Back a few months ago, I traveled to the sole Pennsylvanian branch of the exquisite import-arcade chain Round 1 as part of a general getaway trip. Historically relevant and beautiful outdoorsy sites were also visited, but for the purposes of raw entertainment, the halcyon arcade cabinets wouldn't be topped. The focal star of my excursion wound up, naturally, being the Project DIVA Future Tone rhythm game cabinet which ensorceled me for more than a couple indulgent Miku hours. If the cabinet had displayed its song titles in English, I would've played longer! Only identified half of my intended choices before the too-brief time limit to select a song expired each round. Other rhythm cabinets like the established DDR and the exciting Groove Coaster 3 likewise snagged my rhythmic focus, and an additional array of treats ranging from light-gun titles and 2D fighters to co-op/vs. Tetris and Pac-Man tantalized most tremendously. It was a total jolt of gaming goodness I'll ardently script to replicate. Not solely did the electronic goodies engulf me, however. I also found a cooling, calming, laid-back aura of enjoyment in the classic tavern staples of billiards and darts. Each knock of the cue ball, each toss of the winged lance - each motion felt savory and true. Yet only recently had my interest in these bar games reawakened - and why was that?
Yakuza - a video game.
It should've awakened sooner than 2017, as I've history with the brawler series dating back to Yakuza 3, one of the earliest titles ever purchased for my PS3. That entry point into the franchise dazzled me with its Okinawan island setting and tumultuous underhanded political plotting, yet its side endeavors failed to confer real-world appreciation perhaps because I focused too narrowly on the game's brutal combat encounters and somber character drama. It also didn't help that SEGA of America had excised the precise mini-game which would later become my favorite among all of Yakuza's casual offerings: Riichi Mahjong. Thus did I stay for the svelte Kazuma Kiryu and rambunctious Goro Majima but regrettably mostly overlook the tabletop and bar games. If this had been a game of blackjack, I'd've been holding on 11 or 12.
By the time of Yakuza 0, SEGA of NA had disposed of their misgivings and localized each entry in the series unsnipped of its indulgences. It was consequently here, in what became my favorite franchise entry thus far, that the evening's cajoling called me to the lullaby of games fit for the pubs. Now we were playing with house money and were winning on 19, 20, and 21 - blackjack. The familiar Western card games delivered noticeably increased fun (and, yes, profit). The fey Eastern figmas of oicho-kabu and koi-koi opened my eyes to expanded card dealings. I even learned the first faint glints of the tactical game shogi. Vincent, that homely bar above West Park, soothed Kiryu's weary muscles with the leisurely billiards and darts I would later savor myself up in southeast Pennsylvania. Finally, the cities' competitive mahjong parlors doubled as welcome mats and training grounds for what has by now become my absolute favorite tabletop pastime in the world. Who can say how proficient I'd've become by now - and how much sooner I'd've latched onto this array of bar games in general - had my version of Yakuza 3 retained this spectacle? Ah well, I'm fully indulging by now.
Dealer, *hit me.*
Phew...if nothing else, never let it be said that video games can't teach us anything to do with reality. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a Touhou Mahjong doujinsoft to subjugate and endless yaku to meld - yakuhai, kazehai, pinfu, tanyao, chiitoitsu, rinshan kaihou, and the ever-elusive kokushi musou...
Er-hem. Right. Recaps first, Riichi second! Just...lemme bag ippatsu, then. Please...?
Have you ever developed an appreciation for any real-life activities upon sampling them in video games? Has a video game ever for you, like for me, sparked an unforeseen tangible new hobby? Have video games ever even, conversely, intensified your desire for real-space pursuits by frustrating you with their simulatory shortcomings? I'll be listening-reading, and you'll be speaking-typing, in the comments as these recaps start to settle.
Deal with it.
S - Tireless reviewer thejamesshow00 trips this week's Mobile Monday to Tuesday, and so I shall recap it. It regards Warbands: Bushido, a nifty-looking miniatures board game also available on the infinite corridor Steam has become, although James identifies the convenience of a tablet such as the iPad for playing a portable miniatures title without hauling around all the physical models - sage observation!
Good Old Games Dot Com giveth, and Good Old Games Dot Com giveth freely. No fewer than 460 copies of games have they passed along to Destructoid as rewards for this frontpage contest - enter here. I'll take PixelJunk Shooter for $200, Trebek.
C - Kesith observes their incrementally increasing backlog and sanely concludes something must be done to chip away at it. Therefore, they'll be tackling five specific well-received titles from Final Fantasy, Persona, and beyond to begin reducing that monumental pile. Backlogs swell for myriad reasons, yet with proper financial restraint [Ed. note - or impoverishment], they can be tamed. Moreover, as noted, this may indeed help disperse a mental rut - sage decision!
Got a lot of good things on sale, stranger chameleon! (Which 3D platforming collect-a-thon might I be playing? Hmm, hmmm...)
A - This blog by whatsacow shall file under art, as it encompasses musical artistry, written artistry, and so forth. Listen to the musics and voice your response to the chattery raps, then read all the short stories rife with their conflicts and voice *that* response on the double. They toss in their Bandcamp link for the generously inclined. Also, they're right about Ys VIII - sage acquisition!
Max stamina builds best builds.
Gamemaniac must know: Which side are you on?
Larx out, homeslice~
Never let your troubles twist your stay.
Today's title track: Blackjack
Vocaloid: Megurine Luka