Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Onimusha (PS2) REmake (GC)

Taking a break from the fukubukuro to talk about the present!  Or recent present.

Onimusha is a pretty fun 4 hours!  What surprised me is how currently Japan's games market constantly fumbles at the bra strap that is Western game design.  They want/need to make games that appeal to western audiences and for the most part are clueless about it.  They are also making the pretty big mistake with any artistic endeavor.  If you aren't making something that you personally like, why do you expect others to like it?  They aren't writing press releases or romance novels or madlibs where you just plug keywords in and come out with a decent product.

So with that you have Onimusha which is so Japanese it's set in Japan.  Wowzers!  It's got Takeshi Kitano as the main character.  That's great considering he's known to me for being in Wong Kar Wai films, and here he's actually speaking Japanese.  He also has an almost not useless female sidekick.  It also has minimal backtracking for a RE-style game.  It also constantly taunts you with a 20 floor challenge room that rewards you with a win-button for the final boss.  I didn't get it; I kept dying on floor 20.  I still saw the ending.

What is the deal with this soundtrack?  There's no reason it has gorgeously orchestrated pieces.  I can't believe I didn't notice it when I first tried the J-Xbox version a few years back.  I also got stuck on a puzzle that ended up not mattering.  That version also has more content, which I sort of look at now - not having played it - as needlessly diluting how perfectly brief the PS2 version is.

One more inexplicable thing about the game is it has CG by Robot.  Capcom threw tons of money at this project and the sequels (Licensing the likeness rights of a dead guy!)  The sequels also sold progressively less and I don't think anyone in the world cared about the release of the 4th game.

I screamed pretty much after starting the game that I would buy it on PSN if the pre-rendered backgrounds were re-rendered into HD.

Right after that delicious 4 hours it was Resident Evil (GC).  I still hold a small hope that my memory card with all my save data will show up, so of my 15 or so Gamecube games the ones that don't have bonus content are the ones I'm going through. 

"a comfortable journey" was way too easy.  By the end of the game I was overflowing with ammo and health supplies.  I spent the last thirty minutes using magnum rounds because I had just that many around.  Also not nearly enough things to murder or to be murdered by.  I ended up trying to do a second playthrough but my interest dropped immediately after starting. 

The most interesting thing is how RE4 ended up looking the same if not better on the same hardware as the pre-rendered stuff in REmake.  Also, more so than the Silent Hill series REmake uses the controls and camera angles as crutches for difficulty.  Guess I feel satisfied with this genre, though maybe one of these days I'll run through Alone in the Dark just for the historic purposes.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fukubukuro 2010 #3 PORNOGRAPHY

In January I was at the airport almost on plane to Tokyo for a week.  Before that I had to take another plane.  Before that I had to wait two hours in an airport for the thirty minute flight.  Sadly, Wario wasn't there to keep me company this time.  My PSP was. 

In a fit of disinterest I started thinking about people that browse pornography in public.  I then found myself using the internet wireless to search for PSP pornography on google.  "Alright, I guess this is something I'm doing."

Then I played Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman!  What Did I Do To Deserve This? and immediately found justification that I need for buying a PSP three years ago.  The justification that wasn't almost getting a friend evicted or Progear on the go.  Neither of those are even features of a store-bought PSP.  One of those is a feature I didn't even want!

In 2010 I embraced the PSP for things I could buy for it

 Yes even though I bought stuff like that.  People who say Crisis Core had a good story might fertilize their lawn with used motor oil (EPA tip.)   Woah, I forgot how incredibly insane the dialog was!  Also you can do this same quest on multiple times/playthroughs to improve Aeristhcalinzzkkkkk's cart.


The first part of that was mostly a poor way of telling you to play Holy Badman! or Yuusha no Kuse ni Namaiki da.  It was shocking how perfect of a game it is, and how I stupidly ignored every one that had recommended it to me.  I only wish I could play the 3rd game on my hacked PSP.  I even bought it with real money.  It's not like I even need to talk about the game, there's a demo out there, or the first game is 9 bucks on wait...  PSN is still down.

The second half of this entry is just a bit weirder. If you remember the first half of this article was mostly about not getting aroused while browsing pornography in public.  


One of my projects I ended up never writing about last year was "playing" just about every single SNES romhack.  This is mostly because I would come off as creepier than I think it is.  Most of them had at least one picture that seemed out of place with the rest or was such a specific fetish that it freaked me out. 

And come on, everyone has Sexy HK Game Girls in their romset.

And I might just have to be upset with myself for deleting the most interesting in the batch!  Granted it was also creepy as hell, but in professional journalism you do cite your sources.  Hey there it is!  That's good.  Maybe you'd like Asuka as a child wetting herself or getting raped by big burly just off screen men.  I don't!  But it does feature an incredibly high quality recording of the Evangelion Opening Theme.

That makes Neon Genesis Evangelion Asuka Slide Show


That's how I work.  I'll keep around pornography that frankly frightens me and somewhat infuriates me that someone might get off to it because it features something I didn't think an SNES game could possibly do.  Then again Star Ocean has voiced cutscenes!  If you've never seen the beginning of Star Ocean, start it up and get slacked jawed.

"Is that...narration?  In a Super Famicom game?"

I can't confirm the Asuka rom works on a PSP at this time.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fukubukuro 2010 #4 OxenVonBoxen

My friend loaned me his Xbox, for some reason, on August 20th, 2010. I don't know why he did it, really. He loaned it to me with Forza 3 still in it's drive, after I said I didn't need it. I never did play Forza 3.  Now it's March 4th, 2011, the 360 is gone and Forza 3 remains.

The 360 was used to play Deathsmiles.  That's another article.  Using the 360 I made an avatar that looked a less like me than the anime characters who look exactly like me.  I gave myself the most glorious screenname I have ever had, OxenVonBoxen.  I ended up buying XBLA games on my friends account, and playing them on OxenVonBoxen for some sort of payment for still having the 360.

I still had that 360 at Christmas, where I gave that friend a month of Gametap.  Gametap had given me the chance to play through 90% the 360 catalog.

In 2010 I still didn't like HaloHalo and Paper Mario inhabit the same place in my gaming emotions.  They elicit nothing from me.  They don't anger nor entertain me.  I can go through the motions and play them, and I end up feeling like I'm dying.  ODST was nice enough.  I eventually just wanted to download mp3s of the logs and never did.  At the end I went "Yep!  This is still Halo."

Similarly Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad a game about a big breasted girl in cowboy boots and a bikini slicing zombies with a sword was amazingly boring.  It's astounding that they could accomplish that feat.  After 10 minutes you wish you were doing something else.

Wartech: Senko no Ronde is a game I missed the boat on multiple times.  I played it a few times in the arcade, until it became unbreakable because of the hardcore community around it.  Then in the comfort of my own room, it felt lifeless without competition that I wasn't going to get.  

Guilty Gear 2: Overture is an amazing action RTS where you are in the middle of the battlefield at all times.  Sort of Brutal Legend but awesome and not super stressful.    It must have been amazing for the two weeks there was a viable online community.

Lost Odyssey can go fuck itself.  The novel interludes are about what you would get if you told a creative writing class to write a story about "A man who has lived for a thousand years, and will live for a thousand more."  The first boss that people mention is an unbeatable cock are right.  Everything about the game made me feel like I was playing a game on the PS1, which would be two generations of improvements removed.  Dragon Quest VIII let me explore everywhere from a first person and behind the character view and everywhere felt like a real place.  LO did have numerous language options which I always love, but the huge battle turning into an RPG battle where people jump back and forth to attack was heart breakingly depressing.

Blue Dragon is like the perfect RPG if you don't give a fuck.  If you are sick or you don't care and just want to play a fucking RPG then Blue Dragon is your ticket (or a better game.)  After 8 hours of the game I realized I just didn't give a fuck about anything the game was doing, and one of my party members caused me to skip the cutscenes everytime he opened his mouth.  Yelling is not an endearing character trait.  I can't remember if the game had more language options than English and Japanese. It gets points that I could skip cutscenes though.

Mass Effect 2 was pretty good for 10 bucks.  If you paid more than 10 bucks maybe you had higher standards?  As disposable entertainment, I was entertained.  I didn't even get laid!

Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis is an amazingly accurate representation of table tennis.  If that's something you're interested in then boy do I have the game for you.

Raiden IV was about the same as Raiden III and I didn't own the latter for a long period of time.  Raiden Fighters Aces was...ace.  A collection of three kind of similar shooters with a lot of different options.  It was a retro game collection done right.

Ninja Chop! was an Xbox live indie game in which a 3D model kunoichi  chops glasses of milk that splatter all over her.  You unlock the ability to dress her up at as a school girl or an office lady.  It's hilarious. It's baffling.  It's the perfect game to let someone try without any context.  It's not erotic at all.  You question what the creator's intention was, and don't get a response.

Platformance: Castle Pain is an excellent throwback XBLIG game that is one map with three difficulties.  I can't remember what I paid for it, but it was worth the price.  Nice controls, nice sprites.

萌めくり (Moe Mekuri) is a puzzle flipping game to see anime girls. a genre I have experience with.  You can see the girls picture before you start flipping it.  I'm not sure anyone has ever bought the game given how extensive the demo is.

Let's Learn Japanese:Beginner is actually a really good Japanese flashcard program.  It's only a dollar.  Get it and learn Katakana/Hiragana already!

Explosionade was nice enough.  I don't really like Mommy's Best Game's art style.

Shoot 1up is a MBG I did play a lot more of.  The mechanic of having all your lives on-screen is pretty cool.   Try it!

Leucistic Wyvern What if Panzer Dragoon REALLY SUCKED?

ゆっくりの迷宮 This is what the Japanese thing Doom is I guess?  Even with moderate Japanese I couldn't tell what the hell was going on it.  I was punching some similey faces and man-no corporate overhead and you still make the walls dull grey.

Chieri`s HeartPounding Hot Springs Steam Leisurely Trip won't let me bold it.  I also couldn't find the game on the xblig list so I couldn't get the proper kanji.  This is a pretty cool little arcade style shooter that I don't think anyone played.  The mechanic of hooking onto bubbles and using the physics of your gun to get around is pretty great.  

Protect Me Knight! rounds out the XBLIG games with being a retro game that Scott Pilgrim could have been.  Made by Ancient, Yuzo Koshiro's studio.  Get some friends and protect a princess.  If you don't have friends, buy it anyways.  You owe it to Koshiro for something he's done.  The website should be enough to pay the man.

Last Remant I had played at TGS a few years ago and enjoyed.  It was a SaGa game in everything but name.  Within a minute of starting the game I had a party of 12 and a screen full of numbers.  I just could not deal with that at the time.

Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 is something that must be seen.  Yeah the volleyball is terrible.  The waveracing was my GAME OF SHOW TOKYO GAME SHOW 2006, but that was because TGS'06 was particularly poor.  Everything in the game costs exorbitant amounts of money.  I assume this is to keep you in the game since beside being a mediocre game, it's not sexy at all. It's not erotic to the point that you go, "Wait stop.  What are you doing?  Outside of embarassing yourself?"  

Dead Rising was played so I wouldn't want to even try Dead Rising 2.  That worked out splendidly.  DR is a good game, just I didn't want to play it again.  Killing the mindless hoards was better than in Onechanbara or a Musou game.  Props to that.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was bought because I was trying to spend enough points to get bonus points so I could get Guwange for free.  I never got the points.  I did get Sonic 2 with not perfect emulation.  The sound emulation caused me minor pain.

Deathsmiles was still gripping by the throat when I tried to buy Guwange by being GAME OF THE YEAR 2010.  I talk more about that elsewhere.

Guwange.  I don't even need to talk about this.  You go try it on MAME and tell me if it's worth 10 bucks.  And make sure you play until Toosies the spider-kitty.

Every Extend Extra Extreme is diluting a dilution of an excellent freeware game that might not even be free anymore.

Space Giraffe is the disembodied head of J. Allard.

Ikaruga I almost bought again.  Then I realized the owner of the 360 had my copy of Ikaruga (GC) and I didn't.  I still played the first level over and over and felt satisfied.  For route memorization shooters, Ikaruga can't be beat.

N+ has been outclassed.

Super Meat Boy is delicious.  Each level is so perfectly designed that it is frightening to think how long they were playtested.  It's amazingly heartening to think how long they took until Meat Boy's physics were as perfect as they are.  That other characters even exist, and are even characters from other games is ______.  This game is CAVE STORY OF THE YEAR.  Yeah I know, newgrounds.  Get over yourself.  Play the game until you decide on your own last level.

Omega Five I didn't play enough of.  It had to be one of Hudson's last games

Serious Sam HD: First Encounter is a game about shooting lots of things, in HD.

Gears of War 2 wasn't nearly enjoyable as my memories of playing GoW 1 on a couch in Japan in 2008.  It was actually a very middling experience.  The Lake Monster fucking sucked.  Much like Halo the enemies quirks and patterns made me shrug instead of engaged.  Then again I couldn't co-op it or try the online, so I might have been playing it wrong or just not playing Dog Days instead.

 Samurai Shodown Sen didn't give me a chance, so I didn't give it one.  I tried the first combatant in two different sessions three times each and was pummelled into the ground worse than when I play Super Street Fighter IV.  The game looks nice enough, though I understand why it was in arcades for a grand total of 2 weeks.

Banjo-Kazooie Nuts and Bolts I would have loved to play more of but froze about 40 minutes in twice.  I almost bought it to play more, considering Banjo-Kazooie is one of my favorite games.  I didn't buy that either, though I came damn close a couple of times.  I figured the 360's owner would never touch it. Another TGS memory:

While trying out BKNnB at the Microsoft booth I had a helper who I wasn't helping enjoy his job.  I was mostly seeing how I could fuck around in the demo while he kept giving me broken English advice.  I responded with complete Rare gibberish.  I almost wish someone had recorded that instead of this:

Like I said, it was a bad year at TGS.

Alan Wake actually somewhat inspired me to start this blog based on how amazingly stupid it was when I wasn't playing it.  Alan Wake is a completely unlikable asshole who has to get away from it all.  He enters a middle of nowhere diner that has a fullsized stand in of himself by the door.  He then gets pissed off at anyone that recognizes him.  When's the last time you saw a full sized stand in of a fiction author?

Deadly Premonition I might write about elsewhere.  But is absolutely a lovely experience when it isn't survival horror.  It was dreadful and I almost hate the game because of the survival horror sections.  After Deathsmiles you need it.  Even if the survival horror sections are really really really bad.

Mushihime-sama Futari 1.5 isn't quite Deathsmiles but it's a good Cave game.  It's probably is I could only play a single game at a time before my eyes burst into pain.  Didn't spend a lot of time with a game I could only play a little bit of and then had to lay down for an hour.

Ninja Blade is the best QTE.  It was a wonderful little 5 hour game that had a lot more inspired design than what game journalists would call inspired design.  Consider it and Bullet Witch to take place in the same universe.

Bullet Witch changed video games forever for me.  It was THE MOST IMPORTANT GAME OF 2010.  That it's never discussed with the same reverence of God Hand is almost heartbreaking.

Being given the prompt and using the tornado spell for the first time is amazing.  I watched a city be destroyed in real time.  Then I found out you can use the tornado spell at any time and just about cried.  Then a floating brain threw an 18 wheeler at me.  Then another.  Then I carwheeled between both flaming piles of metal landed and threw a tornado back at them.  The standard for video game entertainment was immediately raised to incredible new heights.

It's amazing that I can allow and enjoy Ninja Blade and Bullet Witch even if they are on opposite ends of the spectrum.  Maybe it's because they are.  Watching with out pretension something awesome, and doing without pretension something awesome.  They both feature invasion of powerful monsters into our world and fights on top of airplanes.  Ninja Blade's final boss is somewhat awkward, while BW is Cavia putting their balls on the table and telling you to stare at them.  Taking that sucker down makes you go, "Yeah I actually did that."

It's also probably another reason I didn't like Vanquish or Bayonetta.


That was a lot of games me!  This article also dates how spread out I was writing some of these.  The next article will almost be not about video games (or at least that's how it is in my head.)  But the result of playing all those games?  It makes me glad I don't have a 360 now because it's suddenly raining shooting games and I'm going to mention how much I love Deathsmiles again and see what you think about that.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Knights in the Nightmare (PSP)

Well this post was certainly in a long time in the making considering I bought this game when it was released in the US.  I sort of put it off because it has just obnoxious amounts of loading particularly at the beginning.

now let's talk about equipping weapons
Here's how to equip weapons.
woah that's great thanks for telling me that!

Then again every single mission is.

status screen.
pre-mission cutscene
flavor text for the area you are fighting in.
2nd pre-mission cutscene.
mission load out
Mission actually starts.

Somehow I enjoyed this game despite this!  So that's a pretty big accomplishment.  Oh another huge complaint.  The second half of the game is completely and utterly frivolous.  You can tell for some reason or another they were told to make the game twice as long.  As soon as you meet the final boss: quit playing.  The following 18 missions are where the level design completely falls apart.

So I can actually talk about the game now:  It's a SRPG-Tower Defense-Bullet Hell-Mp3 Organizer.  Every review I read said the battle system is intensely complicated to understand.  It kind of is, but once you figure it out the challenge sort of evaporates.  It's a really neat system that is extremely confusing for the first third of the game and then you get a hang of it and that's about it.  The game does start at the extreme deep end (the tutorial is kind of worthless.) 

So let's see how I can describe.  You control a little wisp.  It's the soul of a dead king that is trying to take back his kingdom from the head of the Underworld, angels, his backstabbing Cardinal, and the numerous monsters he kills along the way.  The journey to the castle is pretty neat and then it ugh...

You don't have a life bar you have a Timer 60 seconds.  It doesn't drop on it's own.  It only drops when you get hit by enemy bullets or are charging an attack.  You don't attack directly.  You use your now dead loyal knights to attack.  But they don't attack directly you first have to click and drag a appropriate weapon for the knight's class  over to the knight.  Each class can only face two of the possible four directions (which is why the level design completely falls apart because it no longer takes into account the different knights.)

And you don't get just one set of 60 seconds.  There are several rounds to each mission.  Between mission you have a slot machine that comes up to decide your random enemies.  Your goal each time is (on a separate bar) have a straight line of kills.  On a boss it's just to kill the freakmonster.

All the character art for this game is straight-up ultra gorgeous.  It's pretty amazing how much character they get out of a single image for your knights and the villains.

I really did enjoy the first half of the game and strongly recommend if you want to play the most hardcore-instant street cred game you can get.  Fun fact: I had to explain this game to a nurse.  They then said they enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII. 

Getting to the POINT WHERE YOU SHOULD STOP is about 20 hours.  Which is a good length.  Though it's on portable systems, it requires so much concentration it's impossible to play if you're in a place with distractions or life happening.  I guess the later half of the game somewhat soured me, though the first half is pretty great when you don't know what the fuck you are doing but you are trying to survive.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fukubukuro 2010 #2 Call of Demon's Black Ops Souls


after that impressive first start skimming this next one it might not be as good.  But that's what a fukubukuro is all about.  I really do miss playing with my crew, but Black Ops is still utter garbage.  I'd pick up Socom 4 if it wasn't 60 dollars. Oh and if PSN worked.


While I purchased Modern Warfare 2 and Demon’s Souls on their release dates in 2009, I sunk significantly more time into them in 2010.  Thanks to the guy that would let me spend the latter half of 2010 burning through the Xbox 360 catalog, I had good reason to turn on my PS3 each night.  That was two long sentences in a row!  Let’s try and shorten it up.

I’m not sure I can defend Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer.  It’s major problem for those that love it and hate it, is that it does hit scan.  Some games like Battlefield Bad Company 2 have actual in-game bullets.  They fly out of your gun and go into the other guy’s head.  That’s another thing to keep track of in an online environment in which there are a lot of things to keep track of.  MW2 is so streamlined that I can understand why they did hit scan.  Hit scan is sort of like an NES Zapper. 

If I’m remembering correctly, and I’m probably not, the Zapper is simply seeing if it’s placed on a dark spot of the screen.  If it is, then it registers a kill.  Hit-scan works a bit differently.  Through my intensive study of playing the game for eight complete days of my life I think this is how it works:  Every shot fired causes an explosion of math.  This explosion allows for dumb crap like a shotgun blast to someone’s head not hitting them at all.  It also allows for you to get a kill by shooting behind your target. 

So even dudes really really good at the game still have to go, “Really?”  frequently.  It takes the element of becoming good at a game and throws it out the window.  It’s fully possible to have an entire round of getting completely boned by the math.

The alternative to dealing with the math is to use the grenade launcher.  Most people use the noob toob.  MW2 is hip enough to even have a tag that calls it that.  Infinity Ware also put in a few marijuana related tags which makes me think they absolutely understand their audience in a way that Treyarch doesn’t.  Which is weird, because Treyarch used to make Tony Hawk games and Spiderman games filled with love.

While Modern Warfare 2 was MULTIPLAYER GAME OF THE YEAR FOR 2010 FROM 2009 Black Ops (hereafter:Blops) has to be THE WORST GAME I PLAYED 2010 .  Keep in mind I played romsets in 2010.  I played every single US released NES game about 3 weeks before a video of every single US released NES game made rounds.  Last week I went back through what remained of the Game Gear/Master System romset I cleared through in like 2006.  I decided, yeah that still sucks.

Do I even need to talk about why Blops is awful?  Can I just skip to “Demon’s Souls is amazing but here are some problems with it.” ?  I guess I can talk a little about it.  The story is incoherent garbage.  Our speaking hero occasionally shown in third person (good job breaking that precedent for no reasons jerk offs)  has been trapped in a dark room and is being told “What do the numbers mean?” and “Tell me your life history.”

Our hero can’t get the numbers out of his head.  He can’t get them out of his head because he has been trapped in a room and had the numbers broadcast to him on a loud speaker for six hours.  He cuts through the life history which is sometimes about a CIA agent that isn’t him on the other side of the world.  We discover that we’re in the bottom of the pentagon which has been evacuated.  THE PENTAGON HAS BEEN EVACUATED BECAUSE THE FUCKING COMMIES MIGHT AT ANY SECOND BROADCAST THE NUMBERS TO SLEEPER CELLS THAT ARE GOING TO SET OFF BOMBS OR CHEMICAL WEAPONS OR WHATEVER. 

Of course it’s renegade soviets and not the real government soviets.  So our hero is released from his bonds (in which he has had infrequent electrocutions) so he and the CIA guy (who was interrogating him) can go track down the number station (which was on a fucking boat.)  Good thing the boat just happened to be sitting on top of a secret underwater facility at the time.  I’m guessing the real time narrative was something like two or three days.  Plenty of time for the soviets to go ahead and broadcast the codes, or better yet...

Nevermind, the plot is fucking stupid over being incoherent.  The main character also hallucinates for some reason.  Luckily actually playing the game is worse!  You’ve seen the youtube video where the man gets through the first level without firing a shot.  And my “Shoot the Hinges” which is all kinds pointing out how fucking weird the game is.  The second level you don’t even do anything.  It does cut to third person at random times for what you think might be foreshadowing but it isn’t.  Also maybe you think about killing the president?  Then you get a trophy.

Then you’re in Vietnam and fucking Charlie is charging up a hill and you haven’t a fucking clue what you are supposed to do.  So you keep killing Charlie.  And you see Charlie die and then another Charlie run and take that fuckers exact same place.  You can continue to do this forever.  In fact I think everyone that played the game did it forever.  The “solution” to this non-puzzle is so mind shatteringly stupid that lets talk about Demon’s Souls instead.

So guys, Demon’s Souls is pretty great.  I’m sure you’ve heard that before.  If you haven’t Demon’s Souls is fucking amazing.  It has possibly the best level design I have ever seen.  The stages feel like real places, and the wrap around themselves while composing incredible atmosphere.  You will end up somewhere you were before and suddenly the stage will be much shorter in the future.  You might play for a couple of hours and not make any progress, and in terms of your inventory make negative progress.  The game is telling you to play it well.

The online component is also amazing.  The wordless communication is great.  I think I’m going to stop praising the game, because as someone said, you sound stupid doing so.  Everyone needs to play Demon’s Souls.  It’s the reason to buy a PS3.  If you have a PS3 and have not played Demon’s Souls you have a serious problem that needs correcting.

So let’s talk about the negatives.  All the Dragon bosses are scripted affairs that take the magic away.  The first time they are amazing, but it’s like having fun at Disney World and then all the  commericalism crashing down on you.  Actually most of the bosses are dissappointing.  Outside of numbers being higher the game never ups the ante in New Game+.  Everything else is such extremely high quality that the faults of the games are multiple moments of quiet sadness.

I sold BlOps about two weeks after I had bought it.  My crew from MW2 now plays BlOps and sort of sounds like they are in a sub-par relationship whenever they talk about it, but they don’t have anywhere else to go.  I still own MW2, but the PS3 being hacked makes it unplayable online.  I’m waiting for the asshole that can remotely brick your PS3.  Dark Souls might make Demon’s Souls obsolete, and I welcome it.

Korean Post

Now I know what impoverished Koreans eat.  Over by the hospital there is a sizable Korean community with two fullsized Korean Supermarkets.  It's kind of great.  One of them has a cafe in it, but the menu that covers the back wall didn't have Toppogi on it.

So I ended up going to the Korean Cafe next to the Korean BBQ place.  It also didn't have toppogi.  Man I wish I could of had some toppogi.

I've had a bad experience ordering Korean noodles.  In Tokyo I paid 1000 yen for Nong Shim noodles.  Just plain 50 cent Nong Shim noodles and maybe a chopstick full of kimchee.  It was infuriating.

Then in Seoul in a tourist district I ordered noodles in the dead of winter and they were cold clear noodles on ice.  Someone tell me what those clear noodles are so I can curse them to the heavens.  They have just a repulsive texture.

So in this cafe with two Korean women arguing I went with "Hot Spicy Soup."  What I got is probably a good meal in NK.  It was leeks, a raw egg cooked in a plain broth (might have been water) with a scoop of kimchee paste.

I ended up eating half my side dishes (<3 Korea) and my rice. 

I'm going to one of the other cafes in the other tomorrow, because I need my toppogi.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Fukubukuro 2010 #1 Deathsmiles GOTY 2010


Way back in October, I had plans to write my own Fukubukuro, because I would read one if one existed regardless of who wrote it.  Life and Laziness intervened and now it is May 2011.  I did end up writing a few articles of a planned 10.  Maybe this will inspire me to write the others.  I'm not going to bother to re-read the ones I have already written so I'm going to start off our Deathsmiles one with a few sentences I thought of today.


Shooting games have drawn themselves into a nitch that seems pretty hard to get out of.  You have to keep making them harder.  Deathsmiles is great because at any stage it is as easy or as hard as you like.  It brings balance to the genre.  The hardcore and the beginner both have oppurtunity to enjoyment.  You give any normal human being DoDonPachi DaiouJou and by the time they get to the transforming girl robot boss thing and have continued 3 times they might just tell you and the game to fuck each other.


I made a pretty fatal error in gaming in 2008 and 2009.  That was not playing Deathsmiles every possible time I could play Deathsmiles.  I was living in Tokyo, working a job that was paying me sporadically and I couldn’t be damned to care enough to quit.  I ended up not quitting that job until I had to come back to America.

Last time I called the company, it said the line had been disconnected.  I suppose the 3000 dollars they still owed me is also disconnected.  Despite whatever money troubles I was having back then I was still wandering arcades.  Half the time it was to check the theory that every Tekken player had a 50% W/L ratio.  That prove to be right 80% of the time.  Actually playing games in an arcade was regulated to Maximum Tune.

Which is to say, I wasn’t playing DeathsmilesDeathsmiles is moeDeathsmiles was part of why I hated going to Akihabara.

That and a whole host of other reasons.

I didn’t want to control little girls.  I wanted to be a spaceship and fighting robots.  This seems particularly weird in retrospect, considering how much time I’ve sunk into Imperishable Night over the years.  That game has brilliant bullet patterns and even more brilliant music.  IP is from a series of games made by one Japanese guy at one point.  I never really look into the series before or after that.

The man’s music and “universe” is so well respected that whole sections of the Japanese doujin scene are now doujin of his stuff.  The sure mass of purchasable remixes is frightening.  That’s sort of where Akihabara is.  It’s now incredibly recursive.  Haruhi and Lucky Star are anime about pandering to the audience by pandering to the audience.

I’ve been to a few maid cafes.  As a student it was usually to take someone else so they could have the experience.  I guess the last time I went it was the same.  My french friend kept declaring “Yes We Can!”  My American friend kept speaking bad Japanese, I kept speaking jibberish french.  The maid ________ wasn’t understanding any of it.  We were finding ourselves hilarious and glorious.

The maid used her minimal English skills to find out what we were doing in Japan.  I think I said I was homeless, and my friends lived in tea.  Our maid ____ gave a blank look of confusion.  The elevator dinged and suddenly we were Irrashaimase’d and sat at table and a picture menu.  The menu items were named in katakana but equipped with an incomprehensible low quality jpeg of desserts.  I ended up getting a Rabbit sundae and a coke.

The other white person in the restaurant started leaving as soon as he saw as at the elevator.  I love breaking the illusion of Japan by merely existing.  The illusion of this maid cafe was going to start breaking down around us.

At MGM Studios in Disney World, there’s a restaurant where your server is your Uncle.  Your Aunt and Grandma are in the kitchen.  He belittles you, he jokes with you,  you have to say hi and goodbye to everyone else in the restaurant.  It’s a glorious spectacle.  One time I didn’t get what I ordered because my uncle said I needed to eat more.  The staff and the customers are in on the joke at the same level.  The more the customers are in on the joke, the better the experience is.

The reality of my low level Jpeg was made up of just about everything I hate in deserts.  Mango, tapioca balls, and strawberry ice cream.  I ate as much of the 900 yen concoction as I could dare.  Because I was having money problems, and it wasn’t like I was going to drink those money problems away.  Before we could eat the food though, Our server maid had to make our food delicious with a moe~ chant.  We engaged in dialog with the made to make certain that the food would not be delicious until it was moe’d.  The maid, didn’t exactly get what we were going for, and it wasn’t a language barrier.

At maid cafe’s they call you “Master” and are supposedly your maid.  However, as I’m about to prove, it doesn’t exactly work out that way.    Return customers eventually get a photo taken with the maid.  The maid is actually probably slightly less attentive than a family restaurant waitress.  They are also paid less, which is the amazing part of this equation.  Maids (800 yen an hour) must actually like dressing up and serving otaku, otherwise they could be at Starbucks (1000 yen.)   You saw that ice cream price up there right?  Well I also spent 550 yen on a coke.

This coke, even after being made moe~delicious was flat as all hell. It took some doing with terrible non-textbook situation Japanese, but she got the picture.  She took the coke away (all 6 ounces and filled to the brim with ice cubes.)  When my friends had finished their ice cream and had just about realized this situation was mildly depressing and not hilarious she came back to apologize poorly that they could not fix the situation regarding my coke.

“Look, just have one of your ______ go to Don Quioxte and buy a tall can of Coke for 200 yen.  I know they are that much.  Bring it here, and I’ll pretend this was a fun experience.”

I ended up getting that coke myself, depressed, frustrated and with 1500 less yen than I had.  “Don’t think I’m going to do that again.”   The reason the restaurant in Epcot works, is that the roleplay works both ways.  Given how little the maids are paid, it’s even more confusing how the whole enterprise works, and more where the hell is the money going?  My dessert was more than my server’s salary, and it was awful.

A year later, I was back in America, meeting Andrew Toups in Austin after once again missing his show.  I promise I’ll see you eventually on stage again Toups.  I heard they had actually opened an arcade in Austin.  We found it after a boring amount of loop arounds (Keep Austin Weird) .   I ended up watching Toups play Deathsmiles, I held off because of the moe~.  Then I felt like kicking myself because the game looked fantastic.

Outside of being able to play a french maid, the hook of Deathsmiles is that you can shoot left and right.  The screen is set scrolling, and you dance to face enemies coming from either side.  This mechanic and an excellent scoring system makes Deathsmiles:


Six months after that I had a friend’s Xbox and the special edition of Deathsmiles fresh from amazon.  Inside was a faceplate that wasn’t embarrassing because it featured little girls, but because it was a terrible cropped piece of art.  I tore into it day after day.  The moe aesthetic is mostly outside of the game.  You’re still playing little girls in it, but you’re also fighting Death, skeletons, and a giant photorealistic cow.

Each round you’re given a choice of two sets of three stages.  And here is the beauty, you can choose a difficulty rating of 1 to 3.  Level 1 is a very comfortable beginner’s challenge, while Level 3 is just difficult enough without being ridiculous.  In the home port’s 360 mode you’re allowed to chose any mode any number of times.  In Arcade mode (and at an actual arcade machine) you can only choose Level 1 and 2 once for each set of levels, but Level 3 any number of times.  If you choose Level 3 5 times you unlock suicide bullets.  Everytime something dies it throws bullets at you.  The game approaches bullet-hell hard.  If you choose to do the bonus stage, you will likely die in the first minute ascent.

The 360 mode is also equiped with online scoring and replays.  This is probably what influenced me to play the game so much.  Until right before I lost access to the 360 the top spots on most of the boards were not perfect insane runs.  They were imperfect enough for me go, “I can do better.”  Last I checked, I was number 6 on BL Arcade mode, and in the top 10 on several other modes.

One odd thing is that the bosses often do not display their most deadly bullet patterns unless you don’t kill them as fast as possible, which struck me as odd.  Death even has more difficult patterns on the lower difficulties.

I was fighting the glorious cow while my father was in the room.  He for the first time in my knowledge had a look of complete bewilderment at his son.  After I had defeat the cow and the fanservice flashcards came up I expected him to interrogate me about the moe.

“What did that cow do to you?  I don’t think this game has a good moral message!”