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9:30 PM on 07.01.2014

In honor of Canada Day, a video about Akira.

Today is Canada day. And since "Canada" sounds kind of, sort of like "Kaneda," the hero of Otomo Katsuhiro's groundbreaking cyberpunk manga-turned-anime Akira, that's reason enough for me to put on my favorite red jacket and talk about one of his favorite pieces of media ever... Japanese, Canadian, or otherwise.

Max Scoville


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Mistwalker Celebrates Terra Battle's 500K Downloads Milestone

Having now surpassed 500,000 downloads, Terra Battle fans will soon enjoy new characters from the original character and dragon model designer of Panzer Dragoon, Manabu Kusunoki. For more information on upcoming milestones and recently unlocked milestones, please visit Terra Battle's Download Starter.




9:30 PM on 02.05.2014

The return of the Gentlemen's Club: Akiba's Trip edition

Have you guys heard of Akiba's Trip 2? If you're not up on your crazy Japanese games I'll break it down for you: It's Yakuza but to defeat your vampire enemies you have to RIP OFF THEIR CLOTHES. That's right, it's like crazy ...

Spencer Hayes

4:00 PM on 01.25.2014

Super Heroine Chronicle is one game NA will never see

If it's one thing An American Tale taught me, it's to "never say never." But come on, what really are the chances of Super Heroine Chronicle landing on North American shores? It takes the mash-up wackiness of the Super Robot...

Wesley Ruscher



It Came From Japan! DoReMi Fantasy photo
It Came From Japan! DoReMi Fantasy
by Allistair Pinsof

[It Came from Japan! is a series where I seek out and review the weirdest, most original and enjoyable titles that never left the Land of the Rising Sun.]

There is a wide divide between Super Mario World and all platformers that came after. Despite being the genre of choice in the '90s, very few platformers came close to capturing that launch title’s colorful graphics, tight controls, and creative levels. If you leave out all the action/shooting-based platformers, you’re pretty much left with only Kirby and Donkey
Kong Country. If you ever had the nagging suspicion that there was one more pure platformer gem out there for the Super Nintendo -- well, there wasn’t.

However, there was one for the Super Famicom. It not only matches Super Mario World’s excellence, it does so without copying its style and mechanics.

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It Came From Japan! Treasure of the Rudras photo
It Came From Japan! Treasure of the Rudras
by Allistair Pinsof

Squaresoft was second only to Nintendo in the 16-bit era when it came to influence and a strong track record. From the genre-defining Secret of Mana to the crowd-pleaser Chrono Trigger, Square had a knack for telling a great fantasy story, wrapping it around the best visuals the Super Nintendo could put out, and making it accessible to an audience outside Japan. There isn’t a weak link in the company’s Super Nintendo catalog -- but, then again, we got less than half the games it published in Japan.

Treasure of the Rudras may not be as significant a loss as some anticipated sequels (Secret of Mana 2, Final Fantasy V) or an entire trilogy (Romancing SaGa), but it’s an interesting game to examine. Made by what can only be considered Square’s B-team (or was it C?), Rudras was the last game Square developed for the SNES. Rudras is Square’s most eccentric developers trying to make a traditional RPG, resulting in one of the studio’s most innovative but flawed games.

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It Came From Japan! Fatal Frame IV photo
It Came From Japan! Fatal Frame IV
by Allistair Pinsof

[It Came from Japan! is a series where I seek out and review the weirdest, most original and enjoyable titles that never left the Land of the Rising Sun.]

Distance has a way of making horrors insignificant. A car accident and a zombie may strike fear into the heart, but when viewed from a distance, these threats don’t seem all that real -- or, as real as a make-believe zombie can seem.

Unfortunately, keeping the horrors of Rougetsu Island at a distance is not an option.

In Fatal Frame IV, getting face to face with a ghost is the only thing that will save you, even if it makes your heart race to an uncomfortable degree. You could turn you head away as you approach, but you’d miss your target and, not to mention, the point of the game.

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It Came from Japan! Laplace's Demon photo
It Came from Japan! Laplace's Demon
by Allistair Pinsof

[It Came from Japan! is a series where I seek out and review the weirdest, most original and enjoyable titles that never left the Land of the Rising Sun.]

There are some games that live up to the hype, but then there are a few that far exceed it. Sweet Home turned out to be one of those games for me. I played it for this feature series last year out of curiosity, not expecting to take to it as strongly as I did. It’s now a game I list as my favorite for the original Nintendo -- or Famicom, rather, since it was a Japan exclusive, after all.

Sweet Home is said to be the birth of survival horror, but it’s much more than that. It’s a one-of-a-kind gem that splices various genres to create a game unlike any other, or so I thought. But then readers reached out to me here and on Twitter with game recommendations. One that kept coming up was Laplace’s Demon. From a distance, it looks like a spiritual successor to Sweet Home.

I knew I had to cover the game for the series, so here I am, hoping I strike RPG-horror gold again.

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It Came from Japan! Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti photo
It Came from Japan! Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti
by Allistair Pinsof

It’s 1988 and Namco has just released one of the most violent, critically acclaimed horror-themed games to ever hit an arcade. Splatterhouse was unlike anything else at the time. It was a game made by horror fans, for horror fans.

Each of the game’s hellish stages contained weapons, enemies, and memorable boss fights that stood out from across the arcade hall. Smashing zombies with a 4-by-4, seeing monsters split in half from a shotgun blast, and witnessing one of the great plot twists of its era is what made Splatterhouse such a classic.

And then Namco put out Wanpaku Graffiti: a cute but average platformer for the Nintendo Famicom. WTF, Namco. What the literal f*ck?

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It Came from Japan! King of Demons photo
It Came from Japan! King of Demons
by Allistair Pinsof

[It Came from Japan! is a series where I seek out and review the weirdest, most original and enjoyable titles that never left the Land of the Rising Sun. For the month of October, the series will focus on games that may make you spook a poop.]

Games with dark, satanic overtones weren't exactly Nintendo’s bag. So, there should be no surprise in reading that a Super Famicom game, which roughly translates to King of Demons, never came West.

The surprise lies in discovering the quality of the game. King of Demons' sinister world brings to mind the apt-for-Halloween classics Super Castlevania IV and Splatterhouse 2, but it’s the great-feeling controls and action that make King of Demons a stand-out title on the Super Famicom. And, as a result, one of the rarest and expensive titles in the system’s history.

Thank God Satan for emulation, right?

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4:00 PM on 09.27.2012

It Came From Japan! Tetris Battle Gaiden

[It Came from Japan! is a series where I seek out and review the weirdest, most original and enjoyable titles that never left the Land of the Rising Sun.] We all have that one so-called classic that we groan at when we see...

Allistair Pinsof

4:00 PM on 09.20.2012

It Came From Japan! Spriggan: Lunar Verse

[It Came from Japan! is a series where I seek out and review the weirdest, most original and enjoyable titles that never left the Land of the Rising Sun.] Nostalgia aside, examining the origins of now prevalent game concept...

Allistair Pinsof







It Came From Japan! The Adventures of Little Ralph photo
It Came From Japan! The Adventures of Little Ralph
by Allistair Pinsof

[It Came from Japan! is a series where I seek out and review the weirdest, most original and enjoyable titles that never left the Land of the Rising Sun.]

As you may have gathered from past entries in this series, there are a lot of great platformers that never made it out of Japan. Most of them come from the 8- and 16-bit era. The Adventures of Little Ralph is one of the few Japan-only PlayStation platformers worth seeking out. Due to its lame name and horribly generic sounding developer (New), it’s hard to dig up much information on it. Even worse, the game has become so sought after that it goes for $200+ on eBay.

After playing this arcade style action-platformer, I have to say, it lives up to the hype and is among the best of its era. Just get ready to bite on a Popsicle stick because this game gets real difficult, real fast.

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It Came From Japan! Magical Pop'n photo
It Came From Japan! Magical Pop'n
by Allistair Pinsof

[It Came from Japan! is a series where I seek out and review the weirdest, most original and enjoyable titles that never left the Land of the Rising Sun.]

Magical Pop’n is the reason I do this series. I mean this figuratively and literally. It’s the rare, coveted import that lives up to the hype, if not the ridiculously high eBay listing price. Make no mistake: If the game had made it to the West in the mid-’90s, Magical Pop’n would frequently be mentioned as one of the best action-platformers of its era.

Through the information well of the Internet and magic of emulation, we can now discover for ourselves this gem. You don’t have a good excuse not to. Now sit down and put that controller in your hand and get ready for 16-bit platforming bliss.

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It Came from Japan! Ganbare Goemon 4 photo
It Came from Japan! Ganbare Goemon 4
by Allistair Pinsof

[It Came from Japan! is a series where I seek out and review the weirdest, most original and enjoyable titles that never left the Land of the Rising Sun.]

When you think of Japanese gaming, you think of Konami's Ganbare Goemon series. At least, you should. Outside of a few series entries, most notably two stellar sequels for the Nintendo 64, Goemon never had much presences in the West. Most of us were introduced to the purple spiked-hair ninja through the early Super Nintendo title The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (1992 in North America).

As exciting as that game's world and co-op were for the time, Konami continued to build upon its template until it arrived at the fourth Super Famicom title, Ganbare Goemon Kirakira Douchuu: Boku ga Dancer ni Natta Wake ("The Glittering Journey: The Reason I Became a Dancer"). Best title ever?

Goemon 4 pushed the SFC hardware in order to deliver one of the system's weirdest, most ambitious, and difficult platfomers.

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2:00 PM on 11.17.2011

It Came from Japan! Ganpuru: Gunman's Proof

[It Came from Japan! is a series where I seek out and review the weirdest, most original and enjoyable titles that never left the Land of the Rising Sun.] Give Link a gun, send him to the Wild West, sprinkle in E...

Allistair Pinsof

4:00 PM on 11.10.2011

It Came from Japan! PuLiRuLa

[It Came from Japan! is a series where I seek out and review the weirdest, most original and enjoyable titles that never left the Land of the Rising Sun.] When it comes to '90s beat 'em ups, there are only a few ga...

Allistair Pinsof