Features

heroesofthestorm

There is a constant struggle I face whenever I sit down to play a game. It gnaws at me, and sometimes even paralyzes me into a mental state in which I’m unable to play anything. I constantly fight the battle in my head: do I want to play something from my current backlog of games or spend more time in a persistent game world? The current games battling for my attention are Final Fantasy XIV and Hearthstone, but with a recent upswing in my time playing Heroes of the Storm (recently released into open beta), my problem just keeps getting worse. READ MORE

laseractive1

One of the biggest mistakes a console maker can make is putting a technological gimmick before the hardware itself. The dawn of optical media was a perilous point in games hardware history, with several platform creators rushing to take advantage of the new technology before the big players  Nintendo and Sega  could do it first. One such competitor, Pioneer, attempted to leverage an obscure medium while piggybacking on its more successful competitors to secure victory, but never obtained any compelling software. I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face: Software trumps hardware every time. The Pioneer LaserActive learned this the hard way. READ MORE

shadowofmordor_sero_1

Remember that scene in The Simpsons when they’re all in the car and reflecting upon Homer’s decision to stop his career as a Cannonball Thingy Guy? They start talking about what’s cool and what isn’t. The children are decidedly unimpressed with their parents’ insistence that they know what “cool” is. It’s a hilarious ending to classic episode, and all the more fitting that it’s featured in a storyline looking back at counterculture and youths’ shaky affirmation that the older generations don’t know what they’re talking about. READ MORE

In this episode, Graham guides Jeremy through the water-filled world of Densetsu no Starfy 2, the second game in the Legendary Starfy series. Though only the fifth and final game made it to the West, all of them are easy enough to jump in and play, and friendly in both mechanics and visuals! Maybe give one a try?

New episodes of Gaijin Guide are posted every other Wednesday.

phantomsociety1

Ghostbusters was a landmark in the pop culture development of my generation, and it still resonates today. News of an all-female cast version of the movie sent shockwaves through the internet, and a Cryptozoic Kickstarter campaign for an official board game crushed its $250,000 goal. As much as I love Ghostbusters, I did not back that campaign, mostly due to the fact that I had already played 2013 Iello Games release The Phantom Society and didn’t see the need. READ MORE

sero_vesperia1

I enjoy novels focusing on a character whose motivations and questions mirror my own darker side. Two recent examples, The Magus (John Fowles) and The Magician’s Land (Lev Grossman), both explore the plight of the young man, and what is he to do? The Magus is a cryptic chasm of false starts, true shocks spiraling the narrative down a hole so deep, I don’t know if I’ve climbed out yet.

There were so many times I asked the very same question the main character did, he might as well have been me. What just happened? Was I there? Who is in on this? Is anybody in on this? What does this all mean? Questions still flood my memory and I’m unable to breach the surface to breathe. What just happened? How am I 31? Did I really do that play? Were they laughing at me? Did I say the wrong thing at a social gathering six weeks ago? Is everybody aware I said the wrong thing? My inner frustration grows, moreso when I’m not even sure if I should do something about it. READ MORE

Are you ready to Smash? No, not that Smash. Graham and Jeremy face off in Japan-only SNES title Sanrio World Smash Ball, a competitive game reminiscent of Windjammers and Bang Bead featuring characters from the Hello Kitty universe. Who will triumph? Watch and find out!

New episodes of Gaijin Guide are posted every other Wednesday.

givemethebrain1

A while back I talked about Lord of the Fries, a Cheapass Games title about zombies working in various restaurants. While that game just finished up a successful Kickstarter campaign for a new edition, the zombies of Frieday’s (the Fast Food Restaurant of the Damned) first appeared in Give Me the Brain!, which itself just received a new “superdeluxe” edition as part of the Stuff and Nonsense campaign. READ MORE

sero_batmanarkham1

As I venture into the unknown of my early 30s, I am physically reminded that I’m no longer as indestructible as I was when I was 19. I can’t put the same stress on my knees as I used to, and stretching has switched from warming up before a sporting activity to an absolute necessity if I don’t want to be hobbling around the next day. It is a sobering experience. READ MORE

In this super-sized episode of Gaijin Guide, Graham and Jeremy join their friends Terry and Rikku for a dice-rolling real estate competition! Itadaki Street Special, the predecessor to localized Wii title Fortune Street, features Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest characters in a game that resembles Monopoly but fixes many of that game’s infamous ills. Who will win? Is it Rikku? (It’s not Rikku.)

New episodes of Gaijin Guide are posted every other Wednesday.