Here is the new series of video articles started by the ultra-knowledgeable folks at Hardcore Gaming 101. The first two are up, the beginning of series on Pre-Super Mario platform games and on the early history of JRPGs. Related is the video adjunct to the Game Club 199X Podcast, with over 50 videos. (Previously.)
So, how do you increase interest in your compact hybrid cars? Well, if you're Toyota, and you're selling to a Japanese market, you run an ad themed around the iconic music for one of the most famous JRPG transportation options. [more inside]
Reversing the Design: The Two Games of Chrono Trigger is an essay that examines the way that Chrono Trigger tells a story in two parts to the player using every aspect of the game's design. Aside from analyzing the game story itself, the authors also look at things like weapon power, player agency, quest design, graphics, dungeon layouts, boss scripting, and the battle system. The essay concludes with a list of design considerations that can be applied from Chrono Trigger to games of all genres.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is the first major video game to be developed by the legendary animation house Studio Ghibli (previously). Reviews are mostly ecstatic, with praise for its music and graphics. And Brainy Gamer speculates that, like Zelda and The Elder Scrolls before it, the game will be remembered because of its connection to the "perilous realm" that J.R.R. Tolkien described.
The Way is a 2D Japanese-style rpg you would do well to play if you are interested in the genre. It invests in characters, keeps you wanting to see what happens next and has one on one duels that are usually a part of the storyline. It's all fun and games until (your) blood gets spilt on the screen. First stop: Episode 1. [more inside]