narita.jpg Though we wish it had some kinda of RSS feed, we love reading import store NCSX's new arrivals info, because they stock some wacky stuff and their writing is seriously witty at the same time.

So, of course there's weird Japanese merchandise this week (Band Bros instruments gashapon, anyone?), but our main focus is on the new PSP title Airport Hero Narita, which is, yes, an air traffic control sim for Sony's portable.

We like NCS's description so much we'll excerpt in full here: "In the 1999 movie, Pushing Tin, Billy Bob Thornton and John Cusack played dueling air traffic controllers. Cusack's Nick Falzone fueled conflict against Thornton's half-Choctaw Russell Bell. Despite their battles and bouts of inner turmoil, both had the ability to visualize 3D airspace and guide streams of planes to and fro without having them crash into each other."

It continues: "Airport Hero Narita is sort of like Pushing Tin except the scope of your responsibilities go far beyond what the two cowboys had control over. In addition to keeping a watchful eye on all of the air traffic around Narita Airport in Tokyo, players also direct planes to start their descent, prepare to land, taxi to a runway, depart, and maintain speed/altitude. Due to the critical decisions that are heaped upon the player's shoulders, one must keep track of all the planes and spatial dimensions around Narita airport to avoid any dangerous situations that might lead to disastrous consequences."

So, another characteristically Japanese game in the vein of Densha De Go! - neat. It often intrigues me that titles with such likely limited appeal are released in Japan. But with slightly higher game prices (in some cases), much lower game developer salaries (or so we've heard anecdotally), different distribution conditions (no high level of entry into the big chains, necessarily), and highly stratified niches of 'extreme' fans happy to snap up 10-20,000 copies of games on very specific subjects, it seems like the conditions are there to allow indie console titles with more stable long-term prospects - having more forgiving concept/game submission processes also helps (ahem, SCEA).