Saturday, October 15, 2011

Taiko no Tatsujin amigurumi + PC Engine Core Grafx controller = one adorable photo

How's this for a fluff post?

Actually, "fluff" takes on two meanings in this particular instance, as not only is this kind of a throw-away post (aka "a piece of pure fluff"), but it also focuses on something that's literally fluffy: Yarn.

Specifically, it focuses on the adorable Taiko no Tatsujin amigurumi (below) that was stitched together by blogger Spelinnea.

Spelinnea gets extra points in my book for not only making the crocheted Taiko drum (WadaDon) above as cute as can be but also for making him clutch a PC Engine Core Grafx controller.

Anyway, to see more photos of this fuzzy PC Engine fan, check out this post on Spelinnea's blog.

Note: This post originally appeared on my other gaming blog,

Friday, October 14, 2011

Super Capybario

Question: What do you get when you put a hat, mustache and overalls on one of those South American rodents known as capybaras?

Answer: You get Super Capybario. Duh!

He's by far the cutest (in my opinion, of course) of the "famous mustached animals" included in the following t-shirt design, created by Los Angeles-based artist herky (aka Flickr user Lucky1988):

If you'd like to own a shirt bearing herky's hella-cute design, head on over to and vote on it in the next three days.

Calling all 'Speccy' fans

Full disclosure: I've never played a ZX Spectrum game. Hell, I've never even laid my eyes on a ZX Spectrum cart (it uses cartridges, right? or does it use disks?) or system.

I feel like I have, though, after flipping through the pages of the first issue of the ZX Spectrum Gamer ezine produced by Paul Weller.

Let me assure you that you don't have to be a longtime fan of the ZX Spectrum--or Speccy, as I believe some call it--to enjoy Weller's online magazine. Basically, if you like cheeky humor and if you're curious about retro-gaming oddities, you'll get a kick out of ZX Spectrum Gamer.

Along with the aforementioned humor (a good example: on the zine's first page, Weller promises that "the next issue will be available when I write it, or perhaps a little later than that if nobody reads this one"), the inaugural issue of ZX Spectrum Gamer includes reviews of Discs of Death, Killer Kong, Olli and Lissa and Trashman. It also includes a pair of features that contemplate various Speccy game covers and loading screens.

Weller is the man behind another fanzine I've mentioned in the past, by the way: PC Engine Gamer. Check out its first five issues here.

See also: 'Someone really needs to make Famicom Gamer and Mega Drive Gamer magazines, too'

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day-eee-tooooo-naaaaaaaaaa! Let's go away!!

Stay away from my house around Oct. 26 unless you want to hear some absolutely horrible renditions (courtesy of moi) of Takenobu Mitsuyoshi's "Let's Go Away," "Rolling Start" and "Sky High."

All of those songs are sure to be blaring from our basement windows that week thanks to the XBLA release of Sega's Daytona USA. (This "enhanced port" of the company's arcade classic from 1993 will hit the PlayStation Network the day before, on Oct. 25.)

I  played the hell out of the rather hideous-looking Saturn version of Daytona USA back in the day, so I can only imagine how much I'll enjoy this gorgeously high-def update of the game.

The question is: How much time will I spend playing the title's arcade, time trial and (online) multiplayer modes, and how much time will I spend playing with its karaoke mode?

The Great Gaymathon Review #39: Endless Ocean (Wii)

Game: Endless Ocean
Genre: Adventure/Simulation
Developer: Arika
Publisher: Nintendo
System: Wii
Release date: 2009

Would it shock you if I said that this "scuba simulator" is one of my favorite Wii games thus far? Well, it is. I know what some of you are thinking in response to that admission: Isn't this the title that was derided as a "non-game" upon release? Why, yes, it was. And you know what? All of the folks who declared Endless Ocean unworthy of attention (because of its supposed non-game status) were wrong. To me, it's a piece of software (a "game," if you will) that could and should be enjoyed by everyone from so-called hardcore gamers to those oft-criticized "casuals" thanks to its one-handed (in terms of controls) and open-world--or maybe I should say open-ocean--approach. Admittedly, there aren't any enemies in this game, although there are plenty of scary-looking (and not-so-scary-looking) creatures to touch, photograph and examine in it. And that, really, is the point of Endless Ocean--to explore the depths of the make-believe "Manoa Lai" sea and interact with its many inhabitants. Thankfully, said sea is made up of a number of disparate areas, including caves and trenches, and also features additional points of interest like ship wrecks and sunken treasure--all of which are wonderfully realized despite the Wii's underpowered hardware. Also wonderfully realized: Endless Ocean's ethereal soundtrack, the majority of which is made up of songs performed by "operatic pop" singer Hayley Westenra.

See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ten questions with the guys who created Wizorb

While playing Wizorb, the RPG-tinged Breakout clone that hit the Xbox Live Indies Game service two weeks ago, it's easy to forget you're in 2011.

I say that in a positive way, as this three-dollar title brings to mind a number of things that I believe have been missing from games since the mid- to late-1990s.

For instance, it features beautiful, pixel-based graphics that bring to mind the best that the Sega Genesis had to offer. It also features a bouncy, blippy soundtrack that brings to mind the tunes that filled our ears while playing games like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

What prompted the guys at Tribute Games to create such a retrotastic title, and when can we expect it to hit other platforms (if ever)? I recently asked Justin Cyr, Jonathan Lavigne and Jean-François Major those very questions. Read on to hear their responses.

The Gay Gamer: What prompted the three of you to come together and make this game (and also form Tribute Games)?

Jonathan Lavigne: I've been serious about going indie since 2005, but it was only a matter of timing for us to make it offical this year. Just before the three of us started working on Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, I was already working with Jean-François on Wizorb in our spare time. At first, it was only supposed to be a small project that would allow Jean-François to develop his game engine. Six months ago, I had just finished Ninja Senki while both Justin and Jean-François finished working on productions at Ubisoft and Eidos, so we decided it was time to join forces and finish Wizorb.

Justin Cyr: We're doing this entirely out of our own pockets, so it took a while to save enough money to allow ourselves enough time to make something good. It's always a little intimidating to give up that kind of security, but I think if we didn't make the jump when we did the moment would have passed us by.

Jean-François Major: We've always gotten along and had pretty similar tastes in games. Going indie really gives us this freedom to create the games we've always dreamed of playing.

TGG: Whose idea was it to make a game that combines elements of Breakout with those of an RPG?

Jonathan: I came up with the idea first, but it grew into something bigger [when] Justin and Jean-François added their own personal touches to it.

Jean-François: When we realized the game had great potential, we wanted to add a way to tell a story and give a bit more life to the game. We wish we could have fleshed out [the game's RPG elements] a bit more. Maybe we'll keep some room for improvement for a sequel?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Yoshinori Ono on Final Fight's Poison: She's supposed to be mysterious

Attention Poison fans: EGM just (well, yesterday) posted an extremely interesting interview between its own Eric Patterson--you may remember him as Shidoshi from the old Diehard GameFan magazine--and Capcom's Yoshinori Ono.

"Poison" by Speeh
Rather than pick Ono's brain about his upcoming 360, PS3 and Vita brawler, Street Fighter X Tekken, Patterson picks the producer's brain about one of that title's key cast members: Poison, the lovable female thug who first appeared in Final Fight.

The highlight of this fascinating tête-à-tête, in my opinion: Ono seemingly backtracks on his earlier assertion that the fuchsia-coifed character is trans- gender. (In late 2007 he told EGM that "in North America, Poison is officially a post-op transsexual. But in Japan, she simply tucks her business away to look female.")

While chatting with Patterson, however, Ono said, "Capcom’s official stance has and will continue to be that we don’t have a stance technically. It’s supposed to be mysterious; if people want to talk about it on forums or what not they’re welcome to, but we’re not going to give you a straight answer because, well, there isn’t one. We deliberately want to make it a mysterious thing—that question of what’s at the core of this character. At the end of the day, we don’t have an actual canonical answer to that."

That's not the only eyebrow-raising comment included in this Poison-focused Q&A. Read the rest of them by checking out the full interview here. You may also want to check out this NeoGAF thread, which was started by Patterson and features a number of interesting insights.


I've rarely met a Japanese gaming commercial I didn't like. Retro ones, especially. I think it's because so many of them are equal parts earnest and, well, bat-shit crazy.

The one below, for the Famicom Disk System version of Metroid, is a good example, although it's definitely more serious than silly.

This ad was nabbed from the recently launched tumblog known as FC.CM ("a collection of commercials relating to the Nintendo Famicom"), by the way.

If you decide to pay it a visit (and I sincerely hope you will), be sure to check out the commercial for the Korean version of the Famicom/NES (called the Hyundai Comboy).

Monday, October 10, 2011

Halloween-ish HuCards

OK, so the post I'm pointing you to--published earlier this morning on my other blog--doesn't solely focus on the PC Engine HuCards that I'm hoping will put me in a Halloween mood in the next weeks; it also includes a few of that system's CD-based games.

Surprisingly, NEC Avenue's Horror Story is unlikely to be among 
the PC Engine games I'll play in the run-up to Halloween.

I'd copy and paste that post's content here, but I'm planning to conjure up and publish a similar post--which will focus on spooktacular games from a number of systems, not just the PC Engine--later this week or early next.

Le sigh: It seems my copy of Xenoblade Chronicles got lost while crossing the ocean

Shortly after I wrote and published this post, I contacted the folks at and asked if they thought my copy of Xenoblade Chronicles (which I ordered on July 6 and which was shipped, or "despatched," on Aug. 16) was still making its way across the ocean to my doorstep or if they thought it had gotten lost somewhere along the way.

Sadly, their response suggested that the latter option is more likely than the former. They even had me fill out a form that asked how I'd like them to proceed--i.e., should they send another copy of the game or give me a refund? I chose "give me a refund," so hopefully they'll do just that in the next few days.

Will I ever see this title screen on my TV?

As soon as I receive said refund, I'll order another copy of Xenoblade Chronicles from a different retailer. I've heard good things about, which is selling the game (here) for just £29.99--£34.99, or about $55, if you include shipping to the States--right now, so I'll likely go with them when all is said and done. Here's hoping things go a little more smoothly the second time around...

See also: 'My copy of Xenoblade Chronicles has been despatched' and 'I just pre-ordered Xenoblade'