Tag Archives: video games

This could work: an Anime Adaptation of 999

Here’s a fun fact for you, did you know that the creators of Danganronpa and Zero Escape are friends? I’m not honestly surprised and in fact, I find that enduring, given the creators perchance for making dark video games with diabolic and white, cuddly characters. Although I have not yet played Danganronpa (mainly through lack of specific hardware) I have seen the anime and it’s quite good in all honesty. After seeing the anime, I really want to play the game even though I know the ending to it.

Video game adaptations to the small screen can be hit or miss but can be done right and even extremely well. In particular, the visual novel genre seems to hit a particular easy-adaptation and well-produced stride among other video games. It’s not surprising given how there is already a well-thought out story immersed with fleshed-out characters and plot twists galore. A simple elimination of the minimal player interaction combined with a full anime budget and you got yourself a decent miniseries on hand. Ace Attorney has finally gotten its own anime adaptation and I’m hoping that Professor Layton will follow suit soon. As such, why hasn’t Nine Hours, Nine Persons, and Nine Doors (or “999”) gotten its own anime adaptation yet? I honestly think it will adapt quite well.

I think 999’s biggest problem is the branching storyline that is absolutely essential to the game. 999’s alternate histories and complex plot could easily confuse new viewers who may lose focus even for a moment. What’s more, 999’s, and its sequel, loves thought experiments and hypothetical situations, which take time to explain and may further confuse a person who would question why these are here in the first place.

Before I offer suggestions how this could be resolved, let’s look at another visual novel-adapted anime that also has branching storylines, Umineko: When They Cry.

Umineko focuses on an extended family that visits their island after the head of the household dies. The greedy family wants to know who inherited what in the will of their now deceased father/grandfather. What follows are a series of supernatural events where many deaths occur and many alternate histories are explored.

What made Umineko easy to follow was how the main character was aware of these alternate storylines. Through him, he can remind us how things happened and how he was going to change them. What’s more, the anime made watching easy for the viewer and sped up certain already-seen events while establishing who was alive and when. In the end of the first season, we are left with a cliff hanger but we are not confused thanks to the excellent plot development.

The anime adaptation of 999 should follow a similar tract. Some events, mainly those at the beginning of the game, are ones that we will witness over and over again. A simple reminder of what happened and when will help orient the viewers of where they are in the timeline and what puzzle rooms have been solved. What’s more, Junpei’s ability to jump timelines should be more heavily explored near the beginning of the anime so the viewer is not confused why events are happening differently this time. The thought experiments, which are very dialogue heavy, is probably the trickiest part of 999 to adapt as the original flavor of the game would be lost if these aren’t included. I honestly think these can be done though given the right circumstances. If other, thought-provoking anime shows, like Death Note, are not afraid to be complex and not talk-down to the audience, then 999 shouldn’t be afraid either.

If you wanted to be poetic, the anime could be produced into nine episodes. I’m not honestly sure if that would be feasible or not but given the circumstances, it’s possible.

With the final Zero Escape game coming out this summer, I would welcome the possibility of a complete anime adaptation of this series but I stress that an anime adaptation of Virtue’s Last Reward would likely be insane. 999 had only five separate endings whereas Virtue’s Last Reward had over 20! True, you probably wouldn’t have to explore every single damn ending (quite a few of them aren’t necessary), but the amount of timeline jumping in that game is craaaaazy. The game had a helpful timeline chart you could look at but I bet the anime wouldn’t have it as easy as that.

I think the best course of action is just to stick to 999 as that game is more concise compared to its sequel. Video games are a form of art and sometimes, just like from books to movies, you can’t do the original media justice when you transform the source into something else. And maybe an anime adaptation of 999 will fall to pieces because of which. You just can’t adapt the player interaction into an anime. But hey, it could work.

Reaction to Civ Battle Royale Part 40

Map created by /u/LacsiraxAriscal

Summary

-For once, relevant wars are fought on all six continents creating another exciting part in the latest CBR. Some notable highlights include the Blackfoot most impressive city capture of the game (Olongapo from Champa) and Finland sending paratroopers to Arabia (a civ that it doesn’t even share a land border with).

-The Great Pacific War continues as Vietnam resurges forward and annexes many coastal and island cities. Kimberly defenses begin to weaken but have still held up strong against Australia’s onslaught.

-In what is dubbed by the latest Power Rankings as the “War of South American Relevance” Chile and the Buccaneers declare war on Brazil and Inca creating one of the most exciting wars that South America has produced since the beginning of the game. Brazil invades Chile while the Buccaneers shell the Incan coastline.

-The Inuit’s advances stall under heavy Canada and Texas defense but continue to bring advance units to the frontline. By the end of Part 40, Texan defenses broke down and the White Walkers are advancing southward with gusto.

-Sparta has found its foothold again and is fighting back against Sweden in the Second Sweden-Sparta War.

-Mughals adopt Freedom in a world where only tyranny exists. Good for you Mughals!

-Argentina is eliminated by Brazil making it the 18th civ to be eliminated from the game.

Lower Half Civs: #23-44 based off of Power Rankings Part 39

This was a bad part for: Argentina, Inca, Ayyubids, Champa

Truth be told, I’m kind of surprised that Argentina got eliminated due to its last city nestled in the mountains but Brazil’s determination did not let that faze them. Argentina’s neighbor, the Incans, is now the new South American punching bag as the Buccaneers ravage their coastline cities.  Finally, Ayyubids continue to circle the drain as, despite regaining Cairo a couple of times, they ultimately lost their capital, along with Aswan, to their hated Carthagian rivals. Ayyubids’ fate may soon be like the extinct Argentina, or worse, irrelevant like Japan. Over in the Pacific, the Champa have been kicked off the mainland by Vietnam and now reside on island cities. I think Champa may retake Kauthara but I feel like Vietnam has a good grip on the situation and have shut out Champa from the rest of Asia. If the weakened Champa isn’t too careful, Burma might surprise us all and DOW. That would be neat.

This was a good part for: Sparta

Sparta managed to reverse the Sweden conquest and is now pushing back north. They have reclaimed Cumae and Ohrid and now have the units to go on the offense. Their next target would probably be Tegea but Sweden cannons and troops protect the city. Expect much blood to be shed by these two civs in the next part.

Upper Half Civs: #1-22 based off of Power Rankings Part 39

This was a bad part for: Texas, Sweden

Although Texas didn’t lose any cities by the end of Part 40, the situation certainly looks grim for them. Near the end of the part, we see Inuit forces bursting through the borders, causing wreckage and mass chaos throughout the territories. What’s more, Texas’ Sisseton is at zero health, and Corpus Christi is in yellow. Further tightening the noose is the big tech difference as Inuit has modern infantry, helicopters, bazookas, and airplanes, against Texas’ cannons and great war infantry. Canada and Inuit may stalemate hard, but Texas is about to fold.

Sweden had perhaps reached its peak at the end of Part 39 as now it is facing a resurgent Sparta. Although Sweden may be able to hold onto its other conquered cities, what’s most troubling is the lack of troops that defend its core cities in the north. As the narrator points out, Sweden’s paucity of soldiers looks quite delicious to Finland…

This was a good part for: Vietnam, Carthage, Buccaneers, Boers

Perhaps the biggest winner this part was Vietnam. Vietnam was definitely not looking good in the last part but all that has changed. Their horde of submarines has fought off Australia’s armada, and now, their troops and ships are capturing or recapturing many coast line cities. Granted, these cities could flip in the next part but nonetheless, Vietnam is looking better off and should continue to push forward and try to take other island cities that host Australian aircraft. Not only will this expand their homeland, but it will also provide relief to their core cities from Australian bombers.

Meanwhile, the Buccaneers, fresh off their Portugal war, declare war on Brazil and the Inca and become allies with Chile which sandwiches their rivals neatly. Although Buccaneers are extremely light in their land defense in northern South America, at least Brazil is heavily distracted by Chile which was well played by the pirates. What’s more, their intense armada is shelving Incan cities and have even sniped them from Chile! If I was playing Chile I would be embarrassed right now. The Buccaneers need to be careful though as the Brazilian core cities could start producing armies that will stop their total conquests. Watch the entanglement between Brazil and Buccaneers to see how it all plays out in Part 41.

Carthage has done well thanks to their persistent conquest of Ayyubid territory. Not only do they have Cairo firmly in their control, they also occupy Aswan and still have a (relatively) strong army to boot that is now marching towards Baalbek. Carthage’s conquest may be impressive if it wasn’t for the fact that they occupy a border with the Boers. Ouch.

Speaking of which, the Boers continue to surprise us as they skip tanks and go straight to modern armor. Of course there is also the fact that they have AN ATOMIC BOMB at their disposal, so, you know, no biggie. Their development also highlights the new timeline TPang has introduced into the gameplay. I myself have yet to play with the new timeline so I am unsure how all of this will turn out but nevertheless, I am now more than ever convinced that Boers will be the winner of the CBR. At this point, only a few civs have even a chance of stopping them. We’ll just have to wait and find out.

If…

If Mexico declares war on Texas…

Although we haven’t seen Mexico much during this last part, what little we have seen has shown us a respectable army that is nothing to sneeze at. Both Blackfoot and the Mexicans have taken a very neutral position for the Inuit vs. Canada+Texas War, but it is Mexico that could have the bigger effect here. Blackfoot’s army is a joke next to the Inuit so Blackfoot would only make a small dent to the Inuit. However, if Mexico were to intervene on the side of the Inuit, it would spell disaster for Texas (and to an extent, Canada). Mexico has proven in the past that it could take Austin so no one would doubt Mexico’s competence. What’s more, Texas is weakened but still respectable; if Mexico were to intervene then Texas could falter majorly. This would only benefit the Inuit who could swing around and add another front to Canada.

The Best Pokémon Games and Types for a Single Type Run

Updated 11/29/2018: The bottom of this article now includes links to my other Single Type Run articles which includes in-depth analysis of games and types

Self-made video game challenges and runs have been a staple in recent gaming and can create exciting and new ways to replay your favorite games. There are a whole variety of them ranging from a no-kill run in Metal Gear Solid to only using your knife as a weapon in Resident Evil 4. Pokémon is no exception to this rule as one of the most famous video game challenges of all time is the Nuzlocke Run which actually makes the Pokémon games exceedingly difficult. Today, I offer you a different sort of run, one that although is not as challenging as a Nuzlocke Run, is still very enjoyable. I give you, a Single Type Run/Challenge.

Simply put, a Single Type Run (or Monotype Run) is where you catch Pokémon who only belong to a certain type whether it is Water, Bug, Dark, or Dragon. If a Pokémon does not have a type in that category then it’s out.   This is a great challenge I think because you can form a team around your favorite type(s) and not have to worry much about picking your favorites. Your team’s weaknesses are what make this challenging as you have to look out for moves or Pokémon that may defeat you. And to be fair, this isn’t exactly a brand new, exciting concept; many people have done this Run for a long time. That is why today, I’m going in depth and telling you what Pokémon games and types are the best for a Single Type Run. Let’s take a look!

If you want to cut right to the chase, just click the image below that will explain everything to you concisely. Below the chart I have written my methods in approaching this monumental task and the overall best games and types for a Single Type Run.

Pokemon, Pokemon Single Type Run, Single Type Run, Single Type

Before I analyzed a whole bunch of different pokedexes, I had to design a series of rules to make sure I kept my analysis consistent. As such, here are the rules for my version of the Single Type Run.

  1. A type must be selected before starting the game. Upon playing the game the player must make all attempts to capture a Pokémon of that type as soon as possible. Once captured, the previous Pokémon of the party must be disregarded if they are not of that type.
  2. Pokémon that have yet to evolve into that type (e.g., Nidoran in a Ground type Run or Caterpie in a Flying type Run) may be caught but must be evolved as soon as possible.
  3. Trading is not allowed
  4. Mega Evolutions that changes a Pokémon to your type are allowed provided you mega evolve the Pokémon as soon as their battle begins.

Of course, everyone has their own version of the rules and that’s totally fine! This is just how I approached the analysis.

In order to determine which Pokémon games are the best for a Single Type Run I had to design a categorizing system that was nonsubjective. What’s more, I had to find a simple but effective rating system that can satisfy all 406 possible combinations between typing and the games. This was solved by a dual grading system using numbers and letters. Every typing and video game combination has a one letter (A-F) and one number (1-4) grade for how beneficial a Single Type Run would be. Numbers indicate a game’s type diversity. For instance: 1=At least six unique catchable Pokémon, all weaknesses are neutralized/covered; 2=At least six unique catchable Pokémon; 3=Three-to-five unique catchable Pokémon; 4=Only one-to-two unique catchable Pokémon. Letters indicate how early you can catch a Pokémon: A=First Pokémon you can catch is before the first gym; B=Between the first-second gym; C=Between the second-third gym; D=Between the third-fifth gym; F=After the fifth gym. For example, if you were to do a Ground type run in Pokémon Red, you would have a 2A rating (i.e., you can catch at least six Ground type Pokémon and the first Pokémon you can catch is before the first gym (the Nidorans)).

As such, a 1A rating in Single Type Run is the best rating you could get when selecting your type and game. You can catch a Pokémon fairly early on and you can get a diversified team that has all of its weaknesses covered. If that doesn’t bother you and are fine with doubling up, then hey, that’s cool. Surprisingly, given all the strict guidelines, there are a whopping 145 combinations that have a 1A rating. That’s 36%! This is mainly thanks to Generation 6 which had a huge diversity of Pokémon in their respective games (64% of their possible type combinations had a 1A rating).

For the purpose of saving a lot of headaches, trading was not included in the Single Type Run Chart. Trading defeats the purpose of the Run as it’s much easier to get a team of six Pokémon (especially in the later generations) that has all of its weaknesses covered. This is why a lot of games on the Chart (such as Generation One for Bug types) won’t have the full team even if they have the diversity needed (Scyther and Pinsir are version-exclusive Pokémon). Also, Pokémon catchable after the Elite Four were not included as, in my opinion, you’re at the end of the game. I imagine you win the challenge once you beat the Elite Four. True, some games have a lot of content after the Elite Four (such as the Johto games), but this is only after hours and hours of playing the games. Tyranitar in Gold/Silver is a great example as you can catch Larvitar at Mount Silver but that’s only after you acquired 16 badges (and by then, what’s the point?).

The Best and Worst Pokémon Games for a Single Type Run

By far, the best Pokémon games for a Single Type Run are Pokémon X and Y followed by Pokémon AlphaSapphire, and then Pokémon OmegaRuby and Pokémon Platinum. Both Pokémon X and Y had a remarkable 1A ratio of 13-18. That’s unreal! And the other types that did not get a 1A were also pretty good as the worse rating was only a 2B (Dragon). And considering how this is one of the few games that an Ice type Run is actually feasible, I think this is a good bet to go for! Alpha Sapphire is the other game I recommend you play for a Single Type Run. It has a high amount of 1A ratings (11-18) and is the only game in the entire series to have a 1A rating for Ghost! This is thanks to Nincada in Route 116, a Sableye in Granite Cave, as well as the plethora of catchable Ghost Pokémon near the end of the game.

The games to avoid would definitely be the Generation 1 games and that’s not surprising given the games’ initial lack of diversity. Pokémon Blue and Yellow only have one 1A rating (Normal) while Red has that and Electric. Ironically, the Electric type only sometimes acquires a 1A rating given their low diversity. If you want to do an Electric type Run in Yellow, catch a Pikachu and later catch a Magnemite, then Jolteon, Electabuzz, Voltorb, and Zapdos. I wouldn’t recommend this though given the mentioned Pokémon have a rather low movepool (look towards B2 and W2 if you want an Electric type Run).

The Best and Worst Types for a Single Type Run

Normal, Normal, Normal, Normal! The Normal type is the only type that has a 100% 1A rating. This is thanks to Normal type having only one weakness (Fighting) which it can easily cover! Oh, and guess what! The Normal/Flying type combination is the most common type combination in the games. Every generation has introduced one and you are more than likely to run into one in the game’s first route. Boom, Normal’s commonality combined with its low weaknesses and early route availability makes it the perfect type for a Single Type Run. I recommend going old school and do a Normal type Run in Generation 1 as you can catch a plethora of iconic Pokémon like Jigglypuff, Pidgey, Tauros, Kangaskhan, and Snorlax. You will have a fun time as they are strong and can learn a variety of moves.

If you don’t want Normal I would then recommend a Water type Run (although Ground, Bug, and Flying are also good). Again, their commonality and low amount of weaknesses make them a great type to do a Run. Water/Ground and Water/Flying Pokémon are surprisingly common and are introduced in almost every generation. These two potent combos cover Water type’s weaknesses and more than help you have a good time. If I were to recommend some games they would be Pokémon Sapphire, Emerald, and Alpha Sapphire. Pick Mudkip as your starter (Water/Ground), catch a Lotad (Water/Grass) in Route 102, and Wingull (Water/Flying) in Route 104 and you are set. From there, you are given a huge range of great Water Pokémon. Some off the top of my head are Gyarados, Crawdaunt, Sharpedo, Lanturn, Tentacruel, Marill, and Relicanth.

Ice and Dragon type are the worse types for a Single Type Run. This is not surprising given they are usually available fairly late in the game and their diversity is rather lack luster. Surprisingly, Ice type received a 1 rating in Silver and Crystal but is severely marred by their late game status. If you want to do an Ice type run go for X and Y. Pick up the Sail Fossil, resurrect Amaura, and start catching some great Ice Pokémon. Unfortunately, Dragon type never gets a 1 rating although it has come close. As for which game, I’m honestly torn between XY and ORAS. On the one hand, you can get a Mega Sceptile/Altaria in ORAS although in X you can get a Mega Charizard X. Tough call.

Trivia

-If you want to do a Water type Run in Pokémon Yellow, your first Pokémon will be a Magikarp from the Pokecenter salesman outside of Mount Moon. Have fun!

-In general, the third game in a series (Crystal, Emerald, Platinum, and B2W2) will have an increase in 1A ratings due to an increase in diversity. The only exception to this is Pokémon Yellow.

-Remakes’ (FRLG and HGSS) ratings are generally similar to their original games as Pokémon availability are generally the same. The major exception to this is ORAS which introduced the National Dex before the Elite Four and not after. ORAS has a 1A rating of 11/18 (61%) while Ruby and Sapphire averages out to 6.5/17 (38%).

-Despite being introduced in Generation Six, Fairy type has a 1A rating of 100% in all four Generation Six games. This is thanks to the variety of Pokémon from previous generations changing to the Fairy type like Mawile, Gardevoir, Marill, and Wigglytuff.

Final Thoughts?

So that’s the article! I worked on this for a couple of months, whenever I had time to kill or just wanted a break from my normal work load. I double checked my sources although I know I might have messed up a rating so if you spot something that’s incorrect, let me know! Happy playing!

Link to other Single Type Run Articles (this will slowly update over time)

Games
Red/Blue/Yellow
Gold/Silver/Crystal
Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald
FireRed/LeafGreen
Diamond/Pearl/Platinum
HeartGold/SoulSilver
Black/White/Black2/White2
X/Y
OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire
Sun/Moon
Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon
Let’s Go Eevee/Pikachu

Types
Bug
Dark
Dragon
Electric
Fairy
Fighting
Fire
Flying
Ghost
Grass
Ground
Ice
Normal
Poison
Psychic
Rock
Steel
Water

Crazy Theory: Missingno. is in Pokemon Sun and Moon

Okay, crack theory time.

In the latest Pokémon Direct (February 26th, 2016), the Pokémon Company revealed that you can transfer your Pokémon in Red, Blue, and Yellow, from their Virtual Console games, to Pokémon Bank, and to the newly revealed upcoming games, Pokémon Sun and Moon. This is exciting news. As I’m sure you are aware, fans were very displeased when Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire were released as you couldn’t transfer your Pokémon from Generation 1 or 2 to these games. You had to leave your old Pokémon behind.

But now that’s changed. Not only can you replay the original Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow games, now you can play them and transfer them to new games and still be with them.

And in all of the excitement of transfers, I would like to bring up Missingno. which has been confirmed, via fan footage, that you can capture this “Pokémon” again in the new virtual console games. The question though begs to be asked, can you transfer this glitched Pokémon to Pokémon Bank?

In Generation 1 when you transfer Missingno. to Pokémon stadium, it can become a ditto or a substitute doll no matter what form. Will the same thing happen to Pokémon Bank? In this case, will Missingno. turn into a ditto upon upload?

I (like to) think not and here’s why. One, Nintendo knows that Missingno. exists as evidenced by their Customer Service account. Two, since they do know it exists, and the potential harm Missingno. can have on saved accounts, why would they bother to still keep it in the game? At the very least they probably programmed it so you can capture a Missingno. and still have infinite items without messing up your data.

As such, I propose my very crazy theory in that Missingno. will be an actual, for real Pokémon, in Pokémon Sun and Moon. Not only will it be a Pokémon, it will be an story driven Pokémon that the evil team will use to glitch the world into their favor. Maybe they won’t use it in Sun and Moon (perhaps in a sequel), but the possibilities of Missingno. are endless as the evil team could use this Pokémon to create infinite items, say Master Balls, and use the Pokémon to exploit the world you live in. And if they’re not careful, could throw the whole world out of whack. Super scary thought for sure.

Although the above scenario is highly unlikely, I still find the upcoming events of Missingno., Virtual Console, Pokémon Bank, and Sun and Moon quite interesting so keep an eye out for that when more information is revealed.

This could work: Star Wars KotoR and One Piece mash up

Surprisingly, I played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic for the first time this year after some pressure from my friends and Mary. Despite a few buggy issues, the game was marvelous (even if I was spoiled). The characters are funny, complex, and memorable, and the combat system is neat with a diverse range of upgrade options. This game has convinced me to try out the Mass Effect games sometime in the future as not only does the same company make them but they also have been highly praised as well.

Now with that said, wouldn’t it be cool if there was a KotoR-style game in the One Piece universe? Imagine it, you are a captain of a pirate crew and you travel the world of One Piece while recruiting members, fighting the marines, and establishing yourself as King of the Pirates! Now, you could do a game following the Straw Hat Pirate crew but that can be limiting in terms of story and character development (plus the story is not even done yet). Instead, this game should follow KotoR’s path and establish itself far in the past, free from all the restrictions of Luffy and his crew’s main storyline.

Of course, the immediately clear benefit of this is that all the Devil Fruits are ripe for the eating! All the Paramecian, Zoan, and Logian fruits would be available for yourself, your crew, and the variety of enemies you can fight! Maybe at the beginning of the game, while you are designing your character, gender, and so forth, you can choose (or Hell just forego completely!) a certain selection of Devil Fruits for your captain-to-be. Afterwards, you can name your ship, your crew name, and the design of your flag.

After you pick your character and his fighting style, you can then recruit characters as you sail the four seas and the Grand Line. Maybe certain characters would want to be a great brawler, swordsman, or sniper. As they level up, put skill points on the variety of fighting styles to improve their profession.

Leveling up would also give you noncombat skill points for carpeting, navigation, cooking, music playing, and first-aid. Navigation I think would be especially important as every crew needs a good navigator to get through the seas with their wild and crazy storms. Certain islands would need a navigation skill level, and of course the required log post, in order to reach them. Especially high would be islands in the New World. Likewise, carpeting can improve your ship’s sailing and battling capabilities as well as needed repairs. Carpeting could also improve your ship’s accessibility to treacherous waters that would otherwise capsize or demolish it. Cooking would give you handy healing and morale-boosting items that would otherwise be unavailable during the game while first-aid training would serve as your standard “Healer” role in RPGs. As for musician training, you can do your standard morale-boosting spells but also incorporate music into your attacks, that would be great!

YOHOHOHOHOHOHO

Now your crew members, I think, should already be their own characters in the same vein as Mass Effect and KotoR. They were what made KotoR so great, all the great characters like HK-47 and Jolee really made the game fun to play. Likewise, having kooky characters with a variety of personalities or traits would bestow a real charm to your crew (plus the bickering would be quite amusing).

One important aspect of KotoR that would also be incorporated into this One Piece game would be the moral decision making. Do you choose to be honorable pirates or pirates that do whatever the hell they want or pirates who burn, pillage, and kill anyone and anything in its path? One Piece has certainly given us a variety of pirate crews that vary considerably on this sliding scale of morality. Key scenes such as whether or not to kill some captive marines, stealing a poor town’s treasure, or a simple good deed can reflect your popularity (and notoriety) with citizens, the marines, and other pirate crews. The same could be said with your actions whether it’s finding a little girl’s mom or toppling an island’s ruthless dictatorship. This would be very similar to Red Dead Redemption’s morality and popularity scales.

Speaking of which, bounties in the game can be interesting as depending on your actions, yours and your crew’s bounties could increase over time. The marines are very bias (and corrupt) though so certain actions, like sinking a marine ship, could raise your bounty faster than stealing a town’s gold. I can only imagine how that will affect your performance during the game as what would happen if you got caught or lost a battle? Maybe it will reset to your last save point but I haven’t come up a good way in handling bounties yet in this One Piece RPG.

Something that also could be incorporated into the game is having your own fleet. Once you achieve a certain amount of popularity, you could recruit other pirate crews to be your division commanders and that would be AWESOME. Having a fleet means you can storm guarded bases like Impel Down or Enies Lobby or even topple an entire country! You could have an army of ships, ready at your beck and call and take down any pirate crews who stand in your way!

There are still other potential ideas that I have untouched like bounty hunting, ship customization, and haki training. Aaaaaah. Just writing this article makes me so excited even though this game doesn’t exist. This game should be made, I would play the hell out of it!

This Could Work-A Total War: Great War Game

Revolt, Rebellion, Revolution.  These three “R”’s are the magic words that help define both the Creative Assembly-produced Total War video game series and the awful Great War which is currently “celebrating” its centennial anniversary.  I am both surprised and not that these two topics haven’t come together to produce an in-depth, strategy-filled game that takes place during the Great War-era.  This game has the potential to be amazing but it could very easily be bogged down with bloated mechanics and stretches of time where you do nothing but click the next turn button.

I first thought about this marriage while I was playing both Empire: Total War and Napoleon: Total War.  Compared to other Total War games, both of these games take place relatively late in human history representing late 1700s and early 1800s respectively.  The use of guns and canons is a far step forward compared to the arrows and swords Total War embraces in its Rome, Medieval, and Shogun settings.  But, they are done surprisingly efficient especially when combined with cavalry and fortresses.

The Great War is also extremely perfect when playing as certain factions.  You can play as Britain, Germany, France, Austria-Hungary, Russia, and maybe even Ottoman Empire and Italy.  All seven of these nations fought in huge conflicts that ranged throughout a greater part of Europe.  And it’s not like the Great War: Total War would restrict you to certain allies or enemies.  You could start the game in say, 1900 (or even 1870 if you want to include the Franco-Prussian War) and have all the participants naturally decide their allies on their own accord.  It would be very similar to the board game Diplomacy now that I think about it.

The United States (and other foreign powers) could also play an important role in the game even if the map focuses only on Europe.  All these countries can play as a neutral to a less-than-neutral position at the beginning of the game.  Do you choose to sink a neutral power’s supply ships in hopes of hurting your opponent?  That may backfire and the neutral power could declare war on you (and your opponent could get maybe 10 more, free, soldier units or something).  Perhaps you could win over a neutral power through diplomacy, gifts, and trade agreements.  The choice is yours to make.

Given this is the late Industrial Era; you can have many improvements for your home country such as the usual factories and farms but even infrastructures such as railroads, electricity, and telecommunication.  Man, you could transport your armies so fast if you built railroads in your homeland.

The three “R”’s would also play a huge role in this game, perhaps more so than other Total War games.  Worker riots and soldier mutinies run rampant during the Great War, then you got the occasional independence rebellions like the one the Irish started in 1916 and of course, you got some major Russian revolutions to cap it off.  Soldier morale could also be affected by say recent gas attacks, current weather, or battles where many soldiers died and nothing was gain from it.  Whole units of soldiers can lay down their arms or even fight you in response to the awful conditions!  Also, can you imagine sending terrorists or instigators to your rivals in hopes of stirring a revolution?  That would be awesome!  On the one hand, you would have to keep your people happy but on the other, you can cause chaos from the inside out!  The Austria-Hungary Empire could disintegrate before your very eyes as armies representing different nationalities spring up and take back cities belonging to the people!

And maybe get a certain Archduke assassinated to start off a major conflict…? Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archduke_Franz_Ferdinand_of_Austria

Although a Great War setting is not a far cry from Empire or Napoleon and can be done easily there are a few key differences that have to be addressed.

The first key difference, machine guns, and by extension trench warfare, were such an integral part of the Great War that it’s hard to find one without the other.   So many soldiers were killed on both sides by these weapons of war that it was probably one of the main reasons why stalemates happened all the damn time.  This is where a Great War: Total War game can be frustrating if not done right.  Your own soldiers can be killed en masse after several machine gun units mow them down.  Though historically accurate, it’s not very fun to play with (except when you’re the one shooting of course).

As such, you can do several things to nerf the power of machine guns.  For one thing, they are a better defensive than offensive weapon.  As such, soldiers carrying them would be quite slow and cumbersome.  The soldiers can also only fire them for so long before the gun either jams or overheats making them not very effective for long battles.  Technology upgrades can fix these overheating issues somewhat but you still wouldn’t be able to fire them for very long.

Gas grenades and shells would be easier to incorporate as they’re basically a stand in for the howitzers.  You could probably do some sort of penalty against soldiers with tear gas (like they’re slowed down, do not fire as well, or morale is lowered) but the awful chlorine gas is where things truly matter.  Not only would there be a lot of fatalities but it would be a good morale killer for even hardened veterans.  And of course, one of the first technology upgrades you can get for the soldiers is the ability to wear gas masks which would be represented as a button on the tool bar during the real-time battles.  The gas masks might lower accuracy and make your soldiers tire faster but at least they’re not being gassed at.

Tanks would be another technology upgrade you could easily incorporate into the game.  At the beginning of the game, you could have cavalry units for horses which although they might be useful very early on (especially if we’re starting the game 1870), they can soon be antiquated by the arrival of the machine gun.  Tanks wouldn’t make their appearance into very late in the technology tree but once they do, they can easily smash through defensive lines of barb wire and trenches.  Still though, they would be expensive to produce and they would be rather slow and have the chance to break down (again, trying to make sure they don’t become OP).

But the most difficult technology to incorporate would be airplanes.  Though it would be easy to use biplanes for reconnaissance or blimps to bomb distant cities, the real-time strategy would be much harder to handle if it’s used at all.  The real-time section of the games work on a (mostly) two dimensional terrain and adding aircraft to the mixture would make them impossible to control, much less use them for their full potential.  Perhaps you can send in a squadron to bomb a certain part of the map during the overworld phase.  Maybe a passive advantage is an added accuracy bonus for artillery allowing them to hit a group of soldiers on target.  Though both of these sound acceptable, they still don’t really use the planes to their fullest capabilities.  This will need to be played around with before aircraft are fully realized.

I really hope the Total War series makes a Great War game.  After thinking about it and writing all the potential it has, I really think it could work very well.  The lack of a prominent Great War game should be filled by a prominent series.  The Total War series is that game as its elements of nation building and alliance forging go perfect with the Great War along with its real time strategy on the battlefield.

The Childhood Sweetheart Trope as Interpreted by 999 and Danganronpa

One of the most predictable and used tropes for anime, and in general other media, is the Childhood Sweetheart Trope (CST). A pre-ten year old boy and girl meet each other for the first time, acquire puppy love, and then are tragically separated due to extraneous circumstances before they meet up again as young adults. They fall in love again through a series of mishaps or adventures and then get married. There can be some fidgeting with this but for the most part this is basically the sub or main plot for a lot of romantic/semi-romantic anime ranging from the humorous Love Hina to the very gruesome Elfen Lied.

I am critical of this trope though for several reasons besides its foreseeable conclusions. One is that the characters, especially the female ones, are quite dull or one sided and have no overall personal goals or conflicting feelings that paint them as actual people. Two is that we as the audience already expect them to get together and thus when we see the boy or the girl dating someone else we know it will end badly. Three is that the trope has a very predestined feel behind it, especially if the boy and girl make a marriage promise, as the girl and boy are fated towards this end result no matter what they do. Finally, the girl characters are treated like rewards or trophies for the boy, especially if we primarily follow the boy’s POV, and not as actual humans.

Now I know this is not always the case (e.g., Elfen Lied) but CST is certainly prevalent in the story telling community. As such, I want to discuss two stories, the DS game 999 and the visual novel game/anime Danganronpa, and their unique interpretation of this dry trope. These two stories have an interesting approach to this tired theme and I wanted to gush why I think these two nailed it (and of course, spoilers).

Lower row, directly in the middle is Makoto and to his right is the blue-haired Sayaka. Image from http://www.egmnow.com/articles/reviews/egm-review-danganronpa-trigger-happy-havoc/#

Let’s start with Danganronpa, our main character, Makoto Naegi, likes Sayaka Maizono, a pop idol girl, whom he became acquainted with in middle school. The two hadn’t seen each other until the events depicted in Danganronpa and they hit it off well as they’re the only people they’re familiar with in the whole cast of characters. There is an implied mutual attraction and support between the pair.

Though they didn’t know each other before middle school, this is still the CST at heart as they were separated at a young age before being reacquainted several years later. When the terrible events of Danganronpa unfold, the story seems to set up the notion that their relationship will only get stronger before they become an actual couple.

However, this does not happen as a fellow student murders Sayaka and as such, we see the first twist Danganronpa offers for the CST. Makoto and Sayaka’s relationship will not blossom but Sayaka now becomes a martyr for Makoto, a beacon to for Makoto to triumph in the end.

Although Sayaka’s death may be inspirational, she is still a rather flat character. That was the case until an episode after her death revealed her hidden intentions. Sayaka, in all her innocent goodiness, was planning on murdering a fellow student and then frame Makoto for it. Of course, the murder doesn’t go as plan and she got murdered instead. This shocks both Makoto and us the viewer. We are set up at the beginning that Sayaka would be an innocent, loving girl and yet her actions had proved otherwise. Why did she do it? Well, we’re shown in the previous episode that her band members were severely hurt/already dead and probably would not be saved unless she murdered someone and successfully got away with it.

This…is awesome.

Her reasons for murdering actually seem sensible (besides, you know, the whole murder thing). Her band members are in grave danger and she has known them for years, they’re probably like family to her! Seeing them in peril prompted her to act the way she did so she could try and save them. She tricked Makoto into switching rooms with her, lured a student to the said room for the promise of teaching him music, and then attempted to murder that student and blame it on Makoto. Since she barely knows Makoto, she didn’t have any strong emotional attachment to him and thus didn’t have a problem in framing him for murder. I actually want to see an alternate universe where she did murder the student and and how Makoto would react to that.

Though I kind of thought she would be the first one to get murdered, I definitely did not see her ulterior motives coming and was nicely surprised by it. These first few episodes definitely set the tone for the rest of the series. Well played, Danganronpa.

Guy in the middle frame with the blue vest is Junpei and to his right is Akane.  Image from http://zeroescape.wikia.com/

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors just takes this trope though and blows it out of the water. Now, this game has so many ideas, themes, and morals behind it that I try to find any excuse to talk even just one of them. In this case, I want to talk 999’s interpretation of the CST as it’s just amazing.

Our main character is Junpei, a 21-year-old college student who is found on a rigged-to-blow cruise liner and must play the “Nonary Game” in order to escape from it. He meets eight other characters after escaping from his cabin room, one of which is Akane Kurashiki (alias “June”), whom he knew when they were kids. IMMEDIATELY, when Junpei explained who she was I was like “Ah, crap, here we go, another Childhood Sweetheart story.” I was not looking forward to Akane and I actively avoided her early on in the game. She seemed like such a flat character, another one of those innocent, sweethearts or whatever.

Well, as you may know, there are multiple endings to the game. After the first time through (I died of course), I went a different route but this time I actively engaged with Akane more often.

Holy crap, she’s funny, and a bit crazy too. Her sexually suggestive quips embarrassed Junpei (lol) and her crazy metaphysical concepts made him question her sanity. I was happily surprised how untypical she was while I was playing the game.

In fact, the more I played the game the more I realized that there was something really special about Akane but I couldn’t figure out why.

And then, wham, I came across the true ending to the game and my mind was blown. It was revealed that all along she was the one behind the “Nonary Game” and it was all an elaborate setup to not only get back at the people who hurt her ten years ago but also to save her from her own death.

Okay, where to begin.

When Akane was a kid, she was trapped in a room that was going to burn her alive. Her only way out was to solve a puzzle that she didn’t know how to answer. Her only way out was to telepathically communicate Junpei and have him solve the puzzle instead. How? Well, this is the part where things get crazy. One of the themes of the game is that the past is set but the future has multiple paths laid out. Akane tapped into that idea by communicating to Junpei ten years in the future and have him solve the puzzle instead. Her future self created an environment that was exactly similar to her past’s environment. This allowed Past Akane to look into the different future paths and try to steer Junpei to the puzzle that she could not solve. This is why the game has multiple endings (which blew my mind, this game did that a lot for me), Akane is trying to find that perfect ending. Once Junpei figured out the puzzle in the exact same environment, he telepathically communicated the answer back to past Akane and then she was able to figure it out.

This is actually why present Akane would inexplicably collapse when she and Junpei were exploring their environments. If the player chooses a wrong path (i.e., the path that takes them to the life-or-death puzzle) then present Akane would become sick because Junpei is not exposed to the puzzle, which means he can’t solve it, which means he can’t communicate the answer back to past Akane, which means she will die in the burning room, which means present Akane will die as well. Wrap your head around that one.

There are internet articles out there that like to deconstruct this concept into pieces and explain why this is so amazing so I won’t go into that. But what I do want to say is that all of this…the telepathy, the puzzles, the multiple endings, and the character herself just utterly destroy the CST. Whether done intentionally or not, 999 builds up CST and then just tears it down piece by piece and I really liked that. It’s not often that a storyteller has effortlessly guided my initial opinion of a character into making me think one way of them and then pull the rug from me and reveal what truly lies there. So good.

Image from Amazon.com

Okay, so what do these two stories have in common?  Why do I like them both?

Both of them set up the boy and girl’s relationship very casually, almost as if they were simply cookie-cutting the trope into their twisted plots but still keeping true to CST.  In Danganronpa, Makoto and Sayaka would get out of the murder game alive and become a couple; in 999, Junpei and Akane defeat Zero through the power of a emerging love.  However, this does not happen.  We are given a scenario where both Sayaka and Akane have ulterior motives and are trying desperately to win no matter what the costs.  We see what makes them tick and why they acted the way they did.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that these two females felt like actual people to me.  They feared, they planned, they made hard decisions, and they are not defined by simply trying to find that special someone or being in love.  That may be a part of them yes but it’s not the full picture.  I really liked that but it’s unfortunate that these characters stood out to me because they directly oppose a rather flat trope.  Regardless, because of their actions, they are what help make 999 and Danganronpa great as they took this trope and punched it right in the face.  Now that is awesome.

Unapologetic Nerd will be on hiatus next week in preparation for an extensive Star Wars article for Star Wars Day.  It will focus on one of my favorite novels in the series.  Don’t forget to check it out!