Welcome to PlayStation JapanStyle, the ongoing monthly journal of a gamer in Japan.
Winter is Going:
The arrival of spring means the exit of winter. My Kagawa Ice Fellows sadly didn’t get as far as I’d expected them to in the Japanese National Ice Hockey Championships, but hey, they got past the first round.
Golden Week came and went, but for me it wasn’t very “golden.” I spent it doing a lot of sleeping and blowing my nose because I had sinus polyps surgically removed in late April. They like to keep you in the hospital for a long, long time in Japan, but I was ready to go home and I knew it. The first night was sleepless, yeah, but I didn’t need to be in a hospital. I had this surgery in the States about 10 years ago, and it was an outpatient procedure.
Here in The Pan, they said they wanted to keep me for over a week, and required me to check into the hospital the night before the operation. To demonstrate that I was indeed well enough to go home, I made a video of myself dancing around with my I.V. I made this with shitty freeware, so the first minute is a still image with a dumb watermark.
It’s not the stuff of legends, but it served its purpose. I was able to go home on day four instead of day 10. So that’s good.
Hey let’s get into game stuff!
Golden Week was also just yellowish for game sales. The first week of May, thanks to being packed with a string of national holidays, is usually one of the hottest weeks of the year for video game sales. Not this year, however, as Jason reported.
One reason for this is the tax increase, for sure. People were looking into the future, and the popular move was to bump your big purchases forward and get them out of the way before April. Now that the prices are officially higher, hardware won’t move without big software. I thought inFamous: Second Son had a chance to break 50,000 units sold in its opening, but it only hit 35,000, which is about the same as the first two inFamous games. I thought the hungry PS4 audience would jump all over it, but I guess not.
It’s downright tragic that Child of Light only sold about 7,800, but I can’t say I’m surprised. Things tend to suffer without a physical version in Japan, and the case on shelves only came with a download code. I hope a disc-based version happens some day.
This Is Not How You Sonic
In mid May, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed made its Japanese debut, perhaps hoping to beat Mario Kart to market and get a few sales on the kart racing hype. What astounds me about this, however, is that there was no portable version. No Vita version, not even a 3DS version, just PS3 and Wii-U. If it were to release on any one platform in Japan, I would have expected it to be the hottest seller, but no. Myself, I’ve played this game on Vita and I think it’s great. I really wish it were available on the local market, and I’ll never understand why it isn’t.
Uta Kumi 575
I played a demo of Uta Kumi 575, which was interesting. It’s a music game that involves the usual tapping to the tune, this time starring two Japanese schoolgirls (always the schoolgirls) who want to have a serious love of the haiku-style 5-7-5 pattern. So many of the verses in the songs use the five syllables, followed by seven, followed by five, it’s fun to see how creative they can be with it.
Watch out though, because at times, you’ll be asked to put the correct lyrics into the songs instead of just tapping music notes in time. That means that simply being handy with Japanese isn’t enough — you’ve gotta be super dope fresh enough to see it, read it, and think about the logical order in which the words can go, all within a second. Fortunately, you can sneak by with trial and error, along with memorization, if you’re determined enough and don’t mind hearing the songs again and again and again.
It’s a pretty snazzy little game, overall, and I’m soon gonna try the full version.
Gundam Side Stories
I also popped in Gundam Side Stories: Missing Link for PS3. I’ll eventually read the manual to figure out what I’m doing wrong, but right out of the gate, eh, I can’t be bothered. I wanna game, dang it! But I’ll need to read up, because as is common with the Gundam games, you gotta figure out a new and sometimes unintuitive aiming mechanic. I tinkered around with a few missions of Story Mode and I like what I see so far. It’s early, so I haven’t been in the coolest mobile suits yet. Look for more on this game and an eventual import review some time in June.
Well that’s about it for JapanStyle this month. You can get a sneak peek at June by digging the PlayStation game release list right here.