Sunday, January 30, 2005 @ 21:32 (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

2005-01-30 Sun

Watch out for those icons, and small kids.

Two freebees: PC shmups

More choices means more REGRETS and, therefore, more paralysis

Feeding the fishies

What's a good pack-in for males 20 and over?

Shmup videos from tanomi.com

Racin' and driftin'

I'm not worthy!

2005-01-27 Thu

If I had to marry one gamer...

Camping

The Hori Joystick HP2-186-T

Rarely done game tracks

Gran Turismo 4 Photos by the thousands

Gary Whelan, adulation

Custom hard: Nintendo DS

2005-01-25 Tue

Frag videos for UT2k4

Ibara means flowery web page

2005-01-24 Mon

Plasma is sticky

2005-01-23 Sun

Craving

On joysticks

Tribute to Parsec 47

2005-01-22 Sat

Diversity in interpretation

Dreamcast shouldn't die

The control of hardware

Political Speech

Control your console with your photons!

Gran Turismo 4 a "buy"

Oniisama, watashi no shimobe ni narinasai!

Dreaming bullets (Parsec 47 high score)

2005-01-20 Thu

Cars and crashing

Lending the game out, type BC.

2005-01-18 Tue

Lending the game out, type GT

2005-01-16 Sun

Car porn, withheld.

My first Sony Car Simulator

2005-01-15 Sat

Getting things

Getting things for free

My mom wouldn't let me play that.

New type set

2005-01-10 Mon

Warning Forever 105

Can I get past 10 million on Parsec 47?

Buggy layout, find a picture

I must have improved

Jumping on the Air bandwagon

Clearance on the Rakugaki Oukoku

Xbox usefulness

Rittaiteki Character goods

Be careful what you link

Learning at your pace, level 1

"What to believe" is track 21

2005-01-05 Wed

Go to sleep early.

Working on my list

I looked up the word ersatz

Old manga to game crossovers

Turning the PS2 back on

2005-01-04 Tue

GT3 back again?

Racing is over

How is the Xbox doing?

2005-01-03 Mon

Burnout 3, just what I like

2004, listing.

2005-01-01 Sat

Stomp on my games.

CM67 Day 2 Waiting in line lightly reviewed.

On notable reaction to autographs.

The second life, possessed virtually?

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Watch out for those icons, and small kids.

Now stacking:
  • Clover Hearts (PS2-jp, Such sweet faces.)

This is not a post on character goods. Seriously.

I was doing my part ridding the bargain bin of my favorite character goods store, Gamers, when I chanced upon Clover Hearts for the PS2. The PC version of this game is one of those PC ecchi games transferred to the PS2 for the masses. You know. This came with a special telephone card. (I swear this post is not about character goods!!!!)

Clover Hearts with Attack Gran Turismo Special Video

So I check the back and it had these icons on it: (Gimp'd for your benefit with my weak gimp skillz.)

Clover Hearts rating

What!?!? This is my first time to see the CERO icons, even though this game has been out for 5 months now. I was shocked. Hearts coupled with a fist raised holding a knife.

According to the CERO Ratings web page, that symbol that I've circled is none other than the "violence" (–\—Í) rating. But as an icon it's pretty graphic. They have a seperate icon with a gun, and that's for "crime". The heart icon is of course "romance", which is different from the "sexual" icon. All I have to say is, Oh My. Now I have to expect these cute  characters will be knife-wielding, back-stabbing crazy maniacs. Oh My.

On a unrelated tip, the right DVD is the "Attack Gran Turismo Special Video" (SLBM-2). It was probably released when GT 2001 Tokyo came out. 137 Minutes for deep discount 1000 yen. Heck I'm in a driving mood. I need more skills so I can beat that under 5 kid who beat a Gran Turismo 4 trial run (thanks Kotaku, Edge Online UK).

Two freebees: PC shmups

More PC shmups for you? No way!

Here's one. Mono. (Thanks Joystiq) I was intrigued by the white and black gameplay, but it's only dressing. Try this game for a couple of minutes, and you'll understand why I can't give this a thumbs up. Yes, the mouse feels laggy. On the plus side, there's a lot of bullets, but it doesn't feel shmuppy at all. But listen to the soundtrack. It's pretty good, even if we say it's free.

And then there's this game. Hibachi danmaku simulator (”ê–I’e–‹ƒVƒ~ƒ…ƒŒ[ƒ^) (thanks Maco from ikaruga.co.uk forums). OMG, this is too hard. Basically it is a shmup simulator for games like Dodonpachi and Mushihime-sama. No wonder I'm no good. I can't deal with 1000 bullets on the screen as this game puts out on the first screen. Heh.

More choices means more REGRETS and, therefore, more paralysis

Gary King talks about Barry Schwartz's psychologist podcast about the downside of choice (thanks Planet Lisp). Here's the straight ganking from the website:

"We can't have it all, and worse yet the desire to have it all and the illusion that we can is one of the principal sources of torture of modern affluent free and autonomous thinkers."

He makes the following points:

  • It is impossible to have your expectations exceeded in a world of infinite choice
  • More choices means more regrets and, therefore, more paralysis
  • When choices are few, you can blame the world for not providing any good ones; when choices are infinite, you can only blame yourself when something turns out wrong.

I say down with choice. Play games that don't remind you about regret, because you're too busy playing the damn game. Play shmups. And now for a word from our sponsor.

"I'm not regret."

Left? Right? Up? Down? Shoot? Bomb? Aaaah I died! Left? Right? Up? Down? Shoot? Bomb? Aaah I died! ...

Feeding the fishies

Recently playing:
  • Insaniquarium. (PalmOS-en, Picking up after farting fishes.)

Here's the story. I recently rolled out of bed and I picked up my Palm. For some reason I started this game just to see how it played (because I completely forgot I bought it after I played Bejeweled 2 and Patience Revisited 5.0). Then it sucked me in. I was still in bed playing this game when those rowdy delivery guys gave me a ring. Which would make it two straight hours of playing. This game is addictive!!!

This game is originally a flash game or a PC game. I forget which. Now you can get it for your portable crutch.

I seem to have unlocked all of the pets already. Now I'm trying out the other modes. What is this game about? It's pretty much a RTS (real-time strategy). You feed fishes and they drop gold, stars, or diamonds. But the way you have to feed them and keep out the predators is oh so addictive.

Keep your eye out for Pop-Cap Games and Astraware. They've had "touch and scratch" gaming down way before the Nintendo Dual Screen era.

What's a good pack-in for males 20 and over?

Yet another post on character goods. There's a pattern here, and it's scary, now that I think about it.

This weekend I bought the Uta-Kata Summer Memory Box 1, which is a two DVD set of the first 7 episodes of the anime. It came in this really big package (picture, left). I like this anime because of the main character actresses, Yoko Honda (–{‘½—zŽq) and Masumi Asano (ó–ì^Ÿ). And the content is pretty "pure". I mean, I think there's not any violence. There's that second episode where we have some guy with some impure thoughts chasing the two here. Ugh, I didn't like that part. No, I really hated that part.

Uta-kata 1 special DVD box with Chobits 7 DVD box

BTW, the one on the right is Chobits DVD box 7. I got it cheep because it was mikaifuu (–¢ŠJ••), or unopened. Of course, it was released two years ago, so it should be cheeper.

So why is this Uta-Kata box so big? Check out the back side.

Uta-kata 1 Special DVD box backside showing bedsheet

Yes it comes with a free anime girl packed in like a sardine can! No I mean, it comes with a bedsheet of the two. I would link to the picture on the web site, but it's made with Flash, so no deep linkie, sorry. Yes, I said bedsheet, the same bedsheet design that they showed at the Comic Market commercial booths. The one I swear I wouldn't buy. Okay so I have a pillow cover, and now I have a bedsheet. Now all I need is a futon cover and a kotatsu cover covered with anime girls and I'll be all set!

And then here's another thing I wanna show off. You remember I said I had a thing about Rozen Maiden? Well it's not just a thing:

Rozen Maiden doujinshi (left Aya Kadoi; right Pomuguranitto purezenttsu)

These are some all-ages doujinshi (fan comics) based on Rozen Maiden. There are those over-18 doujinshi but I don't do those. Pictured on the right is something I picked up this weekend, and the drawing looks pretty competent, if not very cute.

Pictured on the left is something of a shock, because it's done by Aya Kadoi (–åˆäˆŸ–î), who to me is famous for Kakyuusei and the covers of the old magazine P-Mate. In other words, this is a professional doing doujin. But the shock isn't just that, it's that this particular doujinshi commands a really high resale price, maybe even over 5000 yen in mint condition! I got my copy at the Sofmap "Treasure Box" for 1000 yen, only because the back side is jacked up. BTW, the title is hI'm in love with a doll" (–l‚͐lŒ`‚É—ö ‚ð‚·‚é, Boku wa ningyou ni koi o suru), which may explain my interest. Ms. Kadoi draws her characters with the pupils kinda angular. After looking at a lot of anime, I found this drawing style to be disconcerting. But the cover of this doujinshi is perfect. Perfect! You only have to look at this picture to see how. I love this look.

Well, my topic on character goods is over now. I've had my fill for this week, so you won't have to worry about this non-gaming post for another couple. Hehehe.

Shmup videos from tanomi.com

I seemed to have ordered a lot of stuff over the last few months. Just this morning I cleaned up my place a bit and I had 3 plastic bags filled with just shipping cardboard. Okay so I live like a bum as my sister puts it. I also have boxes of posters just lying around. Check this out. I still have the poster from the Matrix: Reloaded. Now it serves as a reminder of my own hairline. Hehehe.

Matrix: Reloaded Poster still curled up from the long neglect

Just yesterday I had one delivery guy tell me that I owe him xyz money. I was like, what did I order where I need to pay you?!? He told me he'd be back later when I had some money. Like a cornered, ijimerarekko schoolboy I went to the ATM so he wouldn't bust his perm-dyed robotech 'fro on my hide. And he gave me this in return:

Insanity DVD The Onslaught Raiden Fighters

Yes, the "Insanity DVD" series continues with Raiden Fighters. I also continue by buying a shmup super-replay video without ever having played the original game. Maybe I played it once or twice in the arcade while wasting my time away. But it never made me say, I'm going to buy the super-play when it comes out in Japan. In any case, if you're expecting me to open and watch it now so I can tell you how good/bad it is, well sorry. This isn't a review. I might write one. I got it from Tanomi.com. They have some wonderful stuff there (like Little Apple Dolls! moe!)

Racin' and driftin'

I went to Nipponbashi yesterday to purchase my pre-ordered Outrun 2 copy. I finally got it in my region. On the way out of the store I saw that Eye-toy Sakura-chan to Asobu! game was being discounted to 2980 yen. Ouch. No one is buying it, huh.

So when I got back home to experience the drifting king, I was hungry as hell. I jacked the DVD into the Xbox, prepped a simple dinner and then turned my attention back to the demo screen of Outrun 2. It was ugly. It was ugly?!? After looking at Gran Turismo 4 visuals, the Outrun 2 demo mode was hard to look at. Honestly, the way the camera pans, the way the 3d background moves. It looks like an arcade game, not a game trying to look like real life. What a waste. But when I actually started playing, the background looked better. It looked really good. How did they make that intro demo look so bad?!?!?

After the experience of Burnout 3 and Gran Turismo 4, this game felt funny. On my first try I almost got to the end of the first race. Then I figured how to actually drift and then I started doing worse. Heheh. The thrill of speed, I kinda don't feel it.

Ah the Ferrari licence. I don't care. What does it matter? Of course I see my car model, but I don't feel anything extraordinary towards cars. It's just the same as me and "mecha". Why bother giving names to them? I give names to my PCs, sure, but that's because I have to actually call them by name when accessing them on the command line. What's wrong with that?

Well this Outrun 2 game keeps my Xbox heated, but I'm not very excited about it no more. I mess up too easy on drifting. And I don't understand how you can do S curves drifting. I see my car knows how to do it, but I just mess it up.

Going back to the Gran Turismo 4 will be a shock, I can tell you that.

I'm not worthy!

I opened up my email box this morning and I got a short, appreciative message from the Galaxian gaming god himself, Gary Whelan. I first thought, how did he read my blog? I thought my host is hard to get to. Ahahah.

Here's to you Gary, (raise a glass of umeshu) you make us gamers proud!

If I had to marry one gamer...

... it would be this lady here: Rieko Kodama (Thanks Got Next and Insert Credit), game designer for Sega.

Just kidding. But this interview cross autograph session is interesting. She got her break (or "breakout"?) with Phantasy Star, a game that those strange Sega owners were professing to be gosh darn oh so better than us Nintendo deserved. Now the latest game she's working on is a remake of Altered Beast, remixed for the 2000s. I saw a clip of this in the store and the crufty textured backgrounds threw me off. Ugh. 20+ years in the industry. Good job.

With the pictures of middle aged Japanese lady we see the true event. It was a signing! A private signing! Ugh I am jealous. Well no, I didn't know anything about her before that. Sorry.

Camping

...the new Shmups Forum, that is. I mean the part where I control the updates to the high scores for one game. Which game. What else?

Parsec 47

wute!

The Hori Joystick HP2-186-T

I decided which joystick I want... The Hori Joystick HP2-186-T

Hori Joystick HP2-186-T

Sweet!!!! Granular! Granular sweet!

Rarely done game tracks

I had some time to pick up my favorite anime and CD goods. One of the goods I hauled back was a doujin shooting game arrange CD, called "Shooting Arrange Disc", by Team Dangerous Thoughts of Symphonia Records. They got the English right! But then again: "It did its best by the high quality". Hahahha. And that cover art is scary, when you look at the proportions of the legs. Yeah.

I haven't yet listened to it all, but one of the tracks that just gets to me is "Last Minute" from Raystorm. Which reminds me, I need to get that soundtrack. Heh. They have songs from other games that I have rarely found on other fan creations, games like Twinkle Star Sprites and Sky Gunner.

I like it when the game music sounds different enough. Good job!

Gran Turismo 4 Photos by the thousands

I didn't find GTPlanet until I read about some guy doing a 24 hour race in Gran Turismo 4. Whoa. That takes some stamina. Well on your way out, don't forget the GTPlanet photo gallery. There are some crash-like photos, yeah.

Gary Whelan, adulation

Here's a man I idolize, Gary Whelan. "Man spends more than half of life playing same game" (Thanks Kotaku, originally "Video game 'record score' claim" from BBC.) Though as a contemporary gamer, I would die of boredom or frustration trying to play Galaxian. Why not spend some time with a shmup that loves you enough send lots of bullets?

Parsec 47

Ye, ye, ya know it.

But seriously. "Gaz" has a wife and daughter, and he just got the arcade version of it a few months before the announcement. News wants to oddify the common man. On a real interview with the man (thanks WayOfTheRodent), it says he only seriously started to play for about 10 months starting in 2003. What is this "half of his life wasted" people are claiming? Don't forget to grab the replay video on the same site.

This guy has head on his shoulders... "Having the record feels like a real achievement. But now I've got it, I think my wife expects me to do a few more odd jobs around the house."  Meet him on his web site.

There is an uplifting, yet technical discussion about the play itself on the Twin Galaxies Forums. And the score itself:  399,290 points. There sure is point inflation in recent games. GigaWing, anyone?

Custom hard: Nintendo DS

Now here's something really near and dear to my heart: customized console hardware. There was an auction of three custom Nintendo DS units (thanks Joystiq). Alright, let's think about this. I never liked the Nintendo DS hardware, too bulky and soap bar. And though these paint jobs are one of a kinds, they're still just paint jobs to me. Just give me the limited edition stuff, like limited 500 or 5000 people. I'm cool with that.

Why is this stuff being auctioned off at a movie event thingy? How about we get a glamour geekoid shot of Robert Redford with a PSP or something? And who is that hotness that is Poppy Montgomery? Yow. She looks mah-vel-ous. Okay, so she reminds me of Lila McCann. What is that teen country pop diva doing now? Hahaha.

Frag videos for UT2k4

I just watched No Escape 2 (thanks PlanetUnreal), which is pretty damn good. It's great. It's wow wow wow every few seconds. In other words, I like it. A lot. No I am not going to use an exclaimation point.

Basically it's a skills video featuring the game mode Team Deathmatch from Unreal Tournament 2004. The video is quality. The frags are quality. Amazing rail gun and shock rifle action. I recommend you watch this 8 minute video (250MB) if you like FPS at all. Download it from some forum post here. Why don't they Bit Torrent these things?!?!

Ibara means flowery web page

Click-Stick of Insert Credit points out the new Cave game Ibara now has a web page. Ooh flowers. Recently I've been on a flower trip, as I've been watching the anime Rozen Maiden. But the actual screen shots don't look very flowery, they look really industrial. Ugh, I don't like the design.

Plasma is sticky

Recently playing:
  • Halo 2 (Xbox-jp, Plasma is sticky.)

So I decided to actually continue with Halo 2. Well, since Outrun 2 is coming in the next week, I can clean up this one.

Halo 2 is slow! Ugh, so slow. I was at the part where there are three fliers at almost point blank range. It is so hard. I figured out a strategy. I'm so glad plasma bombs are sticky, hee hee. (pinky at mouth corner)

Craving

My alleged "friend" forgot to give back my copy of Gran Turismo 4 on Friday. I've been having a craving to play that game ever seen Thursday. Why!?!? I can't believe it myself. I guess I should be thinking of playing and finishing Halo 2. But lately I've been just about speed speed speed. Can I put -nowait on Halo 2 as well?

And with that I'm off to bed. Burrr, winter Japan is hard on the hands.

On joysticks

I've made up my mind to get that joystick, but I still can't pick which one. Those friendly shmups forum people gave some advice, but I have to make my own decision. Red, or green? ^_^;

Tribute to Parsec 47

Recently playing:
  • Parsec 47 (WinPC-jp, -nowait option is a real blast)
  • Patience Revisited 5.0 (PalmOS, Yukon dear yukon)

I was daydreaming, as I normally am, while playing Parsec 47. I was thinking, how can I make this game any better for me? I thought about a data logger which would graph the score against your progress and level clears. That would be great for the stats fiends. I though about subtly changing the colors of the background whenever the parsec level counter increased by one. How about allowing you to play any music you wanted, including sound effect from the game. I guess I could get by with a silent ogg file and my media player, if I really wanted that. No, I wasn't thinking of major gameplay changes. A buzz mode? How would that work? I discarded the thought outright. I would name the game Tribute to Parsec 47 or something if I ever released it.

In the end I made batch files for the game so that I can start it easily at work or at home, since it's on my iPod. I was thinking of resetting the scores to 0 and trying to play with this:

p47.exe -nosound -nowait -reverse

"-nowait" makes this game very very very... fluid. None of this "intentional slowdown" crap. The later stage bosses require that you give up a life. Really.

I remembered that there used to be some option so that the lingering bullets wouldn't disappear, that would make it very great. But it's not in this version. Hm.

Diversity in interpretation

I haven't thought about the background (loosely summarized: "color of skin") of the gaming journalists as important. I guess when you have a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday in the States, you get a retrospective post from The Video Game Ombudsman: "Dr. King's Gaming Legacy". Choice quote (from the comment section):

My impression is that game journalists, in general, come very a very narrow subset of the general population. If game journalism is going to resonate with more people, this has to change.

With the game reviews I read, I rarely think about if the gaming journalist penning the post is interpreting the game in their race, class and gender. I just think about the formulaic "graphics, audio, story, gameplay", etc. metric. This is important for the games that is not much of a replacement world for ours. When you come to the immersive virtual world games like GTA, reporting interpretation is more important. But, do I need something like Tim Rogers's postmodern (?) reviews, for example, his Katamari Damashii review? Not every day, please.

Or I suppose this is a reflection of my own gaming log. Where in my blog have you learned of a supposed "unique" position, as I claim to be non-white? Not much, I believe. I guess you have learned that I have a job to support this game "habit", so you can't infer that I'm a dependent or a college guy. Should I concentrate on iterating my Filipino-American, born in Southern California origins in every post? Will it illustrate how much fun I'm having on a game like Parsec 47 or Unreal Tournament? No, but it would probably bring something more to a GTA-like game review.

Do I want diversity in gaming journalists? What I want is to hear people who know their games, and history of games in their respective genres, in all regions of the world. I'm talking about people who have experience to recognize the ideas tried in older games, and have the interpretive skills to show how this new game measure up. In other words, I want people to measure the State of the Art. I also want to know people who didn't get some seminal game in their region. I also want to read people who have gaps in their gaming knowledge, because they know one field so well. What I'm asking for is diversity in historical perspective, perhaps. Remember that kid that claimed 2d graphics look funny to him because he grew up on 3d games? Tell me about how you grew up with Atari VCS Vanguard. Tell me about the arcades that you grew with (okay, this could be a class thing).

Okay, take a deep breath. What do I know? I read Weekly Famitsu for the scores and the pictures. Heh. I just knew this post wasn't going to go anywhere.

Dreamcast shouldn't die

Inside Pulse has a great review of the Dreamcast system and a list of representative games (Thanks Kotaku). Of course, Ikaruga, is there. This is interesting to me because I didn't have my finger on the pulse on non-Japan Dreamcast gaming when it was alive. But they list Power Stone. Ugh, the only game that had so frustrated me that I wanted to do nasty things to the GD-ROM. Not once did they mention how the system games can be pirated easily. Yeah. Oops.

The control of hardware

You know that Palm licensee that makes a game console? No? Maybe it's just me. "Tapwave Turns Down Gameboy Emulator" (Thanks PalmAddicts). It was interesting to learn that (1) to access the special Tapwave API you need a digital signature, and (2) the Gameboy emulator maker, Crimson Fire, had gotten permission and digital signatures for previous builds of their program. As a programmer, I feel frustrated that something like this occurs. I believe that when you buy hardware, it's yours. But other voices (Tam's "Why Firestorm didn't get certified") say that Tapwave wants to ensure quality gaming experience. Hah. "Seal of Nintendo."

Political Speech

Link blog mode. I must like Kotaku better than Joystiq, since I have 8 posts there saved up to comment.

A review for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas delves into the game content and finds "GTA As Political Speech" (Thanks Kotaku). It doesn't make me want to get the game now, and sure, we're not talking about the game engine being revolutionary, but it is the art and message that is immediately relevant. Choice quote:

Its depiction of the United States through the fictional state of San Andreas presents a scathing critique of American consumer culture, the horrible social inequalities that it perpetuates, and the damage it causes to the rest of the world.
...
But while gamers pretending to kill prostitutes is certainly disturbing behaviour, in the grand scheme of things, the virtual crimes being committed in San Andreas are nothing compared to the real ones being perpetrated every day that go unnoticed.

Control your console with your photons!

Now stacking:
  • EyeToy (PS2-jp, I need to find a blank wall.)
  • Card Captor Sakura-chan to Asabo! (PS2-jp, Character goods?)

EyeToy Gameage (thanks Kotaku and Insert Credit). I always wondered about this controller.

But recently I found a reason to get an EyeToy. Heh. It's Card Captor Sakura-chan to Asabo!, the game with your favorite magic-wielding schoolgrader.

Card Captor Sakura-chan to Asabo box cover

Wait a minute. I am going to put my mug on the TV with the cavorting sprites and cards, and wave my hands in silly synchonized patterns? No no no! Okay, how 'bout this angle? Now I know you're probably telling me I lost it. But this is gaming, yo. It ain't GTA, but heck, do you know anyone who actually bought Para Para Paradise? You know one person now. It's about finding what's fun in gaming. Or maybe being the consumer slave.

In any case, an anime fan like me can't miss an opportunity like this. This is the year of Card Captor Sakura, since the DVD is coming out again! Yeah!

Gran Turismo 4 a "buy"

I got the word about Gran Turismo 4. I didn't expect my PC-loving, "there is only Colin McRae Racing" HD-TV friend to actually like this game, because he always bugs me about crash models. And as we all know, Gran Turismo series has yet to show even a scratch of paint. But he gives it a "buy". Yeehaw! Well he gave it a spin for 2 hours and from what he saw he liked it. Great!

Oniisama, watashi no shimobe ni narinasai!

Remember I said I wanted to talk about character goods on this gaming log? Well here's another attempt. Maybe if I put a game in the background it will be gaming related.

Here's Hazuki from Tsukiyomi Moon-Phase DVD set 1. All of Japan (well the anime otaku freak part of it) is a buzz with "Neko Mimi Mode". heh. It took me 45 minutes to find a good camera angle, because it seems this figure has a small window for a good face picture.

Hazuki from Tsukiyomi Moon-Phase

The story itself is a new take on the vampire genre, perhaps. Cute vampires that wear cat-ears (neko mimi). Simply brilliant! I am enthralled.

Dreaming bullets (Parsec 47 high score)

Recently playing:
  • Parsec 47 (WinPC-jp, "The shmup of Your Life")

I don't know what brought me to this vista. Perhaps it was turning off the in-game music and letting the iTunes select from anime singers Yui Horie or Chihiro Yonekura?

Parsec 47 roll high score 2005/01/22 Parsec 47 lock high score 2005/01/22

Parsec 47 Roll mode (Extreme) high score: 11 409 550, level 50
Parsec 47 Lock mode (Extreme) high score: 10 933 210, level 60

I think I should try some classical, no scratch that. I don't know classical. I do like violin, especially if it from contemporary movies, like from Chisako Takashima's New Cinema Paradise: Cinema On Violin.

On a shmuppy Parsec 47 note, I wanna get a PS2 joystick. I was looking at this one, the Hori Real Arcade Pro Specal Addition [sic] or Specal Edition [sic]. The former has parts by Sanwa Denki, the latter Seimitsu Engineering, which according to the web site, are both parts makers for arcade game controllers. Which one should I get? I need to ask people who know arcade game controllers.

Or I should get a Dreamcast to USB controller converter. I saw one some time last year, I wish I picked it up.

Cars and crashing

I swear, honest to gosh, that I don't salivate every time a car with a custom spoiler and type R sticker passes by. But there's just something about the Gran Turismo 4 that has gotten me interested in the real-type car games.

Spong relays the car lineup on the Gran Turismo 4 killer for the Xbox, Forza Motorsport. At least I think so. Crash model! You can't beat that?! Maybe with a photo mode it would rule.

As long as they have a soap-y type car I'm buying a copy. "2000 Mazda Miata MX-5 1.8i Sport" Okay, I think I'm in.

Lending the game out, type BC.

And what about the lending out of Burnout 3: Takedown? Since the dude who I lent it to is going to be buying something like 3 or 4 games in the next week, I told him to give it back to me by tomorrow. But he really wants to play it! And he really wants to buy it! And his friend really wants to buy it! But they can't find a place to buy it! And they're not going to settle for the PS2 version! Come on now.

So I told him to get it at Game Hollywood. They had five copies when I was last in Akihabara. How come they always have to have some wrestling stuff on the demo monitors? Like the big U.S. of A. is about wrestling through and through. I do like the wall of flash cartridges on the far side. Always tempting me to plunk down 30000 yen on the GBA platform. I'm not falling for it, I think. Oh yeah, this is the place where I got my VGA cable for the Gamecube. I check this high-priced place just in case.

I know he's desperate for more crash impact gaming. I for one can't stand that mode. Give me speed. I'll let him play it until next monday.

Lending the game out, type GT

I want to impress my friend about Gran Turismo 4. So even though I bought it 4 days ago, I'm going to lend it to him to evaluate on his big screen TV. Ha.

Car porn, withheld.

I was going to post more Gran Turismo 4 car porn, but I read the manual and if I read it right, it seems that I do not have the right to distribute the pictures I transfer using the USB drive. Hm. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it has something to do the license terms with each car manufacturer? Something akin to showing no car damage? Damn I had more pictures of my soap-like car that looked pretty action-y. Well that's never stopped me before, I run a pretty loose ship around here.

I figured out even more picture modes. The last post I had was in a simple beginner race which I ran. There are pre-configured demos. You can actually take your car out to different scenic spots, the Grand Canyon, for example. Rotate the car in whatever angle you like (but you can't have it do it on two wheels like K.I.T.T. or Dukes of Hazard, sorry), move the camera to different spots, etc. It is the beginning of a new age of car porn. GT4 brings it to the masses. No, you're not going to see any cover girls or race girls. It's all about the cars, as it should be.

When I have some picture that I'm really proud of, I'll display it.

My first Sony Car Simulator

Recently playing:
  • Parsec 47 (WinPC-jp, p47.exe -nosound)
  • Gran Turismo 4 (PS2-jp, "The Drive of Your Life")

What can I say. When I saw that Gran Turismo 4 had a B-Spec mode and a photo shoot mode, my doubts about this game fell away. Basically I'm going to play this game as a car simulator. Maybe it will be fun?

The camera mode alone is amazing. You can zoom, change angle (out of 64 positions), orientation (pitch, yaw, roll), brightness, exposure (!), focus area (!), and several more. I don't know much about cameras but I think if you want you can tweak your shot for minutes.

So without furthur ado, here's my first picture. The camera specs are as follows:  f=96mm; F=22.0; 1/1600"; +0.4 EV; Camera 54/64. What does it all mean?

Gran Turismo 4: My first race (B-spec)

I transfered this picture which was originally 1280 by 960 pixels from the PS2 to my PC using my run-of-the-mill, non-Sony USB memory thingy. (It's a Pretec iDisc Tiny Luxury. Jeez I sound like a total tool.) The game created the directory called "GT4" in the root directory.

Wow. Things just work. I am amazed.

As far as the cars go, I picked a soap-bar type with the credits I was alloted. Lucky for me there was something appealing to me. Gah, I don't know anything about cars. I dread the part where I have to learn the Japanese names of parts and stuff.

Getting things

Game music is a big sub-hobby of mine. Music, please.

Insert Credit points out yet another music CD product where I, the fool, part with my money. 'Do Donpachi Dai-Ou-Jou & Espgaluda Perfect Remix' and 'Senko no Ronde Image Soundtracks' coming out. Music of shmup games?! I'm there. I went to Sweep Records who is doing the distribution, and they still have Border Down music volume 2. I was quick, too quick with the online order.

Getting things for free

No I'm not talking about in-game pickups. I'm talking about the wonderful Internet! Parsec 47 forever!

Seriously back in the day, you played the game the designer intended. Or not. Now, contemporary games require the infusion of new content to keep them fresh. Gamespot is quick to point out the 2004 top "mod" content. (I link to Joystiq because this guy has a healthy Unreal Tournament bias. Unfortunately he also has an unhealthy Gran Turismo bias). Personally I draw the line at downloading new maps. I think I have over 5 GB of Unreal Tournament user-created maps. Ah memories of StealthDP (website and game server). New gametypes?! Ha! Let's do CTF for the 10,000th time!

Or we can wait for the old classic games to be released for free. Like the Marathon Trilogy (thanks to Joystiq again). I never did play Marathon, I was always watching the FPS scene from the other (PC) side of the fence.

Or how about something portable? My darn Palm/Clie is now a game machine and now I have a good "sol.exe" for the road: Patience Revisited 5.0. (Thanks Freeware Palm) This free, Open Source game blows me away for its sheer simplicity. Fun. I love Yukon. Hm. New gametypes are the bomb!

Okay, games. How about people enjoying game music? How did I miss this: The blindfolded mario pianist playing the Super Mario tunes (Thanks Kotaku for not linking to his website). I like the segments starting at 3:50, 9:15, 10:00 and especially, at 4:35. Running through the desert heat! I heard pianists have there own way of typing on the keyboard... in the 100-150 WPM range. I don't doubt it, now that I've seen the video.

My mom wouldn't let me play that.

Sorry I must be turning this into a link blog. But it's so interesting!!!

Video Fenky translates a blog post from a Gamecube developer of Giftpia that laments the generation gap. How did Giftpia do? Wasn't this some multi-million dollar game for the GC that slipped off the radar? IGN ponders.

Off totally missing the point: Did you ever have a time in your life when you needed more blood and gore? For me it was... Mortal Kombat? naw I was a Street Fighter. Blood (DOSPC-us)? No I actually only played Doom. I don't remember blood being a draw for me into video games. Imagine if Tetris had blood!!!! Blood makes everything more exciting! No thank you. Thankfully (?) my parents only balked at the price of my hobby, and not the content.

New type set

Well well, some disgruntled PSP (ex-PSP?) owners. (Thanks Engadget)

Do you remember any other console being beaten up? Was there any Game Boy "hate" back then?

These guys look like my coworkers. Heh.

Warning Forever 105

Insert Credit points to Warning Forever version 105. This is an excellent game, but I rarely play it... it Parsec 47 for me, forever!

Can I get past 10 million on Parsec 47?

Wierd how today I get this far. Look at my score for Parsec 47:

Parsec 47 Lock score 2005/01/10

Lock mode, Extreme difficulty. 9 703 610. It seems I have some room for improvement, given my jump from 8 million was from a play a day ago.

And while we're still talking about Parsec 47, I tried Roll mode Extreme and it was the harder game by far. Bullets wiz by menacingly at level zero. Hm. Why? I have come to think that Lock mode is Parsec 47 with training wheels. Ugh. This sucks.

Buggy layout, find a picture

This blog looks buggy in Mozilla, but fine in IE 6. I wasn't like this before. I must have done something wrong with the layout.

Anyway I found this picture lying around in my directory so I might as well link to it:

Touhou Koumarou - Embodiment of Scarlet Devil. Color pandemonium

It's Touhou Koumarou - Embodiment of Scarlet Devil. I must have posted this picture from the Shmups forum (which seems to be done right now, BTW).

I must have improved

Recently playing:
  • Parsec47 (WinPC-jp, Extreme goodness with no need for power ups.)

I must have improved my Parsec47. My score for Lock-on mode Extreme difficulty is 8 407 260. Far better than it was a year ago, which was 4 466 360. For Hard difficulty it's 9 456 800. I must have improved my shmup gaming somewhere. Or I'm just better at Parsec47 after one year of playing.

This maybe the last post today, because I have to go to work! Heh, Japanese companies are teh suXX0rz. But I hope you enjoyed my posts for today. Seems like doing small posts feels better than one big long post.

Jumping on the Air bandwagon

Now stacking:
  • Air (DC-jp, Tomoko Kawakami is the bomb voice actress! "piko piko")
  • Crazy Taxi 2 (DC-jp, Now my taxi collection is complete)

I was going to make this a post about Air. Air is the gigantic hit of an visual novel gal-get PC and console game, and just recently they made a movie and a TV series. I just saw the first episode of Air on TV, and I thought to myself, I have to play this game before watching any further.

Air DC and Crazy Taxi 2

I was going to have a picture of both the PS2 version and the DC version, but I can't find the former. Seriously. Looks like I'm going to have to dig harder. (On a brighter note, I found my copy of Ico. I bought it used for 4320 yen. Now that I have the cover, I'm going to lend it to a friend to make him understand the beauty of this game and the PS2. I'm going to try.)

I got both the pictured Crazy Taxi 2 and Air at Game Tanteidan - Retro Gaming Revival Nipponbashi. Which by the way, is across the street from the 3 story McDonalds in the main street of the southern part of "Den Den Town". I took the picture from there. On the sign you can see it says "by Super Potato", so they are one and the same company.

Game Tanteidan Retro Game Revival from McDonalds

Also as an aside, the "Amusement Ferrari" building two doors to the right of Retro Gaming Revival is the 3 story arcade filled with fighters and shmups. Well a little bit of shmups and a lot of fighters. It's interesting, but not a whole lot, to this shmup-watching freak.

Clearance on the Rakugaki Oukoku

I was character goods junk diving on Sunday. Then I found a song CD for Rakugaki Oukoku, a game by Taito with some input from Studio Ghibli. Thought I just like to share a picture with you:

Rakugaki Oukoku with Music CD

I found the music CD at Books Lashinban Nipponbashi. Can you picture it? The CD single costs more than the game itself. Well I got that Rakugaki Oukoku at Sofmap some time ago, I can't remember when. They are still trying to offload this game at this price, for what a year now?! It must be junk.

Xbox usefulness

Now stacking:
  • Xbox Music Maker (Xbox-jp, Connect to your PC? haXXor?)

I want to make my Xbox useful. I lent the Burnout 3 away and now there's nothing occupying it. It is a dilemma.

Xbox entertainment: Music Maker and True Fantasy Online

I found these beauties (junk?!) at Super Potato Nipponbashi. I haven't been in the Xbox scene so I was surprised that these things came out in Japan. The Xbox Music Mixer is intriguing to say the least. Pipe audio from my PC to the Xbox, kinda like the 2005 Media Center capabilities. Hm.

And True Fantasy Live Online was hyped in Japan, as you can see with the calendar. Games that never were. Even if this game came out, I'm not sure it would have much of an impact in Japan. But Microsoft should have tried.

Rittaiteki Character goods

Now a topic that is near and dear to my heart: character goods. Recently I've been thinking of expanding the scope of this blog. Not just gaming, but character goods. I feel, though, that I'm losing a little touch of reality. Come on, would you expect to see this in a gaming log?

Nijihara Inku and Telephone Cards

Yup, that's right. Inku Nijihara from that English-learning boom cross cutesy manga, Moetan. My two-dimensional hobby has just hit three-dee, baby.

Well that's all well and fine. I'm sure now that this post's intro turned you off. What I really want to discuss is Video-fenky's post about "Snaaaaake!!!" Yes, I've seen that 1/1 scale model of Snake. You can too, if you go to either the Sofmap in Kobe or Sofmap Saurus at Nipponbashi. Sofmap has a tight grip on content makers and seems to get swag all the time. Now they're not the be-all or end-all in character goods or swag, because they're mainly an electronics store. But they get these gimmicks all the time. Right now, at Sofmap Saurus, they have sneak-action Snake at the escalator greeting you on your way out, and have a Lara Croft statue mocking you from the middle of piles of doujin character goods on the seventh story (Hobby and Rental Show Case "Treasure Box"). There's even a full-scale Seven of Nine from the Star Trek: Voyager series, cat-suit and all on the second floor. I could go and try to take pictures, but I would probably be jacked hard by the Sofmap folk. Gotta come up with some good standing angles and I gotta remember to take off the flash.

I do have one picture though, but it's not current. I remember at an old Sofmap location in the middle of Osaka Den-den town (after that it used to be the main Tora no Ana store, but now it's closed). They had on the mezzanine (1.5 story) a statue of Alice from American McGee's Alice in Wonderland. You know, the dark take on the Alice world crafted by the ex-Id employee. (I still have to finish this game, ugh.)

American McGee's Alice in Wonderland in Sofmap

Notice there's no blade coming out of the handle, rubber, PVC, or otherwise. Heh.

My flash went off and there was a store guy jumping to the scene. Sorry I didn't ask permission. As a policy I don't think you can. BTW, It says here that I took the picture on 2001/02/04. Gosh that's almost four years ago. Have I been infatuated with three-dee character goods all this time?

Be careful what you link

Remember that hub-bub about the girl who got a game for Christmas only to be surprised at adult language in a "Disney" game? Turns out the accusations were false. The Video Game Ombudsman warns us to be careful when linking. It's like adding fuel to the fire. Of the blog sites he checks out, the source I use often, Joystiq, ran the story without necessary fact checking. I would expect a site with ads on it to have some controls, not like my site, where I can post lies outright. Well, be careful is the motto of this post.

Learning at your pace, level 1

An annotated article about learning a foreign language through gaming? "Commentary: You're Not Studying, You're Just..." (thanks Kotaku). This online article is less an academic document and more like a blog advice column with real world links. Heh. But seriously, I've been using a similar system with learning Japanese. There are familiar PC applications (Microsoft Word, for example) that I must work with in Japanese. I've learned most computer terminology through this. But I bet I sounded more like a computer first time started this.

Another angle I attack the language problem is by playing those console gal-get games. Seriously. Well maybe not so seriously. If everything is in Japanese, then I do my best to understand because I want to proceed in the game. I think of it as an extension of my manga reading skills, and I always have my computer/online/handheld dictionary handy for them darn kanji.

Hm, but using The Sims to learn Japanese? I'm not so sure at my level. Basic concepts I probably know (teenage pregnancy!), and the computer interface I already know (basic such as save, load, quit, etc.) Maybe it will be useful for learning Spanish.

But let us not forget that language ability means the ability to synthesize. That means you have to do more than recognize words and grammar, you have to be able know them enough to create them. In my work environment, I lean on a lot of people to learn language I didn't know. Well maybe work isn't the most effective place (for the learner and those around) but language learning is a two-way street.

The thrust of the article is not to have games be the only environment in which to learn, but to supplement the beginner's textbook and those totally orthodox language tapes. Games should be taken seriously, at least at the CBI (Content Based Instruction) level.

"What to believe" is track 21

Now I'm catching up on my blog posts. Bloglines is so useful for saving post from other blogs.

There's a Tokyopia article discussing "Music is more important than graphics" (Thanks Kotaku). I agree wholeheartedly, in fact I'm part of the choir. Music enhances the game. I would never play Parsec 47 without its shmuppy soundtrack, nor would I try to substitute the music of Burnout 3 without shmuppy music (though I tried, and it was wierd).

So what's a picture of the Gran Turismo 4 Original Game Sountrack doing here? As I posted before, the music really moved me... to buy the soundtrack. I have yet to get the game, but this really captures the feel of Gran Turismo 4 racing. This and remembering that demo video.

Gran Turismo 4 Soundtrack

As an aside about the article, I don't see a true distinction in the sweeping generalizations between games that play you and games you play. Both are artificial constructions, the first is just rules that don't conform to life (like chess or Parsec 47) and rules that do (like Gran Turismo 4). Both types of games benefit greatly from the proper use of music.

Go to sleep early.

Oh yeh, this will be the last post on my vacation. I go back to work tomorrow, ho hum. Let's see I haven't taken pictures of the spoils of Comic Market 67 day 2. I still have to finish Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance. I haven't cleaned my room! Ugh so many gaming magazines scattered in piles. Maybe I can squeeze a little bit in, during this week. Maybe.

Working on my list

Now stacking:
  • Astro Boy - The Secret of the Atom Heart (GBA-jp, Another Treasure-developed GBA game, hah ahh.)

Actually I've had this article, "The Best Games You Haven't Played" (thanks Kotaku), opened in my web browser for a couple of weeks now. I have a couple of games on there (8, 7, 1, and I'm working on getting 2). But today I picked up their 10th recommendation, Astro Boy: Omega Factor which has a different name in Japan (see above). I found it going for a closeout 1000 yen at Sofmap. Remember kids, Sofmap has sales sometimes so you gotta keep a lookout.

I'm not surprised that this slipped under my radar. I actually have some aversion to Tezuka works. Come on, can you blame me for not liking the father of manga and anime? Do you like the first movies that came out? Are you still infatuated with Pong and Atari Combat? No? Yes?

I looked up the word ersatz

Go read this Wired interview with the former president of Nintendo Japan, Hiroshi Yamauchi as gifs (1, 2, 3) (Thanks Video Game Ombudsman). Go read it first then come back here. Do it now! I promise that it is truly interesting. (I'm only writing this much in the first paragraph because I need to pad out my intro text... Did it work? Yes it did! ;-)

You are reading it I hope? Done?

Okay it's a hoax. ^_^; Wait is it a hoax?

It had just enough realism to make me doubt. It's very convincing. I mean, elder retired businessmen have nothing to lose once outside of the "game". They can make their true viewpoints known without risk. And the observations are remarkably astute. PSP being compared to the Virtual Boy?!? I can see it. World War II comparisons? Yup. Fat, corrupt "Western ethos" Americans versus the "yellow" Japanese "way"? Forgiving but not forgetting disloyal Japanese game companies? I haven't even touched the plausably accurate, juicy quotes that this article will be famous for! (Don't you wish you could change the end of that sentence there? It makes me wince!)

Truth be told, I was incensed by the hoax interview. Sure, I live in Japan, and I can understand that Japanese need to feel pride. But it was just the unreserved raw nature of this article (stuffing words in the mouth of Yamauchi) with enought biting truth that, well, just made me mad. The article was parroting the "truism" that Americans are so great and they will perserve just because they are Americans! Where did this come from? Where is that kid-friendly Nintendo face? You won't find it here.

And that my friends is the greatest compliment toward a satiric article. Go read the article again and see if it changes your views. Or if you like, read this Insert Credit forum thread.

Old manga to game crossovers

Insert Credit mentions Marvelous Entertainment is going to create a licensed Urusei Yatsura game for the Nintendo DS. Now I'm not exactly screaming woopty-doo on this one, and there are no details on the page, just a title name. But the mention of this manga from Rumiko Takahashi brings back memories of my early anime/manga kick. Post-Robotech, but I just discovered Viz comics and their translations of Nausicaa and the Valley of Wind. This has to be 1987 or 88 for me. Of course, Urusei Yatsura came out in Japan in the early 80's, I think, even earlier? It was a series that I didn't get into as much as other Rumiko Takahashi works such as Maison Ikkoku (I am a really big fan, I have an autographed volume 1) and Ranma 1/2, and Laughing Target (those Rumic World short stories were great!).

From a gaming perspective, I have the Famicom version of Maison Ikkoku, and I bought it for about 3980 yen. I was high on something, probably, when I bought it. I remember the first Super Nintendo attempts of Ranma 1/2. Ugh.

Card Captor Sakura - Sakura Card version - Sakura to kaado to otomodachi

Marvelous Entertainment gets a mention from me from before for their game Card Captor Sakura - Sakura Card Version - Sakura and Cards and Friends. They use the licenses and they don't make them worst for wear.

Turning the PS2 back on

Recently playing:
  • Gran Turismo 3 Concept Tokyo 2001 (PS2-jp, Cars galore)
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance (PS2-jp, "Why don't you exercise your neck a little?")

Well actually I couldn't find my copy of Gran Turismo 3. So I stuck in the next best thing. Hm. It's a shock on two fronts. First the graphics are jagged and blunt. I'm sure it's fine for PS2 in 2002, but after playing the Xbox goodness I am almost unable to deal with it. Second, Gran Turismo series really is the "real car simulator". I bought this game for the touring mode, but it's not arcade-y enough for my taste. After playing the ultra-unrealistic Burnout 3, the real car physics and real acceleration (without boost!) feels incredibly slow.

So I gave up and stuck in Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance. Can you believe I've never played this game? I read the Previous Stories in English and then proceeded with the main game. It's a lot more fun than I expected. And the cut scenes aren't annoying at all. Right now I'm defusing bombs in the second stage. Still I'm having a hard time drawing a bead on these enemies with my hand gun. I don't care for all the military mumbo-jumbo, and the sneak action is pretty unrealistic, but it feels exciting.

GT3 back again?

It says on my memory card that I haven't touched Gran Turismo 3 in a couple of years. 2001/08/13. Once I insert the game, the date will update. I just wanted to memo it.

Racing is over

I love this Burnout 3. Speed, racing, drifting, boosting. I finished the racing part with all golds. Completely satisfying at 30 hours of play. I'm not going to complete the crash part unless there's some real goodies. How do you use (!) the crash vehicles?

Burnout 3 - Racing all golds

How is the Xbox doing?

Video-Fenky points out 'Xbox Japan: "75 out of 100"'. I have the magazine but I usually gloss over the articles. Picture books for the impatient, yeah.

Even when I look at Xbox Japan the magazine there isn't much stuff coming out for the Xbox that interests me. Sure I could go for Splinter Cell or the latest mech game but really don't like those games. I'm now thinking of gettng Outrun 2 for real now. I guess the only I can keep this non-modded Xbox busy is if I buy some more Asia release games.

Burnout 3, just what I like

Recently playing:
  • Burnout 3 (XBox-asia, Sound bites from Crash FM are teh kewl)

I'll admit it. I couldn't stop thinking about ripping and jacking in Burnout 3. It was on my mind on the way home from Tokyo on December 30th. I thought I would go delirious and buy Gran Turismo 4. But I stuck to my purchases (going to the ATM 3 or more times in 2 days is not quite normal, I realize that), dealt with the impatience. Good thing I slept 10 hours the day after, or I would have been irritable.

I started playing Burnout 3 after I received a call from a co-worker asking about how to use iTunes (oh so groggy at 1100 in morning). The disc would not be recognized... Ugh, what was that about Xbox not reading game discs? I have it right here. But I perservered after letting the machine warm up and gently (oh so gently) pressing the eject button and reseating the disc.

Burnout 3. Thank gosh it's in english. Thank gosh that I can tolerate playing driving games with a mere hand controller. I got into the world mode and proceeded to lose the rest of the day. I looked up, it was around 1800. Whoa! This game is great! Boost, the tracks. Heck I don't care about the cars, just give me the exihliration and rush from flying past road hogs. And the crash impact time, it is a hoot!

It's now about 4 days and 18 in-game hours later and I have calmed down a little bit, but I must say my favorite is the Road Rage mode. I think I can "takeout" 28 vehicles. My least favorite mode is the crash mode. Ugh, I wince every time I head on something, why would I want to reinitiate a displeasing emotion?

I am so glad I waited to get the Xbox version. The PS2 version probably has worse graphics. So so glad.

2004, listing.

What is it about those top 10 lists for this year's games? There's of course the top 10 best, top 10 worst, top 10 lows, top 10 independents, etc. etc. Even those frivolous lists and awards where the themes don't fit into any logical category. It seems to me that there is a need to summarize the year 2004 into a sound bite or 10.

But I have noticed that gamers and game reviewers are selective in their memories. Why aren't games from the first half of the year not in on those lists? I suspect people can't remember. Or maybe it's just that I'm tracking different regions and scenes of gaming, each literally in their own time zone. I'm still a U.S. gamer, keeping my eye on the U.S. market while I live here in the middle of Japan.

I am not above the summarization, in fact, I want to bring you my own. Pretty much it's a review of my own experience with the games and events of 2004. So here were are in no particular order:

2004 was exciting, but not because I was wow'd by the events of November and December. Looking back on this list, I'd say it wasn't very important to me that Halo 2, Doom 3, Grand Theft Auto series, World of Warcraft, PlayStation Portable or the Nintendo Dual Screen came out. I don't doubt that they are important, but when we game, as with all other entertainment, we have to pick and choose what we do with our time. I should hope we don't all game the same way. I hope your 2004 has been as enlightening and engaging as my 2004 has been.

Stomp on my games.

Get children of this era to review your past-time, thanks to 1up's article "Child's Play II" (thanks Kotaku). I particularly like their comments on Star Wars, 720, and Gunstar Heroes. EGM asks the most pointed questions.

CM67 Day 2 Waiting in line lightly reviewed.

I will review the Comic Market 67 Day 2 spoils in a little while. I was "regenerating in my alcove" until 1100 the day after. Ha ha.

Here what waiting for a CM looks like. Too bad I didn't get a shot the snowy day before.

CM67 Standing up after sitting in line for 3 hours.

Standing in line ready to actually move near that wierd inverted triangle building @ 10:07. Nothing going on there, no no.

CM67 Moving up the bridge

Getting closer @ 10:20. There's a road just before the building, but luckily for us there's a bridge. Step hut! Step disarray!

CM67 People as far as the eye can see

A fancy back-handed shot @ 10:21. (No I don't have one of those rotatable transformable cameras. I GIMP'd this shot, sorry I'm still learning.) This is not everybody. There are lines just as big to the left and right of this picture.

On notable reaction to autographs.

I'm doing some more link/blog linking cleanup here. As always, I use Joystiq and the revived Kotaku as foils for my opinion.

This time, Kotaku links to "Autographed Copy of ICO Raises Red Cross Funds". I for one salivated at the thought of a signed Ico game, by the creator of the game, Fumito Ueda. I admit I am a collector, a half-serious collector at that, but there are some things that I think that valuable. However this game signature is on the "Best" version of the game, which is the mass market re-release or renkaban. How lame is that!??! (I guess this is the part where the Comic-Book Guy rears its ugly head). Come on, you can't say you're a fan of the game if you have the "Best" version of it signed. You need to have it on the original release, preferably on the first shipment. At the time I checked, it was going for 40,50 Euro, which translates to 5000 yen (with shipping fudge factor included). Hm. Not worth it.

Wait a minute, was it really one person creating the game, or a whole team? I look at the Ico guide book and the interview at the back shows at least 18 people involved in the game. Fumito Ueda is the director and game designer. Okay, so you can call him the creator.

I want to place a link to the Miyuki Miyabe (‹{•”‚Ý‚ä‚«) bookCIco Kiri no Shiro, here. Yes thank you.

The second life, possessed virtually?

An interesting article about 9 individuals who use one game character in some virtual world: "The Nine Souls of Wilde Cunningham".

But then there was this link to something called "Second Life" and I clicked it. The main page did not have the 5 second about blurb to tell me why I should stay on it. But then I figured it out on their About:News Clips section. Second Life is a virtual game world that does not discourage online trade. To me this sounds very new, and very old at the same time. Second Life seems to be bucking the trend of other MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games, hey I define it because I'm not a player of those games!), by allowing subscribers to build their own content and trading it to other users. But my "old" reaction comes from years of playing Unreal Tournament mods that are built for free. These mods are from other users, and not the game designers themselves.

When I bought Rollercoaster Tycoon and jacked it in, I said to myself, did I really want to be the Tycoon? I saw a simulation of real-world trade-offs, and I must have forgot when I purchased it that I really suck at long term strategy planning and execution. But here is another game that brings out the creativity of the gamer. But since this is not Xbox-live capable, I assume if you want other user-content you have to ask for a copy of their game save.

Hm. How long will it be until your games that you normally play on the console are virtual game world possessions of your avatar that you must play in your virtual home? Imagine it. A virtual arcade park. Relive the 80's with a virtual rendition of an arcade upright or sit-in. You move your avatar inside and the game runs in-engine, emulated. Hm. Hm. This thought experiment is delicious and scary. Who's going to simulate sticky floors? Better yet, where will all the light gun games go? Ha hah.

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