Friday, April 17, 2015

Rejoice! Otome game Amnesia: Memories is coming out in English

That's right, Amnesia: Memories, one of the most requested otome games by the English community, is actually getting localized! I take back everything I said in my slightly scathing article about Idea Factory International not releasing any games from their Otomate library. According to folk son Twitter who attended the company's inaugural press event, it turns out they've been hard at work localizing Amnesia: Memories for both PS Vita and Steam! Update: The official site is now live, along with an English trailer!

Amnesia: Memories is a relatively unique otome game that starts you out in the shoes of an amnesiac protagonist (okay, that part's not that unique) who is thrown into a reality of your choice where she's already in an existing relationship with one of the game's dateable men. Each reality is slightly different, but the ultimate goal is always the same: figure out what caused the protagonist's amnesia and get lovey-dovey with your sweetheart of choice.

The men of Amnesia: Memories
I honestly believe Amnesia: Memories is a great choice for an English release, given how popular the title is in Japan and among English-speaking otome game fans. But, while you may find yourself so excited for the game's impending release that you're tempted to watch the anime adaptation, I'm going to advise against it... Unless you enjoy things that are laughably bad.

Amnesia: Memories is slated to launch digitally for PS Vita and Steam in August. Stay tuned for future posts where I'll talk about my experiences with the Japanese game!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

This Q-Pot x Sailor Moon collaboration is everything I've ever wanted

I'm not usually very savvy when it comes to things like high-end jewelry and cosmetics, but Q-Pot has always been on my radar for their amazing sweets-inspired collections. But since the vast majority of their items carry a hefty price tag, I've been able to stay away... until now. Their upcoming Sailor Moon collection, due to launch June 30th (Usagi's birthday), contains some of the most gorgeous pieces of jewelry I've ever seen!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Introducing my latest localization project, Fantastic Boyfriends: Legends of Midearth

I've alluded on Twitter to the fact that I've been working on a very exciting project over the past couple of months, but now I can finally share what it is. I'm assisting with the translation and English promotion of a Japanese indie game for smartphones titled Fantastic Boyfriends: Legends of Midearth!

The basic gist of the game is you play as the adorable protagonist holding the sword in the image above, who gets magically spirited away to the fantasy world inside an app on his phone (so meta!). Like many epic fantasies that have come before, you're tasked with nothing less than saving the world from the forces of evil. Fantastic Boyfriends is unique, however, in that you gather a band of hunky fighters and adventurers to aid you in your quest... and maybe share a budding romance with, too!

The developer, Lifewonders, is an emerging LGBT-friendly company with the goal of showing a wide variety of different kinds of relationships and genders in their games, starting with Fantastic Boyfriends. While Fantastic Boyfriends was generally created with a gay male audience in mind, they hope to expand their reach even further in future titles!

Needless to say, it's been an honor to work with a developer that values diversity in gaming. I've already done significant work on localizing the game for them, but as a small indie developer, they're going to turn to crowd funding to raise the remaining funds to localize Fantastic Boyfriends. The crowd funding campaign will be announced by the end of spring, but for now, you can head over to the official English website to learn all about the characters, gameplay, and world.

You can also follow them on Twitter for updates, but rest assured, I definitely won't stop talking about it when the crowd funding actually gets rolling!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

April 2015 is Yuji Naka Month!

If there's one classic game series that I know next to nothing about, it'd be Sonic. But while my actual experience with the games may be lacking, I am more than aware of the impact they've had on the game industry and the icon the blue blur has become over the years... Even if some of his more recent adventures have been less than well received.

Sonic the Hedgehog start screen

Thus, in an attempt to spice up the themes for the 2015 Community Game-Alongs, I've decided to dedicate April to the former head of the Sonic Team and lead programmer for Sonic the Hedgehog, Yuji Naka! His latest title, Rodea the Sky Solider, has finally come out in Japan for 3DS, Wii U, and, oddly enough, the Wii, after reportedly being completed all the way back in 2011. And if that isn't cause for celebration, I don't know what is! Unfortunately, my powers are not omnipotent, so I did not foresee NIS America announcing the North American and European release for this September. Unfortunately, those of you without a Japanese system will just have to play a different Yuji Naka title this month. But don't worry, there's more than enough to choose from!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Amazon Japan Trick: How to Import Manga for Super Cheap

Amazon Japan can be a little intimidating for importing Japanese products, but it's also has some of the best deals on books and manga. On top of that, recent decrease in its international shipping costs means that you can get a packaged shipped anywhere in the world faster and cheaper than ever. But did you know that you can get virtually any number of manga shipped for just $10.50? I thought it was too good to be true, but I can confirm that it works. The secret is buying manga lots!

Ten volumes of The Rose of Versailles and a magazine for only
$54.42 shipped! (and it arrived in two business days!)

Friday, March 20, 2015

English Version of Visual Novel Studio TyranoBuilder to Launch Next Week

Who doesn't love a good visual novel? English speakers are slowly catching on to what might my favorite video game genre, one that focuses on text-heavy narratives and "choose your own adventure"-like branching story lines instead of complicated, action-based gameplay. Whether it be a traditional dating sim, otome game, or something else entirely, visual novels are unique and now, even easier to make yourself!

Nyu Media has just announced plans to release an English version of the visual novel studio TyranoBuilder on March 27th for just $14.99. While Ren'Py, the go-to visual novel engine for many indie creators, is open source and supports Windows, Mac, Linix, and Android, TyranoBuilder appears to be much more flexible,* and may be even easier to use for newcomers to game development. Take a look at the launch trailer to get an idea of what the software looks like:

TyranoBuilder touts the ability to create games for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android (requires porting through a free thirds party app), as well as gaming devices that run HTML5, such as the Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita. While Linux is surprisingly absent, the HTML5 and iOS compatibility coupled with the studio's very intuitive-looking interface make it look very appealing!

While developers familiar with Ren'Py may not be looking to switch, TyranoBuilder looks like it could be a great tool for those interested in trying out visual novel game development! Coupled with a Steam release, it has the potential to get even more people interested in visual novels, which can only be a good thing in my book! There will also be a demo available on the official site at a later date, so keep an eye out for that.

*I confess to know not much of anything about game development, so I am only saying this from the perspective of someone who has had a cursory look at both TyranoBuilder and Ren'Py! People familiar with Ren'Py, please feel free to chime in with your thoughts in the comments.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Quick and Easy Light Box Tutorial for Bloggers

One of the things I struggle most with when coming up with content for Chic Pixel is photos. I'm by no means a pro photographer, but at the very least, my previous apartment was blessed with great lighting that allowed me to pull off relatively decent photos with minimal preparation. My current dungeon of an apartment, however, gets very little light during the day, making it very difficult to pull off anywhere near the quality of photos I was taking before. Combine that with a little nudge from my pal Ayu, and I finally had the push I needed to make my very own light box! 

Friday, March 13, 2015

It's time to announce some otome games, Idea Factory International!

Idea Factory International is scheduled to have their first ever press event sometime next month, and I'm crossing everything that can be crossed in hopes that they announce an otome game localization for the PS Vita. It's been a little over a year since they first commenced operations on September 30th, 2013, and despite a wealth of otome games in the Otomate line at their disposal, they have yet to release, let alone announce, a single title.

Hakuouki English screenshot
Hakuouki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom for PSP. To learn all about the localization,
listen to episode 18 of Chic Pixel Plus featuring localization editor Ben Bateman!