News: Wildcat’s Chosun Musa update

chosunchoi.jpgWildcat is back with his 2D homebrew fighter, Chosun Musa. The site has been updated with six new fighters, complete with animation and avatar shots (beware, his site takes a really long time to load, if it ever does – for some reason it loads much better in explorer). Actually when I went to Seoul in November, Wildcat came up from a town 2 hours south by train to meet me. Quite a nice guy, if a bit unusual – but I suppose that’s to be expected for a guy who’s making an entire 2D fighting game by himself, sprite by sprite. He sent me descriptions of all the characters as usual, and a new Q&A, revealing that his target for release is now 2009/2010, and that he’s still targeting a GP32 or GP2X release alongside the PC release. All that expanded info is here. I’ve included a few images in there in case you’re having trouble loading the original site.

News: Ultra 64 prototype controller

ultraproto.jpgAssembler sent me word that he dug his old Ultra 64 prototype controllers out of storage and made a post about it. As you can see, it’s not radically different from what the Nintendo 64 controllers eventually became, but interesting nonetheless, especially when you look at the stick design – thicker and thicker in each iteration (check the bottom of his post). He also made a video, which just shows the same thing but with…motion! For more Ultra 64 madness, check out this old Silicon Graphics promo tape about the system’s processing power, with some tech demos. Fun stuff!

News: Dive

dive.jpgSpeaking of Jiji, he released (some time ago) a little game called Dive for the Gamma 256 competition. That’s the same competition Passage was in (you can see all the entries here). Anyway, Dive is a cute little game where you repel aggressive animals and communicate with friendly ones via sonar, while diving to the bottom of the ocean floor to find something neat. Friendly animals give you air. Don’t ask me how!! He made it for both Windows and OSX, and it’s 1.3 megs, so you’ve no excuses.

As Jiji explains: “In order to comply with the competition’s rules, it’s very short – about five minutes – and its native resolution is 36×64. It will scale to a more visible size for you, of course. Supports Xbox 360 wired controllers. Be sure to have sound on. Z on the keyboard or A on the Xbox 360 pad will activate a sonar pulse. Use this to interact with both friendly and unfriendly creatures.

News: Saturn Game Basic

supermario.jpgMadroms, who unveiled the Dezaemon 2 Saturn save system a while back also has a lot of info on Saturn Game Basic, which allowed hobby programmers to program in Basic on the Saturn. If you check that link, you can learn a fair bit about a lot of the games released by homebrewers over the years (there have been a surprising number of releases since the Dreamcast came out…), and there are a number of videos as well – all the games are downloadable if you have Saturn Basic to play them on. I’ll highlight just a few.

Funny Zone is a Space Harrier-like realization of Opa Opa in Fantasy Zone.
Return of Grass is a rudimentary 3D shooter.
Fake Dragoon is a moderately charming Panzer Dragoon clone test.
Radi Con Boy is a racing game, with a tank as the “protagonist” vehicle.
Tactics Blaze Chapter 2 is actually a real game – a tactics RPG.
Pro Wrestling has charming 2D chunky graphics but doesn’t seem to play well.
Hot Kick is a very nice looking 3D shooter starring the letter A.
Casmi ga Yuku! is a shooter starring the Dreamcast, versus the Saturn.
Kakutou Game (aka Fighting Game) is a pleasantly horrid looking fighter with obnoxious stock sounds.
Hien is close to being an actual game, a scrolling shooter to be precise.
This is probably the best one though. It’s called Super Mario, and is a frightening 3D remake of the first level of Super Mario Bros. Well worth a look.

News: Tori no Hoshi and Hatsune Miku

hatsunemiku.jpgWe haven’t spoken about Nippon Ichi’s Tori no Hoshi in a while, but there are a few things to report. First, the game has a release date now: February 28 – and you’re no doubt aware that the Prinnies from Disgaea make an appearance in the game. But the weirdest thing is if you click the collaboration button on the site, you’ll see there’s a cross-promotion with vocaloid Hatsune Miku, who really has become something of a virtual idol in her own right. If you’ve never heard her, check developer Crypton‘s site and download her voice demos (I recommend this one especially).

What Nippon Ichi is doing is creating three vocal tracks with Basiscape and Hatsune Miku. The first is available now, the second will arrive on Feb 1, the third on Feb 8. There’ll be a CD release at some point. The way you get to the page, since I can’t link it directly is to choose the ‘collaboration’ button on the Tori no Hoshi site, then across the top of the window (just to the right of the word ‘top’ there will be several clickable tabs – the second from the left says music. Click that! To me there’s something very charming about the voice’s forced imperfections, but I may have read too many William Gibson books.

Incidentally the MP3 can be downloaded here.

News: From the Abyss

fta.jpg
If you haven’t seen From the Abyss yet, give it a look, as it was just released on the 17th. It’s a DS action RPG by Sonic Powered, which has mostly done cellphone stuff in the past few years (though they did PSone, Game Boy, and Dreamcast stuff too), but recently also did Air Traffic Controller games for PSP. From the Abyss has quite a nice in-game look to it, though the character illustrations look completely inbred.

You can check out loads of gameplay animations in the system section of the site, and download movies and soundtrack samples here. Something about the way they’ve presented the graphics really appeals to me. Feels like an early-era PSone game rather than a late-era SNES game, if that makes sense to someone!

News: The Choudangan!! Custom Sensha

superbullet.jpg
The Choudangan!! Custom Sensha (The Super Bullet!! Custom Tank) is a new simple series DS game from D3, developed by thinkArts a relatively mediocre developer which has had brushes with greatness in its Saiyuki DS game, as well as The Chikyuu Boueigun (Earth Defense Force) Tactics for PS2. Custom Tank is a 2D action-ish game in which you can upgrade tanks with various parts (there are 20 chassis in all), and battle AI or an opponent. Can’t find videos, but the screens look mighty compelling! There are plenty of those on the official site (linked above), and some more in this Game Watch preview. The game will be released on January 31 for 2,800 yen – you can preorder it here if you’re so inclined.

Advisory: Arkanoid DS doesn’t sleep with paddle

arkanoidds.JPG
Two sources have confirmed that (the reportedly very neat) Arkanoid DS won’t sleep properly when you close it, if you’ve got the paddle controller in. The reason has yet to be determined, but Lawrence presumes that the paddle still consumes power even if the game is in sleep mode, because you can’t ‘sleep’ the GBA cart, in which the paddle resides. So the game itself is still sleeping, but it’s consuming power at a normal rate, and so will drain very quickly. Thought people should know!

News: Doki Doki NGP

dokidokingp.JPGGiant approaching enemy blog Kotaku has linked to a post at Senaka blog, which shows images of and from the new Doki Doki Majou Shinpan manga, which seems to be official. Anyway, what caught my eye right away from the images Kotaku grabbed was this (seen on the original site). Perhaps it says something about me, but the first thing I noticed was the Neo Geo Pocket – then I noticed it was her boobs hitting the thing out of her hands. Anyway, neat to see that in there – and she’s got a link cable in as well! Check the whole gallery here, as mentioned.