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Review: “Dragon Quest” for iOS

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Dragon Quest box

In 1975, Japanese businessman Yasuhiro Fukushima founded a company called Eidansha Boshu Service Center. It published tabloid magazines that advertised real estate. However, after failing to establish its own chain of stores, Fukushima refashioned the company to focus on gaming software and renamed it Enix. This was in 1982. To find talent for his company, Fukushima created a competition called the “Enix Game Hobby Program Contest.” The contest, modeled after manga competitions, was advertised in computer and manga magazines and offered a prize of one million Yen to the winner. The top winner was an editor for the manga magazine Shonen Jump, Yuji Horii, whose tennis game Love Match Tennis became Enix’s first release.

During the development of another game called The Portopia Serial Murder Case, Horii and his colleague Koichi Nakamura came across a RPG called Wizardry at a Macworld Conference & Expo. Horii became a fan of the game. After finishing Portopia, he decided that he wanted to create a similar game to Wizardry, with the goal of bringing the Western RPG to Japan. A second major inspiration was another RPG called Ultima. While Horii and Nakamura enjoyed the dungeon crawling and statistical nature of RPGs, they realized most gamers would not. He wanted a game that didn’t require being a hardcore gamer; specifically, he wanted to a make a game that the player could play without knowledge of the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop RPG, which had been used for years in Japan as a template for homegrown games. He decided the NES was the ideal platform for the game, so that, unlike arcade games, players wouldn’t have to worry about spending money if they died. He simplified the mechanics so the game could be played with a simple NES controller, with a greater emphasis on storytelling and emotional involvement. Manga artist Akira Toriyama, famed for his series Dragon Ball, produced the game’s artwork and well-known television composer Koichi Sugiyama composed the music. The result was Dragon Quest, released in 1986.

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Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro Team Up For “Silent Hills”

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Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro Team Up For “Silent Hills”

Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima and filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) have teamed up to produce the next game in Konami’s Silent Hill series. The game will star Norman Reedus, best known for his roles as Murphy McManus in the cult film The Boondock Saints and more recently as Daryl Dixon on the massively successful TV series The Walking Dead.

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Xbox One Announces Unlimited Gaming For $5 A Month

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Access

Following the model set byNetflix and PlayStation Now (debuting for PS4 users tomorrow, July 31), EA and Microsoft are teaming up to offer Xbox players a new subscription service. It’s called the EA Pass. For $5 a month, or $30 a year, the subscription gives players unlimited access to the “Vault,” an enormous selection of games.

Currently the service is only in beta, so the list is limited: Battlefield 4, FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25 and Peggle 2 are among those available and more have been promised soon. The service also offers a 10% discount on EA games, DLC and in-game currency. It provides early access trials to this year’s editions of EA sports games (Madden, FIFA, NHL and the like) and Dragon Age: Inquisition, allowing players to access them five days before their official release date and carry over their progress to the retail version.

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Review: “Dragon Quest VIII” for iOS

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Review: “Dragon Quest VIII” for iOS

Reviewing a Dragon Quest game from an American standpoint is an interesting prospect. The long-running RPG series is a cultural phenomenon in its native Japan. Those in the Japanese gaming industry consider it Japan’s national game, with new Dragon Quest games selling up to four million copies. The series has received live-action ballet adaptations, and its music has been performed annually in concert halls since 1987. There’s even a bar in Tokyo modeled after Liuda’s Bar from the games, where fans can go to swap stories and collect treasure maps.

Why, then, has this series never caught on in the States? Sadly, there were barriers from the start. The first game in the series had to be released under the title Dragon Warrior for copyright reasons, but Nintendo still thought it could rustle up the same excitement as it did in Japan, promoting the game heavily in its magazine Nintendo Power. Dragon Warrior garnered generally good reviews, but sold so poorly — half a million copies, only a third of the number sold in its homeland — that Nintendo had to resort to giving copies away. Nintendo then decided to let U.S. publishing duties fall to Enix, the studio that created the games. The next three games, also released under the Dragon Warrior moniker, sold less copies combined than the original. Following this, Enix opted not to release any of the Super Famicom DQ’s in the States, eventually shutting down its U.S. operations completely.

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Viz Licenses Classic “Sailor Moon” Anime & “Sailor Moon Crystal”

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Viz Licenses Classic “Sailor Moon” Anime & “Sailor Moon Crystal”

Sailor Moon fans have had a lot to be excited about recently. The upcoming reimagining of Naoko Takeuchi’s manga, Sailor Moon Crystal, is set to start airing this July. Now, Viz Media has licensed the original anime – that’s 200 episodes, three feature films and tie-in specials – to stream digitally, with DVD/Blu-Ray releases set for later this year. Not only that, the series will be uncut: Japanese names and storylines will remain intact, with the original 4:3 aspect ratio preserved. An all-new English dub is in the works as well.

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Vintage E.T. Game Cartridges Found In New Mexico Landfill

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Vintage E.T. Game Cartridges Found In New Mexico Landfill

For a long time there was a urban legend swirling around the gaming community. This urban legend related to a game long forgotten by most, for the Atari 2600. Somewhere, it seemed, there was a stockpile of thousands of copies of one of the worst games ever made buried underground.

The game? E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, based on the Steven Spielberg film of the same name.

It seems the urban legend was based in fact. A Microsoft-backed documentary team has discovered a number of copies of the game buried in a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Just how many copies – certainly not thousands – is still unclear.

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Steven Spielberg To Produce “Halo” TV Series

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Steven Spielberg To Produce “Halo” TV Series

Legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg is set to produce a television series based on the long-running military/sci-fi video game series Halo. The X-Box Live exclusive will premiere sometime in fall 2015 to coincide with the release of Halo 5: Guardians.

This is not the first time the franchise has had a TV show coincide with a game; Halo 4 was released alongside a digital series called Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn. According to Forbes, the show could potentially position Xbox Live to be a greater competitor to other streaming services such as Netflix. No other details about the Spielberg-produced show have been released.

Foward Unto Dawn

The Halo series centers on a war between humanity and an alliance of aliens known as the Covenant. The Covenant, led by religious leaders known as the Prophets, worship an ancient civilization called the Forerunners, who were destroyed in another interstellar conflict. Most of the games in the series focus on Master Chief John-117, a member of a group of elite soldiers called Spartans. The title of the series is derived from the Halo rings, large structures constructed by the Forerunners to destroy all sentient life.

A Halo film was first announced in 2005. 28 Days Later screenwriter Alex Garland had been hired to write the script and Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson was set to produce, with District 9 director Neill Blomkamp at the helm. Unfortunately, high production costs – and much interference by Microsoft – kept the film in development hell. Microsoft insisted on a below-the-line budget and fast-tracked production, in addition to demanding an enormous portion of the film’s profits. Eventually the project collapsed, and Jackson and Blomkamp turned their attentions to District 9.

The failure of the film, says Forbes, is what led to the development of the upcoming TV series.

“Sailor Moon” Cast & Air Date Announced

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“Sailor Moon” Cast & Air Date Announced

The cast of the upcoming Sailor Moon anime has been announced, and long-time fans have reason to rejoice: set to reprise her role is Kotono Mitsuishi, the voice of the original series’ title character.

The rest of the cast, however, is new to the franchise. Hisako Kanemoto will be playing Ami Mizuno, or Sailor Mercury. Rina Satou is voicing Rei Hino, or Sailor Mars. Ami Koshimitsu is Makoto Kino, or Sailor Jupiter, and Shizuka Itou rounds out the cast as Minako Aino, or Sailor Venus.

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Star Wars Episode VII Cast Announced

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Good news for Star Wars fans: Lucasfilm has posted our first look at the cast of the upcoming Episode VII. From the post on the official site:

The Star Wars team is thrilled to announce the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII.

Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.

Director J.J. Abrams says, “We are so excited to finally share the case of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”

Star Wars: Episode VII is being directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, and John Williams returns as the composer. The movie opens worldwide on December 18, 2015.

The website also posted a photo of the cast doing a read-through of the script.

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Star Wars Expanded Universe No Longer Canon

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Star Wars Expanded Universe No Longer Canon

In a news post on the official Star Wars site, Lucasfilm has announced that the Expanded Universe – the books, comics and video games that have been produced in the past 35 years – are no longer part of the official Star Wars canon.

While Lucasfilm always strived to keep the stories created for the EU consistent with our film and television content as well as internally consistent, Lucas always made it clear that he was not beholden to the EU.

Now it’s official: The six films have been set as the canon, with upcoming films to further expand on the story’s universe.

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