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10:00 AM on 02.19.2015

Enrol as a Virtual Exchange Student in Tokyo School Life

Visual novels are nothing new in Japan but they're still incredibly niche in the west. I don't think we'll be seeing copies of Clannad or School Days on the shelves of Gamestop anytime soon, but they're gradually finding thei...

Anthony Redgrave


5:00 PM on 01.24.2015

[Update] Planeptune rules: Neptunia Re;Birth1 heads to Steam on Wednesday

[Update: Idea Factory International revealed that Neptunia Re;Birth1's debut on Steam was slightly delayed, and the game's release date is now Jan. 29] It's been a good while since Idea Factory International announc...

Salvador GRodiles

8:00 AM on 01.23.2015

PSA: Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds hits Steam today

If you've been itching to play a fun 2D beat em' game on the PC, then you'll be happy to know that MAGES' Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds game's now on Steam. Thanks to Degica's help in making this release possible, more...

Salvador GRodiles



PSA: Anime is the name of Steam's weekend game sale photo
PSA: Anime is the name of Steam's weekend game sale
by Josh Tolentino

Of all the geeky trends people took note of in 2014, one of the least appreciated is the Japanese gaming industry's growing embrace of indie development and global digital distribution. Sure, it's been happening for the last couple of years, slowly, but 2014 was a real kick in the pants when it came to seeing the fruits of Japan's "doujin" development scene outside the shadowy confines of Comiket. 

The most notable phenomenon has been the veritable Cambrian explosion of visual novels and other "anime" games on Steam, which is the de facto face of PC gaming, which to most folks is dominated by western-style titles. However, thanks to Steam Greenlight, Kickstarter, and perhaps the decline of the home console market in Japan, more "Japanese-style" games than ever are on the platform.

And if you needed even more evidence of the obvious, here it is: The latest Steam weekend sale is themed all around "anime". More than 40 games in the anime vein, developed both within Glorious Nippon and without, are getting crazy discounts from now until January 12th.

Notable among the offerings are Christine Love's Korean-themed visual novels, Analogue: A Hate Story and Hate Plus, the animal romance sensation Hatoful Boyfriend, Nyu Media's Cherry Tree High Comedy Club, World End Economica from the author of Spice and Wolf, no less than two Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm games, XSEED's ports of Ys I & II Chronicles, Ys Origins, and Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, and the dating-sim/travel primer Go Go Nippon! 

All those and more are going for cents on the dollar (or whatever currency Steam makes you pay in), so pick your favorites and possibly spend less than you normally would!

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Congrats to our If My Heart Had Wings giveaway winners! photo
Congrats to our If My Heart Had Wings giveaway winners!
by Josh Tolentino

Free stuff is great, isn't it? That's likely what you all were thinking when you signed on to our giveaway with Moenovel for free Steam copies of If My Heart Had Wings! Sadly, we only had five copies to give away, and we've just chosen them, thanks to the power of random selection.

Congratulations to our lucky handful, whose names and user accounts were selected out of the pool of correct answers to the contest question:

Kerlin

DarkDarts

MSJ

Lesik

Binary Mind

You lucky handful, you! You'll be contacted soon via email with your Steam keys! 

For the rest of you, if you're still interested in the game, it's available right now!

And remember: When in doubt, the answer is probably "Keifuu Academy". That's good life advice right there.

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Contest: Win Steam copies of If My Heart Had Wings! photo
Contest: Win Steam copies of If My Heart Had Wings!
by Josh Tolentino

[Update: Contest is over, everyone! The winners will be contacted by the email address they signed up for Japanator with!]

We've got a treat for you story-game fans out there, and it comes to you courtesy of our buds at Moenovel! The fine folks over there have given us five copies of their hit visual novel If My Heart Had Wings, in commemoration of the game's impending release on Steam, everyone's favorite digital distribution platform.

Those five copies are going out to five lucky commenters who can answer a simple question below! All you have to do is visit the game's website and find the answer, then place in a comment on this post while logged into Japanator (this part's important, otherwise we won't be able to contact you if you win!). The winners will be selected randomly from the pool of correct answers and contacted upon the game's release.

You've got from now until November 23rd, 2014, at 2200 (10PM) CST to post your answers, so get to it!

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8:00 AM on 11.12.2014

Final Fantasy XIII-2 time-warps to Steam soon

Ever since Final Fantasy XIII hit the PC way back in the halcyon days of last month, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that the rest of Square Enix's grand, ill-fated trilogy would eventually make it over as well...

Josh Tolentino

10:00 AM on 08.24.2014

Visual novel CLANNAD is getting a Steam release in English

During their panel at Japan Expo USA, Sekai Project announced that they are releasing Key/Visual Arts's CLANNAD visual novel on Steam. It will be the full-voiced edition of the game. However there aren't much more details bey...

Jeff Chuang

8:00 PM on 08.09.2014

Otakon '14: MangaGamer grabs eden*, euphoria, and more

As Otakon 2014 continues to invade Baltimore's region, MangaGamer's ready to reveals their latest acquisitions. This time around, the company's working on a goal that'll please many visual novel fans if everything goes accor...

Salvador GRodiles

10:00 AM on 07.23.2014

Cheers! Trails in the Sky's PC version gets a release date

As XSEED Games and Carpe Fulgur continue to work on The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC, the awesome folks at XSEED have announced that the first Trails in the Sky game's hitting Steam and GOG on July 29th (next Tuesda...

Salvador GRodiles

7:00 PM on 07.03.2014

AX '14: Sekai Project to localize Grisaia no Kajitsu, planetarian

At Anime Expo Sekai Project announced that they are partnering with Visual Arts, the studio that publishes high profile Key titles, to release planetarian in English officially. There was a previous release of it with a ...

Jeff Chuang







Review: World End Economica Episode 1 photo
Review: World End Economica Episode 1
by Brittany Vincent

[Originally posted at Destructoid.]

Visual novels are a finicky medium. It's difficult enough to drum up interest because of their exotic origins, and harder still to find an audience due to their nature -- it's a bunch of reading. And you can't always be sure that the story you're reading is going to be one that you'll want to invest dozens of hours in. On one hand, you've got a menagerie of engaging tales that capture the imagination and ensnare the reader until the very end. On the other, you've got a set of stories with dull, flavorless dialogue and uninteresting protagonists.

Why waste time on a less-than-stellar adventure when there are juicier ones at your disposal? I find myself asking this question and others when it comes to World End Economica Episode 1, Spice and Wolf author Isuna Hasekura's three-part visual novel series that follows a teenager who runs away from home and attempts to make a living for himself in the world of day trading. It's ambitious in scope, but ultimately ends up failing due to a lack of interactivity and a protagonist that's difficult to root for.

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