Pocky & Rocky With Becky On Virtual Console: Bust Up Cute Baddies, Not Your Wallet


Given that complete used copies of the low production run Game Boy Advance title Pocky & Rocky With Becky can fetch over $200 and new/sealed ones over $300, Natsume finally getting the game out on the Wii U Virtual Console is a great thing for those who missed out on the game and don’t have hundreds to drop on a copy these days.


For a fraction off those ridiculous auction prices (and yes, the Japanese versions of that cart run a lot more) you can get all the deceptive cuteness the game delivers along with harder than you may have thought gameplay. Well, the game isn’t really that difficult. It’s just that one hit from any enemy will knock Pocky, Rocky or Becky out of action and if you lose all your lives, you’re restarting from the beginning of one of the seven stages. Anyway, that’s your heads up for this one. Natsume has been on a nice roll of getting a few GBA titles onto the eShop such as this one, Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town and the great, under appreciated RPG, Car Battler Joe (which also comes highly recommended).


Other Natsume GBA games headed to the eShop are Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town along with the two Medabots games, Medabots Rokushu and Metabots Metabee. All three should be popping up in the eShop in North America later this year. Alrighty then, let me let you get yours. Off and away with you now – you’ve got some cool (and now cheaper) games to buy and play.

When Your Week Is Nuts, You Dress Accordingly


Let the wild week begin, whee. I’m prepared at least on the outside for three days of crazy thanks to holding on to these Psychonauts T-shirts I picked up a few years back at a press event. Perhaps I should also intentionally mix up my socks and randomly pick a mismatched pair to add some more variety? Eh, we’ll see. Wearing two different sneakers or shoes is where I draw the line, though. Okay, week… bring it. I’ve got your number and then some…

Attack on Titan & Arslan: The Warriors of Legend: Omega Force Still Has Some Chops


I’ve been a fan of Omega Force’s work since Dynasty Warriors and Destrega on the original PlayStation shook up the fighting game genre. Of course, like many fans, Dynasty Warriors 2 was the game that made me really fall for the developer. While that series has seen quite a few entries and spin-offs into other series, it’s been their work on licensed and original games using that familiar engine that have really been the ones to watch. Between the Dynasty Warriors Gundam games, Fist of the North Star, Hyrule Warriors and now the one-two punch coming to consoles soon in the form of Attack on Titan and Arslan: The Warriors of Legend, it’s been fun to see Omega Force take on popular anime and game characters as they bring their Musou engine into new territory.


It’s too bad a great little sleeper like Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll on the PS3 never got the attention it deserved. That game is worth tracking down thanks to it being more of an action/RPG than a straight up Dynasty Warriors clone. A bit tougher to track down but worth it Warriors: Legends of Troy. While it’s not an Omega Force game (Koei Canada did the programming job), it takes elements of the Musou games, adds some M-rated gore (in a nod to Zach Snyder’s version of 300) and makes for a nice and lengthy diversion once you’re hooked in. Another sleeper (but one that hasn’t been forgotten) is Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War, which earlier this year got a PS4 and Xbox One update/sequel called Bladestorm: Nightmare.

Both Attack on Titan and Arslan: The Warriors of Legend are coming to PS4, PS3,and PlayStation Vita with North American release dates for AoT to be announced as they get closer to completion. Arslan lands in Japan October 1st for PS3 and PS4, and it seems that Europe and North America will get these two plus an Xbox One version at some point.

System Shock (Finally) Now On GOG.com: That Showdown With SHODAN, Now Enhanced


File this one under “it’s about time!” and then go buy it, NOW. Thanks to Night Dive Studios, the classic System Shock has finally made it to gog.com as System Shock Enhanced Edition, which features not only a version of the game for higher resolution monitors, but also adds mouselook functionality, remappable keys and a few other tweaks. You’ll also get the original game as a bonus if you want to play it as originally intended. Those new bits do make the game a lot more fun if you’re a newer player looking for a more modern control scheme.

Even better, the game is on sale for a limited time for $5.99, 40% off the $9.99 price point. For those new to the experience, System Shock is a hybrid of first-person shooting, role-playing, sci-fi and horror elements as well as (still) one of the best games ever made (well, at least I think so). Yeah, yeah. Some of you out here think six bucks for a game is way too much. But given the reputation of this classic plus the fact that it’s quite replayable (don’t use a walk-through and it has even more replay value), I’d bet some of the more skeptical out there will find this gem right up there with their own favorites.

Retro Pop Box Turns Your Mailbox Into A Time Machine

Retro Pop Box (1)If you’re a child of the 1960’s, 70’s or 80’s, or know someone of a certain age craving some random nostalgia, Retro Pop Box is going to be right up your/their alley. The just-launched subscription-only service delivers the goods in the form of monthly boxes of themed swag, all of it fun and guaranteed to get the memory banks kicking in as you’re transported back to your childhood.

A sampler box containing a few items from all three eras popped up in my mailbox a few days back (thanks, Chris!) and it made a rather bland Wednesday end on a rainbow-colored rocket with a paisley disco ball painted on it. Or something close to that.

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30 Years of Mario: Take A Bowser, Pal. You Certainly Deserve It


Yep, it’s been THAT long since Super Mario Bros. was introduced to console gamers in Japan and shortly thereafter, most of the rest of the world. No one know how many millions of games of SMB have been played, but Nintendo has managed to make Mario not only one of the most memorable and recognizable game characters ever, they continue to rake in plenty of money from both new and old games featuring the character and his equally well-known cast of friends and foes. As today just so happens to also be Video Games Day (well, here in the US where we love making and celebrating made up holidays), you may be wanting to do a little celebrating yourself. If you’re lucky enough to own a Wii U, you can (and should) snap up a copy of Super Mario Maker and whip up a few celebratory levels for today’s festivities.

“Festivities? What festivities?” you ask? Yeah, at some point today, there will be a knock at your door and when you open it, a barrel will roll in and burst open. It’ll be full of bananas and a very pissed of Donkey Kong will storm in, grab you and that busted barrel and hoof it to your roof. Soon afterwards, you’ll be visited by a certain plumber and get a little game history lesson as you’re getting rescued. After that ape goes down swinging, you’ll end up going through a LOT of surprisingly clean sewer pipes, you may crack your head on a brick and see stars, and don’t forget to wear comfortable shows because you’ll be jumping more than you’ve ever jumped before. Don’t worry, Mario has been doing this stuff for a while, so it’ll take maybe ten minutes tops before you’re back on the couch and wondering what the hell just happened.

20XX: This Mighty Number’s Going To Be Mega, Man!

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If you’re a Mega Man fan who’s cranky that Kenji Inafune’s “homage” Mighty No. 9 has been delayed until next year, you might want to poke your mouse over to Steam pronto and check out 20XX, the upcoming 2D side-scrolling rogue-like platformer from Batterystaple Games currently in Early Access on Steam. That alpha version will soon be getting boosted up to beta status next Tuesday, but what’s here is very playable and well on the way to being an instant classic any MM fan would love. 20XX is a mash-up of familiar gameplay with rogue-like randomness to the levels and lots of loot to collect. It’s also old-school tough, great looking and a ton of fun to play.

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Stern’s Game of Thrones Pinball Machine: Silver Balls For The Royal Set

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Hmmm. This certainly gives the saying “When you play the Game of Thrones, you win… or you die.” a whole new meaning, folks.

For the record, it’s really difficult to play a standard pinball machine sitting down. That’s probably the sole reason this awesome and not at all inexpensive officially licensed Game of Thrones pinball machine doesn’t come with a life-size Iron Throne replica. Available now from Stern Pinball, this beauty comes in Pro ($5,995 MSRP), Premium ($7,595 MSRP) and Limited ($8,795 MSRP) Editions and is sure to get you kicking people out of your home when they won’t leave because they’re having a blast playing.

While the Pro model is packed to the rafters with features classic to current pinball wizards expect, the Premium and Limited Editions feature a massive and challenging Castle upper playfield with a second set of full size flippers, shots and an animated Dragon. Additionally, the Limited Edition gets you a Certificate of Authenticity, a numbered plaque, a designer-autographed playfield, a beautiful, hand-drawn cabinet and backglass artwork by Bob Stevlic. Exclusive, glossy, black- powder-coated, laser-cut side armor features dragon elements of the Targaryen Sigil and is inscribed with the Targaryen House motto, “Fire & Blood”, all highlighted with a rich, red mirrored backing.

If you can swing the funds for any of these gorgeous tables, all you need is enough room to fit your table of choice into comfortably and it’s party time!  Friends will drop by pretty much automatically (and regularly), as a working pinball machine is one of those great conversation pieces that will get even non-gamers and non-fans of the show wanting to see it in action. And if you have no friends at all and are surrounded on all sides by enemies, this is a sure-fire way to get them to swing by for a little friendly competition. What you do to them once they’re distracted is all up to you.

No More Nightmares: Wes Craven (1939 – 2015)

LHotL MPThe first time I saw it in the mid-1980’s on a borrowed VHS tape that had a few other films crammed onto it, I never made it through Last House on the Left. And neither did the tape it was recorded on. During the agonizing scene where poor Phyllis is rendered gutless, the tape broke, ending my torture but making me insanely curious as to how the rest of the film would lay out. Amusingly enough, while I didn’t plan on finding out in a hurry, time has a way of speeding some things up. Not too long afterwards (okay, about four or five years later) I saw Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring and realized Wes Craven was more than a bit influenced by that classic film.

That made me go locate a beat up VHS tape another friend owned and watch it from start to finish, appreciating it far more by the finale than I did when I first saw it. Amusingly enough, I didn’t seek out Craven’s other films at all. I always seemed to be in the middle of something else when one would turn up on cable or in the case of a few others, I just decided to go to the movies and one of his films happened to be playing nearby. Some of his flicks worked better than others and a few didn’t strike me at all as all that frightening until seen again where I could dissect scenes without a chatty fraidy-cat audience screaming and talking over the better parts of the work. Continue reading

Bard’s Gold: Throw Down The Gauntlet (And Your Controller) In This Instant Classic

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If you remember way back when games didn’t hold your hand at all or you’re a newer gamer who wants a game that’s going to test your skills while teaching you some patience, welcome to Pixel Lantern’s Bard’s Gold. Available NOW on Steam, this retro platformer is neither another “Metroidvania” retread nor some speed-runner’s dream frenzy of the week. The game is a deliberately slower-paced side-scroller with an extreme difficulty that the developer (or at least the PR guy working for them) claims it’s the “hardest game on Steam”.

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Now, I can’t say whether or not this is true, but that trailer below sure doesn’t make it look anything close to “casual” at all.

Anyway, color me sold on this one. A request for a Steam code has been made, so we’ll see how tough this one is. Given the comments I’ve scanned so far, I’m expecting to be needing a new controller at some point.

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