Retro Core Season 3 is up!

Yes, it’s belated, but I was checking up on some stuff over at Assembler Games and Yakumo has started up Retro Core Season 3. I finally finished catching up on Retro Core SS just the other day and am about to dive into the new series. He’s also started uploading them in lovely 720p if you have a display that can take advantage of it ๐Ÿ™‚

Can’t wait to see what he has in store, I’m sure it’ll be awesome! Everything’s up on the Retro Core site, including all the old episodes as well.

Mind, it’s also reminded me that Yakumo’s also running a Saturn store (which I’ve blogged about previously), so I might have to drop past to see what he’s got to add to my collection ๐Ÿ˜€

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Segagaga Domain Store is open again!

segagagadomain-front

I’ve been thinking that quite a number of hoarding retro gamers don’t share their sources openly enough (and to be honest, I’ve been a bit like that in the past). So, I thought I’d change that up a bit and start posting about places I like to shop at online for new and retro games. I’ll also add them to the links section for easy reference down the track.

Today I’m going to talk about the work Yakumo over at Segagaga Domain (who is also the creator of the excellent retro gaming series Retro Core, a show I’ve discussed before) is doing now that he’s re-opened the online store. If I remember correctly, he used to run a similar venture a number of years back, selling Japanese Saturn and DC games acquired during his shopping expeditions as an ex-pat living in Japan. The new store he’s opened currently focuses solely on Saturn gear, with stacks of titles at great prices and very reasonable shipping costs for overseas buyers. I’ve made a few orders from there in the past and have had no issues whatsoever with the goods he’s selling – the descriptions are accurate and include all the nerdy details people like myself find important (such as stating condition/presence of everything in the set, including spine cards, and plenty of accurate photos) and everything’s been packed nicely.

As a bonus, I’ll hazard a guess that sales from the store help keep the site alive, which can only be a good thing. The wealth of content and coverage there is mammoth, so it’s definitely recommended if you’re into Sega consoles or Japanese gaming in general. Plus there’s also Retro Core, which I believe is essential viewing for anyone with even a remote interest in Japanese games. Especially the undercover videos of arcades, Japanese game stores and some of the general stuff around Japan too.

So check it out – Segagaga Domain – The Store – because good sources for gaming should be shared, not kept a secret!

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Retro Core is back!

Sure, it’s old by now, but I had to share my enthusiasm – favourite British ex-pat Yakumo has started doing mini episodes of Retro Core for 2011. I’ve waxed lyrical over my love for his work in the past, so it’s great to see him squeeze in some new videos for 2011. They’re only small episodes now with a narrower focus on the Saturn (hence the new title, “Retro Core SS”), but it’s all good as far as I’m concerned.

You can check out the back catalogue as well as the new episodes at the Retro Core page.

While you’re over there, you should check out the rest of Segagaga Domain, as it’s packed with videos, writeups, scans and retro gaming guides for Japan.

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Retro Core Summer Special 2010 – coming in August!

I was just over at Segagaga Domain and read that Yakumo’s working on a 2010 follow-up to the excellent 2009 summer special he put together! This make me very excitied, as I’ve been a fan since discovering the show shortly after getting broadband back in… 2005 or 2006. I’ve waxed lyrical about Retro Core before, and it’s awesome to see another special on the way ๐Ÿ™‚

Expect a review once it’s out ๐Ÿ™‚

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Squeenix, why isn’t RayStorm HD available outside Japan on PS3?

RayStorm HD

I don’t quite understand why RayStorm HD isn’t available outside Japan on PS3. So I went and grabbed a pre-paid card and bought a copy through the Japanese store. Probably cost a lot more than it should when you consider the markup assigned to obtaining a Japanese PSN card, but I reckon it was worth it. Plus, I was able to get the Playstation port of Thunderforce V – I’ve played that to death on my Saturn and was always curious what the port was like, so it was a convenient arrangement.

Anywho, Square Enix’s idiosyncrasies aside, how’s the remake? Very nice indeed (as Yakumo over at Retro Core would say!). I haven’t put a stack of hours into it at this stage, just fitting in the occasional session when not hammering through Afterburner Climax or other gear on the PS3. The HD visuals look clean, uncluttered and the 16:9 playfield works really well – this last bit was my biggest concern going into it as breaking out the boundaries of a horizontal shooter already squeezed to a 4:3 aspect ration (rather than tate, or 3:4 ratio) to an even broader ratio may have messed up the balance RayStorm managed to achieve from back in the day.

While the decision to forego any crazy/fancy new effects may turn off the new breed who haven’t spent much time with the original FX-1B version or the Playstation “port” (though the FX-1B shares its hardware design with that of the Playstation, not unlike Namco’s System 11/12 or Capcom’s ZN-1/ZN-2 platforms, hence why I’ve put the word ‘port’ into quotations), I think it’s a very tasteful update to a solid game… though I still prefer the original Layer Section to its sequels (i.e. RayStorm, etc). So instead of having all sorts of filters, high polygon counts, motion blurring and so forth, we’re presented with slightly updated models and textures that reflect the exact same aesthetic as the original, only without jagged polygones or blurry textures. This is especially noteworthy with the low-poly waterfalls in level 3 ๐Ÿ™‚

And that’s pretty much it – there’s an arranged mode and some unlockables to keep things interesting, but probably the best feature introduced to take advantage of the current hardware platform are the leaderboards that not only post your high score (mine will be down the bottom if they register at all! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), but also allow you to save and upload your replays. This is excellent, since it allows rubbish shmup fans (like myself) to see how it really should be done ๐Ÿ˜‰ Aside from this, it’s still RayStorm, so if you didn’t like it before, you probably won’t now unless your tastes in gaming have altered accordingly.

The only question left is – why the worldwide snub for PS3 gamers? Hopefully this’ll be rectified in time. The PS3 needs more Japanese shooters on it – I’d love some Otomedius on our machine, as well as the R-Type remake that came out a while ago, then there’s the Naomi ports (like Ikaruga and Triggerheart Exelica), and so on.

Still, we do have the Sรถldner-X games which are pretty awesome, but I wouldn’t mind sharing with XBLA if PSN can get a couple of those exclusives in return ๐Ÿ˜€

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