Friday, August 24, 2012

RIP Nintendo Power

I know I'm a little LTTP when it comes to this RIP, but the truth is I wasn't planning to write about this rather sad occasion (Nintendo Power's December 2012 issue will be its last), mainly because I haven't flipped through a copy of the magazine in ages.

Then I came across a photo I took a few years back of Nintendo Power's first issue (below and here), and it brought to mind all sorts of amazingly fond memories.

One of them: If memory serves, the issue above was sent to me and my brother shortly after we acquired our NES. Although we were quite content with the pack-in title (Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt), those first images of Super Mario Bros. 2 blew our young minds.

In fact, I'm pretty sure the timing of Super Mario Bros. 2's announcement and release is solely responsible for Mario's first sequel (in the US) becoming my favorite of all his two-dimensional adventures.

Nintendo Power's second issue (above and here) was only slightly less amazing than its first thanks to features that focused on Bionic Commando and Castlevania II: Simon's Quest. (Oh, and more Super Mario Bros. 2, of course.)

And then, in the magazine's fourth issue (below and here), we got both a (somewhat disturbing due to its use of mannequins) cover image devoted to and a review of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, another game that--at the time, at least--completely rocked my world.

(To see an early Nintendo Power cover that I'm much more fond of, check out this photo of the July/August 1989 issue. Claymation Mega Man FTW!)

Will any of you be sad to see Nintendo Power go the way of the Dodo? If so, what are some of your most cherished memories of this nearly 25-year-old publication?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I'm a bad, bad Final Fantasy fan

I say that because the main reason I'm not all that interested in the impending release of Final Fantasy Dimensions is its rather hideous HUD. (See screenshot below.)

I'm also not too fond of the fact that this iOS title will be offered to gamers much like Final Fantasy IV: The After Years was offered to Wii owners--although in the case of Final Fantasy Dimensions, gamers will be able to download the prologue for free and then pay some currently unknown amount for each additional chapter.

Still, I'm a sucker for sprite-based Final Fantasy games that feature robust job systems (side note: Final Fantasy V is my favorite mainline Final Fantasy title), so I'll probably pick this up day one if it's ever thrown onto the 3DS--or even Wii U--eShop.

That said, I'd much prefer to see the folks at Square Enix work up a 3DS version of its other mobile-centic Final Fantasy spin-off, Final Fantasy Brigade, which features an art style similar to the one found in my game of the year thus far, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy.

It's not a ChuChu Rocket-branded Dreamcast, but I guess it'll do

French artist Oskunk (or, OSKUNK!, to be completely accurate) has conjured up a number of fabulous, custom-painted consoles over the years.

Surprisingly, most of my personal favorites have been Sega-centric, such as the Dreamcasts he's covered in Jet Set Radio, REZ, Samba de Amigo, Shenmue and Space Channel 5 designs.

The artist's latest (below) creation calls to mind yet another Sega classic: 1995's Virtual On.

I really like how this illustration complements, rather than attempts to cover up, the curves and grooves of the Dreamcast's top lid.

Where will Oskunk's imagination take him next? I'm hoping it'll take him to wherever he needs to go to produce a ChuChu Rocket-branded Dreamcast, or maybe a Magical Puzzle Popils-branded Game Gear.

See also: 'I will obtain one of these if it's the last thing I do'

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Is this 3DS game's heath bar really made up of little butts?

If so, I think I've just found my next "must have" title.

Granted, it's extremely doubtful the game in question--Dangerous Jii-san Jya, which is based on the popular Coro Coro Comics "gag manga" that's known as "Grandpa Danger" in the West--will be released in North America, so I guess I'll have buy a Japanese 3DS (or 3DS LL) if I want to play it.

Normally my reaction to such a suggestion (yes, even if I made the suggestion to myself) would be, "yeah, right," but in this case I'm not so sure. I mean, not only does Dangerous Jii-san Jya (teaser trailer here) appear to include a health bar made up of little rumps, but it also seems to feature some sort of "butt blast attack" (see screenshot above) and a character that's basically a pile of poo with muscular arms and legs.

I'm also pretty fond of the Egyptian samurai with a pair of underwear covering his eyes that can be seen here.

As for when this daringly disgusting 3DS game will hit store shelves in Japan: Sadly, I'm not sure, although suggests it'll happen sometime "this winter."

Woe is my wallet should Dangerous Jii-san Jya sport a compelling cover illustration.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

If only I had my dad's gambling gene

Actually, the headline above probably should read: "Thank God I don't have my dad's gambling gene."

After all, if I did have that particular gene, I'd likely spend way too much time trying to figure out how I could acquire the Japanese Bubble Bobble slot machine that's being sold via this eBay auction.

I mean, this contraption is nearly worth the price of admission (currently $499.99) just for its adorable marquee--which features a winking Bubblun--alone, don't you think?

Also worth at least a portion of that admittedly hefty price tag are the Stoners (no, not that kind) that appear to take up space between the cherries and oranges and other fruits.

Another enticing aspect of this particular auction: The slot machine in question currently resides in Tacoma, Washington, which is just down the road (well, sort of) from Seattle.

All that said, me buying this adorable one-armed bandit is about as likely as someone sending me an FM Towns Marty and a copy of that system's Bubble Bobble port free-of-charge, so don't hold your breath waiting for another post on this subject.

See also: 'Let's Play: Which Box Art is Better? (Bubble Bobble edition)'

It's déjà vu all over again

I swear I've used this headline before (which would be rather appropriate, don't you think?), but I can't be bothered to search the archives at the moment. Anyway, my apologies if that's the case.

As for why I'm using it here: Well, it appears that someone is busy hacking EarthBound (aka Mother 2) in order to remake the first Mother game (EarthBound Zero to us savages in the States). Here's a "walkabout" video of said hack's currently unpopulated world:

Considering the number of similarities between EarthBound Zero and its officially-released-in-the-US sequel (or Mother and Mother 2, if you're a purist), I'm not entirely sure I understand the point of this project.

Still, I'm such a fan of Shigesato Itoi's series that I'll surely keep an eye on it until it sees the light of day. Who knows, I may even decide to play through it. Should I do that, though, I hope I'll make it further than I did when I tried to play through the original.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Missing since 1986

You've got to love German artist Barto's latest creation--aka the cheeky "Have you seen this girl?" poster seen below (and here)--which can be found plastered in front of a subway map near you (should you happen to live in or around Düsseldorf).

Oh, what I'd give for Barto to turn this into a series featuring such luminous "lost girls" as Princess Peach/Toadstool and, er, all of the other pixelated damsels in distress that I currently can't remember.

Metal Slug x Paul Robertson x Tribute Games = Mercenary Kings

Although I've long appreciated run-and-gunners like Contra, Gunstar Heroes and Metal Slug, they don't often find their way into my busy, game-playing schedule.

Still, whenever a run-and-gun game with an interesting hook or look is announced, it tends to catch my attention.

Case in point: Tribute Games' in-the-works PC release, Mercenary Kings.

The crew at Tribute Games previously created both Ninja Senki and Wizorb, so you know Mercenary Kings is going to be boss, too--especially with artist and animator Paul Robertson (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game) on board.

As is so often the case these days, you and I and everyone else can help bring Mercenary Kings to market thanks to a rather well-supported Kickstarter campaign--which has raised about two-thirds of its $75,000 goal thus far, with 23 days to go.

I'd totally pledge $250 or more to the effort, by the way, if the folks at Tribute Games not only offered a physical copy of Mercenary Kings, but a physical copy of Wizorb, too. (I'm sure that sounds like a strange request, but they're already giving digital copies of the latter release to those who donate $15 or more.)