Wednesday, 23 November 2016

PPAP Can Kiss My Ass

I know this isn't video game related but it isn't very often that some kind of strange viral video from Japan pisses me off THIS MUCH.  If you want to watch it yourself go to YouTube and type in PPAP but I will NOT be linking this abomination of a song on this site.

The song itself is a 50 second ditty created by Kazuhito Kosaka under the alias Piko Taro.  The song consists of the dude doing a stupid dance to some background beat that sounds like he ripped it from one of the preset tunes from a cheap electronic keyboard while he sings about apples and pens in English.  The song is shit, his English is shit and ultimately there's no fucking joke.  HA HA! HE SAID SOME WORDS IN A THICK JAPANESE ACCENT THAT MAKE NO SENSE! SO FUCKIN' FUNNY RIGHT?!  I'm not so much upset with the fact that it exists but it's gotten so widely popular that I just can't understand it.  I mean it got to number 2 on a top 100 list for crying out loud, what the fuck is wrong with people?!

Now maybe I'm a bit more adverse to this kind of shit than most because I work with kids and kids are fucking stupid.  Almost every day at work I will catch one of the goddamn kids yelling "I HAVE A PEN!" then laughing it up like he or she is the height of goddamn comedy.  But kids are stupid so I'm not going to hold that against them.  When I start getting pissed off is when I'm trying to enjoy a meal in a quiet bar with a friend on a Sunday evening and we can't hear our conversation because the next booth full of fucking CUNTS next to us are belting out the song so fucking loud that we can't hear our own damn conversation.

I hope this fad dies and then never returns,  Japan produces a lot of unfunny shit that people seem to give a free pass but this is the worst.  Yes I'm mad, yes I'm petty but fuck you PPAP can inhale the shit from my anus like a hookah pipe.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Japan is Occassionally Fulll of Shit Too

I spend most of my time gushing about Japan and Japanese games and I wouldn't be surprised if a reader of this blog thought that I'm one of those insufferable weeaboos who can find no wrong with the country.  Quite the opposite actually but a lot of my problems with the country lie outside the world of gaming so I don't touch on them so much.  However I was recently linked an article by a friend of mine telling me about something gaming related that IS bullshit.

Kamaitachi no Yoru is a viual novel game that I have touched upon a few times on this blog.  It's a series of choose your own adventure stories and especially in the first game, finding out who the killer was in the murder mystery was no easy task, you really had to play a sort of detective role and it was awesome.  The series is famous for not only its story telling but its artistic style where the backgrounds are populated by blue silhouettes that represent the characters.

So this article talks about an upcoming remake of the first Kamaitachi no Yoru which despite being already remade out the arse isn't exactly a bad thing it's a certain change they made to the game that has me foaming at the mouth.

LOOK AT THAT SHIT.  The blue silhouettes are being replaced with fucking stupid anime bullshit in a game that had NO PLACE for stupid anime bullshit.  I'm not against this kind of thing usually but in this series it just doesn't belong.  I sort of had a view of these characters being in their mid 30s to early 40s and now they've been replaced by twats that look like they are on winter vacation from their high school.  Stylistic shit aside, the inclusion of this anime crap detracts from the overall story.  It was a lot more tense and even scary at some points BECAUSE it was just blue people on  the screen.  You came up with your own very idea of what these people looked like and they were much more relatable as a result.  I'm not going to give a shit about MC potentially meeting a gruesome death with the killer if it's just an anime guy but I sure as fuck made every decision carefully when I was playing out the whole thing in my head like a mid 90s TV Drama.

I understand why they are doing it though.  The game is made by Chunsoft, a company that has seen a lot of success with its recent line of Zero Escape games

On the flip side, their recent release of Kamaitachi no Yoru on the Vita was met with not so much success but with it being one of their longest running series it's no wonder they want it to appeal to a modern audience and so, just like Zero Escape, we now have yet another VN filled with anime people.

Nothing is sacred

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Shadowverse First Impressions

A few months ago I was walking through a train station when I saw a big poster for a new mobile game called Shadowverse.  It looked like an exact clone of digital card collecting favorite Hearthstone so until the other day I ignored it.  However due to a friend starting to play I decided to jump on and give it a go and boy Im glad I did because this game is awesome .  

If you have played Hearthstone then you have basically played this.  At its core it's the same game but there have been a few tweaks to the systems which stop it from being an exact clone.  I'm going to start talking about the game assuming you have a basic knowledge of how Hearthstone works so if you don't I'm sorry if you feel a little lost.  

So you do the usual thing of playing monsters with a health and attack value and you use these in conjunction with spells in order to try and bring your opponents life from 20 to 0, just like Hearth.  However this time around the characters don't have active abilities and instead have passive effects that do various things to their decks.  For example there's one character who's cards get stronger depending on how many spells you cast while another who has various abilities depending on how many cards occupy her graveyard.  

Each character has a unique play style and you're bound to find one that matches how you like to play.  

The other big new thing here is the evolution system which allows you after 5 turns to start buffing your monsters for +2/+2 and an added effect if the card has one.  

This allows the monster to attack the turn its played (monsters only, mind you) and can quickly change the tide of a losing battle if you're clever with your evolution points which are limited to 2 for the starting player and 3 for the guy who goes second. 

There are other slight changes but these are the two huge things and everything else is sort of taken from Hearth from there.  Of course there is online play which comes in the form of standard ranked/unranked and 2 pick mode.  2 pick is almost identical to the Area in Hearth but you pick the cards 2 by 2 instead of one at a time.  Also you aren't kicked out of the mode for losing and your reward is based on how many out of 5 you win.  

One thing I really like about this game over Hearth though is just how easy it is to access the content and get cards.  The single play story modes are avaliable from the get go and the game gives you 20 boosters just for clearing the tutorial.  You can get cards by collecting an in game currency which is awarded to you for logging in each day.  I'm still playing the story modes so I'm unsure if online matches provide this currency but even if it doesn't getting cards still doesn't feel like a massive chore like it did in Hearth.

Shadowverse is a quality digital card game that people should give some time to.  This is especially true if you're the kind of person who played Hearth and wasn't happy with some of the direction it took.  I'm playing the Japanese version on my phone but I know there's an English version avaliable on Steam so give it a try!  

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Children and Video Games

Let's talk about the relationship between video games and children shall we?  This is a topic that tends to fill me full of large amounts of rage because every so often an article is brought to my attention about how games are terrible and are "corrupting the youth" and all that shit.  More often than not these articles have two main points which are either games and too violent for kids OR that kids are playing games too much and they have some kind of addiction.  Well let's address those two points.

1) Violence

There is a large portion of gaming which you could quite easily consider violent and there's probably a portion of those violent games that you wouldn't want a child to see.  Take the above picture for example which is a scene from Dead Space 2 where failure results in the hero taking a large metal tube through the face via his eye socket, that's something that maybe you wouldn't want a young child to see.

However, not all violence in video games in made equal.  Take something like Street Fighter for example, it's violent sure but not overly so to the point where a younger audience should be banned from viewing or playing it.  You can't just make a blanket statement that all games are too violent for kids and just ban them from everything, it depends on the game and it also depends very much on the child.  When I was a young lad I was playing Doom on the Sega Saturn, a game FAMOUS for it's high violence levels but now I'm 26 and I've still never shoved a chainsaw through a persons abdomen.

The problem is that people look at a game with it's guns or fighting or whatever and without knowing anything about the games actual content start ragging on it as "unsafe" for a younger audience.  Let's take something like Left4Dead, you can look at that and go "oh well it's full of guns, zombies and death there's no way that it's an appropriate game for kids".  Well I'd argue that Left4Dead is all about team work, resource management and group planning which are skills that would be quite beneficial to pick up at a young age, no?

All games nowadays also have age ratings and guidelines to tell you what sort of audience it's appropriate for and even a vague overview of what some of the themes might be in that title.

 With these clearly labelled on the box you have no fucking excuse.  This is a decent guideline for a parent to get a good idea of what they are buying for their children.  So if they know and trust their child can handle certain themes then maybe they could turn a blind eye to the age guideline and buy a certain title.  However if your child is begging for something like GTA, you ignore the guidelines and then get all shocked when there's guns, sex and gambling in it then you have only yourself to blame.

That's ultimately what it comes down to, the parenting.  If you're raising your kids right, guiding them through every aspect of their lives and helping them grow then there won't be much of a problem even if they do end up seeing or experiencing something a little over their head.  However if you're the kind of shit parent who buys your kid Mortal Kombat and then let them plop in front of it as a distraction so that you can take 5 then don't go acting all surprised when little Jimmy gets set home from school for trying to gouge a kids eyes out with his thumbs.  That's not MKs fault, that's YOUR fault for not helping your kid understand the basics of fantasy and reality, it's not like the box or download page didn't warn you.

2) Addiction

Video game addiction is another stupid topic written by people who usually have no fucking clue but let's just address video game addiction in kids.  It kind of goes hand in hand with what I said in the last paragraph where it all ultimately comes down to the parenting.

Kids are sort of stupid but it's stupid due to a lack of life experience rather than just being uneducated.  You put a kid in front of a video game and they start playing it and having a good time then OF COURSE they are going to want to do just that for the rest of time.  I work with kids and I've been in situations where I'll be playing a classroom game which involves nothing more than a ball and a box and sometimes the younger kids would be more than happy just to play that one thing all fucking day so imagine how intense playing something like a video game must be.  You tell a kid that they have to do their homework or something and of course they are going to be upset when the alternative to crushing boredom is video game fun.

That's why the parents role here is very important.  When I was a child I didn't have any sort of time limits placed on me like the whole "2 hours a day" which is what I've seen some websites argue.  For my parents it was all about helping me understand priorities.  Sure, I didn't WANT to do my homework but if I didn't do it then I'd get in trouble which may lead to detention which may lead to a greater deficit of gaming time so I knew that if I wanted to enjoy myself then I had to get the important shit done first.  "Business before pleasure" is what my mother always used to say and if your kid isn't getting their priorities straight then that's on you as a parent for not teaching that to them.

But you could argue that even if they do get all their important shit done and the ONLY thing they are doing is video games then that's just as bad.  Well once again that's also a parenting issue because like I said before, kids are dumb, they don't know where to go looking for things that pique their interest, they are completely reliant on you as a parent for that.  Sure, video games were my main thing growing up and even now but my parents were constantly poking me with suggestions for other things to do.  All sorts of suggestions, most of which didn't take till later and some didn't take at all but the point is they were TRYING.  While you as a parent shouldn't rely on games for this it can happen where the content of a game may inspire some kind of other interest.  For example the initial reason for me wanting to learn Japanese was because my dad bought me a copy of Panzer Dragoon Saga and I was exposed to this other language that I thought was cool and now I can speak Japanese, live in Japan and have a nice job.  Like I said before, you can't just slam them in front of the TV and expect that stupid box to do all the work.


The bottom line is that it comes down to parenting.  If you're a good parent who can teach your kid to live like a normal human being then they will turn out OK.  Even if they aren't massively successful in later life, but at least as people they will be OK which means they probably won't be completely fucked even if they do grow up to be lazy or whatever.

Any parent who blames ANY medium be it games, movies, books or TV for some kind of adverse effect on their kid is essentially admitting they have failed as parents.  If your kid is violent it's YOUR fault for not properly teaching them how to respect other people.  If your kid is "addicted" to gaming then it's YOUR fault for not teaching them how to have a sense of self control and understand moderation and trying to scapegoat just shows how irresponsible and how unready you were to have that child.  Don't rag on my hobby because YOU suck at life.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Time Crisis 5 Stages 4-6

So a long while ago I blogged about the latest iteration in the famous rail shooting series Time Crisis 5, here's a reminder

One thing that I said that pissed me off about this game was the fact it wasn't finished and cost twice as much as every other game in the arcade.  Well, I'm not sure when it was released but the final 3 stages were added AND the game got a price drop to the standard 100 yen per play.

The game itself is just standard rail shooter fair and the new dual pedal system to peek out from 2 different angles is fun albeit a little tiring.  For example there's a cool boss fight where an NPC ally is fighting with the enemy in close quarters and you have to use the two pedals to change your vantage point on their battle and hit the enemy rather than your ally.  There's not MUCH penalty for hitting the guy other than minus score but I suppose if you're doing a run of the game where you are trying to get a high score then this scene would be extremely challenging.  There's also a sniping section where you have to kill dudes before they set off an alert which was pretty fun so the game does a fair bit to mix things up.

The other cool thing is that the game saves you progress via the Sega Aime IC Card so if you had already finished stages 1-3 in a previous session like I had done, you could opt to start right from stage 4 and not have to waste your credits battling through parts of the game you had already played through.  One thing I forgot to mention in my previous post on this game is that the game also has achievements in the form of Medals that will be displayed when you finish a run.  If you have the card scanned then these achievements will carry over to all playthroughs so there is a way to sort of 100% Time Crisis 5.

I've been playing these sort of games since I was a very young child and its nice to see that even now they are still doing well and companies are still making them.  If you ever have a  chance to try Time Crisis 5 I'd fully recommend it but don't be too sad if you can't get a go on it because TC2 is still the best one.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Universal Studio Japan Horror Night 2016

I recently took a day off work to check out the Halloween Horror Night at Universal Studios Japan and while it wasn't Resident Evil themed this year I thought I'd still say a few words on the thing.  I would just like to point out before I start talking about the Halloween night is that the true winners for scariest park attraction were the roller coasters.  I have a fear of heights so while these things weren't making me lose any sleep, those roller coasters more than made up for my yearly dose of Halloween Horror.

The first event that I went to as part of the evening was the Chucky Horror Factory.  This was a sort of standard walk through horror house, lots of jump scares and dudes in costumes screaming at you as you turn around corners.  Nothing special, not particularly freaky but I thought that, and this is true for all the horror houses, the props and effects were pretty well done.

After that we checked out the Japanese horror house which was called Tatari

This was a another haunted house which was apparently cursed and full of evil dolls that wanted you dead.  We were organized into groups of six and made to hold a rope as we proceeded through the area with a bunch of randoms.  The person at the front of the queue was given a little piece of paper at the start and we were told to place it on a thing to get rid of the curse in the house.  From there there was lots of spooky rooms filled with dolls and people jumping out and begging for their lives before they got dragged back into the set to be killed off.  I feel like I've already seen this kind of thing before playing Fatal Frame but it wasn't bad by any means.

From there we we went into the Exorcist and Nightmare on Elm Street houses which were similar to Tatari in the way you had a hold a rope with a bunch of randoms and walk through the area only this time they were themed on their respective movies.  Out of those 2 the Exorcist attraction was significantly better because the set was a bit creepier, the scares were more efficiently set up and there was a little bit of interactivity with the visitors as one guy had to flick water on the girl in the bed.

What's weird is that all these attractions are given a sort of scariness rating.  Tatari was rated 5/5 and Elm Street/Exorcist was given a 4/5.  However, in my opinion the best attraction they had was the Sadako (The Ring) horror show which was only rated 1/5.

This took place in the building they use for the Terminator 2 show and starts out much the same with with a representative from Cyberdyne trying to give a presentation about how cool all their futuristic shit is.  Of course the presentation gets taken over by Sadako and things start to get all fucked up.  What made this superior to the horror houses, at least in my opinion, is because it's a sort of sit down show type thing there's less of a reliance on jump scares and a bit more work was spent on building atmosphere.  After Sadako there was a similar performance based on a series of books/movies called School Horror Stories or 学校の怪談

This was a "4D" thing where the chairs go up and down and the seat in front of you spits water at you when someone gets their shit wrecked on screen.  Not incredibly scary but still pretty entertaining to watch although the horror in this series seems to be a lot more in your face than Japanese horror usually is.  There was one other event that we missed in the Harry Potter area called Death Eater Attack which we missed but according to a friend of mine who caught it said it was highly entertaining.

If you're looking for a genuinely scary experience then Universal is probably not the best place to go but it's still an entertaining day out.  From my experience of living in Japan for a while, the Japanese are a little sensitive to horror themes and I was having more fun at the reaction of the people in the attractions with us than actually being scared of anything myself.  Still, it was a lot of fun and I'd probably do it again next year!