Wednesday, October 26, 2005

My new current...

One of the games I keep going back to is the import DS game Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan. I’ve mentioned already how much I love the game, so I’ve been waiting to see if an official soundtrack would ever see release. I would have settled for a fan rip of the music straight from the game and even contemplated doing it myself. Well, once again Phil comes through and has done just that. Of course the sound effects from the game are in there, but so many of them are tied to your memory that you mentally re-insert them into the real recordings anyway.

Still, it would be nice to have as many of the actual songs as possible. Available domestically is the song from the final stage Ready, Steady, Go by L'Arc-En-Ciel off their Smile LP. It also happens to be the opening song from the Full Metal Alchemist anime, which I didn’t know since I haven’t taken Chris’ advice and watched it yet.

Thanks to info from CJ via Phil, you can also get the song from the first mission, Loop & Loop by Asian Kung-Fu Generation in stores here too. As is the case with anything Phil-related, a rather expensive plan to obtain the remainder of the songs from Amazon Japan was starting to hatch.

… favorite music group is Nobody Knows+

As I was researching the bands involved, there was a particular one that stood out. The song Kokoro Odoru by Nobody Knows+ is a funny light rap tune made cooler by how it was used in the game. You can check out the snippet from the game here, and listen to a sample of the real song here I found on the group’s official site. There’s even a clip of the video that you MUST watch. Good stuff right? It gets better.

I knew I had to have that video so I looked around their site and could only find Tour videos and one video single to a different song. Curious, I clicked the sample and was totally BLOWN AWAY. Obviously if you have any idea of who Ultraman is, the payoff is going to be much bigger for you. Even so, the song just gets better and better with repeated plays.

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The full-length CD containing Mebae doesn’t come out till next week, but that’s getting ordered along with their previous album with Kokoro Odoru. I’m fairly sure I’ll end up buying the DVD single of Mebae too. Ack, that budget shuffle means one less 360 launch game.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Here and there

This one is kinda long, pretty much most of the random gaming thoughts of the past few days. So stick with it as long as your patience allows, or just come back to it later and savor it in bite sized morsels.

Making room
I’ve started to think about where the 360 should be placed in the entertainment cabinet. Since it looks like I’ll still need to keep the Xbox hooked up (damn selective backward compatibility), I made the tough choice of moving the GameCube to the bedroom. The bedroom TV is not HD, but it has component inputs so it’ll still look fine in there.

I briefly toyed with the idea of getting a new receiver, but that’s just craziness. It’s going to be tough keeping a respectable budget this holiday as is. I’ll eventually get one with enough inputs (combined with my component switch box) that I can have a few older systems hooked up too, like the Dreamcast, Saturn, or Neo Geo home system.

I have wireless routers that I haven’t bothered setting up, but accessing Wifi with the DS looks to be the kick in the butt needed to finally do it.

Sites I’ve visited
I don’t point to random sites very often, but thought I’d throw a few interesting ones out there for the hell of it.

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Cammy news page - Yes, everything happening in the world of the young, muscled Street Fighter is chronicled. Those Cammy figures in the September 19th update are pretty cool looking. The one pictured above is my favorite, but I would have to build it and paint it, so it would look nothing like the completed figure. I also like this one , but it looks a bit too perverted for me to display safely anywhere. Ditto that dilemma for the door poster.

Concered - Hillarious thrice weekly Half-Life 2 strip about the adventures of Gordon Frohman. It may take a while, but read it from the beginning.

Gainax - To celebrate Evangelion’s 10th Anniversary, Gainax is creating boob girl versions of the Angels. Dom said he immediately thought of me upon seeing this and forwarded me the link. I still contend he is a bigger pervert than me.

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I’m totally jazzed about Sony’s new Cybershot camera, which should hit stores mid November. I can wait or pass it up though since I already have a great camera, and this new release comes out at a time all my money is spoken for. Still, it’s 8.1 MP (mine is 5 MP), and has a 3 inch, touch screen LCD. The size and 3x optical zoom is the same as my current camera, but this new version’s lens protrudes from the body (don’t like that). Mine is all cool and does its zooming inside the body. I do get the occasional focus problem and blurry pics, which this one is supposed to annihilate.

Games of note coming out this week, into early November
There’s no way I’ll get even a third of the game listed, but here’s what’s on my radar for the rest of the year.

Age of Empires III – PC
It comes as a huge surprise to myself, but I think I’m going to wait on this for a little while. Reviews pretty much confirm my impressions from the demo—solid stuff, but not as innovative as one was hoping for (outside of the graphics of course). I’ll see if a good bargain drops or until I beat Winter Assault and feel the itch.

Samurai Shodown V - Xbox
I’ve been craving some 2D fighting action and very curious about V. Unless I hear the action online is rocking the house, a purchase will get put off until I’ve forgotten and no longer care.

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance – GC
I’m sure I’ll get it eventually because it’s Fire Emblem, but man, the battle animations look sorta crappy. You can unlock extra artwork if you connect with the two GBA games, so maybe I’ll wait till I beat Sacred Stones before jumping on Radiance.

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Shadow of the Colossus – PS2
Have to get this just so they’ll hopefully keep making these games.

Shining Force Neo – PS2
This was nowhere on my radar until the features 1up is running this week. I love the Shining series, but it has been in demoralizing decline for a while now. The review makes it sound like it’s back to where it should be, but I might wait till other opinions chime in. I’m all for supporting games (see Shadow of the Colossus), but Neo has $29.99 price cut (retail is $49.99) written all over it not to mention I wouldn’t have time to play it till next year.

Metroid Pinball – DS
I had a chance to play the finished version in the office and WOW…so damn cool. It uses tunes from the Prime series and has a very high production value. The ball physics is perfect. The rumble cart makes noises as it does its thing, which I thought fit with the game. Other folks here seem to really hate it. I’m still playing through the last Pokemon pinball and Pinball of the Dead, so there’s no big rush.

Taito Legends – PS2/Xbox
The US collection is missing some really awesome titles found in the two Japanese volumes, but it does have a snazzier interface and games not found in the import version. Plus how can you pass up 29 frackin’ games! Even so, I’ll hold my breath for a PSP version.

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Gunstar Super Heroes – GBA
Minute it hits the shelf, it’s mine. I was jazzed enough about this for a while, but times that excitement by ten thanks to my new backlit GBA

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Soul Calibur III – PS2
This one totally snuck up on me. Seems like this has been the game I’ve been waiting for all year, but some of that fervor is dimmed by the impending 360 launch and DOA4. Several weeks or months down the line after I’ve exhausted all the unockables for both fighting games, it’s the one that supports online that I’ll still be playing. I’m also worried that the widescreen picture will be similar to Tekken 5, meaning that the image will be cropped on the top and bottom. Even so, it didn’t bother me as much as I thought in Tekken thanks to the outstanding progressive scan quality. Gotta get this day one.

Resident Evil 4 – PS2
I really, really want to play through Ada’s mission and check out the plentiful extras, BUT, there’s no way I’m playing anything but Gunstar and Soul Calibur III till the 360 launches.

Trapt – PS2
This one is guaranteed to get lost in the shuffle, especially since Tecmo totally dropped the “Deception” name from the title. I LOVED the Deception games, so I’m very excited about Trapt. Going to wait till it hits $20-30 though, which it no doubt will very quickly with so many releases this holiday. Pretty interested to see how it reviews too.

Mid to late November/ December
DragonQuest VIII – PS2
I may take a break from the 360 to quest it up, but it’s not likely. I want to give DQ VIII my undivided attention, so it’ll get bought in 2006.

Elektroplankton – DS
Still want this quirky musical thingy, but there’s no rush.

King of Fighters 94 Rebout – Xbox
The 94 version has a lot of great memories for me, but I already have the home cart and I haven’t heard too many great things about the revamped graphics. I’ll get it eventually.

Animal Crossing – DS
If there’s one game I can’t do without this year, it’s Animal Crossing DS. I predict long, long hours writing letters and enjoying mischief in neighboring towns.

Potential games to get in current release
Phoenix Wright – DS
Will get soon.

Trauma Center – DS

Lost in Blue – DS
Waiting for price drop.

Trace Memory – DS
Waiting for really big price drop.

Lunar Dragon Song – DS
Lukewarm reviews have cooled my enthusiasm. Since it’s an Ubisoft published game, I expect steep price drops soon, at which point, my enthusiasm will moderately rise again.

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Astro Boy – GBA
Have no idea why I’ve waited so long to get this. Mostly because I can’t find it at most stores anymore.

What I’m playing now
Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising – GBA
I was waffling on whether to play this or skip right to Dual Strike, but I’m glad I went with this one. I think I’m right at the end, but you never know.

Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow – DS
Technically, I don’t own it yet, but my plan is to pick it up this week right after I finish AW2.

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Killer 7 – GC
Still haven’t finished it since I’m totally absorbed by Advance Wars. Favorite character in the game is Samantha the maid. She’s not one of the Killer 7, but very interesting and is as bizarre as the game is.

Indigo Prophecy – PC
Very cool little mystery game. I played what I needed to for work purposes (obviously not a review of course since it’s been out for a while now), but I’ll start over and have a proper go at it soon. Hopefully right after Castlevania, but before Gunstar and Soul Calibur III. It’s going to be tight.

Nintendogs – DS
My Sheltand sheep dog Pikachu is doing well and has all sorts of goodies now. I’ve been trying to save up for the Tatami room, but that may take a while. Especially since my wife just bought a new dog, a Yorkie. Just as my interest in the game was starting to wane, the arrival of the second dog has sparked things up. It’s so much fun to watch the two dogs play with each other. Now that I think about it, maybe it won’t take so long to get more money since I can enter the Yorkie in all the competitions Pikachu has already conquered. I may have to buy a second DS soon. Perhaps that cool red Mario Kart DS. I would really like a white one though.

Warhammer 40K: Winter Assault – PC
I didn’t get this right away and it paid off. Last week Circuit City had an amazing sale listing Winter Assault for only $10! I brought in the listing to the store just in case, but it was no error. Totally sweet. I installed it, but haven’t really dug in yet.

Xbox 360
As if there wasn’t a ton of game already this holiday, we have a whole new system and games to go with it. Going to play it tight for the most part as far as spending money goes. A lot of the launch games have “price reduction” written all over them, I’m looking at you Kameo and Condemned.

Definite get. Psyched.

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Dead or Alive 4
Ditto. Although not as psyched surprisingly.

Elder Scroll IV
No longer a launch title, but will get it when released.

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Ridge Racer
I really love the idea of having a Ridge Racer game at launch, but the vids I’ve seen are uninspiring. The only chance it has is if I get caught up in launch day fever and throw it in the pile.

Perfect Dark Zero
Doesn’t look as awesome as I’d hoped, but it looks really fun. Online play is sure to kick ass too. I’m on the fence on whether this should get bought on launch day (if it’s out at that time anyway), but will most likely cave before Christmas. That is, unless reviews hammer it.

Project Gotham Racing 3
I wish Ridge Racer looked as good as PGR3. I like a good racing game, but this series never “did it” for me. We’ll see.

Kameo: Elements of Power
I’m sure it’ll be pretty good. I can wait a while before getting into Kameo though.

Call of Duty 2
This game will run better on the 360 than my PC, so it’ll get the nod. Not sure when I’ll feel the need for WWII action, but this will be tops when I do. Predicting a spring of 2006 purchase, at $39.99.

Finally, Japan is back in this series, plus World Cup fever will surely push me to get FIFA. Not at launch, eventually.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Life goes on.

My dad passed away about two weeks ago. There’s been so many surreal moments. Mostly positive, like when I was putting on my tie before the funeral. I vividly remember when my dad taught me how to do that properly. Watching the baseball playoffs, I recall the first game he took me to, and the many games of catch in the backyard. I took a week off, but have been back in the office all this week. I wasn’t sure about going to work so soon, but it’s certainly been helpful to keep busy and focused on something. Support from family (especially my wife), friends, and coworkers have been tremendous.

The night before I left for the funeral in Japan, I grabbed the new backlit GBA (the blackish one). Without a doubt, it is one of the best things I ever bought. Sure I was tempted by the Micro, but I play a lot of Advance Wars and Fire Emblem so the greater the screen size, the better (although playing on TVs with the GameCube player is a bit too big and washed out). I’ve heard many folks proclaim they have fallen in love with the GBA all over again because of the Micro. Ditto for me, except it was the backlit GBA SP that did it. Actually, I’ve never been as excited about GBA game as I am now. It makes that much of a difference.

Oddly enough, I’ve also found comfort in Killer 7. The world in that game is so bizarre, it’s easy to lose myself in it. Upon Tim’s recommendation, I took on a work-related project that would require me to play Indigo Prophecy. I’m quite looking forward to it.

Most of the 360 news out of X05 is quite exciting too (at least to me anyway). I’m so glad I have an in-store, non-bundled 360 pre-order considering the insanely expensive bundles out here. The top three must have games for me are now NBA 2K6, Elder Scrolls IV, and Dead or Alive 4. People are now saying games will be in short supply too, but I’m not sure if I really want to bother to pre-order. I would rather hop to whatever store starts selling the games the week prior to hardware launch.

So, yeah, games are playing their part in keeping me sane.

Other than that, I just take the days as they come.