Last weekend I attended Otakon 2018 in DC, and amidst the screenings, panels, shopping, and gaming, a highlight for me was getting to play the arcade version of Taiko no Tatsujin (also known as Taiko Drum Master) for the first time. A bit auspicious seeing as western countries are finally getting another one of those games this fall.
At another Otakon way back I actually bought an import copy of one of the earlier games for the original DS, and I’d played some console versions on and off over the years, but I never totally “got” why the Taiko games were kind of a big deal. Namco makes them but they’re apparently a big enough deal to show up in SEGA’s Yakuza 5. They seemed like okay rhythm games on consoles, I’d just forgotten how much rhythm games tend to rely on special controllers.
I was actually never into the whole Guitar Hero and Rock Band craze. That’s generally just not my kind of music, but I was into Dance Dance Revolution for a while, and would never play that game without a dance pad. I still keep mine around just in case. Technically it accomplishes the same thing as a controller, it just makes the game more visceral and tactile, forcing you to get your body movements more involved with the beat. I guess that’s why so many people are mad the upcoming western release of the new PlayStation 4 version of Taiko won’t come with any drum controller.
In any case, I finally started to respect the game when I tried the arcade version at Otakon. I thought I’d know what I was doing since the console versions didn’t see too difficult, and at Otakon I got to watch two people who seemed to know what they were doing go immediately before me (there was a long line). The version there was in Japanese so I couldn’t read the titles of any of the songs, but one section seemed to be anime theme songs so I just picked a few out of there (people seem to be excited that the western release will include some anime themes). I didn’t even do well enough to get a second song on my first attempt. I did kinda okay on the second attempt, but like DDR there’s a whole skill set to just the four inputs the game gives you.
I’m starting to see why the upcoming one is such a big deal. It seems like a really good rhythm game, but hasn’t had a western version since 2004 on the PlayStation 2. I definitely plan to investigate the Switch version since I’ll at least be able to use the Joy-Con controllers and/or my old GameCube Bongo drum.
Aside from that I’ve got a gallery of the cosplay that caught my eye there this year as well as some other attractions.
- One of the cosplayers I photographed asked me to link to her Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/ladyakumu/?hl=en
- Foul play: tackling toxicity and abuse in online video games, by Jay Castello: https://www.theguardian.com/games/2018/aug/17/tackling-toxicity-abuse-in-online-video-games-overwatch-rainbow-seige
- The lost footage of Aretha Franklin’s performance at the 1968 DNC: https://www.thedailybeast.com/when-aretha-franklins-star-spangled-banner-drew-a-torrent-of-racial-abuse?via=twitter_page
- Enter the Dragon at 45: https://www.npr.org/2018/08/17/639343899/the-lasting-influence-of-bruce-lees-enter-the-dragon-which-turns-45
- Nintendo, emuparadise, and the great games preservation debacle, by Ben Fruzzetti. https://nintendowire.com/news/2018/08/13/nintendo-emuparadise-and-the-great-games-preservation-debacle/
- Remember the first 3D Spider-Man game for the original PlayStation (and Nintendo 64 and Dreamcast)? https://wp.me/p8wLEc-a0r0
- Best CCleaner alternatives: https://www.techspot.com/article/1677-ccleaner-alternatives/
- The first episode of a Doom II mod launches after 12 years in development: https://buff.ly/2KWlREb
- The original creator of Fire Emblem released an indie strategy RPG a couple years ago on PC called Vestaria Saga, the English version has a demo on Steam now: https://store.steampowered.com/app/694770/Vestaria_Saga/
- A retrospective on Darius Twin: http://youtu.be/-haFsbIcjTM?a
- A First Nation dub of Sailor Moon: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2018-08-13/first-nation-teen-keeps-language-alive-by-dubbing-sailor-moon/.135433