Saturday, February 26, 2005 @ 22:53 (Japan Standard Time)
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A hobbyist video gamer in the middle of Japan's gaming zone. Comments on console, PC, handheld and arcade games.
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2005-02-26 Sat

Well I'll be gone til ...

Gotta keep the game devs fed.

The P word

Shot put? Nanaca Crash

2005-02-23 Wed

Gaming without music is not like whistling while you work.

Model planes. Model shmup planes.

2005-02-21 Mon

I found my new linkie

2005-02-20 Sun

HP -1, HP -1, ...

Shmup arcade gaming news.

Unreal Championship 2 clips

2005-02-19 Sat

Palm OS pundit weighs in on Nintendo DS

Mayday! Abort approach!

Bejeweled, for her?

2005-02-18 Fri

Define fun?

2005-02-17 Thu

/ABOVENORMAL parsec 47

Air the movie

Grateful for the support

exploring 3 screens and a cockpit for GT4

Yoko Ishida concert interfers with ghostly maidens

Pre-paid ice ice baby.

Wanting a PSP more than just the usual requirement.

Time for R&R.

2005-02-16 Wed

Nintendo DS trying to be the next PDA?

Stuck in reality with the pain.

2005-02-13 Sun

Pikachu Gameboy Advance!

2005-02-08 Tue

On top of the world

2005-02-06 Sun

Desired GT4 setup

2005-02-05 Sat

Mini review of GT4 Force Pro

2005-02-02 Wed

Look up! The sky is falling!

Turn it 900 degrees

2005-02-01 Tue

My Gran Turismo 4 setup

Sugar visits

The Journey (Unreal Tournament 2004 Machinima)

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Well I'll be gone til ...

I'm going to be gone out of the country and I am not taking any games with me! Serious! Not even Parsec47! I am going to be concentrating on work (gotta feed the app devs). Or reading airport books all the time. Maybe even go to the pool and beach for a change.

I'll be back before you know it, so keep your RSS aggregators tuned. See ya.

Gotta keep the game devs fed.

Will you please pre-order my game? (Originally in Japanese, thanks insert credit) This is an impassioned plea from the Japanese shmup developer of XIIStag ("twelve stag"), and now Trizeal. Yes I like the shmup genre, but I personally didn't like XIIStag, so I am wary of Trizeal. Plus I think it has those joystick combo movements that I detest. Hm. No pre-order here.

On a somewhat shmup related note, I saw Chaos Field GameCube version in the shop today, but I didn't bother picking it up. Actually I was debating about it, but then someone else swiped the last copy right in front of me. Oh well, I'm sure there will be a lot more copies when I go next, if I still I want it.

The P word

(Originally written 2005/02/16 22:48)

The Palm software on the PC decided to eat my postmodern post. And here I am trying to reconstruct it.

When I see a gaming essay touting a game's postmodernity, I distrust it. The word postmodern to me brings an air of arrogance, the I've seen this before and it's all passe feeling. What is postmodern in gaming? Is it just something like postmodern art in game assets? Would you believe Gradius V and any other Treasure game is postmodern? (an insert credit feature)

Gradius V to me is a great game that tests my shmup mettle. But no where did I think that the game is asking me, isn't the Gradius shmup games absurd? Isn't the tradition absurd? Maybe I was too caught up in the basics of shmup atmosphere. Where is the postmodernity?

I looked up the definition. Postmodern is "taking modernist styles or traditions to extremes". So what is modernist? "A break from tradition". So, what. Is postmodern, super modernist? Cho very modernist? Gaming as an entertainment form has already broken away from regular forms. It has also had time to develop its own genres.

Gradius V isn't a set level of challenges. It's a varied playing field where you take your challenges as you see them, and at your level. Sometimes you don't recognize a higher level of challenges, but in time and experience with the game, you do. Is this postmodernity? Of asking more than just dodging bullets and laying indiscrimnate waste to the infidels? Yes indeed. It may take a while to see it, but once you get to level 6 and 7, you may tend to agree.

Can I apply the coveted tag of postmodernism to Parsec 47? It tells you that you've seen these bullets pattern before, individually. You can even look at the source code and the barrages are labelled with the favored shmups of yesteryear. But when you play the game itself, it feels fresh, because the game is asking you to play with several "acquantances" together. Even the look should bring you back to the heady days of Tempest, but it acts nothing like it. Mix the tradition and break it. Yes, Parsec 47 is postmodern.

Does this mean games like Outrun 2, Gradius V, and Metroid Prime are the postmodern sequels? If so, does that make them better than the passe?

Frankly I rather reduce gaming experiences to value judgements. Is it good or bad? But I'm glad at least some people are thinking about gaming as an art, not as a means to self-flagulation. Here we have another metric to measure game experiences in one word.

Shot put? Nanaca Crash

Funny Flash game here: Nanaca Crash (Thanks insert credit). Basically it's a shot put game, with "specials", school teen anime styled.

My personal best before I got bored of it: 2169.63m (version 1.05). I'm sure if someone devoted insane amounts of time and if luck was on their side...

Nanaca Crash My best score 2169.63m

Gaming without music is not like whistling while you work.

I want to go to a video game concert. "Dear Friends" by N. Uematsu, you know, that guy who did music for the Final Fantasy series. Sadly, I never research these things. A "casual" FF fan writing for Game Girl Advance went to recent Chicago performance and the reviewed the crowd more than the music. Which is fine by me, tell me how I fit in for once in my life. Titillate me through the ear canal please.

But seriously, do you think this would work for other games? I have some orchestra CDs for Mario and Zelda, big woop. What I'd like to hear is some Street Fighter, no scratch that. I'd like to hear some Tecmo Ninja Gaiden, from the NES/Famicom days. I got off on that "sound select" hidden inside of Ninja Gaiden II.潯eh. Or how about music from Chrono Trigger? Or let's go for some music from To Heart, like Kaze ga Kureta o-yasumi. Ah.

Then again right now I'm in my Yanni and Keiko Matsui mode. My god, Live at the Acropolis is great; I ranked 7 out of 10 songs as 5 stars. Hehehe.

Model planes. Model shmup planes.

Yahoo Auctions are big in Japan. Or so I think. Here you can get a Ikaruga model plane (ship?) kit for only 4,0000 yen or about USD 400.00. Wow.

I found my new linkie

This guy does it right. Majoria's News. I found some Ikaruga art that I haven't seen before, linked on his page. And he does go for the cute anime/CG gals as well! Awesome!

HP -1, HP -1, ...

I was able to go to Osaka and order the Pikachu Gameboy Advance in person, but I was not comfortable at all. To simplify it by saying it was like losing hit points with every step doesn't do justice to the pain and humiliation I would feel if I puked my rainbows in the crowded places.

With that goal accomplished, I thought about going to Nipponbashi to pre-order Card Captor Sakura DVD Box 1 and Princess Maker 4, but my body was telling me no and furthurmore, they're still more than a month off. I should have plenty of time to fix my body before then.

Shmup arcade gaming news.

Catching up on some hot arcade news. The AOU Amusment Expo is in full swing in Tokyo now.

Cave's Mushihime-sama (the game I've only really played 18 times in the arcade) is going consumer (console, soundtrack, statue figurine on slide 20). Who wouldn't want a figurine of an insect master garbed in sailor suit gear? (Thanks click-stick, Insert Credit)

Mushihimesama statue shown at AOU 2005

The above links also show more shmup games. Ibara, and Senko no Ronde look pretty good as well. I saw one picture of Shikigami no Shiro III, and as character inserts go it was pretty. The one game I want to try out though is that Homura. More Skonec freakiness. I thought Psyvariar 2 when I saw some bullet sprays.

Unreal Championship 2 clips

There's some clips on the Xbox game Unreal Championship 2 on Game Informer (thanks Joystiq). Although the graphics look good, the multi-double jump and melee weapons really take the Unreal series in a new, but unfamiliar direction. "un-Unreal" is right. But I guess it's time to turn convention on its head. Frankly the fragging didn't look very expert, just jump around, jump around, slash, melee, shoot hoping you'll get a hit, etc.

Palm OS pundit weighs in on Nintendo DS

A follow-up on my previous topic "Nintendo DS trying to be the next PDA?". Tam Hanna's Palm OS Blog eloquently explains why the Palm OS appz on the Nintendo DS is just a non-starter, in his post "Palm OS and the Nintendo DS: a demiperferct [sic] pair". Of course this is all just rumor, but it's fun speculating nonetheless.

Mayday! Abort approach!

I was going to go to Pokemon Center Osaka to reserve my very own Pikachu Gameboy Advance SP. I even had the pre-order money (全額先払い), but I felt really nauseated on the eastbound train. Still sick with dry heaving! Ack! Ah well, there's always Sunday.

Pikachu Gameboy Advance SP pre-order info

Bejeweled, for her?

Bejeweled by itself has universal appeal. Now replace the gems with branded icons for her, and you have Ms. Match. (Thanks Water Cooler Games) It's what they call using video games for advertising. Just thought that this was pretty funny. Now now, let's get a guy-themed Bejeweled out of them, with what... I don't know.

Define fun?

Rumble Roses is ... fun? I was mashing buttons. I took a spoiler-free look at the official book and I learned that I needed to learn the keypresses. But the player models are horribly lighted. Not sexy except crudely.

/ABOVENORMAL parsec 47

Windows XP makes my games jittery. Solve that by making the games' default priority "Above Normal". No, we don't use Task Manager, we start the process off right:

cd games\p47
start /MIN /ABOVENORMAL p47.exe -reverse -nosound -window

Finally, a non-jumpy intentional slowdown game of Parsec 47. Rock!

Air the movie

(Originally typed on 2005/02/10 09:02 Thu)

Do you know Air? Air the movie came out in various areas in Japan. The story seems that there is only one theatre in an area showing it. So for example, for the whole Tokyo area there's only one place. Same with Osaka. And when you combine that fact with the rabid following this ecchi PC-turned mainstream game/TV anime and now movie, you get a waiting time of 8 hours. At least according to a friend who is waiting for the crowds to die down.

As for me I want to see it in Kobe, so I have to wait until February 25. Which gives me enough time to actually play the game if I feel like it. Now I just need to move the Dreamcast near my Gran Turismo setup... Do I want to feel depressed? I guess the way to play is do Air first, then shrug off the emotion on Gran Turismo.

Grateful for the support

(Originally typed on 2005/02/10 09:06 Thu)

So I would just like to say I passed my Japanese Language Proficiency Test with the help of the following games:

Final Fantasy X
Missing Blue
To Heart
Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (君が望む永遠)
Canvas
Yumeria
Mizuiro (みずいろ)
Galaxy Angel (ギャラクシーエンジェル)
D.C. (Da Capo)
Tokimeki Memorial 3 (ときめきメモリアル3)
Tokimeki Memorial Pocket Culture

and almost every other game I have played in Japanese.

You know.

exploring 3 screens and a cockpit for GT4

(Originally typed 2005/02/10 08:36 Thu)

It seems to me that my head is full of Gran Turismo 4 dreams. Recently I've been thinking to myself, what if? What if I buy 3 monitors for GT4 multi-view mode? They would all have to be the same model, with a thin side panel so when I make my video wall, the housing won't detract from the image.

But that would mean I need 2 additional PS2s and 2 additional copies of GT4. If we price this out, it would be...

3 * 40000 yen = 17 inch VGA (1280x1024) LCD monitor
2 * 8000 yen = PS2 Upscan converter video converter
2 * 20000 yen = PS2 console
2 * 5000 yen = GT4 game
1 * 2000 yen = 100BT repeater
3 * 500 yen = 100BT cables

... 18,9500 yen  or close to USD 2000.00.  Ouch. That's not counting the racing chair or the racing gloves. Or racing socks and shoes and suit and helmet...

And I'll still be stuck with headphone style audio. Ugh?

Yoko Ishida concert interfers with ghostly maidens

(Originally typed on 2005/02/05 09:14 Sat)

I already ordered a ticket to the Yoko Ishida (石田燿子) concert. Unfortunately it's at the same time as the Hakurei Jinja Reitaisai (博麗神社例大祭) Zun doujin meet-up. Which reminds me I need to listen to all those Zun/Shanghai Alice rip-off CDs. At least catalog them so I don't buy the same thing again. Hopefully there won't be mad lines like last time.

Pre-paid ice ice baby.

I got the mail confirming my pre-order and pre-payment for the Hori Joystick HP2-186-T. Pre-payments are honestly a hassle. I don't want to use my credit card too much.

Hori Joystick HP2-186-T

Wanting a PSP more than just the usual requirement.

Here's a game that I've been waiting for. (Thanks ign)

Wipeout Pure for the PlaysStation Portable

Wipeout, pure. You need the extra comma there.

Doesn't that ship on the right side bring you back to 1995? I wonder if this game is ever going to come to Japan. Do I have to haul out my PS1 copy?

Time for R&R.

Rumble Roses oy vay!

Nintendo DS trying to be the next PDA?

Can you believe the rumor about the Nintendo DS (NDS) trying to be the next PDA? That's laughable. (Thanks Kotaku)

Here I can weigh in with about 9 years of experience with a (Palm) PDA. The main thing that keeps the NDS from PDA-ness is its size. It's ugly bulky. Maybe if the GBA SP was touch-sensitive we could have something close to a PDA, but the NDS form factor is just a big negative. Or maybe it's just me. I like my PDAs that can be always on and always with me. Something as bulky as the NDS just doesn't fit in my vest pocket.

Plus the definition of a PDA means you need to sync it with your electronic lifestyle device. I mean, your PC. When was the last time you've ever seen Nintendo developing software for Windows or Mac? Maybe with their Palm licence they can ride the man-years of all the conduits built by the thousands of companies. Sync your Nintendo DS with Microsoft Outlook. Two great proprietary tastes that go great together.

This will be a Flop, if Nintendo commits to it. Think Nintendo (Network 64) Disk Drive Flop. Think Virtual Gameboy Flop.

Now, if the Sony PlayStation Portable had a touch-screen and lofty PDA plans I'd call it their Palm (Clie?) killer. Heck right now I can take pictures that I can view from my Clie and stick it in a PSP with no modification. Ah. Just a side effect of proprietary standards, I guess.

Stuck in reality with the pain.

I haven't actually been playing games for a while. Call it fully stuck in the interactivity of feverish sickness. Yes, I am "down". I shouldn't even be writing a gaming log while listening to the soulful Sonim (Peach Girl is great!). I should be sleeping. Sleeping! I need to fix my pillow though so it doesn't crimp my neck nerves. Ooh.

Although I did play some Parsec 47 and I felt pretty good about the delirium.

Pikachu Gameboy Advance!

Even though I subscribe to the Pokemon Center Online email newsletter, I've been ignore it for a long time. Come on, it's not like I'm into Pokemon dolls or bottle caps or pillows or dinner plates, etc. (Well I did have a thing with the Pikachu Pedometer, heh) But now I have a reason... (Thanks Joystiq, IGN, GPara)

Pikachu Gameboy Advance photo by Gpara

This is the kind of thing I like to have. Pikachu Gameboy Advance! Although only the face features are shown, it kinda reminds me of Bonzai Kitty (the working URL for this month). Wait, I don't like Bonzai Kitty. Actually I don't like this design now that I think about it. Pikachu is cute to me only for its cheeks and ears. I mean, this is what I like:

Pocket Monsters TV Main Theme songs DVD

I just don't get the same kind of calming, "aww shucks" feeling with the GBA design that I do with this picture.

I had it in my head to take the day off on the 18th to visit the store, but frankly, I got the Achamo Orange Gameboy Advance quite easily compared to all the other people who didn't pre-order. I pre-ordered with no waiting, just filling out my name. Then on the day it was released, I thought I had to wait in this 2 hour line, but then I waved my pre-order slip and the store clerk brought me out of line, into the exit of the store, took my money and handed me the Achamo Orange GBA, while parents and kids were gawking at me.

Now, if I can remember what the last game I bought for the GBA was, then I'd have a reason to use Pikachu GBA. Again, I am in excess!

On top of the world

This really has nothing to do with gaming, but heck, I'm happy! I passed Level 1 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Exam! (日本語能力試験一級を合格しました!) Oh yeah!

And if want, I can get a certificate for only 1000 yen more. What a system. BTW, that page has the most ruby I've ever seen, well in recent months.

Desired GT4 setup

Did you see the three screen setup for Gran Turismo 4? (Thanks Kotaku) Ooh I want to play with that.

Actually that Attack Gran Turismo Special Video showed a demo backdrop with 6 screens. There's a top left, top and top right. You can do the same with Gran Turismo 4.

Mini review of GT4 Force Pro

Recently playing:
  • Gran Turismo 4 (PS2-jp, Now with more realism)

First off, a mini review of the GT4 Force Pro. It feels like a car, really. First the 900 degrees of freedom is a wonder. The whole feeling of turning the wheel frantically when doing rally races is unparalleled, short of my times in skidding accidents. The normal hand over hand turning feels so natural. Second, the extra controller buttons (full D pad with buttons) lets you see all around your car at a press of the D pad. More buttons on the controller means you don't need to use your Dual Shock controller to get view control. Third, the force feedback feels realistic, pushing and pulling you whenever you go over sandbars or curve bumps or even just normal curves. Plus the wheel rotates independantly and straightens out if going out on a straight away or a pulling out of a spinout. In otherwords, this controller is totally immersive. I haven't yet tried Manual Transmission, so that "toggle" stick shifter is unused. At least it's on the right side. I'm an american driver and that's what I've been used to for 7 years.

Right now I've set my goals to passing the International B licence (ib) tests. The first couple of tests, I got all silvers, so I thought I was improved,・but one test gave me a bronze. That's when I decided to go back and try to improve my National B license (b). Can I get all silvers here? Gold seems to be impossible for a normal driver like me. I spent one hour and a half trying to get a gold on license test b-3, but I am 0.038 seconds away from it. Why why?

I think the problem is that I don't know how to brake and turn. It's step on the brake, then move the wheel and try to coast while your tires are squealing, but I can't seem to get the movement down. I understeer too much or get into the curve too late. I just can't get it right now.

I've been seriously thinking of getting some racing gloves. The wheel is sticky enough, but I find my hands slick with sweat because I get tense.

Oh yeah, on the lighter side: On a license test, I was minding my own business, and I pressed a button on the Dual-Shock controller. It fell off the table and hit the rocker switch of my power strip squarely! I was looking at "GT" for a second and the power cut. Ugh. My almost gold time was deleted! I turned it back on again and I continued the test but I didn't improve.... Ugh.

Look up! The sky is falling!

It's coming... Rozen Maiden goods!

Rozen Maiden: episode 5 The Stairs

Turn it 900 degrees

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Gran Turismo 4: GT Force Pro and GT Force boxes

My Gran Turismo 4 setup

Recently playing:
  • Gran Turismo 4 (PS2-jp, Slowly but surely getting my licenses.)

I finally got cracking and dug out my Logicool GT Force Wheel. No it's not the "Pro", though I wish it was.

Logicool GT Force Feedback Wheel

It feels good to use a wheel and pedals for Gran Turismo 4. I did pass half of the National A License without it though. The latter half was a killer, even with the wheel. I managed to pass through it with mostly bronzes. So I got my "b" and I got my "a" now. Woopie, 15 hours or more of playing GT4 and it says I've completed 3.0% percent of the game.

BTW, that's "Sugar the Little Snow Fairy" paying a visit there. When I get frustrated with the GT4 license tests or racing in general, I look at her smiling face and for some reason it disarms me.

Sugar visits

I got to sleep in yesterday because today was our company day off. And what greets me on one of my rare holidays? Snow. It snowed last night. It is freezing in Kobe! What's worse is that it's freezing in my apartment.

The view outside my apartment, snow 2005/02/01!

Snow is a new thing for me. Well this amount of snow isn't too bad is it?

The Journey (Unreal Tournament 2004 Machinima)

Have you seen The Journey? (Thanks Joystiq) This "machinima" movie is made with Unreal Tournament 2004 and won the Make Something Unreal contest. I like how it doesn't look like a UT mod, or a game. It looks like movie, making a statement. The statement is blunt and sugary, but it's great nonetheless. As a bonus, you can watch it with your copy of UT instead of the normal movie file. I recommend the UT version, because you can see it how the author intended.

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