June 25th, 2023

Can you believe it? Already halfway through the year. There's going to be a lot of videos this post, so be ready to load all of them.

It's been a few months since I last went to Round1, but I went back. A lot changed since I gone, they got rid of the old beatmania IIDX machine. That cabinet's 2P side was busted, but it sucks seeing it go. I wonder what happened to it. I heard Konami was upgrading the hardware for those cabs, maybe it got too expensive to maintain? Maybe they needed the space for Music Diver? Who knows. This Round1 isn't too big, so I can see why they dumped it.

Music Diver is finally ready! Last time I visited, the two machines was up and running but the card swiper wasn't accepting credits. It's now working with the drumsticks there too!

The way you play is simple. There are two type of notes: inner and outer notes. The inner notes require you to hit the screen in the region near the direction of the note. The outer notes require you to hit the pads on the outside of the screen. There's nothing else to it!

I played a bit of the game and found it really fun! I love the rubbery tips of the drumsticks, as they make the feedback of hitting the screen or drums much more impactful!

The only real issue I have is that I had trouble finding where simulatanous notes were, but it may be a fault of mine cause of my speed setting or the spacing of the judgement line for the inner notes. The way the notes glow around in a complete circle makes my judgement of the notes wrong, so I hit the wrong drums. I'll probably get used to it, who knows?

Splatoon is a game! Splatoon is here! I was in an area with really bad internet, it got so bad that I got handed a 70 minute ban. It was crazy. I did manage to play some games fine, but it was always met with lag and warning messages. I'm out of there now, so I can finally work on my catalog!

I'm sorry...

As usual with a new update, there are new weapons! I was mostly interested with the new blaster named S-BLAST '92, modeled after the Super Scope, but it's really offputting to use. It lets you use both long range and short range shots depending on if you're airborne or not. It's pretty hard to use since I'm worried about shooting the wrong shot. It's delay is different from the blaster, which is the number one reason why I'm so bad with it.

One thing that really sucks about it, but it's not a fault of the main weapon itself, but of the kit. Reefslider is just BAD. When activated, you ride a shark pooltoy a short straight distance from where you're facing before exploding. It's a very bad special because it's common to only do a bit of splash damage and not KO anyone. The ending lag is a killer too, as anybody you didn't KO could turn around and start shooting at you and you'd instantly die. Compare that to the Booyah Bomb where you have a split second of shield after you land from throwing the bomb. It's completely ridiculous.

Honestly, I think I play around my Bubbler a lot, so it's hard for me to play with another blaster... I might just stick with the regular Blaster. I have been tinkering with the Luna Blaster, I like it a bit.

Anyways, Big Run! It started the new season in Undertow Spillway! I really hate Undertow Spillway in regular multiplayer, but can it be a good Salmon Run stage?

No, it's not. Say hello to my first bronze.

While this Big Run was running when I was out, what I did play was pretty bad. The map was extremely linear and suffered as a result. In regular Salmon Run maps, the enemies spawn from all directions, but in this map, it seems that they just spawn from the same place. It doesn't feel that hectic, just kind of boring. This is probably the worst Big Run map yet, I really didn't like this one.

A massive change they did for Big Run, though, was making the output of scales doubled! This makes fishing for those dumb scales easier! This is a good step in making scale hunting more desirable, rather than make them have a really low chance of dropping, thus making people unintrested in the scale rewards. Hopefully they can come up with other ways to get scales, like a payout from Eggstra Work for getting a good score.

There was also a new map for regular Salmon Run. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to play during the rotations it was active. Oops! Maybe I'll talk about it later...

Challenges! Challenges are a brand new mode which add some extra features or adds limits to the matches. These can be as simple as only being able to play weapons with a specific special, to adding fog during a match, to something like a random weapon EVERY match! It's so cool! I'll talk about each and every challenge that has happened up until this post.

My opinion on this new mode is that, it is fun when done right! The Sheldon Sampler Challenge, which randomized weapons every match, was the BEST! It was so awesome seeing people play weapons they weren't accustomed to and winning or losing cause of it. I got a lot of games where we all get some stupid composition, like four chargers! It didn't matter though, cause we all tried out new weapons and probably got a new side weapon or two!

The rotations which these challenges are avaliable only happen three times per challenge, each time being only 2 hours long. These rotations happen at really unfortunate times. For me, the random weapon rotation times were at 9-11pm, 5-7am, and 1-3pm. The 9pm rotation was the most reasonable time for me, but for a lot of people, these rotation times weren't very flexible. The challenges are all region-free, so it's pretty obvious that these times were so every region could be able to play while letting people get matched worldwide. While it's not an issue for me, I wish these times were a bit more favorable towards those who can't play during these times. The times I said were pretty late at night and pretty early in the morning.

My biggest gripe with this mode is that some of these challenges are very boring. Too Many Trizookas, while it sounds like Trizooka would be the only special everybody can use, it actually means you can only choose weapons with Trizooka, which is a grand total of SIX weapons as of now. A lot of people simply chose the shooter class, so it was common to see teams comprised of only Splattershots or Hero Shots. Also, so far, two of the challenges have been nothing special. The New Season Challenge, which was the first challenge that was avaliable, only disabled secondary abilities from clothing. The Monthly Challenge is just regular Splat Zones. These don't change anything, this is just the ranked queue being called something new. You can already disable secondary abilites in Private Battles, and the challenge doesn't even disable secondary abilities if it's a ranked mode. What's the point? Some say it might be used for qualifiers for tournaments. It's so lame though.

I feel like the challenges should focus on being silly. I won't care about playing when the rotation is just ranked. I want the game to add a lot of stuff that isn't in multiplayer. Give me Trizooka on a weapon that wouldn't normally have Trizooka. Randomize entire kits. I don't care, as long as it's extremely different to what we're used to. The upcoming fog challenge sounds cool, as we never get fog anywhere in Splatoon really. What about a challenge that randomizes weapon stats? Maybe abilities? The upcoming jump challenge sounds fun because you can jump higher and utilize jumping more effectively in combat. All the challenges haven't ran yet, so maybe there's some really cool challenge I haven't seen yet.

Am I getting tired of this game? Honestly, a little bit. The team comps I've seen in ranked haven't changed that much since the update dropped, so games don't feel that different. Maybe my Splatoon burnout is kicking in.

New package from Japan! More PlayStation games! Since regional restrictions are no longer active on my PS2, I've been going crazy buying PS1 and PS2 games since then. This is the first package since I got my shelf, so it'll look a bit more populated! Let's see what I got!

All videos and pictures are captured with this Fujiworks S-video cable I also bought connected to my Panasonic NV-DM1 deck. It delivers a great picture! It's easy to see if a PlayStation video cable delivers a true S-video picture, since there's dedicated S-video pins, and this passes that test! I love this upgrade!

Above is a comparison picture which you can enlarge by clicking on the photo. The left side is S-video while the right photo is composite. I can see a more vivid color and less bleeding! It's so clear too! This is awesome!

With this cable, the last 6th generation system I don't have a S-video cable for is my Dreamcast. I would go find one, but I'm worried about getting a cable that has false S-video or checkerboarding. There's also the fact that Dreamcast anything goes for a really high price. One of these days...

Anyways, our first game is TVDJ! This early PS2 game is about editing TV programs with clips. After a constant decline, BBB Broadcasting asks you to help edit their TV programs to regain traction. You splice clips together as the program plays out in order to get a high view count in the end.

In this game, you have to edit the television programs as they play in order to get as many viewers as possible. You can add up to four segments using the face buttons and, in future playthroughs, can use the L button to add reversed segments and the directional pad to add effects. If you remember the Space Venus featuring Morning Musume game from last blog post, the TVDJ minigame from there plays exactly like this game.

There are many restrictions you have while editing a program. Each section of the program's scenes have to be exactly 8 segments. If you put down too much, you have to do the scene again. If you don't put down segments in time, you also have to redo the scene. Every fail you get, the program gets some static and plays slower. This is detrimental, as stages outside of Free Play have a time limit that lead to a game over if it runs out.

In the later programs, the game adds required segments, where you have to put a specific segment amount in a space or your approval rate will go down. If your approval rate isn't above the minimum by the end of the scene or you don't put the required segment at the very end of a scene, you have to redo the scene, but it doesn't count as a bad scene. You can use this opportunity to add more engaging edits and raise your viewer count at the end.

This game is so sweet. I love the designs, I love the models, I love the music, I love the cutscenes, I love the programs... It's so cute! I love it!

It's odd, because the game is advertised as a rhythm game, but there's not much timing to the music here. Despite that, the music here sounds so good. There's CHOKKAKU, Koichi Yamazaki, and Aya Sakuma making the music for each playthrough. While CHOKKAKU and Aya Sakuma have mostly been involved in anime soundtracks, I want to focus a bit on Koichi Yamazaki, who some know as RAM in beatmania IIDX. RAM was in charge of all the music used in the second, director's cut playthrough, and you can hear the similarities between this and their IIDX works.

I have one major gripe with this game though. It's so short! There's only 4 unique programs to edit and you can finish the basic game within 40 minutes. There is a director's cut post-game, where you can reverse the segments, and a free play mode, where you can add effects too. However, these modes are the same programs but with different music. I liked all the cutscenes and programs because they're all so cute, but it's over so quick...

Of course, not to be a downer, but it is a Sony property, so there's no way this game is going to get any future recognition whatsoever. A lot of people seemingly don't like this game too.

Next is UNISON. This early PS2 game is a rhythm game where the story is where dancing is banned, and the only music people can listen to is the mayor's own music. It's up to the trio Unison to hijack these concerts and turn everyone against the mayor.

This game is played with only the analog sticks, which mimic the arms of your dancer. You are supposed to learn the dance moves for your performance and then play them out live without any indicator, like real dancing. It's really taunting, but it feels so good to pull off a good show. The analog sticks mimic the dancing well, so I can manage to remember the dance moves aswell!

When you progress through the story, you get fully-voiced real-time cutscenes featuring the group as they inflitrate stages and plan their next performance. These character designs are really something you can only find from a game during this specific period, and they go really well with the comedic fashion of these cutscenes. The cutscenes were also dubbed in the English version, which I recommend watching since they reek of early dubbing too.

It's hard to show gameplay footage of this, as the game doesn't show any inputs during play or replays, which was added in the later North American version. I will say though, it's amazing that the game can keep 60 frames per second with the really smooth models, lighting effects, and particles. I think it REALLY adds to the style of the game. I'm amazed.

Next is the obvious We Love Katamari. I'm not going to talk about much since I already talk about this game a lot and there's not that many regional differences I can go off of. I will say that the disc looks pretty clean but the game stutters a lot, which sucks. It's whatever though, I already have three copies of this game.

Nevertheless, for this occassion, I used the version I have installed on my PS2 hard drive. Look at the high-fidelity video! It's so sweet...

Next is Puyo Puyo Fever Chu! I've been in a real big Puyo kick lately and saw this being sold for cheap on Mercari Japan. This is the Japan-exclusive sequel to Puyo Puyo Fever. This version adds my favorite Puyo character, Baldanders.

While playing the game, it's pretty clear this version gave Puyo a bigger focus on story. I think it's cool and funny.

I also bought Puyo Puyo 15th Anniversary, which was the last Puyo Puyo game on PS2. I wanted to get all the Puyo games on PS2 and then the games I were missing popped up on Mercari Japan for 300 yen. That was easy.

This games adds a handful of modes to this game. Some of them are just regular modes, such as Fever or Tsu, and then some new fun modes, such as Spotlight or Mega Puyo. My favorite mode is Excavation, which gives you a random amount of Puyo ontop of a star. If you dig through the Puyo and pop that star, you send a maximum amount of nuisance to the other players causing an instant win. It's super short and fun because I don't have to think a lot.

The game is rather small, being on a CD-ROM instead of a DVD-ROM like the previous entries. Despite that, every character has their own story mode with voiced cutscenes.

Now for the PlayStation games, 4 new games arrived!

First is Parappa the Rapper. This game sold a bajillion copies, so it's no wonder why it sells for only 100 yen.

It's Parappa the Rapper. I'm not too big of a fan of the first one. It's very mistimed and I don't like playing it. It's almost as if this is the first game of a series or something! I didn't like playing it as a kid and that hasn't really changed now.

The game itself includes this poster as it's instruction manual.

Next is Um Jammer Lammy. This game uses a unique cover, as the back cover is used as the front cover, and the front cover is the back cover. It looks a bit weird and made me think everybody lost the back cover to the game or something. No, that's just how it is. A lot of singles at this time used this type of packaging.

I had an Um Jammer Lammy save file from my PS3 when I used to play it a lot when I was younger. It was for the US version, but it was easy to convert the save file to work with this copy. All it needed was a header change to match the Japanese version and it worked fine.

Here's one of my old replays.

It wasn't until now that I realized that playing traditional rhythm games have decimated my Parappa skills. Baah. I remember being able to get COOL on any stage on a whim. Now I struggle, even with effectors. I still like Um Jammer Lammy though. I spent hours on that game, despite the small tracklist.

Next is Puyo Puyo Sun. This is the PlayStation port of the third Puyo Puyo game released in 1998. This was also pretty cheap complete. I haven't played Sun all that much.

With the new Sun rule, the new Sun Puyo occasionally drops on the play field and clearing them next to a chain will add additional nuisance puyo to the chain. It sounds pretty fun.

Finally, Minimoni Shakatto Tamboruine da Pyon! It's a rhythm game that's based off the Hello! Project group Minimoni, which was a group primarily focused on more child-centric music, singing about baking cake and rock-paper-scissors. They were pretty popular back then, they got some TV shorts and a whole movie produced by Polygon Pictures. It's crazy.

Anyways, Shakatto Tambourine was an arcade game produced by Sega that played similar to Samba de Amigo, but now with a single tambourine that you shake and hit. It got 3 games and this game was the only home console port of the series. I have videos of the arcade version on my channel, but they're in pretty bad quality, as I didn't firmly grasp video quality just yet.

Since this is a Sega arcade game, this is actually Sega's only original game on the original PS1!

The song list not only consists of Minimoni songs, but also regular Morning Musume songs. If you manage to get a good total score at the end of the set, you get to play a bonus medley. It'd probably be way more fun with the tambourine accessory, but shipping that would probably cost a good bit.

This is what the shelf looks like right now. I'm pretty close to getting more Japanese PS2 games than Super Famicom games, which I used to import a lot of a games back in 2019. The games already occupy half of the shelf, so maybe I'll have to move games to a different shelf later! Haha, that won't happen for a while though.

I also got a new PS2 memory card. It's this really cool translucent black color. It was used and had a bunch of soccer game data on it. Some data was even as recent as 2016. I made a dump of the memory card before formatting it and looked at the Your System Configuration file for any play history for games that didn't get saved.

In case you didn't know, the towers on the PS2 startup don't actually represent the amount of storage free or used on your memory card, rather it's how long you played a title. This information was stated as early as the PS Festival 2000 event from a month before the console came out.

Anyways, the Your System Configuration file takes note of the latest handful of games played on the system it's connected to. It saves the ID of the software into a small file. This table is a list of all the IDs saved and their respective titles.

SLPM_652.67Kurogane no Houkou 2: Warship Gunner
SLPM_669.70Pro Yakyuu Spirits 5
SLPS_253.15One Piece Grand Battle 3
SLPS_255.31SD Gundam G Generation Seed
SCPS_150.10Gran Turismo Concept 2001 TOKYO

And that's about it. It doesn't seem like there was any games played that didn't have a save file. I was expecting that the previous owner played a game but didn't save or deleted any save data before selling it. Hopefully, when I do get more PS2 memory cards, they'll come with their save data intact along with the Your System Configuration file. I'll write about it when they come.

That's it for this month's pickups. I still have a LOT coming from Japan, so much so that I think the shelf might actually fill up. Some surface packages might be coming in next month, so I'll def write about those if they come on time... if they haven't gone missing.

That's it for this month. I'm so sorry it took so long for this post and the rest to come out! A lot of stuff happened that you can probably tell.

Also, Splatoon is still down. Three whole months! Splatoon has been down for a quarter of the year! If it's not back up by September, then it would be half a year of no Splatoon. At that point, I would have zero hope of the game ever coming back.