Saturday, January 08, 2011

That's some sexy box art

Don't quote me on this, but I believe the following piece of art will be featured, in some form or fashion, on the cover of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D when it's released this spring.

I also like the looks of the box art that's being prepped for two of Nintendo's other early-ish 3DS releases: Kid Icarus Uprising and Pilotwings Resort. (See both box arts, and many others, here.)

If you're at all interested in the 3DS--and who isn't?--may I suggest checking out and (Oh, and check out this Kid Icarus Uprising video, too.)

Want to watch Japanese pretty boys play with the Nintendo 3DS?

If so, watch the "CM" videos that were uploaded to Nintendo of Japan's website last night. (Here.)

Granted, it's possible you won't find all (or any) of the guys in the videos "pretty." (The second one from the left in the photo below looks a bit lesbian-ish to me, for instance. Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

Regardless, I believe these "boys" are Japanese celebrities, but I couldn't tell you their names or why they're famous.

If you'd rather watch a video that, you know, actually shows (some) of what Nintendo's upcoming portable system is capable of, watch the video at the bottom of the same web page.

Scratch that, I caved and picked up Angry Birds

I couldn't help myself. It was just sitting there, staring at me from the Mac App Store. I've only played a few levels thus far, but already I can see why everyone's atwitter about it.

Still, I'd love to give that lonely little app a bit of company on my rather deserted desktop by buying, sooner rather than later, a Mac port of Game Dev Story, too. 

Speaking of Game Dev Story, I just read that developer Kairosoft recently announced that Game Dev Story 2 will come to the States eventually--although fans shouldn't expect it to appear on any of Apple's App Stores anytime soon. (Read about it here.) Oh, and apparently the company also is prepping a similar title that places players in the shoes of a game store manager. (Read about that game here.)

Finally, another game I'd love to see on the Mac App Store is Electro Master. I have no idea how it plays, but I don't really care because: 1) it has a blocky, retro look and 2) it includes fruit! (See the grapes in the screenshot above.)

Friday, January 07, 2011

Let me know when Game Dev Story is added to the Mac App Store, will ya?

Sure, I could drop $4.99 Angry Birds or the original version of Pac-Man (as opposed to Pac-Man: Championship Edition), but I'd rather save my hard-earned cash for something I really want--like Game Dev Story.

For those of you who have never heard of this Kairosoft-developed title, it lets you manage a game company as it attempts to create a million-selling game.

Players get to create said company's game console, develop an array of games (including "dance RPGs" and "ogre racing" titles, according to this hilarious Wired article), hire/fire employees and more--although not necessarily in that order, of course.

Anyway, it should go without saying that if Game Dev Story were available on the Mac App Store it would be sitting on my desktop already. Here's to hoping that happens sooner rather than later.

I can't believe this game hasn't sold a billion copies

Considering the gloomy economic and employment news that continues to dominate the airwaves in the U.S., you'd think a game called Everybody's Stress Buster would be a big hit among American PSP owners.

Of course, for that to happen the game would have to be called Everybody's Stress Buster (it is known as Minna no Sukkiri, or Everybody's Refreshment, in Japan, although the Asian version is called Everybody's Stress Buster). Oh, and American PSP owners would have to know it exists.

Unfortunately, someone at Sony Computer Entertainment America seemingly made sure neither of the above came to pass--as the game, rechristened Hot Shots Shortes, was chopped up (into four, three-game "packs") and unceremoniously dumped onto the PlayStation Store yesterday.

That's too bad, because this Clap Hanz-developed title seems pretty darn fun.(Here's a trailer for the UK version.) I especially like the looks of the Dynasty Warriors-ish "Counter Crusader" and the Katamari Damacy-esque "Vacuum Dash" mini-games.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

'Tactical SMT Tower-Climbing Action Game'

That's what a commenter on YouTube called Atlus' perverted--in a good way--puzzler-platformer Catherine after watching the game's latest trailer. (Check it out here if you haven't already done so.)

Why am I posting that here? Well, it made me chuckle. Isn't that enough?

For more on this upcoming PS3 and Xbox 360 release, read one of the many Catherine-related posts over at (Or read my previous posts about the game.)

Not sure if want: Atlus' Catherine

I've had my eye on Atlus' Catherine, which will be released (in Japan) for the PS3 and Xbox 360 on Feb. 17, since it was announced last fall.

Until yesterday, though, I didn't have a clue as to how the game would play. Now that I do have a clue--thanks to the trailer below--I'm not sure if I should keep Catherine, which was developed by Atlus' Persona team, on my "to buy" list (you know, after I finally pick up a PS3 or Xbox 360) or if I should move it to my "avoid unless you're forced at gunpoint to buy it" list.

See also: 'And this week's 'WTF is this?' award goes to ...' and 'Will either of these box covers leave Japan?'

Calling all PC Engine fans

Issue three of PC Engine Gamer magazine is now on line. (Actually, it's been on line since Dec. 2, but that's neither here nor there.)

As you can probably tell by looking at its cover (below), this issue features an in-depth review of NEC Avenue's port of Sega's popular quarter-muncher, Out Run.

It also includes, among other articles, a review of Data East's Override (a vertical shoot 'em up I've never heard of before now), an interview with homebrewer Aetherbyte and a hilarious "Final Countdown" column that discusses the 10 best shopkeepers in all of PC Engine-dom.

Not a PC Engine fan? Check it out anyway (here) for the mini-reviews of Granada (Genesis), Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! (NES) and Super Adventure Island (SNES).

See also: Issues one and two of PC Engine Gamer

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Zeke and his water gun

Full disclosure: My best friend and I played a lot of (the SNES version of) Zombies Ate My Neighbors back in the day.

I'm not sure why that requires a "full disclosure" disclosure, but sometimes it's better to be safe than sorry.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand: LucasArts' Zombies Ate My Neighbors. I love this game! Which is why I also love the following illustrations, produced by Spanish artist Pakoto.

That's Zeke from Zombie Ate My Neighbors, in case you couldn't tell. I know, he doesn't look exactly like he does on the game's cover art, but sometimes a little artistic license is a good thing.

To see more of Pakoto's illustrations, check out his blog and his Flickr photostream.

I'd like this a lot more if it featured just one logo

The following appears to be the cover of Final Fantasy IV Complete Collection, which will be released in Japan (for the PSP) on March 24:

As always, I loooooove Yoshitaka Amano's artwork. What I don't love: The mass of logos that muddle up the box's bottom half.

Couldn't someone at Square Enix have come up with a single logo that incorporates all three titles?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Dragon Quest IX: My favorite DS game of 2010

Before I bought Dragon Quest IX earlier this year I had played just one other game in this vaunted series: The NES original, published (as Dragon Warrior) by Nintendo of America in latter part of 1989.

That's worth noting because I barely played Yuji Horii's first foray into the world of console RPGs. (I was much more captivated at the time by its contemporary, Hironobu Sakaguchi's Final Fantasy.)

"Barely played" isn't a phrase I'd use to describe my experience with Horii's ninth Dragon Quest title. Instead, I'd probably say that I played it so much that I was worried my husband would kick me to the curb. (OK, so I'm exaggerating a bit. You get the idea, though, right?)

If I had to list the features that prompted me to play Dragon Quest IX for well over 100 hours--and prompted me to call it my favorite DS game of 2010--I'd likely include its alchemy, character-customization and vocation systems, its dynamic battle scenes and its optional quests.

The highlight of such a list, however, would be the title's randomly generated treasure maps--which were pretty much solely responsible for pushing me past the 100-hour mark (and for putting my marriage in danger).

Honestly, I'd probably consider Dragon Quest IX my favorite DS game of 2010 even if it had consisted of nothing more than the above-mentioned maps. That is how much I've played and enjoyed that portion of this title.

That's not meant to suggest there was a dearth of worthwhile releases for Nintendo's dual-screened system in 2010. On the contrary, there were oodles--Etrian Odyssey IIIFinal Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of LightProfessor Layton and the Unwound Future and Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey among them.

As great as each of the above were (and are), though, none of them topped Dragon Quest IX in my mind--which is why I consider Square Enix's latest RPG extravaganza to be my favorite DS game of 2010.

See also: 'Rhythm Heaven: My favorite DS game of 2009'

Kirby's Epic Yarn: My favorite Wii game of 2010

Surprise, surprise! My favorite Wii game of 2010 is the one I (likely) wrote about the most last year: Kirby's Epic Yarn.

I spent so much time blathering on about this game's sublime controls, graphics and music in previous posts (here's a number of them) that I won't bore you by going over it again in this one.

What I will say is that this charming platformer made me smile more than any other Wii game I played all year. Sure, a few of its contemporaries came close--Donkey Kong Country Returns and Super Mario Galaxy 2 come to mind, as does Ivy the Kiwi--but none were able to topple Kirby in terms of providing pure, unadulterated fun.

That's not to say Kirby's Epic Yarn is perfect--it's too easy by half, for instance, and it has a few, niggling control issues (namely while using the train transformation)--but it's perfect enough to be not only my favorite Wii game of 2010 but to be among my favorite games (regardless of genre) of this entire generation.

See also: 'New Super Mario Bros. Wii: One of my favorite Wii games of 2009'

Monday, January 03, 2011

I really like Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, but ...

I've played Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light for a few hours now (I have no idea how many hours exactly, as the game doesn't seem to keep track of such things), and thus far I've thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

I haven't even been bothered by two of the issues that other owners of this Matrix Software-developed game have complained about on line--one of which involves auto-aiming during battles (basically, you can't choose who your characters target with weapons, spells or items) and one of which involves item management (each of the game's eponymous heroes is limited to carrying 15 items--including spells--at any given time).

So, where does the "but" mentioned in the headline come into play? Well, it comes into play while dealing with the game's propensity to pull characters--and all of their weapons and armor--from your party without warning.

This first happened to me after defeating a boss. Once the battle was over, a key member of my party walked away without so much as an "adios"--and took a lot of my hard-earned loot with him.

Thankfully I had saved just before I confronted said baddie, so I restarted the game, stripped that party member of all noteworthy armor, weapons and spells and fought the boss again. In the end, it wasn't a big deal--but it was rather annoying. (The moral of this story: Save as often as possible while playing The 4 Heroes of Light.)

Don't let that (admittedly annoying) detail keep you from giving this game a go, though, as I think it'll be well worth your while if you're any kind of Final Fantasy fan.

Buy: Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light

'As recommended by The Gay Gamer'

Just about a week ago, in the comments section of this post, Zigfried over at challenged me to come up with a "somewhat obscure" Famicom game that he could play and then review on his site shortly after the start of the year.

Being the indecisive chap that I am, I came up with not one but eight obscure-ish Famicom games for Zigfried to consider.

Among the games I suggested: (Sony) Epic's Flying Hero, a Breakout-like single-screener that replaces the latter title's ball and paddle with a trio of firemen (two of whom wield a trampoline, with the third using it to bounce around the screen and rescue stranded civilians).

Anyway, go here to read Zigfried's impressions of this archaic-but-charmingly-quirky (my words, not his) game. Oh, and go here to see the titular "flying heroes" in action.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Donkey Kong vs. Kirby

Now that I've spent a good bit of time with both Donkey Kong Country Returns and Kirby's Epic Yarn (I've played the former for just over seven hours and the latter for more than 15), I've decided to sit down and compare various aspects of these two games--which I consider to be two of the very best platformers of this generation (if not ever).

Story--Who plays platformers for their stories? Not me. That's good, because both of these games feature stories that could, at best, be described as "thin." ("Trivial" is another apt word that comes to mind.) If I had to choose one over the other, though, I'd go with the one that backs Kirby's Epic Yarn--since it involves a baddie named Yin-Yarn who sucks the titular Kirby into his magic sock.

Graphics--There's no question about it: Both of these games feature graphics that are among the best on the Wii. Stylistically, though, they're on opposite ends of the spectrum--with Donkey Kong Country Returns' graphics focusing on characters and worlds that have been sculpted out of polygons to give the game a beautiful, three-dimensional sheen and the graphics of Kirby's Epic Yarn focusing on hand-drawn characters and worlds that look as though they've been crafted out of fabric. Although I slightly prefer the latter to the former--especially since the graphics in Kirby are more varied--it's hard to find fault with either.

--This one's another toss up, and for a number of reasons. First, both games feature a slew of tracks pulled from previous releases--which makes the overall soundtrack a bit less exciting (in my mind) than it would be if it were made up of original music. Second, the majority of these remixed tunes are fairly subtle and often fade into the background. Still, a few of them manage to stand out--such as "Cranky's Theme" from Donkey Kong Country Returns and "Cozy Cabin" and "Snowy Fields" from Kirby's Epic Yarn. In the end, I once again prefer Kirby to Donkey Kong in this area, but only by a smidge.

Gameplay--It's rare for Nintendo to release a game, especially a platformer, that doesn't control like a dream, and neither Donkey Kong Country Returns nor Kirby's Epic Yarn are exceptions to that rule. That said, both games have a few, small issues that could be problematic for some players. The roll move in Donkey Kong has tripped up more than a few gamers (especially those, like me, who play the game with just the Wii remote), for instance, while the train transformation in Kirby can be a bit trying. Other than those niggles, though, both games control as smooth as butter. As such, I'll call this area a wash.

Miscellaneous--If you're looking for a stiff challenge, Donkey Kong Country Returns is the game for you. Honestly, I don't think I've ever died as many times as I've died thus far in the latest entry in the Donkey Kong series--and I'm still making my way through its sixth world. That could be seen as a negative to some, I'm sure, but to me it's a positive--especially considering how easy most platformers are these days. Speaking of easy platformers: You've probably heard that Kirby's Epic Yarn is, for the most part, a total pushover. It is--but that doesn't mean it's not fun. On the contrary, I'd say it's one of the funnest platformers I've played in a while. So, Donkey Kong is tops in terms of presenting a challenge and Kirby is king when it comes to fun.

Overall--After reading all of the above, it likely won't be much of a surprise to hear me say that, overall, I slightly prefer Kirby's Epic Yarn to Donkey Kong Country Returns. I've been completely blown away by both games thus far, though, and I honestly don't think you can go wrong with either title if you're any kind of platformer fan.

Now that I've had my say, what do those of you who have played both games think? Do you prefer one over the other? If so, why?