Amazon has this great preorder deal for Rhythm Heaven (Rhythm Tengoku Gold), the revered rhythm title from the studio behind Nintendo’s WarioWare games.
If you manage to find something cheap to tack on and push your order total to $25 — like this tiny $0.69 flag — you can even get free shipping. Compare this discounted price to the exorbitant $35 GameStop is currently asking for.
Rhythm Heaven is scheduled to ship in the U.S. on April 5th. Here’s a quick Japanese trailer, if you haven’t familiarized yourself with the fantastic game yet:
"Starcrossed" from Scottish chiptune artist Philip “Firebrandboy” Cunningham. I’ve had this song in my head all week! “Sing this with me when you’re lost at sea.”
I initially feared that the vocals and lyrics would ruin this track, but they’re quite nice! You can purchase popNaive, the album this track came from, and listen to other songs on the CD at CrunchyCo.
Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Oboro Muramasa) looks more and more marvelous each time I see it. Ninjas flying over rooftops, attached to kites? Sign me up for that shit. Kite ninjas were the only reason I even bothered playing through Taito’s terrible Wrath of the Black Manta.
This Vanillaware title is slated to ship sometime in 2009, though I expect it will be late in the year, considering its European release was recently pushed to Spring 2010. In the meantime, hit the above link for more screenshots and art, like this strange image:
What is even going on here?! Is that demon-giantess doing … booty claps (or “Miami claps,” as they call it in the ‘wood)? Could this be the first console title to feature booty claps? I can only hope!
Taito is holding some kind of Space Invaders x Game Center CX at the Akihabara UDX event space on March 26, the Japanese release date of Space Invaders Extreme 2. The event will include (as far as I can tell) free-play Night Striker, Ninja Warriors, and Space Invaders CXmachines, as well as Taito’s new games Hopping Road and Senor Nippon. Whatever the “No Thinking” game that isn’t Hopping Road is called.
At the same time, a Game Center CX “stamp rally” will be going on in Taito Station arcades, during which people can get stamps by playing Space Invaders CX at each location, with a special Shinya Arino business card at the end of the tour (I think… don’t ever trust my translations of anything.).
Most importantly, Taito is offering these Arino/King mascot plushes. If any TC readers are in Tokyo, it is very important that you know how much we want these things.
Tiny Preview: Art Style: HacoLife (and DSiWare to an extent)
DSiWare is enabling Nintendo to not only live up to the brilliant legacy left by bit Generations, but even surpass the acclaimed GBA series with its Art Style line.
Though Art Style titles have appeared on WiiWare, it’s on the DSi where Skip Ltd. reached for the stars and captured in its grip that same magic that compels those distant, fixed points of light in the sky to twinkle on clear nights.
Art Style: HacoLife (BoxLife) is more than just a puzzle game about cutting and folding boxes; it’s Japan’s interpretation of the American Dream; it’s the unrealistic but fulfilled promise of prosperity after a life of noble labor; it’s an alternate history in which Bart Simpson never ditched his school field trip to the box factory, and was inspired to pursue a career in the cardboard industry.
While the bit Generations games were praised for championing simple fun through spartan graphics and controls, Art Style's DSiWare games continue that tradition and add an extra addictive quality — in PiCOPiCT, it was the coin system that tied into unlocking YMCK remixes of classic Nintendo songs, accessing difficult mirror levels, and buying POW power-ups during hectic stages.
In HacoLife, the player character is represented by a winsome, ambitious blue collar worker who can choose to either refine his trade in Training mode, or jump into the real Factory mode and start collecting his cash.
Without any prior practice or real familiarity with the box-folding system, though, mistakes will be plenty on the factory line, and he’ll only scrounge a few thousand yen with each playthrough, if he’s lucky.
If he wants to earn a liveable wage, he has to take 14 Training classes, not just learning the different ways one can cut a box, but picking up the methods needed to quickly and efficiently break down a sheet into 3-5 boxes without wasting a single square. Similar to Fay’s Puzzle in Shiren the Wanderer, he must master these lessons to really survive in the game.
And by taking these classes, the young worker has more opportunities to climb the ladder, going beyond a “Part-Time” position and taking on the role of “Craftstman.” And with his successes at the workplace, the hero can rise from poverty and own the things he dreamt of one day having — a nice house, a healthy puppy, a Vespa with a full tank of gas — these simple wonders begin to populate the game’s title screen .
I’ve been idly pricing Famicoms and related stuff on eBay, trying to figure out how much of my (nonexistent) disposable income I’d have to lay out to play Japanese games. While browsing, I came across one of my favorite kinds of eBay auctions: the lot of multiples of one random item, in this case Famicom/adapters.
The seller is also offering single units and bundles of ten, but those listings aren’t as weird as a group of twenty. I guess this could be useful for game stores?
By the way, what do you guys suggest for playing Famicom games? Should I look into an adapter like this, or is there a particularly reliable Famiclone I could use — or should I shell out for a real Famicom?
The original shipping date for DQIX in Japan, March 28th, is very close to the March 20th release for the Pink, Lime Green, and Metallic Blue systems. Could the U.S’s Blue DSi originally have been part of a Japanese DQIX bundle?
When Square Enix knocked DQIX back to July, perhaps Nintendo decided to substitute another planned color release, to fill the void left in stores. Maybe they decided to use the blue ones to bolster the US launch rather than leave them in a warehouse. I don’t actually know anything, nor do I have much of a well-thought-out theory. I’m just sort of thinking out loud.
In other DQIX/DSi related news, NCSX is taking preorders for a DSi-length version of the delightful Smile Slime stylus set. The blue doesn’t look much like the DSi blue in the picture there, but my Slime stylus seems to match better, so it may just be something about the picture. There’s also a new transparent blue/Metal Slime set for DS Lites. Both will be available starting July 11th, the new release date for DQIX.
Adventure game sequel, daily challenges revealed for Game Center CX 2
Accompanying Game Center CX 2's release in Japan this week, publisher Namco Bandai revealed the last new game apprearing in its collection of “retro” titles — Kacho wa Meitantei (The Chief is a Great Detective) Part II, a sequel to the previously announced “Game Computer Floppy Drive System” adventure release.
With an RPG and now two full adventure games in its catalog, I imagine it will be very difficult for importers to get through GCCX2 without some Japanese translating abilities. Hopefully, all this text won’t dissuade U.S. publisher Xseed from eventually localizing the game.
As was the case with Nintendo’s Famicom Detective Club series for the Famicom Disk System, which Kacho wa Meitantei plainly pays homage to, this follow-up was “released” only three months after the first game. It features a character that looks ripped from 20th/21st Century Boys, which is not a bad thing whatsoever.
Namco Bandai also detailed the game’s daily challenges, which you can complete to gain points that can be traded in for some sort of reward. The above challenge, for example, asks you to execute three drift boosts in Rally King Ex. Naturally, I’m up to that task.
I haven’t seen The Wrestler, but I understand it’s a very sad movie about a washed-up pro wrestler. For me, though, it’s always going to be a very sad movie about the washed-up NES Pro Wrestling, thanks to the appearance of this lookalike game.
Surprisingly, motion graphics artist Kristyn Hume and programmer Randall Furino created a real game for the movie’s video game sequence. Wrestle Jam ‘88 has “an intro screen, character select, win / loss conditions, opponent AI, eight different attacks,” Furino told Kotaku. Evidently, when the characters play it in the movie, they’re really playing it!
Composer Joel Feinberg even created an original chiptune version of Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health” for the game, reproduced here with Pro Wrestling footage:
Despite its nonexistent online features, less graphical flare, and possible touchscreen/interface issues, the DS edition of Puzzle Quest: Galactrix has a major advantage over the sci-fi puzzle/RPG’s other versions — portability.
With the handheld game releasing this week, I thought it might be interesting to compare what the game looks like now to screenshots from early 2007, when Galactrix DS was still in early development and without a publisher. I encourage you to click on these resized images for much larger shots (pardon the IGN watermarks).
As a bonus, I also threw in a shot from Galactrix DS’s July 2008 build into the middle of this comparison.
These screens show the hybrid game’s most significant evolution, its transformation from a traditional block setup (looks like Panel de Pon or Collapse?) to the more complicated match-three hex field you see now. I much prefer the middle image’s handling of the top-screen character portraits and data, especially the energy shield.
Why are these two dudes avoiding eye contact? And why would a guy in the future and in outer space be wearing a camouflage chest-plate? The placement of the women, relative to their backgrounds, is really weird, too.
And that’s all the shots I have! You can read early reviews for Puzzle Quest: Galactrix DS — which award high scores but unfortunately report “constant load times,” visual effects often not showing up, and some inaccuracy with the touchscreen — at IGN and GamesRadar.
“…The difference, just like in real life, between a croissant and a Danish is minimal at best. They’re both pastries. I suppose a Danish is round and therefore could roll, unlike a croissant. But other than that, you eat them.”—
5TH Cell’s Jeremiah Slaczka discussing item properties in Scribblenauts, in an interview I posted yesterday. I’m thrilled basically whenever I get to talk about this game, so I was suitably hella jazzed to get to talk to one of the dudes making it.
“Zelda Medley" an Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask tribute by Derris-Kharlan.
There are dozens of fanmade tracks reimagining The Legend of Zelda's music, but this song, despite its unadorned name, is especially lovely. Of course, that just might be composer Koji Kondo's talent shining through.
It’s an 11-minute tune, but that gives you an excuse to hang out here a bit and keep Tiny company. He gets lonely sometimes, and worries that his life here is turning into a Liz Phair song.
“There was a lot of ad-libbing, and the thing that stands out in my mind the most was the musical callback of “I Blame Our Schools!”, sung to the tune of a trombone’s rimshot. Ridiculous.”—Comedian Greg Proops, on his work with John “Bender Bending Rodriguez" DiMaggio as MadWorld's announcers. I am a lot more interested in the game after reading this interview.
Nintendo announced this month’s round of downloadable titles for DSiWare! Two more Art Style titles from Skip! And Mr. Driller! The games won’t release until Wednesday next week, but you can check out some videos, screens, and descriptions below:
Art Style Series: Nalaku (500 Nintendo Points) - A puzzle game in which you climb onto and step over cubes to change their color as more cubes drop onto the field. Possibly the first Art Style/bit Generations title to feature a playable, human-like hero?
Art Style Series: Hacolife (500 Nintendo Points) - Finally, a puzzle game that lets you live out your lifelong dream of working at a box factory. Translated as Box Life, this title has you folding contiguous squares into boxes — I’m surprised by how excited I am for this particular release!
Chotto Asobi Taizen: Onajimi Table (500 Nintendo Points) - Several card/board games excerpted from Clubhouse Games, such as Reversi, Hasami Shogi, Go, Shogi, and Hanafuda.
Mr. Driller (800 Nintendo Points) - A condensed version of Mr. Driller Drill Spirits with Mission, Time Attack, and Driston modes.
Ide Yousuke’s Healthy Mahjong DSi (800 Nintendo Points) - Mahjong with Mii support and both local/online multiplayer; you can even play against people with the Wii version of this title.
Nintendo DSi Calculator (200 Nintendo Points) - A simple calculator with Famicom Mario and Animal Crossing skins — themes sold separately!
Nagameru Dake de Kashikoku Nareru! Mojipittan Shiritori Tokei (200 Nintendo Points) - A “dictionary clock” featuring Mojipittan characters and a scrolling display of words with their definitions, in Japanese of course. The title translates to You Can Become Wiser Just By Looking! Shiritori Clock. Cute!
The 99DS exhibit in Wellington, New Zealand brings together an unlikely combination of prints from local artists Christian Pearce and Greg Broadmore — 99 pieces featuring hot rods (Deadly Sleds), and 99 illustrations of nude women slipping on banana peels (Dodgy Slips).
The two collections share a common bond, though, as every image in both groups was created using Colors, a homebrew painting application for the Nintendo DS.
Quick description of the series:
The premise behind the 99DS series is a simple one — pick a subject, draw it 99 times and hit save. And why 99? That’s how many save slots Colors supports, and [it] also coincides with the point at which one entertains thoughts of stylus-based seppuku.
The exhibit space is also interesting, a temporary gallery housed in two white shipping containers, pictured below:
Small versions of all the prints can be seen at the top link, but be warned that there are a lot of naked female bits!
The free exhibit runs until February 27th, and can be seen in Wellington’s Civic Square.
"Overture" sample from Dragonfly’s Dragon Quest Best Dance Mix. Yes, this is an actual CD comprised of nothing but dance remixes of popular Dragon Quest songs (including an entire track inspired by the “level up” trumpets!), due for commercial release in Japan on March 4th. Let this be a lesson to you all: terrible things happen when something great becomes too popular.
“What remains here, seventeen years after its first release, is a game that’s confident within its boundaries, an experience whose strength lies in its childlike (though not necessarily childish) approach. It’s a game that boasts an indisputable wider significance — but today, it’s worthwhile primarily because it’s a joyfully innocent fable, albeit one whose impact lies in the telling more than in the tale.”—
— Simon Parkin in his review for Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride. As much as I want to pick up this remake today, I’m passing on the purchase to focus on some long put-off work; I also still need to finish Guadia Quest and a few books I’ve been meaning to read.
Hopefully, the world won’t end and the game will still be around when I finally have time to play DQV.
To promote the PSP release of Rei Cho Aniki, Famitsu put up a special page for the game — basically a big ad. It’s loaded with fairly amazing concept art for the new shooter, including the above excerpt. Where does one arrive at the kind of ‘concepts’ from which Cho Aniki bosses arise? I’m not just talking about the ‘manly’ component — I get the idea of liking dudes, but it’s quite a leap from ‘dudes are great’ to ‘hey, you know what would be a cool boss for this shooter? Giant dude inside a watermelon.’
I like how Adon and Samson follow you up and down the page.