Monday, February 10, 2014

Detour #1: Guru Logi Champ

Let's take a break from our regularly scheduled program (Ha ha ha...*sigh*) for a bit of Game Boy Advance madness, shall we?

I asked my Tweetpeeps for their favorite underappreciated Game Boy Advance games, and got a bunch of weird answers (thanks everyone! You know I like weird answers). Among them was this gem, Guru Logi Champ, recommended by my good friend Jeremy Penner.

"So, what do we have here?" I hear you ask with oddly stilted phrasing. "Is this a Japan only game about duck people firing canons to make shapes of things and fight nazi ducks?" Good guess, actually - quite amazing. Wow. How did you do that?

So yes, apparently Aduck Quackler has decided to take over the world by upgrading old technology and adding spikes to it. He also flies in a bunch of weird duck folk to cause minor misery, like breaking a water fountain used by athletes, or stealing the key to the bathroom so nobody can pee. Well planned my friend. The world will be yours within the year.

Such cunning.
This, of course, has nothing to do with the actual mechanics of the game. No, the game itself is somewhere between Picross and Tetris in my estimation. The goal is to make shapes out of squares by rotating the whole grid in just the right way. It's sort of hard to explain, so here is another brilliantly edited gif for you:

It's so clear now.
So it's not exactly brain surgery, but unlike most surgeries the emphasis is on speed not accuracy. So give it up with the metaphors already, gawd.

The brilliance of this game is that, even though it's in Japanese, everything makes sense in a cartoonish kind of way. The bad guy does bad things, and these little duck men save innocent victims of vandalism and crime by rebuilding the missing and broken parts. The whole thing is ridiculously charming and funny. The puzzles themselves are, so far, neither cruel nor overly kind and the mechanic of twisting and shooting blocks just feels so brilliant. It's the kind of solid game that should have been brought to the US and mysteriously never was.
See? Obviously they're appealing to Westerners right here.
So, let's do some research! According to Wikipedia, the Guru in the title is short for the Japanese onomatopoeia guruguru which is the sound of something spinning, apparently. Oh how I love the Japanese language, dokidoki etc.

Also, apparently the game was going to be released in the states, but the translation was so poor that it just never happened. I'm not sure that a poor translation has ever stopped anyone from releasing a game before, so this might actually be unique. I'm looking at you Zero Wing and also a bunch of other games

Finally, there was apparently a 2010 DSi ware pseudo-remake called Guru Logic, or Snapdots outside of Japan. Unfortunately, it looks like the whole Evil Duck vs. Cannon Ducks thing has been replaced with UFOs and someone named Stella. Or, as Wikipedia helpfully describes it:
Next to (riding a UFO is on the field) Stella of aliens, the name of the block has been changed slightly character, but the operation and basic rules are the same as those in "cahoots Rojichanpu".
Thanks Wikipedia.

So, that's it I suppose. Yet another tragedy of translation turned into interesting trivia for those of us who enjoy such things. I'll end this with a gif of the first 10 puzzles (minus the note above) because man, I love gifs.

Such beauty

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