A fine afternoon to you, boys and girls, and welcome back to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page: your chance to ask questions, make comments and badger us to cover something you’re particularly passionate about.
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A hazelnut in every bite
Considering how much all the articles expand over so many different topics, from games, to Japanese games, to VNs, to VTubers etc… what is your favourite topic to dive into?
And to stick with the varied theming, I would love to see your thoughts on favourite games. Of course, keeping it too broad to choose from all games would be ridiculous, so why not 1 or 2 per genre? I’m always looking for new (or old) games to dive into so seeing recommendations always gets my attention.
Love the work, and keep on keeping on, you cultured individuals!
Hi Smiley, thanks for your contribution to this week’s Friday Letters Page. I think between all of us on the writing team, we each have our own things we particularly enjoy writing about. Trent is very fond of Japanese rock, for example, as you’ll know from his regular JRock features, while Conor likes his shounen anime and VTubers, Lilia loves all things otome and Isaac, when he’s not busy doing a fantastic job on our news desk, particularly appreciates the art of a good RPG.
Me… hmm. I have pretty broad interests, but I’d say if there was one thing that sums up the things I enjoy covering the most, it would be “the overlooked and underappreciated”. Usually that’s with regard to relatively current games, but I also really like looking back on retro titles that haven’t had the love they deserve — the stuff I cover in The History of Lewd is a great example of this, since a lot of those games go unacknowledged due to the presence of tiddies!
As for favourite games… whew. I try not to play “favourites” per se as I’m often in the mood for specific things at particular times, but here’s a selection of my own personal recommendations from a variety of different genres, in no particular order! These aren’t necessarily all-time favourites, but they’re games that spring immediately to mind when I think of a particular genre — and most are fairly readily available today.
- Shoot ’em up (bullet hell): Deathsmiles (Xbox 360, PC)
- Shoot ’em up (not bullet hell): Eschatos (Xbox 360, PC)
- Rail shooter: Gal*Gun Double Peace (PS4, Vita, PC)
- Beat ’em up: Fight’N Rage (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC)
- Platformer: Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC)
- Modern RPG: Death end re;Quest (Switch, PS4, PC)
- Dungeon RPG: Dungeon Travelers 2 (Vita)
- Action RPG: Lapis x Labyrinth (Switch, PS4, PC)
- Space sim: Star Ixiom (PS1)
- Puzzle game: Money Puzzle Exchanger (Neo Geo/Arcade)
- Eroge visual novel: The Fruit of Grisaia (PC, get the 18+ version)
- Non-eroge visual novel: Our World is Ended (Switch, PS4, PC)
- Roguelike: Tales of Maj’Eyal (PC)
- Roguelite: Streets of Rogue (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC)
- Open world: SnowRunner (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC)
- MMO: Final Fantasy XIV (PS4, PS5, PC)
Should keep you out of trouble for a bit! Especially that last one…
The big question
What games would you like to see get a localisation to the west?
A simple question with a ton of scope, Eggman; thank you for your contribution to the Friday Letters Page! I think before I answer this it’s important to note that we are way better off in terms of localisations than we’ve ever been. Being an old fart, I remember living through the PS1 era, when anything that Squaresoft/Square Enix released that wasn’t called “Final Fantasy [roman numeral]” didn’t get released over here in Europe — even though it already had an English localisation for North America! I wept for Xenogears, Brave Fencer Musashi and Parasite Eve. (And then I bought American copies of them.) Thankfully importing is easier than ever these days thanks to retailers like Play-Asia.
As for stuff that we haven’t seen officially yet but I would love to see, several spring immediately to mind: firstly, the remaining Trails games from Falcom, which the fan community are already on top of, but it would still be nice to see make an “official” appearance. I think this is pretty likely to happen with how well-received Cold Steel has been in particular; Falcom seems interested in paying attention to the western market for their games so I suspect it’s only a matter of time before we see those “missing” titles get an official localisation.
As a Gust fan, I would also of course love to see Ciel Nosurge finally get localised. With the DX rereleases of this and Ar Nosurge in Japan, I’d love to see both of those come west. I’m a huge fan of Ar Tonelico — in fact, I’d probably argue that series did more than any other to make me a fan of modern Japanese games — so I would love to explore the spinoff games further. I actually have a copy of Ar Nosurge on PS3, but I’ve been holding off exploring it in the hope that we might one day see Ciel Nosurge in English. Never give up hope!
Finally, I think something every visual novel fan would love to see is the Tsukihime remake. It’s a legendary visual novel with significant importance to the history of the whole medium, so to see it actually get an official western release would be truly amazing. While we never saw a localisation of the original Fate/stay night visual novel (or its later remakes), we have seen a lot of other Type-Moon stuff in the west in the last few years, be it various Fate spinoffs or indeed their contribution to the wonderfully bonkers visual novel 428: Shibuya Scramble. So it could happen!
Why do you think Nintendo have started allowing uncensored games on their platform? And do you think we’ll ever see proper 18+ games on the Switch?
Well, Neko, without being privy to Nintendo’s internal policies, I couldn’t say for sure — but part of me thinks that they saw it as an opportunity. Sony’s sudden about-face on lewd content a few years back — after seemingly embracing it wholeheartedly on the Vita in particular — caught a lot of people by surprise and consequently found itself being discussed a lot online. I would be very surprised if someone at Nintendo didn’t see that and think “Hmm…” And the result is bare boobies and front-bottoms in select games.
Delving a little deeper into that theory, if we consider the Switch as the “true” successor to the Vita it makes even more sense. We’ve seen a lot of former Vita exclusives ported to Switch, and a lot of developers who favoured the Vita for some of their more provocative titles are flocking to Switch as their lead platform. Since one of the most enduring criticisms of past Nintendo generations has been a lack of third-party support, embracing developers coming from the Vita would have been a sure-fire means of building up that third-party support — especially in Japan.
As for whether or not we’ll see true 18+ titles on consoles… honestly, while it would be cool to see — it would make getting physical copies of eroge a lot easier, certainly — I’m not sure it will happen. While the argument against Adults Only-rated console games — that brick-and-mortar retailers wouldn’t stock them — doesn’t really hold water in a world where we do most of our shopping online (particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic) it seems platform holders are still hesitant to take that final step into allowing the true freedom of the PC market.
And I think that’s down to the console platforms’ centralised nature. The PC market can’t be controlled because there’s no one singular place you get PC games from — Steam is huge, but it’s not the only storefront; you can download a PC game from anywhere on the Web and play it. On the Switch, meanwhile, every game — physical or digital — has to come through Nintendo, and thus they are responsible for its content and, by extension, whether or not it is allowed within local obscenity laws. Given how much those vary from place to place, I suspect that’s a bit of bureaucracy they’re not keen to take on!
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Until then, have a delightful weekend!
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