Saturday, March 23, 2013

And then there was DuckTales: Remastered

Well, that's a game I don't think anyone saw coming--other than those who know folks who are working on it, of course.

Regardless, it's a game I will welcome with open arms when it's released sometime this summer.

The question is: which version of Capcom-and-WayForward-developed DuckTales: Remastered (a trailer of which can be seen below) will I buy?

My initial reaction to this morning's announcement was to wait until I own a Wii U to pick it up, but now I'm wondering if I should bite the bullet and purchase it on day one via XBLA instead. (Don't fret PS3 owners, it's also coming to PSN.)

Are any of you similarly excited about the prospect of playing a re-jiggered--with HD graphics, extra levels and more--update of Capcom's classic NES title, DuckTales?

Editor's note: as stoked as I am about this game's existence, a part of me wishes it were a sprite-based sequel à la Mega Man 9 and 10. Also, I really wish Capcom would bring it to the 3DS eShop as well.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Shigesato Itoi and Satoru Iwata chat about the making of Mother 2 (aka EarthBound)

Nintendo's Satoru Iwata and Hobo Nichi's Shigesato Itoi recently sat down--with Itoi's colleague, Nagata--to talk about the making of Mother 2 (EarthBound to those of us in North America).

This little tête-à-tête apes the format of Nintendo's wonderfully informative Iwata Asks interviews that I've written about here and there--which is a very good thing indeed.

Also a very good thing: for the last few days, the person behind the KameDaniRyuu tumblr has been publishing translated versions of the discussion between Itoi, Iwata and Nagata.

My favorite parts of this EarthBound-cenric Q&A include the revelation that Itoi and his team worked on the game for four years before Iwata, head of HAL Laboratory at the time, swooped in and whipped it into shape (it hit the streets a year later) and that Itoi wrote its script by hand with a pencil.

To read KameDaniRyuu's translations of this chat, check out the introduction here, part one here, part two here and part three here.

I'm not feelin' the Final Fantasy V remake that'll soon be released for smartphones and tablets

Warning: this may wind up being one of those cranky, "get off my lawn!" kind of posts, so you may want to come back later in the day (when I'll publish another post) if that sort of thing bothers you.

For the rest of you: a few days ago, the folks at Square Enix finally pulled back the proverbial curtain on the iOS (and, eventually, Android) remake of Final Fantasy V that they announced late last year.

Specifically, they released a number of screenshots of this re-imagining, one of which can be seen below.

Sadly, it seems Square Enix's designers once again are employing the rather generic art style they used while developing the Final Fantasy I, II and IV remakes that were released for the PSP over the last few years.

That's not to suggest I hate everything about the screenshot seen above (or the one below, or the others that can be viewed here). In fact, I love that the people behind this version have decided to add character portraits to the game's dialogue scenes. Also, I have to admit that the menus in this release look quite a bit better than those found in, say, last year's Final Fantasy Dimensions.

Oh, and for some strange reason I'm finding myself oddly attracted to the Lenna-as-White-Mage sprite included in the screen below.

Other than that, though, I'm feeling pretty let down by this particular remake, which will hit the Japanese App Store on March 28 for 1,800 yen (about $19--it'll hit the equivalent Android shop sometime this summer). The character sprites--Bartz/Butz, especially--make me want to yawn, while the enemies and backdrops appear to have been pulled right out of this title's GameBoy Advance counterpart.

Of course, you're looking at a guy who'd rather play the original Super Famicom version of Final Fantasy V than any gussied-up remake--unless said remake was made for the 3DS using the Bravely Default engine (ahem)--so maybe you should take my grumblings with a grain of salt.

That's just my opinion on the matter, though. What do all of you think?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Acquisition #149: Binary Land (Famicom)

Full disclosure: I went on a bit of an eBay binge shortly after the holidays and ended up buying a bunch of Famicom, GameBoy Advance, PlayStation and even PSP games.

The game seen in the photos below--Hudson Soft's Binary Land for the Famicom--was one of the aforementioned pick-ups.

I know a good number of you won't believe me, but I didn't buy this one because of its overt pinkness. In fact, it's one of my favorite Famicom games (here's a video of its first stage), and the only reason it took me so long to add it to my collection is that complete-in-box copies of this unique, arcade-y title don't seem to pop up on eBay all that often.

Sure, this copy's box is kind of banged up, but I don't mind. Actually, I like that its previous owners showed it some love.

Here's a better look at the game's awesome box art, by the way:

It's hard to hate on a game that features a pair of adorably pastel penguins, isn't it? It's also hard to hate on a game that has a logo made up of a number of hearts.

Or at least it's hard for me to hate on a game that meets such criteria.

Going back a bit to my comment about the love this copy of Binary Land was shown by its previous owner(s): as you can see in the photo above, the back of its box features a smidge of handwriting. I don't suppose any of you can suss out what it says?

Regardless, expect to see a number of "Acquisition #123" posts in the coming weeks that focus on the remainder of my recent eBay haul.

See also: previous 'Acquisition #123' posts

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Five favorites: EarthBound/Mother 2 tunes

As those of you who read this recent post already know, I started playing EarthBound again just over a week ago. I say "again" because I've played this classic SNES RPG on a number of occasions in the past--with the first time occurring shortly after its 1995 release. (I rented it from one of the local grocery stores.)

Although I (believe I) experienced a fair bit of EarthBound during that initial playthrough attempt, I'm pretty sure I've bested that effort during my current one. Regardless, there's no way I'm walking away from the game before the end credits roll this time around.

What are the things that keep me coming back for more (and more and more, if this past week is any indication)? EarthBound's heartfelt story, of course, but also its unique setting and charming graphics. Oh and, last but not least, its amazing soundtrack.

Speaking of which, I'm so in love with this game's soundtrack that I've decided to pen not just one but two blog posts about my 10 favorite EarthBound tunes (thus far). Here are the first five (in alphabetical order):

1. "Boy Meets Girl"--Is there a song that's more emblematic of EarthBound than this one? I'd be hard-pressed to name one. After all, not only is it imbued with a breezy, carefree energy, but it's also infused with a sense of determination--thanks in large part to its ever-present drum beat--and a healthy dose of wistfulness.

2. "Humoresque of a Little Dog" (aka "Buy Somethin' Will Ya!")--If there's a tune on the EarthBound soundtrack that I'll likely never tire of, it's this spirited one. As lovely as the in-game composition is, though, it has nothing on the arrangement performed (above) by YouTube user impathesheikah.

3. "Sunrise & Onett Theme"--Here's another feel-good EarthBound track. This one has a winsome quality to it that really appeals to me for a number of reasons. I also like that it's kind of a call to adventure. None of those traits are all that present in the version included in the video above, but they're definitely on display in the iteration that can be heard here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Awesome thing that's on my radar (and that should be on yours, too): Animal Crosszine

I first heard about the Animal Crosszine after randomly coming across a tweet by the esteemable Jake Lawrence--who revealed in said tweet that he was working on a submission for this forthcoming Animal Crossing-focused 'zine.

Co-editors Meghan Lands and Justin Woo are pushing for their publication--which they say will be "comprised of comics, stories and fan art celebrating Animal Crossing"--to be in readers' hands by Animal Crossing: New Leaf’s North American release date (June 9).

In the meantime, feast your eyes on a colorized excerpt of Lawrence's contribution (below--taken from the Timecowboy! tumblr) and Daniel Bressette's similarly awesome "Tom Nook cut-out" concoction that can be found over at

For more information on Animal Crosszine, check out its official tumblr at

Monday, March 18, 2013

I'd kill for a copy of Minna no Balloon Fight (if it were a real Famicom game)

See the cartridge and packaging in the following photo? They're not of a real Famicom game, sadly. Instead, they're the products of the fertile imagination of the Ribbon Black blog's Nightmare Bruce.

Although I initially wanted to strangle Bruce after coming across these creations--because, really, who wouldn't kill (or at least consider doing so) to experience a four-player "battle royal" version of Nintendo's arcade and console classic?--but eventually I got over my Balloon Fight rage and decided I was happy someone not only came up with such an idea but was able to follow through with it and concoct the box and cart seen below.

To see more photos of Minna no Balloon Fight's box and cart--and even a blurry screenshot of this faux Famicom game--head on over to the Ribbon Black blog at your earliest convenience.

Oh, and if you've like to see a handful of (also fake) screens that don't look like they've been covered in Vaseline, check out this post on Nightmare Bruce's simply AWFUL tumblog.