Check your rearview!

Future GPX Cyber Formula is coming back from behind

by Bob Johnson

One country’s breakout hit is another country’s also-ran. Notoriously, Cowboy Bebop – perpetual pinnacle of the genre among western anime fans – never caught on in Japan, whereas shows like Future GPX Cyber Formula outsold it and got sequel after sequel. So what gives? How is *THIS* such a huge franchise?

Maybe it appeals to Japan’s affinity for achievable futurism and plucky protagonists. At age 14, Hayato Kazami is hanging around his dad’s co-workers, “Cyber Formula” race team SUGO – but his main jam is riding his motorcycle. Everything is turned on its head when thieves come for the team’s car, forcing Hayato to take the wheel. Day saved, no problem? Well, Asurada’s computer locks everyone else out except the kid, and even the race team’s top cyber-whiz can’t crack the FaceID. So their up-and-coming Cyber Formula team is doomed unless Hayato can learn to drive.

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Robo Stomped

Monolith’s mostly-fogotten, anime-inspired FPS is a needle full of nostalgia.

1998 was a big year for the first person shooter. Unreal was the start of a long-running series that would be most famous for its multiplayer-focused (with available single player campaign) Tournament games. Most notably, Half-Life was released, changing the landscape of the FPS for a long time to come. Though not revolutionary in its gameplay, it was nonetheless a polished and exciting experience, with a well-told story to boot. I played Half-Life until my eyes bled from ecstasy, especially once the modding scene was established.

In the same year, Monolith Productions dropped 2 FPSes that are not well known outside of those in the retro FPS community. Blood 2: The Chosen was a rushed (forced by GT Interactive while they were being bought out by Infogrames) mess. The levels are bland, enemy placement gets cheap and frustrating as the game goes on, and most weapons don’t have much impact. The other game was Shogo: Mobile Armor Division.

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GOTCHA!

China makes its first shots and corrects for windage and elevation
by Punch Rockgroin

If the new Diablo: Immortal game is any indication, mobile gaming has yet to take off in the West in the way it has in Japan. Mobile gaming continues to grow in popularity, while the Diablo fiasco is only exacerbated by the statement “You guys don’t have phones?” As other parts of the gaming market lag and dwindle, mobile gaming has found its footing.

Japan is spoiled for choice when it comes to mobile, such as Granblue Fantasy and Fire Emblem Heroes, among others. One such mobile game I have mentioned before, Kantai Collection (for a time overtaking Touhou Project as the top spot for doujins released at Comiket), has stagnated and is falling behind a rival with a similar premise.

A rival made in China. Continue reading

Touhou is on Steam!

No anime convention is without a bank of PCs loaded with one of the Twilight Frontier’s fighting games like Hopeless Masquerade or Antinomy of Common Flowers.  But here’s something you couldn’t say last Cirno Day – Touhou is on Steam!!!

There’s a fair selection of official Team Shanghai Alice titles, plus doujin games!  Some assembly still required – check the Touhou Wiki for the lowdown on English patch[i]es!

Sunrider: Mask of Arcadius

Moécratic Vanguard for the black hole of anime gaming
by Bob Johnson

Jeez, next time, why don’t you keep it in your pants?  Every time you whip it out, someone has to clean up after you.  Seriously.  Your credit card has been causing me nothing but trouble.  Now just look at this mess of American-made otakubait games preselling their brand concept on KickStarter.

If you use Steam, you can download one such game, Sunrider:Mask of Arcadius, right now on a whim.  I wouldn’t exactly call it “Free” … it’s more of a demo.  But if you were cheap like myself, there’d be nothing sweeter than seeing that green “Download” box on its Steam Store page. Continue reading