Archive for September, 2009


More news!

September 28th, 2009

Got my B’s Log, so here’s all the newest news! It took OVER A WEEK to get the magazine from Amazon, this time there’s no excuses Amazon!! No other mags, no obscure manga, nothing – so why did it take so long? Who knows. But it’s here now, so on with the announcements!

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So I have some new game posts to make, with scans and all that stuff, should be a busy week!

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Kin’iro no Corda 3 coming next spring!

September 27th, 2009

For the PS2 and PSP. One word – Awesome! Looks like this time the objective is a national competition.

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Grimm coming this winter

September 17th, 2009

Zettai Meikyuu Grimm, the very cute-looking (but stylized as well) new game from Karin Entertainment, is coming out this winter for the PSP. Oops, I thought it was going to be for the PC or PS2!

Very cool though, especially since the site specifies 2009, not 2010! I haven’t played their most recent game, Exorcism of Maria, yet (more because tons of games came out at the same time), but this game caught my eye as soon as they announced it and I think I’ll try to pre-order it.

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S.Y.K. – Fandisk coming in 3…2…

September 9th, 2009

I’m playing S.Y.K. ~Shinsetsu Saiyuuki~ right now, determined to finish everyone so I can get Gokuu – yes, to get his true ending apparently you need to finish everyone else first! Well, the number of characters is small (3 or 4, I’m not sure if the ‘kakushi’ character counts), so it’s not horrible – just enough to make me determined to do it ASAP!

The game is set up a bit like a TV series – there are 12 chapters, and near the beginning and end of each the theme songs play. Also, there’s a ‘Next episode!’ teaser after each chapter (until you get to the character-specific ones, usually 9 or 10). The first time playing takes much longer than subsequent playthroughs, especially since after the first time, you can choose to completely skip the first two chapters (basically the character intro and setup chapters).

Each chapter is a mix of story dialogue and ‘gameplay’, where you choose a point on a map and then go through events for it. The event is usually someone asking for help, you choosing to help or not, and then choosing which of your comrades will help them. This will increase their affection level, and if it’s successful, your ‘toku’ level will also increase. Toku is kind like the miko level in Hiiro no Kakera, except here I think you can raise it as much as you like. There are also character events, and then the main event of the chapter.

So far my favourite character is Gyokuryuu. Though there’s hardly any romance in his route, he’s touchingly devoted and his story was, for me, the most emotional. And he’s just so cute, with his semi-bloodthirstiness and amorality! That sounds wrong, but once you play you’ll know what I mean (plus, Miyata Kouki is excellent voicing him).

The art is, as you would expect from Otomate, beautiful, both the regular art and the CGs. There’s quite a lot of narration, sometimes I get bored and don’t read all of it, but it definitely gives the story volume. And I *think* they re-used some music from Hiiro no Kakera – I mean to go back and check later, but some of the background music sounds awfully familiar. I don’t really mind, it’s nice music, and they do have several new tracks (and of course the OP and EDs are new).

So far I’m really enjoying it – the guys are all very different, and it’s fun to see their different approaches to solving the same problems. They also do a lot of fighting and joking with each other, and some of the dialogue is quite funny. Also, you find out different things about the guys in each route – since the heroine was actually the original Sanzou Houshi 500 years ago, the four companions are all also reincarnations of the original four…or something like that ;)

Oh yeah, the title of the post? Even after playing for only a few days, I’m sure this game was designed with a fandisk in mind. There are at least 3 characters I’d really like routes for that don’t have them, and at least 2 more that are possibilities.

So fine, Otomate, make your fandisk and I’ll buy it, darn you! I’ll even take a guess at when the fandisk will come out…hmmm…I’ll say January/February 2010.

Anyone else out there playing this? Who’s your fave so far?

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Why is voice such a big deal in otome games?

September 3rd, 2009

First, a long introduction (if you want the short version, skip about six paragraphs).

I’ve played video games since I was around 4 years old, back when they were just starting to become mainstream. Donkey Kong, the original Super Mario Bros., the first Final Fantasy – I played them and loved them (ye gads I’m old!).

I always gravitated to the ones with more story than action – Final Fantasy and King’s Quest (anyone remember that?), though there were some exceptions (I was pretty awesome at Mortal Kombat II). What did I like about them? Well, I love fantasy in general, and RPG’s were usually set in a fantasy world. But more than that, I love stories. I love seeing characters interact with each other and overcome the odds to save the world (or save the princess).
I loved this game.
I took a break from gaming in university, but eventually, once I had a job and some free time, I was tempted into buying a PS2. What game did I buy first? Final Fantasy X. Not only did the graphics look pretty, but I remembered the sense of adventure from the original, and the fascinating characters from Final Fantasy VII (which was, coincidentally, the last game I played before my break).

And boy, FFX did not disappoint. Not only did it have an epic storyline and interesting characters (Yuna wasn’t my favourite, but Lulu? kickass!), but they TALKED. With real voices! At the time, this wasn’t common at all, and it was amazing how much difference it made. It hugely increased the feeling of being immersed in the story, and though some of Tidus’ soliloquies seem overdone now, the first time I played through it they really got to me. Voice acting can convey so much more emotion and tone than plain text – as anyone who’s gotten into a fight on the internet over something intended as a joke can attest to.
Pretty!

A couple years later, I bought a Japanese PS2, mostly for RPGs. While I was browsing the import game website, I saw a game that had, instead of the usual army dude or swordsman, a group of cute anime guys just…standing around. One had a microphone. When I finally figured out it wasn’t a BL game, I ordered it, though I had some doubts. Of course I was familiar with shoujo manga (in a previous incarnation I was even more obsessed with shoujo manga than I am now with otome games), and had heard about ‘dating sims’, but really, it seemed so cheesy, and kind of…pathetic. I mean, trying to date guys in a game? But whatever, I thought I’d try it.
The game that changed my life…
When I first started up the game, I was unimpressed. It was just a simple background and dialogue window, and the characters didn’t even move. But soon enough, I was sucked into the story, and by the time the first minigame came (yes, I was lucky enough to get a first game that had a really fun minigame mechanic! And it was even integral to the story!), I was enthralled. The adventure aspect of the game also hooked me – I loved being able to choose how my character interacted with the others, and going down different paths depending on what I did and said. And I actually loved the romance aspect – so many times in shoujo manga I had wished for the heroine to pick the nice guy instead of the jerk (and occasionally vice versa), and now I could make the choice for her! Heaven! Of course, since I’m kind of a completist, I’d usually try to go through all the routes, but even then, it was a choice, and if I didn’t like how one route ended, there was always another I could think of as the ‘real’ ending.

But other than the fun story and the choice thing, the one aspect that made the difference between me just thinking, “this is okay”, versus falling in love with the genre like I did, was the voice acting. Few people would argue that Japanese voice actors are excellent, and if it wasn’t for the voices, the otome games we play would seem really watered down. Fans often complain about the Neoromance games not being full-voice (including me, I want more!). Often voice is significantly cut for portable versions (especially on the DS), and fans have definitely complained – when Otometeki Koi Kakumei was adapted to the PC after having voices cut for the DS version, the publisher made a point to announce that voice would not only be restored, but increased. In fact, in my unprofessional opinion, that’s one reason why the PSP is getting a good number of otome game adaptations rather than the DS – it has more memory for voice files, as well as better sound.

I took a look at the first-ever otome games to figure out when voice acting was added as a feature. I mean, Final Fantasy X was released in 2001 and was the first FF title with voices. I figured otome games couldn’t have been much farther ahead. Well, turns out I was wrong. The first otome game, Angelique (1994), didn’t have voice acting, but its first adaptation, Angelique Special2, did – just a year after the original’s release.
Otome games, kickin’ it old-school

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