Neo-Tokyo is about to E.X.P.L.O.D.E.

Another year. Another Tokyo Game Show. What could be easily dismissed as a routine industry affair may in fact be more than it seems. After all, the Overfiend is in the details: A currency spiraling wildly out of control. A rapidly aging population. A parliamentary government teetering towards collapse. Techno-globalization giving way to partisan ideologies of nationalism and wholly countervailing apathy. The dissociative undercurrents rumbling beneath this Doomed Megalopolis are the canonical makings of great anime – but it’s too expensive to produce here, so they’ll just outsource it to Korea. Nevertheless, this pre-apocalyptic narrative will not go without requisite human tragedy. It won’t look like August 6, 1945. Nor September 11. Or even June 8. Perhaps April 20. But rest assured there will be no trench coats. Japan’s Columbine will not look like The Matrix; instead it will look like ぎゃる☆がん


A perfect circle

To celebrate the toiling work of average Americans, a similar breed of laborers indentured themselves this weekend to a roughly analogous form of servitude: Gamerscore boosting. Desperate mouths began to water as EPIC tweeted with calm Pavlovian confidence to announce the 25x XP event. The anticipation built. The cavorting began. I pulled out my Android phone to document.

Beyond mere emergent gameplay, I have born witness to post-modern multi-spatial communication with integrated ambient industrial aural exploration. Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance.


The dead, they are a-risin'

The impending release of Capcom's second installment in the Dead Rising series (third if you include the monetized demo version, Case Zero) gave me pause to step away from my other projects and return to the realm of games criticism for a moment. That's right – a mini-meta-review of Dead Rising 2. Let's go ahead and boil it down.

Having already run dry the well of popular western fixations – zombie outbreaks and material consumption – Capcom needed two fresh and similarly intertwined themes with which to mask the aging and conspicuously unchanged mechanics of its original 2006 title. As it turns out, the recipe is simple and gluten-rich.

Ingredient A: Las Vegas. While becoming rapidly overexposed, this perpetually rediscovered oasis of quaint indulgence works in a pinch. Fallout: New Vegas clearly has the most high profile lock on the venue, but the recent cancellation of Midway’s aptly wealth-draining This is Vegas yields Capcom the opportunity to double down their bets on Dead Rising 2. It’s a smart wager; Fortune City’s bevy of ubiquitous locales (furnished with cheap and readily procurable Assets, much like the real strip) can carry the franchise until this aesthetic is completely “down to the felt.”

Ingredient B: Moe. The developers opted to craft Dead Rising 2’s narrative around Michelle Tanner and the player/protagonist’s inherent desire to give her medicine. Though pedophilia is ubiquitous to all cultures, this clever obfuscation is a novel approach for the western market. Aside from the venerable BioShock franchise, the lolita complex remains largely under-leveraged in gaming’s largest market. Mixing a desire for untapped profits and sexually retarded fantasy, Capcom shows a true understanding of the Las Vegas mindset. This is gonzo gaming. But in the end, is giving Michelle Tanner her medicine a more engaging experience than Idol M@ster?

You don’t got it, dude.