Thursday, 27 July 2017

Fun Fun Funabashi - Game Center / Arcade (Funabashi, Chiba)

It's been a while since I've posted here but since I have some free time recently, I thought I'd write a little bit about a few of my local game centers just in case anyone visiting Japan may want to pass through.

Starting with Fun Fun Funabashi, located a few minutes away from Funabashi Station.
You can check the location on Google Maps here

This is probably one of my favourite game centers locally, due to the fact that it has a good mix of old and new games, and most importantly it has a lot of Y50 cabinets lol.

They run a lot of tournaments here, but rarely if ever for SNK games. I think the ones I see most often are for Dengeki Bunko, Guilty Gear or DOA.

Although having said that they do have a lot of MVS/SNK games here.

Just as an example (I may have forgotten some games) as of posting this is a list of some of the SNK games:

KOFXIV (Nesica2) - Y100
KOFXIII, KOF98UMFE, KOF02UM (Nesica) - Y100
Metal Slug, Metal Slug 2, Metal Slug 4, Magical Drop 2, Neo Turf Masters, KOF98, Garou MOTW, Real Bout Special, KOF94, World Heroes Perfect, Fighters History Dynamite (MVS) - Y50
KOF02UM (Non Nesica version) - Y50

As you can probably tell there is quite a nice selection of SNK games here, they also have one of those MAME cabinets towards the back of the arcade so pretty much anything not on it's own cabinet is probably there. I've also seen people request that they swap out one of the MVS carts for a different game, but I've never tried it myself.

They only have a single cabinet for KOFXIV here, so you can't play in store/local versus but you can still connect to players in other game centers for versus.

It's been a little uncommon to have played versus on many of the SNK games here, maybe a couple of times on 02UM, but I usually go during non-peak hours so I'm not sure if there are a lot of players at other times.

Also sometimes quite randomly they'll put the Jackie Chan fighting game in.
I've seen on their Twitter page that they've also held a tournament on it recently too but I only found out about it after it was already over. 

I'm not sure I'd necessarily recommend making a day trip to go here, as you can probably find the same games in Tokyo just as easily, if you were passing through or just wanted to go outside of Tokyo it's quite a nice game center to have a look in.

Going from Akihabara to Funabashi is about 30 minutes on the Chuo Sobu line.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Rest in peace community member Toxico.

I've just seen over on Twitter that fellow FGC community member Toxico (aka Ars Magna, ImbuedGold) has sadly passed away.

It's not often that I write on this blog nowadays, but I felt that as someone who had contributed to the FGC community over the years that I didn't think it would do him justice to just mention it in passing on Twitter.

Although I have never met him in person, we have shared conversations with each online for many years and because of our shared interest in games he was one of my favourite people on the internet.

He had a great knowledge of a variety of games, culture, etc and was always enthusiastic and cheerful when talking about games. I learned a great deal about games when he'd pop over to my blog and leave a comment or on Twitter.

I'd always enjoyed his trivia, the videos he shared, and even checking what game he was playing on PS4. 

He was probably the only person I knew that enjoyed playing Dragon's Crown, so it was always a joy being able to learn about the higher levels of that game and to be able to share my enjoyment of that game with him. 

From the start of my blog and indeed many of my ventures to create things on the internet he has always been supportive of me, and for that I am eternally grateful to him.

It's not often that I feel sad, but in this case he will be sorely missed.

Rest in peace my friend, it was an honour to have spoken with you.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Dreamcast - Nakoruru (Ano Hito kara no Okurimono) - A quick look

Recently one of the hobby shops that I go to was having a closing down sale (between 50-70% off all used goods), so naturally I bought a lot of stuff. Amongst the things that I bought was this Nakoruru game for the Dreamcast.

Although I'd probably heard of it in passing before, I was kinda suprised by it as I usually forget that SNK used to publish or license out a lot of console exclusive games. (Like the Athena RPG).
Apparently it was released on the PC too.

But anyway, today I'd thought I'd take a quick look at the packaging and figure that came with this game. Unfortunately my Dreamcast is not set up (I probably don't know where all the wires are either lol) so I don't have any gameplay footage but I'm sure it's easy enough to find on Youtube. 


First of all, as you can see the SNK/Playmore logo is nowhere to be found on the box. From my understanding it was developed by a company called Inter Lets, but it seems the Dreamcast version was released by another company called Kool Kizz. (To be honest I've never heard of any of these companies.)

Inside the box is the game disc and the figure, it's pretty much at this point my disappointment started to set in.

As you may be able to see from the photos the figure is pretty poorly put togethe. Some parts seemed difficult to push into place, others just didn't want to push into place correctly, and the overally design of the figure seems pretty poor. At one point I used to collect the various gashapon figures released by Yujin, and those were a lot higher quality than this figure. (Pretty much most gashapon figures I've come across seem to have a better build quality than this figure.)

 Towards the end of trying to put it together I just gave up, took it apart and just put it back in the box. (Where it will probably stay forever.)

Anyway enough about the figure, let's look at the game disc and instructions!

The game disc itself seems simple enough, it's just a monochrome(?) print of the game discs CD cover.

This page did make me laugh quite a bit, the pixel art for Mamahaha on the VMU looks a lot like a featherless chicken. It reminded me of one picture that I saw on Twitter during pre-patch days of KOFXIV.

Lastly the character portraits/story for each of the characters in the game, apologies for some of the sideways images. It happens sometimes with blogspot. 
The artwork for this game is pretty nice, and seems to fit in rather well with the character of Nakoruru.

So anyway, in closing this probably isn't the kind of thing I'd recommend buying (unless cheap) but I think it's a pretty interesting bit of SNK history.

Also apparently there's an anime based on this, I haven't watched it yet but there's an unsubbed version on Youtube.

Monday, 20 February 2017

King of Fighters XIV World Championships - Write up

Finally got some free time today, so I'll write a little bit about my experience going to and watching the KOFXIV World Championships.

Originally I hadn't really had the intention to go, as up until recently I'd been busy with work but on a whim after seeing the SNK official twitter posting about it a few weeks ago I just decided to apply via e-mail.

Just a week before the event I got an e-mail confirming that they had sent out my ticket in the mail and that I should be receiving it shortly, then on the Monday I got my ticket.

The minor touches they put on the invitations were great, in my opinion, things like the letter being signed by Antonov and having his seal on the letter showed to me that they had put some effort into making them. 

But anyway fast forward to the actual event itself, I arrived at Akihabara UDX a little after the doors opening time (2:30pm) and as I made my way up the escalators there were staff members dotted around the building to help guests find their way.

Before heading into the UDX Theater area I decided to use the toilet, as I headed towards it I saw Dakou also going to use the toilet. I thought about saying 'Hi' but didn't know whether he spoke English and I don't really like speaking with people while inside the toilet.

Upon entering they had a small lobby area set up, where you handed over your ticket to receive your 'Guest pass'

Later on I found out that there were several different coloured passes, I'm not quite sure what each of them meant specifically but the grey one was for the general public. 

Entering the theater area it was a little smaller than I had imagined, if you can imagine a small cinema it was probably not much different from that. Staff members guided you to the seats, where they asked if you could fill in the space as they were available. (I originally wanted to sit at the back but was asked to move forward lol)

As the event was being prepared to start they had some KOF music playing (I can't remember specifically which tracks) and they showed some minor information on the screen. (IIRC it was things like turn off your mobile phone, blablabla) I spent most of this time using the free wi-fi to play Pokemon Go.

When the event started there were a few hiccups with getting the intro started, you could see the windows desktop showing up a couple of times but when it was all good to go we were greeted by the introduction screen with Antonov.

The MCs for the event were then introduced, Maxwell Powers(sp?) and Seira Ryu, who are the voice actors for the title screen announcer and Meitenkun. After this they introduced the 15 players who were due to play that day, with the announcement that Reynald was unable to make it due to various circumstances.

You can check out a couple of videos of the winners finals, as well as the trophy ceremony and closing ceremony on my Youtube channel

They had a couple of breaks in between parts of the tournament for the spectators to use the toilet, or in my case running out about 5 minutes towards the station to use the smoking area.

Overall the tournament was fun to watch live, I don't tend to watch many tournaments nowadays for the full duration but I think the general atmosphere of being there made it more exciting.

As the event finished they asked members of the crowd to exit the theater, with the grey pass holders to be the ones to leave first.

Now to the one negative point that I had with the event, as we were leaving as the information regarding the after party was given in Japanese I was a little confused as to what was going on. I saw some people collecting their present bags that were being handed out at the lobby area so went over to get one.

When I went over I was asked something in Japanese, I didn't catch what the staff member said so I replied I can only speak a little Japanese. (I later figured out that she asked me whether I was going to the after party and that they were only giving out the presents to people leaving.)
She looked a little annoyed handed me the bag and tried to take my pass from me. I then said I was still going to the after party and handed back the bag to her.

Although I understand there are a lot of people in Japan who can't speak English very well (I work as a teacher in public school here), it really annoys me when people who work in situations were they have to deal with people flat out refuse to try to speak to you because 'they can't speak English'.

But anyway, after this we were directed upstairs to were the after party was being held.
On the way out I managed to get a photo with Yasuyuki Oda.

Going into the room where the party was being held they had set up several tables of food and drinks like a buffet. They had things like sushi, karaage (fried chicken), spring rolls, noodles, and some things I have no idea what they were lol. For drinks they had wine, oolong tea, and orange juice. Everything was free and you could eat/drink as much as they had to offer.

They also handed out raffle tickets that were going to be used later on for a prize draw.
As I waited around for the party to be started I spotted Professor from Madman's Cafe, who I haven't seen for a few years, and we chatted for a bit. He introduced me to one of the owners of Arcade Shock too.

Professor also spotted Kei Yamamoto (the director of XIII), so we went over to greet him and I got to take a photo with him.

He was a really nice guy, I didn't really say anything much to him but he was a really nice guy. I only found out afterwards that he works on Metal Slug Attack, which I actually play more than KOF these days, so I was a little sad that I couldn't talk with him about it. But I got his business card so I was really happy about that.

There were a lot of people around to meet and greet but to be honest I didn't really have any idea who most people were, so I just ate, drank, occasionally went to the smoking room and played a game of KOFXIV. (They had maybe 4 set ups there.)

I did get to take a picture with Seira Ryu though.

As the event was winding to a close, they started up the raffle, with Maxwell Powers and Seira Ryu being the MCs again. The prizes were 10 steel cases (no game inside) for KOFXIV, 3 KOFXIV OSTs, and the KOFXIV hori stick. Annoyingly they called out all the numbers near mine (45), and the last prize was number 44!!! Missed it by just one!!!!! (-_-)

Leaving they had a small table set up with the present bags again, I had to hand in my pass (which I would have liked to had kept) and they asked what size tshirt we'd like.

All members got a tshirt, towel and drink.

Also as we left the president(?) of SNK greeted everyone as we left, and personally shook people's hands (or at least he did to me) and thanked us for attending. Which I thought was really nice.

Overall it was a really nice event, and I enjoyed it a lot. I'm glad that I got to attend and would do so again if they held any more events in the future. 

May have left some things out but as always feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Hi Score Girl Exhibition @ METOR, Nakano

I've had work training for the past couple of days in Nakano, Tokyo. So was pretty excited to hear that not only was there an exhibition for the Hi Score Girl manga but it was only 5 minutes walk from where I was going to be.

Although I wouldn't say that I'm a huge fan of the manga, largely because it doesn't have furigana and I can't read much kanji, I do feel somewhat fond of it. I think possibly because of the kind of romantic comedy nature of it and it's setting often being game centers (arcades) and around the time I bought the first issue of it I was actually trying to chat up a girl in the local game center lol.

But anyway, the exhibition is held in the basement of METEOR which is probably most famous for the Famicase exhibition that I believe it runs every year. I'm not sure of the specifics but I think it may actually be a couple of different stores or something in one building, since I'm pretty broke at the moment I only had a look at the exhibition and not the store on the 1st floor.

As soon as you enter the exhibition there are a couple of those kind of big cardboard cut out things that you can take photos with, and then the first wall that you come to has some of the original manga panel sketches.
I've not been to many exhibitions in Japan, so it was quite interesting to see how manga artists lay things out before it gets printed into the final product. For example, I never knew that they sometimes actually cut out another drawing and stick it into the panel, rather than just drawing it into it.

Notably it seemed that SNK themed stuff was absent from all of the panels lol. I only saw mainly SF Zero and Virtua Fighter.

On the back wall they had an area where you could stick a post-it message (I assume to the manga's artist), doing so would enter you into some kind of raffle where you would either receive an IC card sticker or an original piece of artwork. Unfortunately I didn't win so I just got the IC card sticker...

The next wall had the original artwork that you could win and then the last wall was where they were hanging some of the merchandise like t-shirts, etc.

The merchandise they had available was things like Nendoroids, t-shirts, clear files, keyrings, mugs, stickers, and they had a gashapon machine which had badges.
A lot of the merchandise was a little pricey (especially since I didn't have a lot of money with me) so I opted to just buy a keyring for now, even though thinking back now I should have just bought a badge from the gashapon instead.

Overall it was a pretty nice exhibition, not particularly amazing but I think worth checking out if you're in the Tokyo area. (Also free so you can't complain.) It was kinda smaller than I had imagined, but then I guess realistically buildings/shops in Japan are generally a bit small.

I think I might pop down there again when I get paid, since I want to check out the shop upstairs anyways.

Unfortunately photography isn't permitted, which is why there's a lack of photos in this post, but you can see some photos on the MHzSHOP twitter page.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Famitsu - KOFXIV Article - 28/04/2016

I don't tend to pick up magazines often in Japan (mainly because my reading ability is really low), but since I was out and about yesterday I decided to pick up the latest issue of Famitsu to have a look at the KOFXIV article. 

Apologies for the sideways photos, for some reason blogspot likes to format photos in a certain way and I've never figure out how to fix it.

A few pages into the magazine there's this advertisement for a game called Reco Love , which is due to come out for the PS Vita, I thought it was pretty amusing.

(Hours of fun)

Anyway on to the actual article. There's not much to say as  I think most information shown here has already been revealed, or has been all over Twitter recently, but there were a couple of things I didn't really know about. (Mostly because I haven't been keeping up with news.)

Bare in mind, as I mentioned my Japanese reading ability is a bit low so might make some mistakes in what I'm saying here.

- You can do super -> climax or super -> max super -> climax, I haven't played it for a while but I think that's similar to XIII. Max super is only available whilst in Max mode.
- The "Rush" combo in this game is done by pressing the Square button repeatedly, and if you have a power bar then it will lead into super. (I'm assuming this works like some recent games like Persona, or Dengki Fighting Climax.)
- Unfortunately I can't understand the story section so well (too much kanji), but it's something about how KOF has become a big business. I think it mentions something like the first champion is Antonov.
- I think it also says development is about 90% complete.

On a side note, isn't Yuri's head rather strangely shaped? lol.
Anyway as mentioned my Japanese reading ability isn't the best, so maybe some mistakes but there wasn't much new information there anyway.