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video games [Archive]

The METAL GEAR SOLID giveaway contest!

Here we are again, with another giveaway contest, and this one is for the highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid: Guns of the Patriots.

The rules are simple. Answer this question in a comment to this post: “What’s so great about the Metal Gear series anyway?” I’m not a gamer, so be persuasive. If you want to express your love of MGS in the form of a poem or a snarky one-liner instead of a brief essay, or in Japanese or Spanish or German or French or Greek or Chinese, you may do so! You can also express a negative view of MGS if you like, but then what would you do with the book if you won it, eh? EH?

On Friday at noon Pacific time I’ll choose the four lucky and skilled winners. I don’t choose randomly; you’ll have to actually amuse or interest me with your tiny essay! And yes, we will ship the prize book anywhere in the world, so don’t think you’ll be left out if you’re not in the US.

ICO—it’s real!

Well well, look what came in the morning mail:

It’s the advance copy of ICO: Castle in the Mist. You can get it next month, or…if you’re feeling lucky, in our giveaway contest that we’ll launch just as soon as we get the first box of twenty here at the office?


Yeah, you’re excited.

Why 4/20 is the greatest day of the year…

No, not for that reason, for a much better one! It’s release day for The Stories of Ibis and Slum Online.

As today is a special holiday all about wasting one’s time instead of engaging in productive pursuits, we’ll share with you something from Haikasoru’s own three million dollar man, Hiroshi Sakurazaka. People seemed to get a real kick out of All You Need Is KILL, a story of a young soldier stuck in a video-game style time-loop, and now we have “Slum Online—a very different story with a similar theme—the love of the game and misspent youth. Here’s what he has to say on the subject when Slum Online was released in Japan:

Writing Slum Online by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

When I was a kid, I used to go to the arcade with the money that I had swiped from my parents. At the time, arcade games used cellophane over the screen to simulate color graphics. Plus, they had a two-way joystick for control and one button to press; it was primitive as hell. Put a piece of wire of an electronic lighter into the coin slot, switch it on, and you got yourself a free game. (Felony!) Oh, those were the days.

Now video gaming has evolved into a domestic entertainment with a superb visual treat. You can go online and be in a virtual battlefield with your opponent. It’s a part of everyday life. But back in the day, the simple black-and-white shoot’em-ups were the craze, and I was totally hooked.

Now, I’m not denying those superior graphics and state-of-art technology. I am a firm believer in technology. The more it advances the better off the world will be. Who knows? Someday, we may be able to insert a plug in our necks to send signals to our brains. Hooray for the future. Lots of transparent pipes running through buildings and futuristic robotic maids! Wouldn’t it be fun? When that time comes, I’ll be one of the first to be in Akihabara and get in an early-morning line for a brand-new plug-in device.

The point is, it’s not the vivid life-like images that bring personality into the virtual space. Two-dimensional blocky graphics and coarse texture that are associated with the earliest video games can breathe life into characters. It all comes down to the player’s state of mind, I think. If you have been a gamer all your life, you must have developed a double, your own virtual representation. And the cyber you always feels somewhat detached from the real you.

That was what I wanted to tap into. I wanted to translate into text that surreal feeling that words cannot describe.

I would like to offer special thanks to SF Magazine’s editor-in-chief, Mr, Shiozawa who let me explore “what I wanted to write the most,” and to toi8 who magically transferred that indescribable feeling into visuals, and finally to my parents who let me steal their money and pretended to not notice.

I hope you enjoy this novel—another virtual world on a different plane!

We hope you do too. And come back tomorrow, for some special comments from Hiroshi Yamamoto, author of The Stories of Ibis.

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