Friday, September 02, 2011

LEGO GameBoy Color

I don't know about you, but I think the only way the mock GameBoy Color, made out of LEGO blocks, seen in the photo below (it's on the left) could be any more impressive would be if its screen displayed an overly pixelated approximation of one of the portable system's most popular games, like Super Mario Land or Tetris.

Of course, it's possible (perhaps even likely) that attempting such a thing would have ruined the illusion, isn't it?

To see this crafty creation from a number of different angles, check out the photostream of Flickr user lego27bricks.

See also: The million or so LEGO Pokémon posts I've published on this blog thus far

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

Did you know that for the last two years Monster Games' wacky Wii racer, Excitebots: Trick Racing, has been a US-only title? No worries if you didn't, as it'll lose that distinction shortly thanks to the fact that it's being prepped for release in Japan.

Don't go looking for it on Japanese store shelves, though; the game, now called Excite Mou-Machine, will be offered to that country's Wii owners as a Club Nintendo bonus.

The game got more than a new name before it boarded its plane to Japan. As you'll see below, it got a new look, too. For the sake of comparison, here's the North American version's box art:

And this is the art that will grace the cover of the Japanese release:

Which one do you prefer? Personally, I prefer Excite Mou-Machine's box art, although I'm sure I'm in the minority. Don't get me wrong, I quite like Excitebots' art--mainly because it does a much better job of depicting the title's gameplay--just not as much as I like the quirky, Pokémon-esque cover of its Japanese counterpart.


Thursday, September 01, 2011

Reason #395 I could be considered an 'eccentric' (aka bat-sh*t crazy) gamer

I will, at some point in the not-so-distant future, pick up copies of two Famicom RPGs: Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. Why? Simply put: I'm completely in love with each game's box art. I mean, just look at the luscious illustration that graced the Japanese cover of Final Fantasy:

The box art produced for the original Dragon Quest, below, is equally drool-worthy, in my humble opinion.

Admittedly, I don't know a lick of Japanese, but I've played through both of these titles enough times--Final Fantasy especially--that I probably could beat them with my eyes closed, so doing so without being able to understand the text on the screen shouldn't be much of a problem.

Crazy-early impressions of Cladun X2

I've only played Cladun X2 for about an hour and a half thus far, but those 90 or so minutes were more than enough for me to form a few just-barely-educated opinions of this pixelated, PSP-based roguelike.

Here they are, in no particular order:

* This game's soundtrack is as sexy and jazzy as ever. Which is great, because there's nothing quite like racing through a dungeon full of foes while such tunes accompany every hack, slash and step.

* Although Cladun X2 features a number of new character and weapon sprites, the rest of its graphics are either identical to the ones seen in its predecessor or so similar that they may as well be identical. I don't have a problem with that, but I'm guessing some folks will be upset that this sequel isn't a bit more visually unique.

* I'm already in love with--and putting to good use--this game's expanded class and weapon options. Case in point: The very first character I created--something that is forced on the player this time around, by the way, and right off the bat too--was a pink-haired "saint" (whose special skill slays the undead) and one of the first weapons I found for her was a bow.

* I hate to admit this, but I'm finding myself a bit confused and even overwhelmed by all of the numbers that now crowd the game's heads-up display. The original game's HUD was clean and simple--the polar opposite of what I stare at (and attempt to decipher) while playing Cladun X2.

I'll share some slightly more informed opinions (as well as an actual review) of the game after I've spent more time with it, but in the meantime the ones above should give all of you Cladun-curious folks at least a bit of an idea as to what you can expect to encounter if you buy and play this System Prisma-developed title.

See also: Previous Cladun X2 posts

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I'm curious about Beyond the Labyrinth (3DS) despite the fact that it looks kind of crappy

Why? Before I reply, watch this recently released trailer:  

Admittedly, the trailer above doesn't give us much of an idea as to what we'll be doing while playing this tri-Ace-developed title. I mean, will we actually battle baddies and such, as is typically the case in dungeon crawlers, or will be simply bound through the titular labyrinth (labyrinths?) like lost puppies?

I'm likely alone (or almost alone) in feeling this way, but I wouldn't mind at all if Beyond the Labyrinth, which will be published by Konami at some future point in time, were more about the latter than the former--or, to put it another way, if it focused more on puzzles and exploration (à la Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon or even ICO) than on combat.

Anyway, back to my answer to the question raised by this post's headline (Why am I curious about Beyond the Labyrinth despite the fact that it looks kind of like a regular ol' DS game?): I'm curious about it because of the sense of wonder and even whimsy suggested in the teaser above.

Speaking of which, I can't be the only guy who let an "awwww" escape his lips after seeing what I believe to be the game's protagonist stumble in the trailer's final seconds, can I?

(Via and

Centerfold Mario

I came up with all sorts of fun headlines for this post before settling on the one above. A few of my favorites: "Eat your heart out, Burt Reynolds" and "Bare-on-bear battle: Burt vs. Mario."

In the end, though, I decided to keep it simple. Plus, it allowed me to use the words centerfold and Mario in the same headline, which I believe I've never done before now (even while prepping the headers for my posts about the "Super Studly Mario Bros.").

As for why I decided to title this post, "Centerfold Mario," I think the following sketch, produced by artist Curtis Bathurst, speaks for itself:

The illustration is an homage to a controversial Burt Reynolds centerfold that appeared in a 1972 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, by the way. If you've never seen said image, check out the post "Super Mario's Birthday Suit" on Bathurst's blog at your earliest convenience.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

For once, Bobblun gets the spotlight

How many folks actually refer to Bubble Bobble's second fiddle as Bobblun rather than Bob, I wonder?

Anyway, whether he's called Bob, Bobblun or "blue player two," the character is often ignored, even by those (like myself) who claim to be fans of Fukio Mitsuji's arcade classic. As such, the following piece of art, produced by Kasey Tararuj, is (to me, at least) as refreshing as it is adorable:

The image above doesn't give you the whole picture (pun intended) of Tararuj's piece, by the way. Looked at from the side, good ol' Bob--or Bobblun, or whatever you want to call him--and the bubble that encases him pop from the canvas in oh-so-au-currant 3D.

See what I mean, and read why Tararuj chose Bubble Bobble as a subject rather than Circus Charlie, by checking out the artist's blog, kaseytararuj.

The Great Gaymathon Review #36: PC Genjin (PC Engine)

Game: PC Genjin
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Atlus/Red Company
Publisher: Hudson Soft
System: PC Engine
Release date: 1989

Most folks know this game, renamed Bonk's Adventure before it was released in North America, for its hard-headed protagonist--who bravely served as the PC Engine's entry in what I like to call the "Great Gaming Mascot Pageant" of the late 1980s and early 1990s. There's nothing wrong with that, of course--that is the game's main claim to fame, after all--but in my opinion it deserves to be known for much more than being a somewhat-competitive contemporary of Mario and Sonic. For instance, there's the fact that PC Genjin began life as a comic (in the pages of Gekkan PC Engine magazine). I don't know why, but I've always found that kind of cool. Then there's the fact that it was developed by the abler-than-able folks at Atlus and Red Company (makers of Gate/Lords of Thunder, the Tengai Makyou titles and even Sega's Tempo). There's also the fact that PC Genjin is, simply put, a fun and unique game--something that can't be said about too many of the mascot-focused platformers released during the 16-bit era. The main reasons I find it to be fun and unique: For starters, the protagonist attacks his prehistoric foes by bashing them with his head. (He can do this while standing on the ground or while in the air, by the way; with the latter move resulting in a devilish dive-bomb.) Also, jumping and then rapidly pushing that same action button on the PC Engine's pad causes PC Genjin to spin wildly and hover or float, if for just a second or two, above the ground. Finally, I've always appreciated the primitive nature of this title's graphics. Considering most "mascot games," including this game's superior-in-many-ways sequel, are awfully slick in that area, PC Genjin's primordial departure from the norm could and should be seen by both PC Engine and platformer fans as a pixelated breath of fresh air.

See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts

Monday, August 29, 2011

Set aside two copies of Professor Layton and the Last Specter for me, will you?

Actually, make that one copy of Professor Layton and the Last Specter and one copy of Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call, if you don't mind.

The first game is the North American version of the fourth entry in Level-5's vaunted Professor Layton series, by the way, while the second game is the European version.

Professor Layton and the Last Specter's Japanese cover art. 
Why am I buying both? Well, I'm buying Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call, which will be released on Nov. 25, because I (strangely) prefer the alternate art that graces the covers of the Euro versions of the Professor Layton games to the art that graces the covers of the North American and Japanese versions and I'm buying Professor Layton and the Last Specter, which will be released on Oct. 17, because apparently it's going to be the only English version of the game that will contain Professor Layton’s London Life, a 100-hour RPG (developed by Mother 3-makers Brownie Brown) that I believe unlocks after you finish the main adventure.

I'd prefer to buy just one copy of the game (that being Spectre's Call), to tell you the truth, but, alas, I absolutely must experience the much-talked-about London Life. So, two copies it is.

This tumblog isn't exactly gay, but it's well worth a look anyway

I've published a few posts about tumblogs that feature gaming guys thus far (here's one and here's another), but I'm pretty sure this is the first one I've published about a girl-focused tumblog.

Don't worry, the tumblog in question isn't full of scantily-clad ladies with huge, er, accessories. Rather, it's full of women who are wearing "reasonable armor." (Hence the tumblog's name: Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor.)

Interestingly, the tumblog is maintained by a guy. I don't know if he's gay, straight or bi, but who really cares as long as keeps posting awesome images like the one above?