Ho ho ho! It’s Christmas Eve, and earlier than lengthy, an excellent chunk of you’ll be savagely tearing by wrapping paper and holding these shiny new video games and consoles you have been desirous to play all yr… after you get performed with awkward household interactions. I’m planning on staying put this yr, selecting to spend Christmas watching anime, outdated TV exhibits, and 20-year-old skits from Late Night with Conan O’Brien with my companion. I do not suppose Amazon’s going to wind up delivering our Christmas presents in time for the twenty fifth, however that is superb by us.

However, there’s one different factor that hasn’t been delivered but: the sport I wished to assessment for this week’s column. Ah, the thrill of delivery across the holidays. It’s superb, although! There’s an excellent quantity of attention-grabbing information this week, so I can assessment it (together with a pair different video games) for the New Year’s Eve column.

Sadly, 90s arcade nerds and the Pacific Northwest combating and rhythm-game communities bought some dangerous information this week. It seems that Seattle Gameworks, the 25-year-old restaurant/arcade/gathering spot, is shutting down immediately this week. This was the primary Gameworks to be opened (all the best way again in 1997), and has remained a chief gaming gathering spot in Seattle since its institution. If you have gone to PAX or SakuraCon, you have most likely attended a celebration or meetup at Gameworks, because it’s proper throughout the road from the Washington Convention Center. In current years, it has been a giant hub for tournaments and meetups, bringing collectively people from throughout the Pacific Northwest. And by subsequent SakuraCon, it will not be there anymore.

Gameworks has an attention-grabbing historical past, which my Twitter-pal Ted wrote up in a nice little summary – it was an try by Sega and Dreamworks to fuse 90s live-entertainment coolness and cutting-edge expertise with a conventional arcade, wrapped in an aesthetic that was purely Saturn-era Sega. It did not fairly work out in addition to hoped, although. Gameworks (and related arcade ideas from the period) began to die off within the mid-aughts, and now it appears like the entire chain is perhaps on its approach out. It’s very unhappy, as a result of as a lot as I like Round 1, Gameworks had a particular really feel to it. Stepping right into a Gameworks, particularly the Seattle location, felt like going again to a time when arcades have been nonetheless probably the most unimaginable locations to play video games you could not expertise anyplace else.

In reminiscence of Gameworks Seattle (and probably the entire chain), let’s watch this extraordinarily late-90s MTV grand opening particular that includes a complete mess of celebrities, footage of the distinctive sport/attraction hybrids they as soon as had, and a clip of a younger and nigh-unrecognizable Toshihiro Nagoshi speaking about Super GT.


Sega Toys’ release final yr of the Astro City Mini did fairly properly! It’s a pleasant, sturdy little unit with a enjoyable presentation and an excellent sport choice. However, it did have some fairly critical points: an absence of settings for the video games, no alternate-territory ROMsets, noticeable enter lag when hooked as much as an HDTV, and even a few critical emulation bugs. After Taito introduced its personal arcade-compilation mini-cabinet – the Egret II Mini – full with add-on {hardware}, growth help by SD playing cards, built-in display screen rotation, and even some unreleased video games packed-in, the Astro City Mini wound up wanting fairly mediocre by comparability.

So, after seeing what Taito was cooking, Sega Toys went again to repair up a few issues with the Astro City Mini. And, on a particular broadcast with the well-known Mikado arcade, they showcased their new system: The Astro City Mini V.

You’ll discover two massive issues on this trailer: the display screen is vertical, and never most of the video games showcased are literally Sega titles. In reality, except for issues like Zaxxon, Desert Breaker, and Wrestle War, most of them are third-party licenses… and shooters. And lots of them are video games which have by no means had dwelling variations earlier than: Armed Police Batraider, Battle Bakraid, Out Zone, Dogyuun and Tatsujin-Oh/Truxton II. Basically, in the event you’re a fan of the vertical shooting-game output of Toaplan, Raizing, or Psikyo, the Astro City Mini V goes to make you extraordinarily pleased.

Personally, I’m fairly glad to see Sega Toys take suggestions into consideration. But I’m a little bit unhappy that the mixed forces of Sega and Mikado could not persuade Cave or Seibu Kaihatsu to contribute a few video games – Dodonpachi and Raiden Fighters would have made this an insta-buy. The lack of Battle Garegga can also be puzzling: a lot as I’m not a fan of it, it is fairly beloved amongst followers of Raizing‘s output, so its omission is kind of evident. I’m unsure if that is one thing I’ll buy sight-unseen like the unique Astro City Mini or the Egret II Mini – I’ll probably wait till I hear some opinions from people first. But I’m positively glad it exists!


The massive information within the mobile-gaming world and otome-gaming world this week is that the Aniplex-backed Disney Twisted Wonderland is getting an official English model debuting subsequent yr within the US and Canada. While the recently-announced anime adaptation of Twisted Wonderland was confirmed to be displaying on Disney+, the English release of the sport itself was nonetheless in query… till now.

So what is that this sport, precisely? To sum it up very merely: you, the primary character, end up spirited away to a mysterious college crammed with scorching dudes. And all of these scorching dudes belong to dormitories themed after numerous Disney villains: Octavinelle’s residents are themed round The Little Mermaid’s Ursula, Scarabia college students take type cues from Jafar and Aladdin, Diasomnia will get inspiration from Maleficent and Sleeping Beauty, and so forth. Also, the entire primary dudes are designed by Yana Toboso, who’s well-known for her work on Black Butler. Yeah, it is not exhausting to see why Twisted Wonderland has been talked about within the otome-gaming group for some time.

It’s additionally an attention-grabbing step for Disney, who has tended to keep away from “anime” associations within the West for some time. While everyone knows how a lot Japan loves Disney stuff, the Mouse House has typically tried to maintain Japanese-made Disney media from wanting too “foreign,” in addition to making certain it is broadly interesting to a large demographic. Yes, there may be Kingdom Hearts, however the Disney character designs in that do not stray in any respect from what American audiences are used to. Twisted Wonderland, with its blatantly manga-styled enticing male character designs and outstanding Japanese voiceover, isn’t hiding its origins (or audience) in any respect for its Western release, and I’m pleased to see it.

I’m certain Twisted Wonderland will do fairly properly upon release, as the mix of Disney plus anime hotties just about ensures success. I simply hope the fandom will not turn into the den of toxicity that so many different otome mobile-game fandoms have. One can solely learn so many rambling Twitter threads about how Savanaclaw dorm is problematic and in the event you stan them you’re irredeemable, y’know?


The second King of Fighters XV and first DNF Duel betas occurred final weekend, and whereas KoF went much more easily this time round, DNF Duel had fairly just a few hiccups. For an excellent whereas on day one, it was almost inconceivable to get right into a sport on DNF Duel. This was shortly remedied, however the beta itself was messy in lots of different methods, with no coaching mode or any strategy to get a really feel for enjoying characters exterior of on-line matches. That nonetheless did not cease lab-monsters from discovering extraordinarily damaged issues, although:

DNF Duel has been slated for a Summer 2022 release, and going from the beta, it nonetheless seems like there’s quite a bit that must be performed but – however at this level, there’s nonetheless loads of time to make things better. Will one other, higher beta occur earlier than launch? Yeah, I’d wager that is probably.

Anyhow, how about this week’s crop of character bulletins? Melty Blood Type Lumina has its first DLC character addition, however in the event you’re a kind of people ready and hoping for an announcement of an official English Tsukihime translation, you may wish to watch out, as a result of they occur to be a giant ol’ spoiler for the occasions of the visible novel. I’ll simply hyperlink the video here to maintain you secure.

But hey, you understand what I can hyperlink? This week’s King of Fighters XV character announcement, displaying off our massive ol’ buddy Maxima. He joins Whip and Okay’ to kind… Team Okay’!

We’ve solely bought a few character reveals left now. Will these be new faces, or outdated favorites? Will Kim Kaphwan take his first-ever break from the primary KoF roster? We’ll know for certain in just a few weeks!

Well, I feel that is all the pieces I wished to debate this week. Yes, I do know, there’s information about Klonoa emblems filed by Bandai-Namco in numerous territories, however I wish to wait till one thing extra substantial materializes earlier than actually diving into that. I hope you all have a secure and pleased vacation weekend crammed with pleasure and video games. See you once more subsequent week for the ultimate column of 2021!

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