Your Cow’s Milk May Soon Prevent HIV Infections

If you’re one of those people who stopped drinking milk after reading too much into dairy production, hold on to your asses ’cause I’m about to drop some hot science on you.

Quoth Gizmag:

While cows cannot contract HIV themselves, they do nonetheless produce antibodies in response to the introduction of the foreign protein. Those antibodies are passed along in the colostrum, or first milk – that milk already has a naturally high antibody content, in order to protect newborn calves against infections.

In laboratory tests, the milk-derived HIV antibodies were found to bind with HIV, inhibiting it from entering human cells.

Any discussion about genetically modified anything will inevitably follow one of two possible directions.

    • “What happens if/when all this crazy science goes wrong?”

    • “Do the risks even exist, and if so, are the potential breakthroughs worth those risks?”

I personally try to be as pragmatic as I can towards these arguments because hey, there’s some pretty nasty shit out there in the world that really needs to be dealt with, HIV being high up that list, and science really is the best, if not only, practical way to tackle those issues.

On the other hand: Mon-fucking-Santo. Now, this particular development has nothing to do with them, though it is a corporate biotech joint, so there’s sure to be big money involved. Mo’ money, mo’ problems. Biggie had that right. The more someone up the chain stands to profit, even from a humanitarian venture, the muddier the waters become.

Feel free to throw that last paragraph in my face the next time I scoff at arguments against privately-funded space exploration.

One last point of interest for the sake of clarity:

Instead of administering the milk orally, Kramski and her team plan on using it to create a cream. Women could then apply that cream to their vaginas before and/or after sex, to prevent HIV infection.

futurama farnsworth suppository
“Now if it comes in the form of a suppository…”

*sigh* Well, there goes my science boner.

One would think the application would have to occur after the sex, right? I can’t see it working beforehand. “Yeah baby, just let me slap a lil’ HIV cream on… hey wait, where are you going?”

Free idea: mix it in with condom lubricant. Bam, done.

Source: Gizmag.

Masked Bishop and the Holy Trinity Sight: The Decadal Suikoden III Retrospective

This week marks the release of Suikoden III in North America ten years ago. The game also came out in Japan at the same time and, infamously, never came out in PAL territories ostensibly due to quality control rules regarding localisation languages in Europe.

Suikoden III is an interesting game in that it marks the end of a lot of things about the series. This was the last game that original scenario designer/all-round Suikoden creator Muryama Yoshitaka worked on, for starters.

Muryama created Suikoden as a one-off game. Through a mixture of good timing and luck, the first Suikoden came out in a relative barren RPG landscape on the original PlayStation. That game did well enough to earn itself a sequel. Suikoden II, although set in the same world as the original game, three years in the future, functions as something more akin to a re-imagining of the original title. The (contextual) success of this title saw Suikoden become a bonafide franchise with three side games and a slightly dizzying array of merchandise and publications separating Suikoden II from its numerical successor.

By this point, Muryama had some sort of idea about the greater plot of the series. Although each game deals with regional wars in a technologically stagnant world, the arcing plot was growing more to encompass the role of the 27 True Runes, the magical crests which governed every aspect of the world. Their role in the struggle between Order and Chaos, intersecting with questions of free will and destiny were commented on in the first two games but really came to the fore in Suikoden III.

Despite the successes of the original batch of Suikoden games on the first Playstation, Konami had reservations about the direction of this overarching plot. The rumours persisted as to the reasoning, from simply busybody executives, to concerns that if the plot were to be wrapped up soon, then the reliable profit earner would be no more but in the end, the result is the same; Muryama Yoshitaka was to leave the team towards the end of Suikoden III’s development cycle.

suikoden iii hugo lilly
Suikoden III’s cartoon graphics allowed the game to maintain a bright and distinct visual style without proving too taxing or costly to make.

Suikoden III was also the swansong for series artist Ishikawa Fumi. Ishikawa was the artist from Suikoden II onwards, replacing Kawano Junko’s slightly more art nouveau style of work with a hard-lined, bright coloured look and more detailed costumes which captured more attention in the early 2000s. Although there is no indication of disastisfaction with her, she would be replaced by her predecessor, Kawano Junko, once a new producer for Suikoden IV was announced. That producer? Kawano Junko.

Let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that Suikoden III was the last traditional Suikoden title before it was overwhelmed by heathens, however. It is important to remember that Suikoden III was a very divisive title when it was first released. Although praised by contemporary critics at the time (the game still holds the highest average Metacritic rating for all Suikoden titles), the game proved to have as many detractors as supporters within the growing quote-unquote “Suikoden community.”

Although the Trinity Sight System that was the core of the games narrative proved relatively uncontentious, some complained of the repetition of visiting previously seen locales with new characters at different points in the narrative. Some were more irked with the idea that enemies, enemies, were Stars of Destiny in this title, showing the growing conservatism that quickly grips the fanbase of any media type.

This conservative element of the fanbase also dismayed of the series jump to 3D graphics over the beautiful sprite work of the first two games which lent the game a distinctive visual style. By choosing a slightly super deformed style over more realistic modelling, the game managed to maintain some semblance of a unique aesthetic while still maintaining clarity.

suikoden iii battle
The linked battle system, combined with the potential to deal collateral damage with wide ranging spells, proved controversial with long term fans of the series.

The majority of fandom complaints however stemmed from the battle system, which featured six characters sorted into three groups of two. You would choose the commands for one character in each group, with the second character entering into a sort of AI-informed support role on each turn, based on the commands selected. As far as RPG battle systems go, it’s fairly unobtrusive and easy to get to grips with even if it’s question what, exactly, it’s supposed to bring to the game but as far as a vocal segment of fans were concerned this was the equivalent of Dirge of Cereberus: Final Fantasy VII.

Suikoden III’s plot continued the themes of the original games, namely that of a local conflict where there are multiple points of view. The Trinity Sight System, however, allowed this to be explored with more than mere platitudes for the first time in the series. The ability to take on three different perspectives in the narrative, with the bonus of three other minor narratives for added detail, allowed Suikoden to process a more complicated and nuanced plot in a segmental manner, allowing layers to fall gradually and gaps to be filled in when dictated by the story and not the linear narrative of the first two games.

Not that Suikoden III’s story should be considered high art. It embraces the noble savage stereotype so hard you expect Kevin Costner to play the lead role and many story and plot elements are either of their time (if you’re being generous) or near farcical (if you’re not). But what it does, it does well, providing a broad stroke look at issues of colonialism, cultural development and the disconnect between war and those who would run them. Combining that with the most developed cast of characters in any of the games and the added layer of the predestination concepts mentioned earlier results in a plot that secures depth through the sheer physical mass of its storyline if nothing else.

In the end, Suikoden III was a game of incremental changes in gameplay, which angered a reactionary fanbase and plot nuances which met with wide approval. As a talisman for the series, it was largely a failure. It certainly failed to galvanise the series and fanbase in the same manner as Suikoden II.

Looking back, many fans view it as a sort of last hurrah for the series, even as it stumbles on like a zombie with 2011s Genso Suikoden Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki not exactly setting the world on fire. At the time, many thought it might mark the beginning of the end. Perhaps, uniquely in this case, they’re both right. Although it is amusing to think that a title which deals so much with stagnation preceded what some see as the biggest run of intellectual stagnation in an RPG series to date.

Team Hell No’s Unofficial Theme Song Is Awesome

The three best things I learned today are as follows.

1. There is a band out there called Shining Wizado whose sole purpose appears to be writing amusing songs about wrestling.

2. Shining Wizado did the hilarious track above in honour of Kane and Daniel Bryan, AKA Team Hell No, who are the best thing to happen to both the WWE’s tag team division and comedy wrestling in ages.

3. The Tumblr tag stream for “Leeloo Dallas Multipass” is kind of amazing, but that’s totally unrelated. Multipass.

Look, I understand that wrestling is pretty divisive by nature; you either like it or you don’t. That’s alright, there have been plenty of times when I’ve hated it too. It ain’t Shakespeare. That said, you need to hit play on that video right now. Don’t make me come over there.

Source: With Leather.

Got A Commodore 64? Get Ready For Super Bread Box

Vlambeer’s Super Crate Box for the PC and iOS devices is one of those crazy melds of shooting and platforming that never, ever seems to get old. Games like it have been around forever, or at least since… oh, the early 80s or so.

Segway! There’s now a Commodore 64 port of Super Crate Box on the way, dubbed Super Bread Box and developed by Paul Koller of C64anabalt fame. As someone who cut his gamer’s teeth on the C64, it warms my heart to see folks out there are still putting games out for the thing. Take that, Dreamcast homebrewers!

Super Bread Box will be out on a real, bonafide Commodore 64 cartridge sometime in early 2013, so you have just enough time to hit up your local pawn shops and flea markets looking for an old C64 unit that still works. Or, more likely, several broken units which you’ll then need to cannibalize for parts. Hope you know how to solder.

Source: Joystiq.

Community Isn’t On Tonight And This Is Why

I’m not even going to say anything. I’ll just let the cast of Troy & Abed in the Morning explain the situation for me.

Okay, scratch that! Maybe I will say something. Everyone has been worried about how the departure of Dan Harmon would affect the show, right? Then you really need to watch this video. It’s just clever enough that it should put most of those lingering concerns to rest.

As the date for Community‘s return is still up in the air, we might not know for sure how the show has weathered the backstage shakeup for a while. But even if this quick video is only clever based on the strength of the characters and their actors – who knows who wrote this, after all – we can still take some reassurance from the fact that the cast is every bit as sharp as they’ve always been.

Or, keep freaking out. You internet folks have that down to a science. Here, calm yourselves down with a bunch of stuff from Tumblr.

data geordi community

community troy emotions

community journey hawkthrorne

community troy abed

Source: Warming Glow. Images: Smoonie, Ginger Haze, Community Overdose, Periodically Sane, Enolah.

Final Fantasy XIII is Heathcliff and Other Tortured Analogies

In which Heathcliff is Final Fantasy X, Catherine is Final Fantasy XIII and Nelly is, I don’t know, Chocobo Mysterious Dungeon or Final Fantasy Mystic Quest or something. This is the end of the literary analogies. (Ehrgeiz is Isabella)

Almost three years after its initial release the received fan criticism of Final Fantasy XIII has never really abated. As is the manner of rose-tinted nostalgia, it is still viewed as a milestone marking a plummet in quality for the series by game players of a certain age, much in the same manner Final Fantasy II/III/IV/V/VI/VII/VIII/IX/X/XI/XII/XIV was the beginning of the end for the once always glorious series (hint: it never was that glorious). Isn’t it time for a reevaluation?

I admit, in my haste, I too wrote off Final Fantasy XIII. In my usual nuanced analysis, I used the Caffeine-Fueled forums to state “It’s just shit.” As criticism of a game title goes it’s about as poorly thought out and meaningless as it gets without me calling the people who did enjoy it blind fanboys who want to marry “Squeenix” (you see that’s not the company’s name so it’s very cutting to call them that, much like typing “Micro$oft” instead of “Microsoft”) and give birth to a multi-headed hydra consisting of belt buckles, Dragon Ball Z character designs and characters called Edge Maverick and Fayt Leingod.

Replaying the title earlier this month, however, allowed me to see plainly what this game is. It’s Final Fantasy X, pretty much. It’s all pretty simple and I know I’m not the first person to say it but here we are.

If you’re considered a beauty, it’s hard to be accepted doing anything but standing around.” – Cybill Shepard

“The prettiest corridor scroller you’ll ever see” is the backhanded compliment used to smack around the title. It condenses every stereotype about the series into one implication: Yeah, it looks pretty but it’s coasting on legacy and FMVs. Playing just to see the next rendered movie as if it’s still 1998. Some of the charges stick to some titles better than others. I don’t think it really applies to either of the games I’m discussing here.

The same charges were once laid at Final Fantasy X’s feet and the aesthetic similarities between the games is quite startling. From the frozen lakes featured in both titles to the blue glow tinted forests in Spira and Cocoon, the linearity of the titles weighs second to the physical similarities. Even the aesthetic of the “remnant buildings” in both titles, the cloisters of Final Fantasy X and the Pulse Vestiges of Final Fantasy XIII, is eerily similar.

Concept art for Final Fantasy XIII’s Lake Bresha (left) and Final Fantasy X’s Lake Macalania (right) show one of the many design similarities between the two titles.

You traverse linear paths through exotic locations for most of the game, eventually stumble into some settlements for further plot advancement and around about the final third or so of the game, you come into the game’s big open area; the Calm Lands in Spira and the plains of Gran Pulse.

Of course, all this matters only if you harbour some sort of fondness (or burning hatred works too) for Final Fantasy X. Still, the functional similarities are striking. Even the way NPCs and cities are designed and interacted with feels similar. Functionally, there’s little real difference between putting a shop option at every save point and plonking down O’aka XXIII down regardless of plot relevance beside the save beacon, unless you feel that O’aka and Wantz’s go-nowhere backstory about their sister is the very heart and soul of Final Fantasy X.

You may not be interested in strategy, but strategy is interested in you.” – Leon Trotsky

I think it’s pretty clear that Final Fantasy XIII’s Crystarium System is inspired by the Sphere Grid in Final Fantasy X. If not, here it is: Final Fantasy XIII’s Crystarium System is inspired by the Sphere Grid in Final Fantasy X. It constricts the field considerably in order to avoid overpowered characters for most of the game but the idea of buying stat upgrades and abilities on nodes through accumulated ability points in the absence of traditional level ups is something we’re familiar with by now.

The battle system, on the other hand, owes more to Final Fantasy X-2, which is the James Arnold Taylor fake fake laughter to Final Fantasy X’s slightly less-annoying James Arnold Taylor real fake laughter. Both games feature a focus on rapid role/job switching in mid-battle within a battle field that places some vague, and mostly uncontrollable, importance on positioning and chaining.

Final Fantasy XIII’s battle system is not a mess. It has clear boundaries and definitions, much like Final Fantasy XII’s that will, inevitably, chafe against the received wisdom of what an ATB system should do. Taping the confirm button won’t be enough to get you through a lot of random battles. This is a good thing. The downside is that the lack of job versatility allowed to the player shackles the chance for any real experimentation with the battle system.

Although holding more in common with its controversial sequel, battles in Final Fantasy XIII tend to strive for the sense of scale prevalent in Final Fantasy X.

If we accept that Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XIII share some similarities, we can at least arrive at the beginning of some sort of potentially constructive comparisons. It’s not so much that liking the earlier game while loathing its modern counterpart is hypocritical but it helps to demonstrate that even if Final Fantasy X is not universally beloved, neither is it treated as some Eldritch abomination that will drive normal RPG fans mad with the acknowledgment of its existence unlike its comparative partner. Although Final Fantasy could always use some more Lovecraftian references.

If you’ve heard this story before, don’t stop me, because I’d like to hear it again.” – Groucho Marx

The biggest difference between the two games is in their plot. Both have a very tenuous connection to the idea of distrust at a religious governments motivations to some slight pontificating on the cycle of death and life but here’s where Final Fantasy XIII really excels.

I’m trying not to say this in a negative way, but the reaction of the main cast in Final Fantasy X to revelations about Yevon, Sin, the Calm and so on is very JRPG in its nature. Your party kind of staggers for a few moments, someone is going to mutter “no, it can’t be…” under their breath and then 30 seconds later we’re all pumped up again to take down The Man. Fuck you, we won’t do what you tell us! It’s all very cathartic wish fulfillment I’m sure, but as a story that is ostensibly about six main characters and their interactions with a mainly monocultured fundamentalist theocracy it’s pretty lacking. The world is happening around these characters and they can manipulate it but it doesn’t manipulate them beyond pointing the way to the next story scene.

Final Fantasy XIII is different. Its soul-crushing government is tolerated and respected because of the security it ostensibly provides its citizens. The Sanctum’s temporal power does not exist just so as to provide a wall for bouncing concepts off.

The cast of Final Fantasy XIII react to each betrayal in a much more realistic manner. Yes, eventually some semblance of hope is restored because it’s a story but the characters still change. If Snow is chipper and self aggrandising, it’s because deflecting scrutiny of his half-molded personal code through purposeful hyperbole allows him to keep his dismay at bay. He’s not just the chipper character who takes everything in his stride. He can’t be. Snow’s pain, or Vanille’s pain, or Sazh’s pain isn’t there for the “deal with this character’s prerequisite” section of the game. It informs who they are, all the time.

Despite his whimsical design and rare use as a comedic character, Sazh Katzroy is one of the more emotionally developed, well presented black characters in the entirety of video games.

None of them can be the emotionally boisterous yet fundamentally well balanced and honest character archetype that infests JRPGs. Every party member in Final Fantasy XIII suffers from repeated betrayal, shattering their views and their concepts of morality and self. Betrayal from their government, from their pseudo-deities, from their armed forces, from their purported allies, from their fellow citizens and from each other, several times. The characters are still recognisable as the game continues, but the cracks are visible. The cracks in the masks that as human beings we all wear and change dozens of times every day to deal with different people and situations.

That is not to say that Final Fantasy X has no character development. Tidus, for all the knocks he takes, is a very different person at the end of the game than he was at the start. The other party members too go through growth, to varying degrees, albeit in a more traditional RPG manner wherein your party goes to the “Lulu place” and we get her development and next it’s the “Khimari place” and so on.

Final Fantasy XIII is more organic in its character growth. Yes, events happen to each of the characters and they react to them but they also talk in between them. They share information and show personality clashes and views that aren’t there necessarily to be the characters growth point or future Aesop. There are still big events, such as Hope’s return to Palumpolum but it’s different in that it isn’t “The Big Hope Development Segment.” Hope developed before that point and will continue to do so after his homecoming. The same goes for each member of your party. None of their stories is done until the end. When Tidus declares “This is my story.” it also (mostly correctly) implies that the other stories are over.

You can’t just have your characters announce how they feel! That makes me feel angry!” – Robot Devil

While Final Fantasy XIII tries something outside of its own comfort zone as regards narrative structure, it would be foolish to pretend that it accomplishes its goals perfectly. Concepts sometimes are not clearly defined and the facial animations are not yet accomplished enough to portray the kind of deep thought and emotional broadcast Square-Enix obviously wants the game to have.

The shift of this emotional content out of stilted dialogue is a welcome addition, even if vestiges still remain in the infrequent character narration segments. Due to the physical limitations of the characters, however, that content is increasingly shifted to the in-game summary of events. Lightning’s “I’m troubled that my well intentioned words have resulted in a dangerous situation” face is the same as her “contemplating eating a ham sandwich” face. Anger, happiness, sadness are all cromulently displayed but the nuances don’t always travel well and while taking such exposition out of the dialogue does wonders for the flow and naturalism of the script, shifting it into an in-game recap file is a stop-gap solution at best.

While easily rendering less subtle expressions such as rage or fear, true emotional subtlety is just beyond Final Fantasy XIII’s grasp when it comes to its facial models.

The fact still remains that well received or not, objective good or not, Final Fantasy XIII represents a tangible effort by Square-Enix to push the JRPG storytelling medium forward. Perhaps in incremental shifts such as learning Fira rather that some sort of Kefka-esque transformation from the World of Balance to the World of Ruin but it shows that right now, at least, Square-Enix is aware of problems affecting the JRPG market and is willing to leverage its overwhelming clout to shift things.

Final Fantasy XIII’s gameplay is not an abomination, or at least no worse than any other previous game . Its flaws are clear, yet its story provides real spark in a genre seemingly forever content to gnaw at whatever remains of its tail, an Ouroboros ground down to the nub. At this time, with the low prices you can find the game for, it may just be worth a shot if you’ve resisted until now.

Best Of VGM #2: The Jet Set Radio Medleys

This September, Sega finally released their HD remaster of the Dreamcast classic Jet Set Radio on Xbox Live, Playstation Network, and Steam, under the slightly pretentious “Sega Heritage” label. Most reviewers – even those with the same nostalgia-tinted glasses that I have – were less than enthusiastic about it, citing issues of age and the evolution of mechanics far beyond what JSR was flirting with in 1999.

Regardless of how you feel about how well Jet Set Radio has held up over the years, very few people would dream of disputing the timeless quality of its soundtrack, which is our focus here today.

The following three DJ sets, or “medleys” I suppose, were taken straight from the original Dreamcast disc. Unfortunately, the new HD remaster doesn’t appear to mix tracks together in the same way, or at all, which I consider to be the biggest strike against it.

This first collection begins with Deavid Soul’s “Up-Set Attack”, segues into Hideki Naganuma’s “That’s Enough”, and finishes with “Everybody Jump Around” by Richard Jacques.

Our next tracklist features Deavid Soul’s “Miller Ball Breakers”, “Funky Radio” by B.B. Rights, and Toronto’s “Electric Tooth Brush”.

Finally, here’s a big compilation of five real oddballs: Hideki Naganuma’s epic “Sweet Soul Brother” and “Rock It On”, Guitar Vader’s hilarious “Super Brothers”, a quick break with Castle Logical and “Mischievous Boy”, and then one more descent into Guitar Vader’s madness with “Magical Girl”.

Not enough for you? Check out BearGamesTV’s YouTube channel for the rest. Huge props to him for compiling all these; short of securing a Dreamcast copy and ripping these mixes yourself, this is probably the only means available to hear these songs as they were originally intended to be heard.

As pointed out on this week’s Merch Table, you can purchase the soundtrack digitally via iTunes or physically through Amazon, albeit with a few tracks missing thanks to licensing issues. See also: any DVD release of old MTV animated series, such as Daria or Mission Hill. Don’t you just hate that?

Image: NeoGAF. Cube is the best character. Don’t argue with me about this.

The Merch Table #2: Super-Bikinis, Ridiculous Ski Beards, & More!

Last week, I relaunched The Merch Table with a sparse three entries, the best of which wasn’t actually purchasable just yet. So I feel the need to put a few more chips on the table this time with five – count ’em! – five of the best new geeky wares the internet has felt kind enough to bring to my attention.

So hang onto your PayPal accounts, folks. The Merch Table #2 is a go!

captain america bikini

Superhero Bikinis

So, what is it? Hand-crafted beachwear in several superhero-themed patterns.
Where can I find one? Etsy.
How much? $100

Whether you have a significant other with a taste for comic book characters or you’re just into all that yourself, why not show it off a little bit… ifyouknowwhatimean? It could also double as a somewhat risqué cosplay option. Watch out for cameras.

Disclaimer: these superhero bikinis will not impart any superpowers, unless you count turning heads.

ski beard mask

The “Beardski”

So, what is it? A fake beard combined with a ski mask, of course!
Where can I find one? BustedTees.
How much? $29

Feel like earning yourself a little more attention on the mountain than you’re used to? Get yourself a Beardski! It’s a ski mask! It’s a beard! Seriously, what else could you possibly want?

Well, maybe a Viking helmet…

transformers transforming hat

Transforming Hats

So, what is it? A toy Transformer that turns into a hat. Or a hat that turns into a toy transformer?
Where can I find one? The Big Bad Toy Store.
How much? $25.99 to $49.99 (via preorder).

If you are the most obsessive Transformers fan on the planet, here’s the one thing you probably don’t have: a transforming hat. Or is it a hat transformer? Is it more than meets the eye, or is it in disguise?

Whatever, just be glad it’s an Autobot and not a Decepticon. You probably don’t want Starscream resting on your head. Bad times. I’ll hold out for the Beast Wars versions.

game of thrones toilet wall decal

Game of Thrones Toilet Wall Decal

So, what is it? A wall decal that turns your throne into something… throne-ier.
Where can I find one? Etsy.
How much? $29.99

If cleaning your bathroom is as arduous a chore for you as it is for me, why not buy one of these Game of Thrones wall decals for the space behind your toilet? Who would notice the mess if you’ve got one of those back there? Then again, most women dig a clean bathroom and there’s no telling what sort of reaction this would get.

Here’s hoping that you win this game of thrones because I can’t think of a worse place to die.

jet set radio soundtrack

Jet Set Radio Soundtrack

So, what is it? A digital rerelease of the Jet Set Radio OST.
Where can I find one? iTunes; Amazon (CD only).
How much? $9.99

Regardless of your feelings on Jet Set Radio and how it’s held up over the years, it’s hard to deny that the soundtrack was amazing. I’m not talking about the scraps of licensed radio hits that were added for US audiences (how many games of this vintage used “Dragula”, anyway? A dozen?) but rather the oh-so-very-Japanese original tracks.

If you haven’t heard those songs before, believe me that the $9.99 is well worth it. A returning fan? Well… what are you waiting for? I don’t need to explain this to you. Get movin’, Super Brothers!

…and that’s all for The Merch Table this week. Next time? Next time!

Petitions Never Work, But Here’s One For Suikoden

It’s nice to dream, isn’t it?

Fans of Konami’s long-neglected RPG epic Genso Suikoden have been starving for fresh non-portable, non-Kickstarter content these last several years, and while I’m sure this isn’t the first online petition to surface in that time, the Suikoden Revival Movement on Facebook does at least appear to be surprisingly well put together. But will it help?

Forgive me for being all bitter and pessimistic and “damn kids get off my lawn”, but the only time I’ve ever seen a fan movement on the internet accomplish anything was the “peanuts” campaign for Jericho, wherein fans of the cancelled post-apocalyptic drama secured a short second season by flooding the CBS mail room with packages of peanuts.

Well, that, plus the Browncoats buying DVD set after DVD set of Firefly out of their own pockets until Universal caved and greenlit Serenity. In both cases, the results could only be considered partially successful as they provided closure rather than continuation, or an easy-out for the studios to finally get all those pesky fans off their backs.

This isn’t an indictment on the Suikoden fans out there; I am one myself, after all. Hell, if it weren’t for my dabbling in the various Suikoden fan communities (Dukedom of Gaien represent!) I might not even be doing this right now, and my long-time posse of John Layfield and Thor McOdin and most of the forum folks wouldn’t be here either. All I’m saying is that Konami could be well beyond hope at this point. Quoth Jim Sterling:

…the fans are dealing with Konami, a publisher that might not even know it’s a videogame publisher these days, so I can only wish them luck on what is sure to be a frustrating journey.

suikoden valeria screen
Valeria speaks for the fans. Little scary, that.

That said, it’s important to note that the Suikoden Revival Movement’s campaign is very pro-active, rather than simply collecting social media props, and they aren’t shooting for the stars here either: their first goal, to get both Suikoden and Suikoden 2 on the Playstation Network worldwide, is probably quite attainable, or at least mostly attainable as regional versions of those two games currently exist without any major restoration or localization being necessary. The more development effort required on Konami’s part, the less likely this is to happen.

Personally, that might actually be enough for me. The ultimate goal – a proper continuation of the main series continuity a la Suikoden VI – has felt like a total impossibility for years and I think most of us are resigned to that fact by now. Suikoden VI happening seems about as likely as Sega dusting off the original pre-online Phantasy Star franchise for a refresh, or Square Enix finally doing something new with Chrono Trigger.

Still, Konami stands to lose very little by getting Suikoden 2 up on the Playstation Network alongside the original, already available in most territories. HD remasters of the PS2 games, or even just straight-up ports for PSN, are total longshots yet still fall squarely into the “would-be-nice” category in my mind. Hoping for anything else feels like a setup for heartbreak.

suikoden 2 flik screen
Flik’s dark prediction of a world without Suikoden.

If you’re interested in adding your voice to the chorus, hop on over to their Facebook page and click the Like button. It’s not phone calls and emails or tiny packages of peanuts, but it’ll take maybe three seconds out of your day and sometimes a little moral support can be really nice to have. If you do happen to have more time to spend on this cause, check out their activity calendar: it’s quite forward-thinking, meaning that unlike 99.9% of petition movements out there, these guys might actually stand a pretty good chance of accomplishing something.

Hey, while you’re over there, check out the one true Suikoden fan page, too. And then this. Y’know, for the moral support!

Source: Destructoid / Images: RPGFan; LP Archive.

Here’s That Full, Uncut Trailer For Shin Megami Tensei IV

Those of you who know me personally (or even just from certain excesses on the forums) should be well aware of my Atlus fandom by now. Persona titles specifically and Shin Megami Tensei at large have been my jam for years now, ever since the decline of Phantasy Star and Suikoden. These games are the last, best hope for the JRPG as we know it, and I have on occasion gone out and bought whole new consoles for them. Yes, I am that guy.

So here’s the full, uncut TGS trailer for Shin Megami Tensei IV that Atlus just unleashed into the wild. Give it a whirl. Tell me if you see what I see. Just be ready to lock down your wallet if you do; there’s a very real chance that I might end up buying a 3DS just for this, much like that shiny new Playstation Vita I’m tempted to obtain for Persona 4 Golden next month. I don’t expect you to fall down that rabbit hole with me.

Maybe I could get used to eating cat food? My Pickles seems to really enjoy it.

Head over to Siliconera for a subtitled version if you’re having trouble with that irksome language barrier. It’s okay. I won’t tell anyone.

Source: Siliconera