Friday, April 13, 2012

Manual Stimulation: Hany on the Road (PC Engine)

After thinking about it for quite some time, I've come to the conclusion that the manual made for FACE's weirdo platformer, Hany on the Road, is, without question, among the best ever produced for the PC Engine.

That's due in large part to the game's awesomely colorful, clay-figure-populated cover:

Thankfully, those same clay figures (or at least I think they're clay figures) appear throughout Hany on the Road's manual, as is evident from the very first pages (such as the ones below).

Another thing I'm thankful for when it comes to Hany on the Road's instruction manual: It features (in the lower-right corner of the following page) a modeled-out-of-clay 10-ton weight. OK, so the crying dragon--also made out of clay, of course--is kind of cool, too.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Let's Play: 'Which Box Art is Better?' (Starhawk edition)

Truth be told, I'm not all that interested in Sony's Starhawk, which will be released for the PS3 early next month. (It'll hit the streets of North America on May 8, Japan on May 10 and Europe on May 11.)

My lack of interest in this spiritual successor to Warhawk has nothing to do with me thinking it's a bad game, by the way. On the contrary, what little I've seen of it (erm, this trailer) looks quite good. I'm just not a fan of first-person or third-person shooters--even space-based ones that feature giant flying mechs.

That said, I am a fan of box art (duh!) and I rarely seem to include PS3 covers in these "Which Box Art is Better?" posts, so I've decided to dedicate the latest one to Starhawk's many cover illustrations.

For starters, here is the image that, according to, will grace the cover of the European version of the game:

North American copies (which can be pre-ordered here) of Starhawk will bear the same image, apparently. That's a relief to yours truly, as the folks at SCEA used the following (rather boring, in my opinion) box art to promote the game for a time:

The Japanese release of Starhawk, on the other hand, will feature an illustration made by mecha artist Hidetaka Tenjin:

As for which one I like best: I'm going to go with the Japanese cover due to the pop of bright blue that serves to draw a viewer's eyes to the giant flying mech that's being barraged by bullets. That said, I can't say I dislike the slightly-more-straightforward Euro/North American cover.

What do all of you think? Do you like one piece of Starhawk box art more than the others?

See also: Previous 'Which Box Art is Better?' posts

I'm going to be really bummed if Guild01 isn't brought to the States

Don't worry, I'm fully prepared to be bummed--especially after seeing the game's completely WTF-ish Japanese box art.

Even if it sported a better cover image, though, I'm not sure I could see too many North Americans buying Level-5's four-game compilation should it actually see the light of day here.

That's too bad, because the quartet of commercials below make Guild01's contents seem pretty compelling:

(Here's another commercial, featuring the same snippets of gameplay, in case any of you are especially curious.)

Personally, the Guild01 title that I'm drooling over the most is Yoshiyuki Hirai's Rental Bukiya de Omasse, which tasks players with crafting weapons and then renting them to various heroes.

Of course, the other three games that are included in this omnibus release--Yasumi Matsuno's Crimson Shroud, Yoot Saito's Air Porter and Goichi Suda's Liberation Maiden--sound awfully cool, too.

Anyway, here's hoping someone (Level-5? Atlus? Aksys? XSEED?) decides to bring Guild01 to North America--and to other regions, too--in some form or fashion.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Acquisition #126: Pilotwings Resort

Full disclosure: This particular acquisition wasn't acquired all that recently. In fact, it was acquired all the way back in January--when Best Buy was selling copies of the game for shockingly low price of $4.99.

I'd been thinking about picking up Pilotwings Resort for some time, mainly because I have fond memories of the SNES original, but I held off on doing so until I came across the above-mentioned sale because quite a few people have told me that the game is a bit thin when it comes to content.

Don't worry, I paid more than $0.00.

Unfortunately, I've been spending so much time with my PSP and with Rhythm Heaven Fever as of late that I've yet to remove Pilotwings Resort from its shrink wrap, let alone play it.

As soon as I do either of those things, I'll let you know what I think of this launch-window release. In the meantime, have any of you played it? If so, what did you think of it? Was it worth whatever you paid for it, or do you wish you would have saved your money for another purchase?

See also: Previous 'Acquisitions #123' posts

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ashley Anderson's 'Cabana Fever'

Remember how I introduced you to the "Alien Goose of Love" a couple of weeks ago? (If not, you'll probably want to check out this post before continuing on.)

Well, artist Ashley Anderson just shared (OK, so he shared it a few days ago) the full, final product on his Flickr photostream and, boy, is it a doozy. Don't believe me? Click on the image to the right and take a good, long look at it.

The piece's official title is "Cabana Fever," by the way, and it's currently featured (as a pull-out poster, I believe) in the latest issue of Atlanta's Young Foxy & Free magazine.

Sadly, I can't tell you at this time which games Anderson, who's also based in Atlanta, plundered to find the sprites that make up this crazy collage. I'll ask him to spill the beans--via his Facebook page--shortly, though, and then share the details here, OK?

Any of you who really like "Cabana Fever," by the way, might like to know that prints, stationary cards and iPhone cases/skins featuring Anderson's illustration can be bought via

See also: Previous Ashley Anderson posts

'From the back of my boyhood closet' photos

With the "from the back of my boyhood closet" series now laid to rest (bow your heads if you must), I thought it might be a good idea to share all of the photos that appeared in said series on my Flickr photostream.

So, that's what I did last night. I also shared a few extra photos that, for one reason or another, didn't make it into any of this series' posts--such as the one to the right.

I think that shot is my favorite, by the way; mainly because it lets Gunpei Yokoi's iconic design shine.

That said, I'm also quite fond of this one and this one--both of which feature a quartet of SNES carts (specifically: Final Fantasy II, Secret of Mana, Super Tennis and Yoshi's Island).

If you've never visited my Flickr photostream, you may want to avoid clicking on the link above and click on this one instead. The latter will take you to all of my gaming photos, not just the ones that were taken for the "from the back of my boyhood closet" series.

See also: All 'from the back of my boyhood closet' posts

Monday, April 09, 2012

From the back of my boyhood closet, part seven

The last of the seven game-related treasures I unearthed from my boyhood closet during a recent trip to see my parents is the complete-in-box GameBoy system seen in the photos below.

This "find" actually shocked me because I distinctly remember selling my first GameBoy and most, if not all, of my GameBoy titles as a teen. After inspecting this system's box, though, I realized it couldn't be the GameBoy in question, as a handwritten note on its backside indicates that I acquired it in 1994--five years after Nintendo's pioneering portable was introduced to North America.

As such, I'm guessing I did sell my first GameBoy--which came in a completely different box and which I received as a gift within a year of its release--and then I bought the "basic" system seen in the photos above and below at some later date.

Anyway, enough about that. The real news here is that I found an original GameBoy--along with its box, manuals and other paperwork--in the back of my childhood closet.

Oh, and did I mention that the system is in nearly perfect condition? I say "nearly" because although superficially everything is rather immaculate, things aren't as flawless beneath the surface. Specifically, the system's screen is missing a few lines of pixels. I don't know if that's due to its age or if it's due to the fact that at some point I seemingly left some batteries in it for a long period of time (resulting in some massively corroded innards), but it doesn't much matter now, does it?

What does matter: It still works well enough that I can play a game on it if I so desire.

Surprise, surprise: The first (and only) Vita game that interests me is an odd, niche-y one

I haven't exactly been shy about the fact that I'm a bit "ho hum" when it comes to the PS Vita. Oh, I find the hardware itself interesting enough--if a smidge over-priced--but its software catalog bores me to tears.

Actually, I take that back. What I should have said is that this bulky handheld's current software line-up bores me to tears. I find one of its upcoming releases, though, pretty darn intriguing.

That upcoming release: Gamearts' Dokuro (Japanese for "Skull"), which looks to be some sort of platformer-puzzler combo.

I'm a sucker for puzzler-platformers, so that aspect alone makes me want to keep an eye on this particular title. The reason I want to purchase it (at some future point in time, of course), though, is the art style--which makes everything look as though it was created using chalk. (Said art style is somewhat apparent in the illustration to the right, although it's much more so in the screenshots shown here and here.)

The story is pretty cute, too, with Dokuro focusing on an evil "Dark Load" (er, I think that's supposed to be "Lord") who kidnaps a princess and then puts her behind bars until they can get hitched. Guarding the imprisoned princess is a skeleton named, you guessed it, Dokuro, who sets her free after seeing her cry and then attempts to lead her out of the Dark Load's tower.

I'm not entirely sure how Dokuro (and the players controlling him) will accomplish the above-mentioned task, although I'm guessing from the screens that have been published over at that it will involve some amount of screen swiping and tapping. (Sadly, this recently-released teaser trailer doesn't include a single second of gameplay.)

Regardless, consider me curious.

See also: 'Raise your hand if you picked up a PS Vita yesterday'