Good afternoon everyone! You once again join us as Friday is winding down and we’re all getting ready for the weekend — and as ever, we bid a fond farewell to the week with the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page.
I’m likely going to be trying out Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin over the weekend, since I’m thoroughly intrigued by that game. Expect some chin-strokey analysis next week in all likelihood. There’ll likely be some more Gran Turismo 7 stuff (if they ever switch the servers back on after this recent maintenance stuff) and Atelier Sophie 2, also, along with all the usual anime, manga and video game funtimes you’d normally expect.
Some great letters to get stuck into this week, so let’s get right on with that, after the usual love letter-related fanart plucked from the depths of the boorus.
Gal*Gun Double Peace headcanon
So, I’m lesbian and I love Gal*Gun for two reasons. No, make that three.
One: it is *about* female pleasure in a way no other game is, not even H-games.
Three: Not only does the protagonist’s gender not really factor into most situations, he is *apparently* attending an all-girls’ school. Hmmm.
So, my headcanon is that Houdai is transmasculine. And literally everyone in his life is supportive of his choice and uses his new pronouns, including an angel, a demon and his childhood friends who haven’t seen him since he was a little “girl” waring boys’ clothes.
EXCEPT. For whomever is sending him to an all-girls’ school.
Thank you so much for helping distribute this sexy, audacious and surprisingly wholesome series!
Hi Tama, it’s great to see you on the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page again speaking about something you’re clearly passionate about. I remember you got in touch with us a while back and said something similar about Gal*Gun then, too; your letter back then really resonated with me and I think it’s really important that we listen to voices like yours when contemplating the appeal of games like Gal*Gun.
I mean, just yesterday, I had a minor disagreement with some folks on a Discord I’m a member of over whether or not Gal*Gun is “creepy”. I’m sure everyone who has played the game has had some variant of this conversation at some point or another. Mine eventually concluded in a mostly satisfactory manner, with some of the participants even finding themselves with a new-found interest in checking out the game. Chalk that one up as a win, I guess?
When you say that the game is “surprisingly wholesome”, you’re absolutely right. There are few games out there that have such heart and soul poured into them; there’s a real sense of genuine affection for each and every one of the characters in both the main and extended casts. And that’s abundantly clear if you ever speak to Matt Papa, the man who localised Double Peace back in 2016; he can talk about these characters (especially Kurona) for hours. Him leaving Inti is a great loss to the developer, but in his new role at Limited Run Games I suspect he will excel in bringing lovely physical versions of Japanese games to us.
I love your read of Houdai as transmasculine, and it’s something I hadn’t considered before. But given the way the game presents him — voiceless, always just out of shot except one scene where we don’t see his face in the intro — there’s definitely the scope for him to be interpreted that way, and for the player to project that interpretation onto him while playing. And yes, the fact that Houdai (like Tenzou before him, and “you” in Gal*Gun 2) is seemingly the only boy at an all-girls’ school always seemed a bit strange from a logical perspective.
I mean, anime logic dictates that it’s just fine, of course — it is the basis of many a harem anime and hentai game — but I absolutely adore your explanation. It adds a whole other level to Houdai as a character, and just makes the rest of the cast even more likeable as they support the way he has chosen to live his life. Ah, wow, that’s really given me the warm and fuzzies — thanks for that!
What is wrong with you
Do you send money to Yemen as well, or only to victims or war who happen to be visible on the news?
/stop the hypocricy
For context, this letter (printed verbatim) was sent in response to last week’s Rice Digital Weekly Digest, in which we included a link to an article we wrote about itch.io’s currently running Bundle For Ukraine, a way in which you can get a whole heap of video games in exchange for a donation to some very good causes who are presently benefiting the unfolding situation in Ukraine.
What Kai appears to have misunderstood here is exactly who is running the bundle (hint: it’s not us) and who is sending money to whom (hint: neither part of that equation is us, except for those of us who have bought the bundle ourselves). And he’s demonstrated that using typical Internet snark, which certainly doesn’t help his cause.
Kai, the charities that people choose to donate to are none of your business, because everyone has their own reasons for doing so. Our article about the Bundle for Ukraine was posted because it’s not only a great way to help out a currently unfolding situation in dire need of financial support, it’s also directly relevant to our audience, who come here to read about video games, anime, manga and all that sort of thing. The moment there’s a Bundle for Yemen or equivalent, we’ll happily cover the highlights from that, too, because as you point out in your own ham-fisted way, helping the victims of conflict anywhere in the world is always a good cause.
How about instead of whingeing to the wrong people about what you perceive to be a great injustice, you do something about it? Get in contact with some of those indie devs on Itch — the nature of Itch makes it so that they’re all very easy to contact — and set up your own charitable effort to help the causes you care about. Being a keyboard warrior’s so much easier, though, eh?
Error loading game
You love games as much as me, right?
But I’ve noticed an increasing number of titles scheduled to release, miss that time, and then sit in purgatory forever. Corpse Factory was due in February, missed it, and has sat at Coming Soon ever since, while Radio the Universe is getting on for two years at this point, with the devs occasionally making vague references that they’re still working on it.
Are there any games you’re still waiting on, and do you think it’s likely these games will ever see the light of day?
Hi Cosmic*Star, and thanks for your contribution to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page. Vapourware is a sad reality of the games business, and it’s been a thing for the longest time. I remember back in the days of the Atari 8-bit and ST computers that I grew up with, there were loads of games excitedly previewed in magazines of the era that never ended up coming out. When one actually did — Paul Woakes’ 3D adventure Damocles is a great example, as that showed up several years late, but actually did make it to release eventually — it always felt like a significant historical moment.
Games get delayed or quietly canned for all sorts of reasons, and we’ve heard from a number of developers and publishers that the last couple of years has really messed things up for a lot of people’s schedules. If even huge companies like Nintendo are finding themselves having to delay games due to COVID and other world events, one suspects that smaller developers are likely also struggling. Of course, there’s also the argument to be made that smaller companies may well be more “agile” and thus suited to unpredictable situations like this, but I suspect everyone has been hit to one degree or another.
It’s funny you mention Radio the Universe. I backed that on Kickstarter in 2013. 2013! That was nine years ago at this point. Estimated delivery for the game back then was March 2014, which most certainly did not happen in any shape or form, not even a demo or beta. It’s no real surprise that I literally forget about the existence of this game for years at a time, then occasionally get reminded of it at times like this. I’d still like to play it, though, so hopefully it will eventually get to a point where the dev is happy with it.
So far as my own picks for games that I’d love to see but which don’t seem to be anywhere near happening… hmm. It’s honestly quite tricky to come up with many, because these days I feel we have a real embarrassment of riches in terms of quality games — both generally speaking and in the Asian gaming niche — and thus it’s quite hard to think of something I really, really want to play more than anything else that has actually made it to release and which I can put on my shelf right now.
I don’t know if this counts because it was never actually announced for localisation, but I’d love to see Dungeon Travelers 2-2 ported to Switch and released in English. The original Vita Dungeon Travelers is one of my all-time favourite games, and I would absolutely love to play its sequel. I’m crossing my fingers that eastasiasoft might pick it up at some point like they did with the Genkai Tokki games, but nothing as yet.
On a similar note, I’d love to see Square Enix revisit some earlier properties that didn’t get English releases — like what they’re doing with Live A Live. I think the western world is probably ready for Racing Lagoon at this point, for example, though I doubt that’s ever going to happen!
As for stuff that is “coming soon” but with no end in sight for development… most of the stuff that springs easily to mind is stuff that I have complete faith is definitely going to happen eventually, we just might not know exactly when right now. Stuff like Rance IX and X — I know those are on the way, but I also know what a mammoth undertaking those translation jobs will be, so they’re very much on an “I’ll expect them when I see them” basis.
That perhaps didn’t quite answer your question exactly as posed, but that’s where I am right now!
And there y’have it for another week. Have a thoroughly pleasant weekend and we’ll see you again, as always, next week!
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