Monday, February 23, 2004 @ 22:42 (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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2004-02-23 Mon

Unwrapping the goodies, Rubik's Cube, Gunbird frustration

2004-02-22 Sun

European Goodies

2004-02-15 Sun

Unreal Tournament 2004 demo, Non-sequitur daydreaming, Gaming Journals

2004-02-11 Wed

Lock on! Music. Failed VHS tape copying

2004-02-08 Sun


2004-02-06 Fri

New systems

2004-02-01 Sun

Sakura Gaming

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Unwrapping the goodies, Rubik's Cube, Gunbird frustration

Now playing:
  • Halo (WinPC-gb, Crash landing on a ring)
  • GunBird 1 & 2 (PS2-jp, Vert shooting cross looking for a faster ship)
Now stacking:
  • Rubik's Puzzles 2000 (WinPC-jp, You can't remove the virtual stickers)
  • Futari no Fantavision (PS2-jp, Target fireworks, and explode them, with a friend)
I had to get off the plane and something to eat. Unfortunately I also had to go to my favorite game shop. I just had to.

I spied Futari no Fantavision (Fantavision for two people) for about 1580 yen used. I remember playing the first game, and trying to understand how to play well. I ended up just randoming targetting. Hopefully this one has "advanced" graphics as a second or third-gen game. Wasn't the first one a first-release title for the PS2?

Another game I salvaged from the bargain bin was Rubik's Puzzles 2000. I already have this game in English. I got a kick out of looking at the antiquated system requirements: Windows 95 or 98, P2-266, 64MB of memory. Did I first play this game on such a hotrod PC rig? I can't recall. When did my Rubik's Cube geek'zm start? I remember scowering my public library for books on the Cube. What about those rigorous mathematical proofs well hidden inside of those "Solve your Rubik's Cube in a day" books? Am I the only one who has a Rubik's Cube in 2x2x2 (?), 3x3x3 ("Cube"), and 4x4x4 ("Professor"), both in real life and virtually?

Now we come to GunBird 1 & 2. A top-down vertical shmup, yes. It reminded me of Strikers II 1945, which is not surprising since it is from the same company, I think. Ah screw the net search for links. Well, there are loading times galore with this game, but not at the game playing areas. And it is kinda hard. No, it is really stupendously hard. I had the thought of scrapping not only this game, but my other copies of this game (DC-jp, SS-jp), and selling it back to the store. Ugh. And why is the ship so slow?!? Hey I enjoyed Strikes II 1945 but I didn't find this game compelling. Call me the fool.

I actually bust the plastic wrap off of Halo first. Halo actually recommended me to get a faster processor. (Clippy: "Looks like you're trying to play a FPS. Would you like to order a new processor?") I took that as a cue to lower the graphics settings to the minimum so that my poor P3-500Mhz could have some breathing room. I was hoping my Radeon 7200 could help me out here but there are limits and then there are miracles. Firefights were uncontrollable. Slowdown every 30 seconds. Not very fun, but at least I got a taste of the atmosphere that is Halo. I should get a new PC now. Really. No, I am not wanting a XBox.

I want to photograph my various collections of Ikaruga stuff and post it here. I also want to read this sci-fi book called Manifold: Time by Stephen Baxter (Google search first review). Guess which one I want to do first? Guess which one will require less effort on my part? Yup. I won't be posting for a week or two.

European Goodies

Now playing:
  • Nothing
Now stacking:
  • Ikaruga (GC-eu, Shooting in black and white)
  • Halo (WinPC-gb, Shooting in color)
  • Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (WinPC-gb, Not a shot in the house)

Business trip to Europe. One thing I look forward to on these trips is the layovers at airports. For example London Heathrow airport boasts a shopping experience the size of a football field. I get to see all of the electronics going into Europe. I guess it is an eye opener to see how Europeans game.

I was able to look at that Edge magazine from the UK. What is it with game magazines like that that have to devote two pages to a "mission statement?" Sure it looks cool, or like an example of graphic design, but really, shouldn't it just about the games? Who needs perspective and editorialization?

I also met a Ms. Pacman/Galaga machine, asking for 50p. Being the ignorant American, I could not understand what "p" was. What monetary unit was that? Pense? 6 pense and none the wiser!

On the subject of arcade machines, every time I leave from the Kansai International Airport (KIX), I play a round of Dodonpachi and Raiden Fighters. My recent gaming addiction to Parsec47 left me overconfident. With the two above games, I had trouble finding the bullets on the screen!

I was able to pickup Ikaruga for the Spain market. After what seemed like a long time I found it in some non-descript EB Games like shop. I was completely estatic finding it. Too bad it was sitting there at 20 euro. I am planning world domination and nobody can stop me!

I heard that Prince of Persia was a great game so I went out on a limb and bought the PC version. And I had to have Halo. Well not really. But I was determined to figure out the Master Chief, in english, on a PC, not Japanese, on a Xbox.

Unreal Tournament 2004 demo, Non-sequitur daydreaming, Gaming Journals

Now playing:
  • Parsec47 (WinPC-jp, dodge dodge dodge)
  • Yumeria (PS2-jp, no more mallets please)
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 demo 1 (WinPC-jp, FPS with vehicles!)
Well well what a surprise. Unreal Tournament 2004 demo 1 is out. I didn't get any advanced word! Heh. However isn't UT2004 just more of UT2003? Yes, but now if they have been focusing on content for the last year, this is going to be great. Basically instead of those "Bonus Packs" circa 2001, they are bringing out more content for the UT2003, but just slapping the 2004 label on it. I for one am going to get the "premium" box or whatever that is going to have 150 hours of game playing and UnrealEd advice. 2 DVDs of UT2004 goodness, yeah. Have I actually played all of the demo? Truth be told, I've only hit on Deathmatch, and still I haven't played all of UT2003. Just gotta upgrade my PC, that's what I've been saying for the last year and a half.

Oh gosh I need to get of rid of Yumeria. I am still trying to finish it, i.e. using a cheat sheet and just reading the story line. In fact, I am playing the game while writing, it is that intensive. When I am done, I can actually start... Ever 17? D.C.? Gotta keep the PS2 in use. And then I see they are opening a Neneko channel for the PSBB (broadband service for the PS2). Um, for a moment I was considering getting it. No. No! Must resist!

And what can I say about Parsec47 0.2? I probably racked up more than 20 hours on it already. I even brought my Guilty Gear controller (the one with the Sega Saturn like D-pad) to work for my fix. Forget the roll mode, lock mode just is pure fun. I've opened up level 200 (!) on normal, but for a quick fix I play Hard stage 5. Quick and fun.

One wierd thing is when I am playing this game I am daydreaming. I think of other things at the same time, like if I'm going to eat beef or chicken for dinner, or I need to get some stamps, or... This game is supposed to be involving, but in the middle of dodging hundreds of bullets, it seems I have left over brain power. Hahaha.

This gaming log now sports an RSS feed. I didn't know it could be a static file, heh. This will probably not bring any hits my way, but there was one person asking for it, so I tried making one.

Also, looking for "gaming logs" like mine on the net, I saw this weblog service for gamers: Gaming Journals. Very interesting service. Take a look at their rules page. I don't know if or how I can use this service with my current gamelog. I would much rather control every part of my website, at the expense of convenience. I do find the daily journal summaries very useful, though.

Lock on! Music. Failed VHS tape copying

Now playing:
  • Parsec47 (WinPC-jp, Now with Raystorm goodness!)
Well where have I been? I just discovered that Parsec47 ("Defeat retro enemies modenly. [sic] Retromodern hispeed shmup") is now up to 0.20, though it's been out for a month or so. You can call it the "lock" and "roll" upgrade. Here's my final performance:

Parsec47 0.20 Lock Extreme score

Extreme score from stage E1, Lock mode: 4 466 360. Opened the rest of the stages via stage select. Sucky.

Parsec47 0.20 Roll Extreme score

Extreme score from stage E1, Roll mode: 2 437 990. Opened the rest of the stages via stage select. Extreme newbie.

Sweet sweet danmaku action, especially lock mode since it is easier to play than roll mode, leaving you to concentrate on controlling the on-coming bullets. Lock has that sweet lock-on gimick from Raystorm, but you don't have to worry about any lock-on limit.

Let's see if I can play some more at work. Hahaha.

Oh yeah, take a look at this reference site for game music. Well I gotta get me the Raystorm soundtrack sometime and this helped.

Speaking of game music, I found that Afterburner music I liked. You know, the one that fits right into that movie, Top Gun. Turns out it's called "After Burner version II" from the S.S.T Band CD: "Back in the S.S.T. Band! The Very Best" (SCDC-00312).

Oh, and about that Battle Garegga (dang it I can't spell this right!) VHS tape from a couple entries back? I couldn't get it copied to DVD-R because of Macrovision. Better find a more "capable" friend. Hahaha.


Now playing:
  • Nothing
Now stacking:
  • Rikujyou boeitai Mao-chan (PS1-jp, cute bishoujo senshi training)
  • Halo (Xbox-jp, adventures on a ring in space)
  • D.C. (PS2-jp, magical visual novel)
  • Shikigami no Shiro 2 (PS2-jp, magical kasuri shooting)
And still I haven't been gaming much.

Just like the "dullest blog in the world" my entries are right up there with insight. Here let me translate and summarize my blog into the "dull" mode: "I saw a game. It was xxx yen. I took out my money and purchased the game, thereby relieving my wallet of money." Yeah just like that. No wait, that other blog is truly witty  sarcasm. I, on the other hand, have a real collector's problem.

mao chan!Rikujyou Boeitai Mao-chan (Land Self-Defense Force, Private Mao-chan, [[hq܂]]) is about a raising a cute 8-year old elementary student named Mao to defend Japan from cute aliens. Well this is another commentary on the anime and fan community at large, as the anime itself doesn't take war or itself seriously, while at the same time dishing out costume transformation, CG animation, cute enemies, and slapstick, slapshod episodic story. How could you go wrong with cute characters "battling" cute aliens? It really is loli-con at work here, although it's good there is no fan service. Also Yui Horie lends her talents as Silvie, the Osaka-accent Naval Self-Defense soldier. As a licence game for me, it's more about enjoying the voice artists than it is about pure gaming excitement. Ha.

Halo was sitting around on a shelf for 1280 yen. Yes I haven't played it yet. I still can't justify buying a Xbox even though I now have 5 games for it. Hahaha I am an idiot. I keep thinking, when am I going to get the PC version in English? Ha.

D.C. is Da Capo, a ecchi PC game turned into a mainstream (all ages) adventure for the PS2. I played the original and it was pretty fun and interesting. Your character and all the others living on the Hatsunejima island are gifted with a benign magical power. But it is not really about using that power, it's more like getting to know your heroines and how they cope with their power. The main character can make candy and that's it. The character design is pretty and has been a big hit with "Comic Market" croud. Besides, the anime and the game have the voice talents of several outstanding voice actresses, Sakura Nogawa, Yukari Tamura, Yui Horie, etc. Now that the (all ages) anime is out I have been collecting those as well, but I have been kicking myself in the butt for not reserving the game. I let it pass because I thought it wasn't worth the 8800++ yen. Now that I saw the title animation and the 4 extra characters, I had to buy the used game for 12800 yen, more than what it originally cost! Well I won't be eating great for the next few weeks.

And lastely Shikigami no Shiro 2. I have the GC version for a while and I got the PS2-jp version for the promise of three things: a figurine, a telephone card (Sofmap limited edition), and bullet customization. I sure didn't buy it because I thought the PS2 version was better than the GC version. Well we have already heard that it's coming out for the Xbox (surprise) and the DC (big surprise). Might as well complete the set by buying the premium Xbox and DC version as well. If you must know, this game has Yukari Tamura in it. Nice voice actress.

I've been saying to myself I'd organize my games list to present here, but I guess I haven't got enough motivation. Perhaps on Wednesday, a national holiday.

New systems

Well you got that new Nintendo "DS" system. It will flop. What games currently require two screens? Battery life for conventional displays sucks. Will it use OLED?

Other Xbox-like systems will probably fail. Indrema, or that laughing stock of a system with no games.

Actually I took a look at Halo again for the XBox. I rather get the PC version. Watching the clips of the Halo 2 motivated me to elevate my "want" priority.

No new games playing. Work sucks.

Sakura Gaming

Now playing:
  • Yumeria (PS2-jp, Will dreaming never cease?)
  • Card Captor Sakura: Sakura Card de mini game (GBA-jp, Made in Wario, Sakura style)
Gaming for me is proceeding at a very slow pace. Well actually my free time is allotted to fixing up my MP3s. I have ''rediscovered'' some MP3s that are hiding on my hard disk. Now my minimum requirements in the meta-data of the tags are year and album cover picture, not to mention all the regular info. I am eagerly anticipating that new Ipod mini. It will be a couple of months before it gets to Japan, and I seem to be losing patience more and more each day. Hahaha...

Back ontopic that is to say games. I finally found that Card Captor Sakura: Sakura Card de mini game, a short game collection for the GBA. I payed full price for it... and well it's not as good as the Tetris with Card Captor Sakura for the PS1 that I have from a few years back.
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