Friday, August 05, 2016

Nice Package! (Pac-Land, PC Engine)

I've mentioned before (in this not-so-old post, for example) that I have a strange attraction to Pac-Land.

The gist: I became aware of it at a time in my life when both Namco's Pac-Man and Nintendo's Super Mario Bros.--and a bunch of other classics--were front and center in my mind. As a result, an arcade game that combined both of those titles into one blew my teenage mind.

Did this quarter-muncher's graphics and gameplay really deserve such a response? Not really. Pac-Land was more than a bit questionable even back then, especially in the looks and controls departments.

Still, it could be fun to play, and it had a stellar soundtrack, so I plopped money into it whenever I was able--which wasn't very often, as the only cabinet I knew of at the time was located in a mall arcade a couple of hours from my hometown.

Given all of the above, you'd think I would've picked up a copy of the TurboGrafx-16 port of Pac-Land shortly after I bought that system. Instead, I ignored it for games like The Addams FamilyFighting Street and Valis II and III. (Don't worry, I also owned a ton of great TG-16 titles.)

I recently made up for that by buying the Japanese PC Engine version of the game. It was well worth the handful of dollars I spent on it. How so? Just look at the photos showcased throughout this post. They tell you everything you need to know, don't you think?

Thankfully, the game that's packed into the Pac-Land HuCard is, as I said earlier, a good bit of fun. Hey, it may not be on par with any of the 8-bit Super Mario Bros. titles, but it's miles better than the woeful Keith Courage.

Plus, this port allows players to use their console's d-pad to control Pac-Man, which is a change from the arcade original. (In the latter, you used a pair of buttons to move the iconic character left and right, while you nudged a joystick to make him jump.)

Anyway, as is the case with pretty much all of Namco's--or Namcot's--PC Engine releases, this one comes with a really eye-pleasing instruction manual (see above for a glimpse of one of its pages).

Speaking of which, look for one of my "Manual Stimulation" posts that'll detail both the exterior and interior of this game's how-to booklet in the next week or two.

In the meantime, are any of you Pac-Land fans? If so, share your thoughts and memories in the comments section that follows.

See also: previous 'Nice Package!' posts

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Be still, my Fukio Mitsuji-loving heart: Tengen prepped Magical Puzzle Popils ports for the Famicom and PC Engine way back when

If this is the first time your eyes are coming across the name Fukio Mitsuji, please take a seat.

In short, Mitsuji was a brilliant Japanese game designer and artist who helped create a number of outright classics during his unfortunately short career. (Sadly, he died in 2008.)

Specifically, Wikipedia credits him with having a hand in just nine games within the span of seven years (1985 to 1991).

Of those three games, I personally consider three of them to be among the best games ever to see the light of day. One is Bubble Bobble, another is that game's sequel, Rainbow Islands, and the third is Magical Puzzle Popils.

Don't worry if you've similarly never heard of that last title. After all, Magical Puzzle Popils was made for Sega's Game Gear--and only for Sega's Game Gear. (If you want to learn more about this puzzler, which was called Popils outside of Japan, check out its GameFAQs entry, its Wikipedia page or this previous post of mine.)

Or so I thought until yesterday. That's when I learned (via that, at some point in the fairly distant past, developer and publisher Tengen prepped Famicom and PC Engine ports of Magical Puzzle Popils.

It's also when I came across footage of these previously unknown console ports. The PC Engine version can be seen in the video above, while the Famicom version can be seen here.

None of what's showcased in these clips looks tremendously different from what can be found in the Game Gear original, although the stages appear a smidge larger and some of the intermission graphics seem unfinished. (Or maybe the latter are just oddly rough?)

Still, I'd hand over a week's salary to buy physical copies of these long-lost conversions so I could play them on real Famicom and PC Engine hardware. How about you?

See also: a couple of photos of Magical Puzzle Popils' Japanese Game Gear box and my 'Manual Stimulation' post devoted to this 1991 title

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

This latest Yomawari: Night Alone trailer has my name written all over it

I know the statement in the headline above isn't all that shocking. Nippon Ichi's Yomawari and its cute-slash-creepy graphics and gameplay charmed me long ago--to the point that I pre-ordered a copy of the Japanese version well in advance of it hitting the streets in its country of origin. (You can check out some photos of this Vita title's case, cartridge and instruction pamphlet in this "Nice Package!" post.)

As much as this game appeals to me, though, I've yet to spend a single second playing the darn thing. Truth be told, that has more due to my lack of free time these days, as well as my bizarre inability to coax my oft-ignored Vita out of hiding on any kind of regular basis, than it has to do with some sort of dwindling attraction to Yomawari (or Yomawari: Night Alone, for those of you who are fans of its full title).

Still, I'd be lying if I said this latest Yomawari trailer, which shows off a slew of the game's many nightmare-inducing ghouls and ghosts, didn't reignite my interest in this upcoming NIS America release.

How about all of you? Does the footage above make you want to put money on a physical copy or set aside funds for a digital one (if you didn't do so a couple of months ago, of course)? Or maybe it has the opposite effect and makes you wrinkle your nose in disgust? Regardless, share your reaction to this latest Yomawari teaser in the comments section that follows.

See also: 'Who else is thrilled that Nippon Ichi's Yomawari will be released in North America later this year?' and 'Has anyone else plopped down 60 big ones for the North American version of Yomawari: Night Alone?'

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Oh, hey, did you hear? NIS America will release World’s Longest 5 Minutes (Vita) in North America sometime next year

Well, color me surprised. NIS America recently revealed--in rather shocking fashion, I might add--it'll bring Nippon Ichi's World’s Longest 5 Minutes to my neck of the woods in 2017.

What will this intriguing Vita title, which combines the RPG and visual novel genres, be called when it hits North America? The Longest 5 Minutes.

Both titles make a lot of sense after you read through this summary of its story: "Our hero faces the origin of all evil, the Overlord himself, but suddenly loses all memories of his adventure. His finishing moves, the name of his hometown, and even the reason he's trying to defeat the Overlord in the first place, all gone. Our hero tries to regain his priceless memories before it's too late, but the Overlord stands before him, his power unyielding!"

As much as this news thrills me, it also pains me a bit. That's because I just--as in yesterday--paid for the limited edition version of World’s Longest 5 Minutes I pre-ordered via AmiAmi ages ago.

Oh, well, at least I'll get to enjoy all of the swag that comes with the Japanese LE--such as a two-CD soundtrack, some sort of book (kikakusho?) and a desk calendar. Plus, I'll have a physical copy of the game (even if it is in a language I can barely understand at the moment).

I'd love to say NIS America will offer up a similarly stuffed LE to folks on this side of the pond, but at the moment the publisher's lips are sealed in that regard. Hell, it's yet to say if The Longest 5 Minutes will be a digital-only release or if boxed copies will be sold as well.

While we wait for more information, check out the game's first English trailer (above or here). You may want to heck out its official site, too. There's not much to see at the latter right now, but that should change in due time.

Are any of you planning to add The Longest 5 Minutes to your Vita collections? If so, what pushed you in the direction?

See also: 'Nippon Ichi just announced what appears to be a Half-Minute Hero rip-off for Vita, and I'm more than OK with it'