Friday, January 21, 2011

I wonder if Nintendo will promote The Last Story this way in the States?

That's assuming, of course, this Mistwalker-developed RPG is released in North America at some point.

Even if it is (and, sadly, that's a big if), I highly doubt the marketing folks at Nintendo of America will promote it using a commercial that's anything like the third one in the clip below (skip to the one-minute mark)--although I'd love to be proven wrong.


The folks at Taito say this is Bubble Bobble 2

Pshaw, I say.

That's not to say Bubble Bobble 2--or Bubble Bobble Part 2, as it was called in the States--is completely unenjoyable or unplayable, but it certainly can't hold a candle, especially in terms of graphics and sound, to Bubble Bobble's real sequels, Rainbow Islands and Parasol Stars.

Despite its relative suckiness, complete-in-box copies of Bubble Bobble Part 2 command a pretty penny on eBay. (This one is going for about $450, for instance, while this one is going for a whopping $600!)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

'Dead Pixel'

OK, so this threadless t-shirt design submission isn't completely game-related, but who cares? It's certainly completely cool--at least in my humble opinion.

It was created by someone who calls himself "eown," by the way. If you like his design, give it a good score (by voting on it here) within the next three days.

Another one bites the dust

With the "one" mentioned in the header above being an online import game shop.

Specifically, the guys behind have decided to call it quits. As a result, all of their stock--which includes a slew of Dreamcast, Famicom, Mega Drive, PC Engine, PS1/PS2, Saturn and Super Famicom games--is now 60 percent off.

The Rising Stuff store will close its virtual doors once and for all on Jan. 31, so check it out soon if you're on the lookout for a few import titles.

Photo above was taken at Tokyo's Super Potato by moossye.

Speaking of online import game shops that are giving up the ghost, the guy behind is still trying to clear his stock. Orders of one to six games receive a 40 percent discount, while orders of seven to 13 games get a 50 percent discount and orders of 14 or more games get a whopping 60 percent discount.

See also: 'Looking to pick up a few imports?'

I'm not daring enough to wear this, but I want it anyway

Can you think of a better way to beat the winter cold than by wearing a Piranha Plant scarf? I can't.

Actually, I take that back. The only competition the scarf above, which was made by etsy shop owner enemyairship (aka anenemyairship on Flickr), has in the "coolest scarf ever" category is this Noby Noby Boy scarf.

Here's another shot of the Noby Noby Boy scarf, and here are two more shots of the aforementioned Piranha Plant scarf.

You know what? I've changed my mind about the NES version of Bubble Bobble

I've always turned up my nose at the Famicom/NES version of Bubble Bobble for no other reason than, well, it isn't the arcade version.

While composing this post the other day, though, I thought to myself, "You know, the sprites in the NES version aren't so bad. In fact, they're pretty darn good."

I bought the NES version via the Wii Virtual Console shortly after it was added to the service (yes, despite my aforementioned disdain for that iteration of the game), so last night I decided to take it for a test run--you know, to see if it's better than I remember it.

Surprisingly, it is. Sure, the background graphics and music are simpler than the arcade version and the game becomes a flicker-fest when more than a few bubbles are on screen, but the Bob, Bub and enemy sprites are spot-on, as is the all-important gameplay.

Don't get me wrong, I'll still play the arcade version of Bubble Bobble over the Famicom/NES version if given the chance, but it's nice to know I can turn to the latter in a pinch.

(In other Bubble Bobble news, check out this awesome piece of cover art--which appeared on the cover of the Sega Mark III/Master System version of the game.)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nintendo opens up about the North American launch of the 3DS

During a press event held earlier today, the folks at Nintendo of America (finally) loosened their lips regarding the soon-to-be-released 3DS system.

Specifically, they revealed that the system will hit the streets in North America on March 27--which means we'll be getting it one month later than the Japanese and two days later than Europeans. Two colors will be available at that time, Aqua Blue and Cosmo Black, and both will carry the same price tag ($249.99). (For more juicy tidbits from today's press event, check out this post.)

The system is available for pre-order at, so head over there if you just have to have one at launch.

Inazuma Eleven, now in English

I have no idea why I'm so interested in Inazuma Eleven. It certainly isn't because I'm a soccer/football fan. Maybe it's because it was developed by the same folks who made Dark Cloud, Dragon Quest IX and the Professor Layton titles?

Regardless of the reason, this soccer/football-focused RPG has piqued my curiosity and interest. Here's hoping it's released in the US at some point (or at least in the UK, so I can pick up a copy via

(Via and

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I've been looking forward to this post--which is the 1,000th to be published on this blog--for a few weeks, but now that it's time to write it I'm not sure what to say.

Maybe I should just keep it simple and say "thank you" to everyone who has visited and commented over the last four or so years.

Monday, January 17, 2011

In more serious Bubble Bobble news ...

In a (fairly) recent blog post, the always awesome auntie pixelante waxed poetic about how Bubble Bobble designer Fukio Mitsuji used "visual information to help the player understand the rules of a game."

Specifically, she focused on how Mitsuji explained, visually, using the giant frying pan seen in the screenshot below, the behavior of the game's fire/flame bubbles.

"Players pop the bubbles and the flames fall down to the wide, flat surface of the pan, which then catches fire--like cracking an egg and dripping it into a frying pan to sizzle," she writes. "The enemies that inhabit this stage bounce diagonally through the air; when they come down they touch the fire, pop into the air and come down as food that the players can gather. The word “POPCORN” written on the screen makes the metaphor complete."

If you're interested in game design in general and Bubble Bobble in particular--and who isn't interested in the latter?--I'd highly recommend reading the rest of pixelante's post (here).

Sometimes I wonder if Bub and Bob were gay

Not with each other, mind you. They were brothers, after all. (At least I think they were brothers. I mean, they're called "twins" on the Bubble Bobble Wikipedia page--and Wikipedia's never wrong, right?)

Anyway, why do I think they may have been gay? For starters, they were awfully clean-cut and doe-eyed while in human form (see Rainbow Islands and Parasol Stars)--and, as everyone knows, being both of those things means you're gay with a capital "G." (Don't even get me started on the fact that they traipsed over rainbows in the first Bubble Bobble sequel and pranced around with parasols in the second.) And then there's the preciousness of their dragon form (depicted below by deviantartist beyx):

I know what a number of you are thinking: "But weren't Bub and Bob trying to save their girlfriends in Bubble Bobble?" What, you've never heard of beards? Don't forget that this supposed "let's save our girlfriends from some evil monsters" crusade took place during the early 1980s, when people weren't as cool as they are now (for the most part) with the whole gay thing.

Who knows, maybe the folks at Taito are working feverishly and secretively to finish up Bubble Bobble 4: Fabulous 4ever, in which Bub and Bob, fully "out" and once again in human form, will sport Caesar cuts (or maybe faux hawks), tight t-shirts and similarly snug jeans.