"Journey to the West" inspired artwork _ cover

The Journey to the West Narrative in Video Games

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Let me tell you a story, one that you are almost definitely familiar with in some fashion. It comes from 16th century China, and goes by the name of Journey to the West. The story tells the fictitiously augmented story of Xuanzang and his three companions with troubled pasts as they make their way across western China atop a white dragon to obtain sacred texts and return them home. These three companions may begin to ring a bell to you. (more…)

8.0

Fallen

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If you grew up in the ’80’s like me, you probably read your fair share of “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. I was obsessed with them as a kid, and when I heard about Fallen, I knew I had to check it out. You see, anytime I’ve played an RPG, I loved the game, but not the time commitment involved. Conversely, when I play most adventure game, I love finishing in an evening, but I really miss the story-telling that gives my adventuring and fight purpose. Fallen is the best combination of RPG and adventure board game I’ve experienced yet. (more…)

9.2

Coins for Anything: Fantasy Metal Gaming Coins

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The nature of fantasy culture relies on fantastic imaginary worlds where magic and fantastic creatures are common. Often inspired by mythology and folklore, fantasy role-playing and gaming might just be as close as we can get to experiencing our fantasies as reality. For as engrossing as a genre artwork can be, there are limits to immersing one’s self by merely looking at fantastic imagery. Board games and Role playing can rely heavily on figurines, costumes, and props. Coins for Anything has come up with a marriage of art and accessory with their line of Fantasy Metal Gaming Coins. (more…)

9.5

CritSuccess Dice Ring

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Gen Con 2013 was quite the gaming extravaganza. Apart from tournaments and events, there was the looming presence of the vendor hall—all the gaming swag you could imagine, the only limit to the fun to be had in this room was your bankroll. One of the greatest surprises of Gen Con 2013 for me was coming across the CritSuccess Dice Rings. (more…)

7.6

Paper Mario: Sticker Star

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The Paper Mario series has an identity crisis. Flat Mario has strayed from his RPG roots to a side-scroller in Super Paper Mario and, in his most recent iteration, has decided to take up sticker scrapbooking. It is still an RPG of sorts, but I say of sorts because Paper Mario: Sticker Star for the 3DS has no leveling system, stats, nor does it have any real story: (more…)

8.4

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team

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The Nintendo 3DS has had a fantastic year thus far. I’d go far enough to say that with the soon-to-be additions of Pokemon X and Y and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, this will be the best year that the 3DS ever has. One of the more recent additions to the 3DS library is Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (Dream Team Bros. outside the U.S.), the latest in the Mario and Luigi handheld RPG franchise. Not only that, the game is one of the lynchpins of Nintendo’s “Year of Luigi” campaign. (more…)

9.8

Fire Emblem Awakening

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Tactical RPGs are not in my comfort zone and, save some mainstays like Disgaea, it is a rarely released genre. That considered, on top of my unfamiliarity with the genre, Fire Emblem Awakening was not a purchase I expected to make. It is best-known for its notorious penchant for killing off characters permanently once they have been thwarted on the battlefield. (more…)

8.8

Infinity Blade

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Remember the good ol’ days of cellphone gaming? Solitaire and Snake. Forget those, Infinity Blade is the cell gaming lobotomy the industry needed. The game marks a revolution in the limitations of technology and whats expected out of mobile game developers. The iOS platform (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) has given a stage for games like this to shine on. Graphics, mechanics, storyline, and hours of gameplay are all attainable in the mobile environment. If you don’t believe me, download Infinity Blade. (more…)