Saturday, September 10, 2011

'From Pong to Virtua Tennis'

This weekend (and Monday, too) is all about fuzzy balls in our household. And by "fuzzy balls" I mean tennis balls, of course.

Anyway, I've got (tennis) balls on the brain right now because the final "Grand Slam" tournament of the year, the US Open, is about to reach its climax. (Both the men's and women's semifinals are being played today, followed by the women's final tomorrow and the men's final on Monday.)

As such, I've also got tennis games on the brain--which is why I was immediately drawn to the following photo, taken by Clément Gault (aka designrecherche), when it appeared in the "Your Contacts" section of my Flickr homepage the other day.

Although I'd hardly describe the triptych (of sorts) as stunning, I quite like how it shows the progression from the first-ever tennis game, Pong, to the first somewhat-realistic one, Virtua Tennis.

Friday, September 09, 2011

But I thought Nintendo was killing off the DSi XL?

File this piece of news under "things that make you go hmmm," folks:

According to Amazon, the "metallic rose" (aka pink) DSi XL seen below will be released in North America on Sept. 18. (Pre-order it here.)

As if that isn't strange enough, said DSi XL will be sold at the same price ($169.99) as the still-trying-to-gain-a-foothold-in-the-hearts-and-minds-of-consumers 3DS.

Now, I'm no business guru, but wouldn't it be better/smarter to, say, release a pink 3DS rather than a pink DSi XL at this point in time?

All that said, I'd totally pick up one of these DSi XLs if they were the same color as the "coral pink" DS Lites that took up space on North American store shelves a few years ago.

You've never looked better, Donkey Kong

The following pair of Donkey Kong-inspired illustrations recently popped up on one of my favorite art blogs, The Autumn Society, and because I consider myself quite a fan of the big ape, I thought I'd post them here, too.

The illustration below was created by an artist who calls himself (herself?) Chogrin for the "8-Bit Champions" show that's set to open in Paris on Sept. 15.

This piece, on the other hand, was produced by artist Jayson Weidel for the "Old School Video Game Show" that will kick off on Sept. 16 in Santa Monica, California.

Now, please forgive me while I play a few rounds of Donkey Kong on my trusty Twin Famicom.


Thursday, September 08, 2011

Poor li'l grim reaper

Until now, I'm pretty sure I've never felt sorry for the grim reapers--or any of the other baddies--that populate Capcom's arcade classic, Ghosts'n Goblins (aka Makaimura).

You can't help but feel sorry for the little guy that's being assaulted in the painting below, though, can you?

This piece was produced by artist Alex Leighton for the "8-Bit Champions" show that's set to open in Paris on Sept. 15, by the way. Check out more of his stuff at


Reason #396 I could be considered an 'eccentric' (aka bat-sh*t crazy) gamer

How's this for eccentric (or bat-shit crazy, if that's the terminology you prefer)? Not only am I a self-proclaimed "box-art whore"--as in, I buy, or at least I want to buy, certain games simply because of the art that graces their box covers--but I'm a box-art whore who often finds himself desiring games that he can't possibly play (because I don't own the systems that are needed to play them).

Here are a few recent examples:

Fantasy Zone II for the Mark III

Panorama Cotton for the Mega Drive

Rainbow Islands Extra for the FM Towns

Yume Meikyū Kigurumi Daibōken (aka Dream Maze) for the Super Famicom

I also really want to buy copies of Bubble Bobble for the FM Towns (cover art shown in this recent post) and Puzzle Bobble Mini for the Neo Geo Pocket (cover art shown in this post).

I can't be the only gamers who thinks this way, can I?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Question of the day: Have the head honchos at Nintendo and Square Enix lost their minds?

I ask the question above because of a pair of situations that have made headlines the world over in the last few days.

In regards to Square Enix's sanity (or lack thereof), there's Monday's announcement that the company's much-anticipated Wii (and now Wii U, too) title, Dragon Quest X, will be an online RPG. Not only that, but the game reportedly will require an online connection beyond its first few hours (i.e., after the game's introduction, you likely won't be able to play it off line). Oh, and the cherry on top of this bat-shit crazy sundae: According to an official press release sent out by the folks at Square Enix, Dragon Quest X will, in some form or fashion, make use of subscription fees--at least in Japan.

Man, that is one ugly peripheral, isn't it?

As for why I'm wondering whether the brass at Nintendo have lost their minds, consider the following: The current issue of Famitsu magazine includes a "secret scoop" that suggests Nintendo will soon release, alongside Capcom's Monster Hunter Tri G, a peripheral for the 3DS that will provide the portable system a second "circle pad" and a pair of additional shoulder buttons. Unsurprisingly, this reveal has both Nintendo fans and haters alike believing that the company will soon announce the imminent release of a 3DS "revision" (à la the DS Lite, DSi and DSi XL) that will incorporate all of the above-mentioned features.

So, what do all of you think? Do the situations detailed above suggest that the decision makers at Nintendo and Square Enix are a few bits short of a byte, or do they suggest the opposite?

(Via and

Raise your hand if you're buying Final Fantasy Type-0 because of Yoshitaka Amano's box art

My hand's up. How about yours?

Those of you who just replied to the question above in the negative either don't own a PSP or haven't seen the beautiful cover art, below, that Yoshi- taka Amano created for this portable Final Fantasy spin-off, right?

Sorry, this is the only available shot of Amano's cover art.

Unfortunately for all of us Western gamers, the folks at Square Enix have yet to reveal if Final Fantasy Type-0 will be released outside of Japan.

Even if is, though, I have a feeling Amano's cover art will be switched out for something a bit more "action-packed" (i.e., hideous) before it ever hits American and European store shelves.


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Why didn't somebody tell me Mighty Flip Champs received a PSP port?

While researching today's other post (about Mighty Switch Force's teaser trailer), I discovered that another WayForward-developed title that I've had my eye on for some time, Mighty Flip Champs, was rather stealthily released as a PSP Mini a few months ago.

Surprisingly, said port is supposed to be a pretty good one. "It's a game that, previous to its arrival on PSP, I could only imagine as a DS game," Joystiq's JC Fletcher wrote in a recent review. "But the PSP version turns the vertical 'flipping' horizontal, and puts the two locations on the left and right side of the PSP screen. To my surprise, this arrangement works out just fine! It doesn't feel like an adaptation to a less adequate platform; it just works."

Although I'd love to add Mighty Flip Champs DX to my ever-growing collection of digital PSP games, I'm going to have to hold off on doing so until I actually have some money. Another possibility: I could wait until I buy 3DS and then purchase all three of WayForward's "Mighty" titles (Mighty Flip Champs, Mighty Milky Way and Mighty Switch Force) via that system's eShop. Decisions, decisions.

See also: 'Metroid + Mega Man + Mischief Makers = Mighty Switch Force?'

Metroid + Mega Man + Mischief Makers = Mighty Switch Force?

I may not own a 3DS, but that doesn't mean I'm ignoring the system until I obtain one.

For instance, I've had my eye on the downloadable title, Mighty Switch Force, since it was announced a few months ago.

Although the folks at WayForward--makers of, among other games, Contra 4 and the upcoming Aliens: Infestation--promised from the get-go that Mighty Switch Force would feature "Metroid-like gameplay," I was a bit skeptical of that until I saw the following, recently released trailer:

I don't know about you, but I think the gameplay featured in the teaser above was inspired by more than just Metroid. It also seems to have been inspired by Capcom's Mega Man titles and Treasure's Mischief Makers (aka Yuke Yuke!! Trouble Makers).

Here's hoping that Mighty Switch Force proves to be even half as appealing and enjoyable as the above-mentioned classics when it finally makes its way onto the Nintendo eShop.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Dear Sony: If you want me to buy a PS3 before its price drops to $199, bring Ni no Kuni to the States

At this point, I'm planning to hold off on buying a PS3 until the price of the system drops to $199. What would prompt me to pick one up before that happens? A Western release for Ni no Kuni.

Speaking of Ni no Kuni, the folks at developer Level-5 have released a new trailer for their highly anticipated RPG, which will hit the streets in Japan on Nov. 17. Here it is:

Also hitting the streets in Japan on Nov. 17: The awesome "Ni no Kuni Magical Edition" PS3 seen here.

Honestly, if Sony brought both Ni no Kuni and the "Ni no Kuni Magical Edition" PS3 to the States, I'd literally buy both in a heartbeat, gaming budget be damned.


Sunday, September 04, 2011

Fabulous flash game alert: /Escape\

I did a lot of fun things this past weekend: I baked, played tennis, read a bit of Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and wrote a number of posts for this blog.

I also spent (some would say wasted) a good chunk of time playing /ESCAPE\, a Flash game that was created--in 72 hours, no less--by Ian Brock (graphics), Josh Schonstal (programming) and Guerin McMurry (music) for Ludum Dare 21 and that's now playable at

For those of you who need to know a bit of information about a game, even free ones like /ESCAPE\, before giving it a go: It's a score-attack title that tasks players with wall-jumping again and again and again in an attempt to avoid being impaled by spikes and singed by an ever-advancing laser beam.

One of the best parts of /ESCAPE\, in my opinion: It requires the use of just one keyboard button. (What can I say? I'm lazy.)

Oh, and in case any of your are curious: My high score so far is 258.