Japandemonium - Get Some Go Again

Hello everyone. My sincere apologies for the late column. This week has been absolute bedlam here in the frozen tundra that is Canada. I will say for the record that i have never, ever, been as cold as I was on Tuesday. I actually called my parents back home and boasted that I had survived it. I hope I never get sent to a gulag, since I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't make it out. As for this week's installment, if you're not a fan of Final Fantasy (yes, I've heard that there are some of you) then there's not all that much for you here. Otherwise, break out those credit cards, and let's go crazy.

There is very little different to see in this week's Dengeki sales charts. In fact, there were only two new entries into the top 50, neither of which were role-playing games. Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire are holding tough in the top two spots, with combined sales for the two games now exceeding 3.6 million units. All in all, a rather lethargic week for game sales in Japan, with the top 20 titles selling a combined 460,000 units, compared to 1,200,000 last week. Guess everyone already spent their xmas money. Check out the list of top 20 RPGs below, for the week ending January 12th.

    Position; Title (Publisher), Console, Sales this week; Total Sales
  • 1. Pokémon Sapphire (Nintendo), GBA, 75,775, 1,826,015
  • 2. Pokémon Ruby (Nintendo), GBA, 73,575, 1,783,027
  • 4. Kingdom Hearts Final Mix (Square), PS2, 27,729 297,128
  • 6. Unlimited: SaGa (Square), PS2, 23,486 361,507
  • 7. Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (Nintendo), GameCube, 23,275 565,883
  • 10. Battle Network Rockman EXE 3 (Capcom), GBA, 17,290, 348,900
  • 13. Tales of Destiny 2 (Namco), PS2, 12,985, 820,634
  • 19. Dark Chronicle (Sony), PS2, 8,893, 214,394
  • 20. Prince of Tennis: Aim at Victory (Konami), GBA, 8,625, 123,735

Last week I mentioned that Square and Nintendo have teamed up to release a Game Boy Advance SP collector's edition, packaged with Square's upcoming Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Now we have an image of the package. Pictured below is the aforementioned Pearl White GBA SP, which is set to hit Japan on February 14th, the release dates for both the game and the handheld. Importers should take note that this unit will only be available from 7-11 and Itoyokado outlets, and it will set you back 18,300 ¥ ($155).

Game Boy Advance SP FFTA Edition

With the release of just about any game in Japan these days comes the inevitable soundtrack, too. FFTA's, however, is quite something, considering that it's for a handheld game. The two-disc soundtrack will run 74 minutes, with the first disc containing in-game versions of the songs, and the second containing extended versions. The soundtrack was composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto and the renowned Nobuo Uematsu, who also provided his commentary for the soundtrack's liner notes. The collection will set you back 2,913 ¥ ($25) when it hits stores on February 19th. As if that's not enough, Square is also planning a Drama CD based on FFTA, featuring several prominent vocal artists. The CD will be accompanied by a limited edition poster and calender. This set will be released on March 26th for 3,000 ¥ ($25). (Click for larger versions of the cover artwork.)

FFTA SoundtrackFFTA Soundtrack

Square has shown artwork for the limited edition poster (seen below) that will be given to those that place preorders for the title, and its own online store is now selling a postcard set as well. Only 500 sets will be made, with each numbered edition retailing for 1,410 ¥ ($12).

FFTA poster

FFTA postcardFFTA postcard

In Square merchandise news of a more Final Fantasy X-2 nature, some nice-looking picture clocks inspired by the game were seen at a recent Banpresto show. Pictured below are four clocks, featuring Yuna, Rikku and Paine together, and one for each of them separately. No word yet on how much these will go for, but they're slated to hit shelves sometime in April.

FFX-2 Clocks

Also coming soon is a rather unique controller called the Tiny Bee, which is modelled after Yuna's weapons in FFX-2. At 12,980 ¥ ($110), though, this controller is not for the weak-walleted. If, however, you would prefer to both pay your rent and buy FFX-2 swag, Hori is also releasing three commemorative memory cards, each containing an image of one of the trio of lead characters. These cards will each go for 3,200 ¥ ($27), leaving plenty of leftover cash for Kraft Dinner.These items (well, not the Kraft Dinner) are all scheduled for release on March 13th (images courtesy of NCSX).

FFX-2 Tiny Bee Controller

FFX-2 Yuna Memory CardFFX-2 Rikku Memory CardFFX-2 Paine Memory Card

And for the final piece of Square news for this week, DIgicube has announced that it will be releasing a compilation CD containing battle themes from past Final Fantasy games. Titled "The Black Mages," the CD contains 10 battle themes (see listing below). The CD goes on sale on February 19th for 2,381 ¥ ($20). The pack will contain a sticker of the logo as extra incentive.

The Black Mages

01: Battle Scene (FF I)
02: Clash on the Big Bridge (FF V)
03: Force Your Way (FF VIII)
04: Battle, Scene II (FF II)
05: The Decisive Battle (FF VI)
06: Battle Theme (FF VI)
07: J-E-N-O-V-A (FF VII)
08: Those Who Fight Further (FF VII)
09: Dancing Mad (FF VI)
10: Fight With Seymour (FF X)

To close off this week, Nintendo's president, Satoru Iwata, announced today that his company will be releasing a new console, specifically slated to hit shelves at around the same time Sony and Microsoft's next consoles hit, sometime in 2005. A few months ago the company stated that it was going to concentrate on games, which led to the knee-jerk--and non-sensical--reaction that the venerable game company might be bowing out of the console market. To assuage fears that Nintendo would be pulling out of the hardware biz, Iwata stated, "When we withdraw from the home game console, that's when we withdraw from the video game business." Good to hear. Now let's get back to the games, shall we.

And I'm spent. Not too much substance this week, but hopefully the onslaught of droolworthy swag made up for it. I'll be back on schedule next week, providing school goes well, so pencil me in for an appointment on Monday.

Exeunt all

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by Alex Wollenschlaeger    
Sources: [Impress Game Watch, Dengeki, Famitsu, Magic Box]

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