Saturday, June 04, 2011

The LEGO Pokémon you've been waiting for

OK, so it's really the LEGO Pokémon I've been waiting for--but I guess that could go without saying since this is my blog.

Anyway, the LEGO Pokémon that anyone with an ounce of taste has been waiting for is Filip Johannes Felberg's LEGO Scraggy (below).

As you can see in this photo, Felberg's latest batch of LEGO Pokémon creations includes three other Pokémon Black/White characters: Dwebble, Purrloin and Venipede.

To see more of his blocky reimaginings, check out these blog posts or Felberg's Flickr photostream.

Friday, June 03, 2011

My hopes and fears for the 'big three' at E3

E3 2011 is upon us. Well, as of Monday. Anyway, I'm excited. I'm also a bit wary, as I've been through the ups and downs associated with such events many times over the years.

So, what am I excited about and what is making me a bit wary--or, rather, what are my hopes and fears for the "big three" at this most awesome of gaming events? Well, here are my hopes:

Microsoft--Honestly, I'm not expecting much from Microsoft. You know they're going to show a bunch of "hardcore" games and a bunch of Kinect titles. I have little interest in either. I'll be perfectly happy, though, if they announce even a few wow-worthy XBLA titles.

Nintendo--As of now, this event is all about Nintendo for me, as I'm curious to see what they have planned for the 3DS and the Wii successor, currently known as Project Café. Regarding the latter, I'm looking for the company's latest console as well as its launch software to wow me like the Wii and Wii Sports did at E3 in 2006. Also, I hope Nintendo announces a few more Wii releases. I'd love to see the new Kirby, The Last Story, Rhythm Heaven/ Tengoku Wii and Xenoblade all brought to North America, but I'll be happy if even one or two of them come our way.

Sony--Will we finally get a release date and release price for Sony's next portable, which seemingly is going to be called PS Vita? I hope so. I also hope we get a peek at some of the stellar first- and third-party games that surely are being planned for the system.

As for my fears for the "big three" at this E3, here they are:

Microsoft--I fear they're going to expend most of their energy on so-called hardcore and Kinect games and ignore XBLA.

Nintendo--I fear they're going to completely drop the ball on the DS and Wii. I know the 3DS is now the company's focus in the portable space, but there are plenty of DS and DSi owners out there who aren't going to upgrade anytime soon and who would still like to play some new games--games like the Lemmings-esque Kirby title that's going to be released in Japan this August or the fourth entry in the Professor Layton series. As for the Wii, well, Project Café, or whatever the console ends up being called, isn't going to hit store shelves until next summer, if not later. Why not localize a few--or, even better, all--of the as-of-now-Japan-only games mentioned above in the meantime?

Sony--I fear that Sony is going to wait too long to release the PS Vita in the US--it has to hit store shelves before Christmas, in my opinion--and slap a price tag on the system that's far too high given current economic conditions. The system is likely to find success in Japan regardless of price thanks to its rabid fan base and games like Monster Hunter, but its future is much less certain in the States. If it's not priced competitively with the 3DS, it's going to have a hard time faring any better than its poorly received predecessor.

We'll find out in any of my hopes or fears will become reality on Monday and Tuesday of next week, by the way. Microsoft's press conference will begin at 9 am Pacific on Monday, with Sony's occurring later the same day, at 5 pm Pacific. Nintendo's press conference, on the other hand, will start at 9 am Pacific on Tuesday.

All of the above-mentioned conferences will be streamed live on, by the way. I'll certainly be watching them. Will you?

Forget Wii Party, I'd rather play the 'Famicom Party Game' instead

Do you have a Famicom, a lot of Famicom games (somewhere between 30 and 50) and two or more friends? If so, you can play the party game that's sweeping Japan!

OK, so it's not really sweeping Japan, but it's popular enough that some folks are filming their "Famicom Party Game" experiences and posting the resulting videos--like the one below--on YouTube.

Note: Although dressing up in Famicom-inspired cosplay isn't required of "Famicom Party Game" participants, doing so certainly seems to add an extra dollop of fun to the proceedings.

For more information on this game, which apparently originated on a Japanese TV show called "Otameshika," check out famicomblog.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The PlayStation Store is back up (or, I should buy Claddun: This is an RPG before it goes down again, shouldn't I?)

I'm sure most, if not all, of you PSP and PS3 owners know this already, but just in case you don't: The PlayStation Store is accessible again.

Well, unless you're in Japan, Hong Kong or South Korea. Sony has yet to reveal when the PS Store will be accessible in those regions, sadly.

I was going to hop onto the store tonight in order to make use of Sony's "Welcome Back" package--which allows all existing registered PlayStation Network and Qriocity users to download a pair of games from the PS Store--but I just read that the package is not yet available.

I guess I could access the store and finally buy Claddun: This is an RPG and/or Pac-Man Championship Edition, but I think a better course of action for me would be to save that cash for something more interesting--like Rhythm Tengoku Wii, which is supposed to be released in Japan in the next month or two, or Xenoblade Chronicles, which will be released in Europe in September.

Are any of you planning to go onto the PS Store tonight or this weekend? If so, what are you going to purchase?

Give me Grand Knights History and I'll forget all about Monster Hunter Diary G

It's hard to be a non-Japanese PSP owner these days. While the system continues to sell boatloads in its homeland, its sales have gone down the toilet everywhere else--to the point where publishers no longer want to support it outside of the Land of the Rising Sun.

As such, I'm more than a bit worried that Vanillaware's Grand Knights History--which has graphics that Anoop over at describes as "so lovely you'll want to travel back in time and off Jeff Polygon, the inventor of the polygon"--will, like so many recent and upcoming PSP releases, remain a Japan-only affair.

To see firsthand why that would be a crying shame, check out the following trailer for this fabulous looking RPG:

Grand Knights History will hit the streets in Japan on Sept. 1 with a price tag of ¥5,229 (approximately $65). Here's hoping this Marvelous-published title eventually makes its way to other territories, too.


Japanese PSP owners get Monster Hunter Diary G on August 10, while the rest of the world's PSP owners get ... absolutely nothing

Don't mind me, I'm just feeling bitter that the folks at Capcom have thus far failed to bring the original Monster Hunter Diary--released in Japan last August--to North America.

I know, this Animal Crossing-esque PSP title likely would have sold all of five copies (if the folks at Capcom were lucky) in the States, but one of them would have been sold to yours truly--which of course makes me believe its release would have been completely worthwhile.

Anyway, while a handful of North American gamers like me continue to wait in vain for Capcom to bring the game to our region, the Osaka-based company will be releasing its sequel--called Monster Hunter Diary G--in Japan on Aug. 10.

Who knows, maybe this one will be localized and released as a download-only title when the NGP--which will reportedly be called the PS Vita--launches later this year or early next?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Super Maui-o Bros.

I don't know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, but here in Seattle it's cloudy and cool and summer seems to be at least a month (if not more) away.

As such, I'm finding myself attracted to anything and everything that makes me think of the sun and warmth these days--which may explain my excited reaction upon seeing the t-shirt design below this morning.  

Besides the setting, my favorite aspects of the design above--called "Super Maui-O!" and created by Flickr user Lucky1988--are the Blooper riding the Ski-Doo in the upper-right corner, the surfing Bullet Bill to the left of the flip-flop-sporting Mario and the Toad squeezing sunscreen on the toothy Goomba in the center of the illustration.

If you'd like to own a t-shirt bearing this design, vote on it in the next seven days at

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Speaking of rare PC Engine hardware, what happened to this monitor?

Did you know that the folks at NEC announced both the PC Engine DUO and the PC Engine LT (the laptop-esque portable mentioned in this post) at the Tokyo Game Show in 1991? Well, they did.

At the same show, NEC also displayed a four-inch, clamshell monitor that could be attached to the aforementioned DUO to turn it into what the writers at TurboPlay magazine called "the ultimate portable machine."

In this article (from the August/September 1991 issue of TurboPlay), it's suggested that this sexy little monitor (above) had been released two years prior with a price tag of approximately $600. That assertion seems questionable to me, as that would mean it was released in 1989--the PC Engine's second year on the market.

So, I have a question for any fellow PC Engine fans out there who may come across this post: Was this monitor really released in Japan in 1989, or was it released alongside the DUO and the LT?

Regardless, it's a rather fascinating peripheral--especially given its release date--isn't it?

A little PC Engine LT love

At least once a year, I become a wee bit obsessed with the PC Engine LT.

I've wanted one of these sexy, laptop-esque portables ever since I saw a photo of one in an old issue of either Diehard GameFan or Electronic Gaming Monthly (or maybe it was Super Gaming, an EGM spin-off) magazine as a youngster, but I've never bought one because they're so darn expensive.

That hasn't kept me from dreaming about the day I throw caution--and my credit card--to the wind and purchase one, though. Until that day arrives, I'll waste my time reading blog posts about and watching YouTube videos of NEC's little gray wonder.

Speaking of the latter, the following video--produced by YouTube user futurematt5--is helping me get through my most recent phase of PC Engine LT obsession. (I wonder if that'll be considered a diagnosable and treatable disorder when the DSM-5 is published in 2013?)

Here's part two of the video, by the way, and here's (actually, go here and here) a series of videos in which futurematt5 attaches the PC Engine LT to the Super CD-ROM2 peripheral. Oh, and here's a fabulously porn-ish video that features "high-quality footage and close-ups" of the system.

Anyway, here's to hoping that next year at this time I'll be posting my own photos and videos of the portable system that futurematt5 says is the gaming world's equivalent of an eccentric uncle.

Note: This post originally appeared on my PC Engine-focused blog,

Monday, May 30, 2011

Super Studly Mario Bros. 2

Admittedly, the illustration below isn't even half as hot as the photo splashed across the cover of the soon-to-be-released issue of MUTO Manifesto magazine that was highlighted in my previous "Super Studly Mario Bros." post.

Still, there's a certain, strange appeal to Angela Zavala's cheeky, Super Mario Bros.-inspired drawing, isn't there? (To see more of Zavala's creations, check out her deviantART gallery.)