Digital | ON: GAMES

Eat like a cute, round pink Nintendo character called Kirby

by Brian Ashcraft

Japan is going crazy over the release of “Pokemon Go,” which hit the U.S. and Australia before finally reaching Pokemon’s actual birthplace on July 22. One reason for the delay in Japan may have been that “Pokemon Go” wasn’t developed by Tokyo-based Game Freak, which typically creates “Pokemon” games, but by California’s Niantic, a studio best known for its augmented reality games. Others speculated on the fear that the fan base in Japan would overload servers.

One thing is for sure: The hype is running high and everyone is playing it. But there is other news in the game world.

Getting back into the fight

The “King of Fighters” series has always been a favorite among fighting game fans for its terrific character designs, wonderful game play and its improved 2-D graphics. Now, after a six-year hiatus, the series is back with “The King of Fighters XIV” (“KOFXIV”).

Traditionally, Osaka-based game maker SNK has used 2-D sprites for “King of Fighters graphics,” but for “KOFXIV,” SNK is going 3-D. The new-style characters, however, will continue to fight each other on a 2-D plane.

SNK has made 3-D versions of its fighters before, including for the “The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact” spin-off series, so this isn’t completely out of character. Purists may perhaps still prefer the traditional 2-D style, though.

“KOFXIV” is a PS4 exclusive and there hasn’t been an announcement of an arcade version, which is a shame. But SNK has a long history of churning out terrific fighters, so let’s hope this is just the latest entry in a long, continuing tradition.

“The King of Fighters XIV” will be released on Aug. 25 for PS4, priced at ¥7,200.

bit.ly/kofighters

Eat like Kirby

Kirby, that cute, round pink Nintendo character, is getting his own cafe. The eatery is called — wait for it — Kirby Cafe.

OK, it may not be such an imaginative name, but the dishes definitely have some artistic flair. Be prepared for pink food, Kirby’s face on cakes, star-shaped mounds of yellow rice and sausages used as Whispy Woods noses.

Kirby debuted in 1992 and has since gone on to become one of Nintendo’s most recognizable characters. His signature ability is to suck up foes and gain their powers, which makes him apt for a food tie-up.

The Kirby Cafe is open from Aug. 5 at Lucua 1100 in Osaka’s Umeda building until Sept. 4. Cafes in Nagoya and Tokyo are also slated to follow. Fans will find an array of Kirby-themed dishes and snacks on the menu as well as various Kirby goodies and souvenirs. Just remember to chew after you’ve sucked up your food!

kirbycafe.jp

Beautiful island blues

Beloved Japanese role-playing game maker Nihon Falcom is releasing its latest “Ys” title. The series, which has been around since 1987, has been noted for its engaging story-telling and believable characters. In fact, few studios, make JRPGs better than Nihon Falcom.

“Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana” follows an adventurer who washes up on a mysterious, cursed island populated by large, lethal monsters. The game also tells the story of a beautiful blue-haired woman who appears in the hero’s dreams.

In recent years, Nihon Falcom has been releasing PS Vita and PlayStation console versions of its games, so “Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana” will come out on PS Vita, priced at ¥6,800, this summer. A PS4 version will be released next year.

www.falcom.com/ys8