Friday, January 28, 2011

3DS or NGP?

So, the brass at Sony Computer Entertainment recently revealed the successor to the PSP, which they're currently calling Next Generation Portable (or NGP).

According to, this sexy system will sport a five-inch screen, front and rear touch panels, front and rear cameras and dual analog sticks. (Go here and here to see more of the NGP's specs.)

Unfortunately, the folks at Sony are mum on the subject of the oval-shaped system's price and release date--although they have let it slip that it will hit store shelves around the world "by the end of the year."

Assuming it carries a price tag that's comparable to the soon-to-be-released Nintendo 3DS--which will hit the streets in Japan in late February and in Australia, Europe and North America in late March and cost around $250 in each region--which one will you pick up?

I'm definitely planning to buy a 3DS, but that probably won't happen until 2012 at the earliest. I may buy an NGP eventually, too, but only if it's affordable (i.e., $249 or less) and if it has an attractive software library.

Mystery note

You know how I mentioned (here) that the online import game shop is having a going-out-of-business sale? Well, shortly after I published that post I ordered a few heavily discounted games from said store.

Among the games I ordered: The PC Engine CD version of Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair (aka Monster Lair in the States).

While flipping through the game's manual a few minutes ago (my order arrived earlier today), a small piece of paper slipped out of it and fell onto the floor.

This is what I found when I unfolded it:

I can't read a word of Japanese, so I have no idea what the note says. That hasn't stopped me from obsessing about it, of course.

Was the author of this note a previous owner of the game? Did he or she like it, or hate it? Is he or she warning me that this copy of Wonder Boy III is cursed?

Those are the kinds of questions that are going through my head at the moment.

(Note: This post originally appeared on my other blog, iwasateenage

One through thirteen

I've played through a lot of Final Fantasy games over the years. The closest I've come to playing through them back to back, though, was when I played Final Fantasy IV, V and VI as soon as they were available during the 16-bit era.

Former game journo Justin Davis is planning to make that effort look like a "pfft"-worthy cakewalk over the lifetime of his new blog, finalfantasy

The point of Davis' blog: To follow his "chronological journey through the Final Fantasy franchise." Yes, that means he's planning to play, through completion, all 13 of the mainline Final Fantasy titles. (He has said that he may skip the MMO-ish 11th entry in the series, although he also has said that he's considering adding is-it-or-is-it-not-a-spin-off Final Fantasy X-2 to the mix.)

Davis has published just five posts thus far--all relating to his still-early playthrough of the original Final Fantasy--but it's already clear to me that his (hopefully) lengthy chronicle will be well worth following.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bubble Bobble on the brain

I can't imagine the following admission will be a surprise to anyone: I've got Bubble Bobble on the brain.

After all, I've published a number of posts about this Fukio Mitsuji-designed title in the last few weeks. (Here's one, here's one and here's another one.)

What may surprise at least a couple of you: I've been playing more than just the arcade and the Famicom Disk System/NES versions of this all-time classic. I've also been playing the GameBoy Advance--which is part of the Bubble Bobble: New & Old release--and the Game Gear versions of the game.

Although the GameBoy Advance iteration of Bubble Bobble is interesting and noteworthy--mainly because it's arcade-perfect, with the exception of the oddly remixed background music--the Game Gear iteration is both of those things and then some.

The reason: All of the game's stages--but not Bob, Bub and their enemies--have been shrunk so they can fit on Game Gear's tiny screen. As a result, it often feels like you're controlling Bobzilla as you tear through each level.

Sure, Bubble Bobble for Game Gear is a good bit less strategic than other versions--and a number of its minuscule stages just don't work as well as their full-sized brethren--but it's no less fun.

Which means, I guess, that I may have to buy a Game Gear--along with a copy of this title and a copy of Mitsuji's Magical Puzzle Popils, too--sooner rather than later.

'Country of the woods and repose'

Few things make me giddier as a gamer than unearthing a long-lost gem.

The focus of my last post, Engacho!, is a good example of that, as is the following (artsy and awkward subtitle aside, of course):

As far as I can tell, Mizzurna Falls, released (in Japan) at the end of 1998 for the original PlayStation, is a Twin Peaks-esque action-adventure title that precedes open-world sandboxers like Shenmue.

Although it looks more than a bit rough in the following video, blogger Bruno de Figueiredo (of assures it is anything but.

"This title raises the degree of interaction to a level which would only be fully achieved a generation later," de Figueiredo says of Mizzurna Falls in a recent post.

It's doubtful I'll ever play this oddly titled game, given the language barrier, but who knows? Maybe I'll pick it up on the cheap at some point down the line and stumble my way through it.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011


What words would you use to describe the following piece of art, which graced the cover of Engacho!, a PlayStation (and WonderSwan) game released in 1999?

"Disgusting" is a given, but how about "eye-catching"? After all, it isn't every day you see a piece of cover art that features a blushing butt (with wings, no less), gooey green boogers and (seemingly) stinky armpit hair.

Both words came to mind when I first saw the cover art a few days ago (thanks to a comment over at, as did "interesting" and "intriguing." Oh, and the ever-important "huh."

Forget the "huh," though; it's the "interesting" and "intriguing" that matter in this post, as they prompted me to find out what I could--which, sadly, isn't much--about this NAC Geographic Products Inc.-published title.

Turns out the game, while definitely a bit on the (comically) disgusting side, is a turn-based puzzler--which is right up my alley, especially these days.

Here's how it works: Players, controlling a young boy named Sunzuki, are dropped into each stage and then tasked with making their way to its exit (the blue square in the screenshot below) without taking too many steps and without colliding with any of the four baddies displayed in the cover art above.

Here's what happens when you collide with the flying, blushing butt.

That's no easy task, as each of the aforementioned baddies has its own movement patterns. One, for instance, mirrors your movements, while another moves in the opposite direction. As such, planning ahead is vitally important if you hope to avoid being covered with or smothered by armpit hair, boogers, poop or spit.

I'm sure that sounds about as appetizing and enticing as a date with Jabba the Hut, but it's actually pretty fun (if a bit too difficult for my rapidly atrophying brain).

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Help a brother out, will ya?

It should be pretty obvious by now that I'm a big fan of artist Ashley Anderson. I've shined a spotlight--or at least I've tried to do so--on a number of his creations over the years, including "Cherry Ghost" and "Dark Cake."

If those posts have prompted you to become a fan of this Atlanta-based, too, may I suggest sauntering over to so you can vote on Anderson's portfolio?

Should Anderson win this competition, he'll walk away with "$10,000 in grants, international publicity and a feature exhibition in the Scope Art Show during Armory Week in New York City"--which means he'll be able to spend more time creating pieces like the one above ("8-bit Virgin de Guadalupe").

See also: 'Collage of found game imagery'

Monday, January 24, 2011

'Love at first sight'

I took pen to paper again last night and produced a few more gaming-related doodles.

Here's one of said doodles:

Why has Pikachu fallen in love with a banana? I'm guessing it has something to do with the fact that they're both yellow and black, but I'm not entirely sure.

(As for why I decided to draw Pikachu in the first place, when I'm hardly the biggest Pokemon fan in the world: Well, I'm not entirely sure about that either, although I think this Maré Odomo creation may have been in the back of my mind.)

Surprisingly (not!), another of my doodles--titled, "Huh?!?"--was inspired by Bubble Bobble.

Black-and-white versions of both doodles/drawings can be viewed here, by the way.

I think I'm going to work on some Earthbound/Mother-related doodles tonight.

See also: 'Oodles of doodles'