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  • [I ♥ The PC Engine] Wai Wai Mahjong

    Posted on April 16th, 2010 keving 4 comments

    Wai Wai Mahjong

    Maker: Video System Ltd.
    Release Date: 6/19/89
    5800 yen
    HuCard (2 Mbit)
    Genre: Board
    PC Engine FAN Score: 19.92 / 30.00
    Kōgien: “A two-player mahjong game with normal and tournament modes. Normal mode lets you select from three difficulty levels, while tournament mode pits you against opponents that gradually get harder.”

    In a few years, I’m going to be drowning in crap PCE girl-mahjong games. I know it all too well; I’m completely aware of the inevitable perfect storm of tiles and boobies lying in ambush for me, and yet I feel powerless to stop its advance. Ohhh, if only I had paid more attention to that how-to-play-mahjong feature in the first issue of GameGO! Then I wouldn’t be faced with this catastrophe in the waiting!

    Even if I were completely up on the rules of mahjong (the last time I seriously tried to play was in 2001), I would likely not be too excited by Wai Wai Mahjong, a board-game sim with very few amenities. It’s straight two-player mahjong, with a cast of weird-looking challengers and a shop offering a variety of “helper items” (i.e. ways to cheat the random tile generator), but no real story to glue it all together. From the presentation to the gameplay, everything’s pretty bland and 8-bittish.

    If anything’s noteworthy about this release, it’s that Kyoto-based Video System is behind it, one of three PCE games they published. For the longest time, I thought Video System was a Korean outfit, and I really can’t explain why I labored under that misconception except that Super Volleyball looked like a B-league Asian game to me back in middle school. I’ve since fully savored the charms of what’s inarguably the best 2D volleyball sim ever made, but not even that classic was enough to save the company (an offshoot of Japanese arcade distributor Visco founded in 1984) from obscurity for its long history. If anyone in the States knows them now, it’s for the Aero Fighters series of arcade shooters — which aren’t bad, of course, but c’mon, they ain’t Super Volleyball.

  • All about freelancing

    Posted on April 16th, 2010 keving 1 comment

    The Tutorial: Freelancing

    Mr. Demian Linn was the man who gave me my review assignments for EGM back during 2004, that glorious year when I lived in San Francisco, covering rent and everything, living entirely off freelancing for print (okay, almost entirely). Every month, I’d come visit his cube high up in the Ziff Davis Media office building, and he’d fumble through a plastic bin full of discs and say “OK uhm…hmm…okay, guess what, you’re lead review on McFarlane’s Evil Prophecy” and the like. Fine memories.

    If anyone is qualified to tell you how to become a game-media freelancer, he’s the one…although in my personal range of knowledge, doing the supplementary-income stuff like strategy guides and consulting is pretty much a must these days. Anyone disagree?