Friday, February 01, 2013

Five favorites: North American DS box art

As much as I'm enjoying my 3DS systems and games at the moment, I can't help but feel a bit misty-eyed about the recent passing of their 3D-less predecessors. So, I thought I'd perk myself up a bit by penning a post about five (more) of my favorite pieces of DS box art.

Because I highlighted a handful of Japanese DS box arts in this previous blog post, I thought I'd focus on North American examples in this one. Look for a post about my favorite European DS box arts to be published late next week.

1. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime--You really can't go wrong with a piece of cover art that features the ever-adorable Dragon Quest slime, can you? That's not the only reason I like this one, though; I also like its bold use of color and its depiction of abject chaos.

2. Electroplankton--I've often been accused of being a bit too minimalist when it comes to home decor and other such things, so I guess it isn't exactly out of character for me to say I like this experimental game's rather austere box art.

3. Etrian Odyssey--Would you believe this has long been my favorite piece of DS cover art? I think that's mainly due to the fact that it's seemingly designed to look as though you're peeking into the pages of a most adventurous novel.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mimi's Adventures in Miminton, Part 5 (or, yes, I'm still obsessively playing the soap opera otherwise known as Animal Crossing)

Although it's been a while since we last checked in on Mimi, Momo, Mumu and their lovely pal in the next town over, Leelee, not much has changed in either Miminton or Loompala.

For instance, the majority of the animals that call the above-mentioned hamlets home continue to harangue their human counterparts whenever and wherever they feel like it.

In the case of new-to-Miminton neighbor Snake, though, such negativity often is overlooked.

Tangy, below, also tends to get a pass thanks to the dimwittedness that's nearly as prevalent as her bitchiness.

Speaking of Tangy, she recently introduced Mimi and her minions to the wonderful world of wintertime igloos.

She also introduced them to the matchless joy that is making snowmen.

Momo, below, in particular can't get enough of the frigid figures--as evidenced by her showman garb and furniture.

Although most of Miminton's residents enjoy encountering a snowman around every bend, Freckles, below, isn't one of them. Unfortunately, everyone's favorite oddly coifed duck took out her frustrations on Leelee when she paid the burg a visit early in the month.

Actually, Leelee was lucky to get away with just a spit-drenched face and outfit. Her pal Momo, below, wasn't so fortunate. (Yes, Freckles punched her in the kisser--as she was putting the finishing touches on her 115th snowman of the season.)

And once again I'm hoping the Animal Crossing-branded 3DS XL is brought to North America

Informal poll: who believes the awesome, Animal Crossing-branded 3DS XL (a few photos of it can be seen here and here) that was released in Japan late last year will see the light of day in Europe or North America in 2013?

Personally, I'm with the non-believers in this case. My main reason: if memory serves, Nintendo has released just two limited edition 3DS models outside of Japan so far (those being the Pikachu-themed XL that recently landed in Europe and the black-and-gold one that commemorated the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda in 2011)--although a third will hit the streets alongside Fire Emblem: Awakening's launch.

Still, that's a pretty bad track record when you consider how many special edition 3DS systems have found their way onto Japanese store shelves over the last few years.

Anyway, I hope I'm wrong, as this particular 3DS XL looks awesome in every way.

Speaking of which, the writing of this post was prompted by the video that can be seen above (and here).

I have no idea what the effervescent guy who serves as its star is saying, of course, but I think his enthusiasm for his new acquisition comes through loud and clear.

(Via apricotsushi)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Additional evidence that blogger Anne Lee is an awesome gal

Is there anything better than a free game? OK, yes, of course there is--I just thought of a bunch of examples, in fact, some of which could be shared here and some of which couldn't.

When it comes to the hobby sometimes known as gaming, though, can you think of anything better than obtaining a piece of software for the lower-than-low price of nothing?

Granted, acquiring a bad game for free isn't as exciting as acquiring a good one for the same price (or lack thereof), but I think even that can be pretty cool.

I bring all of this up because I recently got my greedy hands on a free copy of the DS version of Puyo Puyo!! 20th Anniversary (it's also been released--in Japan--for the 3DS, PSP and Wii) thanks to my blogging and podcasting pal, Anne Lee (aka apricotsushi).

You see, over the holidays, Anne held a giveaway on her blog, Chic Pixel, and I ended up winning the above-mentioned copy of Puyo Puyo!! 20th Anniversary--which finally arrived on my doorstep just a few days ago. (Hey, give it a break; it had to come all the way from Australia.)

Because all of my attention is focused on completing, or getting as close as possible to the end credits of, Chulip, I have yet to spend any time with ol' Puyo Puyo.

I promise to give it some time in my DS (or maybe 3DS) soon, though, and after I do that I'll force myself to sit down at my computer and hammer out a blog post about my initial impressions of it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I need this Pikmin print on one of our walls ... NOW

I'm sad to say that I can't remember where I was introduced to the Pikmin-inspired illustration seen below (and here).

I know it first came to my attention this past weekend, but I can't remember if I was trolling Twitter or reading a blog at that time. Regardless, I think it's all kind of awesome, so thank you to the person who's responsible for making me aware of it.

According to the artist responsible for it, Bobby O'Herlihy, the illustration was produced as a result of a private commission, with the goal of that commission being to celebrate the launch of the Wii U.

To see more of O'Herlihy's work, may I suggest hopping over to his blog, Cynic with a Pencil, once you're done here?

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Month with Chulip, Parts 2 and 3

I know my previous post about my month-long playthrough of this quirky PS2 game was called "'Bye-Bye, Backlog' diary entry #1: Chulip (PS2)" and, as such, as this one should be titled "'Bye-Bye, Backlog' diary entry #2 and 3: Chulip (PS2)," but I decided late last week that header was a bit too unwieldy and as a result changed it to the one you see above. Anyway, I'm sorry if that confused any of you.

I'm also sorry I didn't publish this post last week as I promised I would at the start of this project. I would have, I swear, but the fact is my lone PS2 memory card decided to give up the ghost shortly after I began playing Chulip earlier this month. Thankfully, I was able to replace it on Tuesday, and I restarted my playthrough the very same day.

Since then, I've spent about 10 hours with this overwhelmingly odd game. The question is: am I still enjoying it? I'd say so, yes, although I'd also say I'm not enjoying it as much as I thought I would after I wrapped up my first hour-long experience with it.

Before I get to why that is, I'd like to mention a few of things that keep me coming back to Chulip despite the fact that I'm feeling a little let down by it at the moment.

* First, I love Chulip's weird-to-the-point-of-being-unsettling character designs. Although I usually prefer games that feature a more uniform art style, I think this one's mix-and-match aesthetic is a perfect fit for its overall "feel" (which, for me, is the video game equivalent of a David Lynch film).

* Speaking of unsettling, does any other word better describe the looping, lo-fi voice snippets that accompany every conversation the game's pint-sized protagonist has with his many (strange-looking) neighbors? I certainly can't think of one. (Don't take that to be a complaint, by the way. I actually find the voice snippets to be pretty funny--albeit a bit creepy, too.)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Detana!! TwinBee x Loopop Cube: Lup ★ Salad x Rhythm Tengoku stickers

Scanning Loopop Cube: Lup ★ Salad's instruction manual last weekend--for yesterday's "Manual Stimulation" post--reminded me that stuffed inside of said manual was a small sheet of stickers featuring  this PlayStation puzzler's characters in a number of adorable settings and situations.

It also reminded me that I owned a few other sheets of stickers that were packed inside import games I purchased long ago--namely the PC Engine port of Konami's Detana!! TwinBee and Nintendo's Rhythm Tengoku (for the GameBoy Advance).

Detana!! TwinBee's sticker sheet can be seen below. I think my favorite is the one in the upper-left corner, showing Pastel cleaning WinBee's windshield, although the one in the opposite corner is awfully sweet, too.

And here, of course, is the sheet of stickers that came with my copy of Rhythm Tengoku:

Being the huge Rhythm Tengoku (aka Rhythm Heaven) fan that I am, I love all of these stickers, although I can't help but love the onion ones a bit more than the rest.

As for the Loopop Cube: Lup ★ Salad stickers: they're nice, too, aren't they? They're probably my least favorites of all the stickers shown here, but that doesn't mean I dislike them. In fact, I find the one's at the very top of the sheet to be really adorable. I'm not sure what you're supposed to do with the little labels in the lower-right corner, though. Any ideas?

See also: 'Manual Stimulation: Loopop Cube: Lup ★ Salad (PlayStation)' and '12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now: Loopop Cube: Lup ★ Salad (PlayStation)'