‘Editorial’

Checking Out Steam Releases in March 2017

PacaPlus

PacaPlus

It’s time for the third of my monthly Steam summary articles. As usual, expect to find some information about the total number of games released in March as well as how many of them were Early Access and/or virtual reality releases.

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Checking Out Steam Releases in February 2017

The Shadows of Pygmalion Featured

The Shadows of Pygmalion Featured

Last month, I decided to try my hand at keeping track of Steam releases in 2017. It just seemed like the right time, as 2016 was a landmark year of releases for the service. This year is also poised to be quite different once Valve shutters Steam Greenlight.

Defined as a failure practically out of the gate by Valve, Greenlight stuck around for years regardless. At the beginning, getting Greenlit meant something. At this point almost anything gets Greenlit given enough time. Once its gone, we should see an eventual decline in the number releases. I don’t know if we’ll notice that this year, though, as thousands of Greenlit games still haven’t launched on Steam. In any case, let’s get on with the data.

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Emulation, Me, and the Raspberry Pi 3

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Featured

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Featured

Emulation is one of those things that became an obsession from the minute I learned of it. This all began one day in high school when a friend asked to borrow a PS1 game of mine. When it came time to return it, he told me about playing it on his PC. My immediate reaction was something along the lines of “What do you mean?” Instead of explaining himself fully, he cryptically only gave the name of the emulator. Thus began an obsession.

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Checking Out Steam Releases in January 2017

dacapo3rSteamReleases

dacapo3rSteamReleases

2016 was an interesting year for Steam. According to Sergey Galyonkin of Steam Spy, 38% of games available on Steam were released in 2016. That means 4,779 titles hit the popular digital marketplace in a single year. The news shocked many, though just makes sense given the increasingly thin barrier that Steam Greenlight presents to getting onto the storefront.

My belief is that 2017 will be another record-breaking year for Steam – albeit not to the same ridiculous level that 2016 was. Of course, if Valve does something like remove the Greenlight requirement entirely then I’ll easily be proven completely wrong. In any case, I wanted to know more but didn’t want to wait on Steam Spy to provide information. This led me to creating my own method of collecting Steam release data that I intend to keep up with throughout the year.

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I Made My First Game!

papalogo

Writing about games has been a hobby of mine since I was about 14. Sure, at the time it was pretty awkward, hyper-opinionated (and not even MY opinion – but the resounding one from game blogs of the time!) stuff. However, all that stuff disappeared after deleting the LiveJournal years ago so I couldn’t relieve it in all that cringe-worthy glory even if I wanted to. So, basically I’ve been writing about games for 10 years (although only about half of that has been with actual, established websites). And for all that discussion of games, I had never myself taken game creation into my own hands.

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Leah’s Top Five Played 3DS Games of 2014

Fantasy Life Featured

Over the years, the 3DS has grown to become one of my favorite gaming systems ever. There are just so many incredible games that have been released on the system so far, and there are plenty more to come (especially with all the cool stuff that was just announced during the most recent Nintendo Direct!). While it’s rare for me to jump on new game releases anymore, the 3DS is an exception judging by my Activity Log. So, let’s check out my top five played 3DS games of 2014!


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5. Tomodachi Life

I was pretty excited when Nintendo first announced that they were bringing Tomodachi Life to North America. The Nintendo Direct that showcased it was incredibly zany and weird – how could you not love a game like this? While Tomodachi Life didn’t end up meeting my expectations in the end, I still had a lot of fun having in-game versions of my family and other characters interact with each other in hilarious situations. Oh, and I was able to marry Naoto Shirogane, so that’s a plus.

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4. Disney Magical World

Disney Magical World is one of those games you probably think is supposed to be aimed towards the youngsters. Well, it might be, but it’s still surprisingly entertaining and offers a lot for the older crowd. It feels a lot like a Rune Factory game, which is a series I love, so Disney Magical World definitely clicked with me. Plus there’s tons of customization! I still haven’t “beat” Disney Magical World because it’s such an expansive game, but maybe I can get around to doing that sometime this year.

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3. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call

I think the original Theatrhythm Final Fantasy was one of my favorite games of 2012. So, it’s no surprise that I took an immediate liking to its sequel. Everything in Curtain Call has been improved upon from its predecessor. It also offers tons more songs, Quest Medley mode, and a very entertaining Versus Battle mode. All of these combined make for a lot of time spent with the rhythm game. Now Theatrhythm Dragon Quest has been announced, and while I’m not as big a fan of Dragon Quest like I am with Final Fantasy, I know I will probably play that a lot, too!

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2. Fantasy Life

Fantasy Life is one of those games that I had no idea I would be spending so much time on. There’s just so many sidequests and whatnot to delve into! In fact, I’ve been messing around with non-story stuff so much that I still haven’t beat the main game. I am pretty close to beating Fantasy Life, though, only because I’ve decided to shift my attention from mastering every Life and fulfilling requests for a brief moment.

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1. Pokémon Alpha Sapphire

Ah, of course a Pokémon game is number one on my list (though my playtime is not nearly as much as the hundreds of hours I used to spend on each individual Pokémon game). In any case, I still easily succumb to the series’ siren call and buy each and every iteration. And how could I resist a blast to the past with a Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire remake? Alpha Sapphire has definitely given me a healthy dose of nostalgia while still offering plenty of new additions, and in my playthrough, I’ve barely scratched the surface. Maybe if I ever have the time, I’ll try to actually catch ’em all.


There you have it, folks. 2014 was a pretty awesome for the 3DS. Now here’s hoping that 2015 is just as great, or perhaps even better!

2014 Reviews in Review

Mount Your Friends Featured

Mount Your Friends Featured

2014 is over! Wow, what a year it has been in regards to video games and my relation to them. Ever since I began reviewing my feelings about games have changed – but more importantly so have my habits. Last year was probably the first when I fully realized that the more I review the less time there is to play just for fun. But isn’t reviewing fun? Certainly, the titles reviewed are almost always selected by me… yet there’s something different about playing with the intent of writing. Work is work, no matter what, and maybe it’s a bad thing to combine my main hobby with work to such an intense degree.

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Why Hatoful Boyfriend is a Visual Novel You Should Play

hatofulboyfriend

hatofulboyfriend

Hatoful Boyfriend is a visual novel which originally launched in 2011 by Hato Moa. However, it wasn’t until 2012 that the internet populace really took notice of it – even so, that was still a fairly niche audience. The fact that the game didn’t play nice with some modern OSes certainly didn’t help things. For whatever reason, Hatoful Bofyriend was then tweaked by Mediatonic to run on newer systems (alongside a few other little modifications/additions). It was around this point when a much larger audience took notice thanks to the remake’s release on Steam. Now, the game has “Overwhelmingly positive” reviews but most of which are done firmly tongue in cheek rather than much focus on possible merits.

The biggest trend that appeared was one of mock shock and jokes. Certainly, Hatoful Boyfriend was made to amuse, but the way so many reacted said one thing – they weren’t actually going to play it. Unfortunately, the oddball concept of a young woman going to high school with birds (and possibly falling for them) was too much for many to handle.  But in what way is this so different from most other visual novels currently on Steam? They tend to offer flighty impossible tales, often with implausible love interests (ex: the trope of tons of girls falling for one incredibly average guy).

One reason that I felt many distanced themselves far from Hatoful Boyfriend is because they cannot “be” the protagonist as they’re so used to. So far, most dissing of the game I’ve seen comes from guys who 1. don’t want to date pigeons 2. don’t want to date male pigeons. To be fair, no one should want to date pigeons – but something about the otome aspect makes it even harder for certain players to grasp. This is a shame and hopefully these players will reconsider playing a game that is about amusement and a simple story instead of serious romantic pursuits.

If you avoid Hatoful Boyfriend because it just seems too weird then I also ask you to reconsider. Yes, it is weird, and that’s part of the charm. This game offers a surprising amount of endings and is not just about being a goofy mess. Certain storylines are surprising in their emotional resonance.  Every bird has their own personality which compels one to learn more about them. Although it is not a modern classic of the visual novel genre by any stretch it is a fine value for its cost. There is so much more to this game than meets the eye – and so many people are missing out on it.

Are there problems with the experience? Yes, such as a very poor fast forward/skip text feature. The text appears the same as its original version, grammatical oddness and all. Still, Hatoful Boyfriend deserves more respect than it has received. If you ever find yourself running low on visual novels to play, then please pick it up. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Sakura Spirit May Have Opened the Gates for Eroge on Steam

Steam Eroge Games

From my North American perspective, video games (and all media to an extent) are bracketed by ridiculous notions of “maturity.” For some reason, it has become acceptable and expected that young children can view depictions of violence in games. Parents may not like it so much, but they buy their kids games like Call of Duty anyway. However, show one scantily-clad character or make one heavy-handed sexual euphemism and the content inexplicably becomes more “adult” than seeing a character’s head bursting open with sickening detail in slow motion.

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Loot Crate Review – Villains

Loot Crate July 2014 Villains

I love [thing] of the month clubs. Unfortunately, I”ve never had the disposable income to really dive into any! Since my initial searches for subscription boxes it seems that a whole host of far cooler ones have launched. There are lovely things like OyatsuBox for Japanese snacks, IndieBox for boxed indie games, and Loot Crate which touts a box full of geeky goodness each month.

Luckily for me and my wallet, I was given the chance to review July’s Loot Crate! Each month is themed in some way and this one focused on villains. Considering I’ve always had a fondness for the baddies in games, comics, movies, and all that this was definitely a good starting crate for me.

So, what was inside the box?! As it turns out, a whole heap of stuff despite the relatively small form factor of Loot Crate’s box. My eyes were immediately drawn to Deadpool socks because, well, Deadpool. After that I quickly spied a shirt depicting a mashup of Joker and Loki. A small poster was also rolled up which begged for its immediate unfurling. In fact, it was two posters (featuring Joker and Harley Quinn) with extremely high quality artwork.

Of course, Loot Crate’s July box still held more goodies. Next I noticed the smaller things such as a pin, Darth Vader keychain, Bowser magnet (which was immediately put to use), and DVD for the documentary Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics. Considering I love “unique” documentaries it was a huge surprise to be handed one I’d never heard of before! The most surprising (and impressive) inclusion for July’s set though was definitely the Rocket Raccoon issue #1 comic with Loot Crate-exclusive variant cover. I appreciated that it even came bagged and backed.

Even though I’m not a big comic book lover I could tell that this selection of goodies was pretty darn excellent considering the price of a Loot Crate ($13.37). I mean, if nothing else, fun graphic T-shirts tend to cost $10 at the low end of things. So to get a whole host of fun knick-knacks, a documentary, and comic makes the subscription box seem very worth it. Honestly, now I’m tempted to subscribe just to get a new set of surprise “gifts” once a month! Even if it turns out I don’t adore every themed box I can always share the goodies with friends who do. Loot Crate seems like an excellent deal for people who love geeky media or have someone in their lives who does.