Features

Graham and Jeremy bust out a SNES Mouse to show off this totally-in-English-but-never-released-overseas title from Nintendo and Game Freak, Mario & Wario. See how it basically set up the mobile puzzle game template in the early ’90s!

New episodes of Gaijin Guide are posted every other Wednesday.

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I really appreciate good world-building. For me, the sign of a solid, well-crafted setting is the ability to re-use it in other creations beyond the original and its sequels or expansions. This isn’t something that happens in the board game world very often without a licensed property being involved. A good recent example is Fantasy Flight Games’s Android universe, which spun off into Infiltration and served as a natural fit for the revival of Netrunner.

Level 99 Games has now done something similar, taking its World of Indines, most notably seen in its BattleCON Street Fighter-style fighting games, and exploring one of its key locations: Argent University. READ MORE

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It’s been a busy few months for me. My theatrical production of “People” at Langham Court Theatre wrapped up, after a three-month rehearsal process and a three-week run. I’ve created Video Game Music Bingo, an event set to debut at Victoria’s biggest gaming convention, Gottacon. The holidays. Family. Work. My hobbies seem to volunteer for me instead of the other way around. Life doesn’t slow down, it only gets busier as I feel myself getting slower.

With assignments and activities piling on, I have significantly less time for games. That in itself isn’t a problem; we all go through ebbs and flows with our free time throughout the year. It didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would, but when a castmate offered to lend me Final Fantasy III for the DS, I thought I’d dust off my handheld and give it a try. It would kill time, while I wait for my cue to head upstairs and tread the boards. I’ve never been a big supporter of handheld games and this experience confirmed it. When I play games, I want an entrée, not an appetizer. READ MORE

Graham and Jeremy take a look at Jikkyo Pawafuru Puroyakyu 2012 for PS3, a fun entry in the long-running Power Pros baseball series. Despite its cute appearance and pick-up-and-play approachability, it has a surprising amount of depth!

New episodes of Gaijin Guide are posted every other Wednesday. Next time, we’ll see if we can get some help pulling these buckets off our heads!

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In general, I am a fan of the way Stefan Feld designs games. His creations (like Trajan, Rialto, The Castles of Burgundy and Notre Dame) typically feature several point-generating paths, a simple yet intricate way to navigate them and, frequently, some sort of negative element that must be mitigated. You often have to plan moves several steps ahead, and it often feels as if you never have enough time or actions to do everything you need to get done. There are definitely a few titles of his that fail to grip me or even actively turn me away (Macao comes to mind here), but for the most part, I am willing to give any new release of his a fair shot. READ MORE

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Do you like games? Notice that I didn’t say “video games” or “board games” here, and that’s intentional. If you like games, that’s it, really, and games that appeal to your sensibilities can be delivered to you through screen or cardboard just fine. This is how it is now, though at least in North America, it’s taken a while to get here. READ MORE

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Something wasn’t quite right, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. The controller was fine; over 50 games have fallen to the might of my trusty PS3 gold standard. The TV was massive; we just got a brand new 55-inch Samsung SmartTV, and after negotiating color schemes and brightness, we had come to a mutual understanding that it was a TV and I was the person who decided what it should look like. I was well-fed, not at work and didn’t have to be anywhere in particular anytime soon.

But as I was playing through Tales of Xillia 2, I wasn’t sure why but it felt off. Like some entrée at a restaurant that should taste fine… does taste fine… but… I don’t know, too much salt? Not enough? Are those artichokes? I’ll keep eating, but I prefer satisfaction to a mystery when I’m dining out. READ MORE

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Things have really changed in the games industry in recent years. Originally, you had to delve into the corners and crevices of the hobby to unearth experiences you could enjoy locally with friends. Lately, of course, that’s gotten a lot easier. Exploring the show floor at PAX South, though, it dawned on me that finding those experiences isn’t the problem anymore. They’re everywhere, and in this case that was literal. Now it’s about filtering through to find the best ones. So here are the eight coolest couch-play games I checked out at the show, what they’re like and how (and when) you can play them.

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Graham and Jeremy foster better relations between Japan and the Soviet Union through water in Gorby no Pipeline Daisakusen, a 1991 Famicom puzzle title from Compile. How does a game like this even happen? We don’t know, but we start to get the hang of building pipes across the screen.

New episodes of Gaijin Guide are posted every other Wednesday. Next time, we’ll be swinging for the fences!

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Sentinels of the Multiverse remains one of my favorite games of all-time, but I readily admit that the mechanics can be a bit much at times. Fortunately, my friends and I have decades of playing and judging Magic: the Gathering under our collective belts to help us manage dozens of card effects. If you’ve tried Sentinels and enjoyed the concept but found it too “mathy,” perhaps a more tangible system is for you: enter Sentinel Tactics. READ MORE