Friday, March 7, 2008

Game Trader and DS Love

There's this place called Game Trader near where I live, and it's the best game store I've ever been to in the United States. These guys are awesome. The guys that work there are hardcore gamers who actually know about the stuff they're selling, from current-gen stuff going all the way back past the NES.

I traded in my PS2 and a bunch of other stuff there a few weeks ago, and I got into a conversation on FFXI with a couple of the dudes who work there, and actually both of them still play it. To give you an idea of how cool this store is, they gave me $30 in trade-in credit for a FFXI art book and three 3-4 year old (and thus obsolete) Japanese language guides for the game. I got no end of use out of these books while I was living in Japan and playing FFXI religiously, so they were well used, and I wringed every yen/cent of value out of them while I had them. To be able to wring yet more worth out of them by trading them into this place is unheard of levels of awesome. I was convinced that I'd end up having to throw them out, which would be a real shame seeing as how awesome the guides are (even when the info inside is outdated)! So, thanks to the awesome store Game Trader, the guides live on in other people's collections, and in a straight trade, I picked up a new DS game: Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer.

Shiren is something new to me. It's an example of a genre called the "roguelike." I had never heard of such until just recently, mostly just from reading NeoGAF. But now, having played it, I remember seeing these all over game centers (arcades) in Japan. I don't know why I never tried them, but they're pretty damn fun, or at least Shiren is. The best I can do to describe the game with my gaming vocabulary is to say that it's kind of a cross between an action-rpg and a jrpg, taking some elements from both, but also really hardcore and unforgiving. You're apparently supposed to play through the whole game without ever dying, to complete it. When you do die, you find yourself back in the first town area, stripped of all your items and back at exp. level 1.

So far I've managed to make it to the 7th level of who knows how many... I'm going to guess 50. It seems like there's going to a ton of trial-and-error in learning the proper tactics and techniques to make it through the game, but that's cool, since the dungeons are all randomly generated, and the gameplay is fast and smooth. The game really hearkens back to the 16-bit era, too, because it's pretty much a port of a SNES game, from what I've read.

I love games like this. The DS is a huge boon to gamers, being the last bastion for titles like this and Etrian Odyssey and stuff like Ace Attorney or Hotel Dusk or Contra 4 or the Castlevania series.

No comments: