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By Akodo On 14 Nov, 2014 At 04:24 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments
Sony PlayStation 4

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PS4The PlayStation 4, will officially be one year old tomorrow. And I will give it a round of applause as Sony and the PlayStation brand have made a resounding start off of the now current generation. Even though the PS3 started off slow and finally gained traction, it still lost a large swath of its fanbase during last generation. Now, learning from its mistakes, and that a name isn’t the only thing that is needed for a console launch. They went back to basics, and making sure that the console put the gamer first, and nothing else. It went to developers and talked with them, and asked what they needed to make a solid, A+ game in their eyes. They essentially went back to basics. And its paying dividends!

The PS4 has led all ten months since its release one year ago, and hasn’t stopped. They have mounted one of the biggest, “We Hear You” campaigns since the console was launched. Listening to what we, the gamers, the consumers, the casuals, the hardcore, the every once in a while, to come to the fold, either switch, stay, or come back. Admittedly, it is tough when you friends continue on with the Xbox, or vice versa, since this generation will probably be determined by where your friends are, kind of gaming. But the ecosystem of the PS4 has gone from the multimedia hub that it was as a PS3, to the more streamline, games and broadcasting arena, that allows gamers to play, solo or quickly connect with friends before launching into a game. And with the features that were promised during that fateful shift at E3 a year ago, being released in a massive update (2.0, and 2.01), Sony is hitting strides at the right time, and giving games something to want during the Holidays this season.

With the massive influx of streaming content, ala YouTube, Twitch, or UStream, it makes the living almost akin to a theater and people watching you play. Some features like, recording to a separate device wasn’t available at launch, but Sony listened, and they removed the black box that was HDCP, and allowed YouTubers to rejoice and use their PS4s to stream. Additionally, they have polished up those interfaces giving the user, the gamer, more things to do from better comment sections during streams, to better usability for uploading clips and such to social media, and now YouTube directly. They even gave the gamer, a small tool, that does wonders for editing, albeit not like you could on a computer, but “Share Factory.”

playstation plusAs I have seen and heard from forums to in-person, people are switching, and happy about it, and the potential it has, or is currently showing them. But this is the reason why, I Akodo of Real Otaku Gamer, think that day one reviews of consoles are rather asinine in the fact that, you have a console, barely hours old, and not much to it, since it was just released. You can judge the wares it has and come with, but it can only go so far. At the year mark, you can judge the console, in its entirety. For instance, let’s talk about the PSN. Since the PS4 launch and the premise to play online service, for only the games, and not putting something you already paid for, behind another paywall, for the instances of netflix or Hulu or the ilk, you still have a solidly functioning console. As with the PSN you get automatically with the year subscription of PlayStation Plus, which allows you to  get a free game each month on the PS4, sometimes its something great, like Splunky, other times its something else like Velocity 2X. Sometimes it hits, sometimes it misses. But the PS+ always is adding. And with it being pay, means that Sony can upgrade infrastructure and improve the service as a whole, but that too takes time.

The games, the games are the main selling point of a console, for what is to come and what will be there the day you buy. And the lineup for the future is looking strong with games like Uncharted 4, and Order 1886, to name console exclusives, two unknown “AAA” titles being announced sometime in early december, and with the undoubted shift in developers going towards the console with the bigger base, means 3rd party exclusives that haven’t been announced and will, and current exclusive like InFamous, Knack, Killzone, and The Last of Us: Remastered. Side note: Didn’t think the masterpiece that is “The Last of Us” needed a remake, but its a damn gorgeous game, and for those who have turned to the blueside, i.e. Sony, from being on the 360 and not experiencing the master piece. To indie games, that as of right now, console exclusive like No Man’s Sky, and out now on the PS4 and exclusive, Octodad, Resogun. The PS4 has given a plethora of games to be played on it, and from now, and to the future.

The interface of the console, gone are the cool and sleek Cross Media Bar (XMB), and more individual folders, this has left much to be desired. And I believe with how receptive SOny and its Playstation team have been, the nuances will slowly take shape, and change to a more manageable feel. Another thing that was annoying at launch, seeing the notification for every single person doing something on their PS4. For instance, Person X joined a party chat. THis has been curdled a little but still, its less frequent. But a little thing from the PS3 that has been brought to the PS4 is the dynamic themes, so that’s a plus.

DS4 Wear!But as the good, of a console, there is bad. Although the revamped DS controller, now, DS4 has the worlds greatest feel, and is much of an improvement over the last in every degree, the DS4 knobs of the analog sticks wear out quicker. I have a DS3, from launch that still is functioning, and has its knobs intact. Gone are some of the functionality of the PS3 that was a sign on minimalist in the sense of moving to the PS4. The overall media hub that the PS3 was, like the music limitations, or the immediate USB support, and bluetooth as well. The cheap attempt to get gamers to talk with its cheaply made headset. But now the USB functionality are fixed in an update, and the headset market is entirely better!

So after a single year, the PS4 has grown with its audience, implementing things that the consumer wants, and continuing Sony’s drive of the “Gamer is first!” or more simply put, “Games!” Or like Steve Ballmer so elloquently said: “DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS!” I wonder where Sony will go with its massive momentum that it has gained in its entire first year, forcing the competition to rethink their entire way forward. And return to the Sony brand that dominated during the era of the PS2. But as we all, as gamers is, Watch and See!

Steve Ballmer

mortal kombat x

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mortal kombat x

Here’s the moment many of us have been waiting for! The release date for Mortal Kombat X was announced!

When will it be released?

Why, April 14, 2015 is the date we will finally see this game on the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC!

Are you excited for this game? Let us know in the comments!

By Jessica Brister On 22 May, 2014 At 04:09 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Old School Otaku | With 0 Comments
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Many people have complained over the years to the fact that movies and games that are taken from books almost never turn out to be as good as the original source.  Happily, there are some gems that are hidden in the crowd of mediocrity.  Parasite Eve is an older Playstation game that was actually the sequel to a popular Japanese horror novel of the same title.  The book and game are tied tightly together, and they demonstrate that one really can have an extremely well done game based from literature.

Parasite Eve, the novel, by Hideaki Sena is a Japanese horror novel with many science fiction elements.  It was originally published in 1996, but people who couldn’t read in Japanese had to wait to read it until 2005 when it was finally translated into English.  The story is heavily based on science, including biology and genetics.  The book is so technical that it is often confusing to follow, unless the reader has a thorough background in biology.  That’s what makes it such good science fiction, though.  It takes real science and twists it a bit to make a fast-paced story.

Cover Art for Parasite Eve, the novel.

Cover Art for Parasite Eve, the novel.

The story follows Toshiaki Nagishima, a biology and pharmaceutical researcher.  His wife, Kiyomi, has been declared brain dead after a horrible car accident.  However, there is more going on than meets the eye.  The novel presumes that the mitochondria in a human’s cells have been evolving since the days of primordial sludge.  The mitochondria have formed a new life form, called “Eve,” which has now reached a peak in her evolutionary process.  Kiyomi’s body just happens to have the right conditions for Eve to begin to take control.  In fact, Eve is the one responsible for Kiyomi’s car accident in order to be transplanted into others.  Throughout the novel, Eve manipulates the people around her on a cellular level.  Her ultimate goal is to give birth to a child that will be able to chance its genetic code on a whim and there be the perfect life form that will replace humans as the dominate life on earth.

Though the novel sounds scientific and dry, it is actually first and foremost a horror story.  The reader gets suspense, creepy, and downright scary all rolled into one novel.  The science just adds to the realism of the novel.  Since the novel is based in science, the reader gets to wonder: What if this really could happen?  Don’t we have mitochondria in all of our cells?  What if someone’s body was taken over at the cellular level?  These questions and more make up some of the thematic elements of the story.  It allows the reader to question whether we really know everything about the human body.  Are we even in control of our bodies?  It’s a creepy thought and is one of many that this novel brings to the table.

The novel was so popular that it spawned a video game sequel with the same title.  Though the game takes place in the United States, many of the same elements that made the novel so unique appear in the game.  Parasite Eve is an action-based RPG that also falls into the “survival horror” category.  It was released in 1998 on the original Playstation.  In a sea of traditional RPGs, Parasite Eve was unique in its tone and game play.

Parasite_Eve_Coverart

The story follows Aya Brea, an NYPD cop who just wants to spend a quiet evening at the opera.  Unfortunately, everyone at the opera spontaneously combusts, leaving her and an actress named Melissa alive.  After investigating, Aya finds out that Eve is up to her same old tricks again: She is again trying to create the “Ultimate Being” by manipulating people whose bodies have the right conditions for Eve to flourish.  Aya finds out that her mitochondria is evolving as well, which gives her some pretty awesome powers.  It is up to Aya to go up against Eve to save New York City.

Though having RPG elements, such as leveling up and gaining new powers, the player must also dodge attacks during battle (something that was unique for that time period of RPGs).  Aya develops powers and is able to use those as well.  Battles are chosen more through random encounters, although there are spots that if you walk over, you are guaranteed a battle.  Weapons and armor can be upgraded or replaced as the player explores.  The game play gets a creepy vibe with the genetically altered creatures, although the best part of the game could actually be the cut scene graphics which still look great even after all of this time.  The in-game graphics are a little grainy, but there is nothing like those amazing cut-scenes.

The cut-scenes of this game still look good today.

The cut-scenes of this game still look good today.

It’s hard to imagine that an excellent novel could spawn an excellent game.  There have been so many let-downs with novel to movie that sometimes it’s easy to forget that video game developers can get it right.  However, Parasite Eve remains amazing, regardless of being in print or in pixel.

2422836-9611540061-conce

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When I was first asked to play Conception II I haven’t played an RPG in quite sometime. Going into this game I didn’t expect an extremely fantastic title or anything remotely interesting…mainly because I didn’t know anything about the title or series for that matter. Then I realized that the more of it I play the more intrigued I became. Then the experience became a little more jaded. While the game wasn’t bad it became slightly repetitive and more so cumbersome than anything.

Conception-II

The game takes place in the World of Aterra where they worship the Star God where they prosper through the power of Star Energy. You are known as God’s Gift who trains at an academy for disciples which is a special group of people who are summoned to fight against monsters who come from Dusk Circles. As God’s Gift you and a collective of females perform a ritual for the church known as Classmating to generate Star Children. Why is this important? The Star Children assist you in combat along with you and a female partner and they all have a particular class and several set of set of skills.

Defense Pose Conception II

I’ve never been so confused and befuddled with confusion quite like I have been while playing the game. I’m not so much confused into the depth of the world as I am with why some of these things are especially necessary. For a lack of better words, classmating is essentially having sex to produce children who can fight. It is blatantly obvious considering the underlying tone of everyone and the way each girl presents themselves before and after it occurs. Doing it just makes you feel slightly more dirty. Even more so when you are forced into doing classMANting which while really funny is in a way kind of perverse.

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Engaging enemies is where the game gets even more unique. Once you encounter an enemy inside one of the games many labyrinth’s you are forced to choose between normal JRPG actions such as attack, skill and defense. The most interesting aspect is the combat system in which you choose the side to attack your foe. Every enemy has a weak side and the choice of each side benefits you during combat. My only main concern with the battle system is that you are given the option to guard and yet it does nothing. It states that you will take less damage but you still take just as much as if you weren’t defending. I have also noticed that for a JRPG it’s pretty easy. I have played much easier games but I never really felt as if I there was too much going on and the difficulty made matters worse.

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Graphically the game is rather impressive as it features fully animated anime style cut scenes and moves at a silky smooth 60 FPS. The in game engine isn’t bad as it looks more like an above average PlayStation 2 title with a few more bells and whistles. The thing I was more impressed with was the music and the character design. These two things were probably my main drive for playing this game as I was more intrigued just to see what the next monster would look like. To be quite honest the designers seem to draw heavily from the Persona series as the music and monsters seem as if they came straight from that source.

Overall the game is like “Goldie Locks and the Three Bears” as it doesn’t do anything overall really impressive nor does it do anything really bad. Although it’s themes may not be quite suitable for everyone it’s still interesting enough with it cool soundtrack and character design. The game may not be for everyone but I do feel as if it worth a play through for anyone who is itching for a new RPG to play for their Vita. It hits the mark at being just right.

 

By Brandon Boatman On 4 Feb, 2014 At 12:37 AM | Categorized As News, PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4, ROG News | With 2 Comments
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Playstation just sent out the vouchers for their Playstation Now service to all of their beta testers and we’ve already been leaked a list of all the games being tested.

First Party:

  • Killzone 3
  • Puppeteer
  • Shadow of the Colossus

Third Party:

  • Papo & Yo
  • Darksiders II
  • MX vs. ATV: Alive
  • Disgaea 4
  • Ninja Gaiden 3
  • Shatter

The beta is currently only available for PS3 users. With this list of games we can only hope that upon release of the actual service we get  more classics like Shadow of Colossus and recent greats like Last of Us.

Sony PS4 Gold Headset

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Sony PS4 Gold Headset

Sony announced on their blog on February 3, 2014 their new Gold Wireless Stereo Headset.  The headset will retail at $99.99 (MSRP).  No set date has been given for when we will see this on the market, though Sony said it will be released early this month.

The specs for this headset are 7.1 virtual surround sound, a noise cancelling microphone, and custom audio settings for the different PS4 games.  The cable is a 3.5mm audio cable.

Everything in the Headset Box PS4

The headset is compatible with the PS4, the PS3, the PS Vita, computers, and mobile devices.  There will also be a free Headset Companion app coming to the PlayStation store some time this month.

You can watch Sony’s video on the new headset below.

Source:  PlayStation Blog

14-for-14

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Sony currently has a sale going on in their PlayStation Store:  14 For 14 with games up to 50% off for everyone or 75% off if you’re a PlayStation Plus member.  For PlayStation Plus Members, BioShock Infinite is available for free.

 

PS3/PSN Games:

WolfAmongUs

The Wolf Among Us – Season Pass  :  $14.99 or $13.49

far cry 3 blood dragon

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon  :  $7.49 or $3.75

RaymanLegends

Rayman Legends  :  $47.99 or $35.99

Tales of Xillia

Tales of Xillia  :  $19.99 or $10.00

lonesurvivor

Lone Survivor:  The Director’s Cut  :  $7.49 or $5.24

rain

rain  :  $7.49 or $3.75

F12013Cover

F1 2013  :  $29.99 or $20.99

Thomas was alone

Thomas Was Alone  :  $4.99 or $2.50

Puppeteer

Puppeteer  :  $13.99 or $7.00

Crysis 3

Crysis 3  :  $9.99 or $5.00

enslaved

ENSLAVED: Odyssey to the West Premium Edition  :  $9.99 or $5.00

Runner2

BIT.TRIP Presents Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien  :  $7.49 or $3.75

December 16th, 2010 @ 10:17:31

Deus Ex:  Human Revolution – Director’s Cut  :  $14.99 or $13.49

Pool-Nation

Pool Nation  :  $4.49 or $2.25

 

PS Vita Games:

Killzone Mercenary

Killzone: Mercenary  :  $17.99 or $9.00

TWD

The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season  :  $9.99 or $5.00

Stealth Inc

Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark PS Vita  :  $5.99 or $4.19

lonesurvivor

Lone Survivor:  The Director’s Cut PS Vita  :  $7.49 or $5.24

Velocity_Ultra

Velocity Ultra  :  $3.99 or $2.00

Spelunky

Spelunky  :  $7.49 or $3.75

epic mickey

Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two PS Vita  :  $14.99 or $7.50

worms revolution extreme

Worms Revolution Extreme  :  $7.49 or $3.75

Thomas was alone

Thomas Was Alone PS Vita  :  $4.99 or $2.50

limbo

LIMBO PS Vita  :  $7.49 or $3.75

SoulSacrifice

Soul Sacrifice  :  $17.99 or $9.00

pixeljunkmonsters

PixelJunk Monsters: Ultimate HD  :  $7.49 or $3.75

Sly Cooper Thieves in Time

Sly Cooper:  Thieves in Time PS Vita  :  $13.49 or $6.75

Metal-Gear-Solid-Peace-Walker-Screenshot.jpg

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker  :  $9.99 or $6.99

gaming-nintendo-64-playstation

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It was all good just a few gens ago…

jamies 037

Doesn’t flow off the tongue like Jay-Z Hard Knock Life Vol.2 song “A week ago” unlike the timeless Rap classic album Nintendo’s reputation amongst gamers has been a tumultuous one & hasn’t really been good to look back on. Though while the “gamers” have rallied against big N’s relevance in gaming today. Nintendo has continuously remained profitable and as a business that is the core thing for a company to remain successful. Gamers as fickle as we are as a whole are nothing to scoff at. The gaming community rallied around all that was Nintendo throughout the 3rd and 4th generation but, as the 5th generation reared its head. It seemed as if throughout all the years this company has gotten right they have lost what essentially made them great. Let me dust off the history books and take a peep into them to see what the catalysts was that landed them into this peculiar situation. Generation 5 when Nintendo 64 was released by the big N there was so much hype surrounding what could be. There was its new weird looking controller introducing analog control stick tech into console gaming along with 64 megabits of power. It seemed as if things were all good except for the fact Sega’s Saturn & newcomer Sony’s PlayStation was a CD based platform. That to me was Big N’s major 1st misstep because we all know Nintendo stayed with the old ways of console gaming mediums, Cartridges. I believe this is why Nintendo started to lose its grip on the gamers. Though, a long time ago for most of you modern gamers the gamers whom are in their late 20’s to mid-30’s should remember how the N64 was a wasteland of 3rd party titles rarely seeing jewels that were popping up on the competitions CD based platforms.

n64 titles

Though, the games that did show up by Nintendo’s efforts to collaborate with 3rd party developers & utilizing & acquiring new in house ones. They were able to remain profitable and provide us gamers with classic titles like Mario Kart 64, Star wars Rouge squadron, Mario 64 and let’s not forget the title that made the FPS genre popular on consoles James Bond’s Golden eye to name a few. Those weren’t enough to steamroll the legions of developers from leaving Nintendo home console behind. The flexibility of CD wasn’t the only reason they left Nintendo in the corner. It was their overall business practices that seemingly drove a lot of business away because of that but, it took the likes of the new challenger of the throne Sony’s PlayStation that gave them a place to call home. In return the Sony PlayStation won the 5th console generation. Along with that stole a good portion of the market share Nintendo had for years. During Gen 5 games like Banjo-Kazooie while fun and enjoyable could not bring in new adult gamers into the fold when there were mature titles being released with cinematic experiences unseen for the most part on the N64.

gaming-nintendo-64-playstation

As Generation 5 came to a close and new gamers of a higher age bracket came into the market. Sony Playstation had experiences and cutting edge technologies that you couldn’t find in Nintendo’s home console. Though like a well primed company that it is Nintendo still remained profitable even after losing significant market share along with maintain some of the fiercest fans out there. Granted their profitability wasn’t all hinged on their home console efforts all the while Nintendo is an game company so, as they somewhat floundered their market share Nintendo has the portable gaming market in their pocket protector. Pulling in gangbusters of cashola into their bank accounts later to be infused with some of their future home consoles. Titles like some of their tried and true franchises and new IP’s like Pokémon flourished on this platform but, also new gadgetry and technologies sprung up throughout the Game Boy’s lifetime. Though the portable market is virtually owned by Nintendo for the most part the home console side of things is where Nintendo should start to tighten its grip. From here on out Big N had an uphill battle going into the 6th generation. Stay tuned for the second half of my vision in “Double-edged sword Part 2: Now you’re playing with power”

By otakuman5000 On 11 Jan, 2014 At 11:25 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Interviews, ROG News, Tales of Real Otaku | With 0 Comments
bring_it_on___dante__dmc_3__cosplay_by_leon_chiro_by_leonchirocosplayart-d6hp96m

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560059_545217922223147_21166582_nI had the wonderful pleasure of being able to interview Leon Chiro, a respected cosplayer throughout the nerd community who has won several awards for cosplays like Dante from the Devil May Cry series, Tidus from Final Fantasy X and Dissidia, Caius from Final Fantasy XIII-2, and the list goes on and on. Today we get a sneak peak into the life of a competitive cosplayer from his humble beginnings, his current works in progress, and everything in between.

ROG: The classic question; we all started somewhere in our cosplay careers. Tell me a bit about that – how old you were, what inspired you, your cosplay inspirations, and what convention you did your first debut.

LC: Ok, so it was 2010…

ROG: Oh, so you’ve only been doing this for a little while!

LC: Yeah. I only started to cosplay seriously when I realized what cosplay was. But my first convention was in 2010. I’m coming from the modeling world, and I was asking myself, “Ok, I love doing pictures, but what if I try to take a character I love a lot and I model with them?” So, I was thinking of doing Tidus because he’s my favorite character ever, and I was thinking, “what if I contacted somebody to see how much this costume would cost?” And they said, “Oh, that’s simple!” And I was like, “… what?” “Cosplay.” “Ok, what is cosplay?” So he explained it and I was like, “Oh. Hm. Sounds like a carnival thing.” He said, “No, it’s more than that…” So he explained it to me. I could never imagine what the cosplay world was. So, I took my Tidus cosplay, I went to the convention alone, and I was a nobody. I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me. That was fine because I was like, “Woah.. where the [expletive] am I?” (Laughter) Someone came up to me and said, “you should enter the cosplay contest [with the Tidus cosplay] because you are very, very good.”

ROG: Yeah, you did a really great job on that. I’m shocked that was your first cosplay.

Leon Chiro's cosplay as Tidus from FFX

Leon Chiro’s cosplay as Tidus from FFX

LC: Yeah, I did Tidus’ first and second version. So yeah, this guy said I should do the cosplay contest. Ok, what is the cosplay contest? Well, it’s like a masquerade. You have to do an exhibition and interpret your character, and I said “oh, sounds cool!” I discovered that I made it to the finals without knowing it. I wasn’t expecting that. A lot of people were surprised because I was anonymous and I came from nowhere, and I arrived in a place that other people have been trying to get to for years. I don’t know what I did… I did it with my heart. That’s the thing – I did my character with my heart.

I have to say that a lot of people started to go against me – “Oh, he’s nobody,” “He only has one cosplay,” “He has too much success” – just people talking bad about me. So I said, “Ok, it’s time for me to do a second cosplay.” I did Dante, and I tried to do the cosplay contest, but I didn’t arrive in time and I had some problems. People still continued to talk bad about me because they were like, “Oh, he’s just doing it for the body” or “He’s just doing it because of the abs.” By then it was 2011, and I wanted to stop because I was like “What the [expletive] is this world?” I’m coming from the modeling world where a lot of people respect me.

ROG: Cosplay is supposed to be fun, and unfortunately there’s a lot of hate.

LC: First of all, it was just supposed to be fun. Secondly, in the gaming and comic world, if I’m winning a lot in a short amount of time, they should be happy for me, and that wasn’t the case. I wanted to stop, so I stopped for two months and I thought about it, and I said, “Ok, there are a lot of haters, but I met a lot of special people and I wanted to do an achievement exhibition for them.” So I entered the cosplay contest, and the winner won a trip to Lucca. I won first place with Dante, and a lot of people were against me because I was doing good. It’s not easy in the beginning and you’re alone and you don’t have recommendations, but I started like everyone else – a nobody. Everything I did, I did by myself.

Leon Chiro as Dante from DMC3

Leon Chiro as Dante from DMC3

I started to get more motivated, and I was like “Ok, you hate me because I’m doing good? Ok.” And I did Tidus from Dissidia, and I started to face more haters, and I was winning every contest I entered. People started to look at me with more respect. I went to Lucca with my Kung Lao cosplay because he’s my favorite character from Mortal Kombat and I won the Best Interpretation Award, which is the hardest award to get. When you win in Lucca, you can say that you’re a professional cosplayer. Winning that award made me really proud of myself, so after I won, that’s when I made my facebook cosplay page towards the end of 2011. So yeah… that’s my story. After my first convention, I won something like 14 in a row, including Lucca. The most important thing was that people were starting to know who I was and that I did good work. That was the main victory. It wasn’t about being popular – it was about being respected. I got a lot of respect for my Caius cosplay because it was very hard. Do you know of Kamui Cosplay (another respected cosplayer in the community)?

ROG: Yes, I recently liked her page on facebook because I saw it on your page. So I watched some of her tutorials on YouTube – they’re really helpful.

LC: To me, she’s the best cosplayer in the world. I had the honor of her complimenting me, and that was really satisfying… someone that big complimented me. I’m also talking to Rick Boer from Ubisoft, who’s the official Edward Kenway cosplayer (from Assassin’s Creed IV), and it feels great to have his respect because he’s such a humble guy. He’s my Assassin’s Creed idol. (Laughter) So that was a long reply for just one question!

ROG: (Laughter) It’s not a problem! How a cosplayer started out is usually a long one. All right, so an editor from ROG and I were talking and we were discussing that cosplaying seems to be mostly female dominated. What do you think about that and how to do you feel taking part in something that’s so female based?

1531739_565873086824297_1431166684_oLC: It depends, because people usually focus on half-naked girls. But for me, they’re appreciating cosplay – they’re appreciating modeling. It’s not the same thing. I’m not looking for likes (on facebook) – I want to earn them. I try to mix the two because I come from the modeling world and I’m doing cosplay from my heart. It’s female dominated because it’s easy to be popular when you’re barely wearing anything. It makes me laugh because girls will be like “Oh, you’re judging me because of my half-naked pictures?” They barely know what they’re talking about, and after you see their page, you’ll see them in bras and barely wearing anything. Girls will get angry and nitpick other girls’ cosplays, but they’re the ones doing sexier versions of a particular character. A lot of girls will judge girls that they can’t be as good as.

ROG: As a girl, I understand that totally. All right, so have you ever been an invited guest to a big name convention? And if not, what would be your dream convention to be invited to?

LC: I’ve been invited to a lot of European conventions, but I still haven’t been to America, for example. It’s unfortunately really expensive to go there.

ROG: Yeah, which is a shame. But, in the same way, I haven’t been to Italy because it’s really expensive. A friend of mine just left for Rome a few days ago and I was mentally cursing her (laughter).

LC: I mean, for me, a lot of people that go to America are really lucky. But even if I was invited to an American convention, I don’t think I’d be able to accept it anyway. I’d love to. I hope one day someone sees my cosplay and invites me over, I don’t know. This year, I was invited to three conventions. I’m taking things step by step. If you reach an achievement, it’s because you deserve it. That’s what we learn growing up. For me, it’s hard to keep up the good work because people love my cosplay, and they have a lot of high expectations. I always have to do my best.

ROG: Sure, it can be a lot of pressure.

LC: No, it’s not pressure. It’s kind of motivation for me. If cosplay was a pressure for me, I wouldn’t be doing it and I wouldn’t be doing this interview with you (laughter).

ROG: (Laughter) Trust me, we all appreciate your work. So, you’re from Italy, which I already said I’m totally jealous of, and you’re jealous of the fact that I live in New York. What would you say the biggest difference between American and European convention scenes are?

LC: I wish I could know about the American convention scene, but I’ve never been there.

ROG: I wasn’t sure if you just meant you haven’t been to New York in particular.

LC: I can say about Italy and other European conventions that there is a lot less competition. There are two European championships, and they’re the EuroCosplay, and ECG, European Cosplay Gathering. In every main convention in Europe, they choose 2 representatives and put them against the representatives from all the other countries.
I’m really proud to say that I’m competing in the world championship for Italy. It makes things harder because the competition gets more and more intense. Sometimes, competition isn’t healthy here because a lot of people are doing all they can to destroy the other cosplayers, with flames, with fights.

ROG: So it’s not good sportsmanship.

LC: Yeah, there was this guy who used to be my friend, and we’re not friends anymore. He always used to come into my job and wanted the basics to cosplays, and he’s good now, but he’s so arrogant. At the first opportunity, after I helped him meet a lot of contacts, he turned his back on me and left, and spoke bad about me. For example, we had a TV show to do and they were going to choose two cosplayers – one male and one female. They called me instead of him and a lot of other cosplayers, and I was happy about that. He wrote to the director of the show and said, “how can you choose that shitty Dragonball cosplay instead of mine, just to make me look bad. I didn’t believe he wrote and the director said, “yes, he did. Do you want to read?” So I read it and I was shocked. I was like “what the [expletive]? I don’t know what I did to him. Maybe he just ate something bad (laughter).” So I began to understand that reputation in Italy isn’t always good because a lot of them aren’t able to be humble and honest to someone else. Cosplay is a hobby, not work.

ROG: Yeah, I was actually talking to the rest of my team a few minutes ago that I truly appreciate you taking the time out. It says a lot about the cosplay community – you being good at what you do and so respected, but you’ll still take the time out for others. I’ve known and met a lot of cosplayers who thought they were better than everyone else and slammed other people. We’re all nerds, we all play videogames, read comics, watch anime – whatever. We’re supposed to be a family, but instead we just shut other people down because someone can’t sew and craft as good as someone else.

LC: There should be a middle ground between those who share the same passion. It’s not everyday that you find someone who understands you. You can’t always talk to others about video games. For example, when I was doing my Tidus cosplay, I had my hair blonde. I wasn’t wearing a wig and I had to face university with blonde hair. People would call me names like fleshlight (laughter).

ROG: That’s awful! I thought it looked great. Who cares?

LC: Yeah, who cares? I can kick your ass whenever I want, so…

ROG: (Laughter) I’d hate to get on your bad side…

LC: (shakes head) Nu-uh. Ok, so I go to school for motor science… what I would like to do with that degree – that future degree. University is a

Chiro's cosplay of Kung Lao won him first place in Lucca.

Chiro’s cosplay of Kung Lao won him first place in Lucca.

cruel world. Not everyone can pay to go to university here in Italy. It’s very selective. They’ll choose the best 200 out of thousands of applicants. Luckily for me, they were extending applications to former athletes. I was a former national champion in athletics.

ROG: What sport were you in?

LC: 100 meters. I was a runner. I’m doing parkour right now because it gives me freedom of expression. I would take my degree, get a passport, and come to the USA. I’m doing this major for personal satisfaction. I want to create my own future and do the things I love. If I can do something with it, that’d be great.

ROG: That’s a great point. Most parents in America – when I tell my parents, “hey, I want to go to school for video game design.” The first question out of their mouth is going to be “what are you going to do with that degree?” There’s no such thing as going to college for something that makes me happy; it’s all about how to make money out of it. Good for you that you go to school for something that makes you happy.

LC: You pay for your time to study. You can’t live anymore because you have to constantly study. School should make you motivated, not miserable. A good teacher isn’t someone who knows everything. A good teacher is someone who can give you those few things during your time at university and motivate you. It’s not a competition of knowledge. Sometimes it could be a former student going through their own frustrations and they pass down to you what they’ve learned in life.

ROG: Great point. So, we’ve all had that one costume that was a lot of fun, and others that were extremely challenging. What costume did you have the most fun making, and which one was the most frustrating?

LC: Caius was the one that gave me the most satisfaction. It’s full of armor parts, and it was great winning because it didn’t show off my body [like how Dante and Tidus did], but I spent a lot of money on Caius. Especially making this (shows Caius’ weapon).

ROG: Wow… how did you make that?

LC: (Laughter) I don’t even know. It’s a bit damaged now. You can say that it looks good, but since I created it, I can say that it’s definitely damaged.

ROG: How long did it take you to make Caius’ cosplay?

LC: Ahhhh… a month. One month, every single day for five to six hours. If you look on my page, I have a work in progress album that you can see. I started with a piece of wood, and then cut the shape, added more layers of wood, and just added things piece by piece. I was covered in sawdust. I had so much sawdust on me that when I went outside, all the dogs kept trying to pee on my leg because they thought I was a tree!

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Caius was the most uncomfortable to wear. It’s a lot to put on. I went to a convention and I took three redbulls with me… I have no idea why I did that. When you’re anxious and nervous about getting on stage, I had to have a redbull. But then I was like, “Oh my God, I have to pee. What the [expletive] am I going to do?” I had to remove all the pieces of the cosplay. It took a half hour to put it on and fix it. Thankfully, the Dante cosplay from DMC was the easiest. I just had the coat, didn’t have a wig, and if I got hot, I could take the coat off. It’s hard with the Caius cosplay because he does a lot of movement, and it’s hard to move in his cosplay. I need to improve some things before I compete with it again for the debut of Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns.

ROG: What do you enjoy doing the most – the outfit, the props, or the makeup and wigs?

LC: I hate the wig part. I have to make them in a way that it wont fall apart. When you’re on stage, you can’t have something like that go wrong. I mean, you’ve seen my Vegeta cosplay. It’s really heavy. I love doing makeup, but I love making my accessories. I’m well known for my props. I can get help with my tailoring and sewing stuff. If I have to do something with a coat, I’ll buy a coat and alter it. Come, on, let’s talk about it. I think it’s stupid. If you need orange pants, buy a pair and dye it. There’s no need to make one. I mean, sure, it can be satisfying, but really. Just buy a pair of pants and do what you need. With the accessories, you make it from scratch. I go to the woodshop, get the wood, and I get to work. Or you can use regular household items, like tubes from toilet paper, paper towels, or wrapping paper. Even plastic water bottles.

ROG: Obviously it takes a lot of work to keep your body in such great shape. What’s a typical workout routine for you? I know you’re all about ‘eating clean and training dirty.’

LC: I avoid fast food and processed food. I train 6 days a week. You have a choice between choosing an elevator or the stairs. Just take the stairs. Exercise is making changes in habits like that. People always complain because they don’t get the results they like because they’re not working hard enough. Or they reach their result and people think they can take a break. No, it doesn’t work like that. You have to maintain it. It’s not just your metabolism – it’s about habits. Everyone can be in shape if they wanted to. We have two legs, two arms, and a brain, and we can do whatever we want. I work out a bit less in the winter – one to two hours a day, a few times a week. During the summer, I’m training three to four hours, six days a week. I’m a trainer too, so I have to make sure I stay in shape. I don’t do the gym… I’m usually in the playground. You should see the face of the kids. They’re like “daddy! This guy is stealing our playground!” Well, you’re gunna have to fight for it. Round one… FIGHT!

ROG: (Laughter) Your cosplays are absolutely incredible. I see that your cosplays are all video game-based. Do you plan on doing any anime or movie characters?

LC: I do video game cosplays because video games, in my opinion, are the best ways to release emotion. Video games give you the power to choose, and to be that character. I believe in the power of books, but that’s the power of imagination. It’s still good, but they have limited potential. You can have great images from a movie, but not control. Video games combine the two – the freedom of movement and the wonderful visuals.
I did do a non-video game cosplay. Well, it wasn’t really a cosplay. It was a tribute to Spartacus. I did it for a new amusement park that was opening in Rome. They were doing different eras – Roman, Greek, futuristic… They wanted to do some entertainment with gladiators and they asked me, “do you have a Spartacus cosplay?” I said no, and that I’ll call them once I was done making one. I have a recycle box with material – if I don’t like a piece of armor, I’ll put it in there because I don’t want to waste materials. So I took out the box, and I made that cosplay in 4 hours with just the recycled stuff.

ROG: Care to share what character we should expect from you next?

LC: Sure, why not. I’m planning on doing Lloyd from Legend of Dragoon. I usually like to do characters that are newer, but I want to do some nostalgic cosplays too. So, Lloyd from Legend of Dragoon will be my next cosplay. Next, I’m going to work on Gladiolus from Final Fantasy XV. He is such a badass. I don’t think this cosplay is a secret anymore (laughter). I want to learn more about him before cosplaying him. Adam Jensen, from Deus Ex, is a dream cosplay of mine. I really wanted to do Nathan Drake. I could cut my hair, but I don’t want to cut it just for him. I want to keep my hair longer for some cosplays in progress and future projects.

ROG: I can say for myself that you’re a true inspiration for cosplayers around the world – whether just starting out, or an expert. To those just starting, what would you consider to be the best piece of advice you can give them?

LC: Like I said before, do everything with your heart. If you really love a character, do it from your heart, and don’t care about the critics. Don’t do it because you like it – do it because you love it.

So, there you have it – backstage access to the world of cosplay through the eyes of a professional. I was fortunate to be told some exciting news and future cosplays (I was sworn to secrecy!). Thank you again to Leon Chiro for graciously allowing me his time and contribution, 

You can find Leon Chiro on Facebook at Leon Chiro Cosplay Art and look through the rest of his work. You can also find him on Instagram at Leonchiro, and on YouTube at LeonChiroCosplayArt.

By Amy McGarey On 9 Jan, 2014 At 06:08 AM | Categorized As Featured, News, PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4, Playstation Vita | With 0 Comments
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Yesterday, Sony President Andrew House announced at CES 2014 the new game streaming service PlayStation Now. If you remember from awhile back when Sony acquired Gaikai, the cloud-based game streaming service, PlayStation Now is the rebranding of that.

Sony plans to release PlayStation Now on tons of different devices, not just their well known consoles and handhelds. The service will be available on Sony Bravia TVs, and many other third-party internet capable devices such as tablets and phones. Available games for cloud streaming will be from the last three generations of PlayStation games – PS1, PS2, and PS3. Games available for demo at the Sony CES booth were The Last of Us, Beyond: Two Souls, God of War: Ascension, and Puppeteer.

PlayStation Now will have the capability of cross-platfrom gaming between the different available devices. Technically, when all devices have PlayStation Now available, I could play The Last of Us multiplayer on a Bravia TV with someone who is playing from their PlayStation Vita. PlayStation Now will have a subscription service as well as offering games “for rent.” There’s no word yet on how much the subscription fee costs or how many games will be available on it so far. You can also rent games individually, but you won’t have permanent ownership over the game. My best guess is that PlayStation Now will work like Netflix. You never get to own any of the movies or shows on there, but as long as you’re a paying member, you can play as many as you’d like.

At the end of January, there will be a closed beta on the PlayStation 3. Full release of PlayStation Now is expected to be this summer for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. Availability on PS Vita will release later on. There is no current release date for third-party devices and Bravia TVs.

This article was originally posted on my blog, R2D2Cupcake, on January 8, 2014.

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