[EDITOR'S NOTE: Our buddy Jiji ran out of stuff to post for his 'Compilation Catalog' column, so we're calling it 'A Life In Obscurity', and he'll alternate random D3 musings with compilation round-ups and other odd reviews, bi-weekly. Only on GSW! Because only we're crazy enough!]

Japanese budget publisher D3 haven't slacked off during these hot summer months: they've kept up a steady flow of information on new titles, and they've ticked off some of the entries on their busy release schedule. Let's get started!

Simple Series

• The Japan Special Forces has received its own dedicated site, with some gameplay footage and screenshots. It might end up being a bit stiff - and limited, of course - but as the game's closest precedent in the budget-tactical-shooter genre is probably the Special Ops series for PSone, the bar is set very, very low. GAME Watch has a preview.

The Escaped Prisoner• While Vingt-et-un Systems does their take on a reduced Rainbow Six, Tamsoft trying their hand at the style put forth by Grand Theft Auto. Vol. 110: The Escaped Prisoner puts the player in the shoes of Alex Turner, wrongly imprisoned and newly escaped, who has ten hours to prove his innocence. The player must evade police and mobsters in a freely-traversable metropolis known as "Los City" (the name likely being responsible for Play-Asia's "Escape from Los Angeles" listing) while searching for evidence to clear his name. Rakuten has a cover image and more screenshots. True to the usual conventions of this genre, vehicles can be stolen, and the game's CERO D rating and red splotchy warning seem to indicate that there will be plenty of violence and gore to go with the game's hard-boiled atmosphere. Tamsoft aren't known to be one of D3's better developers, but this one might be worth keeping an eye on (for the wrong reasons, possibly). It's due out October 12.

The Maid Uniform & Machine Gun has just hit stores, and - somewhat surprisingly - Weekly Famitsu has only seen fit to give it a score of 16 out of 40. That might be enough to throw just about anybody off the scent, but there's still something so charming about its design and characters that it begs to be given a chance. Here's a video to help you make up your mind, in any case, as well as a feature at ITmedia and NCS's notes on the game. NeoGAFfer Lyte Edge had some negative things to say about it, though, so caution might indeed be warranted. Developer Rideon put up an official site for their game this week, but strangely it disappeared within a day. Did they violate one of the stipulations in their contract with D3?

The Let's Make a Robot!, just released, is looking like it's going to be the highlight of this summer's lineup, having received a - surprisingly high, for a D3 game - score of 25 out of 40 from Famitsu. National Console Support lays the game bare in their game notes.

• Our friend (indeed, everybody's friend!) duckroll picked up The Earth Defense Force Tactics, and has posted some...semi-positive impressions! Apparently, despite its wretchedly lazy presentation and painful battle scenes, it's actually a competent hex-based strategy game. It just happens to look a lot like a Genesis game. You can see a demonstration of both aspects of the game in this YouTubed video: part one, part two. You'll probably have to switch off all of the battle scenes and find your way in with very low expectations, but there may be some fun to be had.

The Dokodemo Gal Mahjong
• Just announced is a PSP version of the rather well-executed mahjong-against-girls game Love Mahjong 2. Called Simple 2500 Series Portable: The Dokodemo Gal Mahjong, this version of the game is not far removed from its predecessor, but the featured girls have had their attributes made even more pleasing to the eye. Their facial features have been made more rounded and cute, too, which is probably a concession to the portable medium. And if you're still not sure what this game's all about, well, take a look at that cover. This one is scheduled for release on October 26.

• Japanese Simple fansite MO-GOS has compiled the results of a poll on the best and worst Simple 2000 releases yet this year. The top picks this time are The Genshijin (38 votes), The Investigator (DS, 33 votes), The Oneechanpon (15 votes), The Zombie vs. Ambulance (14 votes), and The Anywhere Mystery (7 votes). The least-liked were The Men's Machine Gun Platform (no surprise there - 55 votes), The Oneechanpon (Oneechanbara games often show up in both rankings - 10 votes), The Pirate (7 votes), The Right-Brain Drill (D3's half-hearted attempt to cash in on the brain-training craze - 2 votes), and The Tennis (PSP - 2 votes).

• Finally, if you're like this writer and have always wanted to see the majority of D3's titles at a higher resolution than that at which they can be seen on D3's site, GAME Watch has just the thing for you. They've put up a listing of every Simple-series game released for the PS2, complete with high-res screenshots and cover scans.

Full-Priced Titles

Oneechanbara X
• The first of D3's long-awaited Xbox 360 titles has gained its own website. Oneechanbara X seems to be returning to the red-on-red-on-red gore found in the original Oneechanbara, rather than that pinkish hue featured in Oneechanbara 2. This one's probably due for a CERO Z rating (which restricts sales of the game to customers 18 and up), the same rating Oneechanbara and Oneechamploo retroactively received. (Oneechanbara 2 and Oneechanpon ended up CERO D (17+). It's a fine line, apparently.) There's not much else to see on the site except for Tamsoft's experiments with pixel shaders and the same sorts of environment seen in the first two games (plus upgrades). We'll have to wait a little longer to see video footage of THE DEVIL EVOLUTION HUMAN.

[Trevor Wilson is a web developer and amateur game developer who indulges his unhealthy obsession with obscure, strange, and unique video games over at his weblog, namako team.]