Showing posts from September, 2012

Gaming Japan

Before the Mega Drive came along, I thought of Japan as merely the home of Walkmen, chopsticks and Godzilla. The Far East fell well outside of my childhood interests, and it wasn't until I received my second SEGA console that I learnt a little bit more about Japan, and more specifically Tokyo. There were two Mega Drive games in particular that challenged my preconceptions, helping me to build a more complete picture of what was quintessentially Japanese (kabuki sumo and road-kill cows). The first of my 16-bit eye openers was Street Fighter 2: Championship Edition. It was 24 Megs of cultural enlightenment, teaching me all about the lives and customs of people from all over the world: Americans enjoy hanging out on airstrips, Spaniards are adept at climbing chain link fences, Brazilians emit electricity etc. Japan contributed two very different characters, featuring equally contrasting stages. Ryu's was the minimalistic, peaceful and traditional backdrop of a Japanese

TGS 2012: Round-up

Tokyo Game Show is as good as finished for another year. The press are heading home, with only two public days remaining - a weekend best avoided unless you enjoy beefy odours and queuing in a sauna. Much like every other TGS of this generation, this year’s show didn't set the world alight, but there was just about enough to keep us entertained for 48 hours. Sony kicked things off in style with a pre-show press conference, where they failed to even acknowledge the existence of The Last Guardian or announce any new games of note. Instead, they gave us a slimmed down version of the PS3 at a similar price to the current model, a redesign that looks a bit too much like a 90s PC case and will do fuck all to disrupt the winter of Wii U. We will also be getting two brand new colours for the Vita: red and blue. Rumours persist that the Last Guardian team are now the New Vita Colour department, and that it only took them eighteen months to come up with those colours. Bet

TGS 2012 - Preview

You are probably already sick of my complaining about how I'm not in Japan for this year's Tokyo Game Show. This is the first TGS I have missed since 2005 - my press pass email is still marked "unread" - and this is the longest I’ve been away from Japan in some time. It would seem that TGS is prepared to move on without me, but as much as I'd like to deny its existence, I am still looking forward to it. Obviously, my hands-on impressions will be a tad unreliable this year, but I'm still hoping to cover most of the big announcements as part of a week+ of posts all about Japan; this series will include, but will not be limited to TGS coverage. To get us started, here is a TGS preview, with a round-up to follow at the end of the week. I shall now resume smothering myself in Japanese condiments whilst singing the entirety of Utada Hikaru’s back catalogue. *********** Much like E3, Tokyo Game Show has lost some of its luster over the l

Wii U Part 2: Games & the West

My Japanese Nintendo Direct round-up and further Wii U details can be found here It was certainly a busy afternoon for Wii U spotters. From 3pm, we had no less than three simultaneous Nintendo Directs, one for the US, another for Europe and a software focussed, Japanese event. I gave myself a splitting headache trying to keep abreast of all three but it was worth it in the end. We finally discovered (most) of the final details for the Wii U launch and were treated to some significant software announcements. The new Nintendo box will be available November 18th in the US and on the 30th in Europe. The SKUs are the same as those announced for Japan (Basic white and Premium black) with the lower-end model going for $299.99 and the deluxe at $349.99. Due to differing markets, Nintendo did not give a SRP for Europe, suggesting that we check with our local retailers to assess the damage, which is exactly what we did. Amazon UK currently lists the basic SKU at £249 and the premium

Wii U by the Numbers

There were no bananas this time, or wall-mounted Kanji for that matter. This morning's Nintendo Direct Japan was concerned with only numbers, very important numbers, shedding light on the Japanese launch of the Wii U, with European and US details to follow later today. Although it was  Japan  only, it has given us a much better idea of the prices and packages that we can expect later this year. I'm usually terrible at this kind of thing, but I'd hazard a guess that we will be paying over the odds here in the  UK , as per usual, probably around £250 for the basic and closer to £300 for the Premium; at those prices I certainly won't be biting.  Japan  will be getting another presentation later today (3pm  UK  time) which will concentrate on the software, but for now here's the Wii U by the numbers. (I'll probably add to this post later today, to reflect the Western announcements. All information is correct as of Thursday morning, 13/09) 1 - The

Musings of a Gamer XVIII

1. Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimate Box There are so many reasons why I shouldn’t even consider buying the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimate Box. For a start, it's a bit too white and with the exception of Final Fantasy XIV, I already own at least one copy of every game in the set. It overlooks one of the finest games in the series, Tactics, and I really don't want a Mog earring. It's too heavy to be posted and would require a complicated, three man operation to purchase and collect: Japanese credit card holder (wife), willing recipient in Japan (mother-in-law) and me (me). It also costs the best part of £300. I almost never buy collector's editions, as they are usually stuffed with useless shite. With that in mind, I’m almost certain that buying this one would be a mistake, but what a glorious mistake. The franchise has long since gone pear but is still my favoured subject for gaming nostalgia; our relationship covers parts of three fruitfu