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Dengeki Rankings I Ys Goes Mobile I More Ys IV Info I Dragon Quest Slime MoriMori 2 Propaganda Scan I Bug Found in Harvest Moon: Poem of Happiness I Culture Corner: Ask Sensei I Sayonara
JAPANDEMONIUM
Vending Machines March 28, 2005


Konnichiwa

Last week, my internet was cut off due to my not paying my internet bill, but I survived it, and now I have full internet and phone capabilities. In celebration of my regained internet, I immediately did a video chat with my fiancee and started downloading anime. I also checked all of my webcomics and just surfed the web for a bit.

But while my internet was out, I spent the bulk of my time blazing through Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. I bought the boxed set, and I watched all 50 episodes in 8 days. I really liked the series, and any fans of Gundam should look into picking it up. I just started watching the fan-sub of Double Zeta, and I can see that Bandai did a really good job of remastering Zeta to look good. The video quality is quite nice, and you have your choice of Japanese or English voices. The series comes in a neat little box filled with slim DVD cases and some pencil sharpeners with little mobile suits on top. I'm pretty happy with the pencil sharpeners, and I appreciate the space saving of the thin cases. My apartment is only a little bigger than a shoe box, so I need all the space I can get.

In video game news, there isn't much to report on. I watched 50 episodes of Zeta Gundam, so I didn't have much time to play video games, but talking to fellow staffers about the US launch of the PSP has rekindled my love for Lumines. After seeing it pretty much everywhere online, it seems that the whole world is with me in my love of this game. I picked it up on a whim, and it's one of my favorite games of all time now. While the game is essentially a Tetris clone, it's the first clone to be better than the original. Not only is the gameplay completely solid for a puzzle game, but the music flat out rocks the house. AND all the movements you do are synchronized with the music to be even cooler. It's worth your money if you have a PSP, and it's worth your money to BUY a PSP if you don't yet have one. Really, go now and get it.

Other than that, there's not a whole lot going on. The title of today's column comes from the brand new vending machine that just suddenly popped up across the street from my apartment. Counting this one, there are now three vending machines in a 100-foot radius of my apartment. If I extend that radius to 200 feet, there are six of them, all selling coffee, tea, soda, or some other soft drink. This isn't even counting the vending machine that's in the bath house next door. All six of these vending machines are outside on the street. Should I include the entire street I live from my apartment to the first major street, I think there are 15 vending machines that sell such things as beer, cigarettes, chu-hi, coffee, tea, candy, "genki drinks," yogurt, and juice. I should also note that I live in an area that's not very populated and is mainly filled with small houses and rice paddies. It's just strange. Why do we need all these things?At any rate, should I ever get thirsty, hungry, need a smoke, or feel the need for a little booze, I am completely covered. The only problem is that I make my own tea, buy my soda in 1.5 liter bottles, eat Pocky for candy, rarely drink, and never smoke.... But should any of that change, my neighborhood's got it all.

So, let's put 120 yen into the machine and get this party started!



 Dengeki Rankings

For the first time in a LONG time, the number one spot is taken by an RPG! It always makes me happy to see the genre that I love so much doing so well. But not only did RPGs take the top spot, ten more slots belong to RPGs scattered across the chart. It is a good week.

But that's not the only news I've got. For the first time since I've done this column, I've spotted an XBox game on the charts! And guess what? It's an RPG! That's right boys and girls, Fable has crossed the pond and is now in the Land of the Rising Sun. It even got a respectable spot on the chart. Not bad if I do say so myself.

So, let's see those numbers!

Position Title Publisher Platform
1 Phantom Kingdom Nippon Ichi
10 Tales of Eternia Namco
13 Megaman.exe 5: Team of Colonel Capcom
20 Fable Microsoft
27 Ys VI: Ark of Napishtim Falcom
30 Megaman.exe 5 Team of Pruus Capcom
32 Shadow Hearts 2 Director's Cut Aruze
35 Pokemon Emerald Nintendo
42 Dragon Quest VIII Square Enix
44 Popolocrois: Pietro Monogatari SCE
46 Super Robot Wars: Original Generation 2 Banpresto


Source: Dengeki Online



 Ys Going Mobile

It seems that the stream of Ys news continues this week as Falcom has remade Ys I for Vodaphone cellular phones using the Vodaphone Live service. This new version has new 3D graphics and looks quite spiffy. The download fee for the game is 420 yen.

For those who are not familiar with the story of Ys, the land of Ys was a peaceful utopia led by six priests and two goddesses. By using the magic of a mysterious object called the Black Pearl, the priests created a society where everyone lived happily, but the land of Ys mysteriously vanished. Flash forward 800 years, and the land of Esteria is suddenly invaded by monsters. After catching word of the of Esteria's story, a wandering swordsman named Adol arrives and offers to help. While ridding Esteria of its problems, Adol ends up slowly uncovering the mysteries of Ys.

Source: RPGfan



 More Ys IV Info
Ys 4

In still more Ys news, Falcom has released several new screens and art for the upcoming Ys IV: Mask of the Sun - A New Theory. For those unfamiliar with THIS Ys game, the story once again revolves around Adol and Dogi as they return to Esteria about a year after events of Ys I and Ys II where a hero's welcome awaits the duo upon their arrival. Coincidentally, that puts it before the events of Ys III. Anyways, Adol begins making the rounds in Minea, the town where the entire Ys series began, and learns from Sara the fortuneteller the distant land of Serseta is in danger. That night, Adol secretly leaves town to travel to Serseta while Dogi and old pal Goban Toba are still passed out from the previous evening's drinking. The following day, Adol arrives in the Serseta port town of Puroma Rock, and his new adventure begins.

As was previously reported, Ys IV: Mask of the Sun - A New Theory goes on sale on May 26 for 6090 yen.
Sources: Impress I RPGfan



 Slime MoriMori 2 Propaganda Scan
Square Enix

Following last week's announcement of Dragon Quest Slime MoriMori 2 for the Nintendo DS. Square Enix has released a one page spread showing some screen shots. The game is looking quite wacky, and I'll keep the coverage coming as details surface.


Source: Squarenet



 Bug Found in Harvest Moon: Poem of Happiness

Marvelous Interactive announced that they have discovered a bug Harvest Moon: Poem of Happiness for the Gamecube. The game will not work propery when the house is expanded from level 4 to 5. The player becomes unable to place additional furniture in the house. If you try to do so with the 2nd stick, the game hangs.


Source: Magic Box



  Culture Corner: Ask Sensei

It seems that my posting of how Caroline and I got together inspired everyone to send in thier stories too. Thankfully, this helps to give some meat to the column while providing a nice air of romance. To me, it sounds pretty much win win. I'm glad to hear that video games have helped bring together more couples. I am so amazingly happy that I met Caroline, and my life has been enriched in every way by having her in it. So, it is with joy that I post these tales of love, which are an inspiration to us all.



The first one!


Hey Jordan, you wanted love letters, you're gonna get a love letter!

The way I met my girlfriend over 3 years ago is the craziest. I literally bumped into her in the street and I couldn't believe my eyes. She was hot and that's just what I told her. I had never done that and I hope to God I never have to again. I'm just not that kind of guy. After some good old fashioned stalking and after she got over that, we hit it really good.

I own so many games it can be embarrassing sometimes. I mean sometimes I don't have enough money to pay the bills, but I always find a way to get my hands on the newest 60$ titles at EB Games. I managed to suck her into my world and overlook my spending frenziness by finding games she can't get enough of. A bit sly, but I believe we both enjoy it.

So to guys who aren't too sure how to combine both, let her try games like: Harvest Moon, Katamari Damacy, Klonoa 2, Ape Escape and so on. It worked for me. My girlfriend is completely addicted to these and won't say a word when I buy Shining Tears, Ys 6, Xenosaga 2 Suikoden 4 and Digital Devil Saga within a month, all the while complaining I can't afford to have a phone.

PS: I do have a question for your columns. When you walk into gaming stores, do you sometimes find American copies of JPN games? Systems? Have you ever heard of hardcore collectors who also have to have the American versions of their favorite games?

Jeff


Sensei

Hehe! Glad to hear that your story worked out. Your opening line was kinda gutsy, but it definitely paid off. Sometimes the direct approach can have wonderful results. I'm happy for you.

As for the money for games, I definitely hear you. I've had my share of times when I had no money for food, but I had a new game to play. Sadly, this has happened more than once. It's hard

Also, the tips on games is greatly appreciated. I've played some of the games you listed with Caroline, and they have went over very well. But, I find that just about any game can work. She just snuggles up in my lap and watches me play and we talk about what's going on in the game. It's quite fun, and I'd recommend that you all try it with your significant others if you get the chance. Games are DEFINITELY more fun with someone you love snuggled in your lap.

And as for the question, the answer is pretty much no. Americans import Japanese stuff because they get most games first, and they get more games. The Japanese have pretty much no reason to get a game after it comes to America unless it has special content, and if that's the case, it usually gets a re-release here.


Lovin' at work


Hi Jordan,

I've got a good story for you. Three years ago I was working at my local EB when my company decided to open an EB Game World outside of the mall. Now my boss was also the boyfriend of the new manager at the Game World and she needed some help training her associates and they picked me. I rolled my eyes at their request for I had a hard enough time beating guys off with a stick at my work so I really didn't want to be bothered somewhere new. But they pulled rank and sent me over. When I went over Teka, the manager, told me what to go over with her associate Matt. She left for the night when he came in and I started going over everything she said. After about 20 minutes I got really bored because their store was so very slow, so I started babbling about how I love FF7 and what did he think. He looked at me like I grew two heads and said he loved it too and asked me if I played a lot. I said hell yeah and he asked me out within two days. Needless to say it was love and we have been together for 3 1/2 years and are getting married in November.

Heather


Sensei

Another great story! Isn't it great when you meet the person you're going to end up marrying? I'll never forget how I met Caroline.

This just goes to show that knowing a bit about games can definitely score points with the right kind of girl. It also goes to show that you never know when you'll meet that special someone, and sometimes it's when you're not even looking.

Thanks again for the story and congratulations!


Anime Lovin'


Okay, so this doesn't directly relate to playing video games, but more just conversations about them and conventions...

I work in a grocery store, while going to college and the usual shtick, and have been for a few years now. At the time, I had just started going out with one fellow; however, that wasn't going too well. One one day when I was feeling particularly down in the dumps a guy sidled up into my line and complimented me on my necklace. (It sort of looks like one from Lunar Silver Star.) He said as much and we struck up a conversation. We seemed to have a bit in common, but it didn't evolve into anything. Months went by and I saw him wearing an Umbrella Corp. uniform as he was leaving to go to DragonCon. I'd wanted to go for years and we discussed this at great length until finally I asked him for his phone number. ...So, to speed it up, a couple weeks later we went out to a movie and thusly went back to watch a little anime. Well, it's been more than a year we have been dating and I'm quite happy. He's a very nice and genuine man. I love the big lug. But, anywho, you never know what will happen from a few conversations.

That's my story, not much of one, but hey.

Many happy returns,

Theresa


Sensei

I can definitely relate to the part about watching anime leading to romance. For an otaku, finding a girl that watches anime is like winning the lottery. Since most people that don't watch anime just don't understand our passion, you pretty much have to date someone else that digs it for the relationship to work. Glad to see you found someone like that. Congrats!


Arcades part 1


Are there any unique features to arcades in Japan? Do couples ever stop by arcades on dates? How much does it cost to play a game?

--Arigomi


Sensei

The only thing that really stands out about Japanese arcades is the fact that there are so many UFO Catcher games. The Japanese are absolutely nuts over trying to win stuff from those things. I've seen people plunk 100 yen coin after 100 yen coin trying to win a plush Snoopie. I just don't get it.

As for going to arcades on dates, yeah, I think it happens. It's especially common for one of the two to try to win something from the UFO catcher games. I've seen girls go after stuff for boyfriends too. This practice seems to be that the one that's better tries to get stuff for everyone involved.

Thanks for writing!


Arcades part 2


Your tale or nerd-love is inspiring! Too bad we don't have arcades here. >.>

Daniel Hill


Sensei

Well my friend, if there aren't any arcades around, go to where there is one. My hometown didn't have any either, but I had quite a bit of luck an hour away in Indianapolis. I dated three girls from one arcade over two years, and that's the bulk of my dating experience.... As long as you've got wheels, there's always hope.


Fellow staffer!


Dear Sensei,

Yeah, back around Valentine's Day, I also asked readers for love stories, just with MMOs and stuff. I got one kind-of response, one guy not showing up to finish his story, and one link to a blog. I guess people just don't want to share their stories.

But, here's a sort-of game-and-love story. I dated this one girl who declared she could thump me at Ehrgeiz--you know, that fighting game with FF7 characters. I accepted her challenge, and ended up wailing on her pretty bad, winning more than 2/3 of our matches. Then I gloated about it. Then I made out with her. It was a good day.

-Heath Hindman
MMORPGamer Columnist


Sensei

Yay! A fellow staffer wrote in to me. This makes the first time I've had a staffer volunteer a letter! It helped make my day.

As for the letters... Yeah, sometimes it's tough to get them. I'm sure you know as well as anyone how the letters go sometimes. Some days you have tons, some days... well.... you just don't have much.

As for the story, it sounds to me that the Ehrgeiz was just an excuse for lovin'. If you've got it, you've just got it I suppose. Go with what works! Thanks for the story!



 Sayonara

And so ends another column. Japan's been kinda quiet recently, and I think that everyone is gearing up for e3. Hopefully I can give a really meaty column next week, but at least this one's not as bare bones as last week. Until then, I hope everyone has a good week.

Internet's back, and the weather is good. Could life get any better?

Catch you on the flip
Jordan "Thank God for Ys games" Jackson




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