Archive for the ‘Vanpool’ Category

This interview with the Paper Mario Sticker Star team reveals that Vanpool had some involvement in the development of the 3DS Mario RPG. Specifically, it was Taro Kudo (game designer on Moon) who wrote the story to Sticker Star.

Kudo worked on the Super Nintendo’s original Mario RPG while at Squaresoft and in this interview he talks about the similarities between the two while also claiming that “game’s certainly not aimed at children.” He may be right. In this Eurogamer review, writer Rich Stanton talks about a scene in Sticker Star in which “Birdo swings in and out of the screen while singing a little ditty about how it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman” which kind of ties Paper Mario: Sticker Star to Captain Rainbow.


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Moon translation rebooted
A few people have been in touch to tell me about this, as far back as last October, but I’ve been a little bit distracted – not least by the fact that I no longer have the net at home. But enough about my problems… It seems that while this old Moon translation stalled, a new one is making much better progress. Actually, it looks as though the person doing the hacking is the same as on the new Captain Rainbow team. A good sign. And the person writing the translation is none other than Steve Martin. An even better sign. 😉

3DS e-shop delivers Lovedelic related games
If you have a 3DS then get yourself online and have a look at Freakyforms: Your Creations Alive! and Dillon’s Rolling Western.

The former is a rather ingenious little platform game that combines user generated content with Animal Crossing style fetch quests. It’s made by Hiroshi Moriyama the co-director of Chibi-Robo and has a similar feel in the way its world’s horizons gradually expand. There’s even a nice Chibi reference in there – remember the way a tin pan would randomly land on Chibi-Robo’s head when he tried to recharge? Well the joke is used again here. Maybe we can consider it a Moriyama meme in the same way Kenichi Nishi’s dog appeared in most of his games. If you have time then watch this Iwata Asks video with Motiyama, in which he explains Chibi-Robo’s influence on Freakyforms.

Dillon’s Rolling Western, meanwhile, was co-developed by Vanpool and only recently went live on the e-shop. I haven’t tried it yet for a couple of reasons – I don’t really care for tower defense games, and I’m low on cash – but I’d like to check this out purely because of Vanpool’s involvement. Dillon’s Rolling Western was announced a long time ago now so Nintendo has at least taken the time to polish it up. If you’ve played it then do let me know what it’s like in the comments below.

New Little King’s Story nearing release
Did I mention there’s a sequel to Little King’s Story? Whatever, it’s on its way to PlayStation Vita at the end of March (in Japan) and seems to be largely the same game but with a slightly more mature art style. What’s unclear is whether any of the original staff are involved. I don’t believe Yoshiro Kimura is and the permanently closed Cing certainly isn’t. The game is published by Konami and developed by the recently merged MarvelousAQL so I’m not sure if this strictly counts as ‘Lovedelic Life’ game. I’m sure it’ll still be a great game though, and if I had a Vita I’d definitely play it. A UK release was announced some time ago through Konami, though a firm release date is yet to be set.

Yasuhiro Wada forms new studio
Back when Harvert Moon (and Little King’s Story) creator Yasuhiro Wada left Grasshopper Manufacture, he went quiet for a little while. Now he’s on the scene again with a new studio called Toybox. The studio’s slogan is “We are gaming for Love, Peace and Earth”, which as a few people have noted is very Lovedelic. Yoshiro Kimura, a longtime Wada collaborator, left Grasshopper around the same time, so I assumed that he may also be involved with Toybox. But I’m told he isn’t. Nevertheless, I look forward to seeing what this studio comes up with.

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Thanks to Quinton A. Klabon who got in touch this weekend to draw my attention to this Japanese edition of Iwata Asks, focused on Wii Remote Plus: Variety Pack – better known in the western world as Wii Play: Motion. Why is it of interest to you? Because the mini-games in this variety pack were developed by a clutch of Japan’s finest boutique developers, including both Skip and Vanpool as well as Prope, Feel Good Inc, Chunsoft, Mitchell and Arzest – all brilliant studios with some excellent games under their belts, and apparently selected by Nintendo to bring some of their own identity as creators to the Wii Play: Motion project.

The interview features contributions from Jun Taniguchi of Vanpool and Keita Eto of Skip, who reveal that they developed the mini-games Umbrella Rider (Vanpool) and Pose Mii and Balloon Drifting (Skip). Of the three, Umbrella Rider seems to be the most fun and may even be the pick of the bunch if the trailer (below) is anything to go by. So well done Vanpool!

It’s difficult to make out exactly what they’re saying through Google translator, so hopefully this one will be translated for the US or UK version of Iwata Asks soon as the story behind the collaborative development of Wii Play: Motion seems pretty interesting. Like many I’d dismissed Wii Play: Motion as yet another watered down party game for a console that’s quickly running out of compelling software. It may still be that, of course, but I’m now much more likely to check it out.

Of course, it’s just a relief to hear that these two studios are still working. Neither of their websites give much indication of any activity these days – Skip’s hasn’t been updated in over two years! – and I was beginning to get worried. In fact, not only are they alive and well but it seems they’ve been more productive than first thought. The information in this Iwata Asks has revealed to me that Skip managed to sneak a game out last year without my knowledge – it’s a WiiWare game called Penguin Life and actually got a US release under the (frankly rubbish) name of Snowpack Park. Looks like I need to get downloading!

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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.


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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Picture 1Kotaku has a nice little report about the new Tingle games, including some fantastic Famitsu scans.

Game number one is a full sequel to Freshly Picked Tingle’s Rosy Ruppeland, this time called Color Changing Tingle’s Love Balloon Trip. The theme this time, it seems, will be love. So instead of greedily scouring the world for money he’ll be looking for a life-partner. I use this non-gender-specific term intentionally, of course, because of the general assumption that Tingle is gay. Preview images for the new game suggest that Nintendo will be setting the record straight by setting him up with a string of attractive women but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a hunky man-shaped twist toward the end of the game. This is a Tingle title, after all, and it’s bound to have some risque element to it… Unless the game has been specifically designed to break America by nixing the one problem that most yanks seem to have with the character.

Game number two, meanwhile, is less expected but no less welcome. It’s a DSiWare title appropriately named Too Much Tingle and seems to be a wacky collection of mini-games and utilities. There’s a fortune teller, a stopwatch, a calculator, a coin toss and, weirdly, a dancing marionette. Each one comes with its own unique twist, like the calculator that is designed for men and women to split the bill for their meal… And not necessarily equally. 🙂

Those of you who own a Japanese DSi will be pleased to hear that Too Much Tingle is already available for 500 Nintendo Points. The rest of us will have to wait for confirmation of a worldwide release.

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Picture 1As many of you are no doubt aware, a new Tingle game has been announced by Nintendo and already has a teaser website that you can view here. While details are scarce, we do know that the game is heading for the DS and that, going by the illustration style, it is likely to be a sequel to Freshly Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland. No idea if Vanpool is the developer but the familiar art style, and the fact that the studio hasn’t produced a new game in ages, suggests they will be. We should know more on Thursday when Nintendo launches a a trailer for the game.

And in other news: I received an email from Yoshiro Kimura (designer of Little King’s Story) this weekend saying that he and Kazuyuki Kurashima are fans of Lovedelic Life. Aptly enough, Kurashima is actually the voice of Tingle as well as the monster designer on Rupeeland and LKS.

Kimura and Kurashima, Lovedelic Life extends a hearty Kooloo-Limpah! to you both!

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Picture 3 While idly browsing a few websites today I came across an interview with Vanpool at Nintendo’s official Tingle website. It’s quite old now but I thought this Q&A might be of some interest to fans of the game. It gives a little insight into the development process, the future of the brand and how Tingle was distanced from the Zelda series, which he actually originates from.

And while we’re on the topic of Vanpool. Did you know they did the sounds for Little King’s Story? Thanks to Quinton A. Klabon for sending the credits video that reveals the little nugget of info. Skip to 08:13 to avoid ending spoilers.

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