Monday, November 29, 2004 @ 08:30 (Japan Standard Time)
About

A hobbyist video gamer in the middle of Japan's gaming zone. Comments on console, PC, handheld and arcade games.
On this page

2004-11-29 Mon

Learning Go

2004-11-25 Thu

Interesting content mirroring my posts.

2004-11-24 Wed

Half-Life 2 is smooth.

Halo is legendary.

2004-11-22 Mon

An original thought.

2004-11-21 Sun

Halo 2 here I come.

The Engineering part of software engineering.

2004-11-19 Fri

Impending doom

2004-11-18 Thu

New gaming by aba games

2004-11-17 Wed

The new loading is here!

2004-11-16 Tue

Exploding motherboards

Undread Halo

2004-11-14 Sun

Dreading Halo

Burnout 3 and EA: My hypocrisy

2004-11-13 Sat

A good helping of insanity on DVD

Blinx 2 getting 33 out of 40 in Famitsu?

Famitsu's 832nd issue

Halo, 2 ... Breaking down.

2004-11-12 Fri

November is a big month for FPS.

2004-11-11 Thu

"Halo" "2" "sucks" "!". 2.38 million can't all be suckers.

2004-11-09 Tue

Keeping my friends console gaming.

The "supposed" decline of Japanese game developers

Where's waldo on rails meets mice Fight Club.

Reviews piling up

2004-11-07 Sun

Found my Halo

Do I drive on the right or left?

Stick control

2004-11-06 Sat

Xbox future, my wanted list, and where's my Halo?

Rumble Roses game movie and lyrics

2004-11-03 Wed

Another great release day with Neo-Contra, Rumble Rose demo.

Blue Xbox stops the Xbox blues

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Learning Go

While net surfing I was intrigued by Go, you know that ancient game that doesn't require electricity? Sure I wanted to play it a couple of times before but now I want to play on my Palm Clie. But first I tried it on my PC. I loaded this front end called Panda-glGo, dropped in the back-end GNU Go, and I got whipped hard. Then I tried loading a free Palm version, called Go81. (There's even a simpler version on that page called Atari.) The bots ("AI") are not so great. But they still can beat me, a mere beginner. But then again I never studied opening gambits. I'm just reaction playing. I guess I am in love with the whiteness and blackness of the stones.

Interesting content mirroring my posts.

With the amount of blogs out there, it's almost tempting to just read read read and not comment. Just suck in the comments from everyone. But I think it's important to keep on creating, even just in words, instead of just feasting. Yeah, it's either gaming, reading about gaming, or writing about gaming.

Half-Life 2 is smooth.

Recently playing:
  • Half-Life 2 (WinPC-us, Orange rulez!)

I gave Half-Life 2 more time. I tweaked the visuals to XVGA, turned on 2x anti-aliasing and enabled V-sync. Now it looks really good. But does it play well? There are many things I like about it: the physics, the reloading like Halo, the sound effects when you squeeze off rounds.

About the Half-Life 2 physics. I got stuck in an area. I thought if I stacked some barrels in water I could make a stand. First of all, I had enough barrels but some of them were explosive. Putting some in place was a dicey operation. I found enough non-explosive barrels. It took many tries to re-orient and stack the cylindrical barrels. Re-orienting something when you can't rotate it directly while chest-deep in water is an "immersive" experience. Once I jumped on, I had to move carefully that I wouldn't topple them. I finally got to the high spot. But! That really wasn't the way to proceed. I spent a wasted 30 minutes becoming an expert in barrel physics.

Half Life 2 Stacking the barrel

Halo is legendary.

Recently playing:
  • Halo (Xbox-jp, It's the cat's meow.)

I'm glad I tried Halo on Legendary. I can't get past level 2. Wow is it hard. Wide open spaces with no cover. Well that's not exactly true. But I just can't seem to get a bead on the Covenant. I think I tried for 3 hours, escaping, dodging, head-on fighting, hide-and-seek. Still no dice.

Speaking of difficulty levels, how about this article? "Dynamic Gameplay Adjustment". It's more like a commentary than a solution, though.

One thing's for sure, it's started me on Half-Life 2. ^_^;

An original thought.

Recently playing:
  • Halo (Xbox-jp, Ship this out.)

Why don't I play some more Halo? Seriously? I beat the game on Advance, why not try Legendary? Especially, since I beat the last level on it. I wish they gave out the shotgun on the earlier levels, though. I seriously can't stop thinking about Halo though, how much fun it would be to go running and gunning with the shotgun.

I'm getting mad at all the user reviews of Half-Life 2. Greatest game of all time and all that. Rubbish I tell you. I guess I need to give the game more than 30 minutes of my time. Maybe if I defrag my hard drive there won't be a load problem. But yeah, maybe I should keep an open mind about it. I am telling myself, I am not falling for the hype machine.

Speaking of hype machines, another one is the portable systems like the PSP or the DS. Do you really really need to play while you're travelling? Goddamn I sound like a luddite.

Halo 2 here I come.

Recently playing:
  • Halo (Xbox-jp, beat it on "advance" and final stage on "legend")
Well it's finally done. I replayed Halo on "advance" and now I completed the game. I went back and selected the final difficulty "legend" for the last stage and I squeezed by. I hate driving the Warthog. Hahah. Now I don't have to play this game no more and maybe I can go get Halo 2 now. Naw, I have Half-Life 2 to get started. Hm. Throwing milk cartons at cops or double fisted needler action? I guess I can wait.

Now that I'm done, I'm reading those FAQs on the web. And then I came across this: Warthog Jump. Great great movie on the real gaming in Halo.

The Engineering part of software engineering.

Recently playing:
  • Halo (Xbox-jp, Taking out enemies any way I can)

How many times have you heard ex-game developers calling themselves Engineers? This insightful post by Evan Robinson titled "Itís Not Just Abusive. Itís Stupid" (thanks Insert Credit) shows that people must think about the process of software development, even game software, from a engineering perspective. This is very interesting to me because I have often thought that game development from the coding perspective is "heroic programming" or CMM (Capability Maturity Model) Level 1.

His six main points are as follows. Read the article for the arguments as it applies to his game development experiences.
  1. Improve the work environment
  2. Find the most productive people
  3. Measure output Ė any way you can
  4. Plan your development as well as you can
  5. Prioritize
  6. Hold managers accountable for mismanagement
They sound so common sense, because it describes a feedback loop that improves the process of development. You can't improve something (#1) unless you measure (#3). You can't improve your metric for improvement if you don't measure (#3). Your time in any endeavor as well as life is limited (#4, #5). You have to cut what doesn't work to make time for methods that do (#2, #4, #6). So so common sense. This really has nothing to do with game development, or even software development itself. This is a people programming, or what normal people call management.

So what is going on at EA? Could it just be the management's fault for not trying to improve the process? Is it the nature of the medium that causes the industry to forget tried-and-true processes, because they zap passion from the game creation? Can you hold these points to small professional teams? Or hobbyists? Or even one man "teams" such as Zun? No I must be stretching the field of vision too far. Here we're talking about making games for money, not for the art. Perhaps the passion that EA searching for is the bottom line.

Evan Robinson's legacy has reached me, actually. I've played one of his games, Star Control for the PC. It was on the computer labs back in high school, though. I don't remember if it was really fun or not. I was too busy console gaming at the time and trying not to be jealous of PC users.

There is a group called the International Game Developers Associate (IGDA) which also put out a white paper "Open Letter" about the "Quality of Life" as a call-to-arms for working developers. The related links are interesting. (thanks Game Girl Advance).

Impending doom

Here's a link to an english report of a Japanese study where they say that long or prolonged computer use has a strong correlation to glaucoma cases (Thanks Kotaku). Like most of the suffers, I'm near sighted. When I'm teeteringly old and my sight fails me, then what hobby can I take up? Yeah I probably need to take up a hobby that doesn't take up electricity.

New gaming by aba games

I can't believe I missed Torus Trooper but that's why I subscribe to a lot of online news sources (thanks Insert Credit). I tried for 10 minutes and I was hooked.

Or so I thought. Usually Kenta Cho's games reach perfection at version 0.2. The one I'm playing right now is 0.1, so definately there's going to be some work ahead.

The new loading is here!

I got the word at work that Half-Life 2 was out (server authenticating). Ahah, it was past midnight in the U.S. of A. Not that I was excited or anything. I didn't finish Half-Life 1, and it's still waiting for me to play. The first thing I did when I got home is run the online activation. Wow that took a couple of minutes.

After finishing some chores, I turned off the room lights, hunkered in front of the computer to start the game. Begin load screen 1. Hm. Hm. Okay, crisp graphics. First things first, mouse smoothing, esdf instead wasd. Then I devoted 30 minutes. Wow you can pick up things and throw them (yawn). Throw a carton at a person and they yell "quit it". When do I get a weapon?

Now exploring the outside of the train station. I find the friendly scientist hideout with everybody professing to know me. What's with all the aliens? Escape sequence. Etc etc. All punctuated with loading game delays. Ugh. Console games do it better. Ever heard of Jak 1 or 2? No load times.

I quit gaming this one at midnight. Rarely do I quit a game before midnight, but I felt this game could wait. Just like my play with Half-Life 1. Hahah. And yes I have yet to wield a weapon. Give me a weapon.

Exploding motherboards

I arrived home last night and there was the stench of finely burnt electronics in the air. So instead of unwinding with Halo for an evening, I did an autopsy on Project Nonki. Actually I performed two, one on another computer that refused to start a couple of weeks back.

Dead computer back of motherboard

Ever see a burnt out capacitor? I haven't until now. Here's a picture of the back of the motherboard. Blackened to a crisp and swelled. It made a mark on the inside of my Project Nonki's case like this. Now this makes me worried my other motherboards. Luckily the power supply, HDDs, and PCI cards seemed to have survived. Score: dead motherboard, 2 useless Pentium 3 class CPUs.

Dead compuyter case is marked

So I had the bright idea of taking the other computer, which I call Project Pepper, for a test spin with the perfumed Project Nonki power supply. Oh yeah! It boots! But what's this? The screen is garbled! And it's not garbled in a random way, it's ROT13-like gobblygook! I surmised it was the memory, and sure enough it was one stick of PC133 512MB memory. Ouch that stings. I retried P. Pepper's power supply and nothing worked. Score: faulty DIMM, dead power supply, useless Mini-ATX case.

Dead computer Text of the bios is shot

Ouch. Well, luckily the data is still intact, or so I think. Now I have the choice of reinstalling the OS or trying to make do with the P. Pepper's linux HDD. Most of my drives are already NTFS, and linux support of NTFS is not ready for users like me.

Gaming? At least I can play games while the slow thing is being rebuilt.

Undread Halo

Recently playing:
  • Halo (XBox-jp, The flood loves the butt of my rifle.)

I have met the Flood and I realize that I don't have to waste my precious ammo all the time. Ah haha why is this FPS fun? I usually get bored of the single player campaigns. I finished the "Library" and I am now back in the Canyon thing. And yes! I have the shotgun, which is pretty pretty damn cool. Yeah punks you ain't so tough! (Respawns for the 23th time)

Dreading Halo

Recently playing:
  • Halo (Xbox-jp, My right hand is numb)
  • Nezumi Kusu (Xbox-jp, finder keepers losers weepers)

It's funny but the game I want to play most right now is Halo. Now that I have borrowed a functional Xbox copy, I restarted the single player campaign on "advanced" (one difficulty higher than normal) with one of my goals being to get used to using a Xbox controller for FPS games. After 9 hours (not all at one time) of gaming, I don't feel very aggravated playing with the controller anymore. This is coming from a gamer who has for 5 years now preferred FPS games on a PC with keyboard/mouse. I think the reason is because I realize that using a keyboard/mouse lets you have more chances to hit your target. With the controller, you have less opportunity because the fine tuning is so coarse. Luckily with the auto aim and target reticle highlighting, I'm using my more limited chances to the fullest. Right now, I'm near the end of long map number 1, what is it called in English, the "Cartographer"? Ugh I am dreading playing the rest of this map, or that stupid stupid "Library" level.

Oh yeah, it's pretty cool to hear the soldier smackdowns or trash talk in Japanese. Like when you have the sniper soldier in shotgun at your side and he's tagging targets: "Ki ni itta ka?" == "You like that?" You betcha! But the panicky aliens are still in English. "Down in front!"

Burnout 3 and EA: My hypocrisy

I was able to sample Burnout 3 at an shop kiosk and I was impressed. This game looks fun, not because of the crashes but because the graphical speed. I love speed in a game.

But then again, should I be buying a Electronic Arts game now? What with the recent furor over slave-like working conditions on the game designers and grunts who program, design, paint/sound/tool games, it would be like supporting "the evil". Then I hypothesized that most mainstream games are created with some sort of unreasonable pressure. How could I tell if working conditions for creators of EA games or any other game company for that matter are being treated unfairly?

It was at this point I realized I don't care.  Sure the stories are alarming. I don't doubt it's true. And as a non-game programmer, I can empathize with the passion of working with software and the "thrill" of changing deadlines and specs. But ever since I've started deciding which games to buy, I relied on the content and hearsay of the product itself, not how it's made, to make my buying decisions. Yeah, I am one of the unwashed masses. Just substitute "games" for "shirts" and the hypocrisy is exposed.

A good helping of insanity on DVD

Insert Credit looks like it's back, probably after shelling out some good money for a decent weblog system. They gots the scoop on a replay DVD for the arcade game Battle Garegga. I have a VHS tape of one of these replays but I don't have a VCR. In any case this comes with a "perfect" soundtrack (the official one?) and a handbook. The ultimate BG fan's dream set, totalling 6000 yen.

I already reserved my copy. Now I just have to find and play the game so I can appreciate it.

Blinx 2 getting 33 out of 40 in Famitsu?

I was leafing through the beefy 832 issue of Famitsu when I turned to the (in)famous Cross Review section where groups of 4 people review games out of a score of 10 and tally them up. There was one new game for the Xbox this week, Blink 2: Masters of Time and Space. And it garnered a 8, 9, 8, 8. What?!? 33 out of 40? Whoa, a non-Japanese Xbox game ported to no other platforms gets more than 8? Usually Xbox games only get good scores if it's a multi-platform port, like Soul Calibur 2 or something like that. Does this mean games for the Xbox are getting better? Or more friendly to the Japanese audience?  I have to check this out. No, wait, I have to check out the original.

Famitsu's 832nd issue

Weekly Famitsu the gaming magazine is turning its 832nd issue into a celebration, complete with pack-in game preview DVD, pictures of "Famitsu" fans  around the world, stickers of the magazine's trademarked icons, "feel-good" articles about the history of the consoles it covers, and flashbacks of interesting articles (a man who owns a 4 million USD game collection, for example). There was a 2 full-page spread picture of Akihabara street on the day (or night) of the Japanese launch of the PS2 back in 2000. You couldn't crane your neck forward without smacking into the geek boy in front of you.

My first question was why now!? Why is 832 such a special number? It turns out that in Japanese phonetics, "Famitsu" is the sound equivalent to 832 (fa = 8 mi = 3 tsu=2) . That's really bizarre. In an unrelated note, its similar to how Japanese advertisements have phone numbers and mnemonics that actually make sense. You know like, call 1-800-GETUT2k4, with the numbers replaced with letters.

In any case, the readers win. I'm going to use my stickers on my Xbox. Not. Hahaha.

Halo, 2 ... Breaking down.

Well I have Halo, 2.

Not.

Actually the friend who said he wasn't going to buy Halo 2 lent me his copy of Halo 1, so now I can try out the old one. So that means I'm holding two copies of Halo! Halo, 2! Get it?

And then it turns out that he buys Halo 2, complete with a Halo plastic bag and poster. Sucker.

November is a big month for FPS.

What else is ready to go for November? Half-Life 2. Will it get the big sales like Halo 2? I doubt it, what with all the pre-orders that ATI has shipped out. Then again, Counter-Strike probably does wonders from Half-Life 2 advertising.

You know what this means:

Half Life 2 Pre-load complete

It means I have less than 4 days to finish the Half-Life 1 before they take away my right to play the ATI bundle copy.

"Halo" "2" "sucks" "!". 2.38 million can't all be suckers.

Now stacking:
  • Ninja Gaiden (Xbox-jp, I wanna go retro)
  • JSRF - Jet Set Radio Future (Xbox-jp, Diving in the discount dumpster again)
  • Katamari Damashi (PS2-jp, Rollin' with the homies)

I love this review. It takes all the reviews I have read and condenses it to the kernel of truth. Any more perfect score reviews and I'm going to scream. (I'm going to scream, "Where's my copy?!?", that's what I'm going to scream.)

But then again, I can't recall any Japanese game that has ever sold 125 Million USD in one day. Perhaps a Square or Enix RPG release like Dragon Quest? Hm. Must ask some friends.

But here's an interesting article from SPOnG that says the Japanese could care less about Halo 2. But as I said earlier, the Japanese Microsoft advertisement team isn't hard to hear. It's true that Xbox doesn't get the good in-store and display positions, and I have visited all the major and minor video gaming stores in Kobe and Osaka. And this is the only major exclusive coming down the pipe for the Japan region. (But let us not forget Spikeout Battle Street.) But Microsoft advertises agressively in the gaming mags. Yet all the Japanese gamers I know are not getting Halo 2 when it gets out. Heh.

Edit: I said 5 million, I mean 125 million. Feh, dollar signs.

Keeping my friends console gaming.

A good friend of mine actually broke down and bought the shady slim PS2 with one game: Gunslinger Girl. First of all, this is a surprise because he doesn't like console gaming. (But I got him to buy a Gamecube with Ikaruga. Hahaha) Another surprise is the reason: the new PS2 size is hardware-wise, "cute" and he's a hardware maniac. Third, that game there is right up his alley.

A word about the game that bought. It's realistic gun action game with cute android (?) girls with personality problems. That is the understanding I had before I net-searched. Here's the real deal (Thanks to AnimeNfo)

Brainwashed girls who do not have any relatives nor any place to be, are being prepared as professional assassins and given mechanical bodies by a so called non-profit welfare organization. They have lost every consciences and do not hesitate to kill at all. They spend their lives smeared with smoke, covered in gunpowder and blood.

It's a sad story about suffering girls who have lost their past but continue to live. After they were being brainwashed, they can kill with an innocent face and without hesitation at all. They don't think through their deeds and don't feel any pity. But behind their cute disguise, they destroy themselves and refuse to grow.
Whoa. The anime style of this work is right up my alley, but hey, I draw the line at this content. Why can't we all just get along? How about we pit one Gunslinger Girl against another instead of blowing away yet another ugly thug? How does that you make feel?

Okay I think I went too far on that "a word" transition. ^_^

So what games can I recommend to this mainly-PC gamer? Ah I don't care. Here's what I like about my PS2. I broke it down into genres:

RPG
  • Final Fantasy X
Online RPG
  • You got to be kidding. One concept: Free demos.
Adventure-platformer
  • Ico
  • Jak 2
Action
  • Shin Sangoku Musou
  • Devil May Cry
  • Katamari Damashi
Shooting
  • Gradius V
  • Psyvariar
  • Shikigami no Shiro 2
First Person Shooting
  • You got to be kidding.
Fighting-3d
  • Dead or Alive 2 Hardcore. Had to be said since I bought a system for it.
Puzzle
  • Tetris with Card Captor Sakura
Love-sim
  • Yumeria
  • Missing Blue
Retro
  • Afterburner II

Whadda think?

The "supposed" decline of Japanese game developers

Video fenky links to an article by a Japanese industry analyst, that has sparked furor and flames in the Japanese gaming blog community. This analyst conflates the success of the Xbox console in U.S. for the decline of the Japanese game developers. Thankfully fenky translates most of the interesting posts there in English. I learn two things: There is a thriving Japanese blog community where opinions fly fast and free without that characteristic Japanese reticence. Another thing is that I can't seem to understand how to read the real Japanese that is posted on these interesting blogs. I'm learning Japanese! I'm turning Japanese! No no, strike that. In any case, I agree that the analyst needs some more astroturfing lessons.

This is not only interesting for the content but I finally got a link through this article to a blog that my co-worker is always reading. I glance over at his station during lunch and I see a trademarked green background page. I finally had something to add about that green page.

Where's waldo on rails meets mice Fight Club.

Recently playing:
  • Nezumi kusu (Xbox-jp, Simple yet fun)
I've been a fun time playing Nezumi Kusu (subtitle: "Have a mice day") because it's interesting. Not because it's the only sub 1000 yen XBox game I've ever bought. But this game is simplistic enough not to warrant a deep "relationship." I don't have to think of skill, I just run around on "rails" through various rooms, pointing out the target mice in the "Where's Waldo" like mode. No need for technique. You just need to run around with your fellow mice, with an eagle eye. And the mice fights are not too involved. The first time it broke into battle mode was disconcerting, but it's a spin move spin move collect candy. Too easy. This game shows off the great texturing and graphical power of the Xbox without resorting explosions or spots of blood or death. I'll say one thing about the "fur shading". I like it.

The voiceovers aren't particularly memorable, but it's ridiculously wierd. I thought it was nonsense-speak, but it's actually speeded-up Japanese! So there's my practice language skills right there. Oh yeah, I said the mice were cute but they're not Hello Kitty cute. No no.

You in the west out there will probably recognize this game as Sneakers. Excellent. The reviews collected at metacritic are disheartening, though. At least a user review from a "mom" gave it a 7 out of 10. Yeah.

I'll probably be playing this game to completion. Yeah Xbox. Give it a chance. I aim to be the wierdest Xbox owner.

Reviews piling up

Halo 2. Can't get enough perfect score reviews and I'm getting sick of it. Why is that? I dismiss Halo 2 as a priority 2 game. Halo 2 is just a polished FPS with a polished story but with multiplayer features approaching but not surpassing Unreal Tournament 2004. I just bought an Xbox but I'm not buying this game. You know what the truth is? I want to play the English version, not the total Japanese version. That's my beef.

Or maybe we can talk about GTA: San Andreas. Maybe not. Another game I want to experience in English.

If we need to review a game, let's work on under-hyped Jak 3. I forgot this game was coming out on the same day in the U.S. because I'm waiting for the Japanese release, which will have the almighty English voice overs. Unfortunately I'm going to have to wait 6 months. I put it out of my mind the last couple of months but I still can't wait to play Jak 3.

Wow, what a great time to be gaming. This USian expatriate is burning with jealousy. Heheh.

Found my Halo

Well I found my copy of Halo. I put it in the console but it refused to play. Of course it's the same region. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the surface of the disc. I felt frustrated, the kind of frustrated where you skip to acceptance really quickly. Ah so, in Japanese. I was about ready to smash the disk or something. Luckily I already played the PC version so I know what I'm missing.

Do I drive on the right or left?

Now stacking:
  • The Simpsons Hit and Run (Xbox-jp, It's a branded Grand Theft Auto without the Violence, Jack)
  • Nezumi kusu (Xbox-jp, The mice aren't hitting, is this a rodent FPS?)
  • Chobits - Chi dake no hito (PS2-jp, a fire sale and this game is mine)

Well I gots me The Simpsons Hit and Run. None of the major stores had it, so I settled for a smaller shack and paid full price for it. Ouch. On the other hand, this is The Simpsons, so it's gotta be quality. To tell you the truth, I'm not a Simpsons viewer or fan. In fact, it's hard to watch it since I don't have cable or satellite. In any case, I started the game, but much of the humor is lost on me. It's wierd, the parts I do understand are because I read Internet chat rooms and web pages like Slashdot with the jokes on them. "Mmm, donuts."

The Simpsons Hit and Run for the Xbox-jp

This game is interesting to me for two reasons. First, it's in American English comedy with English voice acting. This feels like a trip back home without the hassle of a plane ticket. Second, this is like that GTA3 Taxi job. It's a non-violent, location finding game. Well, okay, so the third mission was to destroy a car, while the driver was inside it. But it's funny. At times, I'm obeying the rules of the road, and other times I'm careening from shoulder to shoulder trying to knock down a light post for coins. It's a bit frightening to run over people though, not becuase they splatter into pools of blood. They do not. I actually try not to run them over. In fact, listen closely when you run over some inanimate object, like a tree or something. "So it begins." LOL

The other Xbox game, Nezumi kusu, I have no idea what it is except that it's pretty cute with mice and stuff. I'll check it out later.

Oh yeah, Chobits - Chi dake no hito was only 1000 yen. Big woop.

Chobits - Chi dake no hito cover

Stick control

Recently playing:
  • Border Down (DC-jp, Practice makes perfect, but the second time the difficulty drops.)
  • Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate (Xbox-jp, Only 15 costumes for Kasumi?)
Kasumi Xbox is getting some lovin', I mean I'm playing it, sorry. Well I finished unlocking all the costumes of Kasumi and I think number 5 and number 10 take the cake. Xbox campaign/booth girl or princess with tiara.

But let's talk about Border Down, the game I can't seem to put down right now. I love the music, I love the sci-fi theme, I love the homing lasers! I have been credit feeding and also going the distance with one credit. I got to level 6A on a credit feed, level 4 without. I wish I had played this game earlier, it's been sitting in my stack for the last .... It's gotta be over a year now. And I love using the arcade stick with this. One thing I have been unlocking is the sample replays. There has to be at least 30 replays (2 passable or skills play * green, yellow, red * 5 levels), and I'm up to number 22. Just keep playing and they'll appear. I bet there's replays for the Extra version too.

I've been doing the practice mode, but I notice that the difficulty drops when you die and restart at the beginning. Something like -20% decrease. There's less bullets. Which means practice isn't really on the same thing. This game requires perfection in the regular game, and even in practice. I go for the quick pause menu reset and reselect the level.

Dreamcast with VGA box and joystick. The home arcade entertainment system.

Xbox future, my wanted list, and where's my Halo?

According to Famitsu Xbox, one of the future games in development is Spikeout Battle Street.  It's an arcade 3d beat-em-up game kinda like Dynamic Deka. Here's a write-up by 1up.com. It's one of the few games I'm looking forward to on the Xbox.

Thumbing through the magazine, most of the games there really don't interest me, like FPS, and dark fighting/violence. I look back on my wanted list and pretty much its older stuff like Murakumo (selling for 980 yen used, yes), Panzer Dragoon Orta, Bistro Cupid 2, The Simpson's Hit and Run (World Collection). Let's not forget Dead or Alive Extreme Volleyball. This is one of those times I wish I had some access to U.S. games. I heard somewhere that the Midway arcade collection, called Midway Arcade Treasures came out on it. Spy Hunter, Road Blasters, Sinistar, Toobin. Gah!

Then I'm thinking, what good is hooking up with Xbox Live? The system I got came with 12 months free. Well there's Xbox Arcade. About the most compelling reason for me to get online is to download Psyvariar 2 replays. I can't understand how to play this game well. Heh.

I've extracted most of my Xbox games from my stack, but I still can't find my copy of Halo. Hm. Do I have an inkling to play the Japanese version? No not really, but I feel in the mood to crush some alien skulls with the butt of my rifle. But I don't want to install it on my PC. Ooh. Okay I need to search my room again.

Rumble Roses game movie and lyrics

Recently playing:
  • Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate (XBox-jp, Kasumi's Xbox cosume is the best!)

I was talking about the Rumble Roses game last time and I found on the site a game movie with a song that I really like. Take a listen to "Look to the sky", from the Tokyo Game Show 2004 movie. And here are the lyrics, to the best I can understand it.

行方(ゆくえ)がわからない
どれだけあいねばぜんあげるの
こころのちょうには
そんな近くに肝心(肝心)をに
そんなとき私(わたし)
いつも空(そら)を見上(みあ)げてる
たくさんの夢(ゆめ)を
抱きしきもに満(み)ち溢(あふ)れ Blue sky
Reach for the high yeah
Falling 燃(も)える sunrise
Raining 涙(なみだ)も 決(けっ)して行(ゆ)く
Aim for the top
Falling 恐(おそ)れない
瞳(ひとみ)は rainbow
映(うつ)すから
Everyday I look at the sky
見上(みあ)げた空(そら)を
青(あお)さを look at the sky
両手(りょうて)で抱(だ)きしめた
(S. O. E. A)
Ahahaha.

Another great release day with Neo-Contra, Rumble Rose demo.

Well I waxed long and steady about the Kasumi Xbox, but I want to turn my attention on the other goodies out today.

You see, people milling around the gaming area at the store had pre-orders in hand for other games or systems. The slim and sexy PS2 (model number SCPH-70000CB) just came out and I think more than sixty percent of the people there were reaching for one. I shrugged and just reached for its glossy pamphlet. Perhaps later I could get a deal on a early, sub-18000 replacement, because people are trading up. It had crossed my mind to purchase the "Charcoal Black" set right then and there. What with a Kasumi Xbox already in hand, bringing home two systems at one time encourages a comparison to Beauty and the Beast. (I'll let you ponder which one I'm referring to.) But no, from now on I aim to purchase a customized console system. By way of example, my three of my last four GBAs and my N64 were all Pokemon related. My Gamecube is a Panasonic Q. I have two Hello Kitty Dreamcasts now. It's a trend, to say the least. I'm sure Sony will colorize a revision of shady slim PS2. I'm hoping for Sakura Pink, like the last two times.

Today was also the release day for Neo-Contra for the PS2-jp. The store I went to had an on-site rep demo-ing a couple of games. I had to scare some Gamecube/GBA aged youngsters away from this expert's game. Shoo shoo, go play the Gamecube kiosk or something. I got some time on Neo-Contra kiosk and it was frustrating at first. I got the hang of the controls and game mechanics after ten minutes. It felt shmup-ity at times. And there were lock-on homing lasers. Sweet. The voice acting is in english, and is laughably corny. Interesting, but it doesn't warrant a purchase. I'll wait for a review from a friend that will buy it.

Rumble Roses: Reiko strangling Dixie Rumble Roses: Mud wrestling

Right next to it was 3 playable demo kiosks of Rumble Roses, another Konami game for the PS2-jp coming out next year in February. Today was a special demo day for this game. How appropriate on this day when I purchase the Kasumi XBox, I see a PS2 game that one-ups the concept of unbloodied vixens duking it out. In a wrestling ring with sexy pro-wrestling costumes. Wait a minute, did I just see a mud wrestling ring, complete with tennis referree chair? Ooh I am sold. Count my pre-order. Hehehe. The water effects for the mud were not very convincing, but the ladies do get muddy. It's not dirty muddy. How can I put it. It's pixelated, polygon rendered mud. If they stand up, they mud flows off and we're left with the healthy, glistening skin. I mean, polygon approximation of. Very titillating and disturbingly erotic, what with the mixture of pugilism and unnatural body positions. And mud.

Okay, one famous voice actress is in: Yui Horie (堀江由衣) as Makoto. I tell you this girl is everywhere. Another famous voice actress who up until now I had not noticed is also in. The lead character Reiko is done by Noriko Hidaka (日高の り子). It seems that she is the voice of Akane Tendo in Ranma 1/2. Also they're getting some famous pro-wrestling announcer whose name I can't read. (長州力) Sorry.

Seriously though, I never did enjoy watching pro-wrestling, or playing pro-wrestling games. I'm more of the Street Fighter type.

I noticed in the store that Katamari Damashi and Disgaea got "Playstation the Hits" treatment. Gaming for the masses. Big whoop! Now I don't have to sweat about finding these games.

I kept my eyes open but nothing else interested me. Kasumi Xbox was calling so I returned home with the quickness.

Blue Xbox stops the Xbox blues

Recently playing:
  • Border Down (DC-jp, Give me more sample replays)
  • Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate (Xbox-jp, At least the backgrounds are new)
Now stacking:
  • Dead or Alive 1 Ultimate (Xbox-jp, Ugh, blocky and unfair AI.)

I took my sweet little time obtaining the Kasumi-chan version of the Xbox system this holiday. When I got to the store, I was at first let down because the store display still had the delay sign, but I asked the ever helpful, never annoying Sofmap clerks and they said "Of course!". One of them pointed directly down to where he was standing and there were probably 8 boxes in Xbox Live bags ready right there. However there was no waiting line for this Xbox rollout. Evidently people weren't killing each other over this. In fact, the whole time I was at the store I was the only one who paid for one. Hm. Oh yeah, this is Japan, Xbox failed "miserably" here. Heh.

I wasted no time in exiting the store to stow and secure the goods. I had my big rollable suitcase and I stuck the big box in there. The days before the big purchase I was worried I would have to hand-carry the extra big "hump-me" cushion of Kasumi-chan back home in front of people. You see I haven't driven a car in 5 years, so I couldn't make the quick getaway. So so worried. Really. But nope, the cushion itself was in the cardboard box, and the cardboard box was wrapped in the non-descript (if you can call ominous glossy black with green non-descript) Xbox Live paper bag. And I put it in my beat-up suitcase so no more fanboy fears of being "out-ed". Hey come on, a teenage female ninja (?) in a sexy-killer blue one-piece with china dress-style slits to expose the thighs. With ponytail long hair. It's obviously an attention-getting design.

Kasumi Xbox outdoors

This time, with a workable camera, I took some pictures. The morning had great weather, but by the time I got back to my desired shooting location, the clouds had already obscured the "nature". So I settled for a unmarked and forgetable Japanese neighborhood street.

Kasumi Xbox before I hooked it up

After returning to my hole and playing some Border Down, I unwrapped the goodies. Behold the close up of the hontai, or console hardware part. Behind it on the left is my Dreamcast, and on the right is my PS2 with harddrive and Gamecube. I had a devil of a time searching for the memory card and S-Video cable that I used when I borrowed the Xbox in the summer, but it was all here. Now the Xbox has the coveted position of being at the bottom of my systems. Heh.

Kasumi Xbox and pillow sheet

And of course, I couldn't help but take a look-see at the cushion. No way I had any use for that body sized "snuggle me" enticement, so it was just for taking pictures and putting back in the box. Microsoft or Tecmo went cheap here by seperating the air cushion from the printed (?) cloth. Which means it is very small, foldable, and very inconspicuous. You can't tell from the online picture, but the face has some discolorations and splotches of white. Amazingly there are no problems with the other areas of the fabric. I have the mind to write a letter requesting a replacement. It's a customer satisfaction thing.

But enough about the buying experience, let's talk gaming. I played the Dead or Alive Ultimate pack which are remakes of Dead or Alive 1 from the arcade or Saturn (I can't tell which) and Dead or Alive 2. They came on seperate discs. I first popped in the Dead or Alive 1 Ultimate and I quickly tired of the graphical blockiness and uninterestingly flat stages. If this is nostalgia then 1996 called and they want their extraordinary bouncing breasts back.

Then I put in Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate and I was relieved. Then I felt concerned. You see, this is Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate, which means there's nothing new. Oh sure you can say there's Xbox Live, but I'm not ready for online console gaming just yet. (My online PC gaming is at least 5 years and counting.) Obviously the stages are new, graphically amazing, and pretty innovative. And of course, Tecmo has been advertising the new costumes of the female players. More Kasumi school-girl outfits or something, ha ha. But the game system itself seems to be Dead or Alive 2 Hardcore. I was expecting something more, like new moves. Maybe there are some, but in this case I haven't found them yet. In other words, for a couple of moments I felt I payed 25000 yen for "Super" Dead or Alive 2 Hardcore "Remix". Buyer's remorse. The feeling passed quickly, because I realized I could do Survival mode in other costumes, again. I made up my mind to get at least 50 wins this time, to "pass this game". Oh yeah.

I didn't have much time to check out anything else. I played an episode of Star Trek: Voyager on the Xbox DVD kit and it looked as good as the Panasonic Q output. No problems, none at all. And I didn't even mentioned the size of the thing in this log, until now. Oops.

Oh blue is me. And my Xbox. Hahah.
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