The Nintendo Download Thread!

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I noticed that we had a running XBLA tally, but no threadlove for the weekly tithe to the Master System gods. No wonder they initially forgot to put the Wii on the system list for the Conference Call Survey.

Anyway, let's take a look, week by week, at Nintendo's downloadables and see what recommendations emerge from the discussion. (And there will be something worth recommending, right? Right?)

This week, we've got one great game to carry the week (month?). Here are the details from this week's press release, per NintendoLife:
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Virtual Console:

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (Nintendo 64, 1 player, Rated E for Everyone - Cartoon Violence, 1,000 Wii Points™): Link™ must save the world! This time, he finds himself trapped in Termina, an alternate version of Hyrule that is doomed to destruction in just three short days. Link must race to recover the Ocarina of Time (which allows him to manipulate time in multiple ways), defeat challenging bosses in dungeons spread across Termina and discover the key to the mystery of Majora's Mask. Along the way, he'll obtain new weapons and items and help other characters (some strangely familiar) in their everyday lives. In addition, Link must use a wide assortment of masks scattered throughout Termina, each with its own specific use or power. Never before have three days offered so much in the way of action, mind-boggling puzzles and depth. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is an adventure unlike any other!

As much as I want to gripe about Nintendo's insistence on holding this game back for the 300th VC release - because we were all counting along with them, weren't we - I refuse to look a gift horse in the mouth. Majora's Mask is a good game that leaps into greatness, so long as you've been around long enough to play and subsequently tire of all of the other games in the series. The opening area is brutal and the pace does lapse into tedium every once in a while, but the overall experience is solid and, at times, affecting. For $10, you could do a whole hell of a lot worse.
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WiiWare

CRYSTAL DEFENDERS R2 (SQUARE ENIX, 1 player, Rated E for Everyone - Mild Fantasy Violence, 800 Wii Points): In CRYSTAL DEFENDERS R2, you must deploy various units, such as Fencers and Black Mages, to stop waves of encroaching monsters from escaping the area with your party's crystals. There are many types of units to choose from: Some specialize in powerful short-range attacks, some wield far-reaching magicks and still others are equipped with bows, enabling them to bring down aerial foes. Deploy units in strategic locations to take full advantage of their traits. Each time an enemy breaches your defenses and reaches a map's exit, your party will lose crystals. When all your crystals are gone, the game is over. CRYSTAL DEFENDERS R2 offers several new, challenging maps containing multiple entrances and exits. It also introduces three varieties of Power Crystals, allowing you to enhance the abilities of your units, while new jobs, including Flintlock and Tinker, set the stage for even more complex strategies. Can you defend all the maps without losing a single crystal?

Another episode of S-E's over-capitalized swing at tower defense. That Square didn't slap the Final Fantasy brand on this game, even though it shamelessly steals the character classes and aesthetics from FFTA2 betrays their true feelings about this game, I think. Or maybe they just hate money.

Silver Star Chess (Agetec, Inc., 1-2 players, Rated E for Everyone - Mild Suggestive Themes, 500 Wii Points): Silver Star Chess has two modes: 1-Player and 2-Player. 1-Player mode allows you to play a chess match against the computer opponent. [color=red]2-Player mode allows you to play against another person.[/color] In 1-Player mode, you can select one of five different computer opponents, as well as turn the background music off, adjust sound effects and access in-game help features. Also, during the match, you can redo your last move, save the game at any point or resign from the game. After the match has ended, you can review each move made during the match. While reviewing the match in this way, you can resume that match at any point.

"Hey, just got word from upstairs - looks like they're looking for takers on a press release job. Some kind of multimedia chess experience, I guess. I know it's been a while since you dealt with that sort of thing, but you've done nothing but complain about the heat here lately, and I think the fresh air would be good for you. Besides, you need to get back at Harlan Ellison anyway."

"Uh, no thanks - I'll just keep rolling the boulder up this hill."
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DSiWare

Art Style™: PiCTOBiTS™ (Nintendo, 1 player, Rated E for Everyone, 500 Nintendo DSi Points™) Your goal in Art Style: PiCTOBiTS is simple: clear large blocks that fall from above ("megabits") by combining them with "bits" (square blocks) of the same color. Add in the ability to pick up bits and place them anywhere on the touch screen, and you'll quickly find that strategy is critical to your success. By clearing the bits, you gradually reveal each stage's hidden game character - look for favorites from classic NES™ titles - and earn coins that can be spent to unlock DARK stages or to listen to the game's soundtrack in MUSIC mode. This grand mix of familiar elements and new game play leads to the uniquely enjoyable experience that is PiCTOBiTS.

Wow, two straight weeks of game releases for the DSi. If Nintendo isn't careful, they're going to build the expectation that people can download and play games on that thing.

Good idea Ozy, but I tweaked the thread title so it wasn't so long.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is one I played when it came out, but I don't think I ever came close to finishing it. Who knows when I'll have time, but someday .... someday.

Ah, sorry about that. Given the spectacular punnery of the XBLA thread, I felt compelled to oblige.

VC is desperately needing more true classics from the SNES and N64 eras. Harvest Moon 64, anyone?

Are there any plans to be able to play VC games on the DSi? The WiiWare and DSiWare games do not interest me at all, but if I could put Ogre Battle and Zanac on my DS, Nintendo would get an average of $10 a week from me.

I'm glad you started this thread. I was actually meaning to do that today having spent a good chunk of the night browsing the Wii Shop Channel.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Majora's Mask is one of the single best games ever created.

I'll probably be picking up Crystal Defenders R-2. I enjoyed the first one well enough, and I'm looking forward to more. I'm curious to see what sort of new units they add this time around. It might also behoove them to introduce Espers before the final level so that they actually get some use.

Farscry wrote:

VC is desperately needing more true classics from the SNES and N64 eras. Harvest Moon 64, anyone?

Or Star Fox 64.

Edit: Also, regarding recent WiiWare titles, I wrote a post about it already, but I'll put in a good word for Bonsai Barber. It's shocking how much I've enjoyed this one even though the premise is utterly ridiculous, and it sounds boring. It's worth a shot.

Not sure if you were being sarcastic, Adam, but Star Fox 64 is already out there.

Farscry wrote:

VC is desperately needing more true classics from the SNES and N64 eras. Harvest Moon 64, anyone?

Well, there are a few problems with that (from the N64 side, specifically):

1. Despite the remarkable quality of its "peak" titles, the N64 library doesn't have a lot of depth as a whole. Consider the last N64 nostalgia thread that we had here: a lot of the same names came up for everybody and most of those names are already covered by what's out on the VC today.

2. The notable games that aren't out there are either tied up in licensing costs (Rogue Squadron, the various AKI wrestling games), out of play due to developers/IPs that have been poached away (Perfect Dark, Blast Corps), or both (Goldeneye).

Also, it's worth keeping in mind that some of the other missing games that don't fall into #2 also have direct Wii sequels that are essentially upgrades; I'm guessing Nintendo won't push Mario Tennis or Super Smash Bros. out there for download any time soon, just in case it takes a chunk out of their current-gen offerings that are playable on the same system.

Then again, trying to attribute logic to the VC release process, when many companies have supposedly been sitting and waiting on VC releases to go through, may be foolish.

Dezlen wrote:

Are there any plans to be able to play VC games on the DSi? The WiiWare and DSiWare games do not interest me at all, but if I could put Ogre Battle and Zanac on my DS, Nintendo would get an average of $10 a week from me.

I would also love a DS Virtual Console. I have been doing my mobile gaming on my iPhone for a while now. There are some cool games available in the app store, but I mostly find myself feeling empty due to the lack of depth exhibited by iPhone games. I'm a bit discouraged to see that Gameloft is developing for DSiWare. I've got nothing against them, but I'm afraid DSiWare is going to become a dumping ground for iPhone ports. Do not want.

It's hard to tell where they're going with the DSi VC angle. There were rumblings from earlier press events that did everything short of outright confirming that there would be a DSi VC that would carry GameBoy and GBA games, but Reggie's interview with Wired put a wet blanket on most of that. So, ultimately, who knows.

I'm hoping that "we haven't talked about it" is actually code for "we're announcing it at E3", but Nintendo's approach to online gaming in general isn't exactly inspiring.

OzymandiasAV wrote:

Not sure if you were being sarcastic, Adam, but Star Fox 64 is already out there.

That's weird. A Shop Channel search for "star fox" turned up nothing last night. I'll have to try again. Thanks for the tip.

Farscry wrote:

VC is desperately needing more true classics from the SNES and N64 eras. Harvest Moon 64, anyone?

That's the exact title my 1500 Wii points are waiting for - hopefully it will be less

The best purchase I've made so far in WiiWare is Alien Crush Returns

The worst purchase I've made so far in WiiWare is Tetris Party or Dr. Mario - not because they're bad - no - it's because my wife wants to take over the TV to play these two games all the time!!

mrwynd wrote:

The best purchase I've made so far in WiiWare is Alien Crush Returns

Certainly a good one. We shouldn't forget Art Style: Orbient, Megaman 9, or World of Goo either!

What I don't understand is why Nintendo nudges out one piddly VC release a week when they have a giant catalog of back games across at least eight different platforms and three different regions - they could easily do three a week and have enough material for five years in my estimation...and considering it's all just stuff running on emulators anyway, there's very little work to be done for them.

I just DLed Ocarina of Time the other day. Digging it.

AUs_TBirD wrote:
mrwynd wrote:

The best purchase I've made so far in WiiWare is Alien Crush Returns

Certainly a good one. We shouldn't forget Art Style: Orbient, Megaman 9, or World of Goo either!

What I don't understand is why Nintendo nudges out one piddly VC release a week when they have a giant catalog of back games across at least eight different platforms and three different regions - they could easily do three a week and have enough material for five years in my estimation...and considering it's all just stuff running on emulators anyway, there's very little work to be done for them.

If you look at how many games they've got that don't have any copyright issues, the pile isn't so big. I wonder if console companies of today will sign any kind of agreement that they're allowed to re-release the game on future systems, to avoid this issue.

I got burned by purchasing a couple of NES and SNES VC games, only to find that they have no concept of aspect ratios and stretch to high heaven on a 16:9 TV. (Shortly thereafter, I hacked my Wii and installed NES and SNES emulators, which both have settings for maintaining proper aspect ratio).

Is this also the case with N64 titles?

*Legion* wrote:

I got burned by purchasing a couple of NES and SNES VC games, only to find that they have no concept of aspect ratios and stretch to high heaven on a 16:9 TV. (Shortly thereafter, I hacked my Wii and installed NES and SNES emulators, which both have settings for maintaining proper aspect ratio).

Is this also the case with N64 titles?

I have the original Legend of Zelda from the VC and it doesn't stretch the aspect ratio (black bars on left and right). Could it be a settings thing?

My 4:3 VC games don't stretch either. Legion I'm guessing you have something set wrong with your Wii, your TV, or both.

there is a widescreen setting in the wii settings, I'm also using a 480p cable.

The new Bubble Bobble came out today, haven't gotten it yet, but looking forward to it. And I don't know if this is a good thread to post this in but, the Final Fantasy IV WiiWare remake was announced with NINE episodes to be downloaded. I don't think they let Wiiware go below $5.00 so that's $45.00 for the whole game. Yikes. Also, trying to stay current, I like Crystal Defenders R1 TD, but haven't gotten R2 yet. If you love TD games (which I do) R1 is really fun, but almost too easy to beat, unless you are going for all perfect rounds (which I am to give the title replayability).

wonderpug wrote:

My 4:3 VC games don't stretch either. Legion I'm guessing you have something set wrong with your Wii, your TV, or both.

Weird, mine all stretch too. I'm using 480p mode with component cables to my 40" Bravia, and the Wii always seems to output a full-frame signal, so unless I set the TV to 4:3 and have it pillarbox it, all my 4:3 VC games end up stretched.

Larry wrote:

The new Bubble Bobble came out today, haven't gotten it yet, but looking forward to it. And I don't know if this is a good thread to post this in but, the Final Fantasy IV WiiWare remake was announced with NINE episodes to be downloaded. I don't think they let Wiiware go below $5.00 so that's $45.00 for the whole game. Yikes.

If it's a full game's worth of content split over nine episodes, is that such a bad deal?

Larry wrote:

Also, trying to stay current, I like Crystal Defenders R1 TD, but haven't gotten R2 yet. If you love TD games (which I do) R1 is really fun, but almost too easy to beat, unless you are going for all perfect rounds (which I am to give the title replayability).

I picked up Crystal Defenders R2, and I'm enjoying it a lot more than R1. The maps are a bit more difficult, and the power-up crystals add a neat dynamic to the combat. It would still be a bit on the easy side for tower defense veterans, but I'm rubbish at those games, so I'm enjoying it. I'd recommend that anyone who is curious about these games pick up R2 instead of R1.

Oh, Memorial Day was Monday, wasn't it. Better late than never, right?
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Virtual Console:

Clay Fighter™ (Sega Genesis, 1-2 players, Rated T for Teen – Comic Mischief and Mild Cartoon Violence, 800 Wii Points): In this zany 2-D fighter, it's just another day for a humble traveling circus troupe when a meteor crash-lands in their camp. The otherworldly orb, made entirely out of interstellar clay, contaminates all the circus employees, turning them into bizarrely superpowered versions of themselves. Choose from among the unique clay creatures, such as Bonker, the cheerfully manic clown, or Blue Suede Goo, the mild-mannered Elvis impersonator turned violent vocalist. Master their “Claytalities,” like the operatic Helga's deadly high note and Bad Mr. Frosty's fists of snowball fury!

The main hook behind Clay Fighter at the time of its release was its transparent parody of the 2D fighter genre in 1993, Mortal Kombat in particular. Now that we're over fifteen years removed from those halcyon days, where Mortal Kombat had cultural relevance and wacky fighters like MvC2 and SSBM were but a twinkle in our eyes, we're left with tepid gameplay wrapped up in skanky claymation. Avoid, abort, run away screaming. (And don't buy the inevitable SNES VC release two months down the line either.)
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WiiWare

BUBBLE BOBBLE Plus! (TAITO, 1-4 players, Rated E for Everyone – Comic Mischief, 600 Wii Points™): BUBBLE BOBBLE Plus! is a simple yet exhilarating action game where you control the bubble-blowing dragons Bub and Bob, trapping enemies in bubbles and then popping them. You can play all 100 of the Standard Mode rounds, which faithfully recreate the nostalgic arcade game, or try 100 new Arrange Mode rounds, which allow up to four players to play on stages with exciting new features such as new enemies and stage layouts. There are also Super Mode rounds for you to enjoy. Determine the true ending by solving puzzles hidden on each stage to defeat the final boss. In Ranking Mode, players with broadband Internet access can use the Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection service to compete with players from around the world. Enjoy an additional 100 rounds and face off against new boss characters by purchasing “Expert Mode 1” and “Expert Mode 2” add-on content.

Well, now I feel like a gigantic loser for buying the NES Bubble Bobble. Four player co-op with arranged levels and the promise of DLC makes this one the clear winner for the week.

(Note for those in Europe: you'll have to shell out an additional 200 points to join the bandwagon. This will come as no surprise, of course, as dicking over Europe is one of Nintendo's favorite pasttimes, along with frying unlicensed third-party publishers with sunlight and a magnifying glass.)

ADVENTURE ISLAND® The Beginning (Hudson Entertainment, 1-2 players, Rated E for Everyone – Cartoon Violence and Comic Mischief, 800 Wii Points): ADVENTURE ISLAND The Beginning comes to the Wii console with exciting new skills and elements. Learn how to use new skills while exploring Adventure Island from coast to coast. Search for Golden Melons hidden throughout the stages and mini-games. When obtaining Golden Melons, you'll be able to purchase various items to help you on your adventure. These items can increase your attack power or enable you to reach places you couldn't get to before. Fulfill certain requirements while playing in any of the modes to achieve a “Master Higgins Feat” and you'll be awarded a Master Higgins costume.

Can't get enough.
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DSiWare

American Popstar: Road to Celebrity (Gameloft, 1-4 players, Rated E for Everyone – Comic Mischief, 800 Nintendo DSi Points™): This is your enthralling and interactive success story as a young hopeful in the music milieu. The adventure begins when you get the chance to audition at your Hollywood high school. But the road to celebrity isn't an easy one: Your secret crush is also auditioning, and so is your evil rival. This unique mix of music-themed gaming and social adventure will let you show your talents to the world, take your best photo with the Nintendo DSi system's built-in camera and meet lots of people who may help you build your career. You're about to become the greatest pop star in the world. Talk, share activities and be friendly or unfriendly with numerous characters. Customize your character's name and appearance, and develop skills and personality through your actions. Four musical mini-games include Guitar, Singing, Drums and Dance. Record your voice, take your own photos and sign autographs.

The word "milieu" certainly isn't E for Everyone, is it. Despite the garrulous and - dare I say it - loquacious press fluff, this one actually appears to be pretty good, mixing some RPG character building with rhythm mini-games.

Photo Clock (Nintendo, 1 player, 200 Nintendo DSi Points): Photo Clock allows you to enjoy the photos taken with your Nintendo DSi Camera application in a new way. Watch your images appear on the top screen of your Nintendo DSi system according to your chosen display settings (specific photos or all photos; in order or randomly displayed). Select from either an analog or digital clock, using the system's internal clock or offsetting the time however you like. Program up to three alarms – with snooze functionality for those who need it – and assign them a preset ring or use a sound created in Nintendo DSi Sound. Experience all the enjoyment of a photo album while ensuring you won't lose track of the time.

Your search - "enjoyment of a photo album" -Nintendo - did not match any documents.

I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to recapture the magic of flipping through a photo album. Although, having a set time that I would have to flip through people's old vacation photos would have been nice, in retrospect.

Considering how much time I put into Bubble Bobble on the c64 and NES, I don't feel bad for having bought it on VC and now Wiiware I consider it a 600 point thank-you to Taito.

AUs_TBirD wrote:

Considering how much time I put into Bubble Bobble on the c64 and NES, I don't feel bad for having bought it on VC and now Wiiware I consider it a 600 point thank-you to Taito.

I see it as an additional 6 dollar fine for getting married! My wife couldn't go on living, knowing a bubble bobble existed that she hadn't finished.

wonderpug wrote:

My 4:3 VC games don't stretch either. Legion I'm guessing you have something set wrong with your Wii, your TV, or both.

No, it's a well-known issue. The Wii does not pillarbox VC games itself, period. Not with a component cable or otherwise. Not when set to 16:9 in the Wii menu, or 4:3. Not in the hall, not in the mall.

TVs often have a setting to display a 480p signal in 4:3, and on my TV, I can do that manually. Some TVs may do that by default. But the Wii isn't the one doing it.

Are you saying that you can go from playing a Wii game in full 16:9, then fire up a VC game and it's pillarboxed? Or does the VC game fill the screen too? What about GameCube games? Provide camera phone shots!

Virtual Console

Boulder Dash®
Original platform: Commodore 64
Publisher: Commodore Gaming
Players: 1-2
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Price: 500 Wii Points
Description: Originally released in 1984, Boulder Dash is one of the big computer-game classics. It is one of the very few computer games ever to be ported from home computers to arcades, not the other way around. The hero of the game is the brave prospector Rockford. He must dig through caves to collect diamonds while avoiding various types of dangerous creatures and obstacles such as falling rocks. He is in constant danger of being crushed or trapped by an avalanche or killed by an underground explosion. Strategy and planning are the keys to mastering Boulder Dash. Once enough jewels have been collected, the door to the mysterious escape tunnel is revealed and Rockford can explore another cave.

Twenty-five years later and I still can't make any sense of this game. You have full vertical movement, as though there's no gravity at all; you can hold up boulders when you tunnel underneath them. And yet, if a boulder is left unattended in the air, it can fall on top of you and smear you like a bug on a windshield. Here's some gameplay footage of the C64 original, in case you're interested collecting jewels in a paradoxical existence where only airborne boulders are affected by gravity.
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WiiWare

FINAL FANTASY® IV: THE AFTER YEARS™
Publisher: SQUARE ENIX
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) – Alcohol Reference, Mild Fantasy Violence
Price: 800 Wii Points™
Description: FINAL FANTASY IV: THE AFTER YEARS is the sequel to the hit RPG FINAL FANTASY IV. The story takes place many years after the original and centers on a young man named Ceodore, son of the paladin Cecil and the white mage Rosa, who, along with their loyal and steadfast friends, once saved the world from evil born of the second moon. Now, monsters are reappearing in a world that had finally attained peace. The second moon has returned anew. What tidings does this ominous harbinger bring? Familiar faces and new allies join the battle to save the Blue Planet once more.

Very cautious optimism for what appears to be the winner this week. It looks like they've brought back the classic ATB gameplay from the original game with some tweaks (such as combination attacks, if the screenshots are to be believed) and the premise for expanding the FF IV storyline seems to have some promise, but it will be interesting to see if Square can keep from pandering to a fan base that has already been well-served through multiple FF IV remakes.

(EDIT: It's been mentioned elsewhere, but it's definitely worth a reminder: this game will contain episodic content priced at 300 points per episode. Rydia's DLC is already available for purchase and Square will continue to release DLC packs for various characters over the next few months.)

Texas Hold'em Tournament
Publisher: Digital Leisure, Inc.
Players: 1-6
ESRB Rating: T (Teen) – Simulated Gambling
Price: 500 Wii Points
Description: The deck is shuffled and the blinds are in – it's your move. Call, raise or even bluff your way "all in" with Texas Hold'em Tournament. You'll start off in the small Nevada gaming halls and work your way up to the Las Vegas Championship. Multi-round, no-limit hold'em game play ensures hours of serious poker action. Think you're the best poker player out there? Using broadband Internet access and Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection, start climbing the worldwide rankings by winning online tournaments, and see how your poker skills stack up by viewing the online leaderboard. Texas Hold'em Tournament also lets you play multiplayer poker with up to five friends, and with full Mii™ character support, you can truly bring yourself to the table.

Try as it might, I can't see console poker making any serious push for fans of the game until one of the major online poker sites (Full Tilt Poker, perhaps?) puts together a console client that hooks into the corresponding account online and puts real money in play. Even when you're playing in person, a hold 'em game without money doesn't have the same juice because the lack of stakes directly impacts how people play the game; when you abstract it further onto your TV screen and remove the poker face element, you're essentially playing a rousing game of math without any of the monetary or social payoff.
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DSiWare

Mighty Flip Champs!™
Publisher: WayForward Technologies
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) – Mild Suggestive Themes
Price: 800 Nintendo DSi Points™
Description: Are you ready to become a Mighty Flip Champ? Take control of Alta and page-flip through a series of action-packed mazes. The touch screen reflects a preview of the next chamber and shows Alta's projected destination within it. When it's time to flip, use Alta's Magical Warp Wand to replace her world with the next one. Will she land safely on solid ground or be crushed under it? By cycling endlessly through room after brain-busting room, you'll match wits with some of the most devious traps in puzzle/platforming history.

A bit of a sleeper from the WayForward guys, who have built a resume on interesting game concepts. Mighty Flip Champs is a 2D puzzle-platformer (possible analogue: Solomon's Key) which places the character in a maze, which they have to navigate by "flipping" through stages. I kind of dig this recent movement towards meta-contextualization in games, even if I can't really explain it that well. (I'll defer to the preview from the Nintendo Channel if you're looking for more info). Looks like the best DSiWare game yet.

FINAL FANTASY® IV: THE AFTER YEARS™

This makes me SO FREAKING HAPPY.

Playing it is like a series of nostalgic explosions in my eyeballs.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong on DSiWare (next week!) gives me hope that the platform won't degenerate into a rapid succession of Nintendo-themed clock and calculator applications.

Is the Final Fantasy 4 sequel the same one that was released for Japanese cell phones about 4 or 5 years ago? It probably is, but does anyone know for sure? Also, is it totally awesome? It probably is. I won't be able to get it for another 2 or 3 weeks, and it makes me cry, so I must live vicariously through everyone here for the next few days before I go back to the new apartment and live in an internet-less Hellscape.

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