video games

Professor Mega Man! Legendary game producer Keiji Inafune to lecture at Osaka college

Professor Mega Man! Legendary game producer Keiji Inafune to lecture at Osaka college

Despite working for video game publisher Capcom for over 20 years, Keiji Inafune didn’t really achieve international name-recognition until the tumultuous tail end of his time with the company. Even if they didn’t know his name, though, gamers everywhere were familiar with his work, as Inafune was involved with some of Capcom’s biggest hits, including Mega Man, Resident Evil, Onimusha, Street Fighter, and Dead Rising.

Inafune got his start as a character designer before moving up to a position as a producer. Now, he’s set to add one more title to his resume: college professor.

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Aerith from Final Fantasy VII’s home valued at nearly $2 million, “Nicest house in sector 5″

Aerith from Final Fantasy VII’s home valued at nearly $2 million, “Nicest house in sector 5″

Movoto, one of America’s biggest real estate agents, doesn’t just list property, it also has a blog and, more importantly, a very good sense of humour. A few months ago, the site treated manga and anime fans to a tour of Naruto Uzumaki’s house (on the market for just $100,000), but this week they have something special for gamers – the house that used to belong to Aerith from Final Fantasy VII.

If you’re interested in buying the property, though, we hope you’re feeling flush. With 1,176 square feet of floor space and the honour of being “the nicest house in Sector 5″, Aerith’s house is listed for nearly US$2 million, or 37,726,080 Gil to be exact.

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Final Fantasy VII concert to be held in Tokyo this summer (yes, they’ll play One-Winged Angel)

Final Fantasy VII concert to be held in Tokyo this summer (yes, they’ll play One-Winged Angel)

When Final Fantasy VII was first released in 1997, gamers around the world emotionally connected with it in a way that had never been seen before. Years later, the game still occupies a special place in many people’s hearts, with many clamoring for developer Square Enix to release a version with graphics updated to today’s standards.

But even as so may ask for a new edition of the game that looks better, you won’t find anyone asking for one that sounds better, as the role-playing classic’s soundtrack is one of the most universally-loved musical collections to ever come out of the medium. As testament to its lasting appeal, a Final Fantasy VII symphony concert will be held in Tokyo this summer.

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Princess Peach-themed Nintendo Wii remote available later this month

Princess Peach-themed Nintendo Wii remote available later this month

If you can’t help feeling that your controller lacks a little regality or that you’d rather squish Goombas in a lighter shade of murder, we’ve got good news for you. From the end of this month, you’ll be able to pick up a special edition Princess Peach-themed Wii remote, Nintendo has announced.

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Iraqi Shadow of the Colossus is hardcore (plus more fun with bootlegs) 【Photos】

Iraqi Shadow of the Colossus is hardcore (plus more fun with bootlegs) 【Photos】

It’s become less common with the increasing globalization of the video game industry, but not so long ago, box art for the same title could vary wildly from one region to the next. Much of this was due to the nature of licensing contracts. For example, it may have made sense to commission a popular anime artist to draw the cover for a Japanese release of a game, but without that same fan base and recognition overseas, oftentimes executives judged it was wiser to hire a struggling artist to draw new art on the cheap than to shell out the extra money necessary to procure the rights to use the anime art internationally.

But while these sorts of legal technicalities explain how North American gamers ended up with such horrible art on the packaging for Mega Man and Ranma 1/2 Hard Battle, it doesn’t explain why someone felt the need to create strange new covers for bootlegged video games in Iraq.

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Sega’s video game consoles to live again as cute anime characters in Sega Hard Girls

Sega’s video game consoles to live again as cute anime characters in Sega Hard Girls

Perhaps it says something about the fundamental goodness of the human heart that once someone is no longer with us, we tend to remember the good things about him or her. Even though the memories of petty differences and irritants tend to fade with time, the happy moments often remain with us, sometimes picking up an even warmer aura as nostalgia colors them.

The phenomena doesn’t just happen with people, though, but video game hardware too. This partially explains why Sega, which discontinued its most recent console well over a decade ago, is seeing a new anime being produced in which the main characters are cute, anthropomorphized versions of the company’s defunct video game systems.

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Gotta eat ‘em all with this awesome new Poké Ball bento box

Gotta eat ‘em all with this awesome new Poké Ball bento box

While in America the stereotypical school kid lunch of a sandwich, apple, and some crackers can easily be tossed in a paper sack, things are a bit trickier in Japan. Japanese parents packing a lunch for their child usually include rice and a number of side dishes, which all need to be placed in sturdy containers so they don’t get crushed or spill during the trip to school, all of which then get placed inside a single, larger container called a bento box.

But why settle for a bento box when you could have a bento ball, especially a Pokémon bento ball?

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There’s a reason Yoshi dogs don’t exist in the real world: They’d be absolutely terrifying

There’s a reason Yoshi dogs don’t exist in the real world: They’d be absolutely terrifying

If there are any small children in the room, now might be a good time to send them to bed or off on an errand. We can’t guarantee that they’ll sleep a wink tonight after seeing this “Nintendog” poodle with its fur dyed and made up to look like Yoshi from the Super Mario series.

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U can haz Pokénoms! A how-to guide to cooking your own Pokémon pancakes

U can haz Pokénoms! A how-to guide to cooking your own Pokémon pancakes

The recent news that Denny’s Japan is offering Pikachu pancakes—but only on the kids menu—has some readers, and us too if we’re being honest, pining for Pokémon sweets. While store-bought kits have had less than perfect results, even when they’re for cakes, we are determined to produce cute ones at home!

Thankfully, with this recipe, you can make your own “Peachu” pancakes! Pichu is essentially a baby Pikachu, making it even cuter, right?

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Japanese gamers dominate tournament, win back portion of money they’ve pumped into arcades

Japanese gamers dominate tournament, win back portion of money they’ve pumped into arcades

Even as the number of gamers worldwide continues to grow, video games remain a regular scapegoat for poor social skills, low grades, and neck beard-level hygiene. This holds true even in Japan, where parents and educators commonly voice their fear that without a strict curfew or school rules requiring pupils to head home straight after class, they might give in to temptation and –gasp!- stop off to play a few games at the arcade.

Game fans in Japan are finally getting some good press, though. For starters, studies show that playing Nintendo’s perennial hit Super Mario 64 can improve both your memory and sense of direction. And if your pursuits are more monetary than mental, mastery of fighting games can even earn you a nice-sized chunk of cold hard cash, like it did for the Japanese competitors who dominated the recently held Id Global Tournament in Korea.

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Get lost all the time? Can’t read maps? Study says you should play more Super Mario 64

Get lost all the time? Can’t read maps? Study says you should play more Super Mario 64

I personally never really understood where the stereotype that women are bad at map-reading comes from. When most of the women in my life are more composed, logical, and organised than I or any of the guys I know, it seems odd that girls should be known as poor navigators.

If you do happen to be female and utterly hopeless with maps, though, a recent study suggests that you might benefit from playing video games more often, with findings suggesting that those who regularly pick up a controller have a better sense of direction and get lost less often.

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Capcom Japan’s April Fool is awesome, nyansensical

Capcom Japan’s April Fool is awesome, nyansensical

Ah, it’s been a great day for April Fools’ pranks this year, what with Google treating us to a worldwide pokémon outbreak and car maker BMW unveiling its “ZZZ” series sleep machine (any others I missed?). And now, Capcom – the Japanese company behind video game greats such as Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and Mega Man – has announced that it is launching special dubbed versions of its top titles.

That’s right, folks, all of your favourite Capcom games are now available in neko-gocat language“, allowing Japan’s nyan population to join in the gaming fun.

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Final Fantasy café puts spirits within you with materia cocktails, chocolate buster swords

Final Fantasy café puts spirits within you with materia cocktails, chocolate buster swords

With well over 20 years since the original Final Fantasy was released, everyone who was old enough to enjoy developer Square Enix’s hugely successful video game franchise from the very start is legally old enough to drink in Japan. So when we heard tale of a realm/café run by the company, called Artnia, where we could combine our passions for role-playing games and alcoholic beverages, we were intrigued, and when rumors reached us of chocolate buster swords, we were out the door.

Our journey took us through pitch black tunnels, subterranean cities, and secluded forests, but we persevered, and have returned to tell all of our adventures.

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You ain’t seen North Korean calisthenics ’til you’ve seen it done to Final Fantasy IV boss music

You ain’t seen North Korean calisthenics ’til you’ve seen it done to Final Fantasy IV boss music

Every once in a while we experience pleasant beauty of synchronicity in life, whether it’s listening to Pink Flyod’s Dark Side of the Moon while watching The Wizard of OZ or just listening to The Police’s Synchronicity.

Another such case is the uncannily fitting combination of a North Korean calisthenics video for children with the background music to a Final Fantasy IV boss battle. A video of it was posted on YouTube quite a while ago, but it’s worth revisiting again and again.

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I am the one who knocks (you out): Street Fighter meets Breaking Bad in genius animation

I am the one who knocks (you out): Street Fighter meets Breaking Bad in genius animation

The only thing we love more than videos about our favourite forms of entertainment are crossover videos that bring them together in one place. Doing precisely that, a talented British animator has just made our Monday that bit more bearable by posting a video titled “Ryu VS Jesse” to YouTube, which combines the worlds of much-loved video game Street Fighter and smash TV show Breaking Bad. And the result is simply awesome.

Full video after the jump.

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Meanwhile, in Japan: Puzzle game Candy Crush hires girl’s nails as advertising space

Meanwhile, in Japan: Puzzle game Candy Crush hires girl’s nails as advertising space

Japan knows a thing or two about human billboards. And now, from the PR company that brought the world adverts stuck to girls’ thighs on the condition that the girls wear short skirts and knee-high socks, comes a brand new marketing idea: Candy Crush are sponsoring this girl’s fingernails, with a wacky, candy-based design that’s as bold and colourful as the game itself.

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Play video games, learn Japanese: Crowdfunded JRPG “Koe” reaches its goal with cash to spare

Play video games, learn Japanese: Crowdfunded JRPG “Koe” reaches its goal with cash to spare

I’ve always maintained that, while the method may work for a very lucky few, drilling lists of words and kanji characters is like trying to commit blocks of random numbers to memory – that is to say painfully hard work, time-consuming, and not in the least bit natural or fun. Rather, a better way to approach language learning is to encounter words in context so as to easier form cognitive connections and assimilate them into that which we already know.

So when I stumbled upon Koe, an upcoming role-playing game designed to help people learn Japanese as they play, I couldn’t help feeling a twinge of excitement.

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The original cast of Street Fighter II beg for mercy in model form this summer

The original cast of Street Fighter II beg for mercy in model form this summer

As we have come to learn over the years, Japan really loves its capsule toys and mobile phone accessories, and there’s always some cute new bit of plastic to attach to your person or use to brighten up your electronic devices. But for fans of the original Capcom fighter Street Fighter II (which is everyone, surely!?) we have some extra good news today.

A new series of models, showing the world warriors not in their typically magnificent fighting poses but on their knees and with their noses touching the ground, begging for forgiveness, is due to be released later this year.

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Censored scene shows newest Metal Gear doesn’t pull any punches (except in Japan) 【Video】

Censored scene shows newest Metal Gear doesn’t pull any punches (except in Japan) 【Video】

Once upon a time, the North American video game market was incredibly squeamish about gory content. The blood and guts present in Japanese releases were painstakingly removed, most hilariously with the North American version of Neo Geo title Samurai Shodown, which retailed for $200 in 1993. Apparently the game’s producers thought their customer base was old enough to have that kind of cash in their pockets, but still too young to handle the sight of a little crimson hemoglobin, so they replaced the fountains of blood that occurred in the game’s swordfights with geysers of what appeared to be highly pressurized milk.

Eventually, everyone saw how silly this was. Gamers as a whole were getting older and more mature, and the youth of Japan, where this kind of content had been allowed for years, weren’t turning into crazed remorseless killing machines. So restrictions were loosened, allowing games like Grand Theft Auto to top North American sales charts.

Now, things have come full circle, as a side by side video comparison of publisher Konami’s Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes shows less graphic content in its Japanese version.

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At long last, new Game Boy (yes, Game Boy) game “Airaki” on sale next month

At long last, new Game Boy (yes, Game Boy) game “Airaki” on sale next month

No, you didn’t just step back into the ’90s; there’s a brand new Game Boy game on the horizon.

It would seem that my decision to doggedly avoid smartphone games and PS Vitas has paid finally off, because a new game just for my favorite console set to be shipped out this coming April. It’s a medieval-themed puzzle game going by the name of Airaki and will work with many of the old Game Boy units. It’s about time!

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