"Where do dreams end and reality begin? Videogames, I suppose."- Gainax, FLCL Vol. 1
"The beach, the trees, even the clouds in the sky... everything is build from little tiny pieces of stuff. Just like in a Gameboy game... a nice tight little world... and all its inhabitants... made out of little building blocks... Why can't these little pixels be the building blocks for love..? For loss... for understanding"- James Kochalka, Reinventing Everything part 1
"I wonder if James Kolchalka has played Mother 3 yet?" Jonathan Holmes
There are so many idea I want to blog about every week, but I never get a chance to fully flesh out them into full fledged posts. I'm going to try and put a few of them into bulletpoint cblogs once a week, which I guess is better than nothing.
* I may or may not end up on the review team for KoF XII, so this may be the only time you hear from me on the game. In short, if the only thing you expect from a 2D fighter is great graphics, a well balanced roster, solid fighting system and online play, buy the game. It delivers on those four counts more so than even BlazBlue or SF IV. However, if you want anything more than that, like unlockables, single player modes, etc, then forget it. This is a straight arcade port, with less home console exclusive features than even Street Fighter 2 on the SNES.
* As for the "Vs BlazBlue" thing, I'm only going to talk about graphics. In my opinion, Kof XII looks better than BlazBlue in just about every way. The big difference is, Kof XII looks like a videogame; a brilliantly animated, sprite-based masterpiece, with animation almost as fluid as Street Fighter 3, but with larger, more detailed sprites. On the other hand, BlazBlue looks like it's trying not to look like a videogame. The way the characters are drawn, colored, and designed all scream "I wish I was anime", and as such, you can't help but compare it visually to actual anime instead of to other games.
Instead of rejecting it's pixel based origins, KoF XII's graphics say "I know I'm a videogame, and I'll show you just how god damned awesome a videogame can look". Don't get me wrong, BlazBlue defintely looks amazing, and if HD is your thing, then you'll likely prefer it, but for sprite-based graphics whores like myself, KoF XII if the new king of graphics.
* Is it still cool to hate the Wii? I sort of assumed that with all the quality "hardcore" games on the console of late that the public "Wii bashing fad" would have come to an end. I mean, I still understand why it's not everyone's favorite console, but with so many great games on the the thing now (Tales of Monkey Island hits WiiWare tomorrow BTW), my only guess is that the continued Wii-hating fad must be somewhat personal.
My long standing theory is that a lot kids who grew up with the N64 will always hate the Wii, because hating it makes them feel grown up, and that another ten years from now, these same kids will love the latest Nintendo console out of nostalgia for their youth. I remember that's how a lot of people who grew up with the NES were towards the N64 when it was first released, and it's these same 30-somethings who are now buying the Wii to relive their childhoods and give their kids the chance to "grow up with Nintendo".
If you were ten when you loved Nintendo, it stands to reason that you will hate whatever Nintendo console is released when you are 18, because you want to prove to yourself and the world that you aren't ten anymore. So how about it Wii-haters, does my theory stand-up to testing? How old are you now, and what Nintendo console did you grow up with (if any).
* Game Center CX 2 (Retro Game Challenge 2 if and when it leaves Japan) is totally amazing. I loved the original, but this game is better in every way. I actually suspect that the reason it wont come out in the States is because this sequel almost completely replaces the original. If RGC2 were ever to sit along side RGC1 in stores, no one would buy ever buy RGC1 ever again. I'm only a few hours in and I've already unlocked totally superior versions of Cosmic Gate and Haggleman (two of the first games you play in RGC1), which makes putting RGC1 into my DSi seem sort of useless now.
RGC2 not only replaces the original, it also outperforms it. The new games here are just amazing, better than most stand alone WiiWare/XBLA/PSN retro throwbacks. For the most part, the original RGC featured games that looked and played like authentic NES games. To assure that authenticity, it was important to not make any of the games too good, lest it become clear that you aren't playing "real" fake NES games. The exception to that was Haggleman 3, which in my opinion is just slightly better animated and features slightly better gameplay than than even the best games in the NES's library.
GC CX 2 picks up right where Haggleman 3 left off, as the games here are just slightly better than any I'd expect to find on the NES. Wiz Man, the Pac-Man/Ikagura hybrid, is just a little bit more clever than any maze-based title from the early days of the NES. The Kung-Fu inspired game you unlock next is just a little bit more awesome than any side scrolling beat 'em up that ever actually showed up on the NES. The game just animates to smoothly, and has a combo system that is just a little too good for the (fake) time that it was released (1985).
You also beat up semi-realistic bears in the game regularly. Maybe there was an NES game that awesome back in 1985, but I know I never played it.
The Demon Returns, the third game you unlock, probably could have been a real NES game, but way it combines the coolest aspects of Adventure Island, Super Mario Bros, and Ghosts N Goblins seems just a little too good to be true. It's not quite as amazing as the Kun-Fu game, but it's still fantastic. The need to ride your enemies in order to get a running start for jumping otherwise untraverseble pits is pretty much genius.
I just got to the next game, a text based RPG in the spirit of Snatcher/Policenaughts, and it may be a while before I get through it. Once I do, I'll polish of the rest of the game and do an import review. Don't be surprized if it's a 10/10.
OK, enough ranting, back to playing Another Code R for review. God Damn, this game is "gradual"!