Friday, December 09, 2011

So, a blogger walks into the Gayme Bar ...

Those of you who follow me on Twitter already know this, but the rest of you likely are in the dark: The garrulous guys at GaymeBar.com asked me to be on another of their fabulous podcasts last weekend. The resulting recording can be heard here.

What did we talk about? If memory serves, we chatted about the games we were playing currently, the best games of 2011 and gay characters/content in games. I'm sure we covered at least a few other topics, too, but I can't remember them at the moment.


Just don't expect to hear much of me during the segment that focuses on the best games of 2011--I've honestly played very few of them and, as such, couldn't really add to the conversation in any meaningful way.

That's not to say I'm opinionless when it comes to my favorite games of the year. In fact, I just finished writing a post that covers that territory. Expect to see it published the week after Christmas.

In the meantime, check out Gayme Bar's "Function 44" if you're a podcast fan and if you have a bit of time on your hands. (I believe the final product is about two hours long, but don't quote me on that.)

See also: 'Belly up to the Gayme Bar, boys (and girls)' and 'My mom would be so proud: I'm included in Gayme Bar's Pass-Around Party Podcast'

Second Chances: Jigoku Meguri

Unlike the previous games that have been written about in these "Second Chances" posts, I can't seem to remember when I first played Jigoku Meguri, a Taito-made platformer that was released for the PC Engine in 1990, or why that first experience with the title was such a turn-off.

All I recall is that it didn't impress me. I think it had something to do with its odd protagonist--a bald and somewhat paunchy monk who defeats foes by tossing what appears to be giant prayer beads at them.


Regardless, I played Jigoku Meguri--also known as Bonze Adventure in some regions and Hell Explorer in others--once or twice via emulation and then turned my back on (and turned my nose up at) it for good.

Or at least that's what I did until a few months ago. What caused me to give it a second (possibly third) chance? While considering which games I should include in this Halloween-themed post, I remembered that Jigoku Meguri was set in hell and thought it might make a good fit.


Not wanting to recommend a game I couldn't stand, I gave it another shot--and found myself enjoying it quite a bit. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I couldn't believe I'd ever deemed it unworthy of my time and attention (not to mention affections).

As for why I enjoyed it so much: Simply put, barraging this game's baddies with giant prayer beads is a blast. It reminds me of the frenzied fulfillment I feel while playing Bubble Bobble--and barraging that game's baddies with bubbles--to tell you truth.


In fact, launching huge green, purple and red beads across the screen is so addictive that I usually find myself hitting my PC Engine controller's action button at warp speed even when no enemies are nearby.

There are other reasons to like Jigoku Meguri, of course--its graphics are colorful and expressive, for instance, and it's difficult enough that most folks won't be able to beat it on the game on their first (or, likely, second or third) try--but for me its main draw is and always will be the aforementioned, addictive-as-crack bead-throwing mechanism.

See also: Previous 'Second Chances' posts

Thursday, December 08, 2011

More like Mesmerizing Man

My only beef with the video below is that it lasts just 55 seconds and, thus, feels a bit unfinished.

Other than that, though, I think it's fabulous.



I especially like how the three panels at the beginning of the video match up with the different parts of whichever Mega Man tune is playing in the background. (The one on the left goes with the bass notes, the one in the middle goes with the melody and the one on the right goes with the synth-y notes the float above it all.)

By the way, if you didn't get your fill of mash-ups featuring the Old Spice Man and a random game song by watching the video above, you may want to watch this one, too.

(Via dorkly.com, by way of gonintendo.com)

Any piece of art that features sprites from Irem's Gekisha Boy looks good to me

Even better is when said piece of art--which is made up of sprites taken from all sorts of games, not just Irem's wacky PC Engine title, Gekisha Boy (aka Photograph Boy)--tells the story of "a heartbroken octopus who drives to the beach to forget about his girlfriend."

The sprite taken from Gekisha Boy can be spotted in the digital collage's lower right-hand corner, by the way. Specifically, the blond-coifed head that tops the golden bass' body originally appeared (sans green makeup) on a Marilyn Monroe wannabe in the aforementioned game.


To take a closer look at this piece, officially titled "Memory Beach Part 3," check out artist Ashley Anderson's Flickr photostream. (Part 2 can be seen here, by the way, while Part 1 can be seen here.) Also, check out this post on Anderson's blog to read about how he created this piece and why it's quite literally bursting with color.

Prints of all three "Memory Beach" collages can be purchased, for $15 each (plus shipping), from Anderson's etsy shop, pressstarttobegin.

See also: 'It's like the sexy, wacky Out Run spin-off I've always wanted but never got to play' and 'Memory Beach 02'

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

My sequel-laden 3DS wish list

We're less than a year into the 3DS' life, and already number of high-profile sequels have been announced (if not released) for Nintendo's latest handheld system. Among them: Animal Crossing 3DS, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Luigi's Mansion 2, Mario Kart 7, Monster Hunter 3G (and 4), Paper Mario 3DS and Resident Evil: Revelations.

Without sounding ungrateful, I want more. Specifically, I want the following sequels to be announced and released for the 3DS before the system expires, as game systems are wont to do, at the ripe old age of five or six.

I wouldn't be surprised if Dragon Quest XI looked a bit like this.

1. Dragon Quest XI--Having not played a Dragon Quest game since the first one, I picked up Dragon Quest IX with equal amounts of caution and curiosity. That won't be the case should the series' next entry be announced for the 3DS, though, since, in the end, the DS iteration completely blew me away. I can only imagine how great a portable part XI could be thanks to the 3DS' enhanced graphics and online capabilities.

Imagine experiencing Endless Ocean's cool waters in 3D.

2. Endless Ocean 3--I've said it before and I'll say it again: The original Endless Ocean is one of my favorite Wii titles thanks to its beautiful graphics, haunting soundtrack and immersive gameplay. (Sadly, I've yet to play the sequel.) As such, if the same team made a third Endless Ocean game for the 3DS, I'd not only order a copy for myself at the earliest opportunity but I'd also order a copy for every 3DS owner I know--or at least I would if I could afford it.

Mario Kart 7 or Super Mario 3D Land?

A question to all of you who have played both Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land: Which 3DS game do you think I should buy first?

Don't worry, I intend to own both of them at some point, but at the moment I'm planning to buy just one of them between Christmas and, say, the end of January (assuming I can hold out that long).


As for which way I'm currently leaning: Super Mario 3D Land seems like the better bet as a "first game," given its single-player focus. That said, Mario Kart 7's online multiplayer modes sound awfully appealing, too.

Oh, hell, maybe I'll just get them both at the same time. Should I cave at the last minute, though, I'd greatly appreciate hearing which of the two above-mentioned games all of you would buy first if you were me.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Manual Stimulation: Kid Icarus (GameBoy Advance)

Earlier today, I published a "Great Gaymathon" review of the game that's known to English-speaking audiences as Kid Icarus. (To Japanese-speaking audiences, it's known as Hikari Shinwa: Parutena no Kagami, or Light Myth: Palutena's Mirror.)

In that review, I mentioned that one of the main reasons I bought the GameBoy Advance version of this classic platformer is that I liked its packaging. Well, folded up within that packaging is the following, two-piece instruction manual, which is pretty attractive in its own right.

The front of the first page of said manual (as always, click on any of the images below to take a closer look at them) isn't the most exciting thing in the world, but I am quite fond of the illustrations--especially the one that shows what appears to be two of Angel Land's many gay couples--that accompany the story portion of the page.



The back side of the first page isn't much better, but it earns a few extra points for featuring a number of nice drawings of the game's protagonist, Pit, and the bosses he encounters during his journey. (My favorite is the rather portly Medusa, by the way.)



The second page of Hikari Shinwa: Parutena no Kagami's fold-out instruction manual is where it's at, if you ask me. True story: As a kid, I was obsessed with drawing many of the items and weapons showcased in the scan below, which is of the front of the manual's second page.

The Great Gaymathon Review #47: Kid Icarus (GameBoy Advance)


Game: Kid Icarus
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
System: GameBoy Advance
Release date: 2004

In my humble opinion, anyone who wants to call himself (or herself) a masochist should be forced to play Hikari Shinwa: Parutena no Kagami, aka Kid Icarus, on a GameBoy Micro before being allowed to use that moniker, as I can't imagine there are many more painful experiences in life than playing this tough-as-nails adventurer/platformer/shooter on a teeny tiny screen. So, why did I buy it? I actually kind of like playing this tough-as-nails title, to tell you the truth--or at least I do when I play it on a console attached to a nice-sized TV. Another reason I bought it: I liked the packaging in general and the yellow cartridge in particular. Unless you're a huge fan of this game or of banana-colored GameBoy Advance carts, though, I'd highly recommend passing on this release and picking up, say, the Wii Virtual Console release instead. That way, you'll be better able to appreciate--and appropriately deal with--the perilous jumps of its unidirectional overworld stages and the similarly onerous challenges (Eggplant Wizards, hello!) of its cavernous underworld ones, both of which feature fairly unique-to-the-platformer-genre elements like credit-card-accepting shops, life-restoring springs and chest-filled treasure chambers.


See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts

Monday, December 05, 2011

Whoa, 3D Classics: Kid Icarus looks ... weird

The first footage of 3D Classics: Kid Icarus has been released and, well, it's kind of weird. Before I share any more of my opinions on this future eShop title, though, maybe you should watch the footage in question:



So, what do you think? Personally, I'm not a fan of the new high-resolution backgrounds, which give the game a "high-quality ROM hack" sort of feel that doesn't sit all that well with me at the moment.

The good news, especially for grouches like me who aren't exactly enamored with the backdrops, is that it's likely the game will be given to many 3DS owners for free. That's already the case in Europe and Japan, actually--folks who live in those regions and register two 3DS games by a certain date get a free copy of 3D Classics: Kid Icarus plus earn a chance to win one of three special Mario-branded 3DS systems--and I have a feeling Nintendo of America will announce a similar promotion for our neck of the woods sooner rather than later.

(Via 3dsware.nintendolife.com)

Chunsoft's Extreme Escape Adventure (3DS/Vita) has some sexy cover art

I don't usually get all hot and bothered over game characters (despite what I've said in posts like this one and this one), but I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel at least a little tingle "down there" after catching my first glimpse of the cover art that was produced for Chunsoft's Extreme Escape Adventure: Good People Die (aka Kyokugen Dasshutsu Adv: Zennin Shibō Desu, due out in Japan on Feb. 16).

That's chiefly, if not completely, due to this 3DS and Vita game's main character, Sigma, who takes up the right half of said cover, of course. (Speaking of whom, more shots of Sigma can be ogled, I mean seen, on the game's official site.)

As nice as this game's cover art is, it's all for naught if it never leaves Japan, right? After all, Extreme Escape Adventure: Good People Die, like its predecessor--the DS-based sleeper hit, 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors--is an "adventure game," which means lots and lots of text.

Unfortunately, no one has admitted to working on an English translation of the game at this point. That doesn't mean one isn't in the works, though; in fact, I'll be pretty shocked if Aksys Games doesn't lay claim to it sooner rather than later thanks to success the company had with the aforementioned 999.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Whether it's coral, misty or pearl (pink), I want it!

I don't know about you, but I find it kind of funny how Nintendo's marketers alter, from region to region, the adjectives they attach to the colors of their company's handheld game systems.

Take the pink 3DS that hit store shelves throughout North America earlier today. When systems drenched in the very same color were released in Japan in late October, they were called "misty pink," and when those systems hit the streets in Europe last month, they were called "coral pink."



I'm not sure what verbiage they'll use to describe North American 3DSes covered with this particular shade of pink, but if the DS Lite and DSi XL are any indication they'll probably call it "pearl" or "rose" or something rather matronly like that.

Regardless, I want one. Here's hoping my parents didn't already buy me a flame red one for Christmas--or that they're willing to return it for a coral/misty/pearl pink one.