Friday, June 14, 2013

Welcome to Animachi

For the last two days, I've been doing what every self-respecting 3DS owner has been doing for at least that long, if not longer--playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf as much as possible.

Granted, much of that time has been spent fishing and "hunting" various insects with my trusty butterfly net--as opposed to, you know, gardening or landscaping or planning the layout of the gyroid-filled mansion I'm sure to own in the future--but considering that's how I've spent 90 percent of my time while playing previous Animal Crossing games, I guess it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise.

That's not what you came here to read about, though, is it? No, I'm guessing you came here to read about--and see screenshots of--my New Leaf town and characters. Thankfully, I've got all of that in spades.

Below, for instance, is a snapshot of my female character, Aino--named after a figure from Finnish mythology--stepping foot into Animachi, my town, for the first time.

I came up with the name Animachi, by the way, by combining the first three letters of "animal" with one of the Japanese words for town or village. Fitting, don't you think?

Oh, and here's a shot of Animachi's first citizens (aka my welcoming committee): Rizzo, Barold, Snake, Winnie and Chevre. (My favorite at the moment is Barold, by the way--don't tell Snake!)

One of the first things I--er, I mean, Aino--did after getting settled in Animachi: buy a fortune cookie from the nearby Nookling Junction shop. (And, no, I don't know why Aino decided to wait until she was inside the museum to crack it open.)

Aino sports the above-mentioned "green hat" (aka the "hero's cap") in the screenshot below. Pretty nifty, eh?

Not so nifty: the fact that the river that runs through Animachi is infested with piranha. Not that Aino seems to mind.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

You tell me--is the limited edition of Hakuoki: Memories of the Shinsengumi worth $59.99?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that the overwhelming majority--if not every last one--of you will answer the question above with a resounding "no!" And, really, I can't fault you for that line of thinking. After all, I agree with it--for the most part.

That said, a small part of me is wondering if maybe, just maybe, the limited edition release of this upcoming 3DS otome game is worth nearly 60 bones. After all, who doesn't need a folding fan branded with Hakuoki artwork, a Japanese-style towel featuring more of the same and a "Men of Hakuoki Art Book"?

Seriously, though, I'm looking forward to Hakuoki: Memories of the Shinsengumi's release, which is scheduled for Aug. 3 here in North America. On that date, Hakuoki fans will be able to pick up a regular edition of the game for $29.99 or the aforementioned limited edition for twice the price.

Will any of you be adding either version of this hunk-filled adventure title to your burgeoning collection of 3DS carts?


Who's up for more Pac-Man? (Hint: I am! I AM!!!)

Those of you who followed my lead and answered in the affirmative should be happy to hear that the fine folks at Namco Bandai just announced--well, a few days ago--that they're prepping a digital compilation that'll be called Pac-Man Museum.

Which titles will this collection include? According to this press release, it'll feature "classic Pac-Man titles as well as newer arcade releases, allowing gamers to play through the evolution of Pac-Man from his humble beginnings from 1980 through 2008’s Pac-Man Championship Edition and 2010’s Pac-Man Battle Royale."

Unfortunately, all of us 3DS, PC, PS3, Wii U and/or Xbox 360 owners are going to have to wait until sometime this winter to get our four-player Pac-Man Battle Royale on.

In the meantime, PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 owners with copies of Pac-Man: Championship Edition DX can look forward to downloading a free update this summer that'll add a slew of new content--including "additional DLC mazes, music and graphics including classic Dig Dug and Rally-X sprites"--to this day-go digital title.

(Via and

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A few thoughts on the rest of E3 2013

Just in case any of you care what I think about what's been announced and shown (so far) for Sony's and Microsoft's systems at E3 2013, here's another stream-of-consiousness post.

Xbox One price--$499. Yikes. It's going to be very interesting to see how the masses react to this price after the holidays, especially with the PS4 being available for $100 less.

PS4 price--$399. Pretty surprising, actually. Maybe even stellar. Of course, it seems online multiplayer's no longer free. And the Kinect-like camera won't be included with the system. (It'll be sold separately for $59.99.) Still, that price should do a lot to sell the system in North America.

"PS4 Supports Used Games"--Speaks for itself, really.

PS4 system design--Yuck. But does it look better or worse than the Xbox One (above)? I'm not sure. Strangely, I'm leaning toward the Xbox One having the more appealing design at the moment--although that isn't saying much, if you ask me. (The PS4 can be seen below, by the way--just in case some of you haven't seen it yet.)

Puppeteer--This may only be a PS3 game, but I'm completely gaga over it. Of course, it reminds me of Treasure's Dynamite Headdy, so I guess I shouldn't find that too surprising.

Beyond: Two Souls--Can you say "uncanny valley"? I mean, I appreciate what developer Quantic Dream is going for with this PS3 title, but I can't say it appeals to me. Oh, well, hopefully it'll appeal to plenty of others.

Gran Turismo 6--Looks very good. Of course, haven't all the Gran Turismo games looked good? Regardless, it's not my cup of tea. (Seriously, F-Zero and Mario Kart are the only "racers" I play.)

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn--I'm far more interested in this Final Fantasy release than I am in Final Fantasy XV (aka the re-branded Final Fantasy Versus XIII). As such, I'll be paying close attention to both the PS3 and PS4 iterations of this MMORPG--especially if the North American versions retain the beautiful cover art of their Japanese counterparts.

Kingdom Hearts III--Although I'm happy fans of this series finally have a mainline sequel to look forward to after years and years of portable spin-offs, I can't say it interests me at all.

The Order: 1886--Love the setting. I'd like to have seen some actual gameplay, though. So many of these previews look the same--or at least leave viewers like me asking the same kinds of questions--when all that's shown are some cinemas.

The Dark Sorcerer--See above.

Don't Starve--See below. (Also see Ray's the Dead, another indie release being prepped for PS4.)

Transistor--No joke, this is more "my thing," in terms of both graphics and gameplay, than any of the other in-the-works games that have been shown for PS4 so far.

Where art thou, Vita?--Seriously, Sony knows it still has a portable to sell, right? Where are the games (other than Tearaway, I mean)? Where's the price drop? I guess they're wherever the brass at Sony packed away their interest in this system.

So, that's what I think of what Sony and Microsoft and associated third-parties have announced and shown at E3 2013 thus far. What do all of you think?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A few thoughts on this morning's E3 2013 Nintendo Direct

Note: I'm taking a page from from my blogging pal Viewtiful Justin's book and making this post about today's E3 2013 Nintendo Direct (watch it here) a stream-of-consciousness affair.

Pokémon X/Y--The game, due out on Oct. 12, continues to look great. I like how the battles have a cartoonish flair to them. Also, fairy-type Pokémon? That's all I needed to hear.

Super Mario 3D World--Huh. I'm not what I think about that cat power-up. Everything else looks nice and clean, though--like Super Mario 3D Land, but better. Wait, you mean we can control Peach again? SOLD. That said, I'm not entirely sure about the gameplay. I expected something Super Mario Galaxy-esque, and this isn't it. Still, it seems fun.

Mario Kart 8--I know some will be confused by my next comment, but I thought this one looked really good. Surprisingly good, even. I guess I didn't expect the Wii U version to look quite so ... detailed. I also really like its F-Zero-esque elements--you know, the anti-gravity stuff. Bummer about the "spring 2014" release date, though. Wasn't it supposed to be out late this year?

Wii Party U--Zzzzzzzzzzz. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it'll be fun in its own way, but it's really not my cup of tea.

Wii Fit U--That we're still waiting for this game is either a joke or a travesty or both, if you ask me. Seriously, a December 2013 release? It should have been out in December 2012. Sigh.

Art Academy U--Seems interesting enough, although I'm not sure it's something I'll get for myself. After all, I bought both previous Art Academy titles and have yet to really "play" them. It'll surely be a boon to those who use Miiverse, though.

Third-party Wii U games--Wait, you mean such a thing exists? Just kidding (kind of).

Wii U and 3DS eShop games--Is it wrong that Coaster Crazy Deluxe excited me the most out of this montage of upcoming digital releases? Oh, and Mutant Mudds Deluxe also looks good--well, except for the design of its protagonist--as does Shovel Knight.

Monday, June 10, 2013

If I weren't already married, I'd want to marry the person who created this 'DENPA' MEN 3DS XL skin

Ot at least I think it's just a skin--as opposed to a 3DS XL (or 3DS LL, if that's how you roll) system that's literally been covered in THE "DENPA" MEN graffiti.

Regardless, it's a beauty, isn't it?

As far as I can tell, it was created by someone who goes by the handle "detteiu9" on Twitter.

He or she also has a pixiv account and is known as Teu (てう) on that site.

A handful of completely adorable "DENPA" MEN-inspired pieces of fan art can be found on Teu's pixiv page, by the way, so I'd highly recommend checking it out if you're even half as interested in this series as I am.

(Via by way of

If this custom-painted, ChuChu Rocket-branded Dreamcast isn't one of the prettiest consoles ever, I don't know what is

I wish I could say I'm partially, if not completely, responsible for artist OSKUNK deciding to create the  ChuChu Rocket-branded Dreamcast seen below--I have, after all, suggested such a contraption in the past--but let's be honest: the French illustrator and "customiseur" probably doesn't even know I exist.

Which is likely for the best, because if he did know of my existence I'd have to use whatever influence I have (read: none) to get him to sell me this particular custom-made console--or maybe this Jet Set Radio-themed beauty, or the Samba de Amigo one seen in this previous post.

I'd also do my best to (virtually) twist his arm to get him to conjure up a Game Gear that features some sort of fabulous paint job inspired by one of my all-time favorite Game Gear titles, Magical Puzzle Popils.

Until then, I guess I'll just have to keep an eye (or two) on OSKUNK's blog, Custom Art, in the hopes of catching an advance glimpse of his next game-related pièce de résistance.

See also: previous OSKUNK-centric posts

Sunday, June 09, 2013

A little K.K. Slider fan art to tide some of us over until Animal Crossing: New Leaf arrives

So, I was this close to buying and downloading a digital copy of Animal Crossing: New Leaf last night. I got all the way to the "Add Funds" button on the 3DS eShop, actually, but after pausing there for a few seconds I came to the--surprisingly level-headed, I think, given my purchase history--conclusion that spending about $70 on two copies of this game (I pre-ordered the retail version long ago via Newegg) may not be the wisest use of my hard-earned cash.

As a result, I'm now rather impatiently waiting for my physical copy of New Leaf to make its way to my doorstep while huge swaths of my North American brothers and sisters busy themselves with setting up their own characters and towns.

Will the piece of K.K. Slider fan art above, produced by illustrious Atlanta-based illustrator Drew Green, help make that wait a little more bearable? Probably not, but it should make it a bit more enjoyable.

Signed, 11-inch-by-17-inch prints of this illustration can be bought for $12 (plus shipping) from Green's etsy shop, ArtDrewveau, by the way.

Aside from all of the above, how many of you nabbed a digital copy of Animal Crossing: New Leaf last night or will be grabbing a physical copy of it sometime today? And for those of you who bought one or the other (or both, I guess), what did you decide to name your character and what did you name your town?