Friday, May 16, 2014

Penguin Land for GameBoy: black (or in this case blue) and white and cute all over

Now that I've worked Madou Monogatari out of my system (I think), it's time to get back to the "Year of the GameBoy," don't you think? I sure do.

Could I have chosen a more exciting GameBoy title to help us get back into the swing of things? I guess so, but I went with this one anyway because it's a Japan-only game that rarely seems to be discussed outside of its country of origin (and probably isn't discussed there all that often either) and because it features a pretty sweet cover illustration.

This game is a portable conversion of Sega's Doki Doki Penguin Land, by the way--and if you've never heard of that one, well, the gist is that players are placed in the shoes (feet?) of the titular penguin and then tasked with guiding a rather large egg from the top of each vertically scrolling stage to the bottom by destroying or moving any ice blocks that are in the way. 

It's a pretty simple puzzler-platformer, really, but for me that's its main draw. Well, that and its adorable protagonist.

That said, I might've preferred if publisher Pony Canyon had held off on releasing this one until the GameBoy Color hit the streets, as I definitely think it could have benefited from a bit of visual pizazz.

Still, it's a fun little time-waster, and as we saw earlier, its packaging (as well as its instruction manual, a sample of which can be seen in the photo above) is easy on the eyes, so the lack of color isn't as off-putting as it might be otherwise.

Sadly, the back of the Penguin Land box is pretty par for the course when it comes to Japanese GameBoy games. I guess publishers at that time believed most folks would buy their wares based solely on the product's cover art?

One additional photo (of a cute illustration that graces the backside of this game's manual) can be found on my Flickr photostream, by the way, in case any of you are interested.

See also: previous 'Year of the GameBoy' posts

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Paper Mario x Pokémon anyone?

I was all set to publish a post about something else entirely this morning when I came across the following video, which includes the first footage of The Band of Thieves & 1000 Pokémon, a free-to-play 3DS title that will be made available to Japanese gamers beginning on June 5 (and ending on Sept. 30).

The main reason this game's got me feeling rather chuffed at the moment is that this first footage makes it appear as though the title combines the gameplay of my least favorite StreetPass title, Warrior’s Way, with the adorable characters of the Pokémon universe and the aesthetics of the Paper Mario series.

Sadly, I'm not sure how enjoyable it will be for Westerners to play The Band of Thieves & 1000 Pokémon should it leave Japan (and there's certainly no guarantee it will--especially since I don't believe the movie this game is tied to has been announced for European or North American release) as the only way to increase the size and strength of your party is to StreetPass with other people who are currently playing it.

Oh, well, I'm going to download the game as soon as it hits the Japanese eShop anyway, if only to see, in person, as many of the cute little Paper Pokémon characters as possible.

(Via by way of

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

R.I.P. H.R. Giger

You may wonder why a gaming blog is offering up condolences regarding the sad and untimely death of Swiss artist H. R. Giger yesterday.

For starters, I'm doing so because I've been a big fan of Giger's work since I first encountered it while watching what has become one of my favorite films, Aliens. (Giger was responsible for the design of the eponymous creature that has been the focus of all four Alien movies.)

Each of the Alien films has spawned a number of video-game adaptations, of course, so I think Giger's death is well worth noting here for that fact alone--despite the fact that few, if any, of said adaptations have been all that enjoyable.

Another reason I'm noting and commemorating Giger's death here: his surreal designs were utilized in a handful of games over the years--Cyberdreams' spooky, point-and-click PC games, Dark Seed and Dark Seed II, as well as Hudson's Jaseiken Necromancer, a gory (for its time) PC Engine RPG, among them.

I've actually owned a copy of Jaseiken Necromancer for some time now (the photo above is of my own HuCard), but I've yet to play it because of the language barrier.

Maybe I'll finally pull it and my PC Engine Core Grafx II out soon and give them a go in honor of Giger's life. And, who knows, maybe I'll even use the experience as an excuse to re-start my Japanese studies?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

To buy or not to buy Super TIME Force (XBLA) tomorrow, that is the question

So, in case you didn't already know, Capybara Games' curious-looking "time-travelling, side-scrolling, run-and-gun shooter," Super TIME Force releases for Xbox 360 (XBLA) and Xbox One tomorrow.

This game has been a long time in coming, and I've been interested in it pretty much since day one. Of course, how could I not be when it features such delicious sprite work?

The problem for me is that I haven't turned on my Xbox 360 since ... I can't remember when. As such, do I really want to spend $15 on a game that I may hesitate to play because it's going to reside on a console (strike one) that gets very little, if any, of my attention these days (strike two)?

How about all of you? Are any of you planning to pick up Super TIME Force tomorrow or at some point thereafter--either for your Xbox 360 or Xbox One?

If you're still on the fence, by the way, or if this is the first you've even heard of Super TIME Force, you may want to watch the video above, which showcases a whopping 50 minutes of gameplay.

Monday, May 12, 2014

'Sweet dream' indeed ...

I don't know about you, but I haven't run into many examples of NSFW-ish fan art devoted to Nintendo's pugilistic Punch-Out!! series over the years--which, in my humble opinion, is a crying shame.

Sadly, the piece of saucy fan art below (titled "Sweet Dream") doesn't include Little Mac, but it's so appealing even without his presence that I won't spend too much time complaining about the oversight.

This drawing was produced by the hand of artist Pauli Kohberger (aka madamluna), by the way. To see more of her stuff, check out her deviantart gallery (which contains a number of additional Punch-Out!!-inspired pieces) or her site, Electric Stories.

See also: 'Kirby and Meta Knight en fleur'