News: Rocket Slime!!

i don't know if 'blubly' is supposed to be the name of the main character or some slime-y way of saying 'lovely' or what
One of the best games of last year (as reported by several varied websites), Slime Morimori Dragon Quest, is confirmed for a US release. That means it’s being localized into English, with the vast tapestry of Japanese sound words inserted into the names of the various characters, devices, and locations changed into a handful of repeated English sound words relating to slime or bouncing! The main town is called Boingburg, for crying out loud! I don’t know if this is ridiculous or dumb! I don’t mind either way!

Square-Enix’s offical E3 announcement page for the game shows a screen wherein a King Slime addresses the main character as “Blubly,” though I sincerely pray he’s just, I don’t know, using some kind of Slime-speak for “Lovely.” (Tips for localizers: try fitting “glorbjous” in there somewhere!!)

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As you can see, the game will be called “Rocket Slime,” an odd pairing of words; it reminds me vaguely of something like a phenomenon I’ve only ever witnessed alone.

I . . . didn’t mean to type that!!

Anyway, I personally find this game to be extremely amazing because it basically does everything that every little Zelda game gets applauded for, only it does it right. It’s tight, it’s fun, it’s got dynamics, it’s innovative as few games that play “traditionally” ever are (boss battles see you micromanaging a giant Slime-tank, watching the DS’s top screen for logical visual cues on how to react, and then loading cannons and/or trying to line up your opponent for an invasion), and best of all, it’s not cloying or patronizing. Do anticipate it, with vengeance. american game reviewers looking for an opinion to color your coverage of this game, you have one right here: GO!!

Also, yeah, they mention some other games on there, too. I’m especially excited about “Megatouch: Mobile Arcade” — my personal favorite kind of game for public restrooms!!

News Brief: Suda51 in Samurai Champloo

In case it wasn’t clear (as his name isn’t in the mobygames credits), Goichi Suda (AKA Suda51) of Grasshopper Manufacture (you remember – Killer 7, Flower, Sun and Rain et al) is indeed very much behind the new Samurai Champloo game. He’s the director, and one of three scenario writers. If not for the atrocious loading, I’d reccomend that everyone go pick it up. As is, it’s still interesting for anyone who’s into the work of that company. The audio design, as one could expect, is stellar.

Breaking News: Jeff Minter does something!

mintergame.jpgFor all those out there who think we’re japanese fetishists who just have a wank everytime hideo kojima talks about what book he’s reading now, witness our undying devotion to Jeff Minter! We’ll give ourselves a good rubdown any time he does something too! The Tempest 2000/VLM/Neon/Unity creator is working on a new game for the 360. He’s got the particle system going, and took some screen caps on his livejournal. Therein, he puts some odd words pairing animals and their emissions. One of these is Capybara spunk, which reminds us that our pals at Capybara Games have a really neat new project coming up, which I can’t actually reveal, but involves persons that eat the flesh of others, in a genre you wouldn’t expect. Regardless, back to Minter. His new game hasn’t really been properly defined, but he’s talked about it just a bit, starting with how he feels expectations will be.

Finally starting to get a grip on this new game. Always takes a while at first and there are times of floating around with that feeling of “I promised I would make an excellent game but I’m not feeling it yet”, but it has ever been thus. In truth it’s always been that way. It was exactly that way when I said I’d do Tempest 2000. I was certain the entire Jaguar community would laugh and point at me because of the crapness of what I’d made.

mintergame2.jpgWhoops. Now I wish that when I met him at E3 2001 (I think that was the year – he was there for the Nuon), I hadn’t asked him why Tempest 3000 wasn’t much better than 2000. He probably felt bad. Anyway, he then went on to mention that even though Neon did really well (that’s the visualization system for the 360, if you didn’t know), the fact that Unity didn’t come out makes him a bit nervous. Even so, cautious optimism abounds:

At the moment it feels like it’s starting to shake down well, the initial ideas resolving into things you can actually bolt game mechanic on, really nice bits like today with the p-system work just being lovely… it’s good that it feels like it’s starting to slot together well. There *is* no formula for this stuff, you just have to munge things around until they feel right and then build from there. And despite everything, despite hangovers from previous projects and people like the fucking Rev whose mission is to make game designers want to slit their wrists rather than ever design a game ever again – I’m starting to feel increasingly confident about this one, it feels nice, it really does :).” Guess we’ll see! Thanks to AtarianAllStar for the link.

Update! Minter has responded, specifically calling out the part about Tempest 3000 – “T3K was an *extraordinary* amount of work. It was written in the equivalent of shader assembler when there wasn’t any such thing as shaders. In parallel. It isn’t perfect, but I *am* proud of what it is, given the hardware I had to work with. I am sorry if I seem tetchy about it but it irks me no end if people take swipes at it because I put a hell of a lot of time and effort into that thing :).” So there you have it. Just remember kids, something you say now may may very well come back to haunt you in 5 years time!

Link: Izumojuki Industrial Divinities

izmojuki_small.jpg
An artbook was recently released, which covers the mecha design of one Junji Okubo, the chap that
created the VTs in Steel Battalion. The book covers a lot of his personal portfolio as well as his work on one of the MTV Japan mascots. Unfortunately the book doesn’t cover Okubo’s work on For The Barrel, a re-working of the original Gundam narrative. However, the rough drafts and cutaways for his Steel Battalion mecha designs help to make up for this omission.

In addition to his mecha design, Okubo also has a very cool little site with his CG renditions of fighter craft from 8bit era shooters. Anyway, for those that are curious the book can be ordered via Amazon.co.jp.

Link: Takahashi Meijin versus YMCK

it's a'meijin!!YMCK, don’t you know, is the massively excellent chiptunes band that broke onto the scene about a year ago, maybe more. Famicom instrumentation with lounge jazz cutesy female vocals, it all works quite well. And thanks to Youtube, you can check out a particularly interesting performance of theirs. Yes, that’s none other than Takahashi Meijin onstage (who I’ve met! He’s very bald!), singing his heart out, and occasionally pressing buttons really fast. If you’re not familiar with Meijin, shame on you. He’s been with Hudson Soft for an eternity, and is renowned for his ability to press famicom buttons really fast (16 times per second…or he used to be able to, anyway). Zepy tells me his highest ever was 17. In the movie Gameking, he broke a watermelon with his technique. And his hair! That certainly explains the watermelon poking minigame we linked on december 4, 2003. He’s also the basis of the Adventure Islands character.

Regardless! Here, while the cameraman has not been able to take the stupid timestamp and displays off the image, he has captured an event of some magnitude. It also seems they’re singing some song that is very famous. I’m too stupid to identify it, so I’d appreciate someone letting me know. Update! People less stupid than me have imparted some wisdom. The first song is Rock and Roll Rendezvous from YMCK’s new album (which features Meijin in its recorded form, too! – thanks brendan). The second song they do is a Caravan Stage from the Gunhed series, namely Super Star Soldier. I’m rather embarrassed I didn’t recognize it – thanks ioonearth. Do check out the other YMCK videos if you’ve never heard them, they’re better than some other things! Thanks to the mighty Juan Ramirez, who just redesigned his site, for the Youtube link.

Bonus: Zepy says: “Takahashi has released two albums on his own in the past, and a 16 shot 20th anniversary album just last october. Check it out here.” And this is his official site.

News: Biz Taiken series

biztaiken.jpgHere’s an odd one! Biz Taiken (loosly, ‘hands-on business’) is a new series (we’ll see if they make it past one) for the PSP, which teaches you practical business sense in an adventure/visual novel-like scenario. Bottom left link on the site shows you a movie, if you want to cut to the chase, but I’ll explain a bit more for those of you who are interested. It’s got a pretty Gyakuten Saiban (Phoenix Wright)-like art style for the characters, which are often laid over photographs that have been doctored to look a bit more illustration-y. But in spite of the cartoonish style, it seems to be aimed at serious business folks.

It stars a 29 year old average salaryman, who has an average job, and a steady (average?) girlfriend. She’s probably someone he could settle down with. But deep in his heart, he’s thinking – “Is it alright for me to just be a salaryman my whole life?” Then one day, his life is changed. Randomly on the street, he meets a guy from his school days, who he never thought much of. But it turns out he was doing very well in business, and basically living the life of a celebrity, with a big house, a model for a girlfriend, and other enviables (I just made that word up! oho!). Shinbu has to deal with the harsh reality of his salaryman status, and see about changing his life.

Within the game, your aim is to gain status, learn business terms, and become top in your company. Theoretically, the game provides simple explanations for complex business ideas, tactics and lingo, in a method that’s ‘so fun you won’t realize you’re learning.’ It’s got multiple endings of course, so you have to go through and learn by repetition. The game charts your progress, and also occasionally submits you to tests of knowledge. In many ways, it’s like an odd japanese serious game.


Something particularly odd is that the game is by a company called Kokuyo. This is their first game, as their primary business is stationary and office products, such as ledgers (which they began making in 1905), office chairs and cubicle partitions. They do seem to be thriving as a company though, so perhaps their insight will be useful. As another odd note, the company only seems to employ relatives as high executives, with Zentaro Kuroda, Shonosuke Kuroda, Yasunosuke Kuroda, and finally Akihiro Kuroda comprising the full list of company presidents through history. I wonder if that’s in the game? “To succeed in business, be born into the right family!”

Biz Taiken came out on march 9th for 4,800 yen, and predictably did not chart in the top ten. Number 10 for the month was the aging Monster Hunter Portable, with 17,282 units. Soooooo. Still an interesting idea though. You could even buy it if you’re some kind of weirdo.

News: Gagharv Trilogy – Shiroki Majo in the US

shirokimajo_10.jpgWe learn through RPG Fan that Bandai will be publishing a US version of Eiyuu Densetsu: Gagharv Trilogy – Shiroki Majo. That’s the very first game in the trilogy, a full PSP remake of Falcom’s Eiyuu Densetsu [The Legend of Heroes] III: Shiroki Majo, and retardedly arrives in the US after the second one, Akai Shizuku (Eiyuu Densetsu IV), which, again retardedly, was called ‘The Legend of Heroes’ there. It seems this one will (you guessed it – ‘retardedly’) be called ‘The Legend of Heroes II: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch’, which leads us to wonder what’s needed for these US publishers to understand that it was already enough with the Final Fantasy VI and Tales of Eternia naming fiascos. Not to mention that US Bandai said at the time that it skipped Gagharv Trilogy: Shiroki Majo due to its substandard quality. Clear your ideas up, sirs.

News: Invader invades

invader.jpgGamer’s Quarter contributor, IC forum-goer, and replay-recorder dessgeega has released a new game (for Windows PCs) titled Invader. Also helping out are forum members Mister Toups (who supplied some tasty chiptunes) and Persona (on title artwork). As its story goes, “Invader Sammie’s spaceship has been shot down over an alien world. If she wants to see her partner or her podlings again, she’ll have to find some way to reach the surface and escape.”
It’s a side-scrolling, exploration-focused shooter that takes inspiration from Metroid, Cybernoid, and Section Z, and it’s a lot of fun, so give it a try.

And while you’re at it, grab dess’s brilliant little previous release, Kill Your Television.

Link: next gen column on big japanese games of the week

some new final fantasy xi expansion came out, too! in it, you stand around enemies, waiting your turn to miss and then be hit!! eventually, if you pay squenix enough money, you get to see some big yellow birds and flying boats!! shops in akihabara love it enough to spell it right!!
This little column I write on Next-Gen.biz strikes again, this time revealing two tiny things about Mother 3 and actually reviewing the game Ninety-Nine Nights. There’s some information about Young Yangus and the Mysterious Dungeon in there, as well. However, the part of the column I’m proudest of deals with Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, which, yes, is abbreviated “GRAW” (leave it to American game designers to figure out how to make the name of a game start with an animal growling sound).

I must admit that I’m disappointed by Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, even without playing it. I am disappointed by its title. “Advanced Warfighter.” “Advanced” implies that something has been learned, progress has been made, and/or that the future has come. I’m disappointed mostly because I always figured advanced wars would be danced, not fought.

To see where it goes from there, you’ll have to read the column. It is a huge day, today, for videogame releases here in Japan — Okami, Dragon Quest: Young Yangus and the Mysterious Dungeon, Ninety-Nine Nights, Mother 3. This is a bigger game release day than we’ve seen for a while. Anyway, goodnight!!

Link: In The Pit

To the left is a screen shot of In The Pit, an audio-only game made by the IC Forums’ luvcraft. If you have a wired Xbox 360 controller, you should definitely check this game out, as it has you relying on sound and the controller’s variable rumble intensity to let you devour the souls of those people unlucky enough to fall into the games titular pit. Kenji Eno would have been proud.