November 20th, 2022
The semi-monthly Round1 update has arrived! IIDX 30 RESIDENT, broken cabinets, and Dance Around!
The new IIDX game had dropped last month. While it wasn't immediately avaliable, due to the cabinets requiring a USB update, it was installed roughly a week after release, but only on my Lighting cabinet. The old cabinet may require a seperate update which my location had probably not recieved.
While transferring my CastHour data, I accidentally made my name IIDX30... I have to pay money to change it...
One of the new changes is that the game is in 1080p! The series has been running in 720p since 2012's IIDX 20 Tricoro, a whole decade. The change makes things so tiny! It feels so weird.
Also... PREMIUM FREE FINALLY EXISTS OUTSIDE OF JAPAN! Premium Free is essentially a free play mode where you can play any song at any difficulty in the game for an allotted amount of time. It was completely ousted from international cabinets due to the lack of PASELI, which is the only way to play it in Japan. KONAMI has made the mode playable by only using credits for cabinets not stationed in Japan. My Lighting cabinet has the mode locked at 10 minutes for 2 credits. The mode seems really good for practice. You can play any song at any difficulty as many times as you want. Thinking about it now, I should've used it to play doubles!
My only real issue is just KONAMI hiding the quick retry shortcut behind the e-amusement Premium Course subscription. Pay 550 yen a month to get access to downloadable scores and a quick retry shortcut and that's basically it. If you don't have it, the only way to retire from a stage early is to let the game kick you out for inactivity, which could waste a lot of time in a Premium Free sesh.
The other thing I could ever want is the video recording function. I'm not sure of what could possibly be the issue of not allowing recording here. I thought it was PASELI, but you could pay for recordings using credits instead. You can record without a subscription, all you need is to play on a Lighting cabinet, which forcibly doesn't let you use the feature outside of Japan.
Hm? What's that? Oh? Konami disabled recording on Lighting cabinets for stability reasons? That's insane.
Yeah, apparently IIDX 30 is not having the sweetest time right now, especially with old cabinets. Old cabinets not only have their menus capped at something like 20fps, they seem to have issues with drift! They also can't use the overhead cameras either. I think the issue is that Konami is trying to push a 1080p game on an arcade board, that hasn't had any upgrades since 2017, with the specifications of a 2015 PC. Lighting model also has issues of it's own, such as the game crashing a bunch and the suspension of recording gameplay.
Anyways, score time!
CUE CUE RESCUE is TORIENA's new song for RESIDENT. I was pretty mixed on it when I first listened to it from the crossfade videos, but I grew to like it.
Programmed Genom is kors k's remix of GENOM SCREAMS from beatmania 4th mix. It's very loud and I love it!
I passed my first LEGGENDARIA chart! It was the lowest rated LEGGENDARIA chart, a simple level 9.
I got to 4th Dan on my first playthrough. I ended CastHour with 5th Dan, so this clear isn't really all that. I hope to clear 6th Dan before the end of RESIDENT. 6th Dan might touch upon level 10 charts... I'm scared!
Dance Around! I haven't given up on it, it's still fun. I got a few EXC clears.
Let's Dance Around's ADVANCED chart is much more fun than the MASTER chart! I got an EXC in 3 tries. I got Chocolate ADVANCED EXC first try. Both of these were no real trouble.
GHOST KINGDOM was one of the first songs I played. The dance was pretty embarrassing, but I got over that. I kept losing my EXC because of tracking issues with the game. I did get it, so it's okay.
YOU YOU YOU is a song. I don't know how to explain it, but the dance was fun. It's full of jumping up and down. The dancing was no problem, but the game kept giving me BADs for the poses. I guess I was really lucky on this one.
That's all from my Round1 visit. I'll leave you with an error from one of the Konami coin pushers. You tell me how the screen has dead lines on it when you can't even reach the screen at all.
That's not all with arcades though! Recently, I've went with a couple of friends to a local arcade.
This game was also fun, Armadillo Racing. You race along a track by swiping a trackball around. I like it, dare I say it's Katamari but real. I like the sharp graphics and the bright dual monitors. Honestly though, if it weren't for the goofy as hell armadillos on the banner, I probably wouldn't have played this.
Sonic the Fighters. The monitor is really, really blue. The photo makes it seem like it's not that blue, but it's really blue. It's hard to see! I get that it's a Sonic game, but I'd like to see something other than a blue blur...
This one game I played for a bit. It's simple: you point in a direction and shoot. I like the cabinet design, it's very tiny compared to it's neighbors. It looks like an ATM from afar. I think this thing is barely 5 feet tall. I'm so infatuated with how tiny it is. It really looks like just something you would pass by in an airport.
One of the last games I took a photo of was these two. Which would you play? Godzilla or the Godzilla at home? The Godzilla game was a little difficult to play, so give me Giant Monster Counter Attack anyday. I didn't even play Giant Monster Counter Attack, but I think it's better.
There's other games there that I didn't take photos of either.
I played a bit of Parodius. I got up until the 3rd level, at which point my fingers hurt. The joysticks were pretty stiff and my hands got tired. What I played was alright, but those joysticks man... sheesh.
Me and a friend played The House of The Dead there. Each game we tried had issues with the guns though. One game had them way misaligned, another machine had one gun's trigger failing midway through, and another machine didn't even have the screen plugged in. It was pretty lame.
There were also a few Tetris games there. Tetris Grand Master is ARIKA's take on Tetris, but with a focus on score that has people hooked on those specific titles. A bunch of modern simulations base themselves off the series. I thought it was cool, but it felt weird playing Tetris with a joystick.
There was also Magical Tetris Challenge. It's a silly take on Tetris, featuring more wacky pieces that screwed me up when playing. I'm more interested at the fact that the hardware used is an Aleck64, which is literally a Nintendo 64 with zero spec modifications. I think this title in particular uses a version of Aleck64 that doesn't allow cartridges to be used. They should have Vivid Dolls somewhere in the arcade.
They had this game called The Grid. It's a 2000's third-person shooter that's actually really fun. You move around with this giant joystick and you control the camera with a trackball. It sounds annoying but it's actually very comfortable. The game also has networking, so you could play with other people on different cabinets. My favorite part of it is when a new cabinet enters the network, all the machines make a loud popping noise and it keeps scaring the hell out of me.
A lot of games there did crash, freeze, or were just broken. I took two photos of games that did crash to a selftest menu of some sort.
This game was stuck in a loop, passing the selftest but failing the video test.
I was playing this game and it crashed 20 seconds into it. The control scheme felt kinda like The Grid. I would love to play it, but it just kept crashing.
Despite the pitfalls, I really enjoyed my visit. I like the glowing lights and the loud noises. I hope to find some time to go back again later.
Splatoon 3 is a game for the Nintendo Switch released on September 9th, 2022! There is also a Splatfest! Which starter Pokemon type would you choose? Grass, Fire or Water? It comes on November 11th, skipping the previous month's Splatfest, a first for the series!
In the announcement, Shiver gets a little cocky and shoves her two wins in her face. Everybody in the community got pretty angry over it and tried to take down team Grass just because of it. I thought it was funny, so I decided to join the cause. I joined Fire.
I tried playing Open but got too frustrated with how many people were lagging. Pro was a bit more functional in that case, but a lot of annoying matchups occurred. Nevertheless, I persisted.
Halftime results! It's no different from the past two Splatfests...
It went alright after halftime. They added a new mode! It's called Tri-Color Battles and I actually was able to play them! The mode is actually pretty fun! The map for this Splatfest is Sturgeon Shipyard, but the layout has been modified since the demo. The new layout is way better than the old one, I love flanking!
In a surprising twist, Water won every single category! If Shiver didn't say what she said, she might've gotten atleast one. Since I lost, I got my 21 shells and that was it for the final Splatfest of the first season.
The new amiibo were released earlier this month. After a bit of hunting down, I was able to get Inkling Girl and Smallfry. Best Buy and GameStop didn't carry either of them at launch, Target was the only one stocking them.
The Inkling Girl had some edgy fit that I wanted. The Inkling Girl also gives you a fishbone which is stuck to your mouth, but it's actually stuck to your upper-lip, so it looks pretty stupid when your player opens their mouth. The Smallfry's gear looks rather ugly, I only wanted the amiibo cause I like the Salmonids a lot. The process of getting the gear was rather annoying because I was having a real difficult time with Turf War in Splatfest.
After all that, Nintendo has shown off the new Splatoon season. X battles are back, so hooray for all three people interested. There are new weapons and weapon sets, too. One of the new weapons is a roller, which I hope has a better horizontal flick than the Splat Roller. I would be annoying with it!
There's also two new stages. One is a spa map, which I can't really judge the layout on yet. The other is Flounder Heights from Splatoon 1, which was a stage I've been missing for a while! Flounder Heights seemed to have gotten a bit of a change since Splatoon 1, so I hope it's still just as fun. From the previews I've seen though, I doubt it...
There's also Big Run! Big Run is Salmon Run on normal multiplayer stages! I'm rather excited, since they have not talked about it at all since the last Splatoon Direct. I do feel like this is something that might happen near the end of the season though.
The new season will most likely set the stage for how future seasons will go. There isn't any info on how the update will drop, like if all the new content will be immediately avaliable once the update drops or it's releasing in small quantities throughout the season. I have a feeling it might be the latter, cause there really doesn't seem to be too much in this update for 3 months.
If you've been hearing the news around the Original Xbox scene, you would've heard about Insignia. Insignia aims to revive the old Xbox Live service for the Xbox, a decade after it shut down. I've been following it ever since it was shown off 2 years ago. The development speed was pretty slow, but the head of the project had multiple projects in progress, so it was to be expected.
During the latter half of October, they announced the date for a closed beta test and provided inital tools for everyone. Those interested would have to register their Xbox and e-mail. I did that instantly and would have to hope I was one of the lucky 500 selected to get an invite once November 15th came.
Unfortunately, I was not one of the lucky 500. I expected it, there was around 8,000 people registered for an invite! However, in the Discord, an admin dropped ten invite keys! First come, first serve! So at 2 in the morning, I ran to my machine and tried to use the few keys they had.
It was a success!
I played around with a few of the currently avaliable selection.
Xbox Live Arcade is an early iteration of downloadable games, most of the selection being ports of popular PC games for old people. Insignia supports all of the avaliable titles for the service, some games being only containing leaderboards and some including online multiplayer.
As of writing, I'm still in the top 10, but I'm no longer #2. I expect to be knocked off within the next month.
The leaderboards seem more populated than what I initally thought. People actually sat down and played Bookworm to get onto the leaderboard. The leaderboards are growing as time goes on, it's so neat seeing people actually bother with XBLA games.
I tried Dance Dance Revolution: Ultramix, simply because I would obviously have to. I was only able to play one song with a random and I won within 30 seconds. Sorry dude.
I also tried a bit of Tetris Worlds Online. This game is a bit of a weird case, as it originally came out without Live support, but was re-released later with Live support. There's also a bunch of compatability issues with the standalone Live version and the Live version that was a multi-disc with Star Wars: Clone Wars. If you have the standalone version, you have to install a patch that replaces your files with those from the multi-disc.
I got into a match fairly quickly and it lasted for quite a while. It was pretty fun! Tetris Worlds usually gets a few people playing per day. I'll keep an eye out for rooms! I hope to play more.
Phantasy Star Online is an MMORPG, originally released for the Dreamcast, but later released on PC, Xbox, and GameCube. The Xbox version was released with an Xbox Live requirement, you had to have an existing Gamertag to even play the game. This was an issue for a decade as those who did not sign up for Xbox Live or had a console with an existing account could not even play offline.
Insignia lets you make a Gamertag which eliminates that barrier, but they do not host the PSO servers used. Insignia instead lets you choose between two PSO fan servers, the servers being Schthack and Sylverant. I chose Schthack since they were first on the list. I don't know what is the difference between both of them. I do know that Schthack lets Xbox players play with GameCube players, but that's it.
I might try playing this game semi-regularly. I just barely finished a tutorial mission, so I don't think I'm ready for online play just yet. I played an online mission and immediately got killed in one hit. I only played one MMORPG in my life, so I would be interested in trying this out.
As of right now, the most popular games are Call of Duty, Unreal Tournament, and Counter-Strike, the most Xbox selection ever. I would play them, but I'm no good with FPS games on a controller.
So far, my experiences with the service is alright. I do have some issues with connecting with other people, me and a friend tried playing Tetris Worlds and Street Fighter Anniversary Collection together, but we could never actually join each others room. There's also issues with some leaderboards, where the boards simply fail to load. It's a beta though, so I could just shrug it off.
Insignia gave more keys out to those who signed up shortly after the inital batch. I got my own key from those follow-up batches! It was too late at that point, and since the keys are locked to your e-mail, so I can't really do much with it. Later, they just gave everyone who signed up before the 16th a key. Boo-hoo, I'm not special anymore...
A new package from Japan has arrived! A light package with stuff I bought around September. For the first few items, it's some CDs! They were rather inexpensive. The JPY has been rising in value for a bit now, so I'll probably lay off the importing.
Dancemania Summers 2! It's a nonstop album from the Dancemania series, which had songs crossover into many BEMANI series. It's a cool album, it's partially avaliable on YouTube! Please listen, it's too good!
BEYOOOOONDS's second single! It's the version with Gekikara Love on the cover. This copy was sealed and I only got it for 50 yen! Since the copy was sealed, I actually got my first idol photocard from it!
It's Saya Eguchi! I don't know who she is, I don't know who she played in any of the music videos, I don't follow any of her SNS accounts, but I enjoy having this card. I bought a lot of sealed idol CDs, but I never got a photocard. I think it's because they're usually given seperately from the CD.
I also bought some VHS tapes.
ParaParaParadise is a video series consisting of parapara dance moves aligned with the long-lasting Eurobeat genre. It's produced by avex trax, which releases the Super Eurobeat albums, which is a long-lasting highly-regarded album series of Eurobeat spanning all the way back to 1990. ParaParaParadise uses music avaliable on Super Eurobeat for it's tracklist.
Of course, DVD releases of the series exist and have been ripped. They're avaliable on archive.org if you wish to view them. The series is highly addicting and it's a good start to finding some eurobeat tracks.
Among the few tapes I got was a Hello Project concert tape! It did not come in the cardboard sleeve it's supposed to, instead being cut up into pieces. It sucks, but it was rather cheap, so I guess it was coming.
Anyways, this concert was absolutely insane. I loved watching through all of it. I had my VCR hooked up to a set of loud speakers and it was so engaging to listen to the loud bass. I also loved the teary ending as this was a graduation concert for one of the Morning Musume members, one of my favorites during the time period.
As usual, the concert has been re-released countless times on DVD and Blu-Ray later down the line. If you want to see it, the concert is avaliable in full (thought a bit corrupted at the end) on YouTube.
Recently, I've been thinking of random home media stuff. Since I've got a deck for DV, I'm just thinking... what's next?
I was thinking of possibly getting my hands on a LaserDisc deck. A large disc-like format that's way better than VHS. I would love to own one! I did own a couple of LaserDiscs at one point, but I gave them to my brother. I didn't have any way to play them then, and I still don't now.
A major issue with trying to get one is that decks are expensive. eBay and Mercari listings go for quite a lot for a working unit, even more with shipping. I haven't ever seen a player at Goodwill either, I mostly think they all end up on the online shop.
While you might think I should go for Yahoo Auctions, I think it would be worse using that. While the decks do cost a little less, the international shipping will make it cost even more than buying from here. These decks are heavy, we're talking around 10kg/22lbs! That's roughly an additional hundred! Even shipping it by surface might still cost as much. You also have to remember that the JPY is pretty healthy now!
I hope to get a player in the near future. Discs seem to be extremely affordable, I've seen them go for around $10 to $30 USD mostly.