Category Archives: One-Shots

One-off articles about games, cultural phenomena, anime and anything else that isn’t getting the Cover Game treatment.

13 Reasons Why the Games Industry Needs to Stop Idolising Anita Sarkeesian

Although self-described feminist pop culture critic Anita Sarkeesian has abandoned her Tropes vs Women in Video Games project, she hasn’t stopped exerting her influence over an apparently enthralled games industry.

Writing on May 19, 2017, James Batchelor of industry publication Gamesindustry.biz reported on Sarkeesian’s speech at the 2017 Nordic Game conference, an annual event that describes itself as “the leading games conference in Europe”.

Sarkeesian’s 45-minute speech was called “Diversity is Not a Checklist”, and, broadly speaking, was an exhortation to the industry to better represent the diversity of its audience through playable characters, and to tell stories that “recognise the systemic oppression” that women and “people of colour” face.

Not, in itself, a bad topic to explore — though as we’ll discuss in a moment, it disregards one of the key reasons many people turn to video games as entertainment and represents just a single perspective. The main problem is, as with much of Sarkeesian’s previous work, her lack of knowledge and awareness regarding the industry outside the most high-profile parts of the Western triple-A and “in-crowd” indie spheres undermines a great many of her arguments. And, unsurprisingly, Batchelor does not take the opportunity to analyse her remarks in his report, instead simply parroting them uncritically.

Enough is enough. It’s time the industry stopped hanging on Anita Sarkeesian’s every word — or at least started thinking about the things she is saying a little more critically, and researching her claims rather than accepting them at face value. Here are 13 reasons why.

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Some Thoughts on Localisation

Localisation is, it seems, a somewhat thorny issue these days — but it’s one worth discussing.

Before I begin today, I’d like to emphasise that by no means am I attempting to present a “definitive” opinion here. By its very nature, this is a topic that is highly subjective and a matter of opinion, and that means you may not agree with my views. And that is, of course, fine; all I’m attempting to do here is to highlight one possible perspective and provide some food for thought on a complex issue with no “right” answers.

Preamble over and done with, then; let’s talk about localisation, beginning with a little personal context that may go some distance towards explaining why I feel the way I do about all this.

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Happy Birthday, Asami Imai

Today, March 16, is the birthday of Japanese voice actress Asami Imai, one of the most distinctive, recognisable voices in modern Japanese entertainment.

Since her debut in 1999, she has racked up an impressive number of roles to her name across a variety of different media. Among enthusiasts of Japanese gaming, she’s probably best known for her roles as Noire in the Neptunia series, Makise Kurisu in the Steins;Gate visual novels, and Ikaruga in the Senran Kagura series.

She’s had an interesting career, for sure — so let’s take a look at it!

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Kizuna Ai: A Perfect Parody

As someone who writes a lot of long-form pieces — and someone who is an old fart — I’ve never quite latched on to the appeal of “YouTubers”.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the value of having the opportunity to “get to know” someone via the videos they put out or, in the case of gaming-centric YouTube channels, to see how games look, play and “feel” before purchasing them, I’ve just always been someone who preferred to enjoy content about the things I’m interested through the written word rather than watching or listening to someone.

I say all this to give some context to the following: there’s one YouTuber in particular I have, to my surprise, come to enjoy very much recently. And there’s something rather special about her.

That YouTuber is Kizuna Ai.

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Summer Lesson: First Impressions

Showcase PlayStation VR title Summer Lesson recently got a physical release in Asia with English subtitles, so I decided to grab a copy and investigate.

As you may recall, the idea of using VR to simulate interpersonal interactions and intimacy is something that I find very interesting indeed, so I was keen to try out this unusual title, and excited to have the opportunity to do so in English.

This morning I strapped on my PlayStation VR, sat comfortably and prepared to spend a virtual week in the company of Hikari Miyamoto. My headset didn’t come off until I’d finished an entire playthrough, at which point I was thoroughly convinced of the value of VR.

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MoeGamer: The Third Birthday

Somehow, I only remembered recently that I actually share a birthday with this little corner of the Internet.

Sure enough, if you check the first ever post on here (complete with old-style Midori and Yumi) you’ll see that it was published on April 29, 2014. That’s three full years of this site being in existence, after it launched on my thirty-third birthday. And while it hasn’t been three years of constant content — the regular posting schedule is something I’ve only introduced relatively recently, beginning with the introduction of Cover Games around this time last year — it’s still quite an achievement in the cutthroat world of “writing about games”.

MoeGamer is something I’ve come to do simply because I enjoy it. But it originally came about as a result of the state of the modern mainstream commercial games press — and how apparently there wasn’t a place for someone like me in it any more, despite working in the field having been a lifelong dream.

So let’s look back at how MoeGamer came to be, why it exists now and why it’s important to me personally.

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Virtual Intimacy

The arrival of relatively affordable virtual reality solutions has the potential to allow us to explore narrative and characterisation in all-new ways — and I’m especially excited to see what Japan comes up with. 

An oft-cited strength of narrative-centric Japanese interactive entertainment is the sense of “intimacy” it engenders between the player, the protagonist and the core cast. Visual novels in particular are noteworthy for their in-depth explorations of characters and in allowing the player to “ride along” inside the protagonist’s head as they encounter various situations.

So what might virtual reality bring to this kind of experience? It’s an interesting question to ponder, and an exciting prospect to imagine.

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