Friday, April 29, 2011

To those of you who have yet to play EarthBound Zero (aka Mother) ...

... may I suggest you do so soon now that a fan translation of the GameBoy Advance title, Mother 1+2, has been released?

Why should you play the version on Mother 1+2 rather than the available-for-eons EarthBound Zero? Here's how Tomato, the person behind this translation (and the translation of Mother 3), recently responded to that question:

"The EarthBound Zero ROM has a good number of changes, censoring and mistakes with plot details and dialog. The text in the EarthBound Zero ROM is also very dry due to limited NES resources. Doing a retranslation with this GBA version allowed for a lot more text, and censoring/changes weren't necessary. The result is a script that should hopefully be more engaging and natural-sounding."

Another reason to skip EarthBound Zero and play the version included on Mother 1+2 instead: The latter includes an "Easy Ring" (found in Ninten's room at the beginning of the game) which can be used by those who hate having to grind for experience and money.

According to Tomato, "this item, when equipped, greatly increases the experience and money you win from enemies while also reducing the amount of random battles. It makes the game much less of a chore, which is one of the main reasons EarthBound fans have a hard time getting into the game."

For more information on the Mother 1+2 fan translation, or to download the ROM patch needed to play it, go to

Would this ad have prompted more Americans to purchase a TurboDuo?

Probably not, but it couldn’t have hurt.

The folks at NEC (or TTI) would have had to redo the commercial’s song, though, since I can’t make out most of what’s being said in the current version.

I can hear, “let’s spend the night together!” at the beginning, for instance, and then the next thing I can make out is, “together having fun”--which comes just before the oh-so-cheerful chorus. The only other part I understand is the last line: “Look on the bright side of your life!”

All that said, I’ve watched the darn thing about 10 times now, so clearly it can be enjoyed quite a bit despite the language difficulties.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Great Gaymathon Review #24: Electroplankton (DS)

Game: Electroplankton
Genre: Music
Developer: indieszero
Publisher: Nintendo
System: Nintendo DS
Release date: 2006

Shortly after Electroplankton arrived on my doorstep a few weeks ago, an astute Twitter friend of mine suggested I "approach it as a musical playground. Don't look for faults, just have fun experimenting." That seems to be advice everyone should follow after booting up this Toshio Iwai-designed title. Another worthy piece of advice for Electroplankton newbies: Skip the rather yawn-inducing "audience" mode and go straight for the "performance" mode, where you're able to interact--using the DS' microphone and/or touchscreen--with any of the game's 10 music-making plankton. My favorite is Rec-Rec, by the way, since it allows you to create, using the DS' microphone, simple--four-track, four-second--songs. Beatnes, which lets you embellish--by tapping on the diamond-shaped heads, spines and tails of some particularly peculiar-looking plankton--a quartet of well-known Famicom/NES tunes, is a close second. Sadly, you can't use more than one type of plankton at a time, nor can you save any of your creations. Don't let that keep you from giving Electroplankton a try, though; this digital instrument is well worth the price of admission if you're a music junkie--or even if you just like DS releases that utilize the dual-screened system and its distinctive features in enjoyably unique ways.

See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts

Let's Play: 'Which Box Art is Better?' (Catherine edition)

Actually, this edition of "Which Box Art is Better?" really should be titled "Which Box Art is Best?" as it includes four (rather than two) different illustrations--all of which will appear on North American covers of Atlus' upcoming PS3 and Xbox 360 puzzler-platformer, Catherine.

Here, for instance, is the image that will grace the cover of the "regular" PS3 release of the game:

Gamers who consider that piece of box art to be a bit too risqué will be able to buy this "alternate" version (through instead:

Xbox 360 owners will be presented with a pair of box art options, too, with the one below being the regular release:

And this one being the alternate (pre-order it here):

After much consideration, I have to admit that I like the regular PS3 cover the best, followed by the regular Xbox 360 cover. As far as the alternate covers are concerned: Once again, I prefer the PS3 iteration to its Xbox 360 counterpart.

Which one is your favorite?

See also: Previous Catherine posts

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I just remembered that I'll be able to buy (and play) Catherine now that I own an Xbox 360

I've been so focused on using my Xbox 360 as an Xbox Live Arcade and Indie Games player that I completely forgot, until last night, that I'll soon be able to use that big, black box to play Atlus' upcoming erotic and horrific puzzler-platformer (boy, that's a mouthful), Catherine, too.

What prompted this late-night revelation? Well, the folks at Atlus released a bunch of localized (English) screenshots--like the one below--of the game, that's what.

According to, by the way, both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of Catherine will be available for purchase (for about $59.99) as of July 26. Pre-order the PS3 version here and the Xbox 360 version here.


Rejoice! Rhythm Heaven Wii will use buttons, not waggle :)

Tucked away within the text version of Nintendo's recent "Financial Results Briefing for Fiscal Year Ended March 2011" presentation is the following comment--from President/CEO Satoru Iwata--regarding the company's forthcoming Rhythm Heaven/Paradise/Tengoku sequel for Wii:

"The new Rhythm Paradise game we showed you in our Financial Results Briefing in January will be available this summer. I tried out a near-final version of the game, and felt that this Rhythm Paradise, playable with a TV monitor, never loses the uniqueness of the original Rhythm Paradise. In contrast to Wii Remote Plus Variety [aka Wii Play: Motion] I introduced before, this game is intentionally designed to be played only with buttons."

When Rhythm Heaven Wii was announced last year, I was sure the folks at Nintendo were going to force us to play it using motion controls--much like they forced us to use the touchscreen while playing the DS iteration. As such, it's a relief to hear that this second sequel will instead take the series back to the button-pressing roots of the GameBoy Advance original.

(For more on Rhythm Tengoku, read this post or even this one.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Forget Dorothy, I'm a 'friend of Tony'

You've all heard "friend of Dorothy," right? If not, it's a phrase that entered the English lexicon around World War II and has been used ever since as a euphemism for "gay man."

I bring it up because it relates to the Xbox Live gamertag I created shortly after receiving my spiffy new Xbox Live Arcade (and Indie Games) player, er, Xbox 360.

Initially, I wanted my gamertag to be "thegaygamer," but of course that was taken. My next idea was "gay4play," which was taken, too--although "gayforplay" was available. I didn't go with it, though, because I was worried it would be deemed inappropriate and thus banned by the powers that be at Microsoft.

"Littlest Things" by tina-bot

So, I hit my creativity button (it's located on the inside of my right knee, by the way) and came up with "friendoftony"--which combines "friend of Dorothy" with one of my all-time favorite gay game characters, Tony (above) from EarthBound.

Unfortunately, I don't currently have an Xbox Live Gold subscription, so I can't play any of you on line, but that doesn't mean we can't connect. If you're interested, just send a friend request to me at "friendoftony."

See also: 'Say hello to my spiffy new Xbox Live Arcade (and Indie Games) player'

Say hello to my spiffy new Xbox Live Arcade (and Indie Games) player

Last week, offered shoppers a pretty sweet deal on four-gig Xbox 360 systems: Buy one and they'd give you a $50 promotional credit that could be used toward future purchases.

I've been waiting for such an opportunity for quite some time, so I jumped on it. The system arrived on Friday afternoon and shortly after I ordered a 4,000 Xbox Live Points Card with my $50 credit (which arrived on Saturday, surprisingly enough).

So far, I've used that points card to pick up a number of Xbox Live Arcade and Indie Games releases, including Arkedo Series--03 PIXEL!, Kaiten Patissier, Miner Dig Deep, Pac-Man Championship Edition, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX and Protect Me Knight.

I have my eye on a few others--like Braid, Castle Crashers, Costume Quest, Limbo, Might & Magic Clash of Heroes, Nin-2 Jump and Trouble Witches Neo--but I'm going to spend some quality time with the titles above before buying any of them.

Anyway, of the games I currently own my favorite, by far, is Pac-Man Championship Edition. I'm not very good at it, but I don't care--it's so addictive and so fun that I can't stop playing it.

I've always been a sucker for men who wear Tanooki suits

Especially when they're as cute as the guys in deviantartist beyx's "Mario Suits" illustration (below).

You say you've got a thing for guys in raccoon suits? Check out this illustration, also produced by beyx. (See more of her stuff in her deviantart gallery.)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Adele is obsessed with Angry Birds, too

OK, so the song included in the video below isn't actually Adele's. Rather, it's an Angry Birds-focused parody of the British crooner's hit single, "Rolling in the Deep."

My favorite lines in this version of the song, by the way, are: "I've reset this level a hundred thousand times. This ninety-nine cent App purchase is destroying my life."


About those Project Café/Wii 2 rumors ...

Well, the folks at Nintendo of Japan finally admitted that the successor to the Wii--supposedly codenamed "Project Café"--will be revealed at the upcoming E3 event (June 7-9 in Los Angeles) and will be released sometime next year.

Unfortunately, that's about all they admitted during a press conference held earlier today in Osaka, Japan.  (Another will be held tomorrow in Tokyo.)

Sure, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata shared that the company "will offer something new for home game systems," but that's hardly a shocking statement given its forward-thinking DS, 3DS and Wii systems.

The question is, will the "something new" Iwata refers wind up resembling any of the rumors that have been swirling around the Interwebs for the last week or so? (Read about them here.)

Will the system's controller really have a six-inch touchscreen in the center of it (as depicted in the mock-up above), for instance? If so, will it really allow users to stream games and other media to said screen without turning on their TVs?

Also, does this mean Nintendo is turning its back on the Wii remote and the motion controls that were popularized by it--or will this new console be backwards-compatible with its predecessor?

That last question has me feeling a bit edgy at the moment, I have to admit. I've really enjoyed using the Wii remote--its pointer functionality, especially--and I'd hate for Nintendo to give it up just so they can offer the masses something new and exciting.

What do all of you think? Are you curious about Project Café, or could you care less about it?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! How are you spending the day? I'm/we're spending it with friends--in fact, I'm just about to start making brunch (French toast, bacon, potatoes, etc.). After that? I'll probably play with my new toy (which I'll tell you about shortly).

Anyway, I hope all of you have a wonderful day. The illustration above was produced by bartotainment, by the way. I don't think the imagery was pulled from a video game, but it certainly looks as though it was, doesn't it?