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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.


'Magnet School


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



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


The Forgotten Essentials

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


The Obscurer Tribune



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


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


Non-DT Writing


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


Shadow Hearts


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

“The Obscurer Tribune, how have I not seen this series yet?”

…surely you jest, sir. The whole point of this feature is to have nobody actually read it…or so it’d seem, anyway. In any event, even though I just put out an issue the other day, a whole slew of obscure gaming tidbits has appeared even in the short time since (one of which in particular, I felt, should be spread around ASAP), so prepare for an overload of vital info on stuff you never cared about in the first place.

First up, a piece of news that I’m not at all happy to be passing on, but felt I should be quick about – some of you might have seen my recent impressions of Ar Tonelico II, and thus know that, for the most part, I like it quite a bit. I have still not finished the game, but according to this IGN review I may be in for a tough haul once I get there – while I’m not far enough in to have experienced this yet, apparently in one of the game’s final battles a boss is able to use an attack that will freeze the game and force you to start from your last save point. It’s possible to kill him fast enough to not allow the attack to be used (and thus, y’know, finish the game), but that’s still a really awful error on the localization team’s part, especially seeing as this doesn’t appear in the original Japanese release – NIS, you know how much I love you guys, and how you need to keep costs down to turn a profit on the niche titles you publish, but this sort of thing is going to cost you some of your base if it keeps up, so please don’t regress back to the days of the first Atelier Iris (the entrance to the bonus dungeon still won’t appear for me). That said, any of you who might be planning on buying this game, take the above as a word of caution – even in light of this nasty bug I personally don’t regret buying this title, but some of you might not want to have to deal with it. Be thus advised.

The unpleasant stuff being out of the way, on to some much better news – the 360 port of Cave’s recent side-scroller Death Smiles (and its LE) has gotten a release date, namely April 23rd. Moreover, Hori is making a joystick for it (pic at the link) – if the rumblings of making the “Black Label” version of the game available as DLC turn out to be true, this could be one of the best shooter releases in awhile. One odd thing I can’t shake, however, is how this game has received a shelf date while Ketsui X has not, despite having been initially announced earlier…hopefully more info on that one is not too far off. That said, while it was semi-set in stone already, it would appear that Famitsu and Amazon have pretty much confirmed Dodonpachi DOJ Black Label X’s release date of February 19th – I’ve had this one on pre-order for awhile, so I’ll be sure to post impressions once it arrives next month (I can hear you all holding your breath).

And we’re not done with the encouraging developments on the shooter front – Space Invaders Extreme 2 is now listed on NCSX, more evidence that the title is indeed real. Also, DS fans, you may begin rejoicing anew – according to the link, this game, like the first, will support the Arkanoid paddle controller, so if you’ve imported one you’re already set to go (too bad the paddle never made it here, though). Meanwhile, on the PSN front, Xevious Resurrection, a graphically-enhanced remake (no word yet on any other additions), is available in the just-released “Namco.comm” bundle, packaged with the original Xevious, Galaga, Dragon Spirit, Dig Dug, and (of course) Pac Man. I’m always up for more available shooters, but I’m not sure how many more times people will be willing to buy this stuff over again…in homebrew (and delay) news, Dreamcast homebrew DUX, which was supposed to be out late last year, has again been pushed to late February/early March – all we can do is hope that this is the last one (argh). Finally, while the Wii’s Ultimate Shooting Collection is technically available (read a fellow Dtoider’s impressions here, Gamestop continues to have trouble putting copies on shelves, as its “official” release date has been pushed to February 3rd. Their loss, if niche fans can’t rely on them, I suppose…

Atlus fans, start your wallets – Devil Summoner 2 is now up for pre-order, and will be arriving on May 12th. Quantities are (apparently) going to be pretty limited, so make sure you put down a few bucks and score that Raiko plushie (oh, and the game too). Upcoming dungeon crawler The Dark Spire recently received an IGN preview as well, so you might want to check that out. Last but not least, in “stuff Atlus could be publishing but actually isn’t”, Muramasa: The Demon Blade appears (If GS’s site can be trusted) to be slated for arrival in the USA on July 15th (earlier today, the Japanese release date of April 9th was noted on the front page) – Vanillaware, don’t fail me now!

Finally, in a quick pass through Worthy Recaps-ville, be sure to read Colette’s preview of Hero for 30 Seconds and Dale’s corresponding treatment of Tokyo Beat Down, as well as a bit on Phantom Brave Wii. Also note that while the Ys I and II DS remake has been delayed, everyone (not just pre-orders) will get a soundtrack now.

‘Til next time.

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