Monday, 26 October 2015

Games Journalism Strikes Again

So this is a thing that happened quite a while ago and I wanted to comment on it sooner but I've had another one of those goddamn busy periods so it's taken me until now to get anything down.

So the story is that some shitty gaming news website called VG24/7 went down to TGS and they played around a bit with the Uncharted remastered thing at the Sony booth.  Then they come back and they write an article about how they think Uncharted 4 is too formulaic or some shit like that.  Except like I just said, they weren't playing Uncharted 4, they were playing the remastered version of 2 for PS4 but because no one has a fucking clue what they are on about they thought it was a new game.

So Sony call them out on their stupid bullshit and they pull the article, fair enough.  But the thing that really brings my piss to a boil is the weak as fuck apology they made on their website shortly after.  If you google search the issue you can find it pretty easily but I'm not linking that sorry excuse for a website here.

At first everything seems OK, they just talk about how they made a mistake and they immediately pulled the article but shortly after that they write the most sorry, shitty, lying excuse I've ever fucking seen.  They basically start talking about how Tokyo Game Show is a very busy place and the signage on the games isn't in English and that is this reason this whole thing happened at all.


I was there at TGS on a fucking public day and sure, it was busy but not busy enough to fuck you up to the point you can't read things.  Also the signage not being in English?  Fuck off with that because that's just not true.  Obviously there are a lot of things written in Japanese with it being the TOKYO Game Show and all but I went to that Sony booth and the title of the game was written IN ENGLISH ON A GODDAMN CIRCULAR BLUE NEON SIGN.

Hell, most of the titles of the games around the Sony area were written in English.  Even games like fucking Star Ocean had their title presented in English but I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to present that as a new Final Fantasy.  But you know what?  Language shouldn't even be a fucking issue here, why are you sending someone to the TOKYO Game Show if they don't know any fucking Japanese?  If you can't find someone who speaks and reads it at least send them along with someone who does.

I've been saying for a long long time that these gaming news websites are mostly trash.  If you want news on latest games or what is happening with your favorite developer, go and follow their official accounts on social media or something.  The only thing gaming news sites are probably good for is delivering purely factual information on certain events like PT getting cancelled or Kojima leaving Konami, it's hard to fuck articles like that up I guess.

I've believed for a long time that the people who write for these sites know the bare minimum they have to know about games and the games industry in order to do their job.  Hell, I've seen some reviews and articles that make me think that maybe certain writers don't actually anything about the topic they are writing about, it's sad.

I guess we should be thankful now where we don't have to pay attention to these guys and there are things like YouTube, Twitter, Blogs and other outlets where actually knowledgeable and passionate individuals can write their stuff and share it out.  Go find those guys, don't give clicks to these know-nothing idiots.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Lets talk Super Potato

So recently on Twitter someone linked me to a video that was featured on IGN that was titled "This is what $250 will get you in the worlds best second hand game store".  The store featured was Super Potato and the idea of that being the worlds best anything is laughable 

If you want to watch the video you can google it yourself because there is no way I'm linking that shit on here.  

So first, for those who are unfamiliar or don't live in Japan, Super Potato is easily the most famous retro game shop chain in Japan.  Partly for good reason since almost everyone I've ever met over here, gamer or no, has at least heard of it. 

The one thing that this store has going for it is the selection of games.  If there is something you are looking for then you can almost guarantee you can find it there.  However, calling it the best retro gaming store in the world is fucking laughable and it just shows that IGN just did a piece on the biggest, most well know store available rather than doing any real research.  

You see, the problem with Super Potato is the prices.  They will always jack up the price of everything and charge out the nose for stuff that is really worth not all that much.  I've seen games in there for 1000 yen plus that are only being sold for mere hundreds in other retro gaming stores.  My favorite example of this happening is when I found a copy of Megaman 2 for Famicom in Book Off.  Super Potato usually asks about 2000 yen for it but I found it in the other store for 250.  Granted it's worth a bit more than 250 but with a bit of patience you can easily beat most of their asking prices.

You see, there is so much depth to retro collecting in Japan and just waltzing into Super Potato and dropping tons of cash is the exact wrong way to go about it .  Generally speaking, Book Off is about your best bet price wise but it's ALWAYS worth hunting down the small time retro shops for that special deal or that one guy who might price things a little better.  Also in my experience, the Tokyo stores tend to jack the prices up a little higher than in other areas and finding small time retro shops takes a bit more effort than it does in places like Nagoya.

Super Potato isn't a bad store by any stretch but it would be a shame if people new to collecting started to get ripped off every which way because IGN put out a shitty video.  Shame on you IGN, Super Potato isn't even JAPANS best retro store, let alone the worlds, do some goddamn research next time. 

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Decay: The Mare

The point and click adventure is a long dead genre as far as I'm concerned, I've not seen a good one in a long long time and while Decay: The Mare isn't quite the genre coming back to life, it's sort of a step in the right direction.

The game follows the adventures of Sam, a young man who has ended up in a rehab clinic called Reaching Dreams.  He starts to have these weird dreams and this is where all the horror begins.  The dreams are full of weird imagery, run down environments and a strange creature that appears to want him dead and it's up to you as the player to help him get out.

Game play is standard, old school style point and click fare.  You are given a still of the room you are looking at and sweeping your mouse across it will uncover various elements that can be inspected or interacted with.  You have to solve puzzles and find clues in order to make your way through each episode and uncover the mystery of Reaching Dreams and just why it's so fucked up.

I enjoyed Decay: The Mare, it was kind of atmospheric and had a surprisingly amount of quality for game that was, as far as I understand, initially released on the Xbox Live Indie Game service.  If you've seen anything from that fucking cesspool you know most of the stuff on there is garbage but Decay manages to be actually OK.  The game has 3 episodes which are all nice bite sized lengths so you can fire it up on a lazy weekend, play for an hour or so and then put it away when you beat the episode.  This of course means that the game is kind of short but considering it's cheap price point of £8 you are easily getting £8 worth of content here.

There are however 2 big fat glaring problems with the game.  The first is that's its too fucking easy and for a game like this that's a big problem.  Back in the day a point and click adventure could take days or even fucking weeks to finish because of some weird puzzle that you couldn't wrap your head around but Decay doesn't quite have that.  The puzzles seem cryptic at first and it's clear that an effort was made to make them challenging but they all fall a bit flat.  My wife played the game as well and she commented on how the hardest aspect of this game was navigation of the confusing environments.  I didn't think that personally but it's something to consider.  The game also comes with a hint button so if you really can't be fucked then just slam that and find out what to do next.  But then again, if you're playing a game like this why bother if you're just going to resort to the hint button every time you get stuck?

Secondly the game isn't scary at all.  It presents itself as a horror game and the opening cinematic gave me a weird Silent Hill vibe but the horror is just kind of bad and the game relies too often on jump scares.  The most egregious example I can think of is a puzzle that involves looking at a code for a box with a telescope.  The game purposely gives you the wrong code so that you second guess yourself and when you go to look the second time the big scary monster is eyeing up the camera and a big CRASH plays to tell you to be scared now.  The creepiest thing in the game was a talking, disembodied but heavy breathing handbag but all that did was remind me of the talking head in Killer7 and now I just want to play that again.

All in all, Decay isn't a bad game by any stretch it's just rough round the edges.  If you have some time to kill and you're a fan of point and click adventure games then you could do a hell of a lot worse than this.  Despite the problems I mentioned above me and my wife played it through and came away feeling like we had a good time so I'd absolutely recommend giving it a go.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

New Prizes!

 OK I have some some SICK new prizes available for you to donate for provide by my good buddy.  Both prizes are hand painted pictures of awesome video game shit.  The first is the painting you see in the heading image.  In case anyone isn't familiar with what they are they are looking at, it's the Pyramid Head from Silent Hill 2.

This painting is awesome so there's a minimum donation of £5 but I feel that's a small price to pay for the quality of this piece of art.

The next prize is this cool Final Fantasy 7 picture

As cool as it is, it's not quite Pyramid Head levels of awesome and the artist agrees that it's not quite on the same level so this one has no minimum donation..

So, all the prizes and how to be eligible to win them are displayed on the blogs prizes page!

Just donate to the Alzheimer's Society with the comment "prize 1" for the Pyramid Head and "Prize 2" for the Final Fantasy 7 painting!

Here's the link for the donations if you need it, but it's always on the right hand side

Good luck!

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

New Rhythm Games!

Holy goddamn all of a sudden at my local arcade there's been a couple of new rhythm games just popping up.  I've had a chance to give em both a go and since I'm having a bit of a slow period where it's hard to come up with topics, I'll spend a little bit of time talking about them.

The first is Chunithm, a rhythm game developed by Sega and apparently made by the same people who gave us that weird washing machine game Mai Mai

As what seems to be fairly standard for Sega-made rhythm games, the cabinet is all fucking weird and has all these bright lights and flashy bits on it for no purpose other than to look kind of cool and to pull your attention from all the other machines.

The game itself is fairly standard rhythm fare but the controller kind of looks like a piano keyboard but it's a touch panel rather than actual keys.  You have to slide, hold and tap your way through the songs but the game also has a sensor bar just above the controller so some notes demand that you throw your hand up in the air like you just don't care. 

The game also let's you unlock songs and characters with abilities as you play.  Last time I played there was an event for Persona 4 Dancing All Night so there are few Persona tracks and you can unlock the cast of P4 to help you clear songs.  At time of writing I've unlocked Rise and Kanji with Naoto on the way.  The music is also pretty good with plenty of stuff familiar to anyone who's played rhythm games for a while in Japan, there's also a few good original songs but best of all you can play All I Want (The Offspring) from Crazy Taxy and Concept of Love from JSRF!  What more could you want?

The second game that's just come out is CrossXBeat.  I can't for the life of me find a picture on the net of the cabinet so here's a shitty phone pic of me playing it

As you can see the game is just a big touch screen and notes fly at you every which way and you have to tap them in time with the song.  While it's not quite as fun as Chunithm, it still boasts come cool songs from Phoenix Wright and Megman 2 as well as a bunch of original stuff. 

There's not really much to say about this one, it's just your kind of standard rhythm game.  The one feature that does stand out though is the fact that if you have an Aime(?) card, I don't really remember if it's that, you can play once a month for free which is pretty cool.

However this game pisses me off with the way it presents difficulty levels to you.  Most rhythm games have a numbering system that's pretty consistent.  Level 1s are obviously the easiest, 8-12 is kind of medium level and 13+ is hard.  Cross Beat just says fuck all that where level 20's seem to be piss easy and the numbers go all the way up to fucking 60+.  This is fine but there's no good indication of what "Lvl 25" means the first time playing so there have been times when I've been wasting my time with easy shit when I want something challenging instead.

 After some practice I'll see if I can get some videos of these games up so keep an eye out for that.  If you live in Japan then you should absolutely give these games a shot, if you don't then I suppose you can just sit there and be jealous?  I kid, if you want to play Cross Beat there is a mobile version available on the Japanese app store so you could give it a try if you wanted.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Home Arcades and Hitchhiking

First off I want to apologize a little bit for the lack of content in the last week or so, things got a bit crazy and I didn't have much time to write, stream or make videos.  

Anyway I want to tell you a little story about my last Sunday since it's awesome both for gaming and to illustrate how awesome living in Japan can be sometimes.  

So my buddy who lives in the next town over likes to frequent his local video game bar (more on those another day) and he's managed to meet a few cool people.  

So we get invited to this guys house and my header picture was his goddamn living room, it was crazy.  The amount of stuff he has both retro and modern puts my attempts at video game collection to shame.  The guy had arcade cabinets, retro setups, a projector with next gen stuff, it was easily one of the best dinner parties I've been too 

The reason I'm bothering to tell you this tale is because there is this unfair stereotype I feel of passionate collectors of anything being lonely dweebs with no future and nothing else to really live for, which is a shame because it's just not true. 

So now for the Japan part.  On my way home I fell asleep and ended up in another town about an hour away from mine. It was late at night and there wasn't really anywhere nearby for me to take shelter in so I did what any slightly drunk person would do, stick my thumb up at cars.  

Astonishingly it worked and some guy gave me a lift all the way to Nagoya, we had a nice chat and all was well.  

I do notice on the internet that there's a lot of people who give Japan and the Japanese a bad rep, claiming that it's a country full of racists.  Well I think both these inconsequential stories prove this people at least a little bit wrong.