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  #31  
Old 12-11-2017, 06:19 AM
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Episode 5: over Tengu Mountain and to the Dragon Pond
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfzzIQpQcpE


One comment about cultural references in this episode:

Zone 7 takes place in the real life region of Izumo. The lake is Lake Shinji, which really does have an island in the middle of it.

Once again, the region was chosen to fit the level theme: Izumo is especially connected to the Shinto religion. The region is also known as "The Land of the Gods" and it is the setting where many Japanese myths take place. If you go there today you can see one of Japan’s oldest shrines, the Izumo Taisha.

Obviously, given the boss and plot NPC at the end of zone 7, it was natural for the designers to put the level in Izumo.

~

And finally a note:
Episode 4 and onward were recorded in one big session. As I say at the end of the LP, I'm still new to video LPs and I am still thinking a lot about improvement. I would appreciate reading feedback if you happen have some as you continue to watch. If there is anything in particular that was amazing or terrible that I should take into account for the future, I'd be interested in knowing.
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  #32  
Old 12-13-2017, 08:18 AM
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Episode 6: Saving the Princess at Ryukyu Islands
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0U4wrTXULk
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  #33  
Old 12-13-2017, 12:23 PM
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One subject I mentioned in this episode was about finding places to use the "useless-to-marginally-useful" items in games, such as the bombs in Mystical Ninja. Even if the best places aren't all that effective, sometimes the satisfaction of having those deliberate spots that make the item fun or else are "befitting" for that item is enough incentive to use them. Hunting for these niche usages is also quite fun in of itself.

This is a deep vein about my own gaming habits that I didn't completely connect together from numerous individual games until I was thinking about it before this episode. If anyone relates to this, I would be super interested in hearing about more examples of marginal items you like to use and any other thoughts along these lines.





Two notes about cultural references in this episode:

i. Zone 8 takes places on the Ryukyu Islands. This is an archipelago that stretches from the southern tip of Japan down to Taiwan. If you've heard of Okinawa, then you've heard of one of the most well known Ryukyu islands. I suggest taking a glance at this article for numerous pretty pictures: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry...b0d9a5945d9218





The two websites I linked in the first post have differing interpretations regarding the way the game has weird looking NPCs in this level who don't speak your language. The first points out that the Ryukyu Islands are the home to several groups of peoples with a distinct culture and history from mainland Japan. In particular, there are several native languages on the islands which would explain the need for a translation book to talk to them. The second article believes that the NPCs represent Americans, since Okinawa has a rather well known American military base and some of the NPCs have unusual blonde hair.

I have no idea, but if you are like me perhaps you'll find that first part interesting. I never really knew thought about Okinawa other than being a wayward part of Japan whose locals have a particularly healthy lifestyles/genes. Learning that there was an independent Ryukyu Kingdom that was later incorporated into Japan was an interesting historical tidbit.



ii. What I found really cool though about this level (and completely unrelated to Ryukyu itself) are the Daruma dolls. This is a toy-like doll without arms and legs that is weighted so that it returns upright when you attempt to knock it over. Both bosses in this level, along with tons of the regular enemies, are based on them:





From Wikipedia:
Quote:
A Daruma doll (達磨 daruma) is a hollow, round, Japanese traditional doll modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen tradition of Buddhism. These dolls, though typically red and depicting a bearded man (Dharma), vary greatly in color and design depending on region and artist. Though considered a toy by some, Daruma has a design that is rich in symbolism and is regarded more as a talisman of good luck to the Japanese. Daruma dolls are seen as a symbol of perseverance and good luck, making them a popular gift of encouragement. The doll has also been commercialized by many Buddhist temples to use alongside the setting of goals.

Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th/6th century AD. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Ch'an (Zen) to China. Little contemporary biographical information on Bodhidharma is extant, and subsequent accounts became layered with legend.[1] According to one tradition, Bodhidharma gained a reputation for, among other things, his practice of wall-gazing. Legend claims that he sat facing a wall in meditation for a period of nine years without moving, which caused his legs and arms to fall off from atrophy.[2] Another popular legend is that after falling asleep during his nine-year meditation he became angry with himself and cut off his eyelids to avoid ever falling asleep again.



So the dolls lack arms and legs due to this legend about the monk they are based off. If you've ever heard about happiness/good luck charms in Japanese culture, then this is another one of those. The philosophy surrounding Daruma dolls often also involves "resilience", a trait symbolized by the fact that you can't tip them over.

Although these dolls are plainly commercialized, that doesn't mean they are without fun traditions: people use them to observe targets/goals by buying one and coloring in one of his pupils. Once it comes to fruition, they color in the remaining one.
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  #34  
Old 12-13-2017, 08:42 PM
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This thread continues to be awesome, Unfortunately the final act is the weakest part of the game by far. =/
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  #35  
Old 12-16-2017, 06:34 PM
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Yep, no contest really. It's the weakest level and unusually bland design wise. But it's not unfun to play, so prepare yourselves for the...

Finale:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx_XkY1yz10


And with this last update the LP reaches its conclusion.

This Let's Play was twice as fun as I expected. I learned some new things about the game, a lot of new things about cultural references, and I'll probably remember some moments for a long time to come. I know Solitayre was keeping up with all the updates, and for everyone else who watched the whole thing thanks for coming along with us!
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  #36  
Old 12-16-2017, 06:57 PM
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This game really saved all its plot for the last five minutes. I guess all the various masked gangs were all working together? That was super unclear. And what was up with the magical fox aiding the Hannya Shogun?

Great LP!
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  #37  
Old 12-16-2017, 07:28 PM
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Yeah, the plot details about the masked groups wasn't clear to me either until a year ago or so. I bet there is a joke somewhere in there, since apparently all 3 types of masks would be recognizable masks in Japanese culture, and the first mask is used for clowning around while the second one is supposed to convey beauty and happiness. Maybe to a Japanese person it'd be somewhat funny to see these masked groups working together or for the last act to reveal it was the evil Hannya masks pulling the strings.

And yeah: I don't know what the make of the Shogun! Let's recount what the Shogun had helping him: a magical fox (transformed into a Komainu), a badass samurai bow (and some kind of samurai mech to use it), the outward authority of acting as the king, and two armies of henchmen at his disposal. No motive or explanation how all this was possible!
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  #38  
Old 12-16-2017, 08:31 PM
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I don't know, I feel like a lot of the dialogue in the final scene was maybe lost in the localization.
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