Saturday, December 21, 2013

I was all set to ignore the Bravely Default Collector's Edition until ...

... I came across the following photos of its packaging and contents over at yesterday.

Now I'm feeling a bit torn about the whole thing. Do I drop $49 on the Collector's Edition and get a soundtrack CD with some sweet cover art (as well as a few other things I'll probably look at once and then file away), or do I save $10 and buy the regular release instead?

As of now I'm thinking I'll go for the former, as I'd like Nintendo of America to release more such Collector's Edition in the future.

Both editions of Bravely Default will hit North American store shelves on Feb. 7, by the way. (Both versions of the game can be pre-ordered here.)

Which one will you be picking up--assuming you're interested in picking up a copy of the game at all?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Raise your hand if you, too, are conflicted as hell about Yoshi's New Island

It's unlikely you'll ever find someone who loves the original Yoshi's Island more than I do. I loved it to bits back when it was still fresh in everyone's mind and today I consider it to be among my all-time favorite games.

As such, I was a tad excited when I heard that the folks at Nintendo were working on another Yoshi's Island game for the 3DS.

Until I saw it in action, I mean. (Check out the game's latest trailer, below, if you've yet to lay eyes on it yourself.)

Now, I won't go as far as some people and declare Yoshi's New Island to be ugly or hideous, but I will say that its odd mishmash of an art style is a far cry from the one so brilliantly utilized in the original and in Yoshi's Island DS. (Hell, I even prefer the looks of Yoshi's Story at this point.)

My skepticism isn't based solely on Yoshi's New Island's aesthetics, by the way. I'm also a bit wary of its gameplay, which so far doesn't seem all that different or "new" from past efforts. (Yes, there are those humongous eggs, but I'd hardly call them game changers.)

If I've learned anything from my recent experience with The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, though, it's that just because a game doesn't look so hot in screenshots or even video, it doesn't mean it won't look a whole lot better while playing it on an actual 3DS system.

So, despite the conflicted feelings I currently have for Yoshi's New Island, I'm going to do my best to remain open-minded about it until a copy of it is sitting in my hands.

What do the rest you think about this upcoming release based on what you've seen of it so far? Share your opinions in the comments section below, if you're willing.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Five favorites: Japanese GBA box art

The GameBoy Advance may not have stuck around as long as Nintendo's other portable systems, but it still produced a pretty wonderful catalog of games.

It also produced a pretty wonderful catalog of cover art--including the five showcased in this post, which I currently consider to be my favorites.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance--Although this game didn't click with me like its PlayStation-based predecessor, the same can't be said for its box art, which is colorful, elegant and even a bit wistful. (I'd like it to be known, by the way, that this post--and this cover art, in particular--has prompted me to give this game another shot sometime soon.)

Mr. Driller A--I'm sure some of you will question the inclusion of this piece of cover art, and I completely understand that. To be honest, I wasn't sure if I should include it myself. In the end, though, I decided it deserved a spot on the list because of its bold use of color (pink for the win!) and its adorably cheerful (and kind of retro) art style.

Ōgon no Taiyō: Ushinawareshi Toki (aka Golden Sun: The Lost Age)--True story: the box art above is my favorite of the bunch. I love that it's so stark, yet also dramatic. It certainly isn't the kind of cover art the folks at Nintendo produce every day. The question is (to those of you who've played it or its predecessor): does the game itself stack up to its beautiful box art?

Tomato Adventure--Clearly I like colorful cover art, especially when it comes to handheld games. As such, it should go without saying that I'm completely in love with Tomato Adventure's packaging, which seemingly includes every hue imaginable. Oh, and it gets bonus points for sporting an awesome logo, too.

Slime Morimori Dragon Quest--This beautiful piece of box art earned a spot in this post due in large part to the smiling slime that serves as its focus. It features plenty of other appealing elements, too, though--like Don Clawleone's shadowy presence in the background. (I'm also quite fond of this game's logo, which is a lot less busy than the ones that have been used for the Dragon Quest Monsters series.)

Honorable mentions: Final Fantasy V Advance, Guru Logi Champ, Klonoa: Empire of Dreams, Zelda no Densetsu: Fushigi no Bōshi (aka The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap)

See also: five favorite pieces of European DS box art, Japanese DS box art, North American DS box art, Japanese PSP box art and Japanese Wii box art

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dear Nintendo: bring the hot pink 3DS XL to the US and I promise I'll buy it to replace my OG 3DS

I know I've said this before on Twitter, and I may have said it here as well, but I'm going to say it again anyway just in case putting it out there two or three or four times actually makes some sort of difference: I really hope Nintendo brings the hot pink 3DS XL to North America sometime next year. (The earlier in the year, the better, of course.)

Why? I want to buy one so I can replace my red OG 3DS.

Yes, I already have one of the pink-and-white 3DS XLs that were released last winter. I'm not willing to transfer the games and info currently taking up space on my OG 3DS onto that XL, though, so my only option--since I vastly prefer the XL's huge screens to the OG's puny ones--is to pick up another XL.

And if I'm going to buy another XL, it has to be one of the hot pink--or maybe I should call it Pepto-Bismol pink--ones that first saw the light of day in Europe earlier this year.

If any of you are similarly jonesing for this assertively hued 3DS, by the way, you may want to check out the rather fabulous photos blogger Sparkly Vodka published this summer.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A hearty holiday thank you to a reader who'd prefer to remain anonymous

Over the weekend, someone who has been following this blog for quite a while now surprised me by sending me a late birthday gift (his words, not mine) via The Gay Gamer's Facebook page.

Specifically, the rather shy reader in question gave me a Nintendo eShop card.

Such a gesture deserves public acknowledgement, don't you think? Well, I do, so I'm offering up a virtual shout-out to this anonymous follower courtesy of this post.

I've already spent a portion of the eShop card's balance, by the way. On what, you ask? On Kaz Ayabe's Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale, which is on sale for just $5 at the moment.

I'm not entirely sure what I'll buy with the remainder. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, perhaps? Or maybe Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney--Dual Destinies plus a couple of eShop-only titles I've had my eye on for a while now?

Feel free to chime in with any suggestions you may have in the comments section below. Also, thanks again, mysteriously benevolent reader!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Five arcade classics I wish had been ported to certain handhelds

You may be wondering what prompted me to write this post. Strangely enough, it came to mind while I was playing the Game Gear port of Namco's quarter-munching classic, Mappy, last week.

While admiring the quality of the adaptation, I couldn't help but wonder why Namco ended its Game Gear ports with Galaga, Mappy and Pac-Man. What about Warp & Warp (aka Warpman), The Tower of Druaga or Dig Dug?

That line of thinking then led to me to ponder why some other arcade classics--like the five detailed below--were never ported to the following handheld systems despite the fact that they would've been perfect fits (or at least interesting fits) for each other.

Baby Pac-Man (DS or 3DS)--I've wanted to play this half-Pac-Man-game-half-pinball-machine oddity at home ever since I encountered it in a local arcade as a teen. I can see why it never earned a console conversion, of course, but a DS or 3DS version could've been (or could still be) magical. The question is: who would develop and publish it, Bally Midway or Namco? (My guess: neither!)

Detana!! TwinBee (WonderSwan Color)--For some strange reason, the folks at Namco only made one game, Beatmania, for the WonderSwan, and even then it was for the original black-and-white version of Bandai's niche-y handheld rather than its colorized follow-up. Why they never ported this pastel-coated cute 'em up to the WonderSwan Color is beyond me, as I have to imagine a lot of gamers would've enjoyed playing it with their portable of choice held vertically.

Dig Dug (Game Gear)--I'm sure the powers that be at Namco had their reasons for not green-lighting this handheld port, but for the life of me I can't fathom what they may have been. After all, the company's portable re-imaginings of Galaga, Mappy and Pac-Man are about as spot-on as could've been expected. (By the way, I also wish Namco had made and released a Game Gear version of Marvel Land--even though its graphics would've had to have been downsized and simplified quite a bit.)

Don Doko Don (GameBoy Color)--Don Doko Don has long had a place in my pixelated heart for all sorts of reasons, which is why it saddens me that Taito never released a handheld version. Although the GameBoy Advance could've received an arcade-perfect port, I think I'd actually have preferred to see one that was more of an homage to the original (a la Bubble Bobble for Game Gear), hence my call for it to be made for the GameBoy Color instead.

Mr. Do! (Neo Geo Pocket Color)--I don't know about you, but I think it would've been awesome it someone had brought this Dig Dug-esque game to SNK's brick-like handheld in some form or fashion--especially if they'd updated the graphics a bit like ADK did when they remade Make Trax for the system (after renaming it Crush Roller). Instead, NGPC owners were given a million pachinko simulators. Not fair!