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Trace Memory Wii to release Jan. 22 in Japan


We’ve known Ashley is coming to Wii. We didn’t know how soon.

Nintendo of Japan has posted a limited schedule of 2009 releases dating Trace Memory Wii as a Jan. 22 release in Japan.

Announced during Nintendo’s October press conference, Trace Memory Wii is a sequel to the 2005 Nintendo DS point-and-click adventure game. Short footage of the sequel is available at the 2:34 mark of the buzz-reel trailer Nintendo showed at the conference.

The original Trace Memory put players in the role of Ashley Robbins, a young girl searching for answers about her parents’ disappearance. It achieved cult-classic status for its innovative touch controls and has sold roughly 230,000 copies worldwide according to VGChartz.

Nintendo has not yet dated the Wii sequel outside of Japan.

Published on November 12th, 2008 under ,

Dead Rising Wii-make dated, priced in Japan


225_dr2-copy.jpgKotaku reports the Wii version of zombie-basher Dead Rising will be available Feb. 19 in Japan.

It will be priced at ¥7,340, which translates to approximately $75.

Critics have given denunciatory impressions of Dead Rising’s early Wii builds, mostly stemming from poor visuals and abhorrently low zombie totals on-screen.

Capcom built the Wii version, subtitled Chop Till You Drop, on the Resident Evil 4 engine, utilizing a similar over-the-shoulder camera view. The game utilizes motion controls for much of the combat.

Check out Sean’s hands-on impressions for more.

Capcom announced in July it expects to sell 500,000 copies of Dead Rising on Wii. It has yet to announce a North American release.

Published on November 12th, 2008 under , ,

Viewtiful Joe returns in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom


Henshin a-go-go, baby! He’s back.

Capcom announced today Viewtiful Joe, the protagonist of the Viewtiful Joe series, will return to the gaming scene in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, a fighting game exclusively for Wii.

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom pits classic Capcom mascots against characters from Japanese animation studio Tatsunoko Production.

Also joining the fray are Saki from Capcom’s Quiz Nanairo Dreams and vintage anime hero Ippatsuman.

Anticipation may be self-defeating, however. At this year’s Tokyo Game Show, Capcom told Siliconera the game would “probably not” be released outside of Japan due to Tatsunoko licensing issues.

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is set for a Dec. 11 release in Japan.

Published on November 3rd, 2008 under , ,

Wii Ware’s first music title falls flat


Even the medicine colored title screen of Yudo’s “Aero Guitar” that was released on the Japanese Wii Shop Channel last week told me that the game might not really satiate my desire for a quick-quality music title to play while waiting for “Wii Music” and the pointlessly late Japan release of “Samba de Amigo.” Nonetheless I figured it would at least make for a fun review and I flushed my 800 yen down the digital drain.

Time to call the plumber.

Aero Guitar tries to capitalize on the stateside success of “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” and lack of attention from Konami to port their original “Guitar Freaks/Drum Mania” series onto the Wii.

Let’s get the most crucial part out of the way: the music. A music game has to have good music to be a good game and this one does not. It’s got four cheesy songs pre-loaded from bands you have never heard of (with vulgar names, no less) that appear to be mimicking other songs like the kinds they use in low-budget commercials that couldn’t afford to use originals. It appears you can buy a couple more songs with your hard earned Wii points but it’s hard to justify paying a premium for songs you don’t know. 

Forgoing any peripherals, the game uses the wiimote (or the much less fun A-button) to strum and all the while you press either up, down, or nothing at all on the nunchuck to simulate the holding down of a string. In theory this isn’t a terrible way to simulate how a guitar might feel, but the wiimote strumming is a hair-trigger. It ended up being more effective to hold the remote like a drum stick and swing it forward over-hand with my wrist, rather than moving it up and down in a strumming motion.

In addition, any note can be played by flicking the wiimote forwards or backwards, but some bonus notes can only be activated with the backwards flick. These are notoriously hard to pick up and presumably add a level of challenge though the points system doesn’t make a lot of sense. Also the lack of any tutorial or practice mode before the game started made sure I wouldn’t hit at least the first 4 or 5 bonus notes without any trial and error. Overall the effect is fun for a bit, but you end up pounding the wiimote quite hard and it kind of gets tiring quickly.

Oh yeah, and once the notes get fast? Forget about it. I cleared all but one song on normal mode with relative ease but the hardest song “How the hell?” contains a few quick notes that just don’t seem plausible — as if strumming the previous note keeps the wiimote from sensing the next one. Aero Guitar actually gives you quite a bit of control over how fast the notes go by, and the faster you make them the easier it is to figure out these quick strums, but most of the time they still seem not to work.

This brings me to Aero Guitar’s biggest problem: the overall interface. All selection can be done using the D-Pad and buttons but the default is to point at it with a guitar-pick shaped cursor. Now a pick is shaped like a triangle (right?) and one would assume that the tip of the triangle would be the part of the cursor you need to put on an icon in order to select it… right?? Apparently Yudo did not see my way and you actually have to point the fat bottom end of the pick on an icon to select anything. Now if you went ahead and read the instructions you might know that you can use the d-pad to circumvent this issue, but here’s one you can’t fix. Let’s say you pick the wrong song or the wrong difficulty – there is no pause menu, you cannot quick-fail the song by fudging every note, and you can’t even go back to the Wii menu. You have to either wait until the entire song has finished or reset the console just to get back to a menu. This is an oversight that encourages users to turn the game off — which is never good.

I don’t know if this is normal but I also had one of the three commands (up and stum) simply stop registering on one song — quite frustrating when you can’t pause or quit in the middle.

Now I make it my business to pick up almost every rhythm game and play it at least once no matter how terrible, but Aero Guitar doesn’t really need to be picked up again after that. Unless you’re really itching to try out the strumming or… can think of another reason, I wouldn’t recommend buying Aero Guitar if/when it is released stateside. Let’s hope if it is, though they fix some of the above problems.

Published on October 11th, 2008 under , , ,

Source: Nintendo unveils new DS at autumn press event


UK pub MCV, citing an “impeccable source,” claims that Nintendo will unveil revised DS hardware at its autumn press event, scheduled for tomorrow (11:30 p.m. EST, tonight).

MCV also cites the source as confirming that the new hardware will include previously reported features, like the camera and MP3 playback. So far, Nintendo has offered up little more than the industry standard “no comment on rumors of speculation” response.

Regardless, we’ll know in a few hours what the real deal is. I’m actually kind of unimpressed with what I’m hearing. I’m sure I’ll buy the thing if it comes Stateside, but I’m simply not feeling a camera and MP3 files on my DS. Who knows, maybe Miyamoto will cook up a camera game that actually works.

Update: I’ve been told by a fellow freelancing journalist coworker that the Nintendo news may be embargoed until next Monday. Curses!

Published on October 1st, 2008 under , ,

Classic Commercials: Super Mario RPG – Japan

Published on September 28th, 2008 under , ,

Expect new Wii colors in Japan very soon


By now you’ve probably heard the news. Thanks to some steep price cuts and a timely RPG release, the lowly Xbox 360 surpassed Wii weekly sales numbers in Japan. It’s by no means a doomsday scenario for Nintendo in the territory, given the fact that the Wii has sold 6.7 million to the Xbox’s count it on one hand 720,000, but it is noteworthy.

Now, don’t take that to mean we should expect new hardware or some crazy, dramatic reaction from the Kyoto HQ. This isn’t so much a victory for the Xbox (720k vs. 6.9 mil, remember) as it is a reminder to Nintendo that Japanese Wii sales have slipped in recent months, to the point where the whipping boy of Japanese gaming managed to eek out a weekly “win.”

I’m guessing this is why there’s an air of mystery surrounding the Nintendo Autumn press event. All we know so far is that “new products” will make an appearance, and guesses to that effect have ranged from Disaster: Day of Crisis to new first party IP featuring veteran Nintendo mascots.

Nintendo surely had an idea of what the numbers would be this week in Japan, as all three hardware companies do, and you can bet the confirmation yesterday had a hand in planning what’s coming in October. The announcement served to politically soften the blow of “losing” a week to Microsoft in Japan, and the autumn press event, pre-TGS (Nintendo is not attending), will serve as an attempt to reinvigorate the product line. Easiest way to do that? Stupid as it sounds, new colors–but no price cuts. And before you jump all over that as the dumbest idea ever, remember that a similar strategy has basically kept the software-free PSP alive and well in Japan for quite some time.

It will be that, or a hard drive*

* A hard drive reference is now required for all Wii predictions.

Published on September 18th, 2008 under , ,

Nintendo holding autumn 2008 conference October 2nd?


Japanese media news site, Plala, has released info on an upcoming Nintendo conference in Japan…

(Note: Rough Translation)

[Nintendo] “Nintendo autumn 2008 conference” scheduled for October 2, 2006

[] Nintendo Wii “DISASTER DAY OF CRISIS (Disaster Day of Crisis)” September 25, 2006 release of a decision. Release from July 3, was postponed to undetermined. Rescue crews by the earthquake tsunami in the midst of an eruption of armed groups from the floods to save his sister. MONORISUSOFUTO development

Did anyone know about this event? I knew Nintendo normally holds a marketing conference for their stock holders each fall, but the promise of a Disaster Day of Crisis presentation makes this sound a bit more “hands on”. If only there was a public event during Q4 that Nintendo could attend in order to show off their software.

*cough* Tokyo Game Show*cough*October 9th-12th*cough*


Published on September 16th, 2008 under ,

Disaster: Day of Crisis to launch in Japan on September 25th


Nintendo has confirmed that Disaster: Day of Crisis is set to be released in Japan on September 25th. This confirmation comes just days after Nintendo of Europe released their announcement for an October 24th launch in the UK region.

September 25th?! Monolith Soft spends over three years developing this title just to have it released a mere three weeks from now? Where are the trailers, and promotional adverts? Either way this gives U.S. Wii owners more to consider when predicting a western release date. There’s a very good chance NoA could slip Disaster into the upcoming lack-luster holiday line-up without worries.

link, Poll

Published on September 4th, 2008 under , ,

Classic Commercials – Star Fox 64 – Japan


Japanese gamers sure love their rumble packs.

Published on August 24th, 2008 under ,

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