Posts Tagged ‘Video Games’

Video games have undergone some substantial changes over the past few years. Those who grew up in the 1990’s era of video games desire nostalgia, and a lot of old-school style games have made a comeback. With all the new programs, software, and technology available today, virtually anyone can now develop their own video games and get it distributed to the public via the internet. Today’s video games ranged from classic 8-bit or 16-bit style games to rich, beautiful games with tons of graphics and objects. Beyond the standard video games, we now have virtual reality games to further immerse players into the games that they play. With all of the big games and new technology out, sometimes the lesser known games get filtered out fast. Check out these five games of PC that I recommend taking a look at this season.

5. Senran Kagura: Estival Versus (Steam link)

We start off the list with a game not suitable for children. The hack & slash genre usually employs ridiculous mechanics of one versus the world, where a sole person takes out hundreds of foes in one battle. Dynasty Warriors perfected that formula, but that series lacked something. When you take hack & slash and combine it with fanservice, you get the Senran Kagura series. The Senran Kagura series revolves around dozens of high school girls with shinobi powers. Armed with a variety of weapons, these girls can beat up hordes of baddies, and when the going gets tough, like in many anime series, they can transform into one of two more powerful forms. As for the fanservice part, when the girls take too much damage, their clothes rip off. The series has a handful of games, but this post focuses on Senran Kagura: Estival Versus. Essentially part two of the second timeline (the first timeline started on the Nintendo 3DS), Estival improves a lot of gameplay from the first game and adds new characters and modes. The base game released for the PC in mid March and costs $39.99 with additional DLC sold separately, which includes new characters and extra costumes. Keep in mind that this game will spoil some of the story from the first game, so if you want to learn more about the lore of Senran Kagura, I highly suggest looking at the first game, Shinovi Versus.

4. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Those who have played the Ace Attorney (Phoenix Wright) games will not want to miss out on the Danganronpa series. While both games have an anime art style, Ace Attorney focus on courtrooms and attorneys, while Danganronpa focuses on high school teenagers. However, gameplay in the Danganronpa series remains similar to the Ace Attorney games – you spend time investigating for clues and evidence to solve murder cases, then you go to trial with your found evidence to solve the case while disputing lies and inconsistencies told by the others. These games really test your mental capacity to spot even the minor details where something does not match up or someone said one word wrong. The first game in the series, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, comes to you for $29.99. The first game does not have as many mechanics as the later games, but serves as a backdrop for the setting of the Danganronpa universe, explaining why things work the way they do in their world. By completing the first game, you avoid spoilers if you decide to play the later games.

3. Master X Master

Out of the most popular video games across the globe today, League of Legends remains one of the top games. Consistently in the top 5 watched games, League of Legends has set a benchmark for the MOBA genre for others to compete with. Other MOBA games such as DOTA 2, Heroes of the Storm, Smite, and Vain Glory still have a decent audience, but simply cannot compete with the juggernaut known as League of Legends. However, a new challenger appears with the hopes of gaining as much popularity as the aforementioned games. Enter Master X Master (MXM), a different approach to the standard MOBA game. Developed by NCSoft, MXM represents an Action MOBA, a step in a different direction than the rest. The game plays in a top-down isometric view similar to League of Legends, but uses WASD to move instead of click-to-move that the other games have. Players uses the mouse to aim and attack, not move (unless a skill causes movement). This provides a unique spin to the genre, and sits in a nice medium between a MOBA and an ARPG (Diablo, Path of Exlie, etc). MXM currently operates in Beta this month, and as such will close their servers on April 27th. Check out their website to register to play right now, and keep an eye out for its official release, which should occur later this year.

2. Hollow Knight

Independent game developers often face troubles getting their game up and running. Obstacles include marketing, funding development, programming, and much more. Often times, it makes sense to crowdsource, or ask for small donations from the public in order to get going. Some crowdsourcing can fall flat, while others can garner lots of attention. Luckily in the case of Hollow Knight, their crowdsourcing efforts paid off, and Hollow Knight represents one of the highest crowdsourced games in existence, if not the highest. Also luckily, the developers followed through on their promise to deliver a rich, immersive, fun, and difficult game all at the same time. Released in late February, this 2D action-platformer game carries elements of traditional Metroid and Castlevania games, where the protagonist explores a large world to obtain upgrades to further explore the world. Players have fallen in love with Hollow Knight’s art style and high difficulty that tests a player’s true gaming skill. $14.99 gets you a great experience that will provide countless hours of entertainment.

1. Giga Wrecker (Steam link)

Sometimes a company makes one product so popular that the general public recognizes that company for one product, even if that company has many other products. For example, in the beer world, when one mentions Hangar 24, most people will immediately think of their Orange Wheat beer. In video games, this occurs quite often, especially with a little company called Game Freak. When people hear Game Freak, they immediately think of Pokémon. However, Game Freak makes many more video games than just Pokémon. They make a lot of singular games without a series, which kind of sets Game Freak as an indie developer. One of their games includes Giga Wrecker, a charming throwback to 16-bit era games. Those who have played Mega Man, Metroid, or Castlevania games will know what to do in Giga Wrecker, a puzzle-platformer with some action elements. Many of the maps have puzzles that make use of gravity and physics in order to reach an item, switch, or door. Some of these puzzles can greatly frustrate players, but the satisfaction of finally solving a room means so much. Players will also encounter eight boss fights throughout the game that take place in a single room similar to Mega Man. Giga Wrecker released in mid-February, costs $19.99, and includes a level builder/creator that you can share online for others to try.

Many fandom events have occurred recently in Southern California. The term “fandom” refers to a broad range of pop culture interests and hobbies, from comics to video games to anime/manga and more. The most popular ones cost the most to get in, but a lot of smaller ones often do not cost much, if not completely free, to attend, and more often than not the smaller ones still attract a huge crowd, such as as Coast Con 2017. Hosted by Anime Academia, an organization of Orange Coast College, Coast Con represents a locally-run community event around all things anime, manga, and video games. Taking place this past Saturday from 12pm to 8pm, this free and all-ages event attracted hundreds of fans of anime, manga, and video games to this quaint gathering for a fun day of mixing and mingling. Visitors would find artists, merchandise, live entertainment, cosplay contests, video game booths, a maid café, and more.

While it may not have the abundant amount of content that larger conventions and expos would have, Coast Con still had enough content to keep visitors occupied for a few hours. The Student Center acted as the hub of the event, containing a check-in table, lots of vendors, and the maid café. Directly outside in the maid quad, more artists and vendors set up along the center aisle. Going past this aisle, we find the classrooms that had the event’s programming, which included the video game stations and anime viewing rooms. Walking down from the main quad to the Moore Theatre brought us to the main stage where they held the cosplay contests. I only stuck around for the main cosplay contest that had everyone strut their stuff for the audience, and boy did a lot of people dress up for such a low-key event. This goes to show the dedication that these cosplayers have towards their interests.

While Anime Academia exists as a college organization, they often put on events open to the public. Check out Anime Academia on Facebook to see what other events they have planned that you can attend.

Arcade Expo 3.0 returns to Banning this upcoming weekend. Taking place at their exclusive facility across from the Banning Municipal Airport, this hall of arcade machines houses hundreds of classic and modern video games for thousands of visitors of all ages to come and relive their childhood. Entertainment types vary from arcades to video game consoles to pinball machines and more. Admission grants all visitors full access to the expo hall for unlimited free play for the duration of the visit. In addition to all the free games available, visitors will find various movies, seminars, vendors, live music, tournaments, and more to keep them occupied. The building that houses the Arcade Expo has various rooms all with different types of arcades in them. The two main rooms represent the main halves of the expo: one half holds all the pinball machines, while the other half holds all the arcade games. The arcade half has hundreds of nostalgic video games, most of which resemble 8-bit games such as those found on the original Nintendo system. While most of the arcade games fall under the category of 8-bit to 16-bit, visitors can find a few modern games, such as Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Beyond the arcade room, visitors can walk outside to find the main stage, where live bands, DJ’s, and speakers set up.

Visitors can find Arcade Expo 3.0 at 700 South Hathaway St across the street from the Banning Municipal Airport. Early arrivals can park for free in the venue’s parking lot; otherwise, visitors should look for street parking nearby. The expo runs from 2:30pm to 12am on Friday, 11am to 2am on Saturday, and 11am to 7pm on Sunday. Adult general admission for Friday and Sunday costs $35. On Saturday, adult admission costs $55. Children admission costs $20 per day. A three-day pass costs $110 for adults or $55 for children. The venue has vending machines and a snack bar, plus they usually invite mobile food vendors and food trucks to keep visitors fed, so bring extra cash for food and drinks. The venue only has one set of restrooms, which almost always has a line. As such, I highly suggest eating and using the restroom prior to traveling to Arcade Expo – visitors can find food throughout Banning, or in Beaumont or Cabazon nearby. If traveling via 10 freeway eastbound, consider passing through Riverside or Redlands as they have lots of food options.

Last year, the bulk of the expo’s action took place in the pinball half of the building. This side contains hundreds of pinball machines, ranging from the traditional classic 2D machines to the modern machines with ramps and lighting effects. A pinball machines exists for virtually any theme in the world, and this expo has a pinball machine for it all. They even have some adult-themed pinball machines, one of which has actual nudity in it.

For more info direct from the source, check out Arcade Expo on Facebook and Twitter.

They said the classics never go out of style, but eventually they do. But when looking at trends, things that have goner out of style also eventually rebound back into popularity. Trends and fads ride a wave where they peak at one point then fall down and rise back up, repeating this cyclical process over time. Take a look at Pokémon for example. It had its prime time in the early 2000’s then slowly faded down, but then it surged in popularity again with the release of Pokémon GO last year. The Power Rangers had its glory in the 1990’s, then faded away for some time. However, a new Power Rangers movie will release later this month, hoping to revitalize the franchise. It helps to pay attention to the classics, as they will always find a way to come back into our lives, as we witnessed at the 2017 Pasadena Comic Con & Toy Show.

Pasadena gets their own event dedicated to comics and toys of new and old with the Pasadena Comic Con & Toy Show. Taking place this past Sunday at the Pasadena Convention Center, this all-ages convention represents a smaller, localized version of some of the larger comic events known throughout the world. Unlike those larger events, this one only costs $10 to enter for a decent amount of content. The main show floor had dozens of writers and artists all showing their work, as well as a handful of vendors selling toys, video games, and accessories. Additionally, some of the convention center’s side rooms contained more content, such as more toy vendors, guest cosplay booths, and a seminar/programs room. Altogether, this represents a nice scaled version of the big comic cons.

As a comic expo, we cannot forget about the diehard fans dressing up as their favorite fictional character. At any expo involving comics, video games, anime, manga, and more, any attendee cannot avoid seeing another guest participating in the inevitable cosplay for the duration of the event. Cosplay has turned into an art of fans sporting outfits and accessories to appear like another usually recognizable character. Mainstream characters such as Harley Quinn and Deadpool often get selected as the costume of choice due to the fast recognition by many fans, while lesser known characters tend to receive more praise by the fans who recognize the outfit. As one of the smaller comic expos, the Pasadena Comic Con did not have as many cosplayers in attendance throughout the day. However, a good amount still showed up, and I got to interact with them at the same character level that I do at larger events.

The Pasadena Convention Center hosts a handful of related events, such as events dedicated to Legos, Transformers, Power Rangers, and more. Check out the convention center’s website often (linked above) to see when they will have an event next. Also make sure you like the Pasadena Comic Con on Facebook, as they will post links about the aforementioned similar events that will take place at the Pasadena Convention Center.

Like a flash, the 2017 Long Beach Comic Expo came and went this past weekend at the Long Beach Convention Center. This convention for all things comics returned to the convention center’s Hall C just like previous years, and visitors had to enter from the east side instead of the usual west side due to another convention taking place along the western rooms. The main operations of the expo had not changed – hundreds of local comic book writers and artists exhibited their merchandise, art, books, toys, and more, either for sale or for show. Elsewhere in other rooms across from Hall C, a number workshops and seminars occurred, ranging from speaker panels to art workshops to live activities. Cosplay Corner returned to the expo as a part of the show floor in the same side of the room as previous years. Nothing else drastic changed from the previous years of the Long Beach Comic Expo, but due to the weekend’s storms, a few things got moved around – notably, anything vehicular moved to the other side from the entrance, such as themed cars and the mobile food vendors. Many cosplayers often remain out in front for photo shoots; however, due to the weather, most attendees preferred to remain inside the expo halls. Overall, I experienced lower attendance than usual this past weekend, and many attribute that to bad weather.

As a comic expo, we cannot forget about the diehard fans dressing up as their favorite fictional character. At any expo involving comics, video games, anime, manga, and more, any attendee cannot avoid seeing another guest participating in the inevitable cosplay for the duration of the event. Cosplay has turned into an art of fans sporting outfits and accessories to appear like another usually recognizable character. Mainstream characters such as Harley Quinn and Deadpool often get selected as the costume of choice due to the fast recognition by many fans, while lesser known characters tend to receive more praise by the fans who recognize the outfit. Check out this collection of the great costumes from the 2017 Long Beach Comic Expo. If you recognize any of these awesome people, please leave a comment with a URL to the person’s website or Facebook page, as well as the reference costume & photo! If the image links go down, click here for the album.

The Fall expo, the Long Beach Comic Con, returns in early September. The Fall event should return to the exact same location as this past weekend’s event, and generally has a greater turnout due to more famous people in attendance. Until then, keep an eye out for other similar expos, such as WonderCon at the end of March, or Anime Expo in early July. You have plenty of time to work up that unique and amazing DIY costume that everyone will want to take a picture of.

The 2017 Long Beach Comic Expo returns to the Long Beach Convention Center this weekend, taking place over two days in all its glory. Returning to Hall C and the Pacific Promenade area, hundreds of local comic book writers and artists will travel here to exhibit their merchandise, art, books, toys, and more. Eager fans can gain access to the entire show floor for $30 per person for Saturday, $25 for Sunday, or $50 for both days, with children 10 and under entering free with a paid adult admission. In addition to the expo on the show floor, various workshops and seminars will occur in the surrounding meeting rooms for those who register ahead of time. Diehard fans will recognize the various celebrities sitting in for meet & greet and autograph sessions.

Some general tips to make your visit pleasant:

  • Peak time: 12pm-2pm on Saturday, as you will encounter the most amount of cosplayers at this time
  • Wear comfortable shoes, as you will walk a lot.
  • I advise staying for as long as possible to see more and interact with other attendees. Also have enough energy to last the entire time.
  • While mostly indoors, a lot of the cosplayers like to hang out outside for photo shoots. Regardless, it would behoove you to dress for chilly or possibly rainy weather.
  • Have extra cash available for food as well as merchandise if you think you will buy something inside the expo.
  • Get into character! Even if you cannot dress up, cosplayers love to act their part and interact with others.
  • Expect to take a lot of photos, so bring an extra camera or power bank for smartphones.
  • I know we normally tell our kids to not talk to strangers, but at this event, attendees encourage others to chat with the cosplayers, especially children.

Even to those not interested in comics, everyone should attend a comic expo/con just to see everyone dressing up in costume. At any expo involving comics, video games, anime, manga, and more, any attendee cannot avoid seeing another guest participating in the inevitable cosplay for the duration of the event. Cosplay has turned into a staple for any sort of expo in this industry, and the fans proudly don their best gear for this expo.

An expo featuring the expansive world of Eastern culture took place this past weekend, as the 2016 Pacific Media Expo returned to the Pasadena Convention Center. As its name suggests, this expo featured just about everything revolving around Asian pop culture, from the fashion to the fiction to the food to the art to the music and so much more. Attendees would encounter art, music, dance, entertainment, cosplay, fashion, anime, manga, comics, video games, merchandise, accessories, food, drinks, treats, and tons of other things that could keep one occupied for more than just a weekend. Many attendees went all out and dressed for the occasion, while other fans simply attended to check out the latest in Asian pop culture.

Due to the excess amount of photos in this blog post, photos will appear in reduced resolution. Please visit the Facebook album to view all of the photos in a larger resolution.

I attended two out of the three days, so I will do my best to chronicle my adventures at the 2016 Pacific Media Expo. With so much to do, I often found myself bouncing back and forth between rooms, programs, and seminars. Upon my arrival on Friday afternoon, I immediately started to scout out the area to get a feel for the layout of this expo. At one point, I did end up in a section of the convention center dedicated to an entirely different event. Roaming around revealed to me that the expo took place on both sides of the convention center: the ballrooms and the conference rooms on the other side of the theater. Starting with the conference rooms, these rooms held mainly the fashion rooms, with markets, shops, and fashion-based programs in the back room. This side also had the gaming room for those attendees wanting to relax a bit between programs.

After checking out the conference rooms, I roamed over to the ballrooms. The front two ballrooms contained a variety of seminars and programs. The next three ballrooms would contain the Artists’ Market (display), the Main Stage (entertainment), and the Exhibit Hall (vendors). As the Exhibit Hall also contained food vendors in an enclosed space, the scent of food wafted all throughout the room plus a small section of the foyer in front of that ballroom.

Now that I had scouted out the entire expo area, I started to explore the rooms individually to discover the programs. One ballroom had a lip-sync dance show, while another had a panel discussing retro video games. Wandering back to the conference rooms, I discovered a fashion panel presented by a butler café.

As the sun set, the expo’s Opening Ceremonies started to take place. This mainly involved the expo’s special guests introducing themselves, talking about their experience traveling here in Southern California, and previewing what they will do that weekend at the expo. Also around this time, the Swap Meet started to set up in the ballroom foyer, which attracted dozens of attendees to come check out the goods. Typically the items found at the Swap Meet cost less than the items in the Exhibit Hall. Attendees would likely find rare goods as well. Following the Opening Ceremonies, a few more programs took place involving cosplay and martial arts.

Capping off the night, a concert took place featuring Hitomi from a maid café in Akihabara, Japan. Essentially a one-woman show, Hitomi danced and sang in her cutesy style. Since she speaks exclusively Japanese, Hitomi had a translator with her between songs when she spoke to the audience. She also got the audience involved in some sort of Rock-Paper-Scissors game that the maids do regularly at their café in Japan. She gave out autographed posters to those who bested her in that game. After this concert, I called it a night so that I could return the next day with energy to make it through the night.

On Saturday, I arrived at the expo at about the same time as I had on Friday, meaning that I arrived in the middle of another concert, this one featuring Stephanie Yanez. Unlike Hitomi, Stephanie can speak English, so she had no issues communicating with the audience.

Following the concert, I got to check out many more programs and activities of the expo. These activities included a business fashion panel, yoga room, DDR-like game, panel discussing idol culture, meet & greet with Hitomi, live art session, and indie fashion panel.

Just like the previous night, the Swap Meet opened after sunset, attracting dozens of people the come check out the goods. Also at this time, the Fashion Swap Meet took place in the conference rooms area, focused more on apparel and accessories rather than fandom goods.

Saturday’s main event involved the Masquerade Cosplay Contest. Over a dozen attendees participated in this contest to exhibit their outfit and character, since the contest required participants to do something to act in character. Some of the participants merely posed, while others performed some dance routine. After the participants strutted their stuff, an intermission show took place that featured a professional group of women performing their act for the audience. Finally, awards of varying categories went out to the participants.

With the main event over, night had fallen, indicating the start of the more mature programs of the expo. A few Truth Or Dare programs took place, both of which got very dirty as time progressed. After that, the ballrooms converted to a dance hall and a singalong room. The final event in the conference rooms involved speed dating. According to some of the returning attendees, last year’s speed dating delivered a lot of success in terms of matching people up. I had never attended Pacific Media Expo before, and this year’s speed dating broke the expectation of how speed dating should look. Basically, only about seven women showed up, some of which did not have any interest in dating or already had a partner – they participated simply to participate, but not to find romance. Compare that with the 20+ guys that showed up, most of which appeared as the stereotypical hikikomori.

Alas, I did not return to the expo on Sunday, as the first two days had greatly drained all of my energy. Fret not, for I still managed to capture many of the cosplays of the 2016 Pacific Media Expo. Even to those not interested in anime or manga, everyone should attend an expo/con of this nature just to see everyone dressing up in costume. At any expo involving comics, video games, anime, manga, and more, any attendee cannot avoid seeing another guest participating in the inevitable cosplay for the duration of the event. Cosplay has turned into a staple for any sort of expo in this industry, and the fans proudly donned their best gear for this expo. Watch in amazement the best of the best of this year’s Pacific Media Expo.

With the Pacific Media Expo having drawn to a close, it paves the way for additional similar expos in Southern California, one of the world’s largest communities of Asian pop culture outside of Japan. With connections to Anime Impulse, Anime Los Angeles, and Ninja Con, Southern California’s anime & manga industry coexist in a vast community of connected fans & friends. Stay in touch with the Pacific Media Expo to learn about future events and opportunities by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.