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This Week in Anime - What Is An 'Anime Game,' Anyway?


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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 2561
Location: North Brunswick, New Jersey
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2024 9:16 am Reply with quote
Quote:
Galerians sold all of its cutscenes stitched together on DVD (and PSP UMD!) as an "anime" OVA!


Not true at all. Galerians: Rion is an original OVA based on the story of the first game featuring CG that people WISH could have been seen on a PS1, though (to be fair) some of the footage in Rion would be used in the intro for the PS2 sequel, Galerians: Ash. Now, yes, the Rion OVA was made by Polygon Magic, the same studio that made the PS1 game, but just look up the intro to the PS1 game & you can plainly see how incorrect that quoted statement is.

People will claim that certain anime based on video games are just "cutscenes stitched together", but the fact of the matter is that the OVAs that are literally that have pretty much never been officially released outside of Japan. Stuff like Spectral Force Chronicle Divergence (which is completely different from the OVA that ADV brought over, which was not an example of this) & Rebirth Moon Divergence are literally just the anime cutscenes from their respective games stitched together with a basic framing device between each cutscene, but those both remained exclusive to Japan.
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gsilver



Joined: 04 Nov 2007
Posts: 618
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2024 9:27 am Reply with quote
How can you mention both anime and Virtual-On in the same article, but not A Certain Magical Virtual-On?

Ok, the game was mostly forgotten and I'm just a big Virtual-On nerd who gets excited if anyone remembers the series at all.


//And I am part of the problem because I liked The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog.
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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 2561
Location: North Brunswick, New Jersey
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2024 10:11 am Reply with quote
gsilver wrote:
How can you mention both anime and Virtual-On in the same article, but not A Certain Magical Virtual-On?

Ok, the game was mostly forgotten and I'm just a big Virtual-On nerd who gets excited if anyone remembers the series at all.


A shame that it stayed exclusive to Japan, despite the anime involved in the crossover being relatively popular at that time in English, from what I remember.
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AQuin1904



Joined: 13 Nov 2021
Posts: 266
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2024 1:28 pm Reply with quote
Only one criterion matters: Does it have an air dash?
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Beatdigga



Joined: 26 Oct 2003
Posts: 4402
Location: New York
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2024 1:32 pm Reply with quote
I'd go with "something meant to bring to mind an official release or the tropes of a genre." Like Shogo: Mobile Armored Division. That's an old ass game (a contemporary of Half-Life 1) but one that went out of its way to not only have mecha, but also a Japanese opening song and a distinct attempt to capture the melodrama of mecha anime.

Then it got ignored mostly because Half-Life was just that good.
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b-dragon



Joined: 21 Apr 2021
Posts: 466
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2024 2:36 pm Reply with quote
AQuin1904 wrote:
Only one criterion matters: Does it have an air dash?



This was my criteria, especially for fighting games...until I started playing GBVR. The aesthetic certainly fits. But only a handful of characters have any midair movement tech, let alone an air dash.

At this point, I've discarded "anime game" as a distinction without function.
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Yuvelir



Joined: 06 Jan 2015
Posts: 1585
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2024 4:32 pm Reply with quote
All these scandalous mentions of the original Fate//Stay Night having sex scenes making it "way too spicy" always seem fun to me. Like sure, they were literally porn but that was so concentrated that as proven it can be surgically removed without leaving a big impact on everything else. Meanwhile more modern games, specially the gacha, feature some very lecherous character designs that will be lingering on the screen for way longer.

Is FSN really that scandalous when it's safer to play around your grandma than FGO?
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harminia



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
Posts: 2008
Location: australia
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2024 6:07 pm Reply with quote
When it comes to super anime games, I always like how Disgaea has next chapter previews that were really hectic. Definitely a series that captures the whole anime vibe.

I mostly play "anime" games I guess (but not games based on anime stuff beyond like DBZ Kakarot) but I just say "JRPGs" to avoid confusion lol.
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invalidname
Contributor



Joined: 11 Aug 2004
Posts: 2453
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2024 6:07 pm Reply with quote
I was thinking along these same lines the other week in the context(*) of how anime properties generally don’t cross over well into games. Square Enix published the Fullmetal Alchemist manga but even they couldn’t get a good game out of it; I recall back in the day that the highest rated FMA game was the GBA version of the licensed card game. Attack on Titan’s omnidirectional moving gear doesn’t seem to have translated into a popular game mechanic either. There have been dozens of Gundam games… surely one or two of them are pretty good? But I’ve never seen anyone play one outside the confines of an anime con game room.

Adhering to the styles and values of anime/manga storytelling seems to be where games find more success. Particularly in JRPGs: stuff like Fire Emblem, Valkyria Chronicles, and the recent Unicorn Overlord go down easily with fans of these kinds of protagonists and their stories. Also, thanks Chris for the gratuitous screengrab of everyone’s favorite couple in 13 Sentinels: Hijiyama and Okino.

(* - context being that someone on a Discord mentioned that Muv-Luv was likely to get its third mech combat game, despite the first two being terrible and fans clamoring for long-delayed visual novel sequels instead. Plus ça change… )
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JustMonika



Joined: 17 Jan 2022
Posts: 1000
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2024 7:12 pm Reply with quote
Anime Game = Visual Novel in my mind.

The Grisaia Series
Steins;Gate
Clannad
Island
Atri: My Dear Moments
Doki Doki Literature Club!
Shining Song Starnova
Making Lovers
Danganronpa Series
The House in Fata Morgana
Katawa Shoujo
If My Heart Had Wings
Nekopara
Aokana: Four Rhythms Across the Blue
My Klutzy Cupid
Maitetsu

And so forth
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Tenchi



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
Posts: 4471
Location: Ottawa... now I'm an ex-Anglo Montrealer.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2024 8:25 pm Reply with quote
I have a few legitimate anime games, most notably Zillion and Zillion II: The Tri-Formation on the Sega Master System (plus my brother had Spellcaster, which was a localization of a Peacock King Kujaku-Oh game and Black Belt, which was a sprite swap of a Fist of the North Star game).

I also have that Gundam Side Story 0079: Rise from the Ashes game for Dreamcast where at least my copy has an annoying glitch where I can't get past the second or third level (forget which one) because a certain cut-scene won't load (although I think I tried a level select cheat once to see the rest of the game), and I have a used copy of one of the Dynasty Warrior: Gundam games on XBox 360 that I bought for only a few Canadian dollars at a Value Village (a.k.a. Savers) thrift store a few years ago.

I've also played a few Japanese Mega Drive and Super Famicom anime games, mostly Sailor Moon-related, also that Gundam Wing fighter and a Tenchi Muyo strategy RPG, through maybe not entirely official means on PC.

The most recent console I have is a Playstation 4 and, while I don't specifically buy a game just because it's Japanese, all of the retail games that I've bought (or have received as gifts) for that specific console are JRPGs with anime-styling. One major advantage of most JRPGs for me is that I absolutely refuse to buy any game that's always-online, both because I care about game preservation (meaning, for me, the ability to still be able to play a game after the server it connects to is turned off) and also because I never really had any interest in multiplayer anyway, however most modern racing games force you online, ostensibly for anti-cheat reasons but also, obviously, to facilitate microtransactions, so I, as such, haven't touched a PS4 racing game despite enjoying Gran Turismo games in the past.

The PS4 JRPGs I have install straight off disk with no Internet connection required (though some of them have patches to fix minor glitches, and vanilla Persona 5 needs a download if you're like me and would rather hear the original Japanese dialogue). I certainly appreciate the anime aesthetics (if I didn't, I wouldn't post here), but that every single game I've bought for the PS4 has been some kind of JRPG is more of an unintended side-effect of the other sorts of games that I would otherwise buy having moved to an always-online live service model that I refuse to support than it is because I only want to play JRPGs (which isn't the case).
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FinalVentCard
ANN Reviewer


Joined: 28 Oct 2018
Posts: 518
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2024 10:24 pm Reply with quote
The whole "anime game" argument, depending on who it comes from, reeks of derogation. People who sneer at stuff like "power of friendship" when there's a lot of territory that Japanese games can cover. And so often it just boils down to people having it in for anything that wasn't made in the US. People actually were claiming that Elden Ring was "too Japanese", even though by all accounts Elden Ring has more to do with traditional fantasy adventure games like Ultima than it would with anything you'd think of when you use the term "anime game".

And that's the thing that a lot of folks really forget: just how much cross-pollination there is at work. Chris mentioned VA-11 Hall-A, and that's a great example: it so thoroughly nails the look of an old PC Engine visual novel that it has a thriving Japanese fanbase on that merit alone. Meanwhile, plenty of Japanese games have their origins in American inspirations. As long as people feel the need to other Japanese RPGs as "JRPGs", there will be a need to remind folks that the ur-"JRPG", Dragon Quest... was itself just a synthesis of the extremely-American Ultima and Wizardry games (Ultima inspired the overhead map exploration, Wizardry inspired the first-person view for the battle mode). Final Fantasy has its roots in being a glorified D&D module (down to using a ton of monsters lifted straight out of D&D's Monster manual AND using D&D's spell slot system). Phantasy Star is Star Wars, which itself is Akira Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress.

And then you have the whole "anime fighter" thing for fighting games where the whole thing literally boils down to "can you air dash"... even though a bunch of Japanese fighting games don't have air dashes as a central mechanic. So is Dead or Alive less anime than Under-Night In-Birth?

Also, I'm gonna echo how attitudes towards "dating sims" really need to change. So much of Japanese gaming has its basis in how adventure games (like, old text-based adventure games) worked--hell, going back to Dragon Quest, it used an adventure game-like interface to let you interact with the world around you. You had to select the "stairs" option from a menu to go down stairs. And important household names in Japan like Koji Igarashi got their start working on VNs like Tokimeki Memorial. There are tons of issues with VA-11 Hall-A, but at least Sukeban Games was 100% upfront with making a visual novel and weren't acting like they were uplifting the genre like the YIIK people.

Oh, yeah--and lets not forget how some American games got... "Japanified", I guess you'd call it?... on their way to Japan. Compare how the medieval-themed Pandemonium was reworked into the unrecognizeable Magical Hopper in Japanese (an inverse of Japanese games getting "Americanized").

The whole "anime game" is a complicated subject, which is partly why I don't refer to Japanese games as "anime games". Anyway, I'd talk about anime in one column but I already had a thing about Moonlight Lady a few columns ago, so I'll call it even :3
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#SuperSmashFamily



Joined: 11 Apr 2024
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2024 10:58 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
I'm not even super into visual novels or dating sims, and I always find those super tacky! It feels more disrespectful to games as an art form than anything else when we get groan-worthy games that are glorified commercials like I Love You, Colonel Sanders! or The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog.


Eh, the inner Sonic fan in me wants to push back on this, I have no idea about that Colonel Sanders game, but The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog deserves a lot more respect than to be lumped into the "joke" VN thing. Helmed by the Sonic Social Media team, they pitched it to SEGA and worked on it for over two years. SEGA wasn't asking anyone to do this. Katie Chrzanowski and her team did this (ALONGSIDE their usual day jobs) because they love the brand, its characters, the VN genre, and the fans.

They're aware of the whole dating sim as "joke," and they used the VN format because it meshed well with representing character dynamics and relationships, worked well within their budget, and also had people who were familiar with the genre (Dream Daddy, Goodbye Volcano High) to work on it. Which is why the end result is actually sincere. Make no mistake, it's been the first time in a LONG while since fans have seen a proper representation of these long-running characters and their relationships in video game format (after the whole Pontac / Graff era since Sonic Colors, head writers for the franchise who openly admitted to not knowing the Sonic Adventure games, which is like THE two games that redefined the franchise and its characters).

There's a lot more easier ways for the social media team to make a "commercial" than to make a game. The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog is a love letter to fans, though I can understand how it can be misconstrued as simply a "glorified commercial". Okay, I'll get off my pedestal. I don't why I wrote this, I didn't like seeing Katie and co's work being slandered based on reasonable assumptions on the usual "corporation tries to make a free game on April Fools". Also, to say that The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog is actually good, and you shouldn't feel bad about liking it.

gsilver wrote:
//And I am part of the problem because I liked The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog.


I'm talking about you, gsliver, don't feel bad! But yeah, that's about it
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Suxinn



Joined: 23 Jan 2009
Posts: 244
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2024 2:09 am Reply with quote
Quote:
when we get groan-worthy games that are glorified commercials like I Love You, Colonel Sanders! or The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog.

I also had to pause in the reading of this column to say that this is Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog slander! (/mostly affectionate)

I think it's fairly clear that the reviewer hasn't played it, which is valid, since most of these free April Fool's joke games turn out to be fairly pointless, but, as someone who's only ever played Sonic 2, I found that this game was actually a pretty well-conceived love letter to both visual novels and 2D Sonic games. It managed to combine some truly snappy, fun dialogue with a fairly good take on Sonic platforming in a 2D endless running environment. And I know folks who were never Sonic fans (me included) enjoying this little romp much more than they expected. It also has more robust accessibility options than I've seen in many other commercial games!

Anyway, regardless of my thoughts on Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog (10/10 game, would play again), I actually do enjoy silly free April Fool's games, even if they're just glorified commercials/cash-ins. I'm a sucker for free things, what can I say?
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onpufan



Joined: 22 Dec 2022
Posts: 130
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2024 2:24 am Reply with quote
In the Nintendo sphere it seems like anime game means Fire Emblem, Xenoblade, and post-Zero-Suit Samus Metroid, or just anything else people don't like when it comes to Smash Bros fighter announcements or Direct showcases. Interestingly I never see Pokemon get called an anime game despite actually having an anime.
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