Arcade Stick Showcase

Anime Moment #37

Anime Moment #37

Two of my favorite video game genres are fighting games and shmups. As a long time fan of both, having an arcade stick was a necessary investment to get that genuine arcade feel without having to waltz over to the local arcade and have my elbows rocked by the huge guy on the other side of the cabinet. That’s … kind of a lie; arcades are dead in the U.S. and have been for some time due to the PC multiplayer gaming boom in the late 90s and earlier 2000s.

In the past, it was rather difficult to get a quality stick. Heck, the stick that I used for the first half of the 2000s was a custom-built stick by a hobbyist I came into contact with on the Shoryuken.com forums. There were a few retail options, but they were just as pricey and pretty hard to come across; you’d almost always have to order them online instead of shopping for it retail. It might come as a shock to some, but there once was a time when online purchasing was the oddity and not the norm.

When Street Fighter IV rolled along, it sparked a lot of interest in arcade sticks. People wanted authentic arcade parts, though I’d wager that most people were biting on the placebo’d idea that their gameplay would improve with a stick and not a pad. Regardless of the reason, there was a huge demand, and MadCatz was eager to fill the void with entry and enthusiast-level sticks for fans. Nowadays, sticks with 100% authentic Sanwa parts are available for under $100 during certain promotions, and an inexpensive stick can easily be modded to include high-quality parts for under $40.

For many stick users, however, a lot of the fun is designing a stick layout. I’m one of these people. While most of my sticks have a specific purpose, I love being able to ‘swag out’ my peripherals. With a bit of effort, you can do the same. If you love collector’s edition materials, posters, or any memorabilia in general for your media, why not give personalized customization a go? For reference, here’s my small collection of joysticks with a bit of background on each. (more…)

Hayate no Gotoku S3: Can’t take my eyes off these changes.

When both hands strike 8...

When both hands strike 8…

Full disclosure — I love Hayate no Gotoku. Overall, between the anime and manga it’s probably my favorite series. Though in publication as manga since 2004, it really began to pick up steam when two slice of life, harem-comedy animated series aired between 2008 and 2009. It also enjoyed success in the west as a commonly featured series in American anime conventions at that time. After airing, however, there was a surprising calm in animated releases, and the manga was given plenty of time to move along with the story. A new studio, Manglobe, released a Hayate no Gotoku movie in 2011, but its short length and a drastic change in art style left fans clamoring for a “real” successor to the franchise. When the third series, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, was finally revealed, many regarded it with skepticism; once again, the developing studio was Manglobe. Additionally, Hata Kenjiro, the manga’s creator, stated that the new series would be its own story separate from the manga, using ideas he never incorporated into his published chapters. With much trepidation, I sauntered into this series with high hopes but perilously low expectations. (more…)

‘Marathoning’ a series: does how we watch matter?

That's right ... ALL the episodes!

That’s right … ALL the episodes!

As rabid consumers of televised media, most people are eventually tempted by the marathon. There isn’t a specific definition governing the marathon, but the idea is to run through the entirety of a series as quickly as can be comfortably completed. It’s not a race or anything, but it’s a form of viewing often contrasted with a live viewing, where the series is watched as the episodes are aired. In both cases, the ultimate goal is to actually finish watching the series as opposed to just tuning in for random episodes.

Marathons aren’t unique to anime, but a few aspects lend anime series to the marathon viewing format. A typical series consists of roughly 24 episodes at 25 minutes each, and many series have defined beginnings and ends to the story instead of having each episode detached from a greater, overarching narrative. Exceptions exist, of course, particularly the animated adaptions of long-running manga series (usually shounen) and the pure comedy slice-of-life (Nichijou, Lucky Star), but a quick glimpse at seasonal anime listings shows that long-running series are the exception and not the norm. (more…)

“You are already dead,” said Kenshiro.

Changing the destiny of Century's End ... WITH THIS FIST!

Changing the destiny of Century’s End … WITH THIS FIST!

Hokuto no Ken is a title that is immediately recognizable to most anime and manga fans, and even to those outside of the anime community. It established a bevy of tropes and memes to be built upon by future series, has more taglines than you can count and an opening theme that is widely considered to be the most burning song in all of anime. Heck, it even got some love from Arc System Works with a niche (but acclaimed) fighting game chock-full of references to the anime. But despite all the publicity and respect it gets, there really aren’t many people that have seen a single episode of the series, which is mind-boggling to me. (more…)

Forming an Anime Tactical Squad

Final Fantasy ANIMEAfter a fairly long hiatus, it’s about that time to jump back into the blogosphere. In last year’s episode, I dove into Diablo III, never to return again. Or something along those lines. I was determined to make a quick buck off of the spendthrifts on the RMAH, so I dedicated a fair amount of time into farming items and picked up a pretty substantial sum of dough before cashing out in August or so.

Now while I have no real love for Diablo III as a game,  there are two things I really like: Final Fantasy Tactics and anime. I also have a keen interest in anime lore, battle rankings and power assessments. So I figured, if I could populate a Final Fantasy Tactics job roster with anime characters … who would make the cut? With just one choice per class, there’s bound to be some controversy, as well as the fact that I’m only drawing from my own (limited) pool of anime viewing, but … I’ll give it a whirl! One character per series, let’s go! Spoilers abound —

(more…)

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