Friday, August 17, 2012

Acquisition #141: Banana (Famicom)

Those of you who've already listened to the second episode of The Nichiest Podcast Ever likely heard me mention this game during the "Cheerleading" segment. You also likely heard me say that I recently picked up a copy of this 1986 release, published by Victor Interactive.

Well, our friendly neighborhood mailman delivered the copy in question a few days ago, so I thought I'd snap and share a couple of photos of it (one of which can be seen below) and also strike up a bit of a conversation about this little-known--to non-Japanese audiences, at least--Famicom title.

As I said during the podcast, Banana's closest competitor in terms of gameplay is First Star Software's Boulder Dash, which tasks players with digging through caves, collecting gems and reaching exits while avoiding various dangerous creatures as well as obstacles like falling rocks.

Even that comparison is a bit of a stretch, though, since Boulder Dash is more action-oriented, while Banana is more of a puzzler.

As for why that is: In Banana, players also have to work their way to each level's exit, but here they're often forced to hash out their start-to-finish paths before they ever--or, rather, the game's anthropomorphic mole of a protagonist--take a step due to the sense of gravity that prevents them from moving upward unless they're near a ladder. In addition, a level can't be completed until every scattered piece of food (yes, including bananas) has been gathered and Mr. Mole's busty, bedressed wife has been retrieved and escorted to the aforementioned exit.

Should that description not make a lick of sense to you, take a look at this gameplay video, which, beginning at the 25-second mark, walks through Banana's first six stages.

See also: Previous 'Acquisition #123' posts

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Goin' for the gold (nunchuck)

Did anyone else recently drop a whopping 900 Club Nintendo coins to get one of these bad boys?

Mine hasn't arrived on my doorstep yet, although a recent e-mail from Nintendo of America assures it's on its way.

Although I'm eager to rip it open and hold it in my hands (or at least stare at it longingly), I'm no longer as eager as I was when I first placed my order. That's because I just watched the rather awkward unboxing video below, which reveals that Nintendo of America cheaped out (once again) and shipped these beauties in plain, plastic bags--you know, as opposed to nice, branded boxes, like the ones that were used in Japan.

Even before I came to this disappointing discovery, though, I was a bit unsure as to why I decided to "waste" 900 Club Nintendo points on this particular prize--mainly because I don't have a gold Wii remote with which to pair it. Maybe this will spur me to pick one up along with a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword?

See also: Previous Club Nintendo-centric posts

Swank Invaders

What do you get when you put bowler hats and mustaches on the iconic creatures that inhabit Taito's classic arcade game, Space Invaders? Why, you get "Swank Invaders." Duh!

That's not the official title of the awesome t-shirt design seen below--which was created by Toronto-based illustrator Terry Fan (aka igo2cairo)--by the way. As of this morning, Fan was still calling it "untitled," so I thought I'd help him out a bit.

Unfortunately, "Swank Invaders," or whatever Fan winds up calling this design, isn't being sold anywhere (such as through Society6 or threadless) at the moment, although I'm hopeful it will be soon.

In the meantime, check out more examples of Fan's work by clicking on the links above and by paying a visit to his Flickr photostreamhis website or these previous blog posts.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The second Nichiest Podcast Ever is now available for your listening pleasure

Well, folks, it's that time of the month again. No, not the time of the month when I contemplate dropping even more of my hard-earned cash on yet another Famicom, PC Engine or WonderSwan game despite the fact that I need one like I need an additional hole in the head. Rather, it's the time of the month when The Nichiest Podcast Ever coyly shows its face and charmingly clues listeners into the existence of all sorts of old and new games and systems that are the opposite of "mass market" and, thus, have been largely overlooked.

Among the games discussed during The Nichiest Podcast Ever's second trip to the rodeo, so to speak: Banana (Famicom), BlazBlue (arcade/PS3), Rainbow Moon (PS3), Rhythm Thief & The Emperor's Treasure (3DS), Sound Shapes (PS3/Vita), Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (360/PS3/WiiU) and Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (3DS).

A few additional niche-y games are discussed during the "Nichiest of Them All" segment, but you'll have to listen to the podcast to find out which ones.

Should you actually take the time to listen to our latest podcast, would you be so kind as to let us know your thoughts? You can do so by leaving a comment below, by leaving a comment on The Nichiest Podcast Ever's morning radio page or by tweeting me, Anne or shidoshi.

See also: 'Another (hopefully entertaining) episode of The Nichiest Podcast Ever is in the can' and 'Introducing: The Nichiest Podcast Ever!'

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I'd totally (probably) buy Sound Shapes if I owned a PS3 or Vita

I know I'm a bit late to the party on this one--it was released early last week, after all, although it won't hit the streets in Europe until tomorrow--but what do you expect from someone who owns neither a PS3 nor a Vita?

Even then, you'd think this Queasy Games-developed title would have appeared on my radar before this past weekend, when I read about it on the geek out! blog.

As for why I'd totally (probably) pick up Sound Shapes if I owned a PS3 or Vita: I really like its minimalist, LocoRoco-meets-NightSky aesthetic, for starters. Also, I'm intrigued by its gameplay, which seems to be an appealing mash-up of a platformer and a rhythm title.

The only thing that makes me a bit, well, queasy about this digital release: Its $14.99 price tag. Still, I'd likely bite the bullet and hand over my hard-earned cash for it if I owned a Vita, as only a couple of its games have caught my attention thus far (namely @field, Dokuro and Gravity Daze/Rush).

See also: 'Sega's doing its darndest to lead me @field' and 'Surprise, surprise: The first (and only) Vita game that interests me is an odd, niche-y one'

I'd seriously consider buying the Neo Geo X Gold Entertainment System if ...

In early December, Tommo, Inc., in partnership with SNK Playmore, will release the Neo Geo X Gold Entertainment System, which includes a Neo Geo X handheld (pre-loaded with 20 "classic" Neo Geo titles), a Neo Geo X docking station (which allows owners both to charge the handheld and to play its pre-loaded titles via a monitor or TV) and a Neo Geo X joystick.

As much as I like any console that includes the words "entertainment system" in its name (see: the Neo Geo Advanced Entertainment System and the Nintendo Entertainment System), I'm currently not planning to add this one to my ever-expanding collection.

There are a couple of reasons for that. One, I'd personally consider few of the 20 pre-installed games to be "classics." Two, although it sounds like Neo Geo X owners eventually will be able to add additional titles via memory card, the folks at Tommo have yet to explain when or how that will occur. (Basically, if I won't be able to play Blue's Journey, Nightmare in the Dark, Puzzle Bobble, Spinmaster, Twinkle Star Sprites and Zupapa! on this thing, there's no way I'm going to buy it.) Oh, and the third reason I'm straddling the fence when it comes to picking up the Neo Geo X Gold Entertainment System:  Its $199.99 price tag.

Anyway, I don't suppose this appeals to any of you?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Goodbye, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon; hello, Style Savvy: Trendsetters

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Nintendo of America revealed earlier this morning that Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon won't be released in this neck of woods until "the first half of 2013."

Although that makes me all kinds of sad, I won't be shedding these salty, bitter tears for long. That's because Nintendo's North American arm also announced release dates for a number of 3DS games that will take the place of Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon on store shelves between now and the end of the year.

The question is: Will some of these games also take the place of Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon in our hearts and minds between now and whenever that much-anticipated (and much-delayed) title finally hits the streets?

For me, the answer is a resounding "yes." In particular, I'm planning to pick up--and thoroughly enjoy--copies of Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone! (which will be released on Oct. 1), Crosswords Plus (Oct. 1), Paper Mario: Sticker Star (Nov. 11) and Style Savvy: Trendsetters (Oct. 22).

I'll also likely pick up Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (Oct. 28) and Freakyforms Deluxe: Your Creations, Alive! (Nov. 5), but I'm not yet sure if they'll be added to my 3DS collection this year or next.

Are any of you also planning to purchase one or more of the above-named games? If so, which ones?

I'm not entirely sure what's going on in this trailer, but (I think) I like what I see anyway

The trailer in question is for Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit, by the way--which is being developed by Arkedo and published by Sega. It'll hit PSN and XBLA in late September (Sept. 25 and 26, respectively and specifically) and PC on Oct. 3. Oh, and all three releases will have $14.99 price tags attached to them.

I loved Arkedo Series - 03 Pixel!, so I'm seriously considering picking up the XBLA version of Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit. The only things that may keep me from doing so are the above-mentioned price tag and the fact that so much is going on in the trailer above that I'm a bit worried that playing this game could be an overwhelming (in a bad way) experience.