Friday, December 07, 2012

Happy 20th anniversary, Final Fantasy V!

I know I've let a number of game-related anniversaries go by without acknowledgement through the years, but I couldn't let that happen in the case of Final Fantasy V--which is, without a doubt, one of my all-time favorite games.

So, which anniversary is the fifth Final Fantasy celebrating, you ask? Its 20th--can you believe it?

Actually, this beautifully customizable RPG celebrated its 20th anniversary yesterday--as it was first released in Japan for the Super Famicom on Dec. 6, 1992--and not today, but who's counting?

Anyway, for a bit more information on the game that served as my first foray into the world of Japanese RPGs, check out my Great Gaymathon review of it. Or, head on over to NeoGAF and join the many fans who are discussing its merits in this thread.

The photos included in this post are of the front and back of the Super Famicom version's packaging, by the way, and were taken by yours truly.

If you'd like to see a shot of that version's cartridge, go here. And if you'd like to a few photos of the game's Japanese PlayStation port, go here (for the front cover), here (for the back) and here (for the CD).

With that out of the way, do any of you also consider yourself big fans of Final Fantasy V? If so, why is that? What attracted you to it in the first place, and what keeps you coming back today?

To whomever it may concern: my list of 'to buy' Vita games just grew by one

Oh, and the Vita game is question is the just-announced (by the folks at Compile Heart) Sei Madou Monogatari, a top-down dungeon-crawler a la Shiren the Wanderer that's due out in Japan next March.

Personally, I'd prefer if it the game were a first-person dungeon-crawler like the Madou Monogatari series' first few releases (the MSX, PC88, PC Engine and Game Gear ones, especially), but I'll take what I can get.

Madou Monogatari ARS for the PC88

By the way, the other Vita games on my ever-growing "to buy" list are @field, Dokuro, Gravity RushOrgarhythm and Sound Shapes--with Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA fPersona 4 Golden and Phantasy Star Online 2 included as "extremely possibles."

(Via NeoGAF)

Thursday, December 06, 2012

And the winner of the digital copy of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (Vita) is ...

... Alan Rappaport!

Come on down, you're the next contestant on ... oh, wait, this isn't The Price is Right. Sorry about that.

Seriously, though, congratulations, Alan! I hope you enjoy the stuffing out of your digital copy of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.

I sent a message to you via Facebook earlier today, by the way, so let me know (in the comments section below) if you didn't get it, will you?

Also, a hearty thanks, once again, to the generous guy who made this particular edition of The Gay Gamer Giveaway™possible: Matthew Carrington (@Segamaster matt on Twitter and Segamasterdude on deviantart).

Sorry to those of you who entered the contest but walked away empty-handed. Here's hoping you (yes, all of you) do better next time!

See also: 'The Gay Gamer Giveaway™: PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (Vita) Edition'

A few thoughts on yesterday morning's trio of Nintendo Direct broadcasts

As some (most?) of you likely are aware, Nintendo's European, Japanese and North American arms all broadcasted Nintendo Direct presentations yesterday morning.

Since I took the time to watch both the Japanese and North American ones (I didn't watch the European Nintendo Direct because I was pretty sure it would ape its North American counterpart--which it apparently did), I thought I'd share a few thoughts on them here.

Nintendo of Japan's Nintendo Direct--My only thought about this one, which focused on Wii U software and mostly covered well-worn ground: Damn, Pikmin 3 looks good. Amazing, even. Oh, and: Square Enix (or Nintendo, or both) better bring Dragon Quest X to our shores. Wait, one more: They're not really going to try to sell Wii U Panorama View, are they?

Nintendo of America's Nintendo Direct--Oh, another look at Pikmin 3. Unsurprisingly, it still looks amazing. I especially like the looks of the segment that appears to take place on a beach at night. Also: Wii Fit U to be released in early 2013? Sounds good to me. Hearing that Luigi's Manion: Dark Moon won't make it out until "spring 2013" sounds, er, less good. Is it really that difficult to give this game a specific release date, Nintendo of America? Still, we were told that Fire Emblem: Awakening will hit the streets on Feb. 4 and that Game Freak's fabulous-looking HarmoKnight (above) will hit the eShop sometime during the first quarter, so this Nintendo Direct wasn't completely disappointing.

Nintendo of Europe's Nintendo Direct--You may have noticed that the blurb above didn't include even a passing mention of Animal Crossing: New Leaf (which may just be my most-anticipated game of 2013 at the moment). Well, that's because neither Reggie nor the other Nintendo of America staffers featured in that presentation bothered to bring it up. Thankfully, it sounds as though it was discussed, at least briefly, during Nintendo of Europe's broadcast--although the word is it was given a "Q2 2013" release window, which means April, May or June. Where's that "Debbie Downer" sound clip when you need it?

What did all of you think of the information and footage that came out of these broadcasts? Were you pleased? Disappointed? Or maybe you felt an entirely different emotion after watching them?

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Five more favorites: Japanese PSP box art

Last week, I published this post about five of my favorite pieces of Japanese PSP cover art. As the header above suggests, this post features five more.

1. Boku no Watashi no Katamari Damashii--I've yet to add this game, known as Me & My Katamari outside of Japan, to my slowly but surely growing PSP collection due to the rather negative word of mouth that has dogged it since its release in 2005. I have a feeling I'll do so eventually, though, thanks to its beautiful box art. The question is: Do I pony up for the Japanese release or its North American counterpart, which also sports a rather attractive cover illustration?

2. Corpse Party -The Anthology- Hysteric Birthday 2U--Admittedly, this game features one of the most ridiculous names I've come across to date (and that's saying a lot given the Japanese gaming industry's propensity for weird titles). Its moody box art, on the other hand, is anything but ridiculous. In fact, I'd say it's downright gorgeous. If only the folks at Xseed Games could be convinced to bring it stateside along with the forthcoming Corpse Party: Book of Shadows.

3. Grand Knights History--It would have been easy to spitefully leave this game's cover art out of this post due to the North American version's painful (and prolonged) cancelation. That would have deprived people of one of the year's best pieces of box art--regardless of system--though, so I decided against it. Just don't hold it against me if the reminder causes you to tear out your hair or punch a hole in your wall, OK?

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

FYI: The box art created for Ganbare Goemon Gaiden (and its follow-up) is freaking amazing

Don't believe me? Check out the following scan, which I recently grabbed from the similarly awesome markinjapan tumblog.

The first game is called Ganbare Goemon Gaiden: Kieta Ougon Kiseru, with the subtitle translating to something like "The Disappearance of the Golden Pipe," according to, while the second game's title is Ganbare Goemon Gaiden 2: Tenka no Zaihou (translated subtitle: "Treasures of the World"). Both are RPGs and were released for the Famicom in 1990 and 1992, respectively.

Although I've shied away from buying and playing untranslated Japanese-language RPGs since I attempted to work my way through the epic PC Engine-based adventure known as Tengai Makyō II: Manjimaru a few years ago, I may have to buck up and give these a go at some point, as the write-ups at make both of them sound (and look) pretty interesting.

See also: Other posts about box art

Monday, December 03, 2012

Poor Luigi

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride--or maybe in this case I should say, "Always the sidekick, never the star"?

Regardless, given the backseat nature of Luigi's life, it's easy enough to imagine that he may not be the most cheerful and positive chap. Is it possible, though, that his brother's annoying omnipresence has pushed him to contemplate suicide? I, for one, hope not, but New Zealand-based artist SUIKA seems to think otherwise.

Granted, SUIKA also believes Mario to be teetering on the edge (see this similar piece from earlier this year), so maybe I should take his thoughts on the matter with the proverbial grain of salt.

By the way, the Luigi painting above is 400 mm by 550 mm in size and was made (with acrylics) using a 17-mm-by-17-mm and 5-mm-by-5-mm hand-drawn grid.

To see more of SUIKA's works, check out his blog and his deviantart gallery at your convenience.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Not-So-Mega Man

Those of you who regularly troll (I mean that in a good way here, I swear) this blog's comments sections may have come across the username "gsilverfish" once in a while.

Well, it appears that gsilverfish is more than just your average blog commenter--he's also a really talented developer of games (including the XBLIG title, Astroman) who goes by the real-life name of Michael Stearns.

Speaking of Michael and his games, he's currently working on getting a rather awesome looking game called Tiny Barbarian DX off the ground via Kickstarter.

Rather than blather on about Tiny Barbarian DX and what it will offer gamers should they succeed in backing the project (which ends in 16 days), I thought I'd just point you to its Kickstarter page and also share this gameplay trailer:

Looks cool, right? I especially like the looks of the game's combo/juggling system, which for various reasons makes me think of a few of Treasure's classics (like Gunstar Heroes and Guardian Heroes). Oh, and of course I just like its looks, too.

Anyway, should you also like the looks (in all manners of speaking) of Tiny Barbarian DX, may I suggest heading over to the game's Kickstarter page sometime between now and 11:30 am EST on Dec. 19?

If you need to hear a bit more about Michael and his in-the-works game before deciding to financially back it, you may also want to check out this recent--and rather interesting, if I do say so myself--interview over at the Erratic Gamer blog.