Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gekisha Boy + Rainbow Islands

Remember how I mentioned "two other recent acquisitions" at the end of my last post? Those of you who checked out my Flickr photostream know those pick-ups weren't Famicom games; rather, they were PC Engine games. (Yeah, I know, what a shocker!)

Specifically, they were Irem's Gekisha Boy (aka Photograph Boy) and NEC Avenue's Rainbow Islands.

Here's a photo of the latter game's cover art:

And here's a photo of the former's cover art:

Two more photos of Gekisha Boy--one of which features the super-cool PC Engine CoreGrafx II system--can be found on my Flickr phtostream (if you're interested in such things).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dig Dug + Warpman

Seven down, two (or maybe three) to go.

Those numbers refer to the number of Namco--or Namcot, if you want to be completely accurate--Famicom games I currently own and hope to own in the future, respectively.

A month or so ago, you may recall, I picked up five such games: BurgerTime, Mappy, Pac-Man, Sky Kid and The Tower of Druaga. Which games have I added since? Why, Dig Dug and Warpman.

I'm guessing all of you have at least heard of, if not played, Dig Dug, but what about Warpman? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Warpman is a sequel to an obscure arcade game from 1981 called Warp & Warp (Warp Warp in the States). Both games are divided into two parts: Maze World and Space World. The former plays a bit like Bomberman, while the latter plays a bit like a less frantic version of another arcade game from the early 1980s--Robotron.

Sadly, that probably makes Warpman sound more appealing than it really is. That's not to say it's a bad game--it's just not as compelling or enjoyable as either of the above-mentioned classics.

With all of that out of the way, what are the two (or maybe three) Namco/Namcot Famicom games that I'm hoping to add to my collection at some future point in time? Galaga, Galaxian and Dig Dug II (with the middle title being the "maybe").

For more photos of Dig Dug and Warpman--as well as two other recent acquisitions--check out my Flickr photostream.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Four reasons you should check out Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light

You know how I gushed and gushed about the greatness that is Dragon Quest IX? Well, I'm feeling similarly gushy after spending about 25 hours with Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light.

I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm enjoying the latter title as much as the former, but I would say I'm enjoying it to a similar extent--despite Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light's distinct lack of Metal King Slimes (my favorite enemy in Dragon Quest IX).

In case my word alone isn't enough to push you to pick up a copy of this lovely little game, here are four additional reasons I think it's worth your time and money (assuming you enjoy RPGs, of course):

1. It features some of the best 3D graphics to grace the DS--Honestly, it may be the prettiest polygon-based DS game I've played. It looks like an abstract watercolor (this is especially evident in the towns of Arbor, Guera and Spelvia, above), which in my mind is a very good thing.

2. Despite its artsy-fartsy appearance, it will kick your ass--Repeatedly. I'm pretty sure I've yet to defeat a boss on my first attempt. Also, I've been slaughtered while running around the overworld--something that rarely if ever happens to me in other RPGs. (Both of those things are positives in my opinion, as too many modern-day RPGs are pushovers.)

3. Its crown system's actually pretty cool--It reminds me a lot of the job system in Final Fantasy V, to tell you the truth, although the one in this game has less depth and is more streamlined. One thing the crown system has over Final Fantasy V's job system, though, is that players aren't required to grind in order to max out each class. Also, some of the crowns are unbelievably cute. My favorites: The bandit, black mage (top hat for the win!), hero and merchant crowns.

4. It will keep you busy for a good while--I've already put about 25 hours into it, and I have a feeling I'm only about halfway to the finale. Also, it should be noted that the game really opens up, in a manner reminiscent of Final Fantasy VI's second act, around the 15- to 20-hour mark. (Don't worry, that's not a spoiler.)

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

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm going to miss playing games this way, too

Until the release of the DSi and DSi XL, Nintendo's portable systems were always region-free (i.e., they could play games from any country).

I've taken full advantage of that "feature" over the years by buying a slew of European and Japanese releases--like Compile's Guru Logi Champ (below)--for my trusty GameBoy Advance and DS systems.

Well, if this e-mail from Nintendo of Japan's customer-support staff--which suggests the 3DS will follow in the region-locked footsteps of the DSi and DSi XL--is to be believed, those days will soon be behind me (and you, if you tend to import games from other countries).

I'm sure the brass at Nintendo have their reasons for region-locking the 3DS, but I'm not so sure any of those reasons will keep me from giving them the stink eye whenever they release an awesome game in Europe or Japan and then refuse to bring it to the States.

See also: 'I'm going to miss playing games this way'

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I'm going to miss playing games this way

All of this 3DS talk has me wondering: Are the days of playing games while holding (insert dual-screened system of choice) sideways--a la Brain Age, CrossworDS, Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and Rhythm Heaven--over?

Sure, the soon-to-be-released 3DS has two screens, just like its predecessor, but one of those screens is larger than the other. Plus, the larger one will be used (predominantly) to display 3D imagery--which reportedly won't be visible when the system is turned sideways.

All of the above has me thinking most 3DS games will be single-screen affairs--as in, most, if not all, of the action will take place on the larger, upper screen, while secondary information (maps, menus, etc.) will reside on the smaller, lower screen.

I'm sure that setup will be fine in most situations, but I can't help but feel a bit sad that the days of "book style" games may be behind us.

Monday, January 10, 2011

'Tour de Super Mario Bros.'

What do you get when you combine five Super Mario Bros. cartridges (preferably of the banana-yellow Famicom variety), a Fukuoka (Japan) library and a pile of North Korean propaganda from the 1980s? (Oh, and don't forget to throw some planes and trains into the mix, too.)

Why, you get "Tour de Super Mario Bros.," of course.

A few months ago, Sean over at posted the hilarious "Tour d' Excitebike," which included numerous photos of bright orange Excitebike carts as they paraded around Fukuoka. Earlier this week, he continued the series with the aforementioned "Tour de Super Mario Bros."

Whereas the previous tour included trips to Fukuoka Castle and Hakata Bay, this one includes stops at Kyudai Central Library and some nearby planes and trains.

Go here to see more of Sean's Famicom-focused tomfoolery. (Trust me, it's worth a visit just to see his photos of North Korean propaganda from the 1980s.)

See also: 'Tour d' Excitebike'

Mother + ukelele

I've had the Mother (EarthBound in the States) series on the brain lately--mainly because I've been eyeing up a boxed copy of the original Famicom game on eBay for the last week or two--so when posted the following video a few days ago it immediately caught my attention.

If you like this gentleman's take on Keiichi Suzuki's/Hirokazu Tanaka's "Eight Melodies," be sure to check out his YouTube Channel--which includes ukelele covers of various Final Fantasy, Legend of Mana, The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Land tracks.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Yes, please

The one game that could get me to buy a 3DS this year (as opposed to next year--or whenever Nintendo releases the inevitable 3DSlite) is Paper Mario 3DS.

For anyone who is as crazy about this series as I am, here's a brief, silent trailer of said game:

That lava level looks *hot*, doesn't it? And I mean that figuratively, not literally.