Saturday, May 31, 2014

Is it TECHNICALLY the Year of Pokemon?

I'm not going to give that long a lecture; Yes, it most certainly is. Maybe Nintendo didn't officially state that it is, but they what do they know? Well, a lot, but that's astray from the point.

For one thing, Pokemon is the official representative of the Japanese soccer team (or football, whatever you sports dudes want to call it..... I don't follow sports.) in Brazil. That 's a pretty huge deal; Japan is a producer of pratically anything passable; they could have submitted Maru the Cat or Bleach laundry detergent (dumb joke Har Har) to be their mascot, but out of millions, they chose 719 creatures. 
So, we've checked off real-world applications, let's see what else we have..... Oh yeah, SEVEN GAMES. The last time that many games was released was 2012, which hardly counts because they were mostly Pokemon applications, 2011 which only had that many because of Pokemon: Typing Adventure (THAT EXISTS!?) and Pokemon Card Game How to Play DS (Japan-exclusive video game instruction manual). The REAL last time a bulk of quality games was created was 1999, where we saw the North American release of Pokemon Yellow, Pokemon Snap, Super Smash Bros (which starred Pikachu), Pokemon Pinball, and the Japanese releases of Picross NP Volume 1 (starring Pokemon), the English translation of Pokemon Stadium, and Pokemon Gold and Silver. That's seven quality games, the exact same amount we saw and will see this year! The games we have this year are as follows: Pokemon Bank, Pokemon Battle Trozei, The Thieves and the 1000 Pokemon, Pokemon Art Academy, Smash Bros for the 3DS, Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, and Smash Bros. for the Wii U, not to mention the completely TERRIFYING detective game.....

.... Sure, the latter might be the creepiest thing I've ever seen, but it counts. Plus, there are rumors of an actual PikaBlu. Which is awesome if you know of the long history of PokeGods and the likes.
So, what have we learnt today? Pokemon is having one of the greatest years of its franchise.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Personal List:Top Five Reasons the Virtual Boy was Awesome

Some way or another, the Virtual Boy practically oozes out of my blog. It's the laughingstock of the entire gaming community; it makes it's cousins the Pippin and Gizmodo look good for God's sake. Somehow, though, it has a strange charm to it; Nintendo has had many successes, but this remains one of the few blunders and is probably the worst in ol' Ninty's history.
As such, I decided to challenge myself in an attempt to make the Virtual Boy seem awesome.
This was a huge mistake.

It was 3-D!!!
Well, kind of. The Virtual Boy wasn't "true" 3-D, but in the eyes of any kid who grew up in the era, it probably seemed pretty "rad". Considering the '90s was a time where such ideas seemed like a fantasy (The time was struck with a peculiar idea of the future with hoverboards and flying cars and other shit.), this was quite the novelty.
From a consumer's standpoint, though, it probably wasn't as "gnarly" in real life. It pained your eyes and strained your neck, but the latter could be fixed with a nifty peripheral known as a neck brace.
It was Portable!!!
Well, not in the slightest.
During the time, Nintendo was showing off their success about the GameBoy, having sold millions of copies, and its creator, Gunpei Yokoi, decided to produce a last member to the family as a parting gift for Nintendo. (By the way, it seemed more like a "Screw you" than a parting gift, but whatever.) As such, it too was portable!.... Kind of.
Sure, it wasn't plugged up to your wall and TV, but the battery life was atrocious, so it essentially spent the whole time stuck in the wall anyway. Also, by "portability", it looks more like it's  trying to bite your face off.
How fun.
It had Mario on it!!!
Mario, being Nintendo's most valuable character, decided to show his mustachioed face on the Virtual Boy twice, in Mario Tennis and Mario Clash respectively. And when I say "respectively", I really mean "Oh Christ, this is a broken mess." They weren't bad, really, but thy were underwhelming. Nintendo has surprised us on many occassions; Mario as a doctor? Great game. Mario cleaning up grafitti on an island? Great game. Mario wearing a bumblebee suit? Amazing game. Mario wearing a cat suit? One of the best Mario games ever. Playing tennis with him in painful blood-red? Terrible game.
At least Mario Clash was slightly better, but it still isn't "passable" by any standards.
It helped Nintendo get back on track!
The financial loss of the Virtual Boy helped wake Nintendo up, and realize what made a game system truly amazing. The streak of success has held up amazingly with the DS, Wii, and 3DS, but unfortunately the Wii U fell flat. It may have took years, but Ninty finally made some consoles that practically printed money like a drunken copy machine.
It made *THIS* Happen!!!
What exactly is "this"? Nearly two decades after the red bombshell wandered onto store shelves, we can still have a good laugh about it. Ever since the Nintendo Direct on Tomodachi Life, the Virtual Boy took over the Helix Fossil as the divine entity. Hell, this was Nintendo- the company that created it- making self-referential humor their horrific blunder. That deserves some respect.
It may have been nineteen years, but the Virtual Boy remains one of the most beloved terrible consoles in gaming history.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Guide to Japan: Eating Establishments

Because of the fact that I am going to Japan and China over summer break, I thought it would be interesting to make a miniseries of sorts. It will pretty much be written in the same style as my usual posts, but will be focused largely on, well, Japan.
That being said. Japan is a pretty weird place. One of the most obvious ways to find this is by looking at all the weird-as-hell restaurants that they have. If you thought we had weird restaurants in the states, just take a look at some of the fascinating eateries across Tokyo.
The Lock-up
So you just got to Japan. Naturally, the next course of action is to go to fake prison.
Japan and China are big on themed restaraunts, and surprise! The Lock-Up is actually pretty tame compared to others. Serve a life in jail while being served food. If that's not a recipe for success, than ah. What is?
Essentially, you are to eat dinner in a small room protected by bars because, you know, you're apparently a homicidal crazed criminal. Naturally, that means you are served by sexy police women.
Hey, I guess it's authentic enough! This is Japan! Everything goes.

Cannibalistic Sushi
Have you ever wanted to eat a person? Well Japan is definitely on your travel agenda.
Cannibalistic Sushi is just like it sounds. The servers bring you bodies fresh from the morgue to devour. Yum.
Actually, it's worse. The "chefs" create fully-edible naked bodies. (My perverted alarm is OFF THE CHARTS!) SO yes, you and your kids get to tear eat both the nipples and intestines of your delicious mold.
*Vomits in mouth a little*

Mr. Kanso
Okay, let's just take a break after that gargantuan nightmare. Mr. Kanso is less of a restaurant and more of a canned food emporium. Try food from all over the world, ranging from Spam and Campbell's Soup to walrus curry.
So that's a thing, apparently. Sure, caviar is fine. We can eat fish, we can eat bugs, we can eat effing guinea pigs in Peru. But walrus? Goo Goo G'Joob! That sounds terrible...... I'd totally eat it.

Ninja Akasaka
Ninjas. Fearless, silent, dangerous, and great at serving food. Apparently, the ninjas prepare your food because, you know, they're just really trustworthy. They also do magic tricks and play with fire. So that's a thing too.
In all actuality, though, this is freaking awesome. In a country where robot strip clubs are actually a thing, this is something that everybody can enjoy without the extreme disgust.

Alcatraz ER
Somehow getting ever creepier is Alcatraz ER, a combination of prison and a hospital from hell itself. Enjoy such weird foods as fake intestines whilst drinking from test tubes, all the while with mannequin heads watching you. All the while, "escaped prisoners" take opportunities to scare the shit out of you.
Fun for the whole family. Bring your kids!

Cat Cafes. All of them.
In perhaps the most awkwardly adorable transition ever, AWW, WITTLE KITTIES! For ten bucks an hour, enjoy coffee or tea with cats. It's cute, it's relaxed, and it's just freaking adorable.
Of course, my favorite is Cat Cafe Nekokaigi, but mostly just because of the English Translations on their website with such eloquent descriptions as:
"Care has been a cat punch well from weak girl."
"It is played the baby's get on the knee."
"Face baby face is a characteristic."

"I is called 'milk sister' from the audience."
"I is called 'chatter prince' in personality scared. That you are in a high place the shadows are many, but it graces the regulars."
"Your face, such as the fox that was a zing is characterized."
I realize this is not what you came for. You wanted some random something-or-another about video games. Thankfully, Japan, being home to Nintendo, Capcom, Square Enix, and others has just the fix you need.
Capcom Bar

Have you ever heard of "food porn?" Because that's basically what Capcom Bar is.
Serving up food inspired by franchises such as Ace Attorney, Street Fighter, and Resident Evil. You can even get a delectable brain cake, which is unfortunately not actually made of brain. You win some, you lose some.

Maidreamin's Digitized Cafe and Dining Bar
While not endorsed by Nintendo, the visual appeal is blantantly obvious. Blocks hang from the ceiling, and the servers occasionally jump up and hit the blocks.
Speaking of the servers, though, this is one of Japan's notorious "maid cafes". That means you are served by an overly-enthusiastic waitress dressed like a French maid, so don't tell the creepy guy at the office about it.

Luida's Bar
Ever wanted to be served one of those adorable Slimes from Dragon Quest? Well this is the place for you!
Commemorating the release of DQIX, Luida's Bar was created. (By the way, Luida is Patty in the English games.) Aside from the costumed waitresses serving you heart-meltingly cute snacks, it's also supposed to be great for canvassing guests.

Square Enix made themselves another cafe. Order Sqaure Enix-themed coffee, pancakes, and snacks, but don't forget to pick up your own little King Slime stuffed animal on the way out. Maybe you could even try to nab an elusive King Metal Slime, but be careful that the bastard doesn't flee.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Dear Nintendo: Soundtracks

Dear Nintendo,
It pains me and probably thousands of people that Japan practically gets everything. You guys get all the cool stuff, and all the games you guys have all to yourself; North America-exclusive games are practically unheard of, with the exception of such mind-blowing games as Bible Adventures, Bodyworks Voyager (look it up), and the ever-so-famous Color a Dinosaur on the NES.
I could go on about this, but the real issue I'd like to address is soundtracks.
WE DON'T HAVE MANY. Like, at all. Nintendo, we love you, but this is ridiculous.
Sure, we might have some like Super Mario Galaxy, Majora's Mask.... but look at ALL OF THESE. And those are only the ones that Mario is in.
Most recently, you made the Super Mario 3D World Soundtrack. Interestingly, it was made available everywhere for once... Oh wait, they did everywhere but the freaking US. Even the bloody Aussies get to listen to it but I guess Americans just don't care enough.
I'm the kind of person who goes on Youtube to listen to his music. Even when I was five, I popped on the GBA and listened until the power ran out to the music, every chiptune beat now engraved in my memory. So why not just shovel it on your disks and put them up for the US to buy?
Sure, maybe they wouldn't sell as well as great in the West, but that doesn't mean they won't sell at all. On Club Nintendo you have screensavers and accessories; what we really want is something to pop in the old CD player and listen to.
I know it won't happen overnight, but dangit, I really want it to. I speak on behalf of every Nintendo fan when I say "please, we just want the music."

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Personal List: Top 10 Games that Weren't Meant to Be

All around the world, people like myself rejoiced! A new Hoenn game! Omega Ruby and whatever-its-name-is-Sapphire. (I don't do much research, shut up.) They got the bad-ass mega-evolutions on the front..... I likey.
Pokefans have been anticipating this since the game's debut. Maybe a DS remake? Fingers crossed. A Wii remake? Fingers crossed. 3DS remake..... looks like our wish finally came true.
(Also ironic: today's Hoenn Sound day on HGSS!)
To celebrate, let's take a look at the games that just never were to be.
Time to get sad.

10. The Last Guardian
Team ICO! Considered one of the greatest (small) video game companies, producing only two games- Shadow of this Colossus and, of course, ICO- some of the most famous PS2 titles.
First off, I've never played either of the games. I've never played a PS2 game for that matter. Even so, this looked like an amazing game.
It was to be part pet simulation, part adventure. However, it's been stuffed up Sony's ass, trapped in development hell for quite a while, so chances are it won't be hitting store shelves anytime soon, if ever. Here's hoping it's not going to be Duke Nukem Forever! Speaking of which...
9. Duke Nukem Forever
I've never played a Duke Nukem game, let alone a rated M game, so I speak more on behalf of all the fans than myself when I say "DEAR GOD, WHY?!" Gearbox Software practically flipped us the bird when it hit store shelves after over a decade. The game was a mess, to say the least.
Furthermore, the long delay meant more than just waiting. Who was the audience? 17+. Those people were by then almost 30, probably trying to start a family. This games' humor was notoriously inappropriate, so how well would it fare to a middle-aged man?
About as well as, well, Duke Nukem.

8. Metroid Dread
Oddly enough, this project planned for the Nintendo DS in 2006 is one that we know almost nothing about. It was planned to be a sidescrolling 2D Metroid game, following up on Metroid Fusion. Even more interesting is that Ninty has refused to confirm or deny its existence, and Yoshio Sakamoto is secretive about the game's whereabouts.
Who even knows if the game will see the light of day? Unlike series with such a stopping point s Duke Nukem, there have been games in the series that continued to pop out, and with one as big as Metroid, who knows what will happen?

7. Banjo Threeie
Ever since the release of Nuts and Bolts, the idea of a true Banjo Threeie seems pretty slim. ever since Microsoft made the unfortunate decision of buying the entirety of Rareware, they've had nothing to do but spit out mediocre games, showing Rare off like the prize cow at a farm show. After throwbacks such as the mildly-censored Conker Reloaded and Perfect Dark Zero, we aren't sure if Rare will ever truly return to its original heyday, but there is recent speculation of a next-gen next-gen (yes, twice) Banjo game coming to the Xbox One, so who knows? (Probably have to buy one of the blasted things.)
6. Sonic Crackers
I know what you're thinking, but unfortunately, Sega has no plans to make Sonic-flavored crackers, so hold on for a minute on that train of thought.
The game was a scrapped 2D Sonic game for the Sega Genesis in which Tails and Sonic are banded together by a, err, ring thing. To be honest, I'm not very familiar with retro games, but from what I know, it is often thought to have been turned into Knuckles Chaotix.
And... that's pretty much it. It looks nice, probably plays nice..... HEY, DON'T YOU GET ANGRY AT ME FOR MY LACK OF RESEARCH! YOU'RE THE ONE READING THIS DUMB STUFF ANYWAY!
5. Super Mario's Wacky Worlds
Admittedly, Phillips had single-handedly ruined some of Nintendo's most famous series, turning Mario into a womanizing plumber off to work at hotels and made the Legend of Zelda look three times worse in three different games. As such, it's pretty obvious why SMWW was cancelled, but it's quite unfortunate.
In actuality, the game was nearing completion. The graphics are surprisingly gorgeous, too; I mean, just look at that sky effect and the reflections.. MMmmm, it's just byoutiful! Ninty was actually pretty impressed, but seeing the failure of the previous games, gave the game a thumbs down, but it was eventually leaked online. (At least it fared better than Super Mario 64 DD.)
4. VB Mario Land
Remember the Virtual Boy? Of course you do, all the cool kidz (so cool they use a 'z'! Darn tootin'!) had one- Oh wait, they didn't.
Much like probably half the VB's planned library, VB Mario Land looked promising. Sure, the red and black was a complete eyesore, but other than that, the gameplay looked solid, the graphics were fair, the music was.... existent?
It was shown at WCES in 1995 (think E3 but lamer), which is pretty much where all the information for this game comes from. Other than that, I can do my trademark analysis skills (TM). Because talent.
Let's see here.... there's some Shinto shrine and a, um, Wario crock-pot in the background... Yeah, I don't know.
3. Star Fox 2
You see, this is the part where I use a game's designated Wikia, but apparently the Arwingpedia suffered a vandalism attack (there was pornography posted, apparently. Eww.), I can't say much information. What I do know, however, is that the game was as close to completion as the space between these parentheses (). So yeah, it was pretty freaking close. It was cancelled for unknown reasons, but because it was practically ready for shipping, it became a popular online ROM and was sold as a ROM hack quite easily.
That's all the knowledge I have. Shut up.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Mystical Seed of Courage 
We literally know almost nothing about this game. You can tell because the only image proving it's existence is its logo in horrifically lo resolution.
It melts my retinas, the quality.
It was scrapped from issues in the debugging process and problems with how the three games interacted together. Other than the story, that's everything we know.

1. Sonic Extreme
Come on, you didn't think this was deserving the number one spot?
Sonic X-Treme is perhaps the most notorious cancelled game of all time. The game should have revolutionized 3D platforming, released around the same time as Super Mario 64 and *sigh* Bubsy 3D. ("Cuz what would a platfowum game be wiffut platfowums?") It was pretty much Super Mario Galaxy with Sonic slapped on it and it would probably have been way ahead of it's time.
The only known prototype, though, is in the hands of an anonymous collector, and the game will never see the light of day. The closest we got was Project S, a fan project to recreate the game, but even they give up. It must be a curse. (Plays Lavender Town theme song.)

Anyway, the Pokemon games are to come out in November. Can't wait! (fingers crossed.)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Personal Lists: Top 3 Times I Got Lucky

Best. Ikea. Decoration. Ever.
This time I'll try to release a post in good time. As an apology, here's a completely unrelated photo of me.
Anyway, the focus of today's list is of those times I got lucky in the Pokemon series. Filler? Possibly. Quality? I dunno.

3. All those damn times that Blue showed up
Blue. Craig. Douche. Whatever you call him, you know you wanted to punch his teeth in. The guy's one of the most hated characters in gaming. Clad with a crapload of hair and a snotty attitude, this bastard refuses to let you go.
Let it also be pointed out the Professor Oak hates his son to such an extent that he hasn't even bothered to remember his name. I don't blame him.
Every single time I played FireRed and LeafGreen as a stupid little kid, I always trained only my starter Pokemon, using the others as slaves to do my bidding. Those were the days when Cut was a necessity and Rock Smash was an HM. Dreadful.
He always seemed to have the perfect team. Can't really blame him when you look at my awesome team-building skills:
-Charizard, Lvl. 63
-Ratatta, Lvl. 2
-Pidgey, Lvl. 4
I always won by just a hair, and thank GOD I did. I never really go to experience the whole game, though. When I found out the tool became Pokemon Champion, I must've called the game something along the lines of "poopy stupidpants". Is that what the kids are into these days?
2. Every Single Roaming Pokemon. They Suck.
Let me take the moment to point out this picture was
aptly named "Download.jpg". What a great name.
Ah, roaming Pokemon. The guys just refuse to sit down for one second. By far the worst is in
HG/SS, where even if you have a Pokemon with an ability like Arena Trap, they can just Roar away.
To be completely honest, I don't even know how I do it, but sometimes I just get lucky, snagging one of these idiots without using a Master Ball. There's not much to it, but these guys are the stuff of nightmares. They come, they saw, and they ran away. It's like a half-assed version of "Veni, Vidi, Vici."

1. **Shinies**
Ah, yes. Shinies. what meth was to Breaking Bad (never saw that), Shiny hunting is to Pokemon. That being said, expect a lot of it.
First, let it be said that I was never that into IVs, EVs, UVs, whatever the heck they're called. I just love shiny Pokemon because, well, THEY'RE SHINY POKEMON. That's just how awesome they are.
I've come across many shinies. Yes, there have been event ones such as the Shiny Pichu, legendary dogs, Haxorus, Gyrados, etc, but I'm sticking to the ones I found by chance, namely Tentacool, two Gravelers (both of which blew themselves up), Avalugg, and Hoppip (there are probably others). While my first one was the Tentacool (Hoenn region, the route above Slateport near the factory place you get to by Surfing), my fondest memories come from Pokemon SoulSilver. If I may:
It was two or three years ago. My game crashed from glitched Mews and underleveled legendaries I transferred from my cosuin's hacked Sapphire. It was frustrating, but I played again.
The year after, I still hadn't completed the game, so I made a new account. I got all the way to the first gym and tried to save.
It didn't work.
I forgot that the games had this stupid child-protection thing so that accounts couldn't be easily deleted. I was evidently frustrated and started again.
To my sheer amazement, though, after being offered Oak's suitcase, I marveled at the Pokemon.
Should I choose Chikorita? Nah, I'm not into him. Totodile? Probably. What about Cyndaquil, I always use him. He's pretty...... HOLY CRAP ISH A FACKING SHINY!!!
Yes, you heard correctly. The first Pokemon I saw in that game was a shiny, and I'm pretty damn happy about it.

Anyway, come back tommorow. I'll try to post the interview, so until then Au revoir.