Odd Japanese Game Commercials

Today’s post was inspired by the good folks over at GamesRadar.com. They ran an article that answered the question, “Why did Resident Evil get a name change for the American release?” and while the answer is available, the real star of the article is the original Biohazard commercial released in Japan.

Somehow that upbeat pop music makes getting your jugular ripped out seem A-OK (insert thumbs up sign here). But it got me thinking, what other video game commercials are we missing out on? Surely the Japanese have others that are so bad they come out the other side as awesome.

Our first contender is Dr. Mario for the original GameBoy. Because nothing says “video games” like synchronized swimming in multi-colored rabbit costumes. While singing.

Next up, we’re reminded why we don’t fuck with Japanese business men. Oh, and buy Metal Gear Solid 3; it’ll give you the ability to sneak up on half naked chicks bathing in the river?

This next video just proves that no matter how awesome Earthbound is (which is infinity +2), watching live action children create a nuclear explosion with their powers brings into question the RPG staple of “only kids can save the world”.

I saved my favorite for last. Legend of Zelda: The Musical!!!1

For some unknown reason, now I want to watch the Thriller video. o_O

P.S. The Thriller music video would’ve made a far better Michael Jackson game choice than what was actually produced. What was SEGA thinking?! Perhaps this was a sign of what was to come. Sonic should have got out while he had the chance.

Bookmark and Share

Five Games That Take The Road Less Traveled

Having procured a DSi last night, I felt the need to purchase a new title to go with my system. There were many a fine title (and at least twice as much crap) but in the end I chose “Little Red Riding Hood: Zombie BBQ”.

How could I not? The title alone was awesome and I may get off my lazy ass to do a full review once I finish BBQ-ing all the zombies. But in the meantime, the game got me thinking. What else out there in video game land had an offbeat title and oddball plot?

Good God, there’s a ton! Let’s see…we’ll do five arbitrarily. Annnd, go!

Little Red Riding Hood: Zombie BBQ (DS)

Click here for official site.The premise here is that the world of fairy tales has been overrun by zombies and only you, an extremely busty anime Little Red, can save the world. Using a machine gun and flamethrower no less. Watch out Zombies, she’s got white hair! White hair equals badassness.

WTF: Work Time Fun( PSP)

What the Fuck?

What the Fuck?

Oh those crazy Japanese. They give us the coolest, most random stuff. The premise here, other than giving you another reason to say WTF to your friends and family, is to give you a collection of bizarre mini-games. You use these mini games to make money to buy more mini-games. And thus the circle of life continues. How crazy are the mini-games? Here’s a screenshot that should clear it up a bit.

Srsly, wtf WTF?

Srsly, wtf WTF?

Seaman (Sega Dreamcast)

Watch out for Swallows.

Watch out for Swallows.

Every time I write that, I giggle on the inside like I’m not the mother of two kids. Seaman, Seaman, Seaman. Okay I think I got it out of my system. The premise of this hilarious game on the doomed Dreamcast console was to raise a Seaman (snort), or fish with a human face, to adulthood. Basically, a glorified Tamagatchi pet. And it featured the voice of Leonard Nemoy. What more could you ask for?

Katamari Damacy (PS2)

Run cow! Save yourself.

Run, junior! Save yourself.

I’m still convinced that this game is merely an extended acid trip. Between the crazy Japanese pop music, the overly colorful enviorment and bloody Burger King King as your dad, this game might have wormed its way into the mainstream, but the idea of rolling up giant balls of objects (up to and including whole planets and systems) is  an out there concept in my book.

Custer’s Revenge (Atari 2600)

And I thought Seaman was bad...

And I thought Seaman was bad...

Ah, the good old days of gaming. When the ESRB was just a twinkle in a young Jack Thompson’s eye and quality control was a dirty word. Only at that time could this game be made. The concept is, obviously, Custer getting revenge on those gosh darn Indians (though how he’s doing this is a mystery? Zombie Custer? Ewww, that makes this next part even MORE wrong and I didn’t think that was possible.). He’s going to do this by…running naked across a field of falling arrows to rape a naked Native American woman tied to a cactus. Sadly, I did not make that up. Don’t believe me? I wouldn’t either, so here’s video evidence.

Okay, that’s enough for one day. Seriously I need eyebleach now. Or at least something soothing to look at…

Ahhhhhh, I feel much better. You?

Bookmark and Share

Bottoms Up!

st-patrick-s-day

To show appreciation for St. Patrick’s Day (Tuesday, the 17th) I really wanted to do a list of my favorite video games that allow the character’s to imbibe alcohol. I really wanted to. But alas, there seemed to be no Google cache for me to mine for ideas. Only an ESRB link claiming that they’ve rated 157 games as having “Use of Alcohol.” However, they will only show me the first 25. Stupid broken links.

Amazing really that no one has delved into this subject before. Makes me want to do a list of my favorite instances of sex in video games too. But that’s for another day. So without the mighty Internet to guide my steps, my husband and I sat down to recall our most memorable alcohol induced gaming moments.

  1. Chrono Trigger: This game signifies the first time in my gaming life that consumption of liquid actually affected the characters. Sure, I’d imbibed any number of strange potions beforehand…the platform games of my youth were littered with the notion that anything found on the ground, in a block or box was safe and perfectly fine to ingest…but drinking in Chrono Trigger produced text boxes with *hiccup* or slurred speech. And it encouraged binge drinking contests for little reward. A great precursor to college. Thanks SNES!
  2. Everquest: I still remember what character I was on the first time I drank multiple bottles of cheap beer in EQ. My poor little Wood Elf. Up until that point, alcohol might have made for funny dialogue in an RPG, but the bizarre way the world warped after six beers is my first memory of drinking affecting gameplay. Suddenly that gnome six inches from me looked like he was twenty feet away. And hey! Why was my character listing to the right? I even remember a time when I moved the wrong way and clipped into a wall, remaining stuck until such time as the effects of my excessive drinking wore off.
  3. WarCraft II: My husband recalls many a time playing as Orks only to find them bored at the barracks. And what do bored Orks do? Get drunk and beat the crap out of each other! (Like any loosely based Irish race would) Of course, this comes as a detriment since the Empire had the uncanny knack for attacking en masse as soon as the Orks had decided to kill each other, making victory difficult to obtain. Although it did teach a valuable lesson in busy work, aka mindless patrols.
  4. Grand Theft Auto IV: My cousin innocently suggests grabbing a beer at the local tavern. I figure why not? Two hours later, Niko is stumbling out of the bar (which you can’t go in for whatever reason -_-) and is only loosely under my control. Just getting into the car is an exercise in physics and patience. But once I managed it, then the real fun began! Who knew drinking and driving was so much fun? No wonder people risk bodily injury, jail and excruciatingly painful death. And little known fact; once you drop off your friend/cousin, the cops assume you’re sober and live you alone.

But those are just mine…and one of my husband’s. I know there are at LEAST 154 more out there. What alcohol induced moments are ingrained in your brain? What fuzzy, inappropriate childhood memory do you cherish? Let me know. In honor of St. Patrick, the patron saint of liver disease!

Bookmark and Share

Nintendo Dominates December Sales

npdlogoNumbers released this month by the NPD place Nintendo as the clear cut winner in December game sales. Six out of the top ten belong to them.  Five for the company’s Wii and one for the handheld DS.

Microsoft came in second with three titles in the top ten and Sony trailed behind with only one game ranking in at number nine.

Below is the list of December’s best selling video games as rated by the NPD group along with how many units sold.

1.   Wii Play w/ Remote (Wii)                     1.46M
2.   Call Of Duty: World At War (360)     1.33M
3.   Wii Fit (Wii)                                                999K
4.   Mario Kart (Wii)                                       979K
5.   Guitar Hero World Tour (Wii)            850K
6.   Gears Of War 2 (360)                             745K
7.   Left 4 Dead (360)                                   629K
8.   Mario Kart (DS)                                       540K
9.   Call Of Duty: World At War (PS3)     533K
10. Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii)     497K

Valentine’s Day Massacre

In honor of Valentine’s Day (yes it’s super early but the newspaper I work for wanted the article by the 15th so nyah), my article today was going to focus on the romantic relationships of classic video game couples. Mario and Peach. Link and Zelda. You get the idea. But as my research spiraled out of control thanks to Google search, I realized something. These girls are kind of sad. At least in their original forays into the lexicon of classic gaming. Women who not only were incapable of defending themselves, but also suffered from some sort of amnesia that kept them from beefing up security to stave off these frequent kidnapping attempts. So instead of a happy frolic through fuzzy romance, this month I’m looking at ten female characters kick butt and kill mindless minions with the best of the boys. Warning, there may be things that one could consider spoilers below.

  1. Mrs. Pac-Man: Sure she started off as an unauthorized sequel to the drug like addiction that was Pac-Man. But she was also the first female character to achieve massive celebrity. Premiering in 1981, people around the world fed quarter upon quarter into the local arcade. The levels were addicting, and killing blue ghosts was just as fun as ever. But surprisingly people were also interested in her plot, thin as it may be. Only a few small scenes; from meeting Pac-Man to their eventual stork delivery but it was enough to catapult the game to legendary status and open the door for future female protagonists.
  2. Samus Aran: The original butt kicking girl. For anyone that came of age in the late eighties, the discovery that the power suit wearing, alien killing, acrobatic cyborg that saved the galaxy from certain doom was actually a hot chick in a bikini left you staring at your television in disbelief. How could this be? Even the manual referred to the main character as a “he”. Up is down, black is white. The world no longer made sense. In one moment, an entire generation of pre-teen boys was emasculated. They’d been tricked into playing a girl. Once the shock wore off though, Samus became beloved by all and a model for future female characters.
  3. Chun Li: No list of girls that rocked would be complete without Chun Li. Debuting in 1991 in Street Fighter II, it was the first time quarter-toting kids could play as a female in a one-on-one fighting game. With thunder thighs and an infuriating giggle when she beat you into the ground, Chun Li showed that a woman could look fantastic even while curb stomping your face. With the immense popularity that followed her premiere, scantily clad ladies soon found their way into all fighting games and today are a genre staple.
  4. Princess Peach: What? Didn’t I just completely ridicule her at the beginning of this article? Yes, yes I did. But even though Peach was mostly useless for the sake of the plot she has had two instances where the mold was broken and she indeed kicked butt. Her first attempt was in Super Mario Bros. 2, released in 1988. As a playable character with the ability to float, playing as the lightweight princess was considered the best way to play the game…even topping Mario. That certainly is an achievement on its own. Her ability to hover made precision kills of enemies and bosses almost laughably easy. Then, as recently as 2006, Peach finally got her own game on the Nintendo DS. In Super Princess Peach the tides are turned as she must rescue Mario from the clutches of Bowser. About time, I’d say.
  5. Zelda: Again yes, I did ridicule her for her inability to not get kidnapped but she gets kudos for eventually figuring it out. By 1998 and the release of Ocarina of Time, Zelda had learned to defend herself. Playing an important role as the ninja-tastic Sheik, she helped Link save the world in a more direct manner than usual. Having cut her teeth at being a fully functioning member of society, Zelda went on to become a sassy, back-talking pirate captain in Wind Waker. She’s also reprised her role as Sheik in the popular Super Smash Bros. series where she is considered to be one of the best characters in the one-on-one fighting game.
  6. Lara Croft: The first female protagonist of a new generation, Ms. Croft made her debut to the video game world in 1996. Tomb Raider was a sensation. And while several valid points were made about her being hyper-sexualized it did little to stop her momentum. If she wanted to wear hot pants while solving puzzles, escaping traps, pumping bad guys full of lead and participating in high speed chases, no one was going to stop her. Not to mention that accent. She’s James Bond and Indiana Jones rolled into one and given rockin’ curves.
  7. The Women of Resident Evil: I couldn’t pick just one. Jill Valentine, Claire Redfield and Ada Wong have all taken turns at killing zombies and taking names. In a genre usually known, at least in movie form, for victimizing women, Resident Evil gave them a gun. Or five. And a chip on their shoulder. Throughout the series, these ladies have shown that standing up against the legions of the undead is not just for the boys. And with the exception of a very slinky red dress, they’ve managed to stay fully clothed too. A miraculous event in cinema or gaming.
  8. American McGee’s Alice: Released in 2000, the world got to see a new side of Alice. Having been institutionalized after the Red Queen burned down her house and killed her family, Alice begins the game by attacking the orderlies that spent their free time tormenting her in her catatonic state. This certainly isn’t Disney. With sadistic and psychedelic undertones to the world she enters, Alice embarks on a bloody journey to free Wonderland from the despotic rule of the Red Queen. With a razor sharp blade and wit to match, she is one of the most deliciously dark female characters to grace the gaming industry.
  9. Alexandra Rovis: Chances are, you’ve never heard of her. Alexandra starred in the first M rated game released by Nintendo; Eternal Darkness for the Gamecube. Trapped in a possessed house and determined to save herself and solve her grandfather’s murder, she is faced with one of the most psychologically frightening games to date. Alexandra witnesses herself commit suicide, loses her sanity multiple times and still manages to get it together to learn a forgotten magic, how to wield a sword and destroy the evil necropolis beneath the family mansion.
  10. Chell: The main character of Valve’s Portal has it rough. She’s most likely a clone, designed to die. She’s trapped in a labyrinth with a crazy computer that alternately tries to kill her or offer her cake. But does she cry about it and wait for rescue? Nope. She uses her powers of analytical thinking and the space bending powers of the Portal gun to kill her computerized overseer and escape. Take that genetic engineering. Not only that, but she’s got some cool leg gear to boot.

So there you have it. Ten video game chicks that kick bad guy butt in their respective ways. But these are just my picks. Surely there are more. I can think of plenty off the top of my head that didn’t make the list. Feel free to prove me wrong in my choices or merely add your own opinion below. Don’t be shy!