Saturday, February 24, 2018

What kind of idiot buys Final Fantasy IV: The After Years WiiWare episodes in 2018? This kind!

I nearly did something really dumb earlier this week. Yes, even dumber than buying Final Fantasy: The After Years WiiWare episodes in 2018.

The dumb thing in question: I got this close to ordering a Japanese Wii just so I could buy a bunch of that region's Virtual Console releases before Nintendo stops letting people buy Wii Points on March 26.

Actually, the first part of that plan wouldn't have been the dumbest decision in the world. Used Japanese Wiis aren't too expensive at the moment, after all. What would have been pretty dumb, though: dropping a load of cash on a ton of games I already own in physical form.

In the end, I decided picking up a used Japanese Wii wouldn't be the best use of my hard-earned cash.

I still had the Wii eShop on the brain, though, and that prompted me to start thinking about the North American Virtual Console and WiiWare titles I could purchase with some of the money I previously planned to plop down on the aforementioned imports.

My first thought was to grab some of the old games I've stupidly overlooked since they first hit the Wii eShop--like Phantasy Star for the Sega Master System, Monster Lair for the TurboGrafx-16, and Kirby 64 for the Nintendo 64.

I actually bought two of those games--Monster Lair and Kirby 64--yesterday. Along with those titles, I bought all of the Final Fantasy IV: The After Years WiiWare episodes I'd previously passed on.

Thankfully, I only had to buy three of them--for a total of 1,400 Wii Points ($14). I went in thinking I'd have to pay for all but the initial three episodes and maybe Rydia's, so discovering I'd nabbed three others at some point was quite a thrill.

Why did I waste $14 on all this, especially considering I own Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection for the PSP, which includes the entirety of The After Years?

The only explanation I can offer up is it didn't feel right to me that my "copy" of the WiiWare version of The After Years would forever be incomplete if I failed to pay for the rest of its optional content.

Also, I'm more likely to boot up my Wii than my PSP at this point in time, strangely enough. And then there's the fact that I've already completed the game's first three chapters (the prologue as well as Ceodore's and Kain's "tales")--not that I can remember anything about them now.

The question is: will I ever work my way through all of these colorfully titled episodes ("The Eidolons Shackled" and "The Vanished Lunar Whale" among them) I just picked up, or will they forever remain unplayed?

Your guess is as good as mine. I'm certainly going to give it my best shot, though. Final Fantasy IV is one of my all-time favorite games, so I'd really like to experience this direct follow-up--and sooner rather than later.

Have any of you played the WiiWare version of Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, or even one of the versions released for the PSP, PC, or mobile? If so, what did you think of it? And based on that experience, do you think I've made a wise move or gone off the deep end?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Manual Stimulation: Moguranya (aka Mole Mania, GameBoy)

As you may have guessed from my many "Year of the GameBoy" posts, as well as a good number of my "Nice Package!" write-ups, I now own a lot of Japanese GameBoy games.

For me, a big part of the joy of owning Japanese GameBoy games--complete ones, especially--is being able to flip through their instruction manuals.

Something I've learned while paging through my many Japanese GameBoy game manuals is that the ones Nintendo packed inside its own "silver box" releases are a bit disappointing.

Moguranya's manual, highlighted here, is one example. A few others (which have yet to be featured in "Manual Stimulation" posts but will be soon enough) are GameBoy Donkey Kong and Hoshi no Kirby.

None of these GameBoy manuals are terrible, or even close to it. They're all colorful and feature some nice screenshots and illustrations. Still, they feel ... lacking.

Like, it's hard for me to go from the Bubble BobbleBurning PaperGhostbusters 2, and Snow Bros. Jr. manuals to the ones I just mentioned and think, "yeah, these are an improvement."

The only "silver box" Japanese GameBoy manual I can think of that impresses me the way the above-mentioned booklets do is the one Nintendo produced for Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru (aka For the Frog the Bell Tolls).

Even it could be better, though--in my opinion, of course.

As for the Moguranya (aka Mole Mania) instruction booklet showcased here, like I said, it's very nice overall. I like the pops of color and cute little design elements (especially the paw-print stamps that accompany each page's header).

The illustrations that are found here and there are lovely, too, of course. Unfortunately, there are only a handful, and a couple of them are re-used.

Taken as a whole, though, it's hard to label Moguranya's manual a dud. I'd find it a lot more impressive, though, if Nintendo's artists and designers had seen fit to fill it with even a few more adorable illustrations.

Thankfully, Moguranya's gameplay more than makes up for its somewhat meh-tastic instruction manual, so I'm not going to beat myself up for buying a complete copy of it anytime soon.

If you'd like to see what this game's outer box and cartridge look like, by the way, you can do so in this post of mine. It also includes a couple of photos of GameBoy Donkey Kong's box and manual.

See also: previous 'Manual Stimulation' posts