Archive for Game of the Moment

GOTM: Monster Hunter 3 Tri

When Monster Hunter Tri was announced for Wii, I hadn’t heard of the Monster Hunter phenomenon.  I was only glad to hear that a AAA (or at least AA) third-party title was finally announced for the system, and that it was something I would be moderately interested in.

I’m conflicted in a way about Monster Hunter; fundamentally, it’s a game that’s quite similar to Shadow of the Colossus: Much of the time, you’re fighting something much bigger than you, gradually chipping away at the right places and avoiding its spiny parts.  It also requires a good deal more teamwork, preparation, thought, and luck.  But as a consequence, it is incredibly slow to progress.

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GOTM: Fate of the World

Lately I was looking for a good simulation game to play. Although Koei’s various sims usually fill that niche pretty well, there’s nothing like a good solid computer-y sim game.

Fate of the World is an indie global warming management simulator. Now, in the United States, that in itself is controversial, which in my opinion is totally stupid – but the rejection of science by half of the political spectrum aside, it’s a game that challenging, interesting and depressing.

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GotM – Recettear

Shop sims have always interested me. A long, long time ago (I was… well, let’s just say this was around ’92), I was fascinated by an edutainment store simulator I remember only as “Bentley Bear’s Store”. I would play this game nonstop when I would get a chance, at a computer learning camp I attended through early elementary school. (Googling does not bring up the game, although it does indicate Bentley Bear was the main character in Crystal Castles – no help).

In this ancient shop simulation, you would buy various items (clothes, appliances, and so on) at a base price, and sell these items at a markup, arranging them in your store to draw in customers. You could even visit the nearby department huge store to view their prices, and undercut them slightly to draw in more people. I think there was even an initial debt to repay.

After I stopped going to that computer camp, I simply stopped playing the game. It was sort of interesting, but back then the internet was a mere fledgling of what it is now, and I doubt that the halls of AOL or Compuserve would have had any information on it regardless.

Recettear is the modern Bentley Bear’s Store. Known long-form as “An Item Shop’s Tale”, Recettear is the poster child for translation of Japanese indie (often called “doujin”) games. Much like the store-sim game of my youth, in Recettear you purchase items from either a Guild Shop or the global Marketplace, and sell them at a negotiated markup (that markup often depending upon the willingness of the customer in question to haggle). You arrange them in the store in such a way as to draw in customers, and later you can even design the walls, floor, and counters of your store to attract specific kinds.

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Arcana Revisited

I probably have more interesting things to talk about (going to PAX, playing through Starcraft 2, enjoying Persona 3 Portable among others) but I’d rather talk about Arcana.  So let’s do that, shall we?

I originally posted about Arcana some time ago – indeed, more than four years ago.  Since that post I had looked for the game each time I went to a brick and mortar store.  There’s something that just feels right about finding it someplace physical rather than going on eBay and picking it up for a little more (or likely less).  The local Game Xchange, Spokane’s (otherwise very nice) Trade-A-Game, and the occasional not-very-likely Play-N-Trade were all candidates, and all failed me.

What actually succeeded in selling me a copy of the game – and yes, I’m aware this is not a very interesting accomplishment – was the Pink Gorilla booth at PAX.  Yes, that’s right – I had the opportunity to play Portal 2, Retro City Rampage, Metroid: Other M, and, might I add, did none of these things (lines too long / not interesting enough to me) and the first thing I post about is buying a SNES game that nobody cares about.

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Random Game Highlight: Conquest of the Crystal Palace

This one really is random.  There’s pretty much no other category I would put this game in.  It’s neither especially good nor terribly bad.  It’s really nothing special, but it is random.

I don’t particularly have the urge to boot it up now, because I might get sucked into it (however briefly).  You play some kid who had his magic kingdom taken over by an evil guy when he was a baby.  His magical dog saved him and made sure he was raised appropriately (I think that’s how it goes), then reveals the truth to him.  Anyway, there’s a lot of fighting, and you have a magic dog, and there are shopkeepers that are entirely too chatty.  That’s about all I remember about the plot.  It’s sort of like a weaker Clash at Demonhead.  It’s anime-inspired, clearly, and there are bizarre goings-on, but they’re just bizarre enough to support the premise of the game.

Similar to 8 Eyes, your dog is a companion who you have limited control over.  He can be helpful, but (again like 8 Eyes’ Cutrus) he is entirely to weak to be your front-line and will likely die quickly.  Unlike 8 Eyes, he cannot be played by a second player, making this game a sad case of could-have-been.

It’s not like it’s a total loss, though.  The reason I still remember this game – and, in fact, what inspired me to post again so quickly – was the song for the first stage, which is unbelievably catchy (and linked below).  The composer credited with this is Masaharu Iwata, a wonderfully prolific and talented composer who is probably best known for his work alongside Hitoshi Sakimoto on games like FFXII and Opoona.   Incidentally, he also composed the music for the original Japanese release of Baroque.

Conquest of the Crystal Palace – Stage 1