Saturday, October 22, 2011

What's cuter than a couple of kissing gaymers?

A couple of kissing gaymers who are wearing Mario and Yoshi t-shirts (like the ones in the photo below), that's what.

Other than that, I don't suppose anyone knows where a gay, I mean a guy, like me can buy the Yoshi shirt worn in the photo above?


Friday, October 21, 2011

Uh, I bought a copy of Ice Climber, too

You know how I said (in this post) that I used a portion of my Xenoblade Chronicles refund to pick up a cheap, complete-in-box copy of Hello Kitty World? Well, last night I used another chunk of that refund to buy a complete-in-box copy of Ice Climber.

As was the case with the above-mentioned Balloon Kid clone, I wasn't planning to pick up a copy of Ice Climber anytime soon. While keeping an eye on the Hello Kitty World auction, though, I came across an auction for the Famicom version of Nintendo's early, Eskimo-themed platformer and couldn't help but throw my hat into the proverbial ring for it.

Who could pass up such an awesome cover? Not I.

In the end, I won the auction and walked away with a complete-in-box copy of Ice Climber for a fraction of the price I was expecting to pay for it. (Most such copies of the Famicom version of the game go for $60 or more on eBay. I got it for less than half of that.)

Why did I waste my money on a game that I've bad-mouthed in the past? I'm embarrassed to admit it, but my main reason for buying it is that I really like its cover art (above).

Speaking of Balloon Kid ...

The colorized update of Balloon Kid, called Balloon Fight GB, floated onto the Japanese 3DS eShop a few days ago (on Oct. 19, to be exact).

For those of you who've never heard of it, Balloon Fight GB was released in 2000--ten years after Balloon Kid was released in North America--via Nintendo's Japan-only Nintendo Power service.

Balloon Fight GB is more than just Balloon Kid in color, by the way; it also added a map screen and Super Game Boy features and allowed players to save their progress.

Anyway, here's hoping Nintendo of America does the intelligent thing and releases Balloon Fight GB--and not the black-and-white (or black-and-green) original--on the North American eShop sooner rather than later.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I'll bet you can't guess which game I bought in the place of Xenoblade Chronicles

Did you guess Hello Kitty World for the Famicom? I'll bet you didn't!

I see those side-eyes some of you are shooting in my general direction, by the way. I understand. Hello Kitty World probably seems like a strange choice for an off-the-cuff pick-up if you've never heard of the game.

Actually, I shouldn't call this purchase "off the cuff," as I've had my eye on Hello Kitty World for some time now. Still, I wasn't planning to add it to my Famicom collection anytime soon.

That changed pretty quickly, though, when I saw a complete-in-box copy of the game on eBay a few days ago. Long story short (I know, too late), I ended up getting it for a song.

Anyway, back to Hello Kitty World and why I was so keen to acquire it: Have you ever played Balloon Kid, Nintendo's Balloon Fight follow-up for the GameBoy? If not, it's a forced-scrolling platformer that hit store shelves in North America in 1990.

                                           A zoomed-in view of Hello Kitty World

The game feels a lot like a much-expanded version of Balloon Fight's "Balloon Trip" mode, to tell you the truth, as it tasks players with collecting the balloons left behind by the protagonist's kid brother (who was accidentally sent airborne while attempting to create a "balloon rainbow" that would cross the sky) while avoiding birds, fish and other obstacles that will cause her to plummet to the ground. (She grabs a couple of balloons and uses them to chase after her little bro, you see.)

Now, if you took the game described above, replaced Nintendo's characters with Sanrio's main claim to fame and then re-released it as a Famciom cart, you'd have Hello Kitty World.

My interest in said game makes sense now, doesn't it? If not, please take a minute to watch this video (which shows both Balloon Kid and Hello Kitty World in action).

As for Xenoblade Chronicles: Don't worry, I still plan to pick up a copy of this highly regarded Wii title--although I likely won't do so until after my birthday. In the meantime, I guess I'll just have to acquaint myself with the above-mentioned Character Soft creation.

Japan's crazy Super Mario 3D Land commercial

Super Mario 3D Land will hit the streets in the Land of the Rising Sun in just a few weeks (on Nov. 3, to be exact). As such, Nintendo's Japanese arm is revving its promotional engines in the hopes of piquing the public's interest in their mustachioed plumber's first 3DS-based adventure.

I don't know if the following commercial will catch the attention of Japanese consumers, but it's certainly caught the attention of this consumer.

Here's a far more conventional commercial for Super Mario 3D Land, if that's what you're after.

Super Mario 3D Land will be released in North America on Nov. 13, by the way. (It'll follow suit throughout Europe on Nov. 18 and in Australia on Nov. 24.) Pre-order it here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Boo-tiful, just boo-tiful

Dan Taub (aka 1oddgent) is quickly becoming one of my favorite etsy artists/sellers.

His Mr. Driller-inspired piece, "i <3 air," introduced me to Taub's abilities just over two months ago, while his most recent piece, below, has solidified his brilliance in my mind.

                                          "Death, Color, and Ghosts," by Dan Taub

Now, I'm not completely sure what's going on in this illustration--are the King Boo's tears creating the primary-colored Boos above/behind him?--but who really cares when said illustration looks so cool, right?

Five-inch-by-seven-inch prints (on natural linen paper) can be purchased from the 1oddgent shop for apiece, by the way. While you're there, check out Taub's similarly awesome Tanooki Mario print, too.

The Great Gaymathon Review #40: Wonder Momo (PC Engine)

Game: Wonder Momo
Genre: Beat 'em up
Developer: Nacmot
Publisher: Namcot
System: PC Engine
Release date: 1989

This game's cover art is cute, as are its title and between-stage screens. Also, its main theme is appreciably jaunty, with a Mega Man-esque quality to it. Oh, and I basically got it for free (the person from whom I bought my PC Engine threw six games, including this one, into the package before shipping it). Sadly, those are the only positive things I can say about this particular HuCard. I have plenty of negative things to say about it, though. For starters, let's go back to those graphics I mentioned in the first sentence of this little write-up. Although I'd be hard-pressed to call them terrible, I have no such problem calling them antiquated and boring--especially when it comes to Wonder Momo's yawn-enducing backgrounds. As bad as the game's visuals are, though, they're works of art compared to its gameplay, which consists of the titular Momo high-kicking and jump-kicking one ambling, odd-looking enemy after another until she's beaten enough of them to be whisked off to the next, claustrophobic stage. Every once in a while, a tornado whirls its way onto the scene, and if Momo touches it she turns into, well, I guess she turns into Wonder Momo. Regardless, she puts on a helmut, a pair of boots and wields some sort of hula-hoop-like weapon--and winds up barely more powerful than she was as Regular Ol' Momo. Toss all of the above complaints into a blender and what do you get? You guessed it: A really crappy beat 'em up that only should be added to your collection if your aim is to own each and every HuCard. Everyone else should avoid it like a pixelated plague.

See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Manual Stimulation: Barunba (PC Engine)

I’ve voiced my dissatisfaction with the gameplay featured in Namcot’s horizontal shmup, Barunba, before (in this post, for example), but what I haven’t expressed previously, as far as I’m aware, is my fondness for that much-maligned PC Engine title’s instruction manual.

That fondness begins, of course, with said instruction manual’s cover image (below, right), which shows Barunba‘s grinning protagonist gunning his way through a plethora of what appear to be crimson-tinged baddies.

I have to admit, I originally thought the protagonist was piloting his bubble-shaped ship through the innards of another human being, a la Psygnosis’ Microcosm. (I didn’t realize the red blobs in the background were the exteriors of a couple of creatures rather than their interiors, obviously.)

Anyway, the manual’s first two pages can be seen below. I’m guessing they detail the main character’s colorful back story, or something like that.

The next pages, on the other hand, seem to describe the many components of the game’s globe-shaped ship.

Introducing: Manual Stimulation

Anyone who has flipped through the instruction manuals of at least a few old games--from the 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit eras in particular--knows how awesome they tend to be.

Sure, some of them are absolute stinkers, but a good percentage of them--like this one, included with Hakuhodo's PlayStation oddity Mad Panic Coaster--are the complete opposite thanks to their silly backstories and top-shelf illustrations.

Manual for the Atari 2600 version of Ms. Pac-Man

Because I own a number of examples of the latter (i.e., non-stinker manuals), I've decided I'm going to scan them and then share them here--along with some hopefully witty commentary--over the next few weeks, months and (maybe) years.

Anyway, as I'm sure you've already surmised thanks to the headline above, all of these posts will be grouped together henceforth under the oh-so-mature header of "Manual Stimulation."

This GameBoy is outta this world

Is there a point to the piece below, or is it just supposed to be pretty? I actually posed (via Flickr) that question to guy who produced it--Seattle-based artist Cory Schmitz--but I have yet to hear back from him. So, for the time being I'm just going to assume there's an awesomely pertinent story behind this celestial collage.

Get a better look at Schmitz' "NASA Game Boy" here

Even if there isn't a point to it, though, and the piece is just supposed to be cool to look at, I'll be perfectly fine with that--because the piece is cool to look at, don't you think? Really, I'd hang a framed print of it in my office if I had one (a print, not an office).

Monday, October 17, 2011

'Open up a beer and you say get over here and play a video game'

When I first read that a girl named Lana Del Rey was earning rave reviews for a song called "Video Games," I expected said song to be both a lyrical and sonic throwback to the 1980s.

I didn't expect the song to sound like something Fiona Apple would write and release.

That's not a complaint, by the way. I quite like Lana's Marina and the Diamonds-esque delivery. I'm also fond of her tune's dirge-like quality.

All that said, I wouldn't mind hearing a blippy, chippy remix of "Video Games" that brings the song more in line with my early expectations.

Reason #399 I could be considered an 'eccentric' (aka bat-sh*t crazy) gamer

It's possible that at some point in the next year or two (OK, maybe three) I'll add a Neo Geo CD--the top-loader depicted in the photo below, specifically--to my ever-growing console collection.

I know, that admission in and of itself is enough to warrant another "here's why I'm an eccentric gamer" post, but in this case that's just the start of it. The rest of it: I really only want to be able to play two games--Puzzle Bobble and Twinkle Star Sprites--on this (possible) future acquisition.

Oh, I wouldn't be surprised if, at some point, I were to be tempted to pick up a few additional games for the system--like Super Baseball 2020 (seemingly strange choice for me, I know) and Blue's Journey/Raguy--but the two mentioned in the previous sentence would be the main reason behind this particular spending spree.

Anyway, of all the desires and dreams detailed in these "reasons I could be considered an 'eccentric' (aka bat-sh*t crazy) gamer" posts, this one is, by far, the least likely to become a reality. Still, I think the fact that I'm even thinking of buying a Neo Geo CD is worth mentioning here.

See also: Other reasons I could be considered an 'eccentric' (aka bat-sh*t crazy) gamer