Thursday, June 30, 2005 @ 07:21 (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

2005-06-30 Thu

A view of the earth, Google style

2005-06-29 Wed

Raiden III on the PS2

The circle is complete

2005-06-28 Tue

Michael!

2005-06-27 Mon

4 way no play

2005-06-26 Sun

Concentrating on DS goodness.

Big joystick, one to use with all your weight against it.

Real game prizes

The most obvious comedy

2005-06-24 Fri

Searching for a better Chrono Trigger remix.

Preorder, postorder

2005-06-23 Thu

Doll vacation (Shinku from Rozen Maiden)

2005-06-21 Tue

Game anthropology

A new platform

2005-06-20 Mon

Can't decide

2005-06-18 Sat

Caution! Lily Appeared!

2005-06-17 Fri

Monkeys at the keyboard

Dead parrot!

It's out! Save a trip!

2005-06-16 Thu

Custom background joysticks

Pop-ups suck...

2005-06-13 Mon

Finding maps and getting dissatisfied.

2005-06-11 Sat

We just pay for your voice.

Of course I'm a SF fan. Demo movie and figures, oh boy figures.

Demo movie for Everybody Loves Katamari Damashii

PSP a reader's paradise

2005-06-09 Thu

Staring at the Sun; Avoid Bullet

2005-06-06 Mon

Wanting my hours back.

2005-06-04 Sat

There is no spoon, but surely there is touch?

Wanted: more DIMMS

2005-06-02 Thu

Why is it "retro"?

2005-06-01 Wed

Kana cancelled. Social mores left unquestioned.

Why couldn't we have it back in 1991?: Senkou no Ronde

The gaming of business: Nintendo in the new generation

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A view of the earth, Google style

Google continues to wow us with the free Internet gifts, like Google Earth. Remember this picture of "Kobe" using WorldWind, the NASA program?

 Worldwind Kobe centered at night

Well here's a even better picture of Kobe with Google Earth.

 Google Earth Kobe from the south

I don't have a GPS, but I'm still thinking of getting the paid version. Great!

Raiden III on the PS2

PS2 is the shmup console of today. Well, it's getting Raiden III this September (thanks RetroGaming with racketboy). Great!

The circle is complete

Last post was about a game inspired by dancing. This one about a dance inspired by gaming. The file name is "seokjooseongmi" which is something Korean.... I don't know what it means, but if you like ballroom salsa dancing and Street Fighter II (Ken and Chun Li, rrrrrrr okay substitute tiger sexy sound here), then you'll love this video (thanks Kotaku and gewgaw).

Dang, put a video on the net and you're famous in 15 seconds. Linkie linkie.

Michael!

To celebrate Michael Jackson and his continued "Moonwalking" antics, I nominate this Flash skit called "Michael Quest III". Hyper electric and hyper entertaining. If you like sprite action from the 80s and All! Famicom! Soft!, this is a must see. Take Michael out for a adventure! This is from the same RSF that gave us Sega Fantasy VI (direct link) and my personal favorite, XiaoXiao on Fight2.

I got the link from a friend who said that Moonwalker came out on the Famicom. That's a lie. I said it came on the Genesis. I'm sure of it. GameFaqs proves me right. Wow I thought it was an 80s product, though. Wow! Annie!

4 way no play

Now stacking:
  • Deji Charat Deji Communication デ・ジ・キャラット でじこみゅにけーしょん (GBA-jp, It's a bargain, nyo!)

I picked up this crap controller, the Sanwa Supply JY-P1W. Sure looks nostalgic, right?

 Sanwa Supply jy-p1w Joypad

It only does diagonal input with unreasonable thumb pressure. Really bad for shmup games, at least. Well, if you're playing something like Q-bert or Qix, I'm sure it doesn't matter. I was ready to throw this guy into the trash after only 15 seconds in Parsec47. In fact, here it goes! *plop*

Ahhh. Next.

I bought Deji Charat Deji Communication game for the GBA for about 1000 yen, new. Recently I've been getting into the anime, Deji Charat Nyo. (デ・ジ・キャラットにょ)I just love the animation style and the jokes, well, when I can understand them. Plus Puchiko is the bomb. (Miyuki Sawashiro, nyu!)

Concentrating on DS goodness.

I went to Osaka and preordered the Nintendo DS Mew Edition. I don't dislike being inside of the Pokemon Center store, it's just that you may be attacked by little kids running around. This time they didn't ask for the money up front. I also bought a hard cover for the Nintendo DS with the Mew character on it. It seemed appropriate to buy it at the time so that I don't have to wait in long lines next time I'm there. There were more electronic games and entertainment, such as that Smart Media Pokemon media. No real good games or other interesting contents there.

Now all I need to do is get Electroplankton or some other non-game DS game and I won't be waiting to play the DS on my purchase day. Wee!

Big joystick, one to use with all your weight against it.

I am interested in wierd input devices. I remember this one exercise step machine for the PlayStation.. No I didn't buy it, but I think they were selling it in the year 2000. But this one is more interesting: Kilowatt "Isometric Home Gym Fitness Equipment from POWERGRID FITNESS." (thanks Kotaku) Immediately I thought, could this be a good shmup joystick? And if it is, could it give me a good workout while improving my response time? You put your whole weight into this controller. It does remind me that I need to exercise. But at USD 800.00, you better have some interesting, involving games to play. You're going to be working this off for a long time.

Real game prizes

I don't think I've ever won anything in a game contest. The only game contest I entered was that Street Fighter II back in 1991. And then this article comes along: Swordquest Interview with Michael Rideout, Interview by John Hardie. (Thanks Kotaku). Swordquest was an Atari 2600 game back in the 1980s. It was part of a promotion with really expensive prizes, like a gold chalice with diamonds. USD 22000!!! Wow.

In the back recesses of my mind I believe there was a game called that, but this really was before my time.

The most obvious comedy

Who is Dave Chappelle and why is he worth mill? He made a great sketch of Grand Theft Auto (thanks Kotaku). It's great for the first time, but watching it multiple times and you get sick of the canned laughter.

Searching for a better Chrono Trigger remix.

I recently bought a Chrono Trigger-themed doujin music arrange CD called "Le Cercueil Du Reve" (KTBH-0002), which was produced by Bauhaosu (バウハウス). Doing a Internet search led me to understand that it was release last year November or earlier. I previously bought that Chrono Trigger "Brink of Time" official arrange CD, but it was crappy to me. I didn't like that one at all. This one is a fan project, so it's more trance-y and uppity-y. It has a great version of "Midori no Omoide" (みどりの思い出), though. And the booklet is great smelling cardboard-like.

Preorder, postorder

No I'm not talking about traversal. I got the Pokemon Center Online mailing list annoucement telling me to come on down to Osaka to preorder a Nintendo DS Mew Edition (ニンテンドーDS ミュウエディション). I'll have to wait until the 8th of July to collect it (2005/07/08), so make that a second trip to Osaka.

What games should I get? I think I should get Electroplankton first. I'm kinda in the non-gaming mood right about now.

Doll vacation (Shinku from Rozen Maiden)

Shinku finally came late last night after a 6 month wait. (「ローゼンメイデン」の「真紅」の徳間書店製ドールフィギュアがようやく届いた!ワイワイ!) Shinku of course, is one of the dolls from Rozen Maiden, the anime doll fantasy story for the hikkikomori.  I ordered it in January, and though it was suppose to come during May, only now is it finished. You could only order it from January 2005 issue of Animage Magazine, which is an anime entertainment magazine that just celebrated 27 years of circulation. Softbank Games has some more details and pictures.

Shinku from Rozen Maiden by Tokuma Publishing: 人間、契約結びますか

So what's my blog without a little collection goods and figure action? (Not much of a gaming log, that's for sure.) Before I go on, I would like to mention that I know little to nothing about the state of art in figure dolls, either now or yesteryear. The only figures I played with back when I was a kid was Robotech/Transformers (Jetfire!) and Lego blocks. Dolls and (action) figures didn't suspend my belief in the same way. (Or is this selective memory at work?)

Before opening the box, I checked out the view from the outside. The back side reads like some credit roll from a movie, not an advertisement enticing you to buy it. I suppose it's because it not meant to be sold at a shop. The front side had a clear window where you could see Shinku's face. The first thing I checked is the eyes, and boy was I disappointed. They seem to be screwed up and unfocused! I don't know, maybe looking at all those "girly eyes" anime like Diji Charat or A Little Snow Fairy Sugar set me up for the fall. I mean, Inku Nijihara has the best looking eyes out of all my figurines.

Inku Nijihara figure has better eyes。

Another thing that struck me was the color of the hair. Unlike other dolls which attempt to replicate hair strands, Shinku has plastic immovable hair, which is just as well, since her hair is styled in impossible angles. But the color is almost mango color instead of blonde. This is somewhat disappointing. At least the plastic doesn't fall into disarray like most normal dolls' hair-alike.

Shinku from Rozen Maiden by Tokuma Publishing: 後ろ

I opened the box and the first thing that fell out was her bonnet and string lace in a plastic bag. Whoa, accessories. Then I notice that the rest of the Shinku is wrapped in plastic that isolated the hair from the clothes and the head. Even the hands were wrapped. Yeah, how did they put the plastic so that it isolates the head from the rest of the body? The head must be removable.

After judicious removal of almost all the plastic wrapping, I started to pay attention to more than just the body. Buyer's remorse crept in. Well the face isn't so bad, the shape of the hair makes up for it. I thought that the doll wasn't posable, but I moved the arm and it held the new position crisply. Wow, articulate.

I started checking out the clothes. Just like Jun (ugh sorry), I checked how fully clothed Shinku was and I was surprised to find that Shinku has 3 layers of clothing, and just how detailed those layers of clothing are. The dress skirt is velvet-like with frills at the bottom and an inner slip. At first I didn't like the not-quite red wine color, I started to grow on it. She has white stockings and cute glossy shoes for feet that are unfortunately proportionally too small. Shinku wears a matching shawl that you can fasten in place with a button. The dress itself is fastened to itself with velcro and she wears a slip underneath. Very detailed. I was impressed, and I'm sure those people who can make dolls' clothes will have a field day dressing Shinku up.

I removed the last plastic on her hands, and I tried to add her bonnet. Putting on the bonnet perplexed me, because her plastic ponytails got in the way. Perhaps I needed to remove the head, but it wouldn't come off easily. I put on the bonnet finally, but then I noticed that the bow in the back was on the wrong way. Did they make it wrong?

I then tried to pose Shinku. Her arms, hands and legs can be set in all sorts of angles, but I wanted a ladylike pose to match her personality. Her head seems to sink into her neck and torso. I can't really make her sit up with a good posture.

I also noticed that the plastic hair gets in the way of sitting. If I want her to sit, she needs to be propped up on something so that her rigid locks won't be slanting her.

Close up of Shinku from Rozen Maiden by Tokuma Publishing

Now I figured it out! The bow on the back of the bonnet which I thought was upside down actually goes under her neck, so that the bow is visible from the front. Clever, clever.

I need to go to a hobby doll shop and get a proper stand for her. There's one that's right above the Gamers, that anime/character shop I always go to. She can't be sitting down, and she can't be sitting in the sun. Maybe I should get one of those kimono doll glass boxes, just like my dad did about 25 years ago. Heh.

Though I'm disappointed with the eyes, the detail on the clothes and the ability to pose Shinku makes it worthwhile.

Game anthropology

Here's another game developer themed entry, but this time on the design of the "game" that is Nintendogs, called "Nintendogs: The case of the non-game that barked like a game" (thanks Kotaku). The first question about Nintendogs is always, is it a game? The blog entry answers that it is, and not only that, it should serve as a successful design example for game designers.

In it there's a definition of "Game Anthropology":

Game Anthropology: Game anthropology is about watching how ordinary consumers go about their lives; what sort of things do they do, what do they want to do, how do they use the things they have? Amidst all this, what opportunities exist to play games?

I definately am not a "ordinary consumer", I'm more the geeky "elite rOxxOr" "still-living-in-parent's-basement" gamer. Is there a term for those of us who live in games? Or is this just an unmentioned majority assumption when talking about the gaming public? I suppose by terming things, a study on them can begin.

I bet you the DS has more "Game Anthropology" titles than the PSP.

One interesting point about the game of Nintendogs was mentioned:

There is one poor design choice in Nintendogs that I wanted to call out. Time penalties for not playing are a horrible way to encourage people to start playing.

When I had that Pokemon Pikachu pedometer, there was no penalty or reward for using it again after a long period of inactivity. But I would have like to have had some reward for "walking" again.

A new platform

"Mactel". Or what ever you want to call the new Apple Macintosh on Intel processor move. Personally I gave up on Apple a long time ago, after my dying Powerbook 520c couldn't give me the gaming or the computing I wanted. I had some fun times with Warcraft II, though. I'm always interested in the game programming developer angle, and Joystiq links to an interesting blog about one of those third party Mac programmers. Compiler woes! Metrowerks CodeWarrior, one of the many toolchain products I wish I had growing up is now derelict. (Another is Orca/C, wow it's still available!) Byte-swapping issues! As always, the Mac-bias koolaid is strong in this article, but now the sky is the limit for the Mac OS X expansion. Ah, Unix with a great interface. Even the Lisp advocacy people at Planet Lisp are making the switch. When will I? When I can game with my Unreal Tournament, play Unix, have a great Intarweb experience (Mozilla and Firefox doesn't cut it) and be assured that the hardware has a good expansion route. Call me a 68k Mac anti-fanatic.

BTW, in all the coverage of this Apple Macintosh on Intel talk, at no time was the codename "Star Trek" used. This would have been a perfect tie in to say that this decade's "Star Trek" really is the next generation for the Mac.

Can't decide

Recently playing:
  • Phantasmagoria of Flower View (東方花映塚) (WinPC-jp, Miko Miko Reimu! Miko Miko Reimu!)

Do I keep playing the Phantasmagoria demo or do I start playing the Gunroar, ABA Games newest free, open-source game? (Thanks Insert Credit) You know, ABA Games / Kenta Cho made my all-time favorite shmup on Windows, which is Parsec47. (Can't p1mp this enough). Right now it's version 0.1, and knowing ABA Games, the game will mature at 0.2. What's there now though is immensely playable, but I didn't feel it click yet. Give me 30 minutes. Or maybe this will be a dud like that Torus Trooper was for me. I don't know, I want that feeling of Parsec47 again.

Caution! Lily Appeared!

After a couple of hours of Phantasmagoria of Flower View (東方花映塚) I found my button mashing reduced to timed squeezes. There's lots of meat to this game that I couldn't grasp in the first 30 minutes of the game, and I suppose that's why I love Zun games. That and I forgot about the bomb button. Now I want to read the manual to make sure that I haven't missed anything.

I like how the enemy weapons are your weapons, if you time it right. I also love the color of "doves", the graphics of the "scrubs". I like how bullets disappear. I like how how I don't know if I'm actually winning or not. I love match play and having to survive 2 minutes and 5 seconds before the computer gives up and purposefully collides with bullets. I love trying to comparing it to a foggy recollection of Twinkle Star Sprites. I despise myself for being too lazy to dig out my Dreamcast or Saturn.

The game is calling me again and I must answer.

Monkeys at the keyboard

I let the computer play with itself. Remember I mentioned the Match Mode in the demo of Phantasmagoria of Flower View (東方花映塚)? Select Shiki vs Shiki (式対式) which is the 4th option down, and pick a difficulty level. Try Lunatic for fun. I thought it was going to last forever, so I turned off the monitor and turned in. When I woke up this morning, I saw that it was over in 12 minutes. Okay? It takes 12 minutes to beat the computer at Lunatic, and it takes a shmup God 10000x over to beat it.

This feature is great. I mean, I use it all the time in Dead or Alive 2 and up to watch the ultimate sparing techniques. Ha ha ha.

Dead parrot!

As with all of his other game demos, Zun really puts some meat into it so that you know what you're buying. I'm talking about the freely downloadable demo of Phantasmagoria of Flower View (東方花映塚) from last post. I played the demo and though I could pass the 3 levels on Normal on the first try, I jumped into Hard, and yeah, it's hard.

The shocking thing about this game is that it takes many elements from a well know two-player competition shmup game, Twinkle Star Sprites. I mean literally. The enemy scrub patterns, the power ups and power up gauge, the cross-field opponent attacks. I come to expect something new and innovative from Zun (like that point scoring system from last game) and what does he do? He recycles his characters, their bullet patterns, into some effortless spam that could be mistaken for a junior doujin soft. It's more bite (copy) than alright (ooh creative). The music isn't new either. Your old, over-played,over-remixed, over-arranged favorites are here, although I do think that the 3rd stage had something new? Okay, maybe I'm being to hard on him, but he himself set up the standard.

One fun thing about this demo is the match play. Have the computer play against itself and see it squeeze through myriad of bullets inhumanly. But not just any squeeze play, it goes to the effort of buzzing (grazing, カスリ). Ah, that's entertaining. Let me have a screen saver of that.

In any case, this ain't the second coming of shmups, but at least it's a good update of the two-player competition shmup genre. This reminds me, the real Twinkle Star Sprites sequel coming out will play just like this. And I'll probably think the same thing. "I paid 8000 yen for more of the same?" The real revolution is that Senkou no Ronde (旋光の輪舞) game, a Virtual-On game idea smashed into 2D with the fun danmaku bullet spray (which requires a life bar, aw shucks). No walls no barriers, all angles. What  a novel idea.

It's out! Save a trip!

Download it quick! The downloadable demo of Phantasmagoria of Flower View (東方花映塚) is out! 0.02a was released a week ago (!) and I didn't download it. Wow am I beating myself over a wasted weekend.

Shmups on Windows rulez! And if you don't like shmups, at least the music rocks! And if you don't like the music, well grab a friend for some hot shmup on shmup action! Ugh. Sorry.

Custom background joysticks

I was hoping for some shmup-flavored joysticks, but this guy's all fighting. Byrdo's custom background joysticks for sale, or for viewing (thanks Kotaku).

Pop-ups suck...

...and I'm not talking about browser pop ups. I'm pretty diligent with my Windows Update patching. I let it complete while playing Unreal Tournament 2004. But as soon as it was finished, the alert dialog popped up in the middle of my gaming session prompting me to reset. This is one pop-up that just doesn't quit. Ah, give up and reboot.

Finding maps and getting dissatisfied.

I had a hard time trying to find DM-Blackhawk and DM-Helmzdeep for Unreal Tournament 2004. Some friends recommended these maps, but I don't like playing DM online that much. When it came down to trying to find them, I had to wad through all those annoying members-only download sites. Why can't they get these things torrented? I broke down and installed a Gnutella client just to find Helmzdeep. Ugh.

Recently I've been playing with "stats fps" on from the console. Sometimes the display dips to 30 fps, which now that I know the number, I find annoying. Should I upgrade my graphics card to raise my overall FPS? Or is there no saving this Project Sugar?

We just pay for your voice.

Twinkle Star Sprites: La Petite Princesses PS2 cover artWho cares about the game play of Twinkle Star Sprites: La Petite Princesse when you can sell it just on the seiyuu appeal alone? Or just the cover art? Seiyuu from Twinkle Star Sprites: La Petite Princesse (from left: Mari Yamada, Shizuka Nagasawagawa, Ai Shimizu)To keep the momentum alive because you still have to wait until 2005/07/28, the major seiyuu gave a "mini" interview for Game Watch (SNKプレイモア、かわいいキャラが目印「ティンクルスタースプライツ」出演声優にミニミニインタビュー), complete with pictures (Thanks Game Watch!!!). The new seiyuu not shown last time is Mari Yamada (山田茉莉), who according to her casting office, did a voice for that PS2 Cho-aniki shmup game (超兄貴〜聖なるプロテイン伝説). Heh.

Of course I'm a SF fan. Demo movie and figures, oh boy figures.

SF means both the Science Fiction genre and Street Fighter, the seminal 2d 1-on-1 fighting game series. But everybody knows that. Let's get to the linking, shall we? An enterprising Flash learner and SF fanatic gives us the MK Vs. SF movie (thanks Kotaku). Ugh I hated Mortal Kombat with a unbridled ignorance.  I think that fanatic watched the Matrix for the special effects and over-applied it, but the movie is great nonetheless. This SF fan gives the ending a big thumbs up!

While I'm on the subject, Pinky:st, the great cutesy figure series is getting the fighting game treatment with Chun Li and Sakura from the Street Fighter series. (Thanks Majoria's News 2005/06/10)

Prototypes of the Street Fighter themed Pinky:st set

Of course fighting games don't stop with SF, there's also a figure set for King of Fighters but I only give it a link. I'm not set on getting these figures, though. I am probably more interested in getting the Pinky:st take on the D.C. Da Capo. (D.C.〜ダ・カーポ〜). But there's no picture of the actual figures. Boo hoo.

2D design of the Da Capo themed Pinky:st set

Increasingly I am getting off topic. Is this turning into a character goods post? But I just wanna link to this All Nippon Airways promotional figure set featuring 9 generations of stewardess uniforms. (Thanks Majoria's News 2005/06/02) This figure set actually has a nice wood and glass case that will set you back about 10,000 yen. Ah Japan.

All Nippon Airways promotional figure set

Demo movie for Everybody Loves Katamari Damashii

Everybody Loves Katamari Damashii! (みんな大好き塊魂) Well, I don't get that hyped up with it, but I played the previous game to completion, so that's why I am probably going to get this game the first week it's out (2005/07/07). Kotaku points to the downloadable demo movie (thanks ITMedia Games, direct link) for the new Namco game. It's why you bought your PS2.

PSP a reader's paradise

PSP is turning into a book. No, the PSP is turning into a read-'em-up platform. In other words, let the gal-games begin! Weekly Famitsu has the scoop on the AquaPlus commitment to the portable with their ports of past hits such as Comic Party Portable (こみっくパーティー ポータブル) (original game 1999), Routes Portable (ルーツ ポータブル) (original game 2003) and Kizuato Portable (痕 ポータブル) (original game 2002). AquaPlus is famous for ToHeart series (1 and 2), but is merely their mainstream front for their gigantic PC ecchi game production house, Leaf (not work-safe).

These are on my list of PSP games to get first. This is really a good use of the PSP in my opinion. I like reading these games, but why do it stuck in front of the boob tube or the PC? I do hope they keep the voice artists and the voices. That would necessitate using headphones whenever I'm using the PSP, though.

And no, those pr0n UMDs (thanks Kotaku) are not another reason to get a PSP. When I heard this news I thought that Sony just couldn't get enough content out and started scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Staring at the Sun; Avoid Bullet

Since I read a bad book, I thought I should read another, because luck should balance out, right? This time, I pondered Staring At The Sun by Julian Barnes. Here's a fiction book that poses the little questions about life (not the big questions) in a quiet, passive way. The main character is a passive but enduring woman called Jean who seems to be ambivalent and uninterested with life. I like it because it was thought provoking, like did Charles Lindbergh really just eat one and a half of the five sandwiches he brought on his epic flight? Here's a pre-Internet book that creates a different computer future, where knowledge is free and regulated but trapped in some wierd Eliza session. Ah, this book would never in a million years be connected to video games, so I'll just stop right here. But I swear, it balances out my book luck. Thumbs up.

I saw Kotaku had a shmup-related post to a quick little Flash browser game, called Avoid Bullet (my trans. 避弾). It's interesting for a quick session. Kotaku blows it in their description, though, calling it First-Person Shooter Training. I don't see this shmup translating into better FPS skills at all. In a FPS, what you need to aim for is certain and visible. In a shmup, you need to imagine your path and avoid what's visible. What is with these stupid mainstreamers that try to compare everything to things they know? Oops, sorry, this must be pot and kettle.

Wanting my hours back.

Recently playing:
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 (WinPC-us, Take the Manta to node 3 and make sure to carry people.)

I spent my weekend reading a book I got when I went to Europe last year. It's Digital Fortress from Dan Brown, the same guy who gave us that intriguing book, The Da Vinci Code. Wow, this book really disappoints. Yes, I want my time back for reading this fiction, because the technical flaws and the unbelievable plot just piss me off. I can't remember being so disgusted reading a book, and actually yelling in disbelief while reading. I spent some time consoling myself with some Amazon customer reviews of the book. They really say what's on their mind. "Avoid this book." Lots of 1 stars there.

What a way to spend some entertainment time. I had to wonder if my game experiences were just as vivid. You see, I don't recall a game that has disappointed me in the same way as this book. I'm sure my mind is blocking it out, probably distorting the memory because I invested either big money or too much time, and I don't want to think that I wasted that time. Oooh Zelda was good except for the time where I had to rupie crawl. No no, I couldn't have spent 100 hours on Ikaruga and still not get to Chapter 5 without continuing. Et cetera. Perhaps I suspended my critical thinking skills because it was a game. It couldn't be that the game developers have a higher standard than writers. Maybe because this is interactive entertainment that I shift the blame from the content produces to myself, because I'm not skilled enough to jump through the "hoops" in the game. Perhaps I should be evaluating the appropriateness of the puzzles themselves?

From now I'm thinking about my personal disappointing or outlandish gaming experiences. What is a good metric for deriving satisfaction from a game? What makes a game disappointing and why does it seem like I can't identify it in my own experiences?

There is no spoon, but surely there is touch?

I'm one of those sissies that eats yogurt in the morning. Just recently I lost my "yogurt spoon". I think it fell in the trash can and I accidently threw it away. Can you believe I'm bummed about this? Besides, my yogurt spoon matches the size of a stimpack of yogurt, which is 80g here in Japan. Back in the States, I remember the regular size being twice the size of this stimpack. "In America, everything is big!" So true, so true.

I'm also one of those sissies that is seriously considering that Pokemon-flavored "Mew Edition" Nintendo DS for purchase. I did some eyeball comparisons with the currently common "pink" Nintendo DS and I like the color of the Pokemon one more. (My yogurt spoon was a similar color.)

Announcement for the Pokemon themed Nintendo DS

And also I've been thinking about getting that Nintendogs game because one of my favorite 2 page comics in Weekly Famitsu, Mizushina Takayuki's Iidenshi (みずしな孝之のいい電子, I saw him at the Tokyo Game Show 2003) is going bonkers over the wi-fi trading feature in Nintendogs game. One thing he learned? "It's really embarassing not being able to trade impressive items." (「プレゼント交換でたいしたものを渡せないとひどく恥ずかしい」). Hahah. Social gaming. How would I use it? Perhaps I'd be sitting in the train and just keep the DS on to pick up the stuff from random strangers. Collecting things are cool.

Manga artist Takayuki Mizushima at TGS 2003

But still I haven't found any games I really want to try out. Looking at the top 30, DS games take 6 spots, 4 spots in the top 10. How about not-games? That dictionary? No I already have a digitizer kanji dictionary on my Clie. Maybe that brain game with the extremely long name? (東北大学未来科学技術共同研究センター川島隆太教授監修 脳を鍛える大人のDSトレーニング) Actually I took some time to read that page and it seems really interesting. Math problems are not too interesting, but the "outloud" passage reading (名作音読) and family oriented features like synchronizing passage reading for one day are surely conversation starters for the electronic oriented family. Plus it comes with furigana so I test my reading skills, and a graphing feature to show my progress of "developing my brain". Hm. Very interesting.

Wanted: more DIMMS

Recently playing:
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 (WinPC-us, Let's play team deathmatch!)

So it's at least a year since I upgraded my "Wintendo" I mean my "gaming rig", Project Sugar PC. Since RAM prices are falling (maybe?) I decided invest in some more memory. Let's add 2GB! In 2 DIMMS! 1GB DIMMS have reached the 10000 yen mark, which is great. Luckily my motherboard supports memory in Dual Channel configuration, so if I upgrade correctly I'll be seeing 3GB.

But then I took a trip to my local store and all the brand name DIMMS are out of stock! I don't want to put generic no-name memory and I don't want to make a trip to Osaka's Nipponbashi (my entertainment budget this month is horrific), so I'm thinking of waiting a month or two. Maybe after I get my (salary) bonus? Besides, what good will adding 2GB do for the only PC gaming I'm doing right now? Other than the load times, I'm not sure there's any advantage. However I do run some PC emulation apps like Colinux, and some RAM heavy apps like Photomesa, so perhaps when I get the urge to game, I won't have to wait for swap to get back to me?

One thing that is troubling is that Windows by default only allows 2GB virtual memory per application. Would it be beneficial to my UT2k4 gaming to increase the virtual memory per application to 3GB? My gut tells me no, but still I don't want those annoying map load pauses, which I think is the fault of swap. I really have no idea, though.

Why is it "retro"?

Retro gaming and how to enjoy it properly, by racketboy. There's great information to be had here. He recently had a retro-games topic for new(er) consoles and I was moved (bowel moved?) to comment :

I don't understand how Gradius V and Psyvariar 2 can be considered "retro" when they came out in 2004 and 2005 as new games. Other shmup games like Hudson Selection Vol. 2: Star Soldier are clearly retro. Or are you just putting anything shmuppy as Retro?

 Ah well, what's the point. No more time to play UT2k4 tonight. I'm turning in.

Kana cancelled. Social mores left unquestioned.

Brandon from Insert Credit reports that Kana -Younger Sister- (加奈〜いもうと〜) for the Xbox is cancelled and will not be released. I've been waiting for this Xbox game for quite some time, and I didn't know it's already been two years since it was announced. Ayako Kawasumi (川澄綾子), famous for the Mahoromatic (まほろまてぃっく) anime and Akari in the PS1-jp game To Heart would have been the voice of the main character.

What is Kana? Basically it's a heart-breaking romance adventure game (read-'em-up). But more to the point, this is story that plays "what if you love your sister". Obvious genetic and social mores problems aside, "younger sister" as a romantic target is an often-used game concept in recent "gal-get" games. One mainstream example is the PC-to-mainstream game D.C. Da Capo with the heroine Nemu. However, most companies sidestep the potential incest taboo by claiming your "younger sister" isn't really part of your blood and was brought to your home early in your childhood, so you've been living with her for more than 5 plus years, etc. Kana was originally a ecchi PC game (definately not work-safe) made in 1999 and it didn't hide the fact it was playing with such a controversial topic. In fact I liked the some of the endings of the PC game because they were upbeat and they focused on the romance. I bought the soundtrack to the game re-release recently (by mistake, thinking it was for the Xbox version) and I thought, is this port ever going to come out? The news of the cancellation of the mainstream port is kinda sad, because I want to know how the porters are going to desexualize and re-adapt this story.

Why couldn't we have it back in 1991?: Senkou no Ronde

I remember the first time I beat Street Fighter II in story mode with "Ken". I was with my bestest high school buddy and we played at a now-defunct arcade shop 30 minutes away from our houses by bike. Somehow that achievement gave me the courage to enter a Street Fighter II contest. I was a scrub, though. I remember the final match being Zangief vs. Dhalsim. Wow, I have many many good (or dumb) memories with the early Street Fighter II series.

But now with my shmup fanticism, I look at the 2005 game Senkou no Ronde (旋光の輪舞) and I think, why couldn't this shmup game come out in 1991? It would have been a popular alternative to the fighting scene. In any case, I look forward to trying this in an arcade soon, especially after looking at all the videos (thanks Majoria's News 2005/05/31).

The gaming of business: Nintendo in the new generation

David from Buzzcut writes "Nintendo Versus Everyone: The Business of Business", a well written "screed" that separates the hype noise of Sony and Microsoft and analyzes Nintendo from a business perspective. This is the kind of writing that forces a reality check on the fanboys and gamers decrying Nintendo's "imminent death". It's an eye-opening "must read", if your reading feed is merely Joystiq and Kotaku. David asserts that Nintendo not only has the money to stay in business, but has the enviable profit profile than other companies in other industries covet, which leads to his assertion that Nintendo knows what it's doing. So while the spotlight at E3 was on Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo made smart and arguably, profitable, business announcements with its "Revolution" and "Game Boy Micro". Is Nintendo the Apple of console gaming? This article is surely a good discussion-starter.

Some niggly bits are laughable, such as "[having] a business built such that it could last 500 years doing just what it is doing". I agree with it, if you change 500 to 50 years. Then this statement isn't so controversial. However, I bet the creators of Nintendo back in the 1800's didn't think they'd become experts in collection game creation (Pokemon) and puzzle-adventuring (Zelda) 100 years later. They probably weren't the 10% of Hanafuda or trump (poker) cards of their time, either. Also, the medium of entertainment changed from their Hanafuda cards to interactive environments. Who's to say that another revolution in entertainment methods won't be invented? Granted, Nintendo has a lot of successful IP on entertaining people looking for interactive entertaiment. For example, they probably have algorithms (or sure-fire methods) for gaming addiction and increasing puzzle difficulty while at the same time carefully meting out rewards.

And not to detract from the main point, but David has to preface his comments with "Am I a Nintendo fanboy?" or "Do I hate Sony and Microsoft and want to see them fail?". It's too bad that discussion need clear the air of "console ownage" bias. When you own more than one console as I'm sure most gamers do, the raving loyalty and polarized arguments fall away and you see games as they should be, experiences. It's as if the gaming and game industry enthusiasts only use "good/bad" value judgement when discussing their valuable hobby/business. It's time to step up the argument.

But anyways, this blog entry has cut into my UT2k4 game time and I'm itching to shock combo some upstarts. Besides, I don't like business topics anyway. In any case, read the article, it will stave off the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 lust.

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