Friday, March 18, 2011

Dear Harmonix: Please make a Lady Gaga version of this Dance Central ad for the US

Actually, I can't imagine enjoying a Lady Gaga version of the following ad even half as much as I enjoy the current, Kylie-fronted iteration, but Ms. Minogue probably isn't popular enough here in the States to make such an extravagant commercial worthwhile to the folks at Harmonix.

I'd ask for a Madonna version, but you know she'd never agree to such a thing. Even if she did, though, the folks behind the commercial surely would have to change up the story a bit, as La Ciccone would never allow herself to be locked in her dressing room like that.

(Via by way of

The Great Gaymathon Review #14: Taito Legends (PlayStation 2)

Game: Taito Legends
Genre: Arcade
Developer: Taito
Publisher: Sega
System: PlayStation 2
Release date: 2005

Taito Legends may contain 29 of Taito Corporation's arcade classics, but let's be clear about one thing right off the bat: Only a handful of them will matter (or be recognizable) to most folks. Those few titles are more than worth the package's price of admission, though, so don't take that to be too much of a negative. For me, the main attractions here are Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands, with Elevator Action, New Zealand Story and Space Invaders following closely behind. (Honestly, if this compilation included Don Doko Don and Liquid Kids/Mizubaku Diabouken, I'd have little need for Taito Legends 2.) Each of those games, along with their 24 counterparts, seem to be emulated perfectly--hey, it's been a long time since I've played any of them in an actual arcade--although I guess that's to be expected. What isn't so expected: The inability to configure the controls for each of the included titles. It isn't exactly a monumental worry, but it may be a big enough one to put off some players.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hooo, indeed

You know what we need more of in this world? T-shirt designs devoted to the art--yes, the art--of blowing into Nintendo cartridges.

Thankfully, the folks at Polygraph understand that--as evidenced by the following, rather artful (and seductive, if you ask me) design.

Sadly, this shirt is only available for purchase (as far as I can tell) at the Tokyo-based Famicom/music/video shop, Meteor.

Anyone traveling to Tokyo anytime soon?


LEGO + Pikmin

Would you spend more than two years of your life crafting every single Pikmin character (and plant) out of LEGO blocks? I sure as hell wouldn't, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the handiwork of someone who did.

The man responsible for the insanity displayed in the image above (here's a link to it on Flickr), by the way, is Filip Johannes Felberg. To see more of his creations (including some from Chibi-Robo), check out his Flickr photostream.

I'm a bit horrified by BurgerTime HD

When it was revealed a few weeks ago that an HD revamp of the arcade classic, BurgerTime, would soon be released (digitally) for the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii, I was intrigued. After all, the Data East-developed original was one of my favorite games as a kid, and I still play both the arcade and Famicom/NES versions with some regularity.

Anyway, as I just said, initially I was intrigued by this so-called BurgerTime HD, which is being developed by Monkey Paw Games. After seeing it action, however, it probably would be more accurate to describe my feelings as horrified.

My main beef with what's displayed in the video above is the game's setting. Why does it appear to be set in space? Granted, it's difficult to image an acceptable setting for a game in which players are tasked with assembling giant hamburgers, but surely the developers could ape the original's "burger factory" theme a bit more closely?

Despite my overall lack of interest in this title at the moment, I'm still planning to keep an eye on it between now and whenever it's released. Who knows, maybe the final product will be far more appetizing than what's shown in this teaser?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Great Gaymathon Review #13: Order Up! (Wii)

Game: Order Up!
Genre: Puzzle
Developer: Supervillain Studios
Publisher: Zoo Games
System: Wii
Release date: 2008

Screw Mama (of Cooking Mama fame). Yes, she's cute, if a bit temperamental, but the game in which she stars has nothing on this generally overlooked gem, developed by the folks at Supervillain Studios. Although both games feature similarly precious graphics and music--with the polygonal protagonists in Order Up! looking a bit like Weeble Wobbles--they differ substantially when it comes to gameplay. Cooking Mama calls on players to string together a series of short mini-games to complete a single recipe, while Order Up!, which is more of a restaurant simulation than a straight-up cooking simulation like its competitor, requires them to multitask by working on multiple dishes at the same time. As a result, Order Up! has an enjoyably desperate edge to it that is sadly missing from Office Create's effort. I say "enjoyably" because, with few exceptions, the controls in Order Up! are both easy to understand and easy to pull off. Also adding to the game's enjoyability quotient: Its witty dialogue and its quality voice work.

See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts

Two hours in ...

I started playing Pokémon Black last night, and as of now I'm nearly two hours into the game. (I'm just about to battle the first gym leader, it seems. I know, I'm slow.)

I chose Tepig as my starter after much contemplation, by the way. I nearly went with Snivy instead, but the creatively named piglet is such a cutie that in the end I couldn't resist him.

Anyway, I'm enjoying the experience thus far. The graphics are nice--I especially like the animated Pokémon sprites while in battle--the music is appropriately cheery and, best of all in my opinion, everything seems to move along at a nice clip.

Are any of you currently working your way through Pokémon Black or White? If so, what do you like or dislike so far?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The one and only reason I wish I were in Los Angeles right now

Although I'm really not an LA kind of guy, I wish I could be in the City of Angels this coming weekend. The reason: That's when Giant Robot's "Water Works" exhibition, which will benefit UNICEF and child victims of the earthquake in Japan, will kick off at the GR2 Gallery.

One of the many pieces that will be displayed--and likely sold--during the exhibition is Jude Buffum's Super Mario Bros.-inspired "Minus World."

On Flickr, the Philadelphia-based Buffum says that 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale will be donated to UNICEF.

While we're on the subject of helping the folks in Japan, Sean over at recently committed himself (in this post) to donating his entire gaming budget for the next year to a charitable organization helping his compatriots.

I don't really have a gaming budget (much to my husband's chagrin), but I am going to donate some money to this cause. If you'd like to do the same, and if you're at all uncomfortable giving money to the Red Cross, a good choice seems to be Doctors Without Borders, which allocates more than 85 percent of donated funds to program activities.

Tingle's Ice Climber

In early 2007, Nintendo of Japan released a Club Nintendo-exclusive game called Tingle's Balloon Fight. It's basically a re-skinned version of one of the company's classic Famicom/NES titles--starring that odd Legend of Zelda character, Tingle, rather than the nameless, titular "Balloon Fighters" of the original, of course.

I played a bit of Tingle's Balloon Fight while on vacation last week. The experience took my mind to some crazy places. Case in point: The following doodle--of Tingle in Ice Climber drag.

Two similar drawings can be seen in my deviantart gallery and in my Flickr photostream.

Wouldn't it be cool if Nintendo released a bunch of these re-imaginings? Along with a Tingle's Ice Climber, they could make a Tingle's Wrecking Crew, for instance, or even a Super Tingle Bros. Hmm, I think I now know the subject of my next few doodles.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I kind of doubt I'll catch them all

My long-awaited copy of Pokémon Black arrived while I was in Kauai. I have yet to pop it into my DS, as I'm still spending time with Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, but I'm planning to trade the latter for the former sometime this week.

I'm not in any particular rush at the moment because I haven't decided which starter Pokémon--Tepig, Snivy or Oshawott--I'm going to pick. Although I'm leaning towards Tepig (right), Snivy is appealing, too.

Another reason I'm not in a rush to start this particular Pokémon adventure: I've been a bit ho-hum on the series since I brought home Pokémon Emerald many moons ago. I'm hoping Pokémon Black will reverse that trend, but I'll hardly be heartbroken if it doesn't.

Anyway, enough about me. Have any of you picked up the latest Pokémon title? If so, which starter did you choose, and what are your overall thoughts on the game thus far?

I have a confession ...

I wasn't busy with work last week. In reality, I was in Hawaii (Kauai, specifically) on vacation.

Sorry for lying. I did it because someone (*cough* my sister-in-law Jan *cough*) made me feel paranoid about telling people via the Interwebs that David (the hubs) and I were going on vacation. I wanted to warn all of you that things would be a bit slow while I was gone, though, so I fibbed and said I was overrun with work.

Anyway, we're back, so expect things to return to normal this week.