Monday, December 31, 2012

12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now: Door Door (Famicom)

If ever you've wondered why I started "collecting" Famicom games a few years ago, here's my answer:

The Famicom game shown in the photo above is Enix's Door Door, by the way--an adorable little puzzler-platformer that was released only in Japan all the way back in 1985.

In my humble opinion, Door Door may have the best packaging of any Famicom release. Not only is the cover art top notch, but each of the box's side flaps feature illustrations of the game's alien "baddies."

Oh, and the back of Door Door's box is pretty delicious, too, as you can see in the photo below. I'm not sure what the little aliens are saying in their speech bubbles, but I'm guess it's something precious.

Ah, you didn't think I'd fail to show you Door Door's cartridge, did you? Yes, it's cute, too. Are you surprised?

I don't know about you, but I really like its 1970s vibe, what with those bands of yellow and orange. Also, the game's protagonist, Chun (who later inspired the name of designer Koichi Nakamura's company, Chunsoft), makes a rather welcome appearance.

Now that I've seemingly got your attention about all things Door Door, keep your eyes on this space (or, rather, this blog) for a "Great Gaymathon" review of it in the coming weeks.

See also: Previous '12 games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now' posts

Sunday, December 30, 2012

12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now: Mr. Driller Drill Spirits (DS)

Remember this post from earlier this year? If not, no biggie. The reason I'm mentioning it now is that in that post I asked folks for their opinions as to which version of Mr. Driller Drill Spirits I should buy--the European, the Japanese or the North American one.

As you can see in the photos below, I ended up going with the European one. Not because I prefer its box art to the box art that was used for the Japanese or North American releases, mind you. Rather, I bought the Euro version because I came across a dirt-cheap copy on eBay and just couldn't pass it up.

Anyway, this iteration's box art is pretty nice, don't you think? I, of course, like the soft color scheme, although I have to admit I'm not at all sure why Susumu Hori (the protagonist) and Puchi (the pup) are framed by pink and purple puffs.

The photo above is of the back of Mr. Driller Drill Spirits' box, as I'm sure you can tell. I'm including it here just so I can cover all the bases. Plus, it features a rainbow.

Have you ever wondered what the cartridge that contains the European version of Mr. Driller Drill Spirits looks like? Well, wonder no more! I know, it could be a smidge more exciting, but it is a DS cart label we're talking about, after all.

See also: Previous '12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now' posts

Saturday, December 29, 2012

12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now: Orbital (GameBoy Advance)

What you see in the photo below is one of seven games that were released as part of Nintendo's bit Generations series for the GameBoy Advance.

All seven titles hit store shelves in 2006 and remained Japan-only affairs until three of them--this one (renamed Orbient in the west), Dialhex (aka Rotohex) and Dotstream (light trax) were remade into WiiWare releases in 2008, 2009 and 2010. (A fourth, Digidrive, made its way onto Nintendo's DSi shop in 2009.)

Although I'd love to own each of these bite-sized Q-Games- and Skip, Ltd.-made titles at some point, I decided to start with Orbital because I've thoroughly enjoyed the time I've spent with its WiiWare counterpart thus far.

I should note that I'd been warned before I bought the copy of Orbital seen above that gameplay found in the original version is often considered to be a bit less accessible than what's included in the follow-up.

Unfortunately, I can't yet support or refute that claim because, well, I've only booted up this Orbital cart (using my hot pink GameBoy Micro) long enough for me to know it's in good working order.

I promise to give it the attention it's due soon. In the meantime, consider picking up Orbient (and Cubello, if you've got the dough) via the Wii's (or the Wii U's) online shop if you're at all interested in captivatingly unique digital games.  

See also: Previous '12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now' posts

Friday, December 28, 2012

12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now: Loopop Cube: Lup ★ Salad (PlayStation)

Before I go on, I have to mention that not everyone agrees that this PlayStation puzzler, developed by Fupac and published by Datam Polystar in 1996, should be called Loopop Cube: Lup Salad. Some believe it should be called Loopop Cube: Loop  Salad, for instance, while others support Rupupu Cube: Lup Salad.

I won't chime in with my opinion on the matter because: 1) as I've said a million times before, I don't know a lick of Japanese, and 2) I don't much care what this game is called as long as I can play it. Which, of course, I can now that I own a copy of it.

Why am I so hot to trot to play Loopop Cube: Lup  Salad? For starters, it's an adorable puzzler with a unique gameplay twist. The titular Salad is tasked with clearing each single-screen stage of its brightly colored blocks. To do so, she (with the assistance of the player, naturally) pushes them around until she can match three or more of the same color.

As a result, I guess you could call it a platformer-puzzler hybrid, although it doesn't feel like any other such game I've ever played.

I should note, by the way, that I was completely ignorant of Loopop Cube: Lup  Salad (or whatever you choose to call it) until I came across this now-defunct NeoGAF thread. I also should note that the game was ported to the DS in 2008 and the PSP in 2010.

Both versions feature modes that aren't found in the PlayStation original and also seem to be more widely available than the first release.

Since so little information is available on line about this precious puzzler, I'll do my best to get a review of it published soon. In the meantime, check out some of the links I included in the text above and enjoy the photos I've shared, too.

See also: Previous '12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now' posts

Thursday, December 27, 2012

12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now: Gokuraku! Chuka Taisen (PC Engine)

Oh, hey, another game has graduated from being featured in a recent "Second Chances" post to, well, being featured in my games collection.

And "featured" it shall be, due to its stellar cover art.

Thanks to my strange obsession with taking skewed (as opposed to straight-on) photos of games, though, you probably can't quite tell how stellar Gokuraku! Chuka Taisen's cover art is.

I'll do my best to snap a few additional shots of it and post them on my Flickr photostream in the next few days, OK? In the meantime, you can take closer look at the box art in question here.

I've spent quite a bit of time playing Gokuraku! Chuka Taisen since I acquired it, by the way. And although I still wish it looked a little less muddy, I'm enjoying pretty much every other aspect of it at the moment.

Did you know this Taito-made quarter-muncher was ported to the Famicom, too? That version's a more accurate conversion than this one is, actually, as its art style is more in line with the original.

See also: Previous '12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now' posts

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

And the winners of the Elminage Original (PSP/Vita) giveaway are ...

... apricotsushi, Juan Garcia and Steve Pixel.

Congratulations to each of you! Send me an e-mail (I'll share my address in the comments section below) at your convenience and in return I'll send you a code that will enable you to download UFO Interactive's Elminage Original from the PSN store.

Sorry for taking so long to announce the winners, by the way. I intended to do so yesterday, but I got so caught up in all of those things folks tend to do on Christmas day (sleeping in, laying around, etc.) that it slipped my mind until now. 

Anyway, thanks to everyone who tossed their hats into the proverbial ring for this Gay Gamer Giveaway™.

12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now: Rainbow Islands Putty's Party (WonderSwan)

You didn't think I'd get through this series without including a WonderSwan game, did you? Well, even if you did, I'm proving you wrong with this gloriously WonderSwan-centric post.

Now, I know the word on the street about this game is that it isn't all that good, but I bought it earlier this year because, well, it's mother-trucking Rainbow Islands.

As I don't yet own a WonderSwan system, though, I can't tell you if the word on the street about Rainbow Islands Putty's Party is accurate or not. Actually, I gave the game a go via emulation prior to picking it up, but I only spent enough time with it to know it wasn't a complete turd.

I do remember thinking the pink-haired protagonist was a bit slow, though, so it'll be interesting to find out if my opinion of Putty's Party ends up mirroring that of its naysayers or if I have an altogether more positive experience with it.

Sigh. I really need to set aside a few bucks for a WonderSwan system (or better yet, a SwanCrystal system) in 2013, don't I?

See also: Previous '12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now' posts

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now: Tetris (GameBoy)

Of all the games that will be featured in this series of posts, this is likely to be the most boring--or maybe I should say least interesting?

So, why did I decide to include it? Because I rather like its bold, red-and-blue box art, that's why.

Speaking of which, the box art you see in the photos above is chiefly responsible for me picking up the Japanese, rather than the North American, version of "GameBoy Tetris" earlier this year.

Another reason, of course, is that I couldn't find the copy that came with the original GameBoy I dug out of my childhood closet shortly after I rang in 2012--and, really, you can't have an OG GameBoy without also having a copy of Tetris, can you?

See also: Previous '12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now' posts

Monday, December 24, 2012

12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now: Everybody's Stress Buster

Before I get to the contents of the game you see in the photos below, I probably should note that this is the Asian release of the game known in Japan as Minna no Sukkiri and in North America as Hot Shots Shorties.

So, why'd I pick up the Asian version as opposed to the Japanese or North American ones? First, I wanted a boxed/physical copy of the game--which isn't a possibility when it comes to the North American release. Second, the Asian version includes English text--something that isn't the case with the Japanese original.

As for the point of Everybody's Stress Buster: it's mini-game-focused spin-off of Clap Hanz' excellent Everybody's Golf (aka Hot Shots Golf or Minna no Golf) series.

In fact, 12 disparate mini-games are stuffed into Everybody's Stress Buster. As is often the case with such things, some of these morsels are more appetizing than others. My favorites thus far: the Dynasty Warriors-esque "Counter Crusader" and the Katamari Damacy-ish (kind of) "Vacuum Dash." I've also got a bit of a soft spot for the rather boringly titled "Bookshelf Dash."

As is true for far too many of the games included in this series, I haven't yet put a ton of time into Everybody's Stress Buster. I'm going to do my best to give it the attention it deserves early next year, though--especially since I could use a smidge of serenity at the moment.

See also: Previous '12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now' posts

Sunday, December 23, 2012

12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now: Yuke Yuke!! Trouble Makers (Nintendo 64)

I picked up this copy of the game known to most North American's as Mischief Makers shortly after I brought my old Nintendo 64 system from my childhood home to my adult one earlier this year.

Why did I opt for the Japanese version of this Treasure-developed platformer rather than the US release? For me, it all boiled down to box art--as in, I much prefer the art that graces covers of import copies of the game, so that's what I bought.

You should expect to see some similarly strange pick-ups appear on this blog next year, by the way, as I've had my eye on import copies of Mario Story (aka the original Paper Mario) and Yoshi's Story for some time now, and I'm not sure how long I can hold out on buying them.

Anyway, back to the Japanese Nintendo 64 game at hand. Its box art is awesome, don't you think? Its instruction manual (a glimpse of which can be seen in the second photo, above) is pretty nice, too--which means, well, you know what it means.

By the way, a few more photos of Yuke Yuke!! Trouble Makers (including one of its cartridge) can be found on my Flickr photostream.

See also: Previous '12 games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now' posts

Saturday, December 22, 2012

12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now: Dragon Quest Monsters (GameBoy Color)

I know what at least a few of you are thinking right now: "Wait a second ... you bought a copy of Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry's Wonderland even though you don't understand Japanese?"

Yes, I did. There's more to the story, though, than me stupidly spending money on a game that's surely going to force me to consult a guide or an FAQ should I want to get through it.

You see, I came across this particular copy--and its wonderfully colorful cover art--of the original Dragon Quest Monsters while perusing eBay on a quiet Sunday morning this past May.

(OK, so I don't remember if it was a Sunday morning or if it even happened in May, but it did happen sometime early this year.)

Anyway, it caught my attention because it was selling for just one cent (plus a few bucks for shipping). "That's interesting," I thought. So, I placed a bid for, you guessed it, a single cent--with no expectation that I'd actually "win" the auction at that price (or at any price, to tell you the truth).

Of course I did win it, although I'm not exactly sure what to do with it now that I own it. Oh, well, the cover art isn't nice, don't you think? Also, its instruction manual may be a good candidate for a future installment of "Manual Stimulation."

One last thing before I hit "publish": Two additional (and more intriguing, if you ask me) photos of this acquisition can be found on my Flickr photostream, should any of you be interested in such things.

See also: Previous '12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now' posts

Friday, December 21, 2012

Mimi's Adventures in Miminton, Part 3

Let it be known that winter is my, er, Mimi's favorite season. Why? Snow, of course.

As such, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to say Dec. 10 was, thus far, one of the best days of 2013 for ol' Mimi--since that's when Miminton finally found itself blanketed with the stuff that's scientifically known as flakes of crystalline water ice.

As you'd expect, Mimi made the most of her hometown's first wintry day. After wildly racing around for a bit and sliding head-first into the sign in the screenshot below (hence Mimi's more-buggy-than-usual eyes), though, she settled down and returned to her favorite of her daily chores: that being the digging up of bells, fossils and gyroids.

Speaking of the digging up of bells: Mimi really hit the jackpot on Miminton's first official day of winter. (Serious question: Have any of you dug up 30,000 bells before? I didn't even know it was possible before this occurrence.)

Her pal Mumu was pretty lucky that day, too--although her luck was a smidge less lucrative than Mimi's.

Anyway, enough about luck and money and all that jazz. We're supposed to be talking about Mimi and Momo and Mumu--OK, and sometimes Leelee, too (note to self: you have way too many Animal Crossing characters)--and their wonderful lives in Miminton, right?

12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now: Inazuma Eleven (DS)

OK, so the title I'm focusing on in today's "12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now" post isn't as thrilling as the one I wrote about yesterday--or at least I don't think it's as thrilling.

Still, it's an import, and a fairly odd one at that (thanks to it being a soccer-based RPG), so at least it's not a total loss.

Would you believe that I've yet to spend much quality time with this pick-up? Yeah, I thought you would--especially given the track record suggested by the majority of my "Acquisition #123" posts.

Actually, I'm kind of amazed it's even been unwrapped, as I honestly don't remember playing it at all since it arrived on my doorstep a number of months ago.

I guess I should have included Inazuma Eleven in one of those silly posts--like "Five games I have to get back to (and hopefully finish) in 2013" or "Five games I have to rip from their shrink-wrap and actually play in 2013"--I published last week, eh?

See also: Previous '12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now' posts

Thursday, December 20, 2012

12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now: Chack'n Pop (Famicom)

Let's start this series off with a bang, shall we?

Actually, "bang" is a good word to use in relation to this particular pick-up, as the titular Chack'n (the yellow thingamabob with blue wings and pink legs that can be seen on the box cover below) is all about dropping bombs as he meanders his way through the series of maze-like levels that make up this Taito-developed title.

As you may remember from this "Second Chances" post, I haven't always been a fan of this Bubble Bobble precursor. Once I had the little change of heart that I expounded upon in the aforementioned post, though, I knew I had to own the game's Famicom port.

Looking at this version's packaging, it's probably easy to understand why I decided to go with a "complete in box" copy of Chack'n Pop. I'm especially enamored with the cover art, of course--although I think the illustration that appears on the game's cartridge label (above) is nearly as nice.

How's Chack'n Pop's instruction manual? Funny you should ask. This copy of the game came with one, of course, but I can't remember whether it's good or bad. I'll have to dig it out of my stash after the holiday frenzy has died down and let you know either way, OK?

See also: Previous '12 games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now' posts

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now

How's this for thinking ahead: I've been working on this series of posts pretty much since the first day of 2012.

Note: The five Namco(t) Famicom games
in the photograph above were bought
prior to the beginning of 2012.
Of course, you're looking at someone who, as a kid, would sit--pad in one hand, pencil in the other--by the tree on Christmas day and work up his "wish list" for the next year's festivities.

As for this list (or, rather, series of posts), well, I'm pretty sure you can tell by its title what it will include.

If not, here's the gist: Between today and the last day of the month, I'm going to publish a post a day that focuses on a single import game that I bought during 2012 but didn't tell anyone about until now.

The first will appear tomorrow morning, by the way, while the last--the 12th--will appear on the morning of Jan. 31.

Anyway, I know it's all a bit silly, but I also think it could be kind of fun. And, really, shouldn't every year end with a little levity?

See also: 'The 12 Games of Christmas (2011)'

The Gay Gamer Giveaway™: Elminage Original (PSP/Vita) Edition

I know what some of you are thinking. "What? Another giveaway? Already? Didn't you just have one?"

Why, yes, yes I did. Somehow, though, the gaming goddesses smiled down upon me (they all work at UFO Interactive, apparently) and sent me three PSN codes for Elminage Original, a Wizardry-esque dungeon-crawler that's playable on both the PSP and Vita.

I just started playing this Starfish-developed game myself (the aforementioned goddesses provided me with a PSN code, too), and although the localization is a bit rough (or a lot rough) in spots and the rest of the game is tough as nails, I'm enjoying it so far.

So, what do you need to do to nab one of the three PSN codes mentioned earlier in this post? Leave a comment ("yo!" is fine) below. That's it.

Note: Like the last Gay Gamer Giveaway™, you have to be able to access and download from the North American PSN store if you want to be able to redeem one of these codes, so consider that before tossing your name into the proverbial hat.

As for when I'll draw the winners' names out of said hat: I'll do so on Christmas morning, so get your votes in (again, by leaving a comment below) by 11:59 pm Pacific on Dec. 24.

One last thing before I go: I've decided to do things a bit differently this time around. Specifically, I won't be promoting this giveaway via Twitter like I usually do, as I'd prefer the winners to be people who actually read the blog once in a while.

That said, I'm not sure all that many PSP and/or Vita owners follow this blog. So, if you know someone who would enjoy a free copy of Elminage Original, by all means let me know about the giveaway.

See also: Previous Gay Gamer Giveaway™ posts

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My five favorite non-3DS games of 2012

I may have singled out THE "DENPA" MEN as my favorite 3DS game of 2012 yesterday (with Theatrhythm Final Fantasy coming in a close second), but that doesn't mean it was the only game I had a blast playing this past year.

In fact, I had a blast playing a number of games that were released for the other current-ish systems I own. Here are the ones I considered the cream of the crop, as they say:

* Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom (PSP)--If you read my "somewhat gay" review of this game, you're likely a bit shocked that I decided to include this release, which was published in North America by Aksys Games, here. So am I, to tell you the truth. While thinking back on all the titles I played this year, though, I kept coming back to this one. Although I still think it's more of a novel than a video game, it did a surprisingly great job of keeping me interested in its goings-on from start to finish--which is something that can't be said of every game these days.

* Kirby Mass Attack (DS)--Of all the titles included in this post, this is the one I've spent the least time with thus far. Still, I've experienced enough of it to know it's an enjoyably unique game--and one that I'll surely return to next year when I inevitably find myself without anything new to play.

* Rhythm Heaven Fever (Wii)--It's amazing how many hours you can spend playing a single game when you set your mind to it. I say that because I'm pretty sure I clocked well over 20 hours with Rhythm Heaven Fever during its first week in my possession. Was it because of the adorably wacky graphics? The toe-tapping soundtrack? The "just one more time, I swear" gameplay? I have a feeling it was all three--and then some.

* Spelunky (XBLA)--You know how sometimes you look forward to something (like a game) for so long that when you get your hands on it at long last you experience a letdown? Well, I was more than a bit worried that would happen to me once I finally acquired Spelunky, as I'd been waiting for the XBLA version for what seemed like ages. Thankfully, it didn't. On the contrary, I've enjoyed this tough-as-nails (and surprisingly precious) platformer more than I even imagined I would--although it would be nice to actually "beat" it at some point.

* Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)--That I haven't yet completed this open-world RPG is criminal, if you ask me. I can't even tell you why I left it at an unfinished state early this summer (although I have a feeling a quick trip "home" may have had something to do with it). What I can tell you is that I pretty much loved every minute I played of it until that point. (I say "pretty much loved" because I found a few aspects--like the camera in general and one boss battle in particular--to be irksome.) Here's hoping I'm able to work my way back into--and through--this sentimental journey in 2013.

See also: Past 'favorite games of the year' posts

Monday, December 17, 2012

THE 'DENPA' MEN: My favorite 3DS game of 2012

Considering I have four current-ish systems (the 3DS, PSP, Xbox 360 and Wii), you could be forgiven for assuming I'd conjure up four "Favorite Games of 2012" posts and not just two.

The sad fact is, though, that I bought so few games for the PSP, Xbox 360 and Wii this past year that I feel it would be inappropriate for me to devote entire posts to those systems.

So, I'm devoting one to my favorite 3DS game of 2012 and one to my five favorite non-3DS games of the year.

As for the 3DS game I decided to honor in this particular post: What more can I say about it, really? I've written so many posts about it in the last few months that anything I say here is bound to be a rehash of something I mentioned at last once before.

Given that, may I direct you to my "somewhat gay" review of this innovative, Genius Sonority-made RPG?

Something that I don't believe I said outright in that review that I'd like to share now, though, is that I had more fun with this game than any other I've played this year--and that includes a lot of games (some of which were released for the 3DS, and some of which were not).

It's important to note that, I think, because it's still the most important aspect or attribute of any game I decide to play these days. Basically. Yes, sometimes I want to be intrigued or moved or scared, but most of the time I want to be entertained.

"Fun" and "entertaining" also are words I'd use to describe the game I consider to be my second-favorite 3DS release, by the way--with that game being Square Enix's superb Theatrhythm Final Fantasy.

Had THE "DENPA" MEN not made it to our shores this year, I surely would have shined the spotlight on this adroitly crafted rhythm title, which I found to be far more interesting and enjoyable (and difficult!) than I imagined it would be when it was first announced.

See also: Past 'favorite games of the year' posts

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mimi's Adventures in Miminton, Part 2

So, here we are again. You remember Mimi and Miminton, right? If not, you may want to acquaint yourself with the first post in this series, which can be accessed here.

As I mentioned at the end of the aforementioned post, this one isn't going to focus on ol' Mimi. Instead, it's going to focus on her human compadres in Miminton.

Speaking of which, the purple-haired gal in the photo below is Mumu. She's not Mimi's sister, despite their similar names--or at least I don't think she's Mimi's sister. Anyway, her favorite thing is to spend her days (and nights) trying to catch as many Red Snappers as possible. Don't ask me why--apparently she's a bit obsessed with rosy-colored fish!

The doe-eyed gal in the following photo is Momo. Is it weird that three girls with similar names all moved into the same town? Yes, but we don't ask questions about stuff like that in Miminton, so no one knows why it happened or what it means. (You know, like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, etc.)

One thing's for sure: Momo is a bit of a snoop. Here she is spying on Freckles the duck as he heads to his semi-private toilet (upper-left corner).

She's also a chatterbox. Which is fine most of the time, but sometimes grumps like Octavian can't quite put up with it.

Ava here didn't mind Momo's blathering while she lived in Miminton (she's since moved somewhere else--and didn't leave a forwarding address). Of course, Ava's brain clearly is about as big as a grain of rice, so maybe we shouldn't consider her feelings too heavily.