Japandemonium - It's Baaaaaack!

Andrew - June '7- 12:00 Central Standard Time

Hey everyone. Just got back from my study aboard time in Japan. Iíll beg your forgiveness for my 8 month mysterious disappearance by making some changes to Japandemonium and forcefully inserting quite a bit of Q&A code to make things more comfortable for myself. In addition to reporting about the weekly news in Japan, Iíll also be answering any of your questions about life in Japan, thus filling out the column a bit more, and fulfilling a deal with the boss about a new column I was supposed to do but never got around to. So send in some questions, eh? And finally, before diving headlong into the news, Iím also holding a contest, because nothing says desperate for readers like giving away rare Japanese figurines.

The figurine being given away is Lloyd Irving, the main character from the upcoming GameCube RPG Tales of Symphonia. Iím giving him away because quite frankly I have two of him(and I think heís been stealing from the liquor cabinet while I sleep). And yes, I know his sword is bendy, I just took it out of the package, just stick the sword under a book or something when you win him. Anyway, to win this coveted figurine that you can brag about to all your friends and uninterested family members, you have two options.

1. Submit a fake preview for a very Japanese game youíd love to see made. Such as a Final Fantasy dating sim or a Godzilla vs. Azumanga Daioh tactical RPG. Severe bonus points for sheer boulderdash and hogwash. Oh, and attention to amusing details of course.

2. For my more artistically inclined readers, the cover art for a fake, very Japanese game youíd love to see made. As always, cat girls earn bonus points/my eternal love/etc.

So there you go. Winners will be declared two weeks from now, so send in your entries quick so I choose you as winner before a higher quality entry comes along. Now, onto the news!

Claire's Comic!
RPGamer's rehiring policy.
What's Andrew watching this week?
School life in Japan.

So no doubt everyone here has all ready heard of Stella Deus, the tactical RPG from Atlus boasting a star studded team of designers and looking generally spiffy all around. Iím sure most of you are still in the unholy grasp of La Pucelle, but nothing wrong with sneaking a peak at your next social life wrecker.

Our hero, uh...Sufueeda. Sufuy's brother(?) Ueza understands, yo. Special attacks! Half-man, all ugly. Disgaea-style Combo attack? Cleaved right through 'em! Reminds me a bit of Chrono Cross...

Iím a big fan of the Persona-style of artwork, and hopefully weíll be hearing about a US release date soon. Hey, am I the only person that finds it more then a little ironic that while Americanís dismiss 2D graphics as being lackluster, the Japanese developers continue to cheerfully ignore them, and like Nippon Ichi with Disgaea, rack in good sales? Oh well...

But speaking of cool 2D Japanese games, thereís one Iíd like to bring to all of your attention, even though youíll probably never have a chance to play it. Maple Story is, if you can wrap your brains around this, a side-scrolling, 2D MMORPG. Where you can fight enemies off with a snowboard. Yes, you read that right. A snowboard.

Pirate Mage in Aztec Ruins?! Perverted elf. Return to Monkey Swamp! Bunny mage vs Aztec Guards Mushroom Park...of DOOM. Styling homies vs mushrooms One-eyed stump wastelands.

Now, maybe Iím crazy, but when I think of American computer games, I picture D&D style hack & slash, or MMORPGs that boast amazingly realistic 3D for $13 bucks a month. And yeah, before I get a bunch of letters pointing me to Ultima Onlineís latest incarnation or everyoneís favorite Engrish suffering MMORPG, Ragnarok Online, that wasnít really my point. What I want from American developers is more games that step out on a limb, that try to mix genres, and stop trying to sell me the same pulled through the mud storyline of save the world from the evil foozle. I mean geez, all Ragnarok really has going for it is itís anime-style graphics, and its been addicting my friends left and right. Real innovation would probably rake in the dough.

The Final Grumble:

So that wraps things up. Iím aware things are light on the news side for my opening column, but this is because Iím not quite sure what you readers want. And while Iím perfectly content to spend my time here insulting stupid American game designers and wishing I could play the latest adorable Japanese RPG, Iíd like to ask my readers if there are any Japanese RPGs that they wish they could spread the love to. Send a letter about'em in, Iíd love to join you in your fanboy/fangirlism, and help pimp the game out to fellow readers.

Andrew Duff Claire Belton

Arr, here be pirates!

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Sources: [The Magic Box]

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