Tag Archives: konami

Late to the Party: Contra Hard Corps

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I played the Nintendo Entertainment System version of the first Contra game, Super C, and Contra III: The Alien Wars for the Super NES growing up, but had actually never heard of the Sega Genesis Contra Hard Corps – which many apparently called the best Contra game, until many years later. I’m only just now learning the myriad reasons it’s so revered that involve what it does for the Contra formula as well as the circumstances surrounding its release.

Playing the game now, I’m astonished at how much it added to the series’ gameplay after Alien Wars. I think it’s officially known as a side game or a sub-series (it got a direct sequel on the PS3 and Xbox 360) but I honestly still think it’s close enough to its forbears to more or less be the “Contra IV” before WayForward made Contra 4 on the original Nintendo DS. Continue reading

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Late to the Party: Castlevania (1986)

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Konami this week released its Castlevania Anniversary Collection, containing eight of the earliest games in the series. I guess this would be a good time for me to write about what I thought of the original 1986 Castlevania game for the NES, which I played for the first time last fall. Playing and discussing it with fans begs the question of whether you had to have been there at the time to really appreciate this game. Personally, in 2019, find it to be just alright. Continue reading

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Stealth Games Shouldn’t Judge Non-Stealth Tactics

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From what I can tell, most people writing about Dishonored: Death of the Outsider (which I just finished) center on how its no longer judging players for killing was very liberating. I certainly agree, but playing it and other recent stealth games further confirmed something else for me: I tend to not enjoy stealth games as much when they judge you for not being stealthy.

I think I’ve always generally held the opinion that stealth in video games is at its best when presented merely as one option in an sandbox of tools and options for players. The two main reasons for this are that stealth feels cooler when players choose to be stealthy and succeed at it, and it feels better when you have other options after failing stealth. I have the most dislike for games that automatically fail you upon detection. Continue reading

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Far Cry 4 vs Metal Gear Solid V

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Until I could rent it on PS4 a game I’d been curious about was Far Cry 4. I’ve made more than one post about it or mentioning it along with my hopes an fears about the game, but never went and bought it. I found a lot to like in Far Cry 3 but generally wasn’t enthusiastic about how safe and conventional its design felt compared to the flawed gem that was Far Cry 2. A bigger reason though is because in a lot of ways, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the Far Cry game I’ve always wanted. Continue reading

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I Want MGSV To Be The Next AAA Game Everyone Copies

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Maybe I’ve said it in previous posts before, but I think it’s about time we saw an increase in sandbox shooters. When I say “sandbox,” I don’t mean games that give you a huge open world with a bunch of junk to collect. I mean games that put you in the middle of map, give you some objectives, and say “go.”

The reason I bring this up is because Metal Gear Solid V just might be the initiator of trend that could resurrect this type of design in tactical games. Release date lists for the next 12 months or so contain a handful of games that could get the ball rolling. Continue reading

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Obligatory GOTY Post, 2015 Edition

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Every year I seem to count a different number of “top” games I played. I don’t like having to struggle to figure out a top 10 or top five or whatever. Do the academy awards have a set number of nominees they have to have every year? I just go over whichever games in a year actually stood out in terms of quality as well as how continually drawn I am to them, no matter what number they come up to. In 2014 that number was pretty much zero (maybe one), this year it’s three, listed in order below.

As I said last time, I like to think of 2015 as the year when AAA video games became interesting again. Not since 2011 had I been truly hyped about any new major game coming out. I’d also like to say that 2015 seems like a year when we got some unusually good writing in video games. Some other people say it’s also been a great year for adventure games. I don’t know if that’s true or if I just hadn’t been playing enough adventure games or games with good writing in previous years. In any case, both of those trends seem to be set to continue into next year if nothing get’s delayed. Continue reading

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Kojima Productions & Previous Japanese Break-Offs

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However fowl Hideo Kojima’s breakup with Konami may have been, the man’s fans have probably been waiting years for the day when he’d no longer be forced to do Metal Gear games. If anything Kojima is just one of the last classic Japanese video game auteurs to go the independent route. I won’t try to predict what he’s got cooking with Sony, but it’s worth looking at how this process went in previous cases. Continue reading

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Digital Distribution And PR Lessons From Metal Gear On Steam

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After all that hype for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain I talked about, actually getting the game has been an informational and emotional whirlwind for those who chose to pre-order it on PC. Whatever happens, or did happen, let this stand as an example of what publishers and public relations shouldn’t do for highly anticipated digital releases. Continue reading

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Is Mobile All-Bad For Konami (And Metal Gear)?

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I guess you can call this a “devil’s advocate” post regarding Konami’s shift as of late. I’m about as disappointed as anyone else hearing how Hideo Kojima has left and how the company has decided to prioritize mobile and pachinko games. On one level though Iv’e chosen to think practically about it, and on another level recent reports few are talking about cast Konami’s turn in a positive light. Continue reading

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

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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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