The Cult of the Game: Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! vs. Elite Beat Agents
March 15, 2009, 10:34 pm
Filed under: The Cult of the Game

For all the Nintendo DS’s worth few games really take advantage of it. Oh sure you can say that a lot of interface improvements have been made but take a title like Phoenix Wright, certainly enhanced by the stylus, and yet in all honesty doesn’t really NEED it explicitly. Noble efforts all around for DS game designers and I do think it’s one of the best systems of all time but I really wish some companies would try to flex the systems touch screen muscle. We’ve had some great shining examples like The World Ends With You, Metroid Prime Hunters and all but we need MORE of that, they definitely seem to be in the minority than the majority.

Rhythm games would seem perfect for the DS. With the touch pad interface you should be able to come up with some nifty mechanics that work well in the genre. The hard part at this point then it to make the game compelling, make it too simple and you might as well be playing Flash Flash Revolution, too convoluted and you’ll end up with a diluted messs like Guitar Hero on Tour. The sort of rhythm game that would work on the DS needs to have the balance of elements, simple design in terms of gameplay but be compelling to be worth the price of admission.

It took Japanese developer iNiS, then known for the great yet brutally difficult Gitaroo Man games, to bring such a game to the Nintendo DS. Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! Released by Nintendo for the DS in the summer of 2005, was as simple a concept for a DS rhythm game as you can get. During the course of the game small numbered circles would appear on the touch screen, as their “beat” came up (indicated by another circle slowly shrinking to the size of the numbered circle) you would need to tap them at the correct time in the correct order. To break up the monotony sliders and spinners get involved. Your object to is to not miss as many beats to prevent a ever draining life bar at the top of the screen from depleting. Perfect beats add more health while missed beats will cause you to lose health. A little hard to explain with words but the below video should more than explain it.

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The Cult of the Game: Sin and Punishment
March 8, 2009, 10:22 pm
Filed under: The Cult of the Game | Tags: , , , ,

Importing seems to be dead these days. With the global nature video games have become few gems of games are rarely released exclusively to a single region. While importers in the past would clamor for games like Parodius, Snatcher and fighting games based on the Dragon Ball Z and Ranma licenses nowadays games that may seem too “Japanesecentric” or based off major anime titles get released here with some level of regularity. Much of this is to the Kudos of publishers like Atlus who see the massive cult followings these games have and reward the loyal fanbase by releasing titles like Odin Sphere, Diagaea and Persona for the masses. Even if titles aren’t released on this side of the ocean thanks to the internet it’s easy to e-mail imported games and with most systems having loose legion locking measures it’s often fairly painless to get these games running on your system.

This wasn’t the case during the 90’s, where the video game import scene was starting to build steam. Many people had to find specialty retailers in their area, most of them Asian run shops that would get games for their customers who had brought over systems from Asian territories. Failing that most would have to go through mail order services from the backs of video game magazines. From here many import superstars came to be and one of the biggest import only games for a long time and one of those last superstars was Sin and Punishment for the Nintendo 64.

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13 Nintendo Miss-steps
March 5, 2009, 11:23 pm
Filed under: Player Inventory | Tags: , ,

ROB The Robot


Even Nintendo fanboys, for all the good the company has done for the game industry, must admit that sometimes the Big N does some serious fuck ups. Even early on with the NES Nintendo was forced to make the system more appealing to retailers ROB was created to give the Nintendo a more “toy” like feel after the stigma video games received after the Atari crash. The end result was ROB was released with two piss poor games and really never used again, collecting dust in many a closet.

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Rock Band DLC Tuesdays: SRV! SRV! SRV! SRV! (……. and No Doubt)
March 3, 2009, 9:34 pm
Filed under: Rock Band DLC Tuesdays

This week plastic guitar noodlers around the world rejoiced as Harmonix finally released the long awaited full album of “Texas Flood” the seminal blues album from guitar guard Stevie Ray Vaughn. It was delayed (HMX PROMISED it’d be released last year) but hey, better late than never. Admittedly, not REALLY a SRV fan, but I enjoyed Pride and Joy well enough so I picked that up along with Testify and the title track but before we go on a look into the gaping hole that is my vagina.

No Doubt – New

A strange omission from the Single full album release, New was probably the only song on Return Of Saturn I enjoyed. Here it’s got a nice disco drum beat that while not overly challenging WILL give your a workout. Guitar is definitely a work out, with a quick not progression that is repeated through the verses. More difficult than most No Doubt songs but guitar and bass may get board due to the repetitiveness. Drum fans this is another track for you to shin though.

Steve Ray Vaughn – Texas Flood

For the the SRV songs you’re getting your mileage mostly out of guitar. The rhythm songs, outside of a few examples, are practically non existent and the vocals (when they’re there, Texas Flood features THREE vocaless tracks) aren’t overly challenging once you get the pitch. Starting out it’s actually a pretty even challenge but once you hit the solo wow, you’re in for a killer but fun bit of guitar work.

Stevie Ray Vaughn – Pride and Joy

You may have played this to death on Guitar Hero III but there are a few compelling reasons to pick this up for RB2. One is the fact that we now have a master and while the GH3 cover is not terrible it’s always welcome to get the original track. Two, HOPO chords. Pride and Joy gets a lot of life breathed into it thanks to the HOPO chords and it truly feels like a new challenge that once again I did fairly poorly on my first crack. Still it’s a helluva of a song and guitar lovers should definitely pick it up.

Stevie Ray Vaughn – Testify

Failed it a minute in…

The Cult of the Game: Startropics
March 2, 2009, 12:14 am
Filed under: The Cult of the Game | Tags: , ,

It may seem odd but this month is the Cult of Nintendo month. I say odd because in all honesty few companies are as consistent at releasing top selling AAA titles as the big N. From old classics like Zelda, Mario and Metroid, to new franchsies like Pokemon, Animal Crossing and Nintendogs it always seems Nintendo is able to touch anything and turn it into franchise gold destined to sell millions along its many consoles.

However Nintendo is a company about good gameplay first, and as the Cult of the Game shows being good doesn’t always mean you’ll be popular. Odd settings, difficult (at first) game mechanics and lack of availability have caused a number of Nintendo’s first party titles to slip under the Big N’s and consumer’s radar and have created wonderful cult games.

The creation of Startropic was an odd birth. Directed by Genyo Takeda who had originally worked on Punch Out!! Startropics was developed in Japan but never released there. The game was an answer to the growing North American and European markets. While games were becoming hugely popular in both regions many US publishers at he time had a large amount of xenophobia to games from Japan which sometimes were steeped in Japanese ideals and pop culture they felt would turn off gamers. Startropics was an early attempt to design a game with western audiences in mind only and was released only in North America and Europe.

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Rock Band DLC Tuesdays: The Grab Bag
February 24, 2009, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Rock Band DLC Tuesdays | Tags: , , ,

White Zombie – More Human Than Human

Since I did TLAD mini review I forgot to put up my thoughts on the one DLC I got last week. More Human Than Human is pretty much as its rating states. Kind of a bore on guitar and vox well once you get the pitch you can mumble your way through it. However drummers rejoice, this is an amazing song for you, being tough but with variety instead of a pushing speed and crazy athletics. Check out the expert drum chart to see what I mean.

Jimmy Eat World – Sweetness

CHORD CITY. I kind of think Sweetness is a little underrated in its guitar rating granted I’m a guy who’s total shit at three note chords and alt strumming so take my opinion with a grain of salt. Drum is surprisingly good for a lower tier song and bass is decidedly boring. Vox has some interesting portions especially the “oohs” in the middle there but really shouldn’t be too difficult once you learn the song.

Jimmy Eat World – Futures

Another neat little song on drums, a lot of variety and enough challenging bits to keep it from being boring. Guitar is kind of like Sweetness on NyQuil, lots of chord progression but a little slower and has some nice single note sections to bring down the chart to sanity. Vox is also very similar to Sweetness, fun to sing when you get into it but not exceedingly difficult.

Jimmy Eat World – Lucky Denver Mint

Considering the weaknesses of my guitar play in Sweetness this chart is absolutely brutal for me. Expert players will find a lot to enjoy from this chart. It’s a fast chord progession based track with a lot of variety, especially in the chorus where you have a alot “index-pinky” shifting. Drums again is not hard but interesting and vocals shares an even easier fate than the last two songs. As with the previous songs, bass is dull.

Neko Case – People Got A Lot of Nerve

I’m always happy to see lesser known or “indie” acts I enjoy make it into rock band and was surprised to see Neko Case show off one of the tracks from her upcoming album on RB2. On guitar it’s a good song for beginners, offering some finger work without absolutely killing them. Drums is also surprisingly interesting with some decent bass pedal work. Can’t really judge on vocals, didn’t try, but I’d probably fall in love with any girl who even attempted this song on vox.

The Cult of the Game: Street Fighter III
February 23, 2009, 1:14 am
Filed under: The Cult of the Game

If you grew up as a teenager during the early 90’s you know just how big a deal Street Fighter II was. It revolutionized a new genre of gaming; single handily revived the arcade market and helped elevate the SNES as the top 16 bit system. The original Street Fighter II: The World Warrior sold six million copies on the SNES. It is estimated that the gross profits from Street Fighter II coin op machines out paced the box office sales of Jurassic Park.

From Street Fighter II came Street Fighter II: Championship Edition, introducing the four boss characters and the “player vs. player” ability. Street Fighter 2: Turbo would up the speed and give characters new moves and palettes. This continued, Capcom releasing incremental updates on its existing cash cow creating ire among the fanbase. The common joke in game magazine was, does Capcom even know how to count to three?
By 1994 Capcom had released five iterations of its Street Fighter II franchise and while Super Turbo is arguably the best in the series many gamers simply didn’t care at this point.

Ever after Super Turbo Capcom would continue to tinker around with the fighting game format. The Alpha series, which takes place between Street Fighter and Street Fighter II, shows off anime style graphics with combo oriented gameplay. The Street Fighter EX series had Capcom force the series kicking and screaming into the 3D world with less than stellar results. Having had huge success with both X Men: Children of the Atom and Marvel Super Heroes Capcom crossed Marvel with their own Street Fighter characters in X Men vs. Street Fighter

It seemed odd for Capcom to take so long to get to Street Fighter III. By 1997 though it the years of waiting have finally come into fruition as then dubbed Three: A New Generation was unleashed to arcades around the world. Street Fighter III was originally given much buzz but for some reason failed to catch on as well as its predecessor did.

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