There's no sign that Koei ever intends to bring its Romance of the Three Kingdoms DS titles stateside -- likely because you didn't buy Opoona -- but it looks like the company will celebrate its 30th anniversary by releasing Romance Of The Three Kingdoms DS 2 in Korea.
Though we're a little upset that we still haven't received the year-old turn-based-strategy game, what really grinds our gears is that Koei is throwing in a themed Nintendo DS Lite hard case with preorders. Where's our preorder incentives, Koei? Just because we don't pirate everything under the sun doesn't mean that we don't deserve to decorate our handhelds with third-century Chinese historical figures?
Although most of Nick Rumas' Gamasutra article on the ubiquity of R4 flashcart piracy in Korea is based on anecdotal evidence, we still found his piece to be pretty fascinating. While DS piracy may not be rampant in the U.S., Korea is renowned as a hotbed of piracy in videogaming, and Rumas claims that as many as three in five DS owners there possess a flashcart -- and we can't see all of those being used for homebrew.
Rumas also tells tales of traders in Seoul's Yongsan Electronics Market openly selling customized R4 flashcarts to customers (who simply pay up their $87 and select the titles they'd like from a master list), and of Korean consumers who are far more clued-up about game piracy than their western equivalents (including middle-aged women, and young children).
He eventually chalks this widespread acceptance of piracy up to more than one factor, including Korea's low minimum wage, an increasingly high cost of living, an apathetic government, and the fact that downloading games without paying for them is simply more of a cultural norm. With the DS now selling in respectable numbers in Korea, we can't imagine Nintendo being overly happy to hear of Korea's piracy endemic, but as Rumas notes, "Regardless of what [government] measures are undertaken, no real dent ever seems to be made."
North American publisher Aksys has accompanied Super Dodgeball Brawlers' stateside release this week with an image bonanza of (Japanese) screenshots, character art, and other promotional assets, all of which we've conveniently collected for you in the gallery below.
Apparently, lots of people are having trouble finding the game in stores, so here's an opportunity for you to flip past the screenshots quickly to approximate an animated match, imagining that you're really playing the game. We had no problem finding Super Dodgeball Brawlers ourselves, as most of the GameStops around our area kept two copies on their shelves.
In related news, Fujitsu also plans to ship Super Dodgeball Brawlers to stores in Korea next week and has released a huge, 80-image-strong batch of Korean-translated screens, which, for some reason, includes shots from the staff credits and celebration scene that appears after a completed tournament. Perhaps they were accidentally released in Fujitsu's rush to get the word out -- the word(s) being "Kunio in Korea!"
Developer CyberStep has announced a DS version of their online 3D fighter, GetAmped. The PC version allows online play with totally customizable (for money) avatars, in both fighting and sporting competitions. CyberStep plans to include 4-player wireless play in the DS version, as well, though we aren't sure if anything online will be included.
We don't know much about all these pay-for-items online games (except for the excellent Gunbound, which we enjoyed a few years back), but we can't help but feel a little bit yay at the prospect of a cute new fighting game on the DS. And unlike the other DS game based on an Asian MMO, Ragnarok Online DS, this actually has a rough release window -- this winter. CyberStep is looking to cooperate with companies in the U.S. and Europe to get the game out in those regions.
As a somewhat respectable grown-up who makes a somewhat living on the Nintendo DS subculture, I have to stop myself from trying to see what someone's playing whenever I spot a handheld gamer in the wild. I restrain myself for two reasons:
I like to keep up this illusion of me being a somewhat respectable grown-up
I don't want anyone mistaking me for a pedophile just because I was stealing glances at some kid's Piplup
Children, though, have no such reservations with running up to a stranger to see what he's playing ...
The DS Life is a weekly feature in which we scour the known world for narrative images of Nintendo's handheld and handheld gamers. If you have a photo and a story to match it with, send both to thedslife at dsfanboy dot com.
As our own Alisha Karabinus can likely attest, raising a baby leaves little time for anything else in your daily schedule. Taking care of everything you need to do requires some creative multitasking. Jump past the break to see what we mean!
You can dress up your DS Lite in frilly bows and baby outfits all you want, but it'll never reach its full cuteness potential without this Mashimaro case. Accessory distributor Nuri Tech has brought the Korean character to the states, offering the protective, decorated shell for $19.99. To promote the new product, Nuri Tech is throwing in a DS Lite Strap Touchpen and a set of screen protectors with each order starting today until April 1st. This is in addition to the stylus pen that comes with every Mashimaro case!
Unfamiliar with the chubby, expressionless bunny? He has a few Flash animations floating around, but here's a quick description: "In a quiet, small, and peaceful town in the forest, our Mashimaro is always causing trouble here and there in the forest with his little pot belly full of guts, witty spontaneous responses, and playful manner. He may seem a little prankish at times, but he adds a bit of flavor and puts smiles and cries into a boring life in the forest."
Yes, this is just the accessory you need to put "smiles and cries" into your boring life. Peek past the break for more photos of the DS Lite case and bonus stylus pen.
Promotional Consideration is a weekly feature about the Nintendo DS advertisements you usually flip past, change the channel on, or just tune out.
Many of the commercials for Nintendo-published DS titles in Japan or Korea follow the sameformula -- alternating shots between in-game clips and reactions from the player, typically a celebrity. It's an effective approach, as game and system sales can attest, but what happens when a bored video editor decides to mess with the recipe, replacing the cheerful game scenes from a Korean Animal Crossing ad with much more violent footage? Follow us past the post break to find out!
MashiMaro could be described as Korea's answer to Sanrio, Japan's heavily-merchandised community of Hello Kitty characters. The adorable, chubby rabbit sits atop a mountain of plushies and other branded products that are too cute for many to resist. Unlike his Sanrio colleagues, however, Mashimaro can be a jerk. In the Flash animations where he made his debut, he can be seen stealing food and pushing a pig off a cliff. He's a bad bunny to the bone.
Joytron recently put out a line of cases decorated with MashiMaro scenes, and they're just as cute as the thuggish cottontail himself. The shells slip over your DS Lite, adding an extra layer of plastic protection to your handheld. Joytron will even throw in a pen stylus with each order. Hop into the gallery below for more shots of the different "System Skin Cases" now available in Korea.
Having established that the United States is notrife with pirates, Nintendo has made a request to the U.S. government to assist in the fight against piracy of Nintendo products. The company has asked the U.S. Trade Representative to convey messages to other governments with rampant piracy issues, encouraging them to tighten their laws.
Nintendo is asking, specifically, China, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, Brazil, and Paraguay's governments to be more aggressive against software pirates. Nintendo is asking China to prosecute the large-scale producers of pirated materials, while Korean "service providers" on whose networks software is traded are the target of the censure in that country. Nintendo's complaints against the Latin American governments are much more interesting, as they call for an end to violence against anti-piracy law enforcement officials in Mexico, a crackdown on corruption in Paraguay, and the reduction of high tariffs on retail games in Brazil.
Jodi Daugherty, Nintendo's senior director of anti-piracy, said "The unprecedented momentum enjoyed by Nintendo DS and Wii makes Nintendo an attractive target for counterfeiters." Nintendo estimates the lost sales caused by piracy to be around $975 million worldwide.
We recently learned that the phenomenally wacky Joshikousei Nigeru!Shinrei Puzzle Gakuen from Success is a remake/sequel/adaptation/thing of an existing Korean puzzle game called Touch Ro Puzzle. Spencer Yip just happened to be in Korea, so he sought out a copy of the original puzzler to check it out. Via his description, then, we can also get a better idea of how Joshikousei Nigeru works.
The twist in this particular iteration of Bejeweled is that matching three or more (monsters) earns you a portion of the game's playfield as your territory, marked by the color orange. Turn a certain percentage of the screen orange and you win! Or, in the Joshikousei Nigeru version, you don't die a frightful death!
Or at least, we hope they did, because let's face it: that's a pretty good reason to celebrate. According to Nintendo of Korea -- or a company posing as Nintendo of Korea -- the handheld passed the seven-figure mark on December 27, eleven months after it launched there. One million units may not sound like a big number in a nation with a population of 50 million, but don't forget that Nintendo has only recently established a presence in the MMO-mad country.
Fortunately for Nintendo, we've already hit upon an idea that should establish a DS hegemony in South Korea for the next millennium or so. Thank us later, guys.
Nintendo's hit English Training (Eigo ga Nigate na Otona no DS Training: Eigo Zuke) is heading to Korea, and it's brought its commercials along. This Korean commercial is an almost exact duplicate of the Japanese ad for the secondEnglish Training game. However, instead of one Japanese woman, two Korean women have to face the counter underequipped.
More interestingly, the ads diverge in their tactics. The Japanese ad scares you into learning English with the prospect of a giant, inedible hamburger resulting from your misunderstanding. In the Korean ad, fear of the ordering process is motivation enough. Those polite smiles barely contain those two customers' terror. And now we've officially analyzed the commercial too much.
Drawn to Life must have been a success (VGChartz says 200,000 copies), because THQ is localizing the game for the Korean market. We can't tell you exactly what the title is, but machine translation gives us something like "Drawn, to sprout! The world which I make!" which definitely conveys the right kind of idea.
5th Cell's first DS game was definitely one of the most creative and best-made platformers of the year, and we couldn't be happier to see it finding a worldwide audience. Lots of Korean gamers love 2D, as well, so this has the potential to be even bigger over there than in the U.S.
Asian piracy is something that is known the world over. Documentation of pirated software exists in the Philippines, Honk Kong and just about everywhere else imaginable. Now, word comes that Nintendo's previous efforts to thwart piracy in Korea have gone ignored and Nintendo, as you can imagine, isn't very happy about it.
Involving Korean sites that had downloads for illegally-copied DS games, Nintendo has officially submitted a request to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office. Nintendo plans on taking further action, whatever that may be, should the company be ignored again.