JRPGJuly is back once again! By far the most loved Community Game-Along theme, JRPGJuly has been a mainstay since the first year I started hosting them. This year’s event is especially exciting since Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age is coming out on the 11th! Whether you’ve got a JRPG sitting in your backlog you’ve been dying to finish, or a new title you’ve been meaning to check out, simply grab a JRPG and play it throughout the month of July to join in the fun!
While I’m not one to lament the “fall of the JRPG” as so many have done in recent years, it’s been a long time since I really sat down with one. It’s certainly easier to put 40+ hours into a game when you’re living at home and don’t have to worry about paying the bills! Especially when you might only have an hour a night to play games, it can be disheartening to dedicate a session to an RPG where the most you might accomplish is making a little headway in a dungeon. But with its colorful world and snappy gameplay, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE had me hooked right away!
We’ve reached the end of the most successful JRPG July to date! It was wonderful to see everyone’s contributions, so even though I ultimately didn’t have time to do weekly roundups as originally intended, I wanted to make sure to take the time to highlight as many as possible to thank those who participated this year. If you haven’t caught up on week one yet, be sure to check that out before reading on. But for now, I’m going to get right to it, because there’s a lot to cover in this post!
In honor of JRPG July I wanted to take the opportunity to spotlight Long Gone Days, a dystopian Japanese-inspired RPG currently on Indiegogo. Currently in development for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Long Gone Days is billed as a character-driven RPG with visual novel elements, and it features gorgeous pixel art and anime-style illustrations!
One of the most interesting aspects of this war-themed RPG is the language barriers posed by encountering soldiers of different backgrounds, meaning you’ll need to use characters with interpreting skills to be able to understand certain conversations. How cool is that?!
To see the game in action, head to its Itch.io page to download the demo. If you decide to help Long Gone Days reach its funding goal, you can gain a digital copy of the game when it’s completed for just $12. However, this early bird special is only available to the first 200 backers, so don’t delay!
I can’t believe how many participants there’ve been in JRPG July so far this year! As such, I thought it would be the perfect time to bring back my weekly roundup posts to highlight some of the games people have been playing, as well as the various podcast/let’s play/blog post contributions we’ve had. It’s still early in the month, so if you’d still like to join in the fun, head over to my original announcement post to get all the details!
Yet another Sunday has rolled around, and you know what that means: Time for a Sunday Spotlight! Can you tell I’m running out of witty things to say in these intros? Moving on…
Here at Chic Pixel, we love a good JRPG. That’s why this week’s Spotlight is highlighting an awesome website that is all about just that! JRPG.moe bills itself as a site for those who get “fired up” about Japanese role playing games, so don’t let the .moe scare you – it’s definitely not only about cute anime girls! I love that JRPG.moe covers both Japanese and English game releases, and is written by someone proficient in Japanese, so you can count on it for accurate import impressions and news translations! Start off with JRPG.moe’s December release calendar to see what you need to put on your shopping list this month before moving on to some in-depth editorials and JRPG news.
All of a sudden, here we are at the last Community Game-Along of 2015! For this occasion, I wanted to do something a little special… So, for the first time ever, this month’s theme is a video game composer! I’d like to highlight Yoko Shimomura, a Japanese composer who is most famous for her work on the Kingdom Hearts series, but you’ve probably heard her melodies in one of the many games on her resume. If you’d like to learn more about her amazing career, check out the Shimomura episode of the M-Disk Playlist podcast I guested on a few months ago!
If you’d like to participate in the December Game-Along, just play a game featuring music composed by Yoko Shimomura (it can even be just one track, we’re flexible here at Chic Pixel). It wouldn’t be a Game-Along without social media integration, so use #ShimomuraMonth to share your experiences with others! Some folks have already been posting their favorite tracks and game recommendations, so be sure to join in – photos of games featuring Shimomura’s music, let’s plays of your chosen title… there are countless ways to participate! If you can’t decide what to play, here are a few titles worth checking out that aren’t Kingdom Hearts:
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (Nintendo 3DS) – Let’s start with something topical! Yoko Shimomura has done the music in all of the Mario & Luigi games, with Paper Jam being the latest entry in the series. Well, it just so happens to be releasing in December in Japan in Europe! Sorry, North America, but you’ll have to wait until January for this one. If you’re itchin’ to play a Mario & Luigi game in the meantime, you can get some of them on the Wii U’s virtual console, or try the previous entry on the 3DS, Dream Team Bros.
Radiant Historia (Nintendo DS) – For a recent but more traditional JRPG, try Radiant Historia. Though it went largely under the radar when it was originally released, it’s extremely well regarded and will definitely scratch any RPG itches you might have. I still haven’t had a chance to boot up my copy, so I can’t say much more than that, but I don’t think it’d disappoint!
Parasite Eve (PSone) – Though still an RPG (Shimomura’s forte), Parasite Eve was unique for taking aspects of horror titles such as Resident Evil and transforming traditional role-playing game mechanics. The creepy cool soundtrack is also one of my personal favorites! If you’ve played the first game in the series and would like to check out the others, keep in mind that Shimomura did not compose II, but did return for the less stellar 3rd Birthday on PSP.
Legend of Mana (PSone) – Though Legend of Mana has not been received as favorably as previous titles in the series, many point to it as one of Yoko Shimomura’s strongest soundtracks. This also happens to be the game I’ll be trying out this month, since I’ve never played it! Wouldn’t it be fun to join in a playthrough with your pal Anne?
Of course there are many more possibilities, and there’s definitely nothing wrong with celebrating with a little Kingdom Hearts goodness! What will you be playing this month?