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Archive for the ‘Editorial’ Category

Rest In Peace Kenji Eno

800px-KenjiEnoJI2

It takes a lot to motivate me to update this blog these days and it makes me especially sad that it takes something like a death to spur me into action. Tonight, I learned that Kenji Eno – best known as the designer of horror games D, D2 and Enemy Zero – died yesterday at the age of just 42. The news has been widely reported across the internet and is confirmed on the homepage of Eno’s development studio From Yellow To Orange.

Eno is only tangentially related to the Lovedelic school, having co-developed Newtonica with Kenichi Nishi, primarily creating the iPhone game’s soundtrack. He also went on to co-write a blog with Nishi over at one42.tumblr.com. But he’s a designer that fits right in with the likes of Skip, Vanpool et al. Existing on the fringes of the games industry, he always maintained an independent spirit that saw him move from esoteric horror games to quirky puzzlers like the recent WiiWare title You, Me And The Cubes.

I always felt as though Eno was a designer that defied expectation. You never knew what kind of game he would make next or if he would even return to game development at all – having left it a few times to pursue other art forms and disciplines. We have a definite answer, rather sadly.

Though Kenji Eno is perhaps best remembered for his brash and outspoken demeanor during the Sega Saturn era, I prefer to remember him as he was in recent years; a quietly creative designer who clearly had so much more to contribute to the medium. I honestly believe that You, Me And The Cubes was Eno’s best game yet and I was so looking forward to seeing what his unusual mind would think up next…

If you have the time, why not honour Eno’s life by playing one of his games?

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As you may have noticed, I’ve just uploaded a MASSIVE walkthrough for Captain Rainbow. This guide was originally hosted at NTSC-uk.com but as reader Robert S recently informed me, the site has now gone offline and taken the rather handy Captain Rainbow guide with it. NTSC-uk has recently re-lanuched, at ntsc-uk.co.uk and the staff hope to have all their content back up as soon as possible but, in the mean time, NTSC’s editor Charle Rodmell has kindly granted Lovedelic Life permission to host both this and the Giftpia guide. Thanks Charles!

The guides themselves were written by Jason Muir and are presented here in as close to their original form as possible. Jason can be found on the NTSC-uk message boards under the name of Importaku, and I implore you to head over there and thank him if you found either walkthrough helpful.

Finally the Captain Rainbow guide can be read here, while the Giftpia guide should hopefully be online tomorrow.

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As if I couldn’t find enough time to update this blog in an ordinary month, my personal life had to go and throw me such a curve-ball that it’ll be a while before I can commit any time to this place. When I do, however, it’ll be done right and I’ll actually run it the way I originally intended – as my thoughts on a very special group of games rather than just an obscure news site.

In the meantime, please enjoy the image above. I can’t remember exactly how or why I discovered it. All I know is that I found it on Facebook and it was drawn by a guy called Ryan Medlock. Does the main character look familiar?

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There’s been a double whammy of bad news this week for anyone who enjoys the games of Marvelous Entertainment. First it was reported that the Japanese publisher had sold off its 50% share in UK publisher Rising Star Games. And then came the even more worrying news of pay cuts across the board, including a whopping 77% cut for Marvelous CEO Haruki Nakayama.

This, I shouldn’t have to point out, is extremely worrying. For a company to take such drastic measures it must be hanging on by a thread, doing everything it can to stay in operation. It’s doubly worrying in this case, since Marvelous has been one of the few Japanese publishers to consistently develop and release genuinely interesting games – the sort of titles that have been championed on this very blog. No More Heroes, Little King’s Story and Muramasa: The Demon Blade are just a handful of the excellent games that have come from Marvelous and all made their way to UK shores via Rising Star. And it looks as though those types of games may soon become an endangered species.

Sure, Marvelous has managed to bail itself out of trouble this week and has retained an agreement with Rising Star so that the UK publisher can continue to release Marvelous games despite the two now being wholly separate entities. But if both companies are to survive, realistically, then they’re going to have to change the kinds of games that they release.

What do the three games mentioned above all have in common? They all sold very, very few copies. 470,000; 170,000; and 180,000 respectively according to VGChartz. Those aren’t sales figures that can support a big business like Marvelous and the company will have to make some huge changes to turn the situation around. Rising Star, meanwhile, will now have zero interest in keeping Marvelous alive now that it is no longer a part of the same company. So even if Marvelous does continue to create interesting niche games, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Rising Star will choose to localise them.

If anyone has some bright ideas on how Marvelous can continue to create niche games without going out of business then please let me know. Personally I see a dark vision of the future – it has fewer interesting videogames available and even fewer of those on British shelves.

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Sakura petsOk, I admit it. I’m just not that interested in Lovedelic games at the moment. My retro glands have been pumping LucasArts classics for the past two or three months, swollen with excitement at the new Monkey Island series. And it’s October, so I’ve been indulging in the big Christmas hits like Uncharted 2 while drooling over forthcoming software like DJ Hero, Assassin’s Creed II and New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

But who can blame me? There’s very little of interest going on in Lovedelic Land at the moment. Only Sakura Note seems to show any signs of life and, to be honest, I can’t get too excited about that at present. Fortunately, however, the lovely people at Tiny Cartridge have been doing a fine job of tracking Audio’s project on the new DS RPG and I heartily recommend that you check out their findings here.

Now then, I’ll have one more post for you today but then I’m off back to the PS3. 😉

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Well, folks. It’s been a hell of a long time since I last posted here and I really must apologise.

Sorry!

Where have I been? Well, I moved house back in the middle of July and didn’t manage to get the internet installed until this week. THANK YOU very much, Talk, Talk!

So what did this blog miss while I was away? A hell of a lot as it turns out. Here’s everything I can remember:

Welcome Home-Chibi Robo was released in Japan. I have my copy and I can confirm that it is a truly excellent game. It’s a lot like the GameCube version but with great touch controls and some lovely new gadgets. Sadly, I spoke to Nintendo a few weeks ago and they confirmed that there are no plans to release the game in the UK. Happily, however, it’s totally import friendly.

The new Tingle game – Color Changing Tingle’s Love Balloon Trip – was also released in Japan and has also been denied a UK release. My copy hasn’t arrived yet but, from what I’ve read, it seems to be quite a departure from the last game and is more akin to a point-and-click, consisting mostly of locked room puzzles.

Akira Ueda, longtime Lovedelic collaborator and creator of Contact, has announced a new DS game called Sakura Note. The official website has a few screens and some video footage that show off a rather unique art style, mixing 16-bit sprites with digitized photographic backgrounds. Hideo Minaba, who worked on Little King’s Story, is also developing Sakura Note.

Speaking of Little King’s Story. The rather brilliant Wii game has finally been released in the States and is about to be released in Japan, where it is being promoted in a typically wacky way.

Fans of the Art Style games should look forward to issue 89 of gamesTM, on sale at the end of October as, if everything goes to plan, it will feature an interview with several member of Skip about their popular DSiWare series.

And that’s about all I can remember. I’m sure there’s more I’ve missed but it’s been a busy couple of months. If I recall any other news then I’ll post it in the next few days.

In the meantime, I’d like to do something unusual and recommend a few non-Lovedelic games that I’ve been playing this summer. In the last two weeks I’ve been mostly playing Bionic Commando, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Professor Layton And The Diabolical Box, Blood Bowl, Wii Sports Resort, Machinarium, Tales Of Monkey Island and Space Invaders Infinity Gene.

If you have the chance to play any of these games then I suggest you do so. They’re all excellent in their own way.

Oh and look forward to Heavy Rain next year. I finally got a chance to play a little of it and I really do think it will change the way stories are told in games. Believe the hype, as they say.

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DSiWare is here

The DSi officially went on sale today in the USA and came out in Britain this last Friday. I picked one up straight away just to get my hands on the first wave of DSiWare titles.

DSiWare, for those not in the know, is Nintendo’s latest digital ditribution service that lets you download exclusive games straight to your DSi through a WiFi internet connection. Most of the games are designed to be bite size distractions from your biiger bodied cartridge games and are priced appropriately between two and five pounds each.

Why am I mentioning all of this? Because Skip has six Art Style games ready for DSiWare and some of them are available right now. America got Art Style Aquite today while Europe got Aquite plus Art Style Code on Friday. Four more – Picopict, Somnium, Hacolife and Nalaku – are already available in Japan and are expected to hit the rest of the world later in the year.

To encourage people to try DSiWare, Nintendo is rewarding all new DSi owners with 1000 free Nintendo Points as soon as they log on to the DSiWare Shop. That’s just enough to buy both new Art Style games (they’re 500 points each) and that’s exactly what I did this Friday. Here’s what I thought of the new Skip games… Which are both puzzlers, of course. 😉

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