2011 Blog Post Explains What’s Happening to Japan’s Games/Anime


Recent events have not been great for fans of certain Japanese entertainment. If you want to understand these trends in video games, anime, and other industries, there’s a blog post from a few years ago I’m pretty much just writing this post to bring attention to.

We have Konami seemingly almost abandoning traditional console game development, one of the worst weeks for traditional video games in Japan’s history, and now the Neon Genesis Evangelion creator predicting the fall of anime within a decade. Konami’s turn in particular has been a major milestone in a trend we’ve been seeing for years now of Japanese games turning away from the traditional games the dedicated fans like and towards the mobile games they hate. Then you’ve got many anime and Japanese games following art and narrative trends like “moe” that look increasingly creepy to a lot of people.

Néojaponisme chief editor and Tokyo-based writer W. David Marx did a massive five-part blog post in 2011 that does a great job explaining the whole thing. I linked it in a bullets section before but I really think it’s required reading for anyone miffed at the turn Japanese pop culture has taken in recent years, so I’m bringing more attention to it here. Continue reading

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What’s Really Holding Back PC Games?


I’m going to try to make this my last post connecting to The Witcher 3 before I actually play the game (which will probably be long after its hype dies down). Another point of discussion regarding its technology is whether or not consoles are the reason the final game doesn’t look like its initial reveal videos. I think that assertion misses the whole point. Continue reading

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Pre-Order Culture And Game Development


It seems the “downgrade” controversy surrounding The Witcher 3 has heated up even more now that the game is out and CDProjekt RED has given Eurogamer a detailed explanation. It’s also gotten people talking about the general problem of games looking different between initial reveals and release and why people have gotten so up in arms about it recently. Kotaku has blamed pre-order culture and how bloated it’s become, encouraging developers and publishers to oversell their games two years before launch.

For the record, as you can read in my previous post about the game, I still believe almost all the complaining about how Witcher 3’s graphics turned out is gross hyperbole. But enough about that. Last July I went over how I see pre-orders these days and my position hasn’t changed much except for one big realization: I’ve become almost completely disconnected from the latest game releases, which has put me off pre-orders even more. Continue reading

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Modding Skyrim’s Very Design Philosophy


Everybody’s playing The Witcher 3 right now, and that’s great. It’s my most anticipated 2015 game, but unfortunately I won’t be able to buy or start playing it for some time, probably weeks. In the meantime I’m replaying the first two Witcher games and trying to finally get Skyrim off my plate. I’ve already written about my first forays into modding Skyrim, but that was mostly about why I started modding the game. Now I’m starting to like how a handful of light gameplay mods have significantly changed my experience with the game.

Basically, I’ve tried to eradicate the parts of Skyrim that make it what some might call a “GPS game.” Almost every big game these days has some magical GPS indicator in its HUD that tells you exactly where you need to go next in order to progress. People make fun of it by posting fictitious Battlefield box arts that are nothing but a “follow” icon. Developers really want to make sure you never ever get lost. A long time ago I did a blog post about this specifically in relation to Skyrim. Continue reading

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Game Patches Should Be Available As Separate Downloads Again

Downloads   CD PROJEKT RED

CDProjekt RED is doing something pretty interesting for the release of The Witcher 3. Like most high-profile releases today it’ll have a day-one patch, but on PC that day one patch will be available as a separate download for everyone regardless of whether they have the game yet (just like The Witcher 2)*. Everyone should start doing this, on both PC and console in fact. It’s basically a regression to how patches used to be distributed, but why not do both the new and old ways? Continue reading

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What To Expect From The Witcher 3… From The Witcher 1 and 2


Like probably a lot of people I’ve been preparing for The Witcher 3 by starting up the first two games (which I probably won’t be able to finish before the third game’s May 19th release). I haven’t played The Witcher since 2011 — right before The Witcher 2 came out in fact, and it has once again taken me aback at how well-made it is despite a couple obvious shortcomings. It has reminded me a little of what to expect from Witcher 3, so I guess reading this might be useful for someone who’s dropping right into that game without having played the first two. Continue reading

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When And Where To Call “Downgrade” On New Games


I’ve been wanting to talk about The Witcher 3’s downgrade controversy for a while now, but since reviews are coming around and the retail game is in the hands of at least some people, I think we can make better analyses. Most importantly though, I just want to explain why I think most downgrade controversies we’ve had over the last few years have been a load of crap. Continue reading

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More Games Should Have Limited Inventory Systems


Usually I’m in lock step with complaints about how retail games from disparate genres have become increasingly homogeneous these days, but the inventory screen is one thing I actually wish was another part of the generally-accepted concoction. It and the itemization of objects it brings gives players more to think about and makes a game’s world seem deeper. Continue reading

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LTTP: Modded Skyrim


Finally beginning to mod my installation of Skyrim after three and a half years feels like I’m really late to some great endeavor everyone else has already undertaken, or perhaps even an entirely different game everyone has played. I think I can say that because after playing roughly 70 hours of vanilla Skyrim, the modded game indeed feels like an entirely new experience. Instead of the modern, cinematic adventure of a big hero, I’ve turned it into something that reminds me more of older, more muted but also more mysterious dungeon crawlers, possibly even the older Elder Scrolls games. Continue reading

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LTTP: Skyrim’s Main Quest


After three years I finally hopped back into Skyrim and completed its main quest. Coming off other recent open world games, Skyrim only entrenches my opinion that most of these games treat their main stories as secondary, even if their developers might not realize it. Continue reading

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