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News : Front Mission Imminent.


Square Enix have turned their turn based mech strategy game into an action game, in the newest title in the franchise, Front Mission Evolved. Most of the strategy games were never given PAL releases, so this is perhaps SE attempting to launch another popular franchise in the west. I have to say, I liked even the old games, which were akin to Advance Wars, but this trailer looks brilliant, look at all that power sliding! I've been waiting for a decent, fast mech game ever since I hopped into the special VS in the original Lost Planet. Lets just hope they keep the difficulty and learning curve down to a particular level so it doesn't become like Armoured Core.



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News : Japan anime schedule Q3 2010.


So the first announcements of next seasons anime schedule are in. Sadly, once again, weird lolicon and harem anime seem to be taking the frontseat, with 2nd seasons of Strike Witches and Sekirei, proving that, that kind of crap sells. Some interesting new titles like the popular manga High School of the Dead and one that has a main character who looks like Inuyasha, Nurarihyon no Mago. There's also a 2nd series of Sengoku Basara, the historical superhero samurai anime, which for some reason is very popular with the female audience.
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News : Deltora Quest anime on it's way to AUS/NZ.


The anime version of the popular children's novel by Australia's own author, Emily Rodda, has been announced to air it's full 52 episode series on Cartoon Network. The anime covers the first series of books, where Lief, Jasmine and Barda, journey across the land of Deltora, in an attempt to rebuild the belt of Deltora and destroy the evil Shadow Lord.

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Feature : The fall of anime.


The award winning Australian journalistic program Dateline, recently aired a story on the dying anime industry. Explaining what anime is for newcomers, giving a brief history of the industry and the importance of it.

It then goes on to interview animation studios, talking to chief members of staff who explain that they are disappointed that they can no longer make the anime they want as they have to tailor it to the hardcore fan base rather than the general public, as they can't afford to take risks any more. Obviously the streaming of anime on the internet is to blame for the loss of revenue, just like the music industry, this has forced downsizing and restructuring, reducing the amount of anime created each season as well as tailoring it to the smaller fan market to make sure it sells.

You can see this change in the kind of anime we're getting these days, with all the 'softcore' harem and moe shows and a lot less focusing on a well scripted story or narrative. Dateline addresses this too and I have to agree, these particular shows seem to focus more on weird fetishes, not always going to the extent of what I'd believe to be sexual but never too far from it either. Now days the amount of shows focusing on the story rather than softcore are few and run the risk of bankrupcy. Sometimes the studios seem to play it safe, by combining the two but this still segments the market scaring off the general public and only appealing the hardcore fan base once again.

It's clear the anime industry will continue to change, new ways need to be found to increase revenue and make money off online streaming, however, the music industry hasn't managed to pull this off in the last decade and they no doubt had more money and international research at their disposal. The future is looking pretty grim for anime.



News : Play Mechwarrior 4 for free!


Mechwarrior 4 (and it's expansion and a number of fixes and add-ons) has just been released for free. Mechwarrior 4 was the last good instalment in the Mechwarrior series, allowing huge user customisation of mechs, a great single player campaign and intense online multiplayer. If you've never played a Mechwarrior game before or are a grizzled veteran of the older games, this is a great title that you'll be sure to enjoy, especially without a price tag. Download it here.

News : Even Windows has an anime mascot.


It seems even Windows isn't beyond having an anime mascot in Japan. Named Nanami Madobe, themes featuring the character came free with Japanese editions of Windows 7 Ultimate and there are plans in the works for an anime tv commercial.




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News : New Call of Duty announced!


Last night the next game in the ever popular Call of Duty franchise was announced, titled Call of Duty : Black Ops. Not much is known about the title, except that it's made by Treyarch (as opposed to Infinity Ward who made the Modern Warfare series) and takes place in Vietnam, or at least during the era of Vietnam. This is the 8th game in the series and is dated for release on the 9th of October this year.



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News : BlazBlue gets tournament joysticks.


The 2D HD arcade fighter BlazBlue is set to follow the ways of Street Fighter, with tournament joysticks from Mad Catz retailing at $200 US, in limited quantities.

Specifications :
  • Authentic Japanese-style Sanwa Denshi™ joystick & buttons
  • 8-button layout with additional multi-speed Turbo functionality
  • Premium-quality components with genuine arcade layout
  • Controller lock/unlock switch prevents accidental button presses
  • 13 FT USB Cable with internal cable storage
  • Connect to console via lag free USB
  • Storage compartment for efficient cable management
  • 3-way switch enables joystick to function as left or right analog stick or D-Pad
  • Integrated headset port for use with Xbox LIVE®
  • Officially licensed and designed by Arc System Works and Aksys Games
If you're a huge BlazBlue fan, you might want to look at importing these, as all peripherals are region-less and will work no matter where your consoles is from.

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Flashback : Alex the Kidd!


You may remember him as the little guy with the big fist, who rode a motorbike, fought evil crows, collected bags of money and defeated evil bosses with a fast paced game of paper scissors rock. Alex the Kidd is one of Sega's more memorable post-Sonic games. His most famous title, Alex the Kidd in Miracle World, came build into all Sega Master System II's back in the day, until the first Sonic was released and took his place. If you're feeling the nostalgia right now and wish you could play it again, good news! Whilst looking for footage for this article, I stumbled across a java version of the game which you can play right here.

Bargain : Guild Wars sale on Steam.


Guild Wars is celebrating it's 5th birthday letting you pickup the Guild Wars trilogy for $19.95 USD on Steam at the moment. That's three games, Prophecies, Factions and Nightfall, each hours upon hours of online Diablo-like game play at a heavily discounted price.

Unlike World of Warcraft and other MMO's, Guild Wars is a lot more skill and story based, you reach the level cap in under 10 hours and then spend the rest of your time progressing through the rich story whilst collecting more of the hundreds of class skills scattered across the entire three games. It's a blast and I recommend picking it up to anyone, even if you're playing another MMO, as Guild Wars doesn't require any kind of payment to play.

If you played the original Guild Wars before (I hear this a lot) and didn't really like it, I beg you to try Factions or Nightfall, they're separate games with separate stories and they're both just so much better than the original title.

Link to Guild Wars : Trilogy on the Steam store.

News : First look at The Last Story.


Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, founder of company Mystwalker, has been releasing artwork of his new title, The Last Story, for a while now; however this is the first time actual ingame footage has been released and I must say, for a Wii game it looks pretty fantastic. I also like that it looks much more archaic in a more typical fantasy way, rather than being borderline sci-fi like the recent entries into the Final Fantasy series.
 

News : Evangelion convenience store and Gundam cafe.


Yeah, Japan's always at it. Recently they've opened a Neon Genesis Evangelion convenience store, filled with potato chips, deodorant, manga and other assorted stuff that you'd normally find in a convenience store, branded with Evangelion artwork of course.

It doesn't stop there though, A while ago they opened up an official Gundam Cafe, with Gundam drinks, Gundam models and uh... Gundam coffee?

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Anime spotlight : Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou.


Akuto Sai is looking forward to his first day at a school of magical arts, with the dream of being a high-ranked priest, helping the world become a better place. All this takes a turn for the worse however, when a never-wrong magical aptitude test predicts that his future occupation will be that of a Demon Lord.

So begins Akuto's difficult school life, with girls chasing after him, wanting to kill him or use him. Sadly his conduct usually gets misinterpreted for that of evil and his inability to control his insane power ending up in large scale explosions doesn't help a lot either. It's not easy being a future demon lord.

News : Monster Hunter Tri Australian release!


Monster Hunter Tri hits the street this week in Australia, Wednesday to be exact. Pre-order the special edition which comes with the new Retro Classic Controller from EB for a free Wii-Speak (microphone that sits atop your sensor bar). EB have it listed as 99 RRP, but I'm sure you'll be able to price match somewhere cheaper like JB-Hifi when the time comes. Seriously, having this game inside it is the primary purpose of your Wii.

News : 3D DSi Ware game.


As you may or may not know, the next version of the DS is meant to be 3D, without use of 3D glasses. Which sounds pretty crazy, I know, I thought so too, until I saw this video of a DSi Ware title, coming out in Japan sooner or later. I mean the game looks stupid, but the way the 3D works is amazing.



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Anime spotlight : Angel Beats.


Waking up to a girl with a sniper rifle about to shoot a younger girl claiming that she's an angel, Otonashi does the natural thing, telling the girl to stop and running down to warn the so called angel. Unfortunately for Otanashi, the young girl really isn't as she seems and proceeds to stab him through the chest killing him, it doesn't really matter though because you can't kill that which is already dead.

Waking up for a second time in a school room full of students, Otanashi is fed the hard facts by the sniper rifle girl, Yuri. First of all, he's dead and secondly, they're in some kind of purgatory that just happens to look like a school. Explaining that he has the choice of living here, resisting moving on to whatever awaits them after this place via fighting Angel, or acting like a normal student and slowly fading into whatever comes next. Otanashi doesn't like the idea of becoming a dung beatle in his next life, so he agrees to help Yuri and her resistance, not knowing whats in store.

News : Sengoku Basara heading to PS3/Wii.


The samurai anime famous for it's weird largely female following is coming to a PS3 or Wii near you this quarter. Loosely based on history to the same level that Ikki Tousen is (not very much), the story is about the wars of 16th century Japan but with more focus on a bunch of muscly guys swinging large weapons around. From description the game will playing like Dynasty warriors, where it's your overpowered character versus many small time npcs.



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News : Doctor Who adventure games on the way.


This year, BBC are making an effort to bring Doctor Who to the land of video games, with 4 different titles coming as a free download to the land of PC's this year. The first one, titled "City of the Daleks", begins with the Doctor taking his companion Amy back to see the Beatles in 1963, obviously not everything goes according to plan and they find a city destroyed by the Daleks.

A reviewer stated that the game is a "combination of stealth action and Professor Layton-style logic puzzles" and "much more than a point and click affair." Charles Cecil is behind the games, co-founder of Revolution Software, the developer of famous adventure series Broken Sword.

Anyway, the games look interesting and are stated numerous times by PR to be "An extra four episodes this season". Experience them first hand starting on June 5th.

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News : Pre-order Starcraft 2 at EB games for beta invite!


It's been confirmed that EB will be giving out beta invites for anyone who orders either the collectors or standard edition of Starcraft 2 from them as of April 28.

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News : Read manga on your iphone for free?


A company has released a manga application for the iphone that allows access to all the unauthorized manga hosting sites. Allowing users to view online or download for later viewing. Some companies are already aiming for it's removal, due to it's obvious illegality.

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News : Watch new Doctor Who online in Australia.


ABC in Australia have kindly decided to put all the episodes of the new Doctor Who (Series 5) on their new online streaming website iView. As for the new series, it's pretty good, the new Doctor is a bit younger, the script writing is similar, there's still some corney bits, some weird bits and some frightening bits. What is a bonus, is that the new companion is pretty hot, which is kind of weird now that I think about it, why havn't they ever had a hot girl before? Must not be that many in the UK! Anyway, you can check out the first episode of Doctor Who Series 5 here, titled The Eleventh Hour.

News : Farmville (probably) coming to your phone!


That's right, now you're friends will be able to send you dozens of gifts from farmville each day, straight from their phone to your facebook request page! This is based off information that domain names such as www.farmvilleipad.com and farmvillems.com have been found registered to an affiliated company. Zynga the company who owns the game was questioned and responded that "Zynga plans to expand to various mobile platforms. We cannot provide additional information at this time.” All of which I add together and construe to be a pretty strong "probably".

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News : McDonalds Japan uses DSi training.


In what is a somewhat bizarre, yet typical kind of Japanese way, staff are now trained via DSi how to make burgers, clean their workplace and so on. You'd think the constant repetition of working at McDonalds would be enough, but obviously not. The video is an English news report, I notice the reporter, who's job it is to read off a piece of paper or prompter, somehow doesn't know how to say "NDS" or "DSi" conveniently, guess it's still not cool amongst the older generation to let anyone know that you know anything about gaming.



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Preview : Black Rock Shooter.


Black Rock Shooter, named from a song by and involving Japan's infamous vocaloids (company mascots turned animated singers with computerized vocalization software) is an anime that quite a few people are looking forward to, but details seem to be rather scarce. The official Japanese site seems to be keeping the story under wraps, but it's pretty easy to make assumptions yourself from the trailer.

Here's the down-low for anyone looking for the technical information. Firstly it's a 50 minute movie, not a series, it will be airing free on the internet in Japan from June 25 to August 31 and will also come free on DVD as an extra with Japanese magazines.



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Anime spotlight : Kamisama Kazoku.


Samatarou is an average high school student, but with a little secret, he's the son of God! He's living in the human world to learn about those he will be protecting, along with his guardian angel Tenko. Things are going rather smoothly for him, forgetting his nosey family with godly powers, untill Kumiko, a transfer student appears. Samatarou falls in love with her at first sight and dedicates himself to making her feel the same way, without using any of his powers. This is all much to the dismay of Tenko, who is finding that she has feelings for Samatarou and that not everything is as it seems.

News : First official Pokemon Black & White screens.


Pokemon Black and White have been announced for release later this year on the NDS, it's looking slightly more 3D than previous titles.







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Bargain : Battlefield Bad Company 2 half price.


Pickup Battlefield Bad Company 2 for half price at any EB Games in Australia for the next four days (Thursday, April 15th till Sunday April 18th). That's $55 for 360/PS3 and $45 for PC!

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News : Yu-Gi-Oh! Coming to Xbox Live Arcade.


Konami is bringing Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Decade Duels to the Xbox Live Arcade next week, that's right, that show about monsters summoned from cards that you probably hated five or so years ago is now coming out on your 360. Featuring a full fledged story mode, versus mode for up to 4 people, voice chat and leader boards.



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