Monday, July 28, 2008

The Bionic Commando remake's Japanese trailer is staggering

Seriously. Have you seen this thing yet? Dayummmn. (also fuck you gametrailers for exploding out of my blog's margins, ok?)

I was already looking forward to the game, which promises to render Hitler's exploding head in Vibrant 3D Turbographics, but this pretty much sent the Frothometer off the charts. I'm most impressed by the way that it takes footage from a western-european-developed game and, through careful use of the Japanese-provided art assets (from Shinkiro, no less) and the creation of a faux-70s super robot theme song, manages to create the convincing impression that Capcom totally made the game on their own. Also: why does the game have a CERO B (ages 12+) rating in Japan and an M FOR MATURE rating in the US? Censorship of Hitler's exploding head? I sure hope not!

Also awesome: the game comes out on the Xbox Live Arcade in two weeks, after contentious art-game-thing Braid and before Potential Shooting Game of 2008 Galaga Legions. It's part of some promotional thing that Microsoft is doing, where they release all the really good looking games on their service one after the other, and then presumably it's right back to sudoku.

Oh, and Sub, if you're reading this... do you recognize the vocalist in the trailer? I trust your knowledge on this kind of thing.
EDIT: Ok, I found this Capcom blog entry about the comic-con Bionic Commando panel. of the things he wanted to do show us was what Capcom was doing for promotion for the Japanese version of BCR, witch is a total nastalga trip feturing a new theme sung by Anime singer Ichiro Mizuki (Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, GoLion) only done in Japan.
So yes, confirmation on that front.

Also, my good friend Lee Slone pointed out that you can download the entire soundtrack for the Bionic Commando remake on itunes. I thought you could download the song from the above video, titled "Go Go Bionic," but based on the song length and preview I get the impression that it's just a joke song or something. Bummerrr.

Besides that, there's also this recent trailer for Thunder Force VI, which I was adamantly dismissing as vaporware right up until a few weeks ago.

This should pretty much sum up my thoughts on the subject. Official site's over here. Helllll yeah.

Friday, July 25, 2008

supabonk.mid + youtube

You may know Jacob Kaufman (pseudonym "virt") as the composer for games like Shantae, Contra 4, and a whole bunch of schlocky and semi-schlocky licensed games with disproportionately excellent music. Also: a few incredible side projects. Assuming nothing has changed since his blog last updated, he is currently employed as a sound designer for game developer Volition. What you may not know is that he recently started uploading a video series to youtube and it is going to change your life forever.

Failing that, I think you may laugh. Plenty of further contact info in the video itself!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Special E3 News Digest

Alternate title: Making the Best of Irrelevance -First, as a follow-up to the Game Center CX article from a few days ago, Gamasutra recently reported that XSEED Games is localizing the Game Center CX DS game for release this Winter. It's gonna be called "Retro Game Challenge," and I'm expecting stupendous things. Frankly, so should you. Jeremy Parish does a good job of explaining what's so cool about the game over at his 1UP preview:
In effect, it chronicles the history of 8-bit gaming, perfectly capturing its fairly humble and simple beginnings with basic platformers and shooters as well as the sophisticated titles that characterized the NES' twilight years. The eight imaginary titles in Retro Game Challenge are, quite frankly, strong enough to have been legitimate releases on the NES -- which makes this an excellent classic-game compilation whose only real drawback is that the titles collected never actually existed. But even that's not so bad, since it contains a number of convincing (but fake) magazines to help contextualize its imaginary catalog of releases -- even going so far as to offer hints, cheats, and teasers for upcoming releases.
Also stupendous is XSEED's announcement that they'll be bringing the Korg DS-10 Synthesizer to the US. This actually comes out in Japan next week, and it sounds phenomenal - it's a full-featured synthesizer, an actual piece of music software developed by people with a long track-record of making funtastic music doodads like the Kaossilator.

The big difference is that the Kaossilator and other similar devices have less functionality than the DS-10 due to the lack of dual touch screens, and actually cost far more - the DS-10 is going to cost about $50 in Japan, probably $30 in the US, while the Kaossilator retails for about $200.

If you need further convincing, this clip from 1UP is slightly unintentionally hilarious in addition to being an excellent overview of the software. Beyond that, there are a bunch of demonstration videos on youtube, including one in which game music composer Nobuyoshi Sano (Ridge Racer, Drakengard) uses 4 DS' at once using the software's built-in wifi link-up feature. Hell, I might as well just embed it right here.

-Second, Nintendo officially announced Rhythm Tengoku Gold for US release on the DS later this year. It's gonna be called "Rhythm Heaven" - no surprises there, thankfully. There's been a rather unfortunate lack of coverage of the game so far, which is a shame, because it looks like it'll be a wonderful follow-up to one of the best music games ever. Video below!

If you never played the original game, the pithy phrase that people tend to throw out when describing it is "Warioware + music game." That's accurate in respect to the game's charming sense of personality, but it doesn't do the genius of the game's design justice. Each of the game's stages is a short, 2 minute long contextualized challenge using only the A button for control. The first stage, for example, has you punching soccer balls and light bulbs in time to some jammin' music. Every few stages is a remix, which mixes the previous few stages together in wonderful and inventive ways. And then there are the obligatory extra games, including an hilariously full-featured GBA drum simulator.

The DS version looks like it has similar gameplay with a stylus-driven interface, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with the rest of the hardware, y'know?

That was E3. David Cabrera archived an extensive collection of fan umbrage to the FFXIII 360 announcement, too. Go check that out, and have a good day!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Game Center CX tidbits

Have I ever mentioned how much Game Center CX rules? I don't think I have, so let me defer this explanation to David Cabrera, who said it better than I could ever hope to without resorting to borderline plagiarism:
It's a TV show where they put a man in a room with a videogame and they don't let him out until he's won. This is a more entertaining prospect than you'd think! "Retro Game Master" is either sarcastic or a misnomer, as the whole point of the show is that Arino is an likable, average guy and he's not very good at videogames. This show is about chuckling along with Arino's many failures and the cruelty of 8-bit games, rooting for him as he presses on, sticks cold compresses on his forehead, and hits the "a-ha" moments where he figures out how the game works. In the endgame you feel a real vicarious sense of accomplishment for the guy, in a situation where he may or may not win.
Right, so. Why bring up the show at a time like this? Two reasons!

First, the show was recently picked up for possible US distribution by Japanese production company Stylejam, and two episodes of the show were screened at the New York Asian Film Festival last week. The show's localized name for the US market is "Retro Game Master," and it looks like there's a decent chance that the show will get a DVD release or even cable TV exposure. Quite a few blogs covered the screenings in detail, including Matthew Hawkins' Cinema Pixeldiso column, Wired's Game Life blog, and - again - David Cabrera's Subatomic Brainfreeze (personal fan favorite). If G4 picked this show up, I'm pretty sure I would actually maybe watch the channel occasionally, or at the very least un-delete it from my TV.
Arino proves that this is not a practice limited to the US.
Besides the above news, TV-Nihon recently fansubbed most of the first season of the show. I say "most" because while the "challenge" segments are always included, in which host Shinya Arino dukes it out with various games of indeterminate age and origin, the rest of each hour-long episode is not, in most cases. Some of these segments are pretty rad, and usually involve interviews with famous game directors and visits to game centers. I'm pretty sure their omission is because of the way the show was repackaged for Japanese DVD release, but it's still kind of a bummer.

That said, the Ultra Man and Ultra Seven episodes on TV Nihon's tracker are both full-length episodes with all of the show's segments included, so I'd advise checking those out first. And as always, Crunk Games' Game Center CX episode guide is still the best repository of information related to the show available. And before I forget, the DS game is ridiculously wonderful.

Man, I need to get back into the swing of things. I finished Persona 3 last week, so maybe I'll talk about that next? Hmmmm!