Wednesday, 31 October 2012
For those that don't know, Pach-Attack is a show hosted by a guy called Micheal Pachter, a dude who knows a great deal about the industry and answers questions on certain topics every week about business related things. A couple of weeks ago, he was asked "Why are arcades so prominent in Japan but not so viable in the states?" to which he responded "Japan is a weird place and the people are just a lot weirder than the people in the west"
Now I don't know why but this struck a nerve with me, I think Pach-Attack is a great show and the guy knows his stuff, but on this topic he is just fucking wrong, and the way he worded his answer seemed pretty offensive, not only to the Japanese, but to me who also enjoys these games.
The chance of Pach himself reading this post is pretty slim, but I'll tell you the real reason why arcades are more viable here than anywhere else.
1. More new/interesting games
I'm really only talking about the UK but from what I've heard about America it's a similar situation. In the UK, you ALWAYS see the same games, shit like Time Crisis and DDR and maybe a shitty racing game or 2, but in Japan, the selection is way more varied. You have a metric shit ton of rhythm games, but all have an interesting take on rhythm gameplay (the recent Mai Mai comes to mind on this one)
2. Dedicated places to play
The Game Centre is a pretty popular thing out here, hell, I live within about 30 minutes of 4 different ones. The existence of these not only give people a good place to come together, compete and practice, but it gives developers of these games somewhere to put their crazy designed cabinets. While Arcades like this used to exist in the west, I found that people weren't willing to maintain the machines as much as they are around here, so shit used to stop working and people would stop coming. The closest thing to an arcade near me in the UK had a broken DDR machine for 2 YEARS, that was never fixed and probably still has a broken right pad on the P1 side today. Speaking of machine care leads me to my final point which is...
3. Developers and players actually give a shit in Japan
Players of arcades in the UK really didn't give 2 fucks about how they treated the machines, and owners, like I mentioned in my last point, didn't give a shit about fixing them either. For example, people would wreck the guns on rail shooters, or in one case, some teenagers broke into the coin box and stole the money, and the place disposed of the cabinet rather than spend time repairing it. So in short, people fuck up the games and they are just not worth playing.
Arcades also get more developer attention with stat cards being available to unlock new content on basically every game. On top of that, with most machines being hooked up to the internet, developers release patches and updates for popular games with great frequency. If you dig through the posts a bit, or check my youtube channel, the Sound Voltex Booth game that I covered a while back has had over 40 new songs added to its library as well as a long list of pre-existing Beatmania songs that have been remixed for the game.
I could talk for days about why arcades here are so good, but I'll leave you with those 3 points for now. So, Micheal Pachter, the Japanese aren't weird, the scene is just more interesting over here, and maybe you should actually look at what's available before you make stupid comments like that.
Tuesday, 30 October 2012
That means moving 3600 steps, which means patrolling in that 3 square little space for 5 game days because otherwise I have to fight boring monsters that I can kill in one hit!
This got me thinking, there are a lot of games that have THOSE moments, you know the ones I mean, the moments that throw a dirty big wrench into an otherwise really enjoyable game. The most famous example that comes to my mind is the Ocarina of Time Water Temple
While most of these sections usually involve a sewer, this doesn't quite qualify as a rant on sewer levels because there are a good handful of games where these sections take place outside of those infernal underground pieces of shit.
The problem with these sections is that it can really kill the replay value of a game. There are plenty of games in my collection that I would actually love to play again, but as soon as I go to play it, I remember THAT bit and suddenly I don't want to play anymore. I don't know why these are so common as well, I'm sure developers know that what they are putting in kills pacing/fun, so why do they do it?
Fucking. Stop it!
Monday, 29 October 2012
In case anyone cares the game in the top picture is Fatal Frame (or Project Zero)
GAME NUMBER 1! THE BINDING OF ISAAC!
GAME NUMBER 2! LONE SURVIVOR!
GAME 3! HALF-LIFE 2!
When I say Half Life 2, I don't mean Half Life 2 itself, I mean the absolutely staggering numbers of mods available for this game. Of that large number of mods, a good deal of them are scary mods, and good ones at that too! Nightmare House 2 and Grey are 2 really good ones just to get you started, but you can find so many scary fucking mods for this thing it'll make your head spin. So fire up google and get to it.
There you have it folks, a good way to burn a wednesday evening at home for halloween. Also, don't worry if you are a gamer on a budget, the above titles are cheap as chips so you won't be breaking the bank for any of these games.
Sunday, 28 October 2012
So, unless you've been living under a rock, you are probably aware of who Suda51 one is. In case you do live under a rock, or you don't game as much as everyone else, Suda51 is the guy behind the No More Heroes games and the more recent Shadows of the Damned. Now people loved stuff like No More Heroes, but I was quite disappointed with it, because I was comparing it to this thing.
So, Killer7 follows a group of assassins as they try to take down a terrorist organisation known as Heavens Smile. The 7 assassins aren't actually real though, they are all different personalities in some guys psyche that are given form somehow. Basically, the plot is the fucking strangest thing I've ever played through, but it's actually really good. There is a big story arc about relations between Japan and the US and government conspiracy and stuff, but some of the chapters seemingly have no link to that, but then they actually do, and....oh god, shit's nuts. Just play it, it's really hard to explain.
The only real way to describe the gameplay, along with pretty much everything else in this game, is unique. You are on rails all the time, but you still have freedom to choose where you want to go at junctions in the level, and the levels get more sprawly and complicated as you go. You have to stop and go into this first person mode to fire your weapon, but before you can shoot anything you have to scan the environment since the enemies all come with built in stealth. Combat aside, it has those kind of survival-horror esque puzzles of finding weird shit to use as keys to open various things. On top of that, each personality has it's own ability, which you have to make use of in order to progress.
The other big thing about this game is the art style, and it's really pretty but still retains a sort of bleak atmosphere.
I could probably fill up about a weeks worth of posts just talking about each individual aspect of this game and why it's just so damn good. But instead of me yapping on, I recommend that you hop on e-bay or amazon or something and fucking find a copy. Gamecube version is better than the PS2 version, but whatever version you play, you won't regret it.
The movie is set sometime in the future, where people have found a way to cease ageing past 25 and time has become the new currency. The story follows Justin Timberlake's character called Will Salas, a dude who lives in the slum who barely has a day on his clock. Through a twist of fate, he is given about 100 years by some other guy who is sick of being alive, but due to some unfortunate event, his mother "times out" and he swears to take revenge on the corrupt time economy.
Now as interesting as that sounds, the writer for this movie obviously wanted to make a point about the American economy or something, but this message comes down with such blunt force trauma it loses all meaning.
That said, it's a fairly competent by the numbers thriller. Nothing about this movie is what I'd call bad, but nothing about it is particularly spectacular either. Just as a little point on the side, Amanda Seyfried looks stunning in this movie, but that could be because I have a little bit of a thing for bob cuts.
The one big problem I have with this movie is that I really wished they fleshed out the whole time as currency thing a bit more. The process of one person transferring time to another seems to be so metaphysical and you end up with so many questions about the whole system that when you think about it the movie falls apart a little bit.
Still, it's a good watch if there is nothing else and you could do a lot worse than this movie, worth checking out at least once to be honest.
Friday, 26 October 2012
So, with it being the Halloween period, I thought I'd take a chance to play something scary. I know Slender has been played out the arse on youtube, but it's a good game for me to make sure my recording software is going to stop causing trouble with the PDS run.
Well, enough of me talking, here's the damn video.
Thursday, 25 October 2012
Well, to be honest with you, because of time constraints I didn't really get to see all that much of it, but what I did see I really liked. I actually felt quite at home in Osaka, I don't know if anyone would agree but to me it kind of felt like someone had taken London and Manchester, smashed them together and them cleaned them up so they looked all nice.
|This view somehow reminded me of Manchester Piccadilly|
|The owner was really expecting this stuff to sell?|
It was a really nice, vibrant area with a really strong smell of incense coming from the temples as people lit them and said prayers and whatnot. There was also a really chill garden that you had to pay a couple of hundred yen to get inside, but it was a really nice escape from the festival crowds, and gave some much needed chill time after a day of walking around.
Near Namba is a place called Dotonbori, which fans of the Yakuza games might recognise since this was an area featured in Yakuza 2. It's basically more of the same thing, but they have this famous sign for the Glico company, which makes pocky and shit like that.
Wednesday, 24 October 2012
Now I know this isn't video games, but having a blocked nose can have a really bad effect on ones performance, so I think this advice will come in handy. That and everyone seems to be getting a cold in Japan right now, so I'm sure anyone suffering will enjoy this advice.
OK, it's really easy!
1. Breath out, hold your breath and hold your nose
2. Walk around a bit, until the whole holding of breath thing becomes unbearable
3. Block your mouth off and breath gently through your nose
and BAM! clear nose for a few minutes. Sure, the effect doesn't last that long, but long enough to get something done before you have to do it again, I mean I managed to beat Batman Begins on SNES before I had to re-do it.
It has something to do with Carbon Dioxide being a vasodilator or something, I don't have a fucking clue, I'm not a fucking scientist.
So, anyone who has been to a theme park knows that scattered around the park are various gift shops and such, so you can buy overpriced stuff to give to people when you get back home. Now, most places that you can go to give you a bag with a handle, but not USJ! USJ gives you the piece of shit bag which you have to awkwardly clutch throughout your entire stay in the park.
You may be thinking that this can all be avoided if you just buy the gifts at the end of the day, but this doesn't fucking work either since every fucking bright spark does that, and it's impossible to navigate the shops through the sea of people.
So fuck these bags, sort this shit out USJ.
Tuesday, 23 October 2012
So I figured since this is a gaming blog, and not a Japan blog, I'd start with the Resident Evil themed stuff and do the other stuff later.
So first lets start with some bad news, I missed the Resident Evil show thing. Now this doesn't mean I missed everything Resident Evil related, there was plenty of that going on, but they had a show scheduled to start at 6pm inside the building where they do the Terminator 3D movie thing. So I rolled up about 30 mins early, thinking I'd get in line for it before other people, and by the time we got there, it was full capacity, and they only do 1 show a day.
But, since it's in the Terminator building, I can go and assume that it's a 3D movie, that involves actors on stage, probably fighting a Tyrant. If anyone knows EXACTLY what goes down in there, put it in a comment or throw me an e-mail or something, I'd like to know.
|The closest I got|
|This is where the whole eye in the drink thing comes from|
The last thing to mention about the Resident Evil stuff was the big projection they had on one of the walls.
So that's about it really for the Resident Evil stuff, there was some other stuff going on around the park but that was all full capacity too and the wait times for the "horror versions" of the rides were insane, and riding one of them would have resulted in us being late for the Shinkansen.
I'll throw up some more pictures, and right at the bottom I'll put a video up too! Enjoy!
|Jill was milling around too|
|The Berkin Drink|
|Supposed to be a brain|
|Licker, Really hard to get a good picture due to distance and crowd confusion|
Saturday, 20 October 2012
While I'm there I'll be hitting up Universal Studios where they are doing their super scary Resident Evil thing
Also, I have 3 new parts of my Panzer Dragoon Saga Playthrough but there is some audio syncing problems. Basically, FFSplit, the recording software, got an update and started recording in MP4 instead of FLV. This, for some reason, caused everything to fuck up and now it's all out of sync. I spent a while working on it to re sync it, but I couldn't get it perfect in the end, I'm just not good enough at editing yet.
Well, here they are anyway, it's not THAT bad.
Right, literally just now, I was linked to an article on the website PCGamer that said Rice University was offering a course on Skyrim. I couldn't believe what the fuck I was reading, it sounded too stupid to be true and had to be a mistake.
But depressingly, no, it's true
So basically, as far as I understand how this shit works you read old Norse stories and play Skyrim, right? Well that's exactly why it's so fucking dumb! Sure, it may be cool to see where any inspiration for this shit came from, but it's not university course worthy. It's fun, to be done in your spare time while you go and study something ACTUALLY WORTH STUDYING.
You walk into a job interview with your "Skyrim Degree" and watch as you get laughed out the fucking office. Whoever thought this was a good idea needs to be punched in the face. Hard.
This is also why students are complaining it being so hard to find a fucking job nowadays. Yes, there are problems with the job market all over the place, but you studying why Skyrim has a good plot is not helping you here.
Friday, 19 October 2012
This game is a rougelike, and for those that don't know what that is, it's a genre of game that involves randomised dungeons, loot and enemies, and usually tasks you with getting to the bottom of whatever structure you have to move through. This game is no different, you have to get to the bottom of the dungeon, grab the Orb of Zot, and get out again, easier said than done though.
There is a lot to be said for character creation with race and classes being provided out the arse for you to fuck about with. In fact, there is so much to this game that it would take me far too long so if you do play it, go find the wiki and use that to help you.
Like I said before, if you die, your character is deleted and you have to start from scratch again. What makes this even cooler is that as you get deeper, you will be attacked by ghosts of your previous dudes, so you have to be extra careful when that starts going down.
It can be a bit difficult to get your head round this one if you are new to the genre, but there is plenty of material to help you out. Even if you do only play this for a weekend, I promise you will not beat it!
Thursday, 18 October 2012
So this is a game called Outlast, being developed as we speak by a bunch of guys at the new company Red Barrels. This will be their first game as far as I'm aware, and if you go check out the website and look at the team, they have some really good talent in their ranks. These guys have all had a part working on some kind of big game or for some kind of big company so the skills on display here are top notch.
So, before we continue, watch the trailer
But then the other half of my brain is going "This is going to fucking suck.....", and that is because if you watch the trailer, you may realise that the character spends the entire trailer running away from the scary things. Now, what was the last game that had you running away from the scary things as it's main game mechanic......
Despite saying that, I do imagine the guys at Red Barrels will be able to make this kind of gameplay enjoyable. Hell, a game like Catherine is essentially running away from the big nasty but look at how awesome that is. Either that, or I'm just making assumptions from the trailer that aren't true, and when we see more I'm promptly going to shut my gob about the game potentially sucking.
So keep an eye on this one people, it looks like it might be good!
Wednesday, 17 October 2012
But recently there seems to be a trend of big game developers just taking massive steaming shits all over their most beloved franchises. Recently I've been talking about Konami and their ruination of Silent Hill, but now Capcom steps up and they have their pulsing anuses aimed right in Megaman's face.
So, the 25th Anniversary of Megaman rolls along, and Capcom decided to give us a game to celebrate!
So was it a remake of a classic Megaman game?...No
Was a it a brand new entry in the series like Megaman 9 or 10?....No
Was a new entry in the Battle Network series of Megaman games? Or a new portable game?
Nope, none of that shit, what we got was a fucking iPhone game. That's right, 25 years of greatness, and we get to celebrate it with a fucking iPhone game. But that isn't the worst thing either, the game is a fucking on rails 2D shooter type thing, with turn based boss fights and 0 skill required. If you don't believe me, take a look!
Are you fucking serious?! Everything that was good about Megaman is not here in this version, and it even gives you a choice to SKIP THE FUCKING BOSSES! One of the things that made Megaman so good, and you can just skip that shit if it's too hard for you!
So yeah, Megaman got a big steaming shit right in his face, with bits of corn and blood mixed in it for good measure.
This isn't the only stupid thing Capcom are doing too, there is all sorts of fan outrage at day 1 DLC for their fighting games, and Resident Evil 6 being a load of shit (still not played that one yet) So please Capcom, just fucking STOP IT!
Tuesday, 16 October 2012
Borderlands is a game I played the shit out of back when it launched, and then beat it and never touched it again, so part of the reason I came back to it was because I'd forgotten what most of it was even like. I also blasted through most of it so I wanted to go back and see if there was any cool Borderlands lore that I'd missed out on.
Well admittedly in this playthrough I'm not that far but so far there is basically no big juicy bits of lore to discover, just the main plot of "find the fault etc etc." But the game itself, despite being World of Warcraft in space with more guns, is still really enjoyable. Plus the co-op feature in this game is something that makes it even more enjoyable, although I've not had a chance to drop on some co-op with a buddy in this run yet.
Also, before I stop doing this post and go play it some more, fucking look at this.
Monday, 15 October 2012
So, Red Bull, they had this project called Red Bull Stratos, where a guy called Felix Baumgartner decided he'd do an absolutely massive free fall from about 39,000~ feet in the air. Now I'm not even going to pretend to understand the technical shit behind something like this, but I'll tell you, watching it live was fucking INTENSE.
Just watching this guy step out of that pod made my heart jump into my mouth, and watching him fall out of the sky was one of the most "edge of your seat" experiences I've ever fucking had. Hell, at one point it looked like he was spinning, which apparently is really bad, and that sheer feeling of dread you got as there is that feint chance the whole thing might end in disaster is something else.
So, stop whatever you are doing, or whatever you planned to do, go to youtube and type in "Red Bull Stratos" and prepare to watch one of the most incredible things you will ever see another person do.
Sunday, 14 October 2012
Saturday, 13 October 2012
Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me, so the stock image of barber shop signs is the best you're gonna get.
First I need to clarify what barbers around my area in the UK were like. It was basically one small room, with one or two seats for customers and the entire staff would be made up of one man with a pair of scissors and a razor.
This place however, was fuckin' nuts. First thing you see when you get inside is this big machine where you shove 1000 Yen in it and get a ticket. Then you wait a while, while one of 4 efficient as fuck barbers finish with their current customer, then when it's your turn, you tell them what you want and they pull that shit off in about 10 mins or less.
On top of that, while you're sat there, you are facing a screen that is displaying the news for the day, so you have something to read while they go about their business. I really wish I had a picture because the whole thing looked futuristic as all hell. Plus they have vaccum cleaners built into the walls for efficient hair cleanup after each customer.
Japan is generally really good for hair care to be honest, with the more expensive salons giving out free shoulder massages after a cut. So if you need a new do, Japan is the place to do it.