News: Game Break with raina lee

Did you know that in addition to being boring and for old people, VH1 also has a website that raina lee (1up-zine) writes for sometimes? Well it’s true, and simon pointed it out to me, after raina herself did but I didn’t actually look because I was busy and not AT ALL because at the classic gaming expo 2003 she caught me playing NARC all the way through to the end and said ‘oh hey, that looks like a game brandon sheffield would really like.’ Anyway, this recent one is really nice, and pretty true, talking about how games are transmitted within relationships. Short but sweet, and after reading, I imagine lots of persons named chris are raising their hands.

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News: The Last Post Ever About TGS… Possibly!

shinj.jpg While Eric-Jon and Tim wandered around the Tokyo Game Show pointing at D3’s Earth Defense Force 3 (also using spyglasses to induce exclamation marks over Hideo Kojima’s head at the Microsoft press conference!), myself and Brandon were also there on behalf of Gamasutra and Game Developer magazine (and GameSetWatch, even!), and we posted a wrap-up of our total TGS coverage on Gamasutra.

We’re a bit more developer-centric, but interesting things to IC-ers might include Inis’ Keiichi Yano talking about the state of the game biz in Japan from his perspective (“Nintendo made a really good comeback… you can’t buy their hardware, that hasn’t happened since the Famicom”), and the first interview in a while with Dylan Cuthbert of Q Games (Star Fox DS, Digidrive GBA), in which he talks about the ‘salaryman’ ethic from Japanese game developers.

Mr. Sheffield’s full interviews will be posted gradually over the next few weeks, but include chats “…with LocoRoco director Tsutomu Kuono, Q Entertainment game director Reo Yonaga, Sega veteran Toshihiro Nagoshi (Yakuza, Super Monkey Ball), Capcom and Clover Studio’s Atsushi Inaba (Okami, Viewtiful Joe), Bandai Namco development director Makoto Iwai and representatives for Ridge Racer 7 and Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire, and Sega’s Yojiro Ogawa (Sonic and the Secret Rings for Wii).” Plenty to look forward to!

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VIP news: VIPPERs release tsundere ADV game

shameon.jpg About a year ago, somebody posted on the VIP boards in the japanese bbs 2ch saying they should make a game about a cafe filled with tsundere waitresses. Now, a year later, Shame on is released and available free for download. The game is actually quite well done, considering the fact that it was born from a post in a bbs. It even comes with its own opening song (which is also downloadable on its own).

What is a VIPPER you ask? This is VIP.
brandon’s notes: and also this, but much less exciting. I like how the interviewer lady is all ‘WOW the internet is full of dangerous people, right?’ Yes. Also, the term ‘tsundere‘ comes from ‘tsuntsun’ – a cutesy word indicating that someone is aloof/combative, and ‘deredere’, or lovey-dovey. Putting the two together, you’ve got a character who is initially mean and abusive, but then incredibly caring (to the main character, but still mean to others), ala insert credit’s iggy, or any girl I’ve ever dated.

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Music: Chocobo Techno from Sharpnel

I went to the famous doujin shop Messe Sanoh in tokyo last week, and as usual, only bought CDs. It’s not a widely-known fact, but they have a good selection of underground techno and doujin remix CDs (there was a mother II one, which I’m sure I would’ve loved if I had…ever played mother II). One of the albums I picked up was from Sharpnel Sounds (mixed by DJ Yousuke), and called Sharpnelsound J-Core Revolution. Really good stuff if you’re into J-core/gabba/dnb type stuff, which I am, among other genres. Anyway, it’s got lots of interesting mashups and samples, including a theme from the anime Noir, Powerpuff Girls samples, and lots of other stuff.

Down to the point though, listening through, I heard a familiar tune that took me by surprise – the chocobo theme remixed with some heavy thumps. Pretty good – there’ve been chocobo techno mixes before, I understand, so this isn’t revolutionary (album title pun!), but still pretty fun. The song’s called ‘fuck DJ’, and here it is. This isn’t the best song on there, but I probably shouldn’t just be throwing these things around. If you’re curious, just send me an email.

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News: Superman Returns: The Videogame

So X06 happened, that’s an Xbox 360 thingie in Barcelona (this year anyway), and the press release they sent reminded me that EA’s making a game called Superman Returns: The Videogame, though I think the official spelling is in ALLCAPS. Anyway, that made me think that something needed to be done, and you can see partial results of that below. There might be more coming to this thread in the forums soon…I can’t guarantee it though. We here at insert credit hope that, like in the NES version, Superman rides the subway to get around. He’s a regular guy, dammit!

Update! Using my insider contacts, I’ve learned that the next title in the series is already in the planning phases. I shouldn’t be talking about this in a public space, but why not – the working title is Superman Takes Out: The Garbage. But you didn’t hear this from me.

Update the second! Now there actually are some more images in that forum post, and they are of excellent quality. Find them here, here, here, and here if you’re lazy.superman1s.png superman1s.png

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News: DS training from SNK – iiotokocheck

iiotokos.jpgIn a continued effort to not go bankrupt, and appeal to the base interests, here’s SNK’s new project – the latest in DS training games. This one’s called iiotokocheck – or with a loose meaning-based translation, ‘hot guy check’. You can see in the lower screen all the things you can do to this dude. *pan pan* indeed.

Note: game may not actually be from SNK and might possibly be from 2ch, but I don’t know! If you think about it, it wouldn’t be so different from their maid simulator. It specifically references the witch check mode from Doki Doki Majo Saiban. Thanks to substance J for the image. Click to make it bigger, if you know what I mean. The image comes from the original comic which spawned the whole ‘uho! ii otoko’ internet meme, and this is the original line he says in that scene (so says iggy), which is something about, expelling…things…into…dirty things. I think you can guess.

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News: Ys Origin

yso_01.pngWhile it was announced some weeks ago, today the name was finally revealed, along with a release date: december 21st. Ys Origin won’t have Adol Christin as the protagonist for the first time in the series. Coming for Windows-based computers on DVD media, it’ll use Napishtim no Hako’s engine, much like Felghana no Chikai did.

Note: We had some internal conflict over the name – Adol Christian is the preferred western spelling, but the official japanese name seems to be Christin. Also, check the YsO “secret page” for more screens.

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News: tokyo game show coverage

ON A BLUE AND PURPLE NIGHT / THE GIRL I LOVE FELL IN LOVE / WITH A PUPPY NAMED / THE BUBONIC PLAGUE Hello!! If you’re wondering why there’s not much Tokyo Game Show coverage on, it’s because it’s somewhere else. You can see my “TOP TWENTY FROM TOKYO“, which is titled very Britishly yet written very not-Britishly. It contains paragraphs like this:

White Knight Story, in many ways seemingly subtly different from the screeching anime-voiced RPGs that bring bread and butter to Namco-Bandai, is also in many ways just as friendly-looking and accessible. Namco’s “Tales of…” games succeed in making money because their titles almost never carry numerals, and their characters are always new people of familiar personalities in new situations. White Knight Story represents Hino’s furthering attempt to make a name for himself and his studio without sticking to one series. In an age where saying “Final Fantasy XIII” aloud makes me blush for mathematical reasons, I can’t think of a better cause to applaud.

If that seems like something you’d enjoy reading, knock yourself out!! Also, a special bonus prize will go to the reader who can tell me which two games on the list had their places mysteriously swapped by the editor. (Email responses to tim at this website dot com.)

The only person out of, say, twenty-something to reply both seriously and correctly to the previous question, regarding seats in taxi cabs, was Aaron Novak, aka the forums’ newave. Yes, you let the most important person in the cab sit in the seat behind the driver.

Meanwhile, eric-jon has written up this leisurely stroll through the Tokyo Game Show floor. It is portentuously called “Tokyo Game Show: The Report.” I think it would be better titled — in all caps — “TOKYO GAME SHOW: THE REPORT: THE NEXT GENERATION: BY NEXT GENERATION.” Below is a sample of some of the words you’ll see in there:

So we’ve got DEAD OR ALIVE Xtreme2. How about that water, huh? Really, I’m impressed by the waves in the Wave Race mini-game. They don’t look at all like water — more like molten glass. Still, wow. How pretty! The sound was turned down; I’ll be disappointed if, in the full version, the girls don’t giggle and yell “whee!” when they ride over jumps.

Also, if you know this website called Games Radar, they’ll be posting some Tokyo Game Show video footage by tomorrow, so keep a look out for it — because, well, it stars me. Okay, well, I’m off-camera the whole time, interviewing Japanese gamers. We interviewed hundreds of showgoers, trying to get a bit of a grasp on which new console will sell the most in Japan. Our answer was surprising and, at the same time, not surprising at all.

I might as well tell you: Japan wants the PlayStation 3. Common reasons include “Because I already have a PlayStation 2” and “because I hear they’re making Final Fantasy for it.” If 75 out of a hundred people interviewed said they wanted a PlayStation 3 (and they did), and 192,000 people attended the show, I’m sure the PlayStation 3 is going to do just fine. And if you don’t believe these words: well, keep checking here for the video footage.

Really, though — you should have seen the people. Nearly a thousand people were crowded around the PlayStation 3 in a glass case at the Sony booth at any given time, snapping pictures with their cellular phones. Do you realize what that means, when someone takes a picture of a piece of electronics hardware with their cellular phone camera?

Let me try and give you some exclusive show impressions before I sign off: okay, how’s this — Dimps’ Gundam first-person-shooter on the Xbox 360 was pretty disappointing, and slow, and extremely buggy. And, worse than that, none of the HDTVs at the Bandai-Namco booth were configured correctly. They were all in regular AV mode, with the image in “wide zoom” — on Samsung 27-inch HDTVs. It looked positively awful. Sony, meanwhile, had some nice Bravias in 1080p under moody red lights, and Microsoft’s combination of glossy displays and bright white lighting was probably not conducive to enough positive opinions.

Lastly, full disclosure: Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon, Hironobu Sakaguchi’s two games for Xbox 360, are tied for game of the show in my article linked up there.

Beyond lastly — on the last day of the show, the staff in the press room distributed flyers listing the games that won the “best of show” awards from the CESA (Computer Entertainment Suppliers’ Association). Those games included Elebits for Wii (non-playable at the show) and Seiken Densetsu: Dawn of Mana for PlayStation 2, as well as Monster Hunter 2 for PSP and Gran Turismo HD for PlayStation 3. Lost Odyssey, a brand-new game with a story by a living literary figure (Kiyoshi Shigematsu) and character designs from a world-class artist (Vagabond‘s Takehiko Inoue), designed by the back-from-retirement creator of Final Fantasy (Hironobu Sakaguchi) was not on the list. The semi-3D remake of Tales of Destiny for PlayStation 2, however, was.

The chairman of the CESA jury — according to the top of the flyer — is Yoichi Wada. He is also the president of Square-Enix.

That’s a little bit interesting!!

Also, under Wada’s firm, unbiased guidance, the CESA gave Final Fantasy XII the “Grand Award” at its Japan Game Awards: 2006 on September 22nd.

I probably would have given it to Final Fantasy XII as well, come to think of it, seeing as Dead Rising had yet to be released at the time of the vote. Still!
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Update: SNKP compilations

Samurai Spirits – Rokuban Shoubu’s actual content has been revealed and it seems that SNK Playmore isn’t including all the MVS games there – instead of Samu-Supi Zero Special they’re adding Tenkaichi Kenkakuden, the latest episode born on Sega’s Atomiswave which got a PS2 port only a few months ago. Weird, but official.

Garou Densetsu Battle Archives 2 has also been exposed. As expected, Real Bout: Garou Densetsu, Real Bout: Garou Densetsu Special and Real Bout: Garou Densetsu 2 will fill the pack (so no Dominated Mind as a bonus, sadly), while The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match is confirmed as not getting a graphical update, but just an Arrange Mode with extra characters, moves and balance adjustments. To compensate, it’ll be sold for only 3800 yen. Thanks to Fighters Front Line.

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