minazuki no yokka

I actually delayed this column a few days because I had no idea what to put up here. But then on Monday, I flipped through the latest issue of Famitsu Weekly with a student, and I found something interesting. That issue was the thirtieth anniversary, and to celebrate they had a survey covering the most popular games for every major console of the last three decades (and a bit more). So, what do the good people of Japan think?


# Title Votes
1 Super Mario Bros. 552
2 Dragon Quest III 528
3 Super Mario Bros. 3 279
4 Dragon Quest IV 228
5 Dragon Quest II 186
6 The Legend of Zelda 120
7 Mario Bros. 108
8 Mother 72
9 Final Fantasy III 69
10 Kirby's Adventure 60

PC Engine

# Title Votes
1 Tengai Makyou II Manji-Maru 432
2 R-Type I 249
3 Ys I & II 168
4 Tokimeki Memorial 126
5 Jaseiken Necromancer 108
6 Ys III: Wanderers from Ys 90
7 Bonk's Adventure 72
8 Bikkuri-man World 49
9 Snatcher 48
10 Galaxy Girl Adventure Yuna 44

MegaDrive (Sega Genesis)

# Title Votes
1 Sonic the Hedgehog 371
2 Shining Force: The Legacy of Great Intention 201
3 Puyo-Puyo 168
4 Streets of Rage 123
5 Gunstar Heroes 105
6 Ghosts & Goblins 93
7 Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole 84
8 Powerball 75
9 Altered Beast 57
10 Outrun 45

Game Boy

# Title Votes
1 Pokémon Red/Green 1176
2 Tetris 405
3 Pokémon Gold/Silver 273
4 Final Fantasy Legend 243
5 Final Fantasy Legend II 216
6 Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening 189
7 Dragon Quest Monsters 171
8 The Final Fantasy Adventure 165
9 Super Mario Land 141
10 Pokémon Yellow 123

Super Famicom (Super Nintendo)

# Title Votes
1 Super Mario World 445
2 Dragon Quest V 267
3 Final Fantasy V 216
4 Street Fighter II 201
5 Final Fantasy VI 192
6 Final Fantasy IV 168
7 Super Mario RPG 165
8 Kirby Super Star 159
9 Chrono Trigger 158
10 Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together 144

Sega Saturn

# Title Votes
1 Sakura Taisen 361
2 Virtua Fighter 2 252
3 Virtua Fighters 203
4 Sakura Taisen 2 147
5 Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers 129
6 Grandia 105
7 NiGHTS 93
8 Mobile Suit Gundam: Giren's Ambition 78
9 Guardian Heroes 72
10 Super Robot Wars F 60


# Title Votes
1 Final Fantasy VII 843
2 Resident Evil 381
3 Final Fantasy IX 341
4 Metal Gear Solid 264
5 Ridge Racer 168
6 Dokodemo Isshou 147
7 SaGa Frontier 120
8 Xenogears 107
9 Harvest Moon: Back to Nature 81
10 Final Fantasy VIII 54

Nintendo 64

# Title Votes
1 Super Smash Bros. 550
2 Super Mario 64 527
3 Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 438
4 Goldeneye 007 201
5 Mario Kart 64 159
6 Shiren the Wanderer 2 156
7 Donkey Kong 64 129
8 Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 117
9 Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards 96
10 Pokémon Stadium 84


# Title Votes
1 Phantasy Star Online 241
2 Shen Mue, Ep.1 211
3 Sakura Taisen 3 210
4 Sonic Adventure 189
5 Atsumare! Guru-Guru Onsen 144
6 Crazy Taxi 117
7 Sakura Taisen 72
8 Sakura Taisen 4 60
9 Jet Set Radio 51
10 Soul Calibur 42

PlayStation 2

# Title Votes
1 Final Fantasy X 631
2 Dragon Quest VIII 343
3 Persona 3 229
4 Yakuza 177
5 Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 129
6 Kingdom Hearts 121
7 Shadow Hearts II 111
8 Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song 108
9 Ace Combat 5: Unsung War 96
10 Drag-on Dragoon 90

Game Boy Advance

# Title Votes
1 Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire 523
2 Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 358
3 Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken 234
4 Golden Sun 212
5 Boktai 131
6 Mother 3 106
7 Pokémon Emerald 87
8 Magical Vacation 85
9 Kirby & The Amazing Mirror 72
10 Mega Man Battle Network 48

Nintendo GameCube

# Title Votes
1 Super Smash Bros. DX 252
2 Baten Kaitos 185
3 Resident Evil 168
4 Pikmin 141
5 Kirby Air Ride 126
6 Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker 120
7 Tales of Symphonia 96
8 Animal Crossing 75
9 Resident Evil 4 66
10 Luigi's Mansion 56


# Title Votes
1 Halo 168
2 Dead or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball 91
3 Dead or Alive 3 72
4 Ninja Gaiden 64
5 Steel Battalion 48
6 Panzer Dragoon Orta 31
7 Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller 24
8 Otogi 20
9 Shin Megami Tensei NINE 19
10 Shikigami no Shiro 12

Nintendo DS

# Title Votes
1 Dragon Quest IX 364
2 Professor Layton and the Mysterious Town 168
3 Pokémon Diamond/Pearl 144
4 Animal Crossing: Wild World 124
5 Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey 121
6 Pokémon Heart Gold / Soul Silver 105
7 DS Brain Training 96
8 New Super Mario Bros. 90
9 Etrian Odyssey 72
10 Rhythm Heaven 66

PlayStation Portable

# Title Votes
1 Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G 624
2 Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII 251
3 Final Fantasy Type Zero 242
4 Persona 3 Portable 241
5 Monster Hunter Portable 3rd 216
6 Tactics Ogre: Ring of Fate 192
7 Monster Hunter Portable 2nd 168
8 Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky FC 66
9 God Eater Burst 60
10 Dissidia Duodecim Final Fantasy 52

Xbox 360

# Title Votes
1 Idolm@ster 221
2 Gears of War 141
3 Steins;Gate 107
4 Blue Dragon 76
5 Fallout 3 72
6 Lost Odyssey 63
7 Tales of Vesperia 54
8 Lost Planet - Extreme Edition 51
9 Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation 33
10 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 30

PlayStation 3

# Title Votes
1 NieR Replicant 514
2 Final Fantasy XIII 322
3 Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots 168
4 Kaze no Tabibito 96
5 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves 72
6 Resident Evil Revelations - Unveiled Edition 61
7 The Last of Us 47
8 Valkyria Chronicles 40
8 Dragon's Crown 40
10 Super Street Fighter IV 27


# Title Votes
1 Xenoblade 256
2 Super Smash Bros. X 189
3 Wii Fit 168
4 Dragon Quest X 151
5 Super Mario Galaxy 147
6 Wii Sports 123
7 The Last Story 91
8 Mario Kart Wii 81
9 New Super Mario Bros. Wii 75
10 Monster Hunter 3 65

... and I think I'll just cut it off there. The next five are all current-gen machines, so the results would be in flux for a while to come. In retrospect, this probably wasn't the best idea to lead a column with, because I'm pretty sure the intro segment isn't supposed to equal half the total length of the entire thing. So let's get on to some real news, shall we?

Are you interested in working for a game development studio? Can you speak Japanese? Do you have any idea of how to properly write game code? Because I can tell you, that last one's the only thing stopping me from submitting my CV right now. CyberConnect 2 put a big, two-page ad in this week's Famitsu for employees at its Fukuoka home office, as well as the Tokyo and Montreal branches. This includes positions for game and scenario design, programming, concept and technical art, management, and QA.

CC2 has also provided some nice artwork without any sort of context, so either someone was just doodling or they have a Nausicaä RPG in the works.

Source: Famitsu Weekly

They say that when you die, your whole life flashes before your eyes. Such is the case with hapless hero Buck Frashbach as he faces the Lord of Darkness while still in the grip of the world's worst case of plot-induced amnesia ever. Unable at first to even recall his own name, he's left absolutely defenseless against His Infernal Majesty. If he, his friends, and the rest of human civilization are to survive, he's going to have to collect all his marbles of memory, and fast. Buck's about to live through The Longest Five Minutes in the World.

That's the actual translation of the title, by the way. Nippon Ichi has decided to gift us with an RPG told entirely in flashback form, as the hero struggles to remember all the events that have led him to this point, all the motivations he has to carry on, and hopefully a few good ideas as to how one slays a demon lord literally hellbent on conquering and/or destroying the world. The five-minute span of the title is the chatty adventure side of the game, where the Dark Lord is charging up for the coup-de-grâce and Buck's allies are desperately trying to help him remember how to fight. Every few seconds, they'll say something that sparks a memory in Buck's head, and the player is whisked away to guide the hero through one of his many past adventures, regaining experience and skill in the process.

Only time spent in front of the Dark Lord counts as part of the five minutes, thankfully. There seem to be a lot of oddball adventures packed into Buck's memory, from fated meetings and magic swords to dull lectures and ghostly sommeliers. Just from the Famitsu article, it sounds a lot like the RPG equivalent of a sitcom clip show.

The Longest Five Minutes in the World is due to be released on PS Vita July 28th.

Source: Famitsu Online
5/23 ~ 5/29 5/16 ~ 5/22 5/9 ~ 5/15 5/2 ~ 5/8 4/25 ~ 5/1 Up / Down Title Publisher Platform
1 * * * * New Arrival! Dragon Quest Heroes II Square Enix
2 * * * * New Arrival! Dragon Quest Heroes II Square Enix
3 * * * * New Arrival! Dragon Quest Heroes II Square Enix
9 5 4 4 5 Last seen at 3 Yo-Kai Sangokushi Level-5
15 * * * * New Arrival! ClaDun Sengoku Nippon Ichi
18 14 7 5 7 Last seen at 6 Dragon Quest Monsters Joker 3 Square Enix
30 23 20 16 22 Last seen at 22 Pokken Tournament The Pokémon Co.
34 31 34 22 35 Last seen at 34 Monster Strike MiXi
36 24 14 17 16 Last seen at 12 Dark Souls III From Software
39 38 35 34 28 Last seen at 40 Monster Hunter Generations Capcom
47 46 47 68 ?? Haven't caught 'em all yet Pokémon Alpha Sapphire The Pokémon Co.
Off-list 36 44 47 26 New Arrival! Dragon Quest Heroes: World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix
Off-list 44 23 20 6 New Arrival! Star Ocean 5: Integrity and Faithlessness Square Enix
Off-list 45 51 ?? ?? Last seen at 30 Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King Square Enix
Off-list 50 58 ?? ?? Sprouting anew! Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning (Happy Price Edition) Marvelous
Off-list * 18 52 31 Last seen at 7 Phantasy Star Online 2, Ep. 4 Deluxe Package Sega
Off-list * 29 62 42 Last seen at 10 Phantasy Star Online 2, Ep. 4 Deluxe Package Sega
Off-list * 36 32 23 Last seen at 17 Far Cry Primal Ubisoft
Off-list * 42 44 34 Last seen at 27 Tom Clancy's The Division Ubisoft
Off-list * 46 48 70 Last seen at 50 Dragon Quest Builders Square Enix
Off-list * * 46 38 Last seen at 24 Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition Spike/Chunsoft
Off-list * * * 50 Last seen at 29 Star Ocean 5: Integrity and Faithlessness Square Enix

One of the stranger titles of 2013-2014 was Akiba's Trip, where shadowy forces were converting the fashion-conscious denizens of Akihabara, Tokyo, into super-powered energy vampires, and the hero could only defeat his opponents by forcibly exposing as much of their skin as possible to direct sunlight via the act of stripping all their clothes off. It was certainly something worth mentioning for the concept alone, but it wasn't RPG enough to warrant coverage. The newest game in the series is a different story.

Akiba's Beat doesn't seem to have much in common with Strip, plotwise. The article in Famitsu describes it more generally as taking the DNA of the first game and applying it in new and interesting ways. Thus we get a cross between an action RPG and Persona 3.

The unlikely hero of the hour is Asahi Tachibana, who is a NEET (No Education, Employment, or Training). While nominally he attends a college in Tokyo, most of his time is spent hanging out in Akihabara doing not much at all. So when strange stuff begins to pop up, he at least doesn't have a lot of distracting school or work stuff to get in the way.

His list of allies is similarly stuck in Akihabara subculture tropes. There's Saki, mysterious college freshman and probable love interest, who has somehow partnered up with the bizarre little mascot-thing known as Pinkun. The teenybopper pop idol demographic is covered by Riyu, she of the bunny ears and the magical girl motif. In the "too cool for school" set, there's Yamato the high school sophomore. As for Miké (Mee-kay) the cat-girl... I'm not going there.

The strange force of darkness, whatever its true origin or nature, is overwriting parts of Akihabara's reality, creating dungeons in the process. Asahi et co. have the unenviable task of diving head-first into these strange diversions of reality, rescuing captives and destroying monsters in the process.

Akiba's Beat is being developed for Vita and PS4, and is scheduled for a fall release, presumably as a play on its name. (Aki is the Japanese word for autumn.)

--addendum: While I was dithering over the intro section, XSEED announced that this game is going to be released in the west. Hurray?

Source: Famitsu Online

In the past, we had a look at Taiko no Tatsujin: Don and Katsu's Excellent Adventure, a 3DS version of the popular beat-rhythm arcade game with a Story Mode and a sort of RPG-lite battle system. Apparently it was popular, because Bandai-Namco is giving the concept another go.

Taiko no Tatsujin: Dokadon! Mystery Adventure follows the travels of Don, the little taiko drum that could, as he travels the world and visits all the mysterious spots it has to offer. Along the way he can recruit from a roster of over a hundred spirits, fairies, and assorted cutie cryptids to fight along to his beat.

There's a decent list of seventy-some new anime, J-pop, and other songs added to this version, along with the usual multi-player options. Taiko no Tatsujin: Dokadon! Mystery Adventure will hit the shelves next week in Japan.

Source: Famitsu Online
Title Publisher Release Date Platform
Taiko no Tatsujin Mystery Adventure Bandai-Namco 6.16.16
Coven and the Labyrinth of Refrain Nippon Ichi 6.23.16
Caligula Furyu 6.23.16
Story of Seasons: Friends of Three Villages Marvelous 6.23.16
Dragon's Dogma Online Season 2 Limited Edition Capcom 6.30.16
Super Robot Wars OG Saga: The Moon Dwellers Bandai-Namco 6.30.16
Source: Dengeki Online

If there's any certainty to be had in the gaming industry, it's that Gust has another Atelier game on the horizon. Unfortunately, the company seems to have abandoned its end-of-June release tradition, so it was only just a week or so ago that we got the first official word of the newest game of the series, Atelier Firis: Alchemist of the Mysterious Journey. If you're wondering how to pronounce her name right, keep in mind that in Japanese Firis and Phyllis are pretty much identical in sound. Anyway, here is Phyllis Firis:

She's a little cutie, isn't she? In fact, I think she might be the shortest principal heroine in an Atelier game to date (mini-Rorona notwithstanding). In a world full of mysteries, Firis has had a sheltered life, growing up in a little town deep underground. That's not the life for her, she's decided, and alchemy seems to be the best way out. So out into the wide world she goes, making her own way as she finds new and interesting things to make. At her side is her big sister Liane, an experienced huntress and guide who's rightfully concerned for Firis's safety out there.

The stated goal of the Gust developers for this title is to provide a game experience that is unique to every player. Whether or not they succeed at that remains to be seen, but the actual flow of the story has a strong "Choose Your Own Adventure" feel to it. Firis is always trying to go forward, but stuff gets in the way. How she chooses to deal with the obstacle has a definite impact. For example, when faced with a impassable river, she could either go back to the nearest town and help build a bridge, or take an alternate route through a dark and probably dangerous cave.

Wherever and however it ends, Firis's journey will take her a long way. She even gets seasonal changes of clothing, which is a rarity in this series. Whatever she wears, she remains a cute little shortstuff, and that's not likely to change. Likewise, item gathering and synthesis remain staples of the series, and Firis somehow has a magic tent that doubles as a fully functional atelier, despite being far too heavy for her to logically carry. And of course there are also monsters that need to be whacked into submission for fun, profit, or ingredients.

Source: 4Gamer
A Letter for Avocado-chan

Hello Gaijin-san,

It's been a long time since I last wrote in, so I forgot that you were in Kumamoto until I saw your latest column. Glad to hear that you, your wife, and Avocado-chan are safe. I have a friend with family in Kumamoto and near Mt. Aso, so I heard some pretty bad stories. But I have to mention, after reading you mention people giving out free food, it reminded me how amazing it is how Japanese people come together to help each other out in times of need.

I question whether or not anything like that would happen where I live... I heard a lot of the roads were fixed recently though, so hope everyone there gets more of the relief they need. Btw, I love that slime drink you have next to Avocado-chan!



Thanks for writing in! Yeah, we've been doing better over here than we have any right to. There are still noticeable aftershocks once or twice a day, but the majority of stores are now open again — with the strange exceptions of both downtown McDonalds. This country knows how to pull through crises, for better or for worse.

Avocado-chan is doing much better now, and has even sprouted a couple of new branches to replace the section that got severed in the first night's quakes. As for the slime drink... I've actually had that bottle since the release of Dragon Quest IX. I'm just awful at throwing stuff out. That's one thing the quake was good for, at least. It forced me to clear out some of the older junk. Now I'm just waiting for the repair guys to fix my roof so it no longer leaks.

Yay, I managed to get this in before E3! There's a bunch of little stuff for after E3 as well, so... No, procrastination will probably win out.

And that's the news from Hi-no-Kuni,

Your man in Japan,

Gaijin Monogatari

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