Genkina hito at the Tokyo Game Show 2016

I arrived in Japan on September 10th and while I had a few things I knew I wanted to do such as visiting specific museums I didn’t plan things out in too much detail and forgot about certain events such as the Tokyo Game Show (TGS). It wasn’t until a friend mentioned going to it on the final day that I realised that I was about to miss a weekend extravaganza of games.

Genkina hito in Japan Tokyo Game Show

TGS is the second biggest video game event in the world after E3 and it’s the chance for the Japanese video game industry to showcase what it can do. The majority of the event is for journalists only but on the final weekend the public get to experience the games on the show floor. The part of this year’s TGS that was open to the public ran from September 17th to the 18th and, as in previous years, took place in the Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture which is less than an hour away from Tokyo. Since I was based in Ikebukuro I had to catch a Yamanote Line train to get to Tokyo Station and then a Keiyo Line train to get to the Kaihin-Makuhari Station from where I could get to the convention hall. This was my first trip to Tokyo Station so I was unprepared for how huge it was but that wasn’t much of a problem due to the signs that were in Japanese and English and the logical layout of the station itself. The train ride was a short trip made slightly longer by the fact I missed my stop and had to double-back. I knew I was on the right train due to the high number of Westerners, otaku, and video gamers but totally didn’t register when they got out at the right station…

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Genkina hito in Akihabara

Akihabara – this is a long and rambling post so feel free to just look at the pictures. If you’re feeling brave you can listen to this music while you read:

Akihabara (Electric Town as it’s also known) is billed as the electronics and nerd-culture centre of Japan. If you like anime, manga, computers, video games, cameras or any other types of electronic and otaku goods then this is the area that you need to visit. I have been aware of it since at least my high school years when I heard of its legendary collection of video game and anime goods. I had pictured a densely packed warren of streets containing arcade dens full of herds of video game nerds clustered around classic beat-em-up game cabinets while anime fans pored through second-hand book stores and cute guys and gals cosplayed colourful anime characters and the scene was complete with the neon glow and anime music cast out by ads on video screens. I imagined myself pushing my way through aisles of goods crowded with other fanboys and fangirls, making my way to holy grails of videogamedom. Even as an adult with less interest in games and anime I still held onto that dream and made it a point to visit it during my first week.

Akihabara wasn’t like I imagined it.

Genkina hito in Japan

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Final Fantasy XIII Unfairly Hated?

Final Fantasy XV was shown at the recent Tokyo Game Show and I think it looks great buuuut… it has been in development for nearly TEN YEARS in which time is has had a reboot and new director in the shape of Hajime Tabata (director of the excellent Crisis Core). These delays and  makes me think of the troubled development and reception of Final Fantasy XIII.

What I remember about the launch of Final Fantasy XIII back in February 2011 was the critical reception of the game with websites and publications such as Edge magazine giving it 5 out of 10. This for a major entry in the main franchise! Could the poor scores have been justified? I was curious and bought the game.

Final Fantasy XIII Cast
The Cast of Final Fantasy XIII

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Genkina hito’s Best Game of 2013 – The Cave

Genki Fuse Best of 2013 Header Banner

I played a lot of games in 2013 but there have been few that have impressed me or The Cave Video Gamemoved me enough to write about them (unlike The Walking Dead  ;_;). A lot of them felt like chores to do (a feeling I increasingly get as I get older and have little time to indulge such things) but this one didn’t. My game of the year is the puzzle-platformer/adventure “The Cave” which was released digitally on all of the major platforms back in January. While it didn’t get excellent reviews I still enjoyed it tremendously.

The Cave is an adventure where the player gets to take control of three (or four if you take The Twins) characters from a cast of seven people who are lured by a sentient talking cave (who acts as the narrator of the game) into exploring its dark depths in search of what they desire most.

The Cave Characters

What these characters don’t know is that while spelunking they will encounter an environment which draws upon the darkest aspects of their characters, their greed and jealousy and murderousness. The Cave acts like a surreal dream-like set of tunnels which channel the character’s rotten souls’ and psyches as they replay their worst moment.

It is like a form of hell where the character re-enact their sins over and over.

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Genkina hito’s Best Game of 2012 – The Walking Dead

Genki Best Of Banner

This post was longer than I expected but the game affected me that much and the writing just flowed. Despite playing and loving Chrono Trigger and Life Signs: Hospital Affairs, this title won me over. I played the final episode just before seeing Skyfall at a cinema and on the way I was writing a review for the game…

The Walking Dead was easily my game of 2012! MASSIVE SPOILERS

Genki Jason The Walking Dead Banner

I cried at the end. Even before the end, in the sequences leading up to it. So far, everybody I know who plays this ends up crying.

I had not expected to cry playing this game. As much as I like the graphic novel and the television series I had gone into this, rather foolishly, expecting it to be something of a zombie survival simulator where I could test my mettle and all of the knowledge I have accrued watching Dawn of the Dead and other zombie films.

What I got was a well-scripted and brilliantly acted drama which exposed what it truly means to be a survivor of a zombie apocalypse. It was tough, bloody and brutal and it put characters through hell.

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Genki Podcast! – Silent Hill 2

One of my blogging experiments is complete! The Podcast that I promised two weeks ago is finally finished! What classic Japanese films will my mystery guest and I dissect? Actually it’s a videogame! Silent Hill 2.

Silent Hill 2's James Sunderland

Silent Hill 2 is a survival horror video game that was made by Team Silent a production group inside Konami and it was published in 2001. The player takes control of James Sunderland who comes to the titular town of Silent Hill after getting a letter from his wife Mary. In the letter she has written that she is waiting for him in their “Special Place” which is a location in Silent Hill that James has to try to remember. So the player has to guide James through Silent Hill revisiting his memories of her and the time they spent together in Silent Hill. Unfortunately a lot has changed since they last visited not least the fact that it’s foggy as hell and stuffed full of monsters. In this podcast Vashdaman and recount some of our favourite parts.

Word of warning before you listen – I have yet to master the audio editing software so turn the volume low before you start playing then crank it up for the rock intro – Zappa. The podcast is full of spoilers and rambling. Thanks go out to Vash from the Anime UK News forums for taking part!

Here’s the video I mentioned in the podcast which compares the old VA’s with the new ones.

 

 

Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Game of 2011

I know I promised to focus on Asian films and I am about a month late but I have recently finished the game and was so impressed I needed to post about it. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is brilliant.

I received this for my birthday around the time it was released in September but was engaged in playing a number of JRPG’s which would not see completion until Christmas day. I figured that I might not be missing much. How wrong I was. SPOILERS

In the near-future of 2027, humanity has created a new industry: augmentation. It is the use of technology to make us stronger, faster, and smarter. Unfortunately the world is divided along the lines of pro and anti-augmentation: supporters believe that it is the next step in human evolution and critics call it the end of humanity. It doesn’t help that the technology is reserved for those who can afford it. You play Adam Jensen, chief of security for Sarif Industries one of a handful of companies that research and manufacture augmentation tech. Sarif’s scientists are on the verge of a major discovery when high-tech soldiers assault Sarif’s headquarters, steal information, murder people, wreck the place and leave Adam for dead. But he hangs on to life and Sarif restores him to something more than a man through augmentations. Soon Adam is on the trail of an international conspiracy in order to discover who was behind the attack

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The Unbearable Likeness of Haruhi

Whilst researching titles for my series of posts about anime heroines I came across this awesome website which compiles most, if not all of the Japanese releases for consoles both new and old. There are pictures and YouTube videos… descriptions but hey, a picture is worth a thousand words. Anyway I came across a arcade game with this Battle Athletes menu screen and I thought I recognised somebody.

Battle Athletes Menu Screen Haruhi Suzumiya… それ では

Haruhi and Gang

Let’s compare the two…

Haruhi Battle Athletes ComparisonHaruhi Comparison

Okay, so her hair is longer in the Battle Athlete picture but they have the same look and the same colour ribbon. Now I knew that The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya involved time travel but little did I suspect that she had inserted herself into an old video game from 1996.

Well, tomorrow sees the start of an intermittent series I mentioned not so long ago. I hope it goes well.

I tried to make a pun on The Unbearable Lightness of Being but my brain was too tired out…

AMV of the Week Enjoy the Silence

Silent Hill 2 is one of my top five videogames. I’ve played a lot so for the game to make it up there means that it’s something special. Indeed all of the entries in the series up until the fifth instalment are.

What I liked about it was the fact that it played with survival horror conventions such as making the player vulnerable physically and psychologically whilst the player wrestled with cumbersome controls that made navigation of the environment difficult. It also played around with sound and camera angles, thus affecting player perception of the environment and heightening the sense of the unknown and increasing fear. The series also made an attempt at tackling psychological issues – whole games being built out of an issue like mourning the loss of a loved one – far more interesting to me than the b-movie excesses of Resident Evil.

This AMV captures all of the darkness around the psychology of the characters and the horror of the game by weaving together all of the video cut-scenes, sometimes in order of the instalment. Furthermore the music compliments the images perfectly. I’ve never heard of Lacuna Coil and I don’t particularly feel like listening to any of their other work but their cover of Depeche Mode’s Enjoy the Silence is darker and grittier than the original.

With news of a new film, game and HD remakes of the second and third instalments of the Silent Hill series, this AMV is a timely reminder of what makes the series so good.

Vodpod videos no longer available.