SEGA AGES Columns II coming soon, more details revealed

More SEGA AGES news has cropped up, as this month Columns II The Voyage Through Time is the next game that’s going to be released. Originally released in 1990 for arcades, Columns II features a similar premise to the original Columns, as you are tasked with clearing out gems horizontally, vertically, or diagonally and avoiding the top of the screen. You have two modes, Flash Columns where you’re tasked with clearing a specific flashing gem while avoiding crossing the top, and Vs. Columns which allows two players to fight against each other. The main gimmick is the “time travel”, where each stage changes the graphics to different time periods, such as ancient Greece, prehistoric times, and the far future, hence the subtitle.

SEGA AGES Columns II adds several new features. The first is online play, where up to two players can compete against each other over the internet, along with the leaderboards typical of these SEGA AGES releases. There are also a number of quality of life options available, such as a stage selection that allows you to go up to stage 70, the option to disable the skulls that push up your playing field when cleared, the option to play a “face-to-face mode” where the second player’s field is flipped over to 180 degree, and the option to have the backgrounds and gems either random or default to the Columns I board. Additionally, the first Columns will also be included as a bonus game, serving as a traditional Endless mode. Finally, for completionists out there, there will be a “Jewelry Box” feature that unlocks illustrations of the various characters you see in the SEGA AGES intros, along with a brief description of who they are.

SEGA AGES Columns II is currently slated for a ¥925 (roughly $8.60) price point, but with no definitive release date yet.

[Source: Official Website]

New Aleste game “Aleste Branch” announced, being developed by M2


Those that are a big fans of shmups and SEGA consoles, you might be familiar with the Aleste series by Compile, such as with the Master System version of Aleste or MUSHA on the SEGA Genesis. Well good news, because the developers at M2 are planning on reviving the series, under the title Aleste Branch. Not much has been revealed, but what is confirmed is that similar to past games, you’ll be controlling a female pilot named Eleanor Wiesen, and a teaser of what the game’s space ship will look like. According to Famitsu, the character designs are being handled by artist Eiji Komato.

Though not much information has been revealed, it’s promised that more information will be revealed by September 7th, while the appearance of the full ship will be revealed on July 28th at Wonder Festival 2019.

[Source: M2Famitsu]

SEGA games Space Harrier and Fantasy Zone coming to the TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine Mini


While SEGA has been busy prepping for the launch of the Mega Drive Mini, it seems they aren’t done quite yet with the mini console craze. The TurboGrafx-16 Mini (aka the PC Engine Mini) by Konami announced back in E3 has revealed 24 TurboGrafx-16 and and 26 PC Engine titles, effectively mixing both American and Japanese libraries into separate categories. Notably for SEGA fans, the TurboGrafx-16 Mini will be packaged with the TurboGrafx-16 versions of Space Harrier and Fantasy Zone, both originally developed by NEC. Space Harrier will be categorized under the TurboGrafx-16 section, while Fantasy Zone will be categorized under the PC Engine section.

The TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine Mini is currently slated for a March 19th, 2020 release date globally, so if you’re interested in trying out this mini console, pick one up next year!

[Souce: Official TurboGrafx-16 Website]

Rumor: “Tasty Good! Super Monkey Ball” rated in China/Taiwan for PS4, Switch, and PC


The rumors of a new Super Monkey Ball continue to come in. Two months ago, SEGA of Japan trademarked “Tabegoro! Super Monkey Ball”, Tabegoro roughly translating to “Good to eat”, “tastes good”, etc., though for the sake of this article it will be unofficially called “Tasty Good!”.

Now more fuel in the fire has been added, as the official Chinese/Taiwan ratings board Game Software Rating Regulations has seemingly revealed more information about this supposed game via the official Chinese title “現嚐好滋味!超級猴子球”. It will be developed and published in house by SEGA itself, not outsourced similar to other revivals in recent years, and it’s planned for the PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC, with an icon seemingly displaying the title also in the documents. No other information about what exactly Tasty Good! Super Monkey Ball is, such as whether it’s a sort of remake or an original game, has been revealed at this time. Guess we must wait until SEGA officially announces the game to know more.

[Source: Game Software Rating Regulations]

SEGA AGES Space Harrier releasing on June 27th in Japan

SEGA of Japan has finally revealed when SEGA AGES Space Harrier will release. The game is slated for a June 27th release date in Japan, for the price of ¥925 (roughly $8.50) on the Nintendo Switch eShop. As a refresher, SEGA AGES Space Harrier will feature most of the content from the 3DS version, including having 16:9 aspect ratio support and the inclusion of the Master System exclusive final boss Haya-Oh. But it will also have new features on top of that, including a new Komainu Barrier Attack mode where Komainu will protect Harrier from most obstacles, a special border meant to emulate the environment of an arcade, and the ability to hold the Joy-Cons sideways to mimic the arcade button layout of the original machine.

On top of SEGA AGES Space Harrier, remember that SEGA AGES Virtua Racing and SEGA AGES Wonder Boy in Monster Land are also planned to release on the same day for international fans, so when you get the chance try to get all three titles!

[Source: Official Website]

Arcade Love: Plus Pengo! coming to Nintendo Switch on August 22nd in Japan

Mebius has announced that Arcade Love: Plus Pengo! will come to the Nintendo Switch on August 22nd in Japan. Previously this collection of games was released in 2012 for the arcades, then later ported to Steam and Xbox 360. Arcade Love: Plus Pengo! contains 4 games, including two minigame collections that tests your skills via Action-Game Skill Test and Shmup Skill Test respectively that were originally released in 2007, and a shmup called Combat Zeal that uniquely focuses on split screen multiplayer with the goal of trying to get the highest score.

However for hardcore SEGA fans, this collection notably includes a special version of the 1982 arcade game Pengo. This version of Pengo features a similar premise to the original arcade game, where you play as the titular Pengo and you have to either break or push ice blocks, with the goal of trying to kill all of the Sno-Bees. However, it was remade from the ground up with a multiplayer focus, where players are now tasked with trying to rack up the highest score within the time limit. It’s promised that Pengo will support 8 players on the Nintendo Switch and offers the option of both free-for-all or team matches, so maybe bring a friend to try this unique spin on a fairly obscure arcade game.

[Source: 4Gamer]

SEGA AGES Wonder Boy in Monster Land releasing on May 30th in Japan

After SEGA has officially revealed information regarding to the upcoming SEGA AGES Wonder Boy in Monster Land, we finally have an official release date. SEGA AGES Wonder Boy in Monster Land is scheduled for a Japanese release on May 30th, or next Thursday as of this writing. As usual with the SEGA AGES titles, it will be priced at ¥925 (roughly $8.50) on the Japanese Nintendo eShop, and it will contain bonus content such as three separate challenges and options with the wiggle joystick trick, such as the ability to map it to a button or to disable it and challenge leaderboards.

[Source: Official Website]

SEGA AGES Wonder Boy in Monster Land “coming soon”, new information revealed


The Wonder Boy series has had a lot of love lately from multiple developers, such as the remake of Monster World III and the spiritual sequel Monster Boy and The Cursed Kingdom, and the SEGA AGES series will continue that with arguably the most pivotal game in the series, Wonder Boy in Monster Land.

Wonder Boy in Monster Land departs from it’s predecessor by adapting RPG elements, such as currency and item management, which would become the norm for future installments. You play as Bock Lee Temjin (aka “Tom-Tom”), as you are tasked with clearing through 12 levels with their own unique set of items, monsters, and secrets. SEGA AGES Monster Boy in Monster Land adds some additional features, including the ability to exploit the “rattle joystick” trick using a single button, Money Hungry Mode where the “rattle joystick” trick is sealed off and your score is recorded, and several “challenge” modes. These modes include Sphinx Challenge where you’re tasked with killing the Sphinx in the shortest time, Monster Castle Challenge where you have to clear the final dungeon as fast as possible, and Fireball Challenge where you have to play through the game using only the Fireball weapon and can die in a single hit.

SEGA AGES Wonder Boy in Monster Land is slated for a pricing of ¥925 (roughly $8.50), but with no official release date. Curiously, the copyright mentions LAT, a seemingly unknown company unrelated to other companies like the original developers Westone (aka Escape) or developers for the recent Wonder Boy titles like LizardCube or Game Atelier.

[Source: Official Website, Twitter]

M2: Complete Works interview/retrospective by My Life in Gaming, goes into detail over M2’s history

M2 might be a familiar name for SEGA fans out there. Indeed, this modest development studio has worked with SEGA for more than a decade helping to bring their older titles to modern system, from the “Complete Collection” installments in the SEGA AGES 2500 series to the SEGA 3D and SEGA AGES series on Nintendo’s more recent systems. But their history goes far back, from their modest days of porting games such as Gauntlet and Gunstar Heroes back in the 90’s. The YouTube channel My Life in Gaming has recently done an interview/retrospective with key staff members such as M2 CEO Naoki Horii and Chief Programmer Tetsuya Abe to talk about their personal experiences with working at M2, including the enduring relationship between SEGA and M2 and their general philosophy of adding something extra to these re-releases. The video itself is over an hour long, so there’s plenty to digest, complete with English subtitles for convenience.

If you liked the above video, maybe also subscribe to My Life in Gaming if you’re a fan of technical aspects of video games or retrospectives.

Cotton series to get a reboot by BEEP, Sharp X68000 version of Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams to see re-sale

For those that like SEGA’s Japanese roster of titles, you might of heard of the Cotton games, a series of shmup titles by Success that have seen releases in arcades with SEGA’s hardware, and on SEGA’s consoles between the Mega Drive and the SEGA Dreamcast. The games typically follow the misadventures of a young witch named Cotton and her fairy companion Silk. Cotton’s most defining trait is her obsession with a special candy called Willows, to the point that she will fight tooth and nail to get as many Willows as possible, which Silk exploits to motivate Cotton to save the kingdom.

The series has been dormant for decades now, with only the odd cameo in doujin/indie titles such as Trouble Witches Origin and Umihara Kawase Fresh, but a new installment in the Cotton series has been announced by retro video game store BEEP. This new installment is tentatively called “Cotton Reboot”, and will be available on for sale at an unspecified date for Steam, Nintendo Switch, and Playstation 4. Not much information has been revealed about the game itself, but it has been described as being a remake of the Sharp X68000 version of Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams, which was chosen over the original arcade version due to it having balance changes and extra polish. In addition, the original Sharp X68000 version will also get a re-sale, both the original and a special rearrange version that features new content. New features include the ability to play as Pril from the doujin Trouble Witches series, and a new “BEEP Edition” in the options that allows for turbo fire. This re-sale version will start orders in June, packed with in it’s original Sharp X68000 disk format and a separate disk for the “arranged” version.

[Source: Official Website, Famitsu, Famitsu Interview]

Puyo Puyo eSports releasing internationally as Puyo Puyo Champions, coming to all major platforms on May 7th

Puyo Puyo eSports is getting a localization, renamed as Puyo Puyo Champions and will be available in western territories on May 7th, effectively confirming a previous rumor about SEGA trademarking “Puyo Puyo Champions” back in November. In addition to the Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch versions previously released in Japan, Puyo Puyo Champions will also get new versions for the Xbox One and Steam, with the console versions all getting digital releases.

For reference, Puyo Puyo Champions is a Puyo Puyo game that caters to a competitive crowd. It trims the fat, providing players with the bare necessities, focusing heavily on the recurring Tsu and Fever rules from past games only and small quality-of-life additions to streamline Puyo matches further. Both offline and online will provide several multiplayer options, such as a new tournament mode and the ranked mode from Puyo Puyo Tetris making a return.

Puyo Puyo eSports to receive a physical release on July 27th in Japan


Puyo Puyo eSports has been available on the digital stores for both the Nintendo Switch and the Playstation 4 since October 25th 2018. But for those that want physical copies instead, SEGA has been nice enough to announce that both the Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch versions will receive a retail release on July 27th for ¥1,990.

The contents are the same as the original digital version. This includes the ability to play with Tsu and Fever rules, along with both offline and online options, such as a tournament mode for offline and the ranking system for online. However, in addition, Puyo Puyo eSports will receive a new update that brings back the Lesson Mode from past Puyo Puyo games. This mode will go into detail over various aspects of how to play Puyo Puyo, ranging from the basics such as rotating to more complex tactics like how to build specific chain types, overall useful for new players. Both the digital release and the upcoming physical release will receive this update in the future.

[Source: Game Watch]

SEGA AGES Virtua Racing releasing on April 25th in Japan


SEGA has dropped the release date of SEGA AGES Virtua Racing. The game is slated for an April 25th release date in Japan, for the asking price of ¥925 (roughly $8.50).

SEGA AGES Virtua Racing is based on the arcade version, with additional enhancements. Players can play one-on-one against another player in online matches, while offline they can play up to 8 people at once with multiple Joy-Cons. Players also have the option to toy with a new replay feature, which allows the player to view recorded races at different angles and can rewind, fast forward, and pause. Overall SEGA AGES Virtua Racing preserves the original arcade experience, even going as far to introduce a “Grand Prix” mode, where players have to endure 20 laps in a single race, strategizing how to use the pit stops efficiently to prevent their tires from wearing out.

[Source: SEGA AGES website]

More titles announced for the Mega Drive Mini and SEGA Genesis Mini, including World of Illusion, Earthworm Jim, Super Fantasy Zone, and more!

SEGA has announced more titles coming to the SEGA Genesis Mini and the Mega Drive Mini. A total of 10 more games have been announced separately between the North America/Europe lineup and the Japanese lineup; 6 shared between the two lineups, 3 exclusive to the western consoles, 4 exclusives for the Japanese console, and the previously announced Sonic the Hedgehog 2 being confirmed to appear on the western consoles. Arguably the most notable titles to note here are the Disney titles Castle of Illusion and World of Illusion, as it confirms some licensed titles will also appear in the SEGA Genesis Mini selection.

[Source: SEGA of America website, Famitsu]

Click below for a full list of confirmed titles.

Joker coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on April 17th, new trailer goes in depth over Joker gameplay

Nintendo has finally dropped information on when Joker will steal your stocks in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, on April 17th (aka tomorrow). In addition, Nintendo has released a new trailer that goes into great extent over how Joker plays, plus other content from the Persona series. Joker by himself primarily uses a mixture of his knife and pistol to rake up damage, giving him solid ranged and close combat capabilities. But his main gimmick is the ability to summon his Persona Arsene by filling up a gauge, which causes his normal attacks to have additional power and his Specials to change completely as long as Arsene is summoned. He has two different costumes, ones based on his Phantom Thief persona, and the other based on his school uniform, and his taunts can summon Morgana.

Along with Joker, he will be accompanied by a new stage called Mementos, based on the location from Persona 5, the stage receiving music tracks throughout the Persona series, and the addition of Spirits from the Persona series being included. Additionally, new Mii costumes based on Persona 3 and Persona 4 characters will be included, along with the return of the Tails and Knuckles Mii costumes from Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS.

So when you get the chance, try out Joker in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and comment on your first impressions.