Saturday, July 07, 2012

You really can't have too much Mario-inspired art, can you?

Does the headline above--or, rather, the fact that just a few words of it flow into the second line--drive any of you nuts?

Honestly, it drives me nuts, but I'm too lazy right now to rewrite it in a way that will be less annoying.

Anyway, who cares about that, right? We're hear to talk about Mario-inspired art! Specifically, we're here to talk about the Mario-inspired art seen in the photo below (and here).



It was made by "The Artist Known as SUIKA™," by the way. (Sorry for the playful editorializing there, SUIKA.)

Oh, and the Mario sprite that's front and center on this canvas was pulled from Super Mario Bros. Deluxe, a GameBoy Color title released in 2000.

To see more of this talented artist's stuff, check out melonjaywalk.blogspot.com.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Let's Play: 'Which Portable Looks Best?'

All of this recent chatter about the 3DS XL/LL prompted me to consider something only a loon like myself would bother considering: That being which of Nintendo's many dual-screened portables looks best?

Yes, a good number of them are similar superficially, but most sport subtle design differences that keep them from looking like mirror images of one another.

Given all of that, let's take a gander at the six dual-screened handhelds Nintendo has supported since 2004 and then grade them in terms of best to worst (or most to least appealing).

For starters, here's the original Nintendo DS:


Two years after the system above was released, Nintendo followed it up with the oh-so-svelt DS Lite:


The similarly sexy DSi (striking a pose below in hot pink) hit the streets just two years after that:


And, then, of course, there's Nintendo's first jumbo-screened portable, the DSi XL, launched in 2009:


Everyone has seen the company's latest dual-screened product, right?


Finally, there's the 3DS XL (3DS LL if you live in Japan), which will land on store shelves later this month or next month, depending on where you live:


As for which design I like best: I'm going to go for the DS Lite and DSi this time around--due to the fact that they're sleek as can be but also completely portable (something that can't quite be said for their successor, the DSi XL/LL).

That said, I'm also pretty fond the original DS' design. I know it's by far the most toy-like of all of Nintendo's clamshell handhelds, but I've long had a soft spot in my heart for it. (Now if I could just find a "candy pink" one in like-new condition...)

Anyway, those are my thoughts on this completely unimportant matter. What are yours?

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Acquisition #135: Professor Layton and the Last Specter (DS)

Can you believe I recently picked up the North American, rather than the European, version of Professor Layton and the Last Specter?

I ask that because, as some of you may remember, I bought the Euro releases of the professor's previous puzzling adventures. (Photos of these purchases can be seen here, here and here.)

This time around, though, I went with the North American iteration because it contains the "Professor Layton's London Life" side attraction that, sadly, is nowhere to be found in its foreign counterpart.

Speaking of "London Life," that's the only part of Last Specter I've spent time with thus far.

Why? Well, because its graphics look a lot like those of Mother 3 (a very good thing, obviously) and because I've heard that its gameplay calls to mind Animal Crossing. How could I resist, right?



Despite the fact that, on paper, it sounds like something that would suck up all of my time, "London Life" has me feeling a bit conflicted at the moment.

Oh, I absolutely adore its aesthetics, and the soundtrack is, quite literally, music to my ears, but I can already sense--after spending just a few hours with it--that "London Life" is going to transition from "charming time-waster" to "tedious fetch-quest-athon" sooner rather than later.

Still, I'm enjoying it right now. And it's not like I only bought the Last Specter for this retro-tinged piece of bonus content.

So, I'll keep at it until it's squeezed me dry and then switch over to the main mode, which I'm sure will both entice and confound me much like its predecessors did.

See also: Previous 'Acquisition #123' posts

One more reason to pick up Kirby's Dream Collection later this year

If I hadn't made up my mind some time ago to buy Kirby's Dream Collection as soon as it lands on our shores this autumn (on Sept. 19, to be exact), I'd certainly have done so after watching the video below--of an orchestra performing a special Kirby medley that will appear on the music CD included with this Wii compilation--earlier today.



Thanks to the video above, I've also made up my mind about something else Kirby-related--with that "something else" being that, as soon as I've got the time, I'm going to play through Kirby's Epic Yarn once again. I absolutely adored that title's orchestral-esque soundtrack.

See also: 'Surprise of surprises: I dislike the packaging produced for Kirby's Dream Collection'

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Donkey Kong x Japanese Ukiyo-e

How would some of gaming's most cherished characters look if they had been conjured up during the latter half of the 17th century rather than the late stages of the 20th?

Artist Jed Henry tackles that rather curious question in a recent series of illustrations (like the one below and here) that suggest how, say, Donkey Kong and Mario, would have looked had they been painted or printed in the ukiyo-e style that came to life in Japan in the 1600s.


A number of other classic game franchises are given the same treatment in a series of pieces that can be found in Henry's deviantART gallery. Among them: Kirby, Metroid, Pok√©mon and Star Fox.

See also: 'Looks like I'll have to add Soul Bubbles to my DS wish list'

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

I enjoyed this 3DS XL unboxing video a lot more than I should've

With the launch of the 3DS XL/LL just a few weeks away for those living in Europe and Japan--the rest of us schmucks won't be able to get our hands on this humungous handheld until Aug. 19--I guess it shouldn't be a surprise to hear that Nintendo's already sending them to game journalists in the aforementioned territories.

Also not surprising: A number of said journalists are filming and sharing "unboxing videos" of their shiny new systems.

The one below (and here), made by someone at CVG, caught my attention due, in large part, to its "Quiet Storm" soundtrack.



Two thoughts that came to mind while I watched the video above: 1) Man, that box is small! 2) Man, that manual is huge! Oh, and one more: Man, if someone makes a similar video of the all-white Japanese 3DS LL, I may just faint. (Just in case any of you are wondering: No, I don't actually say or think "man" as often as the sentences above suggest.)

Should CVG's sexy unboxing video not satisfy your need for 3DS XL/LL news, maybe Eurogamer's first impressions of the soon-to-be-released system will do the trick?

My favorite line of the above-mentioned write-up, surprisingly enough: "I always felt the original 3DS hinge was a little wobbly, see, so I was pleased to discover that the XL's hinge has a lot less give to it. You can click the screen into a few positions, and whatever angle you choose, it's much harder to accidentally shake it out of position."

Surprise of surprises: I dislike the packaging produced for Kirby's Dream Collection

Considering it was home to a pair of completely awesome Kirby titles, it seems pretty appropriate that one of the Wii's last releases will be a collection of some of the adorable pink blob's best games, don't you think?

Sadly, the outer packaging produced for this collection--called Kirby's Dream Collection in North America and Kirby 20th Anniversary Collection in Japan--isn't as fabulous as I imagined it would be. Oh, it's far from terrible, that's true, but I can't help but find it kind of ... underwhelming.

That's especially true of the North American version's packaging (below), which is mucked up by a terribly boring font (the "Kirby's Dream Collection Special Edition" part), a trio of pointless product scans and that jarring swath of gold along the bottom edge.


The packaging made for the Japanese iteration is a lot more appealing, if you ask me. I especially like that the "included products" are illustrations instead of scans.


Thankfully, it seems that the cover art created for the game itself (the scans above are of the boxes that will contain the game, a soundtrack and a commemorative book of some sort) won't be so manhandled between the collection's Japanese and North American release.

Don't believe me? Compare the scan below--of the game's Japanese cover art--to the one shown on the North American packaging scan above.


Kirby 20th Anniversary Collection will hit store shelves in Japan on July 19, while its North American counterpart, Kirby's Dream Collection, will do the same on Sept. 19. Will any of you be picking it up, as I will, on day one or shortly after?

(Via andriasang.com and superphillipcentral.blogspot.com)

Monday, July 02, 2012

A new trailer for one of the million or so 3DS games I'm hoping to buy in the next 12 months

Which game am I referring to in the headline above? Atlus' breast-y, Guardian Heroes-esque beat 'em up, Code of Princess.

My only real complaint about the most recent trailer (below and here) for this portable brawler: No gameplay is shown until the 50-second mark. Also, said gameplay clips rarely take up more than about one-forth of the screen. (OK, so that's two complaints. Sue me!)



Aside from that, two thoughts ran through my head while watching this Code of Princess teaser. The first: I really hope a demo of this game appears on the 3DS eShop sometime between now and whenever it's released in North America. The second: I'll bet it would be sweet to play this game on a 3DS XL.

Are any of you also salivating over the possibility of playing Code of Princess later this year?