From a Gamer’s Basement

Last week we talked about, in random order: Games, Money, Strippers, and your wallets. At least three of those four are actually true as well. To start things off, before I actually get to the column portion of this piece, I’d like to share some comments Christain, our resident Gamecrazy employee who always has the latest releases, has for us. He has some really valid counterpoints to my arguments, and some general good tips for everyone worried about the pricing of the next generation systems.

“I guess an addendum to your column would be two fold. The first would obviously be used games. There are some people that buy a game, beat it within a week and trade it back in. With our MVP Card you would quite possibly get that just released game for 50% off. That makes it a little more affordable. But if you can wait even 2 or 3 months,usually we have some copies for a lot cheaper. However, the nature of the beast is after something comes out, we’re all looking at the next thing coming out and we want it instead of something old. That can be a problem for the second group that you mentioned, but the first group, parents can guide them in this direction.

As to the second part regarding the $500 PS3, from everything I’ve heard, that is a possibility for the media centre version of the system. That’s like the PSX with a hard drive, Tivo capabilities and all that kind of stuff. A standalone game machine might be in the $300 range like Microsoft’s and Nintendo’s systems. We don’t know about Nintendo, but we know Sony has confirmed that the PS3 will have PS1 and PS2 support, so you can play all your old games on it. That means an instant library of games for most gamers. That backwards compatibility is still a major selling point for some parents. When I mention that there probably won’t be Xbox support in the Xenon, most people say “That’s stupid!” From rumors, the $500-$700 possible Xenon will have the Xbox 1 support. Which would you rather pay, $300 and play your old games or $500 and play your old games?

Now, we’ll probably get a look at Revolution, PS3 and Xenon at least at E3 next year, complete with price point. If they all do their marketing right and get the systems out in Mid-November, that leaves plenty of time to save up for those new systems. If the price point is $300, save $400 to get memory cards and extra controllers and maybe a game from the spate of launch titles. Class 1 Gamers, start asking your parents in May to save up for the family gift of a PS3 (Tell them you don’t want anything else and don’t ask for anything else for Christmas 2005). For Class 2 Gamers, in the 5 and a half months from E3 to a release, $400 is just about $73 bucks a month. If you buy a soda once a day, that’s $30 a month right there that can be saved. Stop going out to eat fast food (I know, that’s a tough one for me too). Or start saving now. Take $10 per paycheck and put it in a savings account. You’ll get no interest, but it will be where you can’t see it and it will be there, ready for you when you stop into your local Game Crazy to pick up your PS3 or Xenon or Revolution. Save $20 per check and maybe you’ll be able to afford both of them. Do the math…roughly 2 checks per month, $40 per month, 15 months to Nov/05. That’s $600 bucks. That Media Centre PS3 doesn’t look so expensive now, does it?”

Now with that said, let’s move on to the topic at hand for this week: Video games based on anime. With Japanese animation truly catching on in the United States, one of the natural ways to capitalize on this new found success is with video games. Sounds like a sweet plan, doesn’t it? And maybe for those who benefit off the sales of said games, indeed it probably is a nice set-up. However, we have a serious problem when it comes to US games based on Anime: the percentage of them that are abysmally bad is startling. It doesn’t take a genius to look around and see that. The Dragon Ball Z franchise (with the notable exclusion of Super Sonic Warriors) makes me cringe with its usual video game output. The games based on Yu-Yu Hakusho fare no better. If you ever played the GBA game based on the Funimation licensed anime than you know what true suffering really is. The list goes on as well. Countless mediocre Gundam games can be found out there, as well as truly horrendous games based on such hits like Vampire Hunter D, Ghost in the Shell, Lupin the III, and other hit US anime shows. So, the dilemma, for gamers out there who also happen to be anime fans is this: Just how the hell do we find a quality game based on our favorite anime?

Sadly, I don’t have the answer for that question. Until gaming companies start to increase the quality of some of their games, no doubt poor anime games will remain an all too frequent occurrence. So, then, you might be asking, why am I even talking about this? Simple, today’s center of discussion will be on anime that *should* be turned into video games here in the States. Over in the land of the Rising Sun, some of these shows may already have games, but since it has no impact on us I will promptly ignore those games that US gamers have not been treated too. So here are a few of my choices for anime shows that I think could, potentially, be turned into GOOD games that you might actually want to spend your hard on money on.

1. Trigun

You see, this was a pleasant surprise. Way before Adult Swim and the Cartoon Network picked this little gem up, I already had the complete set on DVD and had watched Vash and friends go through their journey numerous times. The possibilities for games here are endless. Trigun could be turned into an RPG. It could be a fighter. It could work as a platformer, and obviously a first person shooter as well. The nature of the anime lends itself to any of those types of games. Imagine a fighting game based on Trigun. First off you have a huge cast of characters at your disposal for usage. Vash, Wolfwood, Knives, Legato, the Gung-Ho Guns, Milly and Meryl, and of course numerous other minor one episode characters that could make appearances as well. With each character having unique abilities and weapons within the anime, the game itself would have very well defined and different characters allowing for an experience that doesn’t mimic a DBZ fighter where at times it feels like you’re playing with the same character no matter whom you pick. Needless to say this is definitely the anime I want to see a game made from. Unfortunately I don’t think that is going to happen. While Trigun did see some success on the Adult Swim block, it is now regulated to a late night Sunday slot, and I imagine after that it’s off to obscurity much like other anime shows Cartoon Network played out such as Outlaw Star, and the various Tenchi series.

2. Bubblegum Crisis 2040

Not a very well known anime, and in fact it is pretty much just an offshoot of the original Bubblegum Crisis. However, take everything that is great about Bubblegum Crisis, spruce it up with better animation, and you get the final package that is Bubblegum Crisis 2040. What is it about a bunch of chicks that fight insane robots (they call them Boomers) in their own robo suits that entertains me? I’m really not sure, but I do know Bubblegum Crisis 2040 is one hell of a good ride. In terms of translation to a video game, once again, the possibilities are varied. An intriguing thought to me would be an action shooter with an online multi-player feature. You could play as the kick ass Priss, or you could become a mutated Boomer bent on destroying anything in its sight. Really, does it get any better than that? And like Trigun I could see Bubblegum Crisis 2040 also being a good turn based RPG, especially when the main characters of the anime would make a four person party that would fit in nicely with that style.

And finally…

3. Dirty Pair Flash

The Lovely Angels in a video game? Man, I think I would simply never leave the house if I could have a game that could pack all the ass kicking that Yuri and Kei bring into it. Dirty Pair Flash is a personal favorite of mine because it takes a whole bunch of cool things (ie: silly comedy, huge explosions, and awesome fights) and puts them together in a hodge-podge that comes out just right. Dirty Pair Flash definitely would best be suited, in terms of a video game, with a placement in the action department. Think Viewitful Joe like action, with two girls that like to bitch a lot, but still get the job done. With the same voice actors on board, a game based on Dirty Pair Flash could be witty, fun, and definitely engrossing for anyone who picked it up. However, for some sadistic reason, I would love to see a puzzle game based off of Dirty Pair Flash. The stupid, yet oddly appealing, features a game like that could have would be worth the price alone. Also, I could see a Wario Ware like game based off Dirty Pair Flash. The personality of the characters could really shine through in a game that has a ton of very odd mini games packed into it.

So those are my three top choices. I would like to hear what you guys think would make a good video game based off an anime. Next week, assuming some of you e-mail me, I’ll include some of the letters at the top of the column. Until then, be jealous as I bask on the beaches of North Carolina and you do not.