Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Apr 252014

Eureka-dunesWhen Dr. Algernon P. Lewis went on vacation to Death Valley, he expected it to be a boring trip. Certainly nothing that would help him with his research into the mysterious Anaian civilization. Now, Algernon’s journal will help us piece together just what happened out there on the Eureka Dunes…

On December 8, the account of Algernon’s experience will be posted at The Mad Scientist Journal, under the name of “Sand,” and it will also be made a part of the Autumn 2014 collection.

See you on the dunes!

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Apr 222014

This morning, I found out that one of my short stories, “Sand,” has been accepted for publication at the Mad Scientist Journal. While I was still bouncing around the room in excitement, I decided to get a little freelance writing done and write a news article on Dragon Age: Inquisition’s release date, when something else caught my eye.

It said “Ace Attorney” and “new” and “unveiled,” and after that, everything else kind of faded away.

As my loving discussion of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies suggested, I really love the Ace Attorney series. So if it seems ridiculous that details about a video game overwhelmed me more than one of my own stories being published, keep in mind that these were just details about some game–they were details about a new Ace Attorney game.

First scanned images of Dai Gyakuten Saiban

Famitsu, a Japanese magazine, provided new details on the Ace Attorney project being worked on by Shu Takumi–which isn’t to be confused with the Ace Attorney project being worked on by the Dual Destinies/Investigations team, which means we have TWO new Ace Attorney games in our future. …Or at least, in Japan’s future, but with any luck, they’ll localize them.

Dai Gyakuten Saiban, or Big Turnabout Trial, is set in the Meiji era of Japan’s history, and stars a character who seems to be an ancestor of series protagonist Phoenix Wright. The Meiji era lasted from 1868-1912, and it sounds as though the historical context will be important to the game. Since previous Ace Attorney games have been localized for the USA in such a way as to pretend they’re set in California (or Japanifornia, as some fans say), I’m not sure whether they’ll want to do something similar here. Really, what harm is there in having Phoenix’s ancestor living in Japan?

You know, when I first heard the news, I was a little uncertain. I mean, if it’s set in the past, that means I won’t get to see any of my favorite characters. It’ll all be different. Will I still like it? Then I remembered three things:

Convict Prosecutor Simon Blackquill

Turns out a convict prosecutor is just about the best thing ever.

  1. It’s Ace Attorney.
  2. It’s Shu Takumi.
  3. I was uncertain when I first heard that Dual Destinies had a convict prosecutor, and we know how THAT turned out.

So… I’m excited.

Very excited.

Did you see Phoenix’s ancestor?? He looks awesome! And he’s carrying a sword! (I have a slight suspicion that Capcom’s real goal is to continually add to the list of characters more suited for a fighting game than Phoenix Wright.)

Now, my only concern for this game is that it won’t be localized. But hey, until the day Capcom says it won’t be localized, I’ll remain optimistic that it will be–and do my best to make sure they realize how much we want this game!

And Gyakuten Kenji 2, also known as Investigations 2. I’ll spend all of E3 waiting for news of its localization. It stars my favorite character, has a showdown I just have to see (if you’ve played the first game, it’s those two facing off in that disastrous case), and includes a returning character who… well… if you’ve played Justice for All, yes, he returns.

(If you’ve played the first two games, and you have no idea what I mean by those two hints, ask and I’ll tell you.)

But let’s not forget what else we have to look forward to!

Layton vs Ace Attorney

The future looks bright.

Join me, and let’s make sure Capcom knows these are all games they should bring to the West!

UPDATE: Dai Gyakuten Saiban now has its first official trailer. Go here for a subtitled version.

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Apr 022014

If you ever see my iPod, with its Professor Layton case… or my Professor Layton T-shirt… or my Professor Layton plushie… you probably wouldn’t believe that there was a time I didn’t care for the Professor Layton series. See, for years, I was convinced I didn’t like puzzle games, so I really had no interest in learning about a game series focused on puzzles.

Then I became an Ace Attorney fan, shortly before Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney was first announced for Japan. I was a bit perturbed, because now this awesome new series I’d fallen in love with was getting a crossover with some weird puzzle thing. But that very week, three of my friends independently told me I should try the Professor Layton series. I finally gave in, borrowed Professor Layton and the Curious Village from a friend, and tried it.

Within a week, I had it finished. I’d solved all the puzzles. And the next two games were on my list. By the time Professor Layton and the Last Specter was announced, Layton games were immediate preorders for me.

You see, it’s not just about mind-bending puzzles, although there are plenty of those. There are excellent stories, memorable characters, and some truly cool moments.

Back when I first heard about the series, I wouldn’t have expected sword fights. Turns out our gentleman archaeologist puzzle master is also an expert duelist.

In fact, it might be best to just say the Layton series has its own special atmosphere and loves insane twists, and leave it at that…

Professor Layton Detra-Gigant

This is a series about solving puzzles.

Right now, there are six main-series Professor Layton games, one movie, one spin-off, and one crossover (which, as of the time of this post, is not yet released in North America):

I love all of these, some more than others, and I can’t wait until the crossover comes out. I’m also hoping for a sequel to Layton Brothers, but that’s a topic for another time. Today I want to talk about the sixth game, which is supposed to be the final adventure starring Professor Hershel Layton, Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy.

In addition to puzzles, the Professor Layton series is very narrative driven, so I won’t reveal any spoilers in this post. Really, I just want to go on and on about how much I love this game.

As the conclusion to the prequel trilogy, Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy promises to reveal the secrets of the Azran, an ancient civilization important to the plots of the previous two games and the movie. The story kicks off when Professor Layton gets a letter from Professor Sycamore (no, not the Pokemon character), who has discovered a “living mummy” frozen in ice. She is Aurora, the emissary left by the Azran, and so Layton, his apprentice Luke, his assistant Emmy, Professor Sycamore, and Aurora go off in search of the answer to the final Azran puzzle.

But of course, they aren’t the only ones after the Azran legacy. A criminal organization known as Targent is determined to get there first!

Some people have taken issue with the pacing of this game, but I had no problems with it. It does slow down  significantly near the middle, but it worked for me. While there was less action, it gave me a chance to get to know the new additions to our team, and it really made me like Sycamore and Aurora. In a game like this, that’s important. My love for the characters invested me in their story. I had to play more to find out what was going to happen. I couldn’t bear not knowing how it would all work out.

And then there were moments that gave me the terrifying feeling that this game was going to do its best to destroy my emotions…

Until I played Azran Legacy, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future and To the Moon held the distinction of being the only two video games to actually make me cry. …After I made it through all the twists and turns of Azran Legacy, there are now three games with that honor.

The story was fantastic, the characters were wonderful, and the puzzles were as good as ever. There are 165 puzzles in this one–150 in the main game itself and an additional 15 bonus puzzles to unlock. I’ve already finished all of those, making great use of my hint coins, but I’m not done yet, because I have daily puzzles to look forward to! For an entire year, one new puzzle will be released each day.

And I’m going to solve them all, because every puzzle has an answer.

Even if some of them drive me crazy.

If you see me glaring at my 3DS, I’m probably stuck on a puzzle.

I’m glad I have all of those puzzles to look forward to, because as excited as I was for the story, a part of me was sad to finish Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy. This is supposed to be the last game in the main series… the last game starring Professor Layton. The little I’ve seen of “Layton 7” doesn’t look like it has the same style at all. There’s still the crossover, and I’d welcome a Layton Brothers sequel, but what will I do without another wild adventure filled with insane twists and characters who can be in the middle of an enemy base and still pause to say, “Hey look, a hidden puzzle”?

Personally, I hope the Professor will pass the torch to another character in the series. There are several likely candidates, and I see no reason why the Layton series should end so soon.

Buy Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy from Amazon
Buy Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy from Play-Asia

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