Beam Me Up

The plastic plate affixed to the entrance to the changing room says “Automatic,” but I have to press it anyway.  The door glides open, a Star Trek gateway 245 years early, and quieter too.  After removing my shoes I pass through a cloth curtain hanging over a entry into the main changing area, where I strip […]

The West Needs More Directors

How many Japanese game designers can you name off the top of your head? There’s Shigeru Miyamoto, sure. Readers of this site probably know about Suda51, SWERY, and Akira Yamaoka. Hideo Kojima. Yu “Shenmue” Suzuki and Tomonobu “Dead or Alive” Itagaki. Shinji Mikami. Fumito “Ico” Ueda. If you’ve been around a bit you probably know […]

Horror you can buy for ¥980

¥980 is about $10 right now. That is to say, it’s not very much money. It’s particularly cheap for a DVD containing “over 120 minutes of astonishing horror footage.” And yet, that’s exactly what 本当にあった 恐怖の心霊・都市伝説DVD BOX (“Absolutely Real Scary Ghosts and Urban Legends DVD BOX”) offers at that price. I was more than a […]

Loading… considers our favorite genre

You might recall that about a year ago, I had the pleasure of attending and participating in the Thinking After Dark conference (my notes: one, two, and three). Now, several of the papers presented at that conference (including, I’m honored to report, my own) are available in the latest issue. Half of the issue is […]

Japan Wasn’t Funny To Begin With

(This is an open letter to Tim Rogers in response to his extremely lengthy column Japan: It’s Not Funny Anymore, which was posted on Kotaku. I think I’m just about done reading Kotaku, as the signal to noise ratio has really gone south lately, but before I quit I thought I’d respond to Tim’s not-really-video-game-related […]

Halloween in Japan

Though this is technically my second Halloween in Japan, it is my first in a decade and my first in Tokyo. Halloween is not a big holiday here–it is probably better known as a day when foreign students get drunk and cause trouble than as a day related to pumpkins, trick or treating, or things […]

Nanashi No Geemu

I have to admit that the first information I heard about Square’s new handheld DS game, ナナシノゲエム (“Nanashi no Geemu,” lit. “Nameless Game” or “Game with No Name”), left me intrigued but skeptical. Now that the official trailer has been posted, I’m in all out excitement mode. The concept is simple, and quite Japanese: you’re […]

Snow Over Shibuya

I just got back from a month-long trip to Japan. Though I lived in Japan a number of years ago when I was in school, and though my wife and I go back at least once a year, this was the first trip in about eight years that lasted more than two weeks. Normally I […]

Zombie VS Ambulance!!

I was reading the latest issue of Famitsu (which, by the way, has a pretty awesome preview of Siren 2) when I ran across a crazy game called The Zombie VS Ambulance (THEVS). This is SIMPLE2000 game, which means its a budget title by D3 publishing (retail in Japan is about $18, which is ultra […]

History of Japanese Horror Cinema

My recent article on Japanese horror attempted to explain horror in Japan by examining some details of the Japanese culture. Nicholas Rucka takes a different approach in his fascinating article The Death of J-Horror?: he describes in some detail the history of Japanese horror cinema and why the current boom isn’t likely to survive indefinitely. […]