Joygasm – Afterburner Climax coming to PSN/XBLA?

The wonderous people over at Kotaku have reported that Afterburner Climax looks like its coming to next-gen download services.

Why is this retro-worthy? Because it’s one of those rare cases where Sega got it right and made an arcade game that simultaneously looked stunning, was a joy to play, and echoed the beautiful and glorious blue skies from the days of yore.

And while the home version won’t have the amazing hydraulic arcade cab (obviously), the game is still a ball.

Man, if I had $20k, I’d totally buy one of those Afterburner Climax cabs. I’d have nowhere to store it so it’d have to sit in the driveway, but for that one day before it got ruined by the weather/neighbourhood kids/ninjas/etc, it would be a slice of pure awesomeness πŸ˜€

US release of Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love (Sakura Taisen 5) features Japanese language!!

Sakura Taisen 5 (PS2) cover art

Because I’m a bit of a random individual, I just had a thought – any word if the upcoming US release of Sakura Taisen 5 (Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love) on the Playstation 2 and Wii by NIS had confirmed the dubbing options? And lo and behold, a quick look on one of my fave video gaming blogs Siliconera had all the info (see: Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love Sold As A Two Disc Box Set; and Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love Slips Into Next Year), as well as an updated release date for the Playstation 2 release (Wii, too) – early 2010.

This is a startling moment of clarity, and a wonderful surprise for fans of the series and the world in general (I exaggerate not). I’ve been playing Sakura Taisen since the Saturn days and absolutely love the games (the anime releases, with the possible exception of the TV series, are also extremely good), but was always frustrated that I had to use my rubbish understanding of the Japanese language when playing through any of the games πŸ˜‰ Well, I normally had a FAQ sitting next to me, but still, translated text would have been super-awesome πŸ™‚ I blame Bernie Stolar for not bringing it over to the West in the mid-90s, even though it would have arguably been financial suicide (though it’s not like the Saturn was a particularly successful business venture in the West tbh – great machine though, still my favourite system).

Anywho, the news of there finally being an English translation of this game being brought into the West was pretty huge in and of itself, but the fact that they’re doing a 2-disc release in order to preserve the original Japanese voices and please the ignorant masses with a dubbed release (seriously – it’s a foreign language, it’s just like watching a movie subtitled, because English dubs for movies should also be banned – deal with it), which ultimately creates a harmonious solution. I know there are additional costs going down this path for developers, I just wish it happened more often where there isn’t enough space to make a release bilingual on a single disc.

Considering the quality of the Japanese cast, this is such an awesome thumbs-up from NIS (and Sony and Nintendo for letting it pass through their gates). To release this in English only would be like taking a classic movie where the cast really shines (let’s restrict it to animation – so Shrek or Monsters Inc?), and replace all the awesome cast members with underpaid actors and comparatively inexperienced directors without anywhere near the kind of experience/talent/qualities/budget the original had, and you’d lose a great deal of charm that made the original movie so awesome. It’s kinda like taking Bruce Lee out of Enter The Dragon, Roberto Benigni from La Vita Γ¨ Bella or Samuel L. Jackson out of Pulp Fiction – remove the actors that add charm/awesomeness/etc, and you remove part of the soul of the experience. And yes, I know that’s an odd set of movies to use as an example, but I thought that since Sakura Taisen fans are generally very eccentric, I’d write appropriately πŸ™‚

… erm, I got sidetracked. So, to re-cap – Sakura Taisen 5 is getting an English language, is preserving the original Japanese dialogue on its own, separate disc, and will be released in early 2010 by NIS. Oh, and anything Sakura Taisen is awesome. The end.

Jeremy “Junglist” Ray axed from Good Game, the plot thickens…

Good Game on ABC2 has really come a long way since its awkward inception several years ago – what started as a bit of a dud-with-potential has gradually evolved over the years into a good weekly dose of TV, and huge props go out to the team for working so hard on it over the years.

Which makes the recent event of co-host from day 1, Jeremy “Junglist” Ray, being axed from the show with little in the way of explanation or warning so disappointing.

Now before I jump any further, I don’t want to start on all the unnecessary hate being directed towards Bajo’s new co-host Hex, as I think she did a great job on Monday and is, I believe, a good addition to the team. My issue is with the sudden axing of Junglist and the evidence that ABC’s Management is meddling with a successful program and has the potential to mess up all the excellent work the GG team have done over the years.

The frustrating part is that Junglist is busy letting people know the truth of what’s been said behind closed doors, but due to confidentiality agreements, the GG crew can only respond so far. There may well be bad blood on both sides, but we can’t know for sure because nobody is talking.

The whole move does smack of unnecessary managerial tampering/micromanagement, particularly as Junglist has shared that the higher-ups aren’t fussed with knocking out their core audience (their bread and butter, if you will), as they’re hoping to mix things up to increase the show’s appeal to a larger audience. While this may make inroads in the short-term, the problem with ABC Management is that is fails to take into account how difficult it will be to hold the attention of the masses during ebbs and flows of interest in gaming – by keeping their core audience satisfied, it ensures there is a continual flow of interest in the show. For the distributors and developers of the games as well, it’s a mixed move – their games may get broader exposure to different market segments, but it means their missing the opportunity to market or present their games to their core audience, something particularly important when you have close, competitive releases (e.g. Forza 3, the new NFS title and DiRT 2 released close together) and want to try and sway the core buyers towards your product. Dilute the viewership, and you reduce the chance to sell the finer details about your creation to the audience that appreciates them the most. It’s like a HiFi speaker manufacturer like VAF trying to market and sell their speakers (and price tag) to consumers who shop exclusively at K-Mart based on their awesome audio fidelity, when the consumers for that market will be driven more on low prices than the quality of the end-product (and for the record, VAF make amazing loudspeakers).

If you’re curious about getting some neat summaries of the situation and lending your support for gibing Jung a fair go, check out Save Junglist ( for some summaries of the forum posts on the GG forums, links to social networking sites, posters and more info on sending your thoughts the upper channels at the ABC, the article on TV Tonight’s blog ‘Game on: Former ABC host slams axing as β€œa lie”’ (, and there’s also an online petition ‘Keep Jeremy “Junglist” Ray In Abc’s Good Game!’ ( available too.

Again, just to reiterate – I love the show, Hex and Bajo and the crew and producer are all awesome, I’d just like to see Jung get a fair go in this, as the cloak-and-dagger stuff is completely unnecessary.