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

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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.

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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).

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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.

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Nintendo Direct (11/13): They’ll Follow Their Own Beat, Not Yours…

 
I missed posting this video last week, but here you go. I rather like that Nintendo really doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what the competition is doing in terms of new console launches – they want you to focus on what THEY have in store for you as a loyal Nintendo gamer first and foremost (even if you also own one or more of the competition’s products). They follow the beat of their own drummer, tossing out titles when they want to (despite screwing up royally by not having a Pokemon or Animal Crossing on the Wii U as launch or launch window titles for some instant sales and cash for their coffers). Anyway, as you’ll see in this half-hour or so of game trailers, gameplay and house organ playing, the company still has it where it counts at least on the 3DS front and that Wii U you’re not owning yet or is near your TV playing with the dust bunnies is nowhere NEAR “dead”. Keep the faith and keep on gaming is the message here as the holiday season (and 2014) rolls around for Nintendo. I think they’ll have a few surprises for fans old and new as that new year progresses, and while what’s in this video is excellent, I’d say they seem to be keeping the best stuff well under wraps (for the moment, at least)…

Earthbound Finally Re-Released… But Nintendo Devalues It Once Again…

While I’m happy as hell that Earthbound has FINALLY been deemed worthy of a re-release, I’m not at all pleased that Nintendo has given it the cheapest treatment possible, tossing it onto the eShop as a digital-only download and missing the cool strategy guide and scratch & sniff cards packed in with the original boxed Super Nintendo version. Actually, the major beef I have is how Nintendo passed up the opportunity to do this up right as a combination physical/digital product that would have made them MORE money at the end of the day had the company merely polled its rather large user base with the following idea for a premium-priced retail Earthbound collection:

A fully localized Mother (the first game in the series) updated for the Wii U Gamepad
Earthbound (Mother 2)
A fully localized Game Boy Advance version of Mother 3 also updated for the Wii U Gamepad
voucher codes for eShop versions of all three titles for the 3DS
An art gallery, soundtrack download and perhaps unlockable images and movies from the cancelled Nintendo 64 version Mother 3
Perhaps even an interview or three with staff members from the development team about the making of the games for good measure.

Hell, I’d pay fifty bucks for that and I’d bet YOU would too. I could also see Nintendo making all of the games available as separate digital download titles for the 3DS and/or Wii U at about $10 each and raking in a profit on those with no problem. By treating the SNES game as a disposable commodity instead of giving it the respect it’s earned over time from folks who’ve either held on to the original cart, paid rent money for a vintage or used copy or (yuck) even illegally downloaded a ROM (and yes, that includes you folks playing those fan translations of the first and third game who don’t own and never intend to own the original carts because you’re too lazy to learn Japanese).

Granted, it’s hard to say if this set of games on a disc as noted above would even drive stagnant Wii U sales at all, but I’d bet if Nintendo announced my stupid idea as a project and asked the fans if they’d buy in, they’d see a great deal more interest in that new console they’re having a very hard time getting more of you out there to buy.

Just a thought… tough love, Nintendo. Tough love…

Shantae Virtual Console Trailer: WayForward’s Classic Finally Gets Rereleased

If you’ve never played Shantae previously, that’s because you missed out on buying a copy when it was on the GameBoy Color (or you didn’t pirate it, you scallywag!), thus not having the pleasure of playing one of the best 2D platformers on the handheld. Well, as of this Thursday she’s baaaaaack, and this time it’s on the eShop for the 3DS. I actually like that the dev team didn’t gussy their girl up in a shiny HD coating, as the game was so well animated and colored for the GBC that it still holds up today as a prime example of a platformer at its finest. The best thing is you can now snap this one up for a song and NOT have to pay something like $100 or more for a copy of the game (it got one production run, but was VERY hard to find even back when it was initially released). Or maybe you can buy up $100 worth of codes and give them out to lucky friends who happen to own a 3DS or 3DS XL, you nice person, you…

Review: Spelunker (Virtual Console)

spelunker_artPlatform: Nintendo Wii U (also on Wii, 3DS)

Developer: Tozai Games

Publisher: Tozai Games

# of Players: 1

ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Official Site

Score: A- (90%)

Still going strong after 30 years, Spelunker is one of those great games that gets a lot of love and hate for what it puts you through. On one hand, it’s a challenging game packed with treasures to grab and a satisfying sense of accomplishment each time you clear a level. On the other hand, it’s a REALLY and infuriatingly challenging game thanks to “the weakest action hero in the history of gaming”, and yes, that’s a selling point of this gem, folks. If you’re no fan of trial and error, the combination of this terminally frail dude, the need for pinpoint control and collecting air supplies scattered around the levels while avoiding death from everything from a VERY short fall to the small assortment of enemies will have you screaming at your TV within seconds…
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E3 2013: Meanwhile, at Nintendo HQ…

Ah, Nintendo. old and reliably entertaining and yes, safe in many ways much like this classic Abbott & Costello routine. Nintendo is a rather special case, as the company seems to weather storms of negativity with an eternally sunny outlook that overlook a few pressing problems. Granted, part of the company’s issues stem from a combination of few internal and external pressures. Impatient gamers not quite realizing the company puts out games when they think they’re ready and not because they’re demanded (which takes time the content-devouring masses of today don’t seem to have) and a lineup of mostly old favorites that get rolled out seemingly at random while others sit on the sidelines until there’s a dev team free to work on them. Methinks Samus Aram is getting a little too much arm fat hanging out with that lazy Ridley as they catch up on “B” movie marathons on really lazy weekends. And don’t get me started as to what Slippy is up to in his spare time…

As a gamey old fart who truly appreciates this more “hand-crafted” approach, I love most of the company’s classic games quite a lot, as do millions of other devoted fans of all ages. That said, like a mom making the same favorite meals like clockwork each week, a little spice is probably necessary once in a while to kick things up a notch and appeal to a wider palate. Nintendo may be “safe” and a “special case” in one respect, but the other half of that coin is they’re also like that cute three-legged puppy you’ve adopted where you’ll sometimes find yourself laughing at it as well as with it as it playfully scampers about the room…

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E3 2013: Nintendo Direct: Getting The Base A Bit More Sealed In…

OK, so the live stream was a bit… c..h…op…p…y, ut here’s the YouTube version that runs just fine. Nintendo has yet again, charted its own path with games for it’s core users and some cool exclusives, not all of which I care a hoot about. Still, Pokemon X and Y, Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros Wii U and SSB 3DS. and the rest of the old favorites look spiffy indeed, that Windwaker HD remix is a must-play and the third-party games are certainly going to make the hardcore happy. I actually prefer Bayonetta’s old hair and costume, but Platinum knows what it’s doing with the character. And yes, The Wonderful 101 looks great. I’m dying to try those Art Academy tools once they’re released, so I’ll need to keep an eye on the eShop and Nintendo’s emails to see when they’re available. As for Monolith Soft’s work in progress X… wow – I’ll be keeping an eye on that and HOPING it’s not as draggy as Xenoblade Chronicles after about 20 hours in. That new game sure looks gorgeous in motion.

WayForward Brings Shantae Back (Yeah!) As A Digital Download (Argh!)…

Shantae's BackOK, before some of you think I’m totally nuts, let me explain. Way back in 2001 and 2002, WayForward Technologies made two games for the Game Boy Color that were completely amazing from a technical standpoint: Wendy the Witch: Every Witch Way and Shantae, both of which got one production run and despite some solid reviews from all over, never got the sales they so deserved.

“So, er… what’s so cool about these ancient games?” you ask? Well, it’s funny you should ask, dear reader. Here’s a very nice (and pretty lengthy) long play video of Shantae from YouTube user cubex 55 to check out and see for yourself what’s what:

Nice stuff, huh? Yeah, now YOU want one of your own too, right? Well, these days, complete copies of either game are ridiculously expensive (even cart-only versions command top dollar on eBay and game trading sites) and although the developer did indeed finally make a Nintendo DSi sequel to Shantae (Shantae: Risky’s Revenge, which also ended up on iOS devices), folks who wanted something more physical to own got shut out once again (bleh!). Well, the original Shantae is coming back after eleven years, but this time, it’s also a digital download hitting Nintendo’s eShop on June 20, 2013 for the Virtual Console. Sure, it’ll do well, but cranky old farts like me want a better way to keep the gal around a bit longer than as a download.

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Heck, I’d bet a wooden nickel that some sort of crowd funding deal could get both Shantae games (and perhaps a Wendy remake) onto a disc for PC with all sorts of fun extras. The chances of these coming back to a cartridge are slim (it’s probably not very economical for a few reasons), I’ll admit, but at least there would be a bunch of people paying WayForward more for a new game and not getting the old ones of torrent sites (as I know more people have played Shantae and Wendy than own legal copies of either). Eh, we’ll see what’s what down the road, I guess. In a perfect world, both physical and digital versions would be available, but I know that’s a pipe dream these days…

Nintendo Direct 4.17.2013: Making Some Intriguing Concessions To The Digital Age…

So, Nintendo seems caught between a rock and the next generation, what with the PS4 and Microsoft’s new console on the way and Wii U sales not being as solid as they need to. The company is dropping some online channels from the console, but don’t make the mistake of thinking the system is dead by any means. There are a bunch of cool exclusives on the way for the Wii U, but once more, it’s the 3DS that’s stealing the show. A new Legend of Zelda game (well, one based on the classic SNES game A Link to the Past), the cult classic Earthbound (Hoo-freakin’-raaaay!) both coming as Virtual Console releases are but two of the super games coming for the company’s fans.

HOWEVER (dun-dun-dunnn!) Hmmm… I see a slight problem here in all the happy-happy going on…
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