Sunday, September 27, 2009

PlaySEGA Joypad Delayed

Earlier this month Sega announced a special offer for those who became members of PlaySEGA: an awesome USB Saturn-style controller. PlaySEGA offers a unique mobile gaming experience, allowing members to sign in to almost any computer to play games from a large library of Genesis games, PlaySEGA exclusive games and level creators. Toss your USB controller in your bag and you've got a Sega gaming experience at any computer you use! Pretty awesome.

Unfortunatly, Sega has sent out an email informing members of the status of their controllers, originally due in mid-October. The email read:

We regret to inform you that due to a manufacturer delay your PlaySEGA Joypad will now not be shipped until mid November. To thank you for your patience with this setback, we will be extending your membership with a complimentary 20 days free of charge.

Additionally, as we are offering a promotional offer to our SEGA Pass subscribers for PlaySEGA, we are also adding an extra 25 days to your account so you do not miss out. Your 45 days free membership will be amended on your account automatically. You will not need to do anything, we will move back your next due date payment for you.

While it stinks that the controller has been delayed for a month, Sega is awesome for extending the membership for 45 days. This makes a normal three month membership a four and a half month membership! More time for me to perfect my Sonic level creating skills.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Let's REVIEW Let's Tap: Tap Runner

It was only a week ago that I wrote about the recently announced Let's Tap games for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Now, a week later, both Tap Runner and Gem Game have been released. As Tap Runner was the defining game of the Wii version, producing the little clear jelly man that has become Prope's unofficial mascot, I decided to download it and give it a try on my iPod Touch. How does Naka's latest fare on a portable platform? Let's Review!

Tap Runner is one of five modes found on the original Wii, and to many is the standout game in the collection. Rather than releasing a more expensive iPod version of the complete Let's Tap, Prope is offering up each game at $3.99 each. This approach allows iPod owners and Let's Tap fans (I accidentally typed "Let's Fap" as a typo and it made me laugh) to pick and choose what games they wish to play at a lower price. Let's say you want to play the platforming and shooting games only. Well for $7.98, I can!

Tap Runner is a racing game, pitting four translucent jelly-like men against each other. While running is the main method of reaching the goal, obstacles including trapeze wires, spring pads, crushers and hurdles will stand in their way. Running, walking and avoiding obstacles is done by tapping. To maintain a run the player must steadily tap at a medium weight, heavy taps cause the player to jump and light to little taps slow the player down. The game rightfully avoids telling the player what taps work the best in various situations, allowing for experimentation in the best ways to overcome traps and reach the goal. The full game includes 16 courses, each being unlocked when earlier courses are completed. With such a wide variety of obstacles and methods of propelling the runner, the game continues to be fresh even when the final course is played. One complaint: you are restricted to playing as the blue player, no player/color select screen precedes a race.

Obviously the make or break of this game is the controls. Unlike other iPod Touch games, Tap Runner utilizes vibrations picked up by tapping near the iPod. Unfortunately, when one is on their commute to work, they can't simply pull out a box and start tapping without looking like a crazy person. Thankfully Prope has provided three control options. Tap Style is similar to the original Wii control mode. The player sets their iPod on a box and adjusts the Tap Strength by tapping and reading the level meter. This is the most accurate mode and works quite well when played. It took a few failed games for me to find the proper taps, but once I got it right it worked rather well.

The second control mode is Touch Style which shows a bar on the bottom of the screen, ranging from light to heavy representing tap strength. Rather than picking up vibrations, the player uses touch controls along the bar, tapping on the left to run and the right to jump. This is the easiest of the three modes, and while it isn't a true tapping experience, it is perfect for playing while commuting and almost always wins a race. The third mode is Free Style, and from what I can tell is a much more sensitive Tap Style mode. The mode suggests players hold the device while tapping anywhere on the iPod, unfortunately the tap detection can be dodgy in this mode as there are too many variables in holding the device. I suggest the latter two modes for optimal playing- er, optimal tapping.

The sound is first rate! Directly ripped from the Wii version. I'll admit I've sat through the title screen a few times to hear the Let's Tap theme. All the actions in runner game are supplied with suitable cartoony sound effects.

Graphics are bright and colorful. The runners are pre-rendered sprites and go through a variety of actions. The runner's courses are fully rendered in 3D, looking a bit like wire frame TRON architecture. The frame rate is consistent. There really isn't that much to complain about in the sound and graphics department. Very solid.

I would like to point out the one glaring mistake of the game:


Ahem, excuse me. Besides that, Let's Tap: Tap Runner is a solid port of the Wii game, taking advantage of the iPod's capabilities (for the most part). The only areas Tap Runner fails in is that Prope really could have implemented an online mode, allowing players to upload high scores and race against ghosts of other players runners. Here's hoping these modes are implemented in an update.

Overall a good game from Prope, recommended for Let's Tap fans and Sega fans looking for a new original iPod game.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Let's Tap on the iPhone!

Why would Yuji Naka not put two and two together? He has Let's Tap on the Wii, and an iPhone division within Prope. Well thankfully Naka-san has put two and two together, and came up with Let's Tap for the iPhone and iPod Touch!

Unlike the Wii version, Let's Tap on the iPhone will be a series of games released as five individual apps for $3.99 each. This is a smart move from Prope, as rather than releasing a $10 to $15 title, they have allowed users to pick and choose what Let's Tap mini-games they wish to own. I personally plan to download Tap Runner (available now) and Bubble Voyager (coming October 9th). Other Let's Tap games include Gem Game (coming September 25th), Silent Blocks (coming October 2nd) and Rythem Tap (coming October 16th). Check out game descriptions and more videos at iPrope's website.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

SEGA Anniversaries Ahoy!

As 9-9-09 becomes a sweet memory, SEGA fans should not rest just yet. This year still holds three more noteworthy anniversaries:

October 14
The Dreamcast enjoys its 10th anniversary in Europe! The blue swirl will enjoy a spot of Twinnings as it blows out the candles.

October 15
The beloved Nomad turns 14 in October. While a specific date in October is difficult to find, as the Nomad was initially a Toys R Us exclusive, I thought I'd just throw a guess right down the middle.

November 22
The Saturn turns 15 as we celebrate the Japanese launch. As this is a special number, I decided to change up the Nomad Junkyard banner in celebration of the Saturn. Seagata Sanshiro!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Game Core 2009 - Nomad Edition

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Game Core 2009 convention which was just outside Philadelphia. My complete report of Game Core can be found at SEGA Nerds. While my Saturn-centric report can be found at The Saturn Junkyard. Despite two articles, that wasn't the complete report. Yes, I held off on a few Nomad related tidbits.

The convention was a mix of dealer tables and tournaments. There were also Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic card stuff going on, but I rightfully avoided those. The dealer tables were quite large and varied. I have never seen so many 32X's in one room. Speaking of unpopular SEGA hardware, the Nomad himself (not me, the handheld) was on show at quite a few tables!

The Nomad seen above was still in its lovely box, with an asking price of $80. Meanwhile, a open Nomad was below for the price of $60 with battery pack and a/c adaptor included. Not bad when you consider the high prices it goes for on
ebay. Another dealer had an unstickered Nomad with a cracked screen. I'd assume that were I to haggle, I could get the system for $40 and buy a replacement screen on ebay.

Nomad games were in strong supply, both boxed and loose. I, however, didn't have the cash to pick up any as I already blew my allotted convention budget (and then come) on this:

Yes, I've already posted this photo on two other SEGA blogs, but I'm just so proud! A lovely white Saturn is finally mine after thirteen years. I also nabbed Sonic 3D Blast, one of the few Sonic games that I did not own. I had always assumed it was the same game as the Genesis version and boy was I wrong! The awesome soundtrack and kickass bonus stages make the game much more than the Sonic Flicky hybrid that the Geness version was. Metropolis Street Racer was my other game purchase. I had only played MSR during a long weekend back in 2001 when I rented the game from Blockbuster. It was bit challenging but was so damn sleek and polished. The real-time clock and Richard Jacques radio stations were also awesome additions. Finally I got a vinyl Dreamcast sticker for participating in the Crazy Taxi tournament. While I lost, placing second or third, I didn't miss out on much as the prize was a Wii accessory. Surly a Dreamcast racing wheel would have been a more fitting prize!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Another Genmobile Advert (it's still delayed)

While we're a week past the pre-order date of the RetroGen, it is still delayed. And as we enter mid-September, the GenMobile is still at a pre-order status of "early September". My thoughts: CONSPIRACY. While developed by different companies, I suspect that Innex and Hyperkin are in fact SEGA operating as a covert hardware manufacturer. Why else would both be simultaneously delayed?

While I work out anagrams for "Innex and Hyperkin", take a look at this fancy advert for the RetroGen which includes a list of the preloaded games and a look at the color variations:

I've got it! "Innex and Hyperkin" is an anagram for "Die Prank Hex Ninny"!
Die = The (in German), Prank = practical joke, Hex = curse, Ninny = Nintendo.

"The practical joke curses Nintendo."

Folks, it's SEGA covertly making hardware to bring down Nintendo! I knew it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Dreamroom Aftermath

It's 9-10-09! You know that that means? Dreamcast fans across the globe are tired and hungover. But the memories made were well worth it. My own celebration of the big 10, The Dreamroom, was a major success! Read all about it in my article at SEGA Memories.

Now that the Dreamcast celebrations have concluded, does that mean you'll see less of it here at the Nomad Junkyard? Possibly. I'll still be doing the occasional non-portable post, but will be shifting my focus more towards the Nomad and portable Genesis again. Who knows, once those friggin' Nomad clones see a release we might have a review of one here at the 'yard!

Hope everyone had a happy 9-9-09 and stay tuned to the Nomad Junkyard! Well, you can't really "tune" to a website, but you get what I mean.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy 10th Anniversary Dreamcast!

What else is there to say that hasn't already been said all over the internets? It's 9-9-09! CELEBRATE!

The Dreamroom kicks off at 1pm EST (East Coast), 7pm GMT (London)

Watch live video from Dreamroom on

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Dreamroom Starts Earlier!

I thought I'd use the above banner one last time for this special announcement:

The Dreamroom will begin broadcasting early at 1pm EST (East Coast, USA), 7pm GMT (London, England).

While the party itself will still kick off at the previously mentioned times, I'll switch on the webcam and will be playing some games solo. This change in start time makes the Dreamroom an official 10 hour marathon! Fitting, isn't it? I'll also be playing Dreamcast related videos including Shenmue The Movie as I prep for the party. Be on the lookout for a black cat walking infront of the TV, her name is Olive.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cheaper Chimp Balls!

The RetroGen is still delayed, the Nomad is still expensive and the Dreamroom is still planned. However, something has changed! Super Monkey Ball for the iPhone and iPod Touch has lowered by two American dollars! The once $5.99 app is now $3.99!

Considering Super Monkey Ball was an app store launch title, this reduction has been a long time coming. The iPhone version is a worty port of the console game, and even outdoes the crappier games of the series (like Super Monkey Ball Adventure). Buy it here for the reduced price of $3.99