Saturday, September 17, 2011

Who cares what I'm playing, which games are *you* currently playing?

I know this is my blog and, as such, I'm free to be as self-centered as I want to be but, darn it, sometimes I get a bit sick of writing post after post about the games that I'm playing--or the games that I wish I was playing--at any given moment.

Photo taken by Flickr user khkg

So, I'm turning things over to all of you this weekend. Which games are you currently playing, or which games are you looking forward to playing in the near-and-not-so-distant future?

Friday, September 16, 2011

So far, so meh: The latest Panzer Dragoon game will be a Kinect-only XBLA release

I seem to be the only person on the Internet who is disappointed by the fact that, according to a number of sources, Project Draco, the spiritual successor to Team Andromeda's Panzer Dragoon titles, will be a Kinect-only XBLA release.

Sure, it's great to hear that Yukio Futatsugi and Manabu Kusunoki, the two men chiefly responsible for the series' first three installments, are working on this Microsoft-backed iteration, too, but I highly doubt even that info will be enough to get me to invest in a Kinect between now and whenever Project Draco hits the XBLA service early next year.

Should its developers be so kind as to throw in an option that allows folks to play the game with a good, old-fashioned controller, though, I'll of course pick it up without a second thought.

Anyway, for more information on Project Draco, including a fairly in-depth description of how it's played, check out this NeoGAF post.

My prayers have been answered: Ni no Kuni (PS3) coming to North America in early 2012

It seems like it was just yesterday that I was bemoaning the fact that the PS3 version of Level-5's Ni no Kuni may never see the light of day in North America. Oh, wait, it was just yesterday!

Anyway, it seems all of that bemoaning was for naught, as, according to, Level-5 president Akihiro Hino mentioned during a Tokyo Game Show 2011 interview panel held last night that an English version of Ni no Kuni will be brought stateside early next year.

A few of the questions bouncing around inside my befuddled brain as a result of Hino's announcement: How much will the English version cost (the Japanese version will cost ¥8,800, or about $115)? Who is going to publish it? Will Sony release the golden "Magical Edition" PS3 system here as well as in Japan?

See also: Previous Ni no Kuni posts

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A few glimpses of Dragon Quest X (Wii) and Ni no Kuni (PS3) gameplay

I'm looking forward to getting my grubby hands on a good number of games at the moment, but only two of them are RPGs: Dragon Quest X for Wii and Ni no Kuni for PS3. (Oh, I just thought of another one: Paper Mario for 3DS. Still, my point stands.)

Since neither will hit store shelves in North America for some time (if ever, in the case of Ni no Kuni), I've decided to busy myself with searching for gameplay videos of both of the above-mentioned titles.

Well, I hit the jackpot earlier today. Here, for instance, is a smattering of gameplay footage of the Level 5-Studio Ghibli collaboration, shot on the floor of the Tokyo Game Show 2011:

Sure, the game's battle scenes look a bit boring, but its world map is a stunner.

As for Dragon Quest X, well, I can't share any YouTube videos of that much-anticipated title's first official trailer (included in the just-released-in-Japan Dragon Quest Collection) here, but I can direct you to a site where you can download an FLV version of said trailer.

If you can't be bothered with downloading and figuring out how to view an FLV file, you can always check out this post over at

The obscurer, the better

Did you know that "obscurer" is considered an acceptable, usable word? I've always thought you should say "more obscure" rather than "obscurer," but apparently that's not the case.

Anyway, all of that is beside the point. I only brought up the word obscure because it perfectly describes the games that are (briefly) detailed on one of my new favorite blogs, Kimimi's Blog.

Case in point: Kimimi recently covered what sounds like a lovely little WonderSwan Color game called Flash Koibitokun (above), in which "your small ninja is tasked with making sure precious love hearts find their way across the screen and soften the hearts of the people on the other side." (Go here to read more of Kimimi's thoughts on this import title and to watch a gameplay video of it.)

If you're at all interested in "games that generally have little coverage elsewhere," as Kimimi puts it, I'd highly recommend checking out at your earliest convenience.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Question of the day: Are you planning to pick up a PlayStation Vita?

As expected, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan opened the proverbial floodgates in regards to its PSP successor, officially called PlayStation Vita, during its Tokyo Game Show 2011 press conference last night.

The most interesting and pertinent information to come from said presser, according to yours truly:

1. The system's battery will provide users between three and five hours of entertainment "depending on the brightness of the screen, what content being played and if the network (3G/Wi-Fi) feature is being used or not."

2. Twenty-six PS Vita games will be available at launch, or so Sony says. (I'm more than willing to bet that these games will be released during the system's "launch window"--i.e., its first few months--rather than on Dec. 17, its Japanese launch day.)

3. Three of the above-mentioned games are new Hot Shots Golf, Katamari Damacy and Ridge Racer titles.

4. More than 74 additional games are currently in development for the PlayStation Vita/PS Vita/Vita/whatever-you-want-to-call-it.

Given all of the above, are you planning to pick up a PlayStation Vita as soon as it's available in your region, or are you planning to hold off (you know, until more games are released, until the system is cheaper, etc.)?

Or maybe you're not planning to buy the system regardless of its price or software library?

Pre-order: PlayStation Vita (WiFi model) or PlayStation Vita (3G model)

Another day, another Super Mario Bros. t-shirt

Does the t-shirt design below look familiar to you? It should--if you've been visiting this blog for a while. After all, I mentioned it three months ago (in this post) when it was up for a vote on

Although it seems like the folks at Threadless have decided to pass on the design, the folks at TeeFury have not. In fact, light-blue tees bearing the design above--produced by Los Angeles-based artist herky, aka Flickr user Lucky1988--are being sold (for just $10) as we speak.

TeeFury shirts are only sold for 24 hours, so if the idea of owning and wearing a tee featuring a Ski-Doo-riding Blooper and a surfing Bullet Bill tickles your fancy, get your butt over to pronto.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

'Save the Seven Kingdoms' t-shirt

I think it's safe to say that if you grew up in the 1980s and you played video games, you're a fan of Super Mario Bros. 3.

Well, unless you were one of those unfortunate kids whose parents bought them a Sega Master System instead of an NES.

Even those sad sacks (I kid!) are likely to feel a twinge of excitement and even nostalgia upon seeing the following t-shirt, which is being sold for $18.95 via

Personally, I'm not sure which aspect of this shirt I like best: The cherry-red fabric, the Tanooki-teasing logo or the rallying cry contained within said Tanooki's tail.


Five reasons I'll definitely be buying a 3DS in 2012 (if not before)

Until last night's Nintendo 3DS Conference 2011, I was bound and determined to hold off on buying a 3DS until Kyoto-based company released a DS Lite-esque redesign.

Although I still may play that agonizing waiting game, I think it's more likely than ever that I'll buy a 3DS before then thanks to the following announcements that were made during last night's conference:

1. Bravely Default: Flying Fairy--Yes, the title of this Square Enix game is absurd. Who cares, though, when it looks so amazing? (Go here to check out a few screenshots and a pair of trailers of the game.) Really, it seems this game could (should?) have been called Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light 2--which means I'm going to be on it like white on rice.

2. A new Fire Emblem--I have to admit, it's been a long time since I've played a Fire Emblem title. That didn't stop me from cheering when this game was mentioned during last night's conference, though. Both the battle and overworld graphics--highlighted in the title's "debut trailer"--look pretty darn great, don't you think?

3. A Girls Mode (aka Style Savvy) sequel--I've yet to play Nintendo's fashion-focused DS title, Style Savvy, but I've read enough positive reviews of it to know that it's worth checking out regardless of your gender or sexual orientation. As such, I'm very much hoping this sequel follows in its predecessor's footsteps and makes its way to North America sooner rather than later.

4. Mario Tennis--Along with Fire Emblem, this game was the surprise of the Nintendo 3DS Conference 2011 for me. After overlooking the Mario Tennis series during the DS and Wii "eras," I thought Nintendo had given up on it. Although I hope this installment includes an RPG-ish mode just like the series' previous portable iterations, I'll buy it even if it doesn't.

5. "Misty Pink" 3DS system--All of the handheld systems I've ever owned have been either black (GameBoy Advance SP and PSP), grey (GameBoy) or white (DS Lite). As such, I'd love to add a bit of color to my handheld collection. Buying a pink 3DS would be a great way to do that, don't you think? Now Nintendo just has to give it a North American release date. (It'll be released in Japan on Oct. 20.)

Three additional titles that could push me to buy a 3DS before the inevitable redesign: Animal Crossing, Luigi's Mansion 2 and Paper Mario, all of which will be released in (early?) 2012.

For more information on the accessories, games and systems that were announced and/or discussed during last night's Nintendo 3DS Conference 2011, check out's coverage of the event here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Let's Play: 'Which Box Art is Better?' (Professor Layton and the Last Specter edition)

On Oct. 17, the fourth installment in the Professor Layton series will be released in North America. Thirty-nine days later, on Nov. 25, it will be released throughout Europe.

A lot of changes have been made to this Level-5-developed title since it hit the streets in Japan two years ago. For starters, there's its name. In Japan, it was called Reiton Kyōju to Majin no Fue, or Professor Layton and the Specter's Flute, when it hit the streets in 2009. When it arrives in North America next month, however, its box art will bear a new title: Professor Layton and the Last Specter. Finally, European fans will have to search for an altogether different name--Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call--while scanning store shelves for the game.

The fourth Professor Layton title's name isn't the only thing that has been tweaked in the last two years. Its cover art has been changed, too.

For the sake of comparison, here is the Japanese version's box art:

This, on the other hand, is the art that will grace the cover of the North American release:

Finally, there's the European version's box art:

Which piece of box art to you like best? Also, which title--Professor Layton and the Last SpecterProfessor Layton and the Specter's Flute or Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call--do you prefer?

My response to the second question: Professor Layton and the Specter's Flute. My response to the first question: The North American box art. I like that the logo is more prominent than it is on the Japanese cover, and I also like that the orange band along the bottom is much smaller on the North American cover than it is on its Japanese counterpart.

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