Fate/Grand Order

Dirty Shoes started work at Gaba recently and there, she met a fellow Singaporean J.

J is a super cheerful and funny guy who’s easy to get along. He is also somewhat of a gaming otaku, it seems. So, just a couple of days after meeting him myself, J decided to take us to the arcade to introduce us his favourite game, Dissidia Final Fantasy.

I’ve always been a fan of games, but I haven’t played it in a very long while because I know I will get hooked on them so I didn’t want to start. Often, when I was still attending my Korean language classes, I would drop by the arcade near the school when I arrive early and watch people play. A good many times, I felt like trying some of the games with amazing looking machines, but because I didn’t understand how to play, I decided to just watch (and even so, I didn’t really understand what was going on). Was this how our parents felt when we were playing the Nintendo some 30 years ago?

Since J wanted to teach us, I was more than happy to go because I don’t want to be the father in future whose kid thinks he sucks because he doesn’t even know how to play the latest games—Alternatively, I could deprive my child of games so that doesn’t happen. Hmm… *intense thinking*

When we arrived at the arcade, we saw two rows of white machines filled with people and there was a list where people who would like to play, had to write their names down and wait for their turn. D and I stood there looking at the games and there were also cards inserted to the side of the machine and we both found it very compelling. That was Fate/Grand Order.

For a moment, I thought to tell J that we would like to try that instead of Dissidia, but that wouldn’t be very nice so we went to play with him. And also because there was a long queue for the Fate =X

Dissidia was very difficult to grasp at first and we found it difficult to get a hang of it, but eventually, I found it quite fun and easy to play. The gameplay also allows us to play against the computer at basic level, which gives us the opportunity to practice and get a better understanding of how things work.

The following day, the three of us went to the arcade again. J found this arcade in Akihabara which is huge but surprisingly empty, so this time, D got her hands on Fate without having to queue. But we were surprised by the sheer amount of money required to actually play the game.

Fate has a very similar playing style to Dissidia except with fewer buttons. But the biggest draw to it must be actual cards that get dispensed as you play. These cards will become your in-game characters and items as there’s a slot on the machine that allows you to place your cards, which will be read and then you can see your favourite characters come to life in the game. The card slot allows for up to 30 cards to be read at any one time.

How you get these cards is quite simple but expensive. First, let’s get to how you actually start playing the game. In order to play the game, you need an Aime card, which works like a memory card for your gameplay. The card costs 300 yen and placing it for the machine to read before you play allows your game stats to be recorded and assigned to that card. Each game requires a minimum of 100 yen to play. 100 yen gives you 300GP (Game Points), and 300 yen gives you 900GP (no bulk purchase discount). The GP starts ticking away by the second when the game begins and when it reaches 0, game is over. So, 100 yen for 5 minutes of game. Or so, you think.

The GP is also used to challenge a stage. For example, when you select the first stage to play, 150GP is required, and so, you’re left with 150GP to start ticking away. I think the GP stops ticking during the stage battles but resumes when battles are done and you are fiddling away on the screen trying to modify your characters.

When you’re done with the first stage, you get to summon a card, and the actual card will be printed and dispensed by the machine for you to bring home. A card can be either a character or an item. To summon a card, you have to insert 100 yen. So the Aime card, 300GP game points, and one summon would’ve cost you 500 yen.

Each battle also earns you some kind of crystal powder (200 for completing the stage + the amount of GP you used to challenge the stage), and every 2,500 of those earns you the opportunity to summon 10 cards in a row. The game is smart at making people get hooked onto it by giving you 2,000 of those to start with. So when you complete two stages, you already have 2,750 of them to throw your money away on, which is also very sneaky because using 2,500 to summon means you still have 250 left making you feel you’re already on your way to the next 2,500. And as this game doesn’t seem to have the concept of bulk discount, to summon 10 cards means you have to insert 1,000 yen (1 per card).

But that’s not all. When you get enough in-game items, you can upgrade your characters. As the characters get upgraded and their appearance change, a new card will be dispensed with your new character design. And as you guessed, that would also cost 100 yen to print.

Despite having been released only a couple of weeks ago, there already are tons of people queuing to play the game and many people have a huge deck of cards, some with card protectors even to keep those cards in mint condition.

D liked the game and we both found the cards a very compelling reason to want to play, but logic tells us it’s too expensive a game to get hooked on. If you’re playing it, let us know how much you’re spending.


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