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Let’s talk about the Boku no Natsuyasumi (My Summer Vacation) series

Acquiescence

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I’ve always been fond of quaint and relaxing video games, where combat isn’t the focus and stats or objectives are tossed aside in favour of soaking in the atmosphere, taking in the sights and exploring to your heart’s content. Which is why it pains me to see the My Summer Vacation series denied any kind of localisation outside of East Asia ever since its conception. I know it’s a quintessentially Japanese franchise lacking in mainstream appeal, but come on, there’s a fair few Japanophiles out there in the world and the niche market exists, so there’s definitely some measure of commercial viability to be had in bringing this series over. Plus it’s not like games steeped in Japanese culture haven’t been able to find a Western audience before.

For the uninitiated who are just now finding out about Boku no Natsuyasumi, they’re described as a “nostalgic adventure” where you’re cast as a child (the characters differ each game) spending his summer holiday in some rural or coastal area, left to while away the days frolicking about in carefree abandon. The in-game clock is always ticking, and how you choose to spend your time is up to you, with an array of activities to engage in. Not too dissimilar to something like Animal Crossing really, but more story orientated. Once the 31th day has been reached, the holiday is over and the game ends. Graphically, the polygonal character models are a bit wonky looking in their art style, but the gorgeous hand-painted backgrounds are hugely reminiscent of a Studio Ghibli flick. Just look how picturesque these games are…

Boku no Natsuyasumi (PS1)





Boku no Natsuyasumi 2 (PS2)





Boku no Natsuyasumi 3 (PS3)







Boku no Natsuyasumi 4 (PSP)





It seems like an appeal to Sony for the series to be localised is futile by this stage, made all the more frustrating by the fact that the developer, Millennium Kitchen, have had their eShop game Attack of the Friday Monsters localised by Level5, a game that's aesthetically identical to BnN. I actually bought a 3DS partially so that I could play it, and it was excellent (until all that guff involving aliens crept in towards the end anyway), so the desire to see the titles they’re more known for released here burns greater than ever.

So yeah, are there any other Gaffers itching to play these titles? Or any of you who understand the language and have played them - I'd be eager to hear your thoughts.

And just a couple of questions for those more in the know…

Is there any point in importing My Summer Vacation 3 on the PS3 if I don’t know a lick of Japanese? I know I can play it due to the region-free coding, but if it’s a dialogue-heavy game and there’s no fan translation around then it’s pretty pointless right?

Is the series done with? I noticed that the last instalment came out in 2009 for the PSP, and since then Millennium Kitchen have only worked on Attack of the Friday Monsters, which of course was 3DS exclusive, so it’s not looking good. I’d love for there to be a PS4 entry announced, and then maybe through a bit of community power we can have a hope in hell of convincing Sony to give the series a chance outside of Japan.
 

Yoshichan

And they made him a Lord of Cinder. Not for virtue, but for might. Such is a lord, I suppose. But here I ask. Do we have a sodding chance?
Sep 1, 2006
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I remember watching the PS3-trailer over and over and over again, showing it to all of my friends and family in order to demonstrate the power of the PS3.

Fuck, that was such a cozy, good looking trailer.

Edit: talking about this trailer, amazing music!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7ti3187UXE
 

JP

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Spent hours playing this on the PS3, I imagine it's one of those games that's quite pricey to buy now.

In som beats I'm not convinced that a translation would benefit the game, I think it would remove some of the magic by having English I it. Admittedly a lot of it was hit and miss for me due to not understanding the language but that really was a part of the charm for me.

Such a unique game, such a nice, warm, happy atmosphere made the setting the best place in the world for me!! :)
 

Orniletter

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Nov 20, 2013
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Yeah, I´d love to play one of those games in english, those Ghibli-esque backgrounds look amazing and Attack of the Friday Monsters was a great experience-

Sony really should bring some of them over/ make a new one when pretentious crap like Unfinished Swan can gain critical acclaim and financial success...this genuinely good looking series should too.
 

Pennywise83

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Oct 10, 2007
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Attack of the Friday Monsters is amazing, though short, and is well worth its price. Don't miss. It's a bit different from Boku no Natsuyasumi, but it captures the same feeling.

Anyway, there's an issue of Scroll completely dedicated to this IP:

 

JP

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Sony really should bring some of them over/ make a new one when pretentious crap like Unfinished Swan can gain critical acclaim and financial success...this genuinly good looking series should too.
the Unfinished Swan is a fantastic game and there was nothing pretentious about it. It was pretty straightforward and simple game that was complett honest.

I know "pretentious" is one of those criticisms that people like to throw around at things they don't like or agree with but people seem to misunderstand what pretentious actually means.
 

Mailenstein

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One of the best series I've ever played. And now that I live here in Japan, I can appreciate these games even more. Nothing beats playing it on PSP on a summer afternoon at my wife's grandmother's house while chilling on the tatami and listing to the sound of the game and the fuurin due to the light. Simply beautiful.
 

clay_ghost

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I see that OP already played Attack of the Friday Monsters :D

Animal crossing gave me some of that feeling so try that if you haven.

Sony really should bring these game to the west :(
 

gngf123

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I've always thought they looked like something I might like, and I absolutely loved Attack of the Friday Monsters. I've never played any of them though, mostly because of them being JP only.
 

JetSetRadio

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Dec 20, 2007
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I have this in my import PS3 collection (initial D, Aquanaut's holiday, Hakuna Matata, Railfan and Yakuza) but I haven't found time to play it.
Like someone mentioned, it'll probably be quite expensive today, I payed normal prices for all of them at launch.

It can't be that text heavy right?
 

Sakura

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I've played some of them, and they really are great games. Though the time limit does kind of stress me out.
I just really don't see them being possibly localised. They are just so inherently Japanese. I mean, in the one for PS3 you go to Hokkaido iirc, and all the characters speak in that dialect, and they teach you the protagonist what some of the words mean and stuff... I dunno I just don't see it working.
The best idea would be to create a new game for the western market. Kinda like Elite Beat Agents and Ouendan. They could have the same themes, gameplay, engine etc, but for the western version have it be set in rural Canada instead of rural Japan, and play on all the things that would appeal to a western audience.
 

urfe

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Played the remake of the second one on the PSP and loved it.

Bought the fourth one a while back, but never got into it. I will eventually.

They're great games. I usually spend half of them swimming.
 

Sitrus

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Remember playing the PS1 and PSP versions some years earlier on vacation. Yes, on my summer vacation when I had nothing to do when everyone was taking their afternoon nap.

They are so relaxing and made me smile from ear to ear. Also one of the first japanese games I played too so that's was a milestone for me.
 

Acquiescence

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I'm curious to know, all you folks who've said you played them, are you able to read Japanese, or do you just go in ignoring the text/dialogue?

Spent hours playing this on the PS3, I imagine it's one of those games that's quite pricey to buy now.

In som beats I'm not convinced that a translation would benefit the game, I think it would remove some of the magic by having English I it. Admittedly a lot of it was hit and miss for me due to not understanding the language but that really was a part of the charm for me.

Such a unique game, such a nice, warm, happy atmosphere made the setting the best place in the world for me!! :)

So you played through the PS3 entry not knowing any Japanese, and yet you enjoyed it. Huh. I'm tempted to import a copy now. I won't be able to enjoy any of the story or banter, but at least I'll be able to appreciate lots else I guess.

And just to confirm, it's not possible to play any of the PSP versions on a Vita, right?
 

Sitrus

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I'm curious to know, all you folks who've said you played them, are you able to read Japanese, or do you just go in ignoring the text/dialogue?



So you played through the PS3 entry not knowing any Japanese, and yet you enjoyed it. Huh. I'm tempted to import a copy now. I won't be able to enjoy any of the story or banter, but at least I'll be able to appreciate lots else I guess.

And just to confirm, it's not possible to play any of the PSP versions on a Vita, right?

The JP PSN has the 2nd and the 4th for the psp and they are both Vita compatible. It's fully possible to play without any japanese knowledge, but you will be missing out most of it. You can though enjoy the atmosphere and the settings. Of course, If you want to understand and fully enjoy these titles, some basic japanese knowledge is needed.
 

randomkid

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Where's jooey though?

Yeah even as someone who can't really read or understand Japanese, there's a lot to enjoy in these games, I picked up the 4th game at a Book Off and that atmosphere transcends language. Here's a bootleg screen from when I played where even I could tell that he was making fun of his nerdy cousin for her manga collection.



And you get these gorgeous sketches of everything you do and collect in the game.




You can even play Qix at the local arcade in this one ha.

In conclusion, Sony it sure would be nice if you made a Vita collection of these games now that even the most ultra-niche ish on that system gets localized these days.
 

JP

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I'm curious to know, all you folks who've said you played them, are you able to read Japanese, or do you just go in ignoring the text/dialogue?



So you played through the PS3 entry not knowing any Japanese, and yet you enjoyed it. Huh. I'm tempted to import a copy now. I won't be able to enjoy any of the story or banter, but at least I'll be able to appreciate lots else I guess.

And just to confirm, it's not possible to play any of the PSP versions on a Vita, right?
Don't assume it's going to be simple task, partly because you can't assume that what you've learnt from playing other games is going to assist you. For me, although there are certainly "game bits" it's definitely not a game in the traditional format. It's a while since I've owned the game but there will likely be information online to help you BUT I would recommend not juts playing through with a walkthrough, maybe read up about it before you get the game but when you get the game just experience what's there and see what you can do.

You could always return to guides later if you wanted to.
 

Takao

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In conclusion, Sony it sure would be nice if you made a Vita collection of these games now that even the most ultra-niche ish on that system gets localized these days.

I was kind of surprised that the third one didn't get a Vita port announced this year. It's the worst seller in the series and I wouldn't be surprised if that was mainly due to PS3, so putting it out on Vita would've given it a new shot. Then Sony made their Vita "strategy" all too clear ...
 

Nintenyearold

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Are there any games in English that have a similar feel to this? I'm going to check out Friday Monsters sometime and I've played a lot of Animal Crossing, anything else?
 

jamsy

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After playing Attack of the Friday (which it probably my favorite 3DS game) I'm very intrigued in the series. I think I'll import a copy of the PS3 game. My Japanese isn't too bad so I don't think I'd have too much trouble with it.

Shame that we never got one of these localized. I'm surprised we never got a fan translation patch (at the very least for the PSP game). Seems like something a lot of people would be interested in.
 

Corto

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I always wanted to play these games but their price and the fact I don't know a word of Japanese always stopped me from finalising the buy. I have that Scroll issue about the series and loved to read it, so experiencing it vicariously through that and reading Ray's interview with Kaz Ayabe, the series creator, was already pretty fantastic.
 

Sakura

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I'm curious to know, all you folks who've said you played them, are you able to read Japanese, or do you just go in ignoring the text/dialogue?

I can. Honestly not sure how much you would enjoy the game if you couldn't understand any of it. Sure, the atmosphere is great and doesn't require any Japanese, but it's not a gameplay driven game. If you can't understand what the characters are saying and stuff I don't really see the point.
 

Jarnet87

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Only thing I know about this game is that Ray Barnholt loves the series. He did a big story about it for an Issue of Scroll.
 

LayLa

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After playing (and utterly adoring) Attack of the Friday Monsters I've been desperate to play this series, they seem like the gaming equivalent of the Iyashikei manga/anime that I love.
 

yankee666

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Oh, What a concidence. Today i was a little bit nostalgic and i played some boku 4 on my Vita. Then i made some google search to find if there where any news about boku 5 in the last year or so and i found this thread. Its allways nice to find people that love this game.
 

Acquiescence

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The JP PSN has the 2nd and the 4th for the psp and they are both Vita compatible. It's fully possible to play without any japanese knowledge, but you will be missing out most of it. You can though enjoy the atmosphere and the settings. Of course, If you want to understand and fully enjoy these titles, some basic japanese knowledge is needed.

That's awesome then, I genuinely didn't think the games would be available on PSN for some reason. I'm tempted to get the second one from there, but I imagine the process would be a bit of a headache. I'd have to buy a code or two off of Amazon Japan, fumble through the Japanese PSN store to buy it and then go through that whole ordeal of formatting the Vita so I can switch accounts. Definitely worth considering though. And yeah, maybe it's finally time for me to knuckle down and learn a bit of the language, even if it's for something as minor as being able to fully appreciate these games! :p

Where's jooey though?

Yeah even as someone who can't really read or understand Japanese, there's a lot to enjoy in these games, I picked up the 4th game at a Book Off and that atmosphere transcends language. Here's a bootleg screen from when I played where even I could tell that he was making fun of his nerdy cousin for her manga collection.



And you get these gorgeous sketches of everything you do and collect in the game.




You can even play Qix at the local arcade in this one ha.

In conclusion, Sony it sure would be nice if you made a Vita collection of these games now that even the most ultra-niche ish on that system gets localized these days.

Thanks for the screens - it looks so good graphically for what is a PSP title, and there weren't many games on that system that were easy on the eyes from what I recall. It would even look that little bit nicer on my Vita's OLED.

And I like your thinking. The Vita gets so many niche titles these days, so the Boku games would fit right at home on that thing.

Don't assume it's going to be simple task, partly because you can't assume that what you've learnt from playing other games is going to assist you. For me, although there are certainly "game bits" it's definitely not a game in the traditional format. It's a while since I've owned the game but there will likely be information online to help you BUT I would recommend not juts playing through with a walkthrough, maybe read up about it before you get the game but when you get the game just experience what's there and see what you can do.

You could always return to guides later if you wanted to.

The problem is, a cursory search on Google suggests that there aren't any translation guides to begin with. There are some videos uploaded of the early portion of BnN3 that contain English subtitles, but that's only a small part of the game and I don't really want to spoil myself by watching the game anyway. I'm definitely not against the idea of playing the game just for the sense of place and immersion, but without a clue of what's going on, importing does lose its appeal. I'd imagine navigating through menus would be a pain in the butt as well.

I always wanted to play these games but their price and the fact I don't know a word of Japanese always stopped me from finalising the buy. I have that Scroll issue about the series and loved to read it, so experiencing it vicariously through that and reading Ray's interview with Kaz Ayabe, the series creator, was already pretty fantastic.

Only thing I know about this game is that Ray Barnholt loves the series. He did a big story about it for an Issue of Scroll.

I don't suppose there's a link to this piece someone could provide? Or do you have to pay to read it?

I can. Honestly not sure how much you would enjoy the game if you couldn't understand any of it. Sure, the atmosphere is great and doesn't require any Japanese, but it's not a gameplay driven game. If you can't understand what the characters are saying and stuff I don't really see the point.

That kind of conflicts with what other people are saying, but truth be told, I can't help but side with you on this matter. Without a translation guide to assist, I am admittedly sceptical as to how much I can appreciate something that's quite reliant on dialogue and character arcs as well as tone and ambiance.

Oh, What a concidence. Today i was a little bit nostalgic and i played some boku 4 on my Vita. Then i made some google search to find if there where any news about boku 5 in the last year or so and i found this thread. Its allways nice to find people that love this game.

Good timing on my part then! I'm probably wrong, but it seems like the future of the series is up in the air right now. All entries in the series came out with some degree of consistency, usually separated by a couple of years or so, but since 2009 there hasn't been an installment released. And I don't know if Millennium Kitchen have abandoned the PlayStation brand, but they worked on a 3DS title last year, so that doesn't exactly bode well either. It's a shame because I'd be overwhelmed with joy were a new entry to be announced for the PS4. Of course, whether we'd actually get it in the West or not is another issue entirely, but hey, there are always Twitter campaigns!

And just out of curiosity, do you play the games with or without any knowledge of the language? Just trying to get a grasp on how import friendly the games are, and every opinion helps.
 

Psycho_Mantis

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Jul 28, 2012
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The art direction is simply phenomenal. This will look like a Ghibli movie on PS4 if it already doesn't.

The creator say he wants to make a PS4 one but only if there's a practice title (?)

“That’s actually something I want to do in the future,” Ayabe said when asked about the possibility of a new entry for PlayStation 4. “However, I don’t want to do that without practicing, so I feel like I want a ‘practice’ title. If I could come up with a plan for a good practice title like that, then I would do it.”


Read more at http://gematsu.com/2014/07/kaz-ayab...yasumi-game-playstation-4#57mlBRzJlGTezopC.99

Hearing about the gameplay its a game you play to chill out and just have some idyllic fun, although I would like some twists. Friday Monsters had a cool twist to it.
 

Tetranet

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This is a very unconventional project as far as video games go at least. Hopefully the creator will do something on the PS4 afterall.
 

yankee666

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Good timing on my part then! I'm probably wrong, but it seems like the future of the series is up in the air right now. All entries in the series came out with some degree of consistency, usually separated by a couple of years or so, but since 2009 there hasn't been an installment released. And I don't know if Millennium Kitchen have abandoned the PlayStation brand, but they worked on a 3DS title last year, so that doesn't exactly bode well either. It's a shame because I'd be overwhelmed with joy were a new entry to be announced for the PS4. Of course, whether we'd actually get it in the West or not is another issue entirely, but hey, there are always Twitter campaigns!

And just out of curiosity, do you play the games with or without any knowledge of the language? Just trying to get a grasp on how import friendly the games are, and every opinion helps.
Yep the series are up in the air, and if you add that Millennium Kitchen is a small team, i think we wont see a new game in a while, more if it is fo PS4. I allways tought that the series where perfect fit for portables, to bad we will never see a Boku 5 or Boku 3 remake on the Vita.
I played the games with almost no knowledge of japanese and i enjoy them alot, although if you know the lenguaje you will enjoy them a lot more.
Acquiescence said:
I don't suppose there's a link to this piece someone could provide? Or do you have to pay to read it?
Here is the link to the magazine, you have to pay $5,but its worth it. It was a nice reading
http://scroll.vg/issues/10
 

Acquiescence

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The art direction is simply phenomenal. This will look like a Ghibli movie on PS4 if it already doesn't.

The creator say he wants to make a PS4 one but only if there's a practice title (?)

Hearing about the gameplay its a game you play to chill out and just have some idyllic fun, although I would like some twists. Friday Monsters had a cool twist to it.

Oh wow, that's news to me. The fact that he's explicitly expressed interest in making a Boku game for the PS4 gives me hope for the series' future prospects. I don't know what he means by that "practice title" waffle, but hopefully Sony will give him and his company the backing they need for another installment.

Yep the series are up in the air, and if you add that Millennium Kitchen is a small team, i think we wont see a new game in a while, more if it is fo PS4. I allways tought that the series where perfect fit for portables, to bad we will never see a Boku 5 or Boku 3 remake on the Vita.
I played the games with almost no knowledge of japanese and i enjoy them alot, although if you know the lenguaje you will enjoy them a lot more.

Here is the link to the magazine, you have to pay $5,but its worth it. It was a nice reading
http://scroll.vg/issues/10

Thanks a lot man, I may well pay the fee required in order to read it. Seems there's a feature on Jumping Flash! in the same issue - one of my all time favourite games!
 

Acquiescence

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So this thread convinced me to go all in...



Yep, I knuckled down and bought all four games brand new, the last of which arrived today. The three PSP titles averaged about £18 each while the PS3 game cost £23, all free delivery. Not bad really, I was expecting them to fetch for higher prices than that. I also purchased a used PSP 3000 that's in great condition for £30, specifically so that I could play the three PSP games. I'd have honestly rather played the PS1 and PS2 versions of BokuNatsu and BokuNatsu 2 respectively, but obviously there's no easy means of doing so due to the region-locked hardware, so I had to settle with the handheld ports.

This thread also persuaded me to take up learning Japanese. I don't think of the BokuNatsu games as the reason for this, but rather the catalyst; becoming more versed in Japanese is something I've wanted to do for a long time and should have done a lot sooner, but better late than never I guess. It's been three months now and slow going, but I'm studying every day and definitely making progress. And this might sound weird, but I'm not actually going to play the games until summer arrives this year. Not only does it feel outright wrong to play a series of games so revolved around the summer season in the middle of this dank and cold winter, but I'm also hoping my grasp of the Japanese language has improved a fair bit by then. I know it takes years to become fluent so I'm not expecting miracles, but if I can learn enough to at least get the gist of things in the games and understand a little of what's being said, then that'll be good enough. I don't want to go into them completely oblivious of everything with the exception of the most basic phrases, and I think being able to read a little and understand a little of the dialogue will enhance my enjoyment of the games as a whole.

Also, there was some news posted today regarding the Boku no Natsuyasumi franchise, although it's not particularly positive. Kaz Ayabe, creator of the series, was talking on a livestream at Tokaigi some hours ago and revealed info about a cancelled project...

Boku no Natsuyasumi creator divulges past development of winter break-themed game

To hear Ayabe tell it, this winter break-themed spin-off, which was in development during the production of Boku no Natsuyasumi 3 on PS3, would have starred a young girl, though Boku would have still made an appearance. While nothing was mentioned in terms of setting or plot premise, Ayabe did mention that the game would have inherited Boku no Natsuyasumi 3‘s physics engine that was used for a sliding mini-game where players slid down hill on top of cardboard, instead being repurposed for a sled riding mini-game atop snow.

When asked whether the game would ever actually come out, Kaz Ayabe laughingly answered that there was a five percent chance of it happening. Beyond that, while Ayabe’s career has been predominantly defined by games that take place squarely in the past, he expressed interest during the panel in making a game that takes place in the future while still tinged with the trademark sense of nostalgia that’s come to define his works.

That sounds like a great concept to me, and it's a shame it never came to fruition. I do wonder what the future holds for the series. I get the impression that Sony isn't exactly eager to greenlight another game.
 

NegativeCero

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Apr 21, 2013
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After playing Attack of the Friday Monsters, I wanted nothing else than more games that have that cool slice of life anime feel to it that that game had. It really nailed the wonder of a child's imagination to me. Then I found out about the My Summer Vacation series, and got really bummed they never made it over.
 

Nightengale

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That sounds like a great concept to me, and it's a shame it never came to fruition. I do wonder what the future holds for the series. I get the impression that Sony isn't exactly eager to greenlight another game.

This is just a guess, but I feel like when WWS started to become more 'consolidated' under a global umbrella rather than their older 'SCEA manages American studios, SCEJ manages Japanese studios' approach, it's the very, very regionally-focused IPs that suffer as a result.

I imagine that if WWS was established today, stuff like MLB The Show probably wouldn't get greenlit, because it caters by and large to only one market (USA), with very limited 'global appeal.'
 

Uncle Rupee

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Apr 18, 2011
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It's unfortunate that Sony never bothered to take a chance on even one of these games. Attack of the Friday Monsters was very charming, but these seem to have a much bigger budget and I prefer the look of the characters in them.

Of course they'll say the cultural differences are the main reason they didn't localize them, but I'm sure it would have found a following had they done it.
 
Apr 25, 2011
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I only played the PS3 version. Bought it because of the incredible art style. Played it a lot, half of the time not knowing what I was doing. Wished the made an English version, but probably they never will. I will still buy a new one on the PS4 if they decide to make one.
 

Impotaku

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Love this series of games, they are the sole reason i own a PSP there really is nothing quite like been able to jump inside these tiny beautifully painted worlds and live an endless summer. i'm pretty sad that there hasn't been a boku game since the last one on PSP i do replay the ones i have already, but another new adventure in some more beautiful Japanese countryside is something i really don't tire of.

I love them all but my favourites are 2 & 4, especially number 4 they did seem to get better and better as they went along. Loved the simple & charming interaction with the various people you come across as well as the daily family life, sometimes funny, sometimes a little sad but always charming.

The art is something to behold, i loved it so much that i tracked down the art book for the series. I love looking through as the printing is really high quality.




Half tempted to pick up the PS1 originals & the weird spinoff game but for the time been this is my boku collection.
 

wmlk

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I've always always always wanted to play these games. Shame I haven't come across them.