Friday, August 16, 2013

Five games I'm going to start playing (or get back to playing) as soon as my obsession with Animal Crossing: New Leaf fades a bit

It's no secret (or it shouldn't be, at least) that I've been a bit obsessed with Animal Crossing: New Leaf since it hit North American store shelves just over two months ago. In fact, I've played little else these last few weeks.

Although I have no idea when that obsession will fade, I'm fully prepared for when it does thanks to the following list, which details the five games I'm going start playing or, in some cases, get back to playing as soon as my heart yearns for something other than a little New Leaf action.

1. Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale--I've been hot to play this 3DS eShop title (see screenshot below) ever since the Japanese version was announced many moons ago. Those feelings only intensified when it was miraculously brought to North America. I hear it's a pretty brief experience, but that's OK with me--as long as it's as enjoyable as everyone (the guys over at, especially) says it is.

2. Black Rock Shooter--This curious-looking PSP game (below) landed in my lap shortly after its release, but I've yet to even boot it up. That's kind of the story of my gaming life these days, isn't it? Anyway, my neighbor (of sorts--we both live in the same Seattle 'hood), Brad Gallaway of the Drinking CoffeeCola blog, swears it's a worthwhile endeavor, so I'm determined to give it a go before this year is out.

3. EarthBound--Sometimes I think it's just not meant to be with me and this SNES classic. I mean, I've started it on at least three separate occasions, but I've yet to see its credit roll. That has nothing to do with me disliking the game, by the way; on the contrary, I love every aspect of it. For whatever reason, though, I've always been pulled away from it partway through the adventure. Don't worry, I'm going to do whatever I can to buck that trend when I return to last playthrough in the next couple of weeks.

4. Shin Megami Tensei IV--This poor 3DS game has been staring at me since it arrived on my doorstep a few weeks ago. That's because I have it sitting on my desk--in part to serve as a reminder that I have to get off my ass and play it. Sadly, all it's done so far is make me feel guilty that I've ignored it for so long. If what I've read about it so far (about its difficulty) is any indication, though, I have a feeling it'll savor the sweet taste of revenge in the end.

5. Xenoblade Chronicles--I was a little apprehensive about adding this much-ballyhooed Wii RPG (above) to this list, I have to admit. Although I enjoyed what I played of it late last year, there was something about the gameplay that just didn't sit well with me. Will those feelings fade away and allow me to make some real headway when and if I return to it sometime soon? I certainly hope so.

I have to note that I'm also planning to get back to playing THE "DENPA" MEN 2 once I've put Animal Crossing: New Leaf to bed (or at least convinced it to take a bit of a nap). I've put a good 17 hours into it so far, but I have a feeling I've got many hours to go if I want to see its ending.

With all that said, are any of you in the same boat as I am, spending all your gaming time with New Leaf and basically leaving everything else to rot on the vine? Even if you aren't feel free to share which games you are playing at the moment in the comments section below.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Celebrating 10 years of Lost Levels

I meant to mention this anniversary--of one of the few blogs/sites I've been following since I first discovered such things existed way back when--a couple of weeks ago when it actually happened, but I was still completely obsessed with creating (and publishing) cushion designs for Animal Crossing: New Leaf at the time and as a result forgot to do so.

So, I'm mentioning--and celebrating--it today. (With the "it" in question being the 10th anniversary of Frank Cifaldi's

If you've never visited Lost Levels, I'd obviously highly recommend doing so now (right now, in fact)--especially if you like reading about old video games that never made it to market.

I'm pretty sure this post about Final Fantasy 64 is what first brought me to Cifaldi's site, by the way. Even if it wasn't, it's unquestionably my favorite of all of Lost Levels' posts, as I obsessed over that not-meant-to-be title far more than I'd like to admit as a teen, and the writer's insights into its existence (or lack thereof) thrill me even today.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

'Finding an adventure is easy'

Is it odd to have nostalgic feelings for a game you didn't actually play early in life?

If so, I'm odd, because I have all sorts of nostalgic feelings for Nintendo's EarthBound--a game I didn't experience (for the first time) until a few years after it was released in my neck of the woods.

Even odder: I've never finished the game, despite giving it my best on two occasions (including the above-mentioned one).

Anyway, all of that is brought up to add a little "color" to a post that could otherwise be boiled down to "I really like this EarthBound-inspired comic."

And what a wonderful comic it is, right?

It was produced by artist Zac Gorman, who recently shared on his site, Magical Game Time, that he's been "replaying EarthBound since its rerelease on the Virtual Console, so it’s been on my mind a lot."

Another of Zac's recent EarthBound comics is even more fabulous than this one, I have to say. Check it out here, if you have the interest.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

LEGO Hieroglyph Link

I may not be as interested in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds as some 3DS owners, but that doesn't mean I'm completely disinterested in it.

For instance, I really like the feature that allows players to transform Link into a hieroglyph that can move along walls to reach new areas.

Flickr user lego27bricks recently used that ability as inspiration for the following creation, which, as his username implies, was pieced together with LEGO blocks.

A few in-the-works photos of this unique piece of art can be seen here, here and here, for those of you who are curious.

Are any of you planning to pick up A Link Between Worlds, by the way? If so, why is that? Are you big fans of the Zelda franchise, for instance, or do you have fond memories of A Link to the Past?

As for me, although I consider A Link to the Past to be one of my all-time favorite games, I'm still on the fence when it comes to this follow-up--in large part because of what I consider to be its "iffy" art style.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Sega marketing vet on why the Dreamcast failed

I'm not sure if I've ever made it clear here, but I'm a huge fan of Sega's final console, the Dreamcast.

I bought one at launch, and I distinctly remember being blown away by its compact size, its heft and its power (in terms of graphics). Its catalog of games also blew me away, thanks to titles like ChuChu Rocket!, Jet Set Radio, Samba de Amigo, Shenmue and Space Channel 5, among others.

Sadly, the system wasn't meant to be, as they say, and it was discontinued in North America less than two years after it made its debut.

Tadashi Takezaki, Sega's "head of project implementation department, president's office," talks about why the system was such a flop--when it comes to sales, at least--in a just-published article at (Which, it has to be noted, is based around quotes pulled and translated from a recent issue of Famitsu.)

In that piece--penned by Kevin Gifford, proprietor of what used to be one of my favorite gaming blogs, (it's rarely updated these days)--Takezaki shares that "when [Sega] developed the hardware, we looked over the mistakes we made with the Saturn and completely reworked our approach.

"We did our best to make the console approachable to a mass audience--from the system's design and coloring to the name itself," he adds. "As a result, we went with a compact, simple design with a warm color scheme, something completely different in look from older Sega systems."

As for why the system failed, Takezaki says "it was because we were forced into a discount war when we were already losing money on system sales. Sony [whose PlayStation 2 came out March 2000 in Japan] was part of the team that developed the DVD standard, and they could develop a system around that completely internally with their own chips."

Sega, in the meantime, "was buying everything from outside companies, so it was at a distinct cost disadvantage," he adds. "We couldn't easily cut costs on manufacturing, the software wasn't selling the numbers it used to, and then we were forced to discount the system."

To read more well-worth-reading Takezaki quotes, check out the full article at

Sunday, August 11, 2013

All of a sudden, I want one of these suckers

With the "sucker" in question being the golden Pokémon Center-exclusive 3DS LL system that'll see release in Japan later this year. (On Oct. 12, to be exact.)

I don't currently have the dough to buy one, of course, but when has that ever stopped me from pining over a gaming delicacy such as this?

I'm bringing all of this up, by the way, because Internet retailer NCSX started taking pre-orders for these beauties a few days ago.

How much will you have to drop to get your hands on one? Oh, only $399.90--give or take a few pennies.

I know the following thought is a pipe dream, but here's hoping the powers that be at Nintendo find it in their hearts to bring these suckers to other regions at some point.