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Games, girls, and the B.O. cloud

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Checked out Tokyo Game Show 2009 at Makuhari Messe twice last week. Thursday was the first business/press only day, and it was so much better than Saturday, where the crowd was like 50 times worse and the smell of B.O. had condensed to a visible gray fog. Luckily I was somewhat expecting this, so I got whatever I wanted to see or play out of the way on Thursday. Final Fantasy XIII was probably the best, since the game was sweet and you got to play for a full 15 minutes on a nice setup consisting of a slim PS3, 32-inch-ish LCD TV, and studio headphones. Since it’s Japan, of course before every person the headphones and controller got a wipe down with alcohol wipes, which is a big plus. Got to play a bunch of other games thanks to the average wait time on business days being maybe 10-15 minutes, compared to the 1 hour or more on public days. I noticed a lot of the booths during public days even gave out tickets to play the demos, meaning that once the tickets were all gone, no one else could even line up to play the games.

The swag level was kind of disappointing this year, with more crappy postcards and stickers than anything else. No good phone straps, keychains, t-shirts, or slap bracelets, at least from what I saw. The Capcom station for Ookamiden was giving out a sweet folding fan, but the line for that even on Thursday was like 45 minutes so I decided not to bother. Other random games I saw or played: First we played Bayonetta just because the line was short and it was the first one we saw. The game looked OK, but it was exactly like Devil May Cry only with a naughty librarian as the main character. Also for some reason her clothes turned into a demon or something, leaving her gratuitously naked. Halo 3: ODST seemed like it had a good deal of add-ons and new weapons and enemies. Tekken 20 or whatever is exactly the same as Tekken always is. MGS Peace Walker was awesome, although I can’t say the characters seemed as interesting as in past games. MGS trailers are always so well done though. Ryu ga Gotoku 4 (Yakuza) also looked way sweet, and I saw the creator guy there in his usual white yakuza-ish jumpsuit.

As with any convention of this type, there were a lot of booth girls all over the place, either handing out flyers or just posing for thousands of dudes to take their pictures. On Saturday when I went there were of course crowds around every single one of these poor women, with the size of the crowd probably in proportion to the hotness of the girl multiplied by how much skin they were showing. Oddly enough I didn’t see anyone using the super nerd stepladders, nor did I happen to see anyone with their camera on the ground trying to get an underwear shot. Maybe that’s just at the auto shows then.

So yeah TGS was pretty awesome, but I don’t know if I’m going to bother going on public days anymore. The crowd and accompanying BO is too much to handle, and you can’t even play any good games without waiting for an hour or more. But hey business days are awesome so if you can get in it’s definitely worth going.

Wish I had the Epoch

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Short yet nerdy post.

The MicroSD card that I’d been using in my R4 died somehow a few nights ago. I was using it just fine one night, and the next day it wouldn’t work. I tried it in both the DS and on my computer several times using different readers, but no luck. The card was corrupted or something. Thus, my Chrono Trigger save file was gone Ugh. I was playing that game for quite a while and had just gotten the Doppel Doll, ready to go get Crono back.

I thought I’d have a chance at recovering the files – I used a bunch of different file recovery programs and finally had some luck with one called Recuva. It was able to scan the SD card following a quick format to make the card accessible, and was seemingly able to recover most of the files. Unfortunately when I actually tried using those files they wouldn’t work. I tried looking for a solution to unscramble those files or something, but didn’t have any luck. I think I might just be totally boned on getting that save file back.

I’m pretty sure the card crapped out on my just because it was a horribly cheap, generic Chinese SD card that I got with the R4 last summer in Beijing. It was a no-namer that I’d been using fairly frequently for almost a year, so I guess it’s not that surprising. Went and bought a SanDisk 2GB card at Yodobashi yesterday for like 1700 yen. (Storage is so dirt cheap these days – I’m always surprised at that.)

So in short, back up your files. Especially if you’re playing on an R4 and have like 30 or 40 hours logged on a sweet RPG.

Hadouken

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This guy has spend at least $1,100 playing Street Fighter IV

Recently I’ve been re-getting into Street Fighter IV at arcades here, even though it came out last summer in Japan, and even though I suck. Coincidentally, the home version on X-Box 360 and PS3 just came out last week, but I own neither so that didn’t really have anything to do with it. Actually it’s probably because I started playing Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom in arcades and on Wii.

Anyway, you guys know Street Fighter: Rye-ooh and the Ha-doo-ken, etc. So I’m not going to write about the game so much as the players you see here. As expected, Japanese arcade players are insane. They know the games they like and they play them a lot. I don’t mean like every day they’ll throw in a few coins to play a few rounds. These guys spend their entire evenings (maybe days too) at the arcade, huddled around their weapons of choice, endlessly pouring coins into the games and being a major cause of Japan’s population decline. Normal arcade games here cost 100 yen, but the more expensive ones can go up to even 500 yen for the battlepod-esque Gundam game. Occasionally they’ll be there with a friend or two, but a lot of the ones I’ve seen are just there by themselves. OK, so they can socialize with the other people playing the same game, right? NOPE. With the exception of people who already know each other, I have never seen someone talk to another player. Not even something like “hey, nice game,” “wow, close one there,” or “TATSUMAKISENPUUKYAKU!!!!” Only silence. It’s kind of weird. At least that’s what I’ve seen.

Going back to how much these guys spend. Usually it would be impossible to know or even guess how much someone’s spent on playing a game. Luckily, SF4 has, like a lot of Japanese arcade games these days, a special card to keep track of your player information. When you’re playing at the arcade with your card, you accumulate points which can be used to get extra costumes, special content on the mobile site, babies, etc. Since this card also makes you commit to a character, a lot of people didn’t use the cards initially while they got a feel for which character they liked the best, etc. But when you do use your card, it’s all recorded. Your opponent during link matches can see your stats, like your ranking and win percentage*. This is where it gets scary. The other day when Brian and I were at one of the local arcades getting absolutely destroyed in SF4, we noticed the stats of some guy who was playing as C. Viper, jumping all over the place and embarrassing us horribly. Of course he had a fairly decent winning percentage, maybe 60 or 70%, but the shocker was the number of games he’d played on his card. The number was over 1,100. He has played a lot.

Let’s do some veeerrrrryyyy rough math. This might be wrong because it’s 2AM and I’m not wanting to think too much into this. Feel free to do some real thinking and correct me. So in SF4, each time you start playing, you pay 100 yen. If you win a link match, you get to play the next one for free, and so on until you lose. For today’s estimate, let’s say that the Player in question has spent 100 yen for every loss he’s had. If he had 1,100 games with around a 65% winning percentage, he lost 385 times. So right there he spent 38,500 yen. Of course we don’t know how many consecutive times he won on average, but let’s be generous and say he averaged 3 wins every time he played. So from the 715 matches he’s won, he only had to pay for a third of them, about 238 or 28,800 yen. That’s a total estimate of 62,300 yen (about $645 USD) he’s spent on this card alone. That is crazy. He could have just bought a new PS3 and the home version for that much. Again, this is just on the one card. It doesn’t include matches he plays on no card or with a different card. He could very well have it at home too. By the way, yes, that is him up in the picture.

The sad thing is that this is mainly just about arcades I go to here in Chiba, which I’m sure aren’t nearly as intense as the ones in super nerd districts in nearby Tokyo. And thus concludes our fuzzy math lesson about nerds.

*I am currently ranked “Rookie” with a “0%” winning ratio.

Snake!

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The new Metal Gear Solid game, Guns of the Patriots, comes out next month. I don’t have a PS3 so it’s a little disappointing, but watching the trailer always makes me consider getting one primarily for this game. Of course, it’s an 8000 yen game on top of buying a very pricey system, so I probably won’t be getting either for a while. Also my TV sucks right now, so I’d have to get a nicer one before getting a PS3. I think you see where I’m going here. Hopefully I can convince someone else to get it and let me play.

メタルギア4 リゲインThey released an English trailer for the game, complete with the movie voice guy giving narration. Courage is Solid. Sweet. Also the Calorie Mate product placement from MGS3 has been outed in 4, this time making way for a new promotional tie-in with Japanese energy drink Regain. They even have a whole page set up here. I usually hate product placement in movies and stuff, but with MGS it always just seems so retarded that it’s funny. You should definitely check out the commercial for Regain featuring Snake and Otakon. From the tie-in website you can click on “Play Movie,” or you can watch it on YouTube here.

I tried Regain for the first time, just because I saw the Metal Gear stuff, and it tastes pretty usual for an energy drink here. Kind of like an uncarbonated Oronamin C. I’m sure I’ll be buying a lot once I get back from China, not because I particularly like how it tastes, but because I want to snag some of the Foxhound dogtags that they’re offering as a promotional item.

Oh yeah, I also noticed that the Regain bottle is featured on the Japanese game site, but not the US one:
MGS4 MGS4 Regain bottle
This was also only featured on the Japanese version of the site:
MGS4 x 南明菜 Minami Akina

Life as a long weekend

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Today -Monday – was 建国記念の日 here, or something like National Foundation Day according to my Google Calendar. Most people had a 3-day weekend, but that kind of thing doesn’t effect me too much these days.

Yes, life has been been pretty relaxing recently. This month I’ve been cutting back on the freelance-type work, primarily in order to focus more on finding a full-time position. Smash Bros has sort of interfered in the latter, but I’m still making some progress. I’m actually currently in the running for a full time position at the Shinjuku head office of a company I’m quite familiar with. It would be a pretty interesting gig – writing and planning lesson material and textbooks for a national company. We’ll see how it goes. Actually right now I think it would fit me perfectly. Not TV or anything, but closer to business and I think working a job where I am project-based would be great. And in a way it would be media-related. I’m ready to do less teaching and more varied kind of work.

Last week was one of my slowest weeks ever; I had a lot of free time, which in many ways was amazing. Not to brag too much, but I think this is the kind of life people dream of. Not like lottery-winner life, but I mean a nice relaxing life where you’re not stressed out about anything. I’m making money and working, but not full time and thus have tons of time to stay up late, wake up in the afternoon, watch TV, play video games, and all that fun stuff. It’s a lot like college life, except you have more money and don’t have to go to class or study. Wait; I didn’t do those that much in college either.

But yeah, I realize it’s time to move away from this lifestyle and back into the working world. I actually want to work a full-time, more “normal” job, but I’m definitely going to hold out until I can do something that I’ll enjoy doing at least to some extent. Of course “the perfect job” at this point is far too idealistic, but there’s no way I’m going to settle for a job I hate.

Smash Bros X-perience

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I wrote these short entries this morning on my phone, then cleaned them up for grammar and stuff. Can’t believe I waited in line for a video game. I’m really tired…

outside Yodobashi Camera Chiba, after I already got my game

6:53AM Just got in line. I’m 19th. There are surprisingly 3 females here and they’re as you would expect for a video game line. I’ll leave it at that. The line is pretty much silent. It’s balls cold, of course. I feel like I don’t belong here, but I guess I do.

7:08 There are 3 more guys behind me now but also 3 more in front. I think they were just out getting drinks or food, but thats BS. I’m half tempted to say something since I know no one else will. Ate a conbini-bought sandwich. Am now out of things to do.

7:13 An old woman just got in line. Probably not just lost. WTF

7:35 A staff member just came out to do a quick survey of what everyone’s here to buy. It looks like almost everyone’s here for Smash. He said, of course, that stock is limited. I think they’re going to see how many they have so they don’t have to make people wait if they don’t have enough.

7:55 Guy just came by to do tallys. I’m like Smash #16 so I think I should be good. They’re asking about controllers and stuff too. I think its just a matter of waiting now.

8:07 Lines way long now. I’d say I’m about a third of the line away from the front. It’s also funny when you see someone walking down the street and you just KNOW he’s going to get in the video game line. And of course he does.

8:23 I’m getting bored of people-watching all these morning commuters.

8:29 They started!

8:41 2 special registers are now open to sell this stuff. They’re an hour early though so this is sweet.

8:45 GOT IT! (cold victory pic)

大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズX
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