We dropped 1 million yen (approximately US$8,300) on 5,000 Japan National Lottery scratch-off tickets to see if buying in bulk translates to bigger wins.
From the consumer end, it’s easy to mistakenly assume that video game publishers’ only concerns are creating art and providing fun. The reality, though, is that like with any human endeavor, time and money are always limiting factors in game development, and while an abundance of one can sometimes help cover for a lack of the other, at the end of the day there are only so many resources to go around, and companies can’t greenlight every project pitched to them.
But that just makes it all the more heart-warming when a major publisher gives the go-ahead to a new installment of a fan-favorite. Remember how a few months ago Konami halted digital distribution of horror sensation P.T. and the associated Silent Hills, the daydream-come-to-life collaboration between game and film directors Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro? All water under the bridge, because there’s a brand new Silent Hill game coming in October, and it’ll cost less than a buck to play!
Konami is even being bold enough to take the franchise into an entirely new genre: pachinko.
For a country that doesn’t have any businesses officially classified as “casinos,” Japan has a ton of places to gamble. By far the most common are pachinko parlors, which you can find within a short walk of just about every major train station in Tokyo and Japan’s other large cities.
But with so many places to gamble, and many of them allowing customers to purchase the balls used to play for as little as one yen (less than a penny) each, it’s easy to get sucked into the siren song of the pachinko parlor. Seeking to help gamblers keep their wagers within their limits, one company is now proposing using facial recognition software to inform you, or your family, when you’re gambling too much.
What do loud noises, small shiny balls, and bright lights have in common? Pachinko parlors. Pachinko, which can be described as a cross between pinball and slot machines, is a favorite pastime in Japan, despite gambling being illegal (because it’s not technically gambling). The players, who often spend hours sitting in front of these noisy, bright machines, win shiny steel balls, not money, so it’s not gambling, right? Right. Enter loophole: They can take their baskets of balls to a neighboring, but “separate,” establishment to exchange the balls for cash prizes. How convenient!
Pachinko parlors are often huge, gaudy buildings, common even to countryside towns. If you pass one early in the morning, there will often be a line of people rounding the corner, waiting for the doors to open. Many people, especially men, love pachinko. Some members of the government, however, are starting to believe that their citizens love it a little too much.
It’s often said that nothing in life is certain except for death and taxes, but for one Osaka resident, that maxim was little more than an old wives’ tale.
One day, the taxman came calling to the tune of 816 million yen (US$7.7M) over years of unreported winning horse race bets. However, in a game where the house always wins, this guy managed to flip the script and knock down the money owed to a relatively modest 67 million yen ($635,000).
I think the last truly terrible video game I bought was Gundam v. 2.0 for the PlayStation One. This was back before all you had to do was wait a few hours for reviews from gamers to start pouring in online, and I got suckered in by some touched-up stills from the game in a magazine that made it look awesome. Instead, the one and only redeemable element to the title was it had a cool sound effect for the beam rifle, but that hardly made it worth the $75 it had cost me.
I’ve played subpar games since then, but Gundam v. 2.0 retains a special place of hatred in my gaming soul. It’s the sort of game that drives one to violent fantasies of revenge. Like an evil witch being punished for her sins, or a stubbornly regenerating troll that won’t stay dead, the only just way for Gundam 2.0 to pay for its crimes is by being set on fire.
Somewhere in a box, I still have my copy of the game. Maybe if I dig it out, these police officers in China will let me toss it onto their video game bonfire.
Perhaps one of the saddest things ever written is Hemingway’s famous six-word story: “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.” Though short in the extreme, it’s amazing how much emotion and information can be packed into six small words. Of course, Hemingway isn’t the only writer known for brevity, and the last 1,300 years of Japanese poetry have been full of brief but beautiful and poignant verses. But when it comes to terse (some might say inelegant) narrative, Hemingway was certainly a master.
However, we may have found someone who’s outdone the old drunkard! Too bad this one seems inspired by utterly real events…
“I like this guy… but is he suitable for marriage?” This is one of the most important questions Japanese women ask themselves in considering a life time mate. Marriage can be daunting even in the best of circumstances, so it’s crucial to have some assurance you’re making a good choice when deciding on that special person that you want to spend the rest of your life with.
Otome Sugoren, a website featuring articles on love, relationships and marriage, surveyed its female readers to get these results. The reporter who compiled the info and wrote the article is a Japanese woman herself, so you can be sure of its authenticity! Here are the top nine things Japanese women check out when Looking for a suitable marriage partner: Read More