Friday, August 09, 2013

Let's Play: 'Which Box Art is Better?' (The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD edition)

Because I'm a few days late to this particular parade (the one that's centered around the unveiling of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD's box art, of course), I thought I'd give this post a bit of a boost by including the original GameCube cover illustrations as well.

Speaking of which, here's the colorful piece of cover art that greeted gamers when they wandered into Japanese stores searching for copies of Wind Waker back in 2002:

And here's the cover art that North American (and European ones, too, basically) gamers looked for when the cel-shaded title hit store shelves in their region three months later in early 2003:

Thankfully, Nintendo's designers decided to stay far away from the latter version's minimalism while creating Wind Waker HD's cover art.

In fact, I'd personally go so far as to say the Japanese--and European, in this case--box art (above) for this Wii U-based re-release is the best of the bunch.

I can't say the same for the North American version's cover imagery (also above), though, due to the over-the-top and out-of-place filter that makes it look like Tingle emptied his bladder on it.

As always, that's just my opinion on the matter. What's yours?

Note: the Japanese and North American Wind Waker HD covers were nabbed from

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Nintendo needs to release a Daigasso! Band Bros-branded 3DS LL (plus a few more musings on yesterday's Nintendo Direct broadcasts)

As soon as I realized that yesterday morning's trio of Nintendo Direct broadcasts (one each for Europe, Japan and North America) would focus entirely on previously announced 3DS and Wii U titles, I decided to take a pass on them.

At least that was the plan until someone suggested that the latest entry in the company's Daigasso! Band Bros. might show up in the Japanese one.

So, I watched it. And guess what? That random NeoGAF commenter was correct. And not only did the game pop up, but it was given a couple of minutes of airtime. 

In many ways, it looks to very similar to the first two Daigasso! Band Bros. music games that were released for the Japanese DS back in 2004 and 2008, respectively. (The second also earned a European release, as Jam with the Band, in 2010.)

That's not to say this third one is going to be a total rehash of its predecessors. For example, there's a hilariously weird (and kind of creepy, admittedly) looking mode in this one that allows players to snap a photo of their faces and have them applied to in-game singers.

It also appears as though another of the game's modes features an entirely new style of gameplay, although I may be wrong about that.

And then there's the fact that the title, which will hit Japanese store shelves (and presumably that region's 3DS eShop) later this year, is going to be called Daigasso! Band Bros. P, with the "P" standing for both "Producer" and "Professional"--which implies we may be in store for additional gameplay surprises between now and whenever the finished product ships.

Regardless, I'm on board, and I'll be pre-ordering this sucker as soon as allows me to do so.

That said, you know what would get me even more on board (if that were possible)? If Nintendo of Japan announced that a Daigasso! Band Bros.-branded 3DS LL system--especially a purple one, in honor of Barbara the Bat--would be sold alongside copies of the game.

As for the rest of the Japanese Nintendo Direct: about all I can say is that I think The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (boy, is that a mouthful--and not the good kind) looks marvelous, while The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds looks better than I thought it did at E3.

Oh, and I absolutely adore the look of the One Piece: Unlimited World R "Chopper Pink" 3DS LL system that will launch in Japan on Nov. 21 (just in time for my birthday).

If you missed any of yesterday's Nintendo Directs and would still like to see them, the European one can be seen here, the Japanese one can be seen here and the North American one can be seen here.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Happy ever-so-slightly belated (20th) anniversary, Secret of Mana!

On Aug. 3, 1993, one of my favorite games of all time hit store shelves across Japan. The game in question, of course, was Seiken Densetsu 2 (aka Secret of Mana).

Those of you who weren't glued to an SNES growing up may not know much about this awesome 16-bit title, so here's my horribly brief description of it: take three parts Final Fantasy (music, graphics, general RPG aspects), two parts The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (real-time battles, top-down perspective) and another two parts "WTF in a good way" (the ability to play as three characters at once, plus the game's "Ring Command" menu system) and you have a loose approximation of the gem that was and is Secret of Mana.

I put many an hour into this expansive adventure as a teen--after spending nearly as much time drooling over early screenshots of it (back when it was still known as Final Fantasy Adventure 2 in the west) in DieHard GameFan, Electronic Gaming Monthly and other gaming rags of that era.

Sadly--and oddly, given what I just said--I haven't gone back to it for some time. Maybe I should consider doing just that after my Animal Crossing: New Leaf obsession fades a bit?

Do any of you have fond memories of this colorfully charming (as well as challenging) title? If so, I'd love to hear about them in the comments section below.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Aino's (and Bryan's) Adventures in Animachi, Weeks Seven and Eight

As all two of you who enjoy reading these posts (I kid ... I think) surely figured out long ago, I failed to publish an update on Aino's and Bryan's "Adventures in Animachi" last week.

There were a few reasons for that, with the main one being that I didn't (and don't) want to turn this blog into little more than a dumping ground for my obsession-fueled Animal Crossing: New Leaf musings.

As such, don't expect to see another such update next week--or possibly even the week after. Although I have no plans to end this series anytime soon (I'm still far too obsessed with New Leaf to do that), I definitely want to spread out these posts a bit from here on out.

With that out of the way, let's get to what actually happened in Animachi over the last two weeks, shall we?

The screengrab below does a more than acceptable job of summing up a good portion of the last two weeks in Animachi, actually, as both Aino and Bryan spent a lot of that time working on their homes and their wardrobes.

In the shot above, by the way, Aino is showing off her current "Hip Geisha" look as well as her cozy-as-all-hell study.

Moving along, here (above) is a glimpse of Aino's nearly finished kitchen. (All that's left to do is find and install the flooring that matches the wallpaper.)

It's a good thing she's been keeping up on her interior design hobby, as Barold popped in for a surprise visit the other day. Oddly, and unsurprisingly, he fell asleep--while standing--halfway through his so-called inspection.

Speaking of odd encounters, Aino recently had the following exchange with Ankha:

Lest you should think that exchange isn't so odd, here's a shot of the streetlight she'd like to see somewhere in Animachi:

Thankfully, Rodney quickly came to the rescue and suggested the magnitudes-more-interesting "cube sculpture."

Amazingly, Rodney's recommendation didn't win the "Best Public Works Request of the Last Two Weeks" award. No, that went to Bluebear, who, during a rather impromptu discussion one evening, basically begged for a police station to be built.

Here's the sight that greeted Aino and her fellow villagers the next morning:

Monday, August 05, 2013

DS and 3DS designs for your Animal Crossing: New Leaf digs

For what I'm pretty sure is going to be my last post devoted to system-inspired Animal Crossing: New Leaf cushion designs, I decided to switch things up a bit.

Do these dual-screened creations look as good as their console-based predecessors when applied to cushions? Maybe not, but they're still pretty adorable (or at least that's how I feel about them).

One quick note before you critique them yourselves: the DS Lite designs, in particular, should be considered works in progress. I may eventually put a bit of a border around the edge of each of them to give them some more visual heft, for instance. Or, I may make it appear as though they've been paused mid-game by swapping out their currently gray screens for something that looks like, say, Tetris DS.

For now, though, both of the DS Lite designs that can be seen below will remain borderless and powered down.

Here's how the pink DS Lite design looks after being applied to a cushion (by Cyrus) and then plopped onto the floor of the busiest-looking living room you've ever encountered. (It's near the lower left-hand corner, by the way, in case any of you are having a tough time spotting it.)

The 3DS designs I came up with were a bit more successful, I think. I especially like the Midnight Purple one, of course, although the Flame Red one is pretty nice, too.

I know the details of the Flame Red 3DS design appear overly muted in the screenshot above, but I promise you they're far more evident in-game. 


Finally, here's a shot of the Midnight Purple 3DS sitting on the floor of my male New Leaf character's robo-themed bedroom.