Friday, November 14, 2014

What I'm playing for #NISNovember: Marl Jong!! for PlayStation

Those of you who follow me or the Chic Pixel blog (or both) on Twitter probably have already heard that Chic Pixel's proprietress, Anne Lee, has proclaimed this month to be #NISNovember.

For the uninitiated, all that means is that Lee would like whoever is interested to play one or more games that have been developed or published by Japan's Nippon Ichi Software or NIS America at some point during the month of November and then use #NISNovember to tag any social-media posts that are related to your playthrough.

Anyway, thanks to the header above, I guess the cat's out of the bag in regard to which Nippon Ichi game I'm currently playing as part of #NISNovember.

Should Marl Jong!! not ring a bell for you, here's the gist: it's a Japan-only PlayStation game that combines NIS' "Marl Kingdom" characters--featured in games like RhapsodyLittle Princess and Tenshi no Present--with what seems to be a rather basic version of mahjong.

I say "seems" in the sentence above because I'm far from an expert when it comes to mahjong. I know enough to have beaten a few of my opponents in this particular game, though--which is more than I can say about my experience so far with, say, Nintendo's Yakuman for GameBoy.

Although I only recently acquired the copy of Marl Jong!! that can be seen throughout this post, I first became aware of the game some years ago, shortly after I discovered the wonderful world of emulation.

Don't worry, I attempted to track down an actual copy of the game as soon as I fell in love with its adorable graphics and accessible gameplay, but accomplishing that feat proved to be rather difficult--until, like I suggested a few sentences ago, I came across one on eBay.

Thankfully, the wait was worth it, as not only is the cover art that was made for Marl Jong!! all kinds of cute, but so is its disc and manual.

Along with Marl Jong!!, I'm also hoping to play one or more of the following DS titles as part of #NISNovember: Atelier Annie, Disgaea DS and Rhapsody. Have any of you played any of these games? If so, I'd greatly appreciate hearing your thoughts (good or bad) about them in the comments section of this post.

See also: 'On the one hand, I'm glad I finally own a copy of one of Nippon Ichi's first PlayStation games, Cooking Fighter Hao'


TheGameroomBlitz said...

Not sure if I'm going to participate in November NIS month, unless Sony shows uncharacteristic kindness and offers Disgaia for cheap during this month's flash sale. (Really, Sony, give me some reason to be glad I bought a Vita instead of a PS3!)

As for Marl Jong, I'd like to see the game in action, but my current internet situation is rather dire. I'll have to wait a few days for that one.

(BTW, I got a copy of Mario Kart Wii for five bucks at a garage sale! Pretty sweet find, I must say!)

bruce said...

Atelier Annie is great. The cute chibi character sprites, the addictive crafting system, and the interesting party members you can recruit. It's an easy, fun, and unique game. I wish 3DS had a game like this one.

Rhapsody on DS was interesting. I thought the dialogue was well written and funny. Didn't finish it. The battle system is super easy.

Disgaea was more challenging to me, haha. It has great replay value and it's a game for fans of strategy RPGs. For me, this was a quirky version of FF Tactics, which I also loved. said...

Based on the comments you've made on Twitter, I'm guessing you're not much of an NIS fan, Jess?

Sounds like you might be a fan of Disgaea, though?

Marl Jong!! is about what you're probably imagining, BTW--a cute mahjong game stuffed with Marl Kingdom characters.

It's not "special," I guess, but I've always quite liked it :) said...

Thanks for the input, Bruce! Of the three DS games I mentioned here, I'm most interested in Atelier Annie, so I'm especially happy to hear you like that one.

Have you ever played the original PlayStation version of Rhapsody, by the way, or the PS2 version of Disgaea? Just asking to see how the DS versions compare to the originals.

bruce said...

Nah, I didn't play those versions. I heard that they're good though since it seems that the fan obsession began with them. I know that Rhapsody comes in a great looking CD case with the soundtrack though. said...

Ah, yes, I've seen the Rhapsody PS1 packaging. It's really nice!

Justin Difazzio said...

Rhapsody is on my list of things to play at some point. I won't be able to acquire it in this month, though. No way. Although a friend of mine is sending me a copy of Fantasy Life that should hit my mailbox tomorrow. plans for not playing Fantasy Life this month just got a WHOLE LOT HARDER! said...

Oh, that's awesome, Justin! That you're about to have a copy of Fantasy Life, I mean. Here's hoping you enjoy it even a fraction as much as I have so far. 65 hours and counting for me!

Obscure Video Games said...

OMG Bryan, you are the only person in the entire world who would hear NIS, and think "I want to play their Mahjong game". I didn't even know this thing exists, and I don't know how to play Mahjong (I have tried to figure it out many times), so I probably won't be playing this month. However, I do have a copy of the Vita Disgaea 3 (which is excellent BTW) that I've been working on lately, so I'll probably be going back to that once I give up on trying to make progress in Lumines. said...

I'm going to take this comment as a compliment, Steve--even though I'm pretty sure you didn't intend for it to be taken that way ;)

Also, good luck to you RE: Vita Disgaea 3!

Obscure Video Games said...

Well it's definitely not an insult. I may not always understand your choices, but I certainly admire them. said...

Ha! Well, that sounds good to me, Steve. I think :P

BTW, I didn't just think of or buy this game when Anne announced #NISNovember. Like I said in this post, I actually played it for the first time a good number of years ago, and I've been (fairly passively) looking for a CIB copy of it via eBay ever since.

I finally found one earlier this year, and then NISNovember prompted me to remember it and write about it :)