Friday, September 15, 2006

Nounenrei: Nou Stress Kei Atama Scan

Sega's Nounenrei software uses a protocol known as the Advanced Trail Making Test (ATMT) which was developed by a medical doctor named Osami Kajimoto of Soiken Inc and the University of Osaka's Dept. of Psychiatric Medicine. The ATMT is used to test brain functions when a subject is fatigued or under stress.

The basic test consists of a "visual search and response" exercise where 25 figures are pushed or in the case of the NDS, tapped in quick sequence. To establish a baseline for the test taker, the first ATMT exercise will prompt the player to tap the numbers from 1 to 25 in order along with Japanese syllable characters in order and mixes them up... «Full NCS Synopsis»

God Hand + Bonus Music CD

Mix the muscular bad asses of Hokuto no Ken with the slapstick of the Three Stooges in a big cauldron and you might bubble out a concoction flavored like God Hand. Set in a dusty landscape with a distinctive Western twang, the hero of the game is a fighter named Jean who's an over the top bruiser with bulging pectorals and moxie. He dashes, performs back flips, punches up a storm, and unleashes massive energy attacks through his God Hand. In the first scene, he enters a town with a girl named Olivia and immediately falls to his knees while croaking, "Waaterrr." Olivia is unimpressed and directs his attention to two "sexy" cowpokes approaching them from the distance. They don't look too friendly and Jean does away with his thirst routine, cracks his knuckles and goes to work.

The first battle shows off the impressive techniques and moves available to the hero. In addition to conventional attacks, Jean may pull off special moves, running attacks, combos, and almighty God Hand blasts that level a local area. Much of the environment is also interactive and may be destroyed to cause additional damage to an attacker. To bump up Jean's powerful repertoire of default moves, new attacks may be purchased at shops for additional beat down skills. «NCS Game Notes»

Wi-Fi Taiou: Yakuman

Mario and company have conquered platform action, kart racing, an RPG, mini-games, and more. Last year, the gang added mahjong to their collective resumes with Nintendo's Yakuman DS game. While fun and engaging for anyone hankering for stylus powered MJ, the game lacked Wi-Fi support. Sure, it was capable of supporting a 4-player game as long as everyone was local and within range but that's not good enough. We want to play Mario mahjong against anyone in the world connected online. With Wi-Fi Taiou: Yakuman, that dream is realized where gamers may find opponents 24/7. To add to the fun, players equipped with the Earphone Mic may chat with each other and throw out blurbs and glib remarks. New orders are welcome.

Animal Crossing Alarm Clock

Throw away your Snoopy or Flintstones alarm clock and replace it with a stylish Animal Crossing timepiece. Choose from three character styles as follows:

» Orange Clock featuring Tanukichi aka Tom Nook
» Yellow Clock emblazoned with the image of Totakeke
» Pink Clock whose face is decorated with the kitty named Bouquet

Each clock measures 8cm or 3.14" in diameter and stubby legs keep it stable on a table or night stand. Two hands tell time while a third hand runs down the seconds. A fourth hand may be set to trigger the alarm. A single AA battery (not included) keeps the clock ticking. Preorders are welcome to ship on or around November 28, 2006 at US$10.50 per clock. Buy a bagful and your holiday gift giving plans are solved in one swoop.

Animal Crossing Finger Puppets

Last week, NCS started preorders for Animal Crossing hand puppets and saw that demand was brisk. Building on the earlier announcement, manufacturer Sol International has opened up preorders for Animal Crossing finger puppets. Measuring a mere 5cm or 1.98" in height, a puppet may be mounted on a forefinger, a middle finger, or a thumb. Plug all five fingers from your left hand into the quintet of figures and you have a traveling troupe of plushy puppets.

Based on Sol's product photo, the quality and attention to detail for each puppet appears to be very good but we'll reserve final judgment until we receive them and perform inspections. A chain sprouts from the top of each puppet and may be linked to a keychain or belt loop. Preorders are scheduled to ship in mid-late November 2006 at US$4.90 per puppet but this price may drop if the shipping fuel surcharge is lowered in Nov.

Animal Crossing Movie Figures

We're getting the sinking feeling that toy manufacturers may be flooding the market with too much of a good thing. NCS generally enjoys Animal Crossing and its motley assemblage of characters but the merchandising blitz has been going full tilt these past few weeks. Market saturation generally leads to consumer apathy.

To add to the crush of Animal Crossing material shipping later this year, Yujin has started preorders for a figure collection based on the Animal Crossing movie which bows across Japan on December 16. Jouji Shimura directs the animated film which features amicable characters such as Tom Nook, Rosie, Margie, and Kapp'n among other rascals.

The product solicitation sheet shows the images of seven Animal Crossing characters in clear cubes which are featured in the set. Similar to NCS' standard gashapon sales procedures, we will assemble complete sets of seven AC figures and peddle them for US$20. The release date for the figures in Japan is December 31, 2006 and preorders are scheduled to ship on or around January 3, 2007 from NCS.