Weekend Factyard: Famitsu/Famicom TsushinPosted on September 19th, 2009 3 comments
- Famitsu’s mascot is named Necky (ネッキー), which is simply kitsune (fox) backwards in Japanese syllabary. They needed a reader contest, kicked off in issue #7 (9/19/1986), to come up with this name. He is a fox because — as artist Susumu Matsushita mentioned in some interview or other — foxes say “kon kon” (コンコン) in Japanese onomatopoeia, and “kon” is the third syllable in “Famicom” (famikon).
- Like EGM until the late ’90s, early issues of Famitsu featured Cross Reviews written by the same four people every issue until approximately 1992. One of these writers, “Mariko Morishita” (森下万里子), was sort of the casual-gamer version of Sushi-X — she was an imaginary editor whose reviews were written by a variety of people, but she wrote from the perspective of the occasional girl-gamer, as opposed to Sushi’s ultra-hardcore approach (directly influenced by Famitsu reviewer TACOX). Unlike either Sushi or TACOX, Mariko only rarely gave a score below 6 to anything.
- Famitsu’s review scores used to differ pretty widely between the individual editors, but gradually the scores began to converge over time, to the point where it’s now very uncommon for the high and low scores for any game to differ by more than 2 points. This trend kicked into high gear with the introduction of the silver/gold/platinum awards for high-scoring games — a trend that was also noticeable in EGM.
- On top of every review is the publishers’ estimates of what the game’s target audience is and how long an average runthrough takes. Most publishers answer these questions on a per-game basis, but Nintendo is infamous among Famitsu readers for answering “anyone can enjoy this game” (even on titles recommended for older audiences by the CERO rating) and “[length] depends on the style of play” for every single game they release.
- Reviewers have occasionally gotten in trouble for bringing up issues that didn’t actually exist. One example: A reviewer criticized the Japanese edition of Gears of War for not having English voices, even though they’re accessible by changing the language in the 360 Dashboard. Another: The PSP version of Power Stone was praised for its game-sharing abilities, although the retail version requires one copy of the game per player. Sort of reminds me of that time EGM mentioned the nonexistent two-player mode in the Viewtiful Joe 2 review. Now who was responsible for that one…?
Neat stuff. If you were feeling particularly gracious, it would be fun to see a review where the contrast (or lack thereof) between Mariko and TACOX provided some wholesome entertainment :).
Also, concerning TACOX: I can’t help seeing this moniker as “Taco-X”, but I suspect that the significance of this name is not to be found in a menu…
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