Archive for June, 2012

Yoot Saito teases Twitter followers with Santa Seaman

June 25, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Yoot Saito teases Twitter followers with Santa Seaman

It looks like the prospect of a 3DS Seaman game may not be that outlandish. Back in 2011, Yoot Saito said he wanted to bring Seaman 3DS. Then back in February 2012, Nikkei said Seaman could come to the 3DS along with other older IPs. Now, given that both those statements were about a year apart and there were no solid announcements in between, we figured it was just talk. Except now Saito has posted a suspicious Seaman image to Twitter.

Those who follow Saito on twitter would have seen this tweet not long ago. It had the image at the right attached to it. It also said that people should start thinking about the end of 2012 and asked if anyone knew weird Seaman like that existed. It seems to suggest that a 3DS Seaman game will show up in time for the 2012 holiday shopping season. Maybe it’ll even be Saito’s Christmas gift to the world!

If you’ve never heard of it before, Seaman was a pet simulation. Players had to raise a fish with a human face and Leonard Nimoy’s voice. Well, technically he wasn’t always a fish. One form looked a bit like a tadpole and another like a frog. Basically, you had to care and talk to him, and he’d grow, thrive and mature based on that.

This is absolutely awesome news. Seaman was a really quirky and awesome game. The only problem is, it may be too niche for an international release now. Something like this requires quite a bit of localization and while the Dreamcast release was beloved, I’m sure a lot of people have forgotten about Seaman and may not be eager to run out and pick a copy up. Let’s hope this game happens and gets released worldwide!

Read [Yoot Saito on Twitter] Via [Andriasang]

Popularity: 3% [?]

Important Importables: Kenka Bancho

June 23, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Kenka Bancho

Hot Japanese Imports logo

On June 21, 2012, one of my favorite niche series got a new entry! Kenka Bancho has appeared on the PSP again with Kenka Bancho Bros. Tokyo Battle, the first entry in the series to allow players to help two delinquents make a name for themselves.

Of course, there’s a good chance you have no idea what I’m talking about. Kenka Bancho isn’t exactly a big name. Unless you’re a die-hard Atlus fan, you probably haven’t even heard of the title. Don’t worry! By the end of this column, you’ll know all about it and might even be rushing to the PlayStation Store to experiencing it for yourself.

Kenka Bancho?

Remember River City Ransom? It’s kind of like a spiritual successor to that. You do remember River City Ransom, right? This is a good time to nod and play along.

In every Kenka Bancho game, players step into the shoes of a young deliquent and/or tough guy. He ends up going around, proving to every other tough kid in the school that he’s the best. This involves fighting, of course. It’s very structured though, as a true badass has to follow certain rules to prove his authority. First, you maintain eye contact and glare to kick off the trash talking segment where you throw out the correct insults. This gets the street-fight off on the right foot. Then, your character fights his opponents. Actually, that’s pretty much it. You fight both minions of each area’s bosses, then go after the boss to take his title and prove your better than him.

Of course, there’s usually a bit more to it than that. Each entry has a general storyline as well. Some even have girls that your character can end up making his girlfriend. There are also stores to shop from to get new clothing, food or even just some fun little knicknacks.

They also have some open world elements. Even though most give the player a set period of time to become the game’s ultimate boss, players can typically reach that point however they’d like. Or, they could completely blow off the game’s mission and go around hunting for a costume that makes their character look like a banana.

There have been six Kenka Bancho games released so far, and they’ve always been Sony exclusives from Spike. Well, now it’s Spike Chunsoft, but you get the idea. The first two, Kenka Bancho and Kenka Bancho 2 were released on the PS2. The most recent four, from Kenka Bancho: Zenkoku Seiha, Kenka Bancho: Ichinen Sensou, Kenka Bancho: Otoko no Housoku and Kenka Bancho Bros. Tokyo Battle Royale, were all PSP exclusives. Most of the PSP entries, with the exception of Kenka Bancho Bros. since it just came out in Japan this week, are available in cheaper “best” varieties. They’re also region-free, though I wouldn’t recommend importing one unless you’ve got adequate Japanese language skills or have played a Kenka Bancho game before.

So why aren’t we seeing Kenka Bancho here?

We did. You just missed it.

Seriously, that’s pretty much it. The third Kenka Bancho game was picked up by Atlus and released on the PSP during its heyday in 2009. It was available in stores and on the PlayStation Store as Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble. It’s even available for Vitas for $14.99.

The more accurate question is, why aren’t we seeing more Kenka Bancho? It’s a good question and one I can’t really answer. The only possible reason I can think of for companies not taking a chance is because it’s such a unique and niche property. Yes, it does play to the people who love beat’em ups and River City Ransom adventures, but it also is very Japanese and there’s a lot of translation and localization involved. I mean, Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble has an intricate system where you have to trash talk your enemy before fighting, choosing the right response, and that’s something that takes a lot of effort to bring over.

Not to mention the Kenka Bancho games out in Japan now are all on the PS2 and PSP. Even Kenka Bancho Bros. Tokyo Battle Royale, the latest entry that came out on June 21, 2012, is a PSP game. While companies like Atlus, XSEED and Aksys are still taking chances on PSP games, they’re taking calculated risks on PSP games they know will have an audience.

Our best chance of getting another Kenka Bancho game will probably come when one is released for the Vita or PS3. Atlus did bring over one of them, after all, and Aksys has a good relationship with Spike Chunsoft.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports talks about Wizardry.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports talked about tokidoki mashups.

Site [tokidoki]

Follow Jenni on Twitter for more import game updates and general fangirl enthusiasm!

Popularity: 1% [?]

Japan Import: New Idolmaster PSP games aren’t simulations

June 21, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: New Idolmaster PSP games aren’t simulations

I know we were probably all hoping that the next portable Idolmaster game would be released on the Vita and be a follow up to Idolmaster 2, but it turns out that won’t be happening. Namco Bandai has decided to return to the PSP for the next Idolmaster installment. Actually, installments is more accurate. There will be three variations of Idolmaster Shiny Festa, and all three will be straightforward music games.

When I straightforward, I really mean it. Idolmaster Shiny Festa will be just like Guitar Hero, DJ Max Portable or that KON PSP game. A song will play while a music video of the idols performing on stage, taking part in a music video or playing as a band runs. There will also be times when animated segments from the recent Idolmaster anime will run. All you have to do is press the right directional button when its indicator passed over a set spot in the center of the screen.

As for the different varieties, Idolmaster Shiny Festa will be like Idolmaster SP in that three versions will be released, with each one having different characters and music. Which means you have to pick the version you want based on whether or not you like the four idols appearing in it. Idolmaster Shiny Festa: Funky Note has Hibiki, Iori, Yayoi and the twins Ami and Mami. I like to think of it as the chipmunk edition, since all the idols have high, squeaky voices. In the middle is Idolmaster Shiny Festa: Groovy Tune, with Makoto, Miki, Takane and Yukiho. It’s a bit of a mixed bag, as Makoto and Takane have great voices, but Miki and Yukiho are only so-so, in my opinion. Finally, there’s Idolmaster Shiny Festa: Honey Sound has Azusa, Chihaya, Haruka and Ritsuko, which means it pretty much has the best singers packed into it.

We don’t know when Namco Bandai will release this new trio of PSP games. Rest assured that it will most definitely not get a worldwide release, just like the other Idolmaster games, but take solace in the fact that you could import it and play it on your domestic PSP if you’d like. The fact that all you have to do is press the right button when it passes the right indicator means it’d probably end up being the most import-friendly of all IMAS games.

Image Source: Famitsu

Read [Famitsu (Japanese)]

Popularity: 3% [?]

Japan Import: Dokuro could be the first no-risk import Vita game

June 19, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Dokuro could be the first no-risk import Vita game

One of the best advantages Vita owners have over 3DS owners is the lack of region-lock. People who stick with Sony can play game cartridges from any region. Granted, we have to go through a whole system reset if we want to buy from different regions’ PlayStation Stores, but still. Some region freedom is better than none. However, there haven’t really been any good games to turn to yet to take advantage of that, as most of the recent Japanese releases are either guaranteed a North American release or quite text-heavy. Cue Dokuro!

Dokuro is the story of a minion and princess. It also happens to be a platformer that tells the entire story in pictures and actions. An evil monster kidnaps a princess because he can. I suppose you could also argue that he does it because that’s what monsters due. He then leaves his throne room with one of his skeleton minions to guard her. Unfortunately for him, the minion he leaves behind is Dokuro and Dokuro really isn’t a bad guy. When he sees the princess crying, it breaks his heart. He then devotes his loyalty to her, and to getting her out of the castle safely, without his master knowing.

Game Arts is referring to Dokuro as a “gimmick” game, because of the way players interact with the events on screen. Dokuro can transform between his normal skeleton form and a prince charming form, which is used to interact with the princess. For example, his prince charming form can carry the Princess to safety when necessary, something his normal form could never do. It’s also heavier than usual. To trigger the change, you tap either the front or the back touch screen or panel. Dokuro also has magic chalk, which players use by drawing on the screen to make paths or help devices work. There are also a number of special devices hidden throughout the castle, like cannons and fans, that work with the characters or the characters and Dokuro’s chalk to help them safely navigate a level.

Here’s a pretty informative Dokuro trailer.

By now, you’re probably wondering why this is a no-risk import. That screenshot makes a pretty good argument why. There’s really no text used in Dokuro. Players learn about the story and how to use each of Dokuro’s abilities via detailed pictures. Which means there should be little to no language barrier. Play-Asia’s product listing for Dokuro is also quite convincing. The Asia version is listed as being an English and Japanese version. While we can’t know for sure until the game is actually released in a few weeks, such a notation usually means there is an in-game option to switch between the two languages. Even if there isn’t, the price is another good reason to give Dokuro a try. Unlike most import Vita games, it’s the same price as a domestic Vita game. If you grab the Japanese version from Play-Asia, it’s $29.90. Go for the Asian version with the Japanese and English notation and it’s $39.90. Considering most import Vita games are $69-$79, that’s a pretty good deal.

Dokuro will be out in Japan and Asia on July 5, 2012. An English release for Dokuro hasn’t been announced yet. It is a Game Arts title, however. They’re the company that made the Lunar and Grandia games. Which means they have ties to North American publishers. So we could eventually see it.

Product Page [Play-Asia] Site [Dokuro]

Popularity: 2% [?]

Japan Import: Final Fantasy III remake now headed to the PSP

June 13, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Final Fantasy III remake now headed to the PSP

Square Enix is doing what it does best! Remember that DS remake of Final Fantasy III, which the company then ported to iOS devices? Well, it’s porting it again! This time, PSP owners in Japan will get port of the iOS version on September 20, 2012. I say a port of the iOS and not the DS version as the Final Fantasy III the PSP is getting will have the additional iOS features. Unfortunately, it won’t have the iOS price as it’s going to cost ¥3,990 (~$50).

Final Fantasy III is about a group of four young people from the world of light who are attempting to save the four light crystals to preserve the balance between light and dark that a villain named Xande is trying to upset. As with all Final Fantasy games, it involves traveling around the world and taking part in tons of turn-based battles. It has a pretty neat job system with lots of different classes to choose from and also ends up having a decent twist pop up halfway through the game. This newest remake has improved graphics, more detailed back-stories for the four heroes, widescreen display, battle speed variations, the ability to use remade or original music and an in-game gallery with all kinds of character art.

Now, let’s get to my favorite part of any import game article. It’s speculation time! Will we see Final Fantasy III in North America? I want to say no. Yes, the translation work is already done since we received the original DS remake and the iOS port, but Square Enix is not a fan of the PSP anymore. We didn’t get Final Fantasy Type-0, so I’m going to say Final Fantasy III is a longshot. If by some miracle we do get it, it’ll probably only be released as a download via PSN so Square Enix can capitalize on the Vita audience and save money.

I’d say import it, if you really want Final Fantasy III on your PSP that badly, but it isn’t worth it. Not for that kind of money. Grab it for $15.99 on iTunes or find a DS cartridge for $19.99 instead.

Read [ (Japanese)] Site [Final Fantasy III (Japanese)]

Popularity: 1% [?]

Japan Import: Persona 3 being turned into a movie

June 13, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Persona 3 being turned into a movie

A whole lot of Persona is about to enter gamers’ lives. I’m not talking about Persona 4 Arena and Persona 4 Golden either. I’m talking about the media forms. Japan’s already got a Persona 4 anime series, manga series and movie, as well as a forthcoming light novel. Now, the Persona 4 movie has revealed that a Persona 3 movie is in the works.

The reference to the Persona 3 movie was brief, but effective. At the end of Persona 4 The Animation: The Factor of Hope, a brief trailer showed the Persona 3 hero, referred to as Minato, using an evoker. That’s the gun-shaped device characters in the third game would use to summon their personas. Viewers were then told the Persona 3 movie was in development.

And that’s all we know. The segment didn’t say anything about when it would be released. I’d imagine it’ll probably be at least a year before we see the Persona 3 movie in Japan. At least the good news is that we should probably see it in North America eventually. After all, Sentai Filmworks picked up Persona 4: The Animation to distribute here.

Read [Hachima Kikou (Japanese)] Via [Anime News Network]

Popularity: 1% [?]

E3 2012: GamerTell interviews Monkeypaw’s John Greiner and Gaijinworks’ Victor Ireland

June 13, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

E3 2012: GamerTell interviews Monkeypaw’s John Greiner and Gaijinworks’ Victor Ireland

E3 is an awesome opportunity for companies to talk about the games they love, the ones they’ve been spending weeks, months and years to prepare. Monkeypaw Games’ CEO John Greiner and Gaijinworks CEO Victor Ireland were both on hand at the show to talk about their latest labor of love, Class of Heroes II for the PSP. Anyone familiar with both companies knows the love they have for niche games and JRPGs and both men were excited to talk all about Class of Heroes, as well as some other Monkeypaw Games projects and import games. So the three of us headed off to a quiet area of the LA Convention Center to talk things over.

GamerTell: Let’s start with Class of Heroes II. The Kickstarter was more about getting attention, so it’s okay that it didn’t do well for you guys, right? You were still happy with the results and the publicity you got out of it?

John Greiner: Very much so. What we suffered with Class of Heroes II is name recognition. So I think everybody wants to see these kinds of titles brought over, but when they don’t know the name of the title, we need to educate and I think that’s the biggest benefit of the Kickstarter.

Everybody knows the title now and not just that small little group that knows everything about JRPGs, but a wider audience. We were very successful in that department.

Victor Ireland: And also the people who played the first one. That one kinda sucked. Now they know that it’s not the same. That Class of Heroes II is a better version of it. It’s the one they should have started with, when Atlus did it.

GamerTell: I thought the first one was pretty good, still.

Ireland: Didn’t it drive you crazy though? Some of the things like, having to appraise all the stuff you bought. You have this whole inventory full of crap and you’ve got to pay to find out it sucks. The dungeons were entered randomly. It’s like, “Where am I?” You don’t know where you are when you start.

Greiner: Let’s hear what was good about the original Class of Heroes. What did you like about it?

Ireland: Exactly. I’m just saying all that stuff’s different in the second.

GamerTell: I liked all the different character customization in the original. You had all the different character classes and races and the way they influenced dungeon crawling. And I liked the whole school theme. Because usually with a fantasy RPG like that, it’s just a group of adventurers joining a guild. Here you have a school and kids going to the dungeon to learn. The PlayStation Portable didn’t have that many first person dungeon crawlers, 2D old school games.

Ireland: See, all the stuff you liked? The second one has and better. All that stuff is there and the annoying stuff is mostly gone. The stuff that bothered me and drove me crazy is gone.

GamerTell: I saw Monkeypaw Games had a post on the PlayStation Blog recently about Class of Heroes II. Did you get a good response from the community in the comments and how did you feel about that?

Greiner: I was pretty impressed. First of all, I was pleased that so many people did respond and nothing was about Kickstarter if you saw the comments afterward. Only one or two. Basically, it was about the game. People really are interested in it. Kickstarter, I don’t want to call it a marketing event, but that’s what it was.

Ireland: That’s what it became for us.

Greiner: If it had funded great. No problem. We would have created a boxed version that there’s a certain market for. So we learned about that market. Vic has done many of those boxed versions, so we know there’s a certain fan out there that likes that. Basically, we think that there’s a lot of positive things that were generated from it and it’s all good.

Ireland: And by getting people in to the second one, they’ll realize that it is great. It’s a fun series with cool characters and the third one, the fourth one, they just keep getting better. If you look at the history of Japan, each title has gotten a higher rating than the one before. So the first one started at one place, the second was higher, the third was higher and the fourth one’s higher. I think the fourth one got like all 8′s from Famitsu. Each one has done better than the last. Wherever you jump in with us, they’ll just keep getting better and better.

GamerTell: So anyone who jumps in with Class of Heroes II won’t have any problem? They’ll be okay?

Ireland: Yeah. Honestly? I think they’ll be in a better place, because some of the choices Atlus made with localization, I’m not making. I’m going in a different direction with some of that stuff. So, if you jump in having not played the first one, you’ll have a fresh experience. If you played the first one, you’ll be like, “Wait, that was called this in the other one, and now it’s called this.” But, there is a story arc that ties back to the school in the first Class of Heroes. If you played it, you get that plus one. If you haven’t played it, you get a different experience too. Either way, you get something good out of the game.

GamerTell: I know there are 10 different classes, what do you think works best? What kind of party would you recommend for someone who is just starting Class of Heroes II and getting into the series for the first time?

Ireland: Well, the party I play with is the ninja, the pop idol, he has a microphone, the sprite, the dwarf, the witch and one other. The felpier, I think? That’s the party I use. It’s sort of general purpose. The ninja totally kicks butt. The pop idol guy, he cracks me up with his songs. They have kinda bad English when they sing. Like, “Oh baby!” He performs a kind of song when he attacks and it cracks me up. The dwarf is awesome because he has dual-wield attacks. It’s a good group for me. That’s what I always play with. In the screenshots, you’ll see that party a lot.

GamerTell: What do you think is the best feature that’s new and has been added to Class of Heroes II, that wasn’t in Class of Heroes? You know, aside from the whole not-having-to-appraise-everything-to-find-out-it’s-horrible?

Ireland: Well, it’s not really a feature. I guess it’s kind of a feature. The dungeons are now specific. You enter in a certain place every time. That random stuff’s gone. When you come in a dungeon, you know where you’re coming in. You know where you’re exiting. You know there’s an exit here, an exit here, an exit here. That random stuff is absolutely gone. That drove me crazy with the first one, and I understand that the goal was to make you disoriented, but it just irritated me. As a player, that’s my favorite feature. Everytime you go in a dungeon, you know where you start and you know where you’re going to.

Also, you get levitation and some of the other spells really quick if you have a sprite. So you can go over water, You won’t get electrocuted. I go in and I cast three spells right away. I get the map, I get the levitation and I get something else. That way I cruise through the dungeons without having to worry about getting electrocuted or drowning, or blocked off by water.

Actually, there’s a long list of features I wanted to add with the Kickstarter, but since we can’t do all of them, there are still ones I’d like to do if we have the time. One of them is a hotkey, where you can put a certain number of spells so when you walk in a dungeon, you hit a key and it autocasts certain spells you want to have from the start. Because for me, it’s like one, two, three. I cast those certain spells every time. If I could hotkey that, I think players would love it. That’s on my wishlist, but I don’t know if we can do it.

GamerTell: Even though the Kickstarter didn’t go so well, do you think both of you would still try to use it again? Say, if wanted to bring over Class of Heroes III? Would you go back and do it again?

Ireland: Personally, with Class of Heroes and that series, I don’t think Kickstarter is a good fit. We found that out. I’m not saying never.

Greiner: I think it depends on how we would do it. If we did another boxed version, it probably wouldn’t work because that’s one of the things we realized. How big is the boxed version crowd now? Plus this is a platform that is pretty much dead. It’s the PSP. Not to mention it’s not that well known.

Ireland: Never say never. I’d say it’s a useful tool and maybe do it again for more marketing, but once Class of Heroes II comes out I think people will realize that all the stuff we’ve been saying, “It’s better. This is better. You’ll like it. Trust us. It’s great.” Once they see it for themselves, I think it will help a lot with the reputation of the game because we’re starting from a negative place and Class of Heroes II will put the kibosh on that. Then, people will be looking forward to three and four.

Greiner: So to answer your question, yes. We’d do it again.

Ireland: I’m not saying I wouldn’t do it again, I’m saying we’ll see.

GamerTell: What made Monkeypaw Games and Gaijinworks decide to get Class of Heroes II? Especially since Atlus released the first Class of Heroes.

Ireland: I was a fan. I talked John [Greiner] into doing it.

Greiner: And it takes the right kind of partner. Acquire is great. They’re very forward thinking. They want to see their game hit the Western markets and we offered them that opportunity. They’re very easy to work with and forthcoming with information and whatever we need. A great partner makes a great big difference.

GamerTell: Would you ever consider releasing more PSP games, especially since the Vita is backwards compatible with downloads and starting to build momentum?

Ireland: That’s the goal, definitely.

Greiner: We do a lot of PSP games on the import side.

Ireland: Plus there’ll be the PSOne emulator on the Vita soon and then you can play all those import PSOne games we’ve done.

Greiner: Things that help us to get our games bigger reach is great. We’re trying to reach as many people as possible. We need fans to support us so we can do other deals. Everything is dependant on how big the market is. If we get a mediocre response, those publishers probably don’t want to do another game with us. If we go to the top, then hey, what’s next? It’s simple. It’s math. We need people to join our party and become a part of this so we can do more and more.

Ireland: Yes, but even if they’re not really sure if it’s their genre or not, it helps. If you’re supporting the game, regardless of the genre, you’re supporting the next game we want to do. Everyone helps us build. We’ve got a lot of games on the PSN already, and with this PSP stuf we’re doing we have a big list, a huge list, of stuff that we want to do. How successful we are with the ones we have in process will determine how many more we can do.

GamerTell: Would you ever consider going to the 3DS eShop to bring over some DS games we didn’t originally get in English?

Ireland: I’m not against it.

Greiner: I am. Forget it. No way. Everything Nintendo is really, really tough and they haven’t been aggressive on the digital download side yet. We keep talking about it, but until I see action, no. I mean, it’s going to take a while.

Look how long Sony’s been at this. They’ve always been playing catch-up, but they’re always really aggressive. They’re always talking about the PlayStation Network. They’re always trying to include more. They’ve done a good job, but they’re still in second place and they still have a long way to go. However, the effort is there. We want effort. We want big strides so we can really have confidence when we bring titles over.

So sorry to be negative, because I’m negative about almost nothing.

Ireland: See, he’s the one who has to deal with that. I’m not against doing the games, but the business side definitely has to make sense.

GamerTell: There’s a game I have to ask you about. Have you ever heard of LSD for the PlayStation?

Greiner: Oh yeah.

GamerTell: Would you ever consider bringing that over as a PSOne Import?

Greiner: Absolutely! We’re always trying for LSD. Always. It’s been on our list for a long time. One of the things we were talking about when we were walking over [to the interview area] is that people don’t understand how difficult it is to get these licenses and how there is a lot of hand-holding and face-to-face communication and nomunication, which means drinking and communicating, and all these other things that go along in obtaining these licenses.

That is definitely on the top of our list, actually. It fits our persona of bringing over weird and wacky, crazy Japanese stuff. So LSD? Absolutely. We’d like to bring it over.

GamerTell: You had mentioned a while back that Monkeypaw wanted to bring over Policenauts as well. Is there any chance we could still see that in the future?

Greiner: Well, Victor [Ireland] and I have a common thought and that is, “Never give up.” Never, never, never give up. We’re always working on things and I can’t tell you if anything is moving, but I can tell you that we’re moving and we’re always trying to get titles like that. Including that.

Ireland: You have to wear them down. It’s a process of keep knocking and eventually that door will open. It almost always does. There are very few things that never come back. Some things I’ve done, maybe four or five years before the door opens. You keep trying.

Greiner: There’s a good point about that. That point is that in this case, it’s Konami. They’re a tough nut to crack. They’re a big company and you don’t see many Konami licensing-out deals. So that’s hard.

The good news is, I used to work for Hudson for 20 years. Now Hudson is a part of Konami and so I know a lot of the people there. We’re always talking to Konami. There’s always a chance. Hopefully yeah, we’ll be able to get that game someday.

GamerTell: What about the Marl Kingdom series? That was a NIS series. Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure made it overseas. Have you ever looked into bringing that over?

Ireland: No. I wasn’t a big fan of Rhapsody. The music drove me nuts.

Gamertell: It was an acquired taste.

Ireland: That’s the thing. When we do these licenses for games we have to localize, I have to live with them for a long time. So I better like them at the beginning, because I’ll hate them at the end. Serious, like Lunar. It’s a fantastic game. By the end of that game, I totally hated it. It took me about six or eight months before I was like, “Yeah, it’s pretty good.” When we finished it, I never wanted to see it again.

Greiner: You’re the only one Victor, because everyone else loves it.

Ireland: That’s the way it always goes. My experience is usually by the time we’re done localizing a game, I’m so sick of playing it that I never, ever want to see it again. But then, six or eight months later, I’m like, “Yeah, it was pretty good.” It takes me time to decompress. What I’m saying is, I know that process now. I better love it at the start, because I won’t like it at the end.

Use Lunar as an example. It’s unquestionably a great game. I love it. I’m very proud of the work that was done. But even that game, it took me about six months before I wanted to play it, see it, anything again. But Rhapsody? I just don’t like it.

GamerTell: Let’s talk about BurgerTime: World Tour. I thought it was fantastic. Were you happy with how it did and on which platform did it do the best?

Greiner: With BurgerTime, we put it out on XBLA, PSN, WiiWare and shortly PC. We think it’s probably done best on XBLA, as anticipated, but Sony’s given us great spots. We’re going to run a promotion with Sony in the next two weeks I hope. It’s kind of a cool promotion. I can’t tell you about it yet, but keep your eyes out for it because I think when you see it, you’re going to be like, “Oh my god, I’m going to buy it again.” There’s a good hook to it.

GamerTell: After BurgerTime: World Tour comes out on the PC, would you ever consider maybe trying to make it part of a Humble Indie Bundle?

Greiner: You know, we did think about Humble. We haven’t done anything yet, because the game has to reach a certain level so we can pay everything off. But then we could do things like that. It’s definitely something we would consider.

GamerTell: Would Monkeypaw consider doing another original game like BurgerTime: World Tour?

Greiner: Sure.

GamerTell: Would you go the same route? Or would you try to put it on handhelds as well?

Greiner: You know, it’s a bit of a hard thing to talk about here because this is a game convention. I think browser-based games are really going to hit stride soon. I live in Japan, so GREE is a huge company. It’s a cell phone marketplace you can buy games off of. We have a different kind of cell phone marketplace here, but I think there are a lot of other platforms outside of consoles that will become more mainstream for core gamers.
That’s a hard thing to say, because core gamers playing on browsers? But I think it’s a trend that’ll happen just because you’ve got your iPad or iPhone with you all the time and things have to be more portable. They have to be more accessible.

I think any platform that is doing well is a potential candidate.

GamerTell: I think we’ve covered pretty much everything today! Is there anything else you’d like to say about Class of Heroes II that you think people have to know?

Greiner: Yes. If there’s one thing people are upset about the first Class of Heroes, which we didn’t touch by the way, tell us. Let us know so we can…

Ireland: So we can do another Kickstarter.

Greiner: Yeah, do that. We’ll do another Kickstarter and fix everything.

If you want to support Monkeypaw Games and Gaijinworks, thus ensuring more import games and niche localizations, then be sure to pick up Class of Heroes 2 for your PSP or Vita when it’s released on the PlayStation Store in Fall 2012. Or, you could always go and grab BurgerTime: World Tour or one of the other PSOne Imports on the PlayStation Store. (I highly recommend Yakiniku Bugyou, Kyuuin or Magical Drop!)

Site [Monkeypaw Games] Site [Gaijinworks]

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Japan Import: Tales of Xillia 2 gives PS3 owners a new JRPG

June 5, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Tales of Xillia 2 gives PS3 owners a new JRPG

With E3 week upon us, I’m sure you’re already expecting lots of game announcements. I bet you didn’t expect one from Japan! Over the past week, Namco Bandai’s been counting down to a Tales reveal. It turns out, Tales of Xillia was so well received that the company decided we needed Tales of Xillia 2. It will continue with a new story in the same universe, only a year after Jude and Milla’s adventures.

Like all Tales games, Tales of Xillia 2 has a genre name and this one is “Choices spin the future.” Which makes sense, because players will be able to help Ludger, our hero, make decisions throughout the game that will have both small and large effects on the overall storyline. Which makes it the first Tales game where choices matter. At crucial moments, players will be able to press L1 or R1 to make Ludger make a decision. He will also be joined by the cat above, Lulu, and a girl named Elle. Elle should have a big role as well, as Namco Bandai’s asking players if they’d destroy everything for one girl.

Tales of Xillia 2 will also retain an active battle system. This time, it’s called the Cross Double Raid Linear Motion Battle System, or XDR-LMBS. It’s essentially a really complicated way of saying that players can chain attacks and arts together, as well as let players join together for more powerful attacks.

Aside from all that, there are only two more things we know about Tales of Xillia 2. One is that Ayumi Hamasaki’s performing the theme song and people in Japan will get to experience it before 2012 ends.

Meanwhile, we here in North America are still Tales of Xillia-less. Perhaps we’ll see it as a surprise announcement at E3 2012 this week. Make it so, Namco Bandai!

Read [ (Japanese)] Site [Tales of Xillia 2]

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Important Importables: Kairosoft

June 3, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Kairosoft

Hot Japanese Imports logo

We love Kairosoft! Really, I mean it. The developer is a favorite over here at GamerTell, particularly among Jeremy Hill and myself. It’s for a good reason too. The company is adept and making simulation apps that sink into your head and don’t let go. You can start playing one, like Game Dev Story, with the intent of only covering one in-game year. The next thing you know, three hours have passed.

When you love something, you’re compelled to share it. So this week I’m talking about Kairosoft and suggesting a few of its best games to try.

What’s Kairosoft?

It’s a really awesome indie developer that primarily makes games for iOS and Android devices. In fact, their website now focuses on their iOS and Android offerings. Originally, Kairosoft began as a doujin developer that focused on Windows PC games. It’s only when those became successful that it became a force in the fields of mobile game development for cell phones, smart phones and tablets.

While Game Dev Story is undoubtedly the company’s most popular game now, it isn’t how it started. Kairosoft began back in 1996 with more simple PC simulations that lacked the style and finesse of their current games, but still managed to get people playing. Their first game dealt with a used bookstore, with the second being a slightly improved version of the original. The original Game Dev Story forerunner was released in 1997 for Windows PCs. That’s when the company really started to take off. It still remembers its routes though, as all of its old PC games are available for free on its website.

It wasn’t until 2010 that Kairosoft received worldwide notoriety. That’s when Game Dev Story was released in iTunes in North America. The game resonated with gamers around the world. It was simple, but allowed players freedom to develop their own imaginary games and even systems. It and Kairosoft’s other sims proved it was a competant developer capable of releasing elaborate simulations that would reward players who invested the right amount of time in them.

So which Kairosoft apps should I be playing?

Now you should really start playing some of the Kairosoft games. They’re carried on both iTunes and the Google Play Store and in both cases there are free Lite and paid full versions. Start with Lite and you should know after two or three days if these apps are for you.

  • Anime Studio (mobile): If you loved Game Dev Story, this Japan-exclusive is for you. It’s basically the same premise, only this time you’re in charge of an anime studio and are developing your own anime series. It isn’t available in English
  • Battle! Ninja Village! (iOS): This one isn’t available outside of Japan yet. You built up a village of ninjas, placing different buildings, training your characters and generally making everything perfect. You then send out to battle to get rewards. So it has simulation and RPG elements.
  • Dungeon Village (Android): Like Battle! Ninja Village!, you manage a village and it’s warriors, making the village appealing by having high quality and popular shops while also keeping villagers well equipped to handle quests and exploration.
  • Epic Astro Story (iOS, Android): It’s a hybrid sim/RPG like Battle! Ninja Village and Dungeon Village, only in this case you’re colonizing an alien planet and making it a prosperous colony while exploring unknown areas.
  • Game Dev Story (iOS, Android, Windows, mobile): This is the Kairosoft game. It’s a straightforward simulation where you’re head of a game development studio. You start small and decide who to hire, what games to make for what systems and the general path of your studio.
  • Manga Dojo Story (iOS, Windows, mobile): You’re a mangaka who’s trying to become famous. Like Game Dev Story, you develop various kinds of manga and put together a studio to create manga and become famous. It isn’t available in English.
  • Mega Mall Story (iOS, Android): In this simulation you own a mall. You then determine which stores to place and where, in the hopes of creating the best mall in the area with the most customers.
  • Oh! Edo Towns (iOS): In this simulation you create an old Edo (Tokyo) town, trying to make it prosperous while also luring in lots of people and generally awesome. It’s “somewhat” similar to SimCity.

I know, there are no prices included. I did that for a reason. While there’s a good chance if you like one Kairosoft game, you’ll like them all, it isn’t a guarantee. Some are better than others, and some offerings will appeal to other people more than others. Since free Lite versions are available for all games, I highly recommend trying those first.

While you’re playing, keep an eye out for Kairobot, King Akbar, the masked luchador man and the monkey. They tend to make cameo appearances in pretty much every Kairosoft game.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports talks about Tokidoki and its various collaborations

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports talked about Girl’s RPG: Cinderellife.

Follow Jenni on Twitter for more import game updates and general fangirl enthusiasm!

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