Ashwaubenon, WI

Jul 13 2003

Andy, one of the coolest guys I’ve ever known, sent me this care package of games to keep me busy while girlfriend Hiroko and roommate Jon and friend Peter were away in Japan. I’m going to paste in my impressions from the email I sent Andy shortly after receiving them (with helpful references to which game is which): This is the slowest day of work I’ve had since I was the lab attendant at St. Norbert on Saturday nights. I thought I’d tell you my first impressions of each of the games that arrived yesterday. These will be in the order I played them. Sakura Taisen mem card _(lower-left, pink case and pink card)_: seems slightly more compact than the Sony one. The pink label bits are inside the clear plastic so they’ll never get messed up. The stickers are very nice; I just hope that my writing doesn’t smudge on them. It’s understandable that they only had the six original girls, but I wish I could have had a Hanabi sticker for my 2nd mem card. The holder is cool and my PS1 card fits in there too, and I’ll probably use it from now on, even though there will rarely be any time that I actually need it. I can’t imagine when you would be carrying 4 memory cards but not carrying 4 games to put the cards in. Heh. Roommate Novel Satou Yuka_(upper-left)_: Paging through the manual I found something that, like photos of voice actors, will never appear in US game manuals: a sheet of stickers. It looks like some of them were made to fit on a VMU so I might stick one on there. I actually got pretty into the game before I realized that I should be trying out all the other games. I was kinda surprised by the novel format… I guess I knew when I saw the title kind of what it would be like, but it’s a lot better than I’d expected. I actually tried this one first because I thought I would like it the least (outside of Crazy Taxi, anyway). But the novel format doesn’t hurt it much at all. The voices and the art are quite good. It’s also interesting to have a gal game with only one main girl. It remains to be seen whether you’ll also be able to go after your female childhood friend, or whether she’s just support. It looks like this will be the game I try to get through first. It seems the most straightforward. Basically the idea is that you live out in the inaka, your parents are outta the country and you have the whole house to yourself, when a distant female relative arrives and asks to stay in your house for the summer. Then hijinks ensue. Moero! Justice Gakuen_(right-center, orange)_: It’s really nice to have a Justice Gakuen game on a recent system. The old games were fun but the graphics were pretty painful. Now the models look really smooth. It looks to have nearly as many options as Nekketsu Seishun Nikki 2 (the one game with the most options I’ve ever seen), but the high-school sim has been replaced by some sort of board game. Qiang says it’s his favorite game of all time, though, so it’s probably pretty high-quality. The new girl who fights with a violin is right up my alley. Kaen Seibo_(top-center-right, girl with outstretched arms on yellow)_: This seems to be the most grown-up game of them all. The opening song is pretty awesome, and the art is really nice. The game itself starts with many screens of difficult(visually and linguistically) green-on-black text. The game system itself looks really deep and interesting. I’ll probably save this one for later because it’s so involved. I think I’ll really like it though. Abarenbou Princess_(bottom-center, PS2 game)_: Tom showed me the first half hour of this game but I’d forgotten how cool it is. Its anime-like touches and little friendly touches are awesome. I was laughing out loud a lot at this game. You played through this already, yes? This will be a game that I’ll have to include in my Japanese game-demos for people, along with Rez, Ikaruga, and ST3. Roommate Novel Inoue Ryouko_(top-center-left, girl on white)_: I thought this was the earlier of the two Roommate games but research proved me wrong. So I’ll be starting with the other one. I didn’t spend a ton of time on this one because it was pretty much the same as the other but with a different story. It looks pretty good though. Shenmue II_(left-center, cream)_: Well, it’s pretty much Shenmue, except it’s in Hong Kong and it’s got a couple of updated features. I didn’t get too far into this one because I want to save it for when I’m really ready to dive in and get engrossed again. I’m sure it will be awesome. Yume no Tsubasa_(upper-right, girl on green)_: I was a little pissed at this game because it kept going to the next line of text faster than I could read it. Turns out there are two modes, one where you hit the button to advance and one where you just watch as the words go by. You can change modes on the fly, and you can change the auto speed too. This seems to be pretty much another visual novel, and it’s made by a company that seems to specialize in them. There is lots of omake and cool features like custom window colors, the ability to go back and read (and hear) all of the text in the game that you’ve seen so far, and more. They (KID) had some promotional stuff for their other games like Ever7 and Memories Off. If this game turns out to be awesome I’ll probably ask for those games too. Crazy Taxi 2_(lower-right)_: yet to put this one in. Maybe it was the excess of Crazy Taxi 2 promotional kiosks everywhere I went, but for some reason I don’t feel excited about this game. For 300 yen, though, you can’t go wrong. Not included in the email was Rez _(center)_, the PS2 version of which I already had. Hiroko picked up the Dreamcast version for me, and [hachi][1] bought my PS2 version. Awesome. [1]: