Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is the JRPG to anticipate on Xbox Game Pass in 2023

I will get straight to the point here – Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is my most wanted Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) of this current console generation and it is one of the main reasons why I subscribed to Xbox Game Pass (XGP) as soon as I bought my Xbox Series X console late last year. While a release date was not yet announced as of this writing, I am looking forward to this upcoming JRPG on my Xbox Series X sometime in 2023. Check out the official Xbox listing of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes by clicking here.

During the recent Tokyo Game Show (TGS), publisher 505 Games and Rabbit & Bear Studios executives – including studio head Yoshitaka Murayama (the Suikoden series creator) and Junko Kawano (who worked on Suikoden and Suikoden IV) – had their own presentation and made announcements. During the TGS, the newest trailer of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes was unveiled and it sure looks really good even though the footage shown was from pre-alpha build. Watch the newest trailer below…

As I mentioned earlier, no release date was announced during the TGS which I found baffling since that event drew a lot of viewers and gamers’ attention worldwide. Could it be possible that Konami’s surprise announcement of Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars coming to multiple platforms (including Xbox) in 2023 might have something to do with the lack of a firm release date for Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes? At least in my view, developer Rabbit & Bear is still working on finishing their JRPG.

Perhaps publisher 505 Games is doing a wait-and-see approach about the many video games expected to fill the market in 2023 with anticipated heavy hitters like Starfield, Forza Motorsport (2023) and Redfall to name a few. 505 Games will have to select soon a firm 2023 release date for Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes based on market competition and the development status of the game.

Exploration in the game will be a mix of 2D sprites, polygonal environments and some artistic backgrounds.
The battles in Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes have that dynamic touch and multiple playable characters can fill your party and engage the enemies.

For the newcomers reading this, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is a turn-based fantasy JRPG which has a design and style similar to what was seen in the first two Suikoden video games. As seen in the above trailer, the upcoming JRPG has the combined talents of game creators such as Yoshitaka Murayama, Junko Kawano and Junichi Murakami (Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow) plus musicians Motoi Sakuraba (Star Ocean series, Tales of series) and Michiko Naruke (Wild Arms series).   

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes has a story set in one corner of Allraan, a tapestry of nations with diverse cultures and values. On Xbox.com, 505 Games released the first set of character profiles introducing: Nowa, Seign, Marisa, Lian and Garr. Their respective descriptions are as follows…

NowaWhen the League of Nations recruits warriors to assist in a joint expedition with the Galdean Empire, our protagonist answers the call and leaves his remote village to test his skills. On the mission, he finds an ancient rune-lens, unaware that the discovery will spark a war between the League and the Empire. After the conflict begins, he joins a unit in the League’s border guard. The protagonist is the “leap before you look” type. He doesn’t always weigh the pros and cons before springing to action, and while his constant need to involve himself in other people’s problems sometimes creates headaches for his companions, they like him for it and know his heart is in the right place. After all, if they ever got into trouble, he’d be the first person there.

SeignThe second-born son to House Kesling, a powerful imperial family. His older brother died on the battlefield. Seign is exceptionally gifted; after achieving outstanding grades at military academy, he was placed in command of a company of his peers and sent on the expedition to find the ancient rune-lens. During the mission, he meets the protagonist. The two warm to each other as they overcome adversity, and they learn of one another’s ambitions. Seign’s strategic mind allows him to analyze things from a broad perspective and make sound decisions. People often confuse his clear mind for a cold heart, but he is guided by strong ideals and a deep passion to fulfill them. After his brother’s death during a border rebellion, Seign began to think long and hard about what it means to fight.

Marisa – A young member of the Guardians, a clan that hallows and protects the forest. Since Marisa was very little her family has instilled their ways and traditions in her. She has a warm, affable smile — except on the battlefield, where she wears the countenance of a warrior.

Although the Guardians live as one with the forest, they have respect for the outside world’s culture and technology, and they are not against integrating the parts of it that make sense to them. Marisa is particularly forward-thinking in this regard and loves new things — especially cute things.

Lian – After the Empire’s forces invade league lands, Lian is infuriated and runs away from home without even the slightest semblance of a plan. She decides the first thing to do is hoof it to the biggest town she can find, and luckily that’s where she meets the protagonist and his companions. Lian was born in a dojo, and her father wasted no time in teaching her. She was doing roundhouse kicks before she even learned to walk properly.

Garr– A veteran beastman warrior. He and his clan make their living as mercenaries, and their vast experience and sheer brutality put them in high demand. War is all Garr has known, and to him life is one battlefield after the other until you die.

To date, Rabbit & Bear Studios already released the side-scrolling spin-off game Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising and has been working hard to complete Hundred Heroes. The shared game design elements between the early Suikoden games and Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes such has having over 100 playable characters, a story of war, in-depth world exploration, heavy use of 2D sprites for the characters along with their acts during battles, and dynamic group battles are not surprising given Murayama’s history of leading the development of the Suikoden JRPG franchise (until the 3rd game) during his time with Konami. Murayama also is a proven fantasy storyteller with the Suikoden games. Personally, I really loved playing Suikoden II which in my opinion is not only the best of the Suikoden game franchise but also one of the very best JRPGs of the 1990s that I have ever played as well as one of the best JRPGs that was not made by Square Enix.

Now this is one very dazzling moment shown during the latest Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes trailer.
Seign and Nowa going head to head with each other in this captured moment from the latest trailer.

Knowing that Murayama, Kawano and other notable Japanese creators are working together in making Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, I have reasons to be confident about it. On my end, my taste on video games has changed a lot over the past fifteen years and that goes the same with my interest in JRPGs. Along the way, I really miss the fun I had with the first two Suikoden games as they had gameplay elements that were not only uniquely fun but also aged well. For me, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes could become the most delightful surprise among JRPGs in this current console generation. It is my most-wanted JRPG of this console generation and I believe it will fit in nicely with the Xbox ecosystem which is already becoming an ideal haven for fantasy RPGs and RPG fans in general.

Watch out for Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, Windows PC and Xbox Game Pass in 2023.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

Former PS5-exclusive game Deathloop is now available on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox Game Pass (XGP)

Deathloop, the acclaimed video game developed by Arkane Lyon and published by Bethesda Softworks that was once an exclusive game on Sony’s PlayStation 5 console, is now available on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox Game Pass (XGP)!

To start with, watch this official Xbox launch trailer of Deathloop!

Now watch this latest Deathloop trailer.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the official Xbox.com announcement written by Anne Lewis, Sr. Content Manager, Bethesda Softworks Senior Content Manager Anne Lewis. Some parts in boldface…

The award-winning, mind-bending, time-warping sensation critics are calling a “masterpiece” is now available on Xbox Series X|S! Deathloop transports players to the lawless island of Blackreef in an eternal struggle between two extraordinary assassins. Explore stunning environments and meticulously designed levels in an immersive gameplay experience that lets you approach every situation any way you like. Hunt down eight targets all over the island to put an end to the cycle once and for all, and remember, if at first you don’t succeed… die, die again.

Xbox players can now jump into the colorful world and time-warped action of Deathloop, running at 60 FPS on Xbox Series X|SDeathloop is also available now with Xbox Game Pass, PC Game Pass, and Cloud Gaming (Beta). Experience Arkane Lyon’s unique spin on the first-person shooter and lose yourself on Blackreef.

Everything You Need to Know About Deathloop – New to Deathloop? Get caught up with everything you need to know with this handy roundup.

What the hell is happening on Blackreef? – As Colt, you have one day to eliminate eight targets who are responsible for keeping the timeloop functioning. If you miss even one, the day will reset. But they’re scattered all over the island. How are you supposed to track them all down in just one cycle? To take out all of them before the day starts over, you’ll need to learn to manipulate the world around you, discovering your targets’ routines and schedules as you fight to solve the puzzle of the island. And the best part: You’re free to determine how to go about this.

You can take every mission — main missions and side missions — at your own pace and in any order you choose as you assemble those puzzle pieces. Each day is an opportunity to learn and piece together the mystery. You’ll get stronger, you’ll try new things, you’ll discover new paths, and eventually, you’ll break this f***ing timeloop. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with The Story of Deathloop and Dig into the Basics.

Meet Colt – It’s no surprise that Colt is a mystery. After all, it’s hard to know much about a guy when he doesn’t know anything about himself. He has no idea who he is; why he’s caught in a timeloop on a frigid, isolated island; why people seem to know him… All he knows is that he’s having a pretty bad day, and he’ll *be* having a pretty bad day until he can do something about the timeloop. Progressing through Deathloop means uncovering not only the island’s secrets, but the secrets of Colt’s past. For better or worse, Colt’s determined to figure out who he really is and why he’s here. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with Our Hero, Colt.

And Colt’s Hunter – Where Deathloop’s hero Colt is mysterious because he knows nothing about himself, its “villain” Julianna is mysterious because she knows everything about everything, and she keeps all those cards tucked carefully up her stylish sleeves. When you know everything, sometimes the most fun you can have is playing your winning cards while laughing in your opponent’s face. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with And His Nemesis, Julianna.

Who Are the Targets? – Colt’s job isn’t easy. He’s trapped in a timeloop on Blackreef, surrounded by chaotic partygoers with itchy trigger fingers. At the top of the island’s food chain are either “Visionaries” responsible for keeping the timeloop going. If he can manage to take them all out in a single day, he can break the timeloop and finally escape. Eight targets, all spread out across an entire island, and just one day to kill them all. You better get to know all eight if you plan on getting the job done. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with Check Out Your Hitlist and How Will You Take Them All Out?

Go Head-to-Head – While Colt’s single-player journey is the focus in Deathloop, if you’re feeling particularly devious you can switch things up and take on the role of Julianna and sneak into another player’s game to cause some chaos. Break the timeloop or protect it? The choice is yours. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with Face Off Against Your Friends In PvP.

What’s New in the Goldenloop Update – Deathloop’s latest major update comes with cross-platform PvP matchmaking and a host of new goodies for you to enjoy. Get your hands on a new weapon, a new ability, and new trinkets, plus new enemies to go head-to-head with, and much more. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog about the Goldenloop update.

Deathloop’s Xbox debut is notable not only because it helps soften the blow related to the lack of big-budget Xbox-exclusive games this year but also because it was one of the Bethesda games Sony paid to be an exclusive on PlayStation 5 (PS5). With its availability on Xbox Game Pass (XGP), many millions of subscribers will get to play and enjoy the game complete with optimization for their Xbox Series consoles.

Now that Microsoft owns Bethesda, Deathloop will be available for Xbox ecosystem users in the long term and I expect that Deathloop sequels and spinoffs will be Xbox-exclusive! What Microsoft owns, Sony cannot touch! No more future games of Deathloop for PlayStation! Right now, Sony is pathetically panicking and pretending to be a victim as they oppose the pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Go for Deathloop on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and XGP now!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

Remastered versions of Suikoden and Suikoden II are coming to Xbox in 2023!

During the recent Tokyo Game Show (TGS), Team Xbox had its livestream event which was a mix of surprises and game reveals. Xbox chief Phil Spencer and Xbox CVP Sarah Bond spent time emphasizing their gaming business as well as their commitment with the game creators and gamers in Japan.

While the sudden release of the remastered version of the hit Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) Ni no Kuni on Xbox platforms and Xbox Game Pass (XGP) was indeed surprising, there was another major surprise pulled off by Konami that includes Xbox for a release some time in 2023 – Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars. Watch the official English-language trailer below…

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the official press release from Konami’s website. Some parts in boldface…

Announced during Tokyo Games Show 2022, KONAMI confirmed several fundamental improvements and quality-of-life features in the upcoming remaster collection:

Graphical Improvements

Pixel sprites and environment art enhanced with new screen effects including lighting, clouds, and shadow animations Flickering flames, smoldering smoke, the movement of leaves and insects, all add up to a lively in-game atmosphere!

The effects and direction have been redesigned, bringing memorable scenes back to life in more beautiful ways!

New Character Drawings

All character portraits have been updated in HD. Junko Kawano, who designed the characters for the original version of Suikoden released in 1995, has newly re-drawn all the character portraits for Suikoden I HD Remaster Gate Rune War.

Sound Improvements

Field Sound – A large number of environmental sounds not found in the original version, such as the sound of running water in the river, wind, insects, and running footsteps, have been added. You can enjoy an immersive experience like never before!

Battle Sound – All sound effects are now in HD. In addition to the impact of the 3D effects, the realistic sound greatly enhances the dynamism of the battles!

Game System Improvements

Many new features have been added, such as dialogue log, auto-battle, double-speed battles, etc.

Footage of the remastered Suikoden JRPG from Konami’s official trailer.
The 2D sprites look the same but they do look sharper in HD. Even the background elements look sharper.
World exploration in Suikoden is no longer the flat 2D map it used to be.

As I have played Suikoden and Suikoden II on the original PlayStation console in the 1990s, the announcement of Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars is big dream come true for me personally. I always wanted to replay Suikoden and Suikoden II without the hassle of having to spend a lot of money to buy a PlayStation or a Nintendo console. In my experience, Suikoden II is the peak of excellence of its own franchise as the creative team listened to the fans and learned from their shortcomings on making the first game which resulted in very rich gameplay, several fun features and compelling story. Suikoden II also remains a great example of using 2D sprites aided with 3D camera movements and some polygonal effects. Read my retro review of Suikoden II at https://carlocarrasco.com/2021/07/15/a-look-back-at-suikoden-ii-1999/

The lighting in this particular part of Suikoden II was enhanced to be dramatic looking.
Battle sequence from Suikoden II as shown in Konami’s trailer.
This touching scene from Suikoden II looks better than ever.

That being said, Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars coming to Xbox (note: Xbox One was officially listed as the Xbox console) is a big bonus not just for Xbox gamers who enjoy JRPGs but also for long-time gamers who loved the early Suikoden games who have not been spending much time with console gaming. As seen in the official press release from Konami as well as in the revealed footage in the official announcement trailer, there were several enhancements to make Suikoden and Suikoden II more presentable in today’s age of high-definition gaming. While the 2D sprites and in-game art works of the two classic JRPGs look the same (note: with some minor adjustments), I noticed the improvements on sound effects, the in-game lighting, some adjustments on textures, the higher resolution resulting in sharper images, and the redrawn character portraits (in the first game specifically).

Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars coming to Xbox is looking like a great addition on the Xbox ecosystem’s growing global appeal as the haven for fantasy RPGs gamers and also for gamers who like other types of role-playing games! For Konami, selling the two classic JRPGs on Xbox could mean bigger sales than what they achieved on PlayStation decades ago. Remember that 2023 will see the eventual release of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes and the Xbox-eclusive Starfield. Right now, Konami is still at work on enhancing the remastered Suikoden and Suikoden II and they will have to decide which date in 2023 should mark the release. Personally, I can hardly wait to play Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars on my Xbox Series X console. Watch out for Konami’s announcement of the official 2023 release date. Also, here is hoping Konami will do a good job remastering the two classic JRPGs and that the promises they made in their press release will be fulfilled.

For the newcomers reading this, the Suikoden game franchise’s core concept has been based on the motif of the Chinese classic novel Water Margin and the creative team back then (led by a very young Yoshitaka Murayama who is now leading Rabbit & Bear studios making Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes) created role-playing games that had engaging fantasy stories, feature-rich gameplay and a wide lineup of characters who collectively contribute to the game endings. The first Suikoden RPG of the mid-1990s follows a protagonist whose father is one of the empire’s five generals, as he gathers his 108 Stars of Destiny and friends to fight against the oppressive rule of the Empire in ruin. Suikoden II happens three years after the first game’s story, further evolving the game systems unique to Suikoden, such as Rune magic, the 108 Stars of Destiny, home base management, and Army Battles, which were well received in the previous game. Three childhood friends, including the protagonist, are tossed about by a great whirlpool of destiny.

Historically speaking, the Suikoden video game franchise has been strongly identified with PlayStation platforms. Suikoden and Suikoden II were released on the first PlayStation console while Suikoden III, Suikoden IV and Suikoden V were released on PlayStation 2. There were also some versions of Suikoden games that got released on Sega Saturn, Windows PC and Nintendo platforms. That being said, the inclusion of Xbox One as a platform for the upcoming Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars is very notable, even exceptional.

Watch out for Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars on Xbox in 2023. Also, I encourage you all to follow the official Suikoden Twitter account.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

Ni no Kuni remastered version now available via Xbox Game Pass!

By the time you are reading this, this year’s edition of the annual Tokyo Game Show (TGS) is over and Team Xbox’s announced TGS2022 livestream was held with a mix of game showcases and announcements.

During the Xbox TGS2022 event, I was very surprised and delighted to find out that a remastered version of the acclaimed Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was not only released for Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One, but also it was immediately on Xbox Game Pass (XGP)!

Officially titled as Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered, I went online with my Xbox Series X to download the game via Xbox Game Pass. The entire experience was quiet jarring as the lightning launch of Ni no Kuni on Xbox consoles and XGP was something I never ever anticipated would happen. Regardless, this sudden release is a bonus for Xbox gamers who want to play more JRPGs as well as XGP subscribers who want new content to enjoy.

From one the many battles during my play time with the game on my Xbox Series X.

For the newcomers reading this, Ni no Kuni was a hit game released only on PlayStation 3 (PS3) in 2011-2013, followed by a remastered version in 2019 for PlayStation 4 (PS4), Nintendo Switch and PC. The game was developed by long-time JRPG developer Level-5 (which is often identified with PlayStation and Nintendo platforms) and published by Bandai Namco. Ni no Kuni is also notable for having lots of anime cutscenes produced by animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli as well as music by Joe Hisaishi.

As I’m writing this, I got to play the game and I am having fun discovering its fantasy world, learning how the game functions and the Studio Ghibli-animated scenes really look nice! I’ve got a long way to go before completing the game.

A talk scene during my play time.
This is one of the scenes animated by Studio Ghibli.

As far as Xbox gaming for 2022 is concerned, the sudden addition of the remastered Ni no Kuni into the Xbox ecosystem and XGP is helpful in relation to the lack of big-budget Xbox-exclusive games in the 4th quarter. It should be noted that RPG heavy hitters Starfield and Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes plus the remastered versions of two certain classic JRPGs (note: here’s a hint) are scheduled for release in 2023. When it comes RPG gaming on Xbox, the Level-5-developed game is a very welcome addition given the commercial and critical achievements, fun gameplay and the nice value of having Studio Ghibli-produced animation sequences that helped emphasize the game’s fantasy concepts.

For those of you Xbox and JRPG gamers who wish to buy Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered online, click right here. If you are already an Xbox Game Pass subscriber eager for new experiences or JRPG fun, go download the game now.

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos plus a few ones related to Tokyo Game Show 2022 for your viewing pleasure.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

The Lord blessed the Philippines with Planetshakers

Welcome back, my fellow Christians, music enthusiasts and all those who seek the Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit! As I write this, I declare that I, along with many thousands of others, got blessed by the Lord through the Planetshakers Greater Asia Tour worship event I attended on the evening September 10 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

For the bigger picture, Planetshakers returned to the Philippines for the first time since early 2020 (shortly before COVID-19 lockdown happened) and they organized worship events for four consecutive nights from September 8 to 11, 2022. Indeed, the Lord blessed the Philippines with Planetshakers whose music and leading of worship are clearly anointed by Him.

For the newcomers reading this, Planetshakers is a Christian church based in Australia and their worship music team produced a lot of worship songs that became not only popular with Christians around the world but also became part of their worship of the Lord. I reviewed several Planetshakers worship songs on this website and I encourage you to take to read my Christian Music Appreciation (CMA) articles of their songs by clicking hereherehereherehere, here and here.

In relation to their Greater Asia Tour, Planetshakers’ newest album is titled GREATER and you can see more about it at https://www.planetshakers.com/music/albums/greater/

If you want to discover and learn more about Planetshakers, I encourage you to click here (Facebook page), here (Instagram), here (Twitter) and here (YouTube). To know more about Planetshakers itself, visit https://www.planetshakers.com/

Before attending the Planetshakers Greater Asia Tour worship event of September 10, 2022, I should say that I literally wrestled a bit to secure an Upper Box ticker online at SM Tickets’ website when the tickets where first released on July 21, 2022. On that particular day, I was in a virtual line as there were more than 2,600+ others ahead of me on SM Tickets. That was a great reminder of how popular Planetshakers worship leaders and musicians really are among my fellow Filipinos. I did not see the long line as a problem at all as I kept faith that my turn will come and that a ticket with a good seat will be available.

After more than 30 minutes waiting, I had my turn searching for whatever available tickets I could find and all the tickets for the VIP section were already sold out which is not surprising at all. Thanks to the Lord, I got myself an Upper Box ticket and successfully used my credit card to complete the transaction. Eventually, all four nights of Planetshakers worship events here in the Philippines got sold out! I picked up my ticket at an SM Tickets branch a few weeks later at the near SM shopping mall.

On the evening of September 10, I went inside SM MOA Arena more than 90 minutes ahead of schedule. As I arrived, I noticed Planetshakers merchandise being sold as well as backdrops related to the church for picture-taking. I bought two posters before moving upstairs.

As I made my way going upstairs, I felt the excitement and high energy around me which is not a surprise since the Planetshakers worship event was expected to be amazing as it has been anointed by the Lord.

Planetshakers Greater merchandise sold at the ground floor of the SM MOA Arena.
The Planetshakers backdrop for picture-taking.

Finally, with the help of an usher, I find my assigned seat in the Upper Box section of the SM MOA Arena. While the foot space was little, my seat was comfortable enough and I had a diagonal view of the stage below. Already, I was thankful to our Lord and Savior Jesus for the blessing. This event was my 2nd time in life to see Planetshakers lead worship with music but it was my first time to actually attend a Planetshakers-led event. To be clear, I first saw Planetshakers live on stage during the Jesus Global Youth Day in 2019.

Another spot for Planetshakers event merchandise at one of the upper floors of the SM MOA Arena.

At a little past 8PM, almost all the seats were filled and then Planetshakers’ worship event started very energetically! The music was amazing and the lights on the stage and in other parts of the venue really dazzled! It was more than a raving experience…it was holy as the Holy Spirit in my heart moved within. As the music was played, I really experienced blessing from Him, I reached out to Him, expressed my thanks to Him for the blessings and emphasized the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus.

While my Upper Box seat was distant from the stage below, the monitors by the stage were clear enough to help me see who was speaking and who was on stage. Planetshakers co-founder and global senior pastor Sam Evans was there and so was Joth Hunt, their dance ministry members and the others.

The view from seat. Tremendous worship led by Planetshakers combined with music, dazzling lights and the strong faith of the attendees in the Lord proved this was an anointed event.

The worship songs played during the event was a mix of past and new (from the newest album GREATER). Each song played drew praise towards the Lord from the many thousands who attended. A lot stood up, raised and waived their hands to the Lord as the music played and the lights dazzled. The praise towards the Lord was undeniably real and powerful with Planetshakers helping lead attendees to Him. This reminds me of what was written in Chapter 150 of the Book of Psalm in the Holy Bible which goes as follows:

Praise the Lord!

Praise God in His sanctuary;

Praise Him in His mighty firmament!

Praise Him for His mighty acts;

Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!

Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;

Praise Him with the lute and harp!

Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;

Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!

Praise Him with loud cymbals;

Praise Him with clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord!

Psalm 150:1-6 (NKJV)

Very clearly, Planetshakers’ worship events are aligned closely with the above holy scripture. What I attended was a lot more than “just a concert”. It was truly worship of the Lord with Planetshakers’ worship music, modern instruments, strong focus and a strong leading of prayers to Him.

Speaking of prayers, I am very thankful to God that I personally witnessed Pastor Sam Evans leading prayers and got blessed that night. Whenever she leads prayers, it is always powerful, truly wholehearted, engaging and compelling! Pastor Sam Evans is truly anointed by the Lord to lead people to Him. The power and holiness of worship led by Pastor Sam Evans is even more tremendous when she is physically present with you. Her prayer was clearly done with all of her heart! This ultimately confirms the Lord’s blessing of the Philippines with Planetshakers and its sold-out worship events! More on the power of praying to the Lord and the truth about Him listening to us, learn from the holy scriptures below…

Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand).

Jeremiah 33:3 (AMPC)

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.

Jeremiah 29:12 (ESV)

Seek the Lord and His strength;

Seek His face evermore!

1 Chronicles 16:11 (NKJV)

You are the Lord who reigns over your never-ending kingdom through all the ages of time and eternity! You are faithful to fulfill every promise you’ve made. You manifest yourself as kindness in all you do.

Weak and feeble ones you will sustain. Those bent over with burdens of shame you will lift up.

You have captured our attention and the eyes of all look to you. You give what they hunger for at just the right time.

When you open your generous hand, it’s full of blessings, satisfying the longings of every living thing.

You are fair and righteous in everything you do, and your love is wrapped into all your works.

You draw near to those who call out to you, listening closely, especially when their hearts are true.

Every godly one receives even more than what they ask for. For you hear what their hearts really long for, and you bring them your saving strength.

God, you watch carefully over all your devoted lovers like a bodyguard, but you will destroy the ungodly.

I will praise you, Lord! Let everyone everywhere join me in praising the beautiful Lord of holiness from now through eternity!

Psalms 145:13-21 (TPT)

During that same event, a prepared video was played recalling Joth Hunt’s bout with cancer a few years ago. Being hit with cancer is always difficult and even heart-breaking. Ultimately, Hunt did not give up as he kept his faith in the Lord. He never gave up on God! He recovered successfully from cancer and remains active with Planetshakers to this day! Hunts’ testimony and recovery are proof that the Lord will never abandon His children and only He can heal and restore you as long as you maintain unwavering faith in Him! Learn from the following scriptures below…

Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.

Isaiah 41:10 (AMPC)

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

Jeremiah 29:11 (AMPC)

Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed;

Save me and I will be saved,

For You are my praise.

Jeremiah 17:14 (NASB)

And the Lord turned the captivity of Job and restored his fortunes, when he prayed for his friends; also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Job 42:10 (AMPC)

More on the latest album GREATER – which itself is a key theme in the latest Planetshakers tours of worship events – there is biblical significance behind its title. It is a lively reminder about the greatness of our Lord and that we must always be with Him, follow Him and walk with Him in faith. The Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus our Lord and the Holy Spirit are always greater! Learn from the scriptures below…

Great is the Lord and highly to be praised; and His greatness is [so vast and deep as to be] unsearchable.

Psalm 145:3 (AMPC)

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:16 (NASB)

For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed.

Deuteronomy 10:17 (NLT)

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and the earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and Yours it is to be exalted as Head over all.

1 Chronicles 29:11 (AMPC)

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

Go ahead—sing your new song to the Lord! Let everyone in every language sing him a new song. Don’t stop! Keep on singing! Make his name famous! Tell everyone every day how wonderful he is. Give them the good news of our great Savior. Take the message of his glory and miracles to every nation. Tell them about all the amazing things he has done. For the Lord’s greatness is beyond description, and he deserves all the praise that comes to him. He is our King-God, and it’s right to be in holy awe of him.

Psalms 96:4 (TPT)

Another shot from my seat. See if you can identify who is who on stage.

By the end of the September 10 worship event, I got very blessed by the Lord and I noticed many others around me left for home happy, thankful and positive. There were no signs whatsoever about disappointment and that is not surprising at all because the event was a blessing from the Lord. I felt great and deeply satisfied as I walked to the parking area to get into the car. I was overwhelmed with the Lord’s holiness and was really happy as I drove all the way back home.

Very clearly, Planetshakers and their highly successful worship events are big blessings of the Lord for the Philippines! In 2020, people prayed for His protection as COVID-19 swamped the nation. In 2021, people prayed to Him for social and economic recovery from COVID-19. This year, our faith in Him strengthened further which will lift the Philippines to emerge from the COVID-19 stronger and more confidently. Planetshakers’ events here in the Philippines are clearly part of the Lord’s plans for the Filipino people. As such, I urge you my readers to always pray to the Lord, ask for His plan for you, follow His Word and live with uncompromising faith in Him. Become a blessing to others as you get blessed by Him. Always remember that the personal relationship with the Lord is truly essential.

Always remember that God has plans for you and you only need to decide to let Him into your hear, to walk with Him, follow Him all the way and let His Spirit – the Holy Spirit – in your heart work in guiding you. Never forget that Jesus is our most definitive Lord and Savior and it is only through Him that we can connect with the Heavenly Father. That being said, the Planetshakers event I attended heavily emphasized Lord Jesus’ name as worship went on inside the SM MOA Arena. All our praise and all the glory are for God, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Always have unwavering faith in the Lord! Always praise, honor and thank the Lord with all your heart!

At this point, I encourage you all to pray to the Lord wholeheartedly and with enduring faith in Him. For true quality time with Him, be in your room with the door closed and locked, then pray to Him. As the Lord blessed our nation with Planetshakers and their four nights of sold-out worship events, I also encourage you to pray for Planetshakers so that their ministry and network of church will continue to preach God’s Word and help people come to Jesus. Pray for Planetshakers’ co-founders Russell and Sam Evans so that the Lord will bless them as they keep on working tirelessly in serving Him and leading people to Him. Pray for Planetshakers’ pastors, musicians, dance ministry members and all their employees and stakeholders so that the Lord will bless them and support them as they organize more worship services. As Planetshakers keeps on serving the Lord and help lead people to Jesus, the following holy scripture below will resonate with the faithful and those who seek Him. I also encourage you to share the scripture to others…

Those who give thanks that Jesus is the Son of God live in God, and God lives in them.

1 John 4:15 (TPT)

In ending this article, I posted below the official music videos of worship songs related to Planetshakers’ latest album. May these enlighten you, delight you and motivate you to come to God, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit without hesitation. Seek Lord Jesus first, follow His light and always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! Live by Jesus’ eternal victory! Peace and amen to you all!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others as well as making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A Look Back at Harbinger #19 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a part of the Valiant Comics shared universe through the Harbinger monthly series.

In my previous retro review, the creative team of Fontenot-Simpson told another story that built up Harbinger’s concept some more while introducing yet another new character – Screen – who is not part of the team led by Sting. The story symbolically showed the further growth of the tremendous power of Toyo Harada not only through his control of the Harbinger foundation but also of his connection with the new United States President of the time. 

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #19, published in 1993 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Maurice Fontenot and illustrated by Howard Simpson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins on the afternoon of January 25, 1993. Inside the New York facility of the Harbinger foundation, a pretty blonde, young lady named Natalie Toynbee – codename: Stunner – gets scanned by the technicians handling the technologies. A technician’s request for Natalie to urinate into a cup reveals that the lady has a huge ego and pride of herself as she reacts negatively. 

Suddenly, the wall near Natalie and the technician got damaged by force unleashed by Sting who is accompanied by Faith, Flamingo and Shatiqua. Their mission is to free Natalie from the clutches of the Harbinger foundation which is a small part of their long-term vision of freeing and recruiting more powered young adults.

After subduing the Harbinger foundation personnel, Sting begins to explain to Natalie the situation and tells her to just trust him. Sting tells her to come with them which only drew more of Natalie’s ego along with skepticism. This reaction makes Faith think Natalie is not worth saving…

Quality

Imagine Iran invading America and causing terror like in this scene. Imagine Joe Biden and the Democrats allowing this to happen to Americans.

While the story was not crafted to follow-up closely on the events of issue #18, this comic book puts Sting and his teammates into a collision course with a new force of evil – the Iranians (note: issue #20 confirms their national identity) who have interests on specific young adults with powers and special abilities. Along the way, the Fontenot-Simpson team introduced a new sinister force in the form of a very manipulative Iranian named Kaliph.

Kaliph’s introduction here is easily the biggest feature of the story and he unsurprisingly overwhelms the debut of Natalie. Kaliph here works in service of his unidentified superiors and as he does his job, he uses his special ability of manipulating people’s minds through sight and sound to gain information, find directions, make them do his orders and gain access into places that he could never have had he been an ordinary person. By the end of the story, I was convinced that Kaliph was created to be an enduring or recurring villain for Sting and his team.

More on the primary characters of this monthly series, Sting and his teammates were portrayed to get more harbingers (powered young adults) to join them and become part of their long-term opposition against Toyo Harada and the Harbinger foundation, even though their own team lacks the resources needed to support themselves. The lack of resources was cleverly highlighted through Natalie’s reactions (related to her big ego) to what Sting’s team has for her to live with. Looking at the bigger picture going back to issue #1, Sting’s vision of defeating Harada and winning the trust of powered young adults without any solid foundation (specifically resources, connections and security) emphasize his recklessness and false sense of maturity as a team leader.

Conclusion

Kaliph and his companion arrive in America with a sinister plan.

In my view, Harbinger #19 (1993) is a solid change of direction for the monthly series complete with the introduction of a new, strong villain who originated from Iran which by today’s standards is the major force of terrorism in this world. The new villain Kaliph has a creepy aesthetic that other villains in this series lacked. More notably, the story remained consistently very engaging and pulled off some notable surprises which were indeed entertaining.

Overall, Harbinger #19 (1993) is highly recommended!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

Police arrest suspect accused of raping a lady who was lured to a cosplay photo shoot by him

Cosplay – the act of dressing up as a character from a work of fiction – can be fun to watch and do for as long as violations are not committed. The concept of cosplay here in the Philippines took a dark turn as the Manila Bulletin reported yesterday a crime news report about the arrest of man who was accused by a lady of rape after he lured her to what was supposed to be a cosplay photo shoot. Reportedly the arrest took four years to do and it turns out there was a warrant of arrest issued for the suspect.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin news report. Some parts in boldface…

A man who was accused of raping a woman he lured into posing as a cosplay artist was finally nabbed by authorities at a Quezon City mall on Monday afternoon, Sept. 5, 2022, after eluding arrest for more than four years.

Carl Jefferson Soriano, 26, was collared by operatives of the Manila Police District (MPD)-Special Operations Unit (SOU), and the Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) of the Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU) of the National Capital Region (NCR) based on a warrant issued by Pasay City Regional Trial Court Judge Gina M. Bibat-Palamos last May 30, 2018. No bail was recommended for his temporary release.

Soriano’s arrest came four years after the complainant reached out to then broadcaster and now senator Raffy Tulfo in his complaints/civic action show, seeking justice for what Soriano had done to her.

The complainant told Tulfo in his show Raffy Tulfo in Action on Feb. 21, 2018 that she met Soriano on Facebook where the suspect engaged her in chats, and was able to convince her to model for him in cosplay costumes.

She said Soriano promised him P7,500 for the photoshoot.

She added that, on the day of the photoshoot, Soriano fetched her on a transport network vehicle service (TNVS), and brought her to a hotel in Pasay City.

According to the victim, Soriano even asked her to pay for the TVNS fare, and the hotel room, and that he will just add on these costs to her talent fee later.

Soriano then told her that two more models and another photographer would be arriving soon to join them.

But it was while they were waiting that the suspect was able to force himself on her, and even banged her head on the wall before raping her.

After she was violated, Soriano belligerently told her that they would have to go to his condominium.

However, after arriving at the lobby of the condominium, Soriano excused himself, saying that he was going to get something from his motorcycle. He never came back.

Indeed, the Manila Bulletin news report above is very disturbing. This might affect the way cosplay is done here in the Philippines from organizing private photo shoots to doing cosplay at special events like comic conventions or pop culture events that involve the use of costumes. Can you just imagine how vulnerable a female cosplayer would be playing Darna whose traditional look exposes a lot of skin?

Speaking of crime related to cosplay, the Anime News Network (ANN) published last January an article about a photographer who got arrested for allegedly drugging and assaulting multiple cosplayers.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this recent development? Do you think the allegations of rape and the mentioned cosplay photo shoot are real and could be proven in court? If you are a parent who has a child fond of cosplay, does this crime news report make you feel worried about your child’s safety? Do you think that new rules are need to protect cosplayers from sexual assault, harassment and rape?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

A Look Back at Harbinger #18 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a part of the Valiant Comics shared universe through the Harbinger monthly series.

In my previous retro review, some twists of events happened for Sting and his teammates during the Christmas season. The story was part of the continuing build-up and expansion of the Harbinger series’ own space within Valiant Comics’ shared universe under the direction of Maurice Fontenot. As of issue #17, another new character from outside of Sting’s group got introduced for them to interact with.     

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #18, published in 1993 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Maurice Fontenot and illustrated by Howard Simpson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins on January 1993. Within the city of New York, Faith, Shatiqua and Flamingo are being followed by a young man wearing a trench coat. They know they are being followed. They eventually found themselves just outside the same amusement joint where Shatiqua played a lot of arcade games and decide to enter.

Inside, many people recognized and greeted Shatiqua which reflects her outstanding reputation on arcade games. As Shatiqua, Faith and Kris approach a certain arcade game (that Shatiqua wants to play), they noticed the one playing it is the same little black boy (capable of disappearing) they encountered previously. Shatiqua then takes the first step to approach him and gain his attention.

The boy then disappears and reappears a short distance away from the three and right beside same trench coated man who earlier follow them. The boy then attempts to blow the place up with a hand grenade. The man in the trench coat reacts quickly revealing his power to Faith, Shatiqua and Flamingo.

Quality

Sting shows his ignorance and lack of maturity while getting checked by Dr. Hayward.

This is the latest build-up type of story Fontenot composed and like the previous issue, another new character unconnected to Sting’s team got introduced for them to interact with. The new character here is referred to as Screen and he clearly is a more interesting character than the one introduced in issue #17. Screen here is more impulsive and aggressive and he sure looks like he has what it takes to oppose Sting. I also liked the way the creative team showed the impulsiveness and lack of maturity of both Sting and Screen.

Within the script is the establishment of a new sub-plot which symbolizes the growing danger of the Harbinger foundation towards not only on Sting and teammates but also against the others that oppose Toyo Harada and his organization. In some ways, the sub-plot will make you speculate about the invisible yet sinister forces who wield tremendous power over the top government officials who are supposed to be serving their constituents within the republic.

With all of these details laid down, I can say they are all engaging to read as Fontenot’s writing continued to be really strong. For the art, I can say that Howard Simpson continued to pump out really solid visuals while successfully keeping the primary characters recognizable all the time.

Conclusion

This image is very symbolic as Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary made it normal for the United States to make deals with terrorists (notably Iran and Palestine) and betray the patriotic Americans. This makes this comic book socially relevant and what you see with the corrupt administration of Joe Biden reconnects strongly with the Clinton legacy.

Harbinger #18 (1993) is a very solid comic book to read. The build-up continues to happen and along the way, the titular characters got developed some more and this time around, the Harbinger foundation’s power continues to get stronger which convinced me to look forward to the next issue.   

Overall, Harbinger #18 (1993) is highly recommended!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

Team Xbox’s Tokyo Game Show 2022 stream set for September 15

It is that time again. This year’s edition of the Tokyo Game Show (TGS) in Japan will be happening and already Team Xbox announced it will have an official TGS 2022 streaming event on September 15.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the official Xbox.com announcement. Some parts in boldface…

We are pleased to confirm that Xbox will be making its digital return to Tokyo Game Show on September 15 at 6 p.m. JST / 9 a.m. UTC / 2 a.m. PDT, with a streamed broadcast celebrating the vibrant players and visionary creators across the region. Like years’ past, this will be a show curated for our players in Japan and Asia.

We invite fans to tune in to the Tokyo Game Show 2022 Xbox Stream where you can expect to see updates on existing titles from Xbox Game Studios and titles launching from developer partners that we hope will delight players here in Japan, across Asia and around the world.

The Xbox Stream will be available on Tokyo Game Show’s official YouTube channel, Xbox YouTube channels in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and on Bilibili in China.

While Tokyo Game Show 2022 will open its gates to the public for the first time in three years this September, the hybrid nature will allow players from around the world to also enjoy the latest in video games, technology, and games culture in Japan. With the theme of “Nothing Stops Gaming,” Tokyo Game Show 2022 will embody the solidarity of gamers and the promising future that lies ahead for our industry.

Gaming has always provided an important way to connect, but especially over the past few years. It has a transformative power to bring joy and foster community, and it’s at TGS where we can all enjoy the spirit of games together.

We look forward to you joining us digitally for the Xbox Stream on September 15 at 6 p.m. JST / 9 a.m. UTC / 2 a.m. PDT.

For more details on Tokyo Game Show 2022, visit the official site for the full schedule from the show’s organizers.

In the above announcement, the 2nd paragraph mentioning developer partners suggests that games – both brand new and those released previously on non-Xbox platforms – will be unveiled. I can imagine this would turn out to be a mix of independent productions as well as games from the medium-sized game studios and perhaps from the big ones.  

When it comes to the big game publishers of Japan, I can only hope that Xbox chief Phil Spencer and his team renewed and reinvigorated their business relationships with Square Enix, Capcom, SEGA, Bandai Namco and other game publishers to secure their new games for release on Xbox platforms plus PC and also some of their old-but-fun games (from the previous console generations) that would make nice additions to Xbox Game Pass (XGP). I would love to see classic titles like Xenogears, Final Fantasy VI, Breath of Fire IV, Virtua Fighter, Shining Force III, Tekken 3, Lunar, Suikoden and many others on my Xbox Series X through my XGP subscription.

The classic JRPG Xenogears would be a great addition into the Xbox Game Pass service.

Speaking of upcoming games from Japanese developers and publishers, I am anticipating the official announcement of the 2023 release date of the Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. The announced Persona RPGs for Xbox and PC platforms, Star Ocean: The Divine Force and The Diofield Chronicle should be showcased with pre-release promotions in mind. Team Xbox will most likely announce Xbox Game Pass features and promos geared for the Japanese market.

Team Xbox should establish stronger relationships with their Japanese partners and keep on moving forward with what they have achieved so far in Japan in this current generation. Already Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S combined outsold the Xbox One in Japan by a wide margin (including a sales victory over PlayStation 5 in Japan last June). Until now, I am seeing almost every day on Twitter picture posts of Japanese gamers who showed off a new Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S console they bought. There is no doubt that Xbox is gaining traction in Japan better in this current console generation and that alone should convince Team Xbox to keep on intensifying and improving their gaming interest in Japan.

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos plus last year’s Xbox TGS live stream…

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

Better than Streaming: Casablanca 4K Blu-ray set for November 8, 2022 release

Welcome back fellow geeks, Blu-ray collectors and movie buffs! In this edition of the Better than Streaming series, we take a look at the upcoming 4K Blu-ray release of the 1942 classic film Casablanca (starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid) which is set for November 8, 2022. Take note that this year marks the 80th anniversary of Casablanca which itself is an iconic American film, won the Academy Award for Best Picture, became memorable for movie quotes, its theme song and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

As I am writing this, Casablanca 4K Blu-ray still has not been listed for pre-order at Amazon.com but you can bet that its November 8 release date is definitive. According to the Blu-ray.com announcement, Casablanca 4K Blu-ray comes with the expected 4K restoration described as having achieved “the richest, most dynamic image possible, rendering the most romantic movie of all time the most beautiful it’s ever been.” For the 4K Blu-ray purists reading this, this upcoming 4K Blu-ray release has native 4K visuals confirmed already!

The official 4K Blu-ray cover of Casablanca.

For the details of Casablanca 4K Blu-ray, posted below are technical stuff sourced from its Blu-ray.com page.

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)

HDR: HDR10

Aspect ratio: 1.37:1

Original aspect ratio: 1.37:1

Audio

English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono (48kHz, 24-bit)

French: Dolby Digital Mono

Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono

Italian: Dolby Digital Mono

Portuguese: Dolby Digital Mono

Japanese: Dolby Digital Mono

Subtitles – English SDH, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish.

Discs

4K Ultra HD

Blu-ray Disc

Two-disc set (1 BD-66, 1 BD-50)

Digital – Digital 4K, Movies Anywhere

Packaging – Slipcover in original pressing

Playback – 4K Blu-ray: Region free, 2K Blu-ray: Region A

In the most recent update of Blu-ray.com, more details about Casablanca 4K Blu-ray were posted. Posted below is an excerpt. Some parts in boldface…

The new Casablanca 4K Blu-ray image was restored and remastered from a 2022 4K 16bit film scan of the best-surviving nitrate film elements. The 4K-scanned digital images went through an extensive digital restoration process to clean and repair the picture for an unprecedented and pristine ultra-high-resolution presentation. The restored images were then graded in High Dynamic Range for today’s premium 4K display experience, providing the highest fidelity in image contrast and detail retention. This work was meticulously handled by Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging. The original theatrical mono audio has also been newly restored as well, providing a richer and broader frequency response than previously possible.

Special Features and Technical Specs:

  • BRAND NEW 4K 16-BIT RESTORATION OF THE FILM (2022)
  • NEWLY RESTORED ORIGINAL MONO TRACK (2022)
  • HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
  • Commentary by Roger Ebert
  • Commentary by Rudy Behlmer
  • Introduction by Lauren Bacall
  • Great Performances: Bacall on Bogart (1988 PBS special)
  • Michael Curtiz: The Greatest Director You’ve Never Heard Of
  • Casablanca: An Unlikely Classic
  • You Must Remember This: A Tribute to Casablanca (1992 TEC documentary)
  • As Time Goes By: The Children Remember
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Outtakes
  • Who Holds Tomorrow? (1955 “Casablanca” TV episode)
  • Carrotblanca (1955 WB Cartoon)
  • Scoring Stage Sessions (audio only)
  • Lady Esther Screen Guild Theater Radio Broadcast – 4/26/43 (audio only)
  • Vox Pop Radio Broadcast – 11/19/47 (audio only)
  • Trailers
  • Warner Night at the Movies
    • Now, Voyager trailer
    • Newsreel
    • Vaudeville Days (1942 WB short)
    • The Bird Came C.O.D. (1942 WB cartoon)
    • The Squawkin’ Hawk (1942 WB cartoon)
    • The Dover Boys at Pimento University (1942 WB cartoon)
Overseas movie poster of Casablanca.

I personally am interested in this upcoming 4K Blu-ray release which is heavily loads with lots of features that will appeal to both Casablanca fans and other movie buffs. It has been a very long time since I last saw Casablanca during my college days. Sometimes, I accidentally saw parts of it played when I switched channels on cable TV. Casablanca 4K Blu-ray should deliver the promised improved visuals, sounds and immersion that streaming simply cannot achieve.

For the newcomers reading this, if you want the best home entertainment with Casablanca and if you are determined to discover its story, performances and memorable moments for the first time ever in your lives, I urge you all to avoid watching Casablanca reaction videos as well as spoileriffic video reviews of the movie on YouTube until you get Casablanca 4K Blu-ray. No offense to the YouTubers who make reaction videos and the spoileriffic video reviews but I say that Casablanca needs to be preserved for the movie-loving people who are about to see it for the first time ever.

Casablanca movie poster.

Watch out for Casablanca 4K Blu-ray on November 8, 2022.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco