Friday, March 04, 2011

(Another) slow week ahead

The past week or two have been a bit lean in terms of posts, haven't they? Sorry about that. I've got a lot of looming deadlines at the moment, and when that happens I tend to concentrate on the writing that pays rather than on the writing that doesn't. (What a concept, eh?)

Anyway, next week will, sadly, be even leaner, although I promise to publish at least one post per day. Also, things will be back to normal the following week, so at least there's that.

You know what Dragon Quest X needs? A strawberry slime!

Actually, this upcoming Wii release could feature a whole slew of fruity slimes--such as a banana one, a grape one or even a pear one--don't you think?

I'm not exactly sure how their, er, fruitiness would alter their battle tactics, though; maybe they'd distract combatants by launching their succulent fruit of choice at them?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Great Gaymathon Review #9: Super Princess Peach (DS)

Game: Super Princess Peach
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Tose
Publisher: Nintendo
System: Nintendo DS
Release date: 2005

It doesn't happen often, but every once in while I ignore the bad buzz surrounding a game and buy it anyway--simply because there's something about said game that makes me believe (hope) that it has to be better than everybody says it is. As I'm sure you can imagine, sometimes that works out well and sometimes it doesn't. Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light is a good example of the former, while this game, released in Japan in 2005 and elsewhere in 2006, is a good example of the latter. That's too bad, because Super Princess Peach could have been a worthy addition to the ever-growing, Nintendo-dominated list of "world's best platformers." It certainly looks like it belongs on that list, at least to an extent. Yes, its graphics have that generic sheen typical of developer Tose, but they're also colorful and well drawn. It also controls well and features quite a few interesting and unique gameplay quirks--the most noteworthy being that Peach can use her chatty parasol to protect herself and to dispatch foes in a plethora of ways--that separate it from the platformer pack. Unfortunately, all of those positives are let down by the game's negatives, which include boring, derivative and uninspired level design and nearly non-existant difficulty.

See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Raccoon Mario returns?

During his keynote speech at the 2011 Game Developers Conference a few minutes ago, Nintendo's Satoru Iwata mentioned that a new Mario game is being developed for the 3DS. (I know, what a shocker!)

Along with a few, small screenshots of the still-in-the-works title, Iwata shared the following logo:

Does this mean the next game in this vaunted series, which is being developed by the folks responsible for Super Mario Galaxy, will mark the return of Raccoon Mario? I sure hope so.

Lanky Pokémon

Well, Pokémon Black and White--or Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version, if you go by Nintendo of America's official verbiage--will hit the streets in the US in just a few days. Will you be getting either of these games--or maybe both of them?

I caved and pre-ordered Pokémon Black--for no other reason than I like the looks of the Black City more than I like the looks of the White Forest--last week after I heard I could get a $5 promotional credit--which has since been bumped up to a $10 promotional credit--for doing so.

Anyway, enough about all of that. My main reasons for posting this were: 1) to see if any of you plan on getting either of these games and 2) to show you this interesting illustration, created by artist Reed Bond, of a rather lanky Pikachu, Charmander and Bulbasaur.

See more of Bond's work on his blog or on deviantart or Flickr.

Pre-order: Pokémon Black Version and/or Pokémon White Version

'Happy testing' the 3DS

You know, I'm a bit disappointed it took someone two whole days--the 3DS was released on Feb. 26, while the following clip was posted to YouTube on Feb. 28--to produce a video like this:

I'm pleasantly surprised, though, that the video in question utilizes a man's body rather than a woman's.

Speaking of the 3DS, the box art for the North American version of Pilotwings Resort--see it, and pre-order the game, here--has me jonesing for Nintendo's new portable system. Badly.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Catherine comes out on July 26

Unfortunately, I'm not talking about this Shigenori Soejima-designed character coming out of the proverbial closet; rather, I'm talking about the game of which she's the focus finally coming out (aka being released) in the US.

Surprisingly, Atlus is reusing, on Catherine's North American packaging, the rather sexy box art (right) that appeared on the Japanese PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of this action-adventure platformer-puzzler.

The question is, will the North American versions of Catherine also retain the (reportedly) confounding difficulty of their Japanese counterparts, or will the folks at Atlus include a "baby mode" for all of us wusses?

I guess I shouldn't say "us," as I've yet to buy a PS3 or an Xbox 360. Sigh. Hopefully some of you who own one or both of said systems will pick up a copy of Catherine and let me know what I'm missing.

Pre-order: Catherine (PS3) and Catherine (Xbox 360)

The Great Gaymathon Review #8: Nintendo Puzzle Collection (GameCube)

Game: Nintendo Puzzle Collection
Genre: Puzzle
Developer(s): Intelligent Systems, Nintendo R&D1, Nintendo Software Technology Corporation
Publisher: Nintendo
System: GameCube
Release date: 2003

The main draw of this colorful compilation, which sadly never saw the light of day outside of Japan: The previously unreleased Nintendo 64 port of Intelligent Systems' Panel de Pon (reworked, renamed and released as Tetris Attack in the States). Like all three of the ports included on this minuscule GameCube disc, this iteration of Panel de Pon features greatly improved--compared to the source material--graphics and sound. It also features a four-player mode--again, just like its Nintendo Puzzle Collection compadres, which includes an enhanced port of Dr. Mario 64 and an updated version of Yoshi's Cookie. (One final noteworthy feature of this release: Panel de Pon's 3D mode which, while interesting, isn't as fun as the traditional 2D mode.) Oh, and if you have a GameBoy Advance handy, you can use the bundled cable to download simplified versions of each puzzler to your portable system of choice and play them until it's powered off.

See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts

Monday, February 28, 2011

This one's for the ladies

I know I just published a post about Aled Lewis (aka fatheed) on Friday, but I'm publishing another one today because I thought the ladies--and straight gents--who frequent this blog may get a kick out of the London-based designer's latest piece of pixel art:

According to Lewis, this image--of Street Fighter II's Chun Li and Super Street Fighter II's Cammy--was inspired by Tanya Chalkin's iconic Kiss photograph.

See also: 'Size doesn't matter if you can perfect the Rising Dragon Punch'

'Push my buttons'

Calling all lovers of the original GameBoy: A t-shirt design--called "Push My Buttons"--featuring everyone's favorite green-screened system is currently up for a vote on

I know, the GameBoy's eyes are a bit creepy, but it's still a pretty cool illustration overall, in my opinion. If you agree, vote on it (in the next two days) here.