SCROLL

THE ARCHIVE 2011-2015

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SCROLL Collection on StoryBundle

For anyone who bought a couple of issues of SCROLL, or none at all, or who would love a chance to gift it to someone against their will, there's the April StoryBundle, a site offering themed ebook bundles in the "pay-what-you-want-and-how" model. Every single current issue of SCROLL is available as a collection (sub-bundle?) among the other great books in the "Video Game Bundle 3.0."

This marks a few firsts for SCROLL: first, it's just a phenomenal deal; it's a one-and-done digital bundle of every issue without having to go through a shopping cart, and it's the debut of ebook editions (.epub and .mobi) of SCROLL, as well. For the time being, StoryBundle will be the only place to get the ebook editions, and while they're not up to the visual level of the "real" magazine, they're lightweight and good for just absorbing the material, especially on an e-ink or other dedicated ebook reader. I'm also a proponent of getting SCROLL out there on as many DRM-free "formats" as possible, so this was a great opportunity to light a fire under myself and bring the magazine to a new place.

Once again, that's all eleven current issues of SCROLL (leaving at least the forthcoming issue 12 hanging, but that's on me) for at least a few dollars, plus some other great game-focused books as well -- particularly Atari Inc. and Service Games, if you're looking for more industry history. If you like it, support it!

The Retro Game Challenge 2 Fan Translation

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The beginning of February was fun -- besides starting SCROLL, romhacker xvirus of Orenji Translations revealed, at virtually the same time, that he had cracked the surface of Game Center CX: Arino no Chousenjou 2, the sequel to Retro Game Challenge, and put out feelers for people who can help get the game translated (as "Retro Game Challenge 2," of course!). Knowing not to look this gift horse in the mouth, I've volunteered my services in editing the translation, to help turn this into more of a "localization." If you know and love Retro Game Challenge, you'll understand that the sequel deserves that treatment. Today, a web page for the translation went up to serve as an announcement, although there isn't a ton to look at yet.

GCCX2 was released in Japan in the same month as Retro Game Challenge was in America, but as you may know, RGC didn't hit publisher XSEED's sales targets, and the company understandably didn't pursue an English version of GCCX2, which prevented lots of people from experiencing a wholly-improved sequel with a bunch of great new games-within-games, from the platformer Demon Returns to the flashy shooter GunDuel. (For a refresher course, you can go back and look at my series of blogs on GCCX2 on 1UP -- the link goes to the final entry, which links to the previous ones.)

But for me, and I think many others on the outside, the fulcrum of this translation project will be "Kacho wa Meitantei," the text-heavy detective adventure that's packed with cameos of folks from the GCCX TV show, not to mention a few related in-jokes buried within. Even without those, it's more "gaijin-proof" than anything in either RGC, and a dealbreaker for anyone who wanted to import GCCX2 (which I find ridiculous, but I digress).

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The whole project has just barely started, so there are plenty of unanswered questions at this point, and none of us can guarantee when you can see the finished product. But hey, nobody seemed to complain when the Mother 3 patch finally came out. One or two factors can raise hope, though. Design-wise, there isn't much in GCCX2 that's structurally different from RGC, other than the new games, of course -- it looks the same, but better. And with many elements already established in XSEED's localization, including names, logos, and so on, this can (potentially) maintain a focus on the brand-new stuff.

I know a lot of fan translations peter out or start gaining on Duke Nukem before they're finally done, and I've observed plenty of that since I was a snot-nosed shit in the early days of the "emu scene." But this is totally a passion project, from my end if no one else's, so if it gets to a point where it's just me and xvirus, well, I might just have to roll up my sleeves further. Who knows! Just allow yourself a shred of optimism and let us roll. Speaking of passion projects, this undertaking shouldn't impact SCROLL too much. In fact, wouldn't it be nice if it could compliment the translation at some point?

バイ、ハドソン

A short time after Konami took full ownership of Hudson (they already had a majority stake, so that shouldn't have been too surprising), their US branch, Hudson Entertainment, has been shuttered. Hudson Entertainment wasn't exactly an upper-crust publisher -- Hudson as a whole kind of stagnated compared to their heyday in the 8- and 16-bit eras -- but in any business where you're a product of a parent company, you play the hand you're dealt. And they were crazy enough to bring Takahashi Meijin across the ocean -- twice! H.E. was ostensibly just a marketing vessel, but they were the driving force behind the passable Bomberman Live series, the Military Madness revival, and published non-Japanese casual stuff like Rooms and the console version of Diner Dash. (Maybe they should have ported that Obama game.)

It's difficult to not have a soft spot for Hudson, even when they really fumble. It's almost... human, for lack of a better term. They made some great 2D games, and hardware, for that matter -- not just the PC Engine/TurboGrafx, but some iconic accessories, as well. (What, you can't appreciate a good controller?)

As for Konami, the natural assumption is they'll handle the publishing of Hudson's games from here on out, which wouldn't be news to anyone -- they've published several Hudson games in the US already. Konami has also been more focused (somewhat unsettingly) on casual/family games, so adding stuff like Deca Sports to their stable might show some promise from a business angle.

While I love Hudson's retro stuff, I also have some favorite present-day Hudson games, both self-published and not: If you have a chance, I recommend checking out Kororinpa: Marble Mania and Marble Saga, Lost in Shadow, and Tetris Party Deluxe. And I even got some enjoyment out of the Dungeon Explorer reboot (on DS at least), Onslaught and Rengoku II, but with those, I'm sure your mileage may vary, and wildly. At best, just buy every TG game on Virtual Console.