Who remembers Skies of Arcadia? I certainly do since I played it over this summer. It was quite the game, one of the most memorable I (re)played this year, and it has quite the soundtrack too. Like most RPGs it’s an epic affair – 67 tracks with a run time of nearly two and a half hours. Overall it’s an enjoyable score with some real standouts, but if I had to name one track that has burrowed its way into my consciousness these past few months it’d be the final boss theme.
This may very well be the happiest final boss theme ever laid down for a game. The second half especially is a spectacular uber-triumphant-angels-singing moment that I never want to end. Thank you Sega and Overworks for bringing us this gem!
Panzer Dragoon Saga and Final Fantasy had a child and its name is Skies of Arcadia. (Actually, technically, Phantasy Star should replace Final Fantasy here since the Skies of Arcadia studio was made up of ex-Phantasy Star and ex-Panzer Dragoon staff. Without having played any Phantasy Star though, I feel more comfortable comparing this with Final Fantasy.) Nevertheless, this child of two franchises peddles more child-friendly content than either of its parents. The exploits of a few teenage Robin Hood-like pirates facing a cartoonishly evil empire covers most of the plot. As you might expect, there are definitely aspects of Skies of Arcadia Legends that are a bit formulaic and a little bland, especially in the story and characters. Continue reading
Videogames have found a wealth of inspiration from the first and second world wars, often adding their own quirky takes on the stories of hope and tragedy that emerge from these seismic historical events. (I’m curious to play the Shadow Hearts series, for instance!) Valkyria Chronicles riffs heavily on WWII – it is set in an alternative universe where you fight as the small country of Gallia, stuck between two warring world powers…
Adrian and I have been talking about women in the videogame industry a lot recently (as have many others from what I can gather). One of the weird things I’ve noticed is that what most people mean by women is white/American women (see this article for “The Most Important Women in the History of Videogames”). What about the contributions of women in Japan to videogames, I wondered? I am not going to contest the indisputable fact that women are under-represented in the games industry globally; this is undoubtedly true, and there are many factors for why this (women are under-represented in all STEM industries). I decided to do some research for myself into the matter, specifically to look for Japanese women developers.
I found some interesting women in the industry I hadn’t heard of before, and decided it was worth putting it out there. Because of my interest in a redressing the balance of most US-centric lists – and therefore reflecting women’s contributions worldwide – I’ve deliberately left out well known Western women who are covered in other lists. I also left out a number of women composers (of which there are many, especially in Japan), in order to focus on the game design/production side of things. Continue reading