Let’s talk about Emulators and Roms; A former dev talks about legality and uses

I’m Kinglink and this week we’re going to talk about Emulation. It’d be really easy to talk just emulators, but instead, we’re also going to have to talk about ya know… Piracy. That means this week it’s time for Emulators and Roms. 

I want to cover this in three acts. First, we’ll talk about what emulation and ROMs are at a high level. Second, we’ll talk about why people emulate and play ROMs. And finally, we’ll talk about my thoughts on it. I can actually address this from multiple angles, as I am a gamer, but I also was a game developer, I’ve even had people tell me they pirated my game. True story, and hopefully that will be an interesting angle. 

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Yakuza 5 – Too much of a good thing

Yakuza 5 takes what Yakuza 4 accomplished and amplifies everything in it to create a brand new experience that is bigger and better than before. It is the most jam-packed Yakuza title yet, the longest-running in the Kiryu saga, and contains the most playable characters. 

But it also is a case where it becomes too much of a good thing that finally reaches the series’ breaking point, and causes some issues for the franchise. 

Yakuza 5 has returning characters from the previous game with Kiryu, Saejima, and Akiyama, but adds in two new playable characters, an ex-baseball player, Tatsuo Shinada, and for the first time in the series, Haruka Sawamura, Kiryu’s adopted daughter. Each of these characters gets their own section of the story, with Haruka and Akiyama sharing their portion, giving players four distinct parts of the game, with a rather large finale at the end.

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Yakuza 4 Remastered Review – A lot more character in this one

After three games in the series, Yakuza 4 had some big shoes to fill, now with the addition of two remakes in the form of Kiwami and Kiwami 2, and the prequel Yakuza 0, Yakuza 4’s task is bigger than ever. 

Yakuza 4 delivers a different game than fans might expect, but also one that changes the formula of the series and creates something fresh. 

Yakuza 4’s heavily on previous titles and creates issues for new players. I originally played Yakuza 4 in 2016 as my first entry into the series, and while the game was good at the time, without having already played the three previous titles the game talked about many characters who got no development, and thus the story suffered for it. I wondered why did the game focus on characters it didn’t take the time to introduce?

After playing the previous titles, and falling in love with the series, a return to this game in its remastered form creates a more interesting experience. While Yakuza 4 begins with the assumption of the large history of the series, it expands the world in new ways and creates an interesting take on the series. 

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Yakuza 3 Review – A major misstep and a dated experience

Yakuza 3 is finally on PC, and it’s the fourth game in the Yakuza franchise chronologically.  However, it is now the most dated for the franchise.  Where Yakuza 0 was released in 2015 for the Playstation 4, and Yakuza Kiwami and Kiwami 2 were remade in 2016, and 2017 and also released for the Playstation 4, Yakuza 3 was originally released in 2009 and for the Playstation 3. 

The version on PC, Ps4, and Xbox One is the remastered version, which has all sorts of bells and whistles fans would expect.  There is a higher graphic fidelity and more standardized 1080p resolution. There is also content that was cut from the original English version that has been restored, and a retranslation that removes important mistranslations. 

I bring this up not to just enumerate the changes, but to dive into the big issue with Yakuza 3.  Yakuza 3 is a remaster.  While it has a large amount of additional content and gameplay, this is ultimately a PS3 game with a slight graphical upgrade.  Where the previous Yakuza games are beautiful, Yakuza 3 is dated by the simple fact that this game originally was made for the PS3.  

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Yakuza Vs. Yakuza: Like A Dragon – How does an RPG fit in with three amazing Beat-em-ups?

I’m Kinglink and this week we’re doing another Head to Head. In this corner, we have Yakuza: Like a Dragon, and in the opposing corner. Well, this is different. We have not one, not two, but three Yakuza games starring Kiryu Kazuma.

So this week we’re going to be talking a lot about Yakuza but this is an interesting match up. I wanted to look at how the all-new Yakuza: Like a Dragon compares to the first three Yakuza games, 0, Kiwami, and Kiwami 2, also known as what’s currently available on PC. Sega… fix that.

Yeah, that line didn’t age well, I wrote this script before Sega announced the news. It sounds like EVERY mainline Yakuza game will be on PC by March 25th next year and on Xbox One as well. This doesn’t invalidate anything I say in this video and technically, there are only four Yakuza games on PC as I wrote this.

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Golden Axed: A Cancelled Prototype Review – An actual prototype

Golden Axe is a classic Sega Franchise that defined the Arcade and Genesis era of beat-em’ ups. It was a unique and amazing series that perhaps deserves a revival. And yes I’m conveniently ignoring the 2008 entry on purpose.

Golden Axed: A Cancelled Prototype is a prototype that Sega commissioned almost a decade ago attempting to revive the franchise. It’s also a true prototype that is valuable both as an artifact of a failed game but also to understand what games look like when publishers have to decide on it.

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Streets of Kamurocho Review – A combination that can rival Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Streets of Kamurocho is out. This is a combination of the very popular Streets of Rage brawler, and the Yakuza franchise. I’m astonished on how right this crossover feels, and yet how it hasn’t been done before.

Streets of Kamurocho came out as one of four free games from the Sega 60th anniversary celebration. It also doesn’t hurt that Yakuza: Like a Dragon is scheduled to come out next month.

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Design Review: Morality Systems: Fifty Shades of Non Grey

Hello, I’m Kinglink and today we’re doing a Design Review on Morality Systems or Karma Systems with a focus on Player Choice.

This series has previously been focused on comparing one game to another, and don’t worry we’ll still be doing that today, but I want to look at a specific feature of three different games. Just to call them out ahead of time, I’m going to be talking about the original Mass Effect trilogy by Bioware, which will effectively represent much of Bioware’s earlier games here, Fable by Lionhead Studios, and Catherine by Sega. I’ll be putting up chapters for each.

I could talk deeper about almost any of these games but we’re going to focus on the topic today, rather than the games themselves, and perhaps we’ll return to these games at another time.

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Sonic 2 Retrospective Review – When Sonic becomes American

The following is a script for the youtube video below.  Feel free to read or watch the video as you prefer.

Hello, I’m Kinglink and it’s finally time to talk about Sonic 2. This game was made by Sonic Team and published by Sega, but that’s not the whole story. We are going to get there though.

So with the original Sonic the Hedgehog game out of the way, I wanted to immediately talk about Sonic 2 for a few reasons. I think in a lot of ways this is THE game in the franchise that defined what Sonic was. There are no massive changes here, but there are quite a few important changes for the series, such as the addition of the spin dash, but we get there as well.

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Sonic The Hedgehog Retrospective Review

Hello, today we begin a new journey. Welcome to my first episode of Retrospective Review, and our first subject is Sonic The Hedgehog, developed by Sonic Team, and published by Sega.

We’re starting with Sonic the Hedgehog, and going back to where it all began. This was Sega’s big response to Nintendo and Mario. A 16-bit mascot who would lead Sega in the war against Nintendo and did for a while. But we’ll get there. Let’s focus on the first game, the introduction of Sonic the Hedgehog.

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