Mario Strikers Charged for the Wii turns eight years old

Daisy has been waiting too long for a rematch

Daisy may be a Princess, but she carries herself knowing full well that she can completely dominate a heated soccer match against any challenger.

Rare is the Super Mario game that earns anything higher than the all inclusive E rating from the ESRB. It's been eight years since Next Level Games was able to accomplish such a daring task with the Wii title Mario Strikers Charged. Unlike the friendly rounds of golf and tennis the Mario party take part in, soccer in the Mushroom Kingdom is an unbelievably competitive experience. The intensity of the Strikers series is on par with the all out brawls of the Super Smash Bros.

The developers at Next Level Games' most recent release was the well received Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon for the 3DS. I hope that Next Level Games will get the chance to return to their sports game roots sometime in the near future, preferably with another soccer tournament involving the citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom, especially in a world with the Nintendo expanding DLC of Mario Kart 8.

Link leading a team of Stalfos with an octorok goalie fending off Bowser and his crew of dry bones? I'll pre-order that right now.

Remix of "Road to the Striker Cup" from Mario Strikers Charged (Football). A really awesome game!
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The tenth anniversary of the final Puyo release in the US

Looking back on 10 years since Sega's Puyo Pop Fever.

It's no secret that I love the Puyo Puyo series. After I was fooled into believing it was a Kirby game back on the SNES, I fell in love with the frenetic pace of the Puyo series (Known stateside as Kirby's Avalanche at the time).

Little did I know that some ten years later I would get an explosively colorful new iteration of the game by Sonic Team, back when those words meant something. This time, Puyo Puyo retained most of it's original name as Puyo Pop Fever when it was released for the Nintendo DS on May 3rd, 2005. Even littler did I know that this would be the final Puyo game in the US ever since. 

There have been plenty of Puyo games since 2005 by the way. I've imported a few of them. Unlike the incredibly niche audience the game has garnered in the west, Japan has celebrated the 15th and 20th anniversaries of the series with robust new outings. Recently Japan received a fusion of Puyo Puyo Fever and Tetris in one strange colorful package. I am still waiting for prices to drop a tad before I import that one. Why a floundering Sega refuses to port a ready made puzzler to the US market is hard to fathom, especially in a world now replete with downloadable puzzle offerings. Unfortunately, the consistent incompetence of Sega is movie worthy, so I won't get into it here.

As the Dreamcast slowly faded away, and with it the dreams of many gamers who fell in love with DC Sega games such as Jet Grind Radio, Chu Chu Rocket, and Space Channel 5. I think that the final game to escape that era of Sega and into the wild is the Puyo series re-imagining Puyo Pop Fever. The bright and colorful cast fits right in next to the protagonists of the aforementioned series. To drive the point home about this being the end of an era, The Dreamcast release of Puyo Pop Fever (Puyo Puyo Fever in Japan) was also the final Dreamcast game created by Sonic Team. 

Pour a little out for the Dreamcast.

As Sega's star fell, Puyo Pop Fever found itself ported to practically every system available in Japan at the time. Out of about a dozen different platforms, only the Gamecube and DS versions found themselves a release outside Japan. In fact, unlike the Sega published Gamecube release in 2004, the DS version of Puyo Pop Fever was published nearly a year later by Atlus.

I often wonder if this game had come out, perhaps three years earlier, at the height of the Dreamcast, would it have found the same niche audience that loves the Sega games of the era? 

Did you ever have the chance to play any version of the long running Puyo Puyo franchise? Do you think Sega should release another Puyo game outside of Japan?

Psychonauts 10th Anniversary Week ends, is a Psychonauts 2 possible?

I end this theme week with some questions. It seems that a Psychonauts 2 is almost inevitable, but is probably more of a rough concept rather than an upcoming game at this moment. Tim Schaffer has expressed interest in a sequel, but has also stated that acquiring the budget necessary to help a sequel reach its full potential is no small matter. We can certainly dream of the day Double Fine announces a sequel, hopefully within the next ten years.

As great a game as the original Psychonauts was, there were some issues with it. As with any sequel, there are plenty of possibilities as to what to add, change, or keep from the original. Video games have changed quite a bit in ten years, especially in regards to online. Would Double Fine address this in some way in a potential sequel?

The art above by Tomsleeps helps illustrate my point as well. Tom created concept art for a stage, or 'mind,' of his own design.

As fans of Psychonauts, what would you love to see added or updated were a sequel to come out this console generation. What console would you think the game would do best on?

Adventures of Lolo series turns 26 years old

HAL's classic trilogy celebrates over a quarter century of brain-twisting puzzles.

It's been a long time since Lolo and his girlfriend Lala found themselves as the stars of a video game, but old school NES fans could never forget room after room of challenging puzzles while those upbeat 2A03 chip sounds cheered us onward.

A few facts about the Adventures of Lolo series

  • The original Adventures of Lolo is actually a compilation of puzzles from HAL's puzzle series Eggerland
  • Due to the reused puzzles, Adventures of Lolo was never released in Japan, so when AoL2 and 3 were released in Japan, they were known as AoL and AoL2 respectively
  • The Japanese releases in the Adventures of Lolo series featured more difficult puzzles than the US versions.
  • According to Adventures of Lolo for Game Boy, series protagonists Lolo and Lala have had a child, Lulu.
  • The final game in the series was released in 1990, although the last time Lolo and Lala appeared in a game was HAL's 1996 SNES game Kirby Superstar. 

Take a moment and pay tribute to one of the classics that made the NES era so special by listening to former HAL composer Hideki Kanazashi's full Adventures of Lolo 3 soundtrack, in stereo.

Did you ever play the Adventures of Lolo series? Do you think Nintendo should dig this series out of the closet?

Psychonauts 10th Anniversary Week continues w/ MazeDude tribute 'Psychotic Censors'

A haunting rearrangement of Peter McConnell's theme 'The Censors Unleashed'

As with any great game, Psychonauts has inspired plenty of artists in its wake. One of those is MazeDude, a stellar musician and prolific video game remixer. Many of MazeDude's tracks are easily recognizable for the eclectic sounds and instruments used in them. His tribute to Peter McConnell and the Psychonauts soundtrack is no different. A driving piano centers an array of industrial sounds. The result is a dark journey through sound, very fitting of the more disturbing moments of Psychonauts.

MazeDude's track can be found both on the Bad Dudes album Zombies Rocked My Neighbors, and on OCReMix as remix #1638.

Did you consider Psychonauts a funny, or dark game? The game certainly had plenty of both in the variety of levels, sometimes at the same time. Do you think there are other video games that have the same mood and tone as Psychonauts?

Psychonauts 10 Year Anniversary Week begins with the original soundtrack

Reminiscing about psychic summer camp.

Every game Double Fine produces is always even better, and usually much stranger thanks to the jazz stylings of Peter McConnell.

Psychonauts certainly fits into many people's definition of strange. For exclusively console gamers, it was our first taste of the absurd humor and sharp writing of Tim Schaffer. It was also the first time consoles were graced with the music of Peter McConnell. The atmosphere and music of Psychonauts one of a kind, which can sometimes be a rarity in gaming.

Sit back and reminisce about your favorite moments from Psychonauts while listening to the original soundtrack to the now officially classic game (it takes ten years to become a classic game, right? I thought we agreed on this.)

Did you have the chance to play Psychonauts ten years ago? Do you think the game has aged well since it's release? 

3DS beat-em-up RPG Code of Princess turns two years old

Code-of-Princess-Lady-Zozo-d0man

The ambitious 3DS title celebrates another year.

Check out this impressive artwork of one of the many colorful protagonists of Code of PrincessLady ZoZo by d0man. Artist d0man really shows off the detail of the necromancer warrior, one of the main characters helping Princess Solange on her quest to destroy the evil that has taken over her kingdom. 

Considering the cult nature of the game, I don't run across art of it nearly as often as, say, Zelda or Metroid, or even Advance Wars. So when I do come across some incredible artwork such as this, I absolutely have to share it. Luckily, the game's anniversary gives me the perfect excuse to do so. 

Some facts about Code of Princess

  • Code of Princess Character design by Kinu Nishimura, famed artist for in game and promotional artwork for Capcom games such as the Street Fighter series and Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara
  • Developers included former Treasure developers Han and Masaki Ukyo, who worked on Treasure classics such as Mischief Makers, Gunstar Heroes and Guardian Heroes.
  • According to Code of Princess producer Yasuo Nakajima, a sequel could surface one day, as he states, "I want to develop a sequel to Code of Princess for core gamers..."

Have you played Code of Princess, and what did you think of the game? Any Treasure classics you would love to see a spiritual sequel to?

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 15th Anniversary Week Begins

Dawn of a New Day

Music Performed & Sequenced by
MAJORA PHILHARMONIC SOUND ORCHESTRA
Shoji Horikoshi,Masahide & Yumi,Masaharu Toyoda,
Keita Kikuchi,Katsuya Takahashi

Original Music Composed by
Koji Kondo,Toru Minegishi 

Guacamelee! Week continues with a Boss Theme chiptune mix

More art and music paying tribute to the Metroid inspired brawler.

The Guacamelee! game is one after my own heart. The developers at Drinkbox Studios seem to have handpicked some of my personal favorite pieces of culture, including lucha libre, Metroid, and a catchy horn filled soundtrack.

Some facts about Guacamelee!

  • Originally proposed as a 'pure' brawler' by Mexico born concept artist Augusto Quijano.
  •  Part of the "Sony Pub Fund" initiative, an exclusivity agreement with Sony for project funding.
  • Drinkbox Studios caused some minor outrage just after the game's release due to the inclusion of various memes and game references.
  • Created with a team no larger than 13 people.
  • Took 19 months to complete from original conception.

Guacamelee! Week begins with Santa Luchita (World of the Dead)

A week long tribute to DrinkBox Studios' indie game Guacamelee!

A wonderful mix of Mexican folk and thumping electronic beats kick off a week of posts in honor of Drinkbox Studios' Guacamelee!.

'Santa Luchita (World of the Dead)' is my personal favorite track from the Metroid influenced indie title. I haven't felt this day of the dead in a game since hearing the Grim Fandango soundtrack many years ago.

Guacamelee! officially turns two later this week, on April 9th. The game was originally released as a downloadable title for the Playstation 3 in 2013. Since then, the game has gone under a few new iterations, and found a home on a variety of available platforms.

Have you played Guacamelee!? Share some of your thoughts on the album and soundtrack in the comments below.

Virt Week begins with remixed music from Shantae: Risky's Revenge

To celebrate the upcoming birthday (April 3) of Jake Kaufman, an incredible video game musician and composer by any measurement, I'm counting down my three favorite virt tracks that I've heard throughout my years of covering VGM.

Number three on the list is from the Shantae: Risky's Revenge soundtrack, a song I first heard performed live a few years ago.

"Burning Town Forever Remix" is an intense chiptune dance track that encapsulates the vibrant fun of the Shantae series, This remix  is included as the final track to the Shantae: Risky's Revenge Original Soundtrack by Jake 'virt' Kaufman. The critically acclaimed DSiWare game was released on October 4, 2010. 

A few facts about Jake 'Virt' Kaufman.

  • Also composed the original Shantae for Game Boy Color (a very rare game that can now be found on ebay for over $200)
  • Credited in over sixty albums (via VGMdb)
  • The first WayForward title composed by Jake Kaufman is the Game Boy Advance game The Scorpion King: Sword of Osiris, released April 2, 2002.
  • Founded landmark video game music community VGMix website in 2000.

What are some of your favorite songs and soundtracks by Virt? Help celebrate by sharing them in the comments.

Listen to Modern Casino Night Zone from the Sonic Generations OST

When I first heard this remix on the 3DS version of Sonic Generations, I was completely enthralled by the Las Vegas casino big band vibe blasting from my speakers. This is one beautiful remix of music from my favorite classic Zelda game, of course, Sonic Generations on 3DS (much like it's DS predecessors) was pretty damn good too.

Original Music Taken From “SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2” (1992)
Composed by Masato Nakamura
Remixed & Sound Produced by Jun Senoue & Atushi “Sushi” Kosugi

Programming: Jun Senoue
Bass: Takeshi Taneda
Drums: Toru Kawamura
Wurlitzer Piano: Tommy Mandel
Trumpet & Horn Arrangement: Tony Kadleck
Tenor Sax & Clarinet: Charles Pillow
Trombone: Ryan Keberle
— Liner notes from VGMdb for the album SONIC GENERATIONS ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK: BLUE BLUR

Check out this drawing of Samus Aran by Tony Losoya

 Samus Aran by Tony Losoya 

I'm always a fan of short haired heroines (Kumatora comes swiftly to mind) so I am a big fan of this interpretation of Metroid's Samus Aran with a more practical haircut. I hadn't considered it before now, but all that hair inside that helmet can't be comfortable. Then again, perhaps the Chozo have long since mastered the ability to keep long hair out of their face.

Listen to metal Super Metroid tribute Intergalactic Warrior by Hyde209

Possibly my favorite track from the 2013 release Super Metroid Memories. The album is a must have for any Super Metroid fan, there's nothing more to say than that. Just bang your head to this metal monstrosity.

Listen to Final Fantasy VII hip hop mashup 'Aerith's Airplanes' by Tovarisch!

Some mashups just fit the mood of both the original song and game so well, and much of the music from Tovarisch! is just that. Aerith's Airplanes is a mix of B.o.B.'s nostalgic track Airplanes along with the somber music of Aerith's Theme from Final Fantasy VII from the PSX.

Listen to the full F-Zero Original Soundtrack

Are you at work? On the bus? Perhaps planning to read some internet comments. All of these things will be made not just bearable, but awesome once you start listening to the F-Zero soundtrack.

F-Zero (1991) was developed and published by Nintendo. The soundtrack was composed by Yumiko Kanki and Naoto Ishida. 

Thank you X (http://www.youtube.com/davidr64yt) for introducing me to this amazing soundtrack!

Listen to Nothing out of the Ordinary (Same Character Theme) from GUILTY GEAR XX in L.A VOCAL EDITION

I am not ashamed (too much) to claim that Guilty Gear Live in L.A. is one of my favorite albums across the board. One of the many stand out tracks includes this vocal rendition of the song that plays when two players choose the same character.

With lyrics like, "How you gonna feel, when I punch your face?" calling this anything besides the ultimate fight song would be an understatement.

Game: Guilty Gear
Album: Guilty Gear in L.A Vocal Edition
Song: Nothing out of the Ordinary (Same Character Theme)
Composer(s): Jay Gordon, Kinya Sawaguchi, Koichi SEIYAMA, Matt Zane, MIKE, FIJT

All copyright to Arc System Works.