Tag Archives: Okami

Expand Your Gaming Horizons

When was the last time you dusted off your passport? You might think I am talking about the documents you use to explore, play, laugh and cry in foreign lands. You would be correct; only I am thinking of a passport to explore digital worlds made in foreign lands. I encourage you to play games made by foreign developers and explore digital lands made by people with different perspectives.

You might have already played games made by Japanese, North American and European developers, and I have as well. My passport, as it were, is both well-worn and stamped.  To focus on Japan, I have, of course, played Nintendo and Sega games but not much else.

Then I started playing Okami and Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. These are two beautiful Japanese games that I love. I started playing them because I had looked for titles I had not yet played on PlayStation 3. I was not looking for Japanese PlayStation 3 video games at the time. I was looking for great games because I had bought this console late in its existence and wanted to play the best this system could offer, even though new consoles had arrived. The art of these two games, which I saw in reviews and impressions, intrigued me and piqued my interest.

Okami is a beautiful game made by the now defunct Clover Studio in Japan. I think this Japanese team poured their heart and soul into this game, and you can see this in every stream and peaceful garden in this work. They made this beautiful world while also drawing on Japan’s rich stories to tell a tale about freeing the land from darkness. For example, Amaterasu, the main character, is named after the Shinto sun goddess. The game also features a world that looks like a moving Japanese painting. To save this world, players add to the beauty and paint a better day. I felt had much more to learn about Japanese history after playing, even though I had taken one course on the subject. That the game was beautiful was crystal clear.

Ni No Kuni, which I have not finished, is the second game. Level-5, also a Japanese video game developer, created it with help from famed Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli. The artwork, especially the varied landscapes of a dry desert, active lava-spewing Volcano and haunted trails worthy of a terrible nightmare, grabbed my attention. The adorable creatures begged me to keep playing. Then the game exceeded my expectations by sending me ascending toward the heavens on a dragon. Unlike Okami, I’m not aware if any of Japan’s central stories or myths are in this game. Yet Ni No Kuni features a Pokemon-like battle system and proudly sports Japanese in its title.

Okami and Ni No Kuni are both beautiful games, and I’m glad to have read about and then played them. I would encourage everyone to expand their gaming horizons: play video games made by developers in different countries. You might not learn anything about life in that country —  I know I did not — but you could learn to appreciate different perspectives on making games. You might change the way you think about video games. You might even understand the world and people better than you did before. You might become a more open-minded person who has developed a sense of beauty and a love for humanity, not a love of mere discs.


Filed under Video Games I Play

Even Heroes Lose Their Save Files

Master Chief and Mario, our heroes and the greatest protectors of life on earth, decided to unwind. They sat down to play video games.


Mario: “Heya Chief! Hows about we play Okami.  Take control of Ammy and let’s a go!”

Master Chief: “Sure, Mario I’ll show you my way mad skills. Is that what the kids say?”

Once there was a dark wasteland before the white wolf. The darkness threatened to consume the peace on the land. Then Chief took control of Ammy and suddenly blossoming flowers, flame and bright lightning cascaded together. A rainbow formed in the sky and everything shone brilliantly.

Master Chief: “I did it! I restored beauty to the land.”

Mario: “Chief, you da best.”

Master Chief: “Well, they don’t call me a master for nothing.”

Mario: “That’sa lame.”

Master Chief: “Well, I’m a professional hero who fights aliens; humour isn’t my thing. Lay off me.”

Mario: “Look! Something’s wrong with the screen.”

Master Chief: “Huh? Noooooo!”

The screen froze after Chief had unlocked the two trophies for catching all fish and beating  the last devil gate trial.

Mario: “Chief, is that a tear running down your visor?”

Master Chief: “N-no… it’s nothing” [sniffle]. Come on we better get back to work. My job is to save the world. I was a fool to think I’d be good at these stupid video game things.”

Mario: “Wahoo! Let’s ago!”


Filed under Silly Video Game Inspired Fiction, Video Game Misc., Video Games I Play

A Video Game Laughed at Me

It started like a wonderful day. I rolled a large brown ball, perhaps it was a walnut, up the hill. Then I rolled what looked like a giant green cabbage up the hill. However, my good time went downhill after that.

Like Sisyphus, I was rolling a boulder, or beehive this time, up a hill, and it kept tumbling down after me. Sometimes the beehive rolled backwards, and while turning around to get it, I would inadvertently hit it, pushing it faster down the hill. Worse yet, sometimes the beehive fell off the cliff and cannon-balled into the water. Before I had the privilege of pushing the beehive up hill again, I had to move it out of the water and nudge it along the beach.

Then the video game laughed at me. Day changed to night as I failed to push the beehive to the top. Night changed to day. The game was showing and telling me: “Look, you are so slow that nights and days are flying by while you fail again and again.” Or at least that’s how the I interpreted the day changes. I could have an overactive imagination.

I felt better when I reached the top of the hill.  I had prevailed!  I was happy to never see that beehive again, and the laughing stopped.

What made feel better after all the pain and torture? The beehive excited a bear who jumped up and down, sang a song and danced. Yes you read that right; it was a dancing bear that made my day.

By the way, I was playing Okami. I recommend playing it to, at least, take in the beautiful world. I’ve warned you about the beehive though.


Filed under Video Games I Play