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Touhou Tuesday: What Is Touhou?

Kevin Owens



Q: What is Touhou?
A: Touhou is a danmaku game from Japan. For those of you who aren't huge Japan freaks, it means that it's a curtain fire game. To put it in layman's terms, you have a character at the bottom of the screen that you control. The enemy is at the top of the screen. You shoot bullets at each other. Oh and before I forget to mention it, the enemy can fire a lot of bulets.


And I mean a lot.

Q: Wow, that's a lot of bullets. Can you even dodge them all?
A: Yes. Although the enemy throws a lot of stuff at you, they do so in a pattern and often there are gaps that you can squeeze through.

Q: So what's the appeal of these games?
A: First, they are extremely fun in a difficult way. If you're looking for a game that will put your reflexes and skills to the test, look no further than Touhou. Even on the lower difficulties the game is more than sadistic enough to abuse you. If you like a challenge then you'll like this game. Second, there is a lot of Japanese pop culture surrounding this series. Third, I've heard that this game is real big with the masochists so if you're looking for pain and suffering this is the game for you.

Q: So what are the controls for these games?
Z = Shoot
X = Bomb
Shift = Focus

Q: What do bombs do?
A: Bombs are immensely powerful attacks that turn you invincible, clear the screen of bullets, and deal massive amounts of damage to the enemies. In addition, if you've just been hit and are about to die you can press the bomb button to save that life.

Q: What does focus do?
A: Focus slows down your character, displays yourhitbox, and concentrates your attack right in front of you. It's useful when you're trying to weave through large clusters of bullets.

Q: So I've played a little bit and I've notice this thing called graze. What is it?
A: Graze refers to the bonus points the game rewards you for getting close to bullets. In order to get graze you must have your character touch the bullet but not have the bullet touch the hitbox. It's a rather risky manuever that can award you with lots of bonus points.

Q: Allright, I'm convinced. I want to heap abuse upon my body play Touhou. Which one do I start with?
A: There are a total of twelve games in the series. However the first five were designed for a special kind of Japanese computer and you'll need a special emulator to run those, and I personally haven't played them. I find that the eighth one, Imperishable Night, tends to be the easiest so I recommend you start with that. However you are more than welcome to try any of the others.

Q: Where do I download these games?
A: Right here.

Embodiment of Scarlet Devil
Imperishable Night
Phantasmagoria of Flower View
Undefined Fantastic Object

Q: Wait, I've heard about more Touhou games. Why don't you have them?
A: Because I don't have them. I can only give you what I have.

If you have any more questions feel free to ask and I'll try to answer them as best as I can.


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But what makes Touhou special?


The story.



Many many years ago, the Yatsugatake Mountain Range was sealed off by Japan's greatest Monks and Priests as a separate magical dimension called Gensokyo. This realm represented a large area of unspoiled wilderness for ghosts, Youkai (traditional Japanese monster people things), and other mythical beings to live in peace at. There is also a modest human population. However, as time went by, the magical border surrounding Gensokyo began to bring in more and more strange creatures from all over the world and beyond. Gensokyo is a dangerous, magical land populated by hundreds of charismatic individuals.


95% of them are women.


In the middle of this world stands the Hakurei Shrine. It is a worn building that serves as an important keystone for the border between our world and Gensokyo. It's sole inhabitant and guardian is Reimu Hakurei. She's the Shrine Maiden of the Hakurei Shrine. And she's lazy, aloof, grumpy, and a scrooge. Reimu basically spends her day lounging around drinking tea and sweeping dust around the shrine. But that doesn't change the fact that she's the strongest warrior in Gensokyo, having been the main character since the first game.


And then there's her friend Marisa Kirisame, the other playable character. Marisa is a thief, plain and simple. She enjoys stealing anything not nailed down, even copying other peoples' magical abilities for her gain. Marisa lives in a run-down house in the middle of the Forest of magic, opposite her neighbour and love interest, the Doll-controlling Magician Alice Margatroid. Together, Reimu and Marisa band together and defeat any who threaten the peace in Gensokyo, although most of the time they're quite content to beat up everyone in a straight line instead of actually checking who they're supposed to defeat.


Gensokyo is also host to many crazy institutions:


-The land crawls with Fairies, some stronger then others. Cirno, the Ice Fairy is especially popular, as is her friend and better half Daiyousei. Then there's Lily White who heralds the coming of Spring by yelling "SPRING IS HERE", and the Fairy Sisters Sunny Milk, Luna Child, and Star Sapphire, who like to play pranks but tend to fail miserably.


-There are many anthropomorphic spirits, such as the spirit of winter Letty Whiterock, Harvest Gods the Aki Sisters, and Yuuka the incredibly violent and scary Flower Youkai.


-The Moriya Shrine, represented by Yasaka Kanako the clever, cunning god and her adorable frog-hatted elder Suwako Moriya, as well as their Shrine Maiden from the real world Sanae Kochiya.


- The Scarlet Devil Mansion, led by the European Vampire Remilia Scarlet, contains Sakuya Izayoi the time-stopping maid and Hong Meiling the Chinese girl, as well as Remilia's sister Flandre the crazy-violent kid and the shut-in asthmatic magician Patchouli Knowledge.


- Hakugyokurou the Ghost Shrine where Youmu Konpaku the katana-using half-ghost gardener looks after the airheaded Ghost Yuyuko Saigyouji.


- Yukari Yakumo and her servants, Youkai who manipulate the Border to appear anywhere, and allies of Reimu.


- Animal Youkai like Wriggle Nightbug (bugs), Orin (cat), Utsuuho Reiuji (Raven equipped with Nuclear cannon), as well as Tengu like Aya the News Reporter and Nitori Kawashiro the Kappa Inventor.


- Refugees from a mystical moon kingdom Kaguya Houraisan, princess in exile, and her servants Eirin Yagakoro the pharmacist and Reisen Udongein Inaba, a very unlucky moon rabbit.


- Other strange individuals like Fujiwara No Mokou the immortal human, Satori the mind-reader and Koishi the strange lady.




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Gensokyo is a dangerous, magical land populated by hundreds of charismatic individuals.


95% of them are women.


Despite that rather alluring fact, I prefer Neon Wars :P

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I'm pretty sure this game would be cooler after, let's say, three days without sleep. Hallucinations!

If anything I found it frustrating. :\

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Hail Touhou.


I downloaded Imperishable night a week ago, now my friend made it into a portable, standalone file and put a bypass on it so that everyone at school can play it. and they do.


Thanks for the introduction. As soon as i can get them in the size limit, I'm making a banner with Sakuya in it.

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