Monday, April 25, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

The blog will probably not be updated for the next two weeks. It is almost the end of my semester at college, and the professors are really piling on the work. I hate it, but around the 10th of May, I'll be a free man (with the exception of my job.) I hope to do a review for Game Dev Story when I return. Anybody else too busy for gaming at the moment?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Old Game Commercial 03: Super Mario World

I don't know how the Super Famicom survived after this ad. This commercial is utterly insane even for Japan. If you ever wanted to be freaked out by Mario, then watch this video. Say konichiwa to Bowser for me.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Old Game Commercial 02: City Connection

City Connection  isn't one of the best games in the NES library. However, if you watch this commercial for the Famicom version, you would probably that even the same game?! Anime somehow makes everything better. Now I want an updated version with this chick in it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Old Game Commercial 01: Rock Man 2

Mega Man 2 (or Rock Man 2 in Japan) is considered the pinnacle of the Mega Man series. Check out this old commercial promoting it's release in Japan. I love how the announcer says in loud Engrish, " ROCKO MAN TWO!" This is truly the Famicom at it's best and cheesiest.

Fan Art Gallery: No More Heroes

One of the coolest hardcore game series around is No More Heroes. It is only available in America on the Wii, but in Japan ports exists on 360 and PS3. Today, a cool PS3 remake of the first game was announced. It is adding new bosses, a boss fight mode, and a "forbidden mode". The "forbidden mode" is a first print bonus that allows Travis to take nude photos of the game's female characters in his room. I don't think that feature will ever make it here, because gore is okay in the US, but naked people causes violence...or something. Anyway, to show my appreciation for NMH, I have compiled some nice fan art from Pixiv. Enjoy!

Awesome Box Art of the Week: Akai Katana (Limited Edition)

Random Screenshot 28: Hajime no Ippo - The Fighting!

Hajime No Ippo - The Fighting! (GBA) Treasure 2002

Hajime no Ippo (Fighting Spirit) is a long running manga and anime series in Japan. As you can guess, it is about boxing, but there also plenty of male soap opera theatrics about the essence of being manly that makes the series "over the top" in a goofy, yet endearing way. The Gameboy Advance title follows the story of young boxer, Ippo, on his road to be becoming a champion. The action plays from a first person perspective sort of like Punch Out, but you never see Ippo in the ring, only his fists. The graphics, as seen above, are amazing for a Gameboy Advance game. This can be contributed to the fact that Treasure (Gunstar Heroes, Sin and Punishment) developed this game. The matches are very fun and fairly challenging, with each defeated fighter becoming unlocked for the tournament mode as you go.  This awesome fighting game was never released outside Japan, which is really too bad as it is clearly one of the best boxing sims around. If you don't mind emulation, the game looks and plays great on the PSP. An English translation patch is also available, so there is no reason to dismiss discovering what this hidden gem has to offer.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Random Screenshot 27: Cannon Spike

Cannon Spike (Sega Dreamcast) Capcom/Psikyo 2000

Capcom was a huge supporter of the Dreamcast. One of the coolest and most original games to come from that era was Cannon Spike. The game is a top down shooter that features characters like Cammy, Arthur, Mega Man, and BB Hood. It is a pretty hardcore game that you can run through in an twenty minutes by credit feeding or actually learn the systems and try to get through on one credit like a true gamer. Cannon Spike was developed by Psikyo, makers of Gunbird, yet this game plays more like a 3-D version of Smash TV than one of their crazy bullet hell shooters. Of special note, the endings are really fun for each character. I miss the Dreamcast.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Club Nintendo of America = Deep Sigh

So I am almost Elite status in Club Nintendo. What does this mean? Not much really. You see, unlike Nintendo of Japan, Nintendo of America gives it's fans a very meager selection of "rewards." Here are some examples of NOA's prizes:
250 points will net you some Bowser bookmarks and a folder. Keep in mind, one Wii game is worth 50 points. So this is the prize for buying 5 first party games...cheapass bookmarks.
Here is another treat...playing cards with Mario and friends. The cost...500 points! Yeah the math equals 10 first party Wii games. I can go buy playing cards for a dollar anywhere so this reward is absolute nonsense.
How about a nice, exclusive DS game? But wait, it is just a copy of an old game and watch title from 1980. WTF?!! This one costs a cool 800 points. Ouch.

As you can see the rewards for being a member of Club Nintendo are pretty lame. However, once a year, Nintendo does give a special prize to fans. Gold members (anyone between 350-590) get one and Elite members (600+) get another; last year Gold members received a descent looking calendar and Elite members got an awesome Mario statue.
Buy practically every Nintendo game released in one year, and you might get lucky enough to own a cool statue of Mario and friends. In Japan you probably get this for just pre-ordering a Nintendo product...grrrr...

Now that I have raged about NOA's lame rewards, let us take a look at Club Nintendo of Japan's rewards. Prepare for profound sadness...
In Japan for 500 points you can get the soundtrack to the Wii hit, Super Mario Galaxy 2. This game has a fine musical selection and would be a nice addition to any Mario collection. What did Americans get for 500 points? Oh yeah, playing cards....fucking playing cards.
This is a Mario hanafuda card game set. Hanafuda is a classic Japanese card game, and Nintendo actually started their company decades ago in the hanafuda business; so this reward makes for a nice piece of gaming history. It is available in the US Club Nintendo program for 800 Japan, you get it for 400 points. Not cool.

 Random, 2-D action game, the price is only 500 points. Why isn't this game in the US rewards program? I guess it was considered "too Japanese." Lame.

More cool soundtracks, but these only cost 400 points a pop. Sounds like quite a steal.

 Club Nintendo of America is clearly cheap and lazy with it's dull reward efforts. I know it is cool they give something free to loyal customers, but why are the scales so balanced in Japan's favor? The program should not be based on region, and customers should be free to get their reward from any territory with Nintendo Club support. I don't expect this issue to ever be rectified. Nintendo doesn't even write Nintendo Power anymore, it is published by a third party, so bring on the shitty rewards for early 3DS adopters...its all about the cash to Nintendo.

Miyamoto: "Give me $300 more and you can have some of my pocket lint."

Get Hyped : Solatorobo on Nintendo DS

Since Solatobo is coming to Europe this Summer, I will be importing a game from the UK for the first time. Watch this trailer, and you will probably do the same.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Awesome Box Art of the Week: Matrimelee

Random Screenshot 26: Tetris

Tetris (Game Boy) Nintendo 1989

Tetris has an interesting history. It was originally developed by Alexey Pajitov in the USSR during 1984. As with anything developed in Communist Russia, the game and concept were the property of the "people" aka the Soviet government. Over time the concept for Tetris spread outside the USSR and into Europe. After various companies attempted to make their own Tetris clones, the game's right were sold to Atari for an arcade version, and Nintendo for console and portable versions around 1988. Nintendo outsourced Tetris to another company called Bullet Proof Software. Bullet Proof Software created the Game Boy version that most people are familiar with, and enjoyed. The game was a massive success, and it led to many sequels and unofficial versions by a company known as Tengen. On the Game Boy version's title screen, Soviet style buildings are depicted, giving some small credit to the game's Russian origins. Too bad most players assume Tetris is Japanese, when it is was only licensed to Nintendo.

Bad Box Art of the Week: Ardok the Barbarian

DS Games You Should Buy Before Its Too Late

The Nintendo DS has a grim outlook in the US. Very few games are set to be released for the old portable aside from some shovelware or licensed crap, and the 3DS is stealing most of the spotlight from the once beloved handheld. I still enjoy my DS, and hope a few more last minute gems find their way to US before the system dies completely, but I am not holding my breath. At least Europe is getting Solatorobo, a fine looking action J-RPG about dog people. If you like to own every game for a chosen system or simply collect rare stuff, here are my suggestions for games to buy before they go to triple digit prices on eBay in the near future...

Monster Tale 
From the makers of Henry Hatsworth comes Monster Tale. This game is an adorable 2-D hodgepodge of classics like Mega Man, Pokemon, and Metroid. You control a little girl and her monster as they attempt to find their way back home from a planet ruled by evil children. As with most last gen games, Monster Tale just came out and it is already getting a little hard to find at retail stores. The game is fun and worth the $30 price tag on Amazon. Grab this one before it is too late (cough...remember Shantae...cough)

Dragon Quest V 
Unlike Dragon Quest IV, this sequel was printed in very low numbers. It is already hard to find, and most people online are asking around $60 for a used copy. Why is this Dragon Quest so special? It is considered by most Japanese fans to be the pinnacle of the series. It follows the entire lifetime of a hero from his birth to when he has his own children and they start on a quest of their own. The game is very cool, and comes highly recommended...just don't pay too much for a copy. I recently got a brand new Dragon Quest V for $30 at K Mart.

Sailor Moon La Luna Splende
My friend actually pointed this one out to me. It is a 2-D action game starring the Sailor Scouts that came out last month. Now for the strange only released in Italy. From my understanding the rest of Europe has too much red tape about licensing issues to work around, so only Italy is getting this game as for now. Anime is very popular in Italy, so it makes sense, but for American fans, all I can say is good luck getting a copy for a cheap price. Sailor Moon La Luna Splende is already going for over double it's retail price on eBay in the US. This rarity will surely be worth plenty of cash to collectors in a few years as game releases don't get much more obscure than Italian only. 

Other Games to Watch for:
  • Tetris DS
  • Hotel Dusk (European Release)
  • Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland (European Release)
  • Game and Watch Collections (Club Nintendo only)
  • Electroplankton 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cave iOS Sale

To celebrate one year on the iOS App store, Cave is offering a great sale starting April 9th.

Espgaluda II - $4.99
Dodonpachi Resurrection - $4.99
Mushihimesama Bug Panic - $0.99

All proceeds from Bug Panic will be going to the Red Cross to help Japanese tsunami and earthquake victims. Good job, Cave! I plan to buy Espgaluda and Bug Panic at these low prices, how about you?

Fan Art Gallery: The Legend of Zelda

Recently the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda came and went with minor fanfare. Sadly there was no game compilation to celebrate the event, only an "Ask Iwata" feature on Nintendo's website that discussed the series' roots and a write up on sites like 1Up and Kotaku. I am a big fan of this series, but somehow even I failed to do much to honor Link and friends. To make up for this complete failure, I have assembled a gallery of cool fan art from the Japanese inter-webs. Enjoy the art, and if you like this collection, search for more on Pixiv, the artistic community over there is amazing!

Random Screenshot 25: Sentimental Shooting

Sentimental Shooting (Windows 95/98) While 2001

Sentimental Shooting is a vertical scrolling shmup where the objective is to not only dodge enemy fire and destroy bosses, but to also shoot off the girl's clothing in the background. I'm not sure of the exact origins of this game, but it looks like a late 90s doujin effort. The main draw in this game is the ability to shoot off a girl's clothing revealing nudity and unlocking her pic for the CG gallery, the catch...the levels are very hard. Just because this is a hentai game, doesn't mean the enemies take it easy on you, in fact this is one of the hardest doujin shooters I have ever played. Many times even if you manage to beat the level and defeat the boss, you will not unlock the girl's CG simply because of the overwhelming amount of enemy fire on screen that distracts the player from shredding the clothing. Sentimental Shooting is a fun and sorta perverted way to waste a few hours on your PC. If you like modern danmakus from Cave and G Rev or weird games, then you can't go wrong tracking this one down.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Awesome Box Art of the Week: Final Fantasy IV (DS)

Random Screenshot 24: Pocket Fighter

Pocket Fighter (PSX) Capcom 1998

From their success with Super Puzzle Fighter II, Capcom launched Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix. This cute little fighting game took various fighters from the Capcom universe and squished them down into bite size proportions. Iconic characters like Ryu and Chun Li make the obvious appearance, but players also get more obscure characters like Tessa from the arcade only, Red Earth. Each fighter can transform into other characters during combos, in the picture Chun Li turns into a cheerleader before turning into Jill from Resident Evil to finish the attack sequence. Another noteworthy addition is the huge number of cameos in stage backgrounds, in the screen shot, you can see the veggie guy from Breath of Fire 3( I loved that guy.) The game is goofy and comical, but the fighting system works just as well as any Street Fighter title, but the simple button layout makes this one friendly for rookies and children as well. When Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix left Japan, it was retitled Pocket Fighter. It never received a sequel, but a few years ago, the game was re-released as a part of the Street Fighter Alpha Anthology. If you love chibi characters or Capcom fighters, then you need to track this game down.

Bad Box Art of the Week: Legendary Axe 2