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Ni No Kuni

Hayao Miyazaki, renowned director and co-founder of Japanese animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli, doesn't like video games. He once tried to play a PC version of the Japanese board game Shogi but it wasn't for him. "The PC checks all approaches," he said in an interview. "That's not fair." But despite his lack of fondness for the medium, Miyazaki’s studio teamed up with developer Level 5 to bring Ghibli’s incomparable style to the world of gaming. Released on the PlayStation 3 in Japan back in 2011, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch finally made its way to an English-speaking audience this week. It combines two of the country's greatest exports — it's an epic role playing experience with the look and feel of a high quality...

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I've been showing off PlayStation Vita to my family. Dad likes a bit of Xbox, mum is conducting another affair with Professor Layton, and my 10-year-old niece is an evolutionary miracle: half-human, half-iOS.

As such, I'm always keen to gauge their reactions to any notable breakthrough in gaming, away from the stage-managed, on-message, cut-and-paste hype of The Industry.

Beaming with 'look at me' novelty, Reality Fighters seemed a good place to start. And it duly produced "ooh"s and "aah"s in all the right places as I swiftly transformed mother into a ballet-dancing kung fu master and had her striking wildly at her Santa coat-and-skirt-wearing son in my parents' kitchen sink. It puts a new spin on child abuse, if nothing else.

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Revisiting Slow video games. A bunch of high quality ones are hitting the app stores, right now. The article discusses their significance and presents one approach to developing them.

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It is commonly thought that our brains and are minds are not entirely the same thing. I want to lift a concept out of the work of David Chalmers who states that the brain and the mind aren't the same and that the mind can be extended into the world

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A game of two halves.

Fetch the violins: I love football, but have always been crap at it. Whoever at Level-5 is responsible for Inazuma Eleven's concept is, I'd bet, in exactly the same boat: an enthusiast rather than an expert, the first to every match but one of the last to be picked. They know the dull ache of the substitutes' bench, or something like it. Inazuma Eleven isn't just a football game; it's a game about the love of football.

And one that's knocking on a bit. It's taken Nintendo over three years to release Inazuma Eleven in the UK, in which time it's not only been available in Japan, America and the rest of Europe, but has had two DS sequels and a Wii spinoff. Its age isn't nearly enough to warn you away from this, but Inazuma Eleven can feel clunky in terms of its menu screens and overall interface, which are aspects the series has since refined. But hey, this is Nintendo Europe, so let's party like it's 2008.

You play Mark Evans, a plucky young goalkeeper who's football-mad and the captain of his school team - which, at the start of the game, doesn't even have enough players for a match. The school is the hub for Inazuma Eleven, with most chapters constructed around a single match against a themed opposition team, and another chunk of the story to take you around the world map - a still screen that lets you jump from place to place.


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Super Mario Brothers for the NES. Often, people dismiss this game for having no story. This stance is just ignorant. Whether you like it or not, it's better to offer a detailed explanation of its parts and how they work together. Let's use the CED system.

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