Saturday, November 05, 2011

Mario's Panic Restaurant

You know what? I'd love it if Nintendo made a game that somehow combined its Mario Bros. series with Taito's kitchen-centric platformer, Panic Restaurant.

I can't see the company brass green-lighting a full-fledged release based on that premise, but maybe they would find a downloadable one (sold through the eShop, for instance) a bit more palatable?

As for what prompted this epicurean epiphany: I just stumbled across the following t-shirt design, produced by Los Angeles-based artist herky (aka Flickr user Lucky1988):

If you find this design--called "Trouble in the Kitchen of the Ristorante"--to be as delicious as I do, cast a vote in favor of it at between now and next Thursday at noon.

See also: More of Lucky1988's designs

Friday, November 04, 2011

Let's Play: 'Which Box Art is Better?' (Final Fantasy XIII-2 edition)

Although my interest in mainline Final Fantasy games has diminished quite a bit since the dusk of the PlayStation (as in, PSone) era, that doesn't mean that I ignore them completely.

Actually, I was pretty interested in Final Fantasy XIII until it came out and everyone complained about it. (Granted, I had neither a PS3 nor an Xbox 360 at the time, so my interest in the game was bound to give way at some point.) I'm similarly interested in that game's strangely titled follow-up, Final Fantasy XIII-2, although I have to admit I have my doubts as to whether I'll ever acquire or play it.

While I hem and haw over that decision, why don't we play another game of "Which Box Art is Better?"--with the focus of said game being the aforementioned semi-sequel.

For starters, here is the art that will grace the cover of the Japanese version of Final Fantasy XIII-2 (which will hit store shelves on Dec. 15):

As far as I can tell, by the way, the European version of the game, which will be released on Feb. 3, 2012, will feature the same box art.

The cover of the North American version of Final Fantasy XIII-2 (due out on Jan. 31, 2012), on the other hand, will be a bit busier:

Personally, I prefer the black-purple-and-white simplicity of the European and Japanese cover art. That's not to suggest that I think the North American art is bad. Rather, for me it's more of a case of--how should I say this?--gilding the gaming lily.

Pre-order: Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3 version) or Final Fantasy XIII-2 (Xbox 360 version)

Reason #400 I could be considered an 'eccentric' (aka bat-sh*t crazy) gamer

If I could find an FM Towns Marty system at a reasonable price--most of the ones I've seen on eBay go for around $899--I'd buy one quicker than you can say "are you nuts?"

Even nuttier: I'm only interested in buying three games alongside said system at this point--Bubble Bobble, The New Zealand Story and Rainbow Islands.

That's not where the nuttiness ends, though. The trio of games I just mentioned are, with a few exceptions, simple ports of the arcade originals. Also, I can already play all three of them on my PS2 thanks to the copy of Taito Legends that I picked up a few years ago.

Still, I can't help but want both an FM Towns Marty and the above-mentioned titles. Here's hoping I never find one cheap enough to make this nutty dream come true.

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

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Get yer pipin' hot Sugar Shooter 2 demo here!

And when I say it's piping hot, I mean that literally--as in, it's freshly released--and figuratively--as in, well, it features some smokin' content, just like the first Sugar Shooter.

I've only played the Sugar Shooter 2 demo for a few minutes this far, but already I can tell it's going to be just as fun as--if not more fun than--its fabulously gay predecessor.

One thing that's certain at this point: Sugar Shooter 2 will have a lot more options--such as a bevy of difficulty settings and selectable "partners"--than Dudedle Studio's original effort.

To see what the Japanese version of this boss-rush, bullet-hell shmup for bara lovers looks like in action, check out this trailer:

If you'd rather experience it firsthand, download the one-stage demo of the game from the Dudedle Studio blog.

It appears Sugar Shooter 2 will be playable on both Macs and Windows-based PCs, by the way--something that couldn't be said about the series' initial installment.

Finally, for more information on the first Sugar Shooter, read these previous posts: 'A somewhat gay review of Sugar Shooter (PC)' and 'I think it's about time I played a bullet-hell shmup starring beefy boys in underwear'

Eh, I prefer the pea-soup-green version anyway

The good news: Nintendo of America added the should-have-been-a-classic GameBoy title, Balloon Kid, to the 3DS eShop earlier today.

The bad news: They added the pea-soup-green version of the game rather than the superior, colorized one that hit Japan's eShop a few weeks ago.

Granted, the colorized update of the game, called Balloon Fight GB, was a rather limited, Japan-only release--and we all know how Nintendo of America feels about those (I mean, just look at all of the import-only games that have been added to the Wii's Virtual Console service in the last few years)--but that's not much of an excuse when you realize the bulk of Balloon Fight GB is in English. (The title and map screens are the only ones that feature any Japanese.)

All that said, at least they're giving us access to some version of this pint-sized platformer, which was produced, in part, by Gunpei Yokoi and Yoshio Sakamoto. (Also, the peerless Hirokazu "Hip" Tanaka composed the game's perky soundtrack.)

See also: 'I'll bet you can't guess which game I bought in the place of Xenoblade Chronicles' and 'Speaking of Balloon Kid ...'

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Behold: My complete-in-box copy of Ice Climber

I'm sure it seems silly that I used the word "behold" in the headline above. Honestly, I couldn't help but use it, as I really like the art that appears on the box and cart covers of my latest acquisition: A "complete" copy of the Famicom version of Ice Climber.

You know what else I really like? This game! I know that's kind of a shocking admission--after all, I've said in the past that it was frustrating to the point of annoyance--but I've truly had a change of heart when it comes to this classic platformer. Now if I could just make it past the fifth stage...

Oh, and in case you're wondering: Yes, it's impossible for me to take a straight-on photo of a game. I try to do so every once in a while, but the resulting shot either bores or otherwise displeases me.

Anyway, if you'd like to see a few more photos of this particular copy of Ice Climber, check out my Flickr photostream at your earliest convenience. Also, check out a few previous blog posts--such as this one and this one--for more of my thoughts (both good and bad) on this chilly title.

Beyond the Labyrinth's battle scenes are as beautiful as its box art

The latest trailer for Beyond the Labyrinth, the 3DS RPG being developed by tri-Ace and published (on Jan. 19 in Japan) by Konami, is a real looker.

Unfortunately, I'm a bit confused about what's going on in the video below. I mean, it's obviously showing off the game's glorious (in my opinion) battle scenes, but we still don't know how those battles "work" or why the white-haired girl is standing in the player's way throughout most of them.

Still, this teaser is the one that put me over the edge for Beyond the Labyrinth. Earlier ones were enough to pique my interest in the title to the point that I thought, "Eh, it'd be nice if someone brought it to North America," but this one has me thinking, "If this game isn't released here next year I'm going to pluck out my eyelashes and eat them for lunch."

See also: 'Konami's Beyond the Labyrinth has some classy box art'

(Via and

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

What a shocker: Hello Kitty World's box and cart are as syrupy sweet as its in-game graphics

I wasn't on the receiving end of any tricks yesterday, but I did receive the wonderful treat seen in the photos below.

For those of you who can't read Japanese, the game that serves as the focus of said photos is Character Soft's Hello Kitty World for the Famicom.

More information on this helium-filled platformer can be found in this previous blog post, by the way.

Also, for a few more photos of Hello Kitty World's box and cartridge, check out my Flickr photostream.

Other than all of that, expect a "Great Gaymathon" review of this Japan-only title to be published in the next week or two.

Any game that 'looks like someone tried to port Gunstar Heroes to the Atari 2600' sounds like a winner to me

I can't take credit for the quote that appears in the headline above, by the way. That honor belongs to NeoGAF user Fine Ham Abounds.

Anyway, I so completely agreed with what Fine Ham Abounds had to say about an upcoming, tantalizing-looking game that I couldn't help but quote him in this post's header.

As for the game he compares to a 2600 port of the Treasure classic known as Gunstar Heroes: It's called Super T.I.M.E. Force and it will be released at some as-yet-unknown date and on some as-yet-unknown platform (or, more likely, platforms) courtesy of the folks at Capybara Games.

I know, the lack of info in regards to the game's release date and platform(s) of choice stinks, but it stinks a lot less (or more, if you're a 'glass half empty' kind of guy/gal) after you watch the following teaser:

Super T.I.M.E Force - First Peek from Capy! on Vimeo.

I'm not at all sure what's going on in the trailer above, to tell you the truth, but I like what I see all the same--especially the part where the little soldier dudes and dudettes leap from missile to missile.

Anyway, here's hoping the Capybara crew loosen their lips soon and let all of us slobbering fools know when and where we can expect to play what looks to be a fabulously frantic title.

Oh, and one last thing: If you're looking for a good chuckle, check out Capybara's official description of the game here.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Manual Stimulation: PC Denjin (PC Engine)

Let's get this second installment of "Manual Stimulation" off to a colorful start by looking at the front and back covers of this crazy shmup (which was renamed Air Zonk when it was released in North America in 1992):

Sadly, there isn't much to see on the manual's first two pages--well, other than the info someone scribbled in the lower-right corner of the second page. I wonder what it says?

On the next two pages, though, we're formally introduced to the game's protagonist. Random aside: I especially like that little "Haw" illustration in the lower-right corner of the first page. (You can click on any of these scans to take a closer look at them, by the way.)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

You don't look a day over 20, PC Engine

One of the coolest consoles, if not the coolest console, to ever see the light of day, NEC's PC Engine, is celebrating its 24th birthday today.

For those of you who are a bit mathematically challenged, that means the sleek little system below was "born" on Oct. 30, 1987.

I'm sure I've told this story before, but in case I haven't: I've been interested in (some would say obsessed with) this console ever since I laid eyes on it in an early issue of either Electronic Gaming Monthly or GamePro magazine.

Although I acquired a TurboGrafx-16--the PC Engine's North American cousin--shortly after it was released, I didn't add a PC Engine to my collection until two years ago.

It should go without saying that the shockingly small system (it's about the size of three or four CD cases stacked on top of one another) is one of my most-treasured pieces of gaming paraphernalia.

Anyway, please join me in raising an imaginary glass of bubbly to the "little white wonder," as I like to call the PC Engine, for surviving its awkward teen years and for blossoming into the beautiful 24-year-old we know and love today.

Also, join me in playing a few of its most noteworthy games. Some of the ones I'm planning to spend time with this afternoon: Air Zonk (aka PC Denjin), Bomberman '94, Final Match Tennis and Parasol Stars.