The slow start to the year continues to be slow, but at least there's some quality releases to be had.


Excitebike World Race (1000pts - Nintendo) – Better late than never for this well received update to the Famicom classic.

Virtual Console

Quarth (800pts MSX - Konami) – Some gamers outside of Japan might recognise this by the name "Block Hole" which was used in both the arcades and for the excellent Gameboy port. Graphically and musically the MSX version is quite faithful to the arcade and far superior to the Famicom port. For the uninitiated, Quarth is a puzzle game in which players control a ship at the bottom of the screen, firing squares at incomplete shapes in order to clear them before they reach the bottom. Importers should definitely give this classic game a fair hearing.

Contra (800pts MSX - Konami) – The MSX port doesn't look half bad, but really doesn't offer much over the Famicom/NES port beyond a lack of flickering and the ability to switch between collected weapons.


Are? DS ga Sakasa Desu Kedo. Gyaku Shooting (200pts - Tecmo) – One of two new games that seem to be the start of a series of quick arcade-style games from Tecmo, which have the novel feature of being made to be played with your DSi upside down (?)! This first entry is a vertical scrolling shooter with an opening stage that looks like a direct port of the arcade classic Star Force, though later levels have a more modern appearance. If we understand the description correctly it looks like the player is using the stylus to control the attacking ships trying to kill the hero ship in the "bottom" screen?

Are? DS ga Sakasa Desu Kedo. Sakasa Drops (200pts - Tecmo) – The second in the "Sakasa" series from Tecmo. This one looks like a falling block game with little space men in it. Like Gyaku Shooting it's played holding your DSi upside down so the touch screen is at the top. Potentially the goal is reversed as well and you're supposed to fill the screen rather than stop it from filling?

Artist ni Narou! Minna no Nurikai Museum Hen (500pts - Ertain) – Yet another entry in the line of "colouring-book" programs from Ertain. In this one you're applying your virtual oils to five virtual canvases from Czech Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha.

Hobonichi Rosenzu 2010 (500pts - Nintendo) – An update to the Hobonichi Rosenzu 2009 railway map application released last January on DSiWare. Contained herein are maps for seven regional Japanese railway lines as well as subway, shinkansen, and privately run lines for those areas.

Renjuku Kanji: Shoogaku 3 Nensei (500pts - I.E. Institute) – Grade 3 Kanji practice for Japanese students from our friends at I.E. Institute!