Monday, May 27, 2002 @ 23:55 (Japan Standard Time)
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A hobbyist video gamer in the middle of Japan's gaming zone. Comments on console, PC, handheld and arcade games.
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2002-05-27 Mon

Xbox lust but other gaming yeah.

2002-05-14 Tue

Unreal Tournament 2003 announced!

2002-05-07 Tue

Do-Or-Die City

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Xbox lust but other gaming yeah.

Oh, borde with work again. Ah well, the time spent working on a problem only increases the fear of finishing the project. Heh.

Game buying?! It was overshadowed by DVD acquiring. I'll mention that I bought Mimi o Sumaseba (a Studio Ghibli movie), A Little Snow Fairy Sugar (Season 6) and Kokoro Toshokan (Episode 1). Very nice. This is was on my trip to Nipponbashi.

During the same trip... I was able to find that battle volley ball for the GBA game for 1480 yen. I also bought Chocolate Kiss (PS-jp) for about 1980 yen, but I used my Sofmap points for that. Other than that... I found Mario Kart 64 for about 2200 yen used but I didn't buy it. I should have. I also saw Dead Or Alive 3 (Xbox-jp) for about 1980 yew new. Hot damn. I saw a preview for Murakumo. Imagine robots battling in the middle of the city. Very cool graphics for the Xbox. I played a demo of a foot-based racing game for the XBox and was not impressed. I watched another demo of a rally racing game for the XBox. Very very nice graphics, impressive car damage.

I was reminded that I should have bought Spy Hunter (PS2-jp). Maybe it's a good game. I still haven't bought Kingdom Hearts (PS2-jp), but people have been playing that for a long time. I'm hoping for a used game discount. I made my list of games to get, but the small screen of my palm doesn't let me see which games I really want in priority. I forgot about looking for World Rally Circuit (PS2-jp). I saw Serious Sam Second Edition and it was about 4000 yen used, US version, JP packaging.

I got a order confirmation from OVERTOP about Grand Theft Auto 3 (PC-us). Very nice. It will be about 7700 yen this time, since I'm having it shipped over here. I can't wait till I get it and it will rock my free time. Although it might run really slowly on my computer... Ugh ugh ugh.

Still Serious Sam is rocking my world. I can't get pass the part where I have to face a million of those rocking things. It's just pass the part where I get the big chain gun.

Oh and I discovered minetrap, a minesweeper game for the Palm. I think it's a provided game. I can't figure it out why this game is so addictive. Now I think the Palm V is interesting again. Coolage.

Unreal Tournament 2003 announced!

I just checked the web again for Unreal Tournament 2003 (PC-us). It's coming out June 19. Oh yeah! YEYYEYEYE! I wonder if it will still run on my slow PC.

Do-Or-Die City

I think the reason why I don't update this log more is because my energy is devoted to either buying or collecting (more like vacuuming) games. Not playing them, because sometimes that makes me frustrated. Ironic that. (Yes, ironic meaning incongruity) Also making the gamelog is a multi-step process. If only it was as easy as a "virtual billboard". But until I am making money from my activities, I'm not devoting any money to making it easier. I've been frequenting some BBS on video games. And posting too. I try to contribute something new. Maybe my energy is drained away there.

Okay, enough about the process, lets get to the games. I recently bought Zettai Zetsumei Toshi (PS2-jp, "Do-Or-Die City", my translation). It's a new type of genre, urban survival adventure, or something to that effect. Mixed into that is a "friendship simulation" where your survival partner is one of two young women, Mari or Natsuumi, of the cute, polygonal persuasion. (You are a mid 20s guy.) Also, it turns into a Metal Gear Solid Survival mode when you are hunted. You even get to ride a bicycle. Funny.

So what do you do? You are a earthquake survivor, and your aim is to be rescued. Along the way you meet people (you can check your relationship via the handy in-game dynamic "relationship map"), pass though urban natural disasters. You live on water. Water is very important. You can only run so far before your body's water runs out, and you start taking the HP hit. Therefore, you are always running from water fountain to water fountain. There are still after shocks, so you have to assume a crouch position just so you don't get thrown off your feet.

Is it original? I think the main new thing is the realism. Bridges collapse, walls break, even building crumble right before your eyes. You can get crushed! Puzzles change when buses. Some of the physics is a little wrong, for example if a ten ton piece of building hits the ground just ten feet away from where you are standing, wouldn't the resulting ground shock catapult you? Maybe the physics is scripted, because I saw the "right effect" in some shots. Buses sliding downhill and rolling over. Cars being tossed from a falling bridge. Round objects actually rolling.

The funniest part is the improbability of the puzzles. Your hero can jump and grab onto ledges, no matter what speed or angle he's coming from. (If he misses it's instant death but still...) You can make stuff by combining what you find along the way, ala MacGyver. You get shot at. Not very realistic, but at least it is seamless meaning things happen for a reason.

I got ending 1 in 5 game time hours (a day and a half in real time). I kept dying from jumping puzzles. I'm assuming that there is 4 main endings, and at least one sub-optimal ending. In fact I got one suboptimal ending already but I had to throw it away. See the thing is, it is your save game that accumulates your endings. Usually in other games all you have to do is beat a game a certain way and the ending is saved as a system setting. But in this game you have to build on your save game. In other words, you will be doing the same puzzles at the beginning of the story at least as many times as there are endings. No reusing save games here. The second day, I got my ending 2 in about 3 hours and 33 minutes (game time). Not bad, but I think I can optimize it a bit more.

Roughly speaking, I think it is necessary to understand Japanese in order to solve some puzzles but the action puzzles require no translation.

Once you've completed an ending, you get a photo gallery. But you don't have a camera, it's your photographer acquaintance and earthquake survivor Jinnai taking the shots. You get to see what he sees when you're away from him. Interesting.

This gets a thumbs up for interesting story, great action and "use-common-sense" solvable puzzles. Play this game after Ico, and you'll see how there are different, but equally entertaining approaches to 3d based adventures.

Oh. Finally I get to play Halo (XBox-jp). I played the demo at Sofmap for about 2 hours. Yes 2 hours, with none of the kids asking me to "kawatte" ("let me play, let me play"). I am impressed. I got used to the controller setup, running, strafing, aiming. I must say that it is very colorful and exciting. XBox definately has the graphics capability. I am definately going to get an XBox after these things occur: I convert my Pokemon Silver Blue GBA into a TV-based handheld (via a kit); I buy a used Nintendo 64 and play Mario 64; XBox used gets to less than 20,000 yen; I finish some of my other unbeaten platform games on PS2. In other words, maybe around Christmas 2002. Nevertheless, I can see I have a couple of games I want to buy for that system, Halo, DoA3, Gun Valkyrie, Panzer Dragoon. I'm sure there are others. Too bad I have to import a DVD remote controller to make it a Region 1 player. Too bad I can't play US games.

Speaking of next generation consoles, how 'bout Gamecube? Well, my sights are set on getting the DVD-based unit. I don't know, I just like having more features on my gaming consoles. But its running 40,000 yen new and there aren't any used units for cheap at my favorite used shop, Game Shop Plus. Heh. For the same reasons above, I'm not getting a Gamecube soon. Plus the only games I want for it are Super Smash Brothers Blitz (?), and Pikmin. Heh. Yes, Xbox is higher on my list. I love some Nintendo games, but I like the variety and realism you can get with other consoles' games.

Recently I have been just vacuuming games. It seems there was a flooding disaster at Super Potato Nipponbashi gaming shop and some of the used Dreamcast games got water-soaked damage. They sure do have that mildew smell. :-( I picked up DoA 2 (DC-jp) for 286 yen. I picked up 3 other games at the same price. Bargain! Sale! But I haven't tested if the water-logged DC CD-ROMs actually work. Hm. Maybe I should. Just as soon as get my database of games up and running. Yeah, that's coming along, right. Other games... I picked up that VW Beetle racing game (N64-jp) and Zelda: Ocinara of Time (N64-jp) for about 1,000 yen each, new. I was looking for Mario 64 but it is still being sold 4,000 yen new at Sofmap. That the cost of a plain N64 used!!! Must be a quality game.

Oh yeah, I was trying to find a new Dreamcast console, not to buy it but to see the availablity. There are none to be had at the Sofmap. What will I do when my consoles die? I never really thought about it. Just gotta frequent the used game shops I think.

Came across an demo unit of Spelunker (NES) two days ago. A boy's dad was playing, I thought he had some technique. At the same used game shop (Super Potato Classic?), there were NO Nintendo 64 used games. This is wierd.

Other than that, with Doom 3 PR (product relations) just gearing up and Unreal Tournament 2003 (this is a dumb name) just around the corner, PC gaming is three genres for me: Unreal Tournament, 2d fighting and reading adventure games. www.unrealplayground.com caters to the CTF gamer, and I frequent their server a lot because they actually include new maps into the rotation. UT is fresh again. I am at a loss at how I can buy UT 2003. Well, if I make my list of games and DVDs that I can't live without...

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