Saturday, December 15, 2012

Chrono Trigger x Super Famicom x OSKUNK

I may not have experienced much of Squaresoft's, er, Square Enix's landmark RPG, Chrono Trigger, yet, but that doesn't mean I lack an appreciation for it.

That's due in large part to its appealing cast of characters, of course--one of which serves as the focal point of artist OSKUNK's latest custom creation (the Super Famicom you see in the photo below).

To be honest, I wish a few of Chrono Trigger's other central characters--namely Frog, Lucca and Robo--were included, too, but as the saying goes, beggars can't be choosers.

For the curious: a few more shots of this custom-painted console (as well as its similarly custom-painted controller) can be seen on OSKUNK's blog.

Friday, December 14, 2012

10 Wii U games I'd like to play in 2013

One thing to keep in mind while reading through the following list: It's possible I won't even buy a Wii U system until late next year, so expecting me to buy and play all of the Wii U games mentioned below between now and the dawn of 2014 may be a bit much.

Still, I consider myself to be a pretty positive person--when it comes to gaming, at least--so I'm hopeful that I'll get to play at least a handful of these 10 titles before 2013 is over.

1. Bayonetta 2--Although I've thus far avoided experiencing the first Bayonetta, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least a little excited about its Wii U-based sequel. Don't worry, I'm planning to check out the Xbox 360 version of the original before the much-ballyhooed follow-up winds up on North American store shelves.

2. Dragon Quest X--Of all the Wii U games included in this post, this is the only one that has yet to earn an official North American release announcement. Interestingly, should the Wii U version of Dragon Quest X arrive on our shores before next Christmas (which is when I'm expecting it to be released--if at all), it may prompt me to pick up Nintendo's latest console earlier than I had planned. That's how much I want to play it.

3. New Super Mario Bros. U--Strange, but true: Apparently I'm only interested in the New Super Mario Bros. titles that are made for Nintendo's consoles. After all, I was bored to tears by the DS-based original, and I've yet to even try its just-released-for-the-3DS sequel. New Super Mario Bros. U, though, earned a spot on my "to buy" list the minute I laid eyes on it. In fact, I expect it to be the first Wii U game I pick up (unless, of course, I buy the "Deluxe Set").

4. Nintendo Land--As I believe I've said before, I'm going to get Nintendo Land simply because of "Balloon Trip Breeze." I'm also pretty interested in "Animal Crossing: Sweet Day" and "Luigi's Ghost Mansion" and "Metroid Blast," though, so it's not like I'll be blowing my hard-earned dough on a single, bite-sized mini-game.

5. Pikmin 3--This game would be on my Wii U wish list even if I hadn't seen screenshots and videos of it before now. Is it going to be the earth-shattering, made-for-the-Wii-U-from-the-ground-up sequel that some die-hard fans had hoped it would be? Probably not, but that doesn't mean it isn't going to be a ton of fun.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

10 North American 3DS games I'm looking forward to playing in 2013

As great as 2012 was for me and my 3DS (the same can't be said for my wallet), 2013 looks to be even better in terms of high-quality releases.

Which games am I most looking forward to shoving into my 3DS' cartridge slot over the next 12 months? Here's 10 of them:

1. Animal Crossing: New Leaf--Of all the games included in this post, this is the most shocking, right? Seriously, though, I'm looking forward to playing New Leaf more than any other title that's set to be released--for any system, not just the 3DS--in 2013. My husband, on the other hand, likely is dreading its release, as he knows it's going to take over my life for at least a few months.

2. Bravely Default: Flying Fairy--I know this beautiful, 4 Heroes of Light-esque RPG hasn't been announced for North American release yet, but I'm including it here anyway in the hopes that Square Enix will do so soon.

3. Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers--See the Bravely Default blurb above, but replace Square Enix with Atlus USA. Seriously, though, I think the chances of this one ending up in my grubby little hands are pretty good given Atlus USA's track record when it comes to the MegaTen series.

4. Etrian Odyssey IV--Full disclosure: Although I've been a fan of this dungeon-crawling series since the first title was released for the DS back in 2007, I've yet to play the second and third entries. Regardless, I'm going to pick up the fourth the day it's made available in my neck of the woods.

5. Fire Emblem: Awakening--Ever since the Japanese version of this tactical RPG was first shown off, I've wanted to play it. Given Nintendo of America's track record of bringing niche-y games to this region, though, I was a bit worried I'd never be able to do so. Thankfully, they recently proved me wrong and revealed that it'll be out in early February.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Five Japanese 3DS games I'm hoping to pick up (and play, too, of course) in 2013

Would you believe it if I told you I recently bought a Japanese 3DS system? I hope you replied in the positive, because that's just what I did shortly after my recent birthday.

I'll share the curious story behind its purchase and also share a few photos of it in all its gloriousness shortly, but today I'm going to focus on something else entirely--with that something being the following five Japan-only (for now, he says with fingers crossed) 3DS games that I'm both keeping an eye on and hoping to buy sometime in 2013.

1. Daigasso! Band Brothers 3DS--How can I say it's likely I'll buy this game when it hasn't yet been given an official name or release date? Because I completely loved playing both of its DS-based predecessors, that's why. Unless the folks who are busily piecing together this iteration muck up the formula that worked so well for past Daigasso! Band Brothers titles, you can count on the 3DS version being added to my collection shortly after it's released in its country of origin.

2. Dragon Quest VII--To be honest, I only plan to pick up this much-anticipated remake if it fails to come to North America like Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry's Wonderland 3D and Slime MoriMori Dragon Quest 3 did. Considering there's about an 80 percent chance of that happening, though, I probably shouldn't be too cavalier. Anyone know a quick and easy way to learn the Japanese language?

3. Labyrinth no Kanata--This is another import-only game, known to most westerners as Beyond the Labyrinth, that I desperately want to play, but I'm just not sure it would be a good idea to buy considering I don't know a lick of Japanese. Should I ever come across a reasonably priced copy of it, though, I'm pretty sure I won't be able to resist its beautiful cover art (or its dungeon-exploring gameplay).

4. Taiko no Tatsujin: Chibi Dragon to Fushigi na Orb--Despite the fact that I love rhythm games and that I find this series' mascot to be one of the cutest I've ever seen, I've yet to experience a single Taiko no Tatsujin title. Granted, only one has been released in my neck of the woods. Anyway, this one looks pretty darn good to my eyes--thanks in no small part to the "chibi dragon" mentioned in its subtitle--so why not start with it?

5. Zoo Keeper 3D--Go ahead. Look down your nose at me for including this game. I'm not ashamed of the way I feel about Zoo Keeper, no sir. That said, I'll admit to straddling the fence when it comes to this particular version of Success' animal-themed puzzler, as I haven't seen enough of it to know whether it would be a good or bad title to buy. For now, though, I'll just pretend that it would be worth every precious penny I'd spend on it.

Should you realistically expect me to pick up all five of these games? Probably not. I think there's a better-than-good chance, though, that the first and fourth ones will be purchased at some point in 2013.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Five games I have to rip from their shrink-wrap and actually play in 2013

Anyone who thought yesterday's post--about the five games I have to get back to (and hopefully finish) in 2013--was shameful is sure to flat-out swoon (in a bad way) as a result of today's post, which shines a forlorn light on a handful of games that I've not only failed to wrap up, but failed to unwrap.

Once again, I'll focus on just five games in this post, although I sincerely doubt that's the extent of my still-shrink-wrapped backlog.

1. Chulip (PS2)--Of all the games I own but have yet to play, this obscure PS2 release is the one that pains me the most. After all, it's completely "my cup of tea," as they say--it's Japanese, it's quirky (which often goes hand in hand with being Japanese, I know), it's cute ... oh, and it involves kissing people in public. Why have I not played this again?

2. Dewy's Adventure (Wii)--Full disclosure: I've actually opened this one. Not only that, but I've played a tiny bit of it. Just a tiny bit, though--probably just 15 minutes or so. Even then, it was quite a few years ago, so I hardly remember what it was like. I do recall being at least mildly (if not mostly) turned off by its motion-controlled gameplay, though, so I'm feeling apprehensive about picking it up again. Don't worry, I'll "take one for the team" sometime next year just so I can finally review the damn thing.

3. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime (DS)--I only bought this Square Enix game a few months ago, so I don't feel as bad about this unopened game as I do the others included here. Still, you'd think I would've at least freed it from its plastic wrap and checked out its manual--especially given my love for the Dragon Quest series' slime character. Would you believe me if I promised to boot it up in the next few months?

4. Hot Shots Golf (PSP)--This is a fairly recent acquisition, too, if memory serves. Given my overwhelmingly positive experience with its sister title, Hot Shots Tennis, though, I'm shocked it's remained imprisoned in its original packaging for so long. Does this mean my love affair with my PSP is almost over? Say it ain't so! Maybe the spark would be rekindled if I picked up a pink or purple (lilac, really) PSP in 2013.

5. Pilotwings Resort (3DS)--Note: I could have included another 3DS game, Steel Diver, on this list, too, but since I decided to focus on just five unfortunately overlooked titles I had to make the tough decision to focus on just one of them. That said, I'm not sure why I went with Pilotwings Resort. Maybe it was because I was far more interested in it than in Steel Diver when I bought both games from Best Buy for $10 total late last year? Regardless, I'm sure I'll get around to playing them eventually, although I'd be lying if I said I'm currently excited about the prospect.

Now that I've had my say, I have to ask: Are any of you in the same boat? Are there unwrapped or simply unplayed games in your collections that you'd like to spend some quality time with in the coming 12 months?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Five games I have to get back to (and hopefully finish) in 2013

Well, it's that time of year again. No, not the time of year when I bore you with posts dedicated to my favorite games that were released in the last 12 months (that doesn't happen until next week). Rather, it's the time of year when I grouse about all the games I failed to complete during that same time frame.

The five games (some of which were released in 2012 and some of which were released earlier) that are causing the most grousing at the moment:

1. Corpse Party (PSP)--Why did I stop playing this digital-only title after thoroughly enjoying its introduction? To be completely honest: I got stuck. Normally, that wouldn't be a problem for me, but for some dumb reason I was stubborn this time around and refused to turn to a walkthrough to get myself out of the situation. As you probably can imagine, I only put up with that for so long before moving on to something more enticing. I swear, though, that I'll return to Corpse Party sometime soon--especially since the sequel is set to hit PSN anytime now.

2. Deadly Premonition (Xbox 360)--You might think I gave up on this quirky adventure for the same reason as the one stated above, but that actually wasn't the case. Instead, I walked away from Deadly Premonition early in the year because I just couldn't take any more of the combat scenes it was throwing at me. That said, I didn't intend to stop playing the game for good; I just wanted to take a bit of a breather. So, expect me to tackle this Hidetaka "SWERY" Suehiro-designed title with renewed vigor sometime in 2013.

3. Kirby Mass Attack (DS)--I honestly have no idea why I stopped playing this one just a few hours into it. I'm guessing another game caught my attention and wooed me away from it--although for the life of my I can't come up with which game accomplished that feat. Anyway, much like Deadly Premonition, I quite liked what I'd experienced of Kirby Mass Attack's unique gameplay and charming (as always) graphics before the game inexplicably fell by the wayside, so I think it's a fair bet that I'll pick it up again sooner rather than later.

4. Super Mario 3D Land (3DS)--Some of you are sure to be shocked to hear that I moved on from this game before seeing its end credits. Well, prepare to be shocked even more: Not only haven't I finished it, but I only conquered a few of its worlds before turning my attention to Mario Kart 7. What was it about this particular Mario adventure that left me feeling a bit cold? I'm not entirely sure, although I think the tiny levels that I recall encountering had something to do with it. I've since been told to stick with the game, though, so that's what I plan on doing as soon as my 3DS backlog dwindles at least a bit.

5. Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)--Here's another headscratcher--or at least it is to me. The reason: I loved the hell out of this open-world RPG before it dropped off my radar. This time, though, I have a valid reason for walking away from a game I was thoroughly enjoying beforehand. Basically, I went on vacation--and when I returned, I was swamped with work and ... well, I'm sure you can imagine what happened next. Considering my jaw was regularly planted on my chest while I worked through the first 10 or so hours of Xenoblade Chronicles, I don't think it'll take much arm twisting to convince me to go back to it at some point in the next 12 months.

How about you gals and guys? Are there any games that you failed to finish in the last year or so that you'd like to wrap up in 2013?

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Mimi's Adventures in Miminton (or, yes, I'm obsessed with Animal Crossing once again)

So, I'm playing Animal Crossing again. No, not the Japanese version of New Leaf (I wish!). And, no, not City Folk or Wild World, either. Instead, I'm playing the original one--or, rather, the first one to make its way to North America--for the first time in many, many years.

I'm having such a blast with it that, well, I thought I'd snap some photos of my playthrough and share them here. Consider yourself warned, though, that the images shared in this and subsequent posts were made from photos taken of my TV. You heard that right--no fancy-shmancy screen-capturing technology at work here, no sirree. As such, some (all) of them are sure to look a little funky. Sorry in advance.

With that said, why don't I introduce you to my main Animal Crossing character? (Yes, that means I have more than one.) Her name's Mimi and here's a glimpse of her in her Harvest Festival-themed home on her birthday--which took place just after Thanksgiving, by the way:

Note the three NESes sitting around. Mimi actually obtained one of them (Donkey Kong) from a neighbor on her birthday, while the others (Balloon Fight and Pinball) were acquired via the village's black market. (Shhhhh!)

This next shot shows Mimi interacting with one of her Miminton (named in honor of the fabulous Japan-only Wii title, Captain Rainbow) neighbors--almost all of whom are bitchy, it has to be said.

At least the follicley freaky Freckles, above, has a nice thing to say once in a while. The same can't be said of Vladimir, below, who surely has never met someone with whom he couldn't find fault. Still, Mimi can't help but like the ol' sourpuss.

OK, so I caught Tangy in an off moment in the photo below. Thankfully, she's pretty darn peppy most of the time--or maybe I should say "she used to be pretty darn peppy," as she and her orange noggin are now sweetly harassing the fine folk of some other Animal Crossing burgh.