10th Nov2009

The Wonderswan Color | A Japanese Only Handheld Console

by Kuro Matsuri

Japanese Video Game Console Wonderswan Color

The Wonderswan Color was released by Bandai in Japan only at the end of December 2000. Bandai made several consoles that never made it out of Japan, including the predecessor to the Wonderswan Color, simply called the Wonderswan.

The Wonderswan Color was better than the Gameboy Color in many ways, but it was not quite as good as the Gameboy Advance. It did have one edge over the original GBA, though, and that’s battery life. The Wonderswan Color could last up to 20 hours on a single AA battery, which is pretty impressive. It also debuted at a particularly low price, around $60 new. Thanks to the low price and it’s one year lead on the GBA, it was ALMOST a threat to Nintendo!

But, the Wonderswan Color was somewhat lacking in games when compared to the Nintendo handhelds. It had a few excellent games, especially since Square Enix agreed to remake Final Fantasy I, II, III, and IV for the system. It did manage to exceed a total of 100 games, including, but not limited to, RockMan (MegaMan here in the states), Guilty Gear, Super Robot Wars, and Gundam games. So, in short, it’s not the best library, but it certainly isn’t bad. And that’s before factoring in the backwards compatibility with the original Wonderswan!

Of course, since the console was only released in one region, region protection isn’t an issue. Then again, you still have to import everything you play on it since none of it was released here.

Now, the console is more of a collector’s item since most of the games were later ported to the GBA or other systems, but just to further entice the collector in you, there were a few limited release Wonderswan Color packages. There was the Final Fantasy I Limited Edition Box Set and the Final Fantasy II Limited Edition Box Set, compliments of Square Enix, provided that you are willing to pay the premium for it. Still, the console by itself is an interesting collector’s item that can still be enjoyed for a pretty low price. It may even turn some heads if you play it out in public!

Play-Asia options:
Buy WonderSwan Color Console – Pearl Pink at Play-Asia.com (currently in stock)
Buy Wonderswan Color Console and Games at Play-Asia.com (for the others that might be in stock later)

Amazon options:

Have fun playing!
-Kuro Matsuri

10th Nov2009

How To Import: GameCube and Wii

by Kuro Matsuri

The Gamecube and the Wii have many similarities in the way you can play imported games. The easiest for both is probably the FreeLoader. The FreeLoader is a swap disk made available by Code Junkies, the creators of Action Replay, among other things. The Gamecube FreeLoader works almost flawlessly, with only a very few games not working quite properly. Even those will play, with stuff like Heads-Up-Displays not displaying properly.

The Wii FreeLoader is a bit of a different story due to firmware updates. If you keep your Wii updated, then there’s the chance that any of those updates could break the functionality of the FreeLoader. Getting one means that you could run the risk of buying something that doesn’t work. Hey, at least it’s cheap (around $20 + shipping).

Wii Freeloader

The other method is by mod-chip, which requires soldering a chip to the internal circuits of your Gamecube or Wii, and sometimes installing an external switch along with it. It’s a high risk procedure that can be expensive (especially if you break your console). Furthermore, since the Wii is a more recent console, mod-chips haven’t yet been perfected for it, and there may or may not be a mod-chip with all the functionality that you want. Even further furthermore (I know, horrible grammar =P), mod-chips are a legal grey-market. Since mod-chips generally allow you to play burned games as well, and downloading a game you don’t own (or circumventing any copy protection on a disc in order to have a copy) is illegal, the legality of the mod-chip itself is somewhat in question. Still, sometimes a mod-chip provides you the best functionality, and it’s up to you to find the right chip and assume the risks associated with installing it.

However, the GameCube has a third option. The only difference between the motherboards of the two different regions is a single connection. If this connection was never connected, it is one region. If it is connected, it’s the other. You can actually install a switch to switch the GameCube back and forth between the two regions. This still requires some soldering, but it’s a relatively easy procedure.

And, of course, there is ALWAYS the option of purchasing a Gamecube or Wii from Japan to play your games on. This is generally the most expensive, most effective, and safest way to play any of your import games.

Buy a Japanese Gamecube HERE

Buy a Japanese Wii HERE

Buy the Gamecube Freeloader HERE

Buy the Wii Freeloader HERE

I’m afraid you’ll have to search for mod-chips yourself, though, due to the questionable legalities of it.

Have fun playing!
-Kuro Matsuri

07th Nov2009

Final Fantasy XIII Will Include Final Fantasy XIV Beta! (Update: Sorta)

by Kuro Matsuri

Final Fantasy XIV

Yeah, you read that right!

Reports (mainly leaked scans from Jump Magazine) are showing that a Final Fantasy XIV “Campaign Code” (which really means “Beta Code”) will be included in the Japanese version of Final Fantasy XIII, which will be released December 17th of this year!

source

Japanese Game Source should have access to FFXIII by the end of the year, and we will continue to bring you updates on the both FFXIII and the FFXIV Beta. You can expect a full review by the end of January, so be sure to check back regularly.

If you’re interested in getting Final Fantasy XIII, and getting into the Final Fantasy XIV Beta, then you can buy Final Fantasy XIII now to enjoy the next upcoming Final Fantasy titles.

Have fun playing! -Kuro Matsuri

UPDATE! So, it has been announced that the “Campaign Code” is NOT a Beta Code, but rather it is a code to get some sort of free additional “goodie” in-game for Final Fantasy XIV (source). ‘Tis a shame, really. I was looking forward to spreading information about BOTH games when it came out!

UPDATE! It turns out that the “Campaign Code” does give you a free goodie in FFXIV, but it also allows you to apply for the PS3 version of the closed beta. Not quite direct access, but it’s certainly better than nothing!

Have fun playing anyway! -Kuro Matsuri