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SAO photo

New Sword Art Online announced for PS4, Vita

Hollow Realization coming next year
Oct 04
// Kyle MacGregor
Today at the Dengeki Bunko Festival in Tokyo, Bandai Namco revealed Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization, the latest role-playing game based on Reki Kawahara's popular light novel series. The story takes place within "Sword Art: Origin," a new MMO modeled after the world of Aincrad.
Mario Maker video photo
Mario Maker video

GameCenter CX takes on Mario Maker

And now I want to play more
Oct 01
// Jordan Devore
Japanese TV show GameCenter CX collaborated with Nintendo on a funny little costume in Super Mario Maker, but that's not all! There's an episode themed around the game on YouTube. Host Shinya Arino spent half an hour playing ...
Animal Crossing photo
Animal Crossing

New Animal Crossing amiibo are cute as hell

Oct 01
// Kyle MacGregor
Nintendo has revealed four new figures based on the Animal Crossing series for its amiibo toyline. The group, which includes Celeste, Mr. Resetti, Kicks, and Blathers, launches Dec. 17 in Japan. There's currently no word on w...
Line photo

Line, Japan's largest social network, is getting Splatoon stickers

Sep 29
// Chris Carter
Even though Line launched some time ago, I first learned about it while visiting Japan last week. Everyone uses it, and advertisements and promotions for it were everywhere -- there's no escaping it. Thankfully the interface ...

Xbox One photo
Xbox One

Xbox exec believes Scalebound will boost Xbox One sales in Japan

Which is currently outsold by PS3
Sep 29
// Chris Carter
Although Microsoft managed the Xbox 360 situation in Japan, the Xbox One's fate is less clear. Just a few months ago it was outsold by the PS3, and it seems as if the only answer Microsoft has is exclusives with big-ticket Ja...

Obscure Video Games: Rabbit

Sep 26 // Obscure Video Games
At this point you're probably wondering "Why would anyone name a fighting game Rabbit?". I think most folks would assume it was a mascot platformer if they hadn't seen a screenshot. Well, the hook in Rabbit is that each character has an animal spirit that helps them fight, similar to the "Stands" in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. One of the characters has a rabbit spirit, hence the name. But you could play a few matches without seeing the rabbit spirit, so it's still kind of an odd title choice. The best part of Rabbit (besides the pixel art) is the quirky line-up of characters. Here are some of my favorites: Fighter Name: Little EddySpirit Animal: Peccary (I'd never heard of it either.) Eddy is the illegitimate son of Kim Jong-un and Kim Jong-il. As you can see from his onesie, he's also a proud member of the adult baby community. When he's not cracking skulls, Eddy makes his living as an Elvis impersonator. Fighter Name: Hou-enSpirit Animal: Wolf Hou-en was once an actor in the Chinese opera, but the constant howling eventually drove him insane. Now he's a professional Juggalo who murders children with the help of his lovable, mentally-challenged pet "Fleabag". Fighter Name: EgithSpirit Animal: Ox Egith puts the sass in assassination. He uses money made from killing people to run an orphanage. I'm seriously not making this up; it's in the FAQ. So, if you need another 2D fighting game for your Sega Saturn, then Rabbit's not a bad choice. It doesn't have the biggest roster, but otherwise I think it's nearly as good as any fighter made by Capcom or SNK back in the '90s. Now watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat. [embed]311326:60445:0[/embed]
Obscure Video Games photo
What's your spirit animal?
I have a hard time reviewing fighting games. There's not much of a plot, and they tend to all be very similar in their basic mechanics. However, Rabbit is an interesting game that doesn't get much attention, so I think i...

Tokyo Game Show 2015 games of the (tokyo game) show

Sep 25 // Steven Hansen
[embed]311262:60422:0[/embed] Metal Gear Online (Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain) The Phantom Pain came out not even a month ago and it is just the start. We've not even seen the full brunt of the push-back to early glowing reviews. I've only reached the "first ending" myself. There's a lot to unpack, digest and though we are already full Metal Gear Online is still homing in next month like a chocolate mousse impaled by a Stinger.  That the online component makes you feel like an NPC, that you can feel the hilarious shame of getting knocked out, strung up, and ripped off the battlefield like a tooth tied to a slamming door is cool. It is online competitive multiplayer with just about the full gamut of single-player options and all those idiosyncrasies add up to a unique feeling competitive game just as they did for the single-player. Couple it with some one-life, no-respawn modes and, yes, Metal Gear Online is Metal Gear, online. Runners-up: Gravity Rush Remastered, Super Rude Bear, Monster Hunter Stories, Phantasy Star Online 2, Street Fighter V.
Big in Japan photo
Big in Japan
Like a kidney stone through the urethra of my life, another Tokyo Game Show has passed. We saw some great things in Japan: katsudon, vape stores, attempted park fights, coming at the king, and video games. Some of those video...

Documentary photo

Upcoming film explores Japan's indie scene

Branching Paths
Sep 22
// Jordan Devore
I'm always searching for new documentaries, preferably ones that cover subjects, stories, or processes I don't yet know much about. As of last night, I have my eye on Branching Paths. It examines the growing independent video...

Japanese arcades aren't just fun, they're museums

Sep 21 // Chris Carter
At the suggestion of a few locals, I decided to give the "Try Arcade" and "Hey Arcade" a go (among others), which are two of the biggest arcade locations in Akihabara -- though everywhere from Shibuya to Shinjuku has their own arcades. Although I've been told that arcade attendance has been hurting somewhat in the past five years due to the rising popularity of consoles and mobile gaming, there's plenty of Japanese residents frequenting arcades, to the point where you'll never be wanting for a challenger or playmate. Of particular note is that the popularity of fighting games has seemingly never dropped. From the old school Street Fighter II Turbo machines all the way up to recent iterations, plenty of fans are lining up to get a chance to play them against a worthy foe. Out of every series there, the two most popular I noticed were Ultra Street Fighter IV and Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator, which had completely full cabinets and lines behind them. In Japan players don't really "coin up" with putting a credit on the cabinet, so you kind of just wait your turn and try to get in when you can. But tried and true fighters aren't the only thing on offer -- I was completely taken aback by how much variety each arcade contained in general. They had everything from rooms full of rhythm games, to racers, to UFO catchers, to card games, to units that used touch interfaces or had full-on mouse support. One of my favorite experiences was a huge room full of Gundam cabinets, which allowed players to face off on two teams with Zakus or Gundams respectively, controlling their avatar like a real mobile suit complete with a pod seat, pedals, and two joysticks. Hell, one place I went to had a urinal video game in the bathroom. Out of everything on offer however, the most poignant sections for me had to be the retro floors. One particular aspect that we aren't talking about nearly enough in the gaming arena is preservation. Thousands of arcade units every day are slowly withering away, and once they're gone, they're gone. Thankfully, publishers tend to reintroduce their older games to a new generation by way of marketplaces like the PSN and eShop, but so many titles have fallen by the wayside, or worse, in landfills. Japanese arcades do their part in preserving the past, whether it's by way of taking care of the original cabinets or keeping games alive with other methods like the Nintendo VS. System. I was able to relive some of the first memories I've ever had with gaming, and even play something that I've always wanted to all my life, but never had the chance to -- the original Goonies game, which never came out in the West on a console. Goonies II (which I did own), came out on the NES, oddly enough. Also, playing DoDonPachi and other Cave shooters in their original arcade form was magical. Pretty much everything you could want is housed in Japanese arcades, so if you happen to make the visit out, I highly recommend checking them out. Whether you're a hardcore fighting game fan or want to try something new, it's worth the trip.
Japanese arcades photo
To Akiba and beyond
In the US, arcades are mostly a relic. On the east coast where I grew up, other than the overpriced Dave & Buster's (and perhaps DisneyQuest, which is being closed down after 18 years in 2016), it's really tough to f...

Pokken Tournament photo
Pokken Tournament

Pokken Tournament is a fun, deep little brawler

Hands-on during TGS
Sep 21
// Chris Carter
I'm still out here in Japan to cover TGS, and even though this is just my first time in the country, I'm already itching to come back. You only need to walk a few blocks to see video game and anime references everywhere, as T...
Sonic photo

Rare Sonic arcade game coming to a PC near you

Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car
Sep 20
// Kyle MacGregor
Back in 1991, when Sega was helping Energizer and Duracell achieve record profits, probably, the company released Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car, a Japanese arcade game targeted at children. In the years since release, when ...

I played Criminal Girls 2 and wasn't sexually aroused at all

Sep 17 // Steven Hansen
[embed]300696:59909:0[/embed] While Criminal Girls 2 is promised to be deeper and more challenging, I played a Japanese build haphazardly attacking things without strategy and that worked fine for the 15 minutes I played. Making a Japanese RPG "more challenging" doesn't sound like a good thing to be given how much "challenge" can equate to grind/leveling versus anything skill based. Eventually I reached an oasis in the dungeon, a save point, and was able to see the full anime portraits of the women all huddled together in a velvety room. From there I went to the "punish" menu and "punished" the two that looked the least like children. The purple smoke that obscured the women in the western release was not present, while the sexy moans when you smack them were present. The touch screen UI seemed cleaned up to a rhythm game style tap with circles getting smaller on either side of the vita touch screen (and, at the end, two circles, because you punish them together now, I guess). It was light for the demo, the circle showing vanilla leather whip. Even fog-free and full of moaning, no boner. Dressing tedious game mechanics with trite sex stuff seems like it shouldn't sell. I mean, why not just seek out the sex stuff and play a better game? It feels a bit like that bit about places of business that are things like, "Tattoo parlor & taxes" or "General hospital & cow slaughterhouse." Obviously this is not for me.
Criminal Girls hands-on photo
Mostly because it's kind of boring
While Japan is exoticized elsewhere as a land of weird sex stuff, Criminal Girls 2 doesn't feel that foreign, given that the original game got a western release. And it's probably the perviest game I came across (not literall...

Ace Attorney 6 photo
Ace Attorney 6

Ace Attorney 6 trailer is looking pretty feudal

Nice beard, judge
Sep 17
// Darren Nakamura
Capcom has a new Japanese trailer up for the recently announced Ace Attorney 6. Though I don't know what they're saying, it has all the desk-pounding and witness-badgering we have come to expect from the series. Also, check o...
Hyrule Warriors Legends photo
Hyrule Warriors Legends

Hyrule Warriors Legends is releasing in Japan on January 21

Ganondorf's luscious locks on 3DS!
Sep 17
// Joe Parlock
The 3DS re-release of Koei Tecmo’s Zelda game, Hyrule Warriors, has been dated in Japan. We also got a shiny new trailer showing off what's new in the game. Hyrule Warriors Legends, which introduces a crapton of new st...

Tokyo Game Show 2015 press conference schedule

Sep 16 // Steven Hansen
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 Sony Japan press conference @ 4:00PM-5:30PM JST (12AM-1:30AM PDT)YouTube stream, Niconico stream Here's a list of what Sony will have on-hand at TGS. This does not include unannounced games. The Sony Japan conference should have some announcements (and better have Gravity Rush 2). PS4 Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir Star Wars: Battlefront Street Fighter V Arlan: The Warriors of Legend Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 Star Ocean 5: Integrity and Faithlessness Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky Call of Duty: Black Ops III Destiny: The Taken King Tearaway Unfolded The Tomorrow Children Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 God Eater: Resurrection Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven PS Vita Airship Q Minecraft: PS Vita Edition Tokyo Xanadu God Eater: Resurrection THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 Okay, now we're into detailed, fan-centric company streams, stage shows, and the like. Here is where we're most likely to find tidbits about things, which may be interesting, and a tidbit about a bigger release is even closer to news. But completely new games? Doubtful. Credit Gematsu for many of these individual publisher itinerary translations. There are more things scheduled at the aforelinked page, but I've removed re-runs and less news-worthy events. (See: Atlus' three-day Persona proceedings -- and no, it's not playable) 11AM-11:50AM JST (7PM PDT, September 16) Sega Title Presentation (Niconico stream) -- Title Presentation by Sega Group’s Development Manager – Featuring Osamu Ohashi, Takaya Segawa, Kikuchi Masayoshi, and Naoto Hiraoka 12:00PM JST (8PM PDT, September 16): Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Special Stage (YouTube stream)  -- Focus on Side Ops and Forward Operating Base Online (a prelude to the later Metal Gear Online demo) 12:00PM JST (8PM PDT, September 16): Hyrule Warriors Legends (Niconico stream) -- Gameplay stream and news from the producer, Yosuke Hayashi. 12:40PM JST (8:40PM PDT, Sept. 16): News for Konami's Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball series. (YouTube Stream) 1PM JST (9PM PDT, Sept. 16): "Coming Soon" from Sega (Niconico stream) -- idk 2:00PM JST (10:00PM PDT, Sept. 16): Romance of the Three Kingdoms 30th Anniversary and Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII Special Stage (Niconico stream) -- Producer Kou Shibusawa on XIII and a 30th anniversary commemorative project. 2:40PM JST (10:40PM PDT, Sept. 16): Metal Gear Online (YouTube steam) -- "Playable debut," not sure if publicly or just a live demonstration, but if the former, we will play the hell out of it. 4:00PM JST (12AM PDT): Arslan: The Warriors of Legend (Niconico stream) -- Producer Shigeto Nakadai introduces gameplay. FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 11AM-11:40AM JST (7PM PDT, September 17) Sega TGS 2015 booth lineup (Niconico stream) -- All of this stuff. 12:00PM JST (8PM PDT, September 17): Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax Ignition New Character “Shiba Tatsuya” Gameplay Introduction (Niconico stream) 1PM JST (9PM PDT, September 17): Attack on Titan (Niconico stream) -- Producer Koinuma Hisashi and director Kitamura Tomoyuki unveil first gameplay for new Attack on Titan game. 3PM JST (11PM PDT, Sept. 17): Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 Media Tournament (YouTube stream) -- Gaming media versus soccer media in what is effectively a promotion for Pro Evolution Soccer, hmm, weird. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 10:30AM-11:30AM JST (6:30PM PDT, September 18): Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness (Niconico, YouTube) 11:15PM-12:05PM (7:15 PM PDT, September 18): Just Cause 3 Summer of Chaos at TGS & Extreme Edges New Titles Introduction Broadcast (Niconico, YouTube) -- Will include Hitman and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. 12:00PM JST (8PM PDT, September 18): Final Fantasy XIV Official Producer Letter Live in Makuhari (Niconico, YouTube) 12:30PM-1:00PM JST (8:30PM PDT, September 18): Square Enix's "secret" (Niconico, YouTube) 1:45PM-3:15PM JST (9:45PM PDT, September 18): Final Fantasy XV Active Time Report at TGS 2015 (Niconico, YouTube) - See you in Japan!
TGS 2015 photo
What to expect when you're expecting
Lord on a skateboard, Tokyo Game Show 2015: Hey, There's Something to This Whole Mobile Gaming Thing is here to wash away industry sins with a waterfall of hype airdropped upon the unwashed masses. It tastes of Mountain Dew ...

Summer Lesson photo
Summer Lesson

Tekken team's Summer Lesson returns for TGS

VR demo for PlayStation 4
Sep 15
// Jordan Devore
Summer Lesson is a "VR character communication demo" for Project Morpheus (now simply PlayStation VR) developed by the Tekken team. There's a new trailer out of Tokyo Game Show. Unlike Josh, I will probably never interact wit...
PlayStation Now photo
PlayStation Now

Apparently Japan is just getting PlayStation Now

Sep 15
// Kyle MacGregor
As an ignorant American, I have long assumed (wrongly) that just because I have the opportunity to use (actually, ignore) PlayStation Now, that everyone around the globe has that same freedom. Nope! Japan is just being introduced to Sony's premium cloud streaming service. An open beta is slated to arrive there tomorrow, September 16, with around 150 PlayStation 3 titles for starters.
PS4 photo

PS4 getting a price drop in Japan

34,980 yen
Sep 15
// Joe Parlock
Are you a Japanese gamer who found the PS4 too expensive? Wanted to get in on some of the games recently announced at the Tokyo Game Show? Well you’re in luck. Sony have announced it is dropping the price to 34,980 yen. That’s £181, or $292. Whether this price change will carry over to the West isn’t known, but still, good deal for those in Japan!
Tearaway Unfolded photo
Tearaway Unfolded

This Japanese Tearway PS4 advert is fascinating

Go elderly Dora the Explorer lady
Sep 14
// Laura Kate Dale
I have a real soft spot in my heart for Japanese gaming advertisements. I love the conviction, the wackiness, and the passion-filled songs that just don't seem to have made it to advertising back here in the Western world.&nb...
Genei Ibun Roku #FE photo
Genei Ibun Roku #FE

Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem is coming to Japan on December 26

2016 in the West
Sep 12
// Kyle MacGregor
The Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem crossover project, otherwise known as Genei Ibun Roku #FE, will arrive in Japan on December 26, Nintendo just announced via the RPG's blog. It was also revealed that first print cop...
Dark Souls III photo
Dark Souls III

Dark Souls III launches in Japan March 24, 2016

No western release date just yet
Sep 12
// Kyle MacGregor
Dark Souls III is debuting on March 24, 2016, at least on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in Japan. From Software has yet to reveal release information regarding the PC or international versions, but the developer has promised to ...
Destiny trailer photo
Destiny trailer

The Japanese version of Destiny's Taken King trailer is way better

He just wants us to play this with him?
Sep 10
// Brett Makedonski
The live-action spot for Destiny's The Taken King is okay, but Japan does it better. Just watch this masterpiece. There's overwhelming enthusiasm (borderline verbal assault) happening in a laundromat. There's yelling in...
SEGA photo

New Yakuza announcement coming September 15

Yakuza 6 or 10th anniversary business?
Sep 10
// Steven Hansen
We -- that is, not-Japan -- are behind on the Yakuza series. Patiently we wait for a digital Yakuza 5 release this fall; it came out in 2012 in Japan. Japan has since seen Yakuza Ishin, Yakuza 0, and now another entry in the ...
Mighty No. 9 game photo
Mighty No. 9 game

Mighty No. 9 missed its launch, but the browser game didn't

Fight all the bosses
Sep 07
// Steven Hansen
The not-Mega-Man Mighty No. 9 was meant to be out this month until Comcept finally announced it would be delayed into 2016. If you're feeling blue about the news (like Mega Man, haha), maybe this adorably drawn, and also kind...
Life is Strange photo
Life is Strange

Life is Strange is being dubbed in Japanese

Ma-chan and Kuro-chan
Sep 07
// Brett Makedonski
Folks in Japan will soon get to find out what it's like to be a teenage woman with time-manipulation powers. Square Enix is releasing Life is Strange with a Japanese voice dub. This trailer was recently uploaded to Squa...

Obscure Video Games: Fuuun Gokuu Ninden

Sep 05 // Obscure Video Games
The game follows a trio of heroes -- a monkey, a pig and a kappa -- on their quest to, uh, kill a bad guy. I'm sure there's a little more to it, but without knowing Japanese or the original story, I can't really tell you. What I can tell you is that the game is a fairly by-the-numbers action platformer where you jump and kill, with each level ending in a boss fight. The monkey sprays a bunch of mini-monkeys, the pig breathes fire, and the kappa throws the plate on his head. All three characters can throw enemies around the screen, which is admittedly quite fun to watch. What makes-or-breaks a platformer, though, is enemy variety, visual style and boss design. And this game misses on all three counts. There is a very limited selection of enemies, and they are repeated constantly throughout the game. For example, you will get really sick of seeing these little Chinese soldier guys: As you can see here, the graphics and visual style are both just really bland. It sort of reminds me of the original Gex with its pre-rendered 3D sprites. Occasionally you'll see some nice pixel art in the background, but the developers really cut corners for the most part. The pharaoh here is typical of the bosses in the game -- cute, but uninspired. They don't have a lot of moves, and they don't require any strategy except hitting them until they blow up. I was having trouble with a few of the bosses until I realized my special attacks could bring them down really fast. There are only a few cut-scenes in the game, which is good because they are terrible. The squeaky voices made me want to stab my eardrums. Maybe I'm not the intended audience. If everything I've said so far wasn't enough to turn you off from playing Fuuun Gokuu Ninden, there's one more thing -- the price. Not only is this game extremely rare, but for some reason it's actually in-demand among collectors. Expect to pay about $100 for a complete, used copy. It's not a bad game overall, but it's also not "fuuun" enough to recommend that kind of purchase. Now watch me fail at trying to kill the final boss: [embed]308290:60197:0[/embed]
Obscure Video Games photo
At least it's not another DBZ game
A big part of the fun of doing this column is discovering old games I've never heard of and trying to figure out why they've been forgotten. Sometimes it's because they are terrible, unplayable messes. Other times it's becaus...

Tokyo Game Show photo
Tokyo Game Show

Bandai Namco teases new game ahead of TGS

I like the art!
Sep 04
// Jordan Devore
We're a couple weeks out from Tokyo Game Show and pre-show news is starting to slip in. Bandai Namco, which I'm only now realizing I've gotten used to calling "Bandai Namco" after years of typing "Namco Bandai," has opened a teaser website for a new game titled City Shrouded in Shadow "Granzella." The lone image depicts a horse, a sword, and a castle. What's in that castle? Nothing good, I'm sure.
Dead or Alive fan vote photo
Dead or Alive fan vote

Dead or Alive Xtreme 3's smallest chested volleyballer leads polls

Looks like all the youngest leading
Sep 01
// Steven Hansen
Dead or Alive Xtreme 3, which may come west and will feature women in bikinis playing volleyball on the beach, is filling out its swimsuit roster by way of fan vote. And, perhaps surprisingly, fans of the series known for its...
Boob DLC photo
Boob DLC

Pay real money for fake boobs in Gal Gun: Double Peace

Only a BOOB would buy this
Aug 28
// Jed Whitaker
Great news everyone, now game publishers are holding the boobies hostage behind DLC paywalls, at least if you want anything other than average. There is now DLC available in Japan for Gal Gun: Double Peace that allo...
Rhythm Tengoku photo
Rhythm Tengoku

Rhythm Tengoku: The Best + features an appropriate crossover

Pose for the fans
Aug 23
// Jonathan Holmes
Not too long ago, I asked you all if you were getting sick of Nintendo's near constant release of crossovers. The answer was a resounding "Nope!" Excited reactions to Super Mario Maker's multiple crossovers have worked to bac...

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