Friday, August 12, 2011

Nintendo's investors are idiots

I'm guessing you've heard by now that various analysts, experts and even investors are calling on Nintendo to make games for Facebook as well as for smartphones (Apple's iPhone, in particular). If not, you may want to read the article, "Mario Pressured to Jump to IPhone as Nintendo Wii, 3DS Slump," which caused quite a ruckus after it was published on yesterday.

Personally, I can't think of anything worse--for investors or gamers--than Nintendo abandoning its heretofore-properous hardware business in favor of producing cheap Facebook and iPad/iPhone games. For instance, I'm not sure how the company would make more money by selling, say, an iPhone version of Super Mario Bros. for $.99 or even $5 a copy than it could by selling a Wii U version of Super Mario Bros. for $50 a copy.

I could see Nintendo having similar financial problems if it only took part of the above-mentioned investors' advice and made Facebook and/or iPhone games while also making 3DS and Wii U games. After all, surely a $.99 Super Mario Bros. game made for iPhone would negatively impact the sales of a similar Super Mario Bros. game made for Wii U, especially since the latter would sell for many times the price of the former?

Would you like to see any of these characters star 
in his or her own Facebook or iPhone game?

The only way I could see Nintendo benefitting from such a move would be if it produced and published only new IPs, or if it produced and published a mixture of new IPs and simplistic spin-offs of its existing IPs, for Facebook and/or smartphones.

That's just my opinion, of course--and I didn't exactly graduate with a degree in business or economics. Anyway, what do all of you think about these cries for Nintendo to enter the Facebook and smartphone spaces? Should the company follow that advice, or ignore it?

Edward Hopper x Leisure Suit Larry

Have you ever thought of Edward Hopper's iconic "Nighthawks" painting while playing a Leisure Suit Larry game? I sure as hell haven't. Of course, my only memory of this Sierra On-Line series is of sneaking into my uncle's office as a teen to play Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards on his Apple IIGS while he and my parents drank margaritas and played cards (hey, we were on vacation), so maybe I just haven't spent enough time with these saucy point-and-click titles.

Anyway, although I'm sure I'm not alone in having never imagined a visual mashup involving Leisure Suit Larry and "Nighthawks," at least one person has imagined such imagery: artist Aled Lewis, whose resulting illustration (below), titled "Just Another Sleazy Joint," is included in the SUPER iam8bit show that kicked off in Los Angeles last night.

Also included in the above-mentioned show are three similar mashups: One ("Divine Intervention") involving Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" and Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel, another ("How Appropriate, You Fight Like A Post-Impressionist") involving Vincent Van Gogh's "Cafe Terrace On The Place Du Forum 1888" and The Secret of Monkey Island and a third ("Indiana Jones and the Persistence of Memory") involving Salvador Dali's "The Persistence of Memory" and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cladun X2 kinda, sorta gets a North American release date

NIS America's Nao Zook took to the PlayStation Blog earlier today to chat about three of the company's upcoming games: Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland, Cladun X2 and Disgaea 4.

The most interesting comment to escape Zook's lips? That Cladun X2--packed full of Mota's wonderful character designs, one of which can be seen above--will hit PSN at the end of this month. (To those of you who are interested: Atelier Totori will hit the streets on Sept. 27 while Disgaea 4 will precede it on Sept. 6.)

Admittedly, I would have preferred a solid release date, but as is far too often the case I'll take what I can get.

Why Sega's Laser Ghost should have been named QuinceaƱera of the Damned

Those of you who have only been playing games for the last few years may think North American box art has always been on par (or nearly on par) with the art that graces the covers of Japanese releases.

Unfortunately, that's far from the case--a fact that's made painfully clear by looking at the box art that appeared on your average 8-bit, 16-bit and even 32-bit title.

The worst offenders of the above-mentioned bunch: The great majority of the box art produced for Sega's Master System and NEC's TurboGrafx-16.

That's not to say all of the art that appeared on the cases of those systems' games stunk. For instance, Laser Ghost's cover art (right) was pretty darn nice, all things considered.

Strangely, as Back of the Cereal Box's Drew Mackie points out in a recent post, the game's name has little to do with its intriguing cover art--or its content.

What name should the marketing folks at Sega's European arm have given the game instead? Mackie offers up a number of hilarious suggestions in the aforementioned blog post, with my personal favorite being QuinceaƱera of the Damned.

To see Mackie's other suggestions--as well as footage of both the arcade and Master System versions of Laser Ghost--check out "Laser Ghost! (May Not Contain Ghosts or Lasers)" at your earliest convenience.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Animal Crossing + Endless Ocean = Yuji Naka's Fishing Resort

Up 'til now, my experience with fishing games has been limited to the enjoyably relaxing mini-games that were included in the Animal Crossing titles and in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

That shouldn't surprise me as much as it does, as I've fished just a handful of times (if that) in the 34 years since I was born. Also, the only fishing game that has even slightly piqued my interest since I began gaming as a youngster was the Dreamcast version of Sega Bass Fishing--and that was due, mainly, to me suffering from "Dreamcast fever" at the time.

Interestingly, the fishing game that may finally get me to bite into this genre has a connection to the company responsible for that wonderful little system. The title in question: Yuji Naka's Fishing Resort (Family Fishing in Japan), which will be released stateside for the Wii this fall courtesy of the folks at XSEED Games. (Naka, currently the head honcho at Prope, used to work for Sega's Sonic Team.)

Why am I so interested in this game? Watch the following (Japanese) trailer and see for yourself:

Don't worry if you couldn't make it through all three minutes and thirty-one seconds of the trailer. The following description should do a similarly bang-up job of helping you understand why a non-fisherman like myself would be intrigued by this title.

"Players are put in control of their own island vacation and free to do as they please--get up early in the morning and try to grab massive fish in the deep sea, or rent a bicycle and travel to a remote lagoon. Players are free to fish wherever there is water, and a variety of locales are available, from tropical ocean fishing on the high sea to ice fishing atop the island’s mountains. With over 20 fish-related mini games and over 200 varieties of fish available--not to mention four-player competitive modes and online leaderboards, which show players how they stack up against other anglers around the world--there’s plenty of content for both casual players and completionists alike."

Sadly, the "special controller" the folks at Namco Bandai created for the Japanese version of the game (check it out here) won't be accompanying Fishing Resort to our shores. It's hard to complain about, though, since it likely would have made the title more expensive--and thus less appealing--to a lot of potential buyers.

Someone just *has* to turn this into game

"This," by the way, is the illustration below. It's called "Hadoucat!" and was created by artist Lucky1988 (who kindly shared it with the world via his/her Flickr photostream earlier this week).

If nothing else, I'd love to see the cat sprite used in some sort of Bubble Bobble clone. (In a perfect world, the person creating said game would copy the gameplay of Chip Chan Kick, a treasure of a PC-FX title that features cute little girls who stun enemies with what look like Puyo Puyo blobs before kicking them into the hereafter.)

Somewhat random aside: Lucky1988's image was in the running to appear on a t-shirt via, but it was rejected for being "off topic." Pshaw, I say!

See also: 'Super Maui-o Bros.'

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Happy belated birthday, Samus!

While relaxing with "the fam" this past weekend, I missed a rather momentous holiday: The 25th anniversary of Metroid's release.

Thankfully, one of my favorite artists around, Andrew "Drew" Green, wasn't so absentminded (or careless). In fact, not only did he remember the anniversary of Samus Aran's debut, but he celebrated the occasion by conjuring up the wonderfully charming drawing that follows, too.

On his blog, the Atlantan says of his creation: "Nothing says 'happy birthday' like drawing the thing you love being munched on by an energy-sucking parasite." I can't say I disagree, Drew!

Back in the saddle again

Well, the 2011 Schochallagerdt Family Vacation is over. Actually, it ended a few hours ago--when my parents pulled away from our curb in their rental car and headed back to the airport.

Although my head feels as though it's full of cobwebs at the moment, I'm sure it will be cleared up by tomorrow. As such, expect this blog to return to normal--i.e., expect to see more than a single, measly post published to it per day--within the next 24 hours.