Saturday, April 30, 2005


Well after being on backorder for a little while, my JVC component switcher finally turned up at work yesterday. Also know as the JX-66 AV Selector, it’s quite a nice looking unit that can be positioned horizontally or vertically thanks to the included base. Also because it’s a passive switcher this little baby will also do HD signals up to 1080i, which I don’t need right know but it’s useful later on.

It’s a nice solid unit, with 3 component inputs and 1 output, all gold plated, so non of that silver shite. It has 3 nice solid switches on the front to select the input, and works a treat. I currently have my DVD player and Gamecube running though it, great quality with no signal loss at all, you would hope so as well because this thing runs about $130, and it’s just a basic switcher.

Top picture is the selector sitting atop my JPN PS2, so you can sort of get and idea of it's size.

This is the selector in all it's retail packing glory, ohh shiny.

And this is how I currently have mine set up, it just saves a bit of room and is eaiser is to place somewhere.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Long Weekend x 2

Another long weekend is upon us, that is if you happen to work in Queensland anyway. It’s great having an extra day, just to savor those games you really want to spend some quality time with, and what better games than Initial D: Special Stage and Beatmania IIDX9. I really have to say that Play-Asia fucking rock when it comes to delivering the goods, I only ordered those two games last Thursday and they arrived midday yesterday. They really are the guys for any import needs, and the shipping is cheap as well. I was only $6 to get those two games shipped in a small cardboard box with the games also wrapped in bubble wrap.

I didn’t get to play a great deal of each game last night as I spent a fair bit of time fiddling with the goddamn PS2 just to get it to read the Initial D disc. But once it did I finally got to experience the goodness that is Initial D Special Stage. Since I’ve never played the arcade version it’s all new to me, but I instantly fell in love with the game. I can really see why people are always on about it, it’s just feels so solid. The only thing that pissed me off was that there is no optical out put for the game, it’s been disabled. I read that it was to stop people from ripping the soundtrack, but you can just rip the goddamn CD’s so it makes no sense. So apart from not having surround sound for this game everything else is great. I’ll write some further impressions later.

Also with Beatmania, it’s been so long since I’ve played the series that I’m really out of practice. Plus I’m starting to think that you really need the IIDX controller to play this game, because at the moment with 7 keys it’s really difficult with the standard dualshock 2 controller. I’ll give it a few more goes, and see if I get any better. Using the controller with 5 keys used to be easy, but with 7 it just get confusing as hell.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Thanks to the long weekend I managed to get some decent game time in and finish a couple of games. I finally got to the end of Metal Gear Solid 3, and ended it with a Shark ranking. I don’t know how the hell you can have a negative experience with the game, it’s not overly long, it’s not insanely hard, it’s just a great action game. It has some awesome cut scenes in it, and the story isn’t as bazaar as some other games. I can’t recommend enough, even if you disliked MGS2, this one really takes it back to that original MGS feeling on the PSX.

Apart from the odd bit of Katamari Damacy, the other game that I got around to finishing was Disgaea. I’d put over 45 hours into the game but just never completed the final chapter, I decided on the weekend that I might as well spend the little time needed to complete it. It took longer than I thought, because it was like 2 chapters in one, making something like 10 battles, and a shit load of cut-scenes. It ended up being a bit of a slog, and at the end I was kind of glad I’d finished it. When I fisted started playing Disgaea I really loved it, now for some reason now I’ve just had enough. God knows if I’ll ever get around to finishing Phantom Brave or La Pucelle Tactics, maybe once I’m back in the mood. Though for some reason I’m still interested in Namco X Capcom, maybe because it’s different and a change from Nippon Ichi’s SRPG’s.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

La Same

After playing though Katamari Damacy and finishing it, then playing it again some more, I decided to check out La Pucelle Tactics today. It’s been sitting on my shelf for a while now, so I thought it was about time I actually played it.

As with most of Nippon Ichi’s SRPG’s it takes some time to get used to the new game system and it’s pretty much the same with La Pucelle Tactics. The battle system is pretty much the same as Disgaea, where you dispatch you characters to defeat the enemy. Also similar to Disgaea’s geo system is that La Pucelle has a dark energy system which can be altered, and then destroyed to produce powerful combos, and while it’s not overly complicated it does take some time to get used to.

Where as Disgaea and Phantom Brave allowed you to create characters, it seems La Pucelle required you to “Purify” monsters who once defeated will join you team and battle for you. With these monsters you can then train them and build their stats to create powerful aids in battle, none of which I have gotten into yet.

One thing that is quite good is that like Disgaea you can use characters close together produce combination attacks on an enemy. Also the counter attack system is quite good and allows for some decent extra damaged to be dealt even when it’s not your turn. Though one thing that I’m still undecided about is how the battles are played out. Instead of you character just attacking on the battlefield, the game fades to a separate close up of the action and it plays out from there. It’s all well and good, and looks nice, but takes so goddamn long to go from Battlefield to Fight Sequence and then back to the Battlefield, especially when it happens several times.

So far of what I’ve played the game seems very similar in style and gameplay to Disgaea and isn’t anywhere as hard as either Disgaea or Phantom Brave. Maybe it’s just me, but La Pucelle Tactics just seems to be more of the same, which is great if you’re a fan, but I think I’m just loosing interest. Especially as the cut scenes seem to take forever and are very slow. I might play further into it and see if it grabs me, but I really don’t know, maybe some other time.

I’ve got Initial D and Beatmania IIDX9 arriving next week so I’ll post up some info on those. Can’t wait to get into Beatmania again, it’s been quite a while.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


From the strange and surreal Japanese opening to the fee flowing game play, Katamari Demacy takes gaming back to its very simple roots. It’s so simplistic in it’s approach that it has become revolutionary in a sea of gaming boasting a larger more complex experience.

Katamari might not have the greatest looking graphics, or the latest 5.1 audio integration. However what it does posses is an element missing from so many games these days. It’s not that games these days aren’t great, it’s just Katamari contains such colourful, refreshing and enjoyable gameplay it’s hard not to be capture by its charm. Everything in this game simply adds to the enjoyment factor of it, most notably the simply rendered yet brightly coloured items that give the game it’s classically enchanting style. Even each of the little sound effects from each item that you acquire into your ever amassing ball is always amusing.

Every time I boot this game up, the intro and the music always bring a smile to a face, it’s just pure fun, it’s what gaming is all about. It’s funny how the most basic games are always the ones you enjoy the most.

I’m still a little dark with Namco and their decision not release Katamari in any of the PAL territories, it really is a game that so many people can enjoy, it just has such ridiculous potential. Though it hard to stay mad at Namco, they release far too many quality titles. However they have said that they are going to release the sequel to Katamari in PAL territories which is great news for everyone who hasn’t experienced the game yet.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Pure Content

So because I have a Japanese copy of Wipeout Pure, I managed to grab the new downloadable content everyone is going on about. But it wasn’t without the usual saga. Because I don’t have wireless here, I sometimes let’s say “acquire’ it form a neighbor who runs an unencrypted connection. Now I know it’s wrong, but it’s just there, my laptop loves it and I use it just to surf, no crazy torrent business.

So anyway the connection is usually pretty weak from it, and the PSP doesn’t like weak connections at all, it won’t load the pages or just stops responding. So after fiddling around, I decide to wander outside to try and receive a better signal. Sure enough the PSP loads the pages, and lets me start to download the content. No I didn’t realize that this Gamma Pack 1 was 3.7 megs, so I end up sitting on the drive, in the dark watching as the progress bar fill for this download. It’s quite strange sitting outside on a quiet clear night, as the wireless light on the PSP flashes away as it receives the data, and also the blinking of the orange memory stick light as stores the data from the wireless.

So after about 10 minutes I have the download. I get back inside and check out what it’s added and I’m pleasantly surprised. Gamma Pack 1 adds a few new things. First of all a new Skin called Piranha, which is a red background colour with yellow highlights, and looks the business. Next is the new team Tigron, a fairly chunky looking ship but with some decent specs and goes quite well. Finally the new Class named Gamma and the new track Staten, this is now my favorite track as it so fast and smooth and has many nice sweeping corners.

La Pucelle Tactics also arrived today but I’ve not had time to check it out yet, I will do in the next few days and write up some impressions.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Quite Fast

Usually with a game you expect it to have a fairly decent learning curve and most do. Wipeout Pure does poses this, but then proceeds to kick you square in the balls with it’s god all mighty setting, and I’m only walking about the third unlocked class. Once you unlock this class of supposed “real racing” you know just where you stand. Flash class is where Wipeout really becomes a Wipeout title. Suddenly every corner is coming at you before you know it and the AI craft just want to annihilate you. What’s really scary is that there is another class to unlock after this; I have no idea how insane the speed would be. Though as with these types of games, it’s all about practice. Once you know the track is just getting used to the rapid speed increase lavished on you by each class upgrade.

A friend of mine came round yesterday, and because he’s soon to sell his Xbox he gave me his copy of Gunvalkyrie. Everything I ever read about this game is that the controls are bad, that’s it, every comment. No one ever seems to point out just how rubbish the game itself is. I can handle the controls, there not that bad, mealy awkward. What I didn’t like in time I spend with it is just how awful everything seems to feel. I read once that this game was actually designed for the Dreamcast and to be used with the light gun, but because of the DC’s demise the ported it to the Xbox and gave is some piss poor controls. I’m a huge Sega fan, but this game is just a uninspired level crawl.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Very Pure

My copy of Wipeout Pure arrived today, and so far I’m extremely happy with it. So far I’ve only played through the first Tournament and look at a few of the other modes, but even with that this game really is another feather in the PSP’s growing cap.

The first thing you notice is that a lot of time has been put into the presentation of the game, it’s very clean and it really helps to convey the Wipeout style that was presented to gamers many years ago by The Designers Republic.

Music is also in the standard Wipeout vein with tunes from many a electronic artist in their, if you’re an electro fan your sure to recognize some of the names listed. Being a huge electro/techno fan I love the music throughout the Wipeout series, this one being no different.

One of the elements that concerned me most of all was how well the handling was, however, it’s solid. Cruising around tracks, taking corners using the air brakes or using speed boots are all a joy due to the study handling of the craft in the game. The gameplay is the usual Wipeout fan fair, race around a track and use the available weapons you pick up to destroy your opponents. The weapons are pretty much the same as other games in the series, and provide the usual tactical advantage when used well. Everything just seems to have the right feel to it, from the weapons and their explosions, to the craft and the tracks.

The track designs are quite interesting, usually requiring you to really concentrate on what you are doing most of the time. Otherwise you will consequently find yourself going off the edge of some tracks or smacking into a wall at top speed. However there are many excellent fast sections of track, and many great corners that chain together.

There is also plenty do within the game. With countless new items to unlock and many, many gold medals to be collected, it will surly take up some time.

Of what I’ve played so far, it’s not a hard game; you know usual leaning curve crap and all. After you played the tracks once, you’ll blitz them the second time.

I picked up the Japanese version, you’re probably wondering why, especially since I would have gotten the US version cheaper and also earlier. Well to be honest, I really don’t like the cover art of the US version. The other thing is all my other gamer are JPN versions so why not keep it that way. Plus the Japanese version of Pure has an English option so it works out great.

Wipeout Pure Japanese Box

Wipeout Pure Japanese Box Inside (The UMD is in the PSP, Sorry!)

Thursday, April 14, 2005


So the JPN PS2 that I bought from eBay finally arrived, and lo and behold it doesn't work 100%. I've only tested DVDs on it so far, and they are hardly a benchmark for this type of thing, regardless it just didn't want to participate in my little trial. So I had the bloody thing apart and tweaked the laser height, it will now play most things fine, with it still being picky about certain things. So today I just decided to order Katamari Damacy and see if the unit will actually play games, which at the end of the day is what I bought the unit for in the first place. I'm sure with a little tweaking it will be fine.

It also seems I might have jumped the gun with the info about La Pucelle Tactics. I went into EB tonight and the "magically" had it in stock, so I have no idea what is going on there. So if you still after it, try hitting up your local EB, that is if you can stand the hordes of the great unwashed that frequent there these days.

My copy of La Pucelle Tactics shipped today, so hopefully I’ll put up some impressions of it next week. I should have Wipeout Pure for the PSP soon also, since it shipped about a week ago and I’ve yet to see it, hopefully tomorrow.

Also a nice picture of my PS2 in bits, Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Import Thing

Sorry for the late post, I've been fiddling with a wireless connection for the past few hours. It's not mine; I'm just playing with it.

I’ve been trying to decide recently what import games to pick up for my new JPN PS2 that should arrive this week sometime. I’ve got to pick up something to test it with first of all because I don’t actually own any JPN PS2 games. There are a few titles that I basically bought this import machine for, which are: Initial D: Special Stage, Beatmania IIDX and Katamari Damashii. The problem is it’s quite hard to buy Initial D or Katamari without them being from “The Best” collection, which is basically the “Platinum” range in Japan.

It’s just I now have this “thing” about owning “Platinum” or “Classic” titles, even though I do, I just don’t’ want to buy anymore of them. I even went out of my way no to buy the “Gamers Choice” for the Gamecube, and I’m glad that I did. I can get hold of Initial D from eBay so I might go with that. The other thing is I may end up just buying “the best” of hard to find titles, it’s less effort and also a fair bit cheaper.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


As I said I was going to in a previous post, I took on the task of re-cabling all my gear today. It was a bigger job than I thought and ended up taking me more time than I had initially anticipated. Because I moved some of my gear around to make it easier to cable, I then had to cut two extra holes in the back of my TV cabinet. Then the task of moving things around and all the cabling just seemed to take up a fair amount of time. Though it's all done now and looks a damn sight better, except for my poor VCR which has been relegated to the floor because of lack of space for it. Anyway here are a few pics of it all.

This here is one of the god awful before pics, I'm kind of ashamed that I let it get this bad. It was mainly due to the location of the switcher and the DVD player that all the cables ended up crammed into such a small area. This thankfully has now been remedied by moving said devices.

This is another before pic of everything, it's not too bad but it certainly isn't great to look at, and there is just stuff everywhere. This is with the TV cabinet pulled quite a way out, it usually looks ten times worse because everything is all push together.

More of before, this time with everything unplugged and just tossed into a pile, this all got sorted out shortly after.

This is the end result, with the TV cabinet back in it original position and everything tied up. Some cables are mounted onto the back of the TV cabinet with little release clips, just to keep things tidy. I use cable ties for most things, I know some people use those velcro cable ties, but I find they are more suited to large groups of cable. I know cables ties can be a pain because you have to cut them off, but I just prefer them.

This is just another after pic, it's how the first picture now looks. There are quite a few power supplies there, I have no idea what to really do with those. Also the cables to the left are for the Gamecube, they will get hooked up when I get my component switcher.

That's pretty much it. I know it might seem strange to put so much effort into something like this, especially as no one ever sees behind the TV anyway. But it's just something I like to do, it also makes it much easier if I need to remove anything or pull out a cable later on.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

3 Cans Maximum Per Day

Another long strange week draws to an end, thank Christ for that. Not as strange as last week, but I still think my lack of sleep at times affects my daytime awareness level. Good old RedBull, always there when I need it, this blog should really have a little button saying "Powered By RedBull".

I mentioned a couple of posts back that La Pucelle Tactics is getting a release next week. Well I went to pre-order it in EB Thursday night, only to discover that it's listed in the computer, but as discontinued, meaning EB aren't going to stock it?! Yes I know, possibly due to the bad sales of Phantom Brave. But hey, EB's loss is DVDCrave's gain, as they now have my pre-order. DVDCrave have it listed for the 15th, so I'm guessing that's the correct release date.

Though one good thing did come out of going to EB, I got a free Gundam Seed 1:144 injection kit model. It's just a little cheap kit, but it was free! I've put these thing together before and they always look like arse just plain, even though they are colour moulded, but with a bit of additional work and paint they turn out great. I'll put some pics of it up soon, I've only done some basic painting to it at the moment.

One last thing. I finally, after quite a long search, managed to pick up a Japanese PS2. Well it's really the Asian release, which is an NTSC-J model with a 220-240v power supply, so no step down converter! It cost me just over $100 from eBay which I thought was quite good, I've been wanting one for quite a while but didn't want to pony up the cash for a new one. So I can now, after so much time check out Initial D and the new Beatmania IIDX series.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Cable Nightmare

Recently I’ve been noticing the mass of cables behind my TV cabinet, and it seems to be getting steadily worse. At first they were all nice and neat, tied up and run properly, but as I’ve added new things and moved devices about it’s really gotten out of hand.

So I’ve decided that I’m going to finally re-cable it this weekend. I was going to wait until my new JVC component switcher was in but it’s on backorder and could be a while, and every time I see the mass of cables now I get the urge to pull it all out and start over.

I’ll post some pics of what it looks like now and a few of it when it’s done, just for the sake of it, plus you get to see my cabling skills are any good.

On the gaming side of things, I finally managed to spend some more time with Metal Gear Solid 3, and it’s still holding my interest. For some reason I really love the cut scenes, at time I just can’t wait to see them to see how the story is going to unfold and the action in them is fantastic. Also I’ve noticed that the handgun is really accurate, or that I’m just really good at getting headshots. Either way there is some immense satisfaction in stealthy picking off 3 guards.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

That Time Of The Year

I rocked down to Harvey Norman with my sister on the weekend after getting word that they had a few games on sale. It was pretty much just the usual rubbish no one wants, however I did manage to pick up a copy of Toe Jam & Earl: Mission To Earth on Xbox, as it was just a tenner.

Even though I’m a Sega fan and owned a Mega Drive, I never played either of the original Toe Jam & Earl games, I know blasphemy. So I can’t really compare the remake to the classic games, but it’s not half bad. It’s your usual 3D platformer collectathon, so it get a little repetitive after a while. The humor in the game is pretty decent and keeps it kicking along for a while, and it also looks quite tasty.

I’ve been watching some new anime recently, I sort of delve in and out of it every now and then, seems to be that time of the year. Anyway, out of the latest few that I’ve picked up one really stood out. Samurai Champloo is the latest series from the creators of the excellent series Cowboy Bebop. Samurai Champloo is, at its most basic level, samurai action set to hip-hop music. It’s been quite a while since I’ve watched an anime and then check to see when the next volume is getting release. Samurai Champloo is such a well produced anime and carries so many of the traits that made Cowboy Bebop so great, that it’s simply a must see for any anime fan.

I also picked up Volume 3 of Ghost in the Shell: SAC it's pretty decent, more of the same and with some continuation of the laughing man story. Volume 4 is also out this month, so if your a GiTS fan check it out.

I also picked up Paranoia Agent, though I've only watched the first episode. It's very strange and quite slow moving. It's quite well done though with decent animation and fairly interesting story, but Boogipop Phantom springs to mind when watching it. I don't know if I could handle watching too much of it in one sitting. So far it seems it's about a string of attracts on people late at night when they are alone. The attacks are committed by a young boy with rollerblades and a baseball bat, that even the victim doesn't really see. In all truth I bought it because I love the front cover of volume one, and the box is also quite cool. I'll watch the rest and see how it goes. Volume 2 of it is out this month so I'll probably pick it up, I'm kind of committed now.

Also I’d forgotten that La Pucelle Tactics is getting a PAL release soon, it’s out on the 12th of this month, so get your pre orders in.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Hardcore Boss Style

After completing DMC3 I can say that it wasn't as enjoyable as I thought it was going to be, there are by far way too many boss battles and the levels at times just seem so short and pointless. They are at times just designed to lead to another boss. However when you are fighting enemies though out the game, it's great. The moves and combos you can pull off make for some great gameplay. Like wise the battles against Virgil are also one of the highlights of the game. It's not a bad game when you consider the puzzles, secret missions and overall style and gameplay. It just seemed like such a slog at times, and just boss after boss, gets a little repetitive. Though the bosses themselves are quite good, and the fights interesting so I'll give it that.

I think I might try and complete MGS3 next as it was getting quite good up to where I stopped playing.

I noticed that Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is now available, though I think I'll leave this for the moment. I'm not too concerned with it even though I do like the Splinter Cell series. The thing I know I'll be able to pick it up in a few weeks for just fifty, so I'm fine with waiting for now. Plus I don't know if I can handle any more stealth action at the moment.