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PS4 x FIFA kicks off, while “Idolm@ster,” “Pokemon” and “Persona” get cute

by Brian Ashcraft

Check out ‘The Idolm@ster’

“The Idolm@ster: One for All,” a new addition to the popular “The Idolm@ster” series, was released last month, and peripheral maker Hori is celebrating with three official “One For All” controllers. They are all plaid and feature silhouettes of in-game characters: red plaid for Haruka, blue for Chihaya and green for Miki. As an extra cute detail, there’s also an angel symbol above the Start button.

In the game, the player takes on the role of an idol producer who manages a group of young idols, whose skills are put to the test through rhythm-based mini-games packed with saccharine-sweet music.

Despite their startling appearance, the controllers aren’t just cosmetically enhanced; they also feature a special turbo button and analog-stick sensitivity settings that should help players with the rhythm games.

All three controllers went on sale May 15 at ¥3,980 each.

www.hori.jp/products/ps3/ps3_idolmaster_controller

PS4 x FIFA is ready for kick off

Next month the World Cup gets underway in Brazil, and to mark the soccer tournament, Sony is releasing a special World Cup PS4 bundle. That’s right, this is the official video-game console of the World Cup.

Priced at ¥39,980, the limited edition comes with a 500 GB PlayStation, a DualShock 4 controller, a headset and a download code for a copy of “FIFA 14.” Since the PS4 alone is typically priced at ¥39,980, it’s actually a great deal.

Now sports fans can not only watch the matches on television, but they can also play a few games themselves.

The PlayStation 4 × FIFA 14 2014 World Cup Brazil Limited Pack will be released in Japan on June 5. There is also a ¥43,980 version that comes with the PlayStation Camera.

www.jp.playstation.com/ps4/cp/2014fifaworldcup

Join the ‘Pokemon Art Academy’

Those who like to draw Pokemon and chibi-style (small, cute) characters will be pleased to hear about the “Pokemon Art Academy.” With the aim of teaching budding artists how to draw their favorite Pocket Monsters, this 3DS game makes full use of the 3DS stylus, turning it into an array of different tools, including a pencil, an outline pen, a marker, a paint brush, pastels and spray paint.

There are more than 40 lessons, which start out easy and get progressively more advanced, introducing techniques such as shading and highlighting. There’s no need to worry about messing up as there’s a “back” function that allows you to delete mistakes. Once you get confident enough, or bored of Pokemon characters, there’s also a free-drawing option.

“Pokemon Art Academy” will be released in Japan on June 19 for ¥3,619.

www.nintendo.co.jp/3ds/bpcj

Developing a cute ‘Persona’

Speaking of chibi, the popular role-playing game series “Persona” is back, and it’s been “cutified.” Spin-off title “Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth” features big-headed, doe-eyed versions of the stylish characters from “Persona 3.” The look might be new, the gameplay, however, will be familiar. It features a mysterious labyrinth and a clock tower that can kill with its chimes, as well as turned-based battles that Japanese role-playing-game (JRPG) fans love.

This new game stars the high school characters from both “Persona 3″ and “Persona 4,” along with two new students, both of whom have had their memories stolen. If you like JRPGs and you’re not put off by the new look, this is one to remember to get next month.

Priced at ¥6,980 “Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth” will be released on June 5 for the Nintendo 3DS. There is also a ¥25,380 limited-edition bundle that comes with a special Nintendo 3DS LL and the game.

p-atlus.jp/pq

‘Zelda’ threads

For the past few years, The King of Games has been churning out stylish video-game-themed clothing, and its Zelda T-shirt is no exception. Made in Kyoto (like many of Nintendo’s most-famous games), the shirt sports the game’s famous phrase “It’s a secret to everybody” on the back and “Thanks Link, you are the hero of Hyrule” on the front. Cross-stitched above the pocket are Zelda and Link, while inside the pocket you’ll find a secret message. It’s a subtle and tasteful shirt that is being re-released due to the popularity of its first run a few years ago.

As with other King of Games threads, the Zelda Pocket T comes in a retro-style box that looks like the packaging for old-school Nintendo games. It’s been available from the King of Games online store for ¥6,000 since April 25.

bit.ly/kingofgames