September 25th, 2023

8 year anniversary!

The new Splatoon 3 update is out and I think it's so... eh.

Two new stages enter the pool! They're both completely new, not repeats from other games! They're Crableg Capital and Shipshape Cargo Co.!

Crableg Capital is alright. I like that there are more walls to paint, which is really weird since Splatoon 3 maps are known to barely have any inkable walls. I will say though, it's pretty easy to get locked out.

Shipshape Cargo Co. is the other new stage. I like it a good bit, better than Crableg.

There's also a feature to adjust gear, which changes the appearance slightly. I was really looking forward to this, but then I was met with practically all my gear not being compatible with the feature. Only certain types of hats and shirts can use this feature, and I have a total of 12 pieces of gear that can use it. That sucks.

This season was honestly a major disappointment. Sure, there were a lot added to the banner/title mixes, but I didn't like the idea of catalog space being used for old gear. Outside of the catalog, the only new gear were exclusively from the Salmon Run store or as part of future Salmon Run bonuses. What a waste. After I played for the first day, I thought "That was it?" and outside of Tableturf, yeah that was it. That's the next 3 months for this game.

The Nintendo Direct was broadcasted earlier this month. The first announcement was more information on Side Order!

They describe the new single-player mode to be something that is highly replayable. Some sort of game like Risk of Rain maybe? Not much of it has come out so I still can't say much about it. It's slated for a Spring 2024 release at the earliest. So we're possibly getting it after next season. Boo...

Outside of that, I wasn't really interested in anything else in the Direct. I got what I want immediately.

Consider me disappointed in this update. I heard a rumor that this is probably because Splatoon 3 isn't having the best time behind the scenes right now. People are saying that stuff from later updates are being pushed up, stuff for earlier updates are being pushed back, some stuff might be straight up canned.

I partially believe the idea that stuff is behind schedule. Especially when the Splatoon Twitter announced that it was coming out Spring 2024 at the earliest. That doesn't sound like they're too confident on the release date yet... Maybe I'm just begging for a release date for now...

This month in Japan imports: CDs, consoles, games, and controllers! It's a lot... and it didn't cost me too much either! Some were surface packages and some were quick FedEx packages. One of them is also my first time trying DHL.

I tried out DHL for the first time with Surugaya. They were having a special free shipping sale and I wanted in. I usually bought stuff from the Japanese store using my proxy, but this sale was for the English store. There were limitations, I tried buying a LD Single but they wouldn't let me. I tried to keep it short and sweet, there wasn't much I wanted from there anyways.

It took them quite a bit to ship it out. Days after I placed my order, they posted that orders would be delayed a bit due to the amount of orders being made. Who knew that making the most annoying part of importing free would cause such a thing!?

It took them roughly 4 days to ship it out. At that point, DHL had to take it from Japan to my home. They dragged in shipping it here, it was moving really weirdly across the country. The only thing DHL has above FedEx is when the package is out for delivery, you can see the delivery truck's GPS. I don't think that is enough to make me choose DHL over FedEx, especially when FedEx is way cheaper...

Anyways, I got this Crash Bandicoot manga. It's very cute.

Accompying that was a Sega Saturn composite cable. We'll talk more about that in a bit!

Next is the games.

First, this TVDJ demo. This is a late demo of TVDJ, containing only the first half of the first program. This demo in particular costs around 100 to 300 yen, which is way more than what the full game goes for.

Playing this myself, I noticed a lot of differences from the final version. Also, it's weird seeing how the game costed 5800 yen at launch, but it's only 10 yen now. Haha.

On the topic of single-game PS2 demos, I don't know how they were given out in Japan. I heard of the PlayStation Festival demos being given out to anyone who wanted them, so it just might depend on how the demo. I read on a blog that they were usually sold at video rental stores, which makes the most sense.

First actual, full game is Parappa the Rapper 2. It's one of my first rhythm games I played when I was young.

The Japanese version mimics how the original game came with a large poster as a manual. It also asks you to cut it to make a box, but I'm not doing that.

One thing I never did when I was young was manage to get COOL. The system to get COOL is more advanced than the previous games and I never figured out how to do it in Parappa 2. I got 3 COOLs already after getting this. I think I'm getting it down...

First actual game is ParaParaParadise. I bought some of the VHS tapes, now I own the game. This game has you dance to eurobeat music using charts that resemble Parapara routines. This game is supposed to come with a sensor controller, but I only bought the game alone. The game works with standard analog controllers anyways.

When using an analog controller, you'll have to push a stick to the direction of the note coming up. Both analog sticks can be used for all directions. It's really simple and easy to read.

I sort of want the sensor controller since it seems way more fun that way, but I'm worried about the shipping costs. Controllers are usually pretty expensive to ship internationally. I also don't really want to find a place to store it away when I'm done with it...

First actual game is Kaiketsu Zorori. I bought this game because I watched this anime a lot when I was like 8 and I liked it and I'm actually really embarrassed to admit that... This is an EyeToy game based off the 2004 anime adaptation. It being an EyeToy game, there's no way you're getting me to play and show off this game. I also think my EyeToy is busted, the focus ring is stuck, so I just get a really blurry image.

The next game is Higurashi, a rather late PS2 port of a visual novel.

Of course, being a visual novel and I'm not too comfortable with Japanese to be playing a whole VN. You might be thinking, why did I buy a visual novel even though I can't read? Well, there's one thing I'm surprised I never wrote in my blog before.

The discs! Japanese PS2 discs are really cool to look at. While in America, our PS2 discs are in full-color, in Japan, PS2 discs usually only use 2 or 3 colors, not including the reflective layer. Something about how limiting these discs are is so cool. Higurashi's disc was one I looked at and I just loved the dark red. The game was only a hundred yen, so I wasn't breaking the bank buying it.

Anyways, I haven't played Higurashi at all yet. I'm sort of interested, but I should probably play a translated version rather than the PS2 release.

There was some sort of sequel or expansion released afterwards, which has a standalone release and append release. I'm interested getting it because I haven't really heard of any PS2 games that have disc swapping like the PS1.

Now a PS1 game, Tekken 3! I'm not so great with fighting games, but this game looks cool. I played it when looking at the Ridge Racer Hi-Spec demo disc from Ridge Racer Type 4 and was wowed by how smooth it looks.

Anyhow, yes, I'm not good at fighting games at all... I played it for a bit and kept losing on the third fight set to easy. Boo. I'll throw this game out later.

At this point, I own 22 Japanese PS2 games and 15 PS1 games. It's a lot.

Latest in the 100 yen consoles, this PS1! There's loads of untested PS1s for sale, some even with the box, but nobody buys them. As of writing, some systems have been listed for longer than a month. This is not that different from the situation with the Wii.

This is a SCPH-7000 system. It's a late model, so the extension port remains, but the video out jacks are absent. The 7000s and 7500s are rather common models, so this is not that special. PS1 systems also have region lock, later Japanese consoles having more checks than other consoles, so I won't be able to play all 3 US PS1 games I have on this thing.

So... does it work? Kind of. The lens is clearly failing, as some games have a bit of an issue loading, but some games do work and play just fine. I could probably raise the power going to the lens. I could also grease the moving parts. I haven't tried either yet, but it'll probably work. For now, I'll list this console as a no contest. I have plans for this system in the future.

This part of pickups has been interrupted by the music pickups!

A new album has entered my hands... It's ABYSS' in the wonder world album! There was only a Yahoo Auctions listing for this album, but it was rather expensive. When looking for albums via my proxy, I found a Rakuten shop selling it for only 76 cents! I bought it immediately! It's such a good album!

Here is one of my favorite tracks played with SoundScope on the PS1.

When this album came out, the first three singles were already out, all of which I already own. I just need to get all the singles from after the third single to complete her discography. I hope I can complete this soon!

Also this beatmania IIDX 16 EMPRESS soundtrack, my first beatmania IIDX soundtrack! The spine is a bit sunburnt, but everything else is fine. I think I won this for around $8.

Now back to your regularly scheduled pickups.

I bought some things for my Japanese Wii. Since the disc drive still works, I decided to get some games for it.

First up is Odoro Made in Wario. As a Wii launch title, this game is extremely cheap.

Next is Atsumare! Made in Wario. Since the Wii is backwards-compatible, and the feature wasn't removed in Japanese systems, I bought this to dip my toes in buying some GameCube stuff. My friends had fun playing it despite the differing language.

I had to format my old GameCube memory card since Nintendo had the bright idea of region locking the cards by formats. Playing a different region game with a different region card will not work unless you re-format the card. I opted to format my card because I don't really play GameCube games that much anyways.

To round off the WarioWare addiction is Sawaru Made in Wario. Like Odoro Made in Wario, this was being sold by a seller I frequent for a yen. It hasn't been sold for months so I took it.

Next item is Gyakuten Saiban. While it seems odd for me to import a large-text game from Japan, this is an exception! The DS ports of the first three games contain an option to switch to English. As far as I remember, the script is exactly the same as the English release.

Remember that Sega Saturn from last post? I've been collecting pieces for it, the AV cable arrived, I won an auction for 3 untested controllers (all working!) and got Daytona USA too. I just need to see if it works.

These controllers feel alright. If they were a little bit bigger, I would've loved them! They're slightly dirty and some of the buttons aren't too clicky, so I went ahead and cleaned them out a bit.

I plugged in the Saturn, hooked it up to my DV deck, and connected my controller. I turned it on and I see the wall I faced a week ago: the date and time settings. Using the new controller, I set the date and time settings and saw the loud startup screen before being greeted to the menu.

Drive empty. I put in Daytona USA.

Reading disc...

Drive empty. Hm. I inserted Puyo Puyo Tsu instead.

Reading disc...

Drive empty.

Huh. My $7 console isn't working. Crap, time to put it in the back burner, I got a lot of other stuff going on and this will just have to wait. I got a bunch of other stuff from the package I wanted to get through. It wasn't until I took out my new Abyss CD and put it in. I closed the disc cover and it spun. The message didn't pop up. The playback controls lit up. I could press play and the CD... played!? No skips? This CD sounds awesome! There are so many settings to change too!

That was promising, it means that the laser did have some bit of life left. Later, I took the Saturn apart and saw the potentiometer for the drive. The pot determines the power that goes into the laser. If a laser is about to croak, turning the laser up will let you get just a bit more life out of it. I turned the power up just a bit and put it back together.

I do all the setup again and see the system menu. I put my copy of Daytona USA in the drive and closed the lid. I'm really worried that the laser will just burn out or my copy will explode or the Saturn will just die or... or...

Reading disc... I'm hearing the laser move up and down...

The CD+G option turns into the Sega Saturn logo! The disc read! Now, will it actually play the games without issue?

I was able to play Daytona USA! To my knowledge, the CD-DA tracks didn't skip either! Cool!

Puyo Puyo Tsu works just fine aswell! Watch me lose on the beginner course because I suck and can't play fast!

Of course, turning up the potentiometer is only a temporary fix. I will have to replace the laser if it fails to read discs later down the road. For now, I can consider this listing a win!

It's not until now that I realized that Saturn games cost a lot. Ports of games I know of, like DOOM or Gex, are usually around $30+ on auction sites. The moment I see an oppourtunity for a winning bid, it's usually on a listing that has more than 10 watchers. I really need to fight for games on Saturn.

I did get two more games.

This one is Digital Dance Mix Vol. 1: Namie Amuro. Namie Amuro is one of the best J-pop artists out there, with the software coming out around the peak of her popularity.

Editing note (12/31/2023): Avex blocked the video worldwide (possibly due to the contract renewal situation) so the video cannot be viewed at this time. If the video doesn't get unblocked after the contract renewal, I'll reupload the video locally here.

The game itself isn't anything like a game. It's like most J-pop games for consoles where it's fan material. This software contains 3D animations of Namie dancing to Chase the Chance (CC Mix) and You're my Sunshine. It also contains some minigames and karaoke of the songs avaliable.

I also got Christmas Nights. I originally thought this game was only playable with the 3D analog controller, which is expensive, but I found out it actually wasn't. I bought this when I found out. The Christmas version was a demo that was bundled with systems around the holiday season, thus is common to find around online.

Ah, but my Saturn lens finally died. Now, one of these days I'll replace it.

Finally, this thing! A HORI Taiko drum.

I was at a meetup late last month and someone there was selling this modded drum for around $50. I was trying to get a Taiko drum, but I didn't want to import one because of shipment fees. This was the next best thing and I didn't want to put this off, so I bought it.

It works fine. It is pretty loud, but I already accepted that every rhythm game controller is loud. I think it's pretty hilarious how the drum moves so much when you hit it that they recommend to put water bottles in it to keep it steady.

I don't have any Taiko games for Switch right now, but I have played some of the Wii titles on an emulator. The delay on emulator drives me insane though.

I also should mention that, while Goodwill has been lacking in any sort of fun finds, I found a couple of network switches! It might not sound like much, but I was in dire need of one.

This was something I've been needing for a long time. I had to get my router replaced by my ISP because it kept overheating and the new router only has two ethernet ports, half of what my old router had. One had to be used for my PC while I had to keep changing devices for the other port because I didn't have a switch. It's all good now though.

Seriously though, I hate these damn routers. I hate Xfi. I hate Xfinity. Why the hell do I need some app to change port forwarding settings?