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Archive For September, 2011

Halfbrick, Spry Releasing Steambirds: Survival On iOS For Free

September 27, 2011 11:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Spry Fox has teamed up with Fruit Ninja/Jetpack Joyride maker Halfbrick Studios to release Steambirds: Survival, the sequel to its Independent Games Festival award finalist game, on the App Store next month for free (it looks like an Android version is in the works, too?).

On launch, the turn-based strategy dogfighting game will have 8 different aircraft -- each with their own strengths/weaknesses -- and 64 missions, with another 7 planes and 56 missions slated to release shortly afterward as free updates. Expect some in-app purchasable content, too.

You can already play Steambirds: Survival in your browser here, but downloading a quality game like this for free seems like a no-brainer (I imagine Bungie's own free clone of the game on iOS, Crimson: Steam Pirates had something to do with this pricing decision).

"Suprise!" - An Ambitious Fan Translation Site Appears

September 27, 2011 9:00 AM | Danny Cowan

The world of fan-translated video games is terrifyingly vast. For every well-known project like Seiken Densetsu 3 and Policenauts, there are dozens more that languish in obscurity, despite the dedicated efforts of amateur localization groups.

You might not know, for instance, that translations exist for Monolith Soft's Nintendo DS RPG Soma Bringer or for the Genesis shoot-'em-up Trouble Shooter Vintage, given that fan localizations aren't typically covered by mainstream gaming sites. What's more, database-oriented hubs like romhacking.net do little to promote these projects or present them in a context that would make anyone think, "Whoa, that's awesome. I should play that."

Suprise! is a blog that spotlights deserving works that are otherwise ignored, even within the fan translation community. In some cases, it also doles out needed criticism -- see Romancing SaGa 2, pictured above. It's a valuable resource for a worthwhile niche, and it's full of all sorts of fun trivia for anyone who enjoys reading sites like Hardcore Gaming 101.

Note that Suprise! has only recently opened to the public, even though its last update was months ago; author Spinner 8 (disclosure: he's a friend of mine) has since put the site on hiatus, which is a shame.

Still, there's plenty of great reading material here. Personal favorites: the translation news wrapups (here's a recent one featuring Spinner 8's own translation of Die Hard for the TurboGrafx-16), a look at the PC-FX dating sim Welcome to Pia Carrot!!, and a playthrough of the amazing parody hack Druggy Final Fight.

Amazon Ceases Shipping Persona 2, Potentially Due To Damaged Boxes

September 27, 2011 5:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Here's a heads-up if you happened to buy a copy of Atlus' recently launched PSP remake of Persona 2: Innocent Sin from Amazon over the past week. The online retailer is no longer selling the game "because customers have told us there may be something wrong with our inventory of the item, the way we are shipping it, or the way it's described here."

Atlus forum members speculate that Amazon's shipping practices are to blame. Many Amazon-sold copies of Persona 2 shipped in a padded envelope, causing damage to the game's cardboard box. As there's a lot of crossover between RPG fans and collectors, it's easy to imagine Amazon receiving many complaints over crushed copies of Persona 2.

Third-party sellers are already hiking the game's price in anticipation of a shortage, though Amazon will likely relist the game after resolving its issues. Existing orders are currently on hold, and customers who received damaged copies should contact Amazon for a replacement.

[Update: The game is now back in stock at Amazon.]

I Can't Believe That These Bloody Wolf Bandannas Exist

September 27, 2011 3:00 AM | Danny Cowan

No matter how much you like video games, no matter how long you've been collecting, and no matter how big of a TurboGrafx-16 fan you are, I can practically guarantee that this eBay item is not in your possession. Should you ever feel the need to fill the Bloody Wolf bandanna-sized hole in your collection, though, this pair is currently on sale for $44.99, plus shipping.

Bloody Wolf was one of the better games to arrive stateside in the TG-16's first year of release; it's basically Ikari Warriors with even more testosterone. The arcade version has a fantastically nonsensical translation, by the way.

The seller notes that the bandannas were given away as a promotional gift around the time of the game's U.S. release in 1990. Before committing to a purchase, be aware that one of the bandannas was worn and washed once, and is less colorful than its non-soiled brother.

[via @GDRI]

Konami's Idea Of A Hot Date Involves Playing Old Konami Games

September 27, 2011 1:00 AM | Matthew Hawkins


In the upcoming follow up to their hit girlfriend simulator, New Love Plus for the 3DS, Konami is dipping into their library of past hits. Though not just any games, but ones that your virtual lady friend wouldn't mind playing.

As part of Kanojo to Game Mode (translated as "Games with your Girlfriend"), you'll be able to play mini games based upon Twinbee, Yie Ar Kung-Fu, and Taisen Puzzle Dama, either with or against your silicon soulmate. They can be accessed at the local game canter, while you two are out on a date, naturally.

As you play them on the top screen, your gal pal will be visible on the bottom, allowing you to see her reactions. One might assume that certain conditions will either result in her being quite pleased, or others in which she's bored stiff.

Too bad games like Gradius, Castlevania, or Contra aren't included. Some might believe, like the Love Plus's creators it would seem, that Japanese schoolgirls may not care for such titles, and we all know that's not necessarily true.

And even if was the case, it would still be funny to have your girlfriend go, "So I was thinking, there's a new Thai restaurant that... wait, what... Gradius AGAIN?!?!"

[via Andriasang]

A Machine That Finally Merges High Scores And Your Dirty Underwear

September 26, 2011 11:00 PM | Matthew Hawkins


Speaking as someone who's irked and annoyed with the constant need to make everyday minutia more exciting than it honestly needs to be via gamification, even I have to admit that Kingston University design student Lee Wei Chen's combination arcade game/laundry machine is a stroke of genius.

It works like this: the game part on top is tied to the washing unit at the bottom. To clear your clothes, simply insert a coin and play successfully. But mess up and you'll have to insert extra credits to keep the game/wash cycle going.

The possibilities behind such a mash-up is limitless. Imagine a variant that ups the ante by releasing hot water into one's cold cycle for each mistake. A poor game thus results in shrunken delicates. Or a bonus component that rewards the player by drying one's soaking wet attire after the main game.

[via Design Week]

A Slightly Better Way To Enjoy Sdatcher

September 26, 2011 9:00 PM | Matthew Hawkins

A few days ago I mentioned an unofficial English transcription of Sdatcher, the follow-up to Snatcher in the form of a radio drama. Well, YouTube user zajunker has done the same, but his take is slighty easier to digest and better all around.

Other than the slightly smoother and seemingly more accurate translation, it's simply a better way to enjoy the overall package, i.e. the voice acting, the sound design, and Akira Yamaoka's terrific music.

And not only is Jean-Jack and Little John's banter even more enjoyable, I also didn't realize until now that Kojima himself was playing the role of the pint sized Metal Gear!

Nor was I aware of Suda 51's role as the mysterious Man in the Restroom. Which makes total sense, given that one of his more famous creations, Travis Touchdown, frequents the john quite regularly.

[via Joystiq]

Tommy Wiseau's New Video Game Show Is Live

September 26, 2011 7:00 PM | Matthew Hawkins

As noted a few weeks back, the man best known for The Room has a brand new show centered on video games, which made its debut a few short days ago on YouTube. And thus far, The Tommy Wi-Show is a home run.

The premise once again has Tommy being abducted to by an alien, and forced to play games, a different one each week. Sadly, there's no robot or freakish man-child sidekick, nor is the chosen title a stinker (since MST3K used B movies). Episode one's Mortal Kombat 9 is actually quite good.

But the most important thing is how fears of Wiseau being overly scripted were unnecessary in the end. Sure he's playing along during the set-up, but once that PS3 controller is in his hands, it's all Tommy.

Either that or kudos to Wiseau for such superb acting chops; it really does look like he accidentally hit the PS Home button during gameplay. Or to whomever that actually came up with the super creepy sexual/misogynistic comments that Tommy spouts during round two.

After the cut is a bonus clip of MK again, this time featuring Freddy Krueger. With the obvious highlight being Wiseau's bizarre button technique.

Street Fighter II Rainbow Edition Is All Kinds Of Nuts

September 26, 2011 5:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Ever play Street Fighter II Rainbow Edition? It's a fairly popular unofficial hack that was widely circulated during SF2's heyday, despite (or perhaps because of) many added features that destroyed the game's balance.

The playthrough above, recorded by "elder" and archived at ReplayBurners, showcases a good number of Rainbow Edition's eccentricities. Note that, despite having limitless no-charge homing Sonic Booms at his disposal, Guile still occasionally has a tough time beating the CPU player, who is willing to break all rules of logic and sanity in order to win.

What to look for:

- Surprise superfast Zangief.
- Ken turning into Vega, who clings to the sky, leaps into a projectile barrage, and then recovers with a series of supersonic backflip fireballs.
- sonic sonic sonic boom sonic sonic sonic boom sonic boom sonic sonic sonic sonic

This Week In Video Game Criticism: From Sims Social To What's Off About GoW 3

September 26, 2011 3:00 PM | Eric Caoili

[This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Eric Swain on topics including The Sims Social, what's off about Gears of War 3, and why games don't have to be fun.]

Welcome one and all. It is my pleasure to be your guide today around the Gallery of Vido Game Criticism from this week. We have a bevy of word-pieces for you, so if you'll just follow me through the gallery...

We start our tour at that weekly goldmine that is the PopMatters Moving Pixels blog. From last week we have Sean Brady, who goes back to take a look at Chrono Trigger, explaining the importance of historical context when looking at its work. And from this week we have Kris Ligman looking at the concept of virtual patience in video games and Scott Juster's look at Catherine's characters and messages, finding they hit a little too close to home.

Meanwhile on your right, you'll see Juster's partner in crime Jorge Albor at the Experience Points blog looking at the discussion coming out of Games for Change (G4C) and their "focus on "serious" and social impact games." The discussion at present is around 'What kind of change are we talking about here?'

Now if you will look over here in the next room, we can see the great work that came out of Kill Screen this past week. James Dilks looks at the names of video games and what they convey about what is within, particularly the unusual case of VVVVVV. Brendan Keogh is behind a barrier of his own making as he realizes that, like Red from The Shawshank Redemption, he too has been institutionalized. And Lana Polansky reviews indie game Rock of Ages and its tumultuous journey through time and Western art history.

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