Category Archives: Gamer Logic

Learn Japanese to Survive! Katakana War

One thing I’ve wanted to do since I started importing games was to learn the Japanese language.  I’ve bought books when I visited Japan in Epcot and they’ve helped out somewhat, but I’ve never really been a bookworm.  Recently during the last Steam sale I purchased the two games in the Learn Japanese to Survive series to see if they help.  And here are my thoughts.

You play as a new transfer student who wants to learn the language, but you’re not alone.  You’ll meet characters like Owen, Tia, and (my waifu) Charlotte.  The three run into Obake (Japanese ghost) in the shape of Katakana letters.  The teacher, Daisuke, shows up and takes them out, he then takes his new students to the classroom and our first lesson begins.

The game is chapter based, and at the beginning of each chapter you learn five, sometimes ten, Katakana characters.  The games is meant for you to have a notebook handy as you write down each character.  You’re able to hear how each is pronounced and how they’re written.  After that you’re given a mini quiz on what you just learned.

After that your free to roam around the map, but there’s always a main objective.  It can be as simple as defeat a certain number of enemies or find a way into a certain location.  The battle system is pretty basic, your character on one side and enemies on the other side.  All the enemies are Katakana characters that you’ve learned.  They can only be defeated by using the correct letter, otherwise your attack does nothing.  You’ll learn Magic as you progress, where you’re able to either buff your party up deal damage to enemies, the catch is enemies can’t be defeated by magic only, you still need to attack with the right letter.

There are plenty of side quests in the games where you’ll usually need to head to some location and defeat a certain enemy or buy an item for them.  You’re rewarded with not only Bonus Crystals for character upgrades but they’ll teach you some Japanese words.  During each chapter you can run around the map and go on dates with each character.  Doing so will increase their stats but going on three dates will give that character a special buffing spell they can only use once per battle.

I had fun playing this.  It’s a game that serves it’s purpose, getting you the player to learn Japanese.  I did notice slow down when after that third date, the transition where the character gets their buff, chugged for about a minute and a half but that was about it.  The game was pretty easy, I think only once or twice did I have a character die in battle.  You get plenty of money for items like potions and antidotes, and new weapons and armor.  It’s about $7 on Steam which won’t really break the bank.

-Marcus

 

What makes a gamer a gamer?

Happy September, my gaming friends! It’s getting to the season of happenings, such as the start of school, Halloween, and the SEASON OF SICKNESS. Here on the Illinois and Wisconsin border, everyone and their mother has been getting sick! I was of course a causality to this, which is why last article I brought you back into the past and showed you an old Sonic Heroes review I had written years ago. But since then, I have healed! Hazaah!

As you can imagine, being sick not only took me away from my computer, but I had to spend a lot of time in bed. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to a TV in my bedroom, so I was left to play with my favorite bed time gaming device: my 3DSXL! While my 3DS game section of my collection isn’t lacking, I unfortunately had already played almost all my games. I tried starting a new file on Yo-Kai Watch 1 & 2, and it just didn’t feel right starting a game with a story when I was too tired to focus. Sure, I had some short indie games to play but they’re, as I said, short. Nothing could keep my attention for more than 20 minutes at a time. I shuffled through my games, until I came across a game that I had bought but never really got into; Style Savvy: Trendsetters.

“EM. What the actual hell, you are NOT going to tell me about some sissy girly game, are you? Don’t you just play dress-up with dolls? BORING. It’s not even a real game!” Well, thoughts in my head that I assume I’m sharing with my dear readers, no. I’m not going to talk about Style Savvy– at least not today. You see, when I started playing SST, my mind flashed back to all the times I’ve heard people say that girly games, simulators and even some phone apps don’t count as real games and that the people who play them can’t be called gamers. I couldn’t help but wonder why a lot of the gaming community thinks that, so I’m here to break some stuff down with you all and see if we can figure out if liking and playing games that may not be challenging or played on a typical gaming device makes you less of what we call a gamer.

We’ll, let’s go to Google for a second. I looked up ‘gamer definition’, and it told me that a gamer is “person who plays video games or participates in role-playing games.” Well, what qualifies as a video game? I looked that up as well, and Google said that it was “a game played by electronically manipulating images produced by a computer program, on a television screen or other display screen.” Some examples of an electrical display screen that come to mind are projectors, a TV, monitor, tablet, a phone, hand held device such as a 3DS or even a knock-off brand gaming system, and more. So by the definitions provided to us, phone game apps are considered games. So are FPSs, RPGs, JRPGMMOs, indie games, puzzle games, dating sims, simulations, genres of all shapes and sizes no matter how odd, bland or educational they may be.

What have we learned though? We learned that all games are different, and that gamers should all bond over how they all get enjoyment over silly pixels on a screen rather than fight over what pixels are better than others. Odds are that if something is labeled and sold as a game, it’s a game no matter how bad and horrid it may be (MOST of the time).

Some people play God of War, and some people play Cooking Mama. Anyone can play League of Legends for hours on end, and then finish their night playing a dress-up game like Style Savvy or a phone game like Candy Crush in bed on their 3DS or phone before they sleep. We’re all one in the same, and we should all step back and see that we should all unite, not fight.

So next time you meet someone who says they like games and they give examples like Nintendogs, Bejeweled or some fashion game they downloaded on their phone for free off the app store, remember that just because they may be in a different part of the gaming community than you, doesn’t mean they aren’t part of the community at all. Who knows! Maybe you can tell them about some of the games you like and make a new friend, or even take a second to learn about why their game is so special to them!

Until next time!

-Em

Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust

Switching it up this time.  I wanted to talk about the first anime movie I bought when I was a teen, Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust.  I love watching it every now and then because the story I can’t give a single crap for, it’s basically Twilight with a body count.  The soundtrack and the action scenes are pretty much what drives the movie forward.

It begins with a woman named Charlotte being abducted by Meier Link, a vampire nobleman.  Her father Elbourne, hires D to bring her back.  He gives D $500,000 as a down payment and $10 Million to complete the job.  D isn’t the only hunter that El hired, he also the Marcus Brothers (Clan in the Manga) who have a head start.  The brothers are Borgoff, the leader who uses a wrist-mounted crossbow, Kyle, the sarcastic one who uses a bladed boomerang, Grove (Groveck), who is bed ridden, but with a serum can cast out his spirit and fire Holy lights at his target., and Nolt is the big strong one that swings a giant mallet that resembles a stake.  There’s also a woman traveling with them named Leila.  When first see the brothers and their female partner entering a town trying to get information from a drunk.  The drunk turns out to be a werewolf and the promptly take him out, that wakes up the neighborhood full of zombies, which get squashed in mere seconds.  After that, Borgoff hears someone riding a horse in the distance, he waits it out and fires an bolt straight at D,and this was badass, D catches the steel bolt, snaps it in two and then stares down Borgoff.  Borgoff introduces himself and asks for our hero’s name, and simply says D, before riding off.   After crossing the desert, D finds the carriage at a Shelter.  He then proceeds to screw with the the laser-shooting eyeball security by flicking seeds in different directions, letting him pass.  D searches for the door when Leila shows up with a bazooka, forcing the door to open and the carriage to retreat.  D catches up to it and Meier exchange dialog and then fight.  He tells D to leave and she’s her by her own will, D obviously doesn’t believe him, manages to get a hit in and just when’s about to finish him, Charlotte yells out Meier’s name, distracting D, and hitting D managed to get away.

 

The Marcus Brother talk about how when Vampires get into trouble, they seek asylum with the Barbarois, a kind of demonic protection service.  The brothers then spot the carriage and start attacking it, but it’s a trap.  It turns out to be a giant cloth.  It was setup by Barbarois member, Benge, and master of illusion and can travel quickly by entering shadows.  Benge then promptly stabs Nolt’s shadow, killing him, but not before he attempts one last swing.  Nolt’s last words are warning his brothers to watch out for the shadow.  D makes his way into the Barbarois and talks to the Old Man in charge.  D asks that they stop their protection on Meier Link and he asked if he can pay him off.  The Old Man admires D’s bravery and declines his offer.  Meanwhile, Borgoff injects Grove with the serum.  Just then, the best scene in this whole movie happens, Grove shows up, in spirit form, and lays waist to most of the Barbarois, D follows after the carriage but Grove blocks him.  One sword slash to Grove later, and his spirit is back in his body.  D catches up to the carriage but it’s another one of Benge’s trap, killing his horse and our hero is entangled for the time being.  The Brothers literally run into another Barbarois member, Caroline.  She’s pretty much a demonic version of Poison Ivy.  She hides underneath the Brother’s tank and turns it into Swiss cheese.  Kyle and Borgoff get out of the tank and spot Benge.  Cut back to D who finally woke and uses his left had (which has a parasite in the shape of a face) and swallows up the spell.  Kyle quickly dispatches Benge as he’s climbing up a power pole.  Meier reads a letter he received from Countess Carmilla that she’s willing to help him and Charlotte.  D crosses another desert, and heads into town where we see Kyle and Leila getting fuel.  Kyle heads back while Leila decides to get her drink on.  She talks to the sheriff saying there’s a dhampir (vampire/Human) into town.  I really hate the English voice acting in this part, the pronominal Dhampir as Dunpeal and I’m sure it was a translation F@$* up but It makes the sheriff sound like a dumb reddneck.  D enters the stable and buys a horse from and old man.  Just then the sheriff and his men show up.  He basically says “We don’t Need no stinkin’ Dunpeal in our town”. The old man tells the sheriff that he and some kids were once saved by a Dhampir when he was young and hated the way he was treated.

Meanwhile, the other Barbarois member Mashira (werewolf), is resting the horses.  Charlotte walks out of the carriage to get some sunlight.  She spots D and he asks her to come with him.  Leila shows up to try and slap some sense into her but gets attacked Caroline.  D chases after but because he’s been out in the sun all day, is basically getting Heat Stroke.  He slices up Caroline and hides in the shade and digs a hole to bury himself so he can sleep.  Leila finds D, and walks away for a bit when she gets attacked again.  She throws a dagger straight through Caroline’s head when lightening strikes and kills her.  Leila watches over D.  Leila reveals that her parents were killed by werewolves and she blames herself, years later she joined up with the Marcus Brothers and became a hunter.  She says she’s so alone and doesn’t think anyone would mourn her if she died.  D says he’ll bring you flowers to her funeral if we survive this.  The next morning, Kyle and Borgoff spot the carriage heading for the Castle of Chaythe, where Carmilla resides.  They’re plan to stop them by blowing up the bridge.  They managed to get some explosives off and stop the carriage.  Kyle tries to get Charlotte out while Mashira takes a few bolts and falls off the bridge.  Meier walks out, burning alive, to get her back.  She escapes Kyle’s grasp and runs toward Meier, ripping out one of the bolts and contemplates killing herself, Mashira returns and slices up Kyle, killing him.  Borgoff says the hell with it and jumps off the bridge, little does he know that the tnt he placed got ripped off and explodes just as he jumps off.  Mashira then fights D and lets the carriage ride of to the castle.  The parasite in D’s hand reveals that D’s father, the vampire Lord killed Carmilla in her sleep and her phantom haunts the castle now.

Everyone finally meets at the final boss’s castle, err…um Carmilla’s castle.  Carmilla greets Charlotte and Meier and tells them they’re welcome to rest up.  She then shows them Space Mountain, I mean the Space rocket that will send them both to the stars where they can be alone.  Meier senses that D is on his way and goes to find him.  He spots what looks D with Charlotte and are about to leave when an ax cleaves Meier in two.  Charlotte meanwhile sees Meier up a long staircase and follows after him.  The real D enters a room that’s full of blood and sees someone that looks like this mother.  Borgoff heads into the basement while Leila heads up stairs.  Brogoff shoots his crossbow at two caskets knocking them down.  They open and reveal to have Kyle and Nolt in them, the bolts he fired rise up and hit Borg in the back killing him.  D’s mother asked for her forgiveness and promptly slices her.  Leila on the other hands sees a little girl looking like her kneeling some tombstones.  She talks to the little girl saying that it wasn’t your fault, the girl runs away just then D pulls her out of the way.  Borgoff shows up and takes Leila hostage and D is about to step in and take him out but Grove uses the last on the serum and give Borgy a big old hug, killing him in the process.  Leila is now alone.  Meanwhile Charlotte catches up to Meier who takes a bite out of her.  The blood of both Meier and Char drain into Carmilla’s corpse about to revive her.  Meier then recovers.  Carm and D spout out exposition about D betraying his kind, how vampires should rule, and humans should die (etc.)  She attacks D with lightening but his dark powers awaken and overpower Carm, Meier shows up and rips apart her body while D’s hand swallows her soul.  Charlotte with her dying breath tells Meier that she’s happy to be with him before passing on, D attempts to stop them.  With the castle crumbling D and Meier have their final showdown.  In all honesty, the music makes the battle seem more epic than it is, it’s just both of them in a stalemate for two minutes.  Leila takes the ring from Charlotte and throws it and says she’s had enough of killing and bloodshed.  D stabs Meier in the shoulder, and takes the ring as proof of bringing her back.  D and Leila make it out before the castle crumbles where they see Space Mountain take off.  It then cuts to many years later where Leila has passed on we’re at her funeral.  A little girl spots D by a tree about to ride off.  She stops him and asked if she knew her grandma Leila.  She says she heard stories about him and invites D to her house.  D says he appreciates her kindness but just wanted to keep a promise to an old friend, and glad she was so wrong about people not mourning her death.  She then thanks D for coming and D heads off into the mountains.  I always get teary eyed at the end.

I F*%*ing love the soundtrack to this movie.  My favorite tracks are Grove’s theme, D’s theme, the fight with Caroline (Into the Tree), the final battle with Meier (The Ring), and the Promise.  Just go and listen to the soundtrack.  I still love this movie and it’ll always get me at the end.  The action scenes are just awesome though the final one was a bit of a let down.

-Marcus

 

Kansas City Game Finds

If there’s anything I love as much as playing classic video games, its having the best damn serving of BBQ I can find. Thursday night, I left with a friend and made the 500 plus mile trek to Kansas City for the American Royal World Series of Barbecue and while I was there, I made sure to find it least two video game shops to check out and see if I spotted anything I wanted.

Stop 1: Vintage Stock – 4163 Sterling Ave, Kansas City, MO 64133

Our first stop was at Vintage Stock in Kansas City and it has a great selection of music, movies, toys and video games. Unfortunately the prices  tend to be on the higher side and run for about 5 to 10 dollars over the price of what one could find on eBay. Still, there is plenty of treasures to be found here if one does some digging and they also had quite a variety of console accessories that could be picked up in fairly decent condition. I ended up not picking up anything here, but its a great jack of all trades shop if you are interested in multiple forms of entertainment media.

Stop 2: Gameco – 8123 N Oak Trafficway, Kansas City, MO 64118

Our second stop at Gameco had much better results for me. Their focus is strictly gaming and they have a pretty wide selection of games for consoles starting as far back at the Atari 2600 and even having some Commodore 64 stuff for sale. The store’s owner was extremely energetic and more then happy to help customers who had questions about items in stock. Pricing at the store was decent, but became far more tolerable with the amount of combined discounts he offers for checking in at the store via Facebook or paying with cash. I picked up a copy of Virtua Racing as I’ve never played the Genesis port and was shocked at how much larger the cartridge was then most Genesis games. My other pick up was the box and manual for Life Force on the NES!

Life Force is probably one of my favorite shoot-em-up games and one that my cousin David introduced to me during a Christmas family get together back in the day. He actually ended up giving me the copy of Life Force and I have had it ever since. Its really awesome to now have a complete copy of it.

So if you happen to be in the Kansas City area, be sure to check out both shops.

 

 

Now is the time for Star Fox Comics!

Over the last few years, we’ve had the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Super Mario Adventures comic strips that made their debut in the 1992 editions of Nintendo re-published by VIZ Media. Those comics bring a smile to my face anytime I see them as I have so many great memories about what was going on during my childhood while reading them. We are still missing a series, however that I loved even more than those two major game franchise comics and that series ran in every 1993 issue of Nintendo Power: Star Fox.

To really hone in on the release of Star Fox, Nintendo commissioned 10 chapters of Star Fox Comics to be drawn and written by Benimaru Itoh that would be seen by all Nintendo Power readers from issues #45 to 55. The comics focused as both a prequel and aftermath for what would occur on the actual SNES game and would help deepen the story line between the Star Fox team itself and the motivations for Andross’s attack on the entire Lylat system. The comic would also add Fara Phoenix, as the 5th member of the Star Fox team to act as Fox’s love interest. Highlights from the comics include the Star Fox team taking the fight to Andross’s army before they even agree to help save the galaxy from them, Falco kicking the crap out of Fox and further details regarding Fox’s father who supposedly met his end by Andross.

Now is the time for VIZ Media to pull the trigger on getting these comics re-released. After all, the SNES Classic Edition is right around the corner and demand for it is hot. Even more so, those hunting for the system want to play the final version of Star Fox 2; which never got released officially. The iron for Star Fox is as hot as it ever could be. Let’s make it happen VIZ!

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Update: VIZ Media did reach out to me regarding this article. Sadly, it seems nothing is in the works for now on any republishing of the Star Fox comics. Let’s hope that changes!