When life last left us, dearest readers, life deemed it unnecessary for becalming resolution to intrude. Life sat, flatly, perfectly contented to permit chaos unbound. It looked as if the axis of time and space itself dared unwind at any nanosecond. Well, I'm gladdened to report that such days no more encroach:
Touhou hijacked Steam. Reimu greets: Hello, planet!
The Touhou series began all the way back in November 1996 - 21 years ago! - when a programmer, Junya Ota, desired to add his own musical compositions into video games but noted it'd be simpler and quicker for him to design his own small game rather than battle for a perfunctory role at a larger corporation. Thus did he cobble together Highly Responsive to Prayers and release it on the long-defunct NEC PC-9801 Japanese computing platform.
The first game mirrored Arkanoid and Breakout but with boss battles and ball control over mere paddling. The second game onward to the fifth developed and honed the danmaku ("curtain-fire" or, more aptly and popularly, "bullet-hell") genre of shoot-'em-ups, as Junya (going by his pseudonym, ZUN) had long adored such titles. It wasn't until the sixth game, Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, launched on Windows in 2002 that the market for Touhou *absolutely* erupted - and chugged along through official releases, fangames and fanart, thousands of music remixes, and all other sorts of miscellany.
[Several figurines come highly elaborately detailed - and highly expensive.]
Alas, piracy besieged the burgeoning Western fanbase during an - at the time - imperishable night. ZUN made no secret of his aspiration to contain official Touhou releases to his homeland of Japan itself. The all-female no-fanservice cast derived from Eastern mythology and religious fables with a dash of more modern 'magical-girl' culture. Touhou screamed "Japanese" to all who observed it; emulation and egregiously expensive imports served as the franchise's only responses in Europe, the Americas, and beyond.
Until that changed...as has the market.
When I browse Steam, GoG, the PSN store, the Nintendo eShop, and even XBox Live these days, I spot, alongside every other browser, an abundance of wealth rocketed straight outta Japan to our grabby Western shores. While Japan didn't classically invent the video game, as did Pong, it effectively birthed the video game market with gems such as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Super Mario. Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and Phantasy Star drove lead on RPGs. For shmups, precursors of the fixed variety such as Space Invaders and Centipede inspired the first popular rail and scrolling shmups like Gradius and R-Type. None of these, however, particularly *scream* modern J-media archetype.
Touhou does. As do an increasing volume of on-shore arrivals. The Hyperdimension Neptunia series in particular thrives even larger in its Western fanbase than could have rationally been expected prior to its debut. The Project Diva rhythm-game series arrived explicitly after the Western Vocaloid fanbase enthusiastically affirmed after SEGA's asking. The Senran Kagura franchise proceeds westward undeterred by cries from watchdogs. The Yakuza series, itself more classic and less cute than the standard "waifu" subculture phenomenon, rushes over with maximum HEAT after years of obscurity and quiet. A bunch of independent projects, even those solo-spearheaded like Touhou, sneak onto storefronts and marketplaces in the EN and EU landscape. Hundreds of thousands of fans of Atlus, Namco, Koei, NIS, and more have spoken - and keep speaking. Gaming on the Western front has effectively never hosted an overflow of this magnitude.
[The Rosenkreuzstilette duology took years, like Touhou, to officially localize and debut here. Give it a glance if classic Mega Man and Castlevania (infused with cute gals) strike your fancies.]
And I say gimme. Gimme Touhou; gimme Miku; gimme *all* the J-train I can handle and afford. Give me, as Neptunia frames it, a resplendent global Gamindustri - a game industry where Asian titles, European projects, North and South American products, African debuts, Australian trinkets, and even Antarctic shocks inundate our market halls. Give me that embarrassment of wealth, the luster of a market unobstructed by cultural divergences or casual dismissals. Give those who labor reward for their work. Give those who struggle rest as they close. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our shoddy translations, as we forgive those who're shoddily translating ours.
Myself? ZUN, just gimme more Hemispherical-agnostic Touhou, please and thanks.~
* - Sometimes, when I lie awake, deep in the throes of the nightfall that encapsulates the darkened world, I hear the whispers of the ancients speak in unison. They utter, in their chorus and confirmation, "You could be living a life as unmelded as Vadicta's." I could, yes. The cost, however, would surely unmake me. If you'd like to read of his sojourning through the pitfalls of Life, Second Life, and the flaps and buttons that lovingly construct our realities, venture inward, deeper than man's e'er thrust before.
S - The melodic Tone Deaf series continues unabated, as ALinkToTheDan tackles the OST of Pokémon Red and Blue (back when Tackle sported mere 35 Power). I appreciate that he explains a soundbite behind the composition process before chewing on the meat of the music itself. I'll be honest in that I'm not a *huge* fan of Gen I's soundtrack, yet I heartily endorse this series nonetheless! Go, and read, and listen, and learn, and shine.
S - Ghoane unloads a whopper of a Part 3 blog concerning Contra, this time casting lens upon its 5th and 6th gen entries. I never played any of those, yet often in the back of my mind did I entertain the notion. Clearly, Contra itself left its largest impression in 3rd gen, on the trusty NES. Nonetheless, Shattered Soldier in particular sounds fascinating...although I'm not so enamored with the implementation of Mega Man Zero-esque "rankings" to access later chunks of the game. Hmmm.
Let's guess how many recaps Larx can churn out between including Yakuza media! (Spoiler alert: fewer than 5, tops. May be fewer than 4. I'm just rollin' Kamurocho eternal, buddies.)
While this currently doesn't apply to me, it -does- apply to several among us. I wish each of them well in securing both gainful and long-lasting employment. Sincerely.
AHHH, Va-11 Hall-A has sat in the PSN store for over a week now yet I STILL DON'T OWN IT. Gotta hop aboard that Vita train lickity-split!
To entice onlookers into the Steamed-Touhou bonanza, I shall post a tune *not* included in 16! Just happens t'be one of my franchise favorites, yo.~
L - Guerrilla quacks me up. He refuses to duck urgent obligations, no matter how fowl. May he take us all under his wing - so long as he foots the bill. Don't waddle away! Quit feathering the gas and pump the brake long enough to read this official, professional notice. At the least, take a quick gander. Well? What're ye waitin' for?! Get quackin'!
C - The subject matter of this blog by DiVision Games speaks well enough: whether fighting game tiers become, in operation, superfluous. However, I'll stress again: expand and expound, if you would kindly. (Also, where the heck has DiVision's pal Drifting Deadlock ventured? Could...could he have drifted beyond the deadlock at last...?)
C - Congrats to TheCoolFreezer for joining the fray and contributing their first blog. See above for my recurring advice: expand and expound, crafting a longform blog in lieu of a brief snippet. Other than that, take a peek at their Danganronpa tidbit, if that suits your bright eyes.
That's it. That's the end of today's recap. No more recap shall proceed after this outro. Grief overtakes like a stallion. *sniffle*
Larx out, homeslice~
Never let your troubles twist your stay.
Today's title track: *Hello, Planet.
Vocaloid: Hatsune Miku