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An American Gamer in Japan 1: Metal Gear Mt. Dew, Risque iPhone Apps, and PSP RPG madness

By Heath | March 23, 2010 at 11:05 am

Greetings from the Land of the Rising Sun. Since I’m writing this on RPG Land, and it’s about the gaming lifestyle in Japan, I almost said “from the RPGLand of the Rising Sun,” but then I was like, “No. That’s exactly the kind of douchebag move I hate.” So I didn’t.

It’s well established that I’m kind of a soda (pop!) fanatic, so I was interested to discover today a rebranding of Mt. Dew to celebrate the upcoming PSP game Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. It’ll be made by Suntory, the same company that does the Final Fantasy drinks that have appeared in recent times. What’s interesting here is that it appears to just be a repackaging of Mt. Dew and not an original beverage. In a perfect world, they’d stick American-style Dew in there, because I miss that stuff, and J-Dew just isn’t the same. It’ll be sold mostly in convenience stores for around the same price the non-special cans will be selling from the vending machines.

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.hack//Link was released here earlier this month. The original .hack games on the PS2 were some of the only games I’ve ever played through purely for the story, and regrettably, time and circumstance just didn’t have it in the cards for me to get through the GU saga way back. I could do it now, but man, I’m just stacked. *Sigh* This backlog and my realization of its size, however, didn’t stop me from riding my bike all over town ready to blow 10,000 yen (over 100 bucks) on a special edition the day after release. Well, I’m an idiot who should’ve preordered, because I just could not find one. Yamada Denki? Nothing. Media World Magical? Nai. Games Arashi? No dice. Aw well. I suppose it’s a blessing in disguise, as I probably would have bought it but not let myself watch the special DVD or play the game until clearing GU, which will likely happen around…2017?

Speaking of PSP games, my PSP has been rocking me. I wish I had more time in the day to dedicate to games, because I am having an absolute blast with several games, headlined by Valkyria Chronicles 2 and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.
On Valkyria 2: Perhaps I just did something wrong, but the difficulty in VC2 seemed to take a sudden spike right around March. January and February, and the battles contained therein, were breezes, but March’s story battle felt like it was in another league altogether. Even the April conflicts that followed were comparatively easy. Not mentioned in the recently posted preview is that you can sink a hell of a lot of time into this game. After only four months on the calendar, I’m clocking around 40 hours. Now, that’s not all required and I’ve done a hell of a lot of tinkering around on low-level missions for the sake of testing out new classes, but the possibility easily exists for this game’s length to far exceed that of its older sibling.
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On Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep: I’ll tell you straight: I liked the first Kingdom Hearts, didn’t care enough about the second to finish it, hated Chain of Memories, and thought 358/2 Days was only so-so. (I gave the last one there a slightly better-than-average review marking based on the fact that dedicated fans would likely still enjoy it. Not me though.) All that said, I am having a kickass time with Birth by Sleep. Now, knock on wood, but as of about 1/3 through the game (assuming each of the three chcracters is 1/3 fact of the game), it’s been legitimately fun. My first character choice was Ventus because he seemed the most, uh, “regular” of the three. I’m thinking I’ll go with the heavy-handed Tera next.
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I’ll leave you with some eyebrow-raising…well, and skirt-raising, iPhone apps released recently here. “Puff” puts the iPhone holder in the role of the playful wind, free to huff, puff, and blow women’s skirts up to their shoulders while they smile and laugh about it. Because that’s what we all do when they realize a busy street has just glanced at our junk. “Touch Girl”  uses the touch functionality of the iPhone; the user wipes the screen, which acts to strip away the clotches on an on-screen vixen. Erasing the whole outfit rewards one with a playful naked-but-my-hands-are-in-just-the-right-places pose. Maybe some day good citizens will get together and put all this creativity into actually naming more streets. Screens and scans of these are below, courtesy of the Weekly Famitsu magazine.
Till next time~

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Topics: .hack//Link, American Gamer in Japan, Drinks, Freakin' iPhone, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, Mobile games, News, Valkyria Chronicles 2