Friday, June 22, 2012

I think I'm going to have to get a second job

Last night's trifecta of "Nintendo Direct" broadcasts nearly brought me to tears. The reason: They reminded me that the next 12 or so months are going to be absolutely brutal on my wallet.

Case in point: They reminded me that a new Animal Crossing game will be released sooner rather than later. (Or maybe I should say "later rather than sooner," considering Nintendo of America's current aloof attitude toward this title?)

Speaking of which, here's the latest footage of the game that will be known in Japan as Tobidase Dōbutsu no Mori:

I still scrunch up my face whenever I see this game's taller characters, by the way, but I think I'll have gotten that out of my system by the time it hits our shores.

The Japanese "Nintendo Direct" also reminded me--rather horribly, I might add--that the pseudo-successor to one of my favorite DS RPGs, Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, will be released in the Land of the Rising Sun sometime later this year.

Will Bravely Default: Flying Fairy eventually see the light of day in other regions, too? I sure hope so, although I honestly wouldn't mind if it didn't hit store shelves in the States until the second half of 2013. (You know, so my bank account can recover from all of the abuse it's going to have to endure after Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, New Super Mario Bros. 2, Paper Mario: Sticker Star and the Wii U and a number of that system's "launch window" games are released.)

A number of other upcoming 3DS releases mentioned during last night's "Nintendo Direct" broadcasts prompted me (and my credit card) to sit up and take notice, too--such as the Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers remake (trailer here), Freakyforms Deluxe (revealed during the European "Nintendo Direct") and New Art Academy (discussed in all three broadcasts).

Why Nintendo of America decided to ignore those last two titles, I'll never know. Hopefully they'll be released in all regions, though.

Last, but not least: The Japanese "Nintendo Direct" was capped off with this stunning, 11-minute look at Dragon Quest X:

Now, my wallet is quite happy knowing the Wii version of Dragon Quest X has little-to-no chance of being translated into English and sold outside of Japan, but I don't share her feelings. (Yes, my wallet is a "she.")

That said, I have high hopes that the Wii U version of this online RPG will receive the treatment it deserves (i.e., it'll be released in North America) from the folks at Square Enix and/or Nintendo.

Anyway, that's my two cents on the many titles that were talked about during last night's trio of Nintendo-sponsored events and that nearly brought me (and my bank account) to tears. What are your feelings on any or all of the above-mentioned games?

(Via and

So, who's on board the 3DS XL/LL train?

During its trio of "Nintendo Direct" broadcasts last night (one of which was aimed at Europeans, one of which was aimed at the Japanese and one of which was aimed at North Americans), the "house that Mario built"--aka Kyoto-based Nintendo Co., Ltd.--announced that it will be releasing a new, larger 3DS system alongside the much-anticipated (by me, at least) New Super Mario Bros. 2.

More specifically, that means Japanese and European gamers can expect to see a shiny new--and surprisingly large (more on that in a second)--3DS sitting on the shelves of their favorite electronics or convenience stores starting on July 28, while their North American counterparts can expect to see the same sight starting on Aug. 19.

The "3DS LL," as the system will be known in Japan (it'll be called the "3DS XL" elsewhere), features a 4.88-inch top screen and a 4.18-inch bottom screen--that's a 90-percent increase, for all of you size queens--and improved battery life (the battery reported will last for 3.5 to 6.5 hours while playing 3DS games and 6 to 10 hours while playing DS titles). Also, it will come with a 4 GB SD card and will sport a price tag of $199 in North America and ¥18,000 (approximately $223) in Japan.

As for my thoughts on this particular revelation: Actually, I think it's pretty cool. I definitely like the idea of being able to play current and future 3DS games on a larger pair of screens, for instance, and I also like that Nintendo has decided (finally!) to stop surrounding the system's upper screen with a sea of black.

Along that same, aesthetic line: I quite like the looks of the all-white model (above) that will be sold in Japan. However, I abhor the ugly, two-tone models that will be sold in my neck of the woods. I also hate Nintendo of America's obsession with the colors red and blue. (Please don't tell me it has anything to do with the American flag.)

Will I be buying a 3DS XL (or LL) anytime soon? Probably not. Although I'm not the biggest fan of the current 3DS design, I don't dislike it so much that I want to throw away $199 or more on this upgraded model. Now, should the powers that be at Nintendo of Japan decide to release an all-pink version at some point in the next year or so, I'll seriously reconsider that position (as I'm sick of not being able to buy and play Japanese digital and retail games on my North American 3DS).

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Great Gaymathon Review #55: PC Genjin 2 (PC Engine)

Game: PC Genjin 2
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Red Company
Publisher: Hudson Soft
System: PC Engine
Release date: 1991

Back when it was released in 1991, I considered PC Genjin 2 (aka Bonk's Revenge) to be miles better than its predecessor. Today, I'm not so sure. Oh, there's no doubt that the second PC Genjin is a more polished affair than the first one, but that doesn't mean the former is superior to the latter--or at least it doesn't in my mind. Which elements make me think Bonk's, er, PC Genjin's first pixelated outing bests his second? For starters, as much as I like the sequel's cuter and cleaner graphics, I prefer the grittier ones found in the original. (I'm especially fond of the original's enemy designs--although the bosses that can be found in its successor are also quite fabulous.) If forced to do so, I'd also choose PC Genjin's "chunkier" soundtrack over the comparably subdued one that was produced for PC Genjin 2, although I feel less strongly about that area of this pair of platformers than I do about others--such as gameplay. Speaking of which, that's another thing Hudson's 1989 release does better than its 1991 follow-up. Specifically, both titles feature a spin move (press a button to make the big-headed protagonist jump into the air and then press another, repeatedly, to make him spin/hover/fly) that is not only more useful in the older game, but more enjoyable, too. (In the newer game, the move is gimped--thanks to a slight delay that was, for some strange reason, added into the mix--to the point of annoyance.) Now, the HuCard otherwise known as Bonk's Adventure doesn't beat its descendant in every category. Case in point: The stages in PC Genjin 2 are the antithesis of straightforward, and the majority of them are a joy to explore. Also, many of said stages harbor bonus rounds and other secrets that are just waiting to be discovered. Finally, I'd be remiss if I failed to mention my favorite part of PC Genjin 2: The power-up that plasters the main character with makeup and provides him with a "kiss attack" that turns enemies to stone. In the end, I now think I prefer Red Company's initial effort to its subsequent one. That said, I consider both to be well worth buying and experiencing.

See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Is it wrong that this image has singlehandedly changed my opinion of New Super Mario Bros. 2 from 'eh' to 'day one, beyotches'?

When I first heard that Nintendo was prepping a New Super Mario Bros. game for the 3DS, I was stoked. Although I found the DS original to be a snoozefest, I completely adored its Wii-based sequel.

Still, New Super Mario Bros. 2, which will be released throughout North America on Aug. 19 (pre-order a copy here), was rather unceremoniously pushed to the back of my consciousness during E3 2012--thanks in large part to games like Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Project P-100, Pikmin 3 and even New Super Mario Bros. U.

The portable-platformer-to-end-all-portable-platformers returned to its position at (or at least near) the front of my mind yesterday, though, after I came across the following piece of New Super Mario Bros. 2 concept art (click on it to take a closer look):

It's funny how expanding the view of this game's box art makes the entire endeavor so much more appealing, isn't it?

Zoom in on Mario and Luigi, a la the above-mentioned cover image, and all you really see is a whole lot of gold. Zoom out a bit, though, and you see colorful blocks that call to mind Super Mario Bros. 3 and a bursting-with-Koopalings Koopa Clown Car that calls to mind Super Mario World.

I'm still not altogether sure what to think of New Super Mario Bros. 2's coin-obsessed storyline, but at the moment I don't much care. Bring on the Koopa Clown Car, I say!

(Via, by way of

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Put me down for one copy of Kirby's Dream Collection, please

When I first heard that the folks at Nintendo were planning a Kirby's Dream Collection (I'm leaving out the "Special Edition" part because I think it's both pointless and stupid) for Wii, I wasn't sure what to think.

I mean, Super Mario All-Stars: Limited Edition was nice enough--as far as "ROM dumps" go--but I barely spent any time with it. Would I similarly ignore the not-all-that-different Kirby's Dream Collection, despite my new-found love for the Kirby series? Both my heart and head suggested I would--although it's hard to know that for sure without knowing this upcoming release's contents.

Fast-forward to a few days ago, when I read (here) that Kirby's Dream Collection would include the six "mainline" Kirby games that were released for the GameBoy, Famicom, Super Famicom and Nintendo 64, as well as a "More Challenge Stage" mode that I don't quite understand at the moment.

Has that news caused me to change my mind about picking up this Wii compilation? Actually, it has--although obviously it helps that I've only played one of the collection's six games thus far (that being Kirby's Adventure).

Also responsible for my change of heart: Unlike the games featured on the aforementioned Super Mario All-Stars: Limited Edition, the ones included on Kirby's Dream Collection will feature adorable--rather than black--borders (like the ones seen in the screenshots above).

Finally, I find the packaging that's being prepped for this particular title--see it here--to be beyond adorable (and we all know I'm a total sucker for anything adorable).

Now all that needs to happen is for the folks at Amazon to allow me to pre-order the darn thing.

Monday, June 18, 2012

If only Nintendo's Takashi Tezuka had such fond memories of Super Mario Bros. 2

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but in case I haven't: Super Mario Bros. 2 is my favorite of the two-dimensional Super Mario Bros. games. (Note: I don't consider Yoshi's Island to be a "mainline" Mario game.)

I'm not alone, apparently. Although he doesn't say so in the description he penned for the work-in-progress painting (below and here) that he posted on earlier this year, I have to imagine WayForward's Austin Ivansmith has similarly fond memories of the game that's known in Japan as Super Mario USA.

(By the way, I have to admit that I very much like Ivansmith's painting as is. I love that I knew, the second I saw it, which characters, and which game, it was supposed to bring to mind--despite the fact that it's made up of just outlines, noses and eyes. OK, and a pair of pixelated mustaches.)

Another person who seemingly prefers Super Mario Bros. 2 to the rest of the classic series' releases: Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto. At least, that's what "the man who made Mario" says in this recent article.

Sadly, it seems unlikely Miyamoto's colleague, Takashi Tezuka, feels the same way. In the aforemented article, for instance, Miyamoto says, "The Mario games of that type are really in the hands of Mr. Tezuka at this point. Because he didn't work on [Super Mario USA] ... he doesn't have memories of developing it that he would draw on to re-create concepts in the New Super Mario Bros. series now."

Are any of you as crushed as I am to hear that it's unlikely Nintendo will be making another Mario game that's akin to Super Mario USA/Super Mario Bros. 2 anytime soon?