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I'm sad because I wasn't sent a plush Sega Genesis


Jun 13
// Tony Ponce
Is it possible for cold, hard videogame technology to be loveable and sweet? What do you think, Beemo? I curse the powers that be every night that my Game Boy doesn't sprout legs, go to soccer practice, and make fart sounds w...
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Adorable Dragon Quest X plushies bundled with item codes


Jun 13
// Tony Ponce
Plushies are cute and soft and huggable, but when was the last time one was actually useful? When has a plushie graduated from mere decorative artifact? When has a plushie saved your life!? These new Dragon Quest X stuffed cr...
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This Dragon Quest keyboard is daww'some


Jun 01
// Chris Carter
I'm not usually keen on posting novelty hardware, but I must admit, I have a deep weakness for Dragon Quest's slimes. As a result, I found this Dragon Quest X-flavored keyboard from Hori too awesome to resist! There's a lot o...
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The perfect evening attire for your Baby Blue Bomber


May 28
// Tony Ponce
Gamer parents who were born in the 70s and 80s are continuously discovering new ways to introduce their offspring to the hobby. Best to hook 'em while they're young, I always say! And what better way to instill an affinity fo...
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Cute Mega Man and Link custom vinyl figs make me giggle


May 12
// Tony Ponce
Who doesn't love a good vinyl figurine? Something nice and sturdy that can sit upon your desk or nightstand. Maybe strategically arrange a few of those Castle Crashers knights to defend your dresser from invading sugar ants. ...
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D'awwww! Someone made a Mr. Destructoid shoulder bag!


Apr 29
// Tony Ponce
The best part about Destructoid (aside from the copious amounts of coke and groupies) is all you people. The second best part (again, excluding the sex and drugs) is that we have a green robot as our mascot. Does Joystiq have...
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This five-year-old Mega Man fan ought to be Capcom's prez


Apr 23
// Tony Ponce
News came out this weekend that Reika Morishita, the vocalist of the Rockman DASH (Mega Man Legends) opening and ending songs, will be repackaging her MML tunes, and should the album sell 20,000 copies, Capcom might be persu...
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Despite my rough attitude and general snarkiness, I have a huge soft spot in my heart for kids. For this reason, I nearly fell apart a few minutes into this short film about Caine's Arcade. Caine Monroy is a nine-year-old bo...

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How's your baby-throwing arm? Offspring Fling is out


Mar 30
// Tony Ponce
To all would-be parents, how prepared are you for the big day? You could probably stand to brush up on some important child-raising skills. For instance, how far can you toss a baby? You'll never know when you'll need to chuc...
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Coming soon: A Companion Cube / mutant duck thing


Mar 22
// Tony Ponce
The other week, threeA Toys announced a partnership for a series of goodies based on Valve properties. As a refresher, threeA has made some pretty sick stuff in the past, like that $400+ Metal Gear Rex figurine. The company w...
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Cute bobbles of Street Fighter stars and SFxT producers


Feb 15
// Tony Ponce
This year marks the Street Fighter franchise's 25th anniversary. Capcom has several plans for this grand celebration, not the least which is the upcoming Street Fighter X Tekken. Another plan is a team-up with toy maker Multi...
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Zero Suit Samus enjoys her downtime in upcoming art book


Feb 10
// Tony Ponce
Last summer, artist Chris Furniss posted a piece of Samus art a day for a whole month, depicting ol' Sammy out of her armor and enjoying her day-to-day activities when she's not out patrolling the galaxy. It's a candid glimps...
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Low-poly Mass Effect CG models are massively adorable


Feb 09
// Tony Ponce
Do you guys remember how, in Final Fantasy VII, the character models during battles were tall, lean, and fairly well-proportioned, whereas the character models on the overworld map were short, plump, and super-deformed? It wa...
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100-year-old lady rocks the Nintendo DS


Feb 02
// Tony Ponce
You go, granny! Kit Connell is 100 years old -- at that age, it's fairly likely that your mind will start to fade. Kit isn't having any of that, so she stays sharp by playing on a Nintendo DS that her daughter bought for her...
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Offspring Fling is all about throwing babies


Feb 02
// Tony Ponce
Do you guys remember playing Depict1 on Newgrounds? It was a puzzle platformer that fed you inaccurate instructions, so you had to ignore those directions in order to clear the game. It was made by indie developer Kyle Pulve...
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Cave Story maker releases iOS game about saving(?) seals


Jan 11
// Tony Ponce
Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya, the creator of everyone's favorite freeware-turned-paid-game Cave Story, has just released his first title on the App Store. Azarashi, an updated version of a quickie time-waster he made over a decade a...
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Cute Mega Man copycat Rokko Chan gets OST and art book


Jan 06
// Tony Ponce
Last week, I shared Rokko Chan, a most adorable Mega Man clone that swapped the Blue Bomber for the Blue Bombette. It's a great game in its own right, sporting the same high polish, incredible pixel art, and catchy jams as it...
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Cute Link and Zelda figures for the pockets in your pants


Dec 30
// Tony Ponce
The Indian in the Cupboard is a pack of heartbreaking lies. Bringing little toys to life by tossing them in a box and turning a magic key is never going to happen, and that makes me sad. I'm furious because I can't have a lit...
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Brawl in the Family is back with a new Xmas musical comic


Dec 24
// Tony Ponce
One of the niftiest things that Brawl in the Family's Matthew Taranto whips up every year is at least one longer-than-usual Christmas-themed comic set to music. This year, the strip is a parody of "It's Beginning to Look a Lo...
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BioWare held a grand tour for Kids with Cancer


Dec 18
// Tony Ponce
Earlier this year, BioWare offered up a tour of the company's studio as an auction item for the Kids with Cancer Society's Beaded Journey Gala. The "BioWare Experience" was sold off for $15,500, and as a result, a few of the...
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Link saves Zelda before nap time


Dec 13
// Tony Ponce
You have to believe me: I don't want to have to keep posting Zelda videos, but solid gold keeps dropping on my lap and I have to share the wealth! It's a curse, I know. When I first saw the title for this video, I thought, a...
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Ashley Davis slaps Alex Kidd on a shirt, makes me D'AWWW!


Dec 09
// Tony Ponce
Normally, we don't plug other clothing stores because we want you lovely people with pockets of money to buy our shirts from SplitReason. We're going to make an exception this time for sprightly former Dtoid editor Ashley Dav...
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One of Dtoid's own had a grand game-themed wedding


Nov 22
// Tony Ponce
One of our own just got hitched on November 11! Machine Gun Tommy and his wife Lindsay are both huge gamers with a combined collection of over 2500 games (enough to take our resident hoarder Funktastic to school and back!), s...
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How to win, the Mega Man 2 way


Nov 03
// Tony Ponce
Zac Gorman -- one of the contributors to the Zelda Zine I told you about the other day -- whipped up this four-panel "Complete Mega Man 2 Strategy Guide" to help anyone become an instant winner. From the header, you probably ...
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Rocket Slime 3 takes cute adventure to the high seas


Nov 02
// Victoria Medina
Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime 3 might have one of the cutest trailers I have ever seen. The series, which features a slime from the Dragon Quest games as protagonist, is filled with adorable and has the Rocket Slime figh...
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Zelda Zine is a grand collection of Zelda fan art


Oct 30
// Tony Ponce
This past week, the GameCity videogame culture festival went down in Nottingham England. As part of the festivities, a Zelda Takeover Day was planned to celebrate the Zelda series' 25th anniversary. For the occasion, Cory Sch...
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Sesame Street's Once Upon a Monster is now out


Oct 12
// Victoria Medina
Double Fine's newest game, Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster, is out today, which means if you know someone with a kid (or an adult who still acts like a kid), and that kid's parents just happen to own an Xbox 360 and Kinec...
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Paper Mario is still looking adorable on the 3DS


Sep 13
// Daniel Starkey
I've always loved the Paper Mario series. Brilliant writing, turn-based combat with a fun twist, and tons of adorable characters all come together to create some pretty amazing experiences. When I heard that the series was co...

It Came from Japan! Harmful Park

Sep 08 // Allistair Pinsof
Harmful Park (PlayStation)Developer: Sky Think SystemsReleased: February 14, 1997Current value: $200-300Fan translation: Incomplete [abandoned?]For fans of: Parodius, Fantasy Zone, Air Zonk As a shoot-em-up fan, I often want to introduce others to the genre but constantly run into the same problem: the best introduction to the genre has never existed in America and goes for insane amounts of money online. In a genre filled with sci-fi cliches, dull mecha ship designs,and intimidating difficulty levels, Harmful Park stands out for all the right reasons. It's a game guaranteed to put a smile on anyone's face, including those who have long avoided the genre due to steep difficulty curves and stale aesthetics. All aboard the Cow Train At its core, Harmful Park is an elementary, horizontal side-scrolling shooter with easy-to-grasp scoring and weapon systems. Yet, every detail beyond the core mechanics is filled with such imagination that is rarely found elsewhere in the genre. Its closest companions are Air Zonk and the Parodius series, but that has more to do with the game's humorous presentation than anything else. After glancing at the stellar pixel art and playing the game for a couple minutes, you may conclude that this is the product of a developer seasoned in the genre. I was surprised to discover that not only is Harmful Park the first (and last) shoot-em-up from Sky Think Systems, it also is the developer's third (and last) game. Before Harmful Park, the developer made two puzzle games that are even more obscure: Kururin Pa! and its sequel Shingata Kururin Pa! (both for PlayStation/Sega Saturn). Little is known of what became of Sky Think Systems, although there are some theories that it became a business software developers due to a another company in Japan sharing a similar name. However, there is no direct link I can find between the two beyond that. If this is the case, it's pretty sad because Harmful Park hints at a developer with a great amount of passion, imagination, and psychedelics readily at hand. Although the game features lengthy intro and outro cutscenes, I couldn't grasp much of what is contained in the dialog. From what I gather, the story is about an amusement park (Heartful Park) that becomes a battleground after a mad inventor (Dr. Tequila) turns the machines against its owners and visitors. In an effort to reclaim the park, another inventor sends her two daughters to the rescue. Apparently, she is too old and lazy to battle against inflatable dinosaurs and giant wiener dogs with helicopter blades. You (and a second player) play as the two girls, piloting ships that have hands which propel gun fire and heat-seeking jellybeans. A potato and some deadly sweets A major part of what makes Harmful Park so much fun is its simplistic weapon system that is easy to learn but takes time to implement skillfully. You will always have four weapons in your arsenal, each which have an optimum tactical use. These weapons are linked to the four shoulder buttons on the PlayStation controller, making it easy to switch from one to another. In each stage, you come across power-ups that raise the equipped weapon up to three levels, drastically improving the weapon's range and damage. In addition to this, each weapon has its own special attack, which you also earn through item pick-ups. The Potato is a pea shooter that develops a four-way spread as you power up. The secondary attack summons a giant exploding potato, the least effective of the four specials. The Ice (Cream) Beam is effective at taking down multiple enemies lined up in rows. Leveling up grants access to companion beams for additional attack damage. The special attack, the most effective of the four, is a giant DonPachi-like (ice cream sundae) beam of death. On Easy mode, this can kill the early bosses in one hit. The Pie toss is the most amusing and deadly of the four weapons. Although its rate of fire is extremely low -- a missed shot can spell death for you -- it's very effective against larger enemies and bosses. Powering up makes the pies faster, deadlier, and probably more delicious. The special ability launches wedding cakes all around your ship, doing away with surrounding enemies. The Jerry throws homing jellybeans that will target the nearest group of enemies then boomerang back to you. When powered up, the increased rate of fire and damage make it an effective weapon for spam-happy play. The Jerry is also the only way to deal with enemies that approach you from behind. Its special summons a Jell-O mold around your ship, making you invincible. During this state, feel free to crash into and kill as many enemies as you please. The perfect balance  Harmful Park is one of the few shmups that offers enough difficulty options to serve as both an excellent introduction to the genre and a worthy challenge-of-the-week game for hi-score seekers. The game's default difficulty is Easy, and it lives up to its name: enemy fire is scarce, bullet patterns are simple, life extends are generous, and bosses are quickly dispatched. However, on higher difficulties, the game becomes a formidable experience that few will be able to finish with no continues. If you like to play for score, Harmful Park has a simple but addictive combo and gem collect system. You also get a Perfect bonus if you don't miss any enemies in a stage, though it's much harder than you might think. Finally, there is a Score Attack mode, featuring an exclusive level that only the most hardened shooter fans will be able to clear. It throws all of the games trickiest enemies at you in a claustrophobic stage designed to trap you against walls. Amusement parks, jungles, and beer taverns I love the explosions in Metal Slug and the character designs of Neo Geo games, but it's Harmful Park that contains some of my favorite pixel art of all time. As a player who always thrives for that 1cc (credit continue) playthrough, I often become fatigued by the lifeless backgrounds of other shooters. This is not the case with Harmful Park. Every moment of its six stages is brimming with background activity, original enemies that don't appear elsewhere in the game, and numerous memorable oddities. Pandas riding pandas, gumball-dispensing spaceships, flying kamikaze squirrels, and so much more are prime material for forum avatars.  Harmful Park is overbearingly twee, but I can't imagine that its delightful, colorful world and cast won't put a smile on anyone's face. Bosses that know how to pump-it-up You can't have a shmup without some epic boss fights. I wouldn't say that the ones in Harmful Park will push your skills to the limit, but their personality and design make them unforgettable. It'd be a shame to spoil them all, but rest assured that you will see some of the weirdest bosses of all time. There's that inflatable dinosaur above, being pumped up by two blobs, or the mopey, giant teenage girl who you fight at a drive-in theater (projecting a film displaying a teenage girl's nosebleed). Like every other aspect of the game, the boss fights are full of little details. For example, the teenage girl boss fight in Stage 4 has an ugly face unless you play on Hard. You just haven't earned it yet, baby! Even the mini-bosses are awesome, such as a giant Frankenstein's monster giving you the middle finger or a man who sobs tears of death after witnessing his crush getting married to another man. There is always something supremely wacky and unexpected to look forward to in Harmful Park. What exactly is "High-Brow Gag & Pure Shooting"? This strange phrase is pasted on the game's menus and front cover, but I'm still not entirely sure what it means. Harmful Park has funny gags but none that I'd label "high-brow." It has shooting as well, but I don't think there's anything that makes it any more "pure" than other shooters. Nevertheless, the nonsensical phrase has its own charm to it. That, and the pancake on the cover looks freakin' delicious! Before I conclude this retro review, I need to emphasize just how original the game's stages and adversaries are, not just in visual design but also in functionality. After playing through the game again a couple of nights ago, I noticed some things I missed before. I imagine the same will happen the next time I play as well. Harmful Park is just one of those games. For example, before Stage 2’s mini-boss, you must travel down a long corridor with ghosts that can't be defeated by firepower. The only way to get rid of them is to fly through a pair of floating ghost teeth, triggering it to chomp down on whatever is caught in the middle. There are tons of other neat moments like this that make the game memorable in a way other shooters aren't. I love Cave and Takumi, but moments in those games just don't stick with you like the ones in Harmful Park.  Harmful Park’s slower pace and unorthodox level design may keep it from reaching classic status with shoot-em-up fans who have mastered Cave and Eighting titles, but it still has yet to be topped as being the perfect introduction to the genre. I can't think of many other games that embody such fantastic ideas dealt with a whimsical charm and stuff them into a nearly flawless shooter. What it really comes down to is that Harmful Park is the best game to ever feature a whale that throws up Colonel Sanders clones at you. E V E R!!!! -------------------------  Are you a filthy-rich Dtoid user who sleeps on a bed of $200+ Harmful Park CDs? Do you have a game that you'd like to recommend for a future entry? Have you played this game? How much do you love it? This much, perhaps? Leave a comment below!   [This beat is non-stop!]
It Came from Japan! photo

[It Came from Japan! is a series where I seek out and review the weirdest, most original and enjoyable titles that never left the Land of the Rising Sun.]Shooting killer clowns with cream pies. Exploring a haunted mans...

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I had been looking forward to checking Lollipop Chainsaw out all week at gamescom and I wasn't disappointed. While Suda51 wasn't on hand to show us the game himself, he did send us a video assuring that the game's female pro...


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