The Curious Case of Differentiating Kirby Box Art

North American Kirby box art vs. Japanese Kirby box art. Values dissonance or cultural dissonance? Whatever you want to refer to it as, Kirby Triple Deluxe director Shinya Kumazaki has explained why the Japanese box arts for Kirby games vary so greatly from the North American box arts:

“For the Japanese versions we are, at [Kirby series developer] HAL, involved in everything throughout development, including the package design. The most powerful image of Kirby is that cute image, we think that’s the one that appeals to the widest audience,” explained Kumazaki in an interview with GameSpot.

“While it does start cute,” Kumazaki continues, “we know there is a serious side to Kirby as well, and throughout the gameplay we see more and more of that, and the games themselves have quite a bit of depth. That being said, we recognise that Kirby’s cuteness is his biggest draw in [the Japanese] market.”

In short, it is believed that the Japanese consumers will find a cute Kirby more attractive whereas American consumers will find a more aggressive Kirby appealing. A TV Tropes article sums up this value dissonance very well:

“Japanese culture in general is very accepting of cuteness pretty much anyplace, and will take it in stride. American culture, on the other hand, often views cuteness as a sign of childish and immiturity, and thus has a strong aversion to it in any media that’s not explicitly kid-oriented. “Cutesy” is a loaded term synonymous with “wussy” or “kiddie” to most Americans, who often feel that, if a game or movie is to be taken seriously, then it must have a serious, or at least adult, tone.”

However, it is not always the case. Take the box art for Kirby’s Epic Yarn. In both American and Japanese markets Kirby is presented as cute and welcoming – it would be contradictory if he wasn’t, given the yarn theme. The game sold well in North America, even though the box art did not feature the aggressive Kirby which has been marketed to the West for so long.

Some secret all about sonic

Everyone loves comic book trivia, but with 75 years of superhero comics behind us right now, there’s always some new obscure fact to learn. That’s why ComicsAlliance is going deep into the minutiae of your favorite characters in our continuing video series. You think you know comics? Well, here’s a few things you might not know!

This week we’re taking a look at Sonic the Hedgehog, the perennial all-ages favorite from Archie Comics. Find out which future comics superstars cut their teeth on British Sonic fan comics, the secret origin of the buckles on Sonic’s shoes, and how a lawsuit sent two hundred echidnas back to their home planet, as well as several other equally interesting facts.

Show notes:

  • If you want to start reading the whole Sonic saga from the beginning, you can start here.
  • Alternatively, you can pick up starting with the reboot here.
  • The first crossover with Megaman starts here.
  • Or perhaps just catch up via the Sonic Comic Encyclopedia.
  • You can read Luke Brown‘s Sonic/Megaman crossover recaps here.

Read More: 12 Facts You May Not Have Known About Sonic the Hedgehog |

Tricks You Might Not Have Known

Minecraft: A game you can play for years and still feel like you know nothing about it.  There are a bunch of little tricks that, without research, you might never have even thought of. We’ve already given you 10 helpful tips. Here are 10 more Minecraft tricks you might not know!

1) Move Faster on Ice

Sprinting and jumping on ice increases speed. When you come across an icy biome, be sure to keep jumping and sprinting to cover ground seriously fast. Just make sure you aren’t hungry or you won’t be able to sprint.

2) Use Torches to Navigate

Place torches on one side of a cave to navigate. Place torches on say, only the right side. You can find your way back when the torches appear on the left. This is a great way to explore new territory.

3) Never Run Out of Air

A bucket will allow you to breath underwater. In times of emergency, it’s always good to have your trusty bucket. While underwater and running out of air, right clicking (Left Trigger, L2) will create a temporary air pocket to keep you alive.

4) Safely Fall from Heights

A bucket of water can save you from any fall. If you need a quick way down a drop, hold a bucket of water in your hand, look straight down, and right click (Left Trigger, L2) rapidly as you’re falling. If you did it right you should land safely on your own water.

5) Defeat the Ender Dragon with…

You can damage the Ender Dragon with snowballs. Snowballs are pretty easy to obtain, so why not use them against your ultimate enemy? They are a cheap and easy long range weapon.

New Pokemon From Pokemon X and Y

Pokémon X and Y were released last week, and I’m pretty comfortable with going ahead and declaring them to be the best video games of the year. Seriously, when Grand Theft Auto 5 lets you pet Pikachu and feed him cupcakes to make him better at fighting, then we can have a debate about it. Until then, it’s not even close.

Of course, in addition to the all-important cuddling-and-cupcake mechanics, the new generation of Pokémon has also introduced an entirely new bunch of imaginary little fighting animals into the mix. So today, as is our tradition here at ComicsAlliance, I’m taking a look at the new batch to figure out the best new Pokémon from X and Y!

The three starter Pokémon are always a pretty interesting proposition, because they’re the ones you’re going to be using for most of the game — and, if you play it like I do, the way it is supposed to be played, they’re also the ones that you will form the strongest bond of trust and friendship with. This, of course is the natural result of making your pet fight squirrels that shoot lighting out of their faces, because really, what’s friendlier or more trusting than making animals knock each other out in ruthless, semimystical combat? Anyway, X/Y, the sixth generation of Pokémon, offered up some solid choices, but ultimately, I went with Fennekin for reasons that are probably obvious.

I mean, Chespin might look like Louise from Bob’s Burgers, which is definitely a plus, but it ends up evolving into something that looks like a palette-swapped version of Onslaught from Marvel Comics, and that’s not something I want around for an entire hundred-hour game. Froakie, the water starter, eventually involves into a gigantic frog ninja who wraps its tongue around its face like a Kamen Rider scarf, and while that’s kind of awesome, it’s also kind of gross. And then we have Fennekin, an adorable, fire-breathing version of the African fennic fox that grows up to be a straight up wizard.

Seriously: It carries around a wand that it uses to launch psychic death rays and Mystic Fire — the actual name of its signature move is Mystic Fire — at its enemies. Finally, we have revealed owls and cats for the bulls**t wizard pets that they truly are. Pyromantic foxes are where it’s at, y’all.

Cheaters will be shadowbanned

Cheating to gain a leg-up in Pokémon Go? You might want to quit it.

The game’s developer Niantic on Thursday revealed that cheaters will be “shadowbanned,” meaning they’ll only be able to see the most common Pokémon. So, you’ll be able to find Pidgey, Magikarp, and Geodude but don’t expect to catch a Pikachu, Bulbasaur, or other rares.

“We’re committed to maintaining the state of Pokémon Go and our community of Trainers,” Niantic wrote in a Reddit post. “People who violate the Pokémon Go Terms of Service (including by using third-party software and other cheats) may have their gameplay affected and may not be able to see all the Pokémon around them.”

In some cases, Niantic may send you a warning (like this) if it detects you’re cheating, according to users on Reddit. The developer does not, however, appear to be informing people that they’ve been shadowbanned. It obviously won’t take long for an avid Pokémon Go player to figure out they have been flagged, though.

“While we cannot discuss the systems implemented, we can confirm that we are constantly refining new ways to ensure the integrity of the game in order to keep it fun and fair for all Trainers,” Niantic said.

Niantic has reportedly employed other anti-cheating measures in the past, including a “soft ban” that prevents people from catching Pokémon for a day. One player had his legit 24-hour Pokémon Go marathon blocked because the game thought he was cheating.

Warriors in World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft has established a rich history over the past 13 years, and along the way, Blizzard has also developed and made significant changes to almost every class in the game. That isn’t always an easy task, especially because players become very attached to their characters over time, and change is never easy. The warrior class has definitely experienced its fair share of tweaks. While they haven’t undergone a complete class overhaul in the same way as warlocks or hunters, warriors have had no shortage of changes come their way. Let’s look at how warriors have evolved since Vanilla.


Protection Warriors: The Standard of Vanilla Tanking

During the early years of WoW, most warriors you saw at level 60 were likely protection warriors, well-versed in saving their allies from the destructive capabilities of enemies. Due to their ability to use a sword and shield, they were also much more effective tanks than some other classes, as warriors were equipped with more defense, more armor, and a chance to block incoming melee attacks. They were also versatile due to the nature of their stances — which are battle, berserker, and defensive. While not tanking, they could drop out of defensive stance into battle stance and provide some, albeit not much, DPS assistance.


However, it was not all sunshine and rainbows for protection warriors, as they did have some major drawbacks during this time. For one, they lacked the ability to gain aggro on more than one or two targets at a time, and any fights that were high on magic damage were a struggle. Although we’ve seen no shortage of warrior tanks throughout the rest of WoW’s life, their role has certainly changed since these early days.


Warriors Unleash Rage on DPS Meters

As mentioned above, warriors have been consistently good tanks throughout the history of WoW, but what about their two DPS specs, Arms and Fury? While it’s true that these specs existed in Vanilla, they weren’t really seen very often. Part of the problem with Fury is that it required two pretty good one-handed weapons, and those were hard to come by in those days. While Arms didn’t have the restriction of gear, it just wasn’t strong enough for PVE — although it really prevailed in PVP. This all changed during Burning Crusade, around the release of the Black Temple. While warriors didn’t necessarily receive a large amount of buffs in the Black Temple 2.1.0 patch, one thing it did offer up was a third large raid and greater availability of one-handers, especially the Warglaives of Azzinoth.


With proper play and good gear from end raiding, warriors became a formidable DPS class, and their flexibility continued to be a great asset to most raids. Several encounters throughout BC required some sort of additional tanking, and DPS warriors had the ability to “stance dance” into defensive stance, throwing on a “sword and board” for encounters such as Akama in Black Temple.

Worst Types of Video Game Leaders

Leadership is a valued role that is difficult to obtain and excel at without the proper skills. Be they meglomaniacal villains or just dimwitted do-gooders, some charismatic types just don’t have it in them to run things. Don’t let our fictional video game characters convince you that they’re any different. They fall into these sub-types of “bad leader” all the same.


1. “I’m Doing This for Us!”

You know the type. The sort of leaders who have no problem destroying entire nations or compromising entire species because, in their mind, it’s for the greater good of everyone involved. As any enlightened thinker could probably agree, the Status Quo isn’t always a social condition with “progressive harmony” in mind, but these sorts of rulers take great artistic license when it comes to liberating the people from the shackles of oppression. Or the types of leaders who, in their own follies, wanted to make sure they future-proof themselves from making the same bad decisions of the past by making bad decisions in the future. Men and women like The Illusive Man (Mass Effect Series), Zeikfried (Wild ARMS), Sophia Lamb (Bioshock 2), Revolver Ocelot (Metal Gear Solid Series), and, depending on how you interpret his relationship with the Gerado, Ganondorf (The Legend of Zelda Series) are the epitome of this attitude.


2. “I’m Doing This for Me!”

The opposite of the previous, these sorts of rulers have no qualms about their intentions with their powers: they do whatever it is they want. Sometimes the joy of total domination is enough for some, other times people just want to watch the world burn. The real unifying factor with these sorts of leaders is that they flaunt their power recklessly and need to remind everyone of whose in charge regularly. People who fit this bill are Kefka (Final Fantasy 6), Arthas (Warcraft Series), The Boss (Saint’s Row Series), The Mishima/Kazama Clan (Tekken Series), M. Bison (Street Fighter Series), King Bohan (Heavenly Sword), and Mundus (DmC: Devil May Cry).

A Viable Third Option In Next-Gen Race

When it comes to console success, it takes just one match to start the fire.

We approach the precipice of the next console war. The big two, Microsoft and Sony, have assaulted us with press and hype for months now in an attempt to make their case as to why you should pick up their piece of hardware vs. their competitor’s. In many instances, they’ve just been preaching to the choir. Most people already have their pick long before the launch date arrives or even before the new consoles are announced. In a previous article, I touch on the fact that there are some who play for the home team and will buy their products, no matter what. They will never be swayed. However, once every few console generations, there’s something that comes along that forces people to break party lines and take notice. Whether it’s a new, innovative piece of hardware or a revolutionary game that people just have to have, some gamers can be shaken out of their fanboy stupor in order to indulge in something completely new. Just such an innovation may be upon us in in the next-generation, brought to us by an unlikely source. First, let’s take a look back for a moment at the previous generations and exactly how something like this can affect the gaming landscape.

The next-gen console war seems to be shaping up somewhat differently than in the past. It appears that the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 are all anyone can talk about. With the struggling release of the Wii U, people have almost completely forgotten that Nintendo (and some others) still considers itself as part of this next-gen narrative. Whether you’re a fan of Sony or not, you have to admit that the company has paid its dues with the PlayStation, as it’s coming up on a twenty-year anniversary in the business. Microsoft, on the other hand, has one thing to thank for every Xbox One it sells this year: Halo. This game is the perfect example of how a killer app can absolutely make you as a name in the console business. For every dollar Microsoft sees this holiday season, it should send a huge wine and cheese basket to Halo’s game designers. Even the Wii can attest to this kind of success. Even though Nintendo has been a name in gaming for years, the Wii success came with an innovation with its Wii-Remote. Couple that with the uniqueness and accessibility of family-friendly games such as the Wii Fit, and you have a perfect storm that carried the Nintendo Wii into the position of being the bestselling console of this generation. This again proves the point. The Wii isn’t known for its must-have game library; it’s known for the little things that are unique and completely set it apart.

Proud To Be A Gamer

We have heard it all before. Gamers are immature. Games aren’t artistic because gamers don’t want them to be. Gamers are whiney entitled little douchebags making everyone’s life a living hell. Heck, PBS Game/Show did an entire episode on how the toxic behavior of gamers actually makes successful game developers quit the industry. It would be easy to write another article about how gamers have to grow up, stop raging about stupid things, stop acting entitled, and generally act like adult human beings who have a responsibility to the medium that they enjoy. However, I’m going to attempt to come at this at a different angle. Instead of simply chastising immature gamers for their immature behavior, I’m going to posit that many forms of gamer immaturity don’t actually make any logical sense.

Example 1: It’s Just a Game VS. I’m Proud To Be A Gamer

“It’s just a game” is the mantra we hear every time someone tries to talk about games as art. The idea, is that games aren’t supposed to be art. They are supposed to be just a fun diversion. Trying to shoehorn art into gaming is either making a mountain out of a molehill, or needlessly weighing down an otherwise fun experience with pretension.

However, we frequently hear gamers talk about “gamer pride” as if playing video games is something to be proud of, which creates sort of a paradox. If the idea behind gamer pride is that playing games is as valid of a past time as, say, watching movies, reading books, going to theater, playing sports, and so on, then how can games be “just” games? How is it that we can argue that games are unimportant enough to be considered art, but important enough to be considered as important as art, at the same time? If gaming is truly unimportant, then being a gamer is unimportant, and the whole concept of gamer society is pretty much an illusion. If gaming is important, however, then gaming society is important, but games open themselves up to be scrutinized on the same level of any other piece of media.

Pokémon Go Stories That You Won’t Believe

Pokémon Go has been out for little more than a week, but it has already reignited a craze that we haven’t seen in twenty years.

You might have heard about it already, but for those who haven’t, the augmented reality game uses GPS tracking and overlays gameplay onto your surroundings, turning your neighborhood into a digital ecosystem and you into a Pokémon trainer. The game has had much more appeal than even developer Niantic could have ever expected, sending droves of people into the streets, forests and streams looking for their very own super powered animals to collect, raise and battle.

When most people think of the first Pokemon created, they tend to assume Pikachu was the original capsule monster. If the little yellow mouse was your guess, you’re wrong. The first Pokemon created isn’t any of the typical starter Pokemon either. In fact, you’ll like never guess the correct answer.


It’s Rhydon.


This large, grey Pokemon looks to be part dinosaur, part rhino. As the evolved form of Rhyhorn, Rhydon uses its powerful horn in hard-hitting attacks and its armor-like hide to withstand heat and tough physical blows. Overall, Rhydon is an extremely strong and worthwhile Pokemon.

In an interview with Ken Sugimori, the illustrator of the original artwork for the Pokemon games, it’s revealed that the original designs for Pokemon were more like dinosaurs. This explains Rhydon’s dino-like characteristics. You’ll also find Rhydon listed as the first Pokemon in Pokemon Red and Green‘s programming data.


Because of Rhydon’s significance, you’ll often find statues of the Pokemon throughout the original games.


Assassins Creed Syndicate Save the Franchise

Last November, Ubisoft released the most polarizing entry in its annual historically themed action-adventure series. Assassin’s Creed Unity seemed ready to elevate the franchise to new heights thanks in part to Ubisoft Montreal’s involvement and being heavily promoted as a next-gen only title. Unfortunately for gamers and critics alike, this sequel turned into a complete disaster marred by technical issues, a misguided storyline, and severe graphical deficiencies from start to finish.

Fast-forward to May of this year and the worldwide reveal of the ninth major installment in the series. With an Industrial Revolution setting and the ability to switch between two playable twin protagonists, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is shaping up to be the most ambitious and exciting outing yet. Is this fact alone enough to make us all forget about how disappointing Unity was? Here are my thoughts on why the end product may or may not be successful in the long run.

For starters, many of the positives about Syndicate are stemming from what Ubisoft Quebec is doing right now to change the overall experience. The introduction of an improved combat system, the ability to hijack vehicles, use a grappling hook to scale buildings faster, and engage in brutal gang wars are all landmark achievements that simply can’t be overlooked. Ubisoft also decided to remove both multiplayer and co-op features from this game, thus allowing the developers to focus solely on the single-player campaign. Multiplayer is often not needed to define how great a game truly is and I’m personally glad that they decided to avoid it altogether this time around.

As an added bonus to everything I mentioned above, the decision to include a female assassin as one of the main protagonists in the game was a smart move that will pay dividends later. Unity was heavily criticized for both its lack of female assassins in co-op and one Ubisoft employee’s ridiculous comment about it requiring too much work to add them to the game. Evie Frye already looks like the perfect solution to that problem and certainly has the potential to be a standout character for the franchise when all is said and done.

With so many positives stated about Syndicate’s potential to outshine Unity, there are at least two major concerns that may stop fans from picking it up. The first issue lies in the fact that Ubisoft continues to milk this franchise for all it’s worth and many people are growing tired of the series as a whole. While I can personally understand the company’s desire to create a game every year, the truth of the matter is that releasing a new title every two years or so would give fans a chance to miss the series and support it even more aggressively once it comes back. Rockstar Games knows this practice well and it’s the main reason why Grand Theft Auto isn’t on an annual release schedule like Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed currently are. Perhaps eventually Ubisoft will consider this approach, but I highly doubt they will if the games keep selling well.