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It was a few years ago that I discovered Luminous Orange while browsing Japanfiles.com . Their 1997 album Waiting For The Summer was for sale and had some previews available. The first song I previewed was Garden of Stones and ever since then i have been a dedicated fan. Luminous Orange‘s style of music has had a few genre labels attached to it. Of these labels the most common are Shoegaze , dreampop/rock , and Alternative rock. So far Luminous Orange has released seven full length albums and three EPs since their 1996 debut album Vivid Short Trip.

Despite the group name , Luminous Orange is a solo project headed by composer , singer, and guitarist Rei Takeuchi with the help from many reliable musicians. The group has had a few performances outside of their native country of Japan including Paris and America’s own SXSW 2006 & 2007.

Personal Thoughts:
One thing Luminous Orange will leave you with after listening to their music is longing for summer. Maybe that is where the title “Waiting for the Summer” came from. Listening to songs like “Every single child” , “Walkblind” , “give a hint” , and “chapter 22” will invoke images of clear blue skies , sunny days , coastlines , or sunsets on the beach. Other songs like “Starred Leaf” , “The White Moon” , and “Garden of Stones” which are deserving of the dreampop/rock label may make you remember some interesting dreams you had or cruising around on warm summer nights. Each album also has a very good pace to it. Every song flows effortlessly into the next never breaking the rhythm of the album. I highly recommend giving Luminous Orange a listen. You will not be disappointed.

Favorite Songs ( in no particular order):
I saw no more
untold
flowline
riverboat
key for spring
drop your vivid colors
how high
garden of stones
chapter 22
walkblind ( original and 2009 version)
every single child
silver kiss
icicles
dump the wings
gertrude
starred leaf
sea of lights
song of experience
give a hint
rusty wheel

Favorite Albums/ EPs:
Songs of Innocence
Drop your vivid colors
Luminous orange super plastic
vivid short trip (7 stops farther) 2007 re-issue of their first album.

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every console has a few games that define it. Sega’s dreamcast had many of theses titles and if you asked any dreamcast owner what was this systems defining games i guarantee Jet set radio will be on that list somewhere. Jet set radio stormed its way onto consoles in June 2000 in japan and November 2000 in the U.S. The game was universally well received by the public and was often praised for its unique design. JSR was the game that brought cel-shaded graphics to the forefront of the gaming world. Another thing that JSR is known for is its upbeat soundtrack. The soundtrack was composed of a bizarre array of musical styles including Hip Hop, J-pop, rock, electronic dance, rock,trip hop , and some original tunes as well.

The Story of Jet Set Radio centers around groups of roller gangs that are referred to as “rudies”. These gangs skate around and spray paint the city as a means of expression and to compete with one another. players take control of a new up and coming gang called the “GGs”. The GGs must contend with 3 other gangs and obviously the police as the spread the teams logos all over the fictional city of Tokyo-To.

MY THOUGHTS:
Jet Set Radio would definitely be in my top 10 favorite games of all time. i can clearly remember the many days i spent skating around in the game listening to “bout the city” and “mischievous boy” . future graffiti inspired games like “mark echo’s gettin up” could have taken a page from this game and tried to be a little original. then again america seems to have a huge problem with that in the past few years. Level progression in this game never felt like a chore. Having fun was definitely priority one. Spraying graffiti was not difficult at all. a few twist and turns of the analog stick and you were finished. this task was made even simpler in the sequel/remake Jet set radio future which i had mixed feeling about. the soundtrack was definitely a lot of fun to listen to and i am glad Sega did not do anything dumb like replace the soundtrack with a bunch of american bands that might have killed the atmosphere of the game.

Future prospects:
Good thing i wrote this when i did. Sega plans to release a HD version of the game on September 18 (PSN) and September 19 (Xbox, steam). I am really excited about being able to play this game again. the dreamcast is part of my gaming legacy so any chance i get to play a dreamcast re-release is okay with me. who knows maybe if this sells well enough Sega might actually get around to making a sequel. its been awhile since Sega fans got a new dreamcast re-release. this was definitely a good choice to follow-up the release of crazy taxi and outrun. now all we need is sega to release a HD version of Shenmue 1 & 2.

It has almost been a month since gamers ended the five year long journey of the Mass Effect series. After fighting waves of enemies, logging over 100 hours , and playing the first two games repeatedly shaping the universe with different Commander Shepards. The fanbase was rewarded with one of the most polarizing endings in gaming history. The ending was so confusing and unanimously hated that gamers campaigned for bioware to create a different ending. Bioware has responded by announcing a “extended cut” of the ending to give gamers a better understanding of the events of the game’s ending due out in the summer.The fanbase is also divided on the ending itself. Some people despise the ending, but would not want Bioware to change it so artistic integrity is not sacrificed. The other side wants a brighter Happily ever-after ending. I actually agree with both sides. first off, I greatly despise the ending. The last 10 minutes of the game does a great injustice to all of the fans. after so many decisions and after the last epic battle defending the surface-to-air missiles while what seems like a never ending wave of enemies, we possibly have wiped out the universe. WHAT? That was my first reaction when the credits rolled. In the end we are given three choices. all which result in the sacrifice of Shepard’s life and all the mass relays destroyed. This is where the confusion begins. in the “arrival” DLC when the mass relay was destroyed it wiped out the entire star system. so if every relay is destroyed then all life would be wiped out right? The fan base has gone so far as to impose a theory on the ending known as “the indoctrination theory”. The creators of this theory believe that the events after Shepard is hit by Harbinger’s death beam is all his imagination as his mind fights indoctrination.

The evidence in the theory is a little rocky, save for the after credits scene when you choose the Destroy ending. This scene shows Commander Shepard waking up amongst rubble presumably in london. which would be impossible since the citadel explodes in space and the vacuum of space would have killed him. Then there is the side of me that actually wants a brighter ending where Shepard does not die. what is the point in saving the universe if you can’t explore it when the dust settles? I wanted to return to Rannoch with Tali and recieve the heroes welcome they so deserve.I am sure many were expecting something similar. After the all the death and battle across three games, is it a bit too much just to have Shepard and Garrus have a sharpshooting rematch on the beach somewhere? Even worse, players don’t even get to see the final outcome of the final decision made at the end of the Mass Effect 3. This is something i hope the extended cut addresses.
I just hope Bioware and other gaming companies take note of this ordeal and learn from. The lesson they should have learned? Don’t make confusing endings with elements that completely paradox the situations that has played out.

hey people. finally going to start posting again. I have just been busy with a lot of stuff lately. I hope to add to the already existing categories i have. unless i feel a new one needs to be created. so look for to my thoughts on various things such as retro gaming, the great east vs. west RPG debate, Mass Effect 3’s ending , traveling , and my thoughts on Las vegas. I also think i might post some of my writing to see what the world thinks. So hope you all are looking forward to it

In the long history of Video games, Many anti-heroes have appeared. Especially In this generation of gaming where anti-heroes are as popular as ever. Travis Touchdown however is by far the most interesting of them all. Travis is the protaginist of the NO MORE HEROES Video game series created by Goichi Suda and Grasshopper Manufacture (Killer7 , Shadows of the damned). NO MORE HEROES is one of the few violent and mature rated games for the WII system. The game features much of the same wacky humor and Over the top style that Killer7 did. Travis’story is far from complex or thought provoking which makes him instantly likeable. Travis is a hardcore otaku. The motel room that he lives in is covered from wall-to-wall with anime,video game, and pro wrestling stuff. After realizing he is completely broke, Travis takes on a job given to him by Sylvia Christel. The job was supposed to be a simple assasination. However, after the job is done Sylvia gives him the 11th rank in the UNITED ASSASSINS ASSOCIATION. After coming to the conclusion that he has unknowningly made himself a target for other asssasins , as well as the hope of having sex with Sylvia, Travis decides to climb the ranks of the UAA to become the number one assassin. Travis ‘ main mode of combat is a custom fighting style incorperating self taught sword fighting techniques learn from watching videos and pro wrestling throws. His main weapon of choice is his trademark beam katana that he won in an online auction.Personality wise Travis acts much like any other anti-hero. Brash,arrogant, hot tempered,blood thirsty and merciless to almost eveyone he fights, it is very rare that he spares anyone during battle. given his otaku nature, these character traits give travis a entertaining quality. I would definitely say Travis is by far the most badass otaku character in video game history. Hopefully the video game world has not seen the last of him .

And the First team article goes to the team that has had the most roster changes in KOF history, The Womens team. As the name obviously implies, this team in most cases is the only all female team in any KOF installment with KOF 2003 being the only year when there was two all female teams ( High school girls team, Malin/Athena/Hinako). The Women’s team has been a staple of KOF since it began in 1994. as of today the Womens team has only failed to appear in one cannonical KOF (XI) due to all the Members either being on different teams or not participating.

Odd fact: in KOF 1994 when each team represented a country (I am glad they did away with this) the womens team represented england. which did not make sense considering the team: King is of french nationality and both mai and Yuri are japanese

Team themes/Background music: The womens team themes have mostly leaned toward big band and swing style jazz tunes. however they ventured from this once awhile. namely their 94 theme “NE!” and 2000 theme “come up smiling”. these songs went for a more pop rock sound. while not as memorable as their jazz tunes, these themes are still fun tracks to hear during the game.

theme list:
1994-NE!
1995-ground creeping bass
1996-get’n up
1997-team themes were not used
1998-fairy
1999-sha la la
2000-come up smiling
2001-the queen of fighters
2002-masquerade
2003- I’m hot for you
XI- team was not present that year
XII-team themes were not used
XIII-who is queen?

Roster: for the first installments of KOF the womens team stayed the same with what is considered the core of the Womens team. 1996 the third installment began a trend of consistant member changes for the womens team.
Core members:

King(pictured on left) first made her appearance in the first art of fighting video game as a bouncer in the L’amour club. After battling with Ryo sakazaki she then joined the search for Ryo’s kidnapped sister Yuri. She has always been one of my favorite characters to use in KOF. A player could easily switch between Zoning tactics or rush in to unleash devasting combos. Next up is Mai Shiranui (pictured right/top) the self proclaimed fiance of Andy bogard. Mai first appeared in Fatal Fury 2. Much like King , Mai can easily go from Zoning to close quaters combat with ease. I primarily use mai in KOF 98. After that installment i barely touched her. Then we have Yuri Sakazaki (pictured right bottom). Yuri has a interesting story. From damsel in ditress in The first art of fighting to trading punches with the best of them. Yuri was a case by case character for me personally. There was installments that i never used her, then there were some that she was a character I frequently used.

after KOF 95 the womens team roster began a trend of consistantly swapping out a member.

Kasumi Todoh was the first of the new recruits for the Womens team. Kasumi made her debut in the third art of fighting game and is the daughter of AOF 1 character Ryuhaku Todoh. Kasumi would fight on the women’s team three times. The first time in KOF 96 when Yuri was force to fight on the Kyokugen karate team in place of her father. The second and third times was in KOF99 and 2000 due to the new four man team rule introduced in KOF99. However in a interesting twist, In KOF XI kasumi instead fought along side the Anti-Kyokugen team with Eiji Kisaragi and Malin.I heavily favored Kasumi everytime she was in a KOF game.


Chizuru Kagura was the 1996 tournament host and one of that year’s boss characters. Chizuru is a member of the third family that aided in the defeat of the god Orochi and is trying to convince Kyo and Iori to put aside their rivalry and prepare to stop orochi again. Chizuru fought on the womens team in KOF 97 so that she could keep a eye on Kyo and Iori. She would not appear again in the series until KOF2003 where she fought alongside Kyo and Iori to find out who was disturbing the seal of Orochi. I barely used Chizuru at all. Her playstyle however seem to lean more towards ranged attacks.


Li Xiangfei made her debut in Real bout fatal fury 2. Xiangfei has fought on the Womens team twice, once in 99 and and again in 2001. Xiangfei was a close range heavy hitting character. I wish i would have actually put more time into using her.


Blue Mary was another fatal fury female that somehow found herself on the womens team. She would fight for the womens team twice. Once in KOF 99 and again in 2003. Mary first appeared in fatal fury 3. Mary was a odd mix of grappling and close quaters combat. despite this i found her playstyle very fun and amusing. Mary had previously fought on the KOF 97 special team with Ryuji yamazaki and Billy kane.

Hinako Shijou was by far the most out of the ordinary character ever placed on the Womens team. making her debut in KOF 2000, Hinako cought a lot of players off guard. A petite girl that useds Sumo as her fighting style. Snk definitely got points for originality with her. Hinako had two KOf appearances. the second one being on the High school girls team in KOF 2003 with Malin and Athena Asamiya.

Final thoughts: The Womens team has always been around in KOF. I was overjoyed to have them brought back for KOFXIII. A KOF without them should not ever see the light of day. I definitely think they could use a rival in the KOF world. A secondary Women’s team of young upstarts would be a interesting choice. Especially since their Story mentions a article where B.Jenet was interviewed and labelled part of the new “Queen of fighters” and the original womens team getting furious over the idea of being considered a thing of the past.

I have been a huge KOF fan for many years. I’ve been hooked since the very beginning. ever year KOF just seem to get better and better. there were a few rough installments though 2002, and XII being the worst ones in the series. However with KOF XIII coming out in October and after watching gameplay videos, it has become very clear that this is the game that XII should have been. So to bypass time and for fun i decide to profile the various teams within the KOF universe. hope you enjoy it.

Its been awhile fans (if i have any at all ). i was recently doing some retro gaming and being nostalgic. After running through a few of my favorite games a thought came to me. Some of these games deserve a modern update. Some of the games i will mention still have a fanbase today. so here we go 5 games that should be remade.

1.Mutant League Football.

Mutant league Football was a shining example of what you could do with a sport and a little imagination. MLF blended the tactics of any other football title and combined them with a unique arcade like atmosphere. rather than playing as real athletes, MFL used an array of trolls, skeletons, and robots to compete with. To go along with the nature of the game, the fields themselves had unique twists to them. Pitfalls, landmines, ice fields are a normal thing while trying to make it to the endzone. Even on defense you had to be wary of more than just the enemy scoring. A interception could end with the ball exploding and killing several of your players. In a time where Madden dominates the Football games and realism in sports games is a must, I believe mutant league football would be a welcome alternative for those who just want to have fun with a sports game and not get caught up in real world statistics

2.Sunset Riders

Western influenced games have always been hit or miss.It seemed like no one could get the formula right until Rockstar games released Red Dead Redemption. However, in my opinion before RDR there was one game that got it right at that game was Sunset riders. Sunset riders story was pretty simple. you and band of bounty hunters traverse through the wild west hunting outlaws. If you played run and gun games like contra then you will feel right at home with this game. shoot anything in your way and avoid enemy fire. Sunset riders did a great job capturing the feel of a western with its level design including some levels where you go through them on a horse. Boss battles in this game were a mixed bag.The most difficult one appearing later in the game in the form of Chief Scalpen (changed to wigwham in the genesis version). Scalpen literally could not be hit if he was standing still forcing the player to shoot at him while he was flying through the air throwing machetes at you. Sunset riders at the least deserves a HD remake.

3. Comix Zone

I am sure you have heard the phrase “_____ was ahead of its time” before. In the case of comix zone this was very true. You played as Comic author/artist Sketch turner whose own Villainous creation mortus comes to life when ligthting strikes his latest comic “comix zone”. mortus then hurls Sketch into his own comic believing that if he can kill sketch in the comic world then he will become real. Comix Zone’s presentation was definitely mind blowing. Seeing the bright colors commonly used in superhero comics and watching Sketch leap through the pages of the comic was an interesting sight. The arcade action gameplay was a perfect fit. Although the game was heavily criticized for being overly difficult and too short, It received numerous amounts of praise for its gameplay, graphics, and soundtrack. Definitely another canidate for an HD remake

4.River city Ransom.

My favorite Side-scrolling action/Beat’em up game ever. The story of RCR was your typical go save the princess storyline. Alex’s girlfriend has been kidanpped and with the aid of his friend ryan are going to tear through every gang in the city to get her back. RCR was the first Beat’em up style game to incorporate RPG elements into this genre of game. By eating and buying items players enhanced their stats and gain new special techniques. as many of you know this game has already received an remake in the form of River city Ransom EX and a true sequel is in development. But i always wondered what a 3D RCR would look like. Imagine running around river city being able to walk in shops or throw a enemy threw a shop window.Basically a RCR game that played similair to the Yakuza games would be amazing.

5.Road Rash.

motorcycle racing games are a rarity. I can only count five of them off the top of my head, one of them being Road rash 2. If you played the Sega game Hang-on you might have also come across this game further down the road during the era of Sega genesis. The aspect that made Road Rash standout amongst other Motorcycle racing games was that combat actually played a huge part in winning. PLayers could use weapons or there own hands and feet to attack other riders. Sometimes the only way to get 1st place was to knock the rider of his bike and pray he stays down long enough for you to cross the finish line. Many years ago Road Rash randomly appeared on the 3DO, N64, and PS1 systems with mixed reviews. I think its about time the world got another does of this interesting racing game.

MvC3 is only a little over a week away And the entire fighting game comminity is gearing up for it. since my last update on the roster the remaining combatants have been revealed so lets take a look at them.
Capcom:

Finally Mike Haggar makes his long awaited fighting game debut. Now if only we could get poison into a fighter. I definitely plan on using haggar every once in awhile. so far from his gameplay vids his playstyle seems to be your standard grappling character. Next we have Crimson Viper from SFIV. two words capcom “Too soon” , I actually like crimson viper and think she is one of the better characters introduced in SFIV. I just don’t think she belongs in MvC3. Then we have Akuma. I very much dislike the fact that he is in this game. we have Ryu. that should be enough for the Shoto/ansatsuken fighters.if you were going to add another street fighter character i would have went with Rose. finally rounding out the capcom cast is Hsien-ko/lei-lei from darkstalkers. definitely a surprise but a very lackluster final character to reveal. i never got to use her when i played darkstalkers but i will definitely attempt to use her.

Marvel:

Storm was definitely one of the characters i was expecting to return. her fighting tactics in MvC2 have been well documented and she appears to play exactly the same way in MvC3. Phoenix was probably the biggest shocker on the Marvel side. I see her becoming popular primarily because of her dark phoenix transformation when her health gets depleted (must have five super bars). you pretty much are getting a extremely powerful 4th member by picking phoenix. I will admit i had no idea who Taskmaster was when he was revealed. after some research into the character and watching gameplay vids. I am definitely going to be using him. He appears to be a good mid to close range fighter. and Finally sentinel, huge ( no pun intended) waste of a character slot. If they wanted a huge character i say put Blackheart or Mephisto. once again, very upset that there is no Punisher. when will frank castle get his time to shine?

every once in awhile in the world of Manga and Anime, A truly classic and timeless tale comes along. Ah My Goddess is one of those stories. This series easily fits into the Comedy/romance genre of anime, but a person could also say that it is a modern day fairy tale. The story begins with the central protagonist Keichi Morisato. Unlike most central male protagonist of this genre of anime, Keichi is pretty much your everyday guy. goes to a university, belongs to a auto club, lives in a dorm, and has crushes. even when things spiral downward He remains cheerful and optimistic. It is because of this that Keiichi is granted Heaven’s blessing which is a single wish. When Keiichi attempts to make a phone call one night, his call is intercepted by the goddess help line. Right before his eyes the Beautiful Goddess Belldandy appears. After explaining why she appeared before Keiichi and reassures him that this is not a prank. Keiichi then skepitcally says the very words that will change his life forever, ” I wish for a Goddess like you to be my side forever” . To his surprise, his wish is granted and belldandy is to remain with him for the rest of his life. Despite this situation, Ah my Goddess manages tells a wonderful and sometimes profound love story. most of the first part of season mainly focuses on Keiichi’s day-to-day life with Belldandy. This includes Finding a new place to live (he gets kick out the dorm for violating their “no girls” policy) to explaining earth customs and holidays. However the couple must also deal with the occasional jealous pursuer or Malevolent spirit. Most of the shows Comedic aspects are brought about by the inclusion of Various secondary characters. My personal favorite of these Characters is Belldandy’s Older demon-goddess hybrid sister Urd. Urd basically wants Keiichi and Belldandy’s Blossoming romance to progress to a more intimate and physical nature. Urd uses numerous shady and strong arm tactics to achieve this goal whether its offer her own body to Keiichi to get him comfortable with a women’s body, or Mind controlling him into attempting to seduce Belldandy. The show also does a good job of balancing out the Comedy and Emotional aspects of the story. I am very glad they did this. Most cases these kind of stories tend to become overdramatic and boring. Another aspect of the show that i think needs to be mention is the amazing english Dubbing. Some anime fans would much rather listen to anime in its native language, however i definitely would recommend a viewing of the show in english. Eileen stevens does a amazing job of capturing the purity and serene qualities of Belldandy. I am sure anyone watching this series in english will instantly fall in love with her voice. Ah my Goddess remains at the top of my list of favorite animes. I would highly recommend picking it up.

Side note: Belldandy over the years has become a extremely popular character over the years. whether its her beauty and compassionate nature or her getting drunk off cola, she has manage to win the hearts of fans across the world. Although some small circles of people have critized the character stating that Belldandy represents a negative stereotype of women. most people tend to percieve Belldandy in one of two ways, indentured servant or the perfect example of graceful femininity.