I have plenty more to post right here on GameLuv about Drihoo soon but I simply couldn’t pass up the plug for this post from Time Extension since I’m in it! I spoke to the new retro site about the game and my translation but the angle that’s probably most interesting to a wider audience is its connection to the Soulsborne games. It’s a revelation that I never would’ve had if I weren’t slogging through the twenty year old game and digging up archives of pre-release material, including some commentary from co-designer and director, Kaikō Arima.
Arima would move over to FromSoftware shortly after Drihoo’s release where he’d go on to touch just about every Demon, Dark, Bloode, Elden title they’ve made since. I started out thinking Drihoo was just clunky and old but I came to see some tangible connections between what it was doing and what Arima would eventually bring to the Soulsborne games.
If you’d like to read a little more about all of that, Time Extension’s Damien McFerran whipped up a great piece based around my email exchange with him and John Szczepaniak who clued me in to the ability to translate the game in the first place. There’s a lot of serendipity that brought all this together just in time for the game’s 20 year anniversary.
Talking to Skyevlyn while working on the ‘List of Wii Games that Came in Cardboard Sleeves‘ I was reminded of *something* Wii related that I had in a cardboard package — of some kind. Yup, pretty vague memory there. Turns out it was this: a free DVD and booklet that I’m fairly certain I picked up at Target back in 2006 shortly before, during, or just after the release of the Wii.
This was pre-social media, long before executives like Satoru Iwata, Reggie Fils-Aimé, or Bill Trinen were the regular faces of Nintendo marketing. It’s equally as far removed from Nintendo’s aggressive marketing in the 90s and early 2000s. This is about as straight-laced as it comes, probably the reason I’d forgotten I even had this filed away on a shelf.
Looking back at it sixteen years later has been a fascinating reminder of who Nintendo was aiming for at the time: e v e r y o n e. The sizzle reel of gameplay footage is the same as it’s ever been — a montage of quick cuts and cinematics backed by generic guitar rock — but the majority of the disc’s chapters and menus are focused on the stuff that Nintendo hoped would win over more than just traditional gamers.
Besides the meme-morable marketing that so easily comes to mind when thinking about the Wii — retirement home activity nights, the absurd seriousness of Red Steel, and the happy white families playing Wii Sports — there’s the long-forgotten dream that Nintendo had for an even bigger market.
While the economy teeters on recession Japan is unwavering in their temptation of frivolous goods. Since I just spotted SO many of them at the same time today I figured I’d do a roundup. Get your currency converters and international Amazon accounts ready!
The heavy hitter of the day is definitely the Sega Mega Drive Mini 2, a follow-up to the 2019 mini console, only this time there are more weird games I love AND a functional(ish) Mega CD 2 add-on. Well, it’s functional in that it flips open and a miniature copy of Sonic CD snaps inside. The games, sadly, do not play from miniature discs.
“The miniature retro console will cost 9,980 yen, or somewhere around $75. It’s very cute, and appears to come with a simulated miniature cartridge for Virtua Racing and a simulated miniature CD for Sonic the Hedgehog CD. The Sega CD mini add-on is 4,500 yen extra, or about $35.”
The full roster of 50 titles and surprise bonuses hasn’t been revealed yet but of the assortment shown I’m already excited for Sonic CD, Silpheed, Virtua Racing, Bonanza Bros., and Thunder Force IV. Although I don’t have the patience for it, I’m also amazed to see The Story of Yumemikan which we got here as Mansion of Hidden Souls. I didn’t realize Sega published that one in Japan and apparently still has ownership of it. If Ranger-X somehow makes it into the package I will absolutely buy this thing. No word yet on a matching Genesis Mini 2 for western release.
Next up is a ridiculously varied assortment of soft Nintendo goods starting with 13 Pikmin plushies and soft desk organizers. The blue Pikmin is the star of the show and on the backside you can fondle his little plush butt. Then there’s a cast of 11 plush items in a new “Super Mario All Star Collection” including my personal favorites Birdo and Mecha-Koopa. Monty Mole and Buzzy Beetle are two more notable standouts along with a plush question block and block bar trio that are storage cubbies. Complete with adorable power-up icons inside. Honestly, I could fill that question block with other question block trinkets I have.
I’ve been down and out with diverticulitis again; resulting in several days of bedrest, difficulty sleeping, and a liquid diet. Let me tell you how fun it’s been! Shortly before this I was going down the rabbit hole of communal world building with things like the Mystery Flesh Pit National Park and The Backrooms. As I was randomly searching for something — anything — to distract me from the recovery that I could just listen to, I happened upon the realm of Narrated Creepypastas, and in particular the fantastic work of The Dark Somnium.
The first one I landed on was titled “How to survive in Hell” and like, how could I not click that?! Based on a 2017 creepypasta from user Ratrotted on r/nosleep, the story is told by someone already in Hell as a sort of guidebook to the eternity of the damned. Somehow I did fall asleep for parts of it, but not from lack of interest! Waking up several times I would rewind and catch up on the deliciously deviant explanations of the areas and entities of this particular hellscape.
I’ll leave those details to anyone interested, but the basic concept is you wake up in Hell and “live” for as long as you can defend yourself. As there is no food in Hell, other people are the only source of sustenance making everyone an inevitable target. When you die, you’re reborn again, drowning in the same birthing sac you started in, clawing your way back to “life”. Repeat ad infinitum.
Between dozing and dreaming about this existence it dawned on me that this Hell was an awful lot like a Battle Royale, or, even more so, the survival style of Rust or ARK. Obviously, this isn’t a fresh take on the story as one of the very first replies from 2017 says “this would make a stellar video game”. But after a lifetime of Luving games the story hit me in a way that probably should have all those years ago in Sunday School: Hell… would suck.
One other conceit of the story is that you’re born into Hell with the body you died in. So, like that naked man in Rust or a Lv.1 character in Fortnite, my chances of survival are forever going to be grim. Thinking about the billions of fit soldiers that have died across centuries of war and conquest, you can imagine how little chance any of us modern humans would have of surviving for long.
The narrator’s longest streak was almost one year but that’s still a year of sleepless trauma and unending atrocities to see, and enact yourself. At some point a decade of ceaseless drowning in a birthing sac might just be preferable, but eventually you’ll claw your way back out of the Battle Bus and then what?
Eeesh. I’d rather not experience that myself but it makes for a compelling story and maybe a more relatable tale of morality (and mortality) than even Dante’s 700 year old story.
What poignant development in the world of gaming could motivate me to make a post on this site after three month’s absence? Obviously it’s something dumb and old. In fact, it turns out to be doubly old because this upcoming model kit of the SA-77 starfighter from the 1993 Sega CD shooter, Silpheed, is actually a renewal of an already long-forgotten 2010 line of model kits. I vaguely remember seeing it around 2010 but couldn’t find an old post where I probably would’ve said the same thing I’m about to say…
I will never buy this thing, build this thing, paint and detail this thing, or display this thing in my home. But lookit, it sure is a beaut!
On Sale in June, Big Bad Toy Store has an ETA of August 2022 at $73. I think I’ll just save all the pics I can now instead of ruining a perfectly good model kit with my half-assed abilities.