Pico Cassette looks to keep cartridge games alive in a smartphone world

Music has all but gone entirely digital. Video rental stores are a critically endangered species. Even video games are steadily moving towards more online distribution. At this rate we’ll soon be welcoming the first generation to think sticking a piece of plastic into a machine for entertainment is as attractive an idea as rubbing two sticks together for fire.

Then again, isn’t there something intrinsic in humans to want to put a cartridge or disc into something for entertainment?

That’s not a rhetorical question. I really have no idea, but the makers of Pico Cassette are hoping so. This device will load video games both new and old into your smartphone by plugging into its headphone jack.

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Have you ever wondered what kind of smartphone Shaolin monks want?

Our rice-resurrecting Japanese writer Meg isn’t just one of our favorite writers, she’s also one of our globe-trotting writers! And while we’re always happy to hear from her, this report she filed from China has a particularly special place in our hearts because it’s from the Shaolin Temple in Hénán Province!

In addition to sightseeing, it seems that Meg also took the opportunity to chat with some of the Shaolin monks. So, what did Meg want to discuss with the ascetics she met? Did she ask them to accept her as a disciple or get them to teach her a special technique to defeat all her enemies? Or maybe asking them to tell her the secret to eternal life? Not quite…

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One for the ladies: MMORPG “Avabel Online” brings female gamers together

In Japan, playing video games isn’t really considered to be a “geeky”, boys’ hobby as much as it can be in the west. The rise of smartphone games in particular have made playing video games in public totally normal, and you’re just as likely to see a young, besuited salarywoman (virtual) button-mashing away on the train as you are a teenage boy.

This commercial for smartphone MMORPG Avabel Online shows what we mean! In it, a group of female friends (who are actually budding actresses who won a competition to be the promotional “faces” of the game), are shown playing together in various locations – a cafe, someone’s bedroom, and more. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also a pretty cool ad to watch.

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Become an official supporter of the Evangelion smartphone, going on sale this year!

Evangelion fans, rejoice! If you were wondering what more you could possibly add to you collection of EVA goods, you won’t have to wait much longer for the next must-have item – the Evangelion smartphone, which is scheduled to go on sale around the end of this year.

As if that weren’t exciting enough, you can also become an official “supporter” which will get you the latest, up-to-date information, plus a special gift.

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New Chinese smartphone game lets you bomb 15 major cities in Japan, but…

On 26 May, Chinese internet company NetEase announced the release of a new smartphone game titled The Great Tokyo Air Raid. The game allows you to pilot a bomber and drop ordnance on 14 of Japan’s most populated areas.

After completing a mission, the player is awarded points based on how many cities they have destroyed. The points will also come with a message such as “Thank you for your contribution to world peace!”

This is how the game is being reported in Japan at least. And while all of those facts are true, after playing through The Great Tokyo Air Raid myself, it’s actually only about a tenth as disconcerting as the media would have you believe.

…It’s still a little unsettling though.

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Never miss an important call again at the office with our bra lifehack!

For those of us working in high-tech societies, connection and communication can be as valuable as any resource. A single missed call can turn into a missed business chance, so making sure you can be reached no matter how furiously you’re typing is important. But at the office, no one wants to be that jerk that just leaves their ringer on. And it’s pretty easy to miss a call with just vibration mode.

However, the writers for the Japanese-language side of RocketNews24 may have come up with a solution for you. All you need to do is keep your phone in range of view while you’re using the computer. There are, obviously, a number of ways to do this, but our writer P.K. thinks he’s found the best way: With a bra!

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Panasonic develops data communication using an ordinary light and smartphone

There are many ways that data is transferred these days, be it fiber optic cables, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G-LTE, and a whole slew of other brand names and acronyms the meanings of which I don’t care to learn.

Now Panasonic has come up with a way to send and receive data that’s easy for everyone to understand: light. Actually it uses light emitting diodes (LED) to be exact, but that’s about as technical as this explanation needs to get, I promise.

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Dunked your smartphone in your drink? Now you can bring it back to life!

Smartphone addiction is a worldwide problem, with many of us unable to keep our eyes off our little magic boxes long enough to cross the street safely or make occasional eye contact with loved ones.

So what happens when your beloved pocket companion takes an accidental dip into your drink (or, heaven forbid, the toilet)? Well, before you start gnashing and wailing, you might want to try out Reviveaphone, the new “magic” product that claims to bring your electronic hand buddy back from silicone heaven…

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Apple would rather you not blow up teen couples on your iPhone, asks developer to edit video game

In a lot of ways, digital distribution of video games is a great thing, as it allows developers to easily add new content to a title after its release. It’s a double-edged sword, though, and that same streamlined pathway from programmer to player can also be used to quickly make changes that take things away.

A few weeks ago, we took a look at a smartphone game whose lonely, jaded protagonist and his mystical, jaded companion use their powers to make affectionate couples meet with a host of calamities, including straight blowing them up. Apple, however, is not cool with this sort of vengeful fantasy, and so the iOS version of the game is being toned down and given a new name since the original title, Explode, Real Types! no longer describes the game’s contents.

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“Insta in my Hand” is the latest smartphone trend among high school students in Japan

The latest social media craze to hit Japan is called “Insta in my Hand,” for which net users share photos which look like they’re holding a transparent version of their Instagram or Twitter homepages in the palm of their hands. The boom was apparently imported from South Korea earlier this month, after Key, a member of K-Pop group SHINee, uploaded his own “Insta in my Hand” picture to his Instagram account. Japanese high school students have since tweaked the trend to include “Twitter in my Hand” shots as well.

Now you too can create your own “Insta in my Hand” images with our handy English guide, right after the jump!

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Nurture your inner cat collector with “Neko Atsume” the kitty-catching game for Android and iOS!

You know what everyone in Japan loves these days? Smartphone games. They keep you busy on the daily commute without requiring too much in-depth concentration, and Japanese smartphone game makers are seriously smart – they know how to keep players hooked. By combining the human need for constant “reward” feedback with our penchant for adorable cartoon kitties, they’ve come up with a winner of an app that everyone who likes fun can’t stop playing – Neko Atsume!

Now available for both Android and iOS and with a whole slew of new features, there’s never been a better time to get into this incredibly addictive yet simple cat-collecting time-waster

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Can’t find your glasses? Bust out your smart phone’s camera and see clearly!

Those of us without 20/20 vision suffer from a catch-22 that can be extremely aggravating: If you can’t find your glasses, you can’t see, but if you can’t see, you can’t find your glasses. How many collective hours have we all spent searching for those pesky frames? Damn you, ocular deficiencies!

But our days of squinting to see and blindly feeling around to find our glasses are over, my friends! We all have Japanese Twitter user @zzzdecozzz to thank for this incredibly simple, yet genius idea: Use your smartphone’s camera as a magnifying glass.

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Kid invents “genius” DIY hands-free smartphone hack using IKEA table

Anyone who’s addicted to the constant stimuli provided by tablets and smartphones (read: most of us) will definitely agree that sometimes it’s just too much effort to hold the darn things in front of our faces while mindlessly scrolling. Especially during bathtime, when slippery hands become a serious hazard, or when you’re just lounging around in bed, our wonder gizmos can be a pain to hold onto.

Luckily, this young man has come up with a genius method of hands-free phone-gazing. All you’ll need is a glass-topped table, a smartphone or tablet device, and the willingness to overlook one teensy flaw

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Smartphone maker HTC launches smack-talking rap video, leaves us quite literally asking “WTF?”

“Y’all can’t be serious man,” HTC’s painfully awkward rap video begins as the beat kicks in. And, for a second there, we kind of wondered the exact same thing ourselves.

Released last week by Taiwanese (high) tech company HTC, “Hold the Crown” is an ultra-low budget battle-rap dedicated to the self-proclaimed “king” of smartphones, the HTC One M8, and calling out rivals the iPhone 6 and Samsung’s Galaxy. It’s one of the most baffling yet brilliant things we’ve ever seen.

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Japanese people increasingly report getting spammed by Mom

For years the increasing elderly population of Japan has been under attack by scammers posing as their sons and daughters. In what’s called the “oreore sagi” (Hey, it’s me! Con) the scammer calls on the telephone and poses as the victim’s child asking them for an emergency load due to an accident or trouble at work.

Now it seems the fraud is on the other foot as younger smartphone users have been reporting unusual emails from dear old Ma asking them to click on a link. However, an entertaining bright side to these attempted crimes can be found too. One blogger eloquently put it: These junk mails are fascinating in that they can be quite elaborate and yet also look really half-assed at the same time.

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It sounds like HTC’s new phone is going to have an incredible camera

HTC is planning to announce a new smartphone and smartwatch at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona on March 1, according to a report from Bloomberg.

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Tony Stark will have a see-through Samsung phone in ‘The Avengers’ sequel

Earth’s mightiest heroes will rely on a bunch of Samsung gear in “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” this summer.

Samsung is showing off a bunch tech developed for the sequel at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) currently taking place in Las Vegas.

CNET’s Shara Tibken snapped a few shots of the devices ranging from a see-through phone for Tony Stark to smartwatches that will be worn by the Avengers team.

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Public backlash, fines all around for Chinese medical staff who took selfies in operating room

Scrubs? Check. Scalpel? Check. Smartphone? Double check.

The following photos of doctors and nurses posing inside an operating room at Fengcheng Hospital in Xi’an, northwestern China, were allegedly taken back in the summer on August 15. Although months have passed since then, the photos just recently surfaced online and have been causing quite an uproar among the general public over the past few days.

If it’s any consolation, would you breathe a sigh of relief to hear that at least the photos were taken after a successful operation? But wait–doesn’t the patient still appear to be undergoing surgery in some of the shots!?

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Rubbernecking gone too far? Net users react to crowds taking pics of train hit by suicide jumper

Picture the scene: You’re out late one night, waiting to catch your train home. Finally it rolls up to the platform, its front window caved in, cracks spider-webbing through the glass. That’s when you hear the announcement: due to a human-involved accident, operations have been suspended.

You know what’s happened. But how do you react? Do you gape in shock? Do you find it too upsetting to even look at and avert your eyes?

Or maybe you whip out that phone of yours to snap a picture, just like this group of onlookers at Shinjuku Station in Tokyo.

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Mythbusters: We drive a car over our smartphone to test the protective film

Even today, a lot of people in Japan still prefer flip phones over smartphones. Part of the reason is because smartphones screens–exposed as they are–are a lot more vulnerable and seem to break easily. Take myself for example: after purchasing a brand new Samsung Galaxy S4 last summer, I dropped it once and since then have had a giant crack across my screen.

But with the right case and protective film, your smartphone can, apparently, become practically invincible!

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