Keeping Up with Japan's Premiere Mobile-Game Publisher, from Convention to Hostess Club

I’ve noticed something funny on my two trips to Japan: It’s hard to find accessorries for my big-screened gadgets. I tend to lumber around with a pluz-sized iPhone and an XL Nintendo 3DS in tow, but any cases, skins, decals or screen protectors on sale in Tokyo retailers like the 10-story mega-store Don Quijote are for the smaller versions of these devices only. As a culture Japan values efficient use of space, with dense but smart design infiltrating every corner of life, from Don Quijote’s packed, labyrinthine shelves to the sink in my hotel bathroom that doubles as the showerhead. That efficiency extends to the country’s vast gaming culture.

'I Am Setsuna' is a New Game for Old-School Final Fantasy Fans

I Am Setsuna begins with its hero, a mercenary named Endir, on an unassuming mission to rescue a girl. You slay the monster and the girl asks why you did it. Of the two dialogue options you can choose from, “This is our job” seems appropriate for this stoic warrior-for-hire. As the victim runs to safety, a man emerges from the shadows of the forest. If he was going to attack you, he’d have done it from behind, but you keep your guard up.

'No Man's Sky' Creator Sean Murray Talks Setbacks, Subreddits and Success

There’s never been a game like No Man’s Sky. It’s not just the vast, practically endless universe, full of rich colors and promising mysteries, or the bootstraps story of four guys who left their jobs making blockbuster games to forge their own path and craft a true work of art. More than anything, what makes No Man’s Sky amazing is the feverish crescendo of hype it built over the last three years since its announcement—and the fact that developer Hello Games was able to actually complete it with a small team of 15 people.

'Pokémon Go' is Making Me (and Everyone Else) Act Really Weird

When I lived in Boston I walked everywhere. Now I live in Los Angeles, and I walk almost nowhere. The farthest is to the bar down the street, less than half a mile away, and I’ve been tempted to uber there or back more than once. Blame the drink. Because of Pokémon Go I just walked more than a mile. I’m not saying that’s a good thing—it was midnight in LA and my girlfriend and I went the whole way face-deep in our phones. I’m just saying it’s weird.

There's a Lot Riding on 'Final Fantasy XV'

There’s a lot riding on Final Fantasy XV. The last few games in the series, though they have their sets of fans, haven’t had the same impact as the ones that made “Final Fantasy” a household name—entries like Final Fantasy VII and FF X. Number 13, in fact, wasn’t well received at all, and the fourteenth was a massive multiplayer online game—the same genre as World of Warcraft—whose original 2010 launch was so thoroughly botched that Square Enix had to totally redesign and re-release the game as something different three years later. So what’s riding on FFXV? The fate of the entire series, it seems—and maybe more.

Don't Let Life Pass You By Without a 'Hitman' Murder Drinking Party

The best part of Hitman is playing each new level until you’ve completed every challenge, killed your targets in dozens of different ways, and memorized the movements of every character and the contours of every hallway, ballroom and plaza. You can spend hours and hours replaying the same mission until everything is perfect—killing your targets without getting spotted, hiding their bodies, preventing any other casualties, and doing it all without wearing a disguise is the ultimate victory. And if I hadn’t achieved all that, I would have had a much tougher time killing Hitman’s first elusive target—especially inebriated as I was.

I Have No Defense For Enjoying 'Dead or Alive Xtreme 3'

Nostalgia isn’t a thing we only feel when remembering something that was great or perfect. I used to play the Dead or Alive Xtreme games, and I still do, and when I play them now I feel nostalgic for junior high, even though these games are pretty much terrible. I didn’t realize it at the time, but they are. Back then it seemed defensible—what could be the harm of ogling huge-breasted anime babes as they prance and frolic on beaches and volleyball courts?

'Captain America: Civil War' Proves Marvel is King of Character Development

Captain America: Civil War, the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), is less predictable than the last one, the lightweight if fun Ant-Man, and makes a hell of a lot more sense than the last big one, the bloated The Avengers: Age of Ultron. But it took a tweet for me to realize what I really love about Civil War and what Marvel has managed to do over the last eight years: These films do character development better than any others in the superhero genre.
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