Qoo App Is The Easiest Way To Play Japanese Google Playstore Games On Your Android Device

There are many tutorials out there for how to play Japanese Google Play Store Apps on Your (non-Japanese) Android Device. When I got my Google Pixel 3 a few weeks ago I researched how to install games such as Idol M@ster Million Live. I found a tutorial of how to use Tunnel Bear VPN and create a 2nd Google account and change your country. I did so, and was able to download a few Japanese games no problem… but somehow inexplainably, a few hours later, without me doing any thing at all to my phone or new Google account, my country had changed to the United States. And Google has this weird policy where you can only change your country once every 365 days… I could in theory make about 365 different Google Play Store accounts – but there’s a much faster and easier way that allows you to download Japanese Google Play Store Apps without needing a VPN like Tunnelbear and without creating a 2nd Google Play Store account and without having to change your country.

The answer is Qoo App. I had used Qoo App before on Bluestacks to download some games so I was familiar already with the service.

Please Note: I have no idea how safe this is… I have not had any issues but I am not responsible for anything that may happen to your account or your device… Qoo App claims to personally verify every game on their site and be virus free. But I don’t actually know how safe this is – so please understand you are accepting some risk in using this service.

To get started, you will want to visit https://apps.qoo-app.com/en on your Android device.

You will need to register an account and download the qoo app itself.

Qoo App cannot be obtained in the Google Play store.

But Android devices allow you to install apps from other sources – you will be presented a warning about how this app may harm your device – If you feel brave go ahead and accept the risk and install Qoo App.

Once Qoo App is installed, launch Qoo App to browse their games. It claims the games are coming directly from the google play stores. So now you can finally get those games that claim to not be available in your country.

Most games will not be in English – except for a few global versions of games that support multiple languages.

You can even Pre-register for up and coming games.

You can search for games with different tags, such as Otome or Fashion or Idol or RPG or Card to name a few! You’ll also be shown related similar apps to explore. You can also see the newest added games or see what’s popular right now.

Once you find a game you like, you can install it right from Qoo App.

After the game is installed, you will find it in your app drawer, just like a regular app that you would download from the Google Play Store. You don’t need to launch Qoo App to launch a game downloaded from Qoo App. Just launch the app right from your app drawer or create a shortcut on your home screen.

Qoo App lets you get games from Japan, China, Korea, and other Asian territories.

Not all games are available, but a huge selection are there.

Qoo App also has exclusive offers for in-game event items and bonuses.

They also provide reviews and news about new and upcoming Asian games.

Say goodbye to TunnelBear VPN and Hello to Qoo App.

Qoo App Is The Easiest Way To Play Japanese Google Playstore Games On Your Android Device was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

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Pachinko – The Japanese Slot Machines

Pachinko- The Japanese Slot Machines

Gambling has long been a taboo in Japanese culture, an area largely used by the Yakuza as a means to make money and launder money, but there’s one kind of gambling that’s both generally accepted and almost exclusively played in Japan! Rather than playing slot games like the ones we have in the west (such as https://games.paddypower.com/c/jackpot-king) it’s more common that you’ll see characters in anime or dramas playing a game called pachinko! But just how do you play pachinko and are they really like slot machines?

How to play Pachinko

Pachinko is often compared to slot machines for the bright colours and random chance of a win but they’re actually more closely related to pinball!

Here’s how it works, when you find a parlour and a machine you instead purchase a certain number of balls to play with. The balls are quite important, each one is specially designed to be unique to the parlour they’re used in and it’s illegal to remove them from the premises. Once you’ve paid for the balls, you can launch them around an arc like regular pinball and the balls are left to drop down the screen.

The screen itself is covered in small pins that the balls bounce off, as well as altering how they fall, with the goal being for a ball to land in a cup. The cups are quite narrow and it’s difficult to secure this win without a bit of luck. If a ball enters the cup then you get a pay-out and can exchange the balls for a prize.

You may be wondering why these machines are considered similar to slot machines – well, the answer is that the modern units have begun to include slot features which can be triggered when a ball enters a pot. These spinning reels can then trigger a larger jackpot of balls! As it is illegal to pay out money for this sort of gambling, these balls can only be redeemed for a prize which can be chocolate, cigarette lighters or even something as advanced as a bicycle!

So what’s controversial?

The controversy around pachinko is that there will inevitably be a prize known as a ‘special prize’ which usually consists of a gold or silver piece encased in plastic. The sole purpose of these prizes is to be sold to a small outlet store which buys the prize back for around the ‘value’ of the balls. In this way, the pachinko industry neatly side-steps the law and is largely endorsed by the police and government – thought it wasn’t always like that. Before the 1960’s, the Yakuza were heavily involved in pachinko parlours and it was only through the efforts of the police that their influence diminished enough that pachinko became socially acceptable.

Much like slot machines, pachinko machines will regularly be based upon established media and you can find games based on Dynasty Warriors, Berserk, and many other popular franchises!

So, are you interested in giving pachinko a go? Let us know in the comments below!

Pachinko – The Japanese Slot Machines was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Sonic Mania PC Game Review

Title: Sonic Mania

Genre: Platform Game

Publisher: Sega

Platform: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

Where to Get: I got Sonic Mania and a buncha other Sonic games in a humble bundle, but if that bundle is over you can find the games on amazon or steam.

Release Date: 2017

Overview: Sonic Mania is one of the newest Sonic Games, however, it pays homage to 90s oldschool Sonic and is very well received by 30+ year old Sonic fans, as well as a whole new generation of gamers.

Gameplay: 10/10 – Sonic is back in a new game, with levels re-designed from the original Sonic games as well as all new levels created for Sonic Mania. You can play as Sonic, Tails, or several “new” characters first appearing in Knuckles Chaotix or Arcade exclusive sonic games. To play the game as other characters you will have to select the characters at the starting screen – you cannot switch characters within the game.

The levels are fun and fast and action packed. You run, jump, spin, and dash through the levels. There are many different paths in each level and many hidden objects, including entrances to bonus stages to capture chaos diamonds. Overall the gameplay is fun and full of nostalgia

Story: 1/10 Sonic isn’t a story-centric game, and it doesn’t really need a story. Timeline wise, it is said to take place after the events in Sonic and Knuckles. Lack of story does not hurt this game, but if you’re looking for a game with a great story, this is not it.

Characters: 5/10 – I enjoyed seeing Sonic and his friends return in an all new game, and it definitely brought back nostalgia and my childhood, but without a story, there’s no real personality or character development here. Once again though, games like this do not really need character development to be central to the player’s enjoyment of the game.

Graphics: 7/10 – The graphics are done in a bright colorful oldschool pixel style. This is not for everyone. Clearly this game is wanting to appeal to old school gamers who grew up with the original Sonic. Me? I liked it. But your opinion may be different. I did see some anti-aliasing and rough edges as to be expected in pixel style games, mostly especially when playing in fullscreen mode. There are different filters and options you can enable in settings to try to minimize this jagged-edginess.

Music: 10/10 – The music is definitely old school too and a great homage to the Sega Genesis Sonic games, which always had some pretty fun music.

Replay Value: 10/10 – The replay value is high because there are different characters that you can play as, each with their own unique abilities that make taking different paths through the same levels very unique experiences. No two characters play exactly alike. There are also different gameplay modes such as time attack and multiplayer competitions.

Nostalgia: 10/10 – This game set out to be a tribute game to the 90’s Sonic games, and it succeeds at this in an unprecedented way, welcoming back into the fold Sega fans who felt disappointed with the past several Sonic games.

Geeky: 5/5 – Nostalgia and pixel graphics and great soundtrack that 90s kids will love, make Sonic Mania chock full of nostalgia.

Sweetie: 2/5 – Lack of story and lack of character dialogue make this a game that is definitely outside the norm of what I normally enjoy or normally review here. However I think the nostalgia and cute/colorful graphics and anthropomorphic animal characters will appeal to most of my readers, who are already probably familiar with the Sonic franchise.

Overall Score: 60/80 75 C “Good Game for Girls”

Sonic Mania PC Game Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Helix Waltz Review Casual Fashion Dressup Mobile Game Like Nikki Dressup Queen

Title: Helix Waltz

Publisher: Ubeejoy

Release Date:

Genre: Dressup Otome Game

Platform: IOS and Android

Price: Free with optional in-game purchases

Where to Get: https://waltz.ubeejoy.com/

Overview: 10/10 Helix Waltz is very similar to Love Nikki Dressup Queen or Romance Diary with a few differences. It has a slightly more detailed / less “cutesy” artstyle, and more focus on story. In fact, before getting the meat of the game, you must go through a very lengthy tutorial, that for a mobile/casual gamer will probably take more than a few days to complete. In this tutorial you learn a lot about the story and setting of Helix Waltz. This is where we see the majority of the differences that set Helix Waltz apart from other similar Dressup Games.

Story: 10/10 Helix Waltz puts you in role of a young orphan adopted by a (former) noble lady, and being groomed for a life of royalty. A strange visitor also enlists your help as a spy amongst the noble court. Your job is to chat with other nobles, gather intel as a spy, and impress them with your fashion to work your way back as a noble family. There is definitely more backstory than found in most dressup games, and that story is tied to the gameplay too.

Gameplay: 9/10 Like Love Nikki Dressup Queen and Romance Diary, you compete in Fashion Battles with NPCs to advance through various story stages. You collect various items which you layer and equip together to create unique looks. Each level requires certain styles or colors of clothing to get the best score possible. Such as equipping a dress, or tops and bottoms, along with shoes, stockings, jewelry, necklaces, rings, bracelets, hairstyles, makeup, and so on.

helix waltz anime dressup game
helix waltz anime dressup game

Unlike Love Nikki Dressup Queen or Romance Diary, the majority of the game is focused on navigating through the story and playing against NPCs. Until you reach at least level 19 when you finally complete the lengthy tutorial. Playing 2-3 hours a day, it will still take a few days to complete all of the tutorial missions to get to the free play mode. I have yet to complete the tutorial so I’m not sure if Helix Waltz allows you to compete against other human players as well.

helix waltz anime dressup game
helix waltz anime dressup game

Also unlike Love Nikki Dressup Queen, but similar to Romance Diary, Helix Waltz focuses more on Otome aspects, but not so much on romance. Instead it has a very interesting story of intrigue and deceit. At the waltzes, you can search for specific NPCs or you can wander about and bump into random NPCs, you can select various things to chat about and choose your responses which will affect the NPC’s moods and overall opinion of you. You can also challenge the NPCs to a fashion battle, or you can eavesdrop on NPCs to gain valuable intel.

I enjoyed the unique approach in both story and gameplay to focus more on infiltrating the noble court and gathering intel. I didn’t enjoy the linear nature of the game in the early levels and lengthy tutorial.

helix waltz anime dressup game
helix waltz anime dressup game

Artwork: 4/5 – The artwork is very detailed, but to me it isn’t as cute as similar games like Love Nikki Dressup Queen or Romance Diary. This may just be down to personal tastes. I’m sure some of my readers prefer the art style of Helix Waltz over the other games as well.

Music: 4/5 – The classical music fits the game’s theme very well. You also have the option to change the music later in the game.

helix waltz anime dressup game
helix waltz anime dressup game

Geeky: 2/5 – Although the aspects of infiltration and espionage add a new exciting twist to the traditional gameplay and story mechanics of most dressup games, this game is still for casual female gamers and not likely to appeal to a wider audience.

Sweetie: 4/5 – Helix Waltz loses a point for slightly less appealing artwork (compared to similar dressup games). Otherwise, those who enjoy dressup games, and a good story, with strong female lead, are sure to enjoy Helix Waltz.

Overall Score: 43/50 86% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

Helix Waltz Review Casual Fashion Dressup Mobile Game Like Nikki Dressup Queen was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Princess Maker 5 Review

Title: Princess Maker 5

Platform: PC

Release Date: May 2018

Developer: Gainax

Publisher: CFK

Genre: Raising Sim/ Life Sim / Dating Sim

Geeky: 3/5

Sweetie: 5/5

Overall: 61/80 76% C “Good Game for Girls”

Gameplay: 8/10 This is the last Princess Maker game in the series, aside from some online and mobile spin offs that were released later. As such, you can expect that the gameplay is much more advanced than previous Princess Maker games. Princess Maker 5 brings back the adventure system, previously seen in Princess Maker 2, allowing you to fight in simplistic rpg battles and search for treasure. It does not unlock until later in the game.

It is also the first time that you can select a female character to be the parent – Although if you play as a female, you cannot get the ending where the princess marries you (the parent).

Perhaps more importantly, there are many new activities that your daughter can participate in, compared to previous Princess Maker games. I felt that the gameplay more closely resembled Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side (which I reviewed here.)

You select a week’s worth of activities for your daughter. She will attend public school and have club activities but she will also have free time for you to schedule part time jobs or extra lessons to enhance her stats. On the weekends you will take your daughter out to try to reduce her stress or experience special seasonal events.

Princess Maker 5
Princess Maker 5

Like Tokimeki Memorial, you can see which events are happening by reading a paper that lists new events. You can have cube set a reminder on the day of the events so you don’t forget important dates. But the game will not automatically prompt/navigate you to the event so you still have to pay attention and remember when and where to go for the event.

Gameplay feels slow. Especially the first year. It feels repetitive and slow building your stats, and very few random encounters or events. But as I entered my 2nd year, that began to change. Suddenly, classmates/love interests began to invite my daughter out on dates, or suddenly teachers and employers invited my daughter to special events. Now it felt more interesting and exciting.

But still, ultimately, this game is long, and slow, and while this type of gameplay is best enjoyed in small bursts, because of the repetition and monotonous gameplay, it also is a game that doesn’t get interesting until several hours in. I spent over 6 hours in the first year… If like most princess maker games this one goes until the daughter’s 18th birthday, then this game has over 70 hours of gameplay, per playthrough, times 50 endings…. staggering… definitely a highlight of the game — but the gameplay is so monotonous that many people may never reach all 50 endings.

Princess Maker 5
Princess Maker 5

How could I give an 8/10 to a monotonous boring “dull” game? Well because of the added features the game presents, this game is the most realistic child rearing sim, and gives unprecedented freedom and control to the player. Your daughter grows in new ways never present in the previous princess maker games, and she grows more independent with her own hobbies and interests and desires and things become more complicated, it brings back the adventure system, and the new dating/events system seemingly borrowed from Tokimeki Memorial. All of these are an improvement over most of the gameplay features in previous princess maker games.

The game gives you unprecedented freedom to raise any kind of daughter you want, even if you want her to be a cosplaying anime fan who loves going to idol concerts. Seriously, she can become interested in just about anything you can imagine. lol.

Story: 5/10 I think part of the reason the game is so slow is that it has almost no story. You just literally keep clicking and waiting/hoping something changes/happens. Which doesn’t happen for several hours until you’ve been pumping up your stats. The opening movie is not translated or subtitled for the english release on steam. It seems that maybe it may have had at least an interesting introduction. I think from what I can tell, the daughter is a demon maybe. It says it began from bloody events that happened long ago. Seems to hint at a curse, and then from there I haven’t a clue as to what is going on, but you see cube fly away with the girl. The girl also has a special hair clip that lets her communicate with you and allows you to watch the girl while she’s away. Every once in awhile the girl talks about seeing spirits or fairies and other supernatural things. But I’m now about 10 hours into the game and there’s really no overall story, or direction, or plot, it’s basically an open ended sandbox game. Plot isn’t necessary in games like this, but since I play games for their stories, I think that’s why I feel bored while playing this game since it lacks an overarching plot of any kind.

Princess Maker 5
Princess Maker 5

Characters: 10/10 I really do like the characters. They are not strong from a story standpoint, but they feel very real, and their interactions and dialogues with each other are very cute. The independence of your daughter and new complex ways in which she can develop and grow make this the best daughter of all.

Princess Maker 5
Princess Maker 5

Graphics: 7/10 The artwork put me off at first, for years even before this official US release, I would see pictures of this game, compare it to 4 which was my favorite Princess Maker game, and just think YUCK!… But oddly… in the 10 hours I played the game, I now find it cute and charming. I’d played 4 years ago on my nintendo DS, even though I couldn’t read any of it. I loved that art style, and at first found this new art style for 5 to be a huge turn off. But after playing the game, I’ve changed my tune. I suggest if you like me, hate the way Princess Maker 5 looks, just give it a go, it’s a great game, and the artwork is strangely cute once you get used to it!

There’s this little fat boy, which normally would be like a blech, but I dunno there’s something sooo cute about him. He reminds me of the fat lil asian boy from Disney’s “Up” and there’s another little boy that looks like he could be straight outta card captor or some other sugary sweet shojo anime.

Princess Maker 5
Princess Maker 5

The daughter was what I found most unattractive, but watching her study, work, and play, I’ve realized she is the most “real” and endearing of any of the daughters in previous games. I love my little princess.

Music: 3/10 – I really dislike the opening song – it’s awful. blech. But the rest of the music is “OK” I guess. just kinda average to me really.

Voice Acting: 10/10 – the voice acting is very cute 🙂 I’m glad they kept the original Japanese voices in the game.

Replay Value: 10/10 – over 50 different endings and the variety of things to do within this game give it excellent replay value.

Princess Maker 5
Princess Maker 5

Princess Maker 5 Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Food Fantasy Game Review

Food Fantasy is a brand-new cooking RPG and card collecting game from the creators of Love Nikki Dressup Queen. It combines many different styles of gameplay such as allowing you to research new recipes, gather ingreedients, explore the story, battle monsters, and collect cards known as “food souls” to add to your party or put to work in your shop. I’ve been playing since the game launched a few days ago and thought I’d share with you my initial thoughts of this cute little free mobile game.

Title: Food Fantasy

Genre: Cooking Simulation, Restaurant Management Card Collecting / Battling, RPG

Publisher: Elex

Release Date: July 2018

Price: Free

Where to Get:

IOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/food-fantasy/id1366072359?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.egg.foodandroid&hl=en_US

Geeky: 1/5 – There’s not much “geeky” about this game. If you like cooking mama and can imagine a mash up of cooking mama with love live, then you can imagine something like Food Fantasy. Mostly I can’t give high marks because the combat is very basic and mostly automated and not very engaging or challenging. I don’t see this having wide appeal unless you like cute things or love games like cooking mama.

Sweetie: 4/5 – I think girls will like the simulation aspects the best. When the game starts you can select a cuisine style to specialize in, you can research new recipes, decorate your restaurant, and you can collect cute “food souls” that can work as staff in your restaurant, or be added to your battle party. I can’t give it a 5 for appealing to girls because the story is quite weak.

Overall: 49/60 82% B- “Very Good Game for Girls”

Gameplay: 4/5 – I’m on the fence about the gameplay aspects. It is a unique and fun game for sure. But I think the combat system leaves much to be desired. But combat is not really the main focus of this game. This game tries to be a jack of all trades, but is really a master of none. There are better RPGs, better card collecting games, and better cooking games out there – but none of them combine all 3 of these things…

When the game starts you select a small thumbnail image to represent you. – Other cooking games often let you customize an avatar character and add dress up options – since this game is by the creators of dressup nikki I was surprised, and a little disappointed not to see such features in Food Fantasy as well. – But there are some female “avatars” (thumbnails), and some “fantasy” type ones – for example my avatar is a black cat with little chef hat lol. It’s pretty cute.

After naming yourself and choosing your little thumbnail picture, you’re shown a tutorial and introduced to a few characters and shown some background story. Through the tutorial you will experience many things. First you will select one of three cooking styles which will determine your first recipe – and I’m not sure if they will have an effect on other recipes you can obtain or give you a boost to certain recipes.

Next you get to fight some monsters and progress through various missions. Sometimes some monsters will drop ingredients that you need for cooking. – they don’t seem to drop often enough though.

Back in the restaurant you can assign staff to cook food or wait on customers. Different characters give different bonus effects to your restaurant. Customers will come and go to your restaurant even while not playing, or while adventuring and exploring other parts of the game. You will need to periodically check in to cook new dishes and collect your tips and other aspects of restaurant management.

You can decorate your restaurant with cute items which in some cases grant bonus effects when placed in your restaurant.

You can also improve your dishes by leveling them up by making them over and over again, or by adding spices and other items to each recipe. In addition to improving existing dishes, you can also research and develop new dishes if you have enough ingredients.

The final aspect of the game is the “card collecting” in the form of summoning new “food souls” which as mentioned can be assigned as staff or assist you in the battle field. The cards range from common to ultra rare. Drop rates seem generous, I summoned an ultra rare food soul, Peking Duck, early in the game without spending real money. There are also numerous special events, such as the launch party that will award ultra rare food souls for completing specific tasks and missions.

You can then take these food souls into battle – but the battles are really rather dull and not a very fun aspect of the game. You can tap to remove status ailments from your party members or tap to interrupt the boss from using powerful special moves, but largely, it’s more automated and you sit there watching your food souls fight, and the difficulty level is quite low. I have not lost a single match yet.

Story: 3/5 The story is very weak and poor, and there are some awkward phrasings and some questionable translation issues. I feel the story has potential to be interesting, but it’s not yet. Basically, you summon a food soul who has no powers and they tell you she is an empty shell and that usually such food souls are discarded, but you feel bad for her and take her in, because you feel responsible because you were the one who summoned her. She vows to help and often tries to protect you even though doing so without any powers would mean sacrificing herself. She is frustrated and wants to grow stronger, but you’re told it is impossible. – If I have to guess, she probably does have some special power or something, that’s how these stories usually go. Right now, the story is slow and dull, but perhaps things will get more interesting – I’ve only been playing for 2 days, maybe an hour each day, so I’m still in the beginning stages of the game. But thus far, not really impressed with the story.

Characters: 5/5 – The characters are super cute, and there is a mix of male and female characters which is rare for these summoning types of games. Also every food soul has an English Voice Actor (or Actress), and if you don’t like the English voices, you do have the ability to select the Japanese ones as well. This is a really nice plus, I haven’t seen many of these summoning games that bother to add English voice acting. The artwork is adorable, and of course it’s all inspired by various food and beverages which gives it a nice theme.

Graphics: 5/5 – Graphically this game is quite nice with a unique storybook like style. The anime style food souls and npc characters are all very cute. The backgrounds are really detailed and lovely. I can’t find anything to complain about here.

Music 3/5: Some of the music and sound effects sound recycled from love nikki? Or at least very similar in style.  It’s average at best. Nothing really stands out, but thankfully nothing is annoying, although like most mobile games it can be repetitive at times.

Voice Acting: 5/5 – I love that there’s English Voice acting – and some of them are quite good. I also equally love that they’ve left the option to switch to the original Japanese voice actors at any time as well. Great touch. I know they spent a lot of money licensing the original cast, as well as hiring all new voice actors for the English release. This shows me they care about the fans, and about the game, and it was just a really nice surprise and does set the game apart a bit from other summoning games out there.

Crafting: 5/5 – I love that you can research new recipes. This game reminds me of several other much larger cooking/crafting games such as the Atelier series of games, or Mana Khemia, or Kamidori Alchemist Meister.  The crafting aspects are probably the highlight of the game. In that regard though there are probably a dozen other mobile games which do a better job – If you’re looking for similar games check out anything by Kairosoft, Nippon Cafeteria, Sushi Spinnery, or Ramen Master being 3 that focus specifically on food – while other Kairosoft titles apply the same game mechanics to other jobs/roles. Or check out other cooking and restaurant management games such as I love Pasta and I love Coffee – which I reviewed here. Or of course, I’m sure you’re familiar with the famous Cooking Mama games. Even though these other games may have more in depth crafting/management aspects, I still give food souls a 5 in this area. Out of all the different aspects of this strange little game, I think the cooking and simulation aspects are the strongest and most fun elements.

Customization: 4/5 – You can decorate your restaurant, assign staff, and choose your food specialty. But most other mobile restaurant simulation games have a dressup aspect and I miss that here.

Cuteness: 5/5 – The food souls are super cute and the graphics and voice acting take that cuteness to the next level.

Replay Value: 5/5 – With the special events and wide variety of things to do, from battling, to cooking, to decorating your restaurant, to collecting food souls, to inventing new recipes to serve in your restaurant, or progressing through story missions, this game has a lot to offer and will keep you busy.

Overall: 49/60 82% B- “Very Good Game for Girls”

Food Fantasy Game Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Quanzhi Gaoshou (King’s Avatar) Anime Review

Quanzhi Gaoshou (King’s Avatar) Anime Review

The relationship between anime and video games is well-known among both gaming audiences and anime fans. Both forms of entertainment have taken inspiration from each other and it’s common to see video games with anime art styles and see animes that borrow from video game story beats.

For example, in 2016, Square Enix released Final Fantasy XV. Final Fantasy XV is a classic JRPG that takes place in Eos and sees Noctis and his three friends roam around in an open-world, taking down enemies and exploring. Noctis and co.’s character designs already seem ripped from an anime and that’s what led to Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV, an anime series of five episodes that continued to follow the adventures of Noctis and his friends. Square Enix is also the publisher of the Kingdom Hearts franchise, which is a series of anime and JRPG-style takes on Disney characters. The Kingdom Hearts franchise has sold more than 24 million copies around the world, highlighting the interest in this merging of genres.

As mentioned, we have also seen some anime series based on games. One of these is Quanzhi Gaoshu (King’s Avatar), the esports-related anime series that was put together by the G.CMay Animation & Film studio and first aired in 2017. Read our review of this anime below.

What is Quanzhi Gaoshu (King’s Avatar) About?

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3arFUIyA3l8%5B/embedyt%5D

Quanzhi Gaoshu (King’s Avatar) is an esports-focused anime series that follows a character named Ye Xiu. In the plot, Ye Xiu is one of the top-tier professional players in the online multiplayer game Glory, where his talents and contributions to the game have seen him nicknamed the “Battle God.” But Ye Xiu retires from his team and begins to find himself working at an Internet café. Ye Xiu’s career in the café doesn’t last too long, though, because the launch of Glory’s tenth server encourages the renowned esports player to get back into the game. Once he makes his triumphant return, players question who this mysterious new, talented player is while Ye Xiu must figure out how he can earn sponsors, find a team and get used to a game that has massively changed. As expected, the anime is full of intense competition, vendettas and ambitious protagonists and antagonists. Overall, we’d say it’s a must-watch for esports fans, and quite an interesting option for those who are curious about this world.

Quanzhi Gaoshu (King’s Avatar) follows the well-worn anime trope of competition in sports and fans have also seen anime games such as the soccer game Captain Tsubasa Dream Team (based on an old anime about soccer) thrive. But the anime is still widely held in high regard and the novel it is based on received the title for Best Work in 2013.

Can We Expect More Esports Anime Series?

IMAGE SOURCE – facebook.com

Arguably, the release of an esports-related anime like Quanzhi Gaoshu (King’s Avatar) was massively overdue, especially given the growth of the esports industry. Esports is steadily making its way into the mainstream, as made evident by a Limelight Networks survey of 4,000 people from 2017 that revealed that young men in the United States prefer esports to traditional sports. We have also seen mainstream bookmakers such as Betway which offer odds on popular esports games such as the MOBAs (multiplayer online battle arena game) League of Legends and DOTA 2, and the shooter game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which shows exactly how much of the mainstream public is interested in esports – it’s definitely not a niche market anymore. In fact, speaking of League of Legends, developer Riot Games confirmed that the game’s 2014 world championship received 32 million viewers and the final sold-out the Staples Center. When considering viewership figures like this, it’s no wonder that the esports industry is expected to be worth $1.5 billion by 2020, according to Newzoo. Although the anime industry is already worth $17.7 billion, by embracing esports this incredibly popular form of entertainment has even more room to grow. Anime studios could capitalize on the success of esports by portraying it in anime form.

For example, the biggest names in esports have rivals and people looking to oust them from the top seat and there are also longstanding feuds between the best-known teams in a game. Moreover, there are surprise wins and incredible plays as a player uses an ability in an impressive, strategic way and helps to guide the team to victory. These would all make for some highly viewable plots and action-packed episodes that anime viewers would love, so perhaps the anime industry will make more esports-inspired series soon.

Quanzhi Gaoshou (King’s Avatar) Anime Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Every Don Bluth Animated Film Ranked From Best to Worst. Top 10 Don Bluth Films. Best Don Bluth Films. Worst Don Bluth Films. Favorite Don Bluth Films

Every Don Bluth Animated Film Ranked Best to Worst

Don Bluth started out as a Disney Animator, but left to form his own studio. He also worked for awhile with Steven Spielberg. It seems that Don Bluth had a few hits, and then faded from the animation scene. But the hits he did have under his belt remain some of my favorite animated movies of all time. In fact, the first four movies on my list are all so fantastic I had a hard time deciding what order to rank them under.

What are your favorite Don Bluth films? Leave a comment to let us know!

Here are my faves:

All Dogs Go to Heaven

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Easily one of the top 5 movies from my childhood. Anyone that has ever loved and lost a pet will relate deeply to this story. It’s very emotional and sweet. It also teaches us morals and lessons, to be kind to others, to be less selfish, and to help and take care of each other. It shows us how to be a good friend and a good person. Dogs in real life have a lot to teach to humans about how to live a more simple, loving, and honest life. But the dogs in this film don’t start out as the typical “man’s best friend” – They’ve been bad dogs. Very bad dogs. Charlie, he’s the main german shepherd looking guy right there, loves to gamble and lives a fast paced life with little regard for others. Even his best friend Itchy is sometimes betrayed by Charlie’s greed and selfishness. Charlie’s antics have gotten him into some trouble with other dogs. This results in a conspiracy to murder Charlie, but Charlie isn’t ready to die just yet. Charlie loves life and all that it has to offer. Charlie sneaks out of heaven with a warning that he can never come back. “Ghost” Charlie rejoins his friend Itchy and the two set out on a new adventure to make lots of money and win back their place among the other dogs. Charlie thinks he has a fool proof plan when he meets a young orphan girl with an uncanny ability to correctly predict the right horses at the races. But as Charlie begins to spend time with the girl, his heart changes and softens. Sadly reluctantly in the end they must part ways, but Charlie is welcomed back into heaven because of his selfless actions near the end. And like the title states ALL dogs go to heaven, even (previously) bad dogs like Charlie. The love between Charlie and the little girl is so heart warming and then so heart breaking at the end. I love stories that are full of emotion. The film also has great music “You can’t keep a good dog down” is super catchy and cute.

A Bit of Trivia – although the screenplay is uniquely original, the title of this film was inspired by Bluth’s love for a book of the same name, which he remembered having read in 4th grade. I believe that book to be All Dogs Go to Heaven by Beth Brown, published in 1944. Although out of print, you can find it on Amazon. – The stories are not related in any way – but it still sounds like an amazing book for anyone who has ever lost a pet. There’s also one by the same author called All Cats Go to Heaven

All Dogs Go to Heaven by Beth Brown https://www.amazon.com/All-dogs-heaven-Beth-Brown/dp/B0007HRA72

All Cats Go to Heaven by Beth Brown https://www.amazon.com/all-cats-heaven-beth-brown/dp/B000SZVLW8


The Land Before Time

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Next in line for Best Don Bluth Animated Film of All Time, we have The Land Before Time. I loved this movie as a kid. I even had a stuffed plush Little Foot. I love Little Foot so much!! Very cute film, also, very heart breaking – Are you seeing a trend here? Darn you Bluth, lol. Your films are so sad – and so touching – I just can’t stop crying when I watch these.

Anyways as I’m sure you know by now, the Land Before Time is about the Dinosaurs migrating to find food and water. There are rumors of a great valley with lots of water and lush vegetation. And you know if the grass eaters starve to death, the meat eaters will starve to death too, circle of life and all… so they agree as a herd to set out and seek a new home.

It is a difficult journey, and not everyone makes it. As the journey goes on, their faith in each other is tested. We also witness the innocence of the baby dinosaurs as they grow up at first seemingly oblivious to the threats and dangerous and then maturing through their journey and experiences.

After writing this I was suddenly inspired to want to rewatch the original Land Before Time. I also wondered just how many sequels were there… I can’t believe there’s 13 sequels… Though if I recall none of the sequels I saw are that great. But I found all 14 films in a DVD collection on Amazon for $34. That’s less than $2.50 per each film. It will make a great addition to my collection. I want to start to rebuild my DVD / Movie collection, and Board Game collection but that’s a topic for another day lol. Having all 14 films in one DVD set at such a low price is a great place to start. I’m somewhat concerned by the reviews which state that the cases arrive broken/damaged, DVDs are missing, the audio and video quality is poor, etc. But these negative reviews are few and far in between and most of the reviews have been positive. So here’s hoping! lol.

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The Secret of NIMH

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The Secret of NIMH is one of the most memorable standout films from my childhood. I still love this film. It is based on the book MRS Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – I vaguely recall reading the book once when I was younger, and I found it dull. I don’t know if it’s because it lacked the elements of fantasy and magic which were written only for the movie version, or because it lacked the drama and suspense and darkness and almost horror like qualities of the cartoon. I love the Secret of NIMH because of the highly emotional and suspenseful story. A mother who has a sick child, plus other children, and must keep them all safe. NIMH is also portrayed much more gravely in the movie than the book. The cruelty of animal testing and the horrors the rats suffered were much more apparent and helped make the film darker too. This movie was dark AF – maybe it’s because it was Bluth’s first project after leaving Disney and he wanted to do something so different that it would stand out as being non-disney-ish in any way. The darkness of this film may scare small kids – but it will also help endear the film to older kids, teens, and adults.


Fieval An American Tail

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Fieval kinda reminds me of the movie “Home Alone” in some ways. Fieval gets separated from his family and finds himself all alone in a strange city. The thing that stands out most to me in the film is the song “Somewhere Out There” – It’s a duet by Fieval and I think it was his sister? Although it sounds more like a love song lol for someone looking for love / unrequited love / loneliness – but Fieval was looking for his family. “Somewhere out there, if love can see us through, then we’ll be together, somewhere out there, out where dreams come true.” I remember liking the film a lot as a kid, and I had a large stuffed Fieval doll too. But my memories of Fieval are a lot less clear than my memories of Land Before Time or All Dogs Go to Heaven.


Anastasia

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There are many people who consider this film to be a failure (despite that it performed quite well in the box office). I rather liked it though. It felt like a very mature story with a very strong female lead and since it is based on history (although only loosely) it offers the opportunity to become interested in the events surrounding the real anastasia and do your own research and learn new things. The animation style was beautiful and the music in the film was also amazing. Some people feel the film is too Disney-ish, but ultimately, that direction helped this become a blockbuster hit.


The Pebble and the Penguin

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I remember this film being cute – but I don’t really remember much else about it. I know it’s based on real penguin behaviors, and that the basic plot involves a shy and awkward penguin in puberty who has a crazy crush on another penguin who also likes him, but they’re too shy to express their feelings. I remember the main character gets bullied a lot, but ultimately prevails in the end. It ranks lower on my list just for not being as memorable as Bluth’s other films.


Thumbelina

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This cartoon and the fairy tale that it is based on is very cute. This is another film with that Disney princess feel that feels a little cliche. I think it’s because it’s not terribly unique (from other animated films / fairy tales) that it ranks lower. I do like the idea of a miniature civilization of tiny human/fairy things – I also like Arietty, the Borrowers, the Littles, and The Indian in the Cupboard which all share a similar theme to Thumbelina.


Rock-A-Doodle

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I remember this film quite well but I don’t really love it. I watched it probably 20 times or more in my childhood, when it’d come on TV or etc… but I dunno it’s “OK” I don’t really hate it. Parts of it are humorous, but it feels WAY more “kiddie” than ANY of Bluth’s other films which are all decidedly dark and dramatic. This is just a humorous fun tale about a Rooster who thinks he’s Elvis.


Titan A.E.

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I watched this once, I should probably rewatch it some day to see if I like it better as an adult. I didn’t like the characters, both the animation technique and concept design of them, and just their development within the story. Many other people also dislike this film, so much so that it bankrupted the animation studio and to date has been Bluth’s last feature length animated film. I haven’t watched the film since it’s theatrical release in 2000. That was almost 20 years ago. I need to rewatch it to form a stronger opinion on it. But from my foggy memory, I’d definitely rank it as my least favorite Don Bluth film.


Don Bluth Animated Films I have not seen:

  • A Troll in Central Park
  • Bartok the Magnificent

Don Bluth also directed the video games Dragon Lair, Dragon Lair 2, and Space Ace. (all of which I have found memories of playing back in the 90s)

Also Banjo the Woodpile Cat looks very cute – it was a short film by Bluth which I have not watched yet.

Creating this list got me thinking, whatever happened to Don Bluth? I mean at least half of those films were a huge success, rivaling that of even the golden age of Disney – but then the other (more recent) half of those films were pretty much huge failures at the box office… So just what went wrong, and will we ever see another Don Bluth animated film? Was Don Bluth even still alive?

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The answer is yes. Currently they are working on an animated movie version of Dragon Lair. – I love Dragon Lair, but I sit here wondering to myself – why would I want to watch the movie, when I could play the game? A game is more of an interactive and engaging medium than a movie. And yes, the movie may bring Dragon Lair to a new audience (younger people who have never played the game, or just “non-gamers” in general regardless of age) – but still it’s kind of a head scratcher. – Good for them though. I look forward to seeing the movie when it’s released.

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Here is the very active kickstarter – the last update 13 days ago states that they are almost sold out of some of the rewards: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dragon-s-lair-returns-movie-cartoon#/updates/all

He’s also apparently opened his own “online school” for animation that will begin accepting students next year: http://www.donbluthuniversity.com/  – Unlike a lot of other schools – Don Bluth University will focus on teaching hand drawn animation, as opposed to computer generated animation.

Every Don Bluth Animated Film Ranked From Best to Worst. Top 10 Don Bluth Films. Best Don Bluth Films. Worst Don Bluth Films. Favorite Don Bluth Films was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Every Studio Ghibli Film Ranked From Best to Worst – Top 10 Studio Ghibli Films – The Best Studio Ghibli Films – The Worst Studio Ghibli Films

Much like our recent list of the best and worst Disney films, here is a list of the best and worst Studio Ghibli films. Disney owned distribution rights for awhile for several Studio Ghibli films, but I think that has since changed hands to Gkids. Many people who love Disney films also love Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli Films; after all, they have a lot in common with each other. Both studios rely mostly on making films from well known children’s literature and fairytales. Both studios have a very recognizable animation style. And both studios excel at creating stories that the whole family can enjoy together, cartoons that appeal to young and old alike.

I was surprised there’s not as many Studio Ghibli films as I would think. If you’re wondering why Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is not on this list, that’s because it’s not actually made by Studio Ghibli. This actually gives me an idea for another blog post maybe something along the lines of “10 Anime Movies You Mistake for Studio Ghibli Films.” I can think of 3 or 4 right away without much effort. Nausicaa being the biggest “WTF, Really?!” moment of the bunch. There’s also Wolf Children, My Summer with Coo, Nadia The Secret of Blue Water, and a Letter to Momo which all seem to share Studio Ghibli’s art and story styles. More recently there’s Mary and the Witch’s Flower which I’ve yet to watch but am really looking forward to because of the “Ghibli Vibe”.  Although different in style, you might also mistake other recently successful anime films such as Ko no Katachi and Kimi no Nawa as Ghibli films because when most people think of successful feature length anime films, they immediately think of Studio Ghibli.  I’m also surprised there’s still quite a few legit Studio Ghibli films which I have yet to watch – I will include those at the end of this article. As there’s only a handful of them, I plan to try to watch them and come back and edit my rankings asap.

Here are my picks for best and worst Studio Ghibli films – what are some of your favorite and least favorite Ghibli films? Leave a comment below!


Best and Worst Studio Ghibli Films:

Ponyo

Ponyo is sorta Ghibli’s Take on the whole Little Mermaid thing. It’s a very original and creative take on it, with a lot of imagination and charm. Its charm and originality are what lands it at first place on my list of favorite Ghibli films. Ponyo is a fish like creature who gets caught by a young boy, Souske, who keeps her as a pet. She begins to fall in love with her new master, and as she grows, she becomes more and more human-like. Her transformation causes an inbalance in the sea which creates a Tsunami. Ponyo and Souske must work together to save their village from the Tsunami, which also tests their love for one another, If they can find unconditional love, Ponyo will be able to remain a human with Souske, or else she must return back to the sea. – If you also love Ponyo, check out Lu over the Wall which I reviewed here. It’s very similar and also very cute!

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Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kiki’s Delivery Service is definitely high on my list of favorite Studio Ghibli movies. It features a strong female lead, Kiki, a young witch who is leaving home for the first time, as is customary for young witches when they “come of age” (which is at just 13 years old). Each town can only have 1 witch, and Kiki must strike out to find her own place in the world – quite literally. Taking only her father’s radio, Mother’s Broomstick, and Jiji, her black cat, she sets out on a grand adventure. She struggles at first, an allegory to how we all must struggle to find OUR place in the world. This makes the film so relateable, and the characters are so likeable, that who can’t help but to just love Kiki’s Delivery Service? – Did you know that Kiki’s Delivery Service is actually based on a book by the same name? You can grab the book over on Amazon. It’s out of print and expensive now sadly. https://www.amazon.com/Kikis-Delivery-Service-Eiko-Kadono/dp/1550377884

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Spirited Away

This is one of Studio Ghibli’s best known, and most well loved, featured films. It was the first anime to ever win an Academy Award for Best animated Feature Film. I believe to date, it’s the only Japanese anime to have ever won this award. It beat out numerous other animated films that same year including Disney and Dreamworks. It’s the highest grossing film of all time in Japan, and even beat out Titanic. In 2016 it was voted as the 4th best film of the 21st century which made it the highest animated film on the list as chosen from more than 170 film critics from around the world.

Just because something wins lots of awards though does not necessarily make it a great film — but Spirited Away does indeed fall into the category of greatness. I feel that the success of Spirited Away is due largely in part to the emotional attachment the audience develops towards the young pure hearted characters, as well as the fantasy setting, which is set in a realm of spirits that’s mysterious enough to be edgy/creepy for older kids/adults, while not terrifying like Mononoke, and attention to detail through story writing, the excellent music score, animation, and voice acting.

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When Marnie Was There

When Marnie Was There is also based on a book by the same name. https://www.amazon.com/Marnie-There-Essential-Modern-Classics-ebook/dp/B00KA11ZI0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=&dpID=51FrFUXIjEL&preST=_SY445_QL70_&dpSrc=detail This Studio Ghibli adaptation rates higher for me than it does for most other people because I love my grandma so much, which made the bond that the main character shares with her own grandma overwhelmingly sweet and sentimental to me. Everyone loves their grandmas right? But mine is literally like my favorite person in the whole world. So this film really hit me right in the heart. I could watch it over and over and probably still cry each time. Love the song at the end of the credits too. I related a lot to the main character too who is always alone / lonely as I was similar to that growing up. She’s also interested in art like myself, and has a great imagination. Really, just on a personal level, out of all Ghibli films, this one is by far the most relatable to me, even though it’s still a fantasy movie about a ghost :).

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Howl’s Moving Castle

Obviously, Howl’s Moving Castle is based on the very well known series of books by the same name https://www.amazon.com/Howls-Moving-Castle-Diana-Wynne/dp/1442008431 – Though only very, very, very loosely based on this source material… In the original book, Sophie is very sarcastic and independent – She literally doesn’t give a flip about anyone or anything. In both versions they are pessimistic and feel they have no control over their fate, but in the book that quickly changes, and we witness Sophie become more responsible for her own actions and feelings. Sophie in the book also discovers pretty early on that she has magic powers. Howl in the book is a total playboy. There’s no war in the book. The villains are different too. In the book the main villain is the Witch of the Waste who is scorned by Howl rejecting her romantically and is looking to create her ideal mate by piecing together several different men, including the missing prince and Howl’s pretty face. Some find the book to be very funny, while others find it to be dry, because British humor is often very dry indeed. The idealistic love between Sophie and Howl in the film is quite different in the book. The two argue and break up and make up over and over throughout the story. The biggest difference is definitely in the titular character of Howl. In the book we see much more of Howl. Early on in the book it is difficult to like or sympathize for him as he is so vain and breaks so many hearts. But as the story unfolds, we learn the truth is that he is afraid of letting others close to him because he is in fact very sensitive and fragile and a very warm and loving person as well, and instantly we learn to not judge others, Everyone is going through their own struggles in life, and both Howl and Sophie have a lot of demons inside of themselves that they must face, which sadly is a lesson that the film doesn’t care to impart to the audience. In the film Howl instead is scarcely seen as he flies off to fight wars that don’t exist in the book. In the book, he is from modern day Wales, and has found a door to Sophie’s time and world where he has chosen to stay to study magic. This time traveling is completely omitted from the film, just as is equally omitted Sophie’s magical abilities. Instead, in Miyazaki’s version, it is Sophie who we see “time traveling” as she learns about Howl’s past. Miyazaki’s goal was to create a film that shows how love makes life worth living, while the original author’s goal was to create a story about a strong willed female mage which challenged gender and societal stereotypes. Both stories are equally charming in their own unique ways. Miyazaki’s interpretation of Howl’s Moving Castle is romantic and full of charm and innocence and still quite engaging in its storytelling and plot devices. There are some who complain that too many liberties were taken which deviated from the author’s original work, but one could also argue the same is true of Ponyo which is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid or any number of Ghibli or Disney works that are based on books before becoming films.

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Whisper of the Heart

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This is a lesser known Ghibli film based on manga of the same name about a young girl whose only passion is reading, and a young boy whose only passion is music. They are both outcasts and self isolated because they pour 100% of their time into their chosen hobbies. Both wish to drop out of school to pursue their passions full time. And neither one of them really get along with each other when the film first starts out. What I really enjoyed about this film is watching the characters change their thoughts and beliefs, about their passions, but also about how they perceive other people. They also discover they have a lot in common and both help to inspire one another to chase their dreams. Initially they view other people or other responsibilities as a hindrance, taking away time from their passions. But they learn that instead, other people add to your experiences and make life sweeter. Both characters yearn to grow up and become adults, but both are only grade/middle school students. They have a lot to learn. And as the film ends, we watch just how much they’ve matured over their summer. They learn to make time and space in their lives and hearts for other people while still each holding tightly to their dreams of their future. The original manga has not been licensed for US release. There is also a sequel manga that follows the characters as they prepare for their college entrance exams. https://mangarock.com/search?q=Mimi%20wo%20Sumaseba


Grave of the Fireflies

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This film is sad AF!!! There are some who will not like this film because of it being so sad. And also others who will not like this film simply because it portrays the real life events of the bombing of Hiroshima. Japan is the only country to have been nuked by an atomic bomb and the US the only country to have released an atomic bomb. Never again has such a weapon been used in combat because of the devastating long term and long range consequences that spring about from such frightening weaponry. This movie depicts the suffering and harsh realities of the war and subsequent bombing of Hiroshima. Obviously, war and decisions made by a country’s government, is a very politically charged issue. And many lives were lost on both sides of the war. So much suffering occurred that it’s still a tense and delicate subject to people on both sides of the war still today even in modern times. It is hard to watch this film, and even harder to see their suffering, and know that “we” (as a nation / group of nations) caused that suffering) even if it was perhaps necessary at the time of these events. It still doesn’t make you feel good realizing what you’ve unleashed. I’ve seen documentaries with actual real life footage of the victims, I’ve seen them peeling burnt flesh from survivors’ bodies using chopsticks, I’ve seen footage of their shadows burned into the walls, shadows of children playing at playgrounds, shadows of mothers trying to protect their children in their arms. But I’ve also seen movies on the other side of the issue too – Many US lives were lost in the bombing of pearl harbor; many other lives were lost around the entire world from Hitler’s atrocities, and so on. In war there is no clear cut good / bad decisions. You do what you feel you have to do to protect your country and its people, and in bombing Hiroshima, the US was trying to do just that, although it tragically resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Japanese civilians… such as the two depicted in this Studio Ghibli film… We watch them live fearfully, and with not enough food to eat, without any parents to take care of them, and we watch them suffer, fall ill, and struggle at every turn. We watch their own family and friends turn their backs on helping them and realize they have nowhere to go or turn to – an important – although equally political – message in our own modern times with issues with refugees and so on from our modern day wars. To quote the videogame Fallout “War Never Changes” – that’s why a film about a decades old war is still compelling and relevant and relatable in modern times. One of the interesting things about this film, is gaining a new perspective on the war and circumstances around the war. Sympathizing with our “enemy” and seeing just how similar we are, despite hundreds or thousands of cultural differences, at the end of the day, we each love our families, and would do anything to see to it that our families are happy, healthy, safe, and cared for. There is no way to watch this film without crying and forming an emotional connection with the characters. The ability to evoke such deep emotion is a testament to the quality of this film. It is an artful masterpiece with fantastic writing, character development, and storytelling.


Laputa Castle in the Sky

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I just watched this movie last year as part of Studio Ghibli’s and Gkids Ghibli Fest which brought many great Ghibli films to the theater – some for the first time in theaters within the US. I loved this movie. It had great action and a great love story. A lot of things in this film reminded me of my favorite Videogame, Lunar Eternal Blue which I reviewed here and cosplayed as here. Maybe it’s the girl and her pendant, her mysterious origins/past, her dramatic entrance, or the floating city in the sky, or maybe it’s the awesome epic love story. The lengths that both male characters go to in order to protect the person they love – and to help the girl they love complete her mission, or the way in which both film and game are so rich in lore and history and create a strange mashup of fantasy and technology creating a timeless story, that feels like it could take place equally conceivably in past, present, or future. Laputa Castle in the Sky is very action packed and fast moving, but yet, since it centers on these two characters and their love for one another, it can capture audiences of any age or gender.


The Cat Returns

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This is a sequel or Spin off based on Ghibli’s earlier film, Whisper of the Heart. I enjoyed Whisper of the Heart more than the Cat Returns, despite my huge massive never ending love for cats. Unlike the author’s own sequel to her manga, this story is not related to the two main characters of Whisper of the Heart, but instead focuses on the story that was inspired by the cat-like doll, nicknamed Baron as he searches for his lost love Louise, who was taken from him by Muto. Despite the name of the film, and it actually really being a sequel, the title is still slightly confusing. A better English title would have been something along the lines of “The Cat’s Reciprocation” or “The Cat Returns the Favor” but that doesn’t really have the same “ring” to it. Perhaps the perfect title should have been “The Cat’s Reply” which could not only mean to “return the favor” but also foreshadow Haru’s ability to speak with cats. Haru saves a cat one day, who wants to return the favor by offering her the prince’s hand – err paw — in marriage. Haru is flustered both by the cat’s proposal and his ability to talk. Cats around her begin acting strangely, bringing her gifts and tokens of the prince’s affection. Haru is cat-napped and taken to the world of cats where she is pampered and treated like a queen. She is given feasts and entertainment and more lavish gifts. As she begins to enjoy her time in the cat world, she begins to turn into a cat. The Baron warns Haru that she will become a real cat, and forget her human self if she does not immediately leave the cat world. The king and prince orchestrate obstacles and distractions to lengthen Haru’s stay in the cat kingdom, knowing that once she is fully a cat, she will become the Prince’s Bride. Will Haru forget her true self and live happily among the cats? Or will she escape and reclaim her place among the humans? Many people think this film is based on the Manga by the same author of Whisper of the Heart, but actually the Ghibli film came first, and the author enjoyed it so much that she made a manga based on the film – kinda neat, right? 🙂 Usually it’s the other way around.


The Secret World of Arietty

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Studio Ghibli’s “The Secret World of Arietty” is based on a popular children’s book, The Borrowers by Mary Norton. This book has entertained children for several generations. But it’s also a book (and film) that can be enjoyed by the whole family, young or old alike. My grandmother told me that it is her favorite book, she told me she first read it when my mother checked it out of the library. I too read the book when I was younger, and I also enjoyed many other film and tv adaptations and similar books and movies and tv series such as The Littles and The Indian in the Cupboard.

The Borrowers and The Secret World of Arietty give you a glimpse at a hidden world right under our noses. The Borrowers are a tiny race of miniature humans who live in our walls and gardens and live off of things we waste or take for granted. If you ever notice a button or a needle is missing, you can bet it’s been “Borrowed”. Of course the human world presents many dangers to Arietty, she must be careful to not be discovered by the humans who could capture her and keep her as a pet or science experiment. At the same time she must be aware of her surroundings at all times. She could get swept away by just a small trickle of water, or mistaken for a mouse and gobbled up by a cat, or crushed underfoot by a horse and carriage. Arietty is of course not afraid of the human world, and instead intrigued by it. She finds the human world fascinating and impossible to resist. Especially when she meets and falls in love with a human boy who is equally fascinated by Arietty’s world. The story teaches us that even though our lives may seem dull and mundane, that all it takes is a change of perspective to be reminded how wondrous life truly is.


The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Ghibli used an unusual art style in this anime, making it quite different from any of their other films. Their intention was to create an anime that looked like ancient Japanese calligraphy paintings and wall scrolls. The tale of Princess Kaguya was unfamiliar to me, but very familiar and loved in its home country of Japan where it is known as the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. This legend has been around for over 1,000 years! It is most famously presented and passed down through ancient Japanese paintings from the Edo period which is what influenced Ghibli’s character and art direction in this film.

I’m not a huge fan of the art style in the anime, and even some of the customs/traditions of the Edo period which the film accurately depicts like women painting their teeth black – SO eww. Interestingly, little has changed as I know even now it’s generally considered to be “unlady-like” for a woman or girl to smile widely thus showing her teeth. That’s why there’s two emoji’s ^.^ and ^_^ – the first one is a feminine emoji and the second is a masculine emoji. I learned that years ago when I used to chat with people all over the world and was told about my “improper” use of the “^_^” emoji. Although I still use ^_^ all the time, and I consider “^.^” to be more of a “playful” smile, sorta cattish or impish or mischievious, or maybe a smile that seems like it has a secret, a smirk or a giggle behind it, where as I feel ^_^ is just pure joy/happiness/amusement/laughter.

Anyways enough about Emoji’s – lol. The strange art style and questionable fashions/traditions of the Edo period are really the only reason this film doesn’t rank higher for me. I do agree that the film looks just like the historical paintings… but it’s just not my tastes personally… That said though, I am extremely fascinated by the story and legend behind this film.

The legend states that an old man unable to have children of his own, found Kaguya one day while cutting bamboo. When she first appeared she was only the size of his thumb, but she rapidly grew much faster than other children. The bamboo cutter took the baby to his wife, where they raised her lovingly as their own child. Ever since Kaguya appeared in their lives, every time the Bamboo cutter would go to work, he would find gold coins in the bamboo stalks and soon the family become very rich. Although initially the family wishes to protect Kaguya’s innocence and youth, it is not long before word spreads of the beautiful young woman and many princes appear to seek her hand in marriage. Kaguya tasks each prince with impossible tasks, knowing they cannot be achieved, because she wishes to remain with her family and maintain her independence. One by one each prince fails to win the hand of Kaguya. Time passes, and eventually the Emperor comes to see the beautiful Kaguya. He falls in love instantly, but Kaguya tells him they cannot be together because she is not from his country. They instead become friends and remain in correspondence. As time went on, Kaguya began acting strangely, especially on nights with a full moon. She would cry and cause her parents to worry. She later reveals to them that she is not from Earth and must return to her home on the moon. The Emperor, as well as her family, do everything they can to try to hide and protect Kaguya who does not wish to return to the Moon. Kaguya wants to remain on Earth. In the end, however, Kaguya must go back to the kingdom of the Moon and leave her beloved family and friends.

Studio Ghibli’s version of the tale differs in some areas – The Emperor in the Ghibli version is more obsessed with Kaguya and Kaguya wants absolutely none of it because she’s in love with a simple boy from her childhood whom her father deems is not of high enough rank for her hand (who never existed in the original legend). In fact she is so repulsed by the Emperor that she cries when he touches her and discovers she has a secret ability to disappear at will. These details were made up for the Ghibli version only. Also at the end of the Ghibli version, Kaguya looks back onto the earth with a longing and sad gaze, even though her robe of feathers was to strip her of all of her memories of her time spent on Earth, the look on her face implies that her feelings and attachments were so strong that she could not forget the people of Earth. – This also is made up in the Ghibli version. In the original legend, Kaguya does in fact forget everyone when she returns to the Moon. In the original legend, the Emperor is so saddened by Kaguya’s death (or disappearance whatever you want to call it) that he orders his army to climb to the top of the mountain “closest to heaven” – There he wishes to burn a letter from Kaguya in hopes that his love and feelings for her will rise with the smoke from the letter and reach her on the moon. He also wanted to burn the elixir of immortality that Kaguya left him because he did not want to live forever without Kaguya by his side. Wikipedia states that the Japanese word for immortality “Fushi” is what Mt. Fuji’s name was derived from. And that the kanji characters for the mountain mean “Mountain abounding with warriors” which is said to denote the Emperor’s army who burnt the letter. The legend also says that the smoke from the letter still rises today (when the legend was created, Mt Fuji was an active volcano and hence produced smoke). I think the original legend makes for a very beautiful unrequited love story, where in Ghibli’s version the Emperor is the main villain whose appearance is what drives Kaguya to pray to the moon for help, after which her people come to “rescue” her from the Emperor. Quite a different take on the tale. I know Japan’s long history and traditions with their Emperor’s being near godlike status, so it’s odd to see a film from Japan depict in Emperor as a villainous character, especially given that in the original tale he was so pure and chivalrous and so in platonic unrequited love / mutual friendship with Kaguya throughout much of their lives.

I can’t remember where I read it now, (I’ve tried searching) but I read a few years ago that there are many scholars who believe that the legend of the Swan Princess / the Swan Lake Ballet is derived from the much older Legend of Kaguya. The main themes are very similar. This wikipedia article gives you a glimpse at the “Legend” of the Swan Princess The “Legend” is apparently much older than the ballet itself.

Here are a few of the similarities:

In these “Swan Maiden” tales, an unmarried man steals a robe of swan feathers from a woman in order to keep her from “flying away” – The maiden then bears children by this man. At some point the children come across the robe their father has hidden, or they ask their mother why she is always crying and go find the robe for her. As soon as she is given her robe she ascends to heaven without any hesitation or thought or attachment for her family or life as a human. Regarding those she leaves behind, wikipedia says this: “Although the children may grieve her, she does not take them with her. If the husband is able to find her again, it is an arduous quest, and often the impossibility is clear enough so that he does not even try.”

Kaguya is pursued by many unmarried men. She is given her robe of feathers when she ascends to the moon, and thus this ascending into the sky, can also be like “flying away”

Kaguya begins crying “always” uncontrollably near the end of her tale and her family always asks her what’s wrong / show concern for her.

Kaguya is given a robe of feathers which allows her to forget her time with her human family and friends so that she has no attachment or regrets leaving them (obviously Ghibli changed this part with one final glance back to Earth from their version of Princess Kaguya)

Kaguya’s family does grieve her but she cannot take them with her.

Kaguya tasks her “would-be” husbands with impossible quests – Even the Emperor himself cannot win Kaguya’s hand. After her disappearance, he sets out on his own arduous quest in the legend which would become the legend and folklore around Mount Fuji. 

The wikipedia article also states that “The swan maiden has appeared in numerous items of fiction, including the ballet Swan Lake, in which a young princess, Odette and her maidens are under the spell of an evil sorcerer, Von Rothbart, transforming them into swans by day. By night, they regain their human forms and can only be rescued if a young man swears eternal love and faithfulness to the Princess. When Prince Siegfried swears his love for Odette, the spell can be broken, but Siegfried is tricked into declaring his love for Von Rothbart’s daughter, Odile, disguised by magic as Odette, and all seems lost. But the spell is finally broken when Siegfried and Odette drown themselves in a lake of tears, uniting them in death for all eternity. While the ballet’s revival of 1895 depicted the swan-maidens as mortal women cursed to turn into swans, the original libretto of 1877 depicted them as true swan-maidens: fairies who could transform into swans at will.”

Kaguya has a special relationship to the Moon (symbol of the night).

The Emperor loved Kaguya (not as apparent in the Ghibli film, but VERY apparent in the original legend where he burns the letter and the elixir of life.)

In burning the elixir of life, he gives up immortality so that he can (one day) rejoin Kaguya in death.  

The Lake of Tears could signify how the Emperor wept for Kaguya (or in Ghibli’s case how her parents wept for her). 

The ability to transform into swans at will could be inspired by Kaguya’s ability to disappear at will. 

There is another tale from Japan with themes similar to Princess Kaguya, Tsuru no Ongaeshi, or the Crane Wife, about a crane who is caught in a trap. She is set free by an elderly couple and to repay their kindness she arrives as a human child, claiming to be lost. She asks them if they would take care of her as their own daughter, and the elderly couple happily agrees. To repay them for their kindness she begins to weave beautiful fabrics which she makes by plucking her own feathers. The fabrics sell for a lot of money and make the family very wealthy. She warns them they must never look in the room as she weaves. But overtime, curiosity overcomes the couple and they steal a glimpse only to find a crane and not a human in the room. With her identity revealed, she tells the couple she had hoped to always  remain their daughter, but she must now return to being a crane. In other versions of this legend, it is not a couple, but a young man who saves the crane disguised as a human. The two soon fall in love. In some versions he is sick and so the crane plucks her own feathers to make the fabric to sell for money to get medicine to save her husband. In other versions the husband is alive and well, but the crane becomes increasingly ill as she continues to pluck her feathers. As she plucks her last feather she must return to being a crane and leave her husband behind as the husband vows he will never forget her.

(source: Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsuru_no_Ongaeshi)

The legend of Kaguya predates the legend of Tsuru no Ongaeshi. You can already see how the folk lore was shifting but still similar to the original tale of Kaguya. From here, the similarities between Kaguya and Swan’s lake are even more apparent.

Obviously both Swan Lake and Tsuru no Ongaeshi feature a bird who has turned human.

Swan Lake’s maiden has lost a robe of feathers, while the Crane Wife has lost her feathers while making robes.

In relation to Kaguya, Once their true identities are uncovered they both must return to their former selves/worlds.

Also in relation to Kaguya, the main character is raised by or falls in love with humans – she then asks them to raise her as their own child. When she is leaving she tells them she never wanted to leave and always wanted to remain their child, but that she has no choice now. In the version with the husband, his vow of never forgetting her, could be similar to the Emperor’s love for Kaguya in the original legend and the lengths he went to even after her death or disappearance to prove his love and rejoin her in death.

As you can see, I had the most to say about Kaguya, despite it not being my favorite Ghibli film, but because of the interesting ancient legend on which it, and many other fairy tales, are based. The Legend of Kaguya predates all other tellings of similar nature which makes it even more interesting from a historical point of view.


Princess Mononoke

I dunno, Princess Mononoke honestly scares the hell out of me… Even looking at this gif scares the hell out of me… This movie is so unsettling… and it’s even “worse” dubbed – because then the lip syncing is all off and then it’s just even more eerie AF…. I think Princess Mononoke definitely has a good story… and it is no doubt beautiful…. and probably Ghibli’s most successful / well known film – I own it, I “like” it (even though it honestly gives me nightmares) – but damn son…. this movie just ain’t right lol…. Am I the only one that finds this movie just INHERENTLY creepy? It’s not even the infamously excessive amounts of blood and violence… it’s little things like this creepy-ass mother bugger right here….

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Only Yesterday

I thought this was a little bit of a bore. I generally love slice of life and romance films. I’m not sure why this one missed the mark for me. The story is told by a middle aged woman as she looks back on her childhood / early adulthood and reminisces about summers and her first love. Even though the majority of the film felt a little slow – I really really really really REALLY loved the later parts of the film — Especially the ending — One of the most memorable endings of any Ghibli film — or any film — ever. So good. I think overall though, the story suffers from some pacing issues and the constant back and forth from memories/present day. There are cute parts, sweet parts, dramatic parts, but in some ways it just felt like it dragged and droned on and on… That ending though… so emotional!! Loved it.

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My Neighbor Totoro

If you care to read more about My Neighbor Totoro – I did a review after attending the Gkids theatrical release last year. Read my Review of My Neighbor Totoro here.

As for how it ranks against other Ghibli films… Sorry Totoro – cute as you may be – and having owned the film as a kid, and seeing it again recently in theaters – I still love you for how cute you are, and the memorable characters – dust bunnies, cat bus, Totoro himself — but Totoro there’s just one problem, there’s just not much really happening in your film. One interesting theory suggests that the girls are actually dead, and that Totoro is a Shinigami (a spirit that only children can see which will guide them to the afeterlife. A sort of Grim Reaper that usually takes the form of animals or stuffed toys etc) – I think this theory could be plausible. And it would definitely make the movie a bit more interesting. Like Princess Mononoke, parts of Totoro are (perhaps unintentionally) Creepy AF!!… Also after seeing it in the theaters – Catbus has balls… just saying…. WTF? lol. XD Nothing like sitting in one of the front rows and seeing huge Catbus balls in my face as he leaps through the sky. – I have heard that Pompoko also features cute characters with huge balls lol. (though I haven’t seen it yet). Anyways, despite Totoro being the iconic mascot of Ghibli, basically equivalent to Mickey Mouse for Disney, the movie just isn’t that great. I love it for the heartwarming sweet characters, but yeah that’s about it. And the juxtaposition between the beginning and 2nd half of the film, is just kinda creepy. (although admittedly, that’s when things pick up rapidly and get more interesting.)

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From Up on Poppy Hill

This film is absolutely beautiful to look at (Just look at the ambience in the gif below, how it perfectly captures the glow of the street lights and sunset) — But that’s about the only nice thing I can say about this film. I found it to be the most boring Ghibli film of all time. — But actually after reading Wikipedia to refresh my memory of this film (I only watched it once, and years ago) — I dunno – the plot sounds interesting to me; I may give this one another watch. The only thing I remembered from the film was the children trying to save their school and club house – which I think took up 90% of the film – and this part was boring to me, watching them clean and repair the building – etc. It just felt dull. I never felt like I cared about any of the characters, and therefore also never cared about their school or club house… But after reading Wikipedia it seems I missed the point of the film, which is a complicated love story. The two below fall in love, but find out that they may be siblings. I won’t say if they actually are – Wikipedia can give you that answer if you’re curious – Anyways the two struggle – first avoiding each other, then trying to remain “just friends” because of their situation – and then deciding that even despite their situation that they will embrace their feelings for each other. Another wiki dedicated to all things Ghibli says that the two also learn the “full story of how their parents met, loved, and lived”. This piques my interest even though after reading wikipedia I now know all of the details and don’t really need to watch the film – I still may rewatch this – and if need be, adjust my rankings of it because the drama honestly sounds like it’d be right up my alley, and that animation is just so pretty.

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Ocean Waves

Well here is my least favorite Ghibli film… I hate it for one reason – The main girl is a total B-… She has NO redeeming qualities, NO remorse for her actions, and she does NOT change her ways or grow as a person at all. She remains this same horrible terrible crazy B– of a person…. But yet the main character falls in love with her and basically bends over backwards, throwing money and time and his emotions etc at this girl… and for what reason? But I know sometimes love and life are like this. Sometimes nice people get sucked in by people like this. Or sometimes love is just so unexplainable and inexplicable that we don’t really know WHY we love some one… Clearly she has no qualities that should make anyone love her. She is manipulative, cold, greedy, and just crazy. I can’t stand her… I want to scream and shake the main character’s shoulders like hey wake up, this girl is not good for you!!… But nope, in the end, they get their “happy ever after” – Man, way to romanticize abusive relationships. Domestic, Emotional, and Verbal abuse does not deserve to be twisted into some grand fantasy romance like this… I just can’t get on board with the characters in this film… They may be the most realistic and adult like of any Ghibli characters…. but I can’t believe how she treats him. Begging / Stealing money, Playing Victim all the Time, Dragging him and parading him like a trophy in front of your friends, Then turning your back on him, etc…. We do see that she is ostrichsized by her classmates too near the end for her behavior being called to light — and I get that the main character is Mr. Nice Guy and feels bad because suddenly she has no friends and everything… And he is also in a similar situation because of rumors that she and her friends started after their trip… but dang… I dunno he’s just TOO nice to her. She really doesn’t deserve someone as good as him. And it makes me mad. LOL. — I guess it’s still an interesting film… I definitely remember it and feel very very strongly about it… so there’s that at least… The movie and the characters are unique… and memorable… just not in a good way LOL.

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Studio Ghibli Films I have yet to watch – In no particular order:

  • Porco Rosso
  • Pom Poko
  • My Neighbors the Yamadas
  • Tales from Earthsea
  • The Wind Rises

Every Studio Ghibli Film Ranked From Best to Worst – Top 10 Studio Ghibli Films – The Best Studio Ghibli Films – The Worst Studio Ghibli Films was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

At Home or On the Go: Which Gaming Style is Most Popular?

At Home or On-The-Go: Which Gaming Style is The Most Popular?

According to mygaming.com, an online video gaming magazine, more than 1.8 billion people play video games across the world. Considering that the current global population is around 7 billion, that comes to approximately one in every four people who play at least one video game every month.

So, the big question is – how many people play at home and how many play on-the-go? Would the average game prefer to play the powerful empire in Final Fantasy XV at home or on-the-go?

Frankly speaking, this isn’t very easy to tell. The above report shows that gamers use a variety of devices. In fact, a majority play games on multiple devices. For instance, it isn’t uncommon to find a gamer playing Lord of the Rings on PC and later playing Pokémon on a gaming console. When it comes to quests and role-playing games, you’ll even find gamers switching between devices within the same game. For instance, a player can begin playing a game on PC and, while traveling, continue with the game on their smartphone.

This makes it difficult to say precisely which of the two is popular – playing at home or playing on-the-go – because as we can see, players sometimes don’t even have the choice.

Comparison based on home vs. on-the-go devices

Perhaps a different way to find out the more popular option is to look at the popularity of home-based compared to on-the-go devices.

Before we do that, however, we need to make a few assumptions;

  1. Gamers will only use home-based gaming devices when at home.
  2. When on the go, they will only use mobile devices

You need to understand that this reasoning is also flawed to some degree because sometimes people choose to play on mobile devices even when they are at home. For instance, if power goes out, a lot of people will turn to their mobile devices to continue playing – not by choice but by need.

Anyway, using our assumptions, it’s easy to see that at-home gaming is more popular compared to gaming on-the-go. According to the study mentioned above whose findings were released in mid-2016, a significant majority of gamers play on their PCs, with more than 62 percent of gamers admitting to playing most of their games on PC. That’s around 1.2 billion gamers.

The second most popular gaming device was also a home-based option – gaming consoles. In total, around 1.008 billion gamers, accounting for 56 percent of the total gaming population, played most of their games on the console.  

The first mobile device – smartphones – comes at number three with about 630 million gamers saying they played most of their games on the smartphone in 2016. That’s roughly 35 percent of the total. Finally, at number four is the second most popular mobile gaming option – dedicated handheld consoles. Approximately 17 percent of gamers admit to playing a majority of their games on these devices.

In a nutshell, home-based gaming appears more popular. A lot more people seem to be playing their games at home on home-based gaming devices compared to on-the-go devices.

At Home or On the Go: Which Gaming Style is Most Popular? was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News