Wednesday, October 29, 2003 @ 13:58 (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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2003-10-29 Wed

More kiminozo, bring a USB pad to a work trip

2003-10-24 Fri

Shienryuu Explosion and a high score table?

2003-10-20 Mon

Drill Milky Punch

2003-10-19 Sun

doujin games and Daikuuji-chan

2003-10-11 Sat

Game music OSTs, Kimi ga nozomu eien, shipping costs

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More kiminozo, bring a USB pad to a work trip

Now playing:
  • Kimi ga nozomu eien (PS2-jp, love story visual novel)
  • Psyvariar: Revision (PS2-jp, shmuppin' buzzing maniacs!)
  • Shikigami no Shiro II (GC-jp, 8x shmup)
I completed the another heroine story arc for Kimi ga nozomu eien ("The future you desire"). Before I finished Akane and Ayu, and the one I just finished was Hotaru. This story pulls on your heart strings. It really does. Now I'm working on Mizuki. Ahahah, otenba (tomboy) but she's the one who has to endure second fiddle to Haruka. In other words, she's the underdog. Ah why am I completing all the side characters before Haruka? Probably because there is no challenge to get her. Actually I have seen the 4 endings but there are at least 19. I think I will just use a walkthrough after I complete 1 Mizuki ending and 1 Haruka ending.

Over at the Shumps forum people have been talking about Psyvariar II: The Will to Fabricate. Thus the interest has sparked over this game and Psyvariar Revision. Actually Saurian posted a totally enlightening post about Revision and the "cheat codes" to turn on the visual red buzz circles. Ah wow! Too bad I spent over a year and half with this game without know that.

Also there have been some good buzz about Shikigami no shiro II over at the same forum. I just play as Kuga and let the shiki attack run the show while I just buzz each and every bullet that comes my way. Risky play, this buzzing. No wonder I can't make it past level 3-2. Too bad the music is not memorable.

So I've been playing all these vertical shmups. Thus my LCD TV screen is rotated on its left side. Golden, except for the fact that the built in composite looks fugly. I have been enduring this screen, but maybe it's high time to pony up to a real up-scan converter like X-RGB or something. One stupid thing I'm doing as well is keeping the screen rotated while I play Kimi ga nozomu eien. Well, I am playing the game while in bed on my side. Not too bad, except I fall asleep.

Actually I have a out-of-country business trip next week (which overlaps a concert I've been planning to go to for like 3 months argh!) so I was thinking of bringing my GBA-SP. But then again I was thinking of not bringing it at all. Might as well concentrate on enjoying the foreign sights. Yeah, games are exciting when you have a regular routine. Okay, no games, no music. Maybe just a radio. Well I do have to bring a laptop for work. Might as well install a shmup or two on it. A USB joypad? Hm, okay okay.

Shienryuu Explosion and a high score table?

Now playing:
  • Shienryuu Explosion (PS2-jp, vert shmup for points)
  • Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (PS2-jp)
Now Stacking:
  • Macross (PS2-jp, 3d shooting for you veritech fans)
Well Shikigami no Shiro II wasn't at the shop, so I guess I have to wait for the official release day. I'll pick it up on Sunday at the latest. Macross had a big display, so it must have been the game of the week or something.

I posted this about Shienryuu Explosion on a Shmups forum thread. Actually I put a high score table up as well, let's see if anybody goes for it:
I played only the Shienryuu Explosion (abbrev: SE) on Normal and Hard. In a sentence, it's a good 2000 yen spent for a shmup game aimed at beginner-intermediate skilled players. It may give about a week of play. After about 1 hour I could get up to level 8 (out of 10?) on Normal. Yup, Normal is a bit too easy, you will want to turn it up to Hard.

SE is about getting stars and points. Use your Max weapon to release stars from downed enemies. Get enough stars and you'll get an extra life. Use bombs to release more stars from enemy fire. Die, and you lose all your extra bombs. Bullets move slowly across the screen, while targeted bullets zip at a frantic clip. The hitbox is smaller than the ship. There are no powerups except for bombs. You have 3 levels of fire, "min", "mid", "max". I can't disern the difference between min and mid, but max makes your ship slow and releases stars, so you'll probably be playing most of the game with "max".

Control 1 of 3 ships with 1 of 6 colors, with 1 of 6 pilots, each with their own shot color. Picking a ship means choosing a shot type. Choosing colors and pilots does not affect the shot type. Ship speed seems to be unaffected.

Graphically, this game looks good, bullet blur, crispy tight bullet patterns. The music is forgettable, not very inspiring. It would be great if there were more audio cues.

Technical issues make this a ho-hum game. High score table mixes easy, normal and hard scores together (!) without explaining the difficulty. There seems to be no way to reset the high score table. The score resets after a continue, no ones digit identifier. There is mad slowdown when asteroids show up, but generally it plays like silk (60fps?) Bullets come at you from all sides, and bullet colors are nice and lavender. There's no incentive to buzz. One bad thing is the exploding bosses that flash the screen all white long enough to be irritating. It blinds you to stars and floating bullets. Yes, there is a practice mode. I haven't played it long enough to know if this has extras.

If you're looking for challenge from a recently released PS2 shmup game, go pickup Psyvariar Revision. SE is decent and competent, but not noteworthy. Pick it up for it's predecessor, Shienryuu, an excellent 2d sprite vert shmup.
Bow down!

Drill Milky Punch

Now playing:
  • Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (PS2-jp, visual novel love sim)
  • Drill Milky Punch (WinPC-jp, doujin Robotron-like anime cuteness)
New games coming out in the next couple of days, all shooters: Macross for PS2, Shienryuu Explosion, and Shikigami no Shiro 2. I am looking forward to playing all of them for like 15 minutes each day. LOL.

Macross itself is one of those big things for me. I grew up in the States on Robotech. I remember one of those testimonial commericals where kids were asked how much have they watched, and I remember this kid sitting indian style saying he watched the whole series twice or something. What networks will do to get people to watch cartoon TV. So now we are here almost twenty years later, and this game will faithfully recreate the movie and the TV series, at least the Japanese version. Hahaha. I for one welcome our veritech overlords. Do YOU remember love?

Shienryuu Explosion is a wide-screen vertical shooter that I played for a time at the TGS 2003. Not much more to expect from this one except random dodging. But a shmup! for the PS2! for 2000 yen! Thank you!

Shikigami no Shiro 2... I ran in to a demo of this game two days ago at Saurus Sofmap. D00ds stood there waiting in line for a chance to play it. The first 10000 buyers gets a cute figurine of a ugly cat. I still don't know the story behind this game, but any shmup that has the buzz/scratch system is a winner in my mind. Buzz for points, buzz because you like bullet hugging.

Just played an hour of Drill Milky Punch. On my lowly Pentium 3 500 Mhz it just crawls to like 10 FPS when there are over 200 enemies on the screen. Not much of game here, it's Robotron with limited attack range and chain kills. And of course cute characters, like Akane Suzumiya from Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. It's a party game you can play with 6 people total at the same time. But you need a beefy system to get 1000 enemies on the screen at 60 FPS. Hm. Tired of the game already, no secrets to the game except cute Ayu Daikuuji-chan as a boss character, and other KimiNozo characters bring the noise. Shelved.

doujin games and Daikuuji-chan

Now playing:
  • Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (PS2-jp, love story)
Now stacking:
  • Blaster Master, part of Memorial Series Sunsoft Vol. 4 (PS-jp, side scrolling adventure remake)
  • Soushun (想瞬 -そうしゅん-, WinPC-jp, doujin love story)
  • Nozo-pon (のぞポン, WinPC-jp, doujin shogi game)
  • Kimi ga oyogu eien (君が泳ぐ永遠, WinPC-jp, side scroll dodging)
  • Drill Milky Punch (WinPC-jp, side scroll Smash-TV like fighting)
Well that Ikaruga Sega Naomi was not the last game I bought. I picked up that Blaster Master game (actually called Meta Fight in Japanese) for only 700 yen. Habits are hard to break. Cheep coupled with nostalgia, sitting in the bargain bin. Am I really going to play this game?

I have taken some of Zepy's advice and looked up some doujin games. He recommended Soushun. I did find this at a normal price a couple weeks back, but for some dumb reason (like running out of money?) I didn't pick it up. I've been kicking myself ever since, just because it was such a limited run and could not be found at any of the shops I frequent. I finally found it at Nipponbashi Saurus Sofmap at the showcase floor for 1500. If you want to see maniac collections for sale, do not pass up the chance to go to showcase areas in used entertainment shops. Luckily it was still in the doujin soft price range, 1500 yen. W00t. When I'm done with Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, I'll give it a spin.

Also the last three are doujin games based on Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. I swear the story for this game is great. Unfortunately I am unlocking all of the sub-heroines first... Akane then Daikuji. Heh. In any case, all three games are action-based, and the last one Drill Milky Punch has the Soft Circle: French-Bread mark on it. That means quality, they did Bike Banditz, and if I recall correctly some of them were from the Watanabe Seisaku sho doujin software group. In any case let's see if this game slows down my Pentium 3 500 Mhz just like the rest.

I got a compliment on my web log recently, guess that's why I'm updating. Also the point for my weblog is not to gloat or boast (a english-speaking gamer sitting in the hot-bed of Japanese gaming goodness), but more importantly, link to interesting stuff. If I post an entry without a single link, I haven't fullfilled my aim: sharing my gaming enthusiasm. Nuff said, end soapbox.

Other game related things I've been doing: I found more magazine based information for Ikaruga. Arcadia magazine from March 2002, pristine condition. I am still looking for issue April, May, June 2002, etc. The good thing about this March issue is a poster for Ikaruga (I don't recall if this is in the game's gallery, but it probably is), a full (but dated) walk through for Chapter 3, an advertisement for Ikaruga for Sega Naomi from Sega. Arcadia gave much love to Ikaruga, at least 2 or 3 pages of color copy on the game for the year it was in arcade. I still have this stack of Arcadia magazines I plan to literally disect, scan up, and post on a web page or something. All for the Ikaruga manic in me.

I have this love-hate relationship with it though, currently "hate" mode right now, but I have this collector's streak. I reminded myself when I found a Radiant Silvergun CD-Single in "heavily scratched" condition selling for 8000 yen: get fanatical over just one game please, Ikaruga and only Ikaruga. No I didn't buy that CD single. No I am not proxy buying it for anybody.

Now if you will excuse me, I gotta get back to aiming for Daikuuji-chan. Ahaahahahaha.

Game music OSTs, Kimi ga nozomu eien, shipping costs

Now playing:
  • nothing!
I haven't been playing any games recently. Seriously. The last game I purchased I think was Ikaruga Sega Naomi edition. No games. Just work. I stopped frequenting IRC and web forums. It must be all the anime I've been watching recently. Guess I forgot how much fun game playing and interactive entertainment could be.

I was thinking about my copy of Border Down and how I haven't even hooked up my Dreamcast to play it. Perhaps I'm waiting for something?

Well the Border Down version I bought came with the "Original Sound Track" (abreviated) so I can listen to shmup music anywhere I go. I've been recently listening to Psyvariar music a lot more. On a whim back in Akihabara I bought some kasou (virtual) PC shmup game music. Virtual in this sense means there is no real game behind it. One CD is called Parhelia, made by Team Parhelia. They have one track called "The Mom". LOL. But nice beats, I can totally imagine a game based on this music. Another music CD is Zoldiras by Team DRYUAS/UMEO. There is actually a game behind this but unfortunately I wasn't able to find it. Hahah shmup music. What constitutes shmup music? For me it has to sound like Ikaruga or like Psyvariar Revision. I've got that Ketsui OST and I do plan to get that R-Type OST as well, but when playing the respective games, the music didn't move me as much.

Yesterday I finally sat down to watch the Super Mario Bros 3 Super play from the net. 60 minutes of side scrolling at insane speed. Plus some wall jumping. Ahahaha. Impossible. Now I can clear this 600 MB worth of hard drive space for more 0-day fan-sub anime. I can say one thing, this is motivating me to buy a DVD+/-R,RW,RAM writer. Har har har arr matey. (^_^)

One of the recent anime series to come out on Japanese TV is Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (君が望む永遠). This was originally an adult PC love story game and ported to the DC and PS2 as a general consumer (non-adult) love sim. Actually, the first lot of the PC version fetches tens of thousands of yen used! This is because the graphics for the sex scenes were not masked. (All video adult entertainment in Japan requires masking of "private parts".) Which is about the only thing I knew about this game. But enough about background. I was totally blown away by made-for-TV anime, it is so emotionally moving! Personally I love the love-triangle dynamic. I took a look at my Now Stacking stack and saw that I had the PS2 version, unopened. I guess if I start playing games again this will take up some of my time. Just like reading a novel.

A friend of mine told me he was waiting for that PSX, the new Sony DVD-Recorder cross PlayStation 2. DVD-Recorders are the wave of the future, and I've been getting my 0-day raw anime from a friend who owns a DVD-Recorder, unfortunately as DVD-Ram. Perhaps the PSX will be the product that will usher in the general acceptance of DVD-Recorders? That would be 2 for 2 for Sony. In my opinion Sony helped the DVD format gain a foothold into the mainstream consumer mind, back in 2000. I for one am not saving my yen for a PSX because I don't have a good TV hookup... no cable, no satellite. Well now I know why my Japanese isn't so good, not enough TV watching. LOL.

Lastly I read a statistic about shipping stuff back to the States from Japan. It's like USD 500.00 per 1 cubic meter. Ugh. I have a lot of games. Probably more than 1 cubic meter worth of games. And another cubic meter of DVDs, anime or otherwise. LOL. Actually maybe this making me buy (stack) less games. Yup. Certainly.
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