Saturday, December 28, 2013

Five more favorites: Super Famicom box art

So, here I am again, blathering on about box art. Super Famicom box art, specifically.

Truthfully, I probably could publish five or even 10 posts about Super Famicom cover art, but I think two are plenty for now.

Anyway, as the header above states, here are five more of my favorite pieces of Super Famicom box art.

Gaia Gensouki--No joke: I'd actually like this particular piece of cover art more if the characters in the sky were removed and then replaced by the game's logo. That said, I'm pretty fond of it as is. This one was called Illusion of Gaia in North America and Illusion of Time in Australia and Europe, by the way. (Above scan was nabbed from the always fabulous, by the way.)

Rudra no Hihou--Talk about dramatic! I like every element of Rudra no Hihou's kaleidoscopic box art--especially the angrily orange backdrop (complete with a devilish pair of eyes). I also like the character designs, which aren't your typical JRPG fare.

Kiki Kaikai: Tukiyozoushi--This one's kind of a mess at first glance, but let things sink in a bit and you'll likely look at it as I do: as a near-masterpiece in the realm of Super Famicom box art. If only the protagonist's eyes were less freaky. Oh, well, it's still completely wonderful even with their presence.

Septentrion--The only Super Famicom game included in this post that I've yet to actually play in some form or fashion. I'm strongly considering it now, though, thanks to its striking cover art. I especially like the font the folks at developer (and publisher, in Japan) Human Entertainment used for its logo.

Super Mario World--If there's a piece of Super Famicom box art that can be called "iconic," it's the one seen above. (True story: I regularly attempted to recreate the central illustration using pencil and paper as a teen.) And what a brilliant idea to surround everything in bright orange and yellow, don't you think?

A few other contenders: Cotton 100%, Dark HalfMarvelousMother 2Pop'n TwinBee, Romancing SaGa 3, Star FoxTales of Phantasia, Tenchi Sozouzou and Yoshi's Island

Friday, December 27, 2013

Five favorites: Super Famicom box art

After publishing this post about five of my favorite pieces of Japanese GameBoy Advance box art, a commenter named Jin suggested I write a similar post about Super Famicom cover art.

Well, here it is. Or maybe I should say "here's the first one," as a second is likely to follow tomorrow or the next day.

Regardless, here are five of my favorite pieces of Super Famicom box art (in random, rather than alphabetical, order):

Parodius Da!--One of the best pieces of Parodius box art produced so far, if you ask me. Also one of the most colorful illustrations to grace the cover of a Super Famicom game. As such, it clearly deserves a spot on this list--and in my games collection, at some future point in time.

Torneko no Daibōken: Fushigi no Dungeon--More proof that sometimes simple cover art is the best. It helps, of course, that the centerpiece of this example is both humorous and appealing and that its logo has a bit more character than your average Super Famicom game.

Final Fantasy VI--If I were to concoct a number of these posts, I'd include the box art created for Final Fantasy IV and V, too, but since I'm only publishing a pair of them, I'm limiting myself to just one piece of 16-bit Final Fantasy box art. In that case, I have to go with Final Fantasy VI's, which in my opinion is about the closest video game cover imagery has gotten to "fine art."

Sutte Hakkun--Not as fabulous or as intricately designed as the cover art above and below, but this one brings a bit of old-school whimsy to the proceedings, don't you think? Plus, it features a rainbow, which always earns a positive nod from yours truly.

Seiken Densetsu 2--Easily one of my all-time favorite games, and also one of my all-time favorite game covers. Rarely has box art for any system--before the Super Famicom or after--ever looked so majestic, in my estimation.

See also: my five favorite pieces of Japanese GBA box art

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Four Japanese 3DS games I'd like to play in 2014

Let's be real here: it's likely I'm going to buy a lot of 3DS games in 2014. And when I say a lot, I mean it. A few of the North American titles that are likely to be picked up in the next 12 months, for instance: Yoshi's New Island, Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, Kirby: Triple Deluxe and Bravely Default.

And then there are Japanese 3DS games like Zoo Keeper 3D, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call and Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai 2 and the following quartet:

Fantasy Life--I truly wish I could say I'm looking forward to playing an officially localized (into English) version of this Level-5 game in 2014, but at this point that seems about as likely as Square Enix bringing Slime MoriMori Dragon Quest 3 to our shores. So, I'm thinking I'll finally cave and buy the Japanese version, even though that may not be the best idea given my current inability to understand the language. (Don't worry, I'm planning to get back to learning it after the start of the year.)

Labyrinth no Kanata--Another questionable choice considering I barely know a lick of the Japanese language at the moment, but how could I pass up a portable dungeon-crawler as nice-looking as this one? Plus, its box art (below) is the definition of gorgeous, and you know how I am when it comes to gorgeous box art. I'm not so sure the gameplay will prove to be as appealing as the graphics and cover imagery, but I'm willing to take one for the team and find out.

Taiko no Tatsujin: Chibi Dragon to Fushigi na Orb--The Taiko no Tatsujin series has intrigued me for years now, yet I still haven't played a single one. This entry seems to be fairly well received, so why not start with it? The only issue that could keep me from buying it is my fear of scratching the lower screen of my gold Pokémon Center 3DS LL.

Touch Detective Rising 3: Does Funghi Dream Of Bananas?--You'd think someone who owns but has yet to play the first Touch Detective game and hasn't even bought the second one wouldn't pine for this soon-to-be-released 3DS entry. Well, you'd be wrong in my case. It helps, of course, that this sequel has a great subtitle. Also, it's being made for the 3DS, which means it's going to be awesome.

See also: 'Four DS games I'd like to buy and play in 2014,' 'Four PSP games I'd like to buy and play in 2014' and 'Four Japanese retro games I'd like to buy (and play, of course) in 2014'

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Four DS games I'd like to buy and play in 2014

A few weeks ago, I shared in this post that I'd like to buy a few DS games in the coming year.

Well, 7th DragonMaestro! Jump in Music and Nora to Koku no Koubou: Kiri no Mori no Majo (aka Noora and the Time Studio: The Witch of the Misty Forest) aren't the only such titles that are on my radar right now.

In fact, here are four more:

Catch! Touch! Yoshi!--I know I could pick up the North American version of this game--known here as Yoshi Touch & Go--on the cheap, but I really like the Japanese box art so I'm planning to buy that iteration instead. Regardless, I have a feeling I'll like its gameplay, too, once I get my hands on a copy.

Nanashi no Game--Now that this spooky title, published by Square Enix in 2008, has a fan translation, I desperately want to put it through its paces. And who knows, maybe by the time I've finally acquired and finished it, a fan translation will be released for its 2009 sequel (also a Japan-only affair, of course), Nanashi no Game: Me.

Pac-Pix--An odd choice, I'm sure, but I've always been curious about this one--in part because of its extensive use of the DS's touch screen and in part because of its adorably cartoonish art style. The main reason I've yet to add it to my collection is that I have a feeling it isn't the deepest of experiences, but since copies can be picked up for less than $10 I probably shouldn't worry about it so much.

Tomodachi Collection--Another import-only DS game that now has a fan translation--or at least a partial one. Actually, I'd want a copy of Tomodachi Collection even if some of it hadn't been translated into English, as it might help me with my Japanese studies--you know, when I finally back to them.

See also: 'Four Japanese retro games I'd like to buy (and play, of course) in 2014' and 'Four PSP games I'd like to buy and play in 2014'

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Four PSP games I'd like to buy and play in 2014

Following up yesterday's post about the four retro games I'd like to buy and play in 2014, here are a quartet of PSP games I'd like to pick up--and, yes, put through their paces--sometime in the next 12 months.

7th Dragon 2020--Actually, I can't decide if I should start with the first of Sega's 7th Dragon 2020 games or skip right to the second one. Either way, I desperately want to play some iteration of this 7th Dragon spin-off series sometime soon, despite the fact that I likely won't be able to understand a word of what's going on while I do it.

Criminal Girls--Is it strange that a gay guy (me, of course) wants to play a game that's all about--or at least partially about--spanking and otherwise abusing girls as they traverse a treacherous tower, RPG-style? I suppose. Still, I'd like to give it a go, mainly because of its art style and gameplay. (I've always been a sucker for a good--or even bad--dungeon-crawler.)

MonHun Nikki: Poka Poka Airu Mura--This game is often described as "Monster Hunter meets Animal Crossing." I'm not completely sure what that means, to tell you the truth, but since I absolutely adore the Animal Crossing series and I've always liked the airu/felyne character, surely I'll enjoy playing a game that somehow combines the two, don't you think?

Yuusha 30 Second--So, the truth is I've only spent a short time with this title's predecessor, which was given a new name--Half-Minute Hero--when it made its way to North America. It was a long enough stint for me to know I'll enjoy the full game, though, and likely have a similarly great time with its Japan-only sequel, too. Should I actually buy a copy in 2014, I mean.

Other possibilities: Final Fantasy Type-0K-On! Houkago Live!!, Nayuta No Kiseki and Sweet Fuse: At Your Side

Monday, December 23, 2013

Four Japanese retro games I'd like to buy (and play, of course) in 2014

I know I've complained once or twice (or 24 times) over the last few months about the size of my gaming backlog, but that doesn't mean I can't add a few more titles to the pile in 2014 if the fancy strikes, right? Right?!

As for which retro games I'll be stalking on eBay should the "need" arise, here are the four that currently top my "consider buying in 2014" list:

Wario Land Advance (GameBoyAdvance)--Also known as Wario Land 4 in the West, this GBA title is a fairly recent addition to my lengthy "to buy" list. I'm sure this will sound strange to some of you, but I've never been a huge fan of this Nintendo character outside of the WarioWare series--although I bought and played a bit of the first and second Wario Land games. I hardly loved either of them, though, which is the main reason why I passed on this 2001 sequel. For a whole host of reasons, though, I think 2014 may be the year I finally give it a go.

Mesopotamia (PC Engine)--It's been some time since I've added a PC Engine game to my collection, and that's a real shame--in part because it's kept me from picking up ones like this Atlus-made oddity (which was released in North America as Somer Assault). I mean, it isn't often that you can play a platformer-ish game that stars what can only be described as a Slinky with a gun. Bonus: its cover art (see it here) is as appealingly unique as its gameplay.

Pajama Hero Nemo (Famicom)--This title, which was renamed Little Nemo: Thre Dream Master when it was brought to the US, is one of my favorite games of the 8-bit era, no question. Admittedly, I was better able to meet its challenges back when I was a teenager, but I still get a kick out of it today. It helps, of course, that it features some of the best sprites to appear in the medium. Anyway, I've been meaning to pick up a complete-in-box copy of the Japanese release for ages now, and I'm hoping I'll finally go through with it sometime this year.

Rhyme Rider Kerorican (WonderSwan)--Here's another game I've had my eye on for some time. The main reason I've yet to get it: I still don't have a WonderSwan system to play it on. Other than that, though, it's a pretty attractive import-only retro title, as it's readily available and it almost always has an accessible price tag attached to it. (By the way, if you're curious to know more about this funky portable rhythm game, whose art style has long reminded me of the PaRappa the Rapper series), read the review of it over at

Which retro games (Japanese or not) are you guys and gals hoping to acquire sometime next year?