Happy birthday, Famicom! The console that bought video games back from the dead turns 31 today

The Nintendo Family Computer, which quickly came to be known by the abbreviation-loving Japanese simply as the Famicom, was launched in its native land in 1983, a time when the world was still in black-and-white and people travelled to work by horse-drawn cart. It was a grim, unforgiving time, but games like Donkey Kong and Popeye made life that bit brighter, and before long people even had electricity and TV sets to connect their new consoles to instead of just staring at the back of the games’ boxes.

Today, on this space-age date of July 15, 2014, the Famicom turns 31 years old, so we felt it would be a good time to think about just how much we owe this little bundle of plastic and circuitry.

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Preview for Ghibli TV anime Ronia the Robber’s Daughter shows heroine in (jerky) movement

The works of Studio Ghibli are almost universally loved and respected, but there is one interesting criticism detractors lob against Japan’s premier anime production house. Barring the occasional music video or video game art design project, Ghibli’s body of work consists of feature films, all of which have been financial successes (even the widely panned Tales from Earthsea earned more than triple its budget).

Ghibli obviously can’t be blamed for building on its success by putting in the time, money, and, of course, effort to produce movies of such high quality. At the same time, some have wondered how the studio would fare operating under the notoriously tight time and budget constraints of television anime.

Judging from the recently released preview for Ghibli’s first TV series, Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, the transition, not to mention the lead character’s movements, might not be so smooth.

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Adorable Thai fashion with plenty of Flower Power now available on Japanese shopping site BUYMA!

Just recently, we brought to you the sailor swimsuit which seemed to masterfully combine two well-loved fashion elements into one. Well, we’re happy to say that one of the reporters from our sister site Pouch have found more adorable swimwear to share with you, and this time, they come in some very “flowery” designs!

We’re not talking about ordinary flower prints here, though. These beautiful swimsuits are actually from Thailand, and we think you’ll understand why they’ve been selling extremely well online here in Japan once you see the amazing three-dimensional patterns which really look like flowers have blossomed all over the suits. So prepared to be dazzled by some eye-opening bikinis — plus, they have some adorable accessories to match the swimwear perfectly as well!

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Lion at the Yokohama Zoo looks innocent…until you read his bio

Aww, look at that big guy. He’s got such cute puppy dog eyes and a slight little smile. Don’t ya just want to hug him? Aside from the fact that he’s a dangerous wild animal, that’s probably not a good idea because of what is listed under the “special features” section of his bio at the Yokohama Zoo.

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This has got to be some of the most bizarre news coming out of Asia this week.

On July 14, a female artist who has distinguished herself with her female genitalia-inspired artwork has been arrested. Her crime? For distributing ‘obscene’ 3-D printer data about how to make an authentic mold of her own vagina via digital means. More details after the jump.

Note: While there are no explicit images after the jump, some of the content could be deemed NSFW.

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Limited-time Pokémon shop and Pikachu Cafe to open in Roppongi Hills!

In celebration of the release of this year’s Pokémon movie Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction on Saturday, a special “Pokémon the Movie XY Shop” will be open in Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills between July 19 and August 31. Pokémon fans will definitely want to stock up on the limited-edition goods being sold there, as well as sample the adorable Pikachu-themed food at the “Pikachu Cafe.” Plus, the shop will be located on the observation deck of one of Tokyo’s highest buildings, so you can fit in some essential sightseeing, too!

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Watch Hatsune Miku sing Frozen’s “Let It Go”

While some people are arguably Frozen‘d out, the movie’s popularity doesn’t look like it will go anywhere anytime soon, what with limited edition PS4s and karaoke rankings.

Niconico user おかっち took it one step further by using the Miku Miku Dance animation program to recreate the “Let It Go” video with Hatsune Miku in place of Elsa. From start the finish, the process took 43 days.

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We try an ice cream bar in chili pepper oil, begin to think the internet is just screwing with us

Fresh off Taiwan’s discovery that pudding and ramen are pretty tasty together and despite the widespread disgust and horror it produced, Chinese netizens have now come up with a new unlikely taste sensation: Chili oil & an ice cream bar.

As weird as it initially looked, I could kind of see the pudding ramen working out, but I draw the line at this ungodly combination. I’d have to have accidentally swallowed drain cleaner to want to consume thi…oh, hang on. My phone’s ringing…

Okay! Looks like I get to try out the newest food craze from China’s internet! I can’t…wait.

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Live-action Mario webisodes take the Mushroom Kingdom by Bob-ombs【Video】

Since Mario and his younger, taller, skinnier brother, Luigi, first joined us in the mid 80s, there have been scores of games, merchandise, an awkward but awesome TV show (The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!) and a truly terrible live-action movie, amongst other things. They are, quite possibly, the most famous brothers in the world, so it’s no surprise that a number of fan-made videos featuring the world of Super Mario have been made. One such creative parody has transported Mario and his friends and enemies from Smash Bros. into a war-torn world that obviously only a pair of plumbers can save. Hold on to your mustaches people…the complete series of “Mario Warfare” has been uploaded to YouTube.

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Bring the beach to your room this summer with these cute new “fan accessories”

We don’t know you guys, but we’re already starting to wish summer only lasted a week or so, and have started spending most of our waking hours in close proximity to our desk fans so as not to melt in the heat and humidity.

Thankfully, though, we now have something to entertain us while we sit with our faces inches from the fan trying to resist the idiotic compulsion to jam pencils in it. Now on sale in Japan, these “fan accessories” let you transform your household appliance into a relaxing beach scene, with miniature gulls, ships, shark, surfers and more that attach to your fan via lengths of coloured card, wafting along in the cool, life-restoring breeze it creates.

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Stunning Photos Of The Supermoon

On Saturday night, July 12, you may have noticed that the moon looked unusually large.

That’s because it was the “supermoon,” which happens when two phenomenon occur at the same time: the full moon and the “perigee moon.” The perigee moon is when the moon passes closest to earth causing it to look about 14% larger and 30% brighter than usual. It looks even larger when it hangs low over the horizon, as it does when it is rising, for reasons scientists can’t completely explain.

Don’t worry if you missed it though. You can catch another supermoon on August 10 and September 9.

Until then, check out our favorite pictures from this past weekend below:

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Nintendo power: Mercedes-Benz Japan sees influx of customers following Super Mario commercial

Remember back in May this year when Mercedes-Benz teamed up with Nintendo to create an unusual little ad for the new Mercedes-Benz GLA? Featuring none other than Nintendo’s Super Mario behind the wheel of the sleek SUV, the commercial became quite the hit, with media and news outlets all over the world reporting on it.

Well, as it happens, it wasn’t just YouTube users the commercial was appealing to: Mercedes-Benz Japan has recently announced that it has seen a marked increase in visitors to its showrooms and demand for the car driven by this muscular Mario was far higher than expected.

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German team hero Mario Gotze wins World Cup, later loses dignity thanks to gross pic

As they say, it’s all fun and games in soccer until someone resurfaces an old picture of a soccer star’s gross public boner.

Mario Gotze, the newly-crowned hero of the German soccer team who shot the World Cup-winning score against Argentina will now, thanks to the magic of the Internet, forever be known as “that guy who got a boner in public while wearing a Speedo,” because FIFA – with its draconian control over all soccer content shared on YouTube – has ensured that Twitter-shared boner pics will circulate forever and ever and ever, but actual video of the game-winning goal will be nearly impossible to find.

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Futuristic tram prototype from Russia draws the envy of commuters worldwide

While dealing with the crowds and the creeps on public transportation may get on your nerves, it is usually the best way to save time and money. And last week, a Russian company unveiled a new futuristic streetcar that would make any weary commuter excited to go to work in the morning.

The next-generation streetcar looks like something out of a sci-fi movie with its trapezoidal shape and sleek black exterior. Click below to read more about the so-called “iPhone on rails” and which lucky cities are getting the tram of tomorrow!

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Onion Note: The crazy notebook that makes you cry when you write in it 【Video】

In putting together an article for RocketNews24, I use just a laptop for the vast majority of the process. On rare occasions, though, it’s quicker or more convenient to grab a notebook and pen to jot down ideas or outline a story.

As much as I love writing, the physical act of putting pen to paper doesn’t really hold all that much mysticism to me. I’m not sure exactly why, but it might be because I’ve got terrible penmanship. In order to form letters that I’ll actually be able to go back and read later, I have to concentrate so intensely that I just don’t have the leftover mental capacity to get emotional about the subject at hand.

Soon, though, there’ll be a way for anybody to get misty-eyed, no matter how bad their chicken scratch, with a notebook that’s scientifically designed to make you cry when you write in it.

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Lone German supporter celebrates with victory lap of Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing is the busiest scramble crossing in the world, with 3,000 pedestrians crossing at once during peak times and recognized internationally thanks to prominent shots in films such as Lost in Translation. So what better place to celebrate your team’s win in the World Cup? You’re sure to attract some attention, even if it’s literally just you and a flag…

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Why do Japanese cleaning crews bow at trains? Foreigners and Japanese sound off

The cleaning crews who maintain Japan’s high-speed bullet trains have a mere seven minutes to make the interior of the train spotlessly clean for its next journey. Those seven minutes are carefully divided into different tasks to make sure everything gets done in the allotted time.

Another curious detail people often notice about these cleaners is the way they bow as trains are entering and exiting the station. While this act is generally thought to be a respectful gesture, the intended recipient of the bowing seems to be a matter of great debate, with plenty of conflicting opinions out there, even among the Japanese!

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Shopping for sadness: Soccer-themed merch going cheap following Japan’s early World Cup loss

Just a few weeks ago, as the World Cup got underway, expectations were running high for Japan’s national soccer team, which played impressively on its way to making the Group of 16 four years ago in South Africa. Seemingly the whole country was pumped up, with both long-time soccer nuts and people who ordinarily have little interest in sports getting behind the men in blue.

Sadly, though, Japan’s shot in Brazil came to a close after just three games, with its best outing being a 0-0 draw with Greece. It’s safe to say fans are disappointed, and there’s another group of people that acutely shares their pain: retailers stuck with boxes of unsold Japanese soccer team merchandise.

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Japan’s Glico lets snackers turn their empty boxes into augmented reality sets for Doraemon!

Famous Japanese confectioner Glico has been bringing us iconic Japanese sweets like Pretz and Pocky for decades. Now they have a real treat in store for us, thanks to an extra-special line-up to celebrate the upcoming 3-D movie, Stand By Me Doraemon.

The new specially marked packs include a hidden secret: 3-D moving images of Doraemon that come to life in your home. But these aren’t just any images. They’re created by you, with your very own colours and designs transformed into unbelievable, moving images, each with Doraemon acting out a fun scene before your very eyes! Check out all the different designs after the jump.

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Is there a correlation between sex and World Cup success?

Another World Cup has come and gone, and diehard soccer fans will have to wait another four years until their national teams will have another chance for glory. While many of the successful teams in the tournament depended heavily on star players such as Argentina’s Messi or Portugal’s Ronaldo, it’s undeniable that the all-around teamwork of Germany was instrumental in their first-place finish. Another possible contributing factor to their victory was…sex?!

As both English and Japanese-language news agencies have reported, all the teams participating in the Cup had different policies regarding their players and sexual intercourse during the tournament. Furthermore, all of the teams that advanced to the quarterfinals had policies that allowed sex, while all of the teams which specifically forbade sex during the tournament were eliminated in the group stage or the round of 16.

Funnily enough, the German team was one of the groups that allowed its players to engage in some adult fun during down time…

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