Whenever the topic of internationally developed homebrew DS games comes up, as it often does among hip and attractive people, most people in "the scene" immediately think of France, whose homebrew community rivals North America's in both size and production. You'll see an occasional release from other countries, such as Spain or Korea, but you'll rarely see much activity elsewhere.
But what about Japan's scene? For a country with so many DSes and a strong independent game development community, outside of Infantile Paralysiser's MoonShell media player, we've hardly seen any DS homebrew projects cross the Pacific. Where are all the doujin developers?
At least one programmer in Japan has been working on creating games for the DS, and we're bringing him out of the shadows to highlight three of his projects, likely games that you've never even heard of, let alone seen. If you're interested in homebrew development at all, you definitely need to pay attention to MeRAMAN!
We actually enjoy playing our DS in the car quite a bit. In fact, one of us even went so far as to enjoy playing Puzzle Quest at red lights while behind the wheel. It's a dangerous obsession that not only threatens our own lives, but those of everyone else in the world. It's the nature of the beast, we suppose.
So imagine our surprise when we read this little piece and totally realized we could output our DS's sound to our car speakers, almost providing a surround sound experience. Sure, we have headphones for when we're trying to get our dual-screen on out in the wild, but sometimes they're uncomfortable. This just seems like an incredibly obvious thing we never thought of ourselves. We can totally picture playing Ouendan or Elite Beat Agents in this manner.
If you are missing out on a DS game or GBA game and don't feel like paying retail, know that Circuit City is having a huge sale right now. The problem so far has been that an entire list of the games on sale had not been available anywhere online. That is, until now.
Selling select games such as Final Fantasy IV Advance and Mario Tennis: Power Tour on the GBA, along with DS titles such as Elite Beat Agents and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (get a loved one involved) for $8.96 a piece, we're wondering if this is perhaps the biggest sale we've seen yet. So, get down to your local Circuit City and get to the stock while it still lasts.
Keiichi Yano of iNiS has a unique perspective on the Japanese and American game industries. His company remade their game Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! into a new game whose references and music are more famililar to Western audiences; now Japanese shops are importing the resulting game, Elite Beat Agents, for Japanese sale. In addition, as discussed in this interview with Gamasutra's Christian Nutt, iNiS has been licensing their nFactor2 engine out to developers for use in Xbox 360 games-- a move that, to be honest, would seem to have more benefit to the American market.
Furthermore, the genre to which he contributed so much-- music games-- now has an American juggernaut in Guitar Hero that threatens to subsume all other music games (except Rock Band, which is a direct descendant of Guitar Hero) in the public's consciousness.
We'd listen to anything Keiichi Yano had to say based only on our teary-eyed devotion to Gitaroo-Man. Luckily, he's actually interesting in this interview about music games, middleware, and international game development. Readers-- are-- GO!
If your DS has been lacking the sustenance that new DS game cartridges provide, then you might be able to feed the beast with Circuit City's newest sale. For every DS game you purchase, you can get another game at half-off. Maybe you've been holding off on picking up Elite Beat Agents or checking out Sonic Rush, waiting for a more opportune time to purchase. Well, seems about as good a time as any to us.
The time has come, faithful readers, for us to settle something once and for all. It's bound to be a heated issue, but it's a question worth answering. If you had to choose (and we grow faint just trying to imagine the horror of such a situation) between the Ace Attorney series and the Ouendan/Elite Beat Agents set, which side would you pick? Hot rhythm action or shouts of "Objection!" and an endless cast of wacky characters? It's a tough choice. Let's fight it out.
Bathroom gaming and portable gaming have always gone hand in hand -- after they've been thoroughly washed, of course -- so it's fitting that the private pastime go public with a "best of" list. Not sure which restroom releases to play while planted on the porcelain pot? The Tanooki has ten suggestions that'll bring you some relief.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney tops the lavatory list, though you might have to hold it for a while if you're planning to see an entire court case through to its end. Elite Beat Agents, everyone's favorite rhythm game, actually gets negative marks for its soundtrack: "Being forced to listen to Avril Lavigne and Hoobastank during your time of peril does far more harm than good."
We were upset to see Puzzle Quest missing from the tally, but not every bathroom gamer shares our love of puzzle/RPG hybrids, shocking as that may seem. Which games do you take along with you to the loo? It is imperative that you tell us.
Wired's Chris Kohler has been enjoying some time in the Land of the Rising Fun lately, documenting his trip through about a billion photographs. This one above, is of interest. It shows Elite Beat Agents, which is pretty much a sequel made exclusively for the U.S. market to that of Osu! Tatakae!Ouendan!, which is the title on the right. What's odd is that in Akihabara, the area of Japan that Chris has been trekking around, has a few places that sell import games, but he has found Elite Beat Agents in several locations, each one priced at 4890 yen (which comes out to about $41.50 USD). This is also odd, because Chris reports that the prices from shop to shop usually vary.
This is one crafter's answer to all the criticisms about the DS Lite being too bulky and sturdy. Or it would be, if those criticisms existed and weren't crazy.
Junyang's papercraft DS Lite is actually part of a series of miniaturized electronic devices, any of which would make a very nice (and very small) display piece. But we especially love when paper and glue come together to honor our favorite handheld. And look at that teensy Nintendogscartridge! Itactually fits into the cartridge slot.That's the kind of detail work that has us rushing to print our own and get started, after we edit the image to change Nintendogs to Elite Beat Agents.
Knowing our stumpy, clumsy fingers, the end result of our folding and gluing won't be quite so photogenic. But hey, that's no reason not to try it yourself!
We've been playing a lot of Elite Beat Agents lately and the comparisons between it and its Japanese counterpart Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! are unavoidable. We can't really say which we think is superior, as they both have their own distinct charm, but our mind floats back to when we first tried Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! in a very inebriated state, in our hotel room, during E3 2005.
As we tried to follow the visual clues on-screen and tap in-time with the beat, we found that such an experience had to be a figment of our imagination. We visualized those cartoons of old, where a thirsty traveler searches the dunes for some sign of water, only to find a mirage and soon snap out of their delusion to find that they have nothing in their mouth but sand. We wondered how much we drank. We then remember how much it was and pretty much settled on it being a drunken fantasy.
But no, the next morning we played it again and it was as good as that first play, if not better. But, more appropriately, it caused us much debate at Fanboy HQ today. We wondered about Elite Beat Agents, and if it was good enough to cause some to import the Japanese game? We then wondered which version people preferred? We wonder a lot.
Do us a favor? Let us know! Did you import Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! after playing Elite Beat Agents (and having it rock your world, natch)? Did you dislike Elite Beat Agents? Did you love EBA, but found the Japanese charm of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! to be anything but?
All this week, the DS Fanboy staff is letting you in on a few of their favorite titles. Each day, a different member of the staff will present their personal top five DS games along with a snapshot of their gaming paraphernalia and habits, in an effort to provide our readers with a little more information on the tastes and personalities of our writers.
As the lead blogger of PSP Fanboy, one might be questioning why I'm here. It's true: I love my PSP and take it everywhere (except the shower). But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy Nintendo's handheld. I've grown up with Nintendo handhelds, owning every iteration of the Game Boy ever. My stash of Nintendo valuables would make any Nintendork jealous. Now that I'm older and spending less time arguing in message boards, I've learned that true gaming bliss comes from having access to all the games I can get. Hopefully, you feel the same way too.
So please, take my "top five" list as an olive branch to end the bickering between the two Fanboy sites.
All this week, the DS Fanboy staff is letting you in on a few of their favorite titles. Each day, a different member of the staff will present their personal top five DS games, along with a snapshot of their gaming paraphernalia and habits, in an effort to provide our readers with a little more information on the tastes and personalities of our writers.
I am absolutely the target market for a handheld system. I'm busy all the time, and I have weeks where the only times I really get to play games are when I can't possibly do anything else-- like when I'm on a plane, or waiting to pick my wife up from school. So I tend to carry my DS around waiting for opportune moments. Of course, with such concentrated play sessions, I want the most out of my game time. That's not to say that I want simplified games that I can always jump right into, but I need games that are basically going to be awesome every time I play them. I need games that are going to reaffirm my passion for gaming while I'm waiting for a bus.
(The picture doesn't have anything to do with the theme of my little essay. My cat Indiana Jones is just adorable.)
Ontama is a new rhythm game for the DS. Which is, really, all we needed to know for our hype-generating machine to go into full power. In case you hadn't noticed, we tend to get worked up about the musicgames.
Rather than telling little mini-stories like Elite Beat Agents, Noise Factory's new game seems to be a somewhat more stripped-down, arcade experience, with characters that seem to be limited to describing gameplay. We don't exactly know how the game works, but we can tell that you touch little round creatures (probably the Ontama themselves, since that translates to "sound balls" or "music balls") to send them into icons on the top of the screen; you then hit directions and buttons that correspond to those icons at the right moment, like Parappa the Rapper.
Enjoy the trailer after the break, and see if you can figure out a little bit more of what's going on.
Unless you're the type who sharpens a pencil down to its metal crown, the DS Lite stylus just doesn't compare to the familiar weight, thickness, and balance of a pen or pencil. Hori's latest Touch Pen looks like a comfortable and convenient alternative to the stock stylus.
Users drop a standard stylus into the Touch Pen Attachment's casing just like with an ink refill. Including two replaceable styli with every purchase seems a bit unnecessary, but we're not going to argue with free stuff. The pen's wider and taller body will be able to rest on your hand, and the rubber grip makes sure that the stick won't slip out of your fingers during a hectic game of Elite Beat Agents.
The Touch Pen Attachment is as portable as any other writing utensil, but you can also latch it onto the back of your handheld with the two plastic bumps on the clip. From the product shots we've seen, the nubs fit right into the holes meant for the DS Lite's strap.
The pens come in White, Black, and Pink, retailing for about $6.00 each. Head past the post break for more photos of the Touch Pen Attachment DS Lite.