Thursday, July 16, 2015

So, who else has pre-ordered the North American PS3 or Vita version of Steins;Gate?

Before we tackle the question posed in this post's headline, let's chat a bit about what Steins;Gate actually is (besides a game with a really strange title, I mean).

For starters, it's the second entry in 5pb's and Nitroplus' long-running series of "visual novel" games.

Here's an official summary of Steins;Gate's story, in case any of you are curious: a group of teenage scientists discover the ability to alter the past by sending text messages through a modified microwave. Their experiments inevitably spiral out of control as they become entangled in a conspiracy surrounding SERN, the organization behind supposed failed time travel events, and John Titor, a mysterious Internet forum poster claiming to come from a dystopian future.

All of the games that are part of this "Space Adventure" franchise have titles with inappropriate punctuation, by the way, with the first entry being Chaos;Head, the third being Robotics;Notes and the fourth being Chaos;Child.

Each of these releases have received a multitude of ports (to everything from the Xbox 360 and the PSP to PC and mobile) as well as spin-offs and manga and anime adaptations.

Anyway, I've been aware of them for some time now, although I've got to admit that until recently I wasn't entirely sure how they were connected or even if all of them were games.

Despite that, I've had the Vita version of Steins;Gate on my lengthy "to buy" list since it was first announced due to the positive comments I've heard about the English PC port that hit North American store shelves last year.

Thankfully, it seems I won't have to wait much longer to experience this intriguing sounding and looking title (I especially love its art style, I've got to say), as copies of its North American PS3 and Vita ports can now be pre-ordered via Amazon--with Aug. 31 being their supposed shipping date.

If you'd like to pre-order the North American Vita version of Steins;Gate, you can do so here, while the PS3 version can be picked up here.

So, who's with me in buying some version of this visual adventure?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

MUSE: Together Is the New Alone (PS4 and Vita) looks a lot like EarthBound and Yumi Nikki, which of course means I'm already in love with it

Full disclosure: I've yet to actually play Yume Nikki, mainly because it's currently only playable on Windows-based PCs, and I no longer own such a computing device. (Not that I'd be all that likely to play it on my MacBook either, but if it were possible I'd probably at least consider experiencing it that way at some point down the road.)

Still, I've long wanted to play it due to its unsettling, EarthBound-esque visuals.

I don't know if I'd say the graphics that have been shown off for the in-the-works PS4 and Vita game known as MUSE: Together Is the New Alone are quite as unsettling, but they've definitely got an edge to them that exists somewhere between what's found in Yume Nikki and most of EarthBound.

This upcoming release, announced during the recent BitSummit event, is being made by Baiyon, who you may know as the art director and musician behind PixelJunk Eden. (Apparently, Pygmy, the development studio that ported La Mulana to Vita, is lending a helping hand.)

Unfortunately, as with at least one of the other Vita games I've mentioned in the last couple of days, a specific release date has not been revealed for MUSE: Together Is the New Alone.

What is known is that this is the gist of MUSE's story: “A young girl lays in a never-ending slumber. One day, a boy finds notes and paintings belonging to the sleeping girl. Guided by these tokens, he sets off on an adventure in the hopes of awakening her once again.”

Does that sound appealing to any of you? Or do you not care about this game's story because the rest of it looks so darn good? Let me know one way or the other in the comments section below.

Oh, and if you're interested in MUSE for any reason whatsoever, you may want to keep an eye on its official website,

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A few more words on Satoru Iwata's passing

I know. I should've returned this blog to its "regularly scheduled programing" by now. Actually, that was the plan--until I came across a couple of things today that prompted me to push that back yet again so I could ruminate once more on the passing of Nintendo's Satoru Iwata.

Actually, I think most people would be hard-pressed to describe the post I published yesterday about Iwata's untimely death (due in some way to the "bile duct growth" he first told the world about last year) as some sort of meditation.

In my defense, I was in shock. It wasn't the kind of horrific, gut-wrenching shock that hits you when someone truly close to you dies (or even nearly dies, as the case may be), but it was shock all the same.

So, I cobbled together a few sentences that let the world--or at least the minuscule segment of it that frequents this blog--that this seemingly kind and gentle business leader (I say "seemingly" because I obviously didn't know the man personally, so all I can go on is the persona he presented to the public) had died and also passed along a couple of his most noteworthy professional accomplishments.

What those sentences failed to convey were many of my own feelings on the matter. Of course, what are you supposed to say when someone you didn't really know passes away?

Yes, I respected him greatly, I thoroughly enjoyed watching him "host" many of the "Nintendo Direct" videos the company he led for the last decade-plus occasionally offered the Internet-enabled masses and poring over the many "Iwata Asks" interviews that allowed him to geek out with fellow game creators has become one of my most-cherished pastimes in recent years, but even then it feels strange to admit that I'm genuinely sad that he's no longer alive.

This morning, though, I came across the following farewell message that was penned by Shigesato Itoi, who worked side by side with Iwata to wrap up development of Mother 2 (EarthBound) in 1994, and its tenderness moved to such an extent that I couldn't help but share it here:

No matter the farewell, I think the most appropriate thing to say is “we”ll meet again.” We are friends so we”ll see each other again. There is nothing strange about saying it. Yeah. We’ll meet again. 

Even if you didn’t have the chance to put into words how sudden it was going to be, how far you’d be traveling, or how you went much earlier than expected, I know you went wearing your best. 

You always put yourself second to others no matter what, helping anyone who needed it whenever they needed it. You were that kind of friend. Although you may have been a little selfish for the first time ever by taking this journey. 

The truth is though that I still don’t believe any of it. I feel like I am going to receive a message from you inviting me out to eat at any moment. I wouldn’t mind if you were to ask me like always if I had some free time. Even still, I’d ask you as well. 

Still, “we’ll meet again.” It would be great to hear from you whenever and wherever; I’ll being calling to you too. I’ll call if I have something to discuss or I want to tell you a great new idea I’ve had. 

We’ll meet again.

Then again, you’re here with me now.

(Note: the text above was translated by, while Itoi's original words can be read at

Monday, July 13, 2015

R.I.P. Satoru Iwata

I had a different post, about a game that's sure to interest at least a few folks who frequent this blog but is far from important (especially in grand scheme of things), all lined up to be published today, but then I heard that Satoru Iwata, who has served as Nintendo's president since 2002, had passed away.

In light of that sad, shocking news, I decided to move things around a bit and instead publish this too-brief post about the man who has, along with Shigeru Miyamoto, personified Nintendo for the last 10 to 15 years.

All that's known about Iwata's untimely passing at the moment is what the company shared in a simple note on its Japanese website last night:

"Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth."

Iwata's career in the gaming world began long before he took the reins at Nintendo, of course. First he worked for HAL Laboratory and helped produce titles like Balloon Fight, Hoshi no Kirby (Kirby's Adventure) and EarthBound.

In 1993, 10 years after Iwata started at the Tokyo-based Nintendo affiliate, he was named its president.

Seven years later, he joined Nintendo to head up its corporate planning division, and in 2002, Iwata succeeded Hiroshi Yamauchi in the company's corner office.

With all of that said, I'd just like to reiterate the message that makes up this post's headline: rest in peace, Mr. Iwata. You will be missed, and you will be remembered.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Fabulosity alert: Crypt of the NecroDancer will soon sashay onto the Vita (and PS4)

The Vita is really hitting it out of the park, as the saying goes, lately.

Taiko no Tatsujin: V Version just hit Japanese store shelves, and the intriguing "enforced side-scroll RPG" known as Mystery Chronicle: I Won't Look Back Until I Win will follow in that game's footsteps in a couple of weeks.

And then there are the slew of North American Vita titles that will be released between now and the end of the year that also look mighty interesting, including Hatoful Boyfriend (due out on July 21), Persona 4: Dancing All Night (Sept. 29) and the one that's the focus of this blog post: Crypt of the NecroDancer.

Unfortunately, all that's known at the moment is that this much-heralded rhythm-based roguelike, which previously only could be played on a PC, is that it's coming soon.

Here's hoping "soon" means within the next couple of months, because I'm really itching to (finally) experience this sucker. Even if it doesn't hit the PlayStation Store--or whatever Sony calls its digital store these days--until later this year, though, I'll still pay whatever I have to in order to add Crypt of the NecroDancer to my slowly expanding collection of Vita titles.

Are any of you excitedly planning to purchase this game, too?