Once again I am amazed how quickly a week goes by. I am especially amazed at how fast time has flown considering that my wife is still in China. Since I've not transferred to my new Bust Buy yet, I've been doing a lot of reading and watching my pet turtles. It's really interesting to have two of the same kind of pet; I'm amazed at how different their personalities are. Only when you have two nearly identical pets does it become apparent just how different they are.
As for the reading, I recently finished The Davinci Code by Dan Brown. Not surprisingly, the book is much, much better than the movie, but that's only because I disagree with what they did to one of the characters in the movie. But the book was good enough to prompt me to read Angels and Demons, a prequel of sorts to The Davinci Code that is quite good and better in some ways. For those of you that are looking for a good book, either will do nicely.
In gaming news, I somehow discovered a review copy of Blade Dancer in my swag bag from E3. I remember picking up a copy for someone else, and then I gave it to our PR manager to be given to the reviewer. But somehow, the game has reproduced, and I have a copy of it now, too. Honestly, I'm baffled how this happened, but who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth? I haven't started it yet, but you can look forward to some of my impressions in next week's column.
As for this week's column, it literally means 'envy' in English. Why am I envious? My mother finally got a computer for herself. After all the computers she's bought my brother or me, she took my advice and get herself a new Apple MacBook. I am amazed at how much better it is than my PowerBook. Not only is it blazingly fast, but the screen is of cinema-display quality. And as if that wasn't enough, the thing gets about twice the WiFi reception as mine. We have our base station in the center of our house, but I lose signal when I get to the furthest point. She has a minimum of three bars of WiFi at any point and normally has a full four. If anyone has been debating on whether or not to buy a Mac, now is the time; the new Intel Macs are simply amazing. I'm really happy she finally got a computer that wasn't handed down from me, but I am a bit envious. It makes me wish I had an extra $1500 sitting around to pick one up for myself.
As for this week's column, I'll go ahead and explain a bit about the length. Japandemonium covers things that are exclusive to Japan. When games get announced for North American release, they no longer fall under its coverage. Sadly, this means that I am unable to give a full column, but I'd rather post a very tiny column than no column. Here's hoping for a full load next week.
That said, let's get this very short party started!
The chart this week was a bit emptier than I had expected; at least one of the titles that had been holding its own at the bottom of the chart was missing. But on second look, it's not as bad as it could have been. Eight games made the chart, and one of them even took the top spot. But from there, they were somewhat evenly spaced all the way down. It may be some time before the chart gets back into the double digits.
Though it's not as impressive as some of the past charts, let's see those numbers!
Tomy is making a 3rd RPG based on the Naruto anime. Titled Naruto RPG 3: Reijyuu Vs. Konohashoutai. The game will have a full cast of familiar characters, and like nearly all other DS RPGs, the game will make full use of the touch pad.
Naruto RPG 3 will hit Japanese shelves on July 13 for the standard 5040 yen. In the meantime, enjoy these scans taken from V Jump magazine.
It seems this week was both a slow week for letters and news. If news is slim next week, I'm going to have to bank on a nice, full Culture Corner to carry the column next week. If you've been holding back on a question, now'd be a good time to send it. I post all letters in the column, so don't think you won't see it in the next one. Everyone is ensured a reply.
You said Twilight princess felt awkward to you rather
it was the most disappointing thing about the show??
Well I thought I should mention that twilight princess
is a gamecube port you know....it was slated originally
for the cube and it wasn't necessarily intended to be a
Wii game up until a few months ago. Give the devil
his due cause the real WII Zelda game should roxxor us
when they develop it specifically for the wii.
Yeah, I know Zelda is a gamecube game. I just also had such extremely high expectations for that game. When I saw it during the press conference, I was blown away. Watching him aim the bow via the controller like that was something that looked really exciting, but when I tried it, it was awkward. But I want to reiterate that I was standing right next to the console. If I were about ten feet away from the thing, aiming would be a lot more precise. Also, they've got a few months to tighten the thing up a bit, so I'm not worried. I'm still planning on getting the Wii version. I was just expecting it to be eleven kinds of awesome, and I only got about six awesomes, if that makes any sense. As high as my expectations were for it, it'd be hard NOT to be let down a little. But if I contrast it with Super Mario Galaxy, I can see that games made specifically for the Wii will be simply amazing and intuitive. I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it.
Thanks for the letter!
Howslife? Thanks for answering my questions last week. As for that story,
you're right it's not that funny, but probably fun to look back at when
you've experienced something like that yourself! It's weird a children's
book can be hard. I always hear stories of people teaching themselves a
foreign language using children's books, comics and shows like Sesame
Street. Do they have shows like Sesame Street in Japan (or even a
translated version) or are all children's show animated?
I knew a guy who always thought that the I (capital i) was a l
(non-capital) when he was little (in the font Arial the look the same), so
there were some pretty weird words when had to read out loud from books
and nobody really noticed why or what he was doing wrong! In Japanese,
because most names are Japanese words, did it ever confuse when you read a
story. Like you suddenly there's talk about a mountain, only to realize
later on it's a name? Or do they use different characters or such for
names, so it's easy to identify whether it's a name or not. Because here
in the West, we have capitals, so if your name was Mountain, it would have
a capital M to make sure people understand it's a name (or something
So E3 was fun? Did you discover hidden gems between it? Games nobody would
here of, but looked or played pretty cool?
The question of SpaceDrake got my thinking, do Japanese people like
non-linearity in their games? Because it seems (correct me if I'm wrong)
that most RPG's and adventure games from Japan are linear, while American
games are mostly non-linear. Even though they come up with non-linear
(or elements) RPG's (correct me again of I'm wrong, but it doesn't seem
that many games), like Unlimited Saga, they aren't really the most popular
games. If you know what I mean? You wouldn't see a game like GTA be made
by Japanese company. (And MGS is still pretty linear I think) Or am I
wrong in this? And if not, why is it actually?
About Anime Conventions, are there different ones (one for cosplay, one
for manga, etc.) or are they mostly the same (covering everything)?
I think that's it.. Thanks for answering my questions and have a nice
PS. If you're moving again, what will be your new job?
"We all know that birds fly, but now can
you tell me where they are actually flying to??"
Japan's got lots of children's shows. They have the full spectrum of live action with puppets to animated to claymation. One that sticks in my head was Jam the House Snail. It was a claymation show with a snail with a literal house on its back. The episode I watched involved a wind storm blowing her up in the air and having her fly. I also remember one more similar to Sesame Street, but I can't recall the name. And I think a lot of people are familiar with Domo-kun. I think he has a children's show. And if not, by golly he should.
As for recognizing names, you have to remember it's Japan. There's almost ALWAYS something stuck on the end of a name. In children's books, it's almost always 'san', but it can also be 'chan'. They begin reinforcing the honorifics immediately.
E3 was LOADS of fun. There were some pretty fun games that are independent at this point. One cool one was called Unleash the Fury. It's something like a mixture of Magic the Gathering, Unreal Tournament, and a fantasy RPG. I hope it gets published. And while not quite a hidden gem, I was GREATLY impressed with Mass Affect, and I've never really been into Bioware stuff before. It's hard to sum up E3 because there is simply so much to see and do. Suffice it to say that it's just really, really cool. I didn't play as many games as other staffers, but I got to meet with just about every company that makes RPGs. And when I go again next year, I hope to repeat that.
As for Japanese preferring linear games, I'd say there is something to that. The Japanese seem to like deep stories with a set beginning and ending. Not only is this evident in games, but you can also see it in anime or manga. Few anime go on forever; in fact, most only last 26 episodes. While I'd never really considered it before, I think you're right that it seems to contrast with the American games that are much more open-ended. And yes, MGS IS linear. Quite linear.
Anime conventions all have manga. There are comic conventions, but they're normally for American comics. But there are also conventions for manga-ka, the artists behind manga. That's a bit different though.
And for your last question, I'm sticking with Best Buy. The discount is too good for me to quit just yet. I'll be transferring.
Thanks for the questions. I'll be looking for your letter next week.
I was hoping for a longer column, but sometimes things don't work out as we'd like. Here's hoping for a real column next week.
Catch you on the flip,