Sunday, March 30, 2003 @ 20:07 (Japan Standard Time)

A hobbyist video gamer in the middle of Japan's gaming zone. Comments on console, PC, handheld and arcade games.
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2003-03-30 Sun

Jigoku e iku no wa, omae ga saki da!!

2003-03-26 Wed

Hyping and Twelve Stag

2003-03-22 Sat


2003-03-20 Thu

Game blog fever

2003-03-07 Fri

The swooshing pattern.

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Jigoku e iku no wa, omae ga saki da!!

Recently played:
  • Soul Calibur II (GC-jp: 3d 1-1 fighting)
  • Final Fight One (GBA-jp: 2d side-scroll brawl) using my GBA SP
  • Money Idol Exchanger (GB-jp: "drop" puzzle)
Now stacking:
  • Twinkle Star Sprites (SS-jp, DC-jp: Shooting)
  • Cotton 100% (PS1-jp: Shooting)
  • Hippa Linda (PS2-jp: Adventure)
Soul Calibur's XianghuaSoul Calibur on the Dreamcast defines my recent fighting game experience. Glowing, flashing weapons and extreme vibrantly graphic fighting. I have given up casual 2-d fighting games, really since 2000. I still buy 2-d fighting games out of some sort of nostagic reflex. Perhaps I should sell my Guilty Gear X and any Capcom fighters newer than Street Fighter Alpha 3, but as my recent trips to used game shops show me, the fetching price is worse than just keeping them. So why am I talking about Soul Calibur? 3-d fighting games such as Dead or Alive 2 (PS2-jp) and Soul Calibur (DC-jp) are my cup of tea. Or maybe it's just the virtual polygonal T&A. I swear Soul Calibur II (below: SC2) has just as much emphasis on "jiggling" as DoA.

So with great anticipation, I bought the Gamecube version of SC2 and a Hori-created 6 button fighting stick. I proceeded to play Weapon Master mode, a great source of frustration and pleasure from the previous incarnation. The graphics aren't as improved as I had imagined from a next generation console. I want to see what the XBox version looks like. The joystick was comfortable, but as I complained last time that the Hori joystick I bought before broke, I'm not confortable with Hori the company. I am sure glad I did buy a joystick, because SC2 requires 4 buttons. For you Capcom fighter fans out there that means the following buttons with positions implied: short jab forward and fierce. In the 13 hours of playing this game, it's been very fun, and when I get frustrated with lithe "nante ne!" Xiang Hua, I bust out "you're going to hell first" Mitsurugi. And hey, character voice for Talim is Yukari Tamura (Misha: "Daijoubussuka?"), and Xiang Hua is Aya Hisakawa! Definately cool. Mainly I'm sticking with the Weapon Master mode and the original arcade modes just for my 1P foray.

But my main opinion of this game is that Namco didn't expend more effort to include newer content on the older characters. Yes they have new moves, but the katas that the old characters do is still the same. Okay, so I'm being a little harsh, since there are more modes, more moves, more characters, more stages, and more weapons. But still. I've probably unlocked only 60% of the goodies.

And I finally got a Gameboy Advance SP. I decided to get the black one, since I don't have any other devices in that color. I have blue keitai and I don't like that silver color. So I spent some time playing with it. Definitely it's going to take some time getting used to the buttons, especially the top ones. I played Final Fight One on my Celebi Gameboy Advance and I almost beat it on one credit on maximum difficulty (but starting out with 9 lives and 1 free life every 200000 pts) on the morning just before buying the SP. I played with FFO again on the SP and I wasn't able to get past the Rolento stage. Don't remind me about the front light. Uh, yeah it's effective for looking at the screen in environments where the old GBA was unusable, but it's distracting. Very distracting. I gave Money Idol Exchanger on it a whirl for about 30 minutes. I don't know, it's going to take some getting used to playing this GBA SP.

Twinkle Star Sprites (Sega Saturn) Twinkle Star Sprites (Dreamcast)

Other things I got on my trip to Nipponbashi was Twinkle Star Sprites (SS-jp, DC-jp), Cotton 100% (PS1-jp), and Hippa Linda (PS2-jp). I heard about Twinkle Star Sprites from Shumps forums and yet again I base my purchase on the recommendation. I spent most of my time looking for a DC copy with obi. But there was only one place where they had it, Big Tiger South. At the same time, I found the Sega Saturn version as well. Instead of vacillating between one or the other, I bought both. Ehm. I still have yet to play it, but I want to compare it to Kioh-Gyoku (PC).

Cotton 100% (PS1-jp)

Cotton 100% was one of those re-released shmups at 1500 yen. Soukyugurentai (PS1-jp) is another one that will be released much in the same manner. I don't like side scroling shmups that much, but if I'm going to be buying R-Type Final (PS2-jp) which I actually requested a sample version, I might as well get used to it with something cute.

And then there's, Hippa Linda. It seems I buy almost any that's made by Treasure, these days. I am resisting buying that recent boxing game for the GBA made by Treasure, though. Hippa Linda is some wierd fantasy adventure game where you have a ghost hand coming out of your back. You do all sorts of crazy stuff. I think, I'm not sure yet b/c I haven't opened the box.

Hyping and Twelve Stag

Now playing:
  • Noiz2sa 0.5 (Windows)
  • rRootage 0.2 (Windows)
  • Made in Wario (GBA-jp)
  • Twelve Stag (PS2-jp)
I can't get enough of Noiz2sa! Well actually I have already, after trying to beat my own records, I've become a bit tired trying to "go the distance" one last time. I'm trying to recommend this game to my friends, but yeah, no one else like this game. :-(

And then, the bombshell dropped. From the creator of Noiz2sa comes rRootage. This is boss battles done in the same format as Noiz2sa. However this game is innovative because it includes four different modes, normal, Ikaruga, Psyvariar, and Gigawing (here's my pr1m0 p1mp1n'). This time around it has more dependance on your graphic accelerator card and the like. Killer music and effects. The Psyvariar mode seems a bit slow until you get into the higher levels.

I did get Sister Princess 2 (PS-jp) and Twelve Stag (PS2-jp). I haven't yet opened Sister Princess 2 so that's waiting in the queue. I did play Twelve Stag before giving up on it. I started to hate the game. First of all, you will wish you had a joystick. The controls require you to press left right right, or right left left quickly. If you use a Sony Dual Shock 2 like I do, your left D-pad thumb will tire quickly. You could switch on auto-rapid side Staggin', which makes the game much easier to play, but as we all know, that's cheating. Bullets patterns are interesting, reminds of something from Strikers 1945 (PS-jp). I pretty much have no more interest playing this game, and I considered selling it. Ugh. It's just too tiresome to play.

And then due to the hype, I purchase Made in Wario (GBA-jp). That was a mistake also. Some people on the net touted its learning curve as the game itself. Yeah, it's interesting alright, but I didn't think it felt fresh. The game is definately zany but it doesn't keep me wanting to play it.

So I'm back to play Noiz2sa again. Not that that's bad or anything.


Now playing:
noiz2saI just came across a shmup gem. Noiz2sa Here's what I wrote in an post on Shmups Forums: "Killer graphics, great (techno? rave? beats?) music in OGG format, pure vertical manic shooting. As a shmup it doesn't have much in the way of innovation, just shoot and slow buttons, but you are bombarded with bullet patterns nonetheless. Plus you can customize it yourself with your own bullet patterns using a special programming language called BulletML. Not a demo, it's even open source (license looks a little like BSD-no advert), using the Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL)! Uh, well if you like programming... Okay sure, this game is on my list of must p1mp. Heh."

I can't stop playing this game! If not for getting the high score, just the sheer fun of dodging all of those bullets.

I've been writing too many posts to Shmups Forum as piyo with Sugar as avatar. Here's a highlight of what I've posted over the last couple of months:

Yeah, I post too much content and I don't get much feedback from the masses. Heh. Maybe I should post more flamebait. I plan to post some more, since I will be purchasing Twelve Stag (PS2-jp), DoDonPachi DaiOuJou (PS2-jp), and R-Type Final (PS2-jp), as well as some other recommended games like Twinkle Star Sprites.

I was shocked to play Sugar Shooting after "stacking" it all this time. It's not bad, its just that you aren't able to see cuteness of the characters. And with the patch that was released in February 2003, you get to collect coins. Hm. Well, in between bouts of Noiz2sa I will play it some more.
Ack! My Panasonic Q won't let me use the Game Boy Player! What was Panasonic and Nintendo thinking?!?!!?

Game blog fever

Now playing:
  • Ikaruga (GC-jp)
  • Mars Matrix (DC-jp)
So I have been a wee bit lazy with my game log (I haven't really updated my pages since April 2, 2002, even though I have been typing some sorts of logs all this time.) I guess I maintaining a PostgresQL database via the Cygwin/Windows extension just for a game log really made me feel like it was work. We'll see if I can extract that database information one last time.

Oh, and I'm motivated to update my pages again because of Mr. Classic Gamer Laser Option. His blog, Confessions of a Classic Gamer, rocks. I think I'll try that "Now Playing" as well.

I don't agree with his summarization of the Square RPG formula or with his characterization of "mooks", however. "Mooks" seem to be defined as those modern gamers who like flash and story over reflex gaming. For example, he draws the line of RPGs at Final Fantasy VII. Why? Too many cut scenes? I enjoyed Final Fantasy X just like the rest of them out there, but I don't claim to be a phanboi. It was entertainment and for that I got my money's worth. I could take it as far as I want, for example, try to avoid lightning strikes 200 times or to weave a Chocobo through a balloon maze within a certain amount of time to win killer weapons or skills. This is reflex gaming at it finest, but that wasn't the type of game I wanted from FFX. I got the story, I played thea "mini-game" of collecting monsters ala Pokemon (this probably took me 40 hours, very fun! this is why "mini-game" is in quotes). It was great!

"Mooks" are very necessary in this entertainment medium, because they bring more money to game development, which means more money for niche console games like shmups. Perhaps I disagree because I am a "mook" myself. I like games with story and flash. I don't always like to play reflex games. Using "mook" to describe those casual gamers doesn't give us the licence to deride those folk and their young 'uns.

I've been posting as piyo rather heavily and verbosely on the Shumps Forum since January. Why? I'm not really much of a shmup fan, but there is sometimes some intelligent discussion, and some threads of argument I disagree with, that makes the place very interesting. Lurkers sometimes post with information nuggets of gold. It is much better that the board based on the news site Insert Credit. Due to Shumps Forum, I have been finding games that make me rethink about my video game entertainment. I've realized that there is excitement in repetition and memorization, which shmups require. No, those things aren't boring. It's like memorizing a speech, or playing a song on an instrument. You need timing and style. Most of all you need good reflexes. I am finding at my age of 28, I don't have the reflexes to get the high scores, but I have found my niche of fun in playing and figuring out for myself the patterns to shumps.

Does that mean I'm forgoing the RPGs and platformers I've formerly associated with good video gaming? No, of course not. However, at my age and attention span, perhaps I only should be playing shmups. I have less time now. Do I want to devote 70 hours to playing Final Fantasy X-2 (PS2-jp)? It just seems like a hassle given the number of hours. But I remember I have about 100 hours on Final Fantasy X (PS2), and I loved playing that game, it was a good story. On second thought, I've already amassed 30 hours in Ikaruga, a shmup where I die within 5 minutes of play. The only difference is that I can quit in 5 minute intervals in a shmup instead of searching for the next save point in an RPG. Heh.

Ikaruga is keeping me occupied. I force myself to practice every day. Yes force, because sometimes I just want to watch TV. Just yesterday I was using the Conquest: Slow mode for section 1-3. Gotta hone my combo skills. It's fun just to practice in slow motion to see how fast you can combo. Which leads me up to the Ikaruga Net-Ranking. By now, my best Arcade Challenge score is 5,890,980 points, which garners me a 98th place as of 2003/03/19. I should be dropping off the ranking page any day now, ahahahah. By the way, I've created a little calculation script that tells you how many points you can get from continued comboing in Ikaruga. No it doesn't calculate destroyed ship point count or absorbed bullets. It requires ruby:
Ikaruga scoring
multiplier calculation
if ARGV[0] == "" then
puts "bad"
score = 0
count = ARGV[0].to_i
multip = 1
while count != 0
count = count - 1
score += multip * 100
if multip < 256 then
multip *= 2
puts "Score:" + score.to_s
So what's next for this gamer? Well, tomorrow brings two shmup related purchases, Twelve Stag (PS2-jp) and the Hori Digital Pad (GC accessory). Woopie doo, as in I can wait. Hopefully that Hori Digital Pad will help me with my Ikaruga scores. Maybe I'll send my thoughts on Twelve Stag to the shmup forum.

Also, Sister Princess 2 (PS-jp) will be tomorrow. I gotta go to Gamers Kobe to pickup the pre-order. It got some low scores from Weekly Famitsu, but I enjoy listening to the seiyuu, "Oniichan, dai suki!" Speaking of pre-orders, there were no Dodonpachi DDJ (PS2-jp) pre-orders left at the Gamers Kobe shop! Shocking! That's alright, I rather get add my rupi points to my Sofmap card, so I'll preorder it there. I've purchased lots of stuff from the kickback points.

Then the next week brings Soul Calibur II (GC-jp). I am convinced that this is the fighting game for me. Soul Calibur (DC-jp) was pretty exciting and fun because of the katas and stuff. Mitsurugi is the bad-ass. I especially like Kilik and Xiang Hua. Oh yeah. This time around, I'm getting the game on the Gamecube because its the best console I have at the moment (I'm planning to buy the more minaturize XBox when it is available). Also that Link character is exclusively Gamecube. Also, there is a Soul Calibur II joystick controller that is the standard Capcom fighter 6 button configuration. I need that for some shmup gaming. ^_^;

Oh and where's my GameBoy Advance SP?!?!?! Yes I want one but no I haven't taken any steps to secure my copy. The stores are a wasteland, nothing but the GBA SP headphone adapter in sight. I think I'll just punt it and wait for a "special edition" from the Pokemon store or a Hello Kitty version or something. Always have to have something normal people don't. Of course, why spend my money on it at all if it's not special to me?

So how do I make this site now? I have started using Mozilla's Composer just for basic text editing. It is very lightweight but feature-filled. It can show WYSIWYG and CSS style sheets. I am wishing for emacs-style keyboard control, but adjusting for now. I type the body of the text in Mozilla's Composer, then I paste the html into my custom-built blog application system, which consists of Internet Explorer, PostgresQL 7.1.3, and PHP, I think. If I have some inline pictures then I add them manually to the log folder. Once it is built I generate a static version of the web site to put on my simple home page account. I check if it looks "right" in both IE6 and Mozilla 1.x.

If I feel up to it, I'm going to release the sources to my blog application. Not very much to it, I'm afraid. You could hack something like it in a day or two. But it works for me.

The swooshing pattern.

Oh yeah, bought the Beach Spikers (GC-jp) and was kinda disappointed. Um I should have just waited to buy that game when it got really really cheap. Really, I mean the texture quality of the models is something left to be desired. Ahahah, I should have waited for DOA Extreme Volleyball (XBox-jp).

On a furthur note, I am practicing Ikaruga (GC-jp), about 15-20 minutes every day. I'm trying to get my score past 3,000,000 or chapter 3 on one quarter. My best combo as of right now is C-1 63 or something. I jumping back and forth from rabid playing to controller smashing. Very frustrating.

So, what does my shooting pattern look like in Ikaruga? wwbbwwbbbbbbbbwwwwwwwb (Chapter 1 Faith) wwbbwbwb (swooping right to left, left to right) wwbbbwb (swooping parabolic left side right side) wwbbwwbb... uh I forget.

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