Tag Archives: JRPG

E3 2017: I’ll Be Your 1-Up Boy

For many gamers across the world, E3 is like Christmas. Being the pinnacle of video game marketing, the event itself is overflowing with the energy of a theme park – complete with colorful attractions and lines of people waiting for their turn to have fun. Being my third E3, this was a first for me as not a part of the IGDA scholarship program – originally a recipient and now a manager of it. IGDA Scholars no longer includes E3 as part of their roster, but E3 still holds significance for my agenda. As someone who specializes in journalism, marketing, and PR – specifically in games – E3 is a great opportunity for me to continue fostering friendships in the industry.

Traffic in New Donk City

With a love for Nintendo games which dates back almost as long as I’ve been alive, naturally, my attention was mostly on the Big N this year. Nintendo certainly did not disappoint. Their presentation managed to hit all the right spots, successfully building more hype for the Nintendo Switch. There’s a lot to look forward to this year for Switch owners: ARMS, Splatoon 2, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild DLC, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Fire Emblem Warriors, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and – especially – Super Mario Odyssey. Reveals of new Yoshi and Kirby games, plus announcements of a core Pokémon game AND Metroid Prime 4 in development only adds fuel to the flame.

As Nintendo continued its E3 coverage with Treehouse Live and additional reveals of another Metroid for the Nintendo 3DS and new amiibos, my anticipation for visiting Nintendo’s booth grew. Super Mario Odyssey was the clearly the star of the show with Nintendo’s booth dressed up as New Donk City. However, with an E3 opened to the public for the first time in several years, Nintendo’s booth resembled that of a giant mosh pit more than anything else.

People waited for up to four hours in undefined lines just to play 10-minute demos of Super Mario Odyssey. The crowds were a common complaint and although crowd control improved over time, it was clear that the ESA was ill-prepared for this influx. I only got to be hands-on with two games at E3 as a result – Super Mario Odyssey being one of them.

Having Tea with the Professor

In my position as a social media coordinator for Novy, I was really happy to have been given an opportunity to work with Level-5 to plan and host the Layton café – a one-day event at E3 celebrating the 10th anniversary of the series and promoting the upcoming Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy. I’ve enjoyed Level-5 games since I’ve played Professor Layton and the Curious Village for the Nintendo DS, so it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

Our hard work paid off as the Layton café was a big success with media and fans alike. Personally, I helped with media interviews with Akihiro Hino and as a “puzzle master” – welcoming guests and providing “hint coins” (a.k.a. clues) for puzzles. Witnessing the excitement from fans as they soaked in the atmosphere was a very rewarding experience and something I’m glad I got to play a role in.

Music from the Heart

That night ended on a high note – literally – as I attended the Kingdom Hearts concert with Yoko Shimomura (Kingdom Hearts composer) and Tetsuya Nomura (Kingdom Hearts director) in attendance. Again I witnessed the enthusiasm of fans as they shed tears over a performance they never thought would come to fruition. I’ve never seen a more passionate audience for an orchestra.

On a Throne for a Day

I wrapped up the remainder of E3 exploring the parts of the L.A. Convention Center I did not yet explore. After a bit of dancing at the Ubisoft booth, I got to play my second demo – another Level-5 game, Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom. After defeating a dragon and taking my place upon the throne at the Ni no Kuni booth, the rest of my day was dedicated to meeting industry friends.

E3 was a fruitful time for me – particularly in rejuvenating relationships. The two games I was able to play left a favorable impression on me. Mario Odyssey is bringing back a beloved old 3D Mario formula with many fun twists and Ni no Kuni II’s revamped battle system is a welcomed change. E3’s lively atmosphere is contagious, but I particularly loved how Nintendo transported its visitors to the bustling streets of New Donk City – fitting considering the traffic this year. Nintendo proved that it is a good year to be a Nintendo fan. Having the chance to do event marketing for a Professor Layton title was the cherry on top. Until next E3, I’m looking forward to seeing how the year plays out.

Undertale: A Game Full of Soul(s)

Mt. Ebott, 201X…

It has been a long time I’ve loved a game as much as I love Undertale. A game from humble beginnings, it truly is like coming across a mythical creature. Undertale is a unicorn in the gaming world. Odd, beautiful, and rarely, if ever, seen. I wholeheartedly recommend experiencing this game for yourself. If you have any intention of doing so, you’ve been warned: there are spoilers ahead.

Continue reading Undertale: A Game Full of Soul(s)

Brace Yourself, Yo-kai Watch is Coming

For decades, Pokémon monopolized the collectible monster scene. However, amid the Pokémon Centers of Japan emerges a brand new monster mania — Yo-kai Watch. Level-5 created a multimedia franchise that is now taking Japan by storm. Next is the world.

Japan may still love Pokémon, but with Yo-kai Watch’s booming success in Japan and inevitable release in the West, this is the largest rival to challenge Pokémon’s supremacy yet.

Imagine Pokémon mixed with Ni no Kuni, add a splash of Japanese folklore, sprinkle in some childhood reminiscence, and you got yourself the essence of Level-5’s Yo-kai Watch.

While Pokémon’s fantasy world is vaguely based on the real world, Yo-kai Watch definitely takes place in Japan. Of course, that means localization challenges are aplenty. Yo-kai Watch is so strongly rooted in Japanese culture, even its title requires a bit of a cultural lesson.

Yokai_Watch_3

What are Youkai?

Gashadokuro
One of many youkai, Gashadokuro (がしゃどくろ) are large skeletons formed by the bones of people who have died from starvation.

Japan loves monsters. They’ve existed in Japanese mythos for ages. In Japan, the term used to refer to these supernatural creatures is “yōkai” (妖怪). There are many different types of youkai: shape-shifting foxes, women with stretchable necks, walking umbrellas, long-nosed avian warriors, mischievous water spirits, and more.

Gashadokuro_Yokai_Watch_2
Introducing Gashadokuro (ガシャどくろ) from Yo-kai Watch 2. Its name is actually a word pun. It combines the youkai’s name with Gashapon, the Japanese word for capsule toys.

Yo-kai Watch brings all of these mythical beings together in a universe where they can be befriended and summoned by the press of a button on a special wristwatch.

Welcome to Yo-kai Watch

One day, you’re out trying to catch that one, amazing bug (think Animal Crossing) that will impress all your friends. You come across a large tree and at its base is a suspicious, and awfully old, capsule toy machine. A mysterious voice beckons you to insert a coin which releases the cutesy ghost, Whisper. He bestows upon you the Yo-kai Watch, a wrist strap which unveils the world of youkai that live all around you.

That is the prevailing theme behind Yo-kai Watch: “Everyday life with Youkai.” The game’s setting is an average, Japanese town called Sakura New Town. Even the main 11 year-old protagonists, Keita Amano (boy) or Fumika Kodama (girl), were purposefully designed to be flawed and relatable.

Yokai_Watch_Anime

On the outside, Sakura New Town appears completely normal and its residents are going about their normal, daily lives. However, it is actually bustling with all sorts of youkai. Some of them are good and others are causing mischief and mayhem. Which, of course, means youkai battles!

Yo-kai Watch vs. the World

Yokai_Watch_2

For a franchise with such strong Japanese roots, Level-5 is confident that it can take on the world. Prepping to take their successful monster franchise to the world stage, Level-5 is eyeing the West and have already begun testing the waters:

A trademark has been already filed for in the United States. Plus, Level-5 has clearly announced its plans to bring Yo-kai Watch overseas under the premise that it will be guaranteed to succeed. Japan may still love Pokémon, but with Yo-kai Watch’s booming success in Japan and inevitable release in the West, this is the largest rival to challenge Pokémon‘s supremacy yet.

Will Yo-Kai Watch make it big like Pokémon? Or is it just the latest monster fad? We will soon find out.