Saturday, July 23, 2011

LEGO Vanillite

My (LEGO Pokémon) prayers have been answered!

In the comments section of my last LEGO Pokémon post, I mentioned that I'd love it if Filip Johannes Felberg added Vanillish to his ever-growing collection LEGO Pokémon creations.

Although the crafty Pokéfan didn't give me exactly what I wanted, he gave me the next best thing: A Vanillite made out of LEGO blocks!

True story: Vanillite/Vanillish/Vanilluxe are among my most favorite Pokémon Black/White creatures.

Speaking of Pokémon Black/White, I still have to finish the game. I got to the point--a few months ago, sadly--of taking on the Elite Four, only to lose interest. Maybe I'll give it--and Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light--one final push during my upcoming family vacation...

See also: All previous LEGO Pokémon posts

Friday, July 22, 2011

Aliens + Sega + WayForward = What's likely to be my last must-buy DS game

Actually, Aliens: Infestation will be my second-to-last must-buy DS game should Professor Layton and the Last Specter hit the streets after Sept. 30 (the former game's release date).

Regardless, I'll be picking up this WayForward-developed, Sega-published piece of software at some point this year. Why? Well, for starters, it's based on the Alien franchise. (Both Alien and its sequel are on my short list of all-time favorite films.) Second, it looks like a 16-bit game--which, in my mind, is pretty much always a good thing. Third, it plays like a Metroidvania title according to's recent preview. (All of the above and more are on full display in this 13-minute video, by the way.)

The only aspect of Aliens: Infestation that I'm not completely sold on at this point is its cover art (above). I wouldn't say it's bad, but I wouldn't say it's menacing, either--and menacing is exactly what I expect from anything and everything related to this classic franchise.

See also: 'Curiosity of the day: Square's Aliens game' and '8-bit Ellen Ripley'

The Backloggery

As I'm sure some of you are well aware, I'm a sucker for social media. After all, I've got deviantART, Facebook, Flickr, Formspring and Twitter accounts at the moment.

Actually, I added one more site to that lengthy list a few weeks ago: The Backloggery.

What's the point of this particular site, you ask? Basically, it helps you keep track of your gaming backlog. You don't just use your Backloggery account to track the games you own but have yet to play, though; you also use it to track games you're currently playing (by giving each one a status update, of sorts) as well as games you've already completed (which can be tagged "beaten," "completed" or "mastered).

Another cool thing about The Backloggery: You can connect to other gamers and not only compare collections but compete with them--basically, you earn points for every game you beat--as well.

If that sounds at all interesting to you, I'd highly recommend signing up for your own Backloggery account here. (After you do that, be sure to add me-- your "multitap," OK?)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kirby Returns to Dreamland

According to the folks at Siliconera, the name above will be attached to the Wii-based Kirby game when it's released in North America this autumn. A nice nod to the puffy pink character's first adventure, don't you think?

Now all we need is for Nintendo of America to announce a release date for this game--as well as one for Rhythm Heaven Wii (which I'm guessing will undergo a similar name change sooner rather than later), of course.

Speaking of Kirby Returns to Dreamland and Rhythm Heaven Wii: If both games do, in fact, make it to North American shores before 2012 dawns, my Wii is going to get an honest-to-goodness workout during the last quarter of the year--especially since The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is also expected to hit store shelves before the holidays.


Mike Tyson says: 'The movie was okay'

The following illustration makes me think a lot more art should be inspired by--or make use of imagery from--Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!

Oh, and most of said art should be rather obtuse like the piece below.

Don't get me wrong, art that uses game imagery in a more straightforward manner--like this Soda Popinski illustration--is cool, too, but I generally prefer art that displays some creativity and individuality.

Speaking of which, the painting above was produced by deviantartist melonjaywalk, who shares that it "was done as a gift for a friend of mine based on some of her favorite things--which included movie reviews and The New Yorker."


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Two reasons tomorrow will be the best day of 2011

Good news for those of you who lack patience: Both of the above-mentioned reasons are covered by and in the following video:

Yep, tomorrow will be the best day of 2011 because that's when Minna no Rhythm Tengoku (aka Rhythm Heaven Wii) will hit the streets in Japan.

Real talk: Based on what I've seen of it thus far, I fully expect Rhythm Heaven Wii--which has yet to receive a European or North American release date (harrumph!)--to compete with the GBA original for the title of "Best Rhythm Tengoku Game."

Admittedly, it'll only be competing against two other games--the first of which was released for the GBA in 2006 and the second of which was released for the DS in 2008/2009--but both of those titles are among the best rhythm games ever released, so the winner of said contest shouldn't be considered chopped liver.


Lollipop Chainsaw: I know next to nothing about it, but I want it anyway

Here's what I know about Lollipop Chainsaw at the moment: It's being made by the folks at Grasshopper Manufacture (Contact, Killer7, No More Heroes). It'll be published (in Japan) by Kadokawa Games. It'll be released for PS3 and Xbox 360. Oh, and it will star a chainsaw-wielding cheerleader and a whole lot of zombies.

A bunch of Lollipop Chainsaw screenshots hit the Internet this morning, with the one above being my favorite thanks to the fact that it shows the game's heroine, Juliet, carving up zombies with heart-shaped strokes of her hot-pink chainsaw. (I also like that it shows what appears to be a decapitated head dangling from her waistband.)


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Great Gaymathon Review #33: Hany on the Road (PC Engine)

Game: Hany on the Road
Genre: Platformer
Developer: FACE
Publisher: FACE
System: PC Engine
Release date: 1990

The titular protagonist in this game and in Hany in the Sky--a peculiar shoot 'em up that was released in 1989--takes a lot of crap these days for looking like an anthropomorphic prophylactic. Although understandable, such point-and-laugh attitudes cause a lot of people to overlook these  games in general and this unique platformer--honestly, I've never played anything like it--in particular. That's a shame, especially when it comes to Hany on the Road, which has players race through a series of scrolling, multi-planed (or maybe I should say "multi-roaded," given the game's title) stages in order to ... actually, I can't remember why you're supposed to race through this game. I'm guessing it's so you can rescue the protagonist's kidnapped girlfriend, Lemon? Whatever the reason, the journey is plenty pleasant thanks in large part to the game's attractive, colorful and delightfully varied graphics (each level pretty much has its own look) as well as its jaunty soundtrack. Hany's travels aren't without their travails, however; there are times when "the little condom that could," as I like to call him, feels a tad slippery, for instance, and there are other times when he's a bit too speedy. Also, his lone method of attack--a backflip kick--can be difficult to time, which likely prompts most people to play the game as I do: By jumping over or otherwise avoiding the game's baddies--a number of whom are depicted in the cover art above--rather than confronting them head-on.

See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts

Additional evidence that my sister-in-law is all sorts of awesome

Did you notice anything new when you visited this blog yesterday or today? If not, may I suggest glancing up at the URL?

Yep, this blog is now, officially, to my awesome sister-in-law, Jan. (Those of you who have been coming here for a while may recall that she made the snazzy, sparkly header image that has greeted anyone who has visited this site since last summer.)

Here's how it came about: Jan recently asked me why I didn't have my own domain. I responded by saying that wasn't available. (I swear, the last time I looked--and I've looked semi-regularly since I started the blog in early 2007--it was owned by someone else!) She did some digging, discovered that it was, in fact, available, and promptly bought for me as an early (very early) birthday present. She also did all the behind-the-scenes wizardry that allows the blog to show up at both thegaygamer. and

Isn't that awesome?

Monday, July 18, 2011

If you like The Legend of Zelda, you'll probably like For the Frog the Bell Tolls, too

So, I spent a good part of this past weekend playing Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru--aka For the Frog the Bell Tolls. What do I think of this amphibian-focused, import-only-until-recently GameBoy RPG thus far? Read on to find out.

It looks a lot like The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening--I don't know why that surprised me, as I knew going into this game that Link's first portable adventure was created using the engine that the folks at Intelligent Systems came up with for Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru.

The game's story is as charming and cute as its sprites--That's saying a lot, as I'm a total sucker for the art style Nintendo's designers used in so many of the company's GameBoy titles. Anyway, the gist of this one's story: Princess Tiramisu has been kidnapped, and rival princes--Richard, from the Custard Kingdom, and, er, you, from the Sable Kingdom--compete to rescue her from the upper-reaches of Mille-Feuille Castle.

Battling enemies is ... interesting--In most Zelda-esque ARPGs, you fight foes by slashing them with a sword or other weapon (which is accomplished by mashing the A or B button). In For the Frog the Bell Tolls, you simply run into them and then watch as the battle takes place in a cloud of dust. Whichever character is stronger wins. I know it sounds lame in theory, but in practice it works pretty well. It also keeps the game from feeling like little more than a Link's Awakening hack.

The whole package feels like a breath of fresh air--Especially if you've had your fill of everyone's favorite plumber and his friends. Don't get me wrong, I love Mario and Kirby and all of Nintendo's other go-to characters. That said, I miss the days when Miyamoto and his colleagues regularly churned out new IPs like this one.

Are any of you playing through For the Frog the Bell Tolls? If so, what do you think of it so far? If not, no worries--I'll continue to share impressions of the game as I edge ever closer to its finish line.

See also: 'Well, I guess I know what I'll be playing this weekend (and probably next) ...'

Let's Play: 'Which Box Art is Better?' (Half-Minute Hero II edition)

On August 4, the second Half-Minute Hero--it'll be known as Yūsha 30 Second, or Hero 30 Second, in its homeland--will, at long last, be released in Japan. Although rumor has it the game will (eventually) hit store shelves elsewhere in the world, too, an official announcement regarding such an endeavor has yet to escape the lips of the powers that be at developer Marvelous Entertainment.

Because there are, as of yet, no European or North American counterparts to compare to the cover art that's been revealed for Yūsha 30 Second, I decided to expand this edition of "Which Box Art is Better?" a bit by including the first game's box art as well as the second's.

Speaking of which, here's the art that greeted folks who bought the Japanese version of the first game:

And here's the illustration that graced the cover of the North American iteration (order a copy of it here):

Interestingly, the European packaging (below) basically is a mash-up of the Japanese version's art and the North American version's logo.

As you can see in the image below, Yūsha 30 Second's box art won't be following in its predecessor's rather precious footsteps.

As much as I want to, I can't say I'm all that fond of Yūsha 30 Second's art at this point. I much prefer what the folks at Marvelous Entertainment produced for the first game.

So, which of the original options do I prefer? Roll your eyes if you must, but once again I'm going with the Japanese cover. It has the best logo--in my opinion, of course--and I like that its designers decided to focus on the game's beautifully pixelated characters and environments.

That said, I don't hate the North American cover art. The illustration that serves as its centerpiece is quite appealing, for instance, as is its autumnal color scheme. If only it didn't have such a generic-looking logo...

Which piece of cover art do all of you prefer?

See also: Previous 'Which Box Art is Better?' posts