Review – Yakuza

As a fan of the Shenmue series I was induced to try Sega’s Yakuza (non-neutered Japanese name: Ryu go Gotaku, or Like a Dragon). Hardly a review was written that avoided comparing some aspect of the game or the game itself to Sega’s acclaimed series. If you have not already played them, I am here to tell you that these are drastically different games. While there are some cosmetic similarities, the crowd that adores Shenmue (at least those who do so for the same reasons I do) will not find a spiritual successor here. While both games are basically brawlers in an open world, with plenty of side quests and dark corners to explore, the heart of Ryo is absent from the muscular Kazuma.

Shenmue has many strengths (and several weakness), but chief among them is Ryo’s hesitance to resort to violence unnecessarily and his ineptness in many adult situations. →  This post are sick.

Domo arigato and bon voyage!

Tomorrow morning I will be leaving to join Tyson in Japan. There may be fewer updates and hilarious articles while I’m gone, but by January 8th I’ll be home and within the next month or two we will be ready to think about planning preparations to return to full speed.

In the meantime, enjoy fluffy filler material I’ve preprepared. Ever wonder how the staff here has evolved and changed as gamers in the past two years (hey, that’s how old this site is, what a coincidence)? Wonder no more because this site will soon be flooded with human interest stories.

While you’re reading videolamer and doing whatever it is I assume you do with the rest of your day (hit refresh until you need to pee/eat, pee/eat, repeat), I hope to absorb the local culture by enjoying a Big Mac and Nippon Disney – who cares about what people think beyond what they think of me? →  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Read

A deeper look into Nintendo’s bling

Nintendo’s recent ascension to become the second largest company in Japan has been making news on a few sites which track the business aspect of video games. While it is true that a company’s market capitalization (basically a measure of what the stock market thinks a company is worth) has grown by leaps and bounds of late (as will happen when the price shoots up as much as Nintendo’s has) some of the underlying financial numbers are even more fascinating than the headlines.

By market cap, Nintendo is substantially larger than Sony (Nintendo is worth about $75 billion, to Sony’s $47 billion). In truth, this metric is only one way to judge the size of a company. What’s another, you may ask? How about sales, I answer. Sony’s sales are leaps and bounds higher than Nintendo’s. →  We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we play.

PS3 Gets Boatload of PS1 Titles…in Japan

Through their newest 1.70 firmware update for the PS3, Sony has bestowed upon the Japanese buying public a cornucopia (25 to be exact) of PS1 titles for purchase through the Playstation Store. This will also mark the very first time that PS1 titles are playable on the PS3. Before today, they were only playable on the PSP, which makes absolutely no sense.

Blocky characters in 1080p: totally worth $600.

And sadly, not all of the titles that are being released tomorrow are playable on the PS3. You can check out the complete list at PSPFanboy.

Now, although this is only for Japan, it does seem that Sony is at least somewhat trying to do what Nintendo has been doing with their Virtual Console Mondays. Nintendo has been on the ball ever since the service started a week after the Wii’s launch, and after seeing how much profit they stand to gain from doing nothing releasing their old wares, Sony has decided it’s their turn to milk their customers of their hard-earned money. →  The Read Star

Numbers are fun: Super awesome stock update

While at work today, and trying to justify thinking about video games, I became curious about the recent performance of the three companies gamers (probably) follow most closely. Thus you now get to read a rundown of how Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo stock has performed since the launches of the 360, PS3 and Wii respectively. But first a few caveats. With nothing besides perception to back this up, I’m going to say that Wii sales are more important to Nintendo than either of the other consoles are to the their companies. While I’m not sure, and I would be willing to listen to arguments to the contrary, I would say Microsoft is least reliant on its games division, but Sony obviously has diverse business interests as well. This means that stock moves could have nothing to do with game sales, and I am completely spinning my wheels. →  All this can be yours, if the read is right.

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 6.23.06

A CNN reporter grades the current generation of consoles
Apparently the tone he takes (he treats the systems like school kids) is supposed to be funny and/or clever. He gives the PS2 an A, the Xbox a B-, the Gamecube a D and the Gameboy Advance an A. The Xbox actually sold worse than the Cube worldwide, but since when do American journalists bother themselves with other countries?

This article reminds me of a feature in the newest EGM where they give grades to the future of each system. Somehow the Gamecube ends up with a lower grade than the Xbox despite the Xbox getting no new first party games and one or two 3rd party exclusives. The Cube gets the new Zelda, Super Paper Mario, a new Donkey Konga game, and from Namco the sequel to Baten Kaitos. →  The Read Star