Saturday, May 02, 2015

Game Music: F-1 Dream (PC Engine)

As with most PC Engine games, this title has some freaking awesome music. Gets hard to hear with all the engine noise in the game, especially with the turbo on -

F-1 Dream on the PC Engine is an enhanced port of the arcade F-1 Dream. The arcade title featured F3000 and F1 racing but was otherwise straightforward. The PC Engine version features one-on-one street races in a Porsche coupe for cash. After races you can solicit mechanics to join your team and upgrade both your street car as well as race car. More expensive mechanics can perform higher spec upgrades to your race car. Depending on your performance you are also moved around to different teams featuring cars with different characteristics. Win the F3000 championship to move up to F1 and do it all again with more powerful and difficult to control cars.

A ton of fun and once you figure out the menus no knowledge of Japanese is required. Just the same, I would love to see a fan translation of the dialogue.

As for the music, the arcade version (which served as a base for the PC Engine soundtrack but was ultimately expanded upon) was composed by Manami Matsumae - most well known for creating the music for the first Mega Man game. She composed a ton of music for Capcom for games including U.N. Squadron / Area 88, Carrier Airwing (one of my favorite arcade games), and contributed to the music for 1943 Kai (my all time favorite shooter). The PC Engine version of F1 Dream (heard here) was expanded upon by Yoko Shimomura who has too many game music credits to list, including Street Fighter II, Live A Live, Super Mario RPG (one of gaming's greatest soundtracks ever), Parasite Eve, the Kingdom Hearts series, the Mario & Luigi series and tons more.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

The Truth About Third-Party Amiibo Sales

For anyone curious, I ended up selling a lot of five amiibo (Lucario, Ike, King Dedede, Sonic, Mega Man) on eBay for $140 as a best offer. I had multiple offers but the guy who ultimately won out was willing to negotiate and pay straight up. So this is why there's no real money in these amiibo scalpers...

$140.00 gross sale.

$14.00 eBay fee (10%) but no listing fee as I don't sell near enough to expend my free supply.
$5.76 PayPal fee (2.9% + $0.30) and an additional 1% currency conversion fee (that I get - which is a little douchey for that dude) due to the buyer being in Mexico although they have a US address.
$11.39 shipping (Priority was actually going to be over $40 due to dimensional weight - insane this year).

$108.85 net sale. Wow David, that's a lot of money! No, no, wait a minute...

Now factor in the cost of the amiibos, which was only as low as it was due to a total sale coupon and membership points coupon, at $53.78.

$55.07 profit. All that legwork for $50.

Without the coupons and discounts I had, it would have been $34.57 profit.

Granted, it's kind of like $50 for nothing, and I understand it's all about small margin - that's how all my eBay sales have been this year and in essence is my extra cash plan for 2015 - but it equates to $10 extra per figure - $7 per if I didn't have the savings at point of sale.

...and I get called a scalper sometimes.

Alternatively, I was able to snag an extra Lucario and Ike for a forum member. I sold them for $40, which means I made $8 on those two after fees and shipping and that's only because I had a 15% off coupon at point of sale - $4 bucks per figure. I guess you HAVE to sell hundreds upon hundreds of these on eBay to make any money.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Extra Bytes: StarLuster (X68000)

The amazing Sharp X68000 remake of the Famicom original StarLuster, better looking than even the later PlayStation remake.  StarLuster is widely considered to be the "first" true UGSF game as it takes place after the Bosconian War, although the UGSF really doesn't get widely mentioned until Star Ixiom, itself a sequel to StarLuster.  Star Ixiom of course featuring enemies and ships from Galaxian, Galaga, Bosconian, StarBlade and StarLuster.

For the couple bucks it will run you, StarLuster is one of the most addictive and enjoyable quick-play games you can get on the Famicom.  Shame it never had an NES release.

Friday, August 08, 2014

DAMN FINE Games You've Never Played #001: Star Ixiom

DAMN FINE Games You've Never Played #001: Star Ixiom

Only released in Japan and Europe on the PlayStation, Star Ixiom is a sequel / remake of Namco's first original Famicom title, Star Luster.  Star Luster is basically a clone of the old Atari VCS standby Star Raiders but steroids with more intuitive controls, special weapons, deeper strategy, and of course enhanced graphics.  Star Luster really is a spectacular piece of early Famicom software with a heavy challenge on the higher difficulty settings.  Star Ixiom pretty much established the early continuity of the UGSF as it links StarBlade (my all time favorite arcade game) with Galaxian and Bosconian (another of my favorite arcade games).

Check it out -

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sailor Moon Crystal is Losing Its Luster

Okay, as the rest of the anime world has been screaming about, some (slightly) new details have been released about the upcoming new Sailor Moon anime series.  Courtesy ANN...

I've posted the following in a few different places and I'm sure this will migrate over to shortly - not sure if I want to stick it in SSS and the Anime Archives or heck, how about in both, but here are my thoughts about this whole thing, from one of the early American moonies...

Two words: Not Impressed.  It's a reboot, it's a fucking reboot of the fucking worst season of Sailor Moon ever - the original Sailor Moon, along with Usagi's extra head shit from Sailor Stars.  Really?  That's the best they could come up with?  All those stories and characters across all that managa, anime, musicals, video games - and that's the well they decided to go back to - just straight up vanilla Sailor Moon?

Alright, time to calm down but, uh yeah, that's what it kind of seems like...

"Usagi Tsukino is a second-year middle school girl...  ...As a chosen guardian of justice, Usagi seems to have a mission to find the Illusionary Silver Crystal with the other guardians and to protect the princess...  ...the queen of the Dark Kingdom, Queen Beryl, also sends minions to the town where Usagi lives to obtain the Illusionary Silver Crystal... ...Can Sailor Moon really find the Illusionary Silver Crystal with the other Sailor guardians, and protect the princess…!?"

We all know the answer is yes.  Heck, she's holding the damn thing in the ONE OFFICIAL RENDERING that accompanied this information.  Hey guys, guess what, spoiler alert - SHE IS THE PRINCESS!

This is what cracks me up, "Producer Atsutoshi Umezawa said that it "is not remaking the previous anime, but adapting the original manga and starting from scratch again.""  Well considering the the original anime was fairly hitched to the original manga (for the most part) for the first season until it started to outpace Takeuchi's publication and had to become its own thing, re-adapting the original manga starting from the beginning means you're BASICALLY REMAKING THE ANIME there, Mr. Umezawa.

We all know the manga story, we all know the anime story.  The anime is what made Sailor Moon a worldwide media phenomenon.  That's what everyone fell in love with.  That's what crossed gender and genre lines to build one of the strongest and spend-ready fandoms of anything that really should have never grown as a big as it did.  Sailor Moon, worldwide at least, was the happiest of happy accidents.  So why redo that?  Why redo what we already all love?  What we already all know?  I smell Takeuchi's handiwork, someone who never really cared for the anime adaptations and even less the long shadow Sailor Moon cast over her other work, all over this as in "redevelop my original story or there will be no license."

Also, please drop the 20th anniversary label, at this point if there are no more delays this will be released to coincide with the 22nd anniversary.  On top of that, as I've said before, this is a Web release, so don't get too excited as it's sure as heck not going to be anything spectacular.  I would have much rather seen a new movie or another three films or something along those lines.

Don't get me wrong, I am looking forward to seeing something new.  I would have rather seen the story pick up after Sailor Stars or seen something based off the Super Famicom RPG Sailor Moon Another Story, which had a really cool concept that took place smack dab in the glory days of Sailor Moon in my opinion (Sailor Moon S).  So much could have been lifted from that and ran with.  However what I was hoping this new series would do most is get the honeypot of North American Sailor Moon anime rights stirring again.  I want to see all five series, and the specials, and the movies re-released in season-specific boxsets.  I want to not only see a possible redub by a localization studio like Funimation, but all the original English dubs also included as optional audio tracks.  Sailor Moon fans are strange as for a fandom that endlessly bashed the dubs for decades, they now mob the original VA's with praise and affection.  (For the record, Susan Roman is the only person who will ever sound right as Makoto Kino / Sailor Jupiter - even over Emi Shinohara, and that has always been my stance.  Susan Roman's voice work both gave life to and made me fall deeply in love with an animated character over 15 years ago, right up to this day.)

If one thing was proven with the manga re-release is that there was tons of money to be made and people were happy to buy the new editions in droves.  Friends of mine will recall that I was right on the money in predicting that the $500+ a full Mixx / TokyoPop Sailor Moon managa set used to go for would evaporate into almost nothing upon a manga re-release, ANY manga re-release.  There's tons of money being lost on second hand sales of Sailor Moon DVDs and sales of bootleg Sailor Moon DVDs and I truly believe it's not that the people buying them wouldn't spend for new releases, it's just that they have no other choice right now.  Sailor Moon, at least right now again, is a sure thing in the manga and anime industry.  I can see why some companies would be a little weary about the franchise as a lot of companies got left holding the bag in the late 1990's / early 2000's when the Sailor Moon licensing bubble burst.  However about 75% of the localization work is already done to re-release the entire anime series and all related productions in North America.  The hundreds upon hundreds people are paying for those old, haphazardly assembled (at least in the case of ADV) box sets are proof that Sailor Moon on DVD, at least for the foreseeable future, is a sure thing yet again.