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Pepsiman

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Semi-competent Tetris player here. (I'm no TGM grand master type you'll see at GDQ, but I can definitely hold my own online.) Tetris at its core is less about knowing what to do with specific pieces all the time so much as it is being able to recognize the connective relationships they can have with one another, as well as how to react in general types of situations that will arise as time goes on in your average Tetris session. There are certainly high-level meta theories about how you should be building up your "well" of pieces, as it's commonly called, but they're somewhat contingent on how individual games are played since different versions have adopted different rules at a granular level over the years. All of this is to say, any advanced strategies you seek out should only really be done for the specific flavor of Tetris you want to play, as not all tips and strategies apply across every Tetris game ever.

So back to the two things I was talking about before. When I say it's good to recognize the "connective relationships" between pieces, I basically mean the different ways that each piece type can interact with one another to create spaces and opportunities for other pieces to slot together nicely. In practical terms, this means paying attention to your well as it grows and examing the edges for opportunities to slot in potential pieces as they appear. This also means that you should memorize the shapes each piece adopts as they're being rotated so that after a while, you immediately know what sort of options are available to you positionally as soon as a piece appears in your queue without having to manually rotate it and reassess the board. Most pieces only have two shapes at most that they can adopt while being rotated, with the J and L pieces being the big exceptions and taking a little more time to get down pat. Eventually, doing all of this will allow you to start planning ahead for how you want to fill out your well before you even take control of a given piece in the queue.

Learning these rotational shapes as you keep playing more and more rounds will also help you recognize different situations where you can safely clear, say, two lines from the board or three lines, something you need to eventually be comfortable with doing when needed so that you don't end up screwing yourself over while waiting for an I piece to appear so you can get tetrises. At a more advanced level, learning these rotations will also help pieces navigate black space between pieces that you'd normally be blocked from entering, but that's not something you should concern yourself with learning in the very beginning. And more broadly speaking, learning these rotations and the possible relationships that each piece can have with each other will give you the insight to get out of troublesome situations quickly and reliably, such as when you have too big of a piece buildup in part of the screen.

In terms of when to hold a piece, my general rule of thumb is to hold a piece when possible if it either won't make a useful contribution to my current well (ie: won't cause any major gaps or start a pileup of pieces). There are also times when I hold a piece when I'm specifically trying to set up a particular shape on the board or when I'm trying to clear out a few lines in a specific way, but generally I use it as a defensive move myself. Sometimes this'll back me into a corner, especially when the reserved piece is the same as the one I'm trying to swap out, but the system is designed to cause that to happen, so at that point, you've just got make the best of what you have.

Really, in a nutshell, Tetris isn't about playing a perfect game so much as it is one that tests how you'll react to mistakes and inevitable gaps in the board that arise along the way. A lot of the skills I've described are things you'll naturally pick up over time as you play the game. In my opinion, most anyone can become a decent Tetris player with enough practice, as there are only a handful of core skills you need to build up and the game is designed in such a way that you'll intuitively catch onto them with experience. For what it's also worth, I think a lot of "modern" Tetris games, while very well designed, can be bad about teaching you the absolute core fundamentals of the game because of the additional gameplay flourishes they've introduced over the years and I suspect that Tetris Effect may be the same to an extent because of its own unique wrinkles that it introduces to the formula. So, what I tend to recommend to people who want to just focus on honing their basic Tetris skills without needing to worry about stuff like the hold system is to play one of the more basic older installments like the Game Boy one or one of the simpler variants that you can play for free on Tetris Friends. Then, as you get more and more comfortable with how the pieces interact with each other fundamentally, you can slowly start to play more advanced versions and slow incorporate those additional features into your overall strategy. Like I said above, each version of Tetris plays at least a little bit differently, so there can be a bit of an adjustment period as you switch between games when it comes to, say, how fast pieces drop, how quickly that speed increases, and how much time you have to rotate a piece once it's on top of the board (if at all), but playing a simpler version of the game will overall give you skills that can be transferred between versions.

Long post after a really long week at work, so hopefully that makes at least some sense. Good luck! It's a beautiful game to play in most any incarnation! c:

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Pepsiman

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I work in game localization and have to sign non-disclosure agreements with some regularity when registering my information with new clients and whatnot, so I think I can speak to this topic with some amount of personal experience. (Not in terms of leaking information, just with respect to handling sensitive information as part of day-to-day work.) While I can certainly see some leaks being specifically approved or at least known about by management under really specific situations, I wouldn't go so far as to argue that the vast majority of them are implicitly approved of in such a manner. Publishers do very much so still appreciate having control of the pre-release narrative surrounding their games, for better or for worse, and leaking information is generally going to be more obtuse and less indisputable upfront than going through a more traditional PR cycle.

If it happens too early in the development cycle, it can potentially be damaging to that game's image if it appears in a noticeably incomplete state without proper context and knowledge about game development. Extended marketing can potentially fix this once a game is ready to be more properly revealed, but it's still the sort of fire that ideally publishers don't want to have to worry about putting out in the first place, given the frankly lacking grasp that most of the general public has about game development at best.

In any case, I would argue that jobs are absolutely on the line when leaking information and that people can and do incur consequences for them. Not hearing about said consequences doesn't mean that they haven't occurred; if the source for a leak was anonymous to the public anyway, how is the public going to be able to confirm what happened to said leaker after the leak anyway? This is especially true where the leaker might well not have been a public-facing employee and may have limited or no social media presence, keeping any potential punishment that may take place behind closed doors. There are definitely very real stakes for people who leak. Patrick Klepek wrote a good story about how a rookie mistake handling a source almost cost someone their job here that's worth a read.

In my line of work specifically, the biggest stakes are usually reputational. A lot of times, people like me handle other types of legitimately sensitive documents in addition to just normal game scripts, so leaking information without good reason and then having it traced back to us would hurt clients' abilities to readily trust us with work assignments and have ramifications in terms of being able to line up future translation work, at least within the industry. (Obviously this isn't to say that there aren't ethical reasons where leaking information can be justified, such as when discussing occupational abuses and the leak, but primarily I'm talking about leaks of a less serious nature.) In fact, in the sorts of NDAs I sign specifically, there are often clauses that discuss my obligations in terms of network and data security that require me to keep things secured so that other people hopefully can't go snooping around and steal or leak information/data. I don't know if anybody has ever been actually sued for failing to live up to such a clause if information gets out because of a hacking or something, but the importance of that security in general is something that gets hammered into you very quickly when you first start this line of work.

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#3  Edited By Pepsiman

There are very old pieces of bootleg technology that I believe accomplish what you're technically looking for, but that sort of unsanctioned hardware emulation in the 90s was always wonky at best and isn't at all worth looking into in this day and age. And even if you did track one of those devices down, the sheer rarity of them at this point would most likely make one a lot more expensive than just buying an actual Famicom console and playing that, which I'd recommend, as long as you're not paying too much for it. (Do some careful window shopping on eBay before committing to any one listing if you go that route, though. A lot of sellers try to jack up the price based on nostalgia value when in Japan, you can get them pretty readily for under $30.) Otherwise, Gaff is right; neither the SNES nor Super Famiom are backwards compatible with NES/Famicom games. (EDIT: Yes, here's that bootleg adapter I'm thinking of: the Tristar. Like I said, it's obscenely expensive now and is only really has any collector's value to a very specific niche. Definitely would advise against picking up one of these or any similar adapters.)

The Pokefami DX is basically just a clone device that emulates the Super Famicom and lets you play Super Famicom cartridges portably. There is a Famicom cartridge adapter for that device specifically, but it almost certainly doesn't work on an actual Super Famicom since I doubt it contains much hardware beyond just connecting cartridge pins so the emulator can detect those cartridges. Don't bother with those sorts of devices, either. Some are okay-ish quality-wise, but they tend to have a dicey history in terms of the legal legitimacy of the emulators powering them (eg: improperly using open source code, etc.).

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@puchiko said:

Its probably built it. The story I read on Gematsu translated it as DLC so it could just be a misprint. But the game hasn't been fully revealed so we won't know until its officially out. Original Yakuza 2 you only played as Kazuma so adding a new chapter as Majima seems likely

@mrfluke said:

Majima's whole story is dlc? i thought that whole storyline was included in kiwami 2, still excited though, any opportunity to flesh out majima's character is fucking awesome.

The Japanese on the Kiwami 2 site says it's "an [new] additional scenario," which is a common way over there of just saying it's new story content for re-releases/remakes and in this instance implies that it's part of the base game. Unlike Kiwami 1 in Japan, this is also being sold at a premium price, like most Yakuza releases and the DLC for the special edition makes no mention of the Majima content being siphoned off, so I think it's very safe to say that it's part of the base game and Sega's marketing language since this game has been announced has always indicated as much.

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@shoguns_decapitator: I work in Japanese game localization. I'm not privy to Sega's inner workings specifically since I do freelance, but I'd say the chances of this getting localization are pretty high for a couple reasons:

  • The more expensive a game is to produce in Japan, especially on consoles, the harder it is to get a return on investment solely within Japan these days. It's no secret that the console market there isn't what it used to be and while it's in a little bit of a better place than it was this time last year because of things like the Switch, it's still overall a contracting market. If a publisher goes out of its way to only release a game in Japan, oftentimes either the niche it's catering to is still just big enough and the game priced high enough that they don't explicitly feel the need to go to the extra trouble of localization, or it's big and mainstream enough as it is that it can comfortably rely just on the Japanese market and isn't able to expand further out for various circumstantial reasons. Most games that fall in the middle, including more successful, but not million-selling, series like Yakuza cost just a little too much and have just a little bit too small of audience these days to always comfortably keep things within Japan and, indeed, many plans for localization are hashed out well in advance of the Japanese release, which is to say that complete silence on the matter until after release is hardly a sign that such plans were potentially spontaneous. Now, obviously, Yakuza games have a handful of entries that have still stayed in Japanese. This is conjecture, but up through the PS3 era and early on into the PS4 era when they were doing multiplatform versions of a few of those games, I suspect that Japanese sales, as well as the sales of its Chinese localizations, did indeed do well enough that there wasn't a hugely pressing need for an English localization. The fact that the team is very good at economically recycling graphical and system-level content between games also probably helps keep those budgets comparatively lean. This entry will actually probably be on the more expensive side than a lot of recent Yakuza games since they'll presumably have to make a lot of new art assets completely from scratch. Either way...

  • With the series on the upswing in terms of sale and reception to the recent games' localizations, not doing an English localization would quite possibly be leaving money on the table. It's quite clear that Sega is happy with the growth that the Yakuza games are experiencing overseas, especially given the reduced price tag for Kiwami. (You could argue that this is partly because Kiwami is a significantly shorter game than your typical latter-day Yakuza game, but this certainly didn't stop it from commanding a premium in Japan.) Even if this Fist of the North star spinoff can be profitable on its own in Japan, given these circumstances, if a company like Sega can be reasonably confident there's more money to be made by putting in that extra time and money up front to invest in a localization, they typically will. Yakuza might not be doing Persona numbers for the time being overseas, but it's definitely not nothing either. And in Sega's case, especially they're clearly in no particular rush to get Yakuza localizations out the door as a matter of quality and (likely) logistics producing such things in tandem with developing brand new entries. They've demonstrated a willingness to play the long game with these sorts of things and have generally been rewarded for their efforts. Now, obviously, some people reading this might say that even if this game plays like a Yakuza game, it's not necessarily going to appeal to all of them since obviously it's a FIst of the North Star game first and foremost, which leads me to my final point...

  • Fist of the North Star still retains a pretty strong following abroad, especially for an anime that's so old. I don't have raw numbers off hand, but given the series' long history of translations into other languages, it's fair to say that the potential market for a localized version of this game extends beyond just North America, the UK, and English-speaking Europeans. It's likely to be costlier than, say, the Ken's Rage games, given the enormity of your average Yakuza game script, but I'd also argue that given the source material's narrative strengths, in some ways, there's an even better case to be made for going to that much trouble than the Ken's Rage games, which I believe did get localized for European languages anyway. Either way, as a brand, it definitely has global recognition among both anime fans and just a particular generation of animation consumers in general, which again, provides an opportunity for more money to be made than would be possible if it stuck solely to Japan.

Out of all of these factors, the first bullet point is what probably weighs most heavily on Sega. Not only is this game going to probably be more expensive to produce than usual because of all the new art and animation that needs to be made, but acquiring that license probably didn't come cheap, both in terms of upfront costs and revenue splits. Many Japanese games have localization decisions made a lot earlier than in past generations because of such circumstances; the accounts can't really wait until the Japanese release is out the door to know one way or the other whether a localization will be needed to make ends meet. But the sorts of factors mentioned in the other two bullet points are definitely important, as well, and help build that case for both increasing budgets to do these sorts of spectacles right as well as take the time to bring them to other markets. I'm not saying it's absolutely a 100% chance that this game will come out in English because any number of things can get in the way and prevent that from happening. I doubt very much work has even been done towards that end, if at all, given that they still have to get an English localization for 6 out and now also very likely one for Kiwami 2 down the line. But I'd be very surprised if this game wasn't greenlit without a lot of these sorts of considerations already being made to some degree. The sort of money that gets thrown around even for mid-ish tier productions like Yakuza is just too much to risk procrastinating.

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Linda Cube has a really interesting spin on this. It's a Japan-only RPG for the PC Engine CD, PS1, and Saturn, but basically involves you going around trying to capture two of every animal for an intergalactic space ark before an asteroid hits your planet, which you can do nothing to otherwise prevent. (For the record, the game originally came out in 1995, so a little before Pokemon's initial release in Japan.) It was created by Masuda Shouji, who's been involved in the Tengai Makyo/Far East of Eden of Games and also created the Oreshika series, the Vita sequel of which actually did come out here very quietly as just plain old Oreshika.

Anyway, that preamble aside, Linda Cube's spin on the overkill mechanic is that to capture animals, you can either get them down to a small amount of HP or a little past 0 and they'll join you no problem. But, if you do way more damage past their breaking point, you'll outright kill them, which means that not only do they not join your arsenal, but you don't get HP for your troubles. So when dealing with weaker animals that you either missed or want to bulk up on (there's a lot of stuff you can do with excess animals you don't need to bring into the ark), you have to be mindful of how hard you actually hit them, meaning that you're incentivized to keep using weaker attacks later than you would in most games. There are also ways to configure your other party member and the hunting dogs you bring with you, which are AI-controlled, to also make sure they don't accidentally kill anything. It's a pretty wild game, all told, and very mechanically neat like that.

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#7  Edited By Pepsiman

To clarify my earlier remarks, I did some digging because I knew there were complaints about Binary Domain at launch, but apparently they primarily revolved around unoptimized keyboard controls as a shooter, which definitely impacted its reception at launch. I don't believe it was otherwise badly optimized, as that's also where I happened to play that game myself eventually. Still, it was a rocky enough launch and Yakuza being that team's baby in general that I think they'd still rather do the work themselves, if circumstances permit.

Also, Yakuza primarily existing on Sony platforms up until now ultimately has little bearing on the equation one way or the other. Sony ultimately has no ownership stake in it, so Sega can do with it what it likes and, as with the Wii U port, has been known to occasionally to go against that grain for its own business interests. The director of the series I believe has gone on record saying that it's primarily on Sony platforms because Sony was the most supportive of it conceptually at its outset and has continued to maintain that support. I otherwise highly doubt that there are any formal exclusivity contracts; these sorts of semi-informal reciprocal relationships are a cornerstone of Japanese business dynamics. Yakuza was one of Sega's first real breakout hits after leaving the console business behind and has probably stuck mainly with Sony platforms because of that legacy; Sony understood the property and was there for it at the right time. But now that Sega is in an overall better place than then, I doubt it'd seriously ruffle any feathers if they did decide to put in the time and money for PC ports. Sony as a company has displayed an overall neutral attitude towards it as a platform and clearly doesn't particularly view it as a threat to its own business in games.

@ajamafalous said:

How's the PSO2 port coming

PSO2 is more of an issue of resources needed versus perceived potential return on investment, especially if they were to hypothetically commit to maintaining platform parity with Japan (PC, Vita, and PS4). The text localization costs alone even before doing any editing, let alone voice acting, would likely be significant at this point after multiple expansions. Even if Sega was feeling like spending some money, which it can be for the right games, getting up to speed with where the Japanese version is at would be basically nothing short of a death march for any localization team now since they missed their point to stay in-sync at launch; either you're hiring a small army of translators to quickly produce a rough draft of probably several million words' worth of text at this point or you're only hiring a few translators, but they're basically working at a breakneck pace anyway that only begins to stabilize after they've gone through and translated every previous patch's new content, of which there's a lot. These are all assuming working conditions for such a project would be optimal in terms of resources given to such a team and their ability to have access to the developers for any problems that arise, things that you can't always guarantee. I know the English fan patch is a thing that already exists, but the logistics behind a project like that are dissimilar enough from how a localization at that scale is done that you can't really compare the two.

Then you get the costs of marketing and maintaining the game. Both are extremely important and costly because of its nature as a F2P game (ie: revenue predictions become more complicated to make when you can't make the same guarantee everyone has already bought into the game at $X with a retail package as was the case with the original game) and I think this is ultimately where the equation has fallen short, as Jeff has discussed previously on the Bombast. Phantasy Star Online certainly has its foreigns fans, but I don't know if it's big enough at this point to both ensure a healthy launch after already committing to the significant expenditures mentioned above and then also help continually drive new players to join the game and buy into its F2P systems to help pay for the maintenance and customer service staff that come with running an online game 24/7. Their best shot at making that work would've been within the launch window of the original PC version when all of that initial groundwork would've been somewhat smaller, but nowadays, the case is really tough to make and I say that as someone who really, really loves PSO2.

PSO2 was clearly a case of them counting their chickens before they hatched. If they hadn't announced the localization and shown off their work in progress version when they did and waited until they had more solid data, it wouldn't be nearly the sort of specter it is over the English fanbase that it is today. People would probably be in the dark about Sega's logic for not bringing it over in English outside of SE Asia, but at least their expectations would've been kept more in check, especially in the wake of the restructuring (read: staff culling) that happened at their American (and I believe European) offices within roughly that same time period, which is what probably ultimately sealed that localization's fate.

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PC ports I don't think are out of the question. Sega is almost certainly aware of the demand since many of the main people connected to localizing and marketing the series have a social media presence. But probably one of the big sticking points is the prospect of relicensing both a bunch of brands AND actor likenesses. There's an abundance of both throughout the series that potentially make this quite a pain since these things are likely negotiated on an individual basis and the sheer volume and prominence of both types within the main stories means they couldn't just necessarily quickly remake some assets and call it a day. As mentioned in a previous reply, there is precedence for it by virtue of the Wii U ports for 1 and 2. But those also sold rather poorly (albeit I'd say more due to demographic and marketing miscalculations than anything else), which might be another point against it. It'd also be a pretty big gamble overall considering they'd need to rely on foreign sales even more so than previous ports for a series with comparatively less (albeit growing thanks to 0) exposure. I'd make that bet myself if I were in that position, but it's tough calculus to make the numbers line up wholly favorably to make the suits actually paying for it feel comfortable in doing so, I imagine.

Barring all that, I also suspect that the Yakuza Team would rather do the porting work themselves, given how messy Binary Domain was at first when it first came out on PC. But whether they have the time and resources to do is another matter altogether; they're known to have multiple projects in the pipeline right now and are set to announce them next month, so if ports aren't one of those projects, they just might not have the bandwidth to do that stuff at the moment.

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This isn't really additional side content per se, but a neat little bit of trivia potentially worth watching for just a little bit: in the Chinese localization of Yakuza 0, Lao Gui, the hitman, actually looks entirely different and is acted by Hong Kong actor Sam Lee. It changes the character's vibe pretty significantly, but it's interesting to see Sega go that far in a localization to try and capture that particular market's sales. Here he is in his intro cutscene and boss battle:

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#10  Edited By Pepsiman

Of all the threads for my name to pop up in, haha. As someone well-versed (more than I should be) in this series, I personally say the official page should be PachiPara as one word because that's how it's treated in Japanese as an abbreviation, but agree that Pachi Para (two words) and Sanyo Pachinko Paradise should both remain as aliases.