Hailing from the north of Ireland, I'm a dude that really loves RPGs. My first game was Super Mario World at the age of 4 (in 1998, lawl), and since then I've been playing games. Everything I could play, I would, even if it meant I wouldn't be sleeping for weeks (damn you Resident Evil). It wasn't until a few years ago that I properly started keeping up with the industry and that my tastes developed (insert your dirty joke here. I know you all imagined one, I can't be along in thinking one up upon reading that).
Mostly I lament the fact that Europe will get shafted on games somehow, be it waiting for ages for games to arrive, to not getting the goodies that other places get, to just flat-out not getting games at all. My favourite genre being the RPG, this means that I find this sort of thing a lot, particularly if the game is involved in some way with Atlus, who I'd worship as much as anyone else if they just arsed themselves enough to create a Europrean branch to let me and many others in on the obscure game love and Atlus love.
My blog posts will be about whatever I feel like, probably Monthly Musings most of the time.
Now playing: Nothing, actually. Haven't had a new game in a while...
First things first, let me quote myself from a while back:
"Oh Atlus, why do you hate Europe? [...]
They make a good killing with their games as far as I know, so setting up a foreign branch is not an impossibile tasks. They could make a European branch and bring these games to Europe, but they haven't.".
-Myself, roughly nine or ten months ago.
Well, today I popped up on my PS3, and happened to let it dwindle on the PSN Store's "New Stuff" thing long enough to spot something.
I would like to apologise in advance for HUEG IMAEGS. I'm not sure if it's my fault, though I'm pretty sure it is, and I don't trust myself enough to resize them without setting something on fire and getting lost for days in the woods. Even though the nearest woodland is miles away, yes.
Biased!? I'm not biased good, ridiculously tiny sir! Everyone else just has very little taste! The plebs that you call "friends" and "the gaming public" are the biased ones! If anything doesn't have growling macho men who spray jets of raw, unfettered machismo from their nipples or bundles of absolutely pathetic "minigames" that can be "beaten" by just freaking out and spasming, they flee from it! It is as if everything is still in Jesus times (you know, the era after the dinosaurs) and my precious, precious JRPGs are lepers! Hah, you people have no idea on what you're missing out on, constantly playing the same boring, gun-metal grey shooters and plinky-plonky boop-beep minigame collections!
What I'm saying is that YOUR TASTES ARE BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD.
Year after year, you trundle out to your beloved Gamestop (GAME AND HMV ARE FAR BETTER, YOU TROGLODYTE) to preorder the next Call Of Duty game, even though it's essentially the same flipping game, with the same stupid AI allies and the same unforgiving enemy AIs that can blindside and buttfuck you hard before you even know what's going on. You'll still only be carrying a weapon, a subweapon, a knife and a bunch of grenades, you'll still move too damn slow ("realistic weight" my ass) and you'll still end up spending most of your time sitting behind a wall that reaches up to your chest (at best) trying to vainly shoot the bad guys who are doing the exact same thing. Despite all this, as long as you just hide your ass for a few seconds, you'll be fighting fit again, instead of feeling desperate and hoping, praying for a healing item or something.
What I'm saying is that CALL OF DUTY IS THE CANCER THAT IS KILLING GAMING.
Bah, what do you know!? You're just another pawn in the Activision Empire, gleefully filling their coffers with your hard-earned cash, wasting it on such...wasteful wastes like Call Of Duty or Guitar Hero or World Of WarCraft. How do you sleep at night, knowing that somewhere, Bobby Kotick is growing stronger off of your ragequits, your preorders and your continued purchasing of silly, overpriced game maps? How do you feel, knowing that you're aiding and abetting the crimes of The Dark Lord, commander of 108 legions divided up amongst his 4 generals (Call Of Duty Man, World Of WarCraft Man, Guitar Hero Man and Bobby Kotcik Junior)?
NO I AM NOT BIASED YOU ARE JUST SILLY AND STUPID
And I can prove it! Look here, at this image!
...Okay...maybe I am...a little biased against Activision. But only a little!
It's a common trend as of late to treat Activision as the current Satan-figure of the gaming industry, and admittedly I kinda roll with that. But I don't go about preaching that people need to cast out the demons from their consoles and burn their Guitar Hero peripherals, I just ignore their games. It gets kind of annoying come every Call Of Duty launch, when everyone in school is going rabid over it and discussing it and only it. Bit more annoying when I have to answer "No, I'm just not interested" about thirty times in a day, and will have to continue to do so for at least a week. Also, I kind of hope that another game, any game, would acquire the same kind of popularity Call Of Duty does, hopefully a game that deserves it for being legitimately good.
But really, my bias against Activision comes from their actions in the industry. Stuff like trying to prevent Brutal Legend's release simply because they had no confidence in Guitar Hero 5, various statements from CEO Robert Kotick (regardless of who he's saying them to or why), and a few occasions of acquiring promising studios and then dissolving them sometime later. Also, I live in the UK, and find their price-gouging simply despicable (good on retailers chopping £10 or so off the price, at least). Yes, the public will eat their games and the expansions and DLC for their games right up irregardless, but that still doesn't justify it in my eyes. My bias extends beyond the games Activision primarily uses to keep its bloated corpse afloat, too.
Fear my MSPaints!
My bias against Activision is pretty much the main reason why I don't already have games like Transformers: War For Cybertron or Prototype; I simply do not want to support Activision, so no matter how good their games are, I just will not get them. Sure, I may try to cheat with some of them (still trying to find a preowned copy of Prototype for the PS3 and with a reasonable price), but usually I just lose all interest as soon as I see the Activision logo on the box. It's petty, I know, but that's just how I am.
...And quite frankly, it's how you should be too. Thinking of buying Call Of Duty: Black Ops, or whatever the next Guitar Hero is, or getting a WoW account?
Look at this image. Keep looking at it. Still thinking of buying Activision's games? THEN KEEP LOOKING.
One of the things I really liked about LittleBigPlanet was Stephen Fry's voice. Man, I could listen to him talking about anything for hours. But, one of the other things I really liked about LittleBigPlanet was the sheer amount of customisation on offer. Even the very basic stuff, like the simple skins and simple items you found about the stages would bring a smile to my face because the Sackpeople always looked so cute no matter what they had on. Imagine if life was like that? Where you could change the colour of things with a magical glowing ball on a wire that came out of your hands? Where you could lift things and arrange them as you like without having to shove about that washing machine?
A world where you could pull off a face like this...
...and no-one would bat an eyelid? At least, I hope they wouldn't, because I'd be rocking that face all the frigging time.
As you may have guessed from my title (if you haven't played the game), in LittleBigPlanet you can change the colour of your character's skin. Do you know how wonderful that would be? No more racism! People are all different because they can change their skin colour at will! Well, there would probably still be racism amongst those groups of people who decide that pink coloured skin is the sign of evil or something, but hey, you never know! LittleBigPlanet is all about being happy and creative, not destructive and angry! World peace would be quickly achieved if real life was more like LBP, because everyone would happy and making flowers for all the little children to enjoy!
People all around the world would be creating wondrous works of art for the enjoyment of mankind! And when LittleBigPlanet 2 rolls around, think about what its expanded game options would allow! Everyone could have their own bumper car rally, or their own death course to plough through on a giant pink tank covered in firebreathing cats! Everything would be a hell of a lot cheerier and happier!
Or nothing would change except now a bunch of idiots will regularly plaster your house in cardboard penises and cover you in paint when you walked outside to complain. And they'd probably dress themselves up like this:
Yes, I purposefully chose this image because they have weird things sticking out of their heads.
Because, hey, there's always going to be some idiots around to ruin it for everyone else. But thankfully, you can have revenge by setting every individual brick of their house on fire, or electrify every last bit of their house, or just make all the floors emit toxic gases. Even homocide in the name of vengeance is fun in LittleBigPlanet!
There's another upside to the world being like LittleBigPlanet: anyone can look like their favourite videogame characters without having to get your photo taken at some anime convention! Don't lie, you'd love to be able to dress up like this:
I just got the first Patapon game recently and holy crap is it wonderful.
So yeah, if life was like LittleBigPlanet, it'd be awesome. Except for all those cardboard penises on your house. And the police outside waiting to arrest you for arson.
Today I wandered into town after school with some buddies, going to have a look at some game stores to see what they had lying around. I'm still 15 at the moment, so I always feel a pang of disappointment when I see a game I'm really interested in get slapped with a 16+ rating or an 18+ rating, because it means I'm either going to have to wait or rely on an older sibling to get it for me. So imagine how baffled I was when I was looking at some copies of Bayonetta and noticed something odd about the boxes on the shelves.
See the problem here? It's the same game, but the boxes have two different age ratings. On the same shelf. It baffled me and my friends and we pondered that, if we actually had some money left over from Christmas, could we have actually bought the game? I'm pretty sure we could've, but I'm still not entirely sure. I now know why such a thing is happening (the store is stocking UK and EU copies; the 15 rating is from the BBFC, the 18 rating is from the PEGI), but I want to know why the people running the store decided to do that (might not entirely be their fault; they could've gotten a mixed shipment or something). I'm still wondering which rating counts; does it differ depending on which box you take up to the counter?
Oh, and it's notjust Bayonetta that's confusing me, either.
On an entirely unrelated note, The Last Rebellion now has a confirmed European release date! It's been effectively sent out to die, though, given that Final Fantasy XIII comes out just three days beforehand (and there's the fact that us Brits seem to be snorting up copies of Modern Warfare 2 like crackheads going into withdrawal, without any sign of stopping). I'm definitely going to get it, if only to support Nippon Ichi Software's cause (and Koei's, given that they bring over these obscure RPGs that I love so much). Couldn't have been a better time, either - my birthday's right around that time, so I'll definitely have the money for it.
Fair Warning: Spoilers for Kingdom Hearts 1, possibly Chain Of Memories and probably 2. Also this is fairly long.
Ah, Kingdom Hearts. One of the more popular franchises that spawned in the previous generation, its games have sold millions globally and captured the hearts of many an odd-smelling, yaoi-loving teenage girl. It came more or less completely out of the left field (Square and Disney suddenly working together? No-one saw that coming, and if you did you probably wrote some eerily similar fanfiction or you're lying. Please be lying) to become one of Square Enix's major franchises. It's no Final Fantasy (even if it does lift characters, names and ideas from Final Fantasy) or Dragon Quest in terms of popularity, but it's getting there. The latest game in the series, the ridiculously named Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (oh Square, you and your really long videogame names), came out this year, and it's did fairly well for itself (from what I've heard).
I'll admit; I'm a fan of the series. Well, sort of. As you may have guessed from the blog's title, my relationship with the Kingdom Hearts series has been kind of...well, rocky. I only really got into it when I gave Kingdom Hearts II a go a year back, having not bothered with it at the time of its release because I was seriously put off by the first two (the original and the GBA spinoff Chain Of Memories). In this blog, I'm going to elaborate why I didn't really like it in the first place. If you're a big fan of Kingdom Hearts, and cannot bare to see anyone tarnish the original game, you'd do well to stop reading right about here, because I have a lot of negativity to spew onto Kingdom Hearts 1.
I didn't get Kingdom Hearts 1 until about Christmas 2004, when I actually got my PS2. I was really excited for it because it was a brand new game for a brand new console that had a lot of cool stuff on it. After trying all the other games I got with the PS2 (I can recall Final Fantasy X, another game I really did not like, being amongst them), I finally decided to boot up Kingdom Hearts and see what I was missing out on (a few friends of mine who didn't dedicate themselves to a GameCube had been talking about it for like a year). After a few hours of playing, I switched it off and didn't touch it for a few months. Kingdom Hearts 1 had not only failed to impress, it was the first PS2 game I outright hated (I didn't really hate FFX until a good while later). All the complaints I had about it then I still have today, only now I can actually word those complaints properly.
The game just failed to impress in all areas. It didn't look at all good compared to other games on the system when I got it (except for the CG cutscenes; those still look awesome to this day), and I still say it looked worse than some other games that were out around the same time (to name two: Ratchet & Clank and Final Fantasy X). While at the time I really did not care for videogame music, looking back at it now, the music was mostly forgettable. I can't recall a single track from Kingdom Hearts 1's soundtrack, except maybe that really weird song that played during the intro movie. But the major problem I had with the game was that it didn't control at all well. It felt so clunky and awkward, combat was slow and a bit of a pain and attempting to jump over things was aggravating because the jumping just wasn't good. The lock-on wasn't much of a team player most of the time either, for some reason (this may have just been my incompetence, I admit).
Basically, I didn't like it. It just didn't work for me, and when I came back to it in the summer of 2005, I ploughed on through it and found several other things I didn't like about it. First things first, the Gummi Ship sections. Pretty much pointless, as the enemies didn't try to shoot you or try to fly into you. The game just seemed to be doing its best to bore the shit out of me. And then there was the story...
The story was simply boring. Some kid turns out to be the chosen one after his home island gets destroyed by evil shadow monsters, he can use a massive key as a weapon and it's the only thing that can truly kill the monsters or something. I stopped caring about what was going on fairly early into the game, and I ended forgetting about a few things. The main character, Sora, was an annoying little git. His voice was annoying, and I didn't like the way he got on. In fact, when he (HERE BE SPOILERS) stabbed himself with the evil Keyblade thing belonging to Riku (who I guessed was evil the second I looked at the box. Seriously, he has that weird sword and is looking in the opposite direction of the heroes), I was genuinely pleased. I thought I was free from the twat, and that I wouldn't have to bother with him. "The game's finally doing something right!" I thought. All throughout my time with it, the game seemed like it was trying to piss me off, only for this. I imagined it to be the reward for putting up with the game for so long.
Sure enough, this joy proved to be short-lived just a few minutes later.
Basically, Kingdom Hearts 1 was not a good game in my book. It had that Disney nostalgia factor, but that wasn't enough. I hated it, and I decided to have nothing to do with the series after that. And then came along Chain Of Memories, one birthday morning.
Oh dear lord, Chain Of Memories. I think I had this game for all of one day before I brought it back to the shop and used the money to get something good (Wario Land 4, I believe. I know it was a Nintendo platformer for the GBA). Chain Of Memories didn't do anything right. The card combat system just seemed overly complicated and pointless (they could just let you run around and hit things with the B button, for Christ's sake), I once again did not care for the plot (though Axel was a pretty cool guy), and the rest of the game was forgettable. I got as far as Olympus Coliseum and gave up after having to fight Cloud again. Not only did the game have yet another poor combat system, it was also essentially a retread of Kingdom Hearts 1.
I'll not say much more on the game, because I never actually beat it. Or got that far into it, I would think.
So, with two Kingdom Hearts games failing to impress, I stayed clear of Kingdom Hearts II, avoiding it like the plague. In the meantime my older brother acquired the God Of War and Devil May Cry games, and I had an absolute blast with those because they were so awesome to play. I remember thinking "Why couldn't Kingdom Hearts play like this?" at the very least once, still believing Kingdom Hearts II to be another terrible game just like the first two ones.
How wrong I was.
Kingdom Hearts II pretty much fixed every problem I had with the series up to this point. Combat was much faster and much more engaging; sure you were just mashing the X button and occasionally Triangle, but it at least looked really cool. Jumping didn't feel clunky anymore, Sora moved much more nicely than before, the game actually looked decent, and the soundtrack had a good number of memorable tracks (mostly the battle themes, you'll hear those a lot). The story was at least a bit more interesting this time around, and the voice-acting had improved considerably, to the point where I did something of a double-take when I first heard Sora's voice in the game, and noticed how much more mature it was than the whiny kid voice in Kingdom Hearts 1. It seemed that Sora just needed to grow a pair before he became likable.
Another major, and I mean MAJOR, improvement to the combat was the addition of the forms. These were essentially super forms Sora could change into in the midst of combat, should the conditions be right (you need Goofy in the party to access one form, Donald in the party to activate another, and the other three use 'em both. Also, there's a gauge that needs fillin' before you can use the forms), and good god did they make everything a hell of a lot more entertaining. Especially the first form you get, the Valour Form. Sora gets a swanky new set of clothes, and with them he gets the ability to use the forms. His clothes change colour to match the selected form. Valour Form, the form based around sheer ass-kicking, gives an awesome set of red clothes for example. Another cool feature of these Forms is that, with the exception of two, Sora now dual-wields Keyblades. When I first saw this, my first thought was "KICKASS!".
But even though it fixed all my problems with the previous games, Kingdom Hearts II had some new problems. The first, and the most glaring, as the two hour long tutorial. The prologue of the game is just one long, boring tutorial that stars an uninteresting character who, important to the plot of the game as he is, I did not miss when he got knocked off at the end of the prologue to make way for Sora (and that's not much of a spoiler; the box features Sora, he's obviously the star of the game). The tutorial was needlessly long and rather unentertaining, but if you stick through it, there's an absolutely wonderful game beyond it.
Another problem was the way Square tried to balance the Forms. Namely, the Anti-Form, a shadow version of Sora that runs about on all fours really fast and pulls off insane combos and attacks. However, Anti-Form is rather crappy. It has pathetic defense and can't heal, meaning you're likely to die with it. It can't be levelled like the other Forms, so any enemies you kill are just wasted experience. It also appears randomly when you try to access a Form, its chance of appearing being determined by some hidden point system. The thing is, the Form system didn't really need balancing. Levelling up several of the Forms is time-consuming and awkward enough, and Anti-Form would be an awespome Form to use if it could be levelled for abilities. It feels like a wasted opportunity, to be honest. To be fair, in the right hands Anti-Form's pretty deadly, and it feels really awesome to kill a boss in it because you know you just murdered a boss with the crappiest Form in the game that's probably a good bit weaker than regular Sora.
Also, the less said about Atlantica, the better. I'm not going to bother with it.
But yeah, Kingdom Hearts II was what made me a Kingdom Hearts fan. It made up for all the mistakes of the previous games. 358/2 Days, the DS Kingdom Hearts, seems pretty good from the little I've played of it (a friend's copy, don't you know), so I guess Square Enix finally learned from their mistakes.
(Whew, that's that done. I'm hoping I did this Monthly Muse thing right, this is my first one.)
I've realised that I'm always bringing this up in every comment I have ever posted in the Destructoid articles, so I figured I might as well write up a big blog about it. Originally I was thinking about trying to get in on the Monthly Muses thing, but by this point it's likely that every conceivable thing for the "Nothing Is Sacred" subject has been covered at least three times by now (also I'm not very good at wording stuff, so it'd look a shameful when compared to the more awesome ones that have been featured already, like that awesomely done Tower of God one). So, what else can I whinge about other than what I've already whinged about: How much it sucks to be a gamer in Europe.
When's that coming out over here?
The major thing that sucks about living in Europe is the fact that we will almost always get games well after everywhere else, sometimes never (I'll get to that in a bit). It's really quite aggravating to know that while all my internet buddies (most of whom are American) are playing really awesome games that won't be arriving in Europe for months, even a year away. Case in point: Kirby fucking Super Star Ultra. It was released in the United States on the 22nd of September, 2008. It arrived in Europe on the 18th of September, 2009. Pretty much an entire year later! And the most aggravating thing is that they had no excuse; they had provided review code in December 2008! They didn't explain away the delay, they just delayed for no real reason. It was reviewed, the box art was all ready, the game was finished (it's a Kirby platformer, you don't need an entire year to translate it) and...it didn't come. I was actually looking forward to it, too. Then Nintendo didn't release it. Now, I have utterly no interest in the game because all the cool little secrets and shit have been spoiled completely for me (thanks, you American pricks. You know who you are. Not referring to anyone on Destructoid, mind). If Nintendo delayed it because they thought it wouldn't sell, then they're frigging stupid; I know a few people IRL who wanted the game, and they lost interest months ago when it never came out.
And that's just one of the thousands of examples of Europe getting games ages after Americans do; don't even get me started on Tales Of Symphonia 2 or indeed most roleplaying games, especially anything about Atlus (which, again, I'll get to later). Simply put; if you live in the US and are feeling pissed that you aren't going to be getting a certain game for another few months, spare a thought for us poor Europeans. We won't be seeing it until the next year, if we're lucky.
...Why isn't that coming out over here?
And then we come to the games that just don't, for whatever reason, come out in Europe. As you may have guessed, Tales Of The Abyss is one of those games. Hell, the entire Tales series is like that. We only just got the original 360 version of Tales Of Vesperia this year. The US got it in the same month as Japan, August 2008. And I don't mind mentioning that we didn't get that special Premium Edition, either. Europe gets shafted a hell of a lot on games, and usually the ones we get aren't that good (if you're sore about missing out on the PSP version of Tales Of Eternia, don't be. Trust me, it's not at all good!). Yes, the only examples I've actually brought up so far are Tales games, games that rarely get released out Japan as it is. But there's a hell of a lot more examples out there, most of them being RPGs.
Now, I know what most of you are thinking. "Just import you silly twat", right? Let me grind that to dust right now: I am 15. I don't have a debit card or a credit card or any other means of importing games. My parents are paranoid about using the Internet for anything, even though it'd save my mum a lot of time and effort to just order the groceries online through Iceland or Tesco or whatever. I have no means of importing, and even when I get a debit card next year when I turn 16, my mum's still going to be overly paranoid and restrict my use of it. So no, I cannot import and most likely will be unable to even when I have the means to. It's a bloody shame, I know.
And there's more to this, too. I now turn to Atlus for several examples of games that will likely never come to Europe.
Oh Atlus, why do you hate Europe?
I'm pretty sure all of you are familiar with Atlus. Pretty much everyone on this site seems to love them, and I am, to be honest, no exception. For the most part, anyway. Atlus are loved for their really impressive games (the Shin Megami Tensei series is pretty much my favourite series, the games are consistently hard and awesome) and for the fact that they will bring relatively obscure games over to the United States. They're well-loved by pretty much everyone, and a lot of people pray they will bring certain games from Japan to the US, and there's quite a few instances where they do. This is all fine and dandy if you live in the US. But I don't. So, I can't exactly love Atlus as much as everyone else.
Atlus does not have a European branch. Their PS2 Shin Megami Tensei and Persona games were brought to Europe by either Ghostlight (a relatively unknown publisher that handled the PS2 Digital Devil Saga games as well as SMT: Lucifer's Call, known to you Americans as SMT: Nocturne), Koei (of Dynasty Warriors fame, yes. They handled the first PS2 Devil Summoner game as well as Persona 3 (both the regular 3 and FES)), with only Persona 4 slipping past them (big ups to Square Enix for bringing that over!). Over the summer, SMT: Devil Survivor was released in the US. Still no word as to whether or not it's getting a European release. And then we come to the mountains of relatively obscure RPGs that Atlus brings to the US, along with some other games. This is what particularly aggravates me: Atlus isn't a particularly small company. They make a good killing with their games as far as I know, so setting up a foreign branch is not an impossibile tasks. They could make a European branch and bring these games to Europe, but they haven't.
Yes, I'm putting the blame squarely at Atlus' feet here. They're seeking to expand into development for the 360 and PS3, so they can't be extremely small. They've thrown out a ton of PS2 games, they know they have an audience. They brought Demon's Souls to the United States and even made luxurious special editions, which they will do for several other games (hello, Persona Portable. Oh yeah, that hasn't got a European release date either!). There's no excuse for that! There's a market over here for RPGs, and I know quite a few people (FIFA nuts, the lot of them) that are genuinely interested in Demon's Souls (which I described at length in an attempt to heal the pain of knowing it likely will not see the light of day over here). And hell, even if they didn't want to form a European branch, they could do what Nippon Ichi Software does and form a partnership with another, bigger company (NIS having formed something of a partnership with Tecmo-Koei. They also had Square Enix bring Disgaea DS and Disgaea 3 over here, too). It can't be too hard, can it? I'm sure if you approached them, Square Enix would gladly work their new European division's arse off to get your shit over here, Atlus.
Okay okay, maybe I'm raging at Atlus too much here. But I get a bit aggravated every time I see an obscure Japanese RPG get brought to America with the Atlus logo somewhere on the box, because it's sort of like a symbol guaranteeing that there will be no European release for that game.
Online stuff. No, I have nothing particularly witty/special to use as a title here.
So, recently America got a revamped Club Nintendo. It got a new point system (Coins) and apparently Nintendo distributes enough point cards with their games to get people to Gold and Silver status. Amongst other things, they have awesome stuff like Mario hats and Club Nintendo-exclusive games (it's a Game & Watch collection, but still) and game add-ons (like that Doc Louis Punch-Out!! thing). Basically, by supporting Nintendo you get a cool variety of shit. All good for you Americans, then. Let's not get started on the Japanese as the stuff they get will make everyone here nerdrage a bit.
Now, what's it like for us Europeans? Well, very few games actually have these Club Nintendo points (they're Stars over here). All the games I have for my Gamecube, Wii, DS and GBA combined equals...8750 Stars. Sounds cool, right? Well, it isn't really. The really cool stuff is priced around 5000-30,000 Stars. And the really cool stuff is only a few items (the only things I've considered getting are that golden Twilight Princess Link statue, the Mario Galaxy soundtrack and one thing I've daydreamed about is that Giratina Special Edition DS Lite). As most of this didn't get added for a while, half my Stars went to Wii Points, which are exchanged at a rate of 4 Stars to 1 Wii Point. So now I have even less Stars, and because Nintendo are really, really, really stingy about handing out Star Point cards with games I've been stuck on the 3900 Stars mark for two years now. You get about 100-200 Stars per game, 500 per DS and 750 per Wii, mind. Basically, it's been incredibly hard trying to get one of the cool things off the store because Nintendo isn't giving out the Points enough.
Yes, Europe is getting shafted in this regard, too. Club Nintendo sucks hard over here, as half the stuff is ringtones and wallpapers, the other half being Wii Sports/Fit/Music merchandise with three cool items and Pikmin plushies (no Purples, sadly).
The European PSN isn't at all bad; it has a considerable amount of good dames available on it, and the prices are all fair enough, I find. The only real problem I have with it is...well, remember when Sony promised mountains of DLC for the PSP Go, that would be on the PSN Store for all PSP users? Well, it seems most of that shit is for America only, as Europe hasn't gotten any of the TV shows or anything, and all those games just don't seem to have arrived yet. It's even more aggravating when I see Atlus and several companies I adore (like NIS) throwing their games onto the US PSN but not the one over here, and I just feel shafted again.
And I think I've went on long enough. I dunno, I just felt like venting, even if no-one cares enough to read it. Tl;dr if you're a gamer and you live in Europe, things are going to suck for you.