All you ever need to know about Japan

After spending 10 nights in Japan I am now qualified to make sweeping statements about the Japanese culture. The following are immutable truths (told in a convenient pros and cons style) about this wonderful and bizarre country:

Pro
Suntory Boss is the boss of them all since 1992.

There’s no use denying it.

Con
Japanese people seem as pro-Japan as Americans are pro-America. I was asked by one of my gracious host’s fathers why we came to Japan. He was an awesome guy but really pushed hard for an answer he found satisfactory. I think the question was probably just mistranslated and he actually asked, “How awesome is Japan?” The same day, a man on the street approached us and told us in English that “Japan is number 1.” With proof like that who was I to argue. →  Devil Summoner: Readou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Article

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? →  Professor Layton and the Diabolical Post

65 reasons to own a DS

Recently, PSP Fanboy began a series of articles called “60 Reasons to own a PSP.” They may only be up to reason 45 despite the series beginning a month ago, but today we are showing you everything we’ve got. Yes, 65 reasons to own a DS, but here’s the catch — they’re all games.

PSP fans (we have some at this site) and savvy readers may be quick to point out that PSP Fanboy could have taken the same approach. Forget that it’s debatable the PSP has 65 good games because that’s not the point. The PSP crowd may like games, but we believe the PSP Fanboy article shows what is important to that fanbase.

Features, a lot of features. Nubs, wireless, movies, browsers, messengers, waffle irons. Games are number one on their list, but they still get one sixtieth of the list, like free VoIP (in Britain only) and adjustable screen brightness. →  Postlanser: Heritage of Read

Review – Okami

While some genres are mainly constructive (most sim games for example), the action adventure genre has historically been destructive. Even though your character is generally on the side of good and fighting evil there is something dissatisfying about achieving your ends using strictly violent means. Rarely does a game come along (outside the real time strategy genre) that gives the player the ability to create as well as destroy. Okami is such a game.

As the goddess Amaterasu you alternate between attacking demons with a variety of swords, mirrors(?) and rosaries(??) and restoring the world around you to its former natural beauty. This makes the experience of playing the game much more complete, since you actually have the capability to act like a god (assuming its not the spiteful, vengeful type of god), meting out punishment to offenders and aiding the just in their day to day lives. →  Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing memory cards.

Review – Disgaea

As I’ve grown older I have become more acutely aware that compromises are ubiquitous in game design. I once raised common questions like, “Why don’t they make this game longer,” “Why isn’t this game more open ended,” and “Why isn’t there more dialog in this game?”

A longer game time may dilute the story and make gameplay tedious. An open ended game is less focused and loses narrative potency, and more dialog can slow down fast paced gameplay. I now realize that for every obvious improvement, there is at least a small case to be made for keeping a design choice unchanged.

If you look closely, you’ll notice some soldiers measuring their height relative to their enemies and others looking through their item packs for healing herbs.

When I was younger I longed for complexity in games. →  Hell is other gamers.

Review – La Pucelle: Tactics

When hippos attack.

There was a period around two years ago when it was impossible to not read about Disgaea. Every forum, most sites, and many magazines were praising it as the strategy RPG you’d never heard of that you need to own. For reasons unknown, I never took the worlds advice. I have La Pucelle in my collection but not the reportedly amazing Disgaea. The company behind Disgaea, Nippon Ichi, made La Pucelle first but it was only brought to the West after Disgaea’s success.

And how. Mastiff has done a wonderful job translating the game and most of the voice acting is excellent. Although there is an awful lot of meowing in the game I could’ve done without. These guys should localize more RPGs, but tone down their animal impressions. →  Start your journey now, my Lord.