Let’s face facts: slice-of-life high school comedies are a dime a dozen nowadays. They’re easy to make, easy to market and they’re almost always guaranteed money for a production studio, new or old. So whenever I hear about a new slice-of-life with a decent twist, I get pretty excited to see if it’ll be one of those slice-of-life shows that actually shakes it up. It is for these reasons combined that Kotoura-san is without a doubt the biggest disappointment of the season, and maybe even of all of 2013.
John Riccitiello always had those world-weary eyes. The way his hair sat on his head, naturally highlighted and coiffed, was akin to that of an antagonist in a giant robot anime. What a wondrous individual. I still can’t spell his name consistently though. Continue reading
Freedom Ain’t Free is an irregular column for impressions from open betas and Steam free weekends. These aren’t full reviews, and, since these are often multiplayer games, it can be hard to compare their userbases during free periods to their general populace. These are just impression pieces based off of what the developers show off during these free windows.
Ace of Spades didn’t get much press, for a few reasons. It’s easy to look at its aesthetic and dismiss it as merely being Minecraft-with-guns, and it’s also easy to see Runescape developer Jagex’s name on the credits and think that they’re making another simulacratic game to cash in on what’s big at the moment.
Despite these factors, Ace of Spades manages to be a fun, light variation on classic FPS game modes thanks to its focus on terrain deformation. It lacks the balance of Team Fortress 2 and the scale of Battlefield, keeping it from the realm of serious tactical play, but there’s a lot of enjoyment to get out of it in the right modes, with the right people. Continue reading
In 500 years from now they’ll be going through conversations saying, “This is the first recorded use of the word ‘dangus’ which, as you know, is a staple of communication….”
Playing Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 as a young teenager was the only event in my gaming career I’d describe as truly “formative.” I was a child, born and raised in the Bible Belt; I had little comprehension of the issues I’d face in the real world. The mechanics of gender and sexuality, religious self-questioning, and the desire to find a future for myself were flitting in and out of my mind. Here was a Japanese RPG that integrated each of these elements of the teenage life into a fantastic narrative with fun combat. So began my love affair with Atlus’ Shin Megami Tensei franchise. Continue reading
It feels good to be home.
Visiting the nigh-barren fields of Haven & Hearth feels akin to traipsing through the abandoned, monochrome cities of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. There is life there, going on as it always will, but the life that shaped the land, the humans that put hand to wood and stone to make homes and mines, has left. Only fifty or sixty players remain; I’ve yet to find anyone else in my travels, outside of the three friends I’ve been working alongside. Only one of them had previous experience here, having played it in its heyday around 2008 and 2009. Continue reading
As it is a subject that will likely come up many, many times in the course of my writings on anime for The Stereogram, Masaaki Yuasa is my favorite currently-living director working in the anime scene. In an industry fueled by pandering (generally to lowest-common-denominator male enthusiasts), he is one of the few people willing to look beyond selling merchandise and expand the medium. Each of his works brim with passion he poured into them; there are few anime directors who are as recognizable, especially not in the modern age.
The Tatami Galaxy, Yuasa’s fourth directing effort, is in many ways a reaction against generic means of storytelling, an issue common in modern anime. Though The Tatami Galaxy initially presents itself in a standard form, with a few notable exceptions, it soon becomes a commentary on formulaic plot design, eventually collapsing upon itself in a fantastic conclusion. Continue reading
If 2012 will be remembered in the annals of video game history, it will likely be for the utter dominance of indie titles in the year-end lists. Moreso than ever before has the term “indie” meant nothing about the game it describes. What’s more, those games have been getting coverage with a capital C. So I guess as a way of saying goodbye to the fantastic games of 2012, I’ve decided to talk about my favourite indie game that has not enjoyed the level of coverage as many other stellar indie titles this year have.