Top 10 Games I Played in 2016

This is not a list of the best games that came out in 2016. Because I now have a full-time job and live in Japan with a handful of gaming machines, it’s a list of the games I most enjoyed playing this year. Got it? Good! Here we go!

10. Parappa the Rapper 2 (PS4)

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I didn’t quite appreciate this on PS2, especially as a follow-up to the original. While I did buy the soundtrack long ago on a trip to Japan, I gave it a meh 7.5 score when I reviewed it in Game Informer magazine. Playing it again – and completing it multiple times – I see how it was designed to facilitate freestyle gameplay and on-the-fly changeups of lyrics. Kinda cool, even if it makes the songs less catchy as a result. The competitive HORSE-esque component is interesting if poorly implemented.  Continue reading

What Does This Mean?

I finally crawled out of “da Nile,” toweled myself off, and dealt with the fact that this happened. And it made me pretty pissy. Here are my thoughts on the matter.

The “grab her by the pussy” guy won. The “I’ll jail my opponent” guy won. The “mocking a journalist with disabilities” guy won. The “I’m smart cuz I don’t pay taxes” guy won. The “I’d date my daughter” guy won. The “China made up global warming” guy won. The “I’ll punish the media who disagreed with me” guy won. The “Mexican immigrants are rapists” guy won. The “appalled that women menstruate” guy won. The “Putin has some good ideas” guy won. The “Muslims should not be allowed in here and those that are in will have to be labeled for easy identification” guy won. The “most failed businessman in modern times” guy won. The “border wall is my main plan” guy won. The “prisoners of war are losers” guy won. The “attack anyone who isn’t nice to him” guy won. The “endorsed by the KKK” guy won. Continue reading

Country Girls Handshake Event Recap

This was written on 2016.4.30, 19:50

Home from Country Girls handshake event. Never a dull moment. It was held at Cosmo Square, one station over. It’s an entertainment island, last stop on the Chuo Line. Had to take a tram to the ATC shopping center. 

Then, well, it was not easy going. Imagine a mall with a museum and office building attached. And all you know is it’s on the 4th floor. Good thing I left myself plenty of time. I went the complete opposite direction for a while, before I doubled back and saw a sign at the info booth I decided against stopping at earlier. After many long, lonely hallways, I was in the right place. 

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One of the single variants

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Live Plus Idol Concert Report

A little backstory: I am an idol music fan. Morning Musume, BABYMETAL, etc. I like when talented young women are skilled at dancing, singing and looking cute all at the same time. If the tempo is something I can get pumped up by at the gym, all the better. 

A while back, I started a Japanese blog as a way to practice my Japanese and interact with Japanese people. One person I interacted with was Risa, a member of a group called PPP! PiXiON. We exchanged comments from time to time, and then her group happened to be performing in Osaka on my day off. Sweet!

So that’s why I was in a deep basement of an Osaka concert hall on a “Golden Week” Friday, having no clue what I was in for. I had preregistered to maybe save a couple bucks, but was unsure if it worked. Sure enough, at the ticket counter, I said I was here to see PPP! PiXiON, and they knew my name immediately. See, I wrote it in katakana, which is an alphabet used for only foreign words. 

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The Siblings Who Shook The World: Prologue

In the fall of last year, I put out the long-awaited sequel to my novel Still Man Fights. Called The Siblings Who Shook The World, I aimed to make a tighter story that would appeal to a wider audience.

I wanted to share the prologue with my blog readers. This piece itself is basically a standalone short story about the history of the world of the NewHome books. If you dig it, please consider checking out the novels at the links above.

-=-=- PROLOGUE -=-=-

With Rigala 4 now in view, Papa adjusted the ship’s trajectory. The closer The Penance got to its destination, the more he could tell the planet would be a suitable place. It had an atmosphere; it had water; it had green land. From this distance, computers told him of new discoveries about Rigala 4 such as a 27-hour day cycle and temperature fluctuation that is less severe than Earth’s. The 52,300 passengers holding one-way tickets to the uninhabited planet would have a fighting chance at survival. Several officials who signed the banishment proceedings back on Earth felt it was more than the group deserved.

Papa wasn’t sure whether he agreed with the assessment of his superiors. He had spent spare moments on the journey observing his passengers and had developed sympathy for them. They were generally normal people who had made bad choices and found themselves in a tough spot. The majority were confined to sparse, narrow cells, alone, for 22.5 out of every 24-hour simulated day cycle. Electrified flooring herded them to and from meals and exercise – their only means of socialization. Continue reading

2015: My Year in Gaming

Every year, I like to look back upon the games I played. While I’m getting pretty far removed from my time covering then working in the game industry, games are still a big thing to me.

In 2015, I played 86 video games: 44 on PlayStation platforms, 25 on Apple devices, 14 on 3DS, 1 on Wii and 1 on PC. I’m not going to list them. I hope you don’t mind.

I completed 22 video games in 2015. Those I will list, in the order in which they were completed: Continue reading

2015: My Year in Review

I think a lot of people found a lot of fault in 2015. I empathize with them. However, for me, it was a pretty big year on a lot of levels.

It began in quite a chaotic state. Kate’s job necessitated a move north to San Jose – an area I’m still struggling to appreciate in any meaningful way. The shift wasn’t made easier by my returning from tour less than a month before the shift started to take shape.

I went to Japan in March, by my lonesome. While I can lay out several reasons for the trip, I’m still not sure how to adequately explain the desire to go nor the end result. If anything, it strengthened my desire to be there and immerse myself in the country’s benefits. It became more relevant later in the year. Continue reading