News: CD32 arcade

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The CD32, an odd Amiga-based home console from the UK, has a little-known arcade variant created by the italian company CD Express. An ebay auction recently ended for one, and it’s made to fit into a JAMMA arcade cab. Check this french CD32 site for more info on the console (in english!). The variant plays all normal CD32 games, plus the arcade-specific titles released by CD Express. Thanks to GSW for the link.

News: Quick doujin round-up (updated)

Gunners HeartEGS now has a trial version of Gunners Heart available on the game’s website. It’s quite fun and filled with engrish.

In the mean time, Roni released a game he worked on, Ultranium Reloadead. It mixes breakout and shooters, but here’s a better place to learn more about the game and get direct download links. The full game will work on Mac computers as well.

[12/29 update] I forgot to mention that just as they did with Ayu Ayu Panic Advance, Chinchilla SoftHouse released successive “complete” versions of Chitei Senki Advance after a first “beta testing” release. The latest one is has been out since yesterday. The BGM is now fully integrated and optimized for the GBA.

News: Hirameki’s Akiba blog

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Hirameki is really cleaning themselves up since the last time we checked in on them. Not only do they now have a proper store in City of Industry, CA, they now have a very nice Akihabara-centered blog. It includes such wackiness as ‘Gaijinzira,’ a conflation of the word for ‘foreigner’ and ‘godzilla.’ The first edition of this column details Tokyo’s Ueno Park, and almost echoes new game journalism in its themes: “Oh sure, it all began innocently enough, when one of the cool kids in high school invited me over to watch Sailor Moon; I hesitated, but said yes, and bam! Next thing I know, I’m waking up slumped over a stack of doujinshi in some cheap Tokyo apartment.” Another gem is this introduction to a Japanese fan comic rental store in one of the Messe Sanoh buildings, where fans can peddle their wares. While most of the game-centric content is understandably Hirameki-related in large part, it’s still quite an interesting, relatively obscure blog. Check out the cosplay as advertising article – it’s quite a good one, and completely unabashed in its otakuness. This site is still relatively low on everyone’s radar, given the number of reads per article. I’m going to guess that ends today.

News: Hirameki user survey

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You may recall Hirameki International, a company we’ve discussed several times which brings Japanese PC games to the US market, on Windows and DVD formats (depending). They’ve recently released Ever17 and Ai Yori Aoshi from KID. Incidentally, you can get demos of both of those games’ US versions here.

That aside, Hirameki has a user survey up, which asks fans to submit information about what titles they’re interested in. Perhaps if enough people ask for Fate/Stay Night (english translated website here), they’ll bring it over? Hard to say. As a cautionary note, be aware that the form must be followed exactly – never put in more than three choices in any category. If the form is improperly filled, you lose all of your entered data and must start over. Thanks to Isaac Alexander for pointing this survey out.

News: Under Defeat on… Dreamcast

ud_10.jpgIs there any prize for the company that releases the last DC game? Seems so, ’cause there’s another one announced after Milestone’s Rajirugi – Grev’s Under Defeat, the latest shooting game for the NAOMI platform, confirms the DC as the ’128-bit Neo-Geo’. Scheduled for March 23rd in two different flavors: with or without OST, according to Game Boku Tenin no Tawagoto. Preorders can be taken here.

News: Falcom newsletter #84

The webgame Ys Strategy - The BeginningFalcom wishes a happy new year to its mail information suscribers and has brought us the last newsletter of 2005 a bit earlier than expected.

Shin Ys I -3D- Gaiden: Ancient Ys Vanished The Truth ~Adventure of Dogi~ (you’ll need to scroll down a bit for the images) is a new Ys game avaiable on Taito/Falcom’s iMode service for 210 yen. It uses the 3D engine of Shin Ys I -3D-. Unless I am forgetting something and Falcom themselves are wrong, this is the first time Dogi has been the main protagonist of an Ys game.

Falcom is apparently getting used to throwing Adol out of the spotlight, as the upcoming Ys Strategy on Nintendo DS also won’t have the red headed hero as a main protagonist (although they replaced him with a complete clone). Speaking of which, the website for Ys Strategy has a bunch of new things to check out since the last time we mentioned it, including the web game Ys Strategy – The Beginning that offers an online playable initiation to the final game and requires registration. First enter a valid mail address twice, then click on the upper link on this page to enter your address and the password that was sent to you. The next screens will prompt you to enter your name then select a kingdom, an avatar and a class (warrior / merchant / knight / ranger). You then begin in the capital of your kingdom, and can explore other towns to help your lord conquer its neighbors. Don’t forget to equip yourself at the merchant before leaving town.

On the site’s FAQ, developers explain that, although the main characters in the game are brand new, fans might encounter some familiar faces as cameos. The game was conceived for people who are not familiar with the series, yet a bunch of elements such as old legends and rare items will clearly take inspiration from the main series’ canon. The RTS aspect will also make full use of the handheld’s internal clock. There is also a world map to check out and a wallpaper has been added last week. Marvelous is doing the game, which is not a good omen when you remember they were also responsible for the faulty Lunar Genesis, already a risky reinterpretation of an old classic.

Meanwhile, Sora no Kiseki SC’s page has updated the world section, and the much awaited demo movie for the game will soon be available. Finally, do not forget to download the january and february calendars, if you are into that kind of thing, as well as the new Ys and Sora no Kiseki wallpapers celebrating the new year.

Cosplay: Photos from the Singapore End of Year Expo

princes.jpgKilvear has put up a host of photos of cosplayers at the End of Year event at the singapore expo. There are three pages of photos, and I don’t recognize a number of the characters, but there are the inevitable Final Fantasy types (that girl has also been a Ragnarok Hunter and Lenne from Final Fantasy X-2), Mario and Luigi, Sol and Ky from Guilty Gear, and a couple of Katamari princes molesting a cat.

Retrospective: A year in mahjong on the Nintendo DS

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Because I know you want to read even more about this highly entertaining subject. Gundam Mahjong DS is already the seventh mahjong game on the Nintendo DS in a bit more than a year of existence. Koei’s Mahjong Taikai was a (boring) launch title. Then came out Intelligent Systems’ Yakuman DS, probably the best of them all and featuring Mario as exactly 65,535 other Nintendo games did in 2005. MTO released Minna no Mahjong DS on my birthday – it was approved by the japanese association for healthy mahjong, which might be a big deal if you don’t want to get lung cancer by playing too much mahjong on your handheld. In late june, D3 Publisher invaded the Nintendo DS with its dreaded/cult/cheap Simple Series, and their first release was of course SimpleDS Series Vol.1 The Mahjong. It was developed by shooting game veterans Warashi and actually a very good surprise. The story mode is great and there’s a pictochat-like interface imbedded. <Brandon’s note: Warashi also developed the arcade Mahjong series Usagi, and this is probably where they got their expertise> Two titles then came out in november. Tasuke released Table Game Spirits, a low-priced game compilation including mahjong, which got completely killed by Daredemo Asobi Taizen (which itself did not include mahjong in its daring list of 42 games). Finally, Affect developed Nihon Pro Mahjong Kishikai Kanshuu: Pro ni naru Mahjong DS for Success, also the first game maker to announce a mahjong game for the Xbox360. So sleep well and do not worry about the tough challenges and growing political issues awaiting in 2006, for the legacy of mahjong games lives on.