Happy 20th Birthday, Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog turns 20 years old today. Isn’t that great? It’s also my dad’s 61st birthday, so that’s cool, too. Like my dad, Sonic the Hedgehog’s birthday occasionally falls on Father’s Day. This makes Sonic about as much of a father to you as my father is also a father to all of you guys.

To celebrate Sonic’s birthday, I did a Kotaku. Forgive me! They offered money! The idea of the piece is that it’s “eight ways to fix Sonic the Hedgehog”, written for the target audience of a Sega who seems intent on doing the exact opposite of what people want. So I am reverse-psychologizing their reverse-psychology. It’s kind of stupid!

Though it has some fun sentences, maybe, like where I say chubbier, lighter-blue, black-eyed 1991 Sonic meeting darker-blue, longer-armed, green-eyed Sonic is “not as exciting as Superman meeting Batman — it’s more like ‘X-Men The Movie’ Wolverine meeting ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ Wolverine.”

A more sincere, heartfelt “how to fix Sonic” article is perhaps this Outrun 2 review from 2008, in which I call Outrun 2 the “16th best game of all-time”, and also “the best Sonic the Hedgehog game of all-time”, and I swear I am not trying to troll or be a jerk about that. It’s something I actually believe.

insertcredit.com exclusive: In commemoration of Sonic the Hedgehog’s 20th birthday, I made a Youtube playlist (below) of some of my favorite Dreams Come True songs. The bassist of Dreams Come True, Masato Nakamura, composed the (excellent) soundtrack for Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which is just a big, beautiful, boisterous, exuberant videogame full of confident graphical design. It’s probably the best actual Sonic the Hedgehog game — as far as I know, Brandon thinks so, too. (Brandon’s note: As much as I like Sonic CD and its music, I agree with this statement.)

Continue reading

news: we have accessed the little big planet beta

Hello, internet. We (by which I mean “I”) have obtained access to the Little Big Planet beta.

First impressions: it’s kind of fun! You can run, jump, and grab!

Though it’s the Japanese beta, all the in-game text is in English! Wacky! (Might be the PS3 system settings.)

The tutorial voiceover is a slightly gay Japanese man — “slightly” as in you’d not only let him watch your children, you would beg him to. He’d probably teach them something valuable about shoes!

The level tutorials are exhaustive and exhausting!

The final word: we used to think that beta tests were mythological things, because we applied for literally dozens of them during our serious careers as gamers, and never got in. Now, we got in on the Little Big Planet beta. On the one hand, this kind of sucks, because it’s basically been spelled out for us that we were wrong all this time: beta tests are real, and we just never got into one before because everyone hated us. With Little Big Planet, it’s quite possible that someone somewhere has started to either stop disliking us or (possibly even better) start actually liking us. Either way: hey! We get to play a videogame before some (most?) other people!

We made a YouTube video to commemorate this.

We were too tired and perhaps disinterested to make any rocket penises or penis-shaped moving platforms or grabbable penises made out of burlap or swinging penises made out of dark matter or stalactite penises made out of rock — or even flaming stalagmite penises made out of pink bubble bath foam. So, instead, we just used the penis in our imagination. We hope you forgive our unwillingness to do work with our videogame. :’(

This post was brought to you by Sony and dry-roasted almonds!

news: print media confirmed dead

welcome to the next levelThe corpse of print media was found on a wooden folding table in the offices of small Japanese corporate office this afternoon.

The body has been identified as the April 2008 issue of Future Publishing’s Official Xbox Magazine, which might have actually been published as early as five weeks ago, according to coroner’s reports.

Detectives identified the murder weapon as an advertisement for Ubisoft’s upcoming surefire smash hit first person shooter Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2. The advertisement is fashioned to be a doppelganger of an Official Xbox Magazine cover, complete with the magazine’s logo in the upper-left-hand corner.

At the top and bottom of the magazine cover, the words “ADVERTISEMENT” are visible in bold, capital-lettered text.

Running along the left edge of the advertisement were “strong perforation marks”, “intended for purchasers of the magazine to remove the double-sided ad in order to see the real cover”, according to coroner’s reports.

The real cover is an image of Bethesda Softworks’ upcoming surefire smash hit role-playing game Fallout 3. oxmrealcovers.JPG

Police investigations have confirmed that Ubisoft’s upcoming surefire smash hit first person shooter Rainbow Six Vegas 2 and Future Publishing’s Official Xbox Magazine have been involved in a relationship for some time, and that relationship had been ongoing even at the time of the murder.

“There’s a two-page spread for Rainbow Six Vegas 2 not even twenty pages into the magazine,” one undercover detective anonymously told insert credit.

“Magazines have been figuratively selling their covers to the highest bidder for years now,” Tim Rogers, expert on videogames and marketing in general as terrorism, told us. “This is the first time, to my knowledge, that a magazine did so literally.”

The back cover of the magazine features an advertisement for another Ubisoft game, Tom Clancy’s FutureWar, not to be released until Fall 2008.

Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Vegas is a game about what would happen if terrorists took over Las Vegas.

Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is a game about what would happen if terrorists took over Las Vegas again.

Asked to speculate on the killer’s motive or whereabouts, Rogers cited that the first Rainbow Six Vegas game’s difficulty selection screen allowed players to choose between difficulty levels entitled “normal” and “realistic”.

“This is [Ubisoft's] way of telling people that ‘Reality is not Normal’,” Rogers said.

Print media is survived by literature and the internet.

<Brandon’s note: Tim has been living in Japan for a few years, and thus is perhaps not aware that this has been going on over here for quite a while. I stand by the humor of the rest of this piece.>

[tim's clarification: i had a basic idea that it was going on for a while; just after i "discovered" this "huge scoop" yesterday, i told some chat-friends about it and they shrugged it off, which made me wonder, why the hell didn't anyone tell me about this sooner? it's hilarious! at any rate, this is one of the things that you readers the world over have a right, as americans, to complain about! so get on it!]

intervention: shigeru miyamoto, please get a haircut

Partly paraphrasing and partly pasting my recent column on Next-Gen.biz (it’s not plagiarism, even if it feels like it), I say this:

Mr. Shigeru Miyamoto, you’re the next contestant on Please Get a Haircut.

I’ve never seen a photo of him with what any rational human being would describe as a “decent haircut.” According to this interview, he was born in 1952, which makes him two years younger than my father, which means he should have better hair: not so. My father, though he eats salad with his mouth wide open, has never designed a videogame, and is not in the habit of being photographed for magazines or appearing on television, has a better haircut than Shigeru Miyamoto.

I’m not saying that I want to judge Mr. Miyamoto based on his hair — I already know he’s a lovely man with gorgeous ideas. He just doesn’t look right. Some people say he looks like a lovable college professor, which is maybe true, though if he was your lovable college professor, you’d probably want him to get a haircut, for his sake.

Literally almost anything will do. Something simple and manageable. Japan is home to some of the most talented hairstylists in the world; he owes it to himself. Hell, I’ll even pay for it. I will literally put $200 in an envelope and mail it to him. Other Japanese videogame designers who have transcended the laws of awesome human-beingship include Square-Enix’s Akitoshi Kawazu (maker of the SaGa games).

Any readers out there need only Google-image search the name “Akitoshi Kawazu” (of Square-Enix and Romancing SaGa fame). Actually, here — I’ve done it for you.

It really shouldn’t be too difficult to tell the difference between the before and the after, in Kawazu’s case. Now what about those two shots of Miyamoto above? Would you believe one was taken six years before the other? The most recent of those two photos was taken just a week ago, for crying out loud.

In short, change is good. Seriously. I know game designers don’t need good hairstyles; consider it a token of my reverence for the man that I’d like to see him not look so clumpy. And what better way to express the glorious bounty of Nintendo’s recent financial and spiritual wealth (. . .) than outwardly? Who knows? If Miyamoto gets a good haircut (I would recommend growing it out for two months before cutting), maybe gamers will start paying $200 for hot hairstyles instead of purchasing every single last god-forsaken menu-based Bleach fightingesque PSP game, and the horrible parts of the industry will all wither away and die.

Alternate last sentence: in addition to confirming that Nintendo will make new Mario and Zelda games within the Wii’s lifecycle, in his recent review in Famitsu, Miyamoto says, addressing internet rumors that Wii Fit stops being fun after a few weeks and starts to feel like exercise, “I want you guys to not give up! Soldier on!” Hard to be motivated by a guy who is obviously too lazy to creatively apply a comb!

<Brandon’s Note:> Hideo Kojima would be a handsome man if he got a decent haircut once in his life. Are people scared to tell him?

link: top 20 games of TGS on next-gen.biz

Hello, my lovelies!! It’s just me, Tim Rogers, coming to you live from a rainy Tokyo. Yes, Tokyo, where it always rains furiously the weekend after Tokyo Game Show ends. That’s God crying, sad that he’ll have to wait 51 weeks for another amazing week in videogame journalism in which large bloggers of all shapes and sizes pump out startling revelations in the tune of “Japanese people LOVE the Nintendo DS”!

At any rate, I have selected twenty games played at Tokyo Game Show, and selfishly called them the “best”, and Next-Gen.biz has for some reason believed me. Where they came across my list, I don’t know, though they not only plagiarized the whole thing, they also put my name on it. Rapscallions!

Click on it and through it repeatedly, please! If you don’t, they won’t send me checks ever again! How will I pay all these child support bills, if not with videogame journalism! Please!!

If you need enticing, know that I was able to fit Hudson’s Shooting Watch in at number 20, and it didn’t even get edited out!

Finally, a bonus for faithful insertcredit.com readers: the true game of the show was Delicious Indonesian Curry courtesy of Magic Spice in Shimo-Kitazawa (now for your desktop). Finishing the whole bowl of nuclear curry was even more thrilling and challenging than Metal Gear Solid 4!!

link: akira toriyama day on Action Button Dot Net

in every piece of promotional art the hero has his back turned :/Tohohohoho, my lovelies! It’s me, tim rogers, once again. I’ve been fighting The Demons for a while, though I’m back now, to celebrate this joyful day — manga artist and character designer Akira Toriyama’s birthday (note: actually, it’s not his birthday) — by posting three reviews on my hot website Action Button Dot Net (that’s ABDN for short). Witness Dragon Quest Swords get roasted — two stars out of four! Witness a thoughtful, generous three-star appraisal of Blue Dragon — just in time for the holidays! And grab a Chai Tea Latte with extra Splenda and settle in for the long haul as Classic Tim Rogers bestows an almighty four stars unto the legendary Chrono Trigger! Brace yourself, darlings, for there be many sweeping generalities and portentous intonations regarding videogames ahead!

If this post wasn’t informative enough, or if you’re sitting on the fence — if you just can’t decide whether to click or not — let me reveal one of the revelations revealed in one of the reviews, namely that Robo’s Theme from Chrono Trigger borrows snippets of its melody from Rick Astley’s 1988 single “Never Gonna Give You Up“. How could anyone alive make a connection like that and not also pen a worth-reading game review?

I’ll see you all again, someday, I promise!

expose: what is a SKU?

SKEWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. i once kind of unfriended a guy from the livejournal of life because he called an employee of his company 'the HR guy'
If you’ve been reading the internet these past couple of weeks, you might have come across an acronym you don’t understand, and then immediately started using it in whole sentences as soon as you saw other people using it. It’s okay. This is something we do, with the internet. We sometimes use acronyms we don’t understand completely, or even understand at all. Acronyms are a part of our culture. I kid you not — I make acronyms out of everything I do, these days. “Gee Tee Tee Bee!” means “Goin’ To The Bathroom!” Enough about me, though.

The acronym we’re going to talk about today is “SKU”. If you read gaming’s most beloved tabloids or browse the scummiest videogame forumhives, you’ll see this acronym popping up a lot lately. People are using it in complete sentences! With punctuation marks, even! Many of them have a basic idea what it means, though few of them know what it stands for.

In short, it stands for freedom. In long, it stands for Stock Keeping Unit. According to the Wikipedia: “A SKU or Stock Keeping Unit (sometimes pronounced as a word, “skew,” or as individual letters, S K U) is an identifier that is used by merchants to permit the systematic tracking of products and services offered to customers.”

In other words, a “SKU” is a very strictly, labcoat-wearing-like, retail term. It approaches the idea of sales with tweezers and a microscope. When someone on a forum says, of the new black Xbox 360 Elite, that “multiple SKUs is going to create problems at the retail level”, they mean it’s going to confuse consumers who are not absolutely certain which box on a shelf contains what they want to buy.

For your reading pleasure, try this article at Kotaku. Use your browser’s search command on “SKU”; witness its use in the comments section. Ponder deeply how many of those usages might have been cut out or rewritten entirely to sound less like something a robot or a lecturer in the Chinet ballroom of a three-star hotel by the airport might have said during a seminar.

Also witness the amazing poise of mister Shane Kim, who convinced 75% of the internet that 1080p was “TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE D00DZ” back in 2005, as he somewhat gracefully dodges the accusation that this “elite” Xbox 360 is just Microsoft playing catch-up with Sony. Also witness the rigid, stone-facery of the Sony PR man. (He’s the one who talks about SKUs.)

So why has this acronym suddenly popped into the videogame blogosphere? Because we like feeling elite? Maybe, maybe not. Keep in mind that a lot of the guys who get interviewed by videogame blogs are not actual game developers — they’re videogame PR guys, and unlike, say, movie PR guys, who more often than not have at least seen a couple dozen movies in their lives, videogame PR guys tend to come from strict retail backgrounds. Nintendo’s Reggie used to manage a Pizza Hut (or something), for God’s sake. Spewing “SKU” left and right is these guys’ revenge for you guys’ talking about mysterious things they don’t understand, like “graphics” or “gameplay”.

In closing, “SKU” is something you’d hear during your on-the-job training to be a stockroom monkey at a Target store at the start of that magic teenage summer that will indirectly make you a life-long smoker. It really doesn’t belong in human conversation, even on the internet. I say this as a man who shuddered and moaned when everyone started talking about “IP”s — Intellectual Properties — though maybe that was because I found it hard to believe any videogame had ever been “intellectual”. Really, though, you can keep “IP”. Use it all you want. Just promise not to say “SKU” anymore, people.

Thanks.

Feature: “gaming’s missing kane”

2007 delivers the MOST INTENSE BURNOUT YETOne-time insertcredit.com contributor and heavy aerosol addict Brendan Lee has written an article about why there isn’t a “Citizen Kane” of videogames yet. You can read it if you like.

It’s gone. Nothing feels crispy/clicky enough; the fully-orchestrated soundtracks have a hollowness that dedicated Super Famicom sound chips never did. The more polygons they added, the less substance there is. Something’s somehow . . . missing.

Now would also be a good time, if you haven’t attempted to already and understandably failed, read “are videogames terrorism?” (hey, kotaku linked it!) and/or “the ‘ben-hur’ of videogames“.

There is an enlightening discussion about the terrorism-like nonsense that is modern videogame production and PR going on at the selectbutton.net forums right now, along with a bit of jolly rogering about the back of the new Burnout box. That game, don’t you know, is properly titled “Battle Racing Ignited Burnout Dominator“. Not making that up.

Just because it bears repeating, here’s the entirety of said Burnout game’s back-of-box text — all capitalization is represented precisely as it appears on the box:

“2007 delivers the MOST INTENSE BURNOUT YET

SLAM YOUR RIVALS through barriers to UNLOCK SHORTCUTS.

Experience the thrill of BOOST CHAINING for OUTRAGEOUS RACING SPEED.

Choose your VEHICLE FOR BATTLE, from HOTRODS TO EUROPEAN EXOTICS.

Take risks and REAP THE REWARDS in the ALL-NEW MANIAC MODE.

Go HEAD-TO-HEAD with your friends for some MULTIPLAYER MAYHEM.

DOMINATE ANY SETTING, from the WINDY MOUNTAINS TO THE BEACH.”

Fans of erratic capitalization are also pointed, on this occasion, to the internet‘s Legacy Website “Jerk Your Own Adventure”.

If this sort of thing morbidly interests you, you’d like to know that Mr. Lee’s feature deals with similar themes. Yes — boost chaining and rival-slamming and OUTRAGEOUS SPEED (emphasis on the “speed”). So check it out and have something to talk to disinterested co-workers about around the water cooler on Monday.

feature: the insertcredit.com 2006 fukubukuro: GAME OF THE YEAR EDITION

she'll cut you in two Greetings, princes and princesses of the universe and/or the internet! It’s just me, tim rogers, tired after a long journey and lots of iron pumping. I’m here bearing a gift — the insertcredit.com fukubukuro 2006: GAME OF THE YEAR EDITION.

If you recall, I have, on previous occasions, written articles called “fukubukuro”, which is Japanese for “lucky bag”, and made big events out of putting those on the website. A real-life fukubukuro, sold at various retailers all over Japan on New Year’s Day, might have a Tonka truck tire, a handful of kitty litter, a couple of Tootsie Roll Pops, and an HD-DVD player in it, though you’ll never know when you put down the money for it.

This fukubukuro is a little late for New Year’s, and maybe that means that we’re not just getting rid of overstock — maybe it means we (and I) have something to say. Or maybe it doesn’t!

See for yourself! Expect very long reviews of at least three major games, and maybe a giant, rambling, world-changing essay of sorts. It’s bursting with content — ten full-length articles totalling roughly 80,000 words, written in sentences and paragraphs, here and there, over the course of 2005 and 2006 (though mostly in the closing weeks of 2006). The reason I never put them on the website, uhh, as I was actually writing them is because, uhh, HTML is a hell of a lot harder than doing nothing.

Thanks for reading, and send me an email at tim at this website dot com to let me know what you think. I’m personally not poor anymore, so you don’t even need to send me money to guarantee a response! What a bargain!

You simply have to realize how much value you’re getting here. 80,000 words! That’s like 27 issues of EGM! Or thirty-five days of CNN!

Goodnight, then, and continue to be gorgeous!

And oh yes! Before I twinkle off into Fairyland, let me inform you that the official insertcredit.com fukubukuro 2006: GAME OF THE YEAR EDITION discussion is right over here, at the selectbutton.net forums.

Toodles, then!

news: japan is FURIOUS about dragon quest ix

see, i was able to get this image by being able to type 'dragon quest' IN JAPANESEOkay, not really. Still. They’re not exactly sneezing rainbows over it. A survey of Famitsu readers in this week’s issue asks the readers “Do you welcome Dragon Quest IX on Nintendo DS? Does it make you happy? Are you in love with the very idea of it?” (Emphasis added.)

40.3% say “Yes”
46% say “No”
5.2% say “Neither”
8.5% say “I’m not sure yet”

A little gray-area statistical analysis shows that the opinion is currently favoring the negative. Realize that “Neither” means “I’ll buy the game anyway” and “I’m not sure yet” means “For someone reason, I’m being indecisive about my feelings.” So we’re sitting in at 45.5% saying they shall definitely purchase the game, and 54.5% saying they either don’t want it or maybe don’t want it.

The next question is the doozy: “Do you like the idea of action-based battles in a Dragon Quest game? Will they change your world for the better?” (Again, emphasis added.)

6.8% say “Neither yes nor no”
19.9% say “I’m not sure yet”
19.4% say “Yes”
53.9% say “No”

It’s important to note, however, that the people who vote in Famitsu polls are usually the type of people to actually buy the magazine at least twice a month. So they’re a little abnormal. They do not represent the wider population.

This is why Famitsu always has the “Retailer” corner, where they ask the retailers the same questions. In Japanese, “Retailer” means “What we think normal, game-buying people will think”.

When asked if they like the game being on DS, retailers said:

47.5% — Yes
22.5% — Neither yes nor no
10% — Not sure yet
20% — No
One retailer says “I’m just glad it’s on the hottest-selling system in Japan.” Another says “I predict the game will appeal to all ages this way.” Yet another says “I don’t believe there are too many people who would buy a DS just to play this game.” The fourth retailer says “I don’t know if we’ll have enough DSes in stock!!” Keep in mind that the third retailer is from Fukuoka, where they also have the ocean, and that the fourth retailer is from Aichi, and probably wears a toupee made of shredded Brillo pads.

When asked if they liked the idea of action-based battles, retailers said:

15% — Yes
32.4 — Not sure yet
12.5 — Neither yes nor no
40% — No

A retailer from Fukushima says “New users will adapt to the system easily. What about all the hardcore fans being BETRAYED, though?” (Emphasis added to more strongly accentuate the things this guy doesn’t get. Hell. I’m the hardcorest DQ fan I’ve ever met and I think action is a great idea. If I want the traditional system, I’ll boot up DQ5 or DQ6 or DQ7 — or 8.) Retailer in Shizuoka — that’s Japanese for “silent hill” — says “No action RPGs on DS to date have been successful.” Excellent deduction, Holmes! That’s because they were all either no-names (Contact) or blewwwwwwwwwww (Children of Mana). This game is promising you costume changes for god’s sake! And four-player battles with meaningful use of tactics. And it’s Dragon Quest. The retailer from Aichi says “The market is currently expanding, so it’s impossible to say what degree of new experiences people are willing to go for.” Congratulations on your business school vocabulary!

They also asked the retailers to predict how many copies the game will sell. The pie chart for that question is pretty silly. So I’ll say “my own opinion”, which is informed by this pie chart showing what all the retailers of Japan: Probably around 3.72 million copies in the first month.

Famitsu includes a handy chart, showing that Dragon Quest III was the highest-selling game in the series, with 6 million copies sold. Actually, look at this:

DQI: 1.5 million
DQII: 2.4 million
DQIII: 6 million
DQIV: 4.3 million (including the PSOne remake)
DQV: 4.5 million (including the PS2 remake)
DQVI: 3.2 million
DQVII: 4.1 million
DQVIII: 4.1 million (including estimated overseas sales)

It’s interesting to see that III arrived just when Dragon Quest became a cultural phenomenon, and that the popularity didn’t continue building. Perhaps this is why Final Fantasy started to radically tool with its formula in successive installments — to keep fans cheaply primed for the “new”. DQV was a slight drop (the PS2 remake of V outsold the PS1 remake of IV by quite a large margin, you see), and DQVI dropped even further. Probably because of Final Fantasy and other RPGs of the time. However, lots of people realized that other RPGs kind of sucked and went back for DQVII. VIII sold less because it was on PS2, and not everyone had a PS2.

Well, these days, not everyone has a DS. The stores have been dead sold out of the DS Lite since it showed up in March. People line up to buy them on Saturdays mornings. Sometimes you see shady groups of dudes putting armfuls of DS Lites into a truck.

When asked if the game would be big because of the DS’s charming personality, 60% of retailers said yes. One retailer said he only hopes Nintendo can ship more DS Lite units; another retailer says lots of people have DSes already; another one rhetorically asks, “What kind of person interested in buying a DS so far wouldn’t want a new Dragon Quest game?” Without meeting, and without even using the internet, these men are arguing.

Now for the best part — the detailed reader opinions.

Nineteen-year-old college student says: “I honestly don’t think the graphics need to be better than they already are. It’s a good match for the DS.” Yes!

A 35-year-old company man says: “I’m quite moved that they would take up such a challenge.”

A 27-year-old company man (hey, I’m one of those!) says the game can appeal to people with bubbling social lives best by being on DS.

A 23-year-old company girl says: “Now I can play Dragon Quest wherever I am!” Yes, you can! You can also buy the new Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker released last week (and given a 10 9 8 9 by Famitsu in this week’s Cross Review) though I don’t have the heart to tell you that because you’re a girl and you probably have boobs.

A 29-year-old company man says, “If Horii says this is a main series title, then so be it.” Feel the fear! This man would have made an excellent samurai!

A 33-year-old company man who probably has a goatee and listens to mystery movie music on his iPod says: “Would any of us have predicted, two years ago, that the next Dragon Quest game would be released for a portable system? I can sense the shift of the sands of time.”

Kicking off the negative opinions is a real wheeler of a line from a seventeen-year-old student: “When I heard it was on DS, I was totally like, ‘That sucks!’” There you have it!

An unemployed twenty-four-year-old man says “I really wanted to relax and play this on my TV.” On PS3? He distinctly says “relax”, so he can’t mean he wanted it to be on Wii. “How does an unemployed man afford a PS3?” you might ask. Well, there’s this thing called “The power”, wherein you want something really bad and eventually you have it, at the expense of your health.

A 25-year-old housewife says: “I’d be totally all for this if they weren’t trying to call it an installment of the main series.”

An unemployed 28-year-old man says: “It seems as though I won’t be able to enjoy the true glory of Kouichi Sugiyama’s compositions.” Whatever — use headphones! The music in Dragon Quest VIII was midi, after all.

A 36-year-old salesman says, “I would have preferred it if the graphics in ‘IX’ were actually better than the graphics in ‘VIII’.” A reasonable dissent, I guess.

A 28-year-old salaryman says “I will not tolerate a Dragon Quest on a portable system.” Someday he’ll be in charge of the whole office, just you wait!

A 28-year-old waiter says “The DS’s 3D is too weak. I’d prefer them to make it sprite based. That’d be good enough for me!” You and me both, sir!

Now for the undecideds, which are kind of boring. A 30-year-old carpenter says “You would have figured it’d use the uniqueness of the Wii, or the great graphics of the PS3?” Not a bad concern. As an aside, I have a friend who was a carpenter once. Jesus! Little shout out to you there!

A 33-year-old company man with a permanent frown says “I do not own a DS. And DSes are in short supply. I will not be able to play this game.” Relax, man! Eat some bran flakes! They say the game is coming “At the end of 2007.” You have like a year to get a DS. Order one from Amazon.co.jp, entertain yourself through other means, and it’ll show up definitely before then!

My personal favorite comment comes from a 32-year-old salaryman: “I’m concerned about the potential length of the game, since it’s on DS. Will they make this a two-cartridge game?” Man. I bet this guy is the head of his company’s IT division. He probably has LOTUS NOTES installed on all of the computers. Hell!!

The reader backlash against the action-based battles is, according to Famitsu, so tremendous that it would be ridiculous to document it. The most common comment, according to Famitsu, was “It just isn’t Dragon Quest.” Others said “I suck at action games.” Positive opinions included “I’m sure it’ll be as intuitive and fun as an action game as it is as an RPG.”

The next two pages feature a survey of retailers. Basically, the question is, what’ll be hot in 2007?

1. Wii
2. Dragon Quest IX
3. DS Lite
4. PS3
5. “Who knows?” (probably all retailers in Fukuoka and Shizuoka)
6. Xbox 360

In conclusion, then, Gundam Musou is going to be the greatest game EVER EVER EVER ever EVER. I’m not even kidding. Go search for some scans or something. Not that we condone that sort of thing.