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About
Thanks kindly for paying my blog a visit.

I'm currently looking for paid writing gigs, so if you might want anything written shoot me a message (craighats at hotmail dot com).

In case the contents of this blog don't make it obvious enough, I have something of an affinity for slightly "offbeat" titles, so if there's something out there that few others cover, there's a fair chance I'm at least somewhat up on it.

If there's any sort of (reasonable) inquiry you'd like me to address, please don't hesitate to be in touch.

Below are a handful of recaps and other links (oldest listed first by section), in case you're interested - asterisks mark promoted articles.

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'Magnet School

Introduction

Curriculum: Puzzle Games

Course 1: Ochige 101
Course 2: Tossology
Course 3: Ochige 201
Course 4: Phys. Ed
Course 5: Ochige 301 (Adv.)
Course 6: Free Elective
Course 7: Ochige 401 (Hon.)
Course 8: Extra Credit
Graduation Speech

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Reviews/Impressions/Rants/etc.

King of Fighters: Orochi Saga
Ar Tonelico II - Part 1 and Part 2
Prinny and Street Fighter IV
King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match
Nintendo DS
*King of Fighters XII
How-To: Atelier Annie
How-To: Mushihime-sama Futari

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The Forgotten Essentials

Part 1: RPGs
Part 2: Shmups
Part 3: Fighters
Part 4: Puzzlers

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The Obscurer Tribune

EXTRA! EXTRA!

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Monthly Musings/Writers Wanted

The Fear: The End
*A Time to Destroy: I Cast Thee Out
*Expanded Universes: Triple Triad X
*Those About to Die: Nocturne's Demons
*Untapped Potential: The Second Dimension
*I Suck at Games: and I'm Here to Help
*The Forgotten: Real Life
*Love/Hate: The Weirdo, The Wall, and The Beast
*The Future: A Refreshing Cup of Hemlock
*More Than Just Noise: Digital Cheese LIVE
East vs. West: Where The Old Gods Dwell
Resolutions: Fresh Flowers
Collaboration: IF Only...
Violence: The Gatekeepers

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Assorted Ramblings

Why Am I Here? (intro)
Non-Portable Portable Gaming
Hating the Unhateable
*Soul Bubbles, Mickey Mouse, Journey of the Self
Dreamcast: The Other Shmup Machine
One-Year Anniversary Reflections
Shmups: Gaming's EOE

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Non-DT Writing

Racketboy

Saturn Shooter Rundown
PS1 Shooter Rundown
PS2 Shooter Rundown
Shmups 101
Shmups That Defined the Genre
"Hidden Gem" Shmups

HG101

Deathsmiles
Espgaluda
Shadow Hearts

Misc.

Unofficial Shmup Glossary (shmups.com, WIP)
My Backloggery (Warning: Inherent Shamefulness May Be Too Intense for Some Readers)
Player Profile
Follow me:
BulletMagnet's sites
Badges
Following (28)  




Well, everyone, I guess this is about it – as was previously announced, this will be the final issue of The Obscurer Tribune, at least for the time being. I suppose it’s fitting that we’re concluding this latest run with one of the largest compilations I’ve done: this fact speaks to how much great stuff is happening in gaming outside of the mainstream, as well as how badly I need a break from covering it. Hopefully the following selection will make for a fond farewell from me to you:

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OH GOD. SO MUCH WIN. What a way to send off the Tribune, courtesy of none other than Cave – thanks to a series of announcements at their recent “Festival”, it would appear that they have not forsaken console-based shooter fans after all. First off, DoDonPachi Dai-Fukkatsu is indeed being ported to the 360: the release date is November 25th, two new modes are included and some sort of LE is in the cards. Second, while details are scarce, disco shooter Dangun Feveron is coming to consoles as well, in some form: keep an eye out for further details. Finally, the coup de grace: this spring, the Raizing-esque Pink Sweets and Muchi Muchi Pork are finally getting home ports together, on a single disc!!! Images for the the former and latter games are over here – look at them and then start to party! JOY!!! (DToid coverage here.)

More good news from Cave – Akai Katana is now out in Japan, and some new (and better-quality) footage has started to show up on YouTube. The first four stages can be viewed here, while the final level (Plus the hidden final boss) can be seen here – note how after losing lives the “shield” meter becomes longer, which can be exploited for both scoring and survival.

On a related note, the promised patch for DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou Black Label X is supposedly set for next month: even if it gets delayed again I’m currently too elated to care (all that much).

Make up your minds, dangit! Recently the PAL release date for Raiden Fighters Aces was revised from August to September, but earlier this week Amazon changed its listing back to this month – if their latest number is accurate, then the game ought to be shipping out today! Can any European shmuppers confirm or deny that their order has gone through?

Grasshopper Manufacture, aka “That Thing That Has Suda51 In it”, is breaking into digitally-distributed games with none other than a side-scrolling shooter called Sine Mora (“without delay”, in Latin). Little is known about it at this point other than some sort of time manipulation mechanic will be included…I wonder if this one will eventually be likened to some sort of bowel movement by the creator, as his past games were. (DToid coverage here.)

While the “official” release date for Otomedius Excellent is still set in September, the lack of info up to this point seems to be placing some doubt on whether that’ll actually happen…listings by various retailers putting the game in November or even January don’t exactly inspire confidence either. By the way, did I forget to mention that Excellent is apparently getting a PAL release too? I should have posted this a few weeks ago but I don’t think I actually did…anyways, here it is either way.

No official announcement from the developers yet, but if the ESRB is to be trusted, The Flying Hamster will be appearing not only on the PSP, but XBLA and PSN as well.

Anyone else remember the SNES port of Earth Defense Force, (possibly) better known as E.D.F.? It’s not half bad, and moreover it’s coming to Virtual Console.

Check out this recorded stream to see some footage of a bunch of doujin shmups shown at Comiket, including the latest version of long-anticipated Crimzon Clover around the eleven-minute mark.

A few of you might remember PC shmup Raptor: Call of the Shadows from way back in the day – if you want to do more than just remember it, a new edition compatible with modern Windows versions is now available for download.

A new and goofy XBLA Indie release is Avatar Squadron, which rather predictably casts your Avatar as the pilot of a biplane, in a side-scrolling shooter. You can angle your shots up or down a bit, and are also able to pick up various objects mid-stage, in similar fashion to Boogie Wings – you can also play with up to three others, but you all share one life stock, so be careful. There’s a free trial and the full game is only 80 points, so it might be worth a few minutes at least; one of a handful of videos on YouTube is here.

Another upcoming Indie title, Alpha Squad, looks too stupidly testosterone-soaked for my tastes, but since it appears to be (yet another) “twin-stick” shooter I have to at least give it a passing mention.

PSN players, on the other hand, should be happy to see this trailer for Pixeljunk Shooter 2 – by the looks of things, that ship is gonna need more than one run through the car wash after it’s over.

In terms of run-n-guns, you’ve got this gallery of Hard Corps Uprising, set in a jungle level: Siliconera is doing an interview with the game’s producer sometime next week, so stop by the site and look for that.

“Rail shooter” fans (and psychedelic drug users), on the other hand, can enjoy this interview with Tetsuya Mizuguchi, on the subject of (naturally) Child of Eden.

It would appear that Herr Sterling and Mr. Steakfries get along rather well, judging by the former’s front page review of Monster Dash.

Just in case you haven’t had enough Cave for one issue, check out these pictures of all sorts of miscellany from the aforementioned Festival. The company’s official English summary is here, and they’d apparently like to hold similar events in the West if such a thing were possible…probably not for awhile yet, unfortunately, if ever.




No big surprise since both were heavily predicted to make it in there, but now it’s official – Dormammu and Viewtiful Joe are the next pair of characters to make it onto Marvel vs. Capcom 3’s expanding roster. Want some videos to commemorate the occasion? Just go here. (DToid coverage here.)

Of course, MvC3 isn’t the only one revealing new characters this week: Cyrax and Kitana have been confirmed as appearing in the Mortal Kombat reboot, since apparently Sektor and Mileena felt lonely without a pseudo-palette swap or two around (here are some short impressions of thr two). Personally, I’m waiting for these guys to show up. (DToid coverage here.) The game’s producer would have you believe that, despite the various inevitable roadblocks, an eventual crossover title with Street Fighter is “inevitable” – we shall see. By the by, a quickly-pulled online store listing suggests that a budget compilation of early Mortal Kombat titles might be on the way before the year is out: if this is real, don’t expect the publisher to stay quiet for much longer. (DToid coverage here.)

The producers of Street Fighter and Tekken are at it again, exchanging silly barbs of various forms over Twitter (and taking part in an incredibly silly live-action sequence) to hype up their upcoming crossover titles…in all honesty, though, I think that this best sums up the situation at hand for many fighting fans. In addition to some followup comments from Ono, Gamescom attendees got an early look at Ryu’s model in Namco’s half of the equation, though obviously it’ll change a lot between now and release.

Naturally, Ono didn’t stop yakking there: turning his attention to the 3DS port of Street Fighter IV, he again promised that it would be a “perfect port”, as well as the possibility of two different control schemes to cater to players of varying familiarity with the series.

From Orochinagi comes this reminder that a bunch of SNK fighters are available on the Japanese PSN if you have access to it – and, er, a King of Fighters pachi-slot machine.

Despite an underwhelming box office performance, the Scott Pilgrim shenanigans continue: on the front page, you can check out a short audio clip of a Q&A session with some of the movie’s personalities, as well as a link to some animated sprites from the game alongside the official review. On the c-blogs there’s another review of the game (by the way, can it really be a “RetroGrade” if it just came out?), and a podcast devoted entirely to the series. Of course, there’s also a bit of visual silliness. And some plushies. Next week, keep an eye out for the soundtrack to the game.

I don’t know how many BlazBlue fans are likely to spend time on social game BlazBlue Mobile Battle instead of, y’know, the original game that inspired this, but Arc is gonna give it a shot…

Think fast – if you can get to Amazon’s “Deal of the Day” before today (Friday) ends, you can get Hori’s PS3 fighting stick for 30 bucks. If you can’t think quite THAT fast, if you’re a member of Best Buy’s “Reward Zone” and print out an online coupon linked here before the weekend’s over, you can snap up the 360 version of Tekken 6 for ten bucks.

Everyday Legend offers us a short musing (with a lowercase “m”) about his fondness for a simpler, bygone era of fighting gaming.

This week’s snack-centric ‘Shop Contest over at Kotaku has one particularly epic Marvel vs. Capcom-themed entry which I just had to direct you towards. Even this, however, cannot stand up to the glory that is Hasselhoff vs. Hasselhoff.

One, er, two more for the road: this gallery of Comiket cosplay contains dashes of Street Fighter, Guilty Gear, and Darkstalkers among others, including some tarted-up Touhou gals. One or two others sneak in here.

In case you’d forgotten, Hazama from BlazBlue is kind of a jerk.

Breaking news: Guile’s true identity has finally been revealed!




There was initially some confusion as to the meaning of this trailer, which states that the "premium box set" for Atelier Rorona would be a Gamestop exclusive, after being told that it would only be available at the NIS online store - a follow-up "Prinny Bomb" newsletter clarified the situation after this issue went to print. As it turns out, the "premium edition" you'll get at Gamestop contains the artbook, but the one at NIS's store has both that AND a soundtrack. The price for both is the same (60$), though you'll also have to tack on shipping for the latter - either way, both are up for pre-order now, so snag whichever suits your fancy. Also, there are a couple new Prinny-themed items at NIS's shop if you're up for 'em.

Neptune hit Japanese shelves this week, and over here you can see some new screens while you wait for NIS to update us on the status of a (hopefully) Western release: go forth, Opa-Opa! Go forth and DESTROY!

Holy fruits, that was fast! NIS’s Classic Dungeon was renamed ClaDun and announced for Western consumption only a few weeks ago, and now we find that it’s going to be on shelves September 7th! That’s got to be a world record for speedy localization…heck, most shmups take months longer!

At this link you can see a few new images of the Tactics Ogre remake, as well as read some extra tidbits on the updates and tweaks that are being applied to this version, from the in-battle display to characters’ names. Here, on the other hand, is a bit of info on the “Wheel of Fortune” system. By the way, while there is a pre-order bonus on offer for the November 11th Japanese release date, don’t expect a “limited edition” release for this one. (DToid coverage here.)

Oh, and by the way, they’re not stopping at Tactics Ogre either – the first game in the series, Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen, is being ported to Japanese cell phones, and will feature downloadable maps and quests in addition to the title’s original content. Now I can draw those freakin’ Death cards at every other town I liberate on the go!...or could if I lived on the other side of the world, anyways.

Not to be outdone, this page contains both a set of Half-Minute Hero Second screens and some info on the “edit” mode, which allows players to create their own levels and share them with others.

Double Fine’s Costume Quest has itself a trailer – looking good so far, now let us in on some of the gameplay mechanics! (DToid coverage here.)

Sega appears determined not to let Valkyria Chronicles 2 go as unnoticed as its predecessor largely did – be sure to check out its “Community BLiTZ” postings, which are updated daily with information, giveaways and other stuff. Also check out a small Siliconera snippet about the class sytem.

Here’s the opening sequence for Shining Hearts – the characters who get to be in these things must have a good time, being able to float all over the place like that.

Most of the coverage (including a hands-on demo) of The 3rd Birthday at Gamescom has been behind closed doors, but the public got a pretty good consolation prize in this new image and this lengthy trailer (plus some other pics), which showcases a mishmash of cutscenes and gameplay footage, and offers a good deal of insight into the plot of this thing. Well, as much insight as there can ever be into the inner workings of a Parasite Eve game anyways. As for whether the series could ever see daylight on the PS3, if this one does well you never know… (DToid coverage here.)

Not much of the game itself is shown therein, but the first trailer for Radiant Historia has, nonetheless, appeared.

Looks like readers of the Tribune will get to share one last Etrian Odyssey III [url=]video[/url], with a focus on “advanced” character creation. From here on out you’ll have to access ‘em via Atlus’ mailing list like everyone else: the horror!

The chain of nerdy events surrounding Black Rock Shooter just gets more and more ridiculous: first an illustration was posted, which inspired a song, which led to a music video which was expanded into an OVA, and now THAT appears to have spawned some sort of RPG. Yeesh…and the cross-promotions have already begun, as has another helping of figure hype at Tomopop. Not like it really needs the help.

You’ve sort of already heard about this, but if you want to know, once and for all, how The Last Story got its name, click here. For something you’re probably a bit more interested in, the front page has some new screens.

You also already knew that Atlus was not immune to ill-advised outreaches to the “casual” subset (every time I see one of those 101-in-1 games on a shelf I die a little inside), not to mention overexposure of its recent Persona games (3 in particular), but with the announcement of Persona 3 Social for mobile phones both of these reach a whole new level. (DToid coverage here.)

Fellow blogger manasteel88 updates us on the release status of Recettear – as of now, publisher Carpe Fulgur is aiming for September 10th, with an attached price point of 20 bucks. Let’s hope they can make it!

Even though he HATES self-promotion, TheCleaningGuy digs deep down and heroically informs us of the latest “Sega Addicts” podcast, which centers around Valkyria Chronicles – praise be unto thee, Cleaning, your unhesitating willingness to sacrifice is an inspiration to us all! ;)

I just BARELY managed to catch this artwork from Yorda, inspired by Baten Kaitos.

A couple of weeks without any new Persona figure-related news feels like an eternity, doesn’t it? Well, this particular streak comes to an end with Tomopop’s preview of Metis (which comes with an accompanying Kotomaru!), and the announcement of an Aegis reissue. By the way, they’re up for pre-order.




Michel Ancel once again assures us that Beyond Good and Evil 2 is coming…and then keeps talking. Dangit Mikey, get back inside and keep developing!

Another Okamiden video hits the scene, consisting pretty much entirely on in-game footage. Nothing too big is revealed therein, but it does look like some of the “painting” will be a bit more involved than you might remember (DToid coverage here). Joystiq also has a preview to read, as well as an image of a (Japan-exclusive, of course) novelty bookcover, dangling puppy tail included. Yeah, time to bring out the d’aaaawwwww one more time.

Here’s the Gamescom trailer and some images for Super Scribblenauts – feel free to add your own adjectives. (DToid coverage here.)

A couple more nuggets on Sola to Robo this week – first, there will be some free downloadable extra quests for the game to keep you busy outside the main game. Second, anime studio Madhouse (aka the Death Note guys) will be contributing a handful of animated sequences – click the link for a few stills.

Nintendo revealed a whole slew of release dates recently, most of them for not-so-obscure games, but I’ve got no problem noting that Shantae: Risky’s Revenge and Super Meat Boy are on there too, slated to (finally) release sometime during the holiday season. Nothing exact just yet, but it’s good to see that they’re both on track, at least. (DToid coverage here.)

By the way, remember Reflection, the DSiWare platformer in which you control “mirror” characters on both screens (not Fractured Soul, the other one)? Well, it’s been renamed Divergent Shift (apparently the new rule is that these sorts of games need pretentious-sounding and potentially confusing titles), and it’s one of the downloadable offerings out this week. (DToid coverage here.)

For the moment the third game in the Badman series is Japan-exclusive but not for much longer – it was revealed during Gamescom that Europe would be getting a shot at it, under the surprisingly non-cumbersome title No Heroes Allowed. Click that link for a trailer which mentions some of the new features (though obviously the basic idea remains the same as always).

An interesting-looking puzzler being ported from the iPhone to PSP Minis is Fish Tank, in which the idea, as usual, is to match like-colored pieces (fish), though you need to control several of the little swimmers at once, and time their arrivals accordingly. It’s certainly an eye-catching concept – has anyone experienced it firsthand?

Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom didn’t want to be left out of this week’s “post a new trailer” party, so it decided to make its own contribution to the potluck. Also, it looks like Europe will be getting the game a little ways before the USA does – November 25th is the planned release date there, versus November 30th in America. Make sure to use those five days to thumb your noses at us! (DToid coverage here.)

The Persona team will be branching out a bit in its first game for “current-gen” consoles: Catherine, due out for the PS3 and 360, is described as an “action/adventure/horror” game, obviously intended for adults. By the way, if the lead character in the images looked familiar, you’re not imagining things: he was an NPC in Persona 3 Portable, and Catherine is actually based on the recurring dream he has. Weird enough for you yet? Try the trailer (and some stills of it) on for size…the heck’s up with those sheep? (DToid coverage here and here, c-blog item here.)

No official confirmation from Valve yet, but rumor...er, Game Informer has it that the new release date for Portal 2 will be February 9th of next year. What do you think are the odds that it’ll happen as listed here? (DToid coverage here.) Elsewhere on the front page is the company’s reassurance that they like the PS3 now, an short interview with Valve’s Doug Lombardi, and this news that Stephen Merchant (one of the writers for The Office) will be doing the voice of Wheatley, the Personality Sphere – some video footage of his performance (and other stuff from the game) can be viewed here. Finally, you’ve heard “Still Alive” many times before, but probably not this slow.

Creepy puzzle-platformer Limbo has apparently done pretty well so far, selling over 300,000 “units” – clicking the link also shows you a few additional comments from the game’s level designer, most notably his assertion that games need to “treat [the player] nicely”. Say goodnight, Gracie! Of course, the game probably wouldn’t have been as well-received if Activision had gotten ahold of it…then again, maybe it would. *sigh* (DToid coverage here.)

This might be my last opportunity to mention Mirror’s Edge for awhile, and by gum I’m gonna take it – at GDC, the game’s level designer talked about how the use of red as a guiding color struck her as odd initially, since it’s usually used to mean “stop” instead of “go”. She also says she’d like to do a sequel, though she didn’t say much more than that…hope springs eternal, right?

You hear about video game-themed art gallery shows opening up from time to time, but I thought that this one, featuring a Katamari Damacy theme, was worth a mention: anyone in the Portland, Oregon area interested in stopping by?

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At this point it’s time for me to finally step aside: once more I must thank this feature’s loyal readers for their kind words and attention, as it’s been a pleasure recapping this stuff for you. Hopefully someday we’ll meet again on these kinda-hallowed pages: either way, though, the signoff remains the same.

Thanks for reading, and keep gaming obscurely.



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