Friday, February 18, 2011

'Bros in Arms'

Looking for a semi-realistic, Scribblenauts-esque take on Mario and his best bro, Luigi? Here you go:

This wonderful drawing--I especially like the ground, for some reason--was produced by UK-based multimedia artist Alec Tree (aka captainalec).

See more of his stuff--such as the awesome "Nintenghost"--in his gallery.

One-death wonder

If you've been enjoying the reviews I've posted as part of "The Great Gaymathon" thus far, you may want to check out The Game Dungeon when you've got a free minute or two (or 20, if you're like me).

Like me, blogger Marcus Estrada is trying to play all of the games in his sizable collection (many of which he's yet to try). He doesn't play them to completion, though; rather, he plays them until he reaches a "game over" screen for the first time.

If Estrada likes what he experiences up to that point, he makes note of it--on his above-mentioned blog--so he can come back to the game in question at a later date.

Although The Game Dungeon has been on line for just a few days, it already features reviews of 17 games--some of which will be played again, and some of which will soon be relegated to the back of Estrada's closet.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Great Gaymathon Review #5: Rhythm Tengoku (GameBoy Advance)

Game: Rhythm Tengoku
Genre: Rhythm
Developer: Nintendo SPD Group No.1
Publisher: Nintendo
System: GameBoy Advance
Release date: 2006

As good as Rhythm Tengoku Gold (aka Rhythm Paradise in Europe and Rhythm Heaven in the States) is, its predecessor is that much better. The series' first entry features the same wacky--and wonderful--WarioWare-esque graphics, Simon-ish gameplay and toe-tapping music as its DS-based successor, but it also does a few things better than that 2008 release. For starters, Rhythm Tengoku is simpler, as nearly every mini-game is controlled by pressing the GameBoy Advance's A button (a couple require you to use the directional pad, but they're few and far between). An added benefit of this minimalistic control scheme: Rhythm Tengoku is, by and large, more enjoyable--due to it being a lot less frustrating--than its stylus-focused sequel. Finally, although both of these Tsunku-backed titles offer players a bevy of extras to toy around with when they're not working their way through the main game, the GBA version is home to the best of the bunch--a "drum mode" that allows players to add percussion, using the system's A and B buttons as well as its directional pad, to each of the title's earworm-worthy backing tracks.

See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Samus Aran as you've never seen her before

The hubs and I don't really celebrate Valentine's Day, but if we did celebrate it I'd have wanted him to get me this:

Yeah, that's right: A cute-as-hell Samus Aran plushie. Have you ever seen anything so cute? If your answer is anything other than "no," you're lying.

This particular plushie was made by Canadian textile artist Michele Legendre (aka misscoffee), by the way. For more examples of her talent, check out her gallery.


Diamonds are a Dreamcast's best friend

I honestly don't know what prompted me to come up with this particular drawing. I guess I had both diamonds and Dreamcasts on my mind at the time.

See also: 'Happy Valentine's Day,' 'Love at first sight' and 'Professor PC Engine'

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

'Trust no one'

Those rascally goombas, koopas and shy guys; they're always trying to snare poor Mario.

Typically, though, they do so in a pretty straightforward manner--you know, by meandering slowly toward Nintendo's platforming star.

That's certainly not the case in daviisilva's latest t-shirt design (below), which is up for a vote on

If you can see yourself buying a t-shirt bearing daviisilva's design, vote on it here within the next 24 hours.

Now that we've got a game based on The Great Gatsby ...

... what other novels--or even movies--should follow in its head-scratching footsteps? Here are a few (admittedly strange) ideas that have come to mind:

Desperately Seeking Susan--I know, this one's a bit out of left field. Imagine, though, how awesome it would be to play an 8-bit, '80s-themed RPG based on this Susan Seidelman-helmed dramedy? Sure, the obvious choice for such a movie-to-game conversion would be to copy Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? or even the Professor Layton titles, but I think a more creative option would be to make it a sort of musical RPG--in which the player, controlling Roberta (Rosanna Arquette), has to explore New York City in an effort to find the titular Susan. Along the way, she fights off--using rhythm-based attacks à la the magnificent Mother 3--bartenders, hobos and rats while gathering clues about the whereabouts of the mysterious object of her obsession. Oh, and the final battle could be a DDR-esque dance-off to the tune of Madonna's "Into the Groove."

Fame--Speaking of dance-offs, wouldn't it be cool if one of these of-the-moment dance-based games--think Dance Central or Just Dance--was supported by an actual story? In this example, players choose to control either Leroy or Lisa and then have to make their way through a series of auditions, practices and performances that are interspersed with theatrical story segments. Now, don't worry if the idea of a Fame game doesn't really trip your trigger--really, it could be replaced with the musical of your choice. For instance, wouldn't a similar game based on Moulin Rouge or Chicago be a blast? Hell, I could even see a story-based dance game based on Evita being pretty cool--you know, with Latin-inflected choreography set to songs like "Buenos Aires" and "Rainbow High."

The Hunger Games--First of all, if you've yet to read Suzanne Collins' sci-fi trilogy, go out and buy it (and then read it, obviously) right now. After you're done, you'll have a much better understanding as to why I think this post-apocalyptic tale could make a great game. (For those of you who have an aversion to anything and everything sci-fi, the gist of The Hunger Games is that each year, in the fictional nation of Panem, 24 children are forced, after being selected lottery-style, to fight each other to the death in a variety of outdoor arenas.) Anyway, I could see this book-to-game conversion being fairly straightforward, with Poy Poy-ish (but darker) battle scenes broken up by RPG-esque scavenging segments--during which players search for and possibly create, using the materials around them, items and weapons that can be used in the next arena.

Jaws--It's kind of amazing how few Jaws games have been released over the years. In fact, I can think of only two: LJN's NES effort from 1987 and Majesco's Jaws Unleashed from 2006. Neither game seems to be all that inspired, however, which is a shame given the source material. How would I turn things around? By making the game a fishing-investigating-RPG mash-up, that's how. Here's how I see it playing out: Gamers are put in control of oceanographer Matt Hooper as he hunts the titular great white shark (which serves as the title's final boss, obviously). At the start, Hooper has nothing but a tiny ship. In order to make enough money to buy a bigger boat and better equipment, not to mention hire much-needed crew members, he catches fish, ferries tourists, helps the Amity Police Department with their investigation (by finding the bodies of those attacked by Jaws) and searches for sunken treasure--all of which are interrupted, RPG-style, by random battles with dangerous sea creatures and nosy citizens.

As crazy as it may sound, I've also come up with ideas for game adaptations of The Road and Run Lola Run, but they'll have to wait until another day.

'Only for Nintendo, old sport!'

Gaming fans who also are fans of the "Great American Novel" should be happy to hear that some enterprising--and talented--individual has created a NES-esque game based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.

An example of the developer's enterprising nature: Not only did he or she create an 8-bit retelling of the aforementioned novel, but he/she also created a prototype cart, an instruction manual and a magazine ad (below) for the unreleased (not really) title.

Although the game--which, despite appearances, wasn't actually developed to NES specifications--is a bit easy and also on the short side, with just four levels, it's well worth experiencing--even if you're not a fan of the source material. (Play it here.)

Yet another reason to love Hikaru Utada

While perusing Twitter yesterday, I was surprised to come across the following tweet from Japanese singer/songwriter/producer Hikaru Utada:

"I hope everyone had a nice Valentine's Day :) I spent the whole day playing Furai No Shiren 5 on my Nintendo DSi."

So, not only is Hikki cute, smart and amazing talented (click for proof), but she likes to play roguelikes? Sigh.

See also: 'I know it's a stretch ...' and 'Speaking of Utada ...'

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Great Gaymathon Review #4: TwinBee Taisen Puzzle Dama (PlayStation)

Game: TwinBee Taisen Puzzle Dama
Genre: Puzzle
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
System: PlayStation
Release date: 1994

I wouldn't go so far as to say it's one of gaming's greatest atrocities, but I'd definitely say it's a bit of a shame that the Taisen Puzzle Dama series--think Puyo Puyo with bells instead of blobs and subtly different rules--has yet to make its way to the States. Three Taisen Puzzle Dama games were released for the PlayStation in Japan--including one that features characters from Konami's Tokimeki Memorial series and one that's called Susume! Taisen Puzzle Dama (sorry, I have no idea what "susume" means)--in the mid-1990s, with this TwinBee-themed iteration being the best of the bunch, in my somewhat uneducated opinion. (Although I own all three of the aforementioned games, I've spent quite a bit more time with TwinBee Taisen Puzzle Dama than its successors.) That said, I wouldn't suggest running out and buying a copy unless you're a huge puzzler and/or TwinBee fan, as it's been bested by a number of its peers (namely Puyo Puyo and Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo).

See also: Past 'Great Gaymathon' post

Happy Valentine's Day!

If you're still looking for the perfect Valentine's Day card to send (virtually, obviously) to your game-obsessed sweetie, here's a possibility:

If you're looking for more than one, I guess a few of my older doodles--like this one and this one--could make good Valentine's Day cards, too.