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Friday, December 30, 2016

Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch

I am one of those old guys who likes video games.

I was there at the beginning of arcade video games, and I was there at home for the home video game experience.

Being a nerd… but not a geek… wait… which one has lots of money? I’m the opposite of that one.

I love my comic books, cartoons, Star Trek and Star Wars, and played Dungeons Dragons into my 30s… but, Buddha help me, I am not the type of person who needs to collect all of the flora and fauna and flotsam and jetson’s (love that show)… and by that I mean, I don’t need to have little figurines or posters or keychains or any of that superfluous crap.

Comic books… and maybe a t-shirt or 12 to declare my affinity for comic books.

Anyhow, video games. I used to go to convenience stores where they had arcade video game machines and attach a string to a quarter with tape and fish the coin up and down in the slot to give myself 99 credits.

I can recall my buddy Rob and I doing that at one place where they had a Donkey King Jr. machine… and this one poor little kid would hang around us and wait until we had to go and we’d give him the remaining credits for free.

That kid who used to hang around Rob and I… his kid is one grade below mine now at the same school. He remembered me when we came across each other a couple of years ago.

In Japan, I purchased a Nintendo Super Famicon (In North America it was called the SNES - Super Nintendo Entertainment System) system… The Super Famicon (Super Family Computer - the Japanese enjoy combining words when they create a new katakana word for their language) system came with cartridges that were square edges, while the western SNES version used cartridges that were rounded, meaning you couldn’t swap games… unless you cracked open the plastic cartridge and placed the electronic board directly in the cartridge slot – which I did so I could play western games on my Japanese video game system.

I was a loyal Nintendo man for plenty of years after that, but eventually, I switched to the Sony PlayStation 2 system… and then the PS3 and then the PS4.

I bought the PS3 for myself years ago, and the PS4 for my son last Christmas.

Despite the PS4 being this “new” system that, I hate it.

I firmly believe the 6-year-old Sony PS3 system to be far superior.

For many of the PS4 games, you purchase the game, pay to purchase a Sony Network pass, and then… you can wait up to 20 hours!!! for the game to upload… and then as you play on-line, you “pay” for your Internet usage. Sucks. Sucks donkey kongs.

For the PS3, you just buy the game (now much discounted in price because of the new PS4 system)… and even cheaper if you buy used… pop it in… wait a minute or two… and the begin playing… that’s it. Graphically, if there’s a difference, it’s minimal.

Anyhow… I’m now playing a PS3 game called Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch… a RPG (role-playing game) that is basically a Japanese video game with Japanese anime (animation) art throughout it.

Developed by Level-5 and released in Japan in November of 2011, the western version (with English subtitles and overdubs) came out in January 2013 via Namco Bandai Games.

I don’t know what I was expecting when I cracked it open almost a month after I bought it… because if I knew it was this good and this addictive, I would have played it as soon as I bought it (used).

I bought it because the name of the game was Japanese… and didn’t look like that typical big-boobed female art that the Japanese seem to like (and everyone else… strangely, not me, though – more of a butt guy).

Anyhow… it’s similar in scope to Pokemon… where you play a kid named Oliver who gains “familiars” – animal monsters and uses them to battle other animal/monsters as you go about a quest first from the human world, to this strange magical world… looking to defeat a great big evil and hopefully bring your dead mother back to life…

To advance in the game, Oliver (you) and your aide, Mr. Drippy (a fairy/toy doll from your human world) perform quests… exploring towns, villages, dungeons… and the huge world country side.

The game looks and feels like a very good Japanese animated movie.

In fact, Studio Ghibli produced the game’s animated sequences. Studio Ghibli created such animated fare as My Friend Totoro and other Japanese animated classics.

Studio Ghibli storyboard on the left - video game animation artwork of  Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch on the right.
Anyhow… I’m only about 1/5 of the way through it… maybe even less than that… and it is fun and witty.

The monsters one fights have funny names like Badanas (bad bananas) – a large bunch of unripe bananas… Purrloin = cat thieves… great word play like talking to King Tom (a cat) who lives in Ding Dong Dell – whom every calls his Meowjesty. Or a cow queen in the desert called the Cowlipha… whom everyone calls her Moojesty.

Stupid, sure… but actually it’s all quite witty… which means they actually got the English translations down purrfectly. A rarity in English video game translations.

Anyhow… I would recommend you buy Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch video game and play it for the amusement it provides – plenty… and sell that crappy PS4 and buy a refurbished PS3.

Andrew Joseph

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