Thursday, October 27, 2011

Odd and/or Obscure: Title Withheld

Hi everyone! I hope you've been well. I know I have.

There is a certain game I've been playing quite a lot lately, and finally finished a couple of days ago. I thought I'd talk a bit about it here. I do think this game deserves any attention it can get, as I doubt many people have heard of it. (Outside Japan, at least. More on that later.)

The game in question is Gachitora! Abarenbou Kyoushi: In High School, and by just seeing this borderline obscenely long title you've probably already guessed it: It's a Japanese exclusive game, available for the PSP. The game plays quite similarly to the Yakuza game series. You even play as an ex-yakuza member so there you go. You fight bad guys, level up your physical and mental skills, you do mini-games such as fishing, boxing, card games, pop quizzes, side-scrolling shooting, photography and... bomb defusing? Sure, why not!?

Perhaps I should let the game speak for itself first. Check out this trailer.

Okay, if you don't know Japanese, you're probably wondering what in the world you just watched. If you know Japanese, you also probably wonder what in the world you just watched. That's what I did, anyway.

So, the story goes like this: Yakuza member Kaji Torao gets involved with a high school student's suicide attempt, saves her life, and is then asked to become a substitute teacher at the school by the principal, who sees Kaji's potential when it comes to giving advice. Kaji grudgingly accepts the offer, since it means that he can get the principal's help to fly in a doctor from Germany to perform a complicated operation on Kaji's sickly Godfather. At first, Kaji's rough exterior and rude personality makes it hard for the students and teachers at the school to accept him. But, as he starts solving problems that the school has been struggling with for a long time, he is gradually accepted by everyone, and soon starts to become a real teacher. It's basically Kindergarten Cop, but in Japan. And in high school. And with a gangster instead of a cop. And he has arguments that manifest themselves as mental fist fights with the students. And these fights for some reason tend to end with the student's clothes disappearing as they finally give in and tell the truth about their problems.

So... not much like Kindergarten Cop at all, in other words. Whatever.

This is one of those games that has to be played to be believed. Unfortunately, given how extremely Japanese it is (To paraphrase a certain meme image, it's so Japanese it shits the Emperor), it's most likely never going to be released outside Japan. It's a shame, too, because this game really shows just how much the PSP is capable of. There's a lot of voice-acted cutscenes (Which are some of the most hilarious scenes I've ever seen in a video game, by the way), plenty of side-missions and mini-games, and the graphics are top of the line for the hardware. It also has the best New Game+ feature I have ever seen.

Well, the language barrier, along with the relative obscurity of this particular title makes it pretty inaccessible to many people. But if you have a PSP, and would like to try something unlike almost anything else on the market, give Gachitora a try!

Until next time, have a good day!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

After the Battle

Hi everyone!

Today I went to the BlazBlue tournament, and I had a lot of fun. There was even a live commentary and everything. And yes, I lost, big time. I still had a good time, though, and it got me thinking: This game has the fantastic quality of being fun even if you lose. When you lose, you feel like you want to try again, improve your game, and get even better than before. It inspires progress rather than punish failure.

That's my take on it, at least. From now on, I'm going to see if I can get better at the game and actually be able to compete with the beasts at the arcade. Maybe one day I'll be able to win against them... Well, as long as I'm having fun, winning or losing doesn't really matter.

After the preliminary round, the game's producer Mr. Mori held a short presentation of the new installment in the series, scheduled for release later this year, and gave his views on what makes a good fighting game, and what he strives to accomplish when he makes games. Following that, the audience had quite a few questions regarding lots of things concerning BlazBlue, from technical details to Mori's personal choice of character. As for me, I was curious about the Persona fighting game cross-over being developed by Arc System Works, and how it would play in comparison to BlazBlue and Guilty Gear. However, it seems it was still too early to reveal any details on that game, but Mori did tell me that it will "be quite different from BlazBlue." I'm waiting eagerly.

Well, that's all for now. I'll just leave you with some photos from the event, and wish you a good day! Until next time, keep that wheel of fate turning!

The entrance.
Quite a lot of people showed up.

"Please select your character!" The most used characters of the day were Ragna, Bang and newcomer Relius Clover.
My main, Taokaka. Only a few people used her today, but they showed some spectacular moves.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Here Comes a New Challenger

Hi everyone!

Today, I signed up for a game tournament that is going to be held on campus on Saturday. The game in question is BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, probably my favourite fighting game ever, and in addition to a tournament, the game producer is going to hold a presentation as well. And it's all free! Oh yeah!

I am prepared to get my ass severely kicked, though. I am pretty good at the game, but if the competition is anything like almost every person you see playing the game in the arcades, I am definitely among the less skilled players. I'll be happy to win just one round. Hell, I'll be happy just to participate. This isn't something you run into everyday.

So, in order to get psyched up for the event, I'm going to post this here song, which plays when the character Bang unleashes his ultimate technique. (Although I main Taokaka, I still think this song is the most awesome one in the entire game, period.)
Well, that's all for now. I'll get back with some pictures from the event. Until next time, have a good day!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Back in Town

Hi everyone!

First of all, thank you for the congratulations! I had a great birthday. Quiet, but precious. And now I'm back in Kyoto, ready for more class, more laundry, more grocery shopping, homework... Oh God what have I done!?

Just kidding, I'll be fine! So anyway, I promised some pictures form the Nagoya festival. Now, it actually wasn't much of a festival. It was raining quite a lot, so the parade that was supposed to pass through the center of town was cancelled. So, no pictures of awesome parade floats with people dressed up as Oda Nobunaga. Oh well.
To make it up to you, here's a picture of me wearing a paper hat.

For some reason, my girlfriend refused to walk next to me while I was wearing this.

Anyway, as we all know, you can't have a proper festival without a person in a castle outfit. This one had one.

I always get the feeling that these kinds of suits are especially designed to traumatize small children.
And, because I make it a point not to upload too many photos at once, here's one last picture of me in a funny hat.

Well, that's all for now. Until next time, everyone! Have a good day!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Weekend Trip

Hi everyone!

Just wanted to make a brief update. This weekend I'm going to Nagoya, to see my girlfriend and to go to a festival with some old friends. And, on Sunday it's my birthday! Whoo!

So yeah, I'll try to remember to take some pictures to post here when I come back on Monday. Until then, have a good weekend!

Friday, October 7, 2011

I hate Spiders

Hi everyone!

I really like living in Japan, but why, oh why do the spiders here have to be so freaking big and creepy? Any Australian person reading this will probably roll their eyes, thinking something along the lines of "you should check out some of the babies we've got down under, mate." And this might be true. But for me, a poor urbanized Swedish guy whose prior experience with spiders has been pretty tame, the ones that can be found over here are quite disturbing. Thank The Builder I haven't had any of the big ones in my room so far. I pray that things will continue like this.

In other news, I am starting to get used to the daily grind at university by now. I have all my classes scheduled and know where to go to get to them. So, that's good.

Anyway, that's all for now. Until next time, have a good day!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Temple Time!

Hi everyone!

When I say Kyoto, what is the first thing to pop into your head? Nothing? How about a clue: There are literally hundreds of these all over the city, and they are all quite beautiful to look at. They are supposed to fill a religious purpose, but most people seem to just see them as a nice tourist spot or an interesting diversion.

I am talking, of course, about temples. Be it a Shinto shrine or a Buddhist temple, Kyoto has them in droves. And today, it just so happened that I went to visit one of them. Finally.

Well, to be fair, I have been to some temples and shrines before, when I was in Japan last summer. But, today was the first time I visited one since I came here, and it was about time. The temple in question is called 仁和寺 (Ninnaji) and was founded in the year 888, and has been expanded several times since then. In 1994, Ninnaji was designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. It was really beautiful, and the weather was perfect. Not to hot, but still sunny and bright.

After that, I took my bike and went for a ride through town. In all, a pretty nice day. How has your day been?

Until next time, have a good day!