Rundown (7/21-7/27) Natalie Got a Smartphone

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So, I didn’t get a cell phone until about 2012, when I was 17.  I was generally not in a place where I needed a smartphone, plus they were prohibitively expensive, so I more or less stuck with my cheap pay-as-you-go phone for several years.  But then my workplace accounting software started mandating two-factor authentication. So last Sunday my mother plucked me up, went to the cell phone store, and nabbed me an iPhone 6s with a screen protector for $160, because that’s what they had, and my family likes iOS devices.  Then I spent the proceeding day trying to get everything situated, as this is my first smartphone, it’s 2019, and I have some catching up to do. Also, I guess I’m now a real Millennial or something. 

Despite being a massive dork invested into a lot of Japanese media, I don’t really follow many anime series these days, let alone specific genres like mecha.  As such, while I personally am not too keen on the Super Robot Wars series, I nevertheless respect it and find its localization history quite interesting, especially this most recent tidbit, where the 2017 and 2018 entries, creatively entitled Super Robot Wars V and X, had ports announced for the Switch (unsurprising) and PC via Steam (quite surprising).  

Both games have Southeast Asian English translations, so they are entirely playable for westerners, but this move to PC could allow people to access these games without needing to import the titles, or set up an alt Asian account to purchase them.  I could be wrong here, but with the way Steam works it may be possible for Bandai Namco to skirt around the whole region limitation issues imposed on these games due to licensing issues, and enable these games to be purchased by anyone anywhere. Which would be quite nice.

Back in 1996 when a not-so-proficient studio was able to cobble together its resources and push out a buggy game on dated hardware and managed to turn it into a pop culture phenomena the world over, a myriad of other games companies tried to replicate their success by pushing out multimedia projects all about collectible monsters.  Basically all of them failed, from Robopon to Jade Cocoon to… Keitai Denjū Telefang, but some managed to find a niche within certain parts of the world and last for several years.  Most notably Digimon, but the Tecmo series Monster Rancher was also something of a success, bearing a number of moderately well-received games up until the PS2 generation before falling into obscurity.  But now Koei Tecmo, for some reason, has declared that they will be porting the Monster Rancher 1, the original PS1 game, to undisclosed platforms.  The game is currently due out in Japan sometime this year, and… I might actually be curious enough to check this out.  I mean, assuming my schedule will allow me to, which it probably won’t.   

Keeping up my streak of only talking about weird niche Japanese nonsense, it was announced that Mages and their subsidiary 5pb. Inc. have been bought out from their parent company Dwango by Chiyomaru Studio.  For those unaware, 5pb. Inc is a record label and the developer of the Science Adventure game series, which includes titles like Steins;Gate and Robotics;Notes.  Mages is parent company that does other stuff, but is best known for the works of 5pb. Inc.  Chiyomaru Studio is responsible for the conceptual work in the Science Adventure titles, and is effectively created specifically for Chiyomaru Shikura, the lead writer for the Science Adventure games.  While Dwango is a Japanese corporation that merged with Kadokawa a couple years back, and are part of the massive Kadokawa Corporation, who incidentally owns From Software and Spike Chunsoft.

Why did this happen?  Basically, Mages wanted more flexibility, and presumably Chiyomaru wanted greater creative control than what they had been given before.  What does this mean? Not much, as the buyout was seemingly in good faith, as much as these things can be anyways, and Mages will retain its good relationship with Kadokawa and its subsidiaries.  What does this mean to the western audience? Probably nothing. Mages formed a partnership with Spike Chunsoft a while back to publish their games going forward, and I doubt things would change so suddenly, as this is a mutually beneficial arrangement for both parties.  Why did I bother bringing this up then? Because I thought it was a weird story, and wanted to share it with you.

On that note, Touhou Luna Nights was a highly successful metroidvania spin-off of niche and ever perplexing Touhou series that wrapped up production on June 14th, and is very much under my radar, but that is not the only Touhou metroidvania game around, and I’m not talking about Koumajou Densetsu: Scarlet Symphony.  I’m talking about a recently announced title by the name of Gensokyo Night Festival.  Based on the trailer, the game is an impressive looking and very flashy actiony affair that, according to the Twitter account of lead developer tea_basira, has been in production since 2015, and it certainly shows.  The game is currently slated to launch on Steam Early Access sometime this summer, and will surely go on to mirror the success of its sister title, which it really has no connection to.  They’re just in the same series, have the same publisher and co-developer (Vaka Game Magazine), and are the same genre.  

…Yeah, all I’ve got this week is niche Japanese nonsense news.  But before bowing out, I want to say that I am currently working on the schedule for Randoms.  They will be published on the last Friday of every even numbered month starting this August. I would love to make them monthly, but then I’d be writing 2 novel chapters, a Ramble, a Random, and 3 Reviews on a monthly basis, and I just don’t have the time for all of that.  

Header image comes from Magic Phone by Loggerzed, which is a machine translated comic about a bunch of disgruntled vagabonds stealing the bodies of young women for their own sexual pleasure, or stealing the bodies of older women so they can have sex with school age boys.  All of which is never actually shown of course, which is precisely how I like my terrible sex crimes.

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  1. 0o0o0o0o0o

    I’m pretty shocked you didn’t have a smartphone until now, especially considering you’re pretty young. But I’m really curious now, what do you think of it? Like what are your impressions of having a smartphone for the first time?

    1. Natalie Neumann

      As I said in the preamble, I simply lacked a need for one. I am not a very mobile person, and between home, work, or school, there has always been a desktop PC available to me, and I generally try to avoid unnecessary expenses. I have not used it for a whole lot, as I greatly prefer browsing the internet, typing, and generally working on things via a desktop PC, plus I find the file system adopted by iOS devices to be limited in the control they offer to the users, and certain things are not as intuitive to me due to the minimalist interface.

      Personally all I really used it for since getting it was a bit of experimental web browsing, checking the security camera for work while waiting for transit, checking my email, calling my mother and the transit company when they were running late, and I also tried out a few games on it, because why not. I’m sure I’ll find more uses for it as time goes on, but it will be a gradual process. So I guess you could say that I think it is neat, but will take some time getting used to it.