Wherein I discuss a productive hobby week, a VTuber crossover, the smallest throwback, and the troubling state of affairs seen in the United States of America.
In my review of re:Dreamer earlier this week, I mentioned that I expedited the review, which is my way of saying that I dropped everything I was currently working on for Nigma Box and focused solely on playing this game and writing my review of it. This meant I was not working on other Nigma Box content and that I had quite the backlog to attend to this week.
Normally, I would just pace myself and do what needed to be done this week, but I was annoyed by how much was put on the back burner and decided to finish just about everything that was a work in progress. I finished the much-delayed re-editing of my 2016 novel, The Malice of Abigale Quinlan, I made header images for all of the remaining chapters, I edited and scheduled 3 reviews, and I finished the initial draft for my review for July 1st. It was actually a lot of fun going through so many projects, getting them finalized, and feeling like I was being productive on at least some level, as my workload has been diminishing, I don’t have to study as much because I’ve delayed my CPA exams.
This boon in productivity for Nigma Box content has also affected my schedule of games to play, as it is very light at the moment, allowing me to get around to tackle games that have been sitting in my review-queue for quite a while, such as Super Neptunia RPG. A title that typically would not make it into my queue due to its middling reception, but after I signed a blood pact by reviewing the prior 9 Neptunia games, it’d be weird if I just were to stop playing these games..
Anyways, the reason why I bring this up is because it was recently announced that the latest Nep-Nep adventure, VVVtunia, will be localized as was recently announced for a western release in 2021 on PS4, where it will be known as Neptunia Virtual Stars. This is expected, as beyond mobile games every Neptunia title has been localized, but in reading through the press release blurb, I was reminded of just how insane and wild this series has gotten.
Neptunia Virtual Stars is about a bunch of VTubers from Earth who get isekai’d into Virtualand, specifically on the planet EMO, where they become targets of the Anti, who wants to turn them into V Cubes. To save themselves, the VTubers conveniently summons the four central characters of Neptunia: Neptune, Noire, Blanc, and Vert, who protect the VTubers by slashing away at and shooting enemies in small battle arenas.
Also, when I say VTubers, I mean actual VTubers, who are part of this game. They have licensed dozens of virtual idols who present themselves as anime girls to appear and be part of this game. The series is no stranger to crossovers, just look at Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls, but this is taking things to another level. I would ask how or why, but I imagine that this, like most Japanese crossovers, was devised over a couple of drinks between business associates.
The retro console craze that sprang up a few years ago was understandable, as nostalgia for older systems is high, and the idea of owning a knickknack that doubled as an emulation box is, ultimately, a cool idea and would make for a good present for people who are big into video games. However, the idea of buying a system specifically to play older games, and buying one with an explicitly limited library has always struck me as a bit foolish due to how there are so many cheaper and better options out there. Sure, it’s official (and legal), but that does not make it better than a customized Raspberry Pi or a nice emulation-based handheld.
And I don’t think that anything represents this better than Sega’s recently announced Japan-exclusive Game Gear Micro. Sega’s attempt at honing in on the nostalgia that people have for the not-so-great portable Master System, and it seems… pretty awful. The system is a direct adaptation of the original Game Gear, with all proportions retained, but considering the height and width are both smaller than the Game Boy Micro. This makes the game both hard for most adults to hold, especially if one has larger fingers, and makes it darn near impossible for anyone to see the screen with clarity unless they are shoving the system right up to their face.
Oh, but it gets worse. Instead of releasing a single system with a set library of titles, Sega instead decided to only license 16 titles to return via the Game Gear Micro, and divided those titles across 4 variants, each of which only contains a paltry collection of 4 games. This means that to experience the full Game Gear Micro library, the player needs to buy all variants, and with each variant costing 4,980 yen, buying all four is just slightly cheaper than buying a Nintendo Switch Lite.
This entire concept just… does not make sense to me from about every angle. The system is bad physically, it is way too expensive for what is being offered, and the library is outlandishly limited when one stops and realizes that, beyond certain Sonic collections and a few titles on the 3DS eShop, the Game Gear library has never been made widely available. This could have represented a great opportunity to introduce the system’s library to a new audience. Instead, they are not even planning on releasing the system outside of Japan, where it will debut on October 6th, 2020, and where it will inevitably go on to become a collector’s novelty at best.
That covers it for gaming news this week, as most publishers or news distributors have been delaying announcements and holding off on reveals due to the current events happening in the United States. Typically, I do not like to address current political events on Nigma Box, but things have recently escalated and billowed into something that I cannot ignore.
Things are… bad right now in the United States, as unrest, protests, and riots have been breaking up all throughout this nation. All spurred by a mixture of anger over the persistent systemic racism found within the country, frustration over the federal government’s failures in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, the continued brutality of law enforcement in the United States, and… a lot more reasons.
The binary state of politics and the rise in radicalism has been positioning this nation for something major in the next few years, and this year has only accelerated things. People are angry. People want change. People are fighting against the machinations of society and demanding that they be altered, yet they are being met with resistance that only shows the follies of those in power and the failings of the systems that this nation is built upon.
It is deplorable that the armed forces of the United States are so brash, brutal, and cruel to non-violent civilians, and so quick to harm them based on racial profiling. It is horrible that these protesters get lumped in with rioters, who probably don’t care about anything and only want to benefit themselves by raiding and robbing local businesses. And it is beyond upsetting that this is all happening during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the continued interactions between protestors will assuredly lead to a rise in COVID-19 cases and further strain this country’s already overburdened and undersupplied healthcare workers.
But, of course, the most revolting truth that a radiant light has been shined upon during these troublings times is the continued racial inequality seen in this country, especially towards black people, as epitomized by the recent murder of George Floyd. It should go without saying, but yes, I condemn the racism, prejudice, hatred, and violence that has been expressed towards the black community. America’s treatment of black people has been abhorrent for centuries, systemic changes are necessary, and the fact that millions upon millions of people are being subjected to mistreatment on a daily basis due to the color of their skin is and has always been vile and moronic. Black lives matter, they have always mattered, and they will always matter! Fuck white supremacy! Fuck police brutality!
Things are bad, people are fighting to make them better, and the only thing most people can do is join up at the front lines, risking their health and wellbeing, donate money towards a good cause, signal boost these issues, and wait until the time comes to make a difference by voting. It sucks, it’s inconvenient, it should not be like this, and it’s going to be hard to make things better.