Wouldn't it be cool if we spent a whole day talking about the WonderSwan and SwanCrystal? We could reminisce about the ports of Final Fantasy and how American gamers never knew what they missed. But that's not what we're going to do, because the Bandai Games website we went to has no mention of this handheld, and even less to do with quality games.
These days Bandai Games' main goal is to port animated TV shows into video games and nothing else. While companies like Konami and Nintendo have flirted with anime games, nobody is as committed to it as Bandai. Every single game Bandai has released in 2004 has been an anime game, and 2005 is shaping up to be more of the same. Should that make you worried about the website? Venture on young Dragon Ball Z fan.
I had a choice between this and a real hot picture of an anime babe. Would you believe I chose this?
Look and Design:
Maybe it's the big animated graphic at the top of the page, but I kind of dug the site . for about thirty seconds. The repeating animation doesn't take long to get on your nerves and you start to seek shelter. The site itself is laid out well, and all of the pictures feature nice artwork thanks to the 100% anime theme. Of course, considering the rich library of artwork Bandai had at their disposal, the pictures they used for the links are actually kind of disappointing. Nonetheless, I have no real complaints about the look of Bandai.
It's not hard to find what you're looking for at Bandai's website, mostly because there isn't much there. You can search by console, but there's really no need for that since most of the series (all anime, as I said before) are listed right on the front page. To Bandai's credit the site is speedy and fairly easy to surf. You might lose interest real quick if you're not into anime, but for some odd reason I don't think they're too worried about that.
The various sections are all good looking, but not spectacular. Each of the game pages feature three pictures (no more than three), most of them low quality.
Like Cowboy Bebop, then there's a 99% chance you're going to like Firefly!
Outside of the pictures you get bullet points with short, vague descriptions. How short? The description of Ribbit King reads, "get your frog into the hole first to win." That's it?? I don't even think I can explain Tetris in that few of words. There's nothing impressive about Bandai's site, but then, there's nothing I hate about it either.
The Bandai news page is written specifically for people who hate the news. That can be the only explanation for this utter disaster of a news section. Here we have an archive that only lists the eleven most recent articles, all of which happen to be game announcements (and shipping information). Well, all except for the plea for a game debugger. We don't demand a lot here at Defunct Games, but is it too much to ask for more than the eleven most recent articles?
As I was leaving Bandai's site I noticed a section called Link-Up. Originally I figured it was a site linking to the show websites, or fan sites or something. But in fact it was a plea or people with websites to link to Bandai's page. They have a short how-to guide and then you're off to install any one of the two animated banners they provided. We couldn't decide which was uglier so we opted to include both right next to each other just to screw with your eyes. And screw with your eyes it does.
FINAL GRADE: C+
(Important Note: This review was written in 2004. As is the case with websites things tend to change and get moved around. We've decided to cover major companies who should have a presence on the web for many years to come, but the actual reviews of the layout may not be relevant for more than a month to a year. Having said that, we're hoping this article was still interesting, and if not, at least you go this extra little paragraph of explanation that you wouldn't normally get on the other websites.)