Tag Archives: Spike Chunsoft

428: Shibuya Scramble – The Mechanics of Storytelling

When we’re talking about conventional games — particularly today’s games — it’s important to consider them from a wide variety of perspectives.

Typically, we look at a game from several different angles: the way it’s presented through its sights and sounds; the way it plays through its mechanics; and, where applicable, how it handles its story.

When contemplating visual novels, the balance tends to be a little different. We tend to up the focus on narrative considerably, and in many cases mechanics don’t enter the picture at all — many visual novels simply don’t have any! That is, unless you’re 428: Shibuya Scramble, in which case your narrative and mechanics combine together to produce something exceedingly interesting…

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Waifu Wednesday: Aya Kamiki

We’ve had celebrities putting in appearances in video games for a good while now, mostly as voice actors, but it’s quite rare to see a performer appear in a game as themselves.

Japanese singer, actress and model Aya Kamiki evidently saw a good opportunity back in 2008, though, and played a part in Spike Chunsoft’s sound novel 428: Shibuya ScrambleQuite a substantial one, too, despite not being one of the main actors; her face is plastered all over billboards and electronic displays in the in-game rendition of Shibuya (which is represented entirely through photographs and full-motion video), her song Sekai wa Sore Demo Kawari wa Shinai is heard numerous times throughout the narrative and she even puts in an in-person appearance for one brief moment during the main story.

It’s an inventive way to promote yourself, for sure, and adds to the overall believable atmosphere of Spike Chunsoft’s game. But who, exactly, is Aya Kamiki?

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428: Shibuya Scramble – Introduction and History

Every so often a game comes along that really makes you sit up and pay attention.

Sometimes it’s because it features a beautiful refinement or evolution of some established mechanics. Sometimes it’s because it really pushes graphical technology forwards. Sometimes it has famous names attached to it.

And sometimes it’s 428: Shibuya Scramble, a title so far removed from what we traditionally think of as a “video game” that you can’t help but notice it.

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From the Archives: Hospital Affairs

The Nintendo DS might not be the first place you’d think to look for some quality visual novels, but in actual fact Nintendo’s diminuitive and immensely popular handheld has played host to a number of interesting titles over the years.

Besides the well-known Ace Attorney series, there’s Kotaro Uchikoshi’s Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, the Hotel Dusk series… and then there’s the title I’d like to discuss today.

It’s an offering from Japanese developer Spike (now Spike Chunsoft who, in a pleasing coincidence, both developed and published 999 between its two constituent parts) known variously as Resident Doctor Tendo 2: The Scales of Life (Japan), Lifesigns: Surgical Unit (North America) and Lifesigns: Hospital Affairs (Europe).

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One Way Heroics: Which Version to Play?

Given that there are now three different versions of One Way Heroics in the wild, the question on your lips will doubtless be “which one is best”?

It’s not an easy question to answer definitively, so what I’ll do in this piece is outline what each version offers along with the benefits and drawbacks (if any) that come with each incarnation of this peculiar and enjoyable game.

Make no mistake, One Way Heroics is well worth your time in one form or another, but read on for some information that might help you make a decision as to which one to try… or which one to try first!

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One Way Heroics: Narrative, Themes and Characterisation

Unlike many other roguelikes, which tend to focus on mechanical complexity and the emergent narrative of each play session, Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics has a plot.

The original One Way Heroics and its Plus expansion had a narrative, too, but their more recent counterpart has expanded on it considerably to provide an enjoyable degree of context and motivation for the many journeys you’ll make over the course of your time with the game.

Let’s take a look at some of the main themes of the game and how they’re explored. Continue reading One Way Heroics: Narrative, Themes and Characterisation

One Way Heroics: Mystery Dungeon, Forest, Plains and Mountains

Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics — and indeed its illustrious predecessor — is unique in the Mystery Dungeon series in that it’s not confined to dungeons.

Indeed, the fact that the majority of the game is set above ground on a continuously scrolling world map of the kind you might see in a Dragon Quest game even makes it pretty distinctive in the roguelike genre and all its offshoots.

So how exactly does that affect the gameplay, if at all? Let’s take a closer look at the game’s mechanics to find out how it all works.

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