Category Archives: Culture

Tokyo Game Show 2018 – 4 Days Report

2 Oct , 2018,
Haruta
, , , , ,
No Comments

Bethesda Softworks’ IPs greeting event goers as they walk towards the halls

Over the 4 days between September 20th ~ 23rd, Makuhari Messe hosted the largest annual gaming convention of East Asia, Tokyo Game Show (TGS). This year saw a huge influx of visitors from the previous years ー A good 298,690 showed up over the 4 days, compared to 254,311 in 2017, and 271,224 in 2016. Likewise, exhibitors also increased from 609 to 668, of which 330 were from overseas. This was certainly a trend that’s been happening in the recent years, where overseas games and gaming-related companies are expanding into the Japanese market (One of which, notably, is Azure Lane, being introduced into the Japanese market and becoming a huge hit in 2017).

Kisei -Kuushiki- 1/1 display statue from [Border Break] right outside Makuhari Messe

As with any commercial conventions, exhibitors certainly placed a lot of effort into the visual promotion of their IPs. Booths were built in elaborated set-ups, with iconic figures and characters in detailed sculptures. Besides the typical promotional models, exhibitors also hired cosplayers to portray as in-game characters to promote their games (Pictures below). Some noticeable ones were Bandai Namco’s bright orange booths, with smoke machines making distinctive whiffs as they fire jets of white smokes at fixed intervals, or PlayStation’s show of dominance with walls of displays for the multiple IPs they’re showcasing, such as the Evil Monk mini boss from [Sekiro] (Seen above), or Sam Porter Bridges from the much anticipated Kojima Production’s [Death Stranding] (Seen below).

Players experience FromSoftware’s brutality aplenty

And of course, what’s TGS without games? Although we were able to enter on business days as press, the queue for certain games were insanely long as well. For example, on the first day it took more than 2 hours in the demo queue for FromSoftware’s newest title Sekiro before we got to try it at all (granted, we missed the early rush to the booths go get the queue tickets). Other games we managed to try required less waiting, such as Ace Combat 7, Devil May Cry 5, Rockman 11, Kingdom Hearts III, to name a few (also because we learnt our lesson and went straight to their booths as soon as we could enter). Demos were kept to 15 minutes per play, and if the players are competent to clear the demo under that limit, they’re free to continue playing until their times are up (we were able to hear really good music for DMC5 for one).

Singapore-based Battlebrew Productions also boothed at TGS in the Indie Games section

This year’s TGS also saw many overseas exhibitors, as mentioned above. The indie game booths took up a sizeable area within Hall 9 of Messe, with 154 booths as compared to 121 last year, and we happened to chance upon our local Singaporean company Battlebrew Productions exhibiting there (they will also be at Game Start 2018 this year, so give them a visit!). There has also been a prominent presence of virtual reality games this year, and given how affordable VR headsets are becoming compared to the last few years, it’s no wonder companies are pushing for VR. The most noticeable trend however, is the ever prominent push for mobile phone games; 30% of the games showcased at TGS are planned to be published on mobile phones, which goes to show that the mobile platform is still ever strong.

VR Machine for interested members of the public to experience

Overall, TGS2018 has seen the largest crowd yet, partly due to multiple AAA titles being announced this year at E3 earlier in June. Next year’s Tokyo Game Show will be held between September 12th to 15th, so for those interested in visiting, do mark it down on your dates.

 

C93 – A Cool One (Winter 2017)

1 Feb , 2018,
Levin Tan
,
No Comments

This year’s Comiket was cooler (literally) than average and it actually snowed a little before the doors opened on one of the days! The snow turned quickly into sleet and then a light drizzle though, so it wasn’t that memorable compared to the recent heavy snow that it received. With 550,000 attendees (D1: 180,000 + D2: 160,000 + D3: 210,000) this year, it’s one of the more crowded Comikets.

To get the usual things out of the way first, Kancolle (艦これ) has slid quite a bit this year to lose its previously uncontested top placement to… Fate. There’s an explosion of Fate doujins this year, definitely in some part due to FGO. Touhou (東方) Project has slid quite a bit over the years and this year, it’s now lost second place to Fate as well.  It’s also lost its place to THE iDOLM@STER (thanks to the recent releases of games which brought it back up), which took third, so Touhou (東方) Project is now fourth. Touken Ranbu (刀剣乱舞) has also slid in numbers and has been overtaken by Fate. Love Live! (ラブライブ!) has maintained about the same number of circles as previous Comikets. Azur Lane (アズールレーン), a newcomer, hasn’t entered the rankings, but I’m sure it will pretty soon…

One of the loading screens in Azur Lane (アズールレーン) was drawn by TwinBox who has a booth here. It’s a shutter!

On the corporate side, Nekopara (ネコぱら) came back again, same with Twin Angel (ツインエンジェル), and Tokyo 7th Sisters. Nanoha (なのは) was promoting their upcoming film DETONATION, with comiket being where/when they exclusively unveiled its PV! Also, notably, Key was selling the 10th anniversary memorial merchandise for Little Busters! and some reaaaaallly premium (¥15,000) anime t-shirts. Wow.

Exclusive unveiling of the PV for the upcoming movie! Comiket is one of those big events where these things happen.

Azur Lane (アズールレーン) has already assumed corporate presence in Comiket despite it being such a young game (only several months old). It had its origins as a Chinese game, but they certainly did well to penetrate the Japanese market. There’s cosplay of it as well! (Not really unexpected knowing how fast these cosplayers here are.)

Pixiv’s Azur Lane illustration compilation sold out each day!

Hellooo Atago! ねむ(nemu✾) is a very pretty cosplayer, and my photo here doesn’t do her justice (T.T) so head over to her Twitter!

One observation in the corporate side I must note, is that there’s been an increasing number of media content providing companies exhibiting year after year. Probably got to do with streaming being increasingly popular, whether be it streaming professional content, or popular livestreams and feeds. This time, I saw Abema TV (アベマTV) had joined.

Abema is giving Nico Nico Douga (ニコニコ動画) a run for its viewers!

With that, let me bring you to the more unusual side of Comiket. But first, this year I “brought” some non-comiket-goers along with me. Well, I say “brought”, but I actually just told them how and when to come because I certainly can’t bring them along with the raid team into the morning first cry of battle. That’d be very cruel. Might I remind you, it’s a war zone after all. And their reactions? Oh yes, they were blown away at the scale of things. One of them had been to the conventions in the US (large ones, certainly), and he was remarking that this is on a very different level! They spent quite some time going around row after row after row to “have a look at what is out there” but gave up exhausted after seeing slightly less than half the booths. Comiket is really just that big. Nevertheless, they did enjoy themselves, so as I’ve ever mentioned before, there’s something for everyone at Comiket!

Now on to what I would like to draw your attention to this year. Watches! Well, pocket watches to be precise. Something a bit more exotic than your usual day crafts eh? There were actually a couple of booths selling these this time round, and they did attract a fair number of people (most craft booths don’t have a queue at all typically).

Pocket watches! The steampunk in you can surely relate, and it also carries an air of elegance if you happen to have a top hat and a monocle.

This one was one of the more expensive ones at this booth. (Should pocket watches be called Pokéwatch?)

Another one worth noting is the exhibition of a research project paper at one of the circle booths titled “Towards the High-quality Anime Characters Creation with Generative Adversarial Networks”. If you’re in the AI and Machine Learning sector (crossed with being an otaku as well), you might have heard about this paper a few months back, just after the middle of last year. While the outputs of the networks aren’t perfect, and can look awkward at times, it is a real treat to see it in action. It generates an anime girl based on the selected attributes you want the girl to have: hair colour, hair style, glasses (or not), Smile!, Sweet!, Sister!, Sadistic!, Service!… oops I don’t think the last few were part of the parameters. They’ve even built a website if you’d like to try it. And mind you, this booth had quite continuous attention with always a few people around it talking to the students who did this project, and they could explain it in Japanese, Chinese (Mandarin), and English!

Now with this technology, you can finally have the exact harem you’ve always dreamed of!

So things like that pop up now and then and really add a nice touch to Comiket. Remember, Comiket is made up of its people, or participants (参加者) as we are all called. There are no sellers nor buyers, and everyone adds to its atmosphere and feel.  It’s well worth visiting, and my only regret this year was that I had alot more to rush around for than previous years (along with juggling messaging to different groups of people) such that I couldn’t stop to “soak in” the “Comiket atmosphere” (although I certainly added to it, I hope). In fact, I probably got a bit too absorbed this year, and stayed too late such that I even missed the last “reality this way” (現実->) sign, and I don’t have a picture to show for it! Oh well… Next year it is.

現実へ

7 FGO Tips for First-time Masters

26 Jul , 2017,
Crimson
No Comments

Fate/Grand Order has been out in the US for close a month now, but if you’ve only just jumped aboard the Fate fandom and started trying your hand at this game, here are some quick tips to help you maximize your play experience and get to a respectable level where you can enjoy both the story and the content.

Tip #1: Reroll, Reroll, Reroll

If you’ve been playing mobile phone games with a gacha element, you’ll be no stranger to rerolling in the hope of starting with a stronger unit.

As you play through the Prologue, you’ll get to make a welfare 10x Summon. This 10x Summon guarantees at least one 4* Servant (I ended up with two). You’ll also get to access your Present Box, pick up your commemorative Saber Lily, and some freebies (including 30 Saint Quartz) a couple battles after.

The Prologue teaches you all sorts of things, like how to utilize the Wall of Special Snowflakes. Luckily, it doesn’t take you more than 5 minutes to breeze through everything.

If you don’t know where the Present Box is, keep hitting the Back arrow in the top-left corner till you get back to the Terminal interface. It’s pretty self-evident where it is after.

With 30 Saint Quartz, you’re equipped to make some 10x Summon rolls and pray to the RNG gods that you get a 5* Servant that can help carry you, especially in the early game.

Keep doing this till you’re happy with the results.

That’s the button for a 10x Summon roll folks. Don’t forget to chant the summoning spell and place an offering in the magic circle while you’re at it.

Tip #2: Back up your Transfer Number

Fate/Grand Order tracks your account using a Transfer Number. If you like what you rolled, be sure to go to Menu > My Room, and select Issue Transfer Number to get one.

You’ll also be prompted to key in a password to go with the issued number for recovery purposes.

Lord El-Melloi II insists that you back up your data. 😛

Tip #3: Level up your 5* Servant immediately!

You should have received some QP (gold) and XP cards in your Present Box together with your Saint Quartz.

Go to Menu > Enhance > Servant, and feed those XP cards to your 5* Servant to bump up his Level before you begin the farming process. You don’t want to dive into the next part with your Servants at Level 1. 😛

Having a semi-decent 5* at a respectable level in your line-up will help in the next bit.

Tip #4: Raid the Treasure Vault (at least once)

Your Master level impacts the maximum number of Servants and Craft Essences you can bring into battle, and the speediest way to power level this is to do the Daily Quest maps.

If you’re fresh out of the third scenario in the Prologue, you’ll be maybe Level 2, with a maximum AP cap of slightly more than 20. This allows you to access Enter the Treasure Vault (Intermediate).

This is the first Daily Quest map (accessible from Terminal > Chaldea Gate > Daily Quest) that you will want to do because it hooks you up with some QP as well as enough XP to bump your Master level a couple times.

And of course, it’s gotta be Gil if a Treasure Vault is involved. 😛

Just be sure to bring along a friend with a powerful Rider because you’re kicking down Doors, and every one of them is a Caster. My personal favorite is Martha, but any Rider with an AOE (area effect) Noble Phantasm will do.

Slap on a Kaleidoscope, The Imaginary Element or Prisma Cosmos, and you’ll be firing that NP off pretty regularly too.

Tip #5: Do those Dailies!

Make sure you move on to Ember Gathering (Intermediate) once you have gotten some QP out of the Vault.

Farm Ember Gathering (Intermediate) till your maximum AP cap hits 30. This won’t take long as each completion will yield enough Master XP for you to level up, and that also instantly refills your AP gauge. The XP cards you farm can also be fed to your Servants to beef them up for the next part.

Farm Ember Gathering (Advanced) till your maximum AP cap hits 40, and start on Ember Gathering (Expert) as soon as you can.

Not only will you receive 15,690 XP for your Master Level, you’ll get 8 or 9 gold XP cards every time you complete the Expert map.

Of course, it helps if you (and your friend in the Support slot) are properly armed for the occasion.

Special events like the ongoing Nero Festival will yield a much higher XP payout (20,380 XP for the 30 AP map), so be sure to farm that instead when you can. Just make sure you’ve got a team (or friends) capable of taking on Servants with over 50,000 hp.

Tip #6: Watch those Affinities

This isn’t so much a tip, as it is common sense. Some Servants have Personal Skills that complement each other, and fielding a solid line-up to tackle those pesky Daily Quests will help speed up your power leveling process.

It also helps to level at least one Servant of every Class so you can keep your farming team versatile.

Decent 3* picks that can help fill gaps in your line-up include Julius Caesar (Saber), Robin Hood (Archer), Cu Chulainn (Protoype), Medusa (Rider), Medea (Caster), Jing Ke (Assassin) and Kiyohime (Berserker).

Or, you know, you could go with a full team of Berserkers like I normally do. :3

Tip #7: Make use of Mana Prisms

Since Mana Prism redemption in Da Vinci’s shop resets regularly now, you have the opportunity to get yourself some extra Summon Tickets, as well as Sun Fou (improves ATK by 50) and Star Fou (improves maximum HP by 50) if you have Mana Prisms to spare.

She’s here to take your money. Always try to clean out the shop and pump up your favorite Servants with the Fou cards if you can.

Doing your Dailies at the highest difficulty will get you about 11 Mana Prisms easily, and you can get as many as 26 each day if you do every single Daily Quest religiously.

You can also choose to Burn (Sell) unwanted Servants, XP Cards and Craft Essences. In fact, one of the easiest ways to farm Mana Prisms is to do Ember Gathering (Advanced), and burn any silver XP cards you gain after.

You’ll need several hundred Mana Prisms if you want to clear out Da Vinci’s shop on a regular basis!

If you’ve got plenty of friends (like me), you’ll always have at least 2 10x Friend Point rolls up daily. Burn any excess 3* Servants, silver XP cards and Craft Essences you don’t care for (like Black Keys) and turn them into Mana Prisms.

And that’s pretty much all there is to it.

Just keep doing your Dailies once you’ve completed your story maps, keep pimping out your Servants, and stock up on both Summon Tickets and Saint Quartz, because you’ll want them for special events with Rate Up like Nero Festival, among other things.

Happy farming! :3

C91 – The Depth of Comiket (Winter 2016)

1 Feb , 2017,
Levin Tan
,
No Comments

Comiket (コミケ) is “Comic” + “Market”, but having experienced a few, we felt that it definitely extends to more than that. Thinking about comics and doujinshi is just the surface, and so Haruta and I decided to plunge deeper. This is what this year’s coverage is mostly going to be about.

Firstly, let’s get the usual things out of the way. This year’s doujinshi had the usual top runners still on top: Kancolle (艦これ), Touhou Project (東方), Touken Ranbu (刀剣乱舞), iM@S, and Fate/Anything (and its spinoffs like Prisma Illya). Corporate booths had a really long queue for Gochiusa (ごちうさ), and the Grandblue Fantasy (グラブル) dakimakura (released ONLY on D2) sold out really fast. Nekopara was also present, and had cosplayers for each of the characters. Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel (快盗天使ツインエンジェル) was promoting its next season. It’s been a long time!

Nekopara!

Making a comeback after 6 years is Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel!

Secondly, if you didn’t already know, Tokyo Big Sight has now expanded by putting up another “double” hall. This year had 東7 (booths) and 東8 (changing room). To take advantage of the new space, both the doujin booths and corporate booths have expanded.

Comiket is just going to keep get bigger and better…

The new hall is still plenty spacious, which means that there’s still room to grow. Needless to say, Comiket is still war. Number of counted visitors this time was 550,000! (Not counting those not in the main queue after noon or so.)  And the booth count was 35,700! The most ever!

Now, something interesting before we carry on. Before the shutters were lifted to start the day, on D3, I had the chance to personally witness one of the doujin booths having 2 of their doujinshi barred from sale because it was just too NSFW. Think about that for a moment. (You may need to have seen some R18 doujinshi to understand what I’m talking about here.) And the reaction around me as the news spread was like “え?”, “まじ?”, “もう?”, and “www”, or a mixture.

So let’s start the dive, and let us bring you first, to D3, 西1.

This is the place for non-doujinshi stuff, and there are a great many things to keep your head turning. Last year I wrote about homemade headphones, this year I’m going to show you glass pens.

Completely made of transparent glass, with various nip sizes to your liking. By Kemmy’s Labo

These behave like quills where you dip them into ink, and the surface tension holds the ink on the nip while accumulating just enough at the tip for you to write! I saw people trying it out and I’m impressed at how consistent the thickness of each stroke is.

Well, there’s not just glass pens, miniature models for your Nendoroids and other similar-sized figurines as well! Check these out! Beautifully crafted; each and every single miniature!

Perfect for Nendoroids. Check out close-ups on her Twitter!

Music lovers are not left out either. This is also the place for you to get your indie music, including niche and very niche genres like 電波ソング/萌えソング, みみかき. DJ mixes are also in. Check out this booth which caries both 電波 and Camelia’s creations! I personally love songs which are かめりあ feat. ななひら. (Camelia does 電波 as well, so he actually has works in both booths!)

Camelia (かめるかめりあ) [left] & Confetto [right] booths, which had pretty long queues at the start of the day!

D3 at 西1 will never be boring, and I’m sure there will be loads more that I can feature each year. But let’s move on a little.

Comiket is getting more and more international every year, as they reach out to other countries with blooming culture and other countries reach in to Japan. The Comiket Official Page on Facebook said that they had probably just gotten the most number of international visitors yet. And this year, as part of their International Otaku Zone, they featured Singapore.

Pictures and short paragraphs describing what otaku conventions in Singapore are like.

The Japanese have probably heard some stuff about Singapore, most likely something to do with that lion with a fish tail (and you can juuust see it in that picture in the middle), but having a zone like that at Comiket is something I’d say I’m somewhat proud to see happening.

Let me now take you outside. To the cosplay areas!

You can find cosplayers just about anywhere outdoors, even mixing with the queues for the booths as seen here!

Comiket is never complete without talking about the cosplay. From swimsuits to armour (the proportion of which swings depending on the temperature), there is a really great number of cosplayers that it makes perfect sense to chillout after hitting your popular booths (most are sold out around noon to 1pm anyway) and have a really long look around. You’ll also see endless blogs, tweets, and posts online of all the different cosplays each time Comiket comes around.

This time, we took a plunge deeper as well, and Haruta interviewed two of these cosplayers. First up, we have Shimizu Taichi (清水 泰地).

Feast your eyes on those muscles! Get more on his Twitter!

A professional body builder who’s put his muscular body to good use for his hobby, Shimizu has always loved anime and manga since young. One day it suddenly occurred to him that his body figure is similar to some of the anime and manga characters. So he decided, why not cosplay these characters? Thus he debut during Summer Comiket 2015 as the green superhero Hulk from Marvel Comics.

Since then, Shimizu has cosplayed several other characters, such as Alexander the Great from Fate/Zero, Broly from Dragon Ball Z, and his most famous, Zangief from Street Fighters. When asked what his next cosplay plan is, Shimizu said he hadn’t thought about it yet, but he’s most likely bringing it out during Summer Comiket 2017! With that, Haruta left him to put on a coat (remember it’s winter!) as he takes a break from posing as Nappa from DBZ.

Next, we have a newbie to the Comiket scene, Kuro, as he cosplays Ezio Auditore da Firenze, from Assassin’s Creed II!

Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Kuro’s a newbie, but goodie!

Although being his first time debuting at Comiket, Kuro is no stranger to cosplay, having dabbed in the hobby for around one and a half years. His first cosplay was Kotetsu, from Tiger & Bunny, in his casual everyday wear.

When asked for his reasons for starting cosplay, Kuro said that he went to a party with his upperclassmen, where everyone is a cosplayer. Due to the influence, he decided maybe he should give it a go, and since then he hasn’t stopped yet.

Kuro also has a passion for swords, and thus likes cosplaying characters carrying a katana. Kuro has cosplayed several Hakuoki characters as such, and more recently, Mikazuki Munechika from Touken Ranbu. Kuro plans to challenge a different type of characters by cosplaying someone from Idolish 7, though which one specifically, he hasn’t decided yet. When asked how long does he see himself continuing the hobby, Kuro said the future is still uncertain now, so for the time being he’s going to try for another two to three years, then take a look again from there on.

Every cosplayer has a story, and realising that (while looking at the numbers), you can start to see why this post is a deeper dive. But of course, we can’t carry that many stories (nor pictures) in one post, so head on over to our Facebook page for a larger album of cosplayers!

Comiket is much more than just comics and commercial booth merchandise (limited edition or not!). I’d like to reiterate what I’ve said before, and this is the view of the organising committee: Everybody at Comiket is a participant. There are no sellers, no buyers.

You see, Comiket is made of its people. Coming together, sharing such a huge passion for whatever they have (really whatever as you would have noticed by now), every single person there adds to how awesome this event is, and everyone is there to enjoy themselves. Even the rush for limited edition stuff are all done very nicely, very “politely” if I may say. And let us not forget the volunteers who work tirelessly for 3 days straight to guide the crowds. Their crowd control and systems they put in place are absolutely amazing (this one you can only understand once you personally see it).

Attending Comiket is kinda magical, and always leaves me with a sense of awe, sense of exhilaration, and a sense of fulfilment in the end. I’m sure everyone feels this magic too. Which is why, never failing, there will always be this at the end of the 3 days:

Sign says: <- Reality ->

6 Things You Should Know While Cosplaying at GameStart 2016

6 Oct , 2016,
Jazion
No Comments

Pumped up for GameStart 2016 tomorrow? So are we! Once again, we put together a handy guide for cosplayers who intend to visit the event. Don’t forget to like the official event page for a look at show-exclusive special offers too!

Take a look at the zone map to plan your routes

Take a look at the zone map to plan your routes

Oh and check out this post to see what booths will be at the event.

 

1. Free Entry

It'd put a smile on anyone's face!

It’d put a smile on anyone’s face!

The best part about being a cosplayer this year is that you get free entry for all three days! Entry is for recognisable costumes only, so don’t forget to bring references if you’re unsure.

 

2. Refreshments

We suggest not drinking all 4 cans of Monster at once

We suggest not drinking all 4 cans of Monster at once

If you’re in dire need of a pick-me-up, chug a can of Monster, which is the official energy drink of GameStart 2016! You can also look forward to snacks and other tasty noms without having to leave the hall, how convenient. :3 

 

3. Cosplay Rest Area

Yes, there is merch

Check out some of the cosplay activities we have planned!

This year boasts an expanded cosplay rest area at the back of the hall, right by the toilets! It’s also near the NTP booth, where there will be signings by guest cosplayers Miu and Okageo. Don’t forget to help keep the rest area clean for everyone!

 

 

4. Photobooth

Temple in background not included

Temple in background not included

If you’re cosplaying from Overwatch or Touken Ranbu, you definitely want to head to the photobooth by LunarWorks Studio. Expect a beautiful Japan-inspired theme at their photobooth, conveniently located next to the rest area!

 

5. Runway

Get your game on at our runway talent showcase!

Get your game on at our runway talent showcase!

Feel like strutting your stuff in return for a chance at prizes from Seagate, Xmashed Gear and LunarWorks Studio? Be there on Saturday (8 October) between 1pm and 6pm for a chance to be noticed by our guests and invited to join the runway show on Sunday! 

 

6. Exclusive Loot

Overwatch, assemble!

Overwatch, assemble!

If you’re cosplaying from Overwatch, be sure to head over to the Neo Tokyo Project booth on Saturday and Sunday! We have loot to give away to the first 15 Overwatch cosplayers each day (click here for details).

 

And that’s all, folks! Have any other tips? Be sure to share them with us!

Thunderbolt Fantasy Episode 5

The Invisible Duel – Thunderbolt Fantasy Episode 5

6 Sep , 2016,
Panther
, , ,
No Comments

Thunderbolt Fantasy Episode 5

A series I missed out on in my summer preview post is Thunderbolt Fantasy. While I was pretty much on board for it after hearing Urobuchi Gen, aka. the Butcher, actually thought of its concept and wrote its story, it went completely under my radar at the time as I cleanly forgot about it. Nevertheless, as somewhat of a mix between old-style Chinese wuxia flicks and Japanese anime-plot ideas, I have been rather entertained by it thus far.

You might be wondering what brought this on all of a sudden. I have been feeling for some time that doing the usual posts for previews of seasons and the like is mere boring stuff and can be found almost anywhere, and thus, I should write content that people would be interested in reading aside from the commonly penned stuff. Editorials like these are, hopefully, what might yet interest more people to think a little more deeply about the shows and series they watch. Needless to say, this post contains spoilers for the series if you have not watched it.

Read More…

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius: Producer Interview

22 Aug , 2016,
Crimson
, , , , , ,
No Comments
FFBE_Producers01

Fujimoto-san and Hirono-san (from left) were in the gumi Asia office Monday, and we asked them for the lowdown on what fans can expect in future updates.

You might have seen me talking about Final Fantasy Brave Exvius and posting screenies of my adventures this mobile RPG awhile ago.

It’s one of Square Enix’s more recent offerings, and rather than just a mindless grind with gacha elements, it’s got a rather compelling story in the vein of old 16-bit classics. Add to it retro sprites and a pretty killer soundtrack by video game music composer Noriyasu Agematsu and you’ve got a pretty polished app over all.

You also gotta give it to the folks at gumi Asia, who handled the monumental international rollout. The game has since hit more than 5 million downloads, bringing the total number of players for both the Global and JP versions to a whopping 12.5 million.  

When FFBE producers Kei Hirono and Hiroki Fujimoto dropped by the gumi Asia office Monday, we naturally jumped at the chance to pick their brains, and to find out what fans can expect in the months to come.

Hirono-san’s producer credits include PC-based browser game Imperial SaGa and the wildly popular live show Jitsuzai-Sei Million Arthur and is now Division Executive of Square Enix’s 8th Business Division, while Fujimoto-san has worked on numerous Square Enix titles since 1992, with multiple hits under his belt.

The interview was conducted in Japanese, with the help of our awesome columnist Haruta. Here are some highlights:

1. What can players expect in the future content updates?

Producers: Players can expect to see more of their favorite characters from Final Fantasy titles such as Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Tactics join the game. Some of these units are already available in Japan, and will eventually be included in the Global release. We have just released Kolobos, and the story of Rain, Lasswell and Fina will continue on Dirnado. We intend to have regular content updates, perhaps every month.

Screenshot_20160822-113819

The latest Visions to hit the gacha include FFIX staples and hot favorite Zidane, as well as ways to make these units more accessible to new players.

Screenshot_20160822-173946

Brace yourself. Dirnado is coming. 😀

2. Was Demons Unleashed too demanding for newer players?

Producers: Demons Unleashed was a brand new event for the Global release, and we hope to do better in future. We hope that the community will continue to give us feedback so we can improve the balance of events in future and to make the rewards worth their while.

Screenshot_20160822-172723

The latest Into the Abyss event tests your mettle in an expanded Earth Shrine, and rewards you for your efforts. You also don’t have to farm quite as many materials to craft the cool stuff.

3. New Co-Op Events?

Producers: We also hope to introduce more events to reward players. We are toying with the idea of a co-op event in the future. We want to create an event where there is a community objective, and all players will contribute to that objective. The event will also reward players with rare items and materials that will help them on their adventure. If the community is supportive of this idea, we hope that they can let us know.

4. Will we ever see Rain, Lasswell and Fina on the big screen or in animation?

Producers: That really depends on the fans. We cannot make any promises, but if community feedback is positive, then maybe. Would fans prefer a CG movie or anime? They should let us know on social media.

5. Are there plans for offline fan events in Singapore? 

Producers: Again, that depends on the fans. We’re doing an event in Japan soon, and if there’s demand for it, then maybe we will do something in Singapore too.


And there you have it. If you wish to see more improvements to the game, or perhaps an offline event at a gaming con near you, be sure to ping the official Final Fantasy Brave Exvius page on Facebook and let them know!

Wanna level in PoGo like a pro? Here’s how.

16 Aug , 2016,
Crimson
, ,
No Comments

PoGo’s been out for over a week, and it’s sure been a busy week for us at NTP. Because we want to be the very best, like no one ever was, we’ve been searching far and wide for the very best grinding spots in Singapore.

It’s been a helluva journey, and we’ve managed to break mid 20s with some clever strats and choice of locations.

The grind’s not pretty (and can get really boring), but if you’re the sort that wants to see your levels grow, here’s how:

1. Invest in Lucky Eggs

It's a great bargain!

When else can you put all your eggs in one basket? 😀

Pokemon Go is a game you can play without spending a single cent, but like many other mobile phone games, you may want to purchase quality of life improvements through the in-game store. If you have some gold to burn, be sure to spend it to upgrade the number of slots in your Bag (this is pretty important), and Lucky Eggs.

A Lucky Egg doubles the amount of XP you earn for 30 minutes, and is the foundation of grinding. A bargain bundle of 25 Lucky Eggs on the in-game store goes for 1250 coins ($15), and that ain’t half bad to say the least.

2. Hit the Intersection of Multiple Pokestops

They just keep spawning! :o

I feel like some seafood. How ’bout you? 😮

Where lures abound, those Pokemon keep spawning.

The best grinding spot is one with at least three intersecting Pokestops in close proximity to each other.

Our favorite spot has got to be VivoCity, where you’ll see Lure-induced cherry blossoms at all hours (even in the wee hours of the morning, which is kinda creepy).

Just make sure that you’re camping where you can handily swipe all nearby Pokestops, proc spawn triggers, and easily tap on all the cute Pokemon that appear on your cellphone screen.

3. Timing is Everything

You don't want to just TRY to be the very best. XD

You don’t want to just TRY to be the very best. XD

The cooldown for swiping a Pokestop is 5-minutes. That means you can’t benefit from a Pokestop till 5-minutes have passed since the last time you swiped it for loot and XP.

Be sure to time it so that you maximize your gains from the Pokestops every 5-minutes. You’ll need the extra Pokeballs since you’ll be catching Pokemon left, right and center anyway, and might actually run out.

4. Throw ’em a Curveball

Every bit of XP counts!

Every bit of XP counts!

Since we’re in it for the grind, every little bit of XP you can eke out of your catches counts.

Throwing a Curveball (tap and hold on the Pokeball, swish it around till stars appear, then release) nets you 10 XP, which is doubled to 20 XP with a Lucky Egg active.

Clearly, this Horsea doesn't want to get in the Pokeball.

Clearly, this Horsea doesn’t want to get in the Pokeball.

A Nice!, Great! or Excellent! throw yields additional XP too, so be sure to aim well, and let fly.

5. Other XP Bonuses (and the Pidgey Grind)

Make a new Pokefriend. Pick up that 500 free XP.

Make a new Pokefriend. Pick up that 500 free XP.

Adding a new Pokemon to your Pokedex gives you a bonus 500 XP (1,000 XP with Lucky Egg), and Evolving a Pokemon nets you the same.

That’s why there are stories of something called the Pidgey grind, where you evolve multiple Caterpies, Pidgeys and Weedles (they only require 12 candies each to evolve) with a Lucky Egg active to jump several levels at once.

Bear in mind though that each single instance of Pokemon evolution comes with a 30 second animation that CANNOT be canceled, which eats into your Lucky Egg duration.

6. Raw Numbers

Putting everything up there together, it’s conceivable for a starting trainer who spends a bit of money on Lucky Eggs to get from 1 to 20 in a day (and by a day we mean 12 hours of almost uninterrupted grinding).

Here’s the math:

4 Pokestops every 5 minutes – 400 XP every 5 minutes, or 4,800 XP per hour.

1 Pokemon catch with Curveball every minute – 220 XP every minute, or 13,200 XP per hour.

If we account for variance that’s anywhere from 18,000 XP to 20,000 XP per hour.

This means that if you’ve got an uninterrupted supply of Lucky Eggs, you’ll be able to hit Level 6 by the first hour, Level 9 by the second. In five hours, you MIGHT touch Level 15, and in a whopping 12 hours, Level 20, the break point where real life (and the real grind) begins.

You can hasten the process by evolving any caterpies, pidgeys and weedles you catch in batches of at least 10 (which translates to 10,000 XP with a Lucky Egg) or more. Naturally, the more batch evolutions you do, the better.

7. A Disclaimer

The math above is fairly accurate, but your mileage may vary depending on whether your Lucky Egg buff is active, how efficient your catches are, the location you camp at, and whether you get pulled away by other distractions (like rare spawns).

Most importantly, have fun playing the game, and don’t forget to join our Pokemon Go Photo Contest!

G933 Artemis Spectrum Gaming Headset

23 Jun , 2016,
Edric
No Comments

I am not a huge fan of wireless headsets until Logitech passed me their G933 Artemis Spectrum Gaming Headset during their Pizza session held at Colosseum at Bugis+, Singapore. Wireless PC peripherals are often overlooked by gamers no thanks to naysayers. But when it comes to setting up a gaming station at a LAN party, one less wire goes a long way. Since I game on a netbook on the go, that’s one less wired inconvenience for me.

Copy of JPG 300 dpi (RGB)-G933_Artemis_Spectrum_BTY2

The G933 improves on the successful G430 Gaming Headset with its minimalist design and stylish sleek curves making it a trendy headset for the fashionable geek on the go. It features 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound, washable ear cups and concealable mic that makes the G933. Its ten-hour inbuilt  battery completes the headset as a portable fashion accessory as well as an extension to a gamer’s unfair advantage on the virtual battlefield.

Copy of JPG 300 dpi (RGB)-G933 Artemis Spectrum BOB fade

The distinct advantage wireless headsets have over its analog counterparts is the missing audio input which has been problematic for most of my headsets. Going wireless allows Logitech to address the problem that plagued many traditional wired sets without redesigning and/or reinventing the very product audiophiles and gamers are familiar with. Now, you won’t have that pesky problem where one side of the earpiece will malfunction after some months and the temporary solution is to toy around with the audio jack or the wire leading up to the headphones itself; and pray that it works. There’s still the option to wire up the headphones using the USB adapter or analog audio input, which means wires. But with such convenience and performance, I’ll rather leave them in the box. The G933 Artemis Spectrum Gaming Headset is definitely one of the best premium wireless headsets on the market.

Copy of JPG 300 dpi (RGB)-G933 Artemis Spectrum BTY3

The Logitech G933 also works with PCs, mobile phones, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The headphones are also compatible to your home theater, as long as they have USB ports and RCA audio out.

The product is available from December 2015 at the MSRP of SGD 299.

Technical Specifications
System Requirements
– Windows 7 or higher
– Internet connection for Logitech Gaming Software installation
– USB port, 3.5 mm audio port or RCA audio output ports
– 7.1 surround sound, DTS Headphone:X*, lighting configuration, and G-key programming require Logitech Gaming Software

Product Specifications
Headphones
– Driver: 40 mm
– Frequency response: 20 Hz-20KHz
– Impedance: 39 Ohms (Passive), 5k Ohms (Active)
– Size 190 mm x 180 mm x 94 mm
– Sensitivity: 107dB SPL/mW
Microphone
– Size 4mm
– Type: Condenser-Cardioid
– Frequency response: 100Hz-20KHz

The Logitech G633 Artemis Spectrum Gaming Headset comes with a 2-year limited hardware warranty.