Digital | ON: GAMES

Are you ready for September?

by Brian Ashcraft

Don’t miss Tokyo Game Show

It’s that time of the year again, when Tokyo Game Show enthralls, surprises and delights gamers with the latest releases, upcoming titles and announcements.

Last year, a whopping 254,331 visitors attended the show over its four-day run. Those numbers were slightly down from the 2016 Tokyo Game Show when 271,224 visitors attended. This year, however, could see an increase, with 366 companies exhibiting, 34 more than the lineup in 2017.

Most of Japan’s biggest game companies, including Sony, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Capcom, Konami, Square Enix and Sega, will be on hand with playable demos for their newest games. Nintendo traditionally sits Tokyo Game Show out, but other companies will no doubt have Switch and 3DS games on hand to try.

The last two days of the show are open to the public, but be warned — it will be incredibly crowded. If you plan to go, get there early. Very early. The wait times for the biggest games can be hours long, and the lines for the most popular titles are often cut off for the day before noon.

There are loads of small games that are just as worthy to check out, so do venture beyond the marquee booths for unexpected gems. Last year, the D3 Publisher booth had short wait times for its latest “Earth Defense Force” games, which are enjoyable run-and-gun shooters that pit elite soldiers against giant insects.

Tokyo Game Show’ public days are Sept. 22 and 23 and advance adult tickets are ¥1,000, though you can get in on the day for ¥1,200. There are also a limited number of Supporters Club tickets for ¥3,000 that offer priority morning entry as well as a special T-shirt and pin badge.

For ticket information, visit bit.ly/tgstickets

Is your spider sense tingling?

To mark the launch of the upcoming “Marvel’s Spider-Man,” developed by Insomniac Games, Sony is releasing one of the sharpest PlayStation 4s it has ever made. A striking crimson red, the PS4 Pro is emblazoned with the unmistakable iconic Spider-Man symbol on its side. To match, the DualShock 4 controller is also red, with pale gray face buttons and D-pad. Sony purposely didn’t go with white, which would pick up dirt too easily.

Sony has a long history with Spider-Man. After Sony Pictures secured the Spider-Man film rights, Sam Raimi directed a terrific trilogy starting in 2002. When the first PS3 was released in 2006, the console logo actually was in the same font as the “Spider-Man 3” movie. PlayStation has since dropped the font, but films have followed and “Marvel’s Spider-Man,” a PS4 exclusive, is a slick and colorful open-world game that should tingle any fan’s spider sense.

Priced at ¥50,738, the Limited Edition “Marvel’s Spider-Man” 1TB PS4 Pro is bundled with “Marvel’s Spider-Man” and access to extra downloadable content and will be available from Sept. 7, though supplies are limited.

bit.ly/mspider-manjp (Japan), bit.ly/mspider-manus (U.S.)

A fighting game frenzy

There have been plenty of women in SNK’s fighting games, with some now among the most famous characters in gaming. Now they have their own game with “SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy.”

The plot is basic: The characters wake after a tournament and are told if they want to go home, they have to fight it out in a tag-team battle. It’s a 2D fighter, which SNK is famous for, with a streamlined combat system. Mai Shiranui, an iconic fighting game character, is joined by other SNK heroines, including Athena, Nakoruru and Yuri Sakazaki as well as a female version of Terry Bogard, who is perhaps SNK’s most famous male character.

While other fighting games have dialed back the fan service, “SNK Heroines” lays it on thick, letting players customize their character’s outfits, accessories and even their voices. It’s also possible to take in-game snapshots of your favorite fighter.

“SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy” will be released on Sept. 6 (Sept. 7 internationally) on Nintendo Switch and PS4 for ¥5,184 and is slated for a future arcade release.

bit.ly/snkheroinesjp (Japan), bit.ly/snkheroinesus (U.S.)