As part of the 2009 Allakhazam Pumpkin Carving Contest, we have had some special guests getting in on the fun. Now that the contest is open to players worldwide, there has been an especially large outpouring of support from the Japanese community. First, the developer blog Creator's Voice Z put together a wonderful tutorial to get things started. Various blogs and fansites have submitted entries as well, and today, we are thrilled to present a very special contribution from Dengeki PlayStation magazine!
This week, Dengeki PlayStation put together a page on the Pumpkin Contest in their 旅団パラダイス (ryo-dan pa-ra-da-i-su) section. Within the article, they detail the process of gutting a pumpkin, planning out the picture and carving the design. Here's a sneak peek!
Read on for a closer look at Dengeki PlayStation, and an introduction to the players behind the magic -- the Dengeki Brigade!
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While some publications are fair-weather friends to FINAL FANTASY XI, Dengeki PlayStation is the true blue buddy of Vana'diel. Almost every single issue has some space dedicated to the MMO, with a team of characters putting together articles on the latest game content. A bulk of the interviews players have enjoyed over the years have come from Dengeki PlayStation. In fact, ASCII Media Works, the company that oversees the magazine, recently put out two massive books in an attempt to collect every article on FINAL FANTASY XI that they have ever printed. So far, the books contain 916 pages total and cover February 2002 to December 2006!
The most comprehensive strategy guides and DVDs are also published by ASCII Media Works and feature the work of the Lightning Brigade. The Lightning Brigade (電撃の旅団 den-geki no ryo-dan) is a play on the meaning of the term Dengeki (電撃), the kanji of which literally mean lightning (電) strike (撃). The Linkshell is comprised of a colorful collection of adventurers who play the game just like us. Sometimes they enjoy goofing around and entertaining readers, and occasionally they like to take on the game's toughest mysteries, or test out hotly contested issues like the effects of Treasure Hunter or Magical Accuracy. The common theme is that they experience the game together, as players, and deliver what they can to others out there enjoying the world of Vana'diel.
The leader of the Brigade, often referred to as 団長 (dan-chou), is a male Tarutaru Thief named Peaberry. He is often seen wearing his trademark feathered cap with Assault Jerkin and daggers in both hands. More recently, Peaberry started a second character, Mhaura, who is a female Hume. While Peaberry prefers life as a level 75 Thief, Mhaura has leveled Corsair, Scholar and Paladin to 75. It should be noted that Peaberry is not necessarily a stalwart force directing the group, but it would seem his adventurous spirit and comical personality draw the Brigade together more than any measure of skill. (Don't tell him I said that :x )
Players may recall a recent interview with FINAL FANTASY XIV Producer Hiromichi Tanaka in which they mention a "leader" hoping to have an emote that will allow a player to ride Roegadyn. The "leader" behind that (unfortunately fruitless) dream was none other than Peaberry of the Lightning Brigade -- the interview being conducted by Dengeki PlayStation.
The Lightning Brigade has a large cast of characters who often use the article space to discuss recent happenings in the game. What makes the FINAL FANTASY XI section of Dengeki PlayStation so interesting is that the Brigade is made up of real players and their individual personalities shine through in their work (and sometimes clash). Even when PlayOnline is light on news they manage to keep things lively and interesting for the reader. Included with articles are also 4コマ or 4-panel comic strips, which have proven to be popular. Many of these have been collected into books and can be found in stores throughout Japan.
The content produced by the team at Dengeki PlayStation is an indispensable part of the FINAL FANTASY XI experience for many Japanese players. We are happy to see them take the time out of their busy schedule to carve up a submission for this year's contest. We only wish we could share more of the Lightning Brigade articles with the foreign community. Although their books are not avaiable outside of Japan, there is a bunch of information avaiable on the official FFXI Lightning Brigade site. Also, adventurers looking to improve their Japanese can use the links available on their site to order strategy guides and more through Amazon.
The Dengeki PlayStation entry for the Allakhazam Pumpkin Carving Contest came from the head of the Brigade himself! Here's what he had to say:
“Hello! Here's my first attempt at pumpkin carving! Including the time I spent looking over the carving tutorial page, it took about… 12 whole hours!!! I was focusing on carving for so long, my eyes got all dried out. We don't have the custom of pumpkin carving for Halloween in Japan, so just finding a suitable pumpkin was a task in itself!”
Thanks for participating!