mobile

Smartphone smash Neko Atsume heads west, we talk to the localization team behind it【Interview】

As further proof that cats rule the Internet and humanity at large, the relaxed, mostly goal-less mobile app time waster, Neko Atsumewhich tasks players with simply collecting a bunch of cartoon cats and kind of just watching them do stuff—proved a massive success in Japan despite a distinctive lack of explosions, destruction and, er, constantly running from left to right that are the typical hallmark of successful mobile games.

In fact, the game is so popular among cat lovers (read: everyone) that the Japanese version of the game began trending abroad, even though the large majority of fans surely had to resort to Internet guides to make any sense of the Japanese kanji plastered all over the in-game menus and inventory.

Said fans were in for a great surprise, though, when last week, developer Hit-Point updated the game with full English support thanks to renowned localization agency 8-4. We had a chance to sit down with the 8-4 team and chat about the behind-the-scenes work that went into localizing the app for an English speaking audience.

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Samsung is reportedly developing a crazy phone with two screens that you might be able to fold in half

Samsung is reportedly developing a new phone that will have two screens, according to blog Sam Mobile, which has a solid track record for reporting leaked information about upcoming Samsung products.

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Samsung’s latest ad is eerily similar to recent Apple ads

Samsung just released its latest ad for the Galaxy S6 Edge, and it looks eerily familiar.

In April, Apple made this ad for the Gold Edition of Apple Watch. When you look at Samsung’s ad and the Watch spot side by side, the similarities border on ridiculous.

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Nintendo promises brand new console, announces deal to release mobile games

Video game giant Nintendo has announced that it is partnering with Japanese mobile firm DeNA to produce a series of mobile applications featuring key Nintendo properties. Furthermore, Nintendo has gone on record to state that it has a new home console in the works and that mobile connectivity will play a key role in its future.

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The next dating sim from Japan features million-year-old grannies and high school drama

It’s no secret that dating sims in Japan have become a bit strange recently. From the meat-based dating sim to the alpaca dating sim to the recent sumo dating sim which features pretty much everyone but realistic-looking sumo wrestlers, it’s clear that pop will eat itself and dating sims will parody themselves.

But an upcoming dating sim set to debut on both Android and iOS devices soon is taking things to a whole new Harold and Maud level: The subjects of your affection will be grannies–million-year-old grannies to be exact!

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Street Fighter II creator Yoshiki Okamoto talks games and his new project, Monster Strike 【Interview】

When Street Fighter II creator and retro gaming legend Yoshiki Okamoto announced two years ago that he was leaving console games forever to pursue mobile gaming projects, many probably thought he was joking. A lifelong arcade and console game creator abandoning ship to work in the much loathed and parodied mobile platform? This must be some kind of pre-retirement prank, surely?

As it happens, Okamoto was dead serious, and – far from having retired – has made good on his promise to focus on mobile games, working with a protege to crank out one of the most successful mobile games of all time: Monster Strike.

Monster Strike has reached over 16 million players in Japan and Taiwan, exceeding all expectations and becoming a cultural institution in the game’s native Japan. Sensing it was time to strike out into other territories, Okamoto, game producer Koki Kimura and his team are now working to expand the game into the west and beyond. We caught up with Okamoto and Kimura in San Francisco at Monster Strike’s North American launch party to talk about the game and the industry in general:

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Hacka Doll: “Otaku” news beamed right to your phone like anime magic! 【Review】

Say you’re a Japanese otaku who loves the new Destiny game, light novels, and giant robot anime. But how would you keep up with the latest news for each one of them? Obviously, you’d have a few of your favorite sites bookmarked and you’d visit them a few times a day–if you were living in the Stone Age! Even if you’ve evolved enough to create your own RSS feed, you’d still only be in the 20th century–and far behind the times. For shame!

Now, if you were are a real 21st century geek, you’d get all your nerdy news through one “AI-enabled” app complete with adorable moe mascots and personalized news recommendations. Obviously.

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There’s a city in China with its own street lane for people who can’t stop staring at their phones

How many times have you bumped into someone while walking down the street because your face was buried in your phone?

Apparently this happens all too often in one Chinese city — so much so that an entire street lane has been set aside for those who can’t stop staring at their phones.

You can find this lane on Foreigner Street in Chongqing, China, according to Engadget, which spotted the story via Chinese news publication News.cn. The lane was created to “reduce collisions” in the area due to the high number of tourists in the area, according to a translation of the Chinese article.

The street is divided in two halves, with one lane labeled “Cellphones, walk at your own risk” and the other marked “No cellphones.”

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Scammer aborts mission as trolling Line user offers to send cash intended for mother’s operation

Last month, we brought you news of a scam wherein users of Line, a free messaging application popular in Japan and South Korea, were being tricked into buying prepaid cards on behalf of friends whose accounts had been hacked. Thankfully, Japan’s Line users were just as wily, and set to trolling the hackers in return, sending goading messages, irritating emoticons and even nude pictures, but the scamming still continues, with the app’s makers struggling to stamp it out.

But as these hackers descend to new levels of douchery, legitimate Line users are levelling up their troll powers, like this Twitter user who managed to get the scammers to abort by feeding them a tale of woe.

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Japanese Line users unleash their inner troll after popular messaging app gets hacked

Although still relatively unknown in the West, Naver Company’s Line is by far the most popular messaging application in Japan right now, with millions of active users. But when an app comes to be embraced by so many people, it’s often only a matter of time before someone with too much time on their hands decides to spoil the fun for everyone by hacking users’ accounts in an effort to make money.

Cases of Line accounts being taken over have been on the rise since May this year, with many people claiming to have received messages from both anonymous users and those already in their contact list, asking them to purchase pre-paid WebMoney cards and send a photo of the card’s number over to them so that they can claim it.

Thankfully, most Line users are bright enough to recognise a scam when they see it, and know exactly how to respond…

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Kinoko Girly: the weirdest time-waster you’ll play all day

If you’re struggling with the fact that it’s still only Tuesday and the weekend is but a dot on the horizon, Kinoko Girly (‘Mushroom Girly’), a free mobile game currently generating a lot of buzz here in Japan, might be just the thing to keep you going at least until Hump Day is over.

Featuring illustrations by popular fashion designer Hajime Yoshio, Kinoko Girly is one of the simplest smartphone games you’ll ever play. Asking you, the person in charge of feeding a bevy of frighteningly shaped mushrooms to a woman with a penchant for fungi, to choose which of the two ‘shrooms offered up at any one time is delicious and which is poisonous, it’s simply a case of guesswork for the sake of it, but it’s surprisingly addictive. And altogether weird.

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REVIEW: Samsung’s new fitness gadget makes a sleek smartwatch

After releasing a critical dud last fall with its first major smartwatch release, the Galaxy Gear, Samsung surprised a lot of folks in the industry when it announced an attractive new entrant into the wearable computing category, the Gear Fit, just a few months later.

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Attack on Titan social game’s promo streamed

Japanese mobile game publisher Mobage began streaming a promotional video for its Shingeki no Kyojin ~Jiyū e no Hōkō~ (Attack on Titan: Howl Toward Freedom) game for smart phones on Wednesday. The promotional video tells players that they must fight against enemies outside of the Wall Rose using forbidden weapons.

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Give your smartphone a dose of Hatsune Miku with this unfeasibly large negi case

Fans of Hatsune Miku who picked up one of Sony’s Miku-themed Xperia A smartphones will no doubt be delighted to hear that they now have the chance to make their mobile that little bit more digital diva. Produced by the creators of genius accessories such as the egg-on-toast cover and ramen bowl stand, Hamee, and sold via Japanese online accessory store Strapya, this onion-equipped smartphone case is sure to make your feelings about the Vocaloid Queen plain for all to see.

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Pay-to-win mobile game sensation Puzzle & Dragons coming to Nintendo 3DS in kid-friendly form

Despite having been downloaded more than a million times in North America, GungHo Online Entertainment’s RPG/puzzle blend Puzzle & Dragons, or Pazudora as it’s more commonly known in its native Japan, is still considered something of a niche title in the Western world. The game combines elements of traditional tile-matching puzzle games such as Puyo Puyo and online favourite Bejeweled with the trading and stat-building elements of classic Japanese RPGs, topped off with a sprinkle of Pokémon-esque companion monsters to collect and trade.

The game is currently one of Japan’s most played mobile games and is almost entirely responsible for its makers’ US$763 million of total sales in the first half of 2013 alone, with more than 17 million active players in Japan today. Following on from this success, a 3DS version of the game was recently announced and is due to go on sale on December 12 this year. Reports suggest, however, that the 3DS version will be slightly different in order to protect younger gamers from the microtransaction system that the game has become synonymous with.

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Japanese Netizens Mistake Mobile Giant SoftBank’s Proud Announcement for April Fools’ Joke

You know your company has a bad reputation when the general public interprets an official announcement as something so improbable that it could only be an April Fools’ gag.

Japanese mobile provider SoftBank — perhaps most famous for its commercials featuring a talking shiba inu and his human family — announced via its website earlier today that it now officially has the best network coverage in Japan, enabling its users to connect with greater ease than any other mobile phone provider. Alas, the statement was immediately laughed off as a joke by many Japanese Internet users, with cries of “Oh, SoftBank, you guys have a great sense of humour!”

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【TGS 2012】Breast of the Show: the Gloops Booth Babes

I had never heard of Japanese social game developer gloops before attending Tokyo Game Show.

And even after spending a considerable amount of time at their booth, I still have absolutely no idea what their games are about because let’s be honest: how could you stay focused on a screen when you’re surrounded by the exposed chests and unbuttoned shorts of the gloops booth babes?

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