Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Which Should I Buy?

As a fan of Samus in her suit and without it, I am having a hard time deciding which of these two I should pre-order:
The figma Armored Samus looks really bad ass and brings me back to warm memories of Super Metroid. However, Zero Suit Samus from Good Smile is just plain sexy lookin' and I like the little Metroid accessory. I know it would be too expensive to buy both, so I am trying to pick one for my toy and figure collection. Any readers have a suggestion? Besides the obvious, " Buy them both." That's a shitty suggestion.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Old Game Commercial 06: Revenge of Shinobi & Super Monaco GP

This commercial just screams 1990s! Half-assed ninja combat? Check. Hyperbolic ranting that makes no sense? Check. Random pairing of two completely different games? Check. Revenge of Shinobi still stands as a pretty cool game in 2012, but Super Monaco GP is completely forgettable. Too bad the commercial didn't pair Shinobi and Phantasy Star 2 instead. I miss the old, crazy Sega from this era.

Awesome Box Art of the Week: Brandish 2 Expert

Bad Box Art of the Week: Bad Cat

Is this tubular or rad?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Grownlanser IV is coming to the US!

Rejoice Growlanser fans, Atlus has answered your prayers. After trolling fans with their hint game, and even trolling with the release of Gungnir (ugh), Atlus got trolled themselves by a leak from internet retailers. Listings post the PSP port for a July 24, 2012 release. It will also be on the Playstation Network for the PS Vita owners. I am very happy that Atlus is giving this super Japanese RPG series another shot in the US, especially since Growlanser IV is considered the pinnacle of the franchise. I just hope the game doesn't get canceled...July 2012 is a really late release date for a PSP game.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Free Stuff Makes Me Like Nintendo Again

Oh Nintendo...you crafty devils,  just when I am ready to abandon all hope for you, here come truckloads of free games. Last year between the denial of quality games like Xenogears and terrible PR responses to fans, my frustration with Nintendo was reaching the breaking point. I was also very disappointed in Club Nintendo and the lack of quality rewards for American customers. However, things have been turning around recently with the introduction of free downloadable games for 100 and 150 Club Nintendo points. In the past month I have received three free 3DS games from cashing in my points although one was a stinker (3D Classics: Xevious), the other two were pretty descent games.
Nintendo also surprised me with the Ambassador program. Early adopters to the 3DS got 20 free games to make up for the price drop that occurred later in 2011. These free games weren't just shovelware, no the list included hits like Metroid Fusion, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, and The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. Supposedly Ambassadors will be the only ones who ever have access to these emulated GBA games so that is one helluva deal for those lucky fans who got on board with the 3DS early on and didn't trade it for a PS Vita pre-order. I am lucky to have one of the Ambassador 3DS systems, and currently I have 23 free games from Nintendo. Once again, I am at peace with Nintendo and all is right with the universe.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Top Five Manliest Anime

As a boy my first introduction to anime came via Sailor Moon on the local network cartoon block before school. I thought the art style was interesting but the girly subject matter and story of "love conquers all" annoyed me. Soon I found the local video store carried this stuff called Japanimation. That is what people called anime in the early to mid 90s. Anyway, from there I ventured into the section regularly and become a fan of the crazy plots and ultra-violence of older anime. Over the years, I recall this period as being my introduction to Japanese culture as a whole. I've watched over the past decade as the anime genre has pretty much went to shit. What happened to all the cool manly stuff from my youth? It seems to have been taken over my cheap thrills anime with half naked maid chicks in robot suits fighting over a total nerd's affections or something equally retarded. If you missed the heyday of manly anime, have no fear...here are a few choice clips of manime...if these videos pique your interest, track the DVDs down and grow some hair on your chest.

5. Jojo's Bizarre Adventure

4. Berserk

3. Golgo 13- The Professional

2. Space Adventure Cobra
1. Fist of the North Star (Hokuto no Ken)

Awesome Box Art of the Week: Ultima Exodus (Famicom)

Bad Box Art of the Week: Ninja Scooter Simulator

Is this real life?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Code of Guardian Heroes

 Treasure's development team has joined forces with Agatsuma to make a game that plays like Guardian Heroes titled Code of Princess. The game is coming out on the Nintendo 3DS on April 19th in Japan. The character designs are from the legendary Kinu Nishimura of Street Fighter 3 and 999 fame. While she is a female artist, some critics have accused her of designing the lead heroine of Code Princess in an over the top sexist manner that degrades women. Here is the art for this character:
As you probably noticed, she is nearly nude and her armor is very impractical. However, my guess is the team wanted a piece of sexy piece of art to hype the game in Japan. The 3DS is quickly becoming the system of choice for otaku perverts overseas with titles like Senran Kagura and If I Were in a Sealed Room With a Girl, I'd Probably XXX (yes, that is the real fucking title.) So it makes sense to give the advertising campaign a boost with a half naked main character on all the promotional material, she also has a PVC statue coming out soon.
I hope that controversial news doesn't overshadow the fact this is made by the designers of Guardians Heroes. It is one of the best games on Saturn, and this spiritual sequel looks great. The 3DS in America could really use a title like Code of Princess to entice more hardcore gamers into purchasing the system. Also the release schedule for new 3DS games is fairly grim in the US, so any new game is a welcome one. Maybe Xseed or Aksys will grace us with this RPG inspired beat'em up sometime in 2012.

Friday, January 13, 2012

El Shaddai Fan Art

One of the coolest games of last year was El Shaddai. While the game was a little tedious, the visuals were among the most stunning I've ever seen in any medium. To honor this under-rated gem, I have collected some great fan art from the artists at Pixiv.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

StreetPass Nonsense: Dead or Alive Dimensions Edition

Dead or Alive Dimensions and the 3DS StreetPass makes collecting every costume for every character a nightmare. Each character has three DLC costumes that are free, but must be downloaded on a specific day at a random time only known by Nintendo and Tecmo. Each day one costume is released for 3DS owners that leave their system on all day. Here are the rotation dates for new costumes:
12/08/11 to 01/10/12
01/12/12 to 02/14/12
02/16/12 to 03/20/12
03/22/12 to 04/24/12
The dates go through each character on the roster in order, but if you miss a day, you have to calculate which day it was in the rotation and wait for the next cycle. Yes, it is completely stupid. I'm not sure why Tecmo couldn't simply release the costumes in a week period, or all at once for that matter. Making matters even worse is the randomness of the time, if you don't have your 3DS on at the right time, then no DLC for you. Overall, this is an annoying process for completing your costume collection and should have been an unlockable package for beating the Chronicles mode. Somehow Nintendo makes DLC a complete pain even when the price is FREE.

Steve Jobs the Action Figure

China is such a wacky, law-circumventing place. Companies there will literally make and sell anything, copyrights be damned. Recently, a company known as Inicons has publicized and started selling a Steve Jobs action figure for $99.99. The figurine looks amazingly life-like, almost to a creepy degree. Jobs is wearing his trademark black sweater, blue jeans, and tennis shoes; the only thing not included are mini-Apple products for him to present to your other action figures. According to Inicons, removing the mini-Apple products from the packaging keeps the figure in legal territory and allows the product to be sold. However, Apple disagrees stating that Job's family owns all rights to his likeness and it cannot be used without their permission.
Personally, I find the figure to be a neat tribute. I love Apple products and think of Steve Jobs as one of the greatest computer innovators and visionaries in American history. I do respect that his family may not want some unauthorized company in China profiteering off of Job's death, and believe they have every right to seek legal action, but my inner fanboy does want one, because Inicons did a great job on the likeness. At first glance I thought it was a new Hot Toys collectible. Supposedly production has been stopped for the time being due to the legal actions of Apple. If you want one, and missed the pre-order window, try eBay.
Don't stare back, you will feel really uncomfortable!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Super Weird: Muscle March Trailer

Did you know Muscle March started as an arcade game before being ported to WiiWare? Did you care? Well, me either, but this old trailer for the WiiWare launch is completely nuts and worth posting. The whole thing plays out like a hokey informercial. It was designed from the perspective of an American who only knows Japan is a strange place full of dancing bears and hot Japanese women. Highlights include muscle men in speedos, more muscle men, and more speedos. The trailer is very self-aware and hilarious. The protein and muscle men connection reminds me far too much of Cho Aniki. Here is Cho Aniki looking super manly for reference purposes:

Happy New Year from George Kamitani

George Kamitani is the artist and head designer for Vanillaware, creators of fine titles like Oboro Muramasa and Grim Grimoire. He loves to show off his fancy drawing skills each year in a digital post card he sends out as a New Years Greetings. For 2012, he decided to take a sexy Hindu approach. I really hope this year isn't the end of the world yet, I still need to find a wife and play Dragon's Crown.

My Top Five Games of 2011

2011 was an amazing year in gaming. Not only did we see the release of a new Nintendo handheld, fans also got sequels to Kirby, The Witcher, and a new Elder Scrolls. I played so many new and wonderful games, it is hard to narrow my list down to five must play titles, but I will give it a shot. Without further ado...

5. The King of Fighters XIII really blew me away. Not only did SNK make up for the disaster that was KOF XII, they went above and beyond to make the follow-up the best game in the series since the 90s. A fresh fighting system with beautiful battle animations make this one of the best looking and playing 2-D fighters of 2011 or any year for that matter. If you like old SNK or fighting games in general, play this KOF. The netcode may not be perfect, but everything else is pretty damn close.

4. The Witcher 2 is a real RPG for adults. The game has plenty of salty language, sex/nudity, and violence that should keep it solely in the hands of PC gamers until some half-baked console edition is released with censorship covering the developer's asses. The fighting system was refined making for a smoother game play experience and console players can rejoice, because joypad support was added if you hate using a keyboard to move your character. I hooked my PC up to the HD TV in the living room and basked in the amazingly polished graphics and Celtic soundtrack. The game is a little on the short side, but there are multiple routes through the story for added replay value. I hope The Witcher 2 sets the precedent for adult storytelling, because the writing is mature without being insulting like so many other "mature" games try to do but fail in the process.
3. Elder Scrolls: Skyrim has taken so much of my free time. There is simply too much to do in the game. Sure you can fight and steal, but you can also read books, decorate your home, and cook. Skyrim offers so many possibilities for the player that it seems fairly overwhelming at first. The main quest is far more interesting than Oblivion, and fighting dragons is awesome. The game deserves every bit of praise it has received from fans and the gaming press. I have played for over forty hours and have yet even touch the Magic School quests or craft my own armor and weapons. If you can only afford one game from 2011, it should be Skyrim.

2. Solatorobo made me remember why I love Japanese games. The characters and world of the game just ooze charm. The story is fairly simplistic and some have knocked the game for being too easy. I can see those faults, but the level of detail that went into this game must be appreciated. The developers spent around ten years crafting the world of Solatorobo and it shows. Every NPC is unique, the towns look like something from a Miyazaki anime, the animated opening looks breathtakingly good, and the music is great. The game even includes the soundtrack for those interested in the OST. Solatorobo was a refreshing action RPG that brought back nostalgia for Tail Concerto and made me ponder why Capcom canceled Mega Man Legends 3.

1. Catherine was the most unique game I've played in years. The story is adult, weird, and funny. The main character, Vincent, finds himself in a position any man could be in: choosing between two women. However, the crazy part takes place in a nightmare world filled with sheep men and falling blocks. There he must face his own fears of intimacy or die for his sins. The puzzle portions are really fun, and this is coming from a guy who hates puzzle games. The art direction and world design are some of the best I have ever seen. Who wouldn't wanna sleep with sexy Catherine? The game has multiple endings and a bonus puzzle challenge that is insanely difficult. Catherine is a special game, one that reminded me of those weird Dreamcast games like Illbleed and D2 which had unique and cool atmospheres, but played terribly. Catherine carries that cool atmosphere and plays like a dream...or nightmare depending on your point of view. This is my game of 2011, and cheers to Atlus for making such a wonderful title!