Ask Joystiq: On region-free downloading, Xbox streaming and Karnov

This week on Ask Joystiq, we look at downloading foreign content to a foreign system, streaming content to an Xbox 360, and identifying one --or possibly two? -- obscure Argentinian NES games.

If you have any burning questions, unsolved gaming mysteries, or just a desire for musings from our knowledgeable cadre of writers, drop us a line at ask AAT joystiq DAWT com (and yes, we write it that way for a reason).

Q: I might be going to Japan towards the end of the summer and might pick up some games or a system. If I get a system, how would that work when I bring it back to the states and log on-line for a Wii, PS3 or 360?? Would a Japanese Wii let me log in to only US servers or would I be able to download Japanese games from the marketplace. Same question applied to the other systems...
-- iwantmymtv

A: For the Wii, the region of the console corresponds to the region of the Wii Shop Channel -- Japanese systems will access the Japanese store, no matter where you plug them into the intertubes. You have to buy Wii Points that correspond to the system's region too, which means using a Japanese credit card or getting some Japanese Wii Points cards imported. [source]

Any PS3 will play downloads from any region, but each PSN account is locked to a specific region when you create it. Luckily, it's relatively easy to set up "dummy accounts" for each region you want to buy content, as long as you have a credit card from that country. Be warned, though: there is a significant language barrier for navigating the Japanese store.

Xbox Live users can also create dummy accounts to get around regional restrictions, but there are reports that Microsoft has been blocking downloads from accounts where this practice is detected. As always, let the international buyer beware.
-Kyle Orland



Q: When I was a kid in Argentina we didn't have the original NES console, we only had Famicom clones and cartridges so sometimes I don't even know what was the name of some games because I had a pirate Chinese version or something. I remember a Chinese game that had a Phoenix on the cover (with flames and everything) and it was about a guy that had spears, I can't remember if he just used to hit enemies with it or also could throw them. The main guy was a little fat and could possibly throw spears, and he could also grab some weird orbs with flames inside that game him more power.

I would really like to play that game again but I can't remember the name... can you help me with that?
Thank you very much!
-- DAGO of the WireD

Pirated cartridges are definitely a gray area for game-hunting, as a lot of times details like box art, title screens, and even in-game graphics get heavily altered from the original releases. Rather than focus on variable elements like artwork, we decided to focus on the gameplay elements you describe: fat dude with spears, and weird flame orbs that give you power.

We found two games that each match several elements of your description, and we think it's possible you're conflating the two. The first is Jaleco's 1991 NES platformer Whomp 'Em (Saiyuuki World 2 on the Famicom), which starred a spear-wielding Native-American protagonist in the American release, and the Monkey King Son Wukong from Chinese mythology in the Japanese version (both of whom ARE a little on the pudgy side). The game has "totem balls" which the player is tasked with collecting, although each features a different icon in the center. And no phoenixes in sight.

The other title we found was the 1987's Karnov by Data East, which features no spears or phoenixes, but has plenty of dragons, and a rather buff (read: fat) main character. Karnov attacks by spitting fireballs, and can collect red orbs to upgrade his fireball attack.

Are either of these titles bringing back waves of nostalgia? Let us know in the comments if we hit our mark.
- Scott Jon Siegel

Q: Hey guys, Ive looked everywhere but cant seem to find any answers. Do you know if a 360 can play movies from a network attached hard drive? I have a 500GB external hard drive attached to a Airport Extreme and want to play movies from it. Is it possible? If so, how? If you can send me a link to a site that explains it that would be fine. Thanks in advance!
-- Eric B.

Since you talk of Airport Extreme, I'm going to take a guess that you're an Apple user. To answer your question, it is possible, but not directly. You're going to need another computer open to do so, and if it has Mac OS X, we suggest you invest in Connect360, which allows streaming of music and movies (including DivX and Xvid) from your iTunes account to the Xbox 360.

If your iTunes folder is set to the network attached hard drive, it should work, at least theoretically. (Note that we haven't personally tried this method ourselves, but there's a free demo you can use to try before you buy, anyway). For Windows users, the ability to stream is built right into the operating system. Xbox.com has an official guide here.
- Ross Miller

Do any readers have more advice for Xbox 360 streaming? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.