This Week in Games
I am the DANGAN (goo goo g'joob)

by Heidi Kemps,

Hi folks! As I write this, Twitter appears to be having a meltdown, with the Checkmark Army having been banished to the Shadow Realm for who knows how long. So, uh, hopefully you get notified that this has gone live! You can always follow me @zerochan for links, too, along with plenty of talk about retro games/anime and cat picture retweets. Maybe it's a good thing that I'm not verified!

So, what are you all up to this week? I've been busy with a few projects of my own, including a piece for Kotaku about Sonic prototype ROMs that people really seem to like! (At this point, it feels like a good chunk of my writing career revolves around discussing Sonic prototypes. Not that I'm complaining…) It's a bit of a slow week in terms of news about games, but there's a fair bit of interesting gaming-adjacent news happening! (There's also a bunch of Google Stadia announcements, many of which involve games that already exist coming to the platform, but does anyone actually care anymore?)

Well, let's talk about what's going on, shall we?

LEGO AND NINTENDO AREN'T STOPPING WITH JUST MARIO

I talked about the Super Mario Lego sets a couple of weeks back, and my opinion on them hasn't changed: they still look rad as hell. But it seems like Lego has more in store from the Nintendo license! Clearly, the Mario Lego sets are aimed more towards youngsters, as they're less about building a model and more about shifting things around to play with. But both Lego and Nintendo are brands tied into a ton of nostalgia from adults, so it makes sense for Lego to make something a bit more technical and complex to appease those older buyers. Enter: the Lego Nintendo Entertainment System!

This set allows you to build an exact-scale replica of an NES, controllers, a cartridge – excuse me, GAME PAK – and an old antenna TV with dial controls. What's even cooler is that, by turning a crank, you can actually “play” Super Mario Bros. on the TV! Well, it's more of a player piano sort of thing, but it's still a really cool effect. Plus, if you also get the Lego Mario set, you can put that little Mario figure on top of the TV, where he'll start playing music and making Mario Noises.

Like a lot of elaborate nostalgia grabs, however, this one comes with a price that might give some people pause. At an MSRP of $229 USD – which, I should note, is actually pricier than a Switch Lite – it's strictly in the adult-Nintendo-fan-with-lots-of-time-and-disposable-income market. Still, it's a concept that's super cool, and I'm sure if this were a Sega Genesis with Sonic instead, I'd be figuring out a budget for it.

This also brings up another topic: Since Lego seems to have a broad Nintendo license, could they possibly make playsets and designs based on other Nintendo properties? I mean, just think of how cool Lego Metroid would be. Or a set based on the original Legend of Zelda. Or Lego Arwings to send into battle alongside Lego Star Wars TIE Fighters! Dang, there's a lot Lego could do if they wanted, huh? Here's hoping we see lots of really cool things in the future!

THERE'S A DRAGON'S DOGMA ANIME IN THE WORKS FROM NETFLIX

After having already done well by gamers for their Castlevania animated series, Netflix is looking to expand their offerings of game-based animated media. And much like Castlevania, the property they picked is something of a surprise.

Yeah, Dragon's Dogma! That odd Western-influenced RPG by CAPCOM that got a single game and an upgraded edition of that single game before seemingly being exiled to the Island of Misfit IPs. Somebody in a decision-making position clearly saw potential in the setting and story of Dragon's Dogma, though, so it's back! Just… not in game form. Though, given how solid Castlevania's been, I expect that this will be watchable at the very least.

Also, this does appear to be an actual animated-in-Japan-with-Japanese-staff anime (as we've seen with Halo Legends or that Dragon Age thing everyone forgot existed) as opposed to a Western production made in a anime-like style, as with Castlevania mentioned above. Sublimation, a studio who has worked on the various Psycho-Pass TV series and theatrical anime Weathering With You, is in charge of the actual animation, while relative newcomer Shinya Sugai is handling directorial duties. You can read more about the staff here!

Oh, guys? You gotta shell out for that original game theme song, Into Free ~DANGAN~. I know B'z is a big, pricey act, but come on, we need to have this blaring to greet us with every episode.

So here's a dumb kind-of-related anecdote: when I was but a high-school weeblet hanging out online in the late 90s, I spent a lot of time downloading MP3s. Of course, I was on dialup for a long time, so I had to carefully choose which ones I wanted to get… but I also really wanted some J-Rock stuff because, OMG, Japanese music!!! After much surfing I found a server with a bunch of songs, and the first one I picked at random was something called “Samayoeru Aoi Dangan.”

Fast forward to 15-odd years later when I'm sitting down with a review copy of Dragon's Dogma in hand, and the moment I boot it up I'm blasted in the face with memories from my embarrassing high school otaku days. Thanks, CAPCOM.

NEWSBITS OF INTEREST

  • Atelier Ryza 2 has been leaked, thanks to the Australian ratings board listing it on their website. I expect KOEI-Tecmo to drop details on that one soon. More Atelier is always nice, but I'm hoping the developers at Gust aren't stretched thin between this and the Fairy Tail RPG.
  • Square Enix would like to remind us all that Babylon's Fall still exists and is making progress. That's good! After the Scalebound mess, I think Platinum fans need reassurance that games that haven't been heard from in a while are still chugging along. Unfortunately, getting a message like that means that we're probably not going to see stream footage of it in the near future.
  • NieR Re[in]carnation, the smartphone spinoff, is getting a closed beta test in Japan starting on July 29th. If you are able to navigate Japanese forms, you can try to sign up, but Squeenix is only taking 10000 iOS and 10000 Android users into the beta, and if they get more requests than that (they almost certainly will) you'll be put into a lottery for an invite. Good luck.
  • WayForward is making a Bakugan game! Yeah, I guess Bakugan is still a thing, and it's all because Canada keeps funding its production. Also, this was announced on a Nintendo Treehouse livestream, with Nintendo hinting that Wayforward was working on an established franchise they hadn't touched before. So people were hyping themselves up for the likes of F-Zero, Metroid, Donkey Kong… and got Bakugan. Perhaps that wasn't the best place for that announcement…
  • Sony seems to be expecting robust PS5 sales, as they have reportedly ramped up production with the goal of producing 10 million consoles to distribute globally by year's end. Still no word on pricing, though…

Okay! That's enough for now. There are a couple of big releases coming this weekend – what are you planning on playing? Are you buying a PS5 for sure, or waiting on a price reveal? Join the conversation in the forums below, and stay cool/safe out there!


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