This week in video games news

The six highest-rated JRPGs of all times are all on PS VITA!

The Website gamesranking gives a list of highest-rated “console style” rpgs –  that is turn-based JRPGs – according to mainstream reviews. The top 6 list is here: Persona 4 Golden, FF IX, Chrono Cross, FF VII, Chrono Trigger, and FFX (out this year), and they are all on PS Vita, whether as native titles or as PsOne classics.

Take that Sony, free advertising!


The last save point’s most wanted – Release dates & Backlog

Most wanted list

  • APR 2013 Deadly premonition – The director’s cut (PS3)
  • APR 2013 Dead Island Riptide (PS360)
  • APR 2013 Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen (PS360)
  • SUM 2013 Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn (PS3)
  • FAL 2013 Armored Core Verdict Day (PS360)
  • FAL 2013 The Walking Dead Season 2
  • FAL 2013 Lightning Returns
  • FAL 2013 Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD
  • DEC 2014 Torment : Tides of Numerana


  • Project Hell
  • Dark Souls II
  • Phantasy Star Online 2(Vita, PC, PS3?, PS4?)
  • Final Fantasy X [ X-2 HD Remaster
  • Tales of Xillia
  • Final Fantasy Versus XIII
  • Deep Down
  • XenoNext
  • South Park the Stick of Truth


Started [Just Started | Half Way | Almost Finished | Currently Playing]

  • [JS] Metal Gear Solid Peacewalker
  • [JS] Sam and Max Season 3
  • [HW] The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword
  • [HW] Xenoblade
  • [HW] Radiant Historia
  • [HW] Xenogears
  • [AF] Tokyo Jungle
  • [AF] Way of the Samurai 4
  • [AF] SMT Nocturne
  • [CP] ZombiU
  • [CP] Persona 4 Golden
  • Cave Story
  • Shiren the Wanderer
  • Binary Domain
  • Valkyria Chronicles
  • Persona 2 Innocent Sin
  • Crisis Core
  • Malicious
  • Dokuro
  • Holet Dusk Room 215
  • Last Window: The Secret of Cape West
  • Infinite Space
  • Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
  • Corpse Party


  • Ico
  • Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
  • Dishonored
  • Izuna, Tales of the Unemployed Ninja
  • The World Ends with You
  • Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney
  • Hotel Giant
  • Animal Crossing Wild World
  • Chocobo Dungeon
  • Etrian Odyssey III
  • 999

On shelves

  • Unchained Blades (3DS or PSP?)
  • Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward
  • New Little King Story

Vita most wanted edition

  • God Eater 2
  • Malicious Rebirth
  • Phantasy Star Online 2
  • Soul Sacrifice
  • Atelier Meruru Plus
  • Fate/Stay Night [Réalta Nua]

Finished (2013)

  1. Theatrythm Final Fantasy
  2. Dragon’s Dogma (100%)
  3. The Testament of Sherlock Holmes
  4. Ni no Kuni (gave up 15 hrs in)
  5. Crimson Shroud (diddo at 5 hrs)
  6. Hitman Absolution
  7. Nintendo Land
  8. Metal Gear Rising Revengeance
  9. To the Moon

This week in video games news

My biggest influence and all time favorites! part 1: Secret of Mana

I’ll follow my wife and list here my favorite games of all times and those that shaped my tastes in later life. The first posts will focus on RPGs, but of course I play other genres too.

I played many story-driven games of every kind before 1994, like the MacVenture series, Adventure of Link, The Battle of Olympus, Final Fantasy Mystic Quest or the D&D adaptation Realmz. However, up until this point, I don’t think I saw video games as something other than a fun distraction. I distinctly remember being über-excited by the release of A Link to the Past, but Zelda never left a strong emotional imprint on me afterwards. I had fun playing it, imagining stories about it, but it did not change the way I see things when I was doing something else.

All this changed with Secret of Mana, the first game that left a strong, lasting, impression on my young self, which showed me the power of video games as an emotional medium and, more importantly, which shaped my tastes and expectations for the future. It’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly this game did so right, and what magical recipe was impossible for Square to replicate afterwards (Seiken Densetsu III was “better” on paper although it lacked the “je ne sais quoi” that made the second so unique, and it was all downhill from Legend of Mana onwards). The setting of Secret of Mana was simple, almost simplistic in the beginning (the characters are referred too as “the Boy”, “the Girl” and “the Sprite”, I mean how much simpler can you get than that?), simple like a biblical tale or a Greek tragedy, and while it grew deeper as the story progressed, it mostly rested on symbols and the player’s interpretation of the relationships. I think it was the first game I played where several stories weaved together seamlessly, and looking back on it, one of the main storylines, the quest save a girl’s fiancée whose body was possessed by demon, was and still is quite unusual, as it implies a particular relationship between the protagonists. It was also the first time I found game music to be of higher quality than some mainstream music, and the first time I was seduce by the artwork of a game.

As I said earlier, Secret of Mana forged my tastes in video games, and my aesthetic tastes in general. First of all, I expect my final bosses to at least wear some nuances of pink and blue. Kidding aside, Secret of Mana was my first exposition to japanese cuteness, an acquired taste that was perpetuated by games such as Windwaker, Radiata Stories, Harvest Moon, Atelier, and that probably explains my obsession with Satos in Phantasy Star Online (I had like 5 of them). This taste explains why I love  Evangelion’s Penpen or Naruto’s Pakkun, and why I am never bothered by a childish look of medium (although I was never attracted to Pokemon, but cuteness is not the reason): in the world of Mana, childish appearances were the prerequisite of a serious and tragic story.

I am one of those players who not only like a good story and good characters in a game, but who believe those can save or even make a game. Those great tales, like Xenosaga, Metal Gear Solid 3, Nier or Radiata Stories don’t have to have a happy ending to offer an enjoyable experience. Just Like Twin Peaks or The Sopranos, many great games have deeply sad, emotionally charged stories, and Secret of Mana was the first game to make me understand that.


My Biggest Influences & All-Time Favorites

I find it hard to draw the line between the games I enjoyed the most and the ones that forged my vision of video games. So I decided to reunite them all on the same list, ordered by genre and date of first release.
1996 Albion
You’ve never heard of Albion? Of course you haven’t. Nobody knows this game. I guess it wasn’t a great success. Anyway, it was my first rpg, and as such, one of the biggest influences in my gaming experience. Most of the game was in 2D, except for the dungeons which were in 3D; the graphics weren’t astonishing for 1996, but at that time it was usual to let your imagination do half of the gpu’s work. The turn-based combats occurred on a grid which somewhat looked like a chessboard. The very detailed story mixed a science fiction background with fantasy elements, a combination that I still cherish to this day. Each quest had a real motive, nothing of the kill-x-rats kind, and you could get companions, that would sometimes interact,… For a 1996 RPG, it was pretty deep.
1996 Diablo
What I really liked about Diablo was the ambiance, dark and threathening. The music, the characters, the story – as light as it was, everything was harmoniously dark. Also, the hack’n’slash genre coupled to random dungeons was refreshing back then. If you don’t want to avoid intense thinking and need to let off steam, it still works today.
1999 Planescape Torment
Another story-driven RPG taking place in a unique universe, with a very charismatic main character, many endearing companions and lots of interactions between them, and where your choices matter. While the leveling and the combat systems weren’t innovating, it was a very good surprise to never die and instead have the cycle of death fully integrated in the story, allowing you to recall past events. What’s an even better surprise is the kick starter project for Torment 2, check it out!
2001 Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura
2002-2009 Zelda: Windwaker, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks
2002 The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
2002-2006 Xenosaga I, II, III
2003 Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader
2005 Radiata Stories
2008-2011 Demon Souls, Dark Souls
2010 End of Eternity (Resonance of Fate)
2010 Nier
2012 Dragon’s Dogma
2001-2008 Metal Gear Solid 2, 3, 4
2004 Thief: Deadly Shadows
2008 Tenchu 4
1994 Woodruff and the Schnible of Azimuth
1995-1996 Discworld 1, 2
1998 Sanitarium
2005 Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy)
2009 Way of the Samurai 3
2009 Machinarium
2010 Ghost Trick
2012 The Walking Dead
Simulation, management, strategy
1994 Theme park
1995 Sim Isle: Missions in the Rainforest
1997 Theme Hospital
1997 Age of Empires
1997 Dungeon Keeper
1998 Anno 1602: Creation of a new World
2000 The Sims
2010 Game Dev Story
1980 Pac-Man
1984 Tetris
1989 Prince of Persia
1996 Death Rally
1997 Road Rash
Various pinball games from the 90s

Nintendo should buy the rights to Xenosaga (petition inside!)

Petition time again!

Xenosaga is a critically acclaimed videogame series published by Namco Bandai. It was supposed to be a 6 parts epic Nietzschean space opera but the publisher cut short and stopped the series after 3 episodes.
After the developper was bought by Nintendo, they produced Xenoblade, which quickly became known in critical circles as the best JRPG of its generation and enjoyed a strong commercial success.
These are the perfects circumstances for Monolith soft. to finish its grandiose series, and Nintendo – their owner – can make it happen.

Sign here if you want Xenosaga 4!