428, that Famitsu 40-out-of-40 receiving spiritual sequel to Chunsoft’s revered machi, hasn’t been selling too well (only 3 shy of a pitiable 34k in its first week), but it’s still set to get the anime treatment in the form of CANAAN. The website, which opened up last week with a splash screen and some production information, now has video promoting the disc set they’ll be pushing at Comiket 75.
While millions of people in the US had a long Thanksgiving weekend of tryptophan mania (tryptomania!) and Black Friday deals, the folks at insani ran the al|together 2008 festival which heralded the release of a new English translated freeware visual novel with each passing day. Six visual novels are interesting enough, but equally interesting are the analysis and peer review that accompany each one. Even if you have no intention of downloading any of these games, I encourage you to go through the site to see a combination of eloquence and passion (and R-type references!) that isn’t often seen in the world of Japanese to English fansubbing.
Mazer Mayhem is a new shooter from that bastion of STGs, ABA Games. Besides the 360 degrees of mazering and the fun abstract graphics, Kenta Cho decided to write this game in Microsoft’s XNA. Indeed, he has erected a new category on his main page titled “XNA” (right above an equally new “Flash” section: also worth your while) suggesting that there may be more where that came from. Gentlemen; ready your PCs and 360s!
Need to brush up on your knowledge of the Japanese game marketplace? Check out this Youtube video that helpfully shows how the country’s tastes changed between 1996 and 2007…
While most of the video game industry is busy counting all the money they got during the 2007 Christmas season, Hirameki International decided to call it quits, folding their business of publishing and translating visual novels from Japan. Seems that selling their software in the anime DVD aisle (even after the transition from making DVD player software to Windows PC software) helped their product enjoy all the “benefits” the American anime dvd market shared. In any case, here’s to all the guys at Hirameki for making the attempt at bringing over the VN genre to this side of the ocean (and it’s hard to imagine the company that has the guts to pick up the reins and make another push…)
A news entry on MaxConsole describes a memory card device that gives the PS2 all the benefits of a traditional modchip. They say the ‘Vast’ memory card will give systems “a wealth of features” but they don’t go further, except to show some screenshots of the device’s operating system. Launch of the product should occur in early September, and hopefully we’ll figure out more of how the device works before then (or maybe we’ll just be watching the thing drift into vaporware eternity)…
Not too much Asuka 120% love out there, but someone decided to change all that with an upload to the tube of you. From tobemorecrazy via The Spatula comes word of a nearly 6 minute long combo video featuring Asuka 120% from PC-Engine to Playstation, with a surprising segment on Limit Over (the doujin patch to Saturn’s Asuka 120% Limited) sandwiched in there. Too bad about the decidedly not Asuka 120% background music, though…
Edit: youtube link changed
In some more catch-up news: while GDC was happening on this side of the ocean, Game Park, who created the GP32 some time back and were in the process of pushing the XGP and derivatives out the door, declared bankruptcy last week. Strangely enough, www.gamepark.com is still active, though now it hocks some attractive athletic shoes rather than portable devices with PSP-level aspirations. Also, please note that Gamepark Holdings (creator of the GP2X) remains in business.
Sometime seiyuu/idol singer and fulltime wacky sounding momoi halko has a CD coming out in Japan March 21st: Famison 8BIT. The CD will feature classic anime songs from a decade or so ago (think Dr. Slump and Urusei Yatsura) done in 80s chip tune style, coupled with halko’s unique vocal stylings. Check out the sample songs on the recently opened official website and ready your vocal chops to accompany the CD’s karaoke versions. You know you want to sing along!
Brandon’s note: The sample jukebox (last link of vince’s above) has quite an appealing interface and visual style as well, with a little 8-bit character walking toward the end of the screen to reach a bowser-like castle. And interestingly, her real first name is haruko, not halko, but she renamed herself after the HAL 9000 computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey. An odd character, to be sure.
Update: This update isn’t important at all, but vince showed me this site while we were at the hotel for GDC, and I thought I recognized the voice. “Has she done any H-games?” I asked? “I don’t think so,” says vince. “I’m sure it sounds like a voice I’ve heard in a song from a Frontwing game,” I say, in spite of having never played one, only downloaded the music. Turns out I was right, as I researched when I got home. She was in Majou no Ochakai, which has been translated in clean form by Hirameki. She sang the song Bite, which you can get here. That game has no business having any hentai in it, so I really should be ashamed for even recognizing this, but I am who I am, and we all have to accept that. At least I never played it!
While we at insertcredit are currently ramping down on the whole Game Developers Conference hubbub, that doesn’t mean that GDC is dead! NO! It lives in our hearts and minds…and EYES! Especially our eyes as you can live the moments of GDC 2007 vicariously through some fun photos of GDC randomness.