Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Capcom Credit Cards

Boy, would I have loved to have one of these over the holiday season... if the APR weren't astronomically high.

Personally, Street Fighter IV is my favorite... in case you haven't guessed by now. If I had known, I'd have one of these sexy credit cards!

I'm about two years too late for this anyway - the Capcom website is no longer offering these killer cards. Oh well... at least I can dream about hadokening the poor sales clerk who's selling me my useless stuff until Marvel vs. Capcom 3 comes out next year.

I can't believe I missed this! Now all we need are Sega CD credit carts and I'm sold at ANY interest rate!

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pier Solar, for Genesis and Mega Drive, has been Released! (Finally)

The first Genensis/Mega Drive game in more than a decade - Pier Solar - has been released, according to an e-mail sent out today from the game's programmers, WaterMelon Team.

"Hello friends of Pier Solar, this email is about preorder id : XXX, packaging : u, Classic Edition.

"Your order has been shipped. You should receive it within 20 days.

"Please note that damaged parcels must be refused at delivery time, we will not refund or exchange any accepted parcels that has been damaged during shipping. Thanks for your understanding."

Uh, awesome! After dropping 50 bucks for a game that was supposed to come out two years ago, if the cart is broken, I'm screwed! Thanks, WaterMelon Team!

Your copy is broken? Oh well; eat my a**.

Pier Solar began life more than five years ago as “Tavern RPG,” a pet project of the Sega fansite, Eidolon’s Inn. What was meant to be a small undertaking blossomed into a full-fledged, 64 MEG role playing game for the Genesis, complete with “asynchronous turn-based battles,” an enhanced CD soundtrack for Sega CD owners and at least five selectable languages, including English and Japanese.

“We hope all those who purchase Pier Solar will gain the very same feeling of excitement [and] joy they had from playing the Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis for the very first time,” write the developers on the Pier Solar web page. “We want people who play Pier Solar to experience the same level of enjoyment and pleasure [that] we did from creating it.”

Pier Solar shares its initials with the Phantasy Star series, which is often considered the premier RPG franchise on the Genesis.

In addition to Pier Solar, two other role playing games have been released for the Sega Genesis in the last five years by the company Super Fighter Team: Beggar Prince in 2006 and Legend of Wukong in 2008. Both games were translations of existing Taiwanese cartridges released in the territory during the Genesis’s heyday in the ‘90s.

You can be sure that I'll be around to tell you whether this oft-delayed title was worth the wait!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Calming the Raging Demon

Since its release in 1994, I've been mystified by Super Street Fighter II Turbo's ultimate antagonist, Akuma. At the time, SSF2T was only available in arcades; but since none of my local hangouts seemed to care about Street Fighter anymore (perhaps rightfully so) I never did get a chance to do battle with the gee-clad killer.

The only time I'd seen this screen was in the pages of Gamepro magazine.

A few years later, the Street Fighter collection was released for the original Playstation, consisting of Super Street Fighter II, SSF2 Turbo and Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold. I was more interested in the Alpha series back then, so even though I finally had access to the elusive Super Street Fighter II Turbo for the first time ever, I just didn't play it much.

Thanks to my undying love for Chun-Li, Ryu, Guile and the gang, I often revisit the Street Fighter II series. Since I prefer the older CPS1 entries, anything that begins with "Super" is usually not at the forefront of my fighting frenzies. But the other day I popped Super Street Fighter II Turbo into my PS3 with the intent of meeting and defeating the walking powerhouse that is Akuma. It was a street fighting challenge 16 years in the making.

I'm not going to make it seem like it was epic - it wasn't. The Ancient One is just  Ryu with an air fireball and a highly mockable haircut, just like we've all known for years. But even though I had the game set to the easiest setting, that despicable demon still threatened to make my teeth into necklace of bloody Chiclets. A few lighting kicks and kiokens later, I had managed to take him down. And then... it was over.

The last great mystery of Street Fighter II had been explored. I still feel a little empty inside, like the day after Christmas or the morning after a big, drunken party, preferably with pinatas.

We trade wonder for knowledge. Sometimes it just isn't worth it.

Still, I totally kicked Akuma's palette-swapped hiney. Not for nothing, that's a pretty nice consolation prize.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Oh no! Evil Nintendo!

Have you ever heard the urban legend about the Evil NES? I guess it's kind of silly, but a little frightening in a way.

Apparently the cartridge slot is the best you've ever seen: It plays any game you put in, regardless of how dirty the connections might be. Both of the controllers are functioning perfectly and the light gun works on any television, even the new flat pannels.

But supposedly, after you turn the NES off for the 666th time, the game remains on your screen. No matter what you do, it won't go away. Finally you take out the cartridge. The power is off and there's no game in the console, but that image just won't go away.
Then you go in for one more look...

Nobody really knows what happens at that point. Some say the player's soul is sucked into the unit; others say it takes your sanity.

The one thing that's generally agreed upon is that once the Evil NES has obtained its grim harvest, it disappears from the victim's home... and reappears on the shelf of some used game store, good as new.

It's got to be an old wives tale. But do be careful the next time you head into a pawn shop.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Earthbound Scrapbook Entry #16: Smiles and Tears (GPP16)

It's been a long, hard journey, but I think we're almost done.

Sometimes I've felt like I've spent years trying to get things just right; trying to make things perfect. Maybe I have.

That's just my nature, I guess. With my father and mother separated by so many miles, I pour myself into everything I do. I work to exhaustion to prove myself... and to forget. After awhile, I didn't need to forget anymore and I had nothing left to prove. Now I work hard for myself.

At times I've cursed this adventure, the long hours, the setbacks and the heartbreaks. But now that it's almost done, I have a feeling that I'll be looking back fondly at all the time I spent on it.

This path is leading me to my destiny.

A Bionic Kraken crushes Jeff's metal body with its massive tail and sends thousands of volts of electricity though his crumpled chassis. It would have killed him in his human form. As a robot, he's able to pull himself back up and return fire.

The Kraken fades away.

Our metal feet clang against the stone floor. It's a bit like aluminum cans being crushed with every step. For some reason, I love this sound.

In the distance, I can see the entrance to Giygas's lair.

*   *   *

My attacks aren't causing any damage. There's nothing left to do but pray that I'll make it. I knew it was going to come down to this, yet I feel so desperate I feel right now.

This is amazing.

I can't grasp the true form of Giygas's attack. The valiant prince of Dalaam takes mortal damage.

Paula falls to her knees and appeals to anyone who will heed her call. Thousands of years in the future, the Runaway Five are rehearsing for a joint concert with superstar singer Venus.

The keyboardist stops first, then the drummer. Soon the stage is soundless. None of the musicians are very religious, but Lucky feels the need to pray for the safety of his friends.

In the past, Giygas's defenses become unstable.

Paula calls out again and again, praying for the aid of her family, of Dr. Andonuts, of anyone who will listen. She even calls out to the good people of Saturn Valley.

Though prayer is not a part of their culture, the Mr. Saturn begin to feel anxious about their friends and hope with all their might that everything will be all right in the end.

I feel anxious too as one of Paula's prayers goes unanswered, absorbed into the darkness.

Another fatal blow. The kind-hearted scientist boy can go no further. He slumps to the ground like a broken toy.

Paula prays once more. It reaches a person she's never met before, but feels like she knows very well.

_ _ i _ s _ t _ _ I_ _ i prays for the well being of the children.

Giygas took 167 HP damage!

Paula prays from the bottom of her heart.

S _ i _ sat _ I _ oi was moved to prayer once more!

Giygas took 557 HP damage!

"NESS! NESS! IT HURTS! I FEEL H  A  P  P  Y!" screams the beast.

Another desperate attack crushes Ness's chest. I watch as is hit points roll down to zero.

There's no one left to help and nothing left to do. Paula prays a final time!

...and S _ igesat _ I_oi keeps praying too!

Giygas took 1995 HP damage!

With a final, unfathomable attack from Giygas, Paula can stand no longer. As her HP drains, I tap the action button madly. I've made it this far; I won't stop here!

Shigesato Itoi prayed and prayed!

Giygas took 19,973 HP damage!

That when I know it's over. Pokey appears to taunt me one more time, then vanishes.

I feel drained as I watch the souls of Ness and his friends - of my children - returning through time to be with their families once more.

A sudden knock at my door startles me.

"Is the final stage of the game program satisfactory, Mr. Itoi?" asks a man in a white button-up shirt. His red tie dangles dangerously close to my fish tank.

"It could be better," I reply. I dash my spent cigarette in the nearby ashtray. A tobacco ember floats up and quickly disappears.

The man frowns, thinking that the game will be delayed for yet another few months. I smile and put my hand on his shoulder.

"But it's wonderful as it is. Please put it on a sample cartridge tomorrow and have it sent to headquarters."

He smiles and nods. He shuts the door behind him as he leaves.

I don't need to test the ending again; I know it's already as good as it can be without another total rewrite of the program. I shut off the Super Famicom on my desk just as Ness reawakens in Saturn Valley.

It's ready to be submitted for a final quality check, manufactured, then shipped out to all the Nintendo gamers, whose good will and encouragement has kept me going, even when it looked like this game wasn't ever going to be finished. It's about two years late, but the fans have waited patiently. I'm so happy I can finally give them what they wanted for so long.

I shut down my computer and grab my jacket. I take one final look at my office before turning off the light. After waving goodbye to a few other employees who are working even later than I did, I head out towards the still-bustling streets of Japan.

Goodbye, MOTHER 2. You were my curse. You were my sanctuary.

I'll miss you.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Earthbound Scrapbook Entry #15: The Way Things Were (GPP15)

There's something you're trying to remember

and a lot of things you're trying to forget.

You can hear your mother's sweet voice calling you. She and your sister are asking you to stay with them forever. The best tree swing in the county blows in the breeze

and the old barn beckons right up the street; not an adult in sight to keep you from sneaking right in

and just like always, Dad isn't around. He's never around.

He missed your birthday again. You wonder if he even remembered before Mom told him about it days later.

It would be so easy to stay with Mom and your sister. Even your dog is here.

He's just like you remember him

before he got old.

He's just like you remember him before Mom loaded him into the car the night he just couldn't breathe anymore and didn't make it home.

"Turn it off," says a familiar voice in the distance.

Don't tell me what to do.

Mom promises that if you stay she'll never let anything hurt you again. Not even that Peter Pan movie that made you cry so hard when Tinkerbell died. She came back a few minutes later, but the damage was already done.

It wasn't Tinkerbell you were crying for.

It would be so easy to sit down on the couch with Mom and watch Transformers and walk by the old rusty bike in the river and have a picnic in the backyard and make forts out of chairs and blankets and

That's not the way it is anymore. Maybe it was never like that to begin with. You can't go back


Your insides feel like they did the night Santa stepped into a squad car and your last shred of faith stayed with him. The first crushing lesson you learned is that there's nothing magical about your existence.

The second is that you can hurt others

and others can hurt you.

Your mother waves in the distance as you stride forward. By her grim expression, you know you've upset her by leaving.

For some reason you begin to focus on the one who hurt you most. At least you're used to Dad disappointing you.

How could she do that to you? After so long? After you bought her dinner at that expensive restaurant and wore your new pants? She wouldn't even


at you when she told you

You know it's wrong but you wish she would feel every ounce of what she made you feel.

she wouldn't even look at you when she said not to come back.

"You really need to turn that off now," says the voice.

Stop telling me what to do! I can make my own decisions!

Thinking about her makes your stomach twist and turn, not because you want her back anymore, but because you wish she would hurt and cry and lose weight from grief.

You've got to press forward. You know you need to keep going where ever it is that you have to go. But the more pain you feel, the harder it is to keep walking.

Something positive:

When you were little, Mom took you to the Easter egg hunt. The Easter Bunny was there; back when you believed in something other than money and the satisfaction of turning off your phone so the outside world couldn't intrude on your few moments of solace.

Mom worked her way to the front of the crowd and


the time they let everyone loose, you were at the front. You got all the best eggs out of all the other kids.


That's what everyone says you need to succeed. That's what the Flying Men say they can give you.

They're tall and proud; they're sort of the opposite of you.

The Flying Men wouldn't let you down.

The Flying Men would never forget 


birthday or hurt you like that girl did.

With the help of the Flying Men, you're able to push through the pain and keep going. You can't feel a thing when the creatures hit you, but you notice that the Flying Men are bruised and bleeding. They refuse your aid and push you forward.

"Turn that thing off right now and get to work!" yells the familiar voice.

I'm not listening to you! I can't stop now!

As you trudge though the cold, salty water the only thing on your mind his how you thought you were going to be a construction worker. That's not working out.

You know that it would never have worked out.


is more complicated than a saw and a tree and a lunch packed for you by the woman who should have stopped caring by now.

"Did you ever find your lost trumpet?" asks an old friend you barley recognize. His face is nothing more than two dots and a smile.

He meant the world to you once


now you can't remember his name.

It's too hard to go on. You sit down in the water and let it go over your head. For some reason, the only thing you can think of is how hard you worked on your English in grade school

and failed anyway.

No one even noticed when you stopped trying. You


the work and you hated the teachers for not understanding.

The last Flying Man took a fatal blow from the serpentine sea creature standing between you and what you didn't want you know; what you had to know. For the first time you felt the freezing water in your lungs.

You struggle to the island where you know you need to be. You can hardly see the object staring back at you.

What is


It reminded you of your neighbor's yard

The thing that always worried you

the thing you couldn't fathom

You know you don't need the Flying Men anymore. You just need yourself.

What you're facing is a statue

A reflection of you and your hate and insecurities.

But by facing it, you've already overcome it.

"You need to turn off that old video game and get to work!" exclaims the familiar voice. You finally recognize it. It's your father. And he's right.

It's time to get to work.

Your eyes jet open. You fell asleep playing that game again. The familiar music fills the air as you pull your body up into a sitting position.

You're probably still a little drunk. But that's not important. You grab your baseball bat and stumble into the night.

The rain is thick. The street lights are barley cutting through it. You keep walking to where you know you need to go.

The trees are nothing but silhouettes. From your head into your eyes, the rain drips, but your baseball cap is enough to keep you from going blind.

You pass by your former neighbor's house, now vacant. He was the worst person in your neighborhood. He caused so much pain.

But you know that at one time, he was an okay little kid. You used to watch Thundercats together. He even shared his ice cream with you


Finally, up the hill and past Mr. Agerate's old house, you're where it all began. Fifteen years ago you stood on this very spot and your life changed forever. A decade and a half later and things haven't gone as planned. It should have been easier for you thanks to what you did.

But the world doesn't owe you squat. You know you did the right thing because you had to. You'd do it again in a heartbeat.

A smile crosses your lips.

Somewhere, the Flying Men breathe once more.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Earthbound Scrapbook Entry #14: Land of the Lost (GPP14)

We, the Ancient Knowledge Rocks of the Lost Underworld and beyond, cannot stand behind the recent strange behavior of the once docile Tenda tribe.

The Tendas, a normally quiet and reserved people, have begun acting very strangely in the past hours. We believe the disturbance to be connected to the arrival of four human youths led by the red capped boy, Ness. Before they showed their faces, the Tendas remained almost silent throughout the day, tending to their needs in beautiful silence.

But since the humans came, the Tendas have gotten out of control. For example, one of their new pastimes, called "beer pong," involves the ingestion of large amounts of intoxicants as well as minor physical activity and loud, obnoxious cheering.

The Tendas have also begun utilizing their "Weird Junk" collection to make as much noise as possible, often late into the night. Most mornings have become very difficult for the tribe as they have complained of a lack of rest and headaches throughout what used to be their most productive morning hours.

Nearly the entire tribe has gone from respectable, self-minding individuals to intoxicant swigging, loudmouthed hooligans.

Observe, for example, Democyan, a once-respectable father who now sleeps all day and spends his nights ingesting microbe waste and making rude gestures to his fellow Tendas.

This ruination can be traced to the teachings of the young humans. Yet, through our collective consciousness, we sense that these children are indeed the saviors of the world. Their ruination of the Tenda tribe is a regrettable side affect of the rescue process, but it is still our duty to help them achieve their goal of destroying the evil Giygas, destroyer of lands.

After removing the inhibitions of the previously puritanical Tendas, the young humans entered Lumine Hall, a sacred place once inaccessible to all benign living things. It was up to us to begrudgingly aid them in their quest.

"I am a talking rock," we said.

"Holy crap," replied Ness.

Throughout Lumine Hall, we aided our new friends with invaluable information, including this indispensable tidbit: "I am a talking rock."

As Ness and his friends approached the limits of Lumine Hall and the entrance to the Lost Underworld - we gave him the indispensable hint "I don't have much to say" - the youths met up with the Electro Specter, the strongest villain taking up residence in Lumine Hall.

It looked as if all was lost until the one they call "Jeff" destroyed the beast with a single rocket attack. Then, the four Chosen Ones headed down into the heart of Lumine Hall.

This is when a peculiar thing occurred; something we've never seen before.

"Who's this Ryu guy?" asked Ness.

"I'm not sure," replied Jeff. "Perhaps he's the protagonist of another... uh... adventure."

They shrugged their shoulders and, without hesitation, hopped into the entrance to the dinosaur haven.

*   *   *

We watched their progress from our many perches in the underworld.

"I feel so tiny," said Paula, "almost like an ant."

"Hopefully not like the ant I squashed at Giant Step," said Ness.

Paula looked confused.

"There!" exclaimed the prince of Dalaam, "there in the grass!"

Two huge beasts grazed on the lush vegetation in the distance. The youths gasped with surprise and awe.

"Gasp!" said Ness. "I am surprised an awed!"

*   *   *

Paula stared up through the palm trees. She was the last of the four to accept her new, diminutive stature.

"If the trees are this big," she said, "how about the monsters?"

Ness shivered a bit.

"Hopefully we won't ever find out," he said.

The prince ceased moving and grabbed Jeff's shoulder, stopping him in his tracks. Paula and Ness noticed the discrepancy in their formation and stopped walking as well.

"I think we are about to do just that," said the prince.

Looking down at them was a giant, terrible lizard that time had forgotten.

*   *   *

"If one dinosaur took that much out of us, how will we ever defeat Giygas?" asked Paula. She was equipped with the peculiar new weapon the Chompasaur had dropped after his defeat at the hands of the children.

"I don't know, but we have to keep going," said Jeff. "We have to keep going for everyone you care about. We have to keep going for everyone who exists, even my father."

"I'm sorry he hurt you, Jeff," said Paula, "but I know he loves you in his own way."

At that moment, the four crossed paths with the most knowledgeable of all ancient rocks. It called out to their leader.


The four focused on the rock.

"Listen Ness. I'm going to tell you something very important. You're the chosen one. Your destiny is not only yours... It's the destiny of the whole universe. There will be a time in which all of you in the universe will overlap each other. Do you remember Giant Step in Onett?"

"Yeah, with the big nasty ant," Ness replied.

"That is one of your sanctuaries. It is a spot which gives you power and allows you to realize all your skills. You must reach all of the eight power spots; when the Sound Stone records the melodies of all eight power spots you can finally see your world."

"My world?" Ness asked.

"Listen to the melodies of all eight power spots. If you do not fail, you may upset Giygas' plans... Understand, Ness?"

"No!" he exclaimed. "I don't! Who... who am I?! Why can't I just be a normal kid?!"

"That's fine," said the rock. "The time will come. The time when the destiny of you and the whole universe will overlap... It is fast approaching. You must obtain the final melody at the Fire Springs, to the east."

That's when the most ancient of all rocks ceased speaking. Ness was still confused. He pleaded with the rock to give him more information.

It remained quiet.

*   *   *

The four solemnly walked through the giant foliage of the Lost Underworld, in the general direction the most ancient rock had told them to go. In their hearts, they knew Ness would soon bear the brunt of the responsibility they all shared.

An enemy - the one known as "Ego Orb" - appeared during this time.

Ness was so lost in thought that he raised his weapon and slayed the beast in one hit, all without removing his hand from his chin.

Soon, the four had reached the fire rock where no ancients may go. We could sense much conflict from within. We knew that Ness and his friends were fighting valiantly for the fate of the world.

Then, a terrible blow.

Ness, the savior of our world, had collapsed.