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midwinter Who are you? What do you want? Why are you here?

Posted: April 19, 2006 (01:48 AM)
Well, here we have it. The reason why Microsoft Japan can't satisfy local gamers is more than their inability to supply software tailor made to the local market. It stretches beyond the incompetence they've shown in targeting their machine at the correct audience, and it has absolutely nothing what-so-ever to do with their Japanese business practises. Their problem lies in customer service and support, and the lack of care they have in dealing with the end-user is quite frankly, disgusting.

Of course, my sour opinion of their latest console is based on a personal experience that needs to be told. I can't say this situation will be the same for everyone, but if their indifferent Japanese nature is anything to go by, then I'm willing to bet it's game over Japan.

My problem started a few weeks after I bought the launch console when my launch copy of Ridge Racer 6 became unplayable. Removing the game from the unit revealed a series of small, semi concentric circles along the outer edge of the disc that were in fact, rather deep scratches. The marks themselves were no longer than about a centimeter a piece, and were all located in the same region of the disc at various depths from rim. Needless to say, it was unplayable, and figuring it was just a freak occurence I went out and bought a second copy of that game.

All was well for a few months until just recently when Project Gotham suffered a similar fate. The same scratches were in roughly the same places, and the result was the same DoD errors experienced previously. A quick examination of my game collection revealed a further 2 titles in similar states of damage with both Perfect Dark Zero (a game I barely played due to its total crapness) and the awesome, Call of Duty 2 being affected.

I was pissed.

Calling the Xbox Service center in Japan offered the usual responses, "send the machine back and we'll fix it for you", "we might be able to replace the games"... that was until i mentioned I had bought one of the titles from Singapore.

And here's the catch:

Microsoft Japan will replace the games bought locally, but they won't touch the foregin product.

I know. That seems fair enough on the surface of it, but when you stop and consider for a moment that the machine in question was made for the NTSC-J region, as was the copy of Call of Duty 2, you need to stop and ask WTF?! It's no good to claim the game you bought was compatible for your machine and sold in technically the same region, it has to be from the same, very specific corner of that region.

Better yet though, when I stated my reasons for importing it (namely MS Japan's complete inability to release games in a timely fashion) the CSR I was speaking with actually agreed. HE AGREED! He understood why someone might look to import compatible software from countries other than Japan, but was unwilling to do anything in regards to replacing the damaged goods. Not even a refund or a promise to supply the game once it receives a local release... nothing.

So that's left me with this, one copy of Call of Duty 2 that's completely useless, and a claim from MS Japan that the DVD drive wasn't actually defective. Apparently either it's supposed to scratch the discs, or I scratched them myself.

The CSR's words, not mine.

I couldn't believe it, so to drive the point home I went on to mention the rubber pads that previous Xbox drives have to protect software. He again said that the rubber isn't necessary, though failed to comment on why supposed internet experts (thank you Llama) demand that it is. Brilliant!

So according tio Microsoft I'm a liar and a cheater. Awesome work guys! If you had been Sony, you might have gotten away with lying to your customers as the vast majority of them are Moms and Dads, but your product is different. Of the 120,000 owners you proudly speak of in Japan, I'd hazard a guess and say that 99.9% of them are hardcore and follow the technical, underground issues such as the whole rubber thing very closely. If you can't be honest with us, who can you be honest with?

So anyway, to make a long story short (too late!), I'm tempted to sell my 360. I have no intention of relying on MS Japan for my new software, and seeing as how they couldn't promise me this wasn't going to happen again, I'm finding it hard to justify importing new games as replacements will be impossible.

Fantastic way to screw yourself out of support guys!

This saddens me as I consider the Xbox 360 an awesome machine, and have long supported Uncle Bill in his quest for home console domination. My library of original Xbox games numbers in the 100's, as would my 360 collection eventually. Now I just don't care anymore, and I'm convinced that everything you've ever heard about their grand plans for Japan is hogwash. Bullshit lipservice to hide their incompetence from not only the public, but their Seattle Overlords as well.

For now, you can count me out of 360 gaming and I don't know when I'll be back. You've pissed me off Japan, and I'm moving towards Sony faster than you may believe.

You score as of April 19th: 120,000 minus 1

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Recent Contributions

Users with accounts on the HonestGamers site are able to contribute reviews and occasionally other types of content. Below, you'll find excerpts from as many as 20 of the most recent articles posted by midwinter. Be sure to leave some feedback if you find anything interesting!

Type: Review
Game: Saishuu Heiki Kanojo (PlayStation 2)
Posted: April 25, 2009 (01:51 PM)
Originally released as a manga back in 2000, Saishuu Heiki Kanojo tells the story of 2 young lovers, Shuuji and Chise against the bleak backdrop of World War 3. Living and attending highschool in the remote Japanese countryside of Hokkaido, the story begins with Chise confessing her feelings to Shuji. Though he doesn't take the relationship seriously at first, over time Shuuji finds himself truly falling in love with her. Then one day during a devastating attack on the city of Sapporo, Shuuji in...

Type: Review
Game: Astro Boy (PlayStation 2)
Posted: April 25, 2009 (01:47 PM)
Tezuka Osamu (aka the godfather of modern manga) was to Japanese popular culture what Walt Disney was to America. In a country devastated by World War 2, Tezuka inspired hope for the future with a string of classic tales that gave even the lowliest of people something to believe in. From the radical genius of the surgeon Blackjack to a shiny future Metropolis where robots strove for equal rights, his stories have remained as relevant today as they were 50 years ago. Of his many creations, the on...

Type: Review
Game: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Game Boy Advance)
Posted: April 25, 2009 (01:44 PM)
If you grew up during the 1990's then chances are you were exposed to the Ninja Turtle phenomenon in one form or another. Originally debuting in 1984 as a series of black & white comics by indie creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles quickly grew in popularity culminating with the 1990 release of their first, self-titled theatrical movie. At about the same time Konami of Japan were working on an arcade based, 4 player Ninja Turtle inspired brawler that was ultim...

Type: Review
Game: Sweet Paradise (PSP)
Posted: May 07, 2006 (12:52 AM)
Quick show of hands, who here wants to date a pre-teen Japanese girl? Better yet, what if you could take this lovely young lady on a private holiday, just the two of you exploring the sandy tropical beaches of Bali... would you like that?
[reply][leave comment]

Type: Review
Game: Street Supremacy (PSP)
Posted: April 18, 2006 (09:27 PM)
Street Supremacy isn't just average, it's average without inspiration. You might wonder what it feels like to blast down a Tokyo expressway, grinding the slick, rain speckled concrete under tyre as a blind corner sends the back-end sliding out... well, keep wondering. This isn't the game for you.
[reply][leave comment]

Type: Review
Game: Enchanted Arms (Xbox 360)
Posted: April 05, 2006 (05:04 AM)
Once known as the Japanese RPG with an odd name, From Software's latest is both an outstanding success, and a bitter disappointment. It's the type of game that screams for more development time, caught as it is in a vapid middle ground, languishing somewhere between "could have been" and "almost was".
[reply][leave comment]

Type: Review
Game: Lemmings (PSP)
Posted: March 19, 2006 (07:10 AM)
Admittedly then, expectations for the PSP update were low. How were Team 17 going to overcome the interface problem on a system notorious for its poor controls? Long answer made short: they didn't. Instead, a series of workarounds have been implemented to increase user-friendliness, though in doing so, some basic design issues have gone unchecked.
[reply][leave comment]

Type: Review
Game: Every Party (Xbox 360)
Posted: March 12, 2006 (07:04 AM)
Okamoto's desire to broaden the market through accessibility was noble, it's just a shame he selected a console that's been solely embraced by a minor sub-culture of die-hard enthusiasts.
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Type: Review
Game: Guitar Hero (PlayStation 2)
Posted: March 05, 2006 (05:59 AM)
Gene Simmons once sang "God gave rock 'n roll to you", and yay, unto his children the Almighty did deliver. From Jimi Hendrix, to Black Sabbath, and Mega Deth, we've gorged ourselves on the power chord, and snacked on sex and drugs like they were going out of fashion. Unfortunately however, some were more blessed than others, and those that couldn't tell the difference between a fret and a spider were left to admire the party from afar.
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Type: Review
Game: Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams (PlayStation 2)
Posted: February 24, 2006 (08:18 AM)
It's a return to grace for a series in danger of losing itself, and in a way, reaffirms the belief that only Capcom know how to deliver a solid, third person slash'em up. You can have your 3D Castlevanias and your weak as piss American imitations, the real action however, once more belongs to Keiji Inafune and the Genma hordes.
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Type: Review
Game: Call of Duty 2 (Xbox 360)
Posted: February 13, 2006 (06:55 AM)
Until now, games based on World War Two have dodged a moral bullet thanks to the various limitations of the hardware supporting them. Arguments regarding the representation of mankind's darkest hour as a form of entertainment have covered everything from simple bad taste, to the trivialization of our greatest tragedy, yet the nay-sayers it seems, have been missing the point.
[reply][leave comment]

Type: Review
Game: Bubble Bobble: Double Shot (DS)
Posted: February 03, 2006 (07:46 AM)
When you consider the process of remaking a classic, it's surprising how many times the new & improved product eventually disappoints. In a perfect world, developers would cautiously add a fresh lick of paint, fine tune the controls, then ship the game without burying it under a pile of noxious, modern thinking crap. Take note Taito, that was your first mistake.
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Type: Review
Game: WTF: Work Time Fun (PSP)
Posted: January 22, 2006 (05:00 PM)
Baito Hell 2000 on the other hand, wants you bored. It needs your brain on auto pilot, and will pummel it mercilessly with the same event until your eyes glaze over. And therein lies the hook: you're going to love every minute of it.
[reply][leave comment]

Type: Review
Game: Quake 4 (Xbox 360)
Posted: January 18, 2006 (07:43 AM)
There are few games that can boast an arsenal quite like this, and there are fewer still that actually make it work. From the rapid fire brutality of the nail gun, to the hyper blaster, to a dark matter cannon that fires quantum singularities, each and every weapon packs an awesome punch.
[reply][leave comment]

Type: Review
Game: Wrestle Kingdom (Xbox 360)
Posted: January 01, 2006 (10:51 PM)
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[reply][leave comment]

Type: Review
Game: Raiden III (PlayStation 2)
Posted: December 28, 2005 (05:20 AM)
There's a noticeable absence of firepower on the screen at any given time, particularly when compared to the latest generation of shooters. As such, players new to the genre might find Raiden III the perfect stepping stone into a few of the more, hell-ish encounters. And so long as they're not expecting too much, they might even have a good time.
[reply][leave comment]

Type: Review
Game: Metal Gear Acid 2 (PSP)
Posted: December 22, 2005 (07:37 PM)
That being said then, Konami's evolution was never going to address such concerns. Depth, Rebirth, and Solidity, are what they wanted, and Metal Gear Acid 2 has nailed its targets in turn. Those familiar with the original however, should feel right at home as the premise itself hasn't changed. You're still alternating rounds with the AI, moving Snake across the map via the use of cards which are randomly dealt from a fully customizable deck.
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Type: Review
Game: Tetris: the Grandmaster Ace (Xbox 360)
Posted: December 16, 2005 (06:32 AM)
I guess it's fair to say then, Tetris: the Grandmaster Ace is something socially minded players will enjoy. Where a lack of ambition hurts its solo experience, the assorted Xbox Live modes have kept things fresh with a healthy dose of variety and some major, online competition.
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Type: Review
Game: Monster Hunter: Freedom (PSP)
Posted: December 08, 2005 (08:49 AM)
Unfortunately however, Monster Hunter required more than I was prepared to give, and its strong focus on online play, coupled with the burden of monthly fees, soon put me off. Apparently I wasn't alone either, as Capcom have gone to great lengths in order to rework the gameplay, porting it to the PSP while fleshing out the overall experience.
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Type: Review
Game: Densha de Go! Pocket: Yamanote-Sen-Hen (PSP)
Posted: November 29, 2005 (07:54 AM)
One of the great things about living in Japan is the number of cute high school girls... another would be the train sims. I know, I know. Like you probably just did a moment ago, there was a time when I scoffed at such ideas as well. On a scale of cool to geek, train watching ranks up there with comb-overs and plaid pants, yet I can most honorably confirm that Densha de GO! Portable is the bomb.
[reply][leave comment]

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