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12:14 PM on 01.30.2012  

5 Things I Hate About Skyrim



Skyrim has hit most gamers' Game of the Year for 2011, if not their personal top 10 list. In saying that, I must admit it's one of the finest games I've ever played. There are a few problems, however, that could have been ironed out to make the game even more fantastic and unfortunately these problems, while ranging from mildly annoying to sort of annoying, culminate to create frustration in a game that is otherwise flawless. Things like...

Lacking In Mystery



I don't feel like I'm ruining things here for Oblivion, especially since it's a 2006 title, but if you haven't played it and really want to, you may as well skip this point. In Oblivion, it wasn't too terribly easy to figure out how to gain entrance to "secret society" archetype guilds like the thieves guild or the assassins guild. And really, that makes sense. Actually, I ended up having to scout an FAQ to figure out the assassins guild one.

The thieves guild wasn't as difficult. All you have to do is talk to the right homeless people and you start acquiring info that eventually leads you to where you want to be. But in Skyrim? "HI HI HI, THIS IS DA THIEVES TOWN WHERE THIEVES ARE AND I HEARD A RUMOR THEY'RE IN THE SEWERS BUT IT'S ONLY A RUMOR ACTUALLY." Yeah. Subtle. Oh, but hey, at least it's hard to figure out how to get into the assassins guild, right? Right?

Wrong. You have a mission that's delivered to you by some random means where someone wants to call upon the wrath of the assassins guild and you just happen to get the call...but you're not a member. Easy to figure out. Easy to do. Stupidly simple. Now you might link this in with puzzling elements saying they're trying to make it more casual, but come on. If you REALLY want to be a thief and/or assassin, shouldn't this be more, I don't know...INTERESTING?

Levelling Up Is Too Subtle



I like subtlety. Games like Shining Force Neo make this fun because allocating just a few points into something won't be the difference between a deathblow and missing the enemy entirely, but it will, over time, account for something grand. Unfortunately, Skyrim plays this hand with such subtlety it may as well not exist. As a side note, I WAS trying to be a master thief first and foremost, so it may just be that I didn't notice immediate gains for that reason, but I digress.

The first 10 levels, it seemed like nothing was truly improving. Sure, I was technically getting stronger, more adept, etc. from a numbers angle, but there was no noticeable gameplay difference, especially because of level scaling. Worse still, so you'd go "Ah shit, I'm really getting raped in the HP department. That does it. When I level up, I'm working on light armor and improving my HP!"

Yeah okay...only you'd still be getting screwed over anyway. The change is so subtle it's unnoticeable. In fact, I didn't start noticing major gains until probably in the 30s or 40s of character level. Granted, I'm level 54 now and I rarely die anymore, but the bottom line is there's a point at which, especially if you're trying to dedicate yourself to a certain class, you get totally screwed over regularly because you're not really training yourself as a warrior and the level scaling suddenly jumps out of nowhere.

Mountains



One of my biggest gripes about Oblivion is trying to climb mountains. Often you'd have to work on your acrobatics skill, constantly jumping, and hope you find those few "sweet spots" that actually allow you to progress upward rather than sideways until you find your way up. Oh, and THEN when you finally do find your way up, you find a very clear pathway down that you didn't find AT ALL when humping the entire perimeter of the mountain for about an hour. FUN.

At least there weren't many mountains in Oblivion and at least in the new Fallout games there are rarely mountains at all, but SKYRIM IS ALL ABOUT FUCKING MOUNTAINS. You know, they took out various "redundant" abilities like acrobatics...why not replace them with a climbing skill? Maybe just have it where you can get climbing gear and over time it will break, but if you have a higher skill, strength value overall, etc., then it won't break as often and you'll move faster or something.

Seriously, what the hell where they thinking? The environments are fucking beautiful, but JEEZ. Navigating these mountains and finding new areas is often a chore because the landscaping is done...well...but not well enough to allow for actually showing the way properly. The same goddamn thing happens as in Oblivion, but constantly, and worse because there's no acrobatic ability. FUCKING FUCK.

Quest Items Suck



In my inventory I have quest items that I can't drop, stow away, or sell. Alright, that makes sense. You wouldn't want a situation where you accidentally did away with something important and totally jeopardized a task, side mission or not. No, that does make sense. WHAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE is often these have an associated weight, often glitch, and sometimes have a highly unnecessary value.

I've got various quest items I can't get rid of, but there's a weight for them? The fuck? And it wouldn't be so bad, but the missions for a lot of these have technically been completed, but the item was never removed, so it's a constant hindrance for no reason other than derp game design. And again, there's a value associated with it? Why? I can't sell them even if I was totally hard up.

Oh, and it gets better. There are certain quests that, despite the fact I've completed all the objectives, didn't roll over to complete, cancelled out, or to a new objective...meaning they're just taking up space. Not nearly as annoying as the quest items themselves, but an annoyance all the same. When you're looking at a game this close to perfect, even the smallest speck doesn't go unnoticed.

Nearly Impossible To Not Be A Warrior



What is an RPG? Depending on who you ask it could be an epic journey, a game that involves a lot of strategy and planning, a game that focuses heavily on story, a game that focuses even heavier on grinding and character development, and/or a game that's all about beating the shit out of monsters to gain experience and level up, which allows you to beat the shit out of stronger monsters easier without getting the shit beat out of yourself quite so easily.

Really, I'd say it's a healthy combination of everything, but the Elder Scrolls series has always been a little...different. It's not entirely combat centered. There are MANY ways to level up and all of them are useful. Or they were. Until Skyrim. Let me be frank...if you go into this game attempting to be a master thief, you are going to fail, fail, and fail again in order to accomplish this.

Any guild will have you doing the same thing. Go here. Kill this. Come back. While the thieves guild is supposed to be about non-violence, the ideas are still similar in nature. Effectively, if you're not already on your way to being a master thief by the time you choose this guild, you will not succeed. Oh, but that's okay, BECAUSE THE TRIP TO RIFTEN ALONE WILL TURN YOU INTO A MONSTER TESTICLE WEARING WARRIOR OF INSANITY ANYWAY.

Conclusion



Skyrim is a game for warriors. If you do not set out initially to be a warrior, there will be a point at which the game becomes difficult enough that it becomes annoying. You will evade dragons. You will focus only on stupid non-combat shit you can to level up, just so you can add perks to something that IS combat related and probably your max HP so MAYBE...just maybe...you won't get a cornholing the next time you enter that cave to JUST STEAL SHIT OR WHATEVER BUT END UP HAVING TO FIGHT SHIT BECAUSE HOOOOOLY SHIT THAT'S WHAT THIS GAME IS ALL ABOUT, ACTUALLY.

And yet, I fucking love this game. It can feel unbalanced and unfair at times, but it's totally worth sticking with. Hell, I just love rolling over achievements, completing quests, and levelling up. It's still fun, even 100 hours in. And if I'm 100 hours in, then you know that these are still minor gripes. Seriously, if you don't own this game, you fucking suck. Go get it!   read


1:44 PM on 01.27.2012  

FPS of the Year 2003

This is going to be an interesting year. There are 40 games this year. This is going to be an odd year because prior to this writing, I've only played two of these. Let's hop to it!

Call of Duty (PC)



Well, what can you say? It's the original CoD, in all its...uhhh...glory? Yeah, we'll go with that. By this point I was wrapped up in RPGs more than anything, and for good reason, but the point is this wouldn't have appealed to me anyway because it's another WW2 shooter. Yeah, I said it. The CoD series, minus the Modern Warfare ones, really never appealed to me. And even with MW, it's a hit/miss scenario.

So no, I didn't play this when it came out. It's not bad and it certainly has its moments, but I wouldn't say it's anything grand.

Chaser (PC)



Here's a more obscure title nobody really knows about. That doesn't mean it's any good, but this is the reason I love doing these. It's nothing mind blowing, but it's got good atmosphere, story, and it's not a tactical shooter. What more do you want? Naturally, it's no major contender for the #1 spot, but it's worth checking out all the same.

Chrome (PC)



Yet another obscure title that deserves mentioning. I'm going to paraphrase the youtube uploader here, but this is confirmed with wikipedia as well. The Duke Nukem voice actor plays the main guy, there are huge outdoor environments, and several types of vehicles ready for you to wreak havoc with. Very nice stuff.

Codename Nina - Global Terrorism Strike Force (PC)



Okay, no. I'm going to paraphrase the youtube uploader here for a sec. The voice acting is horrendous, the action is mediocre, and the environments are bland. Screw that. Especially now that FPSs have really taken off, there just isn't room for a game like this anymore. Pass!

Contract JACK (PC)



So basically this is a side story set in the NOLF universe, but it lacks the charm and spunk of the other two. Worth checking out if you really liked NOLF 1 or 2, but nothing groundbreaking.

CTU - Marine Sharpshooter (PC)



Yet another military tactical shooter, but at least it attempts to have an interesting story. That's about all I have to say about it.

Day of Defeat (PC)



I LOVE this game. This was one of the first online multiplayer mods I ever played. Yes, I played this alongside CS. Basically it's axis vs. allies, but set up sort of like CS, but with varied classes and weapons, excellent environments, and lots of great tactical chokepoints and what have you. This is easily one of the best online multiplayer experiences I've ever had.

Delta Force - Black Hawk Down (PC)



Jesus...could that mini-map be any larger? So this is a generic ass FPS that is military based, but not nearly as good as CoD...or as pretty. Yeah. I mean, it seems to be an interesting concept, but still.

Delta Ops - Army Special Forces (PC)



Ugh...it looks and sounds worse than Codename Nina. Pass.

Deus Ex - Invisible War (Multi)



This game is upsetting for three reasons. One, the original Deus Ex was an incredible game and idea all in one. It had so much potential for sequels, branching out to other projects, and so on. This game doesn't hold a candle to the original, but the second reason this is especially bad is because it's not a good game at all. See, it'd be one thing if it was just alright or pretty good, but oh no.

This game is AWFUL. It doesn't even try to share the same room with its predecessor and instead breaks into being a generic FPS. And finally, only in the last year did we FINALLY get another Deus Ex and while that one was GREAT...I just can't help but think we would've gotten it a lot sooner if this one was even a slight amount better. This really is the bed shitter of the series and almost prevented it from being continued in the first place.

Devastation (PC)



...why is everyone made of pink kool-aid? Also, why is it "oonce oonce" time when you start fighting enemies? And why would you bounce around when you receive a headshot while pissing on the sidewalk? Nevermind...this bland shooter isn't worth it anyway. Still, it is kinda awesome that the dude seems to be holding 500 guns at once.

Elite Forces - Beyond Normandy - Assignment Berlin (PC)



There's no movie for this one, but again, I've not been impressed by the Elite Forces series up to this point, so it'd have to be something incredible to warrant my attention in the first place.

Gods and Generals (PC)



...No. What, you want a longer comment? Okay then. Fuck no.

Great Qin Warriors (PC)



...uhhhhh...that is easily one of the most retarded stories I've ever heard for an FPS ever. Anyway, it's basically a mech shoot-em-up. Pretty standard, just with a really terrible story.

Hidden & Dangerous 2 (PC)



Didn't I already review CoD? Oh, this isn't CoD? Are you sure? Really? Huh...okay. Pass.

IGI 2 - Covert Strike (Multi)



Running through the mountains with heavy metal playing with your knife out is no way to go through life, son. In all honesty, I've watched a few vids of this and it certainly seems fun, but I never got into the original, so I never checked this one out either. I know that seems sloppy, but listen, the #1 this year is virtually untouchable. Trust me.

Line of Sight - Vietnam (PC)



This game looks incredibly boring. The youtube user and commenters aren't much help either as all they say is the "the game is hard." Really? How hard? Farcry hard or military tactical shooter hard? You know what, nevermind. Pass.

March! Offworld Recon (PC)



So it's Quake 2, only not as fun, interesting, or graphically advanced. In 2003. No thanks.

Navy SEALs - Weapons of Mass Destruction (PC)



BAAAHHAHAHAHAAHAHAHHAA. Oh my God this game is hilarious. No, not in the good way. I could watch that video all day, but I will NEVER play this game. Pass.

Nosferatu - The Wrath of Malachi (PC)



Alright, so it's ugly. I mean, REALLY ugly. But let us remember what the brilliant and all-seeing Jim Sterling has said, that horror IS ugly. Were this me playing the game, going into it my first time, a lot of what's going on would cause me to jump. This guy already knows the score and is playing the game masterfully, taking part of the fun out of it. It actually looks pretty fun, creepy, and possibly even scary.

Maybe not on the level of Condemned, F.E.A.R., or Amnesia, but come on. This is quality stuff for 2003. Yeah, I'd give this a shot.

PlanetSide (PC)



So it's basically Battlefield 1943, but with sci-fi. Look, I'm probably not the best person to report on this at it seems there are entire communities for it still today, but it definitely looks like it's worth checking out, especially if the BF43 crack sounds intriguing all the same to you.

Postal 2 (PC)



This game is ridiculous, violent, and hilarious. Honestly, I'd stayed away from these games because I heard they were crap and don't get me wrong, it looks kinda crap. Even still, I'd probably give this one a shot because of all the crazy and funny shit you can do.

Quest for Saddam (PC)



Now some people may say this game is more for shock value than a qualifier for an actual game, but here's the thing. It is an FPS, so I am going to rate it accordingly. It sucks. I mean, come on...it's 2003 and THIS is the best they could come up with for something controversial? Goddamn, Postal 2 got it right and these fuckers didn't even try. Pass!

Resident Evil - Dead Aim (PS2)



Resident Evil Survivor didn't work, so why the hell would Capcom ever try that awful formula again? Oh yeah, money. They won't be getting mine for this garbage. Pass!

Robocop (Multi)



...what in the blue fuck is this? Man, I LOVED the original Robocop movie, but this is terrible. Why is Robocop going "Ohhh yeah" when he takes people down? Why did the develop think cluttering up the screen with crap was a good idea? Hell, why did they think using something that looks like a basic rework of the original Half-Life engine for a 2003 game was a good idea? Man, fuck this game.

Savage - The Battle for Newerth (PC)



So it kinda looks like World of Warcraft...only not. It's actually really hard to tell what's going on. I watched about 5 different videos and each one has frenzied action that's almost set up like a hyperactive MMO. There's nothing wrong with that, but for someone who doesn't know anything about the game, it's fairly problematic. It doesn't look terrible, but it doesn't quite have the graphics of the time, nor does it seem to be much more than Counterstrike, but with a fantasy theme. Pass.

Secret Service 2 - Security Breach (PC)



It's slow. It's dumb. It barely looks better than the original. Pass.

Star Trek - Elite Force 2 (PC)



This might sound odd, but anything from Star Trek - Next Generation onward bores me. Sure, the movies are okay, but the show never really grabbed me. I think the original Star Trek series is boss, but pretty much everything from then on is just kinda...meh. I won't say this game is crap as it's actually got pretty good production values, but I wouldn't have any idea what's going on as I don't follow this series. Give it a go if you like the later Star Treks.

Star Wars - Jedi Knight - Jedi Academy (Multi)



This actually doesn't look half bad. A little dated, sure, but not bad at all. Plus, there's so much going on with it. You've got vehicles, lots of lightsaber play, and all kinds of environments. Honestly, this is how a modern Star Wars game should operate. Not disappointed in the least. I'll have to give this a look later.

SWAT - Global Strike Team (Multi)



Finally, a SWAT game that isn't tactical. It doesn't look that great, but at least it's not all about the tactics. Of course, that's kind of the point of SWAT, sooooo...yeah, I know I'm presenting a "have your cake and eat it too" scenario, but let's be honest...SWAT belongs in the realm of tactical shooter, unless it's one of those flashback/side missions in a normal balls to the wall action game.

Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines (Multi)



Sloppy and just okay. I guess that's the best we can hope for with a modern movie game.

Terminator 3 - War of the Machines (PC)



So it's basically Counter-Strike, but with Terminators vs. humans. Not a bad idea, but nothing too brilliant either.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 - Raven Shield (Multi)



Ayup, more of this. I'm not big on tactical shooters, but by now you should know that. If you like them, give this a shot. That's about it.

Tron 2.0 (PC)



Look, I don't know a whole lot about Tron. That could partially be because I've never watched any of the movies. *ducks ensuing objects flying at head from nerd rage* In any case...this looks okay. Not terrible, certainly. And it has decent enough graphics.

Unreal 2 - The Awakening (PC)



Never got a chance to try this, but it looks pretty fun, actually. Very Quake 2-like and I mean that in the best sense possible. Yeah, I'd give it a shot.

Vietcong (PC)



Not half bad. Honestly, I don't think there are enough games about wars like Vietnam or Korea, so it's good to see a fairly faithful shooter for it every so often.

Warhammer 40000 - Fire Warrior (Multi)



It's a bit dated and doesn't have great production values...or much else...but if you're into the Warhammer 40K series, I suppose it'd still be worth a look. Personally, I'm not, but hey.

Western Outlaw - Wanted Dead or Alive (PC)



Honestly, I'm not that big of a fan of wild west games. Sure, there are rare exceptions like Red Dead Redemption, but this game is very meh. The graphics are blah, the music is ehh, and the production values overall are ecch. That's about it.

Will Rock (PC)



So it's basically Serious Sam, only not as good...not even by a long shot. A lot of people like this one, but I'm not convinced. Pass.

Winner: XIII (Multi)



This game is fan-fucking-tastic. Why? Well, let's talk about the one and only one negative thing I can say about this title: yes, it does look a bit cartoony. This was the early days of cel-shading and while it's the first I know of that did it for an FPS, it looks dated and a little silly at times. That said, it actually comes as an advantage to the game in the form of production values, because it's set up almost like a living comic book.

For example, in the image above, you can see that there are comic panels. This occurs every so often when you take someone out with a good shot, often with a throwing knife or crossbow. It's actually a pretty cool effect. Plus, it's an amnesia story done right. One of the best angles this game has to work with is they throw all kinds of crazy stuff at you because you can't remember shit and you're smack in the middle of a major conspiracy that goes all the way to the top.

The cutscenes are great, the voice acting is...well, it's decent at least, but it also has major players like Adam West doing a few voiceovers...and the production values and level design for the game overall are very good. This is a very fun, long single player campaign that will keep you hooked until the very end. I highly recommend this title, even though there are games that, visually, looked a hell of a lot better this year.

Conclusion

Graphics aren't everything, but they are important in FPSs. We saw a bunch of games with terrible, dated graphics, even for 2003. There were many titles that didn't feature music, ambience, or anything remotely interesting in the form of background noise. FPSs need to have atmosphere, lots of action, and above all else be INTERESTING. This was a year with a lot of boring games, but at least the winner was a gripping title that could keep even the most diehard action afficianado interested for a long time.   read


8:48 AM on 01.25.2012  

Location: Mode 7 Madness



I know they're a bit dated now, but mode 7 and raster effects were pretty impressive effects in the 16-bit era. Most of the time all a game had to do was have a generic mode 7 effect and suddenly it become 500 times more awesome. Many games did this well, but the one I remember most vividly was Super Castlevania 4. If you really have no idea what I'm talking about, you could just skip over the article and view the stage here.

Yes, I'm referring to the infamous Stage 4. Look, up to this point, you already had some impressive environments absolutely dripping in atmosphere and ambience. Everything from the enemies to the music to the sound effects to the subtle, little touches like vines growing over stuff, skulls all over the place in the backgrounds, various water effects, and so on just added more and more to the already incredible environments.

And while each stage had something like that going for it one way or the other, the one that to this day I still come back to is Stage 4. I've gone over this stage time and time again...and I'm going to yet again! It starts out simply enough. You have a couple of standard enemies, classic Castlevania platforming in the forms of flipping platforms, moving platforms, enemies coming out of walls...then you have a giant skull that you have to fight until you completely chip away at it...then shit gets crazy.


Above: crazy.

You enter a seemingly harmless and somewhat generic room, go up the stairs, hang on a bathook...THEN REALIZE YOU'RE HANGING ON FOR DEAR LIFE AS THE ROOM SLOWLY BEGINS TO ROTATE. You have to drop down at one point to fight some medusa heads who will, I assure you, thrust you into spikes if you're not quick and accurate with them, then more hanging on for your dear life.

It's at this point you realize you're hanging over a pit of spikes with nowhere to go. When I first played this section, I didn't know what to do next, so I tried to swing off into the great unknown. BIG MISTAKE. Eventually platforms stretch out to you as if to say "Ha ha, well, it's over now. The next area's normal, I promise." THEN THE GAME TOTALLY TROLLS YOU. The next room is constantly rotating, but in a different direction that is highly disorienting with skeletons flying out of the walls at you!

And does it end there? As if you had to ask. The floor suddenly starts rising in different areas trying to thrust you into the ceiling. You have to have quick and good platforming skills to make it through to another, that's right, ANOTHER boss. Now to be fair, the skull boss and this one, a golem that throws blocks and makes blocks rain down, are fairly easy. Really, it's the stage that's a treat.


Above: easy.

You know, almost every stage in Super Castlevania 4 has great memories attached to it. I think the reason I keep coming back to this one, though, is it kind of defines both what Castlevania was and also what the Super Nintendo was capable of. Yeah, you see games like Star Fox that have that super FX chip thingy or Chrono Trigger that have incredible graphics, an incredible story, great characters, and so on...but this, right here, is what I think of when I think SNES.

It has great music, great graphics, makes full utilization of the controller features, shows off the mode 7 effects, and is easily recognizable. Seriously, all I had to do to find this on youtube was type in "castlevania 4 stage 4." That doesn't seem too impressive until you realize most of the time when you do that on youtube you find a complete stage list or redundancy because 4 was listed twice or maybe you find the wrong game or whatever.

Really, the only two things I'd have to criticize the stage on would be I would have liked for it to be a little longer, especially in the first mode 7 room, and the second would be that the first mode 7 room is a bit lacking. I mean, you have an off white background, just the one stair case, no true platforming elements, just the one bathook, and a mini-swarm of enemies. That's about it. The room isn't hard to figure out, it's only fun the first time you do it, and while it does show off the mode 7 effects, the next room is much more impressive.


Above: crazier.

Even still, for someone that hasn't played the game before, this stage totally takes you off guard and is an absolute treat. For anyone that HAS played the game, admit it, this stage is fun as hell to come back to every so often. My stepbrothers and I used to play this game every Christmas. We would play it until we beat it and often replay it again right after. It's not the hardest Castlevania by a long shot, but it's easily one of the most fun and impressive ones.   read


11:29 AM on 01.12.2012  

The Fantastic World of Japanese Games - Episode 5



Sometimes the mere mentioning that a game had RPG elements was enough to shelf the idea to bring it over. You're going to see me pulling this excuse a lot because for every Mega Man, Castlevania, TMNT, Mario, Zelda, and whatever title that came out, you'd have a dozen or so RPGs that didn't quite make it. While this happened less with the SNES, it certainly happened a LOT with the NES. For example...

Chronicle of the Radia War



If you've never seen or heard of this game, I'm not surprised. Also, you should immediately check it out. No really, go. Minimize this window, go check it out, and come back. You back? Awesome, right? You're welcome. Chronicle of the Radia War is a story about...well, I don't remember and it doesn't matter. Here's what you need to know about CotRW. It's an action/RPG with random encounters that feels similar to Final Fantasy Adventure, but made by Tecmo and therefore has awesome music, animations, sound effects, and so on.

The only major gripe I can make about the game is movement speed is very slow. Beyond that, it's fun, tough, and highly enjoyable. So why didn't it come to America? Action/RPG. Sure, it's pretty heavy on the action, but come on. It's still an RPG. For those of you that don't get it, consider this. I have two stepbrothers. These guys were big into sports and also enjoyed action games on the NES from time to time.

So games like Contra, Ninja Gaiden, Burai Fighter, Castlevania, and various others were immediately recognizable to them. There was one day I brought over Robotrek, hoping they'd play it. I toted it as being a game about robots. As soon as they saw it was turn based, they stopped watching. I got Chrono Trigger one Christmas. They liked the music and graphics, but recognized it as an RPG immediately and didn't give it a second thought.

Granted, Robotrek isn't exactly the best RPG ever, but to see easily and readily dismiss CT? Every so often they'd look up and see the incredible visuals, then go back to doing whatever they were doing. I couldn't believe it then and I still can't now. Unfortunately, that's the way most of the American audience of gamers were back in the day. Therefore, the next game couldn't possibly have made it here...

Mother



Look, every Mother/Earthbound fan out there can blow me. And no, it's not because I don't like the Mother/Earthbound series (because I really, really fucking love it, actually). "Ooooh, why didn't Mother 1 and 3 ever come to America? It doesn't make sense!" YES IT DOES. Mother 3 didn't come out to America because there's an implied rape scene where Lucas allegedly gets his cornhole tonguepunched by a transvestite in a hot spring...you know, to learn psychic powers or whatever, because LOGIC.

Look, we have the Rocky Horror Picture Show, but I highly doubt anyone wants to see that in an RPG, especially one that's cartoony and has the appearance that it's made for children (inb4 South Park reference). Second, the original Mother was slow, tough, even stranger than Earthbound at times, AND WAS AN RPG ON THE NES. I think if you're really reaching you could claim there were 10 American NES RPGs made and that's it.

Remember, this was a time when games like Contra and Castlevania were kings and even the mere mentioning of Final Fantasy or Dragon Warrior could get your ass kicked. The 80s and 90s were a brutal time for RPGs even after we entered the more accepting PS1 era. And again, I love the Mother/Earthbound series, but the more bizarre games often took a backseat to balls to the wall action titles.

It made sense, especially considering the NES was mostly about platforming and action games. That's not to say there WEREN'T RPGs, but again, they weren't popular. They just fucking weren't. What IS strange, however, is when a truly fucking awesome RPG doesn't come out to America. You know, such as...

Bahamut Lagoon



This game rules, but sadly I've barely played it. What usually ends up happening is I download it at the same time as other great RPGs that are easier to stay focused on and this ends up getting shelved. Even now I have it downloaded, but I haven't even verified it actually works. This is an SRPG with dragons, dragon riding, floating islands, and all kinds of awesome 90s Squaresoft goodness.

It has incredible graphics and animation, great music, and all kinds of great concepts like feeding your dragon random stuff to make them evolve. Okay, that might be about it. Really, I wouldn't know because I haven't played it much, but what I have played is great. With this one I really only have one guess as to why it may not have come out: turn-based SRPG. And I know what you're thinking..."Wha, noooooo...come on, we loved the shit out of games like Final Fantasy Tactics, Disgaea, and all that. That can't be right."

Name me one turn-based SRPG on the SNES that came to America that you love. Any takers? Anyone? Unless you bounce into the territory of Koei strategy games and claim that "well hey they're RPGs too" as an exception, there really weren't any, were there? Sure, Front Mission, but that never came to America. Neither did Fire Emblem. Now, Ogre Battle did, but it's slightly different from what I'm talking about.

Also, Tactics Ogre didn't. I can't think of even ONE American SNES turn-based SRPG set in the vein of an overhead or isometric view right off the top of my head. Not one. And again, I'm going to fall back on RPGs still not really doing that well, so adding strategy to the mix certainly would not have helped things.

Conclusion



In this episode all three games really didn't have a solid reason for not hitting American soil other than...well, just being RPGs. Sadly, all three still have yet to officially hit American soil, forcing us to import or emulate for these experiences. Even sadder is that still today we are being denied great RPGs for seemingly no reason. Anymore, unless sales were terrible, I honestly cannot think of any reason to NOT bring an RPG over to American shores.   read


12:34 PM on 01.08.2012  

Predictions: I Don't (And Can't) Give A Shit



Early in 2011, my 360 decided to throw a big "fuck you" party and go down for good. Being that this is the brokest I've been in years, I couldn't very well replace it, even though I really want to, but specifically only so I can get back on XBL with my friends, try to actually beat some of the games I have for it and XBLA, and I really, REALLY want a kinect because games like Dance Central give me boners.

So now I have Steam, a Wii, a PS2, a DS, a PSP, and that's it. The 3DS seems like a poorly chosen gimmick by Nintendo, though I've yet to try it, so I'll hold my bias until I actually do try it. I haven't been keeping up on the PS Vita, Wii U, or the alleged X Box 720. Nor do I have any sort of mobile gaming platform outside of...well, in my opinion, handheld consoles that were MADE for it in the first place.

Sure, I've got a couple of friends that have various smartphones and they go on about various apps all the time. And sure, I'm sure they're awesome, but good goddamn I'm not shelling out that kind of cash for a goddamn cell phone, nor am I subscribing to a dataplan that has an even more insulting monthly price tag. No thanks. Again, maybe I don't see the usefulness because I've never experienced it and I hear people all the time citing they "could never go back" to their old piece of shit cell phone.

But if you really must know my predictions, here goes. Keep in mind, most of these are speculation and some without any real investigation, just simple probability at work.

We'll Get Another Tales Game



The fact that Tales of Graces, the real Tales of Destiny 2, and most likely a few others still haven't hit American soil leaves me hopeful for this. I've been hooked ever since Tales of Destiny and went back to play the original Phantasia for the SNES on an emulator. Also, for those that wondered why ToP wasn't highlighted for the GBA, here's the SNES version and here's the GBA version. There.

We'll Get More "Shoot Enemies In The Face And Have A Giant Military Boner" Games



As if I need to tell you, this will be a year of more sequels and games desperately trying to claim they're not sequels but they totally fucking are. And of course, among them will be more military shooters. Don't get me wrong...military shooters can be fun. Unfortunately, the market's been oversaturated with them since about 5 years ago. It's been so far done to death that I almost passed up awesome titles like The Saboteur only because it has a WW2 theme to it.

The Wii Will Still Mostly Only Be Useful For Netflix



Skyward Sword. There, you don't need any more games from Nintendo, right? Sure, The Last Story and Xenoblade MIGHT come to America, but unless you're those few handfuls of rabid fanboys who give a shit, you'll probably completely pass over them forgetfully. Hell, I forgot about Last Story until I just compiled a list of wanted games for different consoles because I have some Gamestop giftcards.

Goofy, Piss Poor Third Party 3D Games Will Come Out For The 3DS



This is a given, but it needs restated. Anytime Nintendo comes out with something truly innovative, third party developers often fuck up again and again while trying to incorporate it unnecessarily in their games. Sometimes it's works, but usually it's only done right by Nintendo itself. So sure, Kid Icarus will probably kick ass, but pretty much everything else will look like garbage because they have no idea what the fuck they're doing.

Square-Enix Will Continue To Rape Final Fantasy, Give Cuddles To Dragonquest



How many Kingdom Hearts gaidens do we really need? Make Kingdom Hearts 3 already, dammit! See, this would've been me a few years ago...and now I honestly wonder why this company is even still around after Final Fantasy 13. Oh wait, Dragonquest. That's right. A game I never really followed until number 8, which was an incredible RPG, is ironically the only thing keeping a company together made of two previously massive RPG giants.

There Will Be More Console Wars Bickering, Even With New Consoles



Used to be Nintendon't, now it's RROD vs. PSN going down vs. Wii being useless vs. 3DS giving you migraines vs. PSP being useless vs. ...fucking whatever. This is another reason I've been perfectly content playing retro titles and buying up shit on Steam. I refuse to pick a side on this because it's gotten to the point that EVERYTHING'S annoying and console fanboys are only making it worse.

Steam Will Continue To Rule, Console Exclusivity Will Soon Become A Thing Of The Past



What does Sony have exclusive rights to? Naughty Dog and Insomniac? Really, that's it? What about Microsoft? Halo? And that's all, isn't it? Nintendo has the most first party support, but they've been falling seriously behind lately. Worse still, they have very little third party support now. The only good news here is anyone who's been doing PC stuff all along will have missed very little and will continue to miss very little because though digital piracy will always be a thing, Steam has more than rekindled most gamers' relationships with their PCs...it's a beautiful thing, really.

Place Your Bets - Someone Will Go Bankrupt



And here's where the fun starts. With as many bad ideas that have been thrown around lately, I very strongly believe a major company is likely to go bankrupt, belly up, or be completely absorbed soon. It's hard to say who. My guess would be Konami. Really, what have they done lately? They've fucked up Castlevania, don't make anymore Goemon games that I know of, are basically done with DDR, can't seem to make a solid Silent Hill title anymore, the last good Contra was from about 5 years ago, Kojima's no longer a part of their company anymore, nobody cares about Gradius and they probably won't make anymore of those anyway, and they probably won't make anymore Suikodens...seems like a fair bet.

A Classic Will Be Reborn And Suck, Another Will Rule



This is kind of another game I like to play. We know that various developers are working on new titles for X-Com, Shadowrun, and Syndicate. There's a good chance that others are in the works as well. I strongly believe this next year will feature one that will absolutely suck and probably completely destroy the series. However, another will totally rule and prompt us to want to make more games like it. Again, just a prediction, but this seems to happen every so many years.

Conclusion



That's about it. Sorry, I'm just a little burned out and I'm also working on various GotY stuff at the same time, so I'm a little fried. Hope you enjoyed my predictions. Hopefully most of them are proven true.   read


7:27 AM on 01.07.2012  

The Fantastic World Of Japanese Games - Episode 4



Sometimes a game is deemed "too weird" to come to American soil. This doesn't happen all the time and usually when it does, it's for good reason. I mean, I guess so. I've decided to include youtube embeds on all the game pictures this time. Aren't I such a nice guy?! All three of the games highlighted here definitely have their quirks, but should still definitely have come to America. Sadly, all three are RPGs as well, so that may have something to do with it. Anyway!

Mystic Ark



When I originally saw screenshots for this title way back in the early 90s, it was being called 7th Saga 2. To this day, it's still inappropriately titled as such by some gamers. And to be fair, it both is and isn't 7th Saga 2. It's basically like stating Illusion of Gaia is Soul Blazer 2 or Terranigma is Illusion of Gaia 2. These statements are wrong, yet they aren't, because they're "spiritual sequels," which I guess means they're done in the same vein to being almost identical and dealing with the same themes, but not being connected...so it makes you wonder why they keep calling it Final Fantasy, then.

In any case, Mystic Ark is a very strange, but interesting title. I actually found it more fun to play than 7th Saga, yet I can...kind of...understand it not coming to America. In one area, you converse with people who live in giant, hollowed out fruit. In another, you deal with animal pirates. In yet another, it is entirely ruled by children. I mean, you get the idea. It's like this through the whole game.

See, in 7th Saga, it was kind of a medieval/sci-fi mashup very similar to that of certain FFs or even Phantasy Star, but with an Enix touch to it. This is more like a very confusing mashup of several different sci-fi ideas all at once. It almost feels like a predecessor to the Mother series in a way, but not quite. Actually...maybe I should've mentioned Mother 1 or 3 here, but...nah.

If you liked 7th Saga, there's no reason the strangeness should dissway you from playing this title, but yes, it's very...VERY...weird at times.

Adventures of Hourai High



Actually, with this one it's almost more about "games that are just too awesome to come to America." And it's strange. And it's an RPG. Anyway...it's a very fun game. I mean, any game that starts with you being transported by airplane to an island that's effectively a giant high school, but missing your stop, so they chuck your ass out of the plane, then you land on the honor student of the local newspaper, then the students decide to make you the new editor to take his place...well, you're already off to a great start.

There's a penguin army, clubs you can join and learn abilities from, a traditional level up system with some interesting touches, equally interesting turn-based battle system, lots of hilarious enemies, equally hilarious dialogue and situations, and...and...well, it's just about the funniest, most engaging game I've ever played on the SNES. Yeah, Earthbound included.

I mean seriously, kudos to the translation group Aeon Genesis. Without them, not only would I not have heard of this title, but there's a good chance the rough translation wouldn't have been all that funny. These guys bust their asses to make a lot of great translations, but in my opinion, this is one of the best. Hourai High is an instant classic, but I do get that RPGs really weren't taking off that well, the developer wasn't well known in America, and there are some questionable situations.

Wonder Project J



There is really only one reason I can think that this game didn't come to America and it's a really, really stupid one: the game is a little slow at times. No really, that's it. I've beaten this game frontwards to back and I can't think of any one reason it didn't come to America. It's an absolutely incredible game experience. You get to play as a fairy. Okay, then maybe two reasons.

That aside, you watch over a mechanical boy and try to teach him right from wrong, how to do stuff, inspire confidence in him, and so on. There are various stages where you have to fulfill various tasks to move on. Some are fairly simple, like learning how to do various sports, or sing, or fight, or whatever...and others require...well, a little trial and error...sometimes even forcing the kid to unlearn and relearn certain things differently.

The game has a great story, charming characters, good dialogue, excellent graphics and atmosphere, and...well, I could just go on and on and on. There's also a sequel on the N64 that I'm taking a crack at, but so far it's not quite the same. Wonder Project J was a great game that takes a very different approach to character development and is itself inspiring. I could very seriously see another sequel working as a casual title on a variety of consoles.

Conclusion



Weird or not, insane or logical, Japanese games truly are amazing. I won't be as pretentious to assume that ALL Japanese titles need to come to America, but at the very least, as strange as these titles are, they are among some of the best that were never released. Stay tuned!   read


10:45 AM on 01.06.2012  

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things - Episode 7



Once again, there are some spoilers here. And yes, the pics have videos embedded, so if you spot something you'd rather not, don't click! Today I'm mostly going to write about death, destruction, and the apocalypse. However, not all is doom and gloom. My final entry will be one that I'm certain you'll watch again and again. Have fun!

Dead Rising 2 - Father of the Year



Let's start first with a zombie apocalypse! I still plan to do a S-AVGN highlighting some of this, but here goes. Frank West wasn't a bad character...and yet, he totally was. He wasn't in that what was going on around him was clearly more interesting than him. This is usually the case with a zombie game. It's not about psychological or emotional dilemmas within the survivors or heroes; it's about killing the fuck out of zombies.

I mean, when you think of the Resident Evil games, even when they try to have emotional moments, they almost always fall flat. So I was especially surprised when Capcom of all companies came up with Chuck Greene. Ever since I played Case Zero, I knew I was going to like this guy. Not only do you have the same time complications as the original Dead Rising, you also have a daughter who has been infected with the virus.

But not to worry! There is a cure...sort of. Every 24 hours, she will need Zombrex, a highly sought after miracle cure, in order to stay among the living. There are a few reasons I love this. Firstly, it immediately creates an emotional bond. Chuck has more to live for than just himself and a handful of strangers he just happened to drag to a safehouse; he's also a father with a daughter that has a terrible disease...and all of this surrounds around the virus, creating a more compelling story, character design, and atmosphere.

I mean, sure, the story and atmosphere was going to be better given the setting anyway, but this just full tilted it in his favor. Don't get me wrong, Frank West is pretty cool just in general, but Chuck Greene has to be a father, savior, zombie smasher, AND MacGuyver all at once. He is easily one of my favorite characters of any game in the last 5 years.

Fallout 3 - Leaving The Vault



When I originally played Fallout 3, I wasn't sure what to think up to this point. See, I remember playing Fallout 1 and 2 and having a lot of fun with them. So naturally I was skeptical that it would live up to those. Further, this was Bethesda, which up to this point was mostly known for medieval stuffs, what with the Elder Scrolls series. I mean, I expected it to at least be decent, but I had serious doubts about truly capturing the wastelands, vault life, and so on.

Then it happened. THIS happened. You leave the vault for the first time, basically blinded by the sunlight since this is the first time you've ever seen it. Once your eyes adjust, holy shit...the wasteland is brought to life. It's a truly amazing sight, especially as you go out to live in it. The little flying robot thingy (can't remember what it's called, sorry) flying by, seeing the devastation for the first time, walking over sand and rocks and bits of road all rucked up all over the place...it's a truly amazing experience.

And really, it never truly goes away. I've still never gotten over how well it was constructed and again, by a studio that never really did a whole lot as far as futuristic stuff. Well, okay, they did do a few Terminator games in the past, but that wasn't really their thing. Fallout 3, in my opinion, is better from an atmospheric and story angle than New Vegas for this reason alone.

Final Fantasy 6 - The Clown Gets What He Wants



Well, my first question would have to be why would you ever let the psychopathic clown be in your army? I mean, I could understand if he was a court jester or something and went around doing stupid shit, but no! Kefka is a goddamn general or some shit. I mean, I know the empire or whatever malicious force in these titles are supposed to be horribly fucked up, but this is just too much.

In any case, Kefka's true colors are revealed, he betrays the emperor, attains supreme power, becomes a demonic god, and proceeds to rape the world...yes, all in this one scene. Kefka is the epitome of evil. He's still not my favorite FF villain, but that's irrelevant. It's not that often you get to see the world destroyed in an FF title, especially a classic one.

Square pulled out all the stops here. Even Chrono Trigger's destruction of the planet doesn't compare to this. Now sure, it's not quite as good as FFX, but let's be honest...with FFX, you only really see this happening to Zanarkand and there's a good chance it was only Zanarkand on that day. Still pretty fucking awesome, but yeah, not as much of an impact for me. But speaking of the end of the world...

Shin Megami Tensei - Nocturne - Beginning Of The End



This is one of the more interesting interpretations of an apocalypse. Before this scene, you come across an abandoned hospital, get separated from your friends, get hounded by demons, then finally run into your teacher...only to learn that she is some kind of special person that is welcoming the impending apocalypse of Tokyo. Sorry that I don't have more details there...these games have a knack for the weird and not really releasing much info until you've finally beaten the game, which I still haven't.

Basically what happens is the city inverts itself to where it's almost like a giant cave with a demon star in the middle for a sun. You know that one scene from Inception? Yeah, kinda like that. Almost. So all this crazy shit happens, demons come to Tokyo...and shortly after this scene you have a goddamn'd demon bug thrown in your face that forces it's way into your body so you can stay alive...by becoming a demon in probably the most violent and forceful way possible.

The Shin Megami Tensei series has always been known for being fucking dark, having a lot of occult stuff, and in general tying into all kinds of demonic lore, but this easily takes the cake. Sure, you get to fucking cannibalize people in one, walk into TVs to save people from death in another, fight the forces of evil in your school in yet another, and use rumors to create a new reality in one other, but this one slaps you in the face with so much symbolism and imagery right off the bat that it's fucking crazy.

Mother 3 - The Boatride



And now for something a little more lighthearted. You know when you're playing a game and it makes references to its earlier spiritual prequels? Well, with Mother 3, this happens somewhat often as it has a lot of the same characters such as Mr. Saturns, various running gags, and so on. However, one thing I certainly did not expect is one of the best. Toward the end of chapter 8 (the final chapter), you have a long hallway, then a short boatride.

Sounds fairly unimportant...unless you've played both Mother 1 and 2 (Earthbound). If you watched the video and still didn't get it, here's why it's so awesome. The hallway is the old NES title screen theme for Mother 1. The boatride theme is a revamped version of the field theme for Mother 1. Furthermore, along the ride you get to see various things from Mother 2 that were significant.

In fact, even after that you get a pencil eraser and use it to erase a pencil! Well, if you want. It has no relevance on the plot at hand, nor is it absolutely necessary...and yet, it doesn't matter. It was an immediate nostalgia trip for me. I could watch this scene over and over again. Absolutely brilliant.

Conclusion



So there was a lot of dark, near depressing stuff this time around, but a little light at the end of the tunnel. I hope you enjoyed this one and to be honest, I'd love to get more of these out in rapid succession, but it takes a while for me to remember the scenes I absolutely adore. Well, see you next time!   read


11:52 AM on 01.05.2012  

Stupid Shit Non-Gamers Say About Videogames


Above: not really a gamer.

Playing videogames isn't quite the same as it used to be, but maybe that's a good thing. People that don't game at all that happen to stumble across our hobby seem to mistake videogames for an actual sport, kiddie toy, the devil, or many, many other things. These are things I've heard over the years and my thoughts on them.

"Make sure it's 2 player!"


"It's-a me! A Basic Recolor of Mario!"

I grew up with a younger brother. I started gaming when I was 5 and he made every attempt possible to do what I did, so he started when he was 3. And he was good. No shitting. One of the most annoying aspects of living with siblings or having company over was taking turns with a game. Nobody really wants to take turns. Ever. We just want it all to ourselves.

It really has less to do with being selfish and more to do with just wanting to enjoy our hobby more. That and...well, okay maybe just a bit of selfishness. But goddamn, I don't want to sit here and watch my brother just beat the goddamn game in front of me, I want to play, too! Anyway, you can see the conundrum. The solution within most games was to enable the 2 player mode.

The problem is 2 player mode works one of three ways. One, the first player plays until he loses a life, then the second player plays until he loses a life, and so on. Two, the first player plays until he loses a life OR finishes a stage, then back and forth. And finally, you play co-op. The first and third options, especially on older titles, was almost always a pain in the ass.

See, if you messed up, bam, his turn. Then of course, HE doesn't mess up. Oh no, not at all. He just watched you get fucked by it, so now he avoids said obstacle and proceeds to go on and play FOREVER (probably). Then, after the game is THOROUGHLY and SOUNDLY beaten, your turn! Yeah, thanks, I think I'm done. So what's so bad about co-op?

Well, in a modern game, nothing. It's usually done well enough that it's not too easy or too hard and you get to have a lot of fun with your friend, sibling, pet that you taught to play videogames, or whatever. But in a retro title, you have a lot of "glitches" to contend with. So maybe while playing Contra in a vertically scrolling stage, he "accidentally" leaves you behind and you get killed by the imaginary cliff that's scrolling upward BECAUSE OF HIM.

Or perhaps he picked up that power up you needed. Or maybe he's hogging all the power ups. OR MAYBE HE JUST NEEDS A "REAL LIFE PUNCH TO THE FACE" POWER UP AND YOU'RE JUST HOLDING OUT ON HIM. More fights have been started between friends on retro title co-op than anything else in the universe. True story. But the stupidest part to this is if the game is an RPG, which we had a lot of. "Make sure it's 2 player!" Yeah, I'll get right on that. I almost wonder if it was meant to be sarcastic.

"Who's winning?"


Well right now, I think the audience is the real winner.

To a degree, this stems off the previous one. Sure, there are a lot of competitive multiplayer games out there, even retro ones. However, again, most of the time we were playing RPGs or co-op titles. So not only did it not make sense, it was effectively the start of a long series of chronic migraines. "Who's winning?" "We're playing together. Go make a quilt or something." "Right, but-" "TOGETHER. TO. GETH. ER. Shoosh."

Again, this might seem like a minor point, but this would happen EVEN IF WE WERE PLAYING A SINGLE PLAYER GAME. "Well, I just died because you caused me to have a seizure from asking the same stupid question again and again during a single player game, so I guess THEY won, Mom. Thanks." And you know, I could understand if this was blurted out while we were playing a basketball title or whatever, but here's the problem with that: it's not a genuine question.

Look, when a local college football game or whatever is going on and you enter the room to ask who's winning, you're sure to get the score, if there was an awesome play or two that was just made, and everyone assumes you actually gave a shit about the answer. When someone enters the room and asks "who's winning" while people are playing a videogame, you could respond with "PURPLE GRASS IS TASTY" and nobody would give a shit.

"Make sure you take turns with your brother!"


"Wha-NO!! Come on, five more minutes!"

Now, I know this seems similar to the first question, but hear me out. This was often spouted when we rented a game that my mother somehow and quite surprisingly figured out was definitively only single player. She knew that one or the other of us would just hog the console all day. So in a way, it makes sense why she would say something like this.

But here's the problem. How? Deciding how to take turns with a sibling over a console, not only in who plays first but also for how long and varying factors, is insane. Is it an action game? Well, then just until I die. Oh, but what if it's a really LONG action game that isn't very hard? Okay, so let's limit it to only an hour per. But what if I can't find any savepoints or there's no saving or password system or...FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU...

Naturally, I don't have to worry about that shit today, but back then it was such a pain in the ass. I recall taking turns playing SimCity. On the same city. Cooperatively. Yeah, that was...interesting. Basically, after every few years in game time, we'd switch. It didn't work HORRIBLY, but it didn't work too well either. But by far the WORST time for this was when we rented an RPG.

By today's standards, you can get as much or as little done as you want in an hour in an RPG. But back then? There was no guarantee an hour would level up your characters. Or ensure you get to the next town. Or dungeon. Or even the next savepoint. And of course, there were dick moves like saving, then moving on at the 50 minute point or whatever, claiming that surely, SURELY...there's a savepoint around the corner...somewhere...probably.

Yes, this too led to some fights. Yeah..."some."

"But isn't it just another Grand Theft Auto, Zelda, Mario, etc.?"


"Man, Link really went emo in this one, huh?" "...I'm going to fucking kill you now."

This is an argument that I heard back then, but especially more often today. No, Game X is not Game Y. Maybe Game X is LIKE Game Y, maybe even to the point of eerily so, but even if it's made by the same studio, it's not the same game. Sure, a lot of people give series like Madden some serious shit by doing little else than updating the roster and putting a $60 price tag on it, but that's...probably...not entirely true.

I say "probably" because I don't really play sports games, so I can't really say one way or the other. But I would ASSUME they do more than just that with each revision. A lot of people gave, for example, The Godfather a lot of flak for being "like Grand Theft Auto." Sure, yeah...it's like Grand Theft Auto...if it took place in the 30s...and revolved around the immensely popular classic The Godfather...and involved taking down rival families...and had the innovative blackhand system...and had a decent cover mechanic...and had solid RPG elements...wait, how are they the same again?

Oh yeah, you can steal cars and you drive around and stuff. ZOMG SAME GAEM AKSHULLY. Just because a game is inspired by it doesn't mean it isn't its own thing. People have given Saints Row shit for being a lot like GTA to the point they state it in the goddamn commercial. Look, it isn't. Saints Row is awesome and if you don't check it out because "HURR IT'S JUST GTA," you're seriously missing out.

I could argue this all day with plenty of examples, but I'm sure we've all done the same and I'm equally sure you're as exhausted as I am from it.

"Videogames corrupt the soul, mind, body, rabble, rabble, rabble..."


Hmmmm...

Let's get this out of the way right now. I'm a christian. I don't go to church every Sunday, I don't wish more people would go to church, I don't invite people to church, and I don't press my values on other people. Some would say that means I'm just not religious and perhaps they're correct, but I know what I believe, I'm not going to force you to believe it, and I don't give a shit if you don't believe it.

Live and let live is often the best practice when it comes to things like that. And that said, let me tell you, I get fucking pissed when I see some asshole evangelist trying to throw videogames under the bus. Most of this hate is spawned from ignorance, which could be corrected if, oh, I don't know...they actually played some good fucking games and chilled out a bit.

Yeah, GTA3 involves killing people, stealing cars, evading and/or killing the cops, and plenty of other nasty shit. It's also cathartic. I don't play GTA3 and go "man, if only I could do this for real." No, I play it and go "HURR I JUST RAN OVER A WHOLE LINE OF PEOPLE ON THE SIDEWALK." I play it because it's fun to play through the missions or even just fuck around in the game.

"But videogames make you fat!" So does fast food, watching TV for hours on end, not exercising, and thinking about good food. What? Oh, that last one? I swear it's real...everytime I think about some super delicious food, I feel myself gain weight. "But videogames make you violent!" Yes and no. In younger kids, they can inspire false confidence, which will probably lead to arrogance and the belief that they can kick peoples' asses because they pulled off that awesome perfect win in that new fighting game they just played.

For adults that really get into games, well...it's like watching a movie. When you watch some super awesome martial arts flick, you walk out of the theater pumped up, like you HOPE somebody picks a fight with you so you can thoroughly spank them. And that feeling lasts for about...5 minutes. Maybe longer, but usually about 5 minutes.


You are not this man. Probably.

It's an adrenaline rush. Often we're not in a normal frame of mind while we play a game because it requires focus, dedication, reflexes, luck, skill, and plenty else to keep moving through the game. So if we ragequit something, we'll be super pissed for a bit and yes, the game caused it. But we'll get over it. The game itself doesn't make us violent in that we act out violence we played in the game; it makes us violent because we're mad about something and that could literally happen with anything, games or otherwise.

"Well, videogames turn your brain to mush!" I have a bachelors degree in programming, started programming on a 286 when I was 10 and couldn't type properly yet, have always been gifted in various subjects like math, have multiple IT certifications, have lots of tech experience, and yet I drink almost every night and game regularly. That's some pretty strong mush right there.

"Videogames...well, videogames are a waste of time!" Actually, everything's a waste of time. It takes time to do anything, even decide what you're going to do next. To cut the amount of time it takes to do something is to improve efficiency, but not necessarily effectiveness. To improve both, you have to become one with the task. So to become a fast reader, you need to first be good at reading, then be invested in what you read, and have good memory so you know what you just read and retain it.

And yet, I can do that or I can watch the movie about the book, which may have had some stuff lost in translation, but I can still say I experienced it and move on with my life. And I know, I know...you get SOOO much more out of the book. Yeah, and waste plenty of time doing so. OH SNAP. Furthermore, reading as a hobby rather than reading to learn seems like a waste of time to me.

Also, why learn what you won't use? When I was in college, I was required to go to the following bullshit courses: environmental science, humanities, sociology, U.S. history, COMP101...yes, in a COMPUTER SCIENCE MAJOR. I mean, I guess COMP101 would make sense, but if that's the case, what the hell are you doing wanting to be a programmer if you don't know how to use Microsoft Word?!

That'd be like me saying I want to be a mechanic, but I don't know how to put more oil in my car. In any case, there are plenty of ways to waste time, money, and whatever, but I'd rather spend it on videogames. Really, is that so wrong?

Conclusion



To all the gamers that read this: continue being awesome. Don't be "that guy" that gets on the news for beating someone to death for stealing their virtual sword online or whatever. To all the non-gamers that read this: seriously, shut the fuck up. If you want to play, play. If you don't, whatever. But don't pretend to know anything at all about games if you don't want to get your hands dirty.   read


9:05 AM on 01.04.2012  

FPS of the Year - 2002

This was a great year, but it was hard to select a #1. There are 32 games this year and many of them I would highly recommend...with one I'd say just avoid altogether and try to forget it even exists. Let's hop right in!

007 - Nightfire (Multi)



And another fun looking Bond title for several platforms. Never got a chance to try this one, but it does look fun. It's not based on anything, but much like Quantum of Solace and From Russia with Love, there are Bond moments, lots of action, gadgets, and all kinds of FPS goodness. Definitely a must have for any Bond fan.

America's Army (PC)



I am not a fan of tactical shooters, but this one is very promising. Backed by the actual U.S. Army, America's Army is a shooter that attempts to depict 100% realistic field combat. If you're into tactical shooters, I'd check it out, but again, I'm really not.

Arx Fatalis (PC)



I almost didn't want to include this one because effectively it's like another Elder Scrolls game. However, because of the way it's set up and how things revolve in the game, it really is closer to an FPS at times. That said, if you like games like Elder Scrolls, definitely give this a shot. Sadly, it's not going to stand up very well to the other titles this year because this is a year of some GREAT titles.

Battlefield 1942 (PC)



Did you play BF43 for XBLA? Of course you did. Oh, you didn't? Well, it's basically a massive online WW2 shooter that involves not only multiple classes, but also vehicles. Pretty cut and dry, really. Very fun stuff if you got a bunch of buds to play it with, but again, what usually wins me over isn't the multiplayer and this doesn't have a single player campaign. At all.

Command & Conquer - Renegade (PC)



This is the reason I love doing these lists. Yet another FPS I never knew existed based off a franchise I actually really like. It's nothing brilliant, but it's pretty fun. It really has very little to do with the main series, but hey, it's an FPS set in the C&C universe. Can you really complain?

Delta Force - Task Force Dagger (PC)



Military tactical shooter. No thanks.

Delta Force - Urban Warfare (PS1)



This one actually looks pretty fun. Really, though, that's only because it's a PS1 title in 2002 and it's attempting to be something similar to Syphon Filter and failing that, which is especially funny because that was THE system for Syphon Filter.

Die Hard - Nakatomi Plaza (PC)



While this one looks fun, it's definitely not very high quality and definitely not the best Die Hard game of all time.

Elite Forces - Navy SEALs (PC)



I couldn't find a video for this on youtube, but by this point, have you really been impressed by the Elite Forces series? Me neither. Pass!

Ethnic Cleansing (PC)



Yes, I mentioned it. And that's all I'm doing. Yes, there's a video attached to that pic and yes, it's highly offensive. You've been warned.

Global Operations (PC)



So it's basically a combination of Counter-Strike and Rainbow Six with the ability to go either single or multiplayer. CS is cool, but this game seems more tactical than anything, so ehhh.

Gore - Ultimate Soldier (PC)



A fairly generic FPS that focuses on gore and very little else. Used to be hyper violence would be all I needed...well, if you go for super violent games, check it out. Otherwise, I'm giving this a pass.

Hired Team - Trial GOLD (PC)



Yeah, I've played Quake 3 Arena, thanks. Pass.

Iron Storm (Multi)



An alternate history where WWI never ended and it's in the 60s. Pretty cool stuff, actually. It's kind of a mixed bag when it comes to presentation, but the concept's pretty cool. Might have to check this out later.

Medal of Honor - Allied Assault (PC)



I've never really gotten into the Medal of Honor series. It's not because I don't like them or whatever, it's just that most war games don't really appeal to me. In fact, it wasn't until recently that I started checking out stuff like Call of Duty and Battlefield and only then because my friends were doing it. Yeah, peer pressure. That was my in. Not a great way to get into a niche of videogames.

And it's not to say I haven't enjoyed them either, it's just that I would not have willingly gotten into them without that push. In any case, it's pretty cool to see how accurate some of this shit is, but seriously, how many times can we watch the intro to Saving Private Ryan before it gets old? I may check it out, but again, merely for historical accuracy.

Mobile Forces (PC)



So it's basically Counter-Strike, but with the addition of vehicles. There are all kinds of user mods and stuff, too. Not bad, but not enough to really be better than CS either.

New World Order (PC)



...and this is just a straight rip-off of Counter-Strike. Pass.

Operation - Blockade (Multi)



This game was available via PC or arcade via goofy VR helmet. It's not a bad game, per se, but it's little more than a stationary arcade shooter. Fun, sure, but not much of an FPS.

Red Faction 2 (PS2)



Yet another series I really haven't gotten into. Looks like some good old classic run and gun gameplay, but I can't tell if it's got the same "blow everything the fuck up" engine going for it. Looks a little more stable than that. Definitely looks pretty fun, though. I'll have to give it a shot later.

Revolution (PC)



Wow, this is pretty fucking cheesy. I mean, at first it looks like it's going to be some kinda cool cyberpunk looking thing...then it turns into a crappy version of Quake 2. It just fails to be anything interesting or exciting. Pass.

Shadow Force - Razor's Unit (PC)



Tactical FPS. At least it attempts to have a running story and give you some varied environments, but it's the same old shit. Pass.

Sniper - Path of Vengeance (PC)



You have to give the studio credit for trying something interesting, making a FPS with on the fly RPG elements...however, it's a cheesy fucking piece of crap. Still, the scene where you get to beat up the prison guard with a nightstick...okay, that's priceless.

Soldier of Fortune 2 - Double Helix (Multi)



A lot of people incorrectly define many games as being "gun porn." This is the true example. And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's a bad game, but goddamn. It's just ridiculous. I mean, if Mortal Kombat had guns, you'd get this game. Seriously. And no, Stryker doesn't count.

Star Wars Jedi Knight 2 - Jedi Outcast (Multi)



Beyond the original Dark Forces, I really didn't play a lot of Star Wars titles. I know this is linked somehow and I feel stupid for not knowing 100% exactly how (might actually be part of the series itself). It certainly looks very fun, especially if you're a fan of Star Wars. I'm not a huge Star Wars fan, but if it's anything like Dark Forces, it's definitely worth checking out.

Sum of All Fears (Multi)



Rainbow Six - The Shittier Edition. Big motherfucking pass.

Tactical Ops - Assault on Terror (PC)



So effectively it's a more refined version of Counter-Strike. And don't get me wrong, I like CS, but I really hate it when it seems like all a game does is rip something off without really being its own thing. No, I'm not going to soapbox about it, but suffice to say as impressive as this seems, I just don't see any reason to play this if you've already played CS.

TimeSplitters 2 (Multi)



Look, it's TimeSplitters. Do I really need to say anything more? You will want to play this game immediately if you haven't already.

Tribes Aerial Assault (PS2)



Basically this is just a port of Tribes 2 for the PS2. Unfortunately, Sierra shut down the PS2 servers in 2008, so that ship has sailed. But there's plenty of other Tribes goodness on the PC, so there you go.

Turok - Evolution (Multi)



You know, when the original Turok came out, it was something special. There were guns, dinosaurs, aliens, bows, and all kinds of cool shit. It also had an interesting new control system that I don't think any of us expected to be modified and become the standard of the modern FPS. This is just...tragic. It doesn't look old or even dated...just bad.

Unreal Tournament 2003 (PC)



UT has always been a major contender as a monster multiplayer FPS, but again, that usually won't win me over for game of the year. All the same, I highly recommend it because it's goddamn fun if you get a bunch of friends to play with you. Or enemies. Or goddamn anyone.

U.S. Special Forces - Team Factor (PC)



So it's UT, but with really crappy army dude models. Pass.

Winner - No One Lives Forever 2 - A Spy In H.A.R.M.'s Way (PC)



The original NOLF was hilarious, fun as hell, had great visuals and sound, had excellent level design, and had lots of atmosphere with each and every environment. The sequel improves on this in nearly every aspect leaving you laughing and loving every second of it. This is Monolith in their element. There's also an interesting upgrade system that allows for several things to be improved from health to armor to cloaking to all kinds of nifty stuff.

Nevermind that there are returning characters, an overall engaging story, steady difficulty level, plenty of weapons and gadgets as well as puzzles, and in general this is exactly what an FPS should be. The only one negative thing you could say about it is the multiplayer mode is somewhat lacking, as was the case in the original NOLF. Of course, if you know me by now, you know that's a null point and that the single player campaign is more than strong enough to warrant this to be played by any FPSer ever.

I literally cannot speak highly enough about this game. While it's not my favorite FPS of all time, it's still one of the finest I've ever played.

Conclusion

While not the best year for FPSs (and I won't pretend to know what would be the best year), this was definitely a very fun year. There are some pretty damn good games this year amongst some really awful ones. And the racist one. Yes, that. In any case, I apologize for taking so long to bring this one out, but I hope you enjoyed and here's to hoping 2003 comes out sooner!   read


8:53 AM on 01.03.2012  

The Fantastic World of Japanese Games - Episode 3



Far too often a game simply won't be released in America because...well, it's predecessor failed. Now for me, this is never acceptable, but I do understand. If a game has a huge following in Japan AND it's an RPG, but it doesn't really take off in America, they're more likely to continue the series in Japan, but pretty much avoid America. Today I'm going to highlight three of my favorites. Even more interestingly, the three predecessors that apparently didn't do well are games I actually really like, too.

Ys 4 - Mask of the Sun



Ys 3 was a great game...for me, at least. A lot of people claimed it did two things wrong. One, it attempted to be like Zelda 2. It was a sidescrolling hack n slash with the ability to level up, just with less puzzle elements, cheaper enemies, HARD ass boss battles, and an overall steep difficulty. Secondly, people thought it should be like Book of Ys I & II, which was an excellent title, but I'd like to point out the basic "strategy" in the game was to simply run into enemies, but at very specific angles so you didn't get hurt.

Yeah...never understood how that was better than what Ys 3 attempted to do, but whatever. All the same, Ys 4 went back to this style while still having all the kickass music, straightforward plot, and so on of the first two Ys titles. But again, since it wasn't the "continuing epic" that was the original two AND since they just came off the "marketing disaster" that was Ys 3, well, they never released it in America.

Now, I can't remember if any of the remakes have come to America, but at the very least the SNES version never did. I very strongly suggest you check out this title, if anything for the music, but especially if you're an avid follower of Ys like me.

Brandish 2 - The Planet Buster



In 1995, Koei brought a translation of Brandish to the SNES for the American audience. It was a flop. This is especially mind boggling when you consider what the game is. It's an overhead action/RPG with roguelike elements where you're trapped in an underground labyrinth and you're being pursued by a pissed off magician whose mentor you'd killed in a previous chapter of some sort.

There are traps, tricks, tough battles, and a bit of required grinding. The interface was a little clunky and the game could get pretty goddamn difficult at times, but it was fun...again, at least for me. As a result, Planet Buster would never see the light of day for an American audience. This is especially annoying for me because it's harder, has a more engaging story, constantly throws new environments and enemies at you, and in general ramps up what the original was all about.

And I get that the original had a...less than admirable interface and RPGs weren't really doing so well back then, but I just don't understand how a game that combined so many great elements could have done so poorly. Again, it was a game I really got into back then and still to this day enjoy and recommend.

Lennus 2 - Fuuin no Shito



Now, there's an obvious reason this game didn't come out in America, but holy shit was that a bad idea. This is the sequel to the meh fest that was Paladin's Quest. Of course, as meh as it may have been to some people, again, I really got into it. I liked the magic system, though I didn't understand why it had to revolve around spending HP rather than having an MP system.

I liked the idea of medicine belts instead of carting around 99 healing potions and just filling them up at towns. I mean, there were a lot of great ideas at play here. Plus, it was fun as shit to headbutt enemies, even if it wasn't necessarily the best "weapon" you had. Enter Lennus 2, a game that improves this formula, has an all new story, and the production values have been increased massively.

And really, that's all that needed done to the original. The graphics were less than great during a time when RPGs were already being scoffed at, the music was just alright, and the story was hard to get into. It is true that I haven't played too far into Lennus 2 to be able to comment on it too much, but what little I have played is already much better than the original. If you played and liked Paladin's Quest, even to a small extent, I would highly recommend giving this one a shot.

Conclusion



While the reasons for these games coming out to America fall more on the initial reaction of the series to an audience, it's a shame that the sequels weren't given a fair shot. I strongly believe all three of these titles would've been widely accepted, at least by the RPG community. Of course, being RPGs, that means they probably wouldn't have sold very well anyway. It does make you sad when you really get to thinking about it, but that's not to say we didn't get some kick ass RPGs, plenty of other great games, or that we can't go back and enjoy these classics today.   read


11:56 AM on 01.02.2012  

The Fantastic World of Japanese Games - Episode 2



When playing Japanese SNES games on an emulator, often there are obvious and not so obvious reasons why a game may not have come out to America. The best way to think about it is was it an RPG, did it have suggestive themes, and did it have any sort of following here in America? Well today I'm going to bring you one that has suggestive themes, one that simply would not have been allowable for the time it was released, and one that has no real following here in America, but it is fucking badass.

Final Fantasy 5



A lot of people like to cite that this wasn't released in America because RPGs just weren't wanted back then. Well, that's certainly possible, but I have two other very good reasons it wasn't released. One is that it wasn't quite on the level of FF4 in any respect. The story is okay and the main characters are fairly well developed, but with the exception of a few villains, everything else is just...ehhh.

Nevermind that there are so few main characters, especially in comparison to FF4. The job system is pretty cool, but it also means the characters aren't exactly significant...rather, they're just placeholders for whatever you want them to be. But even if RPGs were more popular and the game was higher quality, it definitely wouldn't have been released because there were some fairly suggestive themes in there...along with a spoiler.

Don't want to read the spoiler? Then skip to the next game. Faris is a cross dresser. Now that doesn't seem like a big deal now, but back then, that would've been highly frowned upon, especially when, again, SNES games were looked at as toys...yes, even slightly after Mortal Kombat had already come out, adults still didn't get it for a number of years later and I would claim a lot still don't today.

So you have a game where there's some mildly sexist material, you can get a lapdance, and one of the main characters is a cross dresser...well, kinda makes sense. FF5 is a great game overall, though, even with it not stacking up to some of the greater FFs. But while we're on the subject of mature content...

Clock Tower



There is absolutely no way this game could ever have come out for the SNES and for two very good reasons. One, it's slow. I mean, SLOW. I know they deliberately make things slow to increase the tension, but it's also pretty frustrating. Two, well...it's a horror game that has very mature themes. There's gore, death, killing, violence, and all kinds of great stuff.

It can get pretty damn hair raising at times, especially since you can't exactly fight back, which has become a staple of the Clock Tower games in general. Clock Tower definitely gets the job done, but even in a post Mortal Kombat era, there was just no way this game could ever exist on an SNES console in the early 90s.

Shin Nekketsu Kouha - Kunio-tachi no Banka



Do you know anything about the Kunio-Kun series? What, sure you do! You've played River City Ransom, right? Yeah, and what about games like Super Dodgeball? Did you ever notice the characters look very similar? Well, I'm not going to go into the full history of Kunio-Kun, mostly because I don't know a whole lot about it myself, but also because there's a better explanation here.

See, for a while, I couldn't understand why this game didn't come to America. Actually, there's still a part of me that wonders why, but I think I've got a few good reasons. In this title, you are falsely accused of murder and thrown in jail. You then fight your way out and beat the hell out of anyone that gets in your way to discovering the truth. It's very Double Dragon-like, which makes sense since the same company that did Double Dragon also did the Kunio-Kun series (Battletoads, too).

At first I thought maybe they figured it wouldn't work in America because you get to beat up cops, but that makes no sense because you get to do that in Final Fight and a few other titles, too. So maybe it was the murder mystery? Well, it's a more mature theme to be sure, but even in the opening there's no real violence that would warrant a teen rating.

Perhaps there's a lot of cursing and foul language? Well yeah, but the translation could've taken all that out. So what gives? Well, I honestly believe this is a case of A) nobody knowing or caring about the Kunio-Kun series in America and B) being too Japanese. When you look at the Japanese version of Renegade versus the American version, you can see they massively overhauled it to be "more American."

Second, we missed a lot of Kunio-Kun games, mostly because they dealt with Japanese stuffs, often opting to have kids in Japanese school uniforms and having various Japanese locations, subways, etc. As a result, they probably figured we couldn't relate, and in that respect, they're mostly right. Don't get me wrong...it's a brawler, so it shouldn't matter where the hell you are or why as long as there are plenty of suckers to kick the shit out of.

However, with very little knowledge of the Kunio-Kun games overall and being distinctly Japanese, there's a good chance that some would've really enjoyed it while others would've been turned off. Now I just got done finishing Legend of the Mystical Ninja and there's a very definitive side of me that feels that's still bullshit, but the point about Kunio-Kun titles is still relevant.

When you figure that most of the Kunio-Kun games were about sports and they already had different, more popular American series out there like Double Dragon and Battletoads, it makes sense why they chose to skip this one. Even still, it won Brawler of the Year 1994 for me, so I say fuck 'em and just download it.

Conclusion



There are a multitude of reasons why a Japanese game may not make it to American soil. They're not always good reasons and often the reasons simply wouldn't fly today. It's important to remember that most of the time, we're dealing with the early 90s. Mortal Kombat was considered controversial, even the heavily neutered SNES version. So at the end of the day, I'm just glad to see we're still able to play them, often fully translated, due to emulation.

Stay tuned!   read


10:00 AM on 01.01.2012  

The Fantastic World Of Japanese Games - Episode 1



People who understand emulation, even to a small degree, know all about the fantastic world of translated games that never left Japan. Most of the time it was for reasons like RPGs not selling well in America at the time, more mature content than they felt an American audience was ready for, or simply having unamerican themes in place during an era where a lot of people really fucking loved America.

So as a result, to help kick this new series (hopefully a series anyway) off, I will give an example for all three of those reasons. With that, let's get started.

Rudra no Hihou



Now, right off the bat I can cite two reasons this never came to America. One is what I've already said: RPGs, especially in the early 90s, just didn't sell well. We've come to appreciate them more today, but Final Fantasy 6, Chrono Trigger, Breath of Fire 2, and plenty of others simply did not sell well...or at least, not nearly as well as games like Megaman X, Contra 3, and so on.

What I'm saying isn't mind-blowing; we all know this. But it also affected various games that technically should have come out, but the developers just weren't willing to risk it. The second reason this didn't come out is IT'S FUCKING HARD. Rudra is a game that at its core is already tough and punishing, but then the magic system is strange and requires you to put a significant amount of trial and error, note taking, and so on into deveoping various spells and such...and no, it's not very fun as a result.

Oh, the combat and story is fun and the presentation overall is top notch, but the game is goddamn difficult, end of story. A lot of Japanese developers at the time didn't want to release anything too terribly difficult to an American audience, often opting to send us lesser or easier versions. If you think I'm wrong, check out Final Fantasy 4 Hard Version or Ys 5 Expert.

They would often dedicate an entirely different game to being more difficult. Beyond that, how do you explain something like Final Fantasy - Mystic Quest? In Japan, it's referred to as Final Fantasy USA. Again, I don't think they thought we were STUPID, but when you see stuff like that, it's hard to know what to think.

Shin Megami Tensei



If you've played any MegaTen games, you already have a good idea of why this didn't come out. If you didn't, once again, there are two reasons it didn't come to an American market. Firstly, the game is all about demons, making contracts with demons, fighting alongside demons, and in general the occult. Now sure, there are games as early as the NES days that kinda dealt with this, but usually from the angle of "RARR, DEMONS ARE BADGUYS," not "BUT MAYBE THEY CAN BE NEGOTIATED WITH."

The other reason has more to do with this being a console game. See, it's set up very similar to that of Eye of the Beholder or Dungeon Master. It's a first person dungeon crawler. Now, at least it has an automap, so you don't really get lost, but the fact is this wasn't something that was all too popular for console RPGs back in the day. PC RPGs yes, but not console RPGs.

So you have a game released in the early 90s for the SNES that revolves around talking to demons, possibly befriending them, and it's mostly set up as a first person dungeon crawler. I can definitely see why that was a resounding PASS back in the day.

Front Mission



It almost feels like I shouldn't be mentioning this one because, hey, it's finally come here. However, I'm going to mention it anyway because ever since I'd played Front Mission 3, I had fervently watched for updates on the Front Mission translation until it was finally complete, then played the shit out of it, even with all the anti-American stuff. First off, anyone that's played any of the Front Mission games knows about the OCU and USN.

Now at first glance, it may not be obvious what the OCU is, but it IS pretty obvious what the USN is supposed to be: us. Granted, this is supposed to be set in a fairly distant future and hey, who doesn't want to root for the good guys (this was made in Japan after all)? But the problem is instead of making up new regions and territories, they chose us to be the enemy.

As a result, while it's a very fun game (and we'll get into a few more reasons it didn't make it in a second), it is patriotic, just in the "wrong direction." Again, this was back in an era where games "were just toys." So if your son or daughter during the time said "Mommy/Daddy, Mommy/Daddy, Mommy/Daddy! There's this new game coming out where you fight in giant robots and stuff against the evil USN!"...well, there's a good chance there would've been some outcry, even though there wasn't anything technically wrong with it.

Another few reasons it probably wouldn't have worked at the time is it was an SRPG and very grind heavy. See, yes, a lot of older RPGs required a fair amount of grinding, but we're talking spending literal hours fighting in the arena, not necessarily for cash, rather for what little amounts of experience you get to barely level up only every so often for subtle, minor gains.

Oh, it's a very fun game...on an emulator...where you can speed shit up...and have save states...but on the actual SNES, it would've been a game only for the most diehard SRPG mech fans and that would've been so far niche in America it's virtually non-existant, at least back when it was released. Sure, Front Mission 3 did pretty damn well and Front Mission 4...well, I liked it, but it posed the same issues the original FM did in terms of necessary grinding and battles taking for-fucking-ever.

Conclusion



There are many reasons a game may not have come to American soil. Often the reasons are petty when you consider how great the game is, but you still have to remember that RPGs were more niche than genre back then and not nearly as widely accepted as they are today. Back in the day I was starved for RPGs and now, well...you almost can't get away from them.

Keep posted as I tackle more and more great JRPGs that never quite hit American soil soon!   read







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