News: Sogna digital museum

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Sogna digital museum is a fan site for the now-defunct eroge company Sogna, which is mainly known for its Viper series of games. They were quite popular back in the 90s, but ultimately died in 2004. The site has info about every game, including the unreleased ones, character info, downloads, and music (though I can’t get that to work just now). Doujin storylines and whatnot will be uploaded in the future, but even as it is, the site is quite a tribute to a lost developer. Check it out if you remember the character to the left.

News: Eroge industry updates

Zepy had a few posts back in April about the eroge industry which I think are worth taking all together. First, Windmill released its eroge engine, Catsystem2 for free to the public, for personal or doujin game use. There have been a few others as well, which really opens up development to the doujin community. Next, there’s Zepy’s article on problems plaguing the eroge industry. Lack of competent artists and writers is causing the “official” industry to stagnate, and the main creators are running to doujin circles instead. From my perspective as an outsider (I am not actually a player of these games) it seems to me that the pandering to super-specific markets like the moe market specifically is causing additional stagnation, and lack of creativity. Lastly, there’s his translated list of the number of games released by year in the eroge industry from 1987 to the present, with some commentary on what was released in some key years. This is an often forgotten corner of the industry, so it may be worth checking out.

News: TOJam 2008

tojam08.pngThe Toronto indie games jam for 2008 has ended, and you can download all the entries from the official site, which has nice games in the background of the page itself, as usual (html, not flash!). The games had to use these criteria – they must be cheese themed, include the tojam logo, a goat on a pole, and the sound made before doors close in the Toronto subway. While regional pride does irk me (Oakland 4 LYF), there are lots of great indie creators in Toronto, so do give the games a look. They have a gold, silver, and puce award (which is platformer played with the Rock Band drum controller), as well as lots of runner ups. All free to download and play!

Note: some errors were fixed. The front page games are html, not flash, and the games also needed to have a cheese theme.

News: Fantasy Zone Complete Collection

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Sega is releasing the Fantasy Zone Complete Collection for PS2 on September 11 for the usual 2,500 yen, and this package includes Fantasy Zone, Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa, Fantasy Zone Gear: Opa-Opa Jr.’s Adventure, and Super Fantasy Zone. It also has a number of related games, like Opa-Opa/Fantasy Zone in the Maze, Galactic Protector for SMS, and others. The neatest thing is that they have remade FZ2, which was originally released for the SMS. They reprogrammed it for the System-16 arcade board and added new systems, but keeping it within the retro style of System-16. That’s included in the collection as well. The music for the remake is composed by Manabu Namiki of Basiscape, who we’ve mentioned here a few times before. You can see lots of info at the SMS Power thread. Thanks to Omar for pointing it out!

News: Super Robot Wars Z PV

srwz_cover.jpgAlong with the mass update of the main site for the game, the promo video (or PV) has been released to the masses. Again, these are basically DVDs shipped to game store owners so they can pimp the game to eager customers. When I say eager, I do want you to realize that the last game, Super Robot Wars A, unseated the mastodon that is Metal Gear Solid 4 from the Japanese games charts…and it was only a lowly PSP game (though admittedly a very shiny one). The upcoming PS2 game is several orders more impressive than its PSP counterpart (as well as all the previous SRW progeny too, even so than the recent OG games). Anyway, the full PV is available here but if you just want to look at the in-game animation then this should suffice. At present this footage has rendered my pants, and these are specifically my British undergarments, to a uniquely moistened consistency.

News: Masafumi Takada interview

Masafumi Takada is the sound director for Grasshopper Manufacture, and I managed to interview him in Japan some time ago. It was an extensive talk, which was a bit hindered by some translation issues for difficult topics, but still winds up being a rather in-depth look into how he does what he does, as well as his history, and current relationship with Sandlot and Nudemaker and other ex-Human companies. GHM fans should probably give it a look.

News: Phantasy Star Portable movies and info

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Sega has put up some movies for Phantasy Star Portable, the company’s response to the popularity of Monster Hunter Portable, which basically uses the PSO system in modified form. There’s an opening (which remixes the original ridiculous theme song) and a promotion movie with some player footage. It’s amazing to me how Japanese marketing people are still making videos like we made in the 80s, with people playing the game and showing that yes, you can have a good time! Look how fun it would be if you were one of those guys! Anyway, there’s some game footage in there, if you’re interested. And just to say, the video confirms that you can use your customized character in multiplayer mode. I’ve heard some concerns online that it might not, but it seems to be in. The single player scenario has multiple endings, as well. There will be 1,500 weapons and items (they lumped them together, so there could be 100 weapons and 1,400 items, for all we know). The game is planned for a July 31 release in Japan, with a 5,040 pricetag.

News: Moetan DS, now with touching

moetands.pngMoetan is quite the phenomenon, from doujin english teaching book to PC game to anime to PSP game – so now here’s the (quite late in the process, in fact) inevitable DS version. It teaches otaku-related English as before, but since it’s the DS version, naturally there’s a ‘touching mode’ ala Doki Doki Majou Shinpan. The conversation mode also promises many fanservice scenes with the tiny moe girls, which is quite disturbing in its way! The game will also come with an anime DVD bonus. The game is due out on July 24 for 3990 yen. It’s actually quite funny to see this game mentioned on the official Nintendo site. Idea Factory is publishing and Milestone (Karous, Tank Beat) is developing.

News: Otomedius G special box

otomediusstick.jpgOtomedius G has a special box coming for 360 which includes 6 “character badges,” and the Hyper Stick Pro, made by Hori. The stick includes a touch pad, which factors into the original arcade game as you can see here on Niconico douga (if you have a login). Presumably in the non-stick version you’ll just use the right stick on the 360, which should work just fine. The set will cost 25,780 yen (and includes the game of course) and will be released on September 25. I wonder if this touch pad stick might eventually be usable for anything else? Beatmania comes to mind. If you look at the special box link, you’ll see that the stick actually lists which buttons and joystick it uses. Kind of neat.