Saturday, June 29, 2013

Aino's (and Bryan's) Adventures in Animachi, Week Three

Considering this is Aino's and Bryan's third week in Animachi, you could be forgiven for thinking there wouldn't be as much as report on as there was during the first two weeks.

Of course, anyone who's also traipsing through Animal Crossing: New Leaf at the moment knows how wrong that line of thinking is--thanks to how slowly various areas and aspects of this adorable 3DS game are made available to players.

Cases in point: in the last week, both the Dream Suite and Kicks opened their doors to the citizens of Animachi, while Club LOL will follow suit this weekend. (The museum should get a second story, too.)

Other noteworthy events that came to pass in the last week: as showcased in the screencap below, Bryan paid a visit to the New Leaf home of Reggie Fils-Aime, president/COO of Nintendo of America.

Also, Aino helped celebrate Bluebear's birthday--or, rather, she watched while Bluebear and Snake celebrated in the former's darkened home.

Oh, and Animachi lost its first resident about halfway through the week, when Chevre moved to greener pastures. (Pun intended.)

Will Flo the penguin be the next to go? Both Bryan and Aino certainly hope so and have been doing all they can to prompt her to leave. Unfortunately, most of those efforts have blown up in their faces--as evidenced by the snapshot below that shows Aino falling victim to a pitfall seed she'd planted earlier in the day in front of Flo's home.

One Animachi citizen that won't be sent packing anytime soon is Rodney. Sure, he irked Aino and Bryan early on, but that changed when ol' Rodney showed his "true colors," so to speak.

Also helping matters has been Rodney's rad bachelor pad, which features two arcade cabinets, a pinball machine and a ping pong table, among other entertaining contraptions.

Other than that, Aino has been spending a lot of her free time racing around town--an endeavor that more often than not ends in disaster.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Manual Stimulation: Umihara Kawase Shun (PlayStation)

In honor of the fact that my copy of Sayonara Umihara Kawase (3DS) should appear on my doorstep any day now, I decided to devote an installment of "Manual Stimulation" to the most recent iteration of this sadly short-lived (in terms of unique releases) series, Umihara Kawase Shun.

As you'll discover in just a second, this PlayStation platformer's instruction manual is a lengthy one. Given that, I'm going to keep the commentary to a minimum and instead let you savor its many adorable illustrations without interruption.

One thing I will point out: if you're in a hurry or if you're simply not up for examining 16 manual scans, you may want to skip ahead to pages 20 through 27 as well as 30 and 31.

OK, I know I said I'd keep my mouth shut, but I can't help but chime in on the text that floats in the background of the right-hand page below. I mean, it isn't every day that you come across an invitation to "Let's Control."

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ready Player Two

The following game-inspired illustration was produced by artist Glen Brogan of the Albino Raven blog for his just-closed Gallery1988 show.

The focus of this stylish piece isn't a tanooki-suited Mario, by the way; it's a fox-suited Luigi--or whatever the hell it is Mario's main bro turns into when he grabs a Super Leaf power-ip in Super Mario 3D Land.

Why did Brogan devote an entire canvas to the most famous "player two" in all of gaming? Here's what he had to say in a recent blog post:

"As a kid I often found myself playing video games as player two, usually either because the other kid was older or because I was (and am) pretty shy and non-assertive. Because of that I still to this day have a fondness for Luigi, the ultimate second player character."

For those who may be interested: Brogan's selling 8-by-10-inch digital prints of this piece via Gallery1988's website for $35 each. (Mounted versions of the print can be picked up here for $55.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Vandrell's fabulous Alex Kidd, Burning Force, Golden Axe and Valis fan art

As much as I love many of Nintendo's games and systems, I'm no "Nintendo fanboy." After all, I also love many of Sony's games and systems--and in the past I loved many of NEC's (maker of the awesome PC Engine) and Sega's games and systems, too.

Why do I bring that up? Because I want you to understand at least a bit of why I'm so drawn to Barcelona-based and Sega-obsessed (or so it seems) artist Vandrell's digital illustrations--beyond the fact that they're drop-dead gorgeous, I mean.

Here (and here), for instance, is a piece he created to honor Sega's earliest "Mario killer," Alex Kidd:

And here is a piece that pays respect to Namco's 16-bit shoot 'em up, Burning Force:

The classic brawler Golden Axe gets the "Vandrell treatment" in the following concoction:

While Telenet Japan's Valis series gets a well-deserved nod in this one:

If you're looking for something even better and more fabulous, by the way, be sure to check out Vandrell's blog, which features, among other things, a number of mock-ups that turn the illustrations above into full-fledged Sega Mega Drive (aka Genesis) box arts.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: I finally let someone visit my Animal Crossing: New Leaf town

OK, so I'm being kind of silly with the header above. Only kind of silly, though, as it's true that since I started playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf I've yet to let another human visit Animachi.

I haven't kept people out of my New Leaf town because I'm a big jerk, by the way. Rather, I kept them out (until now) because I was feeling bashful about Animachi's status as a "work in progress."

I still am, to tell you the truth, but my shyness has softened a bit thanks to the fact that Animachi's main street is nearly full--Kicks just opened and Club LOL will follow this weekend--and its trees now feature every kind of fruit a visitor could desire.

Anyway, the point is that I welcomed my first human visitor--Terry, aka Zaphod65--last night. Of course, me being the numbskull that I am, I didn't nab any screencaps while we roamed about Animachi.

Thankfully, Terry did. Not only that, but he made a little comic out of said screencaps for his New Leaf-focused tumblr, The Dunwich Hoarder, and published it (above and here) earlier today.

Would you believe I'm now starting to second guess my decision to allow Terry to (attempt to) woo away Hamlet?

Oh, well, at least if he succeeds I may finally get to meet one of the game's many deer villagers (especially Fauna or Erik).

See also: 'He likes Animal Crossing: New Leaf and he loves to abuse the screencap function'

Who wouldn't want to wake up to one of these slimy suckers?

I don't know about you, but I start every day by downing a couple of steaming mugfuls of coffee. Unfortunately, the mugs in question are about as boring as you can get--completely unadorned and white.

That may help explain why I'm more interested in acquiring the following Dragon Quest-themed mug than I probably should be.

Of course, I'm a Dragon Quest fan from way back, so that may be partially to blame for my curiosity, too.

Regardless, I'm intrigued--and I'm seriously considering buying one (for $22.90) once they become available at

The question is: should I buy the one above, branded with the long-running RPG series' smiling mascot, or should I go with the one that features a similarly grinning metal slime?

Monday, June 24, 2013

We both (still) love Mega Man

Although Mega Man joined the "game series I haven't cared about in years" party currently being hosted by Final Fantasy and Sonic the Hedgehog, I still have a bit of a soft spot for this classic Capcom franchise.

As such, I couldn't help but go a little gaga when I saw the following Mega Man-focused photo pop up on Flickr user Danny Yama's photostream over the weekend.

To see more evidence of Yama's mean Perler Bead skills, check out his Flickr photostream at your earliest convenience.

See also: more Perler Beads posts