News: Yggdrasil Labyrinth rears its head

Yggdrasil LabyrinthAtlus of Japan have been busy getting the word out about their upcoming, in-house-developed DS RPG Yggdrasil Labyrinth. Known as “Sekaiju no Meikyuu” in Japan but already announced for US release at E3 ’06, YL is a 3D, dungeon-focused RPG that’s set in a lush forest, yet seems to take heavy influence from the gameplay model that the first Wizardry games set forth (which still has a fanbase in Japan). It’ll allow the player to fill a party of five slots with characters of either gender and any of nine classes.

Atlus are giving the game’s creative staff extra lip service, and with good reason. Directing the game is Kazuya Niinou, who directed the well-received Trauma Center: Under the Knife. Shigeo Kobayashi, responsible for the story here, wrote the scenario for Devil Summoner: Kuzunoha Raidou and the cult 2D classic Princess Crown, and monster designer Shin Nagawawa worked on Bahamut Lagoon and Final Fantasy IX. The character designer, Yuji Himukai, is a professional manga author and has done oodles of 4-panel comic strips based on MMORPGs and Nippon Ichi games. And, finally, Yuzo Koshiro himself is composing the game’s score.

The game’s website is live, but it doesn’t seem to be quite ready yet. Shake the letters off the tree, then click the hole they make when they hit the ground for a preview. The game’s scheduled for a fall release in Japan, but Atlus USA haven’t given the game a date yet (outside of a vague “2007”). Also, don’t confuse this with Yggdra Union, which is also being published by Atlus USA, but was developed by Sting.

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News: bit Generations site live

dotstreamThe official website for bit Generations, Nintendo’s upcoming series of experimental GBA titles, has gone live. There you’ll find new screenshots, play descriptions, and videos – along with some cracking good chiptunes – of both waves of titles, currently scheduled for release in Japan on July 13 and July 27 for 2000 yen apiece. All of the titles in this series feature abstract and colorful visuals meshed with simple, yet original, styles of play in an “attempt to reexamine the roots of gaming” (Gamespot).

Dotstream immediately brings to mind that family of scrolling-cave games made most famous by SFCave, only set up as a racing game. Boundish (formerly known as Neopong) presents several sorts of competitive ball-bouncing. Dialhex has you rotating pieces in a falling-triangle puzzle to match colors, and the goal seems to be making the triangles drain out the bottom of the stage. As for the other titles (Coloris, Digidrive, Orbital, and Sound Voyager)…who can say? Nintendo haven’t made any noise about a possible US release, but most of the titles already have ESRB ratings assigned, so, we’ll see. Earlier this month, Nintendo of Japan hired Club Nintendo members to playtest the games and offer feedback in exchange for free copies of the games. While it’s said that most of the games are being developed by skip Ltd., who are best known for Giftpia and Chibi Robo, the developer responsible for Digidrive seems to be Q-Games, which was founded by Starfox’s creator Dylan Cuthbert. For further reference, GAME Watch have many screenshots of the games up in a preview.

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News briefs: Weekly wrap

Ok, we missed a few things over the week, so let’s try to catch up. First, KOF XI is out for PS2, and Melty Blood AC is up for preorder.

Next, Saint Seiya 2 has been announced for PS2, which is important if you’re french. Ruliweb has some screens of what promises to be another sub-par 3D fighter. I think Saint Seiya is to france as Dragon Ball Z is to mexico.

freak tells us that there’s another mobile game coming out from SNK, with Athena as the star. Unlike the ADV Athena on Stage, this will be a sidescroller. Athena Full Throttle is the name, and you can see some screens here. And yes, she’s got the original design from the famicom days here. It’ll be released on the first of july. Update: More screens here.

rid hershel mentioned that the Senko no Ronde Rev X website has been updating, and has several new sections. The game does seem to be slightly graphically improved for the 360.

Also from rid, check out this neat Sonic the Hedgehog green hill stage papercraft Sega’s put up for download. Very nice looking!

Lastly, iggy says that there will be a Gyakuten Saiban manga in Young Magazine. Good stuff, that!

News: Finder Love

I hadn’t seen this before – apparently Capcom has got a series for PSP called Finder Love, in which you date, talk to, and take photos of famous japanese idols. That all sounds rather creepy, when you put it together, but them’s the breaks sometimes. Rather surprising this is coming from Capcom! There are some minigames you can also play with the idols, which is somewhat tempting, but not tempting enough. If you disagree, you can get them here. That’s right, I said them – Capcom has released no less than four of these, limited editions notwithstanding. The newest appears to be aki hoshino, whoever that is. A visit to IGN (shock!) tells me that they actually included bikinis with some of the limited editions, photos of which you can see at game watch. They’re apparently based on bikinis the girls actually wear in the game. Who are they expecting to wear them?

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Mini report: The Advantage concert

The Advantage played in san francisco a few nights back, and I was in attendance, as was the very tall substance j of sector: ngp, last updated in glorious 2002. The show was quite good, and the band played a mixture of their old and new albums, largely very precisely and with very few mistakes. You may recall that I wrote a feature about one of their first warehouse shows in oakland, where I first encoutered the guitar that had this on it. That belonged to guitarist ben milner, and after the show, I asked what became of it. In his own words: “oh man, I should’ve kept that guitar!” Apparently something (the bridge, was it?) needed changing, and the space invader would’ve been damaged in the process, so he put it out to pasture. A damn shame.

That aside, the show was good, and my friend matt ritona took some very nice stylized photos, as is his custom. If you’re the type that likes making things bigger, click them there images.

ben1s.JPG ben1s.JPG ben1s.JPG

News: The internet is a strange place

There exists a man named harvey james, who reads websites on the internet. He’s an animation student in england, and seems to enjoy drawing. Turns out two of his favorite sites are insert credit and the gamer’s quarter (which has a new issue, by the way), and he became rather obsessed with some of the writers. As part of his obsession, he drew what he thought they might look like, then found real pictures, and drew again. The subjects of his study were our own eric-jon rossel waugh and tim rogers, as well as dessgeega, of the insert credit forums, and the gamer’s quarter (and who has thankfully stopped using the word ‘womyn’). Go check out the drawings and author impressions, they’re all rather entertaining. That smashing fellow to the left is his mental image of eric-jon, for reference.

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News: Chalkboard fighting, part the second

Just a minor update – one of the chalkboard fighting guys emailed me, giba from brazil. Apparently they’ve got a site with a number of other photos. They’re third year students at franca university, it turns out. The main reason I bring it up though is because he told me this: “The Brazil loves Insert Credit!” which is the greatest thing I’ve been told in some time. Let me tell you something, brazil – we love you too. Also, anyone who thinks I’m making fun of this guy can go suck a nut. They can go suck THE nut, even.

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News: Whither goest thou?

quovadis_cover.jpgThose nice people (or more accurately, person) at Gears Online have started a Quo Vadis section. It was a series of games on the Saturn and PlayStation respectively, featuring mecha by Kazumi Fujita and character designs by Haruhiko Mikimoto.

Fujita is mostly famous for his work on Zeta Gundam and the fact that some nutter reproduced his Hyper Zeta in suitably massive scale. Though, Optimus could probably take it down.

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News: Sega’s U.S. arcade plans, GSW stuffola

ohd4.jpg Hello, Insert Credit fans! Brandon has been called away to a new life as the King of Siam, and in the meantime, I’m here to point out a new feature about Sega GameWorks we posted over at Gamasutra, talking about the company’s attempts to revitalize the U.S. arcades.

This actually includes neat stuff like bringing the card-heavy Sega Japan arcade hits Mushiking and Love & Berry over into GameWorks in due course, and also launching an American version of the arcade network service (first game using it is, ahem, Extreme Hunting 2 – but still!) This all seems very IC-relevant, thus… this post!

[Also, wanted to point out that alt.gameblog GameSetWatch, which is where I spend most of _my_ time posting weirdo ephemera, has added a few columnists not unknown to IC fans, including Persona doing weird Pokemon cartoons, Jiji talking about retro remakes, and Dessgeega looking up ‘freely downloadable video games’ in their many guises. Now, time to wait for Brandon to send down his first royal decree. Bet it’s about Matrimelee!]

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More of them chiptunes in NY, June 24 2006

The INTERNATIONAL CHIPTUNE RESISTANCE, led by nullsleep and Bit Shifter is now over and has been deemed a success. If two straight months of global domination wasn’t enough for you, nullsleep and Bit Shifter will be joined by the magical Random and Timeheater at The Tank in NYC tomorrow, June 24. Booyea. Details here.