's a secret to everyone

Attention Zelda fans: The folks over at The Cutting Room Floor and Lost Levels have unearthed an early build of Link's very first adventure.

How does this prototype differ from the version of The Legend of Zelda that hit store shelves in 1986 (in Japan) and 1987 (everywhere else)? Well, it features altered sprites, different room layouts, new music and a few bugs and glitches.

Oh, and it's easier, too. The dungeons in this build tend to include an easier selection of enemies than in the final one, for instance, and rupies are easier to obtain.

Go here to learn more about--and download the FDS image of--this most fabulous of Christmas gifts. (It was revealed in the Lost Levels forums yesterday.)