Tag Archives: japan

Mario & Luigi RPG Developer AlphaDream Has Gone Bankrupt

Image: Nintendo
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Founded in 2000, AlphaDream was originally known as Alpha Star and was staffed with people who had formerly been at Square, including former Square President Tetsuo Mizuno. The studio is best known for the Mario & Luigi RPG series. It was announced today that AlphaDream has gone bankrupt.

According to Yahoo! Japan, revenue was sluggish in recent years and development costs drove the studio into the red. As of March 2018, AlphaDream was 400 million yen ($3.7 million) in debt.


After releasing Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for the Game Boy Advance in 2003, AlphaDream went on to do four more main entries in the series: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, and Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam. The studio also worked on the remakes Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions and Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey, the last of which is AlphaDream’s final game.

The Mario & Luigi RPG series was praised among fans—and for good reason. It’s a shame that the studio has filed for bankruptcy.

Clarification: 10/2/2019, 6:45 a.m. ET: This article has been edited for clarity.  

Source: Kotaku.com

Nintendo Was Founded 130 Years Ago Today

On September 23, 1889, Fusajiro Yamauchi founded Nintendo Koppai (koppai means “cards”) in Kyoto, Japan. Originally a playing card company, the company would go onto revolutionized video games forever.

When the company was first founded, Nintendo made hanafuda playing cards. It was only three years earlier that the Japanese government legalized the cards, which were a favorite of gamblers.

Today, hanafuda is often played during the Japanese New Year’s holidays by regular folks, young and old alike.

It is still unclear what the company’s name Nintendo (任天堂) meant to founder Fusajiro Yamauchi. The “leave luck to heaven” translation is most likely incorrect. You can read more about what Nintendo’s name could mean right here

The top photo is a pre-World War II photo of Nintendo’s headquarters. On the far left is a photo of Napoleon, which is for the company’s Daitouryou deck. Well over a hundred years later, Nintendo still sells this Napoleon deck.

Source: Kotaku.com

SNK Reveals The 20 Games For Neo Geo Arcade Stick

Photo: Brian Ashcraft (Kotaku)

Earlier this month, SNK announced the Neo Geo Arcade Stick Pro. It’s packed with 20 built-in games, which weren’t revealed—until now.

According to IT Media, the 20 games SNK is including for the release are:

The King of Fighters ’95

The King of Fighters ’97

The King of Fighters ’98

The King of Fighters ’99

The King of Fighters 2000

The King of Fighters 2002

Fatal Fury Special

Fatal Fury 3

Garou: Mark of Wolves

Samurai Shodown II

Samurai Shodown III

Samurai Shodown IV

Samurai Shodown V

The Art of Fighting

World Heroes 2

World Heroes 2 Jet

World Heroes Perfect

Ninja Master’s

The Last Blade 2

Kizuna Encounter

According to the official release, this appears to be the international title list, but SNK acknowledges that specifics might change.


Image: SNK

Source: Kotaku.com

The Merchandise Of The 2019 Tokyo Game Show

Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.  

When you go to the Tokyo Game Show, you can play games. But if the lines are too long, you can buy stuff. Your choice!

As in years’ past, TGS has a dedicated merchandise area. Certain things sell out, so if you are planning on going (and know what you want to buy), do your shopping early. 

This Monster Hunter hug pillow costs nearly $300.
Dreamcast and Mega Drive themed scales.
The little bowl is for soy sauce.
Monster Hunter themed baumkuchen. Priced at around $150.

Source: Kotaku.com

The Neo Geo Arcade Stick Pro Is Massive In-Person

Photo: All photos: Brian Ashcraft (Kotaku)
Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.  

The images SNK have released do not convey the actual size of the Neo Geo Arcade Stick Pro. It’s humongous.

The stick comes packaged with 20 games and can be connected directly to the TV or PC, plug-and-play style.

Huge arcade sticks aren’t uncommon, but this one seems especially jumbo.

It seems that SNK also has a protective cover for the Arcade Stick Pro. Since the stick is white, no doubt it would get real dirty. 

Source: Kotaku.com

The Persona 5 PlayStation 4 Looks Beautiful

Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.  

To mark the release of Persona 5: The Royal, Sony is releasing a special Persona 5 themed PlayStation 4 Pro. It looks quite nice!

The Persona 5: The Royal PS4 Pro Limited Edition will be on sale between September 12 and December 25 in Japan. 

Source: Kotaku.com

Yakuza 7’s Big Changes Are Looking Good

Screenshot: All images Sega

Since 2005, Sega has been churning out Yakuza games. They’ve pretty much all followed the same formula: beat-’em-up action, mini-games, some silliness, and riveting drama. Yakuza 7 is different, trading button mashing for role-playing-game-style commands.

Gameplay-wise, this is a significant departure for the series. It stars new series protagonist Ichiban Kasuga. This is not his first appearance, as he previously starred in the free-to-play Yakuza Online. A collectible card game, Yakuza Online was also a departure from the gameplay of the mainline series. So it makes sense that Sega wanted to shake things up with Ichiban Kasuga.

The demo opens with Kouichi Adachi, a former detective, drinking a cup of sake on the street. He crushes the cup in his hand and enters the apartment where Ichiban and a drifter named Nanba are sleeping. Adachi has an ax to grind and teams up with Ichiban. The mission in the demo has players leave the flophouse where they are staying and go to Hello Work, a job-hunting company.

Hitting the streets of Yokohama’s Isezaki, it looks like past Yakuza games with urban Japan obsessively recreated. But you know you’re in for something different when the loading icons are retro-style pixel versions of Yakuza 7’s heroes.

After setting out, the group comes across a golden baseball bat stick in the ground. Thinking they can sell it, both Adachi and Nanba try to pull the bat out of the ground but fail. Ichiban gives it a go, successfully pulling out the bat and raising it over his head. A ray of light shines down from the heavens. It’s like the sword and the stone—something that isn’t lost on the characters and something that they mention.

Adachi tells Ichiban that he’s the “hero.” Ichiban, who’s a huge Dragon Quest fan, knows exactly what this means in the context of JRPGs and makes comparisons to the popular role-playing games. Like in Dragon Quest, Yakuza 7 has a “Hero” (勇者 or yuusha in Japanese). The characters are class-based; for example, while Ichiban is the Hero, Adachi is the Fighter. Characters wield weapons such as a nightstick or an umbrella, and if they’re near objects, like a bicycle, they automatically use them to kick ass.

The fantasy setting has been swapped for the real world. But there’s still a good deal of fantasy in Yakuza 7. The on-screen icons and prompts, as well as the healing animations, are straight out of your typical JRPG. Walking the streets led to encounters with enemies, triggering the turn-based combat. When combat begins, the appearance of the enemy characters changes.

For example, the first group’s appearance changed from casual clothing to street fashion influenced by Fist of the North Star. Another group of older men in tracksuits changed into bandana-wearing thugs. The contrast between fantasy and contemporary Japan makes the experience feel novel and fresh.

This tongue-in-cheek earnestness immediately won me over. Prior to playing the demo, I was bemoaning the loss of action-based combat. “It’s not a Yakuza game unless there is Yakuza action,” I said. After playing the demo, any reservations I had about Sega ditching the punching for turn-based combat in this specific game were gone.

In the demo, I had only three encounters before I arrived at Hello Work. There are mini-games, such as pachinko and go-cart riding, but I didn’t experience that element. (I imagine the mini-games are similar to previous entries.) The constant button-pressing required for traditional Yakuza games can feel exhausting. Yakuza 7’s pace feels more leisurely, with turned-based command-action battles that allow players to enjoy the story and soak up the underground world of organized crime. This is probably why Sega is calling Yakuza 7 a “dramatic RPG.”

Part of the charm, though, is that Yakuza 7 shakes up the traditional formula. It’s familiar yet odd and different. This is long overdue, but I’m not sure all the Yakuza games need to be cheeky JRPGs. The charm would wear off. The change is a much-needed fresh take for Yakuza 7, but long-term, I’m not convinced it’s a way forward. For this game at least, it is.

Yakuza 7 will be released in Japan on January 16, 2020, on the PlayStation 4. An international release date has not yet been announced.

Source: Kotaku.com

The One Punch Man Fighting Game Handles Its Overpowered Hero In A Quirky Way

Screenshot: Bandai Namco
Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.  

Saitama is called “One Punch Man” because that’s all it takes for him to level foes. How the heck does that work in a three-on-three fighting game? Interestingly.

Yesterday I checked out the upcoming One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows at Bandai Namco headquarters. It’s yet another fighting game adaptation of an anime, but with a twist.

Or better yet, a gimmick.

Players can select Saitama for their third slot. They cannot use him before that, and the game has a small window with a timer showing Saitama running to the fighting stage.

It seemed to take him over 100 seconds to get to the stage. Prior to that, he cannot be switched out, meaning that until he shows up, you’re stuck with only two fighters.

Also, the exact amount of time it takes Saitama to get there depends on the other two fighters you select. So, if you select two strong fighters, it will take Saitama slightly longer to arrive. Selecting two weaker ones means he’ll get there in a somewhat more timely fashion. During the fight, if you are doing well, you can score points that subtract time from Saitama’s clock as he races to the stage.

This is clever. In the anime, Saitama is always late for his fights, so this is a smart way to help balance the character’s power.

The problem is, though, once he arrives, he’ll end the fight in a single punch. He is, after all, One Punch Man. In matches I fought in and watched, it didn’t seem possible for the limited number of characters in the demo to defeat him.

However, if both players select One Punch Man, then they are evenly matched. Conceptually, I really like the idea of how Saitama is used in this fighter. I’m not sure if it would start to feel just like a gimmick after a while or a way to open up deeper strategy.

Source: Kotaku.com

After several delays, the Japanese-made Xbox One exclusive shoot-’em-up Natsuki Chronicles is slated

Screenshot: Qutejp (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAtOXXAeCmI)

After several delays, the Japanese-made Xbox One exclusive shoot-’em-up Natsuki Chronicles is slated for a late 2019 release. The game was first scheduled for and 2015 release but has been delayed four times. In a blog post, the studio’s president apologized for the repeated delays. 

Source: Kotaku.com

Kanada Myojin Shrine (Kanda Matsuri Procession).

Photo: Jimmy Ho (Instagram)

Kanada Myojin Shrine (Kanda Matsuri Procession). Tokyo, Japan. By Jimmy Ho | Instagram | Official Site

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Source: Kotaku.com